Thursday, October 18, 2012
Brilliant depiction of the true story of the rescue of 6 hostages who had taken refuges in Iran in the home of the Canadian Ambassador. Marvelous cast, including the Director, Ben Affleck, who plays "Tony Mendez," the CIA agent who plans their escape using the ploy of pretending the 6 are members of a film crew using Iran as the site of a science fiction movie called "Argo." In the excellent cast of 15 I recognized Alan Arkin, John Goodman and Bryan Cranston. To make things look authentic, a script is written and printed up, newspaper coverage is managed to advertise the making of this non-existent film, and each of the hostages is give a false name to match their assumed roles in the making of the movie. Even knowing that the plan actually was successful, the movie was so well done, it kept me in suspense! Plus, humor was perfectly and appropriately included in the clever script by Chris Terrias and Joshua Bearman. (George Clooney is listed among the 6 producers -- he obviously knew a good thing when he saw it!) Highly recommended!
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Delightful look at the interaction among several generations of a family of professional actors. Fast paced, realistic dialogue (seemed to be), and the film was possibly a documentary: "movie within a movie " (at one point you see cameramen filming the group. There's also a clear distinction made between actors and "civilians" - shown when two of the daughters (one in show business, the other not) come home to visit, and the conflict that occurs. Sibling rivalry, always dramatic!Oh, the "non-actor" daughter brings her fiance home to meet the family. I really, really enjoyed this film. But then, you know I grew up in Hollywood!
If an accurate portrayal of the difficulties of being a teenager appeals to you, then you'll probably appreciate "Perks." The acting is marvelous. Especially notable is Logan Lerman as "Charlie." Equally excellent are Ezra Miller as "Patrick," and Emma Watson (definitely grown-up from and out of her childhood role as "Hermione" in the Harry Potter series). Directed by Stephen Chbosky, whom I applaud for casting Paul Rudd, who is suuperb as the kids' High School Freshman English teacher. Personally, I'm just not that interested in stories about "High School Days." Sorry, not the genre for me. I am told the film follows the book (which I'd never heard of) quite accurately. And, there's a background of early childhood problems that is revealed near the end. You may love it; I didn't, as explained above.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
If I were to review this film only on the merits of the performances, I would give it the highest praise. Unfortunately, as great as the actors were (and they were each and all marvelous) the movie otherwise was a disappointment. Based on a clever premise (time-travel, assassins, known as "loopers," who are hired to find and kill marks when they travel into the future) the movie failed to fulfill its premise, and instead presented a confusing, dismal mish-mash of ultra violent (almost to the point of absurdity) version of the future. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (young "looper," contemporary "Joe"; Bruce Willis future, older "Joe"; Jeff Daniels (elderly evil guy in charge of giving out termination assignments), Paul Dano ( a "looper" who has botched an assignment, seeks refuge with young "Joe"); Emily Blunt ("mother" or not? of little boy, "Cid" played ferociously by 5 year old Pierce Gagnon), comprise the killer cast (most of them literally killers, except the women). Even Piper Perabo ( star of the excellent TV series, "Covert Affairs") has a brief appearance as a dancing girl (stripper). One of the scenes between Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in which they are having a conversation (the young and the older version of the same entity!) sitting across from each other in a restaurant is positively sensational! Dialogue in it is a classic. Written and Directed by Rian Johnson, I apologize for not giving him credit for the what's good in the movie, but, I guess he also has to own what's wrong with it. I almost forgot, I liked the surprise ending! Let me know if you like it, too, when you see it.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
No, it's not about a bank robbery! It is an entertaining documentary about an outstanding African American Basketball player, Kevin Sheppard, who took a job playing for a team in Iran, because the money would be excellent, and since he didn't make the NBA, he figured he might as well go and earn a lot. His visit to Iran took place in early 2009, when a revolution was brewing. Kevin tried and pretty much succeeded in staying out of politics, and focused on improving the team for which he'd been hired. Apparently Iran allowed their teams to import two foreign nationals to play for them. Kevin not only was chosen captain of his team, but expertly coached and mentored the very young players on it who benefited from his skill and experience. Wonderfully Directed by Till Schauder, it cleverly wove the scenes on the basketball court with scenes of three young women Kevin's friendship with them (against the law to socialize with him, but they did), and scenes of the political turmoil in the country. THE IRAN JOB also provided a delightful showcase for Kevin's irrepressible sense of humor. Truly a charming young man. As you may or may not know, I am not particularly a sports fan, but I really got involved in the games in this film. It's worthwhile seeing!