Garden State

Garden State is a gritty/lovely surprise of a film written, directed by and starring Zach Braff (Scrubbs). I should call this series of entries to my movie blog "the vacations series" since I went to see it with my sister last weekend, too. We were to Borders first and when we were checking out (bought a copy of Vanity Fair) we asked the young sales assistant where the theater was in the mall and he asked what we were going to see. When we said Garden State, he said, "Awe, that's so good. … [Read more...]

Open Water

This relatively short drama about a married couple who are abandoned while on a diving trip in the Caribbean is quietly terrifying. The pre-release hype seemed to make it a real-life JAWS; but JAWS was a summer blockbuster about fear based on a novel; OPEN WATER is a low-budget cinematic look at relationships, blame and forgiveness, death and dying, and fear engendered by real life. The film asks what we might do in the same situation: the couple was stranded because they were late coming … [Read more...]

13 Going on 30

I was in Tulsa last week to speak at a conference of religious educators and a couple of women came up to me and asked if I had seen this film, starring Jennifer Garner and released earlier this year. I had to admit I had not, although Jennifer Garner is one of my favorite new stars (ALIAS is my guilty pleasure, as I think I have mentioned before.) These two ladies said: the main character is not a nice person, and she grows and changes... the movie is a thoughtful surprise. I admitted that … [Read more...]

Manchurian Candidate

The Manchuran Candidate is a chilling picture of the extremes to which globalization can reach when politics and economics become one. Democracy becomes an ideal of the past and the bottom line, made up of the lust for money and power, rules the world. I thought this remake an admirable updating from fear of the Red Menace to fear of the global corporation. Meryl Streep is an interesting evil mother figure; Denzel Washington plays the role that Frank Sinatra made famous - the brainwashed soldier … [Read more...]

Riding Giants

I grew up in San Diego in the 1960's and surfer culture was pervasive. It was just so cool, even if you never stood on a board (I managed to lay on one in Mission Bay once). It was always an endless summer, even for non-surfers. Because I didn't get to see Step into Liquid last year, I wanted to make sure I saw Riding Giants. The movie is a documentary that gives the history of US surfing up to 1948 in about two minutes and then documents the slow swell of the ranks of big wave surfers in Hawaii … [Read more...]

Danny Deckchair

Remember Hugh Grant's rather hygeine-challenged house-mate in Notting Hill, played so effectively by Rhys Ifans? Let me tell you, he cleans up very nicely in the quirky Australian comedy, Danny Deckchair. Danny is a brick-layer who lives in Sydney with his girl friend Trudy,  real estate agent. He has his holiday all planned: a camping trip up north. Trudy makes a work appointment she cannot break (and doesn't really want to) and lies to Danny about why they can't go on vacation. They plan … [Read more...]

The Corporation

The Corporation is a 2 1/2 hour highly structured documentary directed by Mark Achbar, who produced and directed the Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media in 1992. For anyone who is interested in the rise of "The Corporation" as a governing institution in the United States, Canada and the world, this is a movie to see. It felt like 2 1/2 hours of a college class on the coming and going and status of democracy, civics, economics, history, health, geography, manufacturing, … [Read more...]

Maria Full of Grace

Maria Full of Grace was truly a difficult film to experience because it is visceral to the core. Maria is a 17 year old girl who lives in a village outside of Bogota, Colombia. She works on a flower plantation, and de-thorns long stem roses for export. She quits when her boss refuses to let her take bathroom breaks; she has just discivered she is pregnant. Maria helps support a house full of women: her grandmother, unmarried single-mom sister, Diana, her nephew and her mother. They … [Read more...]

The Village

(This may be considered by some to be a spoiler... You might want to read it after you see the film). M. Knight Shyamalan has done it again. He has created another horror film with THE VILLAGE. Sure, there's a difference between this and SIGNS or THE SIXTH SENSE, or even UNBREAKABLE and WIDE AWAKE (a little movie that people who treasure family films - in the best sense of the word - will love). All of these have a spiritual dimension, other worldly. What binds all of these … [Read more...]

The Bourne Supremacy

I am a fan of author Robert Ludlum who died in 2001. His spy-thrillers are still a good read, though many took place during the Cold War. One of my favorites is "The Road to Gondolfo" from the early 1980's about some mafia guys who kidnap the Pope for ransom, but he's so happy to be out of the Vatican, he doesn't want to go back. Reminded me of "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O'Henry. Now, people are finishing books Ludlum started before he died, and I think they keep up the tradition … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X