Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Descendants: Movie Review


Scaling the Hawaiian country-side with tears and laughter.

"The Descendants" is set in Hawaii but Matt King (George Clooney) and his family are not on vacation. Far from it. King is actually in a line descended down from an old Hawaiian princess and has inherited a wealth of land. That's only the secondary plot. The primary plot is that his wife is in a coma and he has to learn how to be a parent to his two unruly daughters. Cue the laugh track.2011

Directed by: Alexander Payne

Screenplay by: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sarah's Key: Movie Review


The fascinating story of Sarah and the routine story of Julia.

"Sarah's Key" is Sarah's story. Sarah (Mélusine Mayance) is a young Jewish girl living in Paris in 1942. Her story is an interesting and heart-wrenching one. But Sarah's story isn't told by Sarah. Julia (Kristin Scott Thomas) is a modern-day American journalist, and we also get her story as she uncovers Sarah's story. Julia, unfortunately, doesn't have a particularly good story, at least not compared to Sarah's. She has to adapt to a new apartment in Paris and gets into a fight with her husband, the usual fodder for current dramas. 2011

Directed by: Gilles Paquet-Brenner

Screenplay by: Gilles Paquet-Brenner and Serge Joncour
Based on the novel by Tatiana De Rosnay

Starring: Kristin Scott Thomas and Mélusine Mayance

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Take Shelter: Movie Review


Shelter in the face of insanity versus reality.

Curtis (Michael Shannon) is having bad dreams and hallucinations. He’s likely just going crazy, but if he is in fact having visions of the future end of the world, then he might as well “Take Shelter”. With Curtis’s dreams turning into nightmares turning into a possible reality, he needs to keep himself safe and his wife (Jessica Chastain) and their young, deaf daughter.2011

Directed by: Jeff Nichols

Screenplay by: Jeff Nichols

Starring: Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Week with Marilyn: Movie Review


An affair with Marilyn Monroe, but who is she?

“My Week with Marilyn” is the week-long affair with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) for young film enthusiast Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne). It’s also a week from hell for great actor Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) as he tries to make a movie with Ms. Marilyn Monroe. It’s also a week-long glimpse into the beautiful / tragic life of the starlet-turned-starlet.

Directed by: Simon Curtis

Screenplay by: Adrian Hodges

Starring: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne and Kenneth Branagh

Friday, November 25, 2011

Melancholia: Movie Review


Feelings of melancholia bursting through the brilliant colours of the Earth.
Justine (Kirsten Dunst) suffers from severe depression. Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) drives herself crazy with paranoia over fear of the end of the world. “Melancholia” just might prove to be the end of the world. This film just might prove to be an example of some of the best filmmaking in the world.2011

Directed by: Lars von Trier

Screenplay by: Lars von Trier

Starring: Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Father of Invention: Movie Review


 Instead of a comedy about an inventor, we get a dramedy about a father.

“Father of Invention” stars Kevin Spacey as a fabricator, an infomercial king, who combines existing products into new ones. Problem is he was in jail, now he has lost his empire, and lost his family. The key word in the title is father. The entire film is him trying to reconnect with his daughter (Camilla Belle). 2010 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Trent Cooper

Screenplay by: Jonathan D. Krane and Trent Cooper

Starring: Kevin Spacey and Camilla Belle

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Like Crazy: Movie Review


A story of love, depending on what love really is.

Anna (Felicity Jones) and Jacob (Anton Yelchin) are in love with each like crazy. Hence the title, “Like Crazy”. They are in, or want to be in, a grown-up relationship — one where they act like adults and are just a part of each other’s lives. But they met each other at college and one stupid idea forces them to make grown-up decisions that will affect the rest of their lives quicker than they would have liked.2011

Directed by: Drake Doremus

Screenplay by: Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones

Starring: Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin

Friday, November 18, 2011

Anonymous: Movie Review


Problematic theory, story and characters but worthy acting and end point.

“Anonymous” is a story that accounts the theory that William Shakespeare did not write all the works credited to William Shakespeare. Instead the true author is Edward, Earl of Oxford, a nobleman of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. It is known as the Oxfordian Theory. And it is a real theory; it’s just not a good one.2011

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

Screenplay by: John Orloff

Starring: Rhys Ifans

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Terri: Movie Review


Alienated characters who alienate the audience.

The tagline for “Terri” is “We’ve all been there.” Yes, we have all felt alienated at some point in our lives. But unlike Terri, most of us do not pro-actively alienate ourselves. Terri is in high school and life is difficult for him because he’s weird, over-weight and just plain unlikable. We’re supposed to feel sympathy for him, but I never liked him. 2011

Directed by: Azazel Jacobs

Screenplay by: Patrick Dewitt

Starring: Jacob Wysocki and John C. Reilly

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas: Movie Review


Harold and Kumar make decorating a Christmas tree a wild and dangerous adventure.

I think part of the reason the first movie worked so well is because going to White Castle is, relatively, a very simple, ordinary trip. But when it’s Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) it becomes a very wild adventure. I didn’t enjoy the second one as much because escaping from Guantanamo Bay wouldn’t be an easy task for anybody. For this third movie, Harold and Kumar are back to turn a routine errand into a hazardous experience. Harold has to decorate a Christmas tree.2011

Directed by: Todd Strauss-Schulson

Screenplay by: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg

Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn and Neil Patrick Harris

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Martha Marcy May Marlene: Movie Review


Martha, Marcy May, and Marlene all caught between truth, sanity and madness.

Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) is a character who has forgotten what it means to be normal. Marcy May is a character who has been taught to ignore social values and any definition of “normal.” Martha and Marcy May is the same person and that’s where the conflict lies. “Martha Marcy May Marlene” is a dramatic character study which edges towards psychological thriller.2011

Directed by: Sean Durkin

Screenplay by: Sean Durkin

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen

Friday, November 11, 2011

J. Edgar: Movie Review


Presenting a hero but not defining hero versus villain.

“J. Edgar” is worth the hype, the fuss and the wait. I was particularly intrigued by the prospect that it was directed by the older, masculine Clint Eastwood and written by the younger, out-and-proud Dustin Lance Black. I got the biographical story of the FBI leader and I also got the deeply-touching love story of a closeted gay man. Both were woven together seamlessly.2011

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Screenplay by: Dustin Lance Black

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer

The Skin I Live In: Movie Review


Into the mind of mysteriously disturbed individuals.

“The Skin I Live In” is the latest Spanish film from writer and director Pedro Almodóvar who once again explores issues of sexuality, rape, and extremely dysfunctional relationships. Set in the future, as in, next year, a scientist, Robert (Antonio Banderas), has invented the “perfect” skin. Presumably to help burn victims. But things get more mysterious, sinister and unnatural.2011

Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar

Screenplay by: Pedro Almodóvar

Starring: Antonio Banderas

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In Time: Movie Review


Time is money and the science fiction romance genre is money for Hollywood.

In the world of “In Time”, time is money. Literally. Set in a future where everybody ages until 25, then they have one year left to live, except that one year is currency. The rich can live at age 25 eternally and the poor don’t always have a chance to live. Time zones are classes of wealth and you can’t cross over without upsetting the order of the world. It’s quite possible that they have taken this time is money equation too far.2011

Directed by: Andrew Niccol

Screenplay by: Andrew Niccol

Starring: Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried

Hesher: Movie Review


Clever and drifting coming-of-age story about mayhem.
In the language of Hesher, the film is about a young man, an old lady, a young dude and a middle-aged dude. Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the young man, although he’s really anything but. He’s a homeless, drifting hippie causing mayhem in lieu of a rock-and-roll career. I suppose the film can be referred to the exact same way. It’s a drifting piece about sex, drugs and mayhem in a coming-of-age story with no real home. 2010

Directed by: Spencer Susser

Screenplay by: Spencer Susser and David Michod

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Devin Brochu

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Contagion: Movie Review

Life and death as been done before but now with debates.

“Contagion” is the fight against a contagious disease. The fight against time, against the virus, and against fear. Humanity being threatened by a deadly illness is not new for cinema. But it is a better adventure than most. There’s science, heartbreak, death, life and young love, and all with more characters than you can count, but played by some of the best actors that Hollywood and the world have to offer.2011

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Screenplay by: Scott Z. Burns

Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law