Category Archives: Movie

All Movie Posts, regardless of Year

Dunkirk

It was supposed to be a slam ‘dunk’ but I’m more ‘irk’ed!

History has one spectacular story. Writer/Director Christopher Nolan gums it up by knitting three together like a loosely woven afghan throw with holes everywhere. Give me Occam’s Razor and CUT! That is, if there are many ways to explain something, the simplest one is usually better. “Dunkirk” is not that.

Yes, I see the inspiration of Winston Churchill’s policy speech,
“… It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air …” Continue reading Dunkirk

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The Darkest Hour

The last day of the year was spent like January 1, 2017: in a movie theater. This time the topic was Winston Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister of Great Britain, a most worthy subject.

Mr. Churchill is quite a character who overcame much and showed leadership at a critical time despite lapses of cooperation and strong opposition (not just from Hitler). Those aspects are captured without moving outside its knitting into typical Hollywood fare (unnecessary explosions, chases, etc.). I appreciated that. Continue reading The Darkest Hour

The Help (2011)

Watching “The Help” for a second time was well worth the hours. I’m usually captivated by historical perspectives and stories about writers. This film covered the former fine, but did not adequately characterize the efforts and angst of the author for my taste; that’s okay, it was about “The Help.” For a movie with excellent coverage of the author,  see “Genius.

The acting was good on all sides, including featured roles for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, seen on the 2017 big screen in  “Fences” and “Hidden Figures,” respectively.

Would the book be better than the movie for this story? Perhaps I should read Kathryn Stockett’s novel.

 

 

Trapped (2002)

“Trapped” (2002) arrived via the way-back machine, but why not a suspense thriller featuring Charlize Theron? (See her in 2005’s “North Country.”) Dakota Fanning’s acting was awesome at just eight years old.

The cast built drama and character across three well-directed settings that meshed. Unfortunately, when they all came together the film fell apart. It resorted to chases, crashes, stunts, pyrotechnics, and more “art” Hollywood often can’t resist injecting in a good story.

 

The Homesman (2014)

I began skeptical that Tommy Lee Jones produced, directed, and acted this movie only because he needed work late in his career, and doubtful that any Western could still be likeable.

I finished with an appreciation for all the acting, for Hillary Swank’s strong character, and knowing that Jones remains active in Bourne and others. A good cast was assembled, and the story made this film worth my time.

Carol

“Carol” is a 2015 movie with little more to offer than the enticement of Rooney Mara with Cate Blanchett. I’m not saying it was bad, but … it … was … a … long … two … hours!

Cate is a star with stature and two Oscar statues. Rooney’s portrayal of a confused young 1950s woman seemed to conflate Audrey Tautou’s “Amélie”  with Audrey Hepburn’s “Sabrina,” taking looks from each minus their charm. See “more-a” the real Ms. Mara in 2016’s Lion instead.

Mao’s Last Dancer (2009)

“Mao’s Last Dancer” is based on a true story pitting life in Communist China versus life in the United States for the favor of a talented young ballet dancer. Its genesis is the autobiography of Li Cunxin, centered around 1980.

It succeeds as a rags-to-riches story, a love story, a tale of intrigue, a history lesson, a coming-of-age concern, a family affair, a treatise on trust, a stage for the arts, and more. There is something for everyone in this film.