Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Directed by Neil Burger, Relativity Media, 2011. Starring Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish and Anna Friel.

Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Question: If there was a pill that would make you smarter than anyone on the planet, would you take it? I am pretty sure I don't need to hear your response because I know mine and think we might feel the same. My hand is up in the air like Horshack with an absolute, "Ooh, ooh, ooh, YES!" That's what Bradley Cooper's character in Limitless chooses and what an entertaining story it was to watch.

Bradley Cooper plays a writer stuck with writer's block and a possible life block. He just can't get motivated, focus or stop wasting time to finish (or even start) his book. Fate steps in to give him that boosts he requires and BAM! Everything that seemed out of reach was suddenly the easiest thing to accomplish. However, when something comes too easily....well, you know the rest. (For some reason Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit' is playing in my head right now.)

I will stop there on the details of the story but I will discuss the actors in this tale. Limitless starred Bradley Cooper, of course, and Robert De Niro (the acting god). There were a few others in this movie but those two are the only I'm mentioning right now.

Bradley Cooper plays Eddie Morra, who goes from a stagnant position to ramming speed with his intellect when he takes one of those clear pills. He started off playing defeated, lost and widely unattractive very well; however, when he is on the medication he portrays the overly confident, highly (understatement) intelligent, blue-eyed hunk even better. I believe it is very difficult, for an actor, to have to change the personality you are portraying from low to high to low and back again. Bradley Cooper does a fantastic job playing both sides of the coin.

Robert De Niro isn't in the movie all that much and I will admit I was a little surprised to discover that. I really thought he was going to be in it more. Nonetheless, whether it is five minutes, twenty-five minutes or longer, is it always a pleasure to watch that man work. When Cooper's character is in the same room as De Niro's character, he is usually on the medication and flaunting his intelligence. However, De Niro's character stands up to the intellect and holds his ground well. And you are pretty certain De Niro's character is not on the same drug. It sort of reminded me of acting....just try out "acting" De Niro. It just can't be done (or can it?). So those scenes were doubly fun to watch.

Limitless was a fun tale with a unique twist and a surprise ending. That does not happen often so catch this trifecta of a winner. You won't be disappointed.

My favorite part: If you know what I like - you should know it.

My least favorite part: There was one part that I didn't like. Let's just say I felt a little sick to my stomach watching it.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 105 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10

Random thought: Here is a link to Bradley Cooper talking about Limitless and acting with Robert De Niro on Inside the Actor's Studio.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Preview: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Some previews do make me smile. I just stumbled upon this one while doing some research. Judi Dench's name popped out immediately. I adore her and was lucky enough to see her on the London stage 20 years ago, so I had to watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel preview. Of course, there are other actors I follow in this movie...see for yourself. Enjoy!

UPDATE: My review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 

Monday, September 26, 2011


Directed by Bennett Miller, Michael De Luca Productions, 2011. Starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport

Question: Did you ever have an idea that is absolutely insane but you know deep in your soul it will work? Sure, nearly every one around you knocks you down especially when the idea doesn't take off right away. However, you stick to your guns and eventually there is some sort of payoff. In a nutshell - that is Moneyball - the latest Brad Pitt film.

Well, I saw Moneyball yesterday, but I will admit that I was unsure about seeing it until someone asked me about it. It is not my normal genre to see, a sports film, but I was pleasantly surprised at the moral of the story. I felt a deep connection to it somehow. Currently, I am delving into a dream of becoming a professional movie reviewer; however, my style of reviewing is not the norm. Success has not arrived...yet. Being a certain age or having some wisdom I realize struggle is part of dreaming and nothing is going to stop me from obtaining my goal.

So, if you have ever had a dream - even a crazy one - you should see Moneyball.

This isn't a typical baseball tale. The story is not about achieving absolute greatness either. That only happens in the movies, and with that, so often it skews our realities when we pursue our dreams. It was completely refreshing to see a story with a real outcome.  Of course, it is based on the true story of the 2002 Oakland A's and how the General Manager, Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), tried something completely radical to improve the team. Is this the full reality of what happened? I cannot answer that.

I can tell you I was unaware of how the business of baseball worked but got a crash course with this movie. Some baseball teams have deep pockets while others have mere pittance to put their team together. That detail was surprising to learn and the Oakland A's, apparently, had the bottom of the barrel type of budget. So, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), found a young Yale graduate (Jonah Hill) who devised a mathematical scenario for a winning season. As I said it was a radical approach.  However, those two believed in this new theory, called Moneyball, but discovered roadblocks left and right.

Brad Pitt played the ex-baseball player turned general manager. This was not a typical character for him and I rather enjoyed the performance. Some are even buzzing about nominations. Now there were no elaborate pep-talks with an emotional melody playing in the background or even an overwhelming breakdown moment that the Academy usually looks for to nominate. He was just a man who loved baseball and his team and wanted to....wait! I can't tell you that. You have to see for yourself.

I won't say anymore about the story but know this is not a fast paced movie. I should also say it is not a typical underdog story either. There was some humor in Moneyball that I wasn't expecting especially between the two lead actors. In fact, I was grinning for almost the entire movie. But I will say towards the end I had some mixed emotions. You will just have to see for yourself to understand what I mean.

Moneyball is worth the price of the ticket. You might want to grab your kids (PG-13) to show them a tale of someone who pursues a dream despite the obstacles.

My favorite part: The scenes between Brad Pitt's and Jonah Hill's characters. Oh, and when the daughter sings in the guitar store.

My least favorite: Perhaps towards the end when my emotions kept going back and forth of liking then not liking then liking, what was happening.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 133 minutes

Rating: 8 out of 10

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Soundtrack: Out of Africa

Coming in at EW's top soundtracks  at #78 on the top soundtracks is Out of Africa. The soundtrack won the Academy Award for Best Original Score that year. John Barry was the composer/conductor for Out of Africa, and based on one of my top 10 favorite soundtracks of all time - Dances with Wolves - another one of his symphonic-style soundtracks, I can see why he won. Beautiful.

I would be lying if I said I knew anything about this movie. I never saw it when it came out in 1985 and never tried watching it since. A distant memory somewhere way back in the corner of my brain recalls a hair washing scene where Robert Redford washes Meryl Streep's hair. That's all.

The only thing I know about this movie was the fact it was based on an Isak Dinesen memoir of the same name. When I was in high school I remember trudging through another one of her novels and detesting it, so this may have something to do with why I skipped the movie. That isn't to say her novels or the movie aren't stellar. Remember I was 15, bratty and not well read (or watching the best movies), at the time. So now being the mature age that I am, I will put Out of Africa on my queue on Netflix.

Soundtrack and film:

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Directed by Tryvge Allister Diesen, Billy Goat Pictures, 2008. Starring Brian Cox, Tom Sizemore Kyle Ganner and Amanda Plummer.

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Question: Are you woken up by your four legged friend? Their face is right in your face sniffing, licking and begging you to get up. No matter how much of a morning person you are not, it gives you the biggest smile every time, right? That is exactly the opening scene in the movie Red (not to be confused with Red starring Bruce Willis). I was grinning from ear to ear because I have two dogs that wake me up that way. And let me tell you, I am NOT a morning person but smile every time this happens - even it is 6:00am.

So you are an animal lover. I got that. Now what would you do if someone killed your beloved animal right in front of you? I can tell you exactly what I would do but the police might come and put me in jail just for thinking it (What? I've seen Minority Report). Anyway, that was the impetus for what happens over the next 90 minutes or so in Red.

Now if you have followed my reviews for a while now, you know I have favorite actors that I hunt down and find what they are in. About six months ago I discovered Brian Cox in two independent movies (The Good Heart and The Escapist) and really enjoyed his performances in them. Last night when I went on Netflix the site suggested a movie with Tom Sizemore since I had just watched one of his a few nights ago (The Last Lullaby). It was Red and I noticed it starred Brian Cox. I hit play immediately! I started smiling at the sight of the dog and his owner, however, within a few minutes I was bawling like a baby.

I really try to not spoil any story for you on any film, but this story is about what one man does when teenagers shoot and kill his dog for no reason. This all happens within the first few minutes of the story, hence why I was crying. With that said, I am not going to tell you any more details about the story. The rest of Red chronicles the path of the man and what he simply wants from the teenage boys. Unfortunately, it spirals completely out of control.

I will admit this was not my favorite movie of Mr. Cox although he was fantastic in it. Plus, there was one scene, a monologue he gives, where you witness brilliance. It was obvious to me that he was a classically trained theatre actor but then again I studied theatre in college. However, in this particular scene you will be in awe. I was. See this movie for that performance alone.

As for the rest of the film it was a bit slow but it kept my interest. Everyone else performed admirably, although I had a feeling Mr. Sizemore wasn't at his best, health-wise, while making this film. You will recognize a lot of the actors in this movie but Brian Cox is the one to watch.


My favorite part: Well, that should be obvious.

My least favorite: That should be obvious, as well.

Rating: R
Length: 93 minutes

Rating: 5 out of 10

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Thursday, September 22, 2011


Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, Bold Films, 2011. Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and Albert Brooks. Based on the book by James Sallis

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Question: Do you ever see a preview for a movie and think "I know exactly what type of picture that will be?"  You roll your eyes and say, "skip that." But then you see the movie and you are so surprised because it was different than you expected. I just got out of Drive and I was really hoping to see just an action, adventure, no-thought-required movie and that is not at all what I got. That is not a bad thing, by the way.

Sometimes movies are there for just pure escape. They are a means to forget about what's going on in your life, especially when your life isn't going so well. I go to the movies all the time so I am anywhere from being in a fantastic mood to stoic state of mind to absolute depression. Well, I was in one of those types of moods today but I am not going to share which one. However, I really just wanted something that I didn't have to focus on too hard. Honestly, I really thought Drive was a perfect candidate for that according to the preview I saw. Heck, look at the genre listing above. The preview showed a guy who is a "driver" for criminals with a lot of scenes filled with speeding cars. Perfect! Well, that is part of the movie but it turned into something else that I wasn't expecting - at all.

At first, I was a little flustered because I showed up late, which is so unlike me but I missed the previews. Yay! Then after the initial scene I relaxed. However, the story totally switched on me. I realized I was watching a story-line I wasn't expecting and did not want to see at the time. Well, I don't walk out on movies - ever - so I sat through it. Eventually, I resigned myself to the story and ended up enjoying the movie despite my initial need-for-speed type of movie.

The movie starts out the way I thought it would and I was pleased. Crime, cars, chase-scene. Perfect. However, one thing stood out immediately with this film - an 80's vibe. First, the font for Drive looks like it came off of a Flashdance or Miami Vice poster. I mean it's PINK and in a feminine style script. Then the music somehow brought me back to Risky Business with the electronic beat. It was just an odd juxtaposition to the style of movie. I brushed it aside because I knew this was not my normal genre. Then there is the jacket. I think I had a similar one when I was in third grade sans the scorpion.

As I stated above, Ryan Gosling's character is a driver. I want to say more but it was pleasant to discover what exactly he did and why he drove. He is quiet - I mean really quiet, mysterious and there is something behind those eyes that you can't figure out. However, I am a big fan of his and know he can act to the moon and back without saying a word so it worked for me.

As usual, watching Ryan Gosling act relaxed me, but there were a couple of others in here that also kept me in a calm state. First, there was Carey Mulligan. I won't tell you her connection in the story but there is something about her that intrigues me. She is just enjoyable to watch on-screen. Like Ryan Gosling's character she is quiet as well and the scenes between them, although unexpected, were tender, pure and brought a small grin to my face.

The other actor I have to mention gave such an opposite performance compared to ANYTHING I have ever seen him do - it was shocking. Albert Brooks. I really don't want to say any more because you NEED to see for yourself. I am still shaking at some of the scenes. Unbelievable.

Drive is a movie with two personalities. The first half is for one type of person and the second is for the other. I know that is vague, odd and doesn't sound appealing but somehow it worked. It worked really well. I must confess there were a couple of things that made me roll my eyes but I was in a picky mood today so I will let it slide for now.

Oh, and please don't go out and buy the jacket because you wanna look cool. It worked in the movie but it is not something that should be worn in public - trust me.

My favorite thing: The first half of the elevator scene.

My least favorite: The second half of the elevator scene.

Rating: R
Length: 100

Review: 8 out of 10

Click on film poster below to watch instantly:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monthly Wrap-Up August 2011

Just in case you missed a review or is the monthly wrap-up for August this year.

Captain America: The First Avenger - 4 out of 10
Eye of the Beholder - 8 out of 10
Crazy, Stupid, Love - 6 out of 10
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - 9 out of 10
Rise of the Planet of the Apes - 7 out of 10
The Help - 8 out of 10
The Guard - 8 out 10
Fright Night - 4 out 10
Sarah's Key - 7 out of 10

Here is a link to all of my August posts. They include previews, soundtracks and more.

Click on poster and watch film instantly:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Straw Dogs

Directed by Rod Lurie, Screen Gems, 2011. Starring James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard and James Woods

Genre: Thriller

Question: What's your breaking point? I ask that question because that is the tag line for Straw Dogs and I just came back from seeing it. Well, I now know my breaking point - it was Straw Dogs. I did not see the point to this story; and for the first time ever I almost walked out of a movie.

I should talk about this film. However, since I reached my breaking point today that is all I am going to say on this subject.

Next movie, please...

The Company Men

Directed (and written) by John Wells, The Weinstein Company, 2010. Starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Craig T. NelsonChris Cooper and Kevin Costner.

Genre: Drama

Question: How many of you are worried about your job or not making enough money to support you and your family? I bet it is more than a few of you. Well, I just finished watching The Company Men and if you are one of those few, who have been downsized, fired, let go, etc...don't watch this movie. You will just get more depressed.

I know that is not my normal glowing recommendation for a movie. However, I actually liked the film and thought it was done very well - perhaps too well because it was so real. Bottom line this movie is about how the greed of some can crush the ones below them, and to hell with the consequences. The Company Men shows the ripple (and sometimes tsunami) effect when layoffs happen at a company. Sound familiar? Since 2008 everyone has been touched in one form or another with the economy so this movie just brought back everything we first feared, what we have lived through and are currently enduring.

When I started this movie today I wasn't in the best of moods and now I am worse because of it. I may have mentioned that I am easily affected by movies and this one got me. One of my many fears is not making enough money to pay my bills and with the recent few years my current job of interior design hasn't fared too well. This then reminded me of all my attempts at trying to create a successful career over a 20 year period and how it was pretty much shot down when the world economy tanked - all my worries, nightmares and concerns came flooding back.

I honestly don't want to go into too much detail about the film because we all know the story. However, I will say that Tommy Lee Jones, Ben Affleck and Chris Cooper embodied what the corporate man has gone through over the past few years. They all did a fantastic job at relaying the sense of discombobulation of the business worker and the fear that comes with it when you lose your job - a job that they have had for more than 12, 20, or 30+ years.

Losing their job not only affects them, the employee, but their family and their loved ones around them. The Company Men follows several men who lose their job and, for the life of me, I couldn't understand why when the CEO kept making money hand-over-fist. It infuriated me to see the upper echelon's greed for themselves and stockholders. I don't claim to know anything about corporate business or finance - trust me - but it was made very clear in this movie that too few actually make decent money "working" today while the rest of us get handed our pink slips when the company's stock drops a few points.

Again, I know this isn't one of my typical reviews, but I hope it doesn't discourage anyone from seeing this movie. The Company Men was well written, very well acted and there was a glimmer of hope that there are some decent employers out there. Ones that actually want to build something and help create jobs so people can get back to work and support their families. I suppose that is the American dream now.

The Company Men

My favorite thing: Tommy Lee Jones - without a doubt. Plus, I loved that his office furniture was mixture of antiques set within the cold modern surroundings of his corner office. It was brilliant interior design.

My least favorite thing: That this story is all too real.

Rating: R
Length: 104 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10

Click on the film poster below to watch instantly:

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Last Lullaby

Directed by Jeffrey Goodman, Challiot Films, 2008. Starring Tom Sizemore, Sasha AlexanderSprague Grayden and Bill Smitrovich.

Genre: Drama, Mystery

Question: Do you ever pay attention to the private lives of actors? I really try not to but once in awhile I catch something on TV or on the magazine news stand and it sticks with me. Part of my gift for remembering details of movies, for some reason, is also retaining information that has nothing to do with a movie but about the actors themselves. I hate it so I try to avoid the tabloids, gossip mongers or such as much as possible but some facts just slip through.

Case in point: A while back I saw the actor, Tom Sizemore, became a drug addict, with meth I believe, and it ruined his career for awhile. That was such a shame because there are a few of his movies that are some of my favorites or movies in which I truly enjoyed watching him in it. First one was Heart and Souls - a sappy/goofy chick-flick movie. It starred Robert Downey Jr. (another one whose career I have followed and enjoyed but who also had the demon of drugs and alcohol on his back). Anyway, Tom Sizemore was great in that movie but he was also great in Saving Private Ryan, True Romance, Natural Born Killers, and Black Hawk Down, etc... Sorry, to harp on this but I just finished watching a movie starring Tom Sizemore - The Last Lullaby. For almost the entire time I watched the film I kept wondering if he was high and it irked the heck out of me. However, I forced myself to try and let go of what could have been and tried enjoying the moment.

Not my typical review, I know...sorry. Nevertheless, I just felt I had to share that information. Now, let's talk about The Last Lullaby. I found this movie on Netflix this morning. Never heard of it but saw the names of a couple of actors and said "Why not?"

The first thing that pulled me towards The Last Lullaby was seeing the two descriptions: thriller (at least that is what Netflix called it) and independent film. I just love that genre and independents just have more freedom when it comes to telling a story. Second reason, Tom Sizemore; and the third, the customers of Netflix seemed to give the movie quite a few stars. So I hit button on the Instant Play and relaxed.

The first 15 minutes sucked me right in. I won't say why but I had no idea what was going on (one reason I love independent films) and it made me want to know more. Refreshing. Tom Sizemore plays a quiet character that obviously has a pretty screwed-up past. His actions, his demeanor in the open scene(s) intrigued me so I kept watching.

I don't want to tell you any details about the film because thrillers/mysteries need that. They need you to be ignorant of prior information, usually, in order for it to be fully enjoyed. Sure, I read the one or two sentences about this film and I wish I hadn't; so I am keeping you all in the dark for your viewing pleasure. You're welcome.

Anyway, the other main actor or actress is Sasha Alexander. Some of you NCIS fans (yep, I am one of them) will recognize that name. She was Kate in the first few seasons. In The Last Lullaby she plays a very different character than in the TV show and I rather enjoyed it. She was vulnerable, quiet, scared but with a distant strength you know she possessed lurking somewhere underneath.

That is about all the detail I will tell you about the film. I know it wasn't much but I will repeat myself. This is a thriller/mystery so enjoy not knowing too much. Just let the story take you away. It is an independent film so remember that there are more liberties taken.

The Last Lullaby

My favorite thing: The shock I received when watching the first 15 minutes. It kept me going.

My least favorite thing: That a movie whose budget was only $5,000,000 doesn't get more notice.

Rating: R
Length: 93 minutes

Review: 6 out of 10

Click on the film poster to watch instantly:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Preview: We Bought a Zoo

I know many like to watch previews - it is one of the best ways to see what is coming to our local theatres. You know my thoughts on them by now. Well, you should anyway... However, there are some previews that are done that suck me right in (yes, still shows too much, in my opinion) and I almost can't wait to see the movie. Case in point: We Bought a Zoo. It stars Matt Damon, Thomas Haden Church and Scarlett Johannson.

The first line the daughter says to her Dad is precious!! Then when you see her again - all she says is one word and I smiled big! There is more but I'll let you see for yourself.

This looks sugary sweet, full of Hollywood "hope" and I don't care if it tugs at my heart strings too much - I am so seeing this movie. But then again, it is a Cameron Crowe film and I have enjoyed many of his films in the past (fingers crossed for this one).

Friday, September 16, 2011


Directed by Pascal Chaumeil, Quad Productions, 2010. Starring Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier and Andrew Lincoln.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Question: Ladies, this question goes out to you. What could a guy do that would make you fall in love with him? I know a hard question to answer. I have my thoughts but I am going to keep those to myself. However, I just watched a film called Heartbreaker (I know the title doesn't evoke much confidence in finding true love) and found that sometimes it's what we do that makes the guy fall in love with us first. When that happens, we allow the thought to be possible and then all bets are off. We fall and we fall hard!

Heartbreaker is a French film (L'arnacoeur). I know, not my typical movie genre, but I might have mentioned I am expanding my movie tastes. Plus, I am finding it easier to read subtitles and still see and enjoy the movie. There weren't any movies available at the time at the theatre yesterday that I wanted to see. I waited until the evening to check my Netflix Instant Play queue. Heartbreaker was on my list. It was recommended to me after I posted my last foreign film - Sarah's Key (a French film) so it was on my queue. I watched the preview - yes, I did - and I was intrigued. I remembered it was a comedy (and a romance) and I could really use a comedy these days so I hit PLAY.

So, here's the gist: Alex Lippi (played by Romain Duris) is a break-up artist. People hire him to find the doubt that is already there within a woman so she will break-up with her (usually deadbeat) boyfriend. His job is not to start dating or have them fall in love with him - just make them realize they are with the wrong person. The opening scene(s) showed dozens of women kissing this guy (break-up artist) who just happens to cry in front of them and tell them that they made him feel alive again. Voila! Break-up.

The rest of the film shows Alex and his team hired to break-up a relationship only 10 days before the wedding. Usually that is not enough time but they accept the challenge. Ok - no more details - you have to see it for yourselves. I will say once this part of the movie started I really enjoyed it. As I was watching this film (and reading) I discovered that I was smiling through a lot of it. Sometimes I was even giggling or doing whatever odd facial and hand movements I do when I can't believe I saw what I just saw. You know what I mean, right? Well, if not - just trust me there are some funny parts to Heartbreaker.

So, let's discuss the main actors: Romain Duris. This was my first movie of his but I have feeling it won't be my last. His performance was intriguing to say the least. Although I did not find him all that attractive he had a certain charm and sex-appeal.  My focus sharpened whenever he was on screen - which was for the majority of this movie. When there were moments of tender thoughts I felt what he felt. There are only of few of those but he sucked me right in. On the flip-side - his comedic act was a treat to watch as well. Plus, there is one scene that I think those ladies who grew up in the 80's will enjoy - yes, I was one of them.

Juliette Van Der Becq (played by Vanessa Paradis) was the woman he was hired to show her the error of her ways. Some of you might recognize her; she is Johnny Depp's girlfriend. As with Romain Duris, this was my first time seeing her act as well. I may sound a little biased or heavy-handed here but I found her performance to be a bit on the weak side as compared to Romain Duris. She is supposed to be playing this damaged (although we don't know why she is damaged for most of the story), beautiful, wealthy women who is marrying what appears to be the perfect man. So, what's the problem? I know now but it took a while to get there.

So all-in-all I liked Heartbreaker. My first French comedy but I have feeling it won't be my last.

My favorite thing: The dance - I won't describe what that means but I loved it!

My least favorite thing: That I was jealous that it was filmed in Monaco..I so want to see that city.

Rating: Couldn't find a consistent rating but there is cursing and a little nudity.
Length: 105 Minutes

Rating: 7 out of 10

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

It Might Get Loud

Alrighty! It is that time again - Documentary time. It Might Get Loud.

I saw this particular documentary about year ago but just had to watch it again this weekend. Why? Well, because this one is about music. Although movies are my number one passion, (obviously) music is my second. If I am awake 16 hours a day I am probably listening to music 12 of those hours. Really. Music is playing somewhere when I have my first cup of coffee, getting dressed, in the car, shopping, or even when I am walking. When am I not listening to music? Well, when I am watching movies, of course, but when I writing my reviews - abso-freakin-lutely!! (You ask, what I am listening to now?...Adele)

It Might Get Loud showcases the guitarists from the following bands: Led Zepplin, U2 and The White Stripes and even has them sitting around together talking and playing. Yeah! See my point on why I jumped at the chance to watch it again? Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White are rock GODS!!! I am not sure you could put three cooler, if that is a good enough adjective, musicians together in a room. It was awesome.

Let's start with Jimmy Page, shall we? All my life I heard Led Zepplin's music and, with my apologies up front, but this band produced, with Jimmy Page's direction, some of the sexiest music on the planet. Sure, they are a legendary rock band but the bluesy background just turns me on! Seriously. And then there is 'Battle of Evermore' one of my top 5 favorite songs - ever. Alright, a mandolin is the main instrument on this song but you get to see Jimmy Page play it on the documentary sitting by the English country house where some of Led Zepplin's albums were recorded.

My favorite part with the eldest of the three guitarists is when he puts on the 45 (remember those?) of Link Wray's "Rumble"...I am happy to say that tune is on my IPod. However, you have to see how giddy he is while listening and demonstrating some of the musical notes.

Next comes, The Edge, a soft-spoken Irish bloke, who is a musical alchemist. He shows the simple chords he plays and how they change when he plugs into a massive array of effect pedals and the entire wall that is with mounted with effect consoles. This is when you realize how much The Edge truly is an artist. I wish I could describe technical aspects of what he does but it just flies over this reviewer's head. However, I can discuss when I was in middle school how much I listened to U2 (and R.E.M.) for hours on end because most of the top 40 music on radio was just plain crap. U2 reminds me of my youth, and I really enjoyed viewing the early days The Edge and the gang and how they got their start at their school.

Last but not least, Jack White - my favorite of the three. The documentary begins with him making a guitar.

He is the youngest of the three at 35 years-old but he is the most diverse - musically. Also, he is just so cool - pure and simple. I cannot say enough about how much I love listening to his music. The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather are the bands he fronts, but then there is his solo career or when he pairs up with other legends like Loretta Lynn and Alicia Keys. There is not one thing he attempts that I don't immediately fall in love with. So, he is probably the main reason I watched this documentary for the first and second time.

It was a pleasure to see how all three of these musicians got their start, finding out who their inspirations were and what makes them happy about being a musician. It was just a bonus watching all three of them play together as well. I hope you get a chance to see this documentary. It Might Get Loud is one I can watch over and over again.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Preview: Pariah

I saw this preview a few weeks ago and it gave me chills - first with the poem the girl reads, then with the music and more. I have heard quite a bit of buzz about this movie. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Directed by Steve Soderberg, Warner Bros. Pictures, 2011, Starring Matt Damon, Gwyenth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, et al

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Question: Are you a germaphobe? If you are, you might want to skip this review. If you aren't, you might be after watching Contagion - trust me.

I must confess I am a bit of a germaphobe because 2 years ago I contracted a heart infection that nearly killed me because the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me for weeks. They finally did and it started with a simple common, everyday ailment that I picked up from someone else. So when I saw the preview for this movie a few months back I was unsure if I really wanted to see it. Plus, I felt like this story was told before with movies like Outbreak or the beginning of every zombie movie.

There really is nothing new with Contagion - as far as the plot goes. Of course, it is a about an outbreak - a new type of influenza that quickly spreads across the planet. Sound familiar? Yeah, I know. However, there is one thing different with this film. It was completely realistic with how much we move around the globe, touch things others have then touch ourselves - our faces specifically. Here is where you germaphobes may freak a little. I even jumped in the theatre when someone sneezed right behind me during the movie. I even went as far to make sure I didn't touch the arms on my chair for the rest of the movie.

Imagine if something like this did happen. Well, it did back in 1918 with the Spanish flu pandemic where 50-100 million people died because there was no vaccine. Yes, that many. Now I know we had the outbreak of N1H1 in 2009 but it was quickly contained and a vaccine was made. Now think if a virus was so new and nothing we already had as a cure could stop it. There's Contagion.

The film-makers took the approach to tell a story about a modern-day pandemic with an ensemble cast and multiple stories intertwined. This approach fascinated me.  There really was no set "lead" actor or specific story that stood out unless you want to say the "virus" was the lead character. That was the common element, although many of the stories were connected, which also had me thinking how this story seemed so "real".

It starts out with who were the first few victims and how powerful this strain was and how it was able spread to others. Governments soon become involved by sending workers around the world to figure the out pandemic. People died left and right - no one seemed immune...well, that isn't exactly true. You'll see. Anyway, the pandemic started out listing either day 2 or day 3 - I can't remember exactly, and for the next 100 minutes or so the story was tagged with counting of the days.

I won't say anymore about the details of the story except to say I really liked the ending for two reasons. One, many things were left unanswered. I know some won't like that but, to me, that's what made it scary and....real. The second reason...well, I'm going to leave that one a mystery. Sorry.

There are so many actors listed in this film that it is hard to talk about all of them. Matt Damon should be mentioned. His wife was one of the first victims and his reaction to her death was powerful. I also enjoyed Kate Winslet's performance but if I say much more I will be giving things away. Silence.

Laurence Fishburne must also receive a mentioning in this review. His character works for the CDC and from behind the scenes he sees how the virus is destroying the world he knows. He comes face-to-face with some decisions that no one would like to make. There is one particular scene that almost had me choke up at his response to one of his decisions. You have to see it.

So, grab your Purell and head to the theatres for this one. Oh, and for you bloggers out there, you might enjoy Jude Law's character.

My favorite thing: That's a hard one - I think it would have to be the last few minutes and how they ended the story.

My least favorite thing: Finding out how many times we humans touch our faces and how viruses are spread by doing that. I kept catching myself touching my face and quickly having to pull them off during the movie. Are you touching your face right now?

Rating: PG-13
Length: 105 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10

Click on the film poster to watch instantly: