July 27, 2009

The Belle of 14th Street (1967)

The most fascinating thing about The Belle of 14th Street is that Barbra Streisand had the power and the moxie to get it made and put it on television; but like anything that attempts to entertain in modules not all are equal. Streisand shines throughout though and is ably supported by Jason Robards, Lee Allen and...um...herself. Young Barbra (when she had a sense of humor) is the best Barbra and this special is special.

I see a few instances of NINA, do you?

July 26, 2009

...Rogue (2007)

An American writer who inexplicably explains why he has no computer in the Australian outback, an Australian tour guide who inexplicably endangers the lives of her paying customers, a dying lady who isn't dying (twice!) and all sorts of other broad characters are food in Rogue, a passable (not plausible) to ridiculous movie that was allowed to be made only because of the director's earlier success with Wolf Creek. Radha Mitchell (so good in Silent Hill) is passable (not plausible) probably because the story relies on too many forced situations. It's a killer crocodile but even killer croc fans, despite some decent computer generated imagery, would be hard-pressed not to see the wires in this flick.

July 24, 2009

...Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home (2009)

If there is one easy thing every family can take away after watching the documentary Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home it's that wrapping paper is not recyclable so don't buy it or use it! And there's plenty more to learn from this record of one family's garbage - if only it were half as popular as, for example, The Dark Knight. Watch it and allow its lessons to seep into your daily life.

July 23, 2009

...Pineapple Express (Theatrical) (2008)

I revisited this movie but this time watched the theatrical version and, from a high level (no pun intended, really), Pineapple Express is the spear, stoner version of Outrageous Fortune - two innocent, main characters (Seth Rogen and a very cute James Franco) get involved with murder and crime (or go further back and liken it to Billy Wilder's classic Some LIke It Hot). There are some genuinely funny moments but the pop guns and over-the-top violent non-violence do tend to drag it down. Probably not worth viewing except from a high level (pun intended).

July 21, 2009

...The Plague (2006)

It is 24 hours later and I am watching another horror movie with mutant, murdering children called similarly enough The Plague. Like the other movie, I found myself in the middle of a plague that is never explained and then ends. So, if you must see one, see the other - if you know what I mean.

July 20, 2009

...Plague Town (2008)

Plague Town drops you in the middle of something, never explains what it is, and then ends (with a nod towards the inevitable sequel) excepting you to be happy. Considering how slow the first half of the movie is one might expect a little plague back-story but it just stays in front and interest soon wanes. There's some tension and some middling effects but, en toto, the movie is nothing to ride into town for.

July 19, 2009

...Away We Go (2009)

Who knew Maya Rudolph had the chops? The Saturday Night Live veteran and John Krasinski (of The Office) shine in Away We Go, director Sam Mendes's bright and beautiful, sweet and funny tale of a pregnant couple on a road trip. A bunch of solid supporting performances and an excellently written script make this one a must see: an intelligent film that's both comedy and drama, but life.

July 6, 2009

...Stage Struck (1958)

Susan Strasberg gives a cringe-inducing performance of the likes rarely seen in the otherwise midly interesting theatrical rags-to-riches story, Stage Struck. Everything surrounding her performance might have made for a better picture had a different actress been cast as the central character (although I knew it was going to be bad when they handed her a pin wheel in Times Square during the credits). Henry Fonda, Christopher Plummer, Herbert Marshall and director Sidney Lumet try but not even the New York City photography belies Strasberg's left-field caricature of Katherine Hepburn or the age of this story - which I found out halfway through my viewing was Katherine Hepburn's 1933 vehicle, Morning Glory.

July 4, 2009

...The Reaping (2007)

The Reaping starts out religiously enough but with ten plagues to squeeze into the story it becomes overburdened by the sheer weight of the undertaking. I do like Hilary Swank best in her populous roles (of which this is one) as opposed to her Oscar-winning roles (of which this is not one) and she looks phenomenal throughout but there's not much else of note. Skip it.

July 3, 2009

...A Star is Born (1954)

A Star is Born is an absolutely perfect musical drama starring Judy Garland as an amalgam of Esther Blodgett, Vicki Lester and...um...Judy Garland. She, the music, the script,and James Mason are phenomenal. Take a look at the artistry (as directed by George Cukor) and see for yourself.

July 2, 2009

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

I called my mother who told me she had just started watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall; fifteen or so minutes into our conversation she said, "Ugh, I don't need to see these sex scenes." Sorry mom but the acrobatic sex scenes to which you are referring are, indeed, very funny and the whole movie is charming and well-written, that resting primarily on the shoulders of actor/screenwriter Jason Segel. Director Nicholas Stoller added his 2¢ by casting the charmingly bitchy Kristin Bell, the adorably natural Mila Kunis and the hysterically funny Russell Brand - making this one movie I won't soon forget.

July 1, 2009

Marty (1955)

Marty is a day in the life of two dogs that ain't such dogs as they think they are. Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine and Betsy Blair are sweetly touching in this honest and romantic story of their search for love in spite of self-perceived limitations. Not to be too trite but, they don't make 'em like this anymore.