Monday, February 28, 2011

Just a quick note

to thank all of you who have been supporting me in my new movie review venture.  I am having a whole lot of fun with this.  Right now I am working on viewing a new (to me) television series and a BBC mini-series.  What was I  thinking when I started both at the same time?  You will hear about both when I get through with them.

Be sure to enter the contest for the gift certificate!

Thanks again.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Proposal.....................Finally


Yeah, I know.  You've already seen it.  Unless you are like me.  I am so busy watching stuff nobody has ever heard of, so by the time I get around to the ones everyone is watching it is old news.  But on the off chance you haven't seen it, here we go.

This is the perfect movie for one of those night where you really don't feel like thinking about anything.  It's fluff but enjoyable fluff.  Margaret Tate is so busy building her career in a large publishing company that she forgets to take care of those little things, like her visa (It's fluff people just roll with it).  Then she comes up with the perfect solution!  If she forces her assistant to marry her, everything will work out just fine.  Apparently these characters have never seen the movie
Green Card but what the heck.  

HEY WAIT!!  Look!  The posters aren't even that different.  Hmmmmm..........  So while the characters may not have seen Green Card the folks who made the movie, almost certainly have.  

Now back to business.  Attractive guy, attractive girl, comedic relationship tension, and Betty White.  All you need is a ginormous Coke and an even more ginormous bowl of ranch popcorn (air pop the corn, coat with melted butter, sprinkle with Hidden Valley Ranch powdered Salad Dressing mix.  You won't regret it.) and you are good to go!

Things to know before viewing

1) Betty White is a hoot but you knew that.  Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson are also along for the ride.

2) I like Ryan Reynolds' character very much but I'm not quite certain what all the brouhaha is about him.  He's cute but he's not THAT cute.

3)You can't not like Sandra Bullock.  

What about the kids?

My kids watched it but it is PG-13 and there are some sexual references.

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on DVD and Blue-ray

3 1/2 Stars- "Liked It" (plus)

I think I need to go re-watch Green Card.  I have referenced it two or three time in the last couple days.     

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Harry and Tonto..............Catman

Harry and Tonto

A road trip film with old people.  I think I am in love.  Seriously, this is a good movie.  Harry is on old man that has lived his entire life in New York City.  When his apartment building is torn down, he sees the end of life as he knew it.  Instead of giving up, in a round about sort of way, he decides to embrace it and reinvent his life.

Art Carney, who plays Harry, did win an Academy Award for this performance so you might think I should have heard of this film before.  It was, however, in 1974.  I was six at the time and it somehow escaped my attention. (I do however remember the Barbie house with an elevator I got for my birthday that year.) The supporting cast is terrific and some familiar faces show up along the way including Ellen Burstyn and Larry Hagman though nobody shoots him here and there is no genie involved.

Now, I must tell of my favorite thing about this film.  The open scene.  It shows old people going about their business.  Shopping, walking, sitting on benches.  And here is the kicker, they look old.  They look old like my grandparents looked old.  They had gray hair, buns on their head, side burns, and hats.  I hadn't realized how much I missed this and it made me sigh inside.  I went back and watched it twice I liked it so much.  Now mind you, I don't plan to look like that in 30 years but it sure did bring me back.

Things to know before viewing

1) Art Carney deserved that Oscar.  You won't be scratching your head and thinking "Really? For this?"

2) Unlike some other films from the 1970s that have become caricatures of themselves, this one holds up. It feel like a slice out of time in a good way.

3) All points Kleenex alert.

What about the kids?

I'm going to say no.  Even though I am not certain it would receive and R today, there is a scene with a hooker, one very brief shot of a topless female,  and fair amount of sex talk.  It was the 70's after all.

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on DVD

4 1/2 Stars- "Really Liked It" (plus)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Give Away- Netflix Gift Card

In my hand I hold a Netflix gift card valued at $14.99!!! And it can be yours, all yours. Those sweet, red envelopes can appear in your mailbox for FREE.  Who doesn't love free?

"How do I enter?" you inquire.  Well, I am glad you asked.  Turns out you can enter multiple times.  Stay with me here.

1) Comment on this post.  Tell me the movie you have seen most recently.  (entry #1)

2) Follow this blog.  After you do the deed, post a comment that says you are a follower.  Feel free to use your own words on that since being a follower is so passe.  As long as I know what you mean, we are good.  (entry #2)

3) Like me on Facebook. Yeah, it looks totally lame but I am working on that.  The up side is you get to see the ugly couch I use for viewing.  Ugly but comfy.  Post a comment after you have done the deed. (entry #3)

4) Post a link to one of my reviews (or even my give away post) on Facebook.  Let me know you did it in another comment.  (entry #4)

5) Post a link to one of my reviews (or even my give away post) on every blog, website, or forum you have access to.  Adding it to you signature is acceptable.  Post a comment here each time telling me where you posted.  (entry #5 through entry # you decide)

Please note each entry needs its own comment or it only counts as one entry.

Comments will close at 10pm on Tuesday, March 8th.  The winner will be chosen randomly and announced the following day.    The gift certificate code will be emailed to the winner ASAP.  

And now, without any further ado.....................

Let the games begin.

P.S. for Susan and anyone else who is wondering, this gift certificate can be used to pay down your Netflix bill so it is totally cool if you already belong there.

P.P.S for Thea and anyone else who is wondering, the phrase "Like me on Facebook" is a link.  Click it, then click like.  Wa la.  (Is that how you spell that?) (I was just informed by a good friend it is VoilĂ .  I am going to keep there though cause I think my error is funny)

P.P.P.S if you already "liked" or "followed" me, posting that you have done so is acceptable.

Give Away is now closed.  I will have the drawing tomorrow and will post the results.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Italian for Beginners..............Ciao!

Italian for Beginners

So, given this film's name and the fact that the picture (ignoring the legs) is of Venice, I sat down to watch this movie fully expecting the lilting tones of Italian. I was looking forward to it really.  One minute in and I had to pause.  This was certainly not Italian.  Was it German?  Nope.  Save yourself the trouble of a Google.  It's Danish.  The film is set in a sleepy town in Denmark. And most of the Italian that is spoken, is spoken by, brace yourself, beginners so nothing lilting there either.  Alright, now that that is out of the way, onward and upward.

At the start, I thought this was going to echo Robert Altman as there is a large cast of characters whose lives seemed to touch each other tangentially.  Luckily for me, I was wrong on that count, as I am not really an Altman fan.  In this case, seven lonely people connect in an Italian community course and in the end, find that they are a little less lonely.  It's a pretty slow mover but the characters are folks that you wouldn't mind knowing and there is a big enough emotional pay off at the end to make it worth your while.

Things to know before viewing

1) I think I like the pastor character best.  If you watch, or already have, post who you like best in the comments.

2) There are several scenes in a bakery that really made me want some pastry.

3) This is one of those films that has a hand held camera.  It was kind of annoying in a couple of scenes but I got over it.

What about the kids?

It is rated R and rightly so.  This one is for grown-ups.  As a side note, it really isn't fun to watch a movies with subtitles when you have to read them all aloud anyway.

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on DVD

3 1/2 Stars- "Liked It"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Better Off Ted................Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Better Off Ted

Two seasons of hysterical, laugh out loud, goodness.  This is the funniest television show since EVER.  When the family and I watch it, we sometimes have to pause and rewind to hear because we are laughing so hard. We even laugh that hard on second viewings!

Ted is middle management in the research and development department of a company called Veridian Dynamics.  Veridian Dynamics is the epitome of all that is wrong in corporate America.  Linda is the employee/love interest, Veronica is the maniacal boss,  and the team of Lem and Phil are the scientists.  These five are a tremendous ensemble that will keep you in stitches and leave you wanting more.

The real star of this series though, is the dialog.  Snappy, witty, and fresh, I don't remember it letting me down a single time.  I am going to try to give you an example but if you don't like it blame me, not the show.  "Oh, God, we have unhappy Germans. Nothing good has ever come from that."  Ta Da!!!!  Funny, right?

Things you need to know before viewing

1) When it is driving you absolutely mad trying to figure out who the actress that plays Veronica is........the answer is Portia de Rossi.  She is Ellen DeGeneres's partner.

2) The biggest surprise of all here is that the series didn't last longer. When you get to the last episode, you will be sad.

What about the kids?

I'm gonna have to go with iffy on that one.  I let my kids watch but there were times I regretted it.  As the series went on, it got more and more sexual.  I guess my advice would be to preview for yourself and see what you think.

Currently Available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on DVD 

5 Stars- "Love It"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For Your Consideration.................A Mockumentary

For Your Consideration

Christopher Guest.  For those of you familiar with his work, all I need to add is "takes on the film industry" and you are good to go.  For those that aren't.......well...........where the heck have you been.  (joking) (sort of)  Seriously though, for those that aren't, Guest is the master of the mockumentary.  A genre that has the feel of a documentary but in reality it's poking fun at it's subject.  In this particular movie, we watch as the fake film "Home for Purim" is made and Hollywood buzz is created.

All of the actors that Guest likes to use are here.  Catherine O'Hara rocks it as a work a day actress. Ed Begley Jr.made me laugh as a makeup artist. Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, Micheal McKean, and Parker Posey all show up plus a bunch of new folks. (I almost certainly forgot someone there so if you notice who it was, put it in the comments and I will add it.)  Sandra Oh's cameo was the biggest surprise for me. These are terrific comedic actors and it is a treat to watch such a cast

Things you need to know before viewing

1) This one has a much more solemn undertone than most of the mockumentaries.  I am guessing this subject is a little close too home for the people involved in making it and that always complicates things.  Parts of it border on heart breaking.  It is still really funny though.

2) My biggest disappointment was that Jane Lynch has a small role.  A picture of her makes me smile. When she walks onto the screen I giggle.  When she played Julia Child's sister in Julie and Julia, she stole the whole movie for me.  Can't explain it.  Just love her.

What about the kids?

PG-13 is about right.  Nothing egregious.  Just adult themes.

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on DVD

Four Stars- "Really Like It"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Six Wives of Henry LeFay...................A Comedy

The Six Wives of Henry LeFay

And so we embark on the hardest genre for me and the one which I am likely to provoke the most wrath. I love to laugh but I have a low tolerance for stupid.  I had high hopes for this one cause Tim Allen used to make me laugh on Home Improvement, I like him as Buzz, and I even liked the first couple Santa Clause movies.  What's her name, the Scientology chick, used to make me laugh on Dharma and Greg.  And I loved the movies Green Card, Groundhog's Day,  and Four Wedding and a Funeral, so even though Andie MacDowell is quite possibly the worst actress to continue to find work, she picks good material.  So, when I had the flu and I needed a pick me up, I sat down to enjoy.  I am not sure I ever reached enjoy.  The best I can give it is amused.

Henry is a rich ladies man who should thank is lucky stars for the rich part cause I can't see any other reason he would be the chick magnet he is portrayed to be.  He is involved in an accident in Mexico and  the news is sent home that he is dead. Chaos ensues.

Things you need to know before viewing

1) Andie MacDowell is still very attractive but her acting is unimproved.

2) If you have a low schmuck tolerance, this is not the film for you.

3) If you are a super huge fan of one of the actors, give it a shot.  I mean I sat through the whole thing without turning it off.  If I had had a crush on (fill in the actor/actress name) when I was 15 I might have enjoyed it.

What about the kids?

Just say no.  These are crazy people with no scruples.

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on DVD and Blue-ray

Two Stars- "Didn't Like It"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Penelope..................A Valentine Offering


Since today it Valentine's Day, I give to you Penelope.  A movie that makes my heart swoon.  A modern (ish) day Fairytale, this movie introduces us to Penelope, a girl born to a wealthy couple with a curse. Their first born daughter is born with a pig nose.  To break the curse she must marry a blue blood and so the quest begins.

The cast is stellar and includes Christina Ricci (of whom I am generally not a fan but I like here), Catherine O'Hara (in her neurotic glory), Reese Witherspoon (big name slightly more than cameo), and James McAvoy (be still my heart).  Penelope is touching, witty, and laugh out loud funny in a few part.

Things you need to know before viewing

1) This ain't rocket science folks.  Don't be looking for deep.  Just enjoy.

2) For my friends with OCD tendencies that can't stand inconsistencies in film, be warned.  There is plenty here to drive you mad.  I never notice stuff like that and I noticed on this one.

3)When you get to the scene pictured to the right, hold on to your hat.  It makes me go all gooshy inside.

What about the kids?

Nothing to worry about here.  All of my kids have seen and loved it.  It does lean chick flick though so teen boys may roll their eyes.

Currently available on disc through Netflix and on DVD

Five Stars- "Love it"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Paper Heart...........................Love?

Paper Heart

This one is a little hard to describe and every sentence I start to form about it includes the word quirky.  So let me just get that out of the way.  Quirky, quirky, quirky, quirky, quirky.  In case you missed that, this film is quirky.

It is a documentary in which Charlyne decides to find out what love is. She claims over and over again that she doesn't believe in love and wants to understand.   She sets out to do so by interviewing people as she travels around the country.  During filming,  she meets Michael and she has some lessons on the topic that she wasn't expecting.

Charlyne, who really is the lynch pin of the film, is awkward and understated but endearing and you certainly feel for her and Micheal as their relationship emerges on film and they would clearly love to be rid of the cameras and crew.  One of my favorite scenes is in a diner when they are discussing what to order.  Charlyne, a vegetarian, says she is going to order a BLT without the B but with the P and C (pickles and cheese).  Micheal looks stunned and says something along the lines of "But the whole beauty of ordering a BLT is the simplicity of saying  BLT and them knowing what you mean."  (quirky- Sorry.  Had to slip in one more)

Things you need to know before viewing

1) Don't be surprised when puppets show up.  I am guessing the production was low on cash and this started out as a cheap way to show peoples stories.  First time they did it, I was like "What the heck!"  But by the end I was looking forward to them.  It was a really cute idea.

2) There is a totally bogus psychic scene where Charlyne goes to get a reading.  The folks involved find it bogus too and say as much's in there.

3) Don't expect a traditional ending.  This is real life.  Quests usually turn up more questions than answers.

4) Did you know that the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus does not have a synonym for quirky?

What about the kids?

There is one interview with a gay couple where they talk about having sex on the first date.  That could be uncomfortable with the kids and is likely the source of the PG-13 but is easy to skip.  Mostly, I think younger kids would just be bored.  

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on DVD and Blue-ray

Three Stars- "Liked It"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Parking Lot Movie..............Seriously

The Parking Lot Movie

Remember all those guys in school that were super smart?  You know the ones that talked about philosophy, economics, and politics and were no stranger to the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons. The ones that were (and I'm just going to say it) weird.   Maybe you were one of these people.  (Shout out to my brother on that one.)

Now imagine there was a place of employment that seemed to collect these kinds of employees.  That place, is this movie.  The Parking Lot Movie focuses on a pay to park lot near UVA in Charlottesville Virginia.   I know, it sounds dull.

But is isn't!  My husband came home from work and said his office mate had just seen this great film and he wanted us to watch it.  Dh will admit that of the two of us, I am the better movie picker but since it came from Tristan, I said I'd try it.

Well it turns out this film is witty, interesting, funny, and fascinating.  It's a world I never would have considered on the one hand and all too familiar on the other.  These folks are serious about parking cars.  I never would have guessed the intensity of emotion over a car driving away with out paying.  But it brought back all kinds of memories of my own forays into jobs in the service industry.

My husband says that next time we go to Charlottesville, we are going to park there and tip the guy $10.

Things to know before viewing

1) It will make you think about child rearing.

2) Easy to watch while folding laundry because close attention is not required.

What about the kids?

The PG-13 is earned by swearing, drunkenness, and violence.  Violence is not of the normal sort but throwing rocks at cars kind of thing.  I wouldn't have a problem with younger kids viewing it but they probably wouldn't be interested anyway.

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on DVD

Four Stars- "Really Liked It"

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Name Is Khan............................and I am not a terrorist.

My Name Is Khan

Friends, I almost hate to be effusive on my first review, but what must be, must be.  It would be hard for me to find enough good words in the dictionary to express how much I liked this. At the same time it is hard for me to describe the story cause it is.........well................Forrest Gump meets Bollywood meets 9/11.   All that is good and bad about humanity is on display here and really, that is the point.

Shahrukh Khan as Rizvan and Kajol as Mandira will be well known faces to those of us who love Indian films. When it started I thought "Oh yeah, I know these guys.  I've seen them in a zillion things" but in true American style, I had to go look up their names for this post cause their names don't exact trip off my English only speaking tongue.  None of that takes away from their greatness though, cause even with the language barrier, the performances here shine.

Things you need to know before viewing

1) Subtitles my friend. There are English parts too but there is plenty of reading to keep up with.

2) There are some cheesy parts.  Particularly some of the stuff in English.  I could be wrong here, but I am guessing English was not the first language of the writers.  It works fine when the Indians said it but sometimes when the white guys were talking it was....well.........a little less than natural.

3) The main character has Aspergers Syndrome. I know this is hard to watch for some, so I wanted to give you a heads up.

4) You're gonna need Kleenex.

What about the kids?

There is some violence, so it probably deserves the PG-13 but it sure has some interesting things to say about bigotry.  If your kids are not the nightmare type, it is a good discussion piece.

Currently available on Netflix Instant Viewing and on DVD

Five Stars- "Loved It"