Category Archives: Movies

That’s life

Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood has received enormous attention and near perfect reviews.

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It should.

The fact that it was 12 years in the making is epic enough. That the same actors gathered together to recreate this family each year…so the passage of time Is made all the more authentic by every bad haircut, each pop culture reference.

But Boyhood’s true appeal lies in Linklater’s choice of subject matter: the simple, day-to-day ups and downs of a family doing their best to juggle school and jobs and divorce and remarriage and financial worries and love and loss.

Chances are, at certain points in this movie, you will recognize yourself or your family.

And it will make you smile.

Constructive criticism

Feedback — we have to give it and receive it, sometimes daily depending on our jobs.

That doesn’t make it any easier to hear.

Tim Minchin, the Olivier-award winning and Tony-nominated songwriter of Broadway’s Matilda, once received a very bad review that he couldn’t really shake off.  How did he deal with it?

He wrote a hilarious song about it.

I’ll have to try that sometime…

Note — Minchin is currently workshopping a new musical in London based on the movie Groundhog Day. Can’t wait to hear those lyrics!

Renewed vows

It’s no coincidence that most movies end with the wedding.

That’s when reality kicks in.
112 WeddingsThe documentary 112 Weddings (HBO OnDemand) gives audiences the opportunity to see how that reality measures up.

Filmmaker Doug Block shot wedding videos for 112 couples over his career, and in this documentary, revisits some of those couples a decade or more later after the ‘I do’s.’

Most are still married. One couple is in the process of divorcing and agreed to be interviewed separately.  But all agree that marriage is far different from any idea they may have had at the start.

Many have faced real challenges.  Seriously ill children.  Depression.  But all answer the simple question: would we do it all again, knowing what we know now.

The film manages to be both sobering and joyful at the same time…which is how couples should probably approach such an important life choice.

If you stop and think about it.

Asleep in my takeout

I am fascinated by the critics’ take on the movie Chef, which is currently 88 percent fresh on RottenTomatoes.com.

I found it stale and oh-so-overcooked.

chef movie

I watch a lot of Food Network, so I had high hopes for the film’s ‘recipe’: a chef gets fired after he starts a Twitter war with a restaurant critic,  and opens a food truck.

Seems new, seems current.

Turns out all the conflict that drives the film is in the first 15 minutes.  After the chef (Jon Favreau) loses his job, everyone and everything starts working in his favor.

  • Need a food truck?  His ex-wife gets her other ex-husband to provide one.  Takes him to Miami to get it. Appears to bankroll the enterprise, too. (Sure, that happens.)
  • Need help setting it up?  His former junior cook travels across the country — without pay — to help him get started. That sainted ex-wife even takes orders at one point.
  • Need to reconnect with your kid? The ex-wife — again, the most non-confrontational divorced couple in the history of movies and life, for that matter — lets an 11-year old kid work as a line cook on a food truck for the entire summer. Without checking in. Right.

I don’t want to give away the ending in case you plan to see it.  But let’s just say that, once the food truck is parked –

Nothing really happens then, either. Or if it does, they don’t show it.

Because conflict might wake you up out of your food coma.

 

I’ll alert the media

I passed this delivery truck in my neighborhood yesterday afternoon.  The service is new to me, but the name is a classic.

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Can it really be over 30 years now — 1981 in fact — since Dudley Moore burst onto the scene in the comedy classic Arthur, with Sir John Gielgud at his side as his loyal, oh-so-proper manservant Hobson?
arthur hobson

Even he might approve of the logo’s jaunty cap and just-so tie.

The driver of the delivery van was very young.  I couldn’t help but wonder — does he even understand the reference for the company name?

Perhaps he is more familiar with the cringeworthy 2011 movie version of Arthur where Helen Mirren portrayed  Hobson in a bit of gender-bending casting.  If so, he is probably confused by the logo. (Helen didn’t wear a hat.)

And thinks the movie was awful.

Young people.

 

 

 

Moving pictures

The trailer for Words & Pictures, starring Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen, makes it look like a light romantic comedy.

Makes you wonder if the marketing folks even watched the film.
words and pictures

The promo oversimplifies the story to its most basic elements: two teachers at a private high school clash on the relative importance of art and literature while falling in love.

Tragic.

Not the movie; it was lovely.  What is tragic is  everything the trailer leaves out.

I don’t expect it to reveal every detail  — I’d prefer it didn’t — but the love story in W&P is very specific to the two teachers’ ages, health issues, and work and family situations.  It’s complicated because their lives are more complicated, which makes it a more interesting and multi-layered story.

And it deserves a trailer that reflects that.

Oh well, I’m a happy camper — I got way more movie than I expected!

Bricked in

My sister and I are planning a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter later this year.

wizard world
Two childless women. Headed to an amusement park. I can’t wait.

Luckily, Universal Orlando welcomes people without children to their properties. Sure, the Harry Potter books were originally written for a young adult audience, but the franchise has an appeal that defies age.

I’m glad they recognize that.

Legoland is not quite as open-minded.

Travel Trip Legoland Florida

Only adults accompanied by a child are allowed in the Legoland locations during regular business hours. They do have occasional adults-only evening sessions, but the message is clear:

If you don’t have a child, you are guilty until proven innocent.

Is it so hard to believe that someone would want to visit Legoland to be inspired by the design?

Disappointing.

I’m a Veronica

I bought a ticket to see Heathers: The Musical in late March.

I finally got to use it tonight.
heathers the musical

Is it as dark as the movie? Definitely.

Is it funnier than the movie? Definitely.

Does its soundtrack feature some of the wildest lyrics I have heard on a stage to date?

Most definitely.  (We’re talking blue balls, ‘sword fighting’ — yes, you should take that in a dirty way — and a salute to ‘my dead gay son’ that rocks the house.

If you’re a fan of the movie, you will love it.  If you have never seen the movie — like my friend Beth, who joined me tonight — you will love it.  And if you love great parody…

You’ve probably already seen it.  Go again.  You deserve it!

 

 

Creature feature

I have a home office, and often keep the TV on for a little background noise in the apartment.

This afternoon I am working on the couch in front of the TV.  The sound is down low, so it’s more of a pleasant hum than a distraction.

But then this image filled the screen during a commercial break –

natalie portman black swan

Geez oh pete, HBO…don’t throw around the Black Swan willy-nilly.

That’s some seriously scary shit.

Spooky

My train to Boston was only ten minutes late today.

That’s an improvement of roughly four hours over last Friday.

But now that we are en route, I wonder if I should get off the train –

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It looks like a horror movie out there!

Don’t go in the woods…”