Sunday, October 30, 2011

What Makes Me Laugh

There are many days that can bring in sadness and worry. I usually try to wipe those days away but sometimes they linger and keep me quiet and wanting to be alone until it passes. When those days take hold I usually go to my happy place - the movie theatre. However, if I can't get to the theatre I go looking for scenes from movies that make me laugh. I have one in particular that gets me EVERY TIME from Victor/Victoria! I am NOT kidding.

I must give you a bit of background on the movie so you fully understand what I am talking about. Almost 30 years ago Victor/Victoria came out. Don't know the movie? Well, it is about a woman, Victoria, who sings beautifully but can't find a job in Paris during the 1930's in any of the cabarets. However, she befriends a man, Toddy, who comes up with a plan to get her to pretend to be a man to perform as a female impersonator. You say, "Huh?" Yep, it's pretty much a scam but a great story.

This movie was written and directed by the late Blake Edwards and starred Julie Andrews as Victor/Victoria. I loved this movie the first time, when I was 11, and have watched at least a dozen times since. It never gets old for me.

Here is a scene (yes, this is still part of the set-up, bare with me) that shows Victor/Victoria performing. Watch the entire thing - detail is very important.

Now, here is the scene I wanted to show you. Whenever I am down or need to smile at something, I somehow come back to this particular scene. It gets me every single time. In fact, I just watched it again and lost it with the giggles. Do watch the whole scene, it does go off into another scene but comes back to the performance.

Forgive the foreign version, I couldn't find another one that showed the whole scene. And it's the end when Robert Preston laughs that gets me to burst out with the giggles. Actually, the whole scene makes me happy but that laugh is so sincere that you laugh with him. Laughter is infectious.

Click on poster to watch instantly:

You may not find this movie or these scenes as funny as I do but that really doesn't matter. What's important is for you to find your source of glee. Just try to remember what YOU love and makes YOU smile - be it movies, music, a good book or friends (Oh, and my friends make me giggle all the time as well) etc...because love and laughter is the spice of life.

Find what makes you laugh and keep the laughter close.

P.S. I just found out that this is a remake!! I had no idea but the original is from Germany and came out 1933. Not sure if we could get that one on DVD, hmmmm?

Letter to John Hughes

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about my childhood. Why? Well, all the movies that I adored and watched over and over again keep seeming to pop up when I least expect it: The remake of Footloose recent release (no, I did not see it), rumors of remakes of other 80's films like The Breakfast Club, my Repo Man soundtrack post yesterday and many more. I suppose this is what happens when you hit your mid-life, you start recalling all the things that made you happy when you were a kid or teenager.

Another part of my past popped up as well: How I used to write letters to my friends. You know, pen pals. Remember that? For you youngins its what you do when you "chat" back and forth with someone via texting or Facebook BUT there is one big difference - it took days to receive the response from your pen pal. I loved writing letters - LOVED IT! It kept me in touch with the people I cared most about.

Now you are probably thinking, "What has this got to do with movies since this site is all about movies and this woman's obsession with them, huh?" I can answer that one, easily. Keep reading, people.

Yesterday I was searching on my StumpleUpon account and reread one of my favorite "stumbles". I thought I would share it with you all. It is a blog post about a girl who befriended the great John Hughes back in the late 80's through letters. It's a great post filled with personal facts between these two people. It will bring back memories, give you chills and it might make you tear up like I did when I first read it. Oh, and look for something in there that nearly made my heart sink at the thought of it. Here's a hint - I mentioned it in here and in another one of my posts recently - a possibility of something.

Sincerely, John Hughes

And, in case you were worried, I will post a movie review in the next day or two. Trust me.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Soundtrack: Repo Man

I wasn't going to post again today but took a break from domestic duties to check and see which soundtrack was next on the EW Top 100 Soundtrack list: #75 Repo Man (1984). I quickly decided to heck with my responsibilities - let's talk music! Actually, let's talk PUNK!

First, if you have NOT seen this movie - I am sorry. No, seriously - this was a great movie, but then again I am a child of the 80's and hold certain films from then close to my heart. If you haven't seen it or if you want a little refresher, with a hint of the music, here is the trailer. This will give you a little taste of the story and the music. Enjoy!

Second, Repo Man is a cult film from the early 80's directed by Alex Cox, who also directed Sid and Nancy.  It stars Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton. The movie features some of the best punk rock bands from that era: Circle Jerks, Black Flag, and Suicidal Tendencies. But the Iggy Pop has the lead song titled "Repo Man".

Many of you may not be punk rock fans but this movie is a must see. I remember seeing it many, many, many years ago and was in awe of how cool the story was and how different. If I tried explaining what the movie was about you probably would think I was nuts. Trust me, it was a triumph in story telling back then. Now, I haven't seen Repo Man in decades, but I have a feeling I would still appreciate it along with the soundtrack.

If you grew up in the 80's, I am sure you saw this film. Take a gander at the preview I many memories just came flooding back. (They better not try to remake this one!! And don't get this confused with Repo Men starring Jude Law. They are not connected - at all!)

Note: I learned while researching some for this post that there is a tribute album due to be released in early 2012. It is called "A Tribute to Repo Man" and is supposed to pay homage to the bands on this soundtrack. To be released by indie label American Laundromat Records.

Film and soundtrack:

Preview: Into the Abyss

Since I watched and reviewed a documentary this week I sort of had documentaries on the brain. Just stumbled upon this one: Into the Abyss. I started watching this trailer and got chills. Not sure if this will be an easy watch for me and others but it looks like it is worth viewing. By Werner Herzog.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thank You For The Responses About Remakes.

Well, I am here again not posting a movie review but a thank you to all of you who responded to me about my post: Remakes - Why Make Them? It really made me feel good to know I wasn't alone in this. Plus, I am not accustom to receiving a lot of comments, privately or publicly, so these remarks touched my heart. Thank you.

Here are some of the comments I received:

"You can't improve on perfection!"

"...I completely agree that all of the remakes (some are remakes of remakes) are a simple way of unimaginative people to make a buck."

"These studios need to stop ruining great old movies. With so many writers out there, they can't find one NEW movie idea to entertain?"

"What I can't fathom is there must be hundred scripts out there that are calling to be made. Why get lazy an attempt a remake? It doesn't make sense to me. I think there is a certain magic with the cast in movies as The Breakfast Club and Footloose. You can't remake it - it won't have the same feel to it."

"...I agree about the remakes, I just don't see the point in most of them...Totally agree with Willy Wonka as are right, stop making remakes, they are pointless and kids can just get the original on DVD."

And, last but not least, my favorite response:

"Katy, I really liked your post on Remakes. I feel the same way about the movies I loved from the 40's and 50's. Leave well enough alone and come up with something new."

This last one is very special to me because it came from my father - the person who handed down his love of movies to me. Thanks, papa!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Burzynski, the Movie - Cancer Is Serious Business

You know, it's been awhile since I watched a documentary. Fortunately I just finished one called Burzynski, the Movie - Cancer Is Serious Business (2010) on Netflix instant play. I am not sure I was in the right frame of mind to view this particular film because I was exhausted and not sure my brain could follow all the information it spelled out. However, after watching the first 30 minutes, and getting over the fact that it felt like I was watching an infomercial, I realized I pushed my tiredness aside and focused - hard. What an unbelievable story and it made me mad. You'll see why.

Burzynski is a documentary about Ph.D biochemist, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, a Polish doctor who lives in Texas and who discovered an actual "cure" for certain types of cancer. Sounds fascinating and you expect it's going to be about all the wonderful stories and how he cured so many patients, right? Well, that is partially true. The beginning is about that. Then the story leads you to how he has to prove it over and over again to certain doubters but it gets worse. How, you ask? Well, the US Government, specifically the FDA, Texas Medical Board and NCI (National Cancer Institute), along with several other biochemists all battled Dr. Burzynski and his gene-therapy drug treatment. Why did they do this? Well, it's simple. I bet I don't even need to say it, do I?

As I stated, the first 30 minutes of the documentary played like an infomercial but it was very important information to relay to the audience. Dr. Burzynski treated one of the worse type of cancers - brain - and mostly within the demographic that had nearly 99% chance of dying: children. Your heart strings will be pulled - especially at the opening scene.

After that the rest of the film documents the trials, indictments of Dr. Burzynski, the gene therapy in question, the protocols not used properly by others, the theft of the treatment and so much more. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with the jargon because it was a lot of medical or litigious speak; but the filmmakers did an excellent job at making their point. I will say I actually spoke out loud at the screen as each attack came against this man. It started to become laughable at why the FDA was doing this but absolutely heartbreaking as well.

At the end of the documentary information is provided about who was involved and what happened to some of the ones who fought against Dr. Burzynski. I just had to shake my head at that, but after the credits rolled the last three words that came up struck me with dread. I wonder if you will have the same reaction.

Burzynski, the Movie - Cancer Is Serious Business

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Real Steel

Directed by Shawn Levy, Dreamworks Studios, 2011. Starring Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie and Hope Davis.

Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi.

Question: Do you ever go to the movies with the intention of seeing one movie but get talked into seeing another? Also, have you agreed reluctantly to see that movie and believe you aren't going to like but you end up being wrong? Well, that was my Sunday afternoon. I thought I was taking my kids to see A Dophin's Tale but got suckered into seeing Real Steel with my son saying, "Please, mom, please!" How could I say no?

This is probably where I should tell you the story was based on the short story "Steel" from the 1950's by Richard Matheson (look him up - he has a lot of stories that became TV shows or movies). During the opening credits I saw the following names attached to this film: Robert Zemekis, Stephen Speilberg, Danny Elfman and Shawn Levy. That list surprised me but still was a little doubtful at that point.

However, I actually ended up liking Real Steel. Believe it or not. I really wasn't expecting to but once the movie started with a great song by Alexi Murdock - "All My Days" I was intrigued. They just had me with this song because I honestly didn't think it would start that way so I relaxed and let the story take me away...

However, I started having some doubts right after the song with having my 9 and 11 year-old at this movie with the first "fight" scene. Let's just say it reminded of a sport in Spain I would never want to witness. Protective mama instincts kicked in and I was ready to bolt, but the story took another turn that I wasn't expecting so I stayed in my seat. No, I won't tell you what.

So, I am not going to tell you about the story - that isn't my normal thing anyway. Okay, I will give you one detail: It's about robots who box because people were no longer allowed to box. There, happy? The story was a bit on the predictable side but that really didn't matter. There was a great balance of the action with the robots and fight scenes with a sweet story about a boy and his father with a little romance kicked in. In fact, it had one of the best lines about kissing I've seen in ages. Sorry, back to the fighting robots.

The special effects were unbelievable. I did not see any hint of computer animation or that the actors were talking to a ball on a stick. I honestly want to know if those robots actually exist - that's is how great the effects were in Real Steel. So for you special effect junkies this one will make you very happy. In fact, I would glance over at my son and I am not sure I have seen him smile more intensely. Even my overly girly daughter was shadow boxing during some of the fight scenes. That cracked me up!

My one complaint though has to be the rest of the music because it was a lot of hip-hop and rap - not my favorite genres. However, it fit well with the story, but for me it was just a bit much. I suppose I should say I probably wasn't the target demographic for this movie but my 11 year-old son LOVED every single thing including the music in Real Steel. There you have it.

So, with that being said - grab your son, your brother or nephew and head to the movie theatre before this one is gone. We saw it in IMAX which for this type of movie is always better.

My favorite thing: The special effects.

My least favorite thing: As I said, some of the music wasn't my taste.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 127 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10

Real Steel (Music from the Motion Picture) - Various Artists

Click on film poster to watch film instantly:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Remakes - Why Make Them?

I don't have another movie review to post or a soundtrack. And I don't want to share a preview with you that I thought did a good job with relaying the story without spoiling it. I am here to discuss why remakes they are popping up left and right and why this is starting to make me angry. Yes, angry. I don't normally allow negative emotions in when I am talking about my favorite past time, but recently I have noticed that a few filmmakers are remaking some classic movies from my youth. I don't get it. Will someone please explain it to me?

Is it really just to make money? If so, I understand that motivation. Who doesn't want to make money? Heck, I am writing about movies - the love of my life - in hope of making money at it someday. So, trust me, I get that. But what boggles my mind about some recent remakes is why they chose specific films to redo? The Footloose remake was just released and now....gulp... possibly The Breakfast Club may be in the works - yes, you read that right. Right now it is just a table read but rumors are flying it could be made. (Jason Reitman is heading the table read.)

I had someone recently say, "Why do they keep ruining my childhood?" when I mentioned the remakes. I totally understand her response, most of my generation does. Yes, I am referring to us 80's kids. We hold some of these movies dear to our hearts because they allowed us to escape the drudgery of our childhood. Maybe they weren't critics' favorite choice of that year but we LOVED THEM! And remaking them almost slaps us in the face with saying: Okay, you are grown up, move on and let's have today's kids have a chance at digging into their pockets.

However, people today, including the gadget-savvy youth, have DVDs, download capability and maybe some even still have VHS tapes - not to forget the thousand times The Breakfast Club has been on television. We have ALL seen the movie - know it by heart and have even showed our kids the movie. This one translates to today beautifully. So, why even think of remaking it? There is no need. I say, come up with an original idea for a story that represents the youth today about how kids never feel like they fit in or how hard it is to be a child in today's climate. Someone out there has a script about that, I promise!

There are thousands of screenwriters, I being one of them, who actually have ideas with new concepts for stories for the studios, but one of the toughest things in the world is to actually get someone to read your script. So, this is another reason why it irks me to see a remake being released.

Again, trust me, I know how hard it is to get your script read let alone sold. I have a script that is actually set in the 80's about a girl coming of age with her sexuality and has mixed in all the nuances of the 80's within the script. However, the story is told as a flashback through a diary so the current teenager reading the diary learns that every girl goes through the same thing. I have tried for the past year and half to get it read. I have submitted to contests, knocked on every door I can and even called in favors of those even with the slightest access to Hollywood. Nada, zip, nothing.

Okay, I just realized I sort of made this all about me and my dreams that seem harder and harder to obtain. Sorry, it's a habit.

Yes, there are great movies today showcasing the trials and tribulations of today's teenagers. Juno leaps to mind. A brilliant story about a pregnant teenager who decides to give up her baby for adoption to a couple even though one isn't sure they are ready to be a parent. It was an original idea that had everyone scratching their head: who is this scriptwriter, Diablo Cody? She is someone, that all of us who live and breathe movies envy and admire, who actually broke through the thousand layers of lead that block the rest of us from getting our shot.

Many remakes have been produced and done well and I have enjoyed many. However, they are usually films from long ago that no one from my generation saw - mainly because they were never re-released on tape or we never heard of them before. Also, many were either poorly made at the time or soon forgotten but a good story was there that needed to be retold. Some movies are remade because the technology is so much better today for special effects but one movie that comes to mind that should never had been remade is Willy Wonka. Tim Burton, who I adore along with Johnny Depp, came out with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a few years ago. Apparently, they kept the story closer to the book. However, I didn't like it. Willy Wonka was made in 1971 - I was 1 year-old but still watched that movie probably two dozen times, if not more, during my youth. I had no issue with watching an older movie with low-budget effects.

I just asked my 11 year-old son, who saw both movies, and he prefers Willy Wonka. Sure he liked the other one but Willy Wonka was just a great movie, with the best actor for the role that made an indelible connection with the audience. So, this leads me to remaking and who to play the classic roles. Gene Wilder was brilliant as Willy Wonka and will always be Willy Wonka for me. Johnny Depp, who I think is one of greatest actors today, did his best at trying to create his own version but it fell way short for me. Why? Well, Gene Wilder already embodied the character so well that there was no need to try and rework it. No reason - at all.

Well, I am done. There is nothing more I can say about this subject. I know I am not alone in this mode of thought, and I know I can't change anyone's mind in Hollywood to stop what they do. However, if Jason Reitman is listening, please consider what I said here today. Enjoy the table read but please leave The Breakfast Club as a John Hughes film - and allow us children of the 80's to never forget what was ours.

Don't you forget about us, please!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Preview: Chronicle

Someone sent me this and thought I might like this preview...not so much for the story but the way the preview was put together. They were right. This looks interesting and if it is PG-13 I know my son will love it. Chronicle Due out early next year.

The Perfect Host

Directed (and co-written) by Nick Tomnay, Stacey Testro International, 2010. Starring David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, Nathaniel Parker and Helen Reddy.

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Thriller.

Question: When you are giving a dinner party, do you serve red wine, white wine or both? I prefer red wine myself but may rethink it. It really does stain your teeth.

Alright, I just finished another movie on Netflix instant play called The Perfect Host. It starred David Hyde Pierce, yes, the guy from Frasier. He plays Warwick Wilson - the host of a dinner party that gets crashed by a stranger played by Clayne Crawford (what a great name!).

Now look at the genre you know what that means: I am not going to say much about the story. In fact, I really don't want to say anything because I went into this knowing not one stitch of information and thoroughly enjoyed the last 93 minutes. What a treat!! I will say I smiled, threw my hands over my eyes, felt a little nauseated at parts and slammed my hands on the table with glee because I really, really enjoyed The Perfect Host.

David Hyde Pierce was absolutely brilliant in this movie. I am a little shocked I never heard about this movie before today. There were parts where I had reactions I wasn't expecting at some of his dialogue delivery or his actions. This role does not resemble Niles Crane at all and that was refreshing. I know many actors can't shake their past roles but this one just might have done it for Mr. Pierce. AWESOME!

Now Clayne Crawford (got to say it again - just love his name) is a newcomer for me. I did look up his resume and he has covered a broad range of TV show appearances, but I honestly did not recognize him. I think I would have with those dimples...sorry. Focus, Katy. Alright, Crawford plays John Taylor (no, not the Duran Duran bass player) who stumbles into a night he will not soon forget. I will say I thought Crawford was pretty decent in the role.

I am stopping there - NO! I will not tell you anymore details. Nope, not gonna do it. And you can't make me. I am a stubborn woman, so learn to live with disappointment in not knowing anymore about The Perfect Host. This might be my most cryptic review ever but it needs to be. Thrillers, in my opinion, should remain a mystery until you have a chance to view them. You are welcome.

The Perfect Host

My favorite part: David Hyde Pierce.

My least favorite part: The end was a little drawn out.

Rating: R
Length: 93 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10

Click on film poster to watch instantly:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Soundtrack: A Clockwork Orange

Well, I was wondering when we would end up on this soundtrack: A Clockwork Orange (1972). #76 (on Entertainment Weekly's list). It's been over 2 decades since I have seen this movie but certain scenes and the music have never left my memory. I recall the classical music scattered throughout this bizarre movie just didn't seem to fit with what I was watching on film, or at least I couldn't make it compute. However, I also recall not understanding this movie at all, but then again I was only 17 at the time.

The extreme violence in A Clockwork Orange is something that haunted me for a while, but anytime I hear Beethoven's 9th it always reminds me of this film - a vicious cycle. It is something I have never been able to erase from my memory - never, ever...Okay, now I have funny feeling that I can't shake and my eye itches.

I would love to add a scene or two of the movie here showcasing the soundtrack but think it would be best to leave them off. I have feeling you recall the same scenes I do...okay, I need something to distract me.

Click on poster below to watch instantly or download soundtrack:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Preview: This Means War

This looks like a total guilty pleasure movie. Yes, I enjoy those type of movies from time to time. I mean, come on, two hot guys from the CIA fighting over the same woman and using high-tech gadgets at the same time - what girl wouldn't want to see that? Will it be good? I have no idea...we'll see. This Means War

Update: Movie Review

The Ides of March

Directed (and co-written) by George Clooney, Cross Creek Pictures, 2011. Starring Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Even Rachel Wood and George Clooney.

Genre: Drama

Question: Do you ever wonder why politicians are portrayed as bad people? Well, because they usually are. Okay, sorry, I am just not a fan of politics or politicians. However, I finished watching The Ides of March a couple of hours ago, down at my local theatre, and it just reaffirmed my lack of desire to follow any political side.

To be honest, I have never been particularly keen on politics. I grew up with people in my family who never really agreed on a candidate or political party. In turn, I stuck to my independent ways and mostly ignored what most politicians said (or lied about). Even when I lived in Washington, DC during the Clinton years (yes, even through the Monica Lewinsky era) when our country was pretty stable politically, I was never for nor against a particular party....Okay, I've got to stop - one of my rules is that I never discuss politics or religion so I am ending this paragraph right here.

So, what should I talk about regarding The Ides of March if I can't talk about politics but the movie is a politic drama? Thinking...thinking...okay, got it. How about the acting?

Well, I did post the preview on this a few weeks ago because I was happy to see some of my favorite actors in this film: Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ryan Gosling. They were all fantastic! They all played political strategists: the people in control behind the curtain. I mean they all had to play uber smart fellows that had to make you believe whatever they wanted you to believe even though you didn't want to believe it - just like a true political strategist.  Spin, spin, spin. I particularly liked Paul Giamatti in this film. He wasn't in it enough for my taste but there is just something about his presence on-screen that screams intelligence.

I should talk more about the characters or the plot line, but I really want to talk about how much my hometown was represented in this film: Cincinnati, Ohio. The story takes place mostly in Ohio where George Clooney plays the governor of Arkansas running for the democratic primary there. However, nearly the entire movie was shot in Cincinnati and in areas that I knew well, recognized and even went to all the time. It kind of was distracting for me because I knew the areas so well that when certain parts of the city were shown I immediately had a childhood memory, and some were intense memories. (Okay, now I miss those skywalks and, yes, that is where one of the scenes was shot. I know that skywalk well. It's attached to the hotel I stay at when I go back home.) Oh well.

Over all, the story was decent but a bit on the predictable side which was a little disappointing. However, Ryan Gosling was believable as his character gets taken on a ride with the political mind games. I really liked how smooth and confident his character was and how quickly it changed when the twist came. Georgie boy played the smarmy politician with a certain finesse and charm but I will admit this wasn't my favorite performance of his.

I should talk more about the movie but I keep thinking about Cincinnati and can't focus on The Ides of March. Last time this happened with me was with Rain Man. Although Cincinnati wasn't shown that much in that movie - the part that was in it was filmed on my street - two doors down from my house. I even saw the filming and met a few of the actors...Okay, now I want to go home today and get some Skyline Chili or Graeter's Ice Cream and drive around Mount Adams, Ault Park or one of the other beautiful areas in my hometown.

My favorite part: Ryan Gosling was looking mighty cute in the film. What? He was.

My least favorite part: That it made me miss my hometown - or is that a good thing?

Rating: R
Length: 101 minutes

Review: 5 out of 10

Click on the film poster to watch movie instantly:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Preview: The Devil Inside

Alright - for those of you who actually like horror movies - this preview just scared me and actually made me jump with a little scream. Yes, really! Check it out and just see what happens to that girl's body. *shivers*

The Devil Inside

This does not come out until next year but since it's so close to Halloween I thought I would share. Enjoy!

Preview: Shame

I will be seeing this!!

Michael Fassbender, a new favorite of mine when I first saw him in Inglourious Basterds and recently in X-Men: First Class, and Carey Mulligan, who captured my attention in Never Let Me Go, both star in Shame.

Release date: December 2, 2011 in the US.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Little Voice

Directed (co-wrote) by Mark Herman, Miramax Films, 1998. Starring Brenda Blethyn, Michael Caine, Ewan McGregor and Jane Horrocks.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Question: What keeps you weak, afraid to try, or forces you to stay within your own safe bubble? Fear! I know everyone is afraid of something. Disappointment, fear of more sadness or the failure that will come again if you decide to go outside your comfort zone, so you stand still because fear has a choke-hold on you. Little Voice shows a young woman whose life's only happiness is listening to the records her father owned because her world ended when he died and so did her ability see beyond her own pain. Fear has paralyzed her.

I remember seeing this movie when it first came out about 13 years ago or so but really couldn't remember much of it. Yes, that is so unlike me. However, if you follow me and my reviews your jaw is about to drop at my next sentence. I only chose this movie on Netflix instant play because Brenda Blethyn and Michael Caine were listed as the top actors in Little Voice, but when I started it Ewan McGregor's name came up in the opening credits. Instantly I smiled but thought, "How could I forget he was in this movie?" I pushed that thought aside quickly because I was now in my own little bubble - watching a movie - and surprisingly content for the first time in a while. I was able to relax and enjoy this movie all over again.

Little Voice or LV is a shy, timid girl who hangs out in her attic bedroom room listening to records - not CDs - records of the 1950's and 1960's with artists like Judy Garland, Shirley Bassie and Marilyn Monroe. She shuts out the rest of the world when the music starts but you soon realize she is mainly shutting out her abusive mother played by Brenda Blethyn. You witness this domineering women care nothing about her daughter and for the life of it you can't figure out why. I have my theories and it has to do with disappointment - a powerful emotion that can turn a person cold, selfish and sometimes quick to become angry at those they are supposed to love.

During a moment of her mother trying again to find happiness in the only way she knows how, a duel of sorts ensues and the power goes out. LV then uses the only other way to find comfort without the records is to sing - and can she sing! This is the point in the movie you discover that her name is all wrong. I would love to tell you more but will let you discover the talent this woman has that was buried deep inside that had to come out.

Now the best thing about this movie has to be LV and when she sings but you get the feeling something isn't quite right about it all. LV tries desperately to keep her singing to herself in order to cope. However, Michael Caine stars in this film as a low-level talent scout who banks everything on having LV making him a million once he hears her voice. He cunningly convinces LV to perform but there is a consequence to his manipulation. However, that is all I will say about that.

Should I say anything about my favorite actor? Of course! It makes me happy. He is a quiet fellow in this film who enjoys homing pigeons as a hobby. He meets LV and discovers another shy person and for some inexplicable reason they start a friendship. He cares for her like no one else does, watches over her, and is there when she needs him the most. It was sweet to witness a friendship like that.

Little Voice is a movie about finding the ability to stand on your own two feet and overcoming a debilitating fear. Some of the scenes were a bit over the top especially with the abusive mother. However, sometimes showing people whose fears have swallowed them up, which in turn causes their reactions towards others to be less than kind can show how the abused person can become paralyzed and seeks refuge alone. It ain't pretty but it made the point well. Fortunately, there was some great music to balance out some of the ugliness.

This is based on the play "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice" which was written for Jane Horrocks and her talent.

My favorite part: The times when LV sings. Now close your mouth - yes, he was my second favorite but I am biased.

My least favorite: I am not going to say on this one.

Rating: R
Length: 97 minutes

Review: 6 out of 10

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Monday, October 10, 2011

A Summer in Genoa (Genova)

Directed (and co-wrote screenplay) by Michael Winterbottom, Revolution Films, 2008. Starring Colin Firth, Catherine Keener, Perla Haney-Jardine,  Willa Holland and Hope Davis.

Genre: Drama, Romance.

Question: What haunts you? Keeps you up at night? Or wakes you up in a cold sweat? Makes you see things that aren't really there? Forces you to take paths you have no idea where they lead? What if you were 9 years-old; how would you handle all that haunts you?

I just finished another movie on Netflix instant play: A Summer in Genoa and I almost don't know how to write this review. The movie didn't have a lot to say but then again it said so much, in such a subtle way, that I don't think most will like this film. However, I enjoyed it. And, of course, I will tell you why. One word: real.

Everything in this film was real: the acting, which it didn't seem like anyone was acting actually. It was just so natural. Plus, you feel like you are right there in the story. Sure it jumps from scene to scene but you catch up with no problem because of the effortless way everyone, including the children in the film, performed. There was not one iota of "acting" that I could witness. No blocking, no overly rehearsed speeches, or forced responses. It almost gave me shivers. Another thing that I kept noticing because it is something I always look for: how it is filmed - the cinematography. As I said, you felt like you were right there and the way it was shot you could almost smell the Italian air.

The story appeared so genuine that you didn't question the one thing that couldn't be real. (No, I am not going to tell you what that is.) I mean nothing seemed too out of there; nothing really out of the ordinary, besides one small detail; and I have no idea how a producer read the script and said, 'Oh this story is so brilliantly real! It must be made!" In fact, I have a feeling the script was a very boring read so that is why this was independently produced.

A Summer in Genoa stars Colin Firth, who is a father to two daughters and he moves them to Italy after a family tragedy. Was it the best idea? Uprooting the girls and going to a foreign country for a year, would that help them process what haunts them? Well, you will just have to see for yourself.  In fact, you have to watch the youngest girl, Mary, (played by Perla Haney-Jardine), to fully understand the story. She was fantastic in this role and it was not an easy role to play eloquently but she did.

Above, the genre states it is a drama and a romance. I am not quite sure I would call it a romance though. However, drama is pretty much spot on, but mix in a little mystery, and I think that would describe this movie better. I know I am remaining vague with this review but there is little to tell about the story without giving much away. This is a movie you need to think about; it does not give you all the answers and you must be willing to contemplate what can truly haunt a person and how they process it.

My favorite thing: As I said, how real, authentic everything was portrayed.

My least favorite: It was slow, and I have watched so many movies that I kept guessing at things and ended up being wrong...okay, maybe I kinda of liked that too.

Rating: R
Length: 94 minutes

Review: 6 out of 10

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Sunday, October 9, 2011


Directed (and written) by Andre Ovredal, Filmameratena A/S, 2010. Otto Jespersen, Glenn Erland TosterudRobert Stoltenberg, and Johanna Morck.

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery.

Question: Do you believe in trolls? Yes, that is my question for this review! Well, if you don't, you might believe in them after you see this "movie".

It's been a while since I've seen a movie. I can't really say why that is but this morning I decided to watch something that a friend asked me to review a few weeks ago. Actually, I joined a website last night and someone else mentioned it so I kind of thought - 'It's Sunday; I haven't seen a movie in over a week. Why not Trollhunter?' Yes, I am serious.

Alright, I am not sure how to describe this film and I really don't want to try. You should just see it for yourself. However, I will mention that it is a foreign film from Norway. So, there are subtitles. For the slow reader that I am, I didn't have any difficulty staying in time with this story. What a relief. I actually had to wear headphones because my laptop's speakers weren't loud enough, and I wanted to make sure I heard all the sound even though I couldn't understand a word they were saying. And the sound was pretty important to this film. Well, I found it fascinating at least.

Trollhunter is exactly is what this movie is about - a troll hunter named Hans. A small group of students wanted to film an alleged bear poacher that received a lot of media attention. However, when the students meet Hans, they join him on his "hunt" and stumble upon an adventure they never would have imagined. The story was not scary which was my first thought when my friend mentioned the title to me. It is in fact a satire - again, how I interpreted.

If you want to learn everything about trolls and their existence, then watch this movie. If you like watching documentaries, then Trollhunter is for you. If you want to giggle from time to time, then this is your flick. And last but not least, if you want to know how to kill trolls then by all means watch this movie - it is imperative.  I found it on Netflix instant queue so if this sounds like it is right up your alley - go to Netflix right now!

The "acting" and the "story" were pretty good but I kept noticing (and it could have been just me) there were correlations to Jaws that had me grinning.(Even though Jaws scared me for life I have seen it a few times and can't forget any of it - ever.) Let's just say Hans has this one scene that reminded me of the speech Quint gives while they are in the boat. The other movie this reminded me of was The Blair Witch Project. That's all I am going to say about that.

Seeing the countryside of Norway was a treat as the troll hunter and the students were on their adventure, so for those of you who like to travel this might be a treat for you as well. It was breathtaking in parts especially when there weren't any ugly creatures taking the focus off the scenery.

Now, if you are easily offended or someone who is particularly religious, specifically Christian, you might not be a fan of Trollhunter.

You must have a sense of humor to enjoy Trollhunter and I promise this one was a fun one if you do. It was just what I needed to escape reality for a couple hours.

My favorite part: That something actually made me smile and giggle today.

My least favorite part: A few scenes had me gagging a bit.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 103 minutes

Rating: 7 out of 10

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Monthly Wrap-Up September 2011

Here is the list for September of the movies I reviewed last month.

Limitless - 7 out of 10
Moneyball - 8 out 10
Red - 5 out of 10
Drive - 8 out of 10
The Company Men - 7 out of 10
The Last Lullaby - 6 out of 10
Heartbreaker - 7 out of 10
It Might Get Loud - Documentary
Contagion - 7 out of 10
The Debt - 6 out of 10
Paranormal Activity - 6 out of 10

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