Posts Tagged ‘Clearview’

To Rome, with Love

July 25, 2012

The movie was very strange. It was an attempt to be nostalgic. I imagine it would be a better film for people who have already visited Rome for a significant amount of time.
There are 3 story lines that run independent of each other. They don’t intertwine. None of them seem completely believable, in fact, each of them leans heavily towards the ridiculous.
The feel of this movie is very similar to the feel of some off-off-broadway shows that I’ve gone to, except those shows had better dialogue.
Woody Allen is funny.
I don’t like Opera, but this film made the Opera singer funny.

Everything else was pretty much a waste.
4 out of 10. Add a star if you spent a significant amount of enjoyable time in Rome. Remove a star if you dislike Alec Baldwin.

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Seeking a Friend (for the End of the World)

June 27, 2012

This review contains spoilers, but only because I believe that giving this spoiler will help you enjoy the movie more. If you don’t want to read spoilers about this movie, all you need to know is I liked the movie overall.

Now on to the spoilers! 🙂

Seeking a Friend was a little sad, but not as sad as I expected it to be.

It had an early scene where a guy [commits suicide by jumping out a window and] (suddenly and unexpectedly) crash lands on Carell’s windshield. That prepared me to expect any close-up to be accompanied by a horrific scene. So, I was anxious the rest of the movie. However, that was really the only horrific scene, so it unnecessarily ruined the movie for me.

They really didn’t need to show it in such a jarring way. They could easily have shown a suicide jumper (depicting people’s sadness at the end of the world) without resorting to terror-tactics.

I liked Carell more in roles like this, where he not trying to be funny. If you are looking for a funny Carell, look elsewhere. But if you find him to normally be frantic, awkward, and annoying, you might enjoy watching him calmly face the end of the world.

Some reviews complained about Knightley’s performance, but not I. I found her performance consistent with the unstable character she plays in the film. I didn’t see any positive or negative energy between the two leads, but the world is about to end, so how much chemistry is there going to be? In fact, you could argue that more chemistry would have made the film less believable.

I liked the movie overall. I have to take off a point for the jarring suicide scene early in the film, so I give it a 7 out of 10.

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Exit Through the Gift Shop

June 16, 2010

I went to see “Exit Through the Gift Shop” because it got a high rating on imdb.com and there wasn’t anything else to see.
I couldn’t quite make heads or tails of it when I read the online reviews or for the first 10-15 minutes of watching the film.
However, once the film really gets underway it’s funny and insane.
It’s a documentary of a human, male, American via France, shop owner who develops an obsession with picture and video taking.
During his search for something to photograph, he discovers street art.

Hilarity ensues.

If you are an art student, you should definitely see this film.

I give this film an 8 out of 10.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

June 16, 2010

*** WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
I went to see “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” last night. It is a documentary of a year in the life of Joan Rivers.

Joan Rivers is a human, female, Jewish, comedienne. You can read her bio here.

This documentary starts as Joan is preparing her play about her life story for Scotland and English theater. She hopes it’ll be successful there, so she can bring it back to America (read: NY and LA). She expresses concern that American critics will view her play as an unflattering caricature.
Unfortunately, while the play is received well by the audience, critics are harsh.

Joan tells us that she sees herself as an actress and the failure of her play proves that she will never be viewed as such.
However, from the clips of her play that are shown in the movie, it appears she’s doing stand-up comedy about her life. If that’s what her play consisted of, her conclusion is unfair to herself. Perhaps if she took on a dramatic role, she could make the audience forget that she’s funny and instead take her seriously as an actress.

The film shows Joan as a funny, caring, woman, comedienne, mother, friend, and business woman.

I give it a 6 out of 10. It’s a funny documentary. If you like stand up comedy or documentaries, you should give this film a try.

City Island

May 7, 2010

I went to see “City Island” on Tuesday, May 4, 2010. The movie I really wanted to see, “Kick-Ass” was still playing, but I’d promised to wait to see it with Michelle, so it was off-limits.

Before I decided on “City Island” I went to imdb.com and saw it had a rating of over 9 out of 10.

This movie is about a family, on City Island in the Bronx, that excel at keeping secrets from each other. The most publicized one is the father/husband correctional officer who keeps his acting classes a secret from his family by telling them he’s out gambling.

The film is much better than it has any right to be. I’d not heard of this film from any main stream media and I don’t understand why it doesn’t have a greater buzz.
It’s a serious film. It’s a comedic film. It’s an educational film. It’s an inspiring film.

The audience laughed out loud many times during the showing I was at. Sometimes their laughter masked the next spoken line or two of the film’s characters.

Not all of the subplots are completely logical, but all of them are great fun.

I would highly recommend this film to adults. I give “City Island” 8.5 out of 10.

Alice in Wonderland

April 30, 2010

I went to see “Alice in Wonderland” on Tuesday, April 27, 2010.
This film was released in 2D and 3D, but the theater I went to was only showing the 2D version. (If I had gone to see it when it first came out I would have had a choice.)

The trailers for “Alice in Wonderland” left me with low expectations. I saw Johnny Depp play a crazy guy in “Charlie in the Chocolate Factory” and I wasn’t eager to watch him play the same character again in a major role.
Additionally, the retelling of the “Alice” story seemed like a waste. I didn’t see what would be entertaining or informative about seeing the story retold with human actors.
As a final confidence drain, a lot of the people who were so excited to see “Where the Wild Things Are” were excited to see this one. After the fiasco that was “Where the Wild Things Are”, I started interpreting their excitement as a negative.

I was pleasantly surprised by the story and movie.
As it turns out the story is not a simple re-telling of the original story. In fact, it’s not a re-telling at all. I suggest viewing this as a (more meaningful) sequel to the original story.

In this story, Alice, now 20, is faced with serious choices that may well determine her course for the next 5 years and maybe even for life. These choices are serious. And, yet those close to her, the people who should be helping her choose wisely, try to push her into making a rushed decision.
Alice feels cornered and helpless.

*Cue the music* 😉

I could quibble with the Jabberwock’s slayer being a female, since the poem makes numerous references to the slayer being male. However, i’m okay with interpreting the uses of “he” and “boy” in the poem as being non-gender specific.

Also, I think a female Jabberwock slayer is kind of cool.

Johnny Depp didn’t try to do too much in his role as The Mad Hatter and the film didn’t let us lose focus of Alice being the main character. As such, I thought the pace and story were good and comfortable.

I enjoyed this film a lot more than I expected.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Greenberg

April 19, 2010

I went to see “Greenberg” Tuesday, April 13, 2010.
From the previews it looked like a film about a down-on-his-luck guy. I wanted to see what steps he took to get out of his funk. I hoped that there might be something in his experience that I could apply to my own.
Maybe you aren’t supposed to go to movies hoping to learn something. Maybe you are supposed to go to movies to be entertained and see a story unfold. Maybe.

What I expected and what I got were very different.
Roger Greenberg isn’t your typical loser. Roger suffers from severe guilt over a decision he made in college that messed up at least three lives. Roger recently got out of a mental institution after suffering a breakdown to the extent that his feet stopped working temporarily. Roger has OCD issues, is a germaphobe, and an inability to filter his words.
In short, I could not identify with Roger.

I kept hoping that the film would show Roger’s development. I understood there isn’t enough time to see him be rehabilitated, but I was hoping for some kind of resolution.
As far as I could see, there was none.

I don’t know why this film was recorded or distributed. However, Ben Stiller plays a very good out of control Roger.

I rate this film a 2 out of 10. Maybe if I had come in with different expectations I could have enjoyed this film more. The same might be true for you.

Hot Tub Time Machine

March 30, 2010

I went to see “Hot Tub Time Machine” today.
It is a silly movie. It doesn’t make sense and doesn’t even try to explain things.
I expected a funny movie. It was. At times.
I expected it to make fun of the eighties and the politician of the decade. But, aside from a few brief pans of President Ronald Reagan speaking on television, it was bereft of politicians or political satire.
Overall, I give the film a 5 out of 10.

Shutter Island

March 17, 2010

I was not planning on seeing “Shutter Island” because the previews made it look like a horror film. I am not a big fan of horror films. However, when I was at the bar Monday night to see a free film, a nice couple mentioned that they saw it and enjoyed it. When I expressed my concerns with it, they said it wasn’t a horror film. They said it was thought provoking, like “Revolutionary Road”.
(When I first separated I felt like I should not be around people. I felt toxic and harmful. I planned on becoming reclusive. I figured my family would not want to deal with me because they loved my wife and because I was openly not religious. I was surprised when most, though not all, of my immediate family reached out to me during the process. They helped me in many ways. It was a very difficult process and I don’t know how it would happened without them.
I still had no plans on meeting new people. I didn’t really have friends, so it wasn’t an issue.
One night, I was speaking with an internet acquaintance on the phone. I expressed my view that I should stay away from people. Including phone conversations with her. She suggested I meet people. She gave me reasons, which I will guard.
As a result of that one conversation:
a. I learned how to bowl
b. I started going to movies
c. I started going to karaoke
d. I posted a platonic craigslist ad for a movie buddy
all in the grand experiment to see if I should be around people.
The ad that I posted got one response. A young lapsed Catholic woman from New Jersey. Our emails prior to meeting for a movie were very brief. We met at Penn Station and we got a quick snack at a nearby tavern. I found her very interesting and attractive. I knew I was just there to meet her and I had no plans on ever getting physical or romantic with her, but I began to worry, since we had not disclosed personal information prior to meeting. I wasn’t sure if I should tell her that I was recently separated.
We went to see “Revolutionary Road”. It was amazing. The plot was engaging. I saw so much in what was said. Without giving away the plot of that film, I saw that my marital status played a major role in how I viewed the film. So, as we were leaving the theater, I told her. I was surprised when she said she was also separated.
There wasn’t time for us to discuss the film that night. (Work in the morning.) So, instead we exchanged about a hundred emails devoted to analyzing it.)
You can, therefore, see why I was quite eager to see “Shutter Island”.

“Shutter Island” begins the way you expect it would. Leonardo DiCaprio speaks in a heavy Boston accent as he investigates the disappearance of criminally insane woman from a locked jail cell. I expected the film not to have an ending… meaning, I expected it to have an open ending where the people get to debate what happens next and motivations. I was pleasantly surprised with how it concluded.
I can’t say more about the plot without ruining it for you.

A couple of warnings:
a. There are a few intense scenes, but it’s not prolonged or extremely anxious.
b. There are some Holocaust scenes. If anything Holocaust related, even brief scenes, bothers you, you might want to avoid this film.

This was the best movie I’ve seen since December 31, 2009. It is extremely thought provoking and it raises questions of our memories and of reality.

I feel like this film deserves a 9 out of 10, but, I’m giving myself permission to amend it down to an 8 within the next thirty days.

A Serious Man

March 10, 2010

In honor of the Oscars, I’m posting a couple of movie reviews from 2009.
This one is from Tuesday, October 13, 2009:

After my adventure with “Surrogates”, I decided to make it a double feature by getting another (I’m entitled to two) free ticket to “A Serious Man”. The one really nice thing about this theater is they seem to have multiple showings of the same film in a short period of time. This time the usher was more helpful, specifying the 2nd underground floor and theater 2. I found the theater quickly and took my seat.
(One poorly designed feature(?) of this Cinema is that they alternate floors. One floor will have a restroom, the next concessions. So if you are seeing a double feature and need to use the facilities between showings, make sure you stop on a floor with a restroom.)
For some reason we had very loud people at the showing. I counted at least 5 cell phone rings and 3 assorted other cell phone sounds. All the people in the back right side decided to open up what sounded like large potato chip bags at the same moment. The guy in front of me expressed his displeasure with their noises by saying “Really?” and “Really?” again. Fortunately, the whole back right side decided to leave before the film ended. Unfortunately, they did so one by one… and seemingly by holding the door open for each other.

On to the film. “A Serious Man” is very Jewish and very strange. Some would say that is repetitive. Yiddish is used throughout the film, though there are subtitles in the opening scene. I don’t know why they didn’t translate “Dybuk”, but maybe everyone understand that word? Or maybe, there’s no real word that would define it?
This film seems to be exploring the question of why bad things happen… to anyone. When life shits on you, should you take it personally or just get out some wipes? Is hashem sending you messages or do you just have british teeth? Why bother seeing a rabbi when you can just slam your head against a wall? It’s just as satisfying. Are people evil or are they just stuck in ruts?

I would highly recommend this film for anyone who has:
a. stubbed a toe when they didn’t deserve it
b. can handle a non-action film
c. enjoys thinking

I feel like this film was beyond my understanding, but I still enjoyed the journey.
I would give this film an 8 out of 10.

Now, if you see it, please explain it to me. 🙂