Moonrise Kingdom

imageWes Anderson’s new film (co-written by Roman Coppola) is a wonderful exploration the trials and tribulations of growing up. In his films, Anderson always focuses on people who don’t fit in society well. This time he centers his attention on two kids (a 12-year-old boy and girl) who not only have trouble fitting in, but we are told that they also have real psychological problems. But that is not how they come across at all. I know plenty of psychologically challenged kids and adults, but they don’t act nothing like the two in Anderson’s film.  So the movie is a fantasy but it is one that you will enjoy falling into.

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Movies, Drama

No Comments 7 October 2012

Looper

imageTime travel sci-fi flicks have been around for a long time. The first third of the film challenges your brain to simply keep track of whether we are the in the future or the present and how the two realms are connected.  Looper then spooks you because coming back from the future, Bruce Willis’ character knows that a little kid will grow up to be a mass-murderer. He wants to kill him to prevent a Hitler-type of tragedy. But the director wants to us to side with hope that we can spare the kid and with love and attention he will turn out to be a different version of his self.

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 30 September 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

image Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, is in retirement and depressed. But a woman manages to sneak into his castle, stealing pearls and awakening his romantic feelings at least enough to lift him a bit out of his depression. Before long he is back in action saving the big city, which is now under attack from a mean terrorist. This film felt much the same as the previous one, which was also too long but at least it had the acting of Keith Ledger.  I had much more fun with Kick-Ass a few months ago because it did do something new with the genre.

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Movies, Phantasy

No Comments 9 September 2012

Rocky Mountain Express: An IMAX Experience

image Canada was formed in 1867. Four year later the colony British Columbia, which was in financial trouble, joined the confederation. The confederation promised British Columbia that it would pay for a railway link between Vancouver and Ontario. Building a railroad through the Rocky Mountains was an engineering feat. This documentary film tells the story how the railroad was built and how it made Canada into a viable country.  A few years ago, the Canadian Pacific railraod restored a steam locomotive. The director, Stephen Low, had to good sense to use it for a film.  He has wonderful job stripping Imax 3D cameras onto the train and filming the steam locomotive from helicopter and other places so you feel like you are travelling from Vancouver to Banff. The pictures are so extraordinary that you feel as if you are the conductor of the train.  After watching the film, one wants to do this trip not just in the movie theatre. In turns out there is a 2-day tour from Calgary to Vancouver running in the summer.

 

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 8 September 2012

The Family Stone

image There are many films about Christmas time and families coming together for a few days. This film is special in that it captures very well the rhythms of these family reunions. Most families find it difficult to keep any tensions that might exist under raps. The days move slowly, punctuated by rituals of eating, chatting, playing, waiting, and sometimes arguing.  Everett (Dermot Mulroney) one of the five children coming home to the parents suburban home for Xmas is brining his new girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker). Even before her arrival, one family members labels Meredith as uptight and unlikable. Soon the entire family seems to be against her and when they find out that Everett wants to propose the next day, all but one person wants to torpedo that plan. This sets the stage for interesting drama with twists and turns.

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Movies, Drama

No Comments 31 August 2012

A Thousand Words

image Eddie Murphy is one of most talented comic actors.  Unlike Ted which was fresh and made me laugh throughout the entire movie, 1000 Words has a few good scenes but remains pretty mediocre.  Murphy plays Jack, a high-flying literary agent, who is angry that his father abandoned the family when he was around 10. As he trying to sign a Deepak Chopra like figure for his agency, a tree suddenly appears in his garden and for every word he speaks another leaf will fall of the tree. When all leafs are gone, the tree and he might die. As he trying to conserve words, his marriage falls apart and he is fired.  To rescue himself, Jack needs to get in touch with his inner true self.

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Movies, Comedy

No Comments 30 August 2012

Where Eagles Dare

image The Alps are a natural spectacle. Many directors, of course, have realized this. The Sound of Music, for example, was filmed in and around Salzburg. 50 Kilometers south of Salzburg lies the fortress “Werfen.” Where Eagles Dare exploits the dramatic scenery of the fortress and its vicinity to stage a James Bond like spy story set during World War II. Germans have infiltrated the British Secret service and now it is time to find out who is the mole. If you in the mood for spy film set in the Alps, this is the film for you.

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Movies, Drama

No Comments 26 August 2012

The Ghostwriter

image Many of recent Roman Polanksi film were masterpieces. The Pianist was breathtakingly good. The Ghostwriter manages to create a special atmosphere. But the ending was a complete letdown. I understand why Polanksi is not very pleased with American authorities who have been trying to arrest him for over 30 years. (See my recent review). Anyone who follows the news realizes how incompetent the CIA was in assessing the economic situation in the Soviet Union before its downfall and the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The ending attributes competence to the CIA that bears no resemblance to reality.

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Movies, Drama

No Comments 20 August 2012

Roman Polanski—Wanted and Desired

image This is an excellent documentary and it made me evaluate Polanski escape from the USA.  After watching it one wonders why American authorities attempted once again in 2010 to get Switzerland to arrest an extradite Polanski. After putting him under house arrest for 6 months, the Swiss authorities did not hand over Polanski to the American and this documentary, although finished before explains to explain why. Polanski is clearly guilty of one thing: Exceedingly poor judgment.

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Movies, Documentary

No Comments 9 August 2012

Head-On (Gegen die Wand)

image A few years ago I had nothing good to say about Faith Akin’s 2007 film On the other Side. But Head On, which is only secondarily about the challenges of being born in Germany into a Turkish immigrant family, is a deep film.  Primarily it is about self-destruction and the strangeness of love. Sibel and Cahit meet in mental hospital because both seem to have attempted suicide. After some time Sibel convinces the much older Cahit to marry her so she can leave her parents and gain freedom. For six months Sibel and Cahit live without physical intimacy but then the fall in love and real trouble begins. The film becomes quite heavy but it is poetic despite the violence that accompanies the love between two multifaceted characters. What makes the film interesting is that it always takes unexpected turns.

 

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Movies, Drama

No Comments 15 July 2012

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