Sunday, December 21, 2014
     

Movie Review

Monday, January 14, 2013

Les Miserables was published by the French novelist Victor Hugo in 1862. The musical of the same name was written originally in French and performed in Paris in 1980, before an English adaptation opened in London in 1985. The show got bad reviews, which were overcome by positive word-of-mouth endorsements. The three-month run sold out. "Les Mis" opened on Broadway in 1987 and ran continuously until 2003, posting 6,680 performances. The only wonder about the new film version is that it was so long in arriving.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

If you're ever invited to the Apatows, you may want to politely decline.

That's because, based on writer-director Judd Apatow's "This Is 40," filmed in and around his Four Season hotel interior decor-styled Los Angeles area home, you will be subjected to a barrage of rude, lewd and crude invective, diatribes and behavior.

"This Is 40" is an often desperate attempt at comedy. I found the movie mostly insufferable. "This is 40" is Judd Apatow's home movie.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Suspense. Intrigue. Shock. Irony. Dark humor. Romance.

These themes are often the stuff of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock's films, most of which are now regarded as classics of cinema.

These themes are also the stuff of "Hitchcock," a semi-biographical film about Hitchcock (an uncanny Anthony Hopkins), his wife Alma Reville (a fine Helen Mirren) and the producing, filming and 1960 premiere of "Psycho."

Hitchcock's "Vertigo" (1958) is now regarded by movie critics and movie-goers as the greatest movie of all-time, eclipsing director Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane."

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Despite its title, there's not too much that's unexpected in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

There are goblins, wizards, trolls, rock monsters and, of course, dwarfs.

This should please fans of the J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973) novels, on which "The Hobbit" is based, as it did my son, Elias, who accompanied me to a 3D screening of "Unexpected Journey."

It was the second time Elias saw "The Hobbit" movie. The first time he saw it was in the regular format. Elias said the 3D version enhanced some scenes, but it's not necessary to see "The Hobbit" in 3D.

Friday, December 21, 2012

As the end of the year 2012 rapidly approaches, director Ang Lee's remarkable "Life of Pi" is one film to put on your holiday season list.

"Life of Pi" recounts a deeply-moving spiritual journey that is fascinating and thought-provoking, and will linger with you long after you've viewed it.

Many of the images provide a relaxing, meditative quality that lift "Life of Pi" from that of movie-going to that of a cinematic experience. Those who enjoy wildlife, nature films, folk tales, parables and fables will enjoy "Life of Pi."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Anna Karenina" is a gorgeous mess the famous Tolstoy character and the new film version of the novel.

Director Joe Wright, who previously directed the historical romantic dramas, "Pride and Prejudice" (2005) and "Atonement" (2007), also starring Keira Knightley, who plays the title character, Anna Karenina, reached for opera and instead got soap opera.

Wright apparently made a conscious effort to not be repetitive of other critically-acclaimed movie versions of the Leo Tolstoy classic (published in installments 1873 - 1877).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Lincoln," which depicts President Abraham Lincoln during the months leading up to and after the passage of the 13th Amendment that freed the slaves in the United States, is history brought to life.

"Lincoln" is astounding on several levels, not the least of which is one of cinema's most memorable performances: Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2," fifth and final in the series, should please fans of the Stephenie Meyer novel and movie series.

For non-fans, "Breaking Dawn" signals it's time to put the brakes on "The Twilight Saga."

"Part 2" is an extended coda, with not much new happening that didn't happen in "Part 1," i.e., the marriage of Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and the birth of their daughter, Renesmee.

Friday, November 23, 2012

There will be explosions.

There will be death-defying acts.

There will be hand-to-hand combat.

There will be shootings.

There will be nods to iconic James Bond imagery and set pieces: a spectacular opening credit sequence with a title song by a popular recording star (here it's Adele), the silver Aston Martin DB5, the jangly guitar and brass instrumental theme, the martini (shaken, not stirred), the tuxedo, and scenes in MI6 headquarters, a casino (Macao) and a bedroom.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Daniel Day-Lewis is Lincoln. In a long life I have seen only a handful of actors who in a handful of films so completely encompass their characters that I forget it's only acting. Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump comes to mind. The recent Time Magazine cover story on Spielberg's new film claims that after the acclaimed director tapped the acclaimed actor for the title role, Day-Lewis insisted on a year's hiatus to study the acclaimed president he would play.