Corpse Bride, The

Young Victor Van Dort (voice of Johnny Depp) is to marry Victoria Everglot (voice of Emily Watson).  He goes with his stuffy parents Nell and William (voices of Tracey Ullman and Paul Whitehouse) to the bride’s house for the wedding rehearsal. Victor is not very keen on getting married, and neither is Victoria but they have a chat at the piano while the parents (the Everglots' are the voices of Joanna Lumley and Albert Finney) are preparing things and the young people get on quite well. J … [Read more...]

In Her Shoes

    When gorgeous younger sister Maggie (Cameron Diaz) gets drunk at her 10th high school reunion she calls her sister Rose (Toni Collette) to come and get her. Their dominating step-mother Sydelle (Candace Azzara) refuses to let Maggie stay at the family home again because of her continual self-destructive behavior so Rose takes Maggie to her apartment. But Maggie, who is dyslexic, not only cannot get and keep a job, she refuses to try. She helps herself to Rose’s gorgeous shoe c … [Read more...]

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story     Among the year's family films Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story appeals in a particular way to dads and daughters. Dreamer, a gentle horse-opera, (or Seasbiscuit-lite) is a multi-generational story of a family's struggles, disappointments, and dreams that really do come true.   Ben Crane (Kurt Russell) runs hisfather's now-failed horse farm near Lexington, KY, but works for a wealthy trainer, Palmer (David Morse), to make a living. Ben's … [Read more...]

Good Night, and Good Luck

(A partial spoiler)   Very simply, Good Night, and Good Luck is the story of a couple of years in the life of American television/radio journalist Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) that the Encarta encyclopedia describes as “one of the first journalists to provide news broadcasting with a sense of integrity and societal responsibility.”   The action takes place almost completely within the CBS building in New York beginning in October, 1953 and ending about a year later. Murrow (played exc … [Read more...]

Innocent Voices

  Innocent Voices (Voces Innocentes) A film by Luis Mandoki       Innocent Voices (Voces Inocentes), a new film by Luis Mandoki (Message in a Bottle, When a Man Loves a Woman) opens this week. It tells the story of the Salvadorian Civil War (1978 – 1984) as seen through the eyes of a child. This year Innocent Voices, along with Hotel Rwanda, shared the Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America (PGA) for their outstanding contribution to social justice through c … [Read more...]

Nine Lives

Nine Lives - winner of the 2005 Locarno International Film Festival's Golden Leopard Award Directed and written by Rodrigo Garcia/ USA A mother cleans the floors of the Los Angeles County jail hoping for an early release and the warden is sympathetic. At all costs she wants to visit with her daughter, but the prison guards are mean and uncaring. A troubled young woman bearing a gun visits her younger sister with the intention of confronting their father for something he has done to her in the … [Read more...]


It is 1959 and Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman), fresh from his success with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, makes the circuit of New York’s rich and famous. He is a raucous raconteur, and entertains listeners in his effeminate style.   Uncertain of what his next project will be, in November he sees a newspaper story about the murder of a family of four in a remote Kansas town. Something tells him that this is the story that will define him as a writer. He calls his childhood fri … [Read more...]

History of Violence, A

          A History of Violence is based on a graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke. This is no obscure, film noir-ish high concept special F/X tale as we saw in Sin City. This film version of a graphic novel, while violently explicit, is philosophical. It explores the nature of violence in ordinary people, personified by those in hometown middle-America, leaving us with more questions than answers. It is also possible to view the film … [Read more...]


I wrote about MirrorMask in August since it was an entry in the main competition at the Locarno Insternational Film Festival. This a re-post with some added commentary:   MirrorMask, directed by Dave McKean, UK and USA, 2004(produced with Jim Henson Studios)   In Brighton, England, the daughter of parents who own a traveling circus, rebels about being part of it. When her mother gets sick and is hospitalized, her father must confront his growing financial difficulties that means the … [Read more...]


Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow)’s father, Robert (Anthony Hopkins) has just died. He was a brilliant professor of mathematics who in his early years did some incredible proofs that had an impact on mathematics and applied science. One of Robert’s doctoral students, Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal) goes through her father’s office the day before the funeral. He finds a notebook with what seems to be a new proof. Catherine thinks he only wants to publish it to become famous, something he denies.   Claire (Ho … [Read more...]