REview if “This is 40″

This is 40
If you like the Judd Apitow sensibility, you’ll like this movie. If you are as fascinated as I am at Apitow’s ability to get just a little too close to the truth and yet somehow making it funny, you’ll like this movie.

There were moments when the odd family dynamics made this seem a little like “Crazy Stupid Love”. And when Leslie Mann’s character was saying goodbye to her estranged father it was reminicent of the scene in “On Golden Pond” when Henry and Jane Fonda were trying to reach across all the lost years to see if there was even a connection to be found. This all sounds a little angsty to you, does it? Yes, it is.
Strangely enough, it’s also pretty entertaining.
Trailer
IMDb

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REview of “Hyde Park on the Hudson”

Hyde Park on the Hudson
I don’t use words like “cinematography” very much, and if you ever catch me pretentiously calling the movies I review here “films” please just smack me. Unfortunately, I can’t find a less fancy way of saying it: this flick is an example of fantastic cinematography. Some of the scenes truly have the effect of transporting the viewer across space and time to beautiful upstate New York just as WWII is getting underway. As is the case with many movies of this era, music is a big contributor to the experience.
You may have heard by now that the set-up for this movie involves an actual visit in 1939 to FDR by King George (AKA Bertie, AKA The Duke of York, AKA the same stuttering royal we met a couple of years ago in “The King’s Speech”). He is visiting on behalf of England to ask for America’s help with the war, and the King gets much, much more than he asks for. Roosevelt as portrayed here by Bill Murray is bigger-than-life, endearing, and more than a little naughty. Daisy, Roosevelt’s on-the-side love interest played well by Laura Linney, is taken in by his charms and slowly comes to accept that the reality of her life takes the idea of an awkward situation to a whole new level. The only unpalatable character here is Roosevelt’s mother, who comes off as an irredeemable shrew.
I liked this movie a lot, and I recommend you see it, particularly if you share my fascination with this period in history.
Trailer
IMDb

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PREviews for December 2012

PREviews for December 2012
Please excuse my brevity on some of these.
LOTS of movies out in December, and sometimes I just run out of words.
These are listed in order of their appeal (to me) most appealing first, lousiest-looking last…

Les Miserables
Directed by the same guy who did King’s Speech, Tom Hooper. Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean. Anne Hathaway as…does it really matter? Music that’ll make you cry, unless you’re completely dead on the inside. Ya gotta see this one!
Trailer
IMDb

Hyde Park on the Hudson
The official trailer copy says this is “the story of the love affair between FDR (Bill Murray) and his distant cousin Margaret Stuckley (Laura Linney) centered around the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the United Kingdom visited upstate New York”.
“Caddyshack”, “Stripes”, and “Ghostbusters” – now those were Bill Murray movies! “Lost in Translation”? Not so much. But… Murray as a mischievous FDR who has decided to get his perv on with his own cousin right under the nose of the King and Queen? Kinda makes sense, doesn’t it? And, if I was thinking of actresses to play his mistress in such a scenario, I’d have to say that Laura Linney would come quickly to mind. This looks like a pretty good indie-vibe movie.
Trailer
IMDb

Zero Dark Thirty
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, who won the Oscar for “Hurt Locker”. Who better to do a movie about Navy SEAL Team 6 and the capture of Osama? At almost 2 hours this is a pretty long movie, and if it’s as intense as Hurt Locker, it’ll be exhausting and entertaining and worth it. I think this well be a good flick.
Trailer
IMDb

Promised Land
Looks a little preachy to me, but I like Matt Damon, Francis McDormand, and Hal Holbrook. The fact that Damon will be working again with Gus Van Sant makes this look promising – they did “Good Will Hunting” together.
Trailer
IMDb

Save the Date
This one’s from IFC Films, an indie producer, and I’ve never heard of any of these actors. Apparently, it was a big hit at Sundance, and it comes from the same people who brought us “The Kids are Alright” and “Gardenstate”. As I watched this trailer the word that popped into my mind was evocative, which is defined as “bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind.” I’ll probably wait for an overcast Chicago winter day and go see this one.
Trailer
IMDb

The Impossible
A couple caught in the Southeast Asia tsunami. I like Naomi Watts. I like Ewan McGregor. Will probably give this one a try.
Trailer
IMDb

This is 40
Judd Apitaw is directing this one with his wife, Leslie Mann, as the star. His frequent collaborator, Paul Rudd is her hubby. I’m for any artistic endeavor that addresses aging and the inevitabilities of life, especially if it does so in a funny way. I’m also generally for any movie that has Albert Brooks in it. It’ll be a real bummer if all the good scenes in this movie are in the trailer, but this flick looks worthwhile.
Trailer
IMDb

Parental Guidance
Billy Chrystal and Bette Midler as babysitting grandparents? Age appropriate, yes, but will this be funny? This script looks weak and a little forced, but this movie is rescued for me by the fact that Marisa Tomei is in it. That means I’ve probably gotta go see it. My crush on Marisa Tomei as not diminished even a little since she played Mona Lisa Vito in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1992 and was intensified by her performance in “The Wrestler” and “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead“. She’s just a very talented lady.
Trailer
IMDb

The Guilt Trip
Sorry, but this feels like Streisand did it for the money or out of boredom and Seth Rogan did it because it was a chance to work with Streisand. Is that unkind? Maybe so, but look at this trailer. Do we really need another road trip movie? I didn’t think so either. Does the trailer make you laugh? Me neither. I think I’ll pass on this one.
Trailer
IMDb

Lay the Favorite
This is allegedly a comedy starring Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones. How does one screw that up? Based on the trailer it appears someone did. No, thanks.
Trailer
IMDb

Jack Reacher
This looks like Tom Cruise is just trying to make this flick the first of a multi-movie franchise. I think I’ll invest my $11.50 in eggnog instead.
Trailer
IMDb

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REview of “Skyfall – 007″

Skyfall – 007
This is a standard issue Bond franchise flick.
Great action scenes. Check.
Suave hero who always gets the bad guy. Check.
And the girl. Check.
In this one 007 is “dead” before Adel even finishes singing the opening number. You’ll not be shocked to hear that he shows up shortly thereafter shirtless and drinking a Heineken next to an exotic beauty in a room overlooking a beach. Daniel Craig is a convincing Bond and Javier Bardem is equally convincing as a super-creepy former agent who has gone rogue. That said, this one begs to be watched on Netflicks or Pay Per View.
Trailer
IMDb

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REview of “Life of Pi”

Life of Pi
According to the movie poster this is the “next Avatar”, and I have to say I 80% agree. Avatar, of course, had not only spectacular special-effects but also a great storyline. I saw Life of Pi in 3-D, and the special effects were indeed breathtaking – the scenes with the tiger made me forget I was watching CGI and wonder for a moment how they had trained the giant cat so well. The storyline was good, as well, and was anchored by the much-needed message that we can learn important lessons from many different religious traditions. This movie has the epic feeling of Titanic, and by the end you find yourself wondering “what really happened?” (Oops, I forgot; this is a work of fiction.)
Newcomer Suraj Sharma carries this movie like Tom Hanks carried Cast Away, and I hope he gets noticed when award time comes around.
Trailer – m.youtube.com/watch?v=mZEZ35Fhvuc
IMDb – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454876/

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