When my friend was away in France teaching English for a year, she emailed me with some titles of must-see French movies. One of them was MONSIEUR LAZHAR (2011), which is in fact French-Canadian. This film directed by Philippe Falardeau takes place in a Montreal public school. When a middle school teacher commits suicide in her classroom, Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), an Algerian immigrant, comes in to take over her class. The children struggle to come to terms with the tragedy as Monsieur Lazhar grapples with his own demons. He works hard to help the children heal, but he is held back by a school system that is too concerned about policy to be of any practical help to its students. Read the rest of this entry »
Revisionist fairly tales seem to be all the rage these days, what with popular TV series “Once Upon a Time” and the recent cinematic flop MIRROR MIRROR. After the insipid disappointment that was MIRROR MIRROR, I was hoping SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN would make a grand coup of the fad and produce a Snow White worth cheering for. Kristen Stewart was going to redeem herself of TWILIGHT patheticness and lead us into battle against the dastardly queen. But alas, it wasn’t to be. Yet again have my hopes for a better future been cruelly dashed into oblivion. Read the rest of this entry »
The first musical number in THE MUPPETS (2011) immediately put me in mind of the old Busby Berkeley movies of yore, and you can hardly imagine my glee at the cameo appearance of Mickey Rooney, who starred with Judy Garland in two Busby Berkeley musicals, during “Life’s a Happy Song“! The old-fashioned musical style is paired beautifully with the nostalgic theme of the movie. When brothers Walter and Gary visit the old Muppet Show studio, Walter accidentally discovers that a big deal oil baron wants to tear down the studio to drill for oil. In order to save the studio, Walter must work with his hero, Kermit the Frog to reunite the Muppets and put on a huge show to raise the money to buy back the studio! Sounds strikingly similar to BABES IN ARMS (1939) and STRIKE UP THE BAND (1940), doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »
A longtime fan of Will Smith and the MEN IN BLACK movies, I was so thrilled to hear about this third installment to the saga! In this MIB adventure, Agent J (Smith) must travel back in time to stop Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones/Josh Brolin) from getting killed by an angry escapee alien named Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement). J is also on his own personal mission to try to figure K out, to get into his head and find out why they never talk about personal things together. Throughout the film, J subtly tries to get in K’s head to find out what makes him tick. Read the rest of this entry »
|Sacha Baron Cohen being
escorted off the red carpet
Sacha Baron Cohen‘s latest movie made national headlines even before it came to the big screen when the star appeared at the Oscars wearing his dictator costume, accompanied by two curvaceous women soldier characters, and dumping ashes all over the red carpet and Ryan Seacrest. London-born Sacha Baron Cohen first found fame as sketch character Ali G. on Da Ali G. Show in 2000, making a name for himself by subjecting unsuspecting people to comic situations he deliberately orchestrated to offend or ridicule them. He took two of his characters to the big screen in full length features Borat (2006) and Bruno (2009). Sacha Baron Cohen‘s characters and films court controversy because, in many cases, his brash political incorrectness serves to reveal the latent indifference to prejudice that lies at the root of many supposedly civilized western societies. Read the rest of this entry »
|Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Cameron Diaz,
Brooklyn Decker, and Jennifer Lopez
Because there has been so much discussion in recent years about changing gender roles and about various methods of childbirth, I was surprised by how boringly conventional What To Expect When You’re Expecting actually was. The movie is about a few different families who are preparing for the arrival of a little stranger. Although each story has a different perspective on the experience of getting pregnant and having a baby, the scope is rather narrow. One unmarried young couple accidentally get pregnant after a one-night stand. Another mother who has been trying for years to get pregnant discovers that “the glow” everyone talks about is merely a fantastical rumor – being pregnant sucks to the extreme! Then there’s her gorgeous step-mother-in-law who experiences the easiest pregnancy on record, and in high heeled shoes! Then there’s the couple torn by the fact that they are unable to have children for themselves. As they prepare to adopt a baby from Ethiopia, the husband starts gets cold feet and the wife unexpectedly loses her job. Then there’s the celebrity weight-loss trainer who struggles to juggle her career, her boyfriend, and an unexpected pregnancy. Read the rest of this entry »
Seven Brits in the twilight of their years fly halfway around the world to Jaipur, India to reside in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful. The film’s magnificent title is supported by a magnificent cast of the best of British thespians, including best buds Maggie Smith and Judi Dench (in their first film together since 2004’s Ladies in Lavender), Bill Nighy (Love Actually), Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey), Celia Imrie (Nanny McPhee, Calendar Girls), Tom Wilkinson, and Ronald Pickup.
Despite a rotten Rotten Tomatoes rating of only 42%, Tim Burton‘s Dark Shadows is still a lot of fun for fans of Burton/Depp collaborations. The film has all the earmarks of a usual Burton/Depp production, though it falls short of being a masterpiece. Tim Burton‘s other half, Helena Bonham Carter makes her appearance as the family’s gin-swilling, gerascophobic psychiatrist. There is also the expected amount of blood, dark eye shadow, and shabby-chic costuming that accompanies a Burton flick. But it is the silky smooth dialogue, and the delivery of same by Johnny Depp, which prevents this movie from slipping into the realms of pure kitsch.
My roommate found this infographic online and showed it to me and she and I had a good laugh about it. But then it struck me that it would actually be funnier if it were more true. The top pie chart says women won’t like The Avengers because it has a sexy woman in it, while the bottom chart illustrates how women will like the movie because it has a lot of hot guys in it. Both paint a rather limited, and inaccurate, view of how women view movies. Read the rest of this entry »
In what Time magazine (May 7, 2012) calls the “first of this summer’s ultra-expensive, apex-predator blockbuster movies,” and the “Travelling Wilberys of super-hero franchises,” six super-heroes assemble to defend earth against an alien invasion. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D calls together Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Rufallo), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to join forces against Thor’s [adopted] brother , Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has enlisted the evil Chitauri to help him enslave the human race. The film is directed by Joss Whedon, a super-hero among super-hero fans and creator/director of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and the most recent The Cabin in the Woods. Read the rest of this entry »