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22 reviews in total 
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42 out of 56 people found the following review useful:
Surprising in the Most Delightful Way, 22 November 2013

i attended a pre-screening of "Saving Mr. Banks" last night in Dallas. while i had been looking forward to the film, i had my reservations. after all, Johnny Hancock (director) was behind "The Blind Side," which i found much too schmaltzy and watered-down for my taste. also, this was a movie about Walt Disney being produced by his company - so how honest would it be about the story behind the making of the masterpiece "Mary Poppins"? would it settle for predictable mellow-drama (yes, i meant to spell it that way) and glorify dear Uncle Walt as perfect and demonize Mrs. Travers as a cold, soulless spoilsport? thankfully, the answer to that is a resounding "no."

while it surely takes artistic license with history, the film as a whole is surprisingly great. there's not a weak moment throughout, not a second where i wasn't entertained and wanting to find out what would come next. this film (rated PG-13) surprises with many of the thematic issues it tackles, including alcoholism, loss - and we even get a brief glimpse of a smoking Mr. Disney (hey, it was the 60s).

Emma Thompson has always been a strong performer though her screen time has waned over the last decade and a half, but here she gives a performance that is worthy of awards attention. As Mrs. P.L. Travers, she is an author as protective as her life's work as a mother is for a child and is dealing with demons nearly forgotten. Mr. Hanks too carries his own playing the iconic and visionary Disney at the top of his game, trying to honor a promise to his daughters while also add to his impressive repertoire of cinematic achievements.

this is not really a film to take your Poppins-loving tykes to. this is the Disney film for mom and dad to enjoy. "Saving Mr. Banks" will probably be remembered as one of the best films of 2013, and for good reason.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
an un-biopic, 21 May 2012

"The Iron Lady" is an unconventional biopic, and it's hard to describe why until you see it for yourself. just know that if you go into it expecting something along the lines of a traditional true story profile of a famous individual, you will be disappointed.

for example, little time is given to Lady Thatcher's first elected position as MP for Finchley and almost as little time is devoted to the process of her actually becoming PM.

the film focuses primarily on the thoughts of an aging Lady Thatcher, and so the flashbacks on much more episodic than what is usually expected in this type of picture.

but Meryl Streep provides all the quality the film needs (not to mention the outstanding makeup work), and more than makes the film worth watching. Jim Broadbent is fantastic (as always) as Lady Thatcher's late husband Denis, but not let's kid ourselves that this is anything but Meryl's show.

13 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Scintillating, 18 November 2011

some reviewers on here have complained about this not being a biopic of Marilyn Monroe. of course it's not. it's called "My Week With Marilyn," not "My Life With Marilyn." so get over it.

that being said, this film was so much better than i had expected it to be. i expected a Michelle Williams showcase, but the film entire is top-notch. the entire cast is fantastic, the direction by Mr. Curtis is superb (i don't expect him to get awards or anything, but for a first feature, it was incredible), and the screenplay manages some keen observations on the nature of celebrity obsession, the art of acting, and depression.

it is too bad Mr. Branaugh will not be getting much awards buzz for this film - i found him fantastic as Sir Lawrence Olivier and he had some fine moments. but, of course, the show really belongs to Ms. Williams, who completely disappears into Marilyn and brings an authentic tenderness to the icon. one moment, you'll be basking in her glow, the next moment, your heart will be breaking.

easily one of the best films of the year.

Babies (2010)
20 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
baby, oh, babies, 5 May 2010

I just got back from a screening of this documentary that examines (sans narrative, thankfully) the first year of four babies, one from mongolia, one from tokyo, one from namibia, and one from san francisco, more accurately representing the world population than if it were four western babies.

though the film as it stands is worth watching and is an entertaining piece of cinema, it never quite reaches the moment it seems to want to build towards: the humanity of all people. it settles instead for being a cute, fluff piece for the audience to coo over with numerous "oohs" and "awwws."

don't get me wrong, though-the babies themselves are great, and watching their different personalities operating in different cultures is the driving force of the film. it's a very watchable film, just not as poignant as it could (or maybe should) have been.

2 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Not his best..., 10 October 2009

i have never been a fan of Michael Moore...but i have always been a fan of Michael Moore films.

Bowling for Columbine continues to move me no matter how many times i see it, and i LOVED Sicko all the way through and even convinced my super-conservative dad to watch it (he liked it). but there was just something lacking in his newest doc scrutinizing the current state of the economy, the banking industry, and the economic system that is to "blame" for bringing it all about.

the problem with this film that the talented Mr. Moore doesn't have in his other films is that it lacks FOCUS. the segments are delivered messily and it just doesn't seem to flow well, and the entire movie felt an hour longer than it actually is (at least to me).

not that the film is awful. far from it. Moore continues to make us think and asks good questions as he does in all his films. but i just expect a lot more from him. maybe i went in with too high of expectations. oh well.

87 out of 131 people found the following review useful:
"Bon Apetit!", 10 July 2009

i never really liked Meryl Streep that much until "Doubt" last year. and i've always been in love with Amy Adams. so when i found out the two were in yet another film together, i jumped at the chance to go to a prescreening.

i expected the film to be good, but it was even better than expected. humor was one of the driving forces of the film, but that didn't take away from some more serious moments- rather, it accentuated them and made them all the more poignant and even heartbreaking.

Ms. Streep is nothing short of perfect as cooking personality Julia Child. in fact, it may be the best performance yet i've seen from her. hilarious, lovable, passionate, and tender, she hit every note perfectly.

Ms. Adams, likewise, was superb as Julie Powell, a government worker who decided to tackle Julia Child's 500+ recipes in her groundbreaking cook book in a year's time while documenting online the whole process in a blog.

the two true stories are perfectly balanced, and the screenplay (adapted by the director Nora Ephron) strikes some wonderful parallels between the two women, and paints, or rather, cooks up two great ingredients to become one delicious dish.

there is a bit of a lag in the second half of the movie, but this is forgiven by the fact that the movie never becomes distracted from its purpose. excellent cast, fantastic story-telling, and wonderful direction. Julie & Julia will have you holding out your dish begging for more.

Away We Go (2009)
73 out of 93 people found the following review useful:
Meet the Family..., 27 May 2009

i just got back from a pre-screening of this in Dallas, and i must say i really enjoyed it. it seems like the whole audience enjoyed it as well, the theatre was often filled with laughter throughout this wonderful film.

i'm a fan of Sam Mendes' work, and his work excelled here in the realm of comedy. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph shared great chemistry as a couple expecting their first child and trying to decide where to settle down and raise their family. it's a bit of a coming-of- age story about people who should have already come-of-age, as we travel across the country along with them meeting quirky parents, friends, and old schoolmates.

it's not all laughs, though. there are plenty of serious and introspective moments and my hat is off to Ms. Rudolph, generally known for her skills in comedy, for adding fine dramatic moments to her character. in the end, this movie doesn't offer any solutions to life's quirks, but it looks at them and even celebrates them.

it's not Mendes' best film, but it's a very enjoyable film with a great cast and lots of laughs, and should appeal to a pretty wide audience. it's a breath of fresh air from all of the Hollywood flash and crap that will be slopped across theater screens this summer. go see it!

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
wonderful, 22 January 2009

i saw this film before it went into limited release at a special screening with director Danny Boyle. my initial reaction to the film was that it was good, but not that great.

then, over the next couple of weeks, the memory of the film stayed with me and it continued to grow on me until i felt strongly compelled to go see it again (something i don't do often). i found myself catching so many beautiful moments the 2nd time around, and was moved to tears in several different scenes.

this is a powerful film, and don't let the more fable-like qualities of it distract you from the amazing sounds and visuals. Mr. Boyle describes this as a "love song for Mumbai," and that is exactly what it is: a love song. this film, from Mr. Boyle's delightful direction, the amazing cinematography & editing, the incredible score by R.A. Rahman, and some compelling performances by delightful unknowns Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto, is one of the best films i have ever had the pleasure of viewing.

this is, in my opinion, the best film of 2008. with drama, romance, humor, action, and lots of heart, it has something for everyone. wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. don't miss it on the big screen.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The Best Family Film of 2008!!!, 31 December 2008

wow, this movie was great!!! this movie about a young, idealistic couple living in a 50s suburban community is sure to grab hold of you! Leonardo DiCaprio is amazing (as always) playing the husband, Frank Wheeler, a man who is disgruntled with his job, but trudges on to provide for his family. sure, he's not perfect and makes mistakes along the way, but who doesn't? i truly felt for this guy as he reaches out to connect with his wife at their hardest moments.

And Kate Winslet, oh, Kate Winslet. she radiates in this movie as April Wheeler, the young wife who wants her husband to be happy while coping with her own personal issues. like her husband, she is also not perfect, but they enjoy great chemistry together on the screen! her dialog delivery is perfect, and it is hard to tear your eyes from hers, as a thousand different emotions fly through them at any given time.

Michael Shannon is also worthy of noting, playing John, a poor, disturbed man who visits the Wheelers with his realtor mother (played wonderfully by Kathy Bates), as he copes with his mental breakdown that has landed him in an asylum. his scenes are at once amusing and heartbreaking.

alright, to be serious now. Sam Mendes has yet to make a bad movie, and this one is no exception. dark? yes. depressing? yes. Revolutionary Road is paved with harsh truths and difficult moments, but it is a beautiful film. Thomas Newman's score may be the best of the year, and Kate Winslet delivers what may be the best female performance of the year. go see it with an open mind, and let it haunt you afterwards.

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
well, maybe 3 and a half pounds..., 22 December 2008

despite lackluster reviews, i decided to go see this movie because i have always been a fan of Will Smith and love his work, especially in more dramatic roles. this is the type of movie where i have to say, it wasn't horrible, but it could have been much better.

the story is on-again-off-again, sometimes engaging and sometimes too slow. the basis of the movie is a great idea and could have evolved into a great film, but it never gets there because of a few too many "that's totally improbable" moments.

there is some good acting going on in this film. Smith, of course, it great, and is surrounded by a solid supporting cast, but the direction is too heavy-handed and the script too bumbling to carry the performances very far.

like i said, this could have been a great movie with a different director and some major screenplay revisions. but, at the same time, it still is pretty interesting and Smith is great. but for a movie striving to do so much, it achieves little in the end.

P.S. Hollywood, please stop putting pop songs as filler in movies. there are much better ways to make a scene interesting and let us know what the characters are thinking besides some crappy, over-sentimental lyrics set to guitar and piano.

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