Where the Wild Things Are

I feel like I've lost the need to write. It might be the current state of things but somehow I feel it's the films themselves that are leaving me so...blah. "Where the Wild Things Are" was neither here nor there. Honestly, I liked it...but I was far from loving it. The cinematography was lovely. Magic hour overuse? Perhaps. But hey, they don't call it magic for nothing. While I did love Max's real-life antics and his energy that leaps off the screen, I think in general go with the book on this one. The rumpus is a bit more endearing on paper.

What Just Happened

If you have any inclination to know what really goes on in Tinsel Town, "What Just Happened" is a good primer. It's not the most interesting, moving, engaging film but it certainly gives an accurate portrayal of life in Hollywood - specifically the life of a movie producer, played by Robert DeNiro. The film boasts an all-star cast as well as seasoned director in Barry Levinson, however it lacks the style and panache that make a story come to life. The blueprints are there, it just didn't get built with enough care.

Lady for a Day

What can I say? Frank Capra. The man was a damn good director. He might be best remembered for "It's a Wonderful Life" however the guy made some fantastic flicks besides that. Today's fun fact, Capra was born in 1897 in Sicily, Italy and he lived to 96 years old (thank you IMDB).

Moving on, "Lady for a Day" came out in 1933 and wow, things were different in Hollywood back then. What a sweet and funny film. I adore the sass in the writing and the bite in the delivery. Lines like: "if I had a choice of weapons for you Sir, I'd choose grammar". Come on! Writing today pales in comparison. In fact, there's barely a point in making a comparison. It's kind of embarrassing that we let Hollywood get away with what they shovel at us sometimes. "Lady for a Day" was nominated for 4 Oscars. It tells the somewhat rags to riches story of little peddler, Apple Annie who gets transformed into a woman of high society by a local NY gangster because he has a good heart. The storyline alone is worth watching but honestly, within about 20 minutes you're hooked. The writing and performances are just spot on. Capra's talent was soon showed off even more the next year with one of my personal favorites: "It Happened One Night" which ran away with 5 Oscar wins.

Honestly, moviemaking from the big guns of early Hollywood is stellar and well worth your time.

Year One

This film doesn't deserve a review. It's that bad.

Love in the Afternoon

"Love in the Afternoon" is a classic: Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper. Audrey plays a young cellist in Paris living with her private detective dad and Gary Cooper plays a billionaire playboy who steals the young gal's affections. Honestly, the movie was too long. I love old movies and I love Audrey but this one dragged. It's good with some wine on a rainy night but really, if you're in the mood for classic Audrey...rent "Charade" or "Roman Holiday". Aww l'amour. C'est magnifique!

The Proposal

Brainless. Funny. Good rental on a random Friday night. It's all I've got. Sorry readers, tough day.

Flirting with Disaster

Ahh, 1996. I have no recollection of "Flirting with Disaster" coming out into theaters. It's all for the best anyway, I don't think my college-freshman-self would have appreciated its hilarity. The film stars Ben Stiller (very pre-"Zoolander") as Mel - a man on a mission to find his birth-parents. The cast is stellar and the characters are completely absurd. There's a slow start but once the journey begins it's a fast roller coaster named Ridiculously Funny. The film is aptly named and worth a re-visit - or first time visit in my case.

Whip It

Drew Barrymore's directorial debut is a ruckus romp through roller derby in the great state of Texas. It stars Ellen Page as Bliss, a teenager full of her mother's pressures and lack of her own ambition. Everything changes when Bliss is introduced to the world of roller derby.

It's an understatement to say that there is star-power in this movie. There are lots of A-listers & almost A-listers who as an ensemble simply rock the film.

- Ali Shawkat (hello??? Maeby from "Arrested Development"???)
- Marcia Gay Harden (glorious in every role she is in - NAILS the role of Bliss' mom)
- Jimmy Fallon & Kristen Wigg (SNL staples)
- Juliette Lewis (are you kidding? perfect bad girl)
- Andrew Wilson (largely unknown but stellar Wilson Brother)
- Eve (yeah, the rapper...who's that girl...na na na na na na na na)
- Ari Graynor (this chick has something...everything I see her in, she's perfect at - well, except for the sister on "Fringe" - boo Ari, I think you should beg for another show...that one doesn't suit you)
- Daniel Stern (Marv from "Home Alone" - yeah, he's the perfect dad)
- Drew Barrymore (last but not least - she's a heavy hitter in this one - literally)

Anyway, go check it out. It's bound to make you cringe, smile, and wanna go out and skate...maybe knock over a couple people too - for fun. :)

See the trailer here...then go to the theater and as the coach says "go getcha some".

Away We Go

"Away We Go" is a sweet road trip tale of expecting parents Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolf). It follows their quest to find a new home for their family. Along the way director Sam Mendes introduces us to a plethora of family dynamics each full of remarkable and unremarkable characters. As the young couple wrestles with how their yet-to-be-tested parenting skills will pan out they are simultaneously being faced with past demons. I thought it was a quiet and surprisingly funny journey.

Paris 36

"Paris 36" is a reminder of "Moulin Rouge" and "Amelie" but not nearly as spectacular spectacular. It tells the story of an old music hall in Paris and the artists who tried to keep it afloat during the 1930s. It's desperately lacking pizazz, flair, and star quality. What it does have is gorgeous set design, costuming, and cinematography. Sadly though, it drags through the exposition until you are just ready for it to be over with - just like this review. C'est ca.

Rudo y Cursi

Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal star as brothers who play on rival soccer teams in Mexico. I'm sorry, do I really need to say any more? Fine then. I will. Directed & written by...Carlos Cuaron. Yes, that's Alfanso's brother. "Rudo y Cursi" is a rumpus affair full of brotherly love and family turmoil.
The trailer is here.

State of Play

Hello Readers! It has been a while. Let's just say I went from having no "spare" time to way too much time to spare in a very quick twist of fate. What does this mean for you? Movies. More of them and in greater frequency.

To start things off (albeit rather lamely), we have "State of Play". Based on a British mini-series from 2003, the film is a political thriller set in Washington DC. It chronicles the story of two Washington Globe writers, Cal & Della (played by Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams respectively) as they struggle to unravel a corporate conspiracy and a political scandal with Cal's old college roommate and current Congressman Stephen Collins (played by Ben Affleck).

Honestly, the movie isn't that great. I probably won't remember any of the plot by tomorrow morning. However, what "State of Play" does have going for it is a certain reflection upon a small slice of history. Newspapers are a dying endangered species. The film is quietly an homage to reporting and the power of the press. In its closing credits we follow the word on its journey all the way through print through delivery. It's sad and beautiful. Someday soon, it might all be over.