Tag Archives: reviews

Something’s afoot

You know Sherlock Holmes from novels, television and film.

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Mr. Holmes gives us the man behind the myth — the real detective that was fictionalized some 30 years after his last case.

This Holmes is 93 years old, frail and in the early stages of what appears to be Alzheimers. Aware that his memory is fading, he returns to his country home (and his bees) to attempt to piece together the forgotten details of his final case — a failure that made him leave sleuthing for good.

But why can’t he remember that mistake?

Ian McKellen is wonderful in the title role…more human and less ticky than his predecessors, although just as brutally honest. Laura Linney’s accent comes and goes as the dour housekeeper, but Milo Parker is winning as her son Roger, who helps Holmes care for his bees and ultimately find his past.

There’s even a little something for fans of Young Sherlock Holmes, which I am…so I left the theater happy.

When Wallace Met Chandry

It’s no accident that the movie poster for What If places good friends Wallace and Chandry at a diner.

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The film is clearly trying to be the When Harry Met Sally for this generation…and does a decent job.

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan are quirky and appealing, their friendship believable,  their banter quick and smart.

She has a boyfriend (who made me laugh), and Daniel has emotional baggage — plus best friend Adam Driver of Girls who has huge energy…and is huge standing next to Daniel (which is pretty funny right there).

This is a rom-com, so there are misunderstandings, yearning, romantic postcards (in this day and age), implusive international flights, fist fights, and at least two weddings — babies, too.

What if that stuff still worked in films?

You know — it kinda does.

Star gazing

This morning was grey and rainy, so I decided to go see Guardians of the Galaxy.

Guardians-of-the-GalaxyI didn’t think the trailer looked that interesting, but all the critics were singing its praises…and a few friends who attended the first showings loved it, too.

So, off I went.

If you love Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreation and have been on the fence, go see it.  This is a superhero film infused with his trademark sense of humor.

Bradley Cooper is also hilarious as the voice of the raccoon.  And the talking tree, who can only speak four words, will become a favorite.

I have to admit, though, one of the most gut-wrenching movie moments in the theater today was seeing the trailer for Interstellar for the first time.

Wow.

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.

Do what you love

Casting directors and agents in New York City often advise wannabe actors to create their own projects.

That way, they can do the kind of work that they want to be doing.

fading gigoloJust ask John Turturro.

He wrote, directed and stars in Fading Gigolo, the story of a guy with money problems who, with the encouragement and salesmanship of a good friend — portrayed by Woody Allen — finds himself the hired lover of a group of lonely middle-aged women.

It’s a great cast:  Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Liev Schreiber, and in a star-making turn, Vanessa Paradis (better known as Johnny Depp’s long-time-but-not-so-much-anymore girlfriend).

The movie was very funny at times, and at other times, very serious and soulful.  The changes in pacing and tone were unexpected and unexplained.  I felt like I was watching two movies that didn’t quite gel, and there were jokes that flew over my goyish head that cracked up the rest of the art house crowd.

That being said, I enjoyed the individual performances and getting glimpses of my Upper West Side businesses and doorways in this very New York City film.

Happy accident

I had tickets to see Buyer and Cellar starring Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie earlier this month, but work intervened and I missed the performance.

The Barrow Theatre allows make ups, so I went today…but it turns out Urie left the show 10 days ago. That might have been a bummer except…

Christopher J. Hanke is the new lead.

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I first saw Hanke in a supporting role in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. Even as the lead rotated between Daniel Radcliffe, Darren Criss and Nick Jonas, Hanke’s strong physical comedy differentiated him from the ensemble.

Buyer and Cellar is essentially a monologue, and Hanke owns the stage from start to finish. His characterizations of
Barbra Streisand are spot on, as are his choices for when to involve the audience (and when to ignore their rudeness).

I am so happy life delayed my attendance!

Montauk: Day Two

After a beautiful early walk on the beach, Lou, Rory and I spent the balance of the morning exploring Montauk.

TikiMontauk2013This guy — who we think is Chief Montauk himself — guards the southwest corner of a downtown apartment complex…but he didn’t seem to mind our posing.

Well, I was posing. (Rory appears a bit distracted.)

Several of the shops were closed for the season, but we did do some extremely low-key Black Friday shopping.

No pushing. No shoving. No injuries.

Then we spent the afternoon in East Hampton, about 15 minutes ‘up island.’

(That means west.)
RowdyHallEastHampton2013Rowdy Hall was packed when we arrived, so we chatted up two locals at the bar and got all kinds of tips on other restaurants to try during our stay.

After a great lunch, we headed to the movie theatre down the street and saw Philomena starring Steve Coogan and Judi Dench. Since I am on vacation, I will keep my review short and sweet:

Heartfelt. Brilliant. A must see!

Flowers…or weeds?

I have read some books over and over. Other books?

I wish I’d never cracked the cover.

flowers in the attic bookCase in point — Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.

This book was published way back in 1979 — when I was young and impressionable — and its harrowing tale of child abandonment, abuse, and eventual incest between siblings imprisoned in an attic for other two years made me nauseous.

(An attic?  Let’s add claustrophobia to the mix as well.)

Flowers in the Attic was the first in a five-book series by Andrews, but I couldn’t stomach reading anymore.  And in 1987, the original book was made into a movie.  I’ll admit I watched it; I just had to see if it was going to ‘go there’…and luckily it didn’t.

Well, that luck has run out.

A new Lifetime movie adaptation is scheduled to air in January, and they have promised to be faithful to the book.

Luckily, I’ll be busy watching Downton Abbey.

Gotta love those Brits

Charming.

That’s the only way to describe About Time, the new movie from writer/director Richard Curtis, who has brought us such classics as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill.

about time movieEveryone in the film is charming — even the folks who are grouchy (because they are grouchy in that funny, British way).

The homes and flats are charming. The ‘meet cutes?’ Charming. And the time travel conceit is treated with a light hand…not the gloom and doom that you might remember — and star Rachel McAdams had to endure — in The Time Travelers Wife.

Plus, Rachel and Domhnall Gleeson are the cutest couple on the entire planet.

That’s not to say About Time is all English Breakfast tea and crumpets.  Curtis definitely has a strong message to share about love and life  —

But he’s just so charming about it.

Shipshape

I saw All is Lost starring Robert Redford yesterday.

I’m still thinking about it.

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Our Man (as Redford’s character is credited) is forced to face his mortality when his yacht is damaged by a random shipping crate adrift in the ocean.

I couldn’t help thinking how I would handle the same situation.

I wouldn’t tackle the problem with such silent determination. Although alone, I would curse and shout and cry out in frustration.

I also probably wouldn’t be as patient and thoughtful…or nearly as inventive.

I hope I would show one-tenth of his courage.

Critics call this Redford’s best performance; I agree. And I applaud the writer and director on the ending…

…which you are not getting out of me here. No sirree.