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Sunday, January 29, 2012


WOW!  This isn't Shakespeare in the park,  this is Shakespeare's language (his words) in a modern day setting, including  news reports on Television sets, armored tanks, and soldiers armed with machine guns.  Ralph Fiennes is fantastic, An undeliable acting tour de force. Usually Shakespearan actors enunciate very clearly (as did Fiennes and Brian Cox, another worthy actor.) Gerard Butler's accent was a bit difficult for me. Unfortunately that great actress, Vanessa Redgrave, as Coreolanus' mother seemed to swallow her words.  She was nevertheless magnificent, her very presence is commanding , but I wish I could have heard what she was saying!  (Yes, I know my hearing is not good, but even so...) Anyway, lots of brutal, battle scenes, including bloody hand to hand combat.  Quite an exceptional film, will surely get Fiennes an Oscar nod.  Oh, and Fiennes also Directed it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


OK, the Critics are probably right when they point out the flaws in this biopic of the eventually beloved and honored (throughout the world) two term President of Brazil, who rose from poverty and obscurity to become a powerful Union leader and ultimately hold the highest office in the land.  Yes, it's sentimental, and maybe that's what touched me, perhaps because the guiding force and influence in his life was his strong and wise mother. Every actor in this film was superb, believable and real .  ( Handsome boys and men, and beautiful women don't hurt the film either! Viva Brazil!)  Luiz Inatio Lula da Silva was one of eight children his brave mother raised virtually single handed, after leaving an abusive, drunken husbandHer words, her encouragement, her attitude of always doing what is right, even if it means waiting to act, and never, ever giving up,  guided him to greatness. As the Siri Singh Sahib taught, giving Value and Virtues to children is the most valuable gift we can give them.


It is indeed, JOYOUS!  With Queen Latifah as "Vi Rose Hill" and Dolly Parton competing for leadership of their Church Choir - and a subplot of the unlikely romance between "Vi Rose's" daughter "Olivia," charmingly played and sung (fabulously) by Keke Palmer and Parton's irresistably appealing grandson "Randy Garrity," (a perfectly cast Jeremy Jordan who has a voice like an angel) the singing in this film is beyond marvelous.  If you love Gospel music as much as I do, this movie is IT  !!)  So what if the dialogue is a bit corny, and the plots are predictable, who cares when all you have to do is enjoy the amazing blending of voices of the two young leads, and the incomparable Queen Latifah belting it out with Parton -- not to mention (though I must acknowledge) the rest of the choir members who are all fantastic!  Foot tapping, hand clapping hard to resist.  Of course, there's a Competition to be won (or not), and choreography that enters into it.  What a treat to see a film that leaves you feeling truly upbeat, and full of Joy!    Congratulations to Director, Todd Graff.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Tremendously violent. Horrendously noisy.  Of course, Mark Walhberg is wonderful as the hero.  It was only because I like him that I opted to see this heavy, heavy story about smugglers, vengeance, betrayal, love, deceit, and honor among thieves (yeah, not so much honor).  Other cast members did credit to their roles, but, I can only recommend this film to those who can afford to secrete a lot of adrenaline as the suspense builds -  over and over with a few subplots in the mix. The bad guys are really bad.    I stuck it out just to see how it would end.   (But I'm not going to tell you, unless you ask. I'm not a spoiler.)

Monday, January 16, 2012


Based on the true story of "Benjamin Mee" (who also helped write the film), played by Matt Damon -- always wonderful - and at his best in this role! Directed by Cameron Crowe who gathered a first rate cast, including adorable little Elle Fanning as "Lily" (adorable, not "cutesy"), and one of my favorites, Thomas Hayden Church, who plays Matt's older brother.  Scarlett Johansson is, of all things, the zoo keeper (and makes the part believable) of this dilapidated  old wild animal park (containing 200 critters, some  roaming around) that  "Mee" buys in order to move his family from sad memories to a new location in England after his wife has died.   So, yes, it's sentimental, but it's not sloppy, and, yes, it's predictable, but nevertheless I found it enjoyable to watch unfold. Not a "great" movie, but worth seeing.  Excellent photography, excellent acting.   (Also some funny oddball characters workiing at the zoo thrown in to the mix)