Monday, September 29, 2008

Two You Might Enjoy

Watching the detectives
In these days of widespread fear of commitment how can two people get together with any of hope of longevity in their relationship? Violet (Lucy Liu) has some ideas about this. Will they work on Neil (Murphy)? This is a small independent film romance.

Son of Rambow
Two boys, one from a very restrictive family, one from a no restrictions family, become friends & partners in the making of a film, “Son of Rambow.” Funny & touching, with lessons to be learned.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman

Paul Newman, the actor with the steel blue eyes, died yesterday, Friday, September 26, 2008, at 83. He began working as an actor on TV and in film during the early 50’s and by the late 50’s he was already a star in such films as The Long Hot Summer and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He came to his glory during the 60’s with such films as Hustler, Hud, Harper, Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. During the 70’s we watched him in The Sting and The Drowning Pool. In the 80’s he started playing his age: The Verdict, The Color of Money. Later he was unforgettable in Nobody’s Fool, Road to Perdition, and Empire Falls. His last film, in 2006, was as the voice of Doc Hudson in the animated kids film Cars.

He was also well-known as a political liberal, a successful entrepreneur with his Newman’s Own food line, from which all of the proceeds went to charity, for his “Hole in the Wall Gang” free camps for kids, as a race car driver and as the husband of actress Joanne Woodward.

It feels like the end of an era with Newman’s passing. He’s someone I grew up watching. In the 60’s, with Cool Hand Luke, he was the personification of the anti-establishment image that was so pervasive. Although in many of his films he played a troublemaker, he was also frequently heroic, in his way. I admired and respected Newman as a man and as an actor and I’m thankful for his legacy.

What I’ve watched recently

The Women (2008)
George Cukor’s 1939 version starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell got 7.9 stars in The 2008 version, starring Meg Ryan, Annette Bening and Debra Messing got 4.4 stars. IMDB may not be right every time but they’re on the nose with this one. It’s not that there’s anything really wrong with this version—it’s just way too long and way too slow. I was curious about the movie because, being a fan of “Project Runway,” I wanted to see the clothes. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t even like the clothes! This is a chick flick and if you have a bunch of girlfriends you want to see a movie with, either look for another one, or don’t go with high expectations.

Kiss of the Dragon (2001)
This is my personal favorite Jet Li movie. I caught the tail end of it yesterday, just in time to see some of the best fights and I couldn’t resist so watched till the end. Jet Li’s character, a high ranking Chinese law enforcement officer, is in France working on a drug trafficking case. He becomes involved with a prostitute (Brigitte Fonda) who is a streetwalker only to pay the ransom for her daughter who has been kidnapped by the evil chief of police, who is also her pimp. The story may seem convoluted but there is a definite line between good and evil, where the bad guys are really bad and poor Brigitte Fonda’s character is so weak and helpless. Jet Li is the ultimate hero here and the chemistry between he and Fonda is just right—a blend of respect and caring. The fight scenes are incredible and the “kiss of the dragon” is the ultimate in kicking ass.

Then She Found Me
Directed by and starring Helen Hunt as a woman in crisis: her husband leaves her, her adoptive mother dies and her biological mother contacts her for the first time. Into this confusion she meets Mr. Right. His wife has recently left him with two kids. He’s wary, she’s wary. This is a sensitive and realistic portrait of a woman in mid-life who’s trying to start over. Also starring Colin Firth, Matthew Broderick and Bette Middler.

This week on the new book truck

“An accountant is introduced to a mysterious sex club known as The List by his lawyer friend. But in this new world, he soon becomes the prime suspect in a woman's disappearance and a multi-million dollar heist.”— Stars Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor and Michele Williams.

“A romantic comedy set in the world of 1920s football, where the owner of a professional team drafts a strait-laced college sensation, only to watch his new coach fall for his fiancĂ©e.”— Directed by and starring George Clooney, with Renee Zellwegger and John Krasinski.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Foreign, pop, independent and just plain funny

Here's a little something for everyone:

Lila Says
A young French woman living in an Arabic neighborhood in Marseilles seduces a young Arabic man. This is a very erotic coming of age story and is really quite beautiful, though sad.

Be Kind, Rewind
I think this film was meant to be heartfelt and touching but personally I found it to be boring. The idea was cute and it was fun watching them “Swede” the movies, but I’m glad I didn’t pay for this one.

Charlie Bartlett
A high school student, rich & eager to be accepted, becomes the schools’ unofficial pharmacist/psychiatrist. The film is both sad & amusing in its portrayal of the hypocrisy of American attitudes towards drugs.

Wonder Boys
Is a screwball comedy of one man trying to keep his life from going completely out of control. Michael Douglas plays the part of the professor/writer with the crazy life, and a star-studded cast aids & abets in his craziness. Very funny!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This week on the new book truck

Baby Mama
This is an odd-couple comedy starring Tina Fey as a successful businesswoman who decides that the time is right for having a baby. Because she is unable to conceive she hires another woman as a surrogate. The hilarity begins when the surrogate shows up at her door with nowhere to live.

1840s Cranford, a small Cheshire village is on the cusp of change in this Masterpiece Theatre drama. Stars Judi Dench and Francesca Annis.

The Forbidden Kingdom
An American teenager travels back to ancient China to free the ancient Monkey King. With Jet Li and Jackie Chan together we should see some spectacular martial arts!

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Ok, this isn’t a new movie. We haven’t had the DVD in the library for awhile though so we’ll just say it’s kind of new to us. This is the Coen brothers version of the Odyssey taking place in 1930s Mississippi. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

Playwright David Mamet wrote and directed this film about a jujitsu teacher who doesn’t want to do professional fighting despite pressure from his family.

10,000 B.C.
This film is a prehistoric epic about a young mammoth hunter’s journey through uncharted territory to secure the future of his tribe. An adventure romance directed by Roland Emmerich.