Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Three Indie Film Recommends To Help Survive The Award Season


After the Golden Globes, I decided to pass up on award shows. I don’t know. This year it was such a disappointing show that I was done. So, to keep busy in between seeing current films and working on my third novel, I watch films. Indie films mostly on Netflix.  There are three films I recommend all wonderful, yet sadly overlooked. 



Copenhagen:  A lovely film about an American/Canadian, William (Gethin Anthony) who goes to Denmark to find his paternal grandfather to let him know his son had died. To his disappointment he makes some tragic discoveries. While pondering over his dilemma, he meets a waitress, Effy (Frederike Dahl Hansen)  who is willing to help him translate and get the answers he deserves. The film, although low budget, is one of the most wonderful films I’ve seen in a while.



The Last Weekend is a story about a wealthy Celia Green (Patricia Clarkson) who lives in Lake Tahoe, California – in a very a prestige neighborhood along the lake. She is happily married, although lonely, and at a point in life where she is considering selling the estate. She invites her grown kids to spend the Memorial Day Weekend at the very home so she could tell them.  The entire weekend, we get a glimpse of her struggles with her dysfunctional family, ultimately helping her into deciding to move on, and let the place go. A sad tale about real life stories, wonderfully detailed.



Refuge: Rotten Tomatoes gave this film a one star- but I loved it. The thing about simple stories is that, we get a glimpse of how sadly the other half live. Any (Krysten Ritter) the oldest of three is stuck raising her siblings after her parents up and left on vacation ten years ago, and never returned. Her brother had a stroke at a young age, and her sister a typical teenager.  One day, she meets Sam (Brian Geraghty) at a bar, and takes him home. The next morning he realizes how much he liked her, and stays, as the story unfolds, we realize he has nowhere else to be and  that’s how this story begins.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

American Sniper - Film Review



I got a chance to see American Sniper last night, and walked out of the theater with mixed emotions. Meaning, I get that it was necessary  to make a film about Chris Kyle, and I do respect Clint Eastwood's work in every sense of the word, but the film simply wasn't that great. It was good, but not great, and certainly not worthy of an Oscar Nomination.

The story showed two sides to a man's life. The one where he fought for his country, and the side where he struggled to be a good husband and father. Since war movies are often times horrifically detailed, it was nice to see comedy used every chance possible to soften the trauma one might experience watching such films. It was so strategic that we almost didn't feel too much for a child who was brutally murdered by a terrorist, nor the animal killed, and children who learned to shoot with a weapon and that was just in the US. 

Bradley Cooper gave a solid performance for sure, and Eastwood delivered. There were a few long and drawn out scenes, somewhat exhausting and tedious, but overall I would give it  a three star.  Outside of that there is nothing more to say. A war movie is a war movie is a war movie.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar 2015 Nominations and A Few Oversights


I was up early this morning, waiting to see who and what films were nominated to receive the mother of all awards in film. I gotta tell you I was a little more than disappointed with the results. I know, I know they can't please everyone, but they sure as hell can be bias.

First up:  I am not sure why Jennifer Aniston get snubbed and Reese Witherspoon remained on the list. I think the set back is that is that no one has seen CAKE and the performance Jennifer Aniston gave in the film - surely outside of the norm for her, and a worthy of a win. I saw WILD and in my opinion, Witherspoon's performance was just on point, nothing outside of the norm or spectacular enough to remain as a contender.

Next: American Sniper made the list, so late in the game, even before everyone has had a chance to see the film. I was hoping this would wait until 2016.

What happened to Selma and the performance of  David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr.

And the list goes on. Anyway, it matters not what we feel. The list is out, and the decisions have been made. The question I have is - now do we care enough to watch it?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Boy Next Door - The Film's Funny Observations

I wasn't really going to discuss the upcoming 'thriller' The Boy Next Door, starring Jennifer Lopez, but I couldn't resist after reading this article.

I understand J-Lo is trying to be a well-rounded artist, and I command her for that, especially since she looks amazing physically. I mean she can play most any part, even if she is constantly being cast as a mother of two or three or one. Anyway, good for her for taking on those roles, since according to Russell Crowe, not too many actresses do.

Putting all that aside, I can't help but cringe for every time the trailer comes on advertising The Boy Next Door, wondering why even make such a movie. Does every older woman/younger man-boy f***fest end up this way. I mean why can't we just have some fun with the storyline and move on without anyone getting hurt or murdered, or traumatized, especially one with cheesy lines attached to it. "I love your mother's cookies."   Really?


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Golden Globe 2015 - A Very Distracting Show


I am not sure what was going on with the 2015 Golden Globes Ceremony? I had a very difficult time staying focused on the presenters and the actual categories and winners. The entire show was poorly directed in my opinion, with celebrity walking about visible in every take, disrupting the ceremony. The actors seemed too shinny on stage, and the speeches a slew of mumbling. I couldn't even get excited for George Clooney on his Cecil B Demille award. The worst dressed outnumbered the best dressed, and the stage simply looked as if the entertainment industry was cutting costs even in stage and set.

Besides all the visible flaws in the show, the winners spend too much time expressing their appreciation for the women who are making film, the women who made a difference, the women who chose roles that make a difference, and so on. The worst was Ricky Gervais as usual, the best was Billy Bob Thorton (I thought I'd never say that) with his perfect short speech. Some winners I didn't agree with, and the ones who lost were caught on camera looking utterly disappointed, and sometimes even disgusted.

I couldn't figure out if the room was too hot, and that's why all the actors seemed restless and miserable or there was a joke I was missing. The entire show was a mishap, and from it I learned nothing.  Here's to hoping the Oscar Awards would be better.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Normal Heart - Golden Globes 2015 and Mark Ruffalo



Outstanding performance is the key to getting an award, a recognition of some sort, a medal or anything that defines you've outdone yourself and those in competition with you. For the BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
a MARTIN FREEMAN FARGO
b WOODY HARRELSON TRUE DETECTIVE
c MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY TRUE DETECTIVE
d MARK RUFFALO THE NORMAL HEART
e BILLY BOB THORNTON FARGO

I have to say Mark Ruffalo shines. His performance most certainly worthy of the Golden Globes. I love it when actors go outside of their comfort zone, or the norm, and deliver a performance so perfect you almost can't tell the actor from the character.

The Normal Heart, is an HBO TV movie, about a gay activist (Mark Ruffalo) trying to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS in the 1980s when being gay was already tough enough, let alone one infected with the virus. Although I was very young at the time, the spread of the virus as well as the struggles of the gay community was something I remember very clearly, especially since I lived in San Francisco, and to see it depicted in a such a dramatic film and well acted by the cast, is something worth praising.

I do wish Mark Ruffalo the best of luck in the category. Do see the film if you have access to it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Big Eyes - Film Review and Christoph Waltz


For the last few weeks I've been seeing all of the films nominated for the Golden Globes, some for the actual film, while others for simply the performance.

Big Eyes, I considered to see Amy Adams since she is up against a list of actors in  BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL

a AMY ADAMS BIG EYES
b EMILY BLUNT INTO THE WOODS
c HELEN MIRREN THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY
d JULIANNE MOORE MAPS TO THE STARS
e QUVENZHANÉ WALLIS ANNIE

It's all fine and good, she did well, but in this category, I don't think she will win for this particular performance. The person who stood out for Big Eyes is Christoph Waltz, who is also up for
 BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE - COMEDY OR MUSICAL

a RALPH FIENNES THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
b MICHAEL KEATON BIRDMAN
c BILL MURRAY ST. VINCENT
d JOAQUIN PHOENIX INHERENT VICE
e CHRISTOPH WALTZ BIG EYES

And here is the trouble. I saw Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel and loved his performance and in this instant I am rooting for him to win. Christoph Waltz did an outstanding job also, and in my opinion a considerable contender for this category.

Big Eyes, the film, is not in the running, and although a good film, it isn't the best I've seen this year. The story of artist Margaret Keane and her husband's attempt at taking credit for her work in the 1960's, causing much controversy in the art world. It is a period film, set in San Francisco, and visibly in a film studio, capturing the essence of the period obviously since it was well researched. But if it weren't for Christoph Waltz's character, I probably wouldn't have lasted throughout the 2hour story.  Sorry this wasn't the best for me. Netflix or Redbox or whatever means of seeing current films it should be if you plan to see it.