Thursday, February 02, 2012
a mix of films - part 2

Here are some more of the films I have watched over these last couple of weeks....Some are up for Oscars, and some are not---though maybe they should have been....."MIDNIGHT IN PARIS" is a charming film and if you haven't seen it, I think it is one that you might really enjoy, especially if you are a Woody Allen fan, and more especially, if you are a fan of "Paris"....(Vagabonde, my dear.....I think the first 3 minutes will warm your heart......). I enjoyed this picture very very much and it goes places I did not expect---WONDERFUL places, I might add....definitely worth your time, and as always, all the actors are quite wonderful, and the whole idea of it is truly original and wonderful, too. And, in some ways it is not a typical Woody Allen film---so, if the name Woody Allen turns you off----Try to pretend it was directed by someone else....It is worth a 'look-see', and it is rentable......"Midnight In Paris" is Nominated for 4 Oscars: Art Direction, Original Screenplay, Direction, and Best Picture....Stay Tuned....... "A BETTER LIFE".....this is what would be called a small independent is a special story---though it takes place in Los Angeles, it could take place anywhere where there are illegal immigrants trying to eek out a living and be good citizens at the same time and, in so doing, trying to make a better life for their children. In this case the father is the illegal---and his teenage son is everything to him. The father is a Gardener, picking up work wherever he can, trying to put food on the table for his teenage son, as well as keep his son from becoming a part of the gangs that are so prevalent. The film is about this struggle.....It is very Heartfelt, and Touching----two things that go a long long way with me.....Damian Bicher plays the father and he was Nominated for an Oscar, a SAG Award and an Independent Spirit Award in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category. He is quite wonderful---and some of you who follow the Showtime series "Weeds" will recognize him as Nancy's drug dealing husband.....I knew nothing about this film and I really liked it, a lot. The Director is Chris Weitz, who comes from a film and show business family. His brother Paul Weitz is also a Director. (They Co-Directed "About A Boy", one of my favorite films, ever). Their mother is Actress Susan Kohner, who's father was one of the most famous and well respected Agents in the Hollywood of a certain period, Paul Kohner. So there is a lovely film heritage here---everyone being in 'the family business'.......That Bicher has received these nominations is almost a miracle----particularly the Oscar Nomination. I must say, it renews one's faith in the process, in a big big way. Do rent it when it is available on DVD, (February 21, 2012). You won't be sorry."ANOTHER HAPPY DAY"......I knew nothing about this film, either, and I enjoyed it very very much. It has a great ensemble cast, starting with Ellen Barkin, who plays the main character in this film about 'family' and all that that word entails.....Ellen Burstyn is the mother/grandmother/matriarch of the 'family', and the action takes place over a four day weekend at the matriarch and patriarch's (George Kennedy) home, where everyone gathers for the Wedding of Ellen Barkin's oldest son. All the actors are just wonderful---Thomas Haden Church plays Barkin's ex husband and the father of the boy getting married....Demi Moore, who is quite wonderful, plays his current wife..... It is a very complicated story, but a really entertaining film that is serious but with lots of humor....! This one can be rented, I believe. And there is a young man named Ezra Miller who plays Ellen Barkin's younger son---HE is a young actor to watch, for sure. He played the grown son in "We Need To Talk About Kevin" and was frighteningly good....! The intensity of his performance made your skin crawl in a way----which is exactly what you were supposed to feel.....And he's absolutely terrific in this film, too......! This is on DVD and rentable right now. I found it very enjoyable.....!"BEGINNERS".....This is a lovely film and Christopher Plummer deserves all the nominations and 'wins' he has gotten in the Best Supporting Actor Category---and it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't pick up the Oscar at the end of this month--in fact, I will be shocked, if he doesn't! He plays a man who's wife has died and who finally---at 75 years old---comes "out"! He also discovers fairly quickly that he has cancer.....His son, played by the always wonderful Ewan McGregor, has his own difficult time with 'relationships'....So the film is really about both of these men, father and son, and they're struggles to be themselves and live the life they really want---the father, as a gay man, who embraces his new life with great vigor, and the son as a straight man who is afraid to commit.....This is available to rent, right now. This is very much worth your time. A moving loving film if there ever was one, and there is a darling little dog, 'Cosmo', in this picture!!!
(Independent Spirit Awards and BAFTA Awards, still to come.....) Another, Stay Tuned......Oh, and as a little side-bar trivia: My dear friend Kim Hamilton was in the film but, unfortunately, her part was cut out, along with many other scenes.....
"CARNAGE".....OY! What a terrible disappointment....Such Good Actors...All Award Winning.....ALL....MISCAST! (In my humble opinion)......I understand this was a terrific play---(Completely different cast).....And, everyone I know who saw the play, raved about it and the actors that were in it, too. This film is a mess, in my opinion. These are not likable people to begin with..So, you better cast the most likable people possible, OR, it's down the drain from the 'get-go'. And not only likable, but "right for the part". No one fits together. I never believed that John C. Reilly was married to Jody Foster; I never believed that Kate Winslet was married to Cristoph Waltz....I never believed these couples were "couples" for one millisecond! What a waste of talent....OY...! And...there is a lot of Vomiting!!! OY VEY!!! Pass on this one.....!

There are still more, till next time......

More To Come........

NOTE: The wonderfully talented Ian Abercrombie died on January 26th....a lovely dear man, who I first met almost twenty years ago at a Wedding in which I was the Officiant---we were seat partners at dinner.....He was a delightful man! Our paths kept crossing because Ian performed in the S.T.A.G.E. Benefit---Betty G. and I were Co-Chairs together of this Event for twenty years----Ian performed in the show many times, and was often paired with Betty singing and dancing! They were adorable together! You may remember him from Seinfeld, and any number of other TV shows and films.....Ian was 77. RIP, you dear dear man....

had this to say:

RIP, Ian.
I LOVED Beginners, but I LOVE Plummer so much. I so hope he wins the Oscar. Am Woody fan, so I loved his movie, though I am not fond of Owen. Must see the others.

Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 8:01:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I think I'll be getting these as they appear at Netflix!!!

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 12:25:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Great reviews as ever Naomi :) I do like the sound of Beginners and so I will certainly check that one out.

I am so sorry to hear about the death of Ian Abercrombie. The world loses another good one.

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 2:27:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I had often found that the lesser known movies often shinned and I couldn't understand them being "ignored"...ah well this will never change.

It does seem Plummer has a great shot at the oscar. I read his memoirs not long ago and enjoyed the book .

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 2:53:00 AM PST 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

Such brilliant film advice. Thank you Naomi. I have a weakness for Christopher Plummer and both the Paris film and the Ellen Burstyn one call out to me. Slowly I'll get there.
I just caught up with two films which gripped me although they are entirely different - 'The Piano' and 'The Hurt Locker.' I love it when they stay in your mind afterwards.

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 4:01:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for the reviews. I'm adding all but the Woody Allen film to my Netflix. No Woody since he married his step-daughter, too creepy for me to consider funding his life style by patronizing his films. I'm adding the one you disliked as well, because I like all the actors and want to see if I have a different take on the film.

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 5:41:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Oops, just saw Carnage is directed by Roman Polanski, boycott.

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 5:44:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I love Ewan McGregor! I walked past him on a street in London once.

So many great films out at the moment or due to come out... I really should get to the cinema! :)

I hope you're well.

Take care.

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 11:25:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Hi Naomi,

Firstly I want to tell Pat that I liked her post. The moment I turned on "The Hurt Locker" I was riveted. I knew by the end that it would win the Best Picure Oscar. I couldn't stop thinking about it, and 20 years after seeing "The Piano" I still think about it, Both terrific films.

"Midnight in Paris" is a gem. I post my thoughts on films on Facebook, and of all of the films I talked about, "Midnight in Paris" got the most comments. Across the boards everyone loved it.

On your last post I did not talk about Meryl. Boy was she good in that film. Her age makeup was outstanding. I truly feel that if the film had been better Meryl would win the Oscar this year.


Friday, February 3, 2012 at 1:05:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Wonderful reviews Naomi and Another Happy Day jumped out at me as a must see.
I love your reviews and also the back stories you provide on the actors and directors. You link the degrees of separation so well.
I am so sorry you lost another friend. Perhaps he and Betty G are cutting a rug up there.

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 3:09:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

We saw Midnight in Paris when it came out. It showed all the monuments so well – the French Tourist Office should have paid for the film as it was good PR – I also liked the story. We went to the movies two days ago. We saw two films because of your reviews and a 3rd one because of another bloggy friend’s recommendation – three movies the same day! First we saw Hugo in 3D. We really liked it. It was Paris in the early 1900s and the story was lovely – the boy playing the part, as well as the little girl, were so very good. Then we saw The Artist. So original and the last bit – the dancing – was so well done. Jean Dujardin is terrific. The third movie we saw was The Descendants. I enjoyed that film a lot and the music was outstanding. Last year at this time we were in Hawaii and I wrote some posts about it afterwards – all three were excellent films and now I don’t know which one is my favorite, The Artist or the Descendants….

Friday, February 3, 2012 at 7:35:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Great reviews as always, Naomi! These films are on my "to do" list. I must to awatch all them.

I am sorry to hear about the death of Ian Abercrombie.

Wishing you a pleasant weekend.

Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 4:09:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

RIP Ian, very talented for sure.

by the way Naomi, I do like Marion Cotillard, she is a sweetheart

Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 7:49:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I see so few movies that your reviews are invaluable to me!

Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 4:50:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I am sorry to hear about Sweeti. Sorry its late for condolences.. He was your best friend and its hard. I have adopted another cat myself and Snowie doesnt like it one bit. She hisses everytime she sees him..

Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 12:30:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

As always, thanks for your insight into these movies. Some I'll have to get when they come out on Netflix.

BTW, I always loved Ian Abercrombie. He's been the "leaven" in so many good productions over the years.


Sunday, February 5, 2012 at 12:42:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

From all your reviews I'd like to see a "Better Life". It looks like my kind of film, and I do tend to prefer the same independent films like this.

What a shame about the film with Jodie Foster in it! I thought she ALWAYS made great films. I think I'll avoid that one then!

I'm sorry to hear about the death of Ian. I don't recognise him at all but I never watched Seinfeld.

Monday, February 6, 2012 at 4:37:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Peaceful journey Ian
I was just thinking about Ben Gazzara who passed this week

I adore Plummer and I'm so happy to see him busy at this stage of his career

Monday, February 6, 2012 at 4:49:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Beginners sounds wonderful and yes, I'll look into it.

My husband has "Bad Teacher" on our Netflix queue, but I just dropped it down a notch to put "Midnight in Paris" as #1 pick. lol Won't he be surprised??

Thank you for the wonderful reviews, amiguita. They're always so thorough but then you never give anything away.

Don't worry, as much as I like Jodie Foster, I'll skip on that last one! lol

Hugs and besos from Miami! xo

Monday, February 6, 2012 at 9:21:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Beginners is another we nearly rented, but they only had it in Blu-Ray! I'm too low-tech! Midnight in Paris was my favorite movie of the year for the pure beauty and joy of it. Granted, I like Woody, but his recent films hadn't been my favorites. This takes me to the "Purple Rose" days, with a little magic -- but oh! Those Parisian scenes! I'm headed there in 70 days and know I'll watch this one again before we leave!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 6:02:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I'm writing some of these down. I love your reviews.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 8:57:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I just watched the fairly recent 'London' Woody Allen, which I quite enjoyed. It was still Woody Allen but he'd mixed in some of the London Brit style humour as well.

I'm sure I'll see the Paris one too and try to spot the typical characters he uses.

Funnily enough, I was talking to a friend about Carnage a couple of data ago, because it was also play in London and she reckoned it was more or less filmed like the play.

Some of the others you mention are still an aspect of UK sequencing, where they haven't been shown or only pop up for a few days, so I shall;l need to keep my eyes open!

Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 10:56:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

RIP, Mr. Pitt.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 12:44:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Managed to see Carnage a few days ago... We are always behind you with movies except blockbusters.

I found that the script outpaced the acting and still made for an enjoyable 90 minutes.

I sort of agree that they might not be obvious couples "miscast" but the wordplay and the fumbled attempts at reconciliation between the parties was a 'gift' for whoever played it.

I therefore quite liked it, but I'll admit I was trading it more like a stage play than a movie and that the actors were 'actors' rather than 'stars'.

Hmm I think there were also some special effects (yes that one) which would be difficult in the stage play.

Just sayin' cos' its an interesting discussion.. :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 3:51:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Ian Abercrombie was Mr. Pitt on "Seinfield" ... that's the only thing I know him from.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 6:30:00 PM PST 

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