Thumbnails Jul 14
Director Clint Eastwood is a musician who loves music and pays it the
deference it is due by playing each song in full, filmed live with no
lip-syncing. The result is a Four Seasons concert combined with
no-holds-barred story of the rise and travails of the group, three of
whom were small time criminals.
gives a little-appreciated view of film critic Roger Ebert, graphically
showing him courageously living the last days of his life unable to
speak and without a jaw. It shows the aid of a saintly wife, as well as
most of his life before his illness, including the antagonistic
relationship with TV co-host Gene Siskel with revealing clips of them
carping at each other between takes shooting trailers for their show.
the Edge: (9/10):
cinematography and stunningly beautiful scenery, Edmund Hillary and
others tell in their own words from recorded interviews of his conquest
of Mount Everest with archival color films of the actual climb and some
recreations; rating as one of the best mountain-climbing movies.
gripping, humorous time-travel movie starts out on a high note with a
fine confrontation between Major Tom Cruise, a smarmy PR man, and
General Brendan Gleeson that lets Tom know what the army is all about. Thoroughly
engrossing, it’s extremely well-directed with humor and pace by Doug
Liman, who doesn’t allow the special effects to overshadow the story.
Cruise does a terrific job of acting and his comedic talent makes the
film something totally unexpected.
good performances by leads Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, the biggest
star of the movie is The Palace Hotel of the Lost City, the biggest
hotel in the Sun City Resort, South Africa. It’s so eye-poppingly
spectacular that I originally thought it must be movie magic through
green screen, but apparently it’s real. Filled a wonderful amalgam of
African music, old favorites, and a few new songs, this is a movie that
makes one leave feeling good and wanting more.
Writer/director Paul Haggis used Michelangelo Antonioni’s germinal 1966
“Blow Up” as a touchstone in making this film, because both provide an
exposition of the relationship of reality to illusion. The finale is
exceptionally thought-provoking for those who have not been lost by the
almost two and a half hour runtime. Mila Kunis sparkles above the
outstanding ensemble cast, all of whom give fine performances.
the delights is aspiring chef Michaël Young’s pregnant girlfriend,
Raphaëlle Agogue, one of the most beautiful actresses extant. But the
film belongs to Young who gives a tour-de-force as the ambitious,
perfectionist chef. His scene with Three Star chef Jean Reno when they
invade a competitor’s restaurant dressed as a Japanese and his geisha
works because of Young’s performance and his makeup which makes him
astonishingly believable as a geisha.
United States of America v. James J. Bulger (7/10):
Surprisingly, this shocking documentary is as much an indictment of the
FBI and law enforcement as it is of notorious crime boss and murderer,
James “Whitey” Bulger.
in Fur (4/10):
Oscar®-winner Roman Polanski’s two-person film so overemphasizes
Emmanuelle Seigner’s (Polanski’s wife) voluptuous breasts they
constantly upstage both actors, detracting from her fine performance as
someone who is clearly not what she seemed when she walked into the
theater late to audition for a part.
Jump Street (0/10):
Reminiscent of John McEnroe’s memorable rant, “You cannot be serious!,”
some might claim that this is a really subtle “inside baseball” satire
mocking buddy movies and male bonding, that Channing Tatum’s typically
wooden performance is brilliantly camp, and that it’s all a big joke.
That’s a meager excuse for a film that is inexcusably coarse,
philistine, and excruciatingly unfunny.