Category Archives: Movies

I’m no genius

I thought I had read Thomas Wolfe, but it turns out I haven’t.

That didn’t stop me from going to see the movie Genius, which details the publication of Wolfe’s first two novels,  and his relationship with his editor Max Perkins.

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Jude Law’s Wolfe is a loud, melodramatic Southerner, self-involved yet low in self-esteem.  Colin Firth as Perkins is his solid, steady opposite,  the voice of reason who, despite his better judgment, is drawn to Wolfe’s charm and bravado.

I expected the movie to focus on their editorial process,  and it does. But instead of passing any judgments on Wolfe as a writer,  it celebrates their relationship – –  more like a father and son than editor and writer.

Both of their families suffered at times from their single-mindedness, but no one more than Wolfe himself.

I now have Wolfe’s first book Look Homeward, Angel on hold at the library. I suppose I was charmed as well.

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No debate

I love a Craig Ferguson show, and his new series on History Channel, Join or Die, is no exception.

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Craig along with three celebrities from various walks of life debate different topics and, with the studio audience’s assistance, crown a champion. Recent topics have included greatest unexplained phenomena, greatest gangster, history’s dumbest mistake, you get the idea.

This week they tackled history’s best founding father. The panelists were actor Fred Willard, comedian Jo Koy, and journalist Joel Stein. The founding father choices? George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

Now, I don’t expect the panelists to do excessive research in preparation for the show, but the dismissive comments they made about John Adams’ contribution to the founding of this country made me realize…

They hadn’t even watched the movie or stage version of 1776.

Take away their citizenship. Right. Now.

George Washington won, by the way. Shocker.

A bird in the hand

I can accept the fact that The Angry Birds Movie won this weekend’s box office.

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Animated films have broader appeal and a wider audience. Plus, last week’s number one film and very close runner-up Captain America has been out for three weeks.

My beef with the Birds?

What took them so long?  This app used to be all the rage,  but Candy Crush and other games occupy the top spots now.  This movie is so late to the party,  there is no party anymore.

Obviously kids will still watch it,  but they — and their long-suffering parents — shouldn’t have to.

I am not an animal

The Lobster is the quintessential independent film.

Original. Absurd. Other-worldly.

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This world does not allow adults to be single. In fact, newly single people have 45 days to find a mate with similar characteristics as themselves, or they will be turned into animals and released into the forest.

Hey – they get to choose which animal, so that’s nice.

The people of this world appear unemotional, and speak with a deadpan delivery that would make any PBS station proud. Of course, there are always one or two folks who attempt to break the rules.

Their bad behavior is what drives this film, and you’ll be cheering for them, even as you shake your head in confused fascination.

Ya gotta laugh

Not finding much to your liking at the movie theater this weekend?  Might I recommend an unexpected comedy delight?

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My friend Char and I took Criminal on face value. Big name cast. Thriller premise. Should be okay at the very least, right?

In hindsight, I’m glad we didn’t read the lackluster reviews, or we might have missed the comedy event of the season!  Criminal is such an over-the-top ridiculous movie, with scenes of action and violence that build and morph into such grandiose gore, you can’t help but laugh aloud.

I mean, I kept a bored, straight face for the first 45 minutes. But once I allowed myself to laugh at the craziness on screen, the movie got better and better. And the rest of the audience seemed to enjoy it more, too.

If the producers had marketed the movie as a comedy, I think the reviews would have been better, too. And it might have explained why Kevin Costner’s character growled like an ape the entire film.

We’re talking whackadoodle, my friends.

Feed your head

I didn’t see Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska’s first Alice in Wonderland movie, and doubt that I will see the sequel, although its trailers are lighting up movie theaters all over the country.

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But my doubt has doubt…for two reasons.

First, the late, great Alan Rickman voices the Blue Caterpillar in Alice Through the Looking Glass, and the chance to listen to his dulcet tones is reason enough to endure the rest of the film.

Secondly, the trailer has “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane as its soundtrack, and I could listen to that on a loop as well.

In fact, let’s do that now. Together.

It delivers

More than a few critics included the thriller It Follows on their year’s best list…some saying it was one of the great scary films of all time.

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Even with that ringing endorsement,  I waited to watch the film until it was free on cable, and on early enough that I could shake off any creepiness long before bedtime.

Hey,  I live alone.

I like the fact that it began in the middle – –  no long exposition,  so you are spooked from the start.  There are plenty of reasons to jump and scream,  but no gore which I personally appreciate. And the movie doesn’t tie everything up with a bow at the end, which increases the spook factor.

Is it the scariest movie I have ever seen?  No.  But it’s a good ‘un.