Thursday, November 30, 2006
Bobby: A new film written and directed by Emilio Estevez……I can’t believe I just typed that, let me try that again. A new film written and directed by……...….Emilio Estevez -still feels strange. Even stranger – I really liked this movie. The film centers around 22 people who were at the Ambassador Hotel the night Bobby Kennedy was killed. There are a number of storylines in the film, all of which are meant to show you the state of mind people were in back in 1968. The cast is exceptional; it stars more big names than I think any other movie I have seen. The only role void of a big name actor is the role of Bobby Kennedy. For Kennedy, Estevez chose to use actual footage of the senator to increase the impact of the moment. As the film weaves between storylines we see and hear some of Kennedy’s great speeches leading up to that dreadful night of his assassination. Also, throughout the movie we see the hope building in people for the change they believed Kennedy would bring to the country if elected. The ending sees all that hope wiped away with a couple of loud bullet shots in a hotel kitchen. Emilio dips into the music of the time and lays it over the actions on the screen for an exceptionally powerful finish. I think this is another top 10 movie of the year for me…….Back to the cast for a moment, have a look for yourself at the names involved in this movie – CAST
* * * and ½ or a Grade: B+
If this movie had parents they would be: Crash & JFK
With a running time of 120 minutes
This film is rated R
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Little Children: Kate Winslet stars in this small film dealing with young married couples living in everyday “American suburbia”. The story opens up with us finding out that a man who exposes himself to little kids is out of jail and living back at home. This has the whole neighborhood up in arms and worried for their children. What we see is a lot of finger pointing by everyone, but what we learn is that everyone has their own evils inside. Winslet’s character finds out that her husband is addicted to internet pornography. This leads her to seek out something or someone new to satisfy her hunger and not just sit there and deal with the hand that has been dealt to her. Enter Patrick, a father who stays at home with his son while his wife works….you see where this is going. There are another four or so storylines going on in the neighborhood that all come to a head on the same night - (Think American Beauty). The film succeeds in getting its message across, however I thought it took to many “winding roads” to get there. The film is blessed with 2 great performances – one by Kate Winslet and the other by Jackie Earle Hailey who plays the best creep I have seen on the screen in some time. Not sure if my expectations for this movie were too high or if it was the fact that it had some misplaced humorous scenes that hurt the serious message being conveyed. I walked out of the theater wanting something better. As I let this film marinate some more I find myself wanting to discuss some of its ideas. Summed up: A very interesting film, which could have been carried out better.
* * and a ½ or Grade: B-
If this movie had parents they would be: American Beauty & Magnolia
With a running time of 130 minutes
This film is rated R
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Indie Incubator Film Fest III: Creativity filled the back room at Mothers along with many spectators - all there to be part of this unique film festival. This was in fact the biggest Incubator to date. All those in attendance were treated to some astonishing short films by various filmmakers. The festival, organized by Matt Kubinski and Charles Klein, started off with a documentary about the rock band – The Ramones, the film had a style that reminded me very much of a Michael Moore doc. The next highlight was the extremely funny movie – Evil, which told the story of a possessed little dog – a Pomeranian to be precise. Speaking of funny, Chad Vader was in the house. The Chad Vader film series (4 parts) by Blame Society Productions has been sweeping Youtube by storm with over 5 million hits. Basically we see what it would be like if Darth Vader's younger brother "Chad" worked as a day shift manager at a local grocery store. The production of these films are outstanding and I look forward to seeing this series grow. Chad Vader may have had my vote for “Best in Show”, but it was one upped by the dazzling little film – Never: brought to us by T.O.E. productions. Bravo to all involved in the making of Never – you guys truly made a spectacular little movie. Best described as a twist on Peter Pan, we have a lady dressed as Tinker Bell that kills everyone she comes close to. The ending has her find a little girl that breathes life into the story before the shocking end. From start to finish the Incubator film fest delivered quality films such as the Stork and KillBilly. KillBilly came courtesy of Infinite Entertainment Productions – the same team that brought us the crowd pleaser Numbers are Down from the last Incubator. For those of you that missed out on the fest, you missed a great time. This is a film fest worth checking out!!!!!
Best in Show – Never by T.O.E. (That scene in the hallway with the young girl clapping is the reason I love movies)
If you want to check out Chad Vader go to - http://splu.net/chadvader.htm
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The Queen: An extraordinary look inside the royal family during a time of turmoil. The story centers around the death of Princess Diana which happened just a few days after Tony Blair was elected as the new Prime Minister. Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth II and does a tremendous job. Her acting performance is why this film works so well, we truly get to see a glimpse of how the royal family must have felt during these events. Michael Sheen also turns in an excellent performance as Tony Blair, who helps the royal family see how they were truly being viewed by the public. Actual footage of Princess Diana and other events that took place around that time are mixed in reminding us how real this terrible event was. The movie’s timeline is basically the week between Princess Diana’s death and her royal funeral seen by millions around the world. Although the script is not based on actual events, the idea of what transpired that week between the Queen and the Prime Minister is compelling. I personally love when films go back in time and visit an event, tragic or joyful, and show us their take on what might have happened behind closed doors. The movie also gives multilayered messages about public leaders' responsibilities and how they are viewed in the public’s eye. This is one of the best films I have seen this year and I believe it will be mentioned a lot come award season. Bravo!
* * * * or A-
If this movie had parents they would be: JFK & Elizabeth
With a running time of 97 minutes
This film is rated PG-13
Monday, November 06, 2006
Babel: Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett headline this latest effort from acclaimed director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Like the last 2 films Alejandro directed, Babel tells multiple stories that are somehow all intertwined. Babel is by far his most ambitious movie –as the storylines are taking place all around the world – from Tokyo, to Morocco, to San Diego. There are 4 storylines that the movie jumps between and like his past movies, it takes time to see how everything is linked together – in the beginning it is hard to believe they even could be. We start out with a married couple (Pitt, Blanchett) facing a most tragic event while on vacation in Morocco. Secondly, we have a deaf-mute teenage Japanese girl struggling with her sexual feelings. Also in the mix is a nanny who brings 2 kids over to Mexico from the U.S. so she can attend her son’s wedding. And finally we have two brothers in Morocco who are told to look over their cattle while their father is gone. Seeing them all come together is the beauty of the film. Still on their own each storyline tells the same message but in a different way. Unfortunately Babel failed to draw this viewer in emotionally. I think a lot of this has to do with not feeling that sorry for the parties involved – because in a strange way they were all to fault for what happens to them. I give credit to Alejandro for the idea of the film. Also for trying to bring it all together to show us that we, as people from around the world, are really not that different.
* * * or a Grade: B
Want to see a Alejandro masterpiece, rent Amores Perros
If this movie had parents they would be – Traffic & 21 Grams
With a running time of 142 minutes
This film is rated R