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The Family Stone (2005)
I thought this was a beautiful movie from start to finish. I grew up in a family with five children, and I thought the family dynamic between the cast members was spot-on perfect. The story flowed like a well-written piece of music. The house was amazing too, it was like a character itself. It looked so much like a home. I wouldn't call the family dysfunctional, myself. They seemed like a real family, with the squabbles, infighting, silliness, and all the love behind it. They made me want to be a part of the family.
It's a comedy, and Sarah Jessica Parker is a real fish out of water through most of it, but there's so much more to it. A very poignant movie. It will make you laugh, make you cry. So if you like a movie that plays to your heart, this one will.
The Wedding Date (2005)
What women want
Sure, any guy is going to sneer at this movie and call it corny, but then, they're always restless whenever things start getting what we women would call 'good'. This is definitely a corny movie...but wait, doesn't that mean romantic, and emotional? Give me more like this one! It's fun, funny, poignant and full of feeling, and it leaves you feeling good! You can tell a woman directed this. I jumped on the internet after I saw it and bought a copy for myself! So girls, watch this one and have fun!
The cast was perfect, the locations great. From start to finish it was quick, interesting, I loved every minute of it.
The Island (2005)
I loved this film. It starts off rather slowly as you get to know the characters and the strange world they live in, then all of the sudden things go crazy into an amazing on-going chase. The chemistry between the lead characters was terrific, and they both did a wonderful job of portraying strangers adapting to a strange new reality.
I didn't remember hearing much about this movie, and clicked on it out of curiosity and the fact that there wasn't anything much to watch on TV at the time, and was immediately sucked right in. Fortunately I got into it very close to the beginning and didn't miss much.
This is definitely one for the DVD collection!
Wonderful study of relationships, beautifully done
It's such a study of romance. Real life sort of stuff. Mirabelle is young, lonely, looking for her counterpart, and Ray, an older, lonely millionaire, finds her. But so does Jeremy. Jeremy is her age, but has yet to grow up and is such a buffoon; cute, but still a buffoon.
It played itself out so poignantly, the score is beautiful. It was like a symphony of emotion. Bitter/sweet ending, but uplifting. A lovely work of art.
Kudos to Steve Martin.
Kudos also to Claire Danes, she was perfect as Mirabelle. Those beautiful huge emoting eyes of hers.
Jeremy was also wonderful. Such a good-hearted goof making good.
Not much of a review, but I'm a movie fan, not necessarily a critic.
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
Some claim that characterized Orlando Bloom's performance in this wonderful epic film is wooden, and I couldn't disagree more. Not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve. I found Orlando's performance to be subtle yet powerful. Very moving. And he was amazing in his battle scenes. Maybe his detractors just don't like the fact that he is so darn popular with the ladies.
This is a classic. It stands as an argument for those who claim that movie theatres are a thing of the past. We tend to think of movies as entertainment, and many of them are just that; but some rise above simple entertainment to the level of art. Just as classic music, whether Bach or Rock, is something we like to experience again and again, a classic movie is one that can be enjoyed many times, and which is a treat to experience on the big screen.
Laurel Canyon (2002)
A masterful glimpse of a slice of American culture
Laurel Canyon. An iconic American name. A slice of American culture. Hippies live there, movie people, rock stars. Anyone who has visited LA as a tourist and taken the drive through Laurel Canyon, can't help but wonder, what might be going on up there.
Writer/director Lisa Cholodenko was thinking that. She use to live in the valley and take the drive through Laurel Canyon to the city. This movie is her salute to that beautiful, intriguing, bohemian enigma.
The glimpse of the East Coast conservative ivy-league world we see in the beginning of the movie underscores the dramatic leap the two main characters, Sam (Christian Bale) and Alex (Kate Beckinsale) take into a reality that is poles apart from what Alex has ever known before. Sam knows it all too well, as this is where he grew up with his record producer mother, Jane (Frances McDormand).
But enough about the plot. The trip from the East Coast to Los Angeles and Laurel Canyon are wonderfully portrayed in the opening credits. In fact, the cinematography throughout the movie is masterful. When a movie is beautiful to look at, I call it the eye-candy factor. Not to disparage the concept, indeed, movies should be a combination of entertainment and art, and art should speak to you, draw you in, as Jane said so well regarding music. And Laurel Canyon is beautiful to look at.
I also love movies that are about people making a sort of spiritual odyssey, trying to come to terms with themselves and the world around them. The tragi-comic drama of humanity. Laurel Canyon certainly captures this with wonderfully nuanced performances by all the lead actors. Sure, the plotlines aren't tied up neatly with a bow at the end. These lives are on-going. We have hope that everyone's traveling down a good path and will make the right decisions, but who knows? Life is like that. It's an on-going process.
Some people might be offended by the very bohemian quality of the lifestyle that is portrayed in this movie. They should stick to the family' section at the video store. For any serious movie lover, this is one for the personal library. Laurel Canyon is movie-making at it's best. Thoughtful, provocative, masterfully executed and realistic. A glimpse of another world, another reality, that exists in a lovely little canyon in Southern California.
Get Shorty (1995)
What happened to Shakespeare?
You want to know what happened to Shakespeare? Aristophanes? They've obviously passed on the torch and the Muse of comedy is still alive and kicking.
Great works of music are meant to be listened to again and again. So are great works of film meant to be seen again and again. This is one of those works of film.
Sure, it's just a comedy, but it also has the rhythm, the sense of style, the perfection of art, yeah, art. A flowing canvas of psyche that will make you laugh.
Barry Sonnefeld also directed 'Big Trouble'. It didn't do as well at the box office, but it is just as perfect.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Glad I saw it on the Big Screen
I went for the special effects, which were fantastic, and found that the story had me on the edge of my seat. I cared about the characters and wanted them to succeed in weathering the storm, and to me that's what makes a good movie.
Also, when I walked out of the movie theatre, the sky was a mass of low, grey clouds and a gentle rain was falling. I have never seen a rainy day look so creepy! I wanted to just get in my car and head South!
I know the critic's gave this movie mostly bad reviews. Just shows how jaded they are. I'm glad word of mouth seems to be working, the first two theatres I went to for the afternoon show were sold out!
It's a great movie, well worth seeing on the big screen and later adding to the personal movie library. This one I'm going to watch again.
Meet Joe Black (1998)
Excellent remake of 'Death Takes A Holiday'
I read in a previous review on this site Brad Pitt's performance described as 'stiff'. That strikes me as a misinterpretation. Brad Pitt plays Death, taking on a body to find out what he's been missing, to discover what life and love are like. I found Mr. Pitt's interpretation, a challenge for any actor, one would think, poignant and even delightful. He seems uncomfortable and uncertain in this body, like someone who has never worn one before, while at the same time he is enjoying the experience and the new discoveries he's making, such as...peanut butter. But even with the uncertainties, there is an underlying sense of power whenever he is brought back to himself. And a wonderful poignancy as he discovers the wonders and heartbreaks of life and love.
The movie moves rather slowly at times, but it seemed to me to build throughout, and the ending is that much more powerful.
A delightful movie. Definitely one for the personal collection.
And besides, it's Brad Pitt looking his best, which one doesn't always see, in his movies.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
Kids always wish to be adults. Now we are, isn't that great?
There is something special about a movie that causes you to see life differently when you walk out of the theater. Different in a good way. Not many films really do that, but this one did, for me. I walked out and it was as if the girl I had been was transplanted into the adult I am now. It's great to have a car to drive, my own place where my parents aren't waiting up for me to come home, great to have control of my life. I felt in touch with the child in me again, appreciative of where I am now. It felt good!
Jennifer Gardner brings an innocence and joie de vivre to this movie that is delightful. It was so much fun to watch. Definitly one for the personal movie library, when it comes out on DVD. I'm glad too that I went and saw it in the theater. It was a fun night out.