Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Hunger Games - Mockinjay" (2014) starring Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth

"Hunger Gamess - Mockinjay" Jennifer Lawrence is a magnificent actress. She's gifted with the ability to find a character's truth, absorb it deep, deep, deep within herself... until it becomes her truth. When she opens her mouth, you feel her passion and your heart breaks along with hers. When she speaks that inner truth, your heart exults with commitment to her cause. It is her acting which makes this movie so transcendant. The storyline is direct and simple... nothing circuitous to confuse you. You get the message loud and clear. It doesn't hurt to have the wonderful Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman in strong supporting roles and Liam Hemsworth as sidekick and loyal friend to Katniss. For a great suspense/thriller/adventure movie, recommend.

IMDB Page:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1951265/?ref_=nv_sr_1
TAGS:  Francis Lawrence,  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"The Equalizer" (2014) starring Denzel Washington

The best thing about this movie is, without question, Denzel Washington. First of all, though it wouldn't be wrong to call him a "senior citizen" at this point in his life, there is nothing about him in this movie that would justify this appellation. Denzel plays a character who works at a superdepot kind of store and when he needs to rescue his co-workers in the third act of the movie, he uses the size of the store and its products to take out the bad guys with inventive and lethal expertise. His inherent skill is to appraise the enemy at a glance and figure out how to take them out. In one scene, he figures it would take about 16 seconds to take out five guys, and it takes a little bit longer, but his moves are like an unstoppable ballet as he dances in and out between his assailants . The editing is also brilliantly conceived and executed. Then, too, Denzel is a superb actor. In one scene, after he has decimated the enemy, he is framed walking towards us, and every line of his face depicts the suffering and remorse he feels for his actions, etched between the determination that he cannot allow evil to prevail. I wouldn't mind watching sequels to this movie. It sports an excellent director, film editor, great acting and the inimitable Denzel.

IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455944/
Tags:  Antoine Fuqua, Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, ChloĆ« Grace Moretz, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo

"Interstellar" (2014) starring Matthew McConaughey

There is a powerful message in this movie... one which invites us to open our minds to the concept of alternate realities which defy the constraints of time, space, and location. For me, the movie tried too hard to explain the quantum physics of it all, and it didn't quite succeed because it went beyond what I was interested in and so I lost involvement in the movie at crucial times. For example, there is a sequence with a remote-controlled plane which eluded me as to what the scene was trying to establish. If it was trying to establish how passionate McConaughey felt about flying, I got that elsewhere. If it was trying to establish his son's infinite loyalty to his cause, I got that elsewhere too. So this was a wasted interlude for me. The film could have been at least half an hour shorter. Having said all that, the acting is superb on all fronts. McConaughey might just have earned himself another Oscar nom. The premise is brilliant, and while Chris Nolan has proven himself to be an extraordinary director, for me he was too indulgent on this one. Still, because of so many excellent elements, this has to get at least four stars.

IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0816692/
Tags: Ellen Burstyn, Matthew McConaughey, Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Adventure, Sci-Fi

"Gone Girl" (2014) starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

MOVIE REVIEW - "GONE GIRL" - I had read a few reviews on this movie so I knew it wasn't a Disney feel-good movie. And it wasn't. I saw it two weeks ago and I had to think about it before writing my thoughts. It's a competent work -- director, actors, writer, production values, etc. -- but it may one day be considered a "film noir" classic because of the twists and turns that take place in the movie. Being a senior lady who has worked in the motion picture industry for over 35 years, I have seen a lot of movies and read a lot of scripts and even submitted a few of my own to various studios. I even had a gig writing script reviews for several years. This movie isn't perfect, but one of the twists it takes is such a powerful commentary on the nature of marriage that it took me several weeks to process the message. There's a shadowed view of the main characters' marriage seen through a harsh filter of reality which is haunting. And no, that's not a spoiler alert... the other reviews said much the same thing. And, yep, I agree with them.

IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2267998/
Tags: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

"John Wick" (2014) starring Keanu Reeves

MOVIE REVIEW : "JOHN WICK" -- I love Keanu Reeves movies. He's directed in this one by his ex-double and ex-stuntman, and this movie for sure provided employment for many stuntmen and even a few stuntwomen. The action is non-stop and fully comprises about 90% of the movie. In fact, a more definitive title would have been "ASSASSINS UNLEASHED" or maybe "ASSASSIN BLITZKRIEG". Having said this, I have to add that Keanu has a great emotional arc, from vulnerable man to raging, steely-eyed vigilante. One has to view this movie in the genre of video games... where the point is to take out as much of the enemy as possible. There isn't time to ponder the moral boundaries of vengeance. The action sequences are brilliantly choreographed, and Keanu handles his weapons with the familiarity of a long-lost lover.

IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2911666/
Tags:  Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Bridget Moynahan, John Leguizamo, Action, Thriller

"The Judge" (2014) starring Robert Downey, Jr. & Robert Duvall

This is a powerful provocative love story... love of parent to child, brother to brother, child to parent. It's tightly written, directed with sensitivity and superbly acted. For me, it was heartbreakingly real. The heartbreak (and superb acting) is in what's NOT spoken by the characters. The lump in my throat began when I understood Robert Downey Jr's (the son) dilemma. His father has rejected him for most of his adult life, and he feels loyalty and love for his father (Duvall), except his father does not want him around... or his help... though he's now in dire need of a brilliant lawyer to defend him in a murder trial. His father tells Downey to get lost, and Downey's face depicts his anguish... wanting nothing more than to disappear from his father's apparent hatred of him... but knowing he cannot... simply cannot abandon his father to a trial which will find him guilty of murder. So he stays, even when it means his father's psychological abuse beats him again and again to an emotional pulp. An hour after the end of the movie, my lump has grown to rock size... hauntingly real. I wouldn't be surprised if both Downey and Duvall get Oscar nominations. I hope they do. If your family acts out the many powerful emotional conflicts born out of love, in all its twisted and untethered extremes, you will understand this movie. And yet, it's a beautiful movie, because the darkness is all the more precious when cast against the powerful illumination of love.

IMDB Page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1872194/
Tags: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester, Drama