Monday, March 30, 2015
     

Movie Review

Friday, April 26, 2013

The number "42" will be known even farther and wider because of the biopic about Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player to play Major League Baseball.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I missed this film the first time around and finally caught up with it, thanks to re-release in the wake of the awards season. The intervening months were an interesting time for this movie. It debuted to rave reviews, quickly becoming the "film to beat" at the Oscars. Then the tide turned, as critics zeroed in on the "Zero Dark Thirty" torture scenes. Emblematic is the Jane Mayer article in December 14th's New Yorker.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Why would anyone want to see "Jurassic Park" in 3D when director Steven Spielberg's blockbuster 1993 movie has been available in multiple formats for two decades?

Two words: Steven Spielberg.

And you thought I was going to say: T- Rex.

Oh, T-Rex is big and frightening -- especially in 3D.

However, T-Rex wouldn't exist in "Jurassic Park" if not for Spielberg, perhaps the United States' best contemporary director who can and does direct all genres (for contrast, see "Lincoln").

"Jurassic Park" is "Jaws" of the jungle.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"The Croods" has its own kind of, ahem, "crood" charm.

Yes, there's lots of punching and smacking, fighting, rolling around, chasing, ugly faces, insults and did we say? fighting.

And that's just the Crood family of cavemen or is it cave persons? and doesn't include the prehistoric creatures.

Admittedly, I resisted seeing "The Croods." It was a case of 3D-animation feature overload. Also, I may have been wondering how "The Croods" could improve upon TV's "The Flintstones" (1960 - '66) for me the tabula rasa of prehistoric humor.

Monday, March 25, 2013

At one point in "Oz The Great and Powerful," Oz (James Franco) says to China Doll, a Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) character voiced by Joey King, "One rule in show biz: Never work with kids or animals," adding, "I already have this ... ," as he gestures to another CGI character, Finley, a monkey in a bellhop suit voiced by Zach Braff.

To that show-business adage, it could be added, "Never work with CGI characters."

At least in "Oz the Great and Powerful," for James Franco and other live-action actors, it's a losing battle.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Quartet" is a thoughtful, entertaining and fun film that hits all the grace notes.

The film is directed by Dustin Hoffman, who will be 76 on Aug. 8, in his feature film directorial debut.

One question: Why did he wait so long?

Well, Hoffman started directing "Straight Time" in 1978, but Ulu Grobard took it over.

The setting for "Quartet" is Beecham House, a home for retired musicians in England, for which the success of the annual gala concert to celebrate composer Giuseppi Verdi's birthday may determine whether the castle-like manse will stay open or close.

Friday, March 8, 2013

As expected, Oscar spread the gold at the 85th Academy awards Feb. 25. That's not surprising because 2012 was a very good year for cinema, critically and commercially.

I was also six for seven. I correctly picked: "Argo," picture; Ang Lee, "Life of Pi," which led Oscar recipients with four, including cinematography, visual effects and original score; Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln," actor; Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook," actress; Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables," supporting actress; and "Brave," animated feature.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Just when one thought that France's "Rust and Bone" set the mark for depressing cinema, there's "Amour."

"Amour" was nominated for five Oscars, picture, actress (Emmanuelle Riva), director (Michael Haneke), original screenplay (Haneke) and foreign-language film (Austria's entry).

"Amour" received the Oscar for foreign film at the Feb. 25 awards show.

The film won the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ben Affleck's Argo really took me back. Jimmy Carter was president. The Shah of Iran was deposed. The U.S. allowed him to come to the New York-Weill Cornell Medical Hospital for treatment of his cancer. The Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran after years of exile and an Islamic republic was declared. Outraged at America's refusal to repatriate the Shah for trial and likely execution, the regime instigated mob violence at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The climax was the storming and occupation of the compound on November 4, 1979.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Side Effects" is a good crime thriller with a twist that you probably won't see coming.

Jude Law plays Dr. Jonathan Banks, a psychiatrist who is paid as a consultant for a pharmaceutical company that is doing trials with a new drug.

One of his clients, Emily (Rooney Mara), is institutionalized after she negotiates an NGRI plea (Not Guilty For Reasons of Insanity) plea over the death of her husband Martin (Channing Tatum).