… movie madness #66 …

What a film….. what a Film!  I’m emphatically in love with this film,
this man, this depiction of an astounding era in our history.

TRUMBO was/is a Man of the first degree, and the same name
graces the film that has captured my heart… at least for the
moment… yes, i admit to being just a bit fickle.

See it… embrace it… absorb it… stick with it, for it will not
disappoint you, nor leave you wondering why…
Blacklisted in the fifties, a brilliant career destroyed, and his
family nearly so, he truly rises as the Phoenix that he was.

Hedda Hopper…. I had No idea what a complete power mongering
bitch she was.. and Helen Mirren does her justice.  John Goodman!
some fellow playing Kirk Douglas who sparkles…..  Elle Fanning …
another bright sparkler….. Diane Lane as wife eternal….. and
Bryan Cranston as the Man.

I got it because of him, but this entire film took me on the
EE Ticket ride and at the finish, I felt as though someone handed me
a cotton candy and a big red balloon.
Just SEE IT!

… movie madness 777 …

“The Life Before Her Eyes”  … what a puzzlement.
And Who doesn’t like a well crafted puzzle?

Starring Evan Rachael Wood and Uma Thurman, this film
had me spaced and yes, puzzled for a time.  Evan, who is
curiously mesmerizing in her own right, pairs with Eva Amurri
(Sarandan’s eyes) as her High School bestie, as they endure
and process a mass High School shooting.   Yet!  ….
This is Not what this film is truly about.
It takes you on a psychological journey through time and
space within the reality of a woman… past, present and future.
And it’s up to You to decide what is which, and who is who.
No cuteness or trickery here…. Largely Dreamlike, visually with
carefully crafted lighting and expert editing…. it’s one of those
…had to watch it twice… realities…..And yes, I finally Got it.

P..S.. (and notice it’s a Capital P.S.)….  UMA delivers The BEST
Performance of her career, for Me at least.  I admit having
limited her scope of acting by my judgement of same, and
This Film allows her to show her Depths, her Potential,
if given the right script and Director.

… movie madness # 483

movie madness  #483…
“Sensation of Sight” with David Strathairn.
Perhaps you remember David from his portrayal of Edward R Murrow
in Goodnight and Good Luck, in which he was sensational. This Indy
actor delivers such subtle clues as to his characters, and he triumphs
in this hauntingly touching film.
Achingly slow, deeply nuanced, and artfully minimalistic, characters
and moments are carefully shared, like puzzle pieces, until at last they begin to fall into place, interwoven in life’s dance.
The slow, often still camera work adds to the depth and pace of the story,
each a seeming painting of light and line.

This is one of those ‘must watch again’ films, a visual feast of faces and
places, a heartful and tender film filled with honesty, and inspiration..

… movie madness 222 …

Ever feel like good films come in bunches? Like you just struck
some golden vein in the ethers… Last night was one of those.
First of all, I watched 30 minutes of The Lost World (Jurassic),
and could watch no more. Stupid, boring, no point, made me Mad.
Sorry Jeff and sorry Julianne. Awful.
Next was a sleeper… “A Home at the End of the World”.
It’s a 70s-80s look at freer times, when folks were more open,
less judgemental, and somehow the world was more grok-able.
It’s a 2004 release I never heard of, but well worth checking out…
Stellar cast of Robin Wright (Penn then) and Colin Farrell. They
are both quite young seeming, and along with their 3rd wheel
friend Dallas Roberts, and Sissy Spacek (playing herself as always),
it’s a delightful ensemble.
You’ll enjoy remembering sweeter times, yet this is never sappy….
it’s savvy and character driven. Quirky, risky, Sexy, and unique.
Very Indie.

NEXT!! Do you like Russell Crowe? Sometimes, right? Well This
one is one of his best, largely because the story is Excellent. It twists
and turns, keeping you wondering right to the end. Not particularly violent, yet the intensity and plot meanderings are craftsfully
Edited, and your brain gets a good workout all the way through.
His wife is convicted of murder, and he brilliantly does what he
must…. “The Next Three Days” when you’re in the mood for smart excitement. They call it a Pulse pounding, white knuckle Thriller, a
bit dramatic (ya think?) but stars Elizabeth Banks and Olivia Wilde
provide the necessary beauty and balance.

…the hero…

Ayn Rand is not someone I was familiar with.
I had heard of her of course.  And I was aware that
her writing was important.
But I never read anything of hers.

“The Passion of Ayn Rand”, brilliantly played by Helen Mirren,
convinced me that I need to start reading, especially since
a core in her writings refers directly to the heroic character
that plays the lead in my book.

“Are you happy?” she asked in the film.
“You’re a heroic being.
It is the moral purpose of your life.
And the man must have the woman who reflects
his deepest vision of himself,
and in her surrender is his deepest happiness…”
“and the woman?” asked her friend.
“…the woman must worship the hero.”

I remember so many years ago, when I’d first known him…
I asked him that very question…
“What do you want?”
“To be happy.”
“What makes you happy?”
“I don’t know”…but still, his soul knew that was his purpose.
And I knew my purpose for him when, without a thought,
I asked   …”How’s your spiritual life?”

Love for me has always only felt right with surrender.
And the ultimate high is complete surrender.
How her words struck home.

“I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient,
consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.” said Carrie …

I was dealing with a genius with such high ideals, vast education,
and with the physical prowess and unique gifts to accomplish
whatever it was he came here for.  And he knew it.

He knew he had a bigger purpose, and deeply desired to fulfill it.
The feeling that I was there to be the One who really Saw him,
perhaps the first one… and that by my presence I might encourage
and affect the course of this truly heroic being …

A purpose beyond me, bigger than me.
Failure never entered my mind, really.
I knew it was bigger than the two.
It was something beyond, that had to be acted out,
in order for some larger picture to coalesce.

There was no doubt.  The compelling conviction lingered
much too long to be anything less than something beyond us.

I still don’t know what the effect or purpose was and is,
but I think for now it just can’t be known.
Something shifted, something altered.
But we are not perfect, and our actions were not always perfect…
or perhaps…
Perhaps they were, and it’s just that we can’t see it yet.

Some heroic dance being enacted, imparting a feeling of
eternity for both, a role being played out greater than either,
something beyond the day, the moment,
beyond the persons themselves.

This was and is the conviction of some sort of
ultimate truth between us.

My fulfillment was the part I was playing in bringing out and
seeing clearly his heroic dreams, his path of righteousness,
the pieces in him that were the truth,
the best elements of his very core.

Holding him to the course the true north, embodying that,
as in the Poem he sent to me; this challenged me to a new
height of My truth.

My search for something larger than myself was just that… holding
to that north that was his vision, what he’d been trained for, born for.

And I found two quotes from Ayn that speak to me…

“What is the nature of Love?
Love is a command to rise to one’s highest potential.
The best and noblest vision of ourselves.
Love is a reward.  The greatest we can earn.
Granted to us for the moral quality we have achieved in our lives. ”

“My philosophy in essence is the concept of man as a heroic being,
with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life,
with productive achievement as his noblest activity,
and reason as his only absolute.”

……….Ayn Rand

I’m still working on all of it.




Loving Indy films, I figured I’d once again trust the ole intuition,
and give this one a try.  NEBRASKA…….Highly Recommended!

Bruce Dern plays an older, slightly demented fellow who believes
it when he gets the subscription teaser that tells him he’s won
a million.  He’s so obsessed, he just starts walking to the big
city to cash in.  His son keeps picking him up, til finally he figures
he’ll just take him there, and settle the whole thing, which has by
this time, become a gigantic family issue.

The Mom is on the war path, the rest of the family is somewhat
strange in their own special ways, and in all it’s a slow ride into
middle American, and human idiosyncrasies.

Fun, funny, tender, and quite real, I enjoyed it immensely, and
came away with new admiration for Dern, and the director
Alexander Payne.  Seems this film got lots of awards, including
Best Actor for Bruce at Cannes.  If you enjoy Indies, don’t miss it.


This is a film you should See… it has every element necessary for a
film to be More than good, and worth the time invested.

The cast is stellar… Forest Witaker, Oprah, Vanessa Redgrave, on and
on the list would go.  The Story is Epic, chronicling the period of
violence and chaos that accompanied the Civil Rights Movement. 
It is true to history, and shows the complexity through it’s characters,
as well as some footage from the time itself.

The story is real, centering around a man who Butlered in the White
House through not only 50 years of historical times, but closely with
Eight Presidents.
By involving us in the lives of the characters who people the story, you
are able to clearly see them as stepping stones to where we are now,
as history gives each their changing perspective.

The cast includes many surprises, especially when Ike is played by
Robin Williams (subtle),  John Cusak plays Nixon  (excellent),
and Witaker works with Lenny Kravetz, Cuba Gooding, and Terrance Howard.

Throughout the backs and forths of leadership,  he remains true to
himself, always elegant and glad to be of service, in the most refined
way.  He is described as a combination of Henry Fonda and Colin Powell.
Oddly, we never see several of the Presidents, but Kennedy has a large
part in the changes that accelerated during his term, and is well played.
When Obama is elected, we are able to deeply feel the impact
of the moment.

Director Lee Daniels shows brilliance in his casting choices and his
clear ability to draw the best from each actor.
Highly recommended as Art, and as a brush up on the changes
we lived through.


Movie Madness #80 … GRAVITY

I seldom write reviews of films I don’t love, but here I will make
an exception.

I not only did not Love this film…. I strongly Disliked it, and
might I suggest a new Title, perhaps ANXIETY in SPACE…?

If you want to stay nauseous and confused for an hour and a half,
sitting on the edge of your sweaty mattress and wondering if it’s
ever going to change, or go Anywhere, well this film is for you.

It Never Changes!  Sandra is basically Alone for very nearly the
entire film, goes from one crisis to the next, with never a moment 
for reflection, peace, or even conversation.

Spinning in space, flying disoriented in space, panicking in space, crashing into things and bouncing off in space, freaking out in space, thinking she’s going to Die in space, thinking she’d rather be Dead
in space, calling out for Anyone in space, fighting Fires in space, wondering why the Hell she was…in space.   
You get the idea.

I stayed through the whole bloody thing, thinking it would go
somewhere, change, resolve, do something different, but all
to no avail. 
I have never held the fantasy of being an astronaut, but this one
leaves no doubt.
I was exhausted in space.

I love Sandra, but….Don’t even bother….


MOVIE MADNESS #79 … The Place Beyond the Pines

ryan gosling

HEY, saw a really good one last night…
The Place Beyond the Pines…

Ryan Gosling is his dynamic self, so very much the new Steve McQueen, with his Daredevil motorcycle physicality, and that ice
blue Cool thing he’s got.  He’s great at playing dangerous volcanic types, living double lives and wrought with inner conflict.
If you liked  DRIVE,  you’ll love this one.

He’s only in the first half or less… and I was sad when I realized…
I am a big fan, and have made a point to see all of his films.
But then Bradley Cooper takes center stage, and the film continues
so smoothly, I found myself engrossed and didn’t mind….
Gosling’s presence lingers, with such a strong and intense impression left from his time on camera.

Dealing with the inevitable connections between fathers and sons,
in this film the generational aspects come to play in surprising ways,
and original twists.

Very well written, with some amazing young actors, (Emory Cohen, who was so very Brando, was my favorite;  and Dane Dehaan is so very Benicio del Toro dark), and I hope to see more of them…

It is one of those films that holds you til the end.
Excellent direction, writing and editing, with flowing and concise timing, and not one weak link.


Movie Madness # 78 … Soldier’s Girl

OK… I love film.  That likely doesn’t come as a surprise to any of you who are familiar with me, or my blog.  LOVE.
Once in a while a film comes along that I can say without hesitation…. Don’t Miss This ONE!
SOLDIER’S GIRL came as a complete and astonishing surprise to me.  I had caught a fellow in a film I enjoyed, and decided to see more of him.  Researching, I discovered his heritage, being the child of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, back in her activist days.
She may regret that phase, as she has the ones that came before, (like Barbarella, which she Hates, and which I LOVE), but I bet she doesn’t regret what ushered forth from that union.

Troy Garity is tops on my list right now as not only a Hottie,
not only an incredible and versatile talent, but obviously intelligent and going places.

SOLDIER’S GIRL is impressive right from the start.  It’s theme revolves around the contrast between a soldier’s life in Basic, and the girl he falls in love with,  a gorgeous transsexual with such seductive senses as to bring this boy to his own undoing.

She is brilliantly played with breathtaking dancing and charm,
as well as a ton of worldly wisdom.  He is an open book, and falls completely in love, with little thought or experience of what this really means.
Tasteful, without leaving out anything, tender and provocative without any touch of sensational, this leaps into your heart,
carries you along with them, and then down the inevitable path
that society presents.
This is a true story, a Love story, one of recent history, and if you see the Netflix version you can also enjoy commentaries and background that lend
even more depth to the film.

This is a dangerous subject that, with lesser Director or Stars,
could end up questionable, or worse…. tacky.  But only truth
stares you in the face, as you are swept along on this journey.

This is one of those Perfect Films.  Don’t miss it!