Monday, July 14, 2014
     

Movie Review

Monday, June 4, 2012

The comedy and life lessons in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" are not unexpected.

The romantic-comedy, directed by Kirk Jones ("Everybody's Fine," "Nanny McPhee," "Waking Ned Devine"), is based on the best-selling nonfiction self-help book by Heidi Murkoff with a screenplay by Shauna Cross ("Whip It") and Heather Hach ("Freaky Friday," TV's "Legally Blonde: The Musical").

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Director Tim Burton reteams for the eighth time with Johnny Depp in the reimagining of "Dark Shadows," a television show cult favorite from 1966 - '71.

Depp plays Barnabas Collins, a vampire who likes to vamp, as in make quips.

The story begins In 1752 when Barnabas Collins was turned into a vampire by a curse from Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), the chambermaid whose love he spurned.

Two centuries later, it's 1972 and Barnabas is unearthed and returns to Collinwood Manor, Collinsport, Me., where his dysfunctional descendants are trying to maintain the ancestral home.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"The Avengers" are back with a vengeance.

That they're all back makes for competition for screen time. Even the Imax 3D screen on which I saw the "Avengers" didn't seem big enough.

"The Avengers" brings together the Marvel Comics superheroes of previous big-screen blockbusters. Well, most were hits.

There's Nick Fury, leader of the S.H.I.E.L.D. superhero team, played with eye-patch solemnity by Samuel L. Jackson.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Chimpanzee" is an extraordinary glimpse into the secret life of one of the earth's most fascinating primates and the world of the rain forest.

The world of the rain forest?

Yes, in the close up look inside the Ugandan rain forest that the documentary film "Chimpanzee" offers, the rain forest seems a world apart, perhaps a world on another planet, similar in ways to the fictional alien world of the movie "Avatar" (2009).

A team of dedicated and life-risking film-makers spent three years tracking, observing and filming a group of chimpanzees.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Titanic" is worth a second look, especially in 3D on the big screen.

The 3D enhancement of the 1997 blockbuster gives the moviegoer even more of a visceral sense of peril, with rushing water, claustrophobic halls, and the sinking ship breaking apart.

Writer-director James Cameron was mocked when, at the podium when "Titanic" received 11 Oscars at the 1998 Academy Awards including best picture and director, he announced, "I'm king of the world," repeating a famous line of dialogue by Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) from the movie.

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Mirror Mirror" holds the reflecting glass up to a classic fairy tale and the resulting image yields mixed results.

Julia Roberts as The Queen is great fun tearing through the scenery in her gorgeous costumes (the last completed by the late costume designer Eiko Ishioka). The evil queen's mission in life seems to be making Snow White's life miserable.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"The Hunger Games" is set in a future where the government, known as The Capitol, holds an annual contest where 12-18-year-olds fight to the death for fame and fortune.

"The Hunger Games" is an odd mash-up of TV reality shows ("Survivor") video games ("Mortal Combat") with a bit of "American Idol" thrown in.

Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) has the Steven Tyler role, judging from her flamboyant getup (Lady Gaga meets a Helena Bonham Carter character from a Tim Burton film).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Friends with Kids" is "When Harry Met Sally" (1989) meets the "Friends" TV show (1994-2004) meets a comedy by Judd Apatow.

It's also "Bridesmaids" Post-Graduate since four actors in leading roles appeared in that movie.

In "Friends with Kids," Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt, who wrote and directed the film) and Jason (Adam Scott) have been best friends for most of their lives. They see their married New York City friends' lives go from marital bliss to martial law when the babies arrive.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" splashes a rainbow palette across the screen, sets up exciting chase scenes, has voice talent that bursts excitedly from its big-headed computer animated characters' mouths and sets up a half-dozen brassy pop-rock song sequences.

What's not to like?

Plenty.

For one thing: the gentle, quivery, almost naive drawings of Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991, writing and drawing under the pen name of Dr. Seuss), coupled with those charming couplets and wacky wordplays are far from the hyper animation of "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"A Separation," the 2012 Oscar foreign film recipient and screenplay nominee, is a glimpse into the troubled lives of two couples in Iran.

The film, in Persian with English subtitles, has seamless, beautiful and moving performances so believable you don't think that you're watching a film.

Simin (Leila Hatami) files for divorce from Nader (Peyman Moadi), who has a full-time job and is caring for his elderly father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who has Alzheimer's disease. The couple has a pre-teen daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi).