sernin: (film)
At the Death House Door - a third film of execution films that I've seen (the other two I've seen at HSDFI) - this one from the perspective of the prison chaplain in Texas. Film focuses on prisoner Carlos DeLuna, a possibly innocent executed man. Film includes interviews with chaplain, his family, DeLuna's family, and others.  Recommended.

Charlie Bartlett - although there is much John Hughes-like formulative plot (which carries no big surprises), there are a few things that are  enchanting in this rich-kid-goes-to-public-school-and-tries-to-be-popular movie.  Nice role for the young love interest actress.  Disappointing performance by Robert Downey Jr.

Rear Window - I was inspired by the recent AFI special of the top 10 movies in 10 genres.  I realized that I've never seen an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  I saw this in the movie guide one day and decided to set the dvr.  It's also the first movie I've watched with Grace Kelly.  It was hard to watch while ironing clothes (too much that must be seen and not heard).
sernin: (film)
I've been in a movie-watching slump, with the proliferation of summer reality (Project Runway! Shear Genius!) and cable dramas (Saving Grace, In Plain Sight, Law & Order Criminal Intent). My netflix dvds have been just sitting, sometimes so long that I don't use my monthly allotment. Shame.

Alas, the movies I've seen since last update (March)

The Philadelphia Story - for a somewhat famous romantic comedy starring Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart - I hated it. Witty reparte' my rump. I'm spoiled by better delivery of catty comebacks. I grew up with Moonlighting.

The Savages - I didn't make it to the local indie film place to see this while it was still in circulation. I like Laura Linney; I love Philip Seymour Hoffman. While ok, I just didn't think that this was in a group of their best performances. She's more more connective to me in Love, Actually. He knocks my socks off in Charlie Wilson's War.

SATC - I watched it on the big screen while on work travel. I think that there was enough backstory for those who never watched the series (or only caught a few episodes), and enough moments that really rewarded the loyal fans.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - My main reason for watching is that I thought this was by the same director that created another film I like (but can't remember at the moment) but it wasn't. "based on a true story" so it was like a documentary, but with better cinematography.

Get Smart - I really enjoyed it.

Lars and the Real Girl - I watched this movie last night, and really loved it. I once heard Susan Sarandon say that she was disappointed that the studio execs titled one of her movies Stepmom, because the movie was about so much more than Julia Roberts being a stepmother. I feel the same when I read that Lars is about a guy who buys a blow-up doll. Sure, the doll is the plot of the movie, but not in the way that a 30 second commercial would lead a person to believe. The movie is sweet and compassionate. It's about the emotional walls that Lars has, and his way of dealing with those walls is Bianca the RealDoll.  My friend Molly says, "very heartwarming and thought-provoking - what a small town will do to support a member of the community - pretty amazing".
sernin: (film)

Some Mother's Son - good; Helen Mirren plays a woman whose son is involved in IRA bombings and is arrested.  The son, along with the other IRA prisoners refuse prison uniforms and eventually food.  Prisoners start dying from starvation while politics and religion can't seem to find a solution for peace in Ireland.  Based on true events.

The Namesake - ok; Most parts are interesting and some parts are really touching.  But there's about 30 minutes too much movie in the movie.  Multiple scenes where it drags on without furthering plot or character development.

Fever Pitch - dumb; I wanted a stupid romantic comedy, and I got one.  Cameo of Stephen King throwing out the first pitch of the season.

ear worm

Jan. 21st, 2008 07:57 pm
sernin: (cassette)
a day later, and I've still got a song from Once repeating in my head
sernin: (film)
Juno is completely amazingly good. The writing is fast and witty for the first half. Actors are well cast and most blend in easily into their characters. I could easily go see it again today.

27 Dresses is schlocky and predictable. There are lots of moments that are just painful to watch. Most of the characters have no depth, and there are only one or two really good comic set-ups.  I probably should have seen it before seeing Juno, rather than after.

Once is good.  I like the style of music, so I enjoyed the almost-love-story between the heartbroken busker and the girl.

I quit watching Winter Passing when the lead character intentionally drowned a kitten.

The Squid and the Whale was an interesting look at divorce and its effects on the children.  I am continually appreciative of the acting skills of Laura Linney.

Wedding Planner is an average romantic comedy.  I watched because I like Matthew McConaughey.
sernin: (film)
I took a break from watching movies after the film festival, but I'm getting back into the groove.

Hairworld: The Pursuit of Excellence - This quirky documentary from PBS provides an inside look at the "Hair Olympics," an intense competition pitting hundreds of hairstylists from more than 40 countries against one another in a string of timed tests to determine styling skill. Following Team U.S.A., filmmaker Mark Lewis explores all the highlights and bad hair days as the trainers, competitors and models prep rigorously for the 31st International HairWorld Championships in Moscow.

Thinking XXX - Adult film stars discuss their careers and celebrity in this behind-the-scenes look at the making of photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders's book XXX.  Along with footage of Greenfield-Sanders as he shoots the portraits for his revealing tome, the film also captures candid conversations about the industry with authors, artists and cultural experts.

Sound and Fury - examining the political and emotional turmoil that erupts between brothers over the cochlear implant that might allow their deaf children to hear. The ways in which a so-called miracle cure can divide as well as heal families and communities is the focus of Sound and Fury, which received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature

Small Town Gay Bar - homophobia is alive and well -- especially in the small towns of the Deep South. Focusing on the day-to-day struggles of two Mississippi gay bars and the grateful patrons who often travel hundreds of miles to find them, filmmaker Malcolm Ingram reveals a surprisingly close community that treats its residents like family members.

Trembling before G-d - homosexuality and religion -- are thrust together in this revealing documentary. Gay and lesbian Jews who have been cast off by their families and by religious figures are interviewed in major metropolitan areas across the globe. Even in societies where homosexuality is gaining acceptance, many of those interviewed still struggle with balancing an intolerant faith with their sexual orientation.

Desk Set - The mysterious man hanging about at the research department of a big TV network proves to be engineer Richard Sumner, who's been ordered to keep his real purpose secret: computerizing the office. Department head Bunny Watson, who knows everything, needs no computer to unmask Richard. The resulting battle of wits and witty dialogue pits Bunny's fear of losing her job against her dawning attraction to Richard.  <I LOVE KATHARINE HEPBURN.>

Serendipity - romantic comedy with John Cusack and Kate Beckensale that I can watch over and over

Miracle on 34th Street - It was Thanksgiving Day, so of course I had to watch.  And it was my favorite version: 1947 black/white.
sernin: (film)

Nose, Iranian Style - Documentary filmmaker Mehrdad Oskouei considers the epidemic of nose jobs in contemporary Iran, the world leader in rhinoplasty with an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 operations each year. In a country that discourages personal expression and disdains Western culture, young Iranians eagerly change their noses to model images in European and American fashion magazines. 

A Family Undertaking - Before the Civil War, preparing the dead for burial and funeral rites generally fell to friends and family members of the deceased. The 20th century saw the rise of the professional undertaker, a trend that changed American attitudes toward death and distanced grievers from their loved ones. This eye-opening film uncovers a growing movement advocating a return to a more traditional, personal approach to honoring the dead.

Saving Grace - A wealthy widow discovers that she is not wealthy at all: in fact she is more than 300,000 British pounds in debt, thanks to her late husband's failed business ventures. To get her out of debt, her handyman comes up with a plan to grow a certain cash crop in her greenhouse.

sernin: (film)
Thin - The story of four women suffering from anorexia and bulimia

Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill - A homeless musician finds meaning to his life when he starts a friendship with dozens of parrots

The Dark Side of Po&n: Po&n Shutdown - industry came to a virtual standstill after it was revealed that popular performer Darren James became infected with HIV

Keep Not Silent - three Israeli women’s courageous fight for self-realization, honesty and acceptance. All are pious members of Jerusalem’s Orthodox community. And all three are lesbians. While mindful of holy strictures forbidding homosexuality, each manifests her sexuality differently.

The Bridge - Golden Gate Bridge, the most popular suicide destination in the world, and those drawn by its call. Steel and his crew filmed the bridge during daylight hours from two separate locations for all of 2004, recording most of the two dozen deaths in that year (and preventing several others). They also taped interviews with friends, families and witnesses, who recount in sorrowful detail stories of struggles with depression, substance abuse and mental illness.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye - a documentary look, mostly through the eyes of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner

10 mph

Jul. 8th, 2007 05:59 pm
sernin: (film)
documentary this morning: 10 mph

Josh Caldwell rode a Segway from Seattle to Boston, while his buddy Hunter Weeks directed a film they both shot about the experience and about the moments leading up to this crazy twist on the American road trip. Funding runs out when they get to Ohio, but the group trades in their retirement accounts to finish the trip.

documentary last night: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox

In 1947, after escaping from a mental institution, he invented the formula for “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap,” a peppermint-infused, all-natural, multi-purpose liquid that can be found today in every American health food store. On each bottle of his soap, he printed an ever-evolving set of teachings he called “The Moral ABC,” designed, in his words, “TO UNITE ALL MANKIND FREE!”

movie list

Jul. 2nd, 2007 08:56 am
sernin: (film)
Proof (not nearly as bad as the stage production with Jennifer Jason Leigh)
Quinceanera (really good)
10 Items of Less (I didn't know that Morgan Freeman could be annoying.  He can.)
Knocked Up (somewhat enjoyable, even with the 14-year-old-boy humor that you know is coming)
Waitress (really good, with some bad southern accents)
Evan Almighty (lame Steve Carell, and funny Wanda Sykes and John Michael Higgins)
Resurrection (Ellen Burstyn heals people! Look at those early 80's visual and sound effects!)
Girl, Positive (horrible Lifetime Movie, but I got trapped in the pull of Jennie Garth)
Saving Face (really good)
National Treasure (hey, it was on tv)
Krippendorf's Tribe (Everwood's Ephram in his early years)
sernin: (film)
Netflix

Brokeback Mountain: Better than I thought it would be, given the over-hype. I really liked Heath's character. Before viewing, I didn't know what was going to happen to Jake's character, so I was sucker-punched.

Bingo! The Documentary: These people are a tribe. Interesting, but tiring after 30 minutes. Fell asleep half-way through.

The Family Stone: I enjoyed the awkwardness. I'd recommend others to watch it around the holidays though, since watching it in June seems a little odd. I watched again with commentary, and also deleted scenes with commentary.

Transamerica: I really liked this. The character's desperation to go through with the surgery makes all the rationalization seem reasonable. The scenes with the parents are great.

A League of Ordinary Gentlemen: Skip it. Pro bowling doesn't have the following that it once had. We don't watch it on tv. Stinks to be a pro bowler.

Double Dare: Documentary of stunt women is excellent. Focus on one of the oldest stunt women (who doubled Wonder Woman)and the woman who did stunts for Xena and Kill Bill. These women are amazing.

Weeds Season 1: I love these actresses, and although I usually HATE Kevin Nealon, he's good in this.

Library

Phantom Limb: Amazing how someone can make a film out of stock footage. 9 stages of losing a brother.

Other People's Pictures: Still fascinating, six months after seeing it at the HSDF festival.

Theater

Da Vinci: Pretty close to the book. Love the girl. Loved her in Amelie. Maybe now she'll have more opportunities in Hollywood.

Lake House: Even though Keanu can't act his way out of a paper bag, I still enjoyed it.

Break Up: Better than I thought it would be. Sucker punched at the end. Still can't stand Vince Vaughn.

Office Space: Played on a "Flashback Thursday" at a local theater. Excellent.

Click: Ug. Why did I go?

Wordplay: GO SEE IT.

Clerks II: Pillowpants.


sernin: (film)

From Netflix and my personal stash:

Mad Hot Ballroom- I love watching these 10-12 year olds doing the Merengue. Even with a few months of ballroom dance lessons, my hips just can't _DO_ that.

Paper Clips

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie- It was so bad that I fell asleep. Granted, I had a fuzzy kitten in my lap on that Sunday afternoon...

Mr. and Mrs. Smith - just as wonderfully horrible as I had heard.

Speak - despite the reviews saying that she's selectively mute, I don't remember her being so. Maybe I've confused silent lead-character narration with speech. There's only one scene that I know she's purposefully mute.

sernin: (film)

Iron Jawed Angels (excellent) 
Normal (excellent) 
Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony (amazing documentary) 
Kinsey (ick) 
Must Love Dogs (eh) 
The Politicians Wife (technically a miniseries for BBS, but felt like a movie to me) (interesting) 
Mad Hot Ballroom (completely fabulous) 
In Her Shoes - (ok)

(With lots of television series dvd's in between, but that's not as interesting.)

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