Friday, September 5, 2008

The Balcony is Open

Despite my travels and concert-watching, I have managed to watch a few movies here and there. The season for movie watching is about to heat up; so, I thought I should catch up with my reviews of DVDs that I watched in July and August.

In Bonneville, Arvilla (Jessica Lange), with the help of her friends (Joan Allen and Kathy Bates), sets out on the arduous task of delivering her husband’s ashes to her stepdaughter; so that Francine (Christine Baranski) can bury him next to her mother. Arvilla knows that her husband wants his ashes scattered, but she has no choice, because without a will saying otherwise, Francine owns the house where Arvilla lives, and she has threatened to kick Arvilla out of the home if she doesn’t comply. It was pretty cute, in a dark humor sort of way.

Cassandra’s Dream is a Woody Allen film about two brothers (Colin Farrell and Ewen McGregor) who enlist the aide of their rich uncle (Tom Wilkinson) to settle gambling debts and provide seed money for a business venture. Uncle Howard has a request of the boys in return. It ends up tearing the brothers apart. It was pretty good.

21 – Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth and Jim Sturgess star in this film about counting cards and cracking the code on the way to winning big at blackjack in Vegas. It was definitely entertaining.

The Bucket List – Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freemen are two terminally ill men from different walks of life who meet in the hospital. Freeman’s character introduces the idea of a bucket list – the things one would want to do before “kicking the bucket.” Nicholson’s character – a wealthy man – decides to fund the adventures the two men put on their lists. It was really, really good.

Definitely, Maybe – A little girl (Abigail Breslin) wants to know the story about her father’s past relationships; so, he changes the names and tells her about the three important women in his life – one of whom is her mother – and she has to try to figure out which one.

Penelope is a cute, little renter about a girl whose family was cursed long ago. It seems that the next girl born to the family would have a pig’s snout for a nose. Penelope was the unlucky family member in whom the curse was expressed. Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon, Catherine O’Hara, James McAvoy and Peter Dinklage all star in this film.

Chalk is a mockumentary set in an Austin, TX high school. It focuses on four teachers, one of whom is brand new and very insecure. The gym teacher, who is female, spends her time making sure everyone knows that she is not gay. It was a little quirky, but definitely a renter.

Trust the Man – Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, David Duchovny, Billy Crudup, Eva Mendes, Ellen Barkin and Garry Shandling star in this relationship movie about how breaking up can be harder than staying together. It was okay…there were some amusing moments…definitely a renter.

Shine a Light is a documentary by (the Oscar Winning Director) Martin Scorsese that is centered around concert footage filmed during a two-night engagement at the Beacon Theater in NYC as part of the Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang tour. Two things that are hysterical – snippets of interviews with each member of the band from the 1960s and the Keith Richards, in general. The Kid and I agreed that he looks as if he could be a character in the Pirate’s of the Caribbean movies. The Kid thinks that Johnny Depp may have patterned his Captain Jack Sparrow character after ole Keith.

Bella is about a life-changing experience for an international soccer star as he is on his way to signing a big-dollar contract. Years later, he meets a struggling waitress and changes her life. I think that it is a beautiful story, but I think it was too nuanced in places and the screenplay did not adequately explain the most pivotal part of the whole film. Still, it is good and worth watching.

Bee Movie is an animated movie, produced by and starring Jerry Seinfeld’s voice in the lead role of Barry B. Benson. Barry has just graduated from bee college and is rather miffed that his only job opportunities have to do with making honey. He also resents that humans appear to be stealing the product out from under the bees; so, he attempts to sue the human race. It was cute. Many big name actors lent their voices for the characters: John Goodman, Megan Mullally, Rene Zellweger, Sting, Kathy Bates, Chris Rock, Larry King, Oprah Winfrey…the list goes on.

Under the Same Moon tackles the difficult social issue in America about illegal aliens. A mother, who crossed the border from Mexico, is working hard in California to make enough money to bring her son across. When granny dies, the kid makes it across on his own to go find his mother. It was very good and entertaining.

MK out.

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