Videos/movies reviewed

Some favorite movies are listed below, along with some “clunkers” (in my opinion)

VIDEOS/MOVIES OVERALL

  • Manchester by the Sea – excellent performances by Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges (nephew). Based on what we’ve seen thus far, it should be the winner for 2016 Best Picture!
  • Arrival – maybe it was because both of us were tired/ill, but this was two eyelids shut for too much of the movie. Slow at times though an overall good drama
  • What’s Up Doc? – fabulously funny effort by Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neil and Madeleine Kahn
  • La La Land – man enjoyable aspects to this one, but I’m not sure it’s Best Picture material (still got “two eyelids shut” rating at one point.) Excellent dancing and performances by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
  • Genius – “A chronicle of Max Perkins’s time as the book editor at Scribner, where he oversaw works by Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.”
  • Deepwater Horizon – worth seeing on the big screen to capture magnitude
  • Trumbo – about blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and his “workarounds”
  • SuperStar: The Karen Carpenter Story – this early film by Todd Haynes (who also directed “Carol”) is really worth the watch (you can see it online HERE). It’s about 45 minutes long and is “acted” by Barbie dolls, very fitting giving the anorexia topic.
  • A League of Their Own
  • Shadowlands
  • Star Wars: Awakens
  • Mockingjay Part 2
  • Carol
  • Unbroken – very disappointing in comparison to the book. Jolie probably would have needed another 30 minutes to do the full book justice, and it would have been worth it to cover the hatred and ultimate redemption Louie found
  • Love & Mercy – show about Brian Wilson with a little about the Beach Boys
  • Jersey Boysreally nice show about Frankie Valli
  • Defiant Requiem – excellent show about a Czechoslovachian concentration camp called Terezin and a group of prisoners who perform Verdi’s Requiem; noteworthy lines are “Work will set you free”; “when language can’t get close that’s when art begins.”
  • Life Itself – the story of Roger Ebert of Siskel and Ebert fame. It’s a great story about the background of his background, the movie rating industry, his family and about fighting cancer (based on his memoirs in the book Life Itself)
  • The Railway Man – excellent show about the desire for revenge by an English soldiers after their WW II treatment by the Japanese. If this sounds like Unbroken, there are some similaritiies. This one is more about PTSD and the efforts by a man’s wife to help him work through that and find forgiveness for his captors. Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman are excellent in this!
  • Bee Season – Richard Gere does a nice job with this one and the three others from his film family (daughter – Flora Cross; wife – Juliette Binoche; son – Max Minghella) are excellent. Worth watching as a drama – irony of success for daughter in the spelling bee affects the whole family in major ways.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes – really loved this one with the flashback sequences and Kathy Bates as a woman who starts timidly but becomes Tawanda!
  • Angels & Demons – Nice, dramatic job by Ron Howard direction and Tom Hanks as Harvard prof helping to find the signs; Ayelet Zurer is fabulous as Vittoria, the scientist working with Hanks
  • Nebraska – Bruce Dern does a really nice job and Will Forte playing his son Davy is really good.  It’s a bit of a downer, but describes effectively what can happen when others come into money.
  • Monuments Men – a great cast with George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, .  The relationship with Damon and Blanchett is particularly good – she with the information and not willing to immediately give it up and he being persistent and then not giving in to the sexual opportunity
  • Saving Mr. Banks – a really nice job contrasting P.L. Traver’s childhood in Australia with her dad, mom and the family VS. considering making the movie that Walt Disney and crew created called Mary Poppins.  The nanny was saving Mr. Banks, not the kids!
  • The Family – Robert DeNiro and Michele Pfeiffer star along with two young actors (Dianna Agron and John D’Leo) playing their children. This is just a funny, easy view when you’re looking for a few laughs and some exciting moments
  • Cinema Paradiso – Italian film (subtitled) about the relationship of a young boy (Toto) and his mentor (Alfredo), a projectionist at the local movie theatre. Excellent message about the impact an adult can have on a child. Acting is superb.
  • Dallas Buyers Club – a tough subject and really hard to see Matthew McConeghy this frail, but the storyline feels genuine and the acting is good
  • American Hustle – we were not overwhelmed by this 2013 Oscar best picture candidate. Many of the individual performances were really good, however!
  • The Ten Commandments – a great film, though it’s a lengthy one! The special effects are pretty impressive for a show of that time.
  • Citizen Kane – our review is mixed on this movie that makes a lot of the Top 100 Lists. This probably was an excellent movie at one time but now the special effects are not so special and the issues surrounding corruption are more commonplace?
  • The Hustler – a young Paul Newman stars as a pool hustler learning the hard way how to live life. Jackie Gleason plays Minnesota Fats and does a great job. This one is a sobering view (no pun intended) of the challenges of drinking – Newman’s girlfriend (played by Piper Laurie) suffers from alcoholism.
  • Far From Heaven – a Todd Haynes 2002 movie starring Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid and Dennis Haysbert (Allstate commercial presence). Content includes two very difficult 1950s issues – racial prejudice and homosexuality. Kim and I both really like this one! Sandy Powell is costume designer so it’s the same director/costumer combo as for 2014 movie filmed in in Cincinnati called Carol
  • Fish Tank – wow, this one is intense and worth a view, though VERY dark. Mia, one of the casting folks from Carol, recommended it.This one has some good cinematography, but it waits until the last minute before providing much “feel good” time. Kudos to Kim for finishing it with me!
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig version) is fabulous, though very disturbing. Some excellent acting and I even figured out much of the “who dunnit” along the way!
  • RED2 – just good fun with some notable actors and actresses
  • Captain Phillips is intense and enjoyable. Tom Hanks does his usual great job and the action and tension come across very effectively. That we have pirates who are so effective in the Somalia area in the 2000s is rather incredible
  • The Butler made you think and feel with all of the segregation and civil rights efforts in particular plus the family dynamics with Whoopi’s character drinking and getting in potential trouble. Good acting in this one, and some good portrayals of Presidents by recognizable actors
  • Last Vegas was fun to laugh with the good actors and the crazy concepts
  • The Switch – about what we expected in a Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston show — some silliness and predictable story, but still entertaining enough
  • Blue Jasmine – typical Woody Allen weirdness with some very dark themes and interesting personalities. The transitions between rich Jasmine and post-Ted Jasmine are sometimes tough to catch immediately and that keeps your attention. Cate Blanchet was great in this – hope she wins the Oscar!
  • Inside Llewyn Davis – both like this, but Steve more. Some excellent music and a hard-luck story of a guy (Llewyn) trying to make it in the folk music industry of the ’60s
  • Marathon Man – Dustin Hoffman is excellent in this oldie but goodie filled with ‘secret agent man’ intrigue
  • Philomena – a “must see” from my perspective. Not only is this about a woman’s quest to find her birth son after he was taken from her (adopted), it’s about a ‘successful’ politician and reporter’s “aha” moments in how he lives his life
  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) – Steve likes this and Kim didn’t. A silly story with lots of familiar actors and actresses
  • Three Days of the Condor (1975)  – great one, with Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway. Sydney Pollack directs a really good one with some of the camera angles and the way he intersperses her photos during the love scenes

CHRISTMAS/HOLIDAY MOVIES are HERE


In case you’re ever interested, here are my ratings on IMBD’s website for some of my favorite movies (and a few duds!)


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