Reviews written by registered user
melina-m-gunnett

10 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A film for those who loved the book, 21 December 2012
6/10

I'll start with a confession – I never read the book. I was probably the only person in the theater who hadn't and everyone had an opinion about On the Road before the first frame even hit the screen. One thing that was clear, love it or hate it, the book has made an impact on a lot of people. I'm not sure the film will do the same.

I thought the film was well done. The director (Salles - Motorcycle Diaries) really captured the look and feel of the era. The detail, the cinematography, the acting (Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund were excellent as Sal and Dean), the costumes – were all spot on. From what I understand Jose Rivera very accurately captured the feel of Jack Kerouac's novel.

To me, the film was a bit long. I'm not sure where I would have cut it, but I was ready for it to end about 20 minutes before it did. I'm also not sure how the film is going to resonate with today's youth. I do think those who loved Kerouac's novel will enjoy the movie and in some ways, that is the most you can ask for from a film.

Since the settings and time period were, to me, one of the best parts of this film, I am looking forward to the documentary about Kerouac and the story behind On the Road that Salles worked on prior to and during the making of this movie. It is supposed to be out next year.

Hitchcock (2012)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A love story set against the backdrop of the making of Psycho, 7 December 2012
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film revolves around the making of Psycho and is the love story that Playing for Keeps wishes it had been. After 30 years of marriage and movies, Alfred (Anthony Hopkins) and Alma's (Helen Mirren) marriage is full of tension. He fantasizes over his leading ladies, she wants to do more with her life.

Hitchcock wants to do something different and sets his mind and talents to making Psycho, a book by Robert Bloch that is based on a real life of murderer, Ed Gein. This movie is a major departure for what the film studios consider a viable film and they refuse to finances it, not even for Hitchcock, so he decides to finance it himself. With Alma's help the book is made into a screen play and they being shooting.

While Alfred is busy with the filming of Psycho, Alma begins work on another screen play...

I don't want to go anymore into the plot. Most people know that the film Psycho was not only made, but was a success. Let that be the spoiler. This film is well done on all fronts -- writing, acting, make- up, plot, pacing... I really wasn't expecting much going into the movie, but it turned out to be one of the better films I have seen this season.

35 out of 49 people found the following review useful:
Save this one for DVD, 7 December 2012
5/10

I came, I sat, I watched and... well that's about it. I don't have anything bad to say about the movie, but I don't really have anything good to say about it either. Playing for keeps was a pleasant enough love story, but there really wasn't much there to hold my attention. Maybe if I was a HUGE soccer fan... but probably not.

The story was about a man, George (Gerard Butler), who screwed up his marriage and is trying to win back both his wife and son. Butler and Biel (who plays the ex-wife Stacie) both put in a good performance  but I didn't feel any chemistry between them. The only character I felt any connection with was the kid, Lewis (Noah Lomax).

Throughout the movie we kept hearing about how exciting and fun George was, but I failed to see it. Dennis Quaid does put in a fantastic performance as the reprehensible Carl.

Red Dawn (2012)
89 out of 166 people found the following review useful:
Red Dawn Redeux, 14 November 2012
3/10

I can't wait for the new Red Dawn to come out on video. Okay maybe I'll wait for it to hit Netflix. Either way it is going to make a great drinking game. One rule – Every time you see or hear an overused cliché or war trope, drink. You'll be soused 15 minutes into the film. On the up side, the rest of the movie will probably be better that way.

One of my friends that saw the movie with me summed it up nicely. OMG, it really is a remake. Up until we actually started watching the movie she had been holding out hope that they had re-done the movie and fixed the oh so many problems the first Red Dawn had.

The original Red Dawn had its place. I remember seeing it back when it came out. It had all the hot young actors of the day. It's problem wasn't the cast, all of them were good actors, most when on to long successful careers. I suspect many of the actors from this movie will do the same. (I'd tell you who was in it, but I suspect they are already hoping that people forget that they were involved.) The problem wasn't even the concept. Everyone loves an underdog story and there is nothing more under-doggy than a bunch of high schoolers trying to fight back against overwhelming odds. They could have handled the concept, lets be generous and only say, A LOT better. To their credit the writers did try to fill in some of the plot holes for the remake.

They setting was moved from some agricultural town in Colorado to Spokane, which at least has an airbase and decommissioned missile silos that might make it a strategic site if someone was to invade the United States. They also made the point that the kids weren't trying to beat the invaders, but act as insurgents, making trouble where they could.

The new movie does offer a nice training montage and lots of high quality explosions. Sadly the dialogue is just as painful to listen to as it was in the first movie. Too bad they didn't spend a bit less on the pyrotechnics and a little more on the script, but hey, it does have a lot of things that blow up.

BANG! POW! BLAST! And don't forget to drink up, because someone is probably saying something cheesy. ;)

3 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
An excellent glimpse into insanity, 13 November 2012
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Silver Linings Playbook is an excellent glimpse into insanity. This isn't so much a romantic comedy as a crazy romance. Pat (Bradley Cooper) lost it when he caught his wife having an affair with another teacher. Now he is trying to get it together so he can get back with his wife. She has a restraining order against him, but he believes that, if he can just become the man she wants him to be, she will take him back.

Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) never really had it together to begin with. Her husband died and she is also trying to put her life together, trying to become the person she always wanted to be. Neither one is having much luck on their own, but together they just might be able to help each other out. Tiffany agrees to get a letter to Pat's estranged wife if he helps her with her dream – to take part in a couples dance competition.

Sliver Linings does a good job of showing what it is like to live with and be around someone who is not mentally stable without it seeming like a cliché. Parts of this movie can be uncomfortable, they are meant to be. Neither of the main characters has much of a filter and tend to say what they think as they are thinking it.

Pat comes by his insanity honestly. His dad is OCD and fanatical about the Philadelphia Eagles (The movie is set in Philadelphia.) There is no miracle cure for anyone in this movie. What the characters do find is support. They have to learn to live with and accept each other eccentricities. In this regard Silver Linings tends to reflect real life, because in the end, that is the basis that all good relationships.

Skyfall (2012)
0 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Skyfall, 9 November 2012
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Why yes the new Bond movie does feature James Bond as well as most of the trappings we associate with him – casinos, shootouts, chases, beautiful women and of course, a villain. This is the third Bond film feature Daniel Craig as James Bond (Casino Royale 2006, Quantum of Solace 2008) and once again features Judi Dench as M and introduces Naomi Harris as the lovely Eve Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw as the new Q.

What this film doesn't have is the misogynistic attitudes so prevalent in the early bond films, nor the suggestively named female sidekick/opponent. To make up for it they added plot. In fact this movie had more plot that I have ever seen in a Bond film, but it still starts out with an amazing car/motorcycle/train chase.

Bond has been sent to retrieve a hard drive with a list of agents planted in terrorist cells around the world. Arriving too late, he and Eve give chase. The chase ends when Eve is given the order to shoot the thief. She doesn't have a clear shot had ends up shooting Bond instead.

With Bond falling to his death 15 minutes into the film and the villain getting away, it makes you wonder where the story is going to go. The names of the agents are being released (5 per week), M is called in to answer to parliament, the MI6 building is bombed, everything is falling apart and there is no Bond is sight to save the day.

Okay, it's a Bond movie. No one expects that he is really dead, but he was trying to stay that way. Once he sees a news report he feels obligated to resurrect himself and return to M and Country. With him he brings the crucial clue to tracking down the man who had stolen the list of names. Despite his injuries, Bond returns to active duty to hunt him down and find the person behind the theft and bombing of their headquarters.

We are now about 30 minutes into the movie, like I said, they added plot, a lot of plot. This movie is all about the past, M's and Bonds. We learn a lot about the character's background, but none of it is filler. Everything has a point from M's time at the Hong Kong Branch to Skyfall. And there is no shortage of butt kicking action in any of the scenes. If someone isn't being chased, hit or shot they are being hacked by a computer genius.

From the beautifully choreographed opening credits to the dramatic end scene, this movie is all Bond all the way. If you are a fan you will enjoy this movie, if you like well done thriller/action movies, you will like this movie, if you are just watching for the naked chicks, you might try something else.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The Sessions, 24 October 2012
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Sessions was a difficult film to watch. Not because it was bad, it was actually rather well done, but because of the subject matter. Sessions is a docudrama about Mark O'Brein, a writer and poet who contract polo at a young age and live most of his life in an iron lung.

The film covers the last decade of his life. O'Brein (John Hawkes) his hired to write an article on sex for the disabled. While doing research for the article he begins to wonder about the possibility of having sex himself. Deeply religious he consults his priest (William H. Macy) and eventually hires a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to help him explore his capabilities.

While the focus of the film is O'Brien's sessions with his sexual surrogate, the film is also about his relationships with those around him. While O'Brien had almost no control over his muscles from the neck down and could only remain out of his iron lung for a few hours a day, he was still determined to live as full of a life as possible. He attended and graduated from college and continued to go out into the world on gurney with the aid of his caretakers.

It is through his interactions with these caretakers, his priest and his surrogate that we see glimpses of the wit and intelligence that made O'Brein such a good writer. Samples of his poetry are also interspersed through out the film, giving us an even deeper glimpse into the thoughts and emotions of the man trapped within his own body.

The film is handled tastefully, but it does center around sex and audiences should be prepared for a significant about of nudity.

Lincoln (2012)
22 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Spielberg brings the politics behind the end of the Civil War and Slavery to life., 21 October 2012
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lincoln – A name I expect to hear called over and over this Oscar season.

Steven Spielberg has once again brought an amazing docudrama to the big screen. This movie is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln". It begins shortly after Abraham Lincoln's election to a second term in office and takes us through to his assignation. The story focuses on the fight to end the civil war and pass the thirteenth amendment.

Not only is the cast phenomenal, pulling the characters right of history and on to the screen, but the rest of the movie was just as well done. The sets, costume, and make-up artists all came together to turn well known actors into the historical personages they are portraying.

Unless you completely skipped high school history, you probably have a pretty good idea who won the American Civil War and wither or not the 13th amendment, outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude, passed. The true art of this film is in the way it takes those topics and shows us the details behind them making a tense, suspenseful story out of a history we already know.

I came away from this film, not only awed by the skill with which it was done, but with a wonderful reminder as another presidential election year comes to an end – Things do change and people can come together, cross lines and accomplish amazing things if the are willing.

Argo (2012)
12 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Hollywood has made many movies about the CIA. This time it is the CIA making the movie..., 9 October 2012
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I expected Argo to be a good movie, but I did not expect it to be an enjoyable one. I was pleasantly surprised.

I am old enough to remember the Iranian Hostages being taken and the countdown that appeared every night on the evening news for over a year. I am not old enough to remember the details. The only rescue mission I remembered was the spectacular failure of Operation Eagle Claw and that is what I had thought this movie was going to be about.

Instead the movie was about a crazy plan to to rescue the six Americans that had escaped from the Embassy and had hidden themselves at the home of the Canadian Ambassador. I didn't remember anything about anyone having escaped the U.S. Embassy as it was taken over and for that I am thankful. It allowed me to fully appreciate the suspense as the rescue was attempted.

This plan didn't involve special forces and/or helicopters., but it was pure Hollywood. They CIA set up a movie company, backed a B-movie Science Fiction film and created positions for each of the six trapped Americans as part of the crew sent to scout locations. The plan was to simply fly them out of the country as part of the crew. Of course nothing is every quite that simple… Argo was the name of the movie they were theoretically there to scout for. I did a quick search, but it does not seem that the script was ever made into an actually movie (Although there are three other films with that title.). Sad, I would have found in amusing to watch after having heard bits and pieces about it throughout this film. Perhaps the CIA still holds the option on it, or it really was bad enough that no one was willing to produce it.

While the never made Argo may have been a "B" movie at best, Chris Terro's script was anything but bad. He masterfully mixed humor and tension to keep everyone in suspense throughout the movie. Will they or won't they make it. You can probably find the answer on the Internet, but if you don't already know how it ends, I recommend waiting and seeing the movie first.

3 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Good writing and good acting - violence throughout., 9 October 2012
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After watching the trailer, I expected Seven Psychopaths to be about the zany antics of a group of dog nappers as they are pursued by the psychopaths they stole their dogs from. While dogs were napped and antics did ensue, that was only part of the plot.

The real story is that of Marty (Colin Farrell), a writer, struggling to finish his screen play which is, not coincidentally, titled "Seven Psychopaths. Billy (Sam Rockwell), Marty's dog-napping best friend, wants to help. Unfortunately, his help just might get Marty killed.

Seven Psychopaths was written and directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Six Shooter). The films style reminded me of Quintin Tarantino's movies, especially in McDonagh's use of the aestheticization of violence throughout, and I would not be surprised to see McDonagh list him as one of his influences.

The characters in the movie balance between the uncaring psychopathic ruthlessness and devoted dedication to the things they have decided to love and McDonagh has gathered an all star ensemble (Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko) to portray them. Harrelson is at his psychotic best and Walken's dead pan performance was ideal for the role of Hans, Billy's dog-napping partner.

Seven Psychopaths is the story of the story being written and it is done well. McDonagh allows Marty's life to become a mockery of the script he is trying to write without turning the film into a complete farce. Each psychopath has their own tale and they are all brought together in, sometimes, unexpected ways. While the movie is filled with chaos, all the pieces are also brought together and somehow, it all works and works well.

I enjoyed Seven Psychopaths and suspect this film will be finding a place on my video rack when it comes out on DVD.