December Boys

April 9th, 2008

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0465436/

December BoysThey share the same birth month, so the orphanage calls them December Boys. But these teens -- Maps, Spit, Spark and Misty -- have much more in common. With no hopes of ever joining a family, they form their own familial bonds. Then the unexpected news comes that a young couple may adopt one of them, and the long-time pals suddenly share something else: a rivalry to be the chosen one.

December Boys, a poignant memoir of friendship and family, marks Daniel Radcliffe's first major film role outside the Harry Potter series. He plays Maps, a big brother to the group as it stumbles and wavers its way toward manhood. Join the boys for their remarkable journey of the heart called growing up.

An older couple decides that it would be nice to have some youthful energy around and offers four young, orphan boys the opportunity to spend the summer with them on the beach. As the boys get a taste for what life would be like with the family they have always wanted, they begin to understand how much they mean to each other.

December Boys was not the most sophisticated movie. It was actually very simple in most aspects, but that was all it needed to be. It was just a touching story about four boys who, when they had no one else, always had each other. But I will warn you that it might take one giant tug at your heartstrings at the end.

I hope you have one or more people in your life for which you are thankful. If you have that, this movie should remind you somewhat of how fortunate you are. I thought it was comforting in how the movie reinforced the importance of family while encouraging you to look beyond constraints of legal relation when you consider who your family is.

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April 8th, 2008
The Station AgentFinbar McBride: It's funny how people see me and treat me, since I'm really just a simple, boring person.

Top 5 Movies: About Getting/Being Dumped

April 7th, 2008

April 4th, 2008
Introducing the Dwights (Clubland)John: ...I think with most women, what you've got to understand is the most important thing for them is to be right. All the time. About everything.

Dan in Real Life

April 2nd, 2008

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0480242/

Dan in Real LifeSteve Carrell (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, TV's The Office), Hollywood's leading funnyman, stars in the hilarious comedy that's bursting with charm -- a movie you'll watch again and again. Advice columnist Dan Burns (Carrell) is an expert on relationships, but somehow struggles to succeed as a brother, a son and a single parent to three precocious daughters. Things get even more complicated when Dan finds out that the woman he falls in love with is actually his brother's new girlfriend. Dan is joined by a brilliant all-star supporting case, including Juliette Binoche, Dane Cooke, John Mahoney and Dianne West, for a heartfelt, fun-filled comedy that's "laugh-out-loud funny" - Steve Oldfield, Fox.

Dan Burns writes a widely-celebrated newspaper column about relationships, but since his wife died he has trouble relating to his three daughters. While away for a family reunion, Dan meets an amazing woman and later finds out that she is his brother's new girlfriend and they have to spend the next few days together. There is more awkwardness than hilarity that ensues, but I still liked Dan in Real Life.

I normally consider Steve Carrell to be over-the-top and too one-dimensional as a performer, but I was impressed this time around. He was genuine in his awkwardness, and more calm than many of his other roles. It was nice to see him tone it down a little.

There was only one scene that really had me belt out a laugh (my thanks to Mr. Carrell for inciting the laugh entirely on his own). The rest of the movie was less of a comedy for me and more a simple and subtle film about the importance of our interpersonal relationships, with a primary focus on family. Dan in Real Life isn't a timeless classic, but it is worth seeing once, if never again.

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April 1st, 2008
Across the UniverseJude: She's probably out fighting for the cause.
JoJo: Looks like you've been fighting for it too, huh?
Jude: I don't have one. That's the problem.

March 31st, 2008

Dan in Real Life

If you choose "Bonus Features" from the main menu and have "Outtakes" underlined when move the cursor down you will see a new option appear that reads "One More?" The hidden feature is a brief montage of Steve Carrell asking for additional takes from a few scenes. It is certainly not the most exciting hidden feature, but it was interesting to see how they let him improvise some of his non-speaking scenes.

And even though you didn't ask, there is a great featurette on making the music with Sondre Lerche.

March 28th, 2008
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert FordEd Miller: I was with a girl once. Wasn't a squaw, but she was purty. She had yellow hair, like uh... oh, like something.
Dick Liddil: Like hair bobbed from a ray of sunlight?
Ed Miller: Yeah, yeah. Like that. Boy, you talk good.
Dick Liddil: You can hide things in vocabulary.

Across the Universe

March 25th, 2008

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0445922/

Across the UniverseA love story set against the backdrop of the 1960s amid the turbulent years of anti-war protest, mind exploration and rock 'n roll, the film moves from the dockyards of Liverpool to the creative psychedelia of Greenwich Village, from the riot-torn streets of Detroit to the killing fields of Vietnam. The star-crossed lovers, Jude (Jim Sturgess) and Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), along with a small group of friends and musicians are swept up into the emerging anti-war and counterculture movements with "Dr. Robert" (Bono) and "Mr. Kite" (Eddie Izzard) as their guides. Tumultuous forces outside their control ultimately tear the young lovers apart, forcing Jude and Lucy -- against all odds -- to find their own way back to each other.

The movie was very much like Billy Joel's Movin Out in how it set characters in the appropriate time period and made them face situations represented in the music, but instead of Billy Joel, Across the Universe uses songs only by The Beatles. And I was amazed to find out how many of the songs I would have sworn were not by The Beatles.

In Across the Universe we see much of the 1960s American culture through the lives of a few young adults. When Jude comes to the US from England (Liverpool!) he makes some friends who will challenge the way he sees the world - as the world changes around him.

All of the songs were sung by the cast, whether it was Jim Sturgess (Jude), Evan Rachel Wood (Lucy), or anyone else. The singing was great, the song choices were great, and the scenes into which they were incorporated were great. I'm not sure if I should praise the writers or the director or both for the scenes picked and the cast member(s) chosen to sing. There was at least one time when the singing was done by someone who was seemingly just an extra in the film and it was very powerful for me.

I've not been able to understand the storm by which Evan Rachel Wood has taken the film industry. But she was good in this role, but more in her non-talking scenes. Her emotions are great, but I find that most of the time she comes off as too young. Separately, I thought she did a great job singing.

The movie starts well and ends well after a short break in the middle. I thought the story took a dump for a while when working in the psychodelic 60s, but that part did feature a brilliant cameo by Bono. The story was VERY artsy. Sometimes it was a little over-the-top, others it was beautifully artistic. I really enjoyed Across the Universe and the more I think about it, the more I realized how much I liked it.

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March 24th, 2008
The Station AgentJoe Oramas: Hey listen, if you guys do something later, can I join you?
Finbar McBride: We're not gonna do something.
Joe Oramas: No, I know, but if you do, can I join you?
Finbar McBride: We're not gonna do something later.
Joe Oramas: Okay, but, if you do?
Finbar McBride: Okay.
Joe Oramas: Cool.