Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Connie and Carla (2004)
Much Better Than I Thought It Would Be
In short, I really enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would. When I would go through my Direct TV program guide and see it listed as an offering I would skip it but for some reason today I decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did.
Kind-of a mix of Sister Act, Victor/Victoria and the Birdcage this film is fun from start to finish. Campy, silly, and corny it is just plain enjoyable (if you enjoy light drag-queen humor however - I suppose those who find men dressing badly as women non-entertaining would not enjoy this movie). I was thrilled to see Debbie Reynolds (is that a spoiler?) show up toward the end of the film and do a little song-and-dance herself.
Maybe movie-goers were looking for another "Greek Wedding", but I seriously don't know why this didn't do better in the theaters. Nia Vardalos has a keen sense of humor and should keep on writing for stage as well as screen. I wasn't aware of her singing ability, although it's doubtful she will ever be considered the next Streisand (she and Toni Colette do a passable version of "Don't Rain On My Parade") she can certainly belt out a tune when necessary.
While "Connie and Carla" is not brain-food it definitely does a good job of keeping you smiling and laughing, all the while making a positive statement about drag-culture and the gay community. Rent it, buy it, watch it on a pay channel but definitely see it if you want to have a good time.
The Aviator (2004)
A fabulous film - Two hours and fifty minutes well spent!
The critics panned it, the audiences stayed away, the Academy didn't give it it's due - all in all "The Aviator" was a theater-goer's disappointment all around. So maybe I'm a sucker for a beautiful period-piece or maybe I just don't know a stinker when I see it, but I say that "The Aviator" was a superb film that I will watch again & again.
Scorsese has made some mediocre movies (Gangs of New York & New York, New York come to mind) but this isn't one of them. The casting was brilliant, the cinematography inspired (watch how certain scenes of different time-periods have a "vintage" cinematic look to them), the music fabulous and the acting spot-on. For those who thought DiCaprio was too "baby-faced" or too young to play Hughes, take a look at a few Hughes photographs from the 30's and you will see that he was not the more rugged looking fellow from after his near-fatal plane crash. The baby-face works here and lends even more to the realism that DiCaprio gives to his portrayal of HH.
I was captivated by Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Kate Hepburn as well as Kate Beckinsale's portrayal of Ava Gardner. Both actresses did a bang-up job of giving their characters a panache and fire that would have been necessary to match them against such a formidable lover and opponent as Hughes was to these two paramours. I was disappointed, however, that there was no mention made of Hughes' well known bisexuality and his alleged connection to the murder of rumored lover David Bacon (of The Masked Marvel serial movie fame). This could have been a great side story and I feel it was an opportunity missed by the screenwriters & the director.
All in all, this is a movie I will list in my personal top 20 and once I own the DVD will watch over & over just as I do Tombstone, Titanic, Malcolm X & Wyatt Earp. If you haven't seen it because of the negative comments here or those given by critics at it's release give "The Aviator" an opportunity to captivate you. If you've seen it but disliked it because it's not an "action-packed-thriller" watch it again and make note of the fabulous sets, the wonderful cinematography, the music and the dead-on portrayal of Hughes by Leonardo DiCaprio. And for heaven's sake if for nothing else watch it for the slick flying and aviation engineering history lesson.
This film is definitely a winner in my book!
Flight Attendant Kicks A**!!!
Yes, the plot is stupid. Yes the cast is less than stellar (other than Liotta), yes you've seen others like this before...OR HAVE YOU? Turbulence is a great ride from start to finish because it IS so predictable; you don't have to pay that close of attention and think too hard to get the plot but it is suspenseful and a kick to watch Lauren Holly's character grow in her own self-confidence by the end of the film. At the beginning of the film she's the weak little blonde who lets men walk all over her. By the end she's a flight attendant who kicks butt. Liotta, as always, does a great job portraying his character. As Ryan Weaver, a serial killer, he did his homework on the nuances that make "serials" serials. He uses his good looks and natural charm to get women to trust him, uses his brain to take advantage of a great situation in his favor, is emotionally manipulative, and then masterfully becomes a complete psycho all in the blink of an eye. Probably one of the best portrayals of a serial killer I've seen on the big screen for a long time. Without spoiling the "big" moments in the film I will say that what happens to Catherine Hicks'(Child's Play, Star Trek IV, TV's 7th Heaven) character is a shame (sad, actually), one of the funniest moments of the film (in a sicko kind of way) is when Liotta "decorates" the plane with some of the passengers, and the ending is pretty schlocky and cheesy. But all in all, I was certainly rooting for Lauren Holly's stewardess (sorry, "she's a flight attendant") when she outdoes Karen Black (Airport '77) by a mile in finally landing the plane and basically telling the officials on the ground to go to hell! The photography is decent, a few of the special effects very cool, and there are a few real decent laughs along with a little gore. Oh, and you will never watch "It's A Wonderful Life" in the same light again!
Theron's Oscar Was Well Deserved
Ugly and uncomfortable to watch, "Monster" is the first true crime movie since "Dead Man Walking" to leave me feeling utterly broken inside. Aileen Wuornos was a sad and pathetic creature whose past made her into what she became and Charlize Theron brings every complex dimension of her completely to life again in this film. It wasn't just the makeup and added pounds that made Theron into Wuornos but her uncannily accurate portrayal of the woman who was lost between the horror of her personal life and the dreams she had to be somebody more than her circumstances dictated. Theron almost seems to be inhabited by the soul of Aileen Wuornos with every word, body movement and tormented and crazed wide-eyed look. Her performance certainly deserved the Best Actress Oscar for this role and possibly of the decade. The music by BT adds another suitably eerie dimension to the film but it is really Theron's performance of the wonderful screenplay that makes this a great film. There's really not any gore to speak of, but the raw and bottom-line truth of Wuornos' life is what makes the story nearly unpalatable. Guaranteed, this movie will sicken, frighten, sadden and make you squirm. If it doesn't, you should check to see if you still have a pulse. Undoubtedly not for the faint of heart but if you do see it be prepared for an unparalleled ride.
Flight of the Intruder (1991)
Good Action, Some Truth
Because my dad was a A-6 Bombadier/Navigator in Vietnam, I have a bias regarding this movie. It is highly entertaining and action-packed, however, the truth of the story lies somewhere in the middle and there's not much of it in this screenplay. I'm sure that many of the Navy's aviators in Vietnam grew weary of hitting "suspected" truck parks, oil refineries and missile sites, but I have yet to hear tales from my dad or his buddies about anyone who decided to fight their own war and fly through downtown Hanoi in order to destroy a SAM (surface-to-air missile) storage area all on their own. Guys got shot down a lot during the war, yes, but they were mostly Air Force guys (that's meant to be a dig!), and rarely a Navy A-6. In this movie, we see several from one squadron on the same cruise go down. Not too realistic. The quickly referred to "Operation Linebacker" was a real mission (proud to say that my dad was in the first plane over N Vietnam on that mission) and followed up by Linebacker II later on. It was not, however, inspired because of what the two lead characters in this movie did. The flying is pretty realistic though and it is nice to see the not-as-sexy-as-a-fighter-jet Grumman A-6 Intruder in a movie; I give it three stars for that. Still...I would rather listen to real bomber pilots and b/n's relate their adventures in 'Nam and aboard ship. If you want a real Vietnam movie, stick with "Apocalypse Now", "Full Metal Jacket" and "Platoon".
Boys Don't Cry (1999)
One of the most important movies of the decade...
This is a very important movie and I recommend it to anyone (over 18 only because of the violence and sexuality). The true story of Teena Brandon, "Boys Don't Cry" will make you sick, sad, and intrigued at the same time. Having grown up in a small rural town full of tunnel-visioned people, I can relate with the movie from the stand point of being different and sticking out like a sore thumb. Even tho it's an independent film, the story has been "Hollywood-ized", but the real story it is based upon has been told without apology or disclaimer. Because it is an independent film, it doesn't have the big-budget look, and it really doesn't need it. The heart of the story gets told honestly, and with a story like this, it wouldn't have been right any other way. Hillary Swank deserved her Oscar for this, and you will believe her portrayal of a woman trying her darnedest to be a guy. Many times, I forgot that she was a woman, but not in a campy, impersonator-type way. She looks like a young, baby-faced boy/man, and has the mannerisms, look, and lingo down. This is a tragic tale and Teena Brandon was definitely a messed-up individual, however, her gender-identity really takes a back seat to her up-bringing, her choice of friends, her habitual lying, and troubles with the law. Because of the combination, she is ignored by her family and the legal-system; the two entities anyone should be been able to count on. In the end, these are the things that kill her - the two morons who pull the trigger are just the vehicle. Still, you will end up hating the killers and see their backwards, red-necked male-macho baloney for what it is way before the movie heats up. This is more than just a trans-gender movie, it is a complex tale that includes a cast of characters you have probably known once or twice in your life. And that, hopefully, will make you think about and compel you to see this movie more than once. It's message deserves that you do.
Desert Hearts (1985)
Lesbian Movie History
Before Ellen, kd lang, and Chastity Bono came out, there was this Lesbian genre classic, and classily done, I might add. The storyline was unique to movies at the time it was filmed, but the story is not. Anyone who has been in love with a supposed "straight" person, knows how real this movie can seem. The flirtation, the backing away, the come-hither looks, and finally the conquest all will bring back good (and painful) memories. In my opinion, the lesbian love scene between the two female leads is still the best yet on film - it sizzles without being too graphic. I'm giving it only an 8 because the acting is a little stilted at times (mostly from the star Patricia Charbonneau and her former on-screen love interest Dean Butler). If you can overlook that, and see the movie for what it was (lesbian/gay history) and what it is today (a great love story), you will enjoy it. The clothes, music, sets, (and the hair-dos!) are great and correct for the period. Sit back, enjoy, and make sure your girlfriend is watching with you!
That Thing You Do! (1996)
LOVE this movie!
As a child of the 60s and a musician, I loved this movie from the first few minutes of it. The sets, the clothes, the music, and everything down to the small details is represented here to give a true feel for what the early to mid sixties were like, minus the politics and Vietnam. Before radio music became a commercially diluted and corporate industry there were "garage-bands" galore and many of the little-remembered names of the genre started out as such. The Wonders in "That Thing You Do!" could easily be a number of bands that were a one-hit-wonder (or two or three) and then just disappeared from the scene. Nevertheless, they all helped shape some of the best music of that era, and Tom Hanks perfectly represents that phenomena in this movie. If you remember the early 60's fondly, you should truly enjoy this film and it will probably bring back fond memories. The depiction of Erie, PA during this time-frame is probably representative of many small to medium size American towns and certainly brought back great memories for me of better times gone by. The music rocks, the dialog is hip, and the love story rounds it out perfectly. Buy this movie and then buy the CD soundtrack; you won't be sorry! (**TRIVIA: another Tom Hanks produced movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", has a "That Thing You Do!" song played during the wedding reception - do you know which one?**)
This Boy's Life (1993)
Concrete Is My Hometown
Although I didn't live there during the time the movie was made I did venture up one afternoon to see what the town looked like as a movie set. Remarkably, the town looked much like I remembered from my childhood in the 60's and it was a nice journey back in time. While living in Arizona ('92-2001) I would frequently watch the movie when I was homesick; I enjoyed seeing my old town, my old schools & the surrounding scenic shots. I am now living back in Concrete and sadly, the town has wasted away to nothing; but with This Boy's Life I can go back for an hour or so to when it was a really great place to live and grow-up. The real-life Dwight has since died (everyone who knew him says he was just like book and movie portrayed him) and his real kids dispute the fact that he was an abusive father. Tobias Wolff is, of course, now a well-known writer but remembered as a nice, fun-loving kid who did pretty well weathering the constant stress at home while growing up. A number of Concrete residents still resent the portrayal of our town as a back-woods redneck community that harbors child-abusers.
Unfortunately, the truth hurts & that description pretty much sums up our little spot on the map. But we do have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, lots of fresh air and no gangs so I guess we are better off than a lot of urban environments. Leo DiCaprio did a great job in his role. Ellen Barkin was memorable but I had a hard time feeling much empathy for her character. DiNiro was - well...DiNiro. Every role he touches becomes gold and this one will shine for a long time. This movie was highly underrated in my opinion (and not just because I was biased) and should have gotten more notice after it's release. You can still see it on the pay channels, occasionally on cable networks and of course, video & DVD. The sets, clothing, and music really do justice to the time. See it and you will never forget it! ***small tidbit: on my trip up to Concrete to visit the set I was happened upon DiNiro, DiCaprio & Barkin filming the scene where they were driving for the first time into Concrete. The local sheriff had closed off the highway until the scene was completed but because I knew the area and side rural roads I sneaked up to a spot where I could videotape the car with the three inside going down the highway. I DID get decent video of DiNiro "driving" the car and was thrilled!