Friday, January 29, 2010

New Last Week:

Kable is the superstar and cult hero of the ultraviolent Slayers. Kable is controlled by Simon, a young gamer with rock star status who continues to defy all odds by guiding Kable to victory each week. Taken from his family, imprisoned, and forced to fight against his will, the modern-day gladiator must survive long enough to escape the game, free his family, regain his identity, and save mankind from this ruthless technology.

Good Soldier: What is Courage?
The Good Soldier follows the journeys of five combat veterans from different generations of American wars as they sign up, go into battle, and eventually change their minds about what it means to be a good soldier.

Invention of Lying
Mark is a desperate unemployed writer who lives in a world where everyone unfailingly tells the truth. People don't even know what fiction is. Every thought, no matter how humiliating or harsh, tumbles out unvarnished. Then one day, Mark becomes so desperate he concocts a lie. In a world where everyone is unfailingly honest, a lie is believed with total and absolute gullibility. Mark can get anything he wants. The one thing he truly wants is the love of a girl named Anna who happens to be the one person he can't bring himself to lie to.

Lorna’s Silence
Lorna is a young Albanian woman who dreams of opening up a snack bar with her boyfriend. Without the money, she finds herself entwined in a vicious plan devised by mobster Fabio. A false marriage between Lorna and Claudy will allow her to get her Belgian citizenship. She is then expected to marry a Russian Mafioso who is anxious to get his hands on the Belgian identity papers, after Fabio kills Claudy to speed up the second marriage. But can Lorna keep quiet?

Two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. With it being pitch black, they are disoriented. The only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can't remember who they are or what their mission is. With Lt. Payton staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower ventures deep into the ship and begins to uncover a terrifying reality. Slowly the spacecraft's shocking, deadly secrets are revealed. The astronauts soon find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined.

What I've been watching: Adam

A young woman moves into a new apartment and becomes attracted to her new neighbor, Adam. He is a handsome and highly functional young man with Asperger’s syndrome. They have a relationship of a sort which is tested by the ever present complications of life. The film is very sweet and sensitive—a touching love story, and the acting is terrific, particularly Hugh Dancy as Adam.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What I've been watching:

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Cordelia Gray is a serious young woman who has inherited a private detective business. With the help of her assistant she sets about investigating crimes. This was a BBC mystery mini-series from the books of P.D. James. The series is very well-done, exciting and leaves you wanting more.

Out of Sight
A career bank robber breaks out of jail and kidnaps a US Marshal in the process. When the cons head for Detroit to pull off their final big scam, the Marshal is put on their case but finds she is attracted to one of them and has second thoughts about bringing them in. Very funny!

Weather Girl
After catching her boyfriend, the anchorman, with the co-anchor, the weather girl has a meltdown on live TV. This ruins her credibility and temporarily ends her career. She is forced to move in with her younger brother and his friend and take up waitressing. When the TV station invites her to come back because the audience loved that “sassy” weather girl, she is forced to re-think what she wants out of life. This is a cute little film.

New This Week:

Amreeka chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. In America, as her son navigates high school hallways the way he used to move through military checkpoints, the indomitable Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up falafel burgers as well as hamburgers at the local White Castle.Told with heartfelt humor by writer-director Cherien Dabis in her feature film debut, Amreeka is a universal journey into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world in which they now live and the bittersweet search for a place to call home.

The Burning Plain
Sylvia is a beautiful restaurant manager whose cool, professional demeanor masks the sexually charged storm within. When a stranger from Mexico confronts her with her mysterious past, Sylvia is launched into a journey through space and time that inextricably connects her to these disparate characters, all of whom are grappling with their own romantic destinies. Gina is a housewife trapped in a loveless marriage who finds solace and passion in an illicit affair. Mariana is a young woman coping with the death of her mother, who falls in love with a young man her father despises. Though separated by time and distance, these women find their lives linked by the forces of love and fate.

Daigo Kobayashi is a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and he finds himself without a job. He decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled 'Departures' thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency. He discovers that the job is actually for a 'Nokanshi' or 'encoffineer,' a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art, acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. In Japanese.

The Hurt Locker
US Army Staff Sergeant Will James, Sergeant J.T. Sanborn and Specialist Owen Eldridge comprise the Bravo Company's bomb disposal unit stationed in Baghdad. James is the tech team leader. When he arrives on the scene, Bravo Company has thirty-nine days left on its current deployment, and it will be a long thirty-nine days for Sanborn and Eldridge whose styles do not mesh with their new leader. James' thrill of the dismantlement seems to be the ultimate goal regardless of the safety of his fellow team members, others on the scene or himself. On the other hand, Sanborn is by the books: he knows his place and duty and trusts others in the army to carry out theirs as well as he. Eldridge is an insecure soldier who is constantly worried that an error or misjudgment on his part will lead to the death of an innocent civilian or a military colleague. While the three members face their own internal issues, they have to be aware of any person at the bomb sites, some of who may be bombers themselves.

In the Loop
The British Prime Minister and the U.S. President infer that they want to embark on a war in the Middle East. Simon Foster, the British Minister for International Development states, off the cuff in a radio interview, that 'war is unforeseeable.' He later tries to recant his statement to news reporters with another statement. Both remarks start a series of maneuverings on both sides by both the pro- and anti-war factions in both governments. U.S. Assistant Secretary for Diplomacy Karen Clarke and U.S. Lieutenant General George Miller lead the anti-war faction, against chief warmonger Linton Barwick. Each principle with their staff, some of whom do not agree with their political master, will do whatever he or she needs to achieve the desired end goal. This includes having fake meetings, having fake committees, spinning information, leaking information and documents, and doctoring documents. These maneuverings are most important in the lead up to the UN vote on the issue.

It Might Get Loud
Documents the day three generations of electric guitar players met to share their own stories on how they developed their own unique sound and playing style. Viewers will hear fresh music from each artist and witness intimate moments as they discuss what influences how they write and play.

Like Stars on Earth
Eight-year-old Ishaan can't seem to get anything right in class and gets into more trouble than his parents can handle. They pack him off to boarding school to 'be disciplined,' and his art teacher, Nikumbh, realizes that something is wrong and sets out to discover what it is. With time, patience, and care, Nikumbh helps Ishann find himself. In Hindi and English.

Astronaut Sam Bell is completing a three-year contract with Lunar Industries to mine Earth's primary source of energy on the dark side of the moon: Helium-3. His declining health is causing headaches and hallucinations that lead to a near-fatal accident, rendering him unconscious. After recuperating, an unexpected discovery leads him to doubt his sanity, his identity, and the integrity of the company. Believing he is alone on his mission, his sole purpose is getting back home on his own.

Out of Sight
A career bank robber busts out of jail with the help of his buddy and kidnaps a U.S. Marshal in the process. When the two cons head for Detroit to pull off their final big heist, the Marshal is put on their case but she finds she is attracted to one of them and has second thoughts about bringing them in.

A young, part-Sioux FBI agent is sent to solve a murder on an Indian reservation. There he meets the irreverent local sheriff and the tribe's religious leader, who helps the agent begin to understand his lost heritage. Gradually, he comes to believe that the U.S. government has framed an innocent man, but finds that he and those around him are thrown into danger because of his suspicions.

The Way We Get By
This is a deeply moving film about life and how to live it. Beginning as a seemingly idiosyncratic story about troop greeters - a group of senior citizens who gather daily at a small airport to thank American soldiers departing and returning from Iraq, the film quickly turns into a moving, unsettling and compassionate story about aging, loneliness, war and mortality.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New This Week:

Adam is a handsome but intriguing young man who has Asperger's syndrome and has led a sheltered existence. Then he meets his new neighbor, Beth. She is a beautiful, cosmopolitan young woman who pulls him into the outside world, with funny, touching and entirely unexpected results. Their implausible and enigmatic relationship reveals just how far two people from different realities can stretch in search of an extraordinary connection.

Armchair Thrillers
This 4 volume set of psychological thrillers was originally televised in Britain in the 1970’s and 80’s and was a great success. This is the first of two Armchair Thriller series. The four titles included in this set are: Dying Day, starring a young Ian McKellen who plays a lonely man who believes he is about to be murdered; The Limbo Connection where a man’s wife vanishes without a trace; Rachel in Danger about a young girl setting off to meet the father she never knew, and The Victim about a wealthy man who embarks on a hunt for his daughters kidnapper. All of the titles involve ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances with the first two being quite eerie while the others are suspenseful. The production quality is high although a bit dated but on the whole this is a thoroughly enjoyable set. If you are a fan of British mysteries you’ll love these films!

Bell, Book and Candle (1958)
Kim Novak is a witch who casts a spell on a book publisher (James Stewart) to make him fall in love with her. He is most unhappy when he finds out what happened.

Big Night (1996)
The story of two brothers whose Italian restaurant is on the brink of bankruptcy. Their only chance for success is to risk everything they own on an extravagant feast for bandleader Louis Prima. But their big night is complicated by a lovers' triangle, a sneaky restaurant rival, and the hilarious perfectionism of chef Primo.

Lost Souls (2000)
For 2000 years, he has feasted on pain, sown the seeds of chaos ... and waited. But now, the Devil will take human form and plunge humanity into eternal darkness-- unless one woman can stop him. Maya Larkin (Winona Ryder) must race against time and all the forces of evil to convince a born skeptic (Ben Chaplin) that he's the unwitting, chosen pawn in a shocking Satanic conspiracy that will end the world as we know it.

Munyurangabo (Rwandan)
An orphan of the Rwandan genocide travels from Kigali to the countryside on a quest for justice. ““Munyurangabo” considers the genocide in Rwanda entirely through the lives of two adolescent boys…. It is in every frame a beautiful and powerful film — a masterpiece.”—Roger Ebert.

Weather Girl
Sylvia is quickly succumbing to the stresses of work and a romance-gone-wrong with a devilishly handsome newscaster. Sylvia is a Seattle morning weather anchor who has a melt down live on-air. At 35, she is now unemployed and lacks career prospects. She has to move in with her brother, but soon begins dating a younger man - her brothers’ best friend. Now, Sylvia has to reckon with the difference between growing old and growing up.

The Cove

Follows animal rights activist Richard O'Barry as he and his film crew document the abuse of wild dolphins and the poisoning of the waters by fishermen in the coastal Japanese town of Taiji. “"The Cove," a heartbreaking documentary, describes how Richard O'Barry, director Louie Psihoyos and a team of adventurers penetrated the tight security around the Taiji cove and obtained forbidden footage of the mass slaughter of dolphins…. There are many documentaries angry about the human destruction of the planetary peace. This is one of the very best — a certain Oscar nominee.”—Roger Ebert.