Saturday, January 29, 2011
and even more movies

"THE TOWN" is a very interesting well done film, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, along with Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner, who is nominated for a SAG Award and an Oscar, in the Best Supporting Actor category.....There is also a wonderful young actress named Rebecca Hall, who is very good in this film.....This is rent-able from Netflix and if you like films that keep you on the edge of your seat---this is for you! Plus, it is rather thrilling to see what a wonderful film maker Ben Affleck is becoming---if and when he decides to give up acting, he has before him, a great career as a Director. I liked this film a lot, though I was a little confused by the ending......"ANOTHER YEAR". This is a truly wonderful little film by writer/director Mike Leigh, who's films are always so very personal and detailed....Everyone in it is superb! And in particular, a fine actress named Lesley Manville, who, in my opinion should have had an Oscar and SAG Nomination, but didn't.....We follow Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen who play a longtime married couple, through a year of their lives, Season by Season, and their interactions with friends and family during that time period....It is a simple heartfelt beautifully rendered film, about people and their humanness---it is touching and painful and sweet. And a film not to be missed! Not rent-able yet, but I know it will be, eventually....... "INCEPTION". Well, I had such a hard time with this film I could not finish watching it. I had no idea who anybody was; I had no idea what the hell they were all doing or why they were where they were, or in fact why they were anywhere at all; and, most importantly, I Didn't Care About Anyone. For me, that last part--not caring about anyone is a huge 'no, no'. I tried to get through this film two different times. And I did get through more of the film the second time...(about forty minutes in, I think...) But, finally, I just got angry at it and decided I was not going to waste any more of my time on it. And here is the thing: It is one of the ten Nominee's for Best Picture at The Oscars, so, maybe I don't know squat, but in my subjective opinion.....well, you get the idea! "FAIR GAME" is a really terrific movie. It is based on the true story of The White House 'outing' of Undercover CIA Agent, Valerie Plame, to get back at her husband Ambassador Joe Wilson for openly calling out the Government for basing the Iraq war on false information, (which they knew was false), about WMD's, and what this 'outing' did to their lives. It is a cautionary tale that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck because it is true. In many ways this show of power by The Bush White House is almost scarier than the war itself. Naomi Watts and Sean Penn play the two principals and they are both terrific! You will have look for this film because it kind of has been swept under the rug. Hmmmm. I wonder why? Well, in truth, that is a no-brainer. Do take the trouble to find this really important film once it is rent-able. It is very much worth your time. Personally, I love films that teach me something about the way the real world works, even though it is exasperating and often shocking and also rather depressing, as well. Sometimes the truth is all that, and so much more! This is a brave film. "GHOST WRITER" was a film I knew very little about and which I enjoyed seeing tremendously. It is a mystery-thriller. My very dear previous next door neighbor, Pierce Brosnan, is wonderful in this film, as is everyone else....Ewan McGregor, Kim Catrall, Olivia Williams and the incredibly talented 95 year old Eli Wallach.....It is thrilling and inspiring to see this wonderful actor, still working at ninety-five years old. And he is as good as he ever was. This is the film that is directed by Roman Polanski, which he had to edit while under House Arrest in Switzerland. Say what you want about Mr. Polanski, that he is not a very good man, or wasn't, but he is a truly wonderful talented film maker....."Rosemary's Baby" was exceptional, and then, there is that gem of a film, "Chinatown"......."Chinatown" takes place in Los Angeles in the 1930's and is a kind of romantic mystery...... Just recently they showed this wonderful film on one of my movie channels, and I watched it marveling at what a really great film this was---everything about it; the actors, the screenplay, the direction, the costumes, the music---It was like watching it for the first time again. And let me tell you, it holds up fantastically well---it seemed fresh and new to me, and for me, that is the sign of a truly great film. "CHINATOWN" had Elevcn Oscar Nominations back in 1974. ('Godfather 2' kind of walked away with a lot of the Oscars that year...but not every one....) This films Oscar winning screenplay by Robert Towne is superb! Then, there is the always fabulous Jack Nicholson, looking extremely handsome, by the way, and Faye Dunaway, when she was at her best.......And the great Director John Houston, in one of his rare 'acting' appearances, was perfect as Faye Dunaways smarmy and utterly despicable father....If you don't know this film...You have a real treat in store for you...And if you are familiar with it---re-visit it once again. Why talk about a film that is 37 years old? Well, because it is top notch film-making at it's very very best, by a top notch film maker, who is still making terrific films! If you decide to rent this film, believe me, you won't be disappointed in any way......It's got movie stars, when there were "Movie Stars".......!

Earlier today, I watched a wonderful little film that won the highest Award at The Sundance Film Festival in 2010....It is a small Independent Film with practically no recognizable actors in it. It is about a very poor Ozark family held together by the 17 year old daughter, who has a mentally ill mother and two younger siblings that she cares for, and a drug dealing father who has disappeared some weeks before----It is about strength and determination and tenacity and family....! It is called "WINTERS BONE". The 17 year old is played by a young woman named Jennifer Lawrence, who is quite extraordinary. Her performance is so real and simple and arresting---She is nominated in the Best Actress category by SAG,..(These Awards are on Sunday, January 30th), and she has also been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress category....(Her fellow Actor, John Hawkes, is up for a SAG Award and an Oscar, too, in the Best Supporting category)....This makes me so proud to be a part of The Screen Actors Guild and it makes me proud of all the actors who voted for both of these exceptional performers---but particularly voting for Jennifer Lawrence, giving her these well deserved nominations, and it makes me proud of our industry---and all the people who vote on these nominations........And by the way, it was Nominated for an Oscar in The Best Picture category, too....! Phenomenal!!It says that a truly little unknown film can touch people's hearts and their sensibilities. Now, I am ashamed to say, I did NOT see this film before the SAG voting closed. It wasn't available to me until today because it finally became rent-able, as of January 25th, from Netflix. This is a harsh movie in so many ways, but inspiring and ultimately it is about the power of determination and the power of love.....! I found it very heart warming and moving, that a little film like this has had the kind of truly deserved recognition that it has---No big Studio behind it; no expensive PR available to them; no big names as a selling point; no budget for heavy advertising....Just a really wonderful film made by very talented wonderfully dedicated people. (The Director/Writer is a woman named Debra Granik---also not a big name, and Bravo, to her.) And this kind of recognition is almost never the case! "Winters Bone" is also up for a couple of Independent Spirit Awards, too. These Awards are held the day before The Oscars and worth finding in your TV Listings---it is always a fun afternoon and lots of worthy films are recognized. Plus, they do not cut off any one's speech---at least they haven't in the past. This little film has already received an incredible amount of well deserved recognition, with lots more to come, I'm sure......

There are a few more films I hope to see before The Oscars....And after I do, I will share my thoughts about them with all of you........


More To Come........








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20 Comments:
had this to say:

It is always good to read reviews by someone who is in a position to know what they are talking about! I don't see many movies these days, but I will certainly take your advice when I do. Thanks, Naomi.

Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 4:45:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Yippy for more must-sees for me! Love your descriptions and the photos you include are perfect! I'm thinking yummy popcorn, a lovely cocktail and one of these movies for the night are in order! *Perfect* Thank you, lady! :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 5:14:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I had a friend recommend Winters Bone to me, and its on my list. Unfortunately, the story resonates as the problems described in the movie, i.e. the plague of methamphetamine, are way too common around here. In some counties where I practice, meth cooking cases occupy two-thirds of the criminal docket with the attendant effects taking up drug, family and juvenile courts. It's really a shame and should give the "victimless crime" advocates something to think about.

Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 9:44:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Yet another fabulous movie report Naomi!!! just love them! I am happy to see that you see more good in them all then bad..I believe we think alike in that anyway..

also.. ohhh how i loved when John Huston would appear in a movie! HIs voice was one of "those voices" that you recognized immediately!

Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 12:11:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Now I MUST see Winter's Bone!

Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 7:02:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

We absolutely love China Town and watch it whenever we run across it.
Inception was odd but you should have stayed to the end, because the end is the interesting part. We got a free copy after we saw it at the theater and while I haven't been in a hurry to see it again, I will watch it again. The real story is not about what they are doing, but about Leo DiCaprio's wife.

We just watched another Oscar/SAG movie today: The Kids Are All Right. You had said in the last post that the actresses were too big for the parts but I felt more that way about Mia Wasikowska because we saw Alice In Wonderland recently and there was Alice! But I really liked the movie.

Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 1:50:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Love reading your fabulous movie reviews, Naomi! You did a good serie of movies here!
I must see many of them....

Have a pleasant Sunday!

Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 5:28:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks so much Naomi. I do trust your reviews. Some I all ready have on my list and have added Ghost Writer, Another Year and Winter's Bone. Thanks big time for saving me a couple wasted hours on Inception. I hate movies I can't follow.

Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 8:18:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

We rented Inception and fell asleep 10 minutes in. It's rare that I can't plod through a film but I just didn't get it either.

I liked The Town too. Have you read the book? My sister said it was different than the movie and really good. I'm just a couple of chapters in and it is a good read.

Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 8:58:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

So many films yet to see! Thank you for writing about them. Winter's Bone is rather bleak, but yes it's good to see this small film so well done, get attention. The documentary I worked on getting people to screenings is up for Best Doc as well. It's called Restrepo.

Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 9:30:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Chinatown will be watched by my unborn grandchildren- great art lasts.Its among a handful of moview that are worthy of wearing Depends to not miss a moment..

Pierce Brosnan is picky about his projects- didn't know about this film- will add it to the list.

You are the second person whose judgment I trust to seriously recommend Fair Game- so I will, even though I expect to have a higher skepticism about the film's truthfullness. One of the danger's of life (and politics) is to follow only evidence leading to expected conclusions. Having known a young man whose FBI file ended up in a previous first ladies private quarters- I have reached the point in believing that if we knew the whole truth of high level politics- its probably more like watching sausage being made than any reasonable person would be comfortable. As I expect Sean Penn would only make a movie critical of that particular administration- one way I will weigh the film's honesty with if it accurately portrays what turned out to be at the end of the day- a reporter's role.

The warning on Inception- THANK YOU in advance. Guarding my time becomes more precious with every sundown

Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 11:41:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

You know how I feel about your movie reviews, so I will definitely check these out! I also have never seen "Rosemary's Baby" (believe it or not), so there's another one for Netfix.

I like Gwyneth Paltrow and had wanted to see Fair Game and missed it. Thanks for reminding me of it...and I'm more curious to watch it now after your review.

Hope all's been well with you, my friend. Miss our chats! xo

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 10:56:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

You know I'm so cross with myself because I started watching Winter's Bone on the plane and gave up with it, and I'm pissed off with myself for not sticking with it longer because it's had such good reviews. I'm gonna give it a second go when we travel again. :)

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 11:58:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Lady of the Hills

Anyone that posts Chinatown as a must see is tops in my book. Jack N at his best. I had to watch Inception twice then lay down and try a third time. Weirdest movie of the year. The Town was simply awesome, i think most folks forget what a great storyteller Ben Affleck is..anyone from Southie can appreciate this one a must see ..great list of movies...zman sends

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 3:20:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks!!! I don't pay attention to movie reviews mostly but I have to agree with you on Ben Affleck as a director. Your reviews are right on!!!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 4:27:00 PM PST 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

Another great informative post.
Rebecca Hall is going great guns now and her father - Peter Hall, has to stand in line to get her in his stage productions.
I agree about Lesley Manville - she has been a successful TV actress for years and deserves a wider audience. Jim Broadbent is always good value and was terrific as the butler in Julian Fellowes' TV 'Downton Abbey' which I hope will cross the Atlantic. I shan't attempt to see 'Inception' but the one with Sean Penn and 'Winter's Bone' sound great.
Talking of Polanski one wonders if great artists are inevitably not very nice people. Does it go with the job description?
I've just been writing about my great treat. At last I've seen 'The King's Speech.' Caloo callay!
I'm chortling with joy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 8:14:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I've put "The Town," "Another Year," "Fair Game," and "Winter's Bone" on my Netflix. Netflix will let you select "Another Year" even though it's not available for rental yet. As for the Roman Polansky film, he's on the same list with Woody Allen for me. I will not watch movies either of them makes. I do not want to knowningly put money in the pockets of men who rape or molest children. I believe Mia Farrow's story about the one child's underpants and Woody, especially after he married his step-daughter. That is a man who does not recognize certain boundaries.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 1:00:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Oh my more great reviews. I tried to watch Inception but just couldnt get into it at all. I comepletely switched off and it was so laborious to watch. but there are others I need to catch up with. Tahnk you for your reviews - I trust you and your tastes and you are making ti easy for me. You would be so good doing this for newspapers or magazines.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 3:18:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Its really interesting to read your reviews and you have some good 'insider' knowledge of the business too. I sometimes wonder if there needs to be a separate range of categories for the little films alongside the big ones?

I know sometimes a little one will break through, but its difficult when some of the biggies get so many nominations. I'm sure its partly about poster bragging rights 'nominated for 12 blahs' etc.

So I'm particularly interested in the smaller films you pick, which might have some challenge with screenings and marketing, but which could be considerably more original than the genre and franchise based movies.

I'm also with you on 'Inception' - I did watch it all but like you, I thought it lost its way. It was like a film that ran out of energy but piled on more layers of complexity..."What shall we do with all these snow scenes? - Chuck 'em in..."

Maybe someone will recut a better version.

And you'd expect me to root for Kings Speech, somewhat!

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 7:36:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Love these reviews and I'll be putting these on our Netflix queue as soon as they become available. The Town we'll get, now.

John Hawkes is actually from our town (Alexandria, MN)...thought you might be interested in that. We've only lived here a dozen years, though, so I can't claim that I've ever met him. I first learned about him when The Perfect Storm came out.

Well, I guess you've just become our official movie reviewer! Perfect.

Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 1:54:00 PM PST 

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