5 stars

my favorite movies / video

Aug 312013
 

Looper is sci fi in the tradition of Blade Runner, even sharing a dystopian future. [I also detect a bit of Witness and the Matrix.] Of course, time travel is almost always difficult to wrap one’s head around. This is the best such tale I’ve seen since the Butterfly Effect (which was actually more disturbing). Naturally, the pairing of Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is awesome, but the story itself is interesting and the dialog often clever. I can’t remember the last time Jeff Daniels seemed so good. Although there is plenty of gun violence (hey, this is America!) there are only a couple of scenes that were hard to take.

 Posted by at 6:02 pm on Sat 08/31/13
Mar 032013
 

This movie was charming and captivating. It’s a gentle comedy with a few actors we know through TV: Jake Johnson (playing the same character as Nick from New Girl), Aubrey Plaza (a sardonic beauty from Parks and Rec), and Mark Duplass, of the ubiquitous Duplass Brothers (including Jay) — they wrote and directed Jeff, who lives at home, another great comedy that makes you think. May the Duplass Brothers find ever expanding recognition for their talents. We weren’t sure what was going to happen down to the last scene.

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) – IMDb

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) – IMDb

 Posted by at 8:59 am on Sun 03/03/13
Feb 162013
 

We watched Jeff, Who Lives at Home (Netflix streaming). This is a surprisingly effective slow and quiet film that starts out being about a slacker and his mal-adjusted family, but it becomes something much more moving. Everyone in  the small ensemble is very good: Jason Segal (a favorite of ours), Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, and Rae Dawn Chong. I’m tempted to give it 5 stars — we talked about it a long time after — but it is almost too low-key for that.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011) – IMDb

Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011) – IMDb

 Posted by at 8:23 am on Sat 02/16/13
Nov 172012
 

$5 a Day (2008) – IMDb

For many of us, all we need to know about a movie is that Christopher Walken is in it. But then, we’ve all seen movies that even Walken couldn’t save. But this is no cameo: Walken is the star of the movie and in nearly every scene. I think it is much to the credit of Alessandro Nivola that he holds his own toe-to-toe with Walken. Sharon Stone was a very pleasant surprise and a far more interesting character than you may assume on first blush. I recommend this movie.

 Posted by at 4:23 pm on Sat 11/17/12
Sep 162012
 

Finished watching 12 Monkeys for the umpteenth time. What a fantastic movie — one of the best. Bruce Willis always brings some believability to a role. Here he is quite amazing. Even more amazing: Brad Pitt, who surely deserved an Oscar. Madeline Stowe is also very good in her role.

This movie manages a unique take on time travel and fate. Really wonderful. See it.

 Posted by at 9:01 pm on Sun 09/16/12
May 252012
 

Wow. Non-stop kung fu with half a dozen powerful figures in play. Quite amazing. Recommended to any martial arts fan. Best martial arts movie I’ve seen since Jade Warrior (4.7 stars) [Fri 04/08/11 at 10:47 pm]. Iron Monkey has much more action.

Iron Monkey (1993) – IMDb

Iron Monkey(1993)
Siu nin Wong Fei Hung ji: Tit Ma Lau (original title)

PG_13 90 min  -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  12 October 2001 (USA)

7.5

Ratings: 7.5/10 from 8,845 users  Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 117 user |95 critic |28 from Metacritic.com

A doctor fights the corrupt authorities as a masked Robin Hood hero, even while another martial artist/doctor is forced to hunt for him.

Director:

Woo-ping Yuen

Iron Monkey (1993) – IMDb

 Posted by at 10:47 pm on Fri 05/25/12
Feb 172012
 

I just started watching Breaking Bad on Netflix in the past few months. I started primarily because it is filmed in Albuquerque and elsewhere in New Mexico. I’ve loved the vistas and the sky more than any of the other details I’ve recognized, and I’ve wondered if someone who has never been here is as delighted with the beauty as we who live here are.

I almost stopped watching because the occasional violence is very strong. People die. Few are shot, too many are beaten to death. There is too much screaming and mad-dogging. It can be hard to watch. That’s the asterisk on this 5-star rating.

That said, I am more often stunned by the writing and the acting. I can’t do either justice. Some scenes are heart-wrenching and one can read thoughts on faces to a degree I can’t remember from another TV show. The two principals, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, are phenomenal; both have shown such depth. Almost everyone around them is great. Even the characters I hate.

Although making and dealing methamphetamines drive the plot, this show in no way glamorizes drugs. The desperate skeletal junkies should scare anyone away from meth (or heroin).

My comments come at the end of Season 2. The first season had only 7 episodes; Season 2 has 13. Twenty episodes aren’t very many. I’ve heard things get weirder or worse (very hard to imagine) in Season 4 (not yet on Netflix). Can good writing and acting compel one to watch the unwatchable? I’ll let you know.

 Posted by at 6:34 pm on Fri 02/17/12