Another of those films that I was in no rush to see (as I am no longer an employee of Paramount Pictures, I can no longer see Paramount releases such as this for free), but I was in Grangeville, Idaho at the time, cleaning out my late grandmother's house, and when you're in Grangeville for more than two days, you… read more!
Movie Titles: K
Or, "Mork from Ork stars in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". I didn't know much about this film before I saw it, except that Kevin Spacey plays a guy who may or may not be a visitor from outer space, Jeff Bridges plays the psychiatrist assigned to him, Spacey eats an entire banana, peel and all, and it's probably… read more!
How time flies. Less than four months after the American attack on Afghanistan, I saw this couldn't-be-more-timely drama/documentary at a nearly empty movie theatre. Perhaps lines would have formed around the block back in October, with audiences eager to learn more about the plight of the besieged Afghani people, but I guess the topic is now just so 2001. Too… read more!
Glitzy memoir - I can't really call it a documentary - about Robert Evans, a legendary figure in Hollywood who, in short order, progressed from retailer of ladies' pants, to clean-cut movie star, to studio executive who single-handedly saved Paramount Pictures from ruin, to an independent producer living the fast life, to a tragic figure befallen by scandal, drugs, and… read more!
Smart, funny comedy/drama that stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a Los Angeles-based lesbian couple of many years, whose two teen children decide to seek out their anonymous sperm donor father. When he turns out to be a super-dude restaurateur played by Mark Ruffalo, the family gets turned upside down. Cholodenko, who wrote the script with Stuart Blumberg, takes… read more!
So Quentin Tarantino is back. Was he missed? The reason his earlier work was so interesting may have been due to his writing partner Roger Avary. Once the two split ways after Pulp Fiction, the little that Tarantino wrote alone was either god-awful (From Dusk to Dawn, anyone?) or saved by good source material (Jackie Brown, adapted from the novel… read more!
What's funny about the release of this picture is that everybody's going around saying how much better it is than Kill Bill, Vol. 1 - e.g., how there is more character and plot development. Well, guess what, folks? That's because it's the second half of one long film. Take any movie, cut it in two, release the first half six… read more!
The fourth of the official Danish "Dogme 95" films - where the director is to adhere to a cinematic "vow of chastity" that includes no artificial lighting, post-production soundwork, non-handheld camera, and so on - and the first in English (the cast is mostly British unknowns and American semi-knowns including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Janet McTeer, Bruce Davison, and the late… read more!
Though I haven't seen the original 1933 King Kong since I was a kid - and even so, I'm not sure if I sat through the whole thing - after watching Peter Jackson's epic 2005 remake, I gained a belated respect for the boldness of Ernest B. Schoedsack's and Merian C. Cooper's vision: at a time when the "talkies" were… read more!
Crowd-pleasing documentary about two adult men in the 21st century who battle it out for the world record in the 1981 arcade classic Donkey Kong. Director Gordon skews the facts a little in order to give us the year's best screen villain: Billy Mitchell, the appallingly arrogant ubergeek who had held the record since 1982 (and is also the world… read more!
The title of this film is a spoiler, as Colin Firth's character, King George VI, isn't even crowned until the last act, but never mind. The King's Speech is an entertaining, thoughtful drama about the turmoil Britain's royal family faced in the 1930s, as Albert, Duke of York - "Bertie" to his family - made his unexpected ascent to the… read more!
Alas, not a movie about yours truly - that would be called Kinesy - this is the well-meaning if occasionally corny biography of Alfred Kinsey, the influential Indiana State University professor whose post-World War II interviews with ordinary Americans about their sexual practices blew apart countless old fashioned notions about sex in this country, and arguably opened the door to… read more!
In the late 1940s, a Swedish research institute seemingly hell-bent on collecting the most random data about Scandinavian household behavior sends a squad of researchers into rural Norway to study the kitchen habits of old Norwegian bachelors. The one rule the researchers must follow is to never interact with their "hosts": they must simply sit in the corner of the… read more!
Although Terrence Malick's following has dwindled to a few diehard film critics and movie geeks, the writer/director keeps churning out features in this fertile third act of his career. They all look great, thanks to Emmanuel Lubezki's flawless cinematography, Jack Fisk's rich production design, and the most attractive actors Hollywood has to offer. But Malick's increasing disinterest in narrative and his fondness for stilted voiceovers have turned… read more!
Breezy romantic comedy/adventure set in Medieval Europe about a young peasant (Heath Ledger) who, aspiring to be a knight, pretends that he is of noble birth so that he can compete in royal jousting tournaments. Naturally, he's good at what he does, falls in love with a hot babe, and has his goofy but well-meaning buddies to back him up… read more!
When The 40-Year-Old Virgin came out in 2005, I was as surprised as everybody else at how good it was. I hate romantic comedies, and yet, despite its occasional flaws, I thought Virgin was pretty terrific. So I was excited to see writer/director Judd Apatow's follow-up feature, the dreadfully titled Knocked Up. But while it's a decent, and occasionally quite… read more!
Laika, the Portland, Oregon animation house, returns with another stunning stop-motion beauty. But as with their previous outings Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls, their odd blend of kiddie movie and dark fantasy left me wondering just who their audience is supposed to be. I find myself lauding the studio for its commitment to quality while being increasingly annoyed by their insistence on dumbing down their… read more!
How fondly I remember those halcyon days of the early 1990s, when - thanks to John Woo's The Killer - Hong Kong cinema had a surge of popularity here in the US. It wasn't uncommon to find HK movies playing in local cinemas or even having their own mini-festivals. Then the DVD arrived, and for Chinese and American fans alike,… read more!
Those of you reading this review along with my reviews for the concurrently-released The Happening and Bigger, Stronger, Faster* may think I'm either a pathetic name-dropper or Mr. Connected. Because in a rare instance, I saw all three of these films in the same week, and all three had friends of mine working on them. In this case, I was… read more!