The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) Rated PG-13

perks-of-being-a-wallflowerA shy freshman is taken under the wings of a couple of seniors. Based on the book by Stephen Chbosky.  Starring Logan Lerman, Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd, Emma Watson, Mae Whitman, Joan Cusack.

Wow, this movie was a surprise.  I had heard it was good, but not having read the book, I didn’t know what to expect.  This film takes teen angst to a new level.  It is reminiscent of the 80’s teen films, but with a relevance for this generation.  The story is brilliant, the cinematography beautiful, and the acting superb.  Lerman plays an introverted teen who comes into his own after encountering Sam, who opens his eyes to the real world.  The film deftly covers everything from homosexuality and drugs to the meaning of life and death- all things that teens today are dealing with. I can’t say that it handled all of the subject matter perfectly, but it is done with a sensitivity to the imperfect world we live in. This film is worth a watch.

 

 

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Sully (2016) Rated PG-13

sullyThe story of Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who successful landed a plane in the Hudson River. Starring Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Valerie Mahaffey, Laura Linney.

I believe we are all familiar with the story of the miracle on the Hudson, so there is no real mystery to this story. As with all plane crashes, there was an investigation, most of which was kept out of the public eye.  What is most fascinating and miraculous though is that everyone on board survived this crash.  At the helm, is Sully, the miracle worker, who landed the plane safely with both his military background and hundreds of hours of flight experience. There are no missing pieces uncovered during this film, but it is a compelling retelling of an amazing landing, a true miracle that is worth a watch.

 

Posted in 2016, Based on a true story, Biography, Drama, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated PG-13, reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Side by Side (2012) Rated NR

side-by-sideThis documentary explores the history and process of both digital and photochemical filmmaking. Starring Derek Ambrosi, Michael Ballhaus, Andrzej Bartkowiak, Danny Boyle, James Cameron, Lena Dunham, David Fincher, Greta Gerwig, Barry Levinson, Richard Linklater, George Lucas, David Lynch, John Malkovich, Christopher Nolan, Robert Rodriguez, Joel Schumacher, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Lars von Trier, Keanu Reeves.

This film takes on the complexity of the former celluloid film making versus the new wave of digital film making. Can we use both forms of mediums to create stories, or do we have to simply adapt to the new, easier process of making films? This documentary explores all aspects of the two approaches to film making, from in front of the camera to behind it. The producers do seem to have a bias towards digital film making, while still highlighting the benefits of the celluloid process.  It offers a great discussion on the pros and cons to each and worth a watch.

 

 

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Divided (GSN) Rated NR

divided-gsnA game show that requires a group of strangers to agree on the correct answer to questions in order to win money. Based on the British game show of the same name. Starring Mike Richards.

The game show brings together highly competitive, vocal individuals who want someone to “show them the money.”  It appears that the more vocal you are, the better your chances of winning are.  However, I didn’t find anything necessarily appealing about watching a bunch of people fighting over the answers to questions just to win some cash.  There was little explanation to the game, and it failed to encourage viewer involvement.  I tried to answer the questions, but I wasn’t all that interested in the results. The only people this show appeals to are the ones who have something to gain from it.  It is a pass.

 

 

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New This Week in Theaters, February 16, 2017

 A Cure for Wellness (R)
Opens on Friday, February 17
Starring: Jason Isaacs, Dane DeHaan, Celia Imrie

An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps but soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem.

 Fist Fight (R)
Opens on Friday, February 17
Starring: Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Christina Hendricks

When one school teacher gets the other fired, he is challenged to an after-school fight.

 The Great Wall (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, February 17
Starring: Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Tian Jing

European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.

 XX (R)
Opens on Friday, February 17
Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Sheila Vand, Mike Doyle

An all female horror anthology featuring new work from Karyn Kusama, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin and Jovanka Vuckovic.

 A United Kingdom (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, February 17
Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport

Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s.

 Everybody Loves Somebody (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, February 17
Starring: Karla Souza, K.C. Clyde, Ben O’Toole

On the surface, Clara Barron seems to have it all: a job as an OB-GYN; a great house in LA; and a loving family. But, the one thing Clara doesn’t have figured out is her love life. Pressured by a family wedding in Mexico, Clara asks a co-worker to pose as her boyfriend for the weekend festivities,- only to be caught by surprise when her ex- boyfriend (and family favorite) suddenly shows up after disappearing from her life completely. Torn, Clara must decide between going back to the past or open her heart to new and unexpected possibilities.

 Land of Mine (R)
Opens on Friday, February 17
Starring: Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard

A young group of German POWs are made the enemy of a nation, where they are now forced to dig up 2 million land-mines with their bare hands.

 In Dubious Battle (R)
Opens on Friday, February 17
Starring: Nat Wolff, James Franco, Vincent D’Onofrio, Selena Gomez

An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s.

Synopsis by IMDB.

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Bully (2011) Rated PG-13

bully2011A documentary on bullying in America. Starring Ja’Meya Jackson, Kelby Johnson, Lona Johnson.

The Bully Project documents the pervasive bullying that happens in schools. I believe every child has witnessed, experienced or partaken in bullying, but this documentary focuses solely on the children who are bullied.  It is difficult to watch situations where there is no intervention by either adults or other children. That is the nature of documentaries though, to document what is happening, not to intervene.  That said, there is a need to teach empathy and kindness within the school system. Although this film is valuable in that it raises further awareness of the bullying going on, it could have been much more effective if it had covered more sides to the issue. It is worth a watch.

 

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Victoria (PBS) Rated TV-PG

victoria-on-masterpieceThe life of Queen Victoria from her ascension to the throne and  her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. Starring Jenna Coleman, Daniela Holtz, Adrian Schiller, Catherine Flemming, Margaret Clunie, Tommy Knight, Anna Wilson-Jones, Eve Myles, Nell Hudson, Ferdinand Kingsley

The show follows the life of Queen Victoria but also her staff. It has the upstairs, downstairs feel as we get to know the people around her as she learns to be queen. Is this show historically correct? Probably not, the show takes liberties’ to her life that are not quite accurate. Saying that, the performances are spot on. I really enjoyed Jenna Coleman as the young queen. I only wish that they would be more true to the historical points of these characters but it doesn’t change that Masterpiece produces the best shows. This is worth a watch.

 

Posted in 2016, Biography, Drama, historical, Masterpiece, PBS, Rated TV-PG, reviews, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Valentine Films 2017

 Paperman (2012) Rated G

After meeting the gal of his dreams on a commuter train, an office worker uses a fleet of paper airplanes to get her attention after spying her again in a skyscraper window.

 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) Rated G

In 1850 Oregon, when a backwoodsman brings a wife home to his farm, his six brothers decide that they want to get married too.

 Gigi (1958) Rated G

Weary of the conventions of Parisian society, a rich playboy and a youthful courtesan-in-training enjoy a platonic friendship, but it may not stay platonic for long.

 Dirty Dancing (1987) Rated PG-13

Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances “Baby” Houseman falls in love with the camp’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle.

 Walk the Line (2005) Rated PG-13

A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash’s life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

 Gone with the Wind (1939) Rated G

A manipulative Southern belle carries on a turbulent affair with a blockade runner during the American Civil War.

 Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) Rated R

A British woman is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.

 Pride and Prejudice (1995) Rated TV-PG

Jane Austen’s classic novel about the prejudice that occurred between the 19th century classes and the pride which would keep lovers apart.

 My Fair Lady (1964) Rated G

A misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor agrees to a wager that he can take a flower girl and make her presentable in high society.

 Fiddler on the Roof (1971) Rated G

In prerevolutionary Russia, a Jewish peasant contends with marrying off three of his daughters while growing anti-Semitic sentiment threatens his village.

Synopsis by IMDB.

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New This Week on DVD, February 14, 2017

 Arrival (PG-13)

When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors. Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

 Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (R)

19-year-old Billy Lynn is brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks the film shows what really happened to his squad – contrasting the realities of war with America’s perceptions. Starring Joe Alwyn, Garrett Hedlund, Arturo Castro, Vin Diesel, Steve Martin, Chris Tucker, Kristen Stewart

 Bleed for This (R)

The inspirational story of World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza who, after a near fatal car crash which left him not knowing if he’d ever walk again, made one of sport’s most incredible comebacks. Starring Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katey Sagal

 The Crash (R)

In the not so distant future, a team of white collar criminals are enlisted by the Federal government to thwart a cyber-attack that threatens to bankrupt the United States of America. Starring Frank Grillo, Minnie Driver, AnnaSophia Robb, Dianna Agron, Ed Westwick, John Leguizamo

 The Edge of Seventeen (R)

High-school life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother. Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Kyra Sedgwick, Woody Harrelson

 London Town (R)

In ’70s London, a 14 year-old boy is introduced to the Clash by his estranged mother. It changes his life forever. Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Tom Hughes, Natascha McElhone, Dougray Scott

 Priceless (PG-13)

A widower who loses custody of his daughter finds himself unable to hold down a job. He agrees to drive a truck across the country, no questions asked. But when he discovers what he is delivering, he is faced with a life-changing choice. Starring Joel Smallbone, Bianca A. Santos, David Koechner

 Hap and Leonard: The Complete First Season (NR)

Set in the late 1980’s, Hap and Leonard is a darkly comic swamp noir of two best friends, one femme fatale, a crew of washed up revolutionaries, a pair of murderous psycho killers, some lost loot, and the fuzz. Starring James Purefoy, Michael Kenneth Williams

Synopsis by IMDB.

Posted in 2017, DVDS, films, Lists, movies, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

David and Bathsheba (1951) Rated NR

david-and-bathshebaKing David enters into an affair with Bathsheba after watching her bathe from the rooftop. Starring Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Raymond Massey, Jayne Meadows.

This film tells the story of King David from 2 Samuel. We start with David already in place as king, spying on a married woman bathing.  From there, the story unfolds. The film is shot produced in the Technicolor glory of its time. It also relies heavily on dialogue to drive the story, rather than action.  With two powerhouse actors at the helm, this is a wise move.  My only complaint is that I wish it had been more biblically accurate, instead of adding in storylines that weren’t.  I still enjoyed the film, though, despite some minor flaws.  It is worth a watch.

 

Posted in 1951, Biblical Films, Drama, films, historical, Movie reviews, movies, Rated NR, reviews, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment