… 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.


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 #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 – kirk douglas …

Last night I watched 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea…
Not knowing what to expect, I just sat back and let
it all flow in, and I was pleasantly surprised.

One thing I noticed right away… the film is not dated.
It really isn’t. It still works, and without all that
god awful too-loud-crashing music that insists on
accompanying so many of those late 50s/early 60s films.
I tried a few, and I was so distracted by their attempts
at evoking emotions, I had to shut it off.
Not so this film!

The next thing I noticed was that when Kirk Douglas is
on screen, you can’t take your eyes off him! He has
that Thing they talk about, like Dean, like Taylor, like
Brando, and your eye just can’t leave.
Yes, he’s a camera ham, and yes he finds more excuses to
take off his shirt, but still…he has IT.
Like James Mason’s Voice. When he Speaks, any one else
sounds like a whimper.

Oh, I want that 4-string parlor guitar he plays in the
famous “Whale of a Tale” song. It’s pure Art…gorgeous.
The song is cute when he sings it, throwing the guitar
around and flashing his famous grin, but then Disney takes
that song and bends it a thousand ways throughout the
entire film… a minor trend here, an atonal theme there,
so That perhaps is my only itch.

It was great to see Peter Lorre, although they could have
worked him a lot more, but in all, the Four men…
The Sailor, The Captain, The Scientist and The Sidekick,
were just Perfect foils to eachother.
And the Best of all? That Ship! that fantastic ship of
Steam Punk Dreams and Yellow Submarine Futures, completely
captures us, especially when entangled with the Giant
Squid, that animated silhouette staying with me from the
first time I saw it as a child, until tonight, when I
truly believed Seals are Indeed just Water Dogs!

As well, it is clear to me now that Kirk is the singular
reason for my life long infatuation with Sailor Boys.

… movie madness … again

oh, there are so many great films, and I am not easily pleased!

Watched two films last nite, both excellent.
Both with one of our more Promising Female Actors,
and both with excellent writing and editing.
SLIDING DOORS…  Gwyneth Paltrow, young and so promising.
Have you ever wondered how different your life would be, if you
just didn’t miss that train or that cab…. or if you took the train?
Alternate realities, side by side, at first disconcerting, and later
a smooth weave that intertwines and converges into sensibility.
A lovely film, with compelling dialogue, well written and witty in
that way that Brits have with wordplay.  The fellow played by
John Hannah is truly beyond witty, and with a Scottish accent that
adds so much charm to his sincerity, one can’t help but hope for
him to somehow reach the finish line.  Gwyneth is as always…
intelligent, winsome, sincere, candid and playfully herself.
BEST LAID PLANS…. completely and unexpectedly, this Most
original story line,  with twists and turns, holds you to the end.
Reese Witherspoon is her amazing self, and so early in her
 Well written and well played,
you will be drawn in and unable to leave until you
know what is the truth.
So tonite I am watching the last BB, getting ready for the release
of the last season, late November…
Weeds is coming, and there are other delights on the horizon.
be well, warm and happy………………..C

… movie madness 2013

Well, so much for good intentions, my friends, for still and again
my life seems too busy to rise early and write, which is my way…
It’s my birthday week, so there has been a certain abandonment
going on regards to food and drink and hours kept.
Oh well…. it’s all a phase, right?
I have seen a few excellent films of late…
***Code 46…. with Tim Robbins (love) and Samantha Morton (love),
in a futuristic love story. Soft blurred lighting, closeup characters,
a few twists, but all in all quite remarkable.
***Ondine…. with Colin Ferrell… (yum) , romantic but not sappy,
beautifully filmed in Ireland.
And it’s not a spoiler to tell you it has a happy ending,
which is refreshing in a thoughtful film.
***Kiss Kiss Bang Bang… with Robert Downey Jr…( I love him,
but he bugs some people…incredible talent is like that…)
and Val Kilmer… It’s a smart, Snappy Dialogue sort of ride.
They quite obviously had a great time making this.
Stay for the credits, cause there is a really lovely song over the
Titles, and I was sitting there wondering…… and Yes!….
he Wrote it and is Singing it.
He is one amazing guy…. did you see Chaplin?
Oh, and i’m watching Mad Men’s latest season… I like the
characters, and the costumes and sets from that era.
Enjoy your week.  and yes, I’ll be back, if only to say Hello!

…ryan gosling…movie madness

If you’ve kept up with me at all, then you know that I am a
movie buff.   I Love Good movies, and I love companions who
have great taste in film, and great actors…

With most people, when I mention Ryan, get this sort of puzzled
look on their face, doing their best to recall just What they’ve
seen him in.
And nicely enough, as the Universe dished up a lovely reunion
with a long time ‘friend’, I was also amazed to discover that Ryan is
His favorite actor as well….  a lovely cosmic meshing of minds.

The last few months, I have made sure to check out nearly every
film with Ryan Gosling in it, for I am now convinced that he is one
of the greatest actors ever.

Strangely enough, he started out as a Mouseketeer, and thrown
into the company with the likes of Brittney, Justin, Christina,
and others.
And it’s been my observation that most of these kids turned
actor/entertainer has been pretty messed up by the strange nuance
that Disney seems to hold over them.  But Ryan is different…

If you aren’t hip to him yet, might I suggest Two Films that show his
breadth…  my two favorites so far:
**DRIVE**  and  **LARS and the REAL GIRL**

It’s my bet you’ll be amazed, for he is the penultimate Actors’ Actor,
stretching from
…..steamy, convoluted loner, facing deep conflict with
his life choices, in an ever increasingly dangerous situation, to…
…a strange, sweet and introverted boy-man, living  in a fantasy world
that is conveyed so endearingly as to be tender and comedic.

After that, may I recommend:
The Believer (w Summer Phoenix) ….
Crazy Stupid Love (w Steve Carell)…
Blue Valentine (w Cindy Williams)…
and Fracture (w Anthony Hopkins).

In each, he bends himself to complete commitment to character,
and never fails to hold his own next to the Pros in the industry.

If by then you’re not convinced… well…you’re hopeless.