Tag Archives: reviews

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.

all-is-lost-poster1

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.

Heavy

I rushed to the theatre to see the movie Gravity for two reasons:

  1. the terrifying space collision that we get a tantalizing glimpse of in the movie trailer; and
  2. Sandra Bullock’s performance, which has received rave reviews and early Oscar buzz.

The views of space are breathtaking, and the accident that drives the plot drains whatever air remains in your lungs.  I saw the movie in 3D, and its use is at once seamless and highly effective.

gravity posterGeorge Clooney is his usual playful self in his scenes with Bullock, but I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say she appears alone onscreen for a majority of the movie.

Tom Hanks goes solo on an island in Castaway, and Robert Redford on a crippled yacht in the upcoming All is Lost, so it’s about time an actress — especially one of Bullock’s caliber — gives it a try.

But while Bullock’s Dr. Stone is well-acted — and I was on the edge of my seat time and time again — I left the movie feeling very little emotional connection to her character.  I just expected…more.

Let me know what you think.

Rush out and see this

I’ve never watched Formula One Grand Prix racing, so I wondered if I could love the film RUSH as much as the critics.

Never doubt Ron Howard.

RUSHHis retelling of the 1976 rivalry between racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda simultaneously celebrates the sport and rises about it.

Yes, there is amazing driving footage, and Howard chronicles the races and locations of their real-life points race.  But the differences between these two men — in looks, personality and approach to the sport — and their very complex relationship is the most compelling part of this movie.

And when you see photos of the actual Hunter and Lauda —

Real RUSHYou realize what a tremendous job casting director Nina Gold has done.

Wave the checkered flag, people.

Keep it in the family

I don’t like Mafia movies. I blame a college professor who made my film class analyze The Godfather for six weeks.

Six. Weeks.

But I was intrigued by trailers for The Family, a comedy about one such family in witness protection in France, starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer.  So this morning I bought a cheap ticket and took a peek.

The-Family-2013-Movie-Poster1I enjoyed the view.

The Family is a black comedy — lots of laughs, but an equal dose of violence and blood. As weird as this may sound, I was happy to see the women of the family were just as tough — if not tougher — than the men.

Word of warning:  Don’t leave a tennis racket within reach of the daughter (played by Glee‘s Dianna Agron).

And a star is born in young John D’Leo, who plays the son Warren.  I’ve never seen him in anything before, but now I’m pretty sure he’ll be everywhere.

Or the ‘family’ will have something to say about it…

A weekend in the country

Oh, Austenland — I wanted to love you.

austenlandYou had it all.

A costume drama dressed up as romcom. Subject matter I enjoy ever so much. And a cast with the chops to make movie magic.  So what went wrong?

I blame the director.

The premise was great fun — a Jane Austen addict on a total immersion vacation — and it’s not like everything missed the mark.  But some of the actors were doing slapstick and others were letting the humor happen more naturally.

And in the same scenes, that difference was rather jarring.

austenland martin nobelyI did develop a crush or two — on JJ Feild, who portrayed Mr. Henry Nobely (right), and Bret McKenzie as the estate worker Martin (and who you may recognize from Flight of the Conchords).

So, while the movie did not win my heart like a Sense and Sensibility or Pride and Prejudice, the men did.

Time well spent.