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Visit my previous Blog "Movies and More: Positively Personal Reviews" for my earlier (pre-May 2011) reviews and ramblings.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


LAKE BELL is the name of the writer and director and star (playing "Carol") of this interesting film about the daughter of the most popular ( in the industry) of all the "Voice Over" actors. (Played by Fred Melamed.) Voice over actors  often introduce films, you never see their faces on screen.  For years, it has been only men who do this job, but Lake Bell breaks that tradition and competes with her father (Melamed) for a particular gig.  Very interesting and entertaining film.   


Steve Carell must be trying to present himself as a serious actor, instead of the wonderfully funny guy we are used to..  Well, sorry to say, he achieves that goal, and then some!  As the boyfriend of a single mother, played by Toni Collette, he picks on her 14 year old son, "Duncan" (Liam James)  saying mean and vicious things to him, to the point where I was hoping someone would shoot him.  What a depressing film!  What a lousy mother to let anyone treat  a child that way.  The only redeeming feature of the story is the part of a nice employee of a nearby Water Park played by Sam Rockwell, who befriends Duncan.   Frankly, I'm not a big fan of "coming of age" stories (I came of age a long, long time ago!) and that's what this is billed as.  It halfheartedly tries to end on a positive note (as if the mother finally , but not entirely, shows some fondness for Duncan.  Boo to Steve Carell -- please do NOT "play against type" ever again; I don't want to have to hate you.   (Acting is good, but story is depressing.)   Director: Jim Rash

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Both Cate Blanchette ( "Jasmine") and Sally Hawkins (who plays her sister), offer Oscar winning performances.  In fact, every member of the cast is outstanding.  That being said, I have  also to say that Blanchette's portrayal of a woman going from the proverbial riches to rags, having a nervous breakdown, and resorting to booze and pills is so brilliant and heart rending that I left the theater almost in tears.  What a depressing, downer!!  (Instead of crying,  I went home and ate an entire pint of Vanilla ice cream.  It helped a little. {Carmel Ice Cream would have been even better.}) 
Other truly excellent, worthy of mention actors include Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K. (surprise:  he can act!) Peter Saarsgard, and Michael Stuhlbarg.  Directed by Woody Allen.  I guess he's lost his sense of humor. Humor used to be the redeeming feature of his neurotic films.  Sigh, moan groan, ugh.  (But, the acting is flawless throughout.)