Brokeback Mountain

In the summer of 1963 a lone cowboy, Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) walks into a tiny Wyoming town looking for ranch work. As he waits to be hired, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrives in his old pickup truck. Both are hired to tend sheep at Brokeback Mountain by Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid). One is stay at the main camp, and the other is to stay with the sheep – against National Park Service rules - though they are to take meals together.   Ennis is strong, silent and seems very l … [Read more...]

Memoirs of a Geisha

In the late 1920’s two young girls from rural Japan are sold by their father into indentured servitude because their mother is dying and he cannot care for them. A middle-man takes the girls to a town near Osaka, a major industrial center. One girl, the nine-year old, blue-eyed Chiyo (Suzuka Ohgo) is left at one house of Geisha, the sister at another. The “mother” or owner of Chiyo’s house notices Chiyo's blue eyes and says she sees much water in them - something that turns out to be true. S … [Read more...]

Paradise Now

A young woman, Suha (Lubna Azabal) passes through check point into Palestinian territory, probably Gaza.  Two young men Said (Kais Nashef) and  Khaled (Ali Suliman) work at a car repair shop where Suha comes to pick up her car. Said and Suha flirt with each other and she decides to leave it overnight. Later Khaled manages to get himself fired.   That evening a well-dressed man Jamal (Amer Hlehel) comes to Said’s house and tells him now is the time for Said and Khaled to ready … [Read more...]

Squid and the Whale, The

Bernard Berkman (Jeff Daniels) plays tennis with Ivan (William Baldwin); it is obvious the older man is trying to impress Ivan and his sons and wife, Joan (Laura Linney) with his skills, but it’s just as obvious he is slowing down.   On the way home, Bernard and Joan bicker as the boys listen from the back seat.   Bernard’s eldest son Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) worships his father, a once published novelist turned university professor. The younger son, Frank (Owen Kline) barely understands … [Read more...]

King Kong

In the early years of the Great Depression, a young actress, Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) struggles to survive in New York City. When the theater where she works closes, a promoter suggests that she do burlesque for the money.   A filmmaker, Carl Denham (Jack Black) screens footage for his investors who are not very pleased with what they are seeing. Denham wants more money so he can film on location, an island somewhere near Sumatra. He tells the investors that the screenwriter, Jack Driscoll … [Read more...]

Chronicals of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

A Classic Fantasy Tale Re-imagined into Film   On December 9th the C.S. Lewis Estate with Disney Pictures and Walden Media are releasing a new visualization of C.S. Lewis’ 1950 post-World War II beloved fantasy, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.                               Stepping into N … [Read more...]

Syriana

Syriana is a difficult political/economic thriller to watch on many levels, and challenging to process.   First of all the plot. Because George Clooney is in a film of this genre, we go in expecting it to be a political commentary and critique, and it is.  I have not read the book on which Syriana is based, See No Evil by Robert Baer (though I just ordered it from www.Amazon.com; it was out of stock at Barnes & Noble which I hit just after seeing the movie last Sunday),  but I … [Read more...]

Get Rich or Die Tryin’

The only reason I decided to see this film is because it was directed by Jim Sheridan, a director I greatly admire (In America, My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father). I also admire MTV movies – for the most part. The themes seem to want to dig in and raise up the characters from the worlds that are stifling them. At the end of the day, however, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ disappoints. Unlike Sheridan’s other films, or even the MTV films I have seen, no one gets lifted up very much.   But the … [Read more...]

Pride and Prejudice

A wonderful two hour and seven minute version of Jane Austin’s classic novel of the plight of landed gentry women in reduced circumstances is in theaters now – and it is worth the price of the ticket.   I think everyone knows the story by now; it’s a matter of highlighting why this version of a young woman and young man, who take an immediate dislike to each other when they meet, harbor a secret interest in one another, and then end up married (depending on which film or television version y … [Read more...]

Rent

Based on Puccini's 1896 opera La Boheme (which was directed by Toscanini), Rent is the film version of the award-winning Broadway rock opera. It covers about a year in the life of a group of friends living a bohemian life in Manhattan's Lower East Side and trying to make it as actors, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, and in one case, a teacher.   As the title indicates, the friends have to find a way to pay the rent to a former friend, Benny, (Taye Diggs) who went into business with the … [Read more...]


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