Top 5 Movies: Biopics

November 29th, 2007

Kinky Boots

November 28th, 2007

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0434124/

Kinky BootsJoel Edgerton stars as Charlie Price in this uncommon movie about a fourth-generation shoe maker who inherits a failing business. Charlie wanted nothing to do with shoe making until his father's death fills him with a new sense of duty. His girlfriend thinks he is crazy for being loyal to his father's business when his father wasn't loyal enough in the first place to tell him that the business stopped being profitable. There was no longer a market for such fine craftsmanship, demand had changed. How far will Charlie go to save the family business? And would his ancestors be proud to see what might come of their shoe factory?

The cast was filled with subtle actors who played subtle characters. The drab "backdrop" wasn't necessary to enable Chiwetel Ejiofor to stand out, but it did serve that purpose. Ejiofor, to use as much irony as I can muster, plays the "knight in shining armor" who just might be able to help Charlie save his factory. He plays Lola, the lavish drag queen who croons for packed houses of adoring fans at night and now saves shoe factories during the day. Ejiofor delivers one of the must surprising and entertaining performances, which included singing in many scenes.

Kinky Boots is not edge-of-your-seat excitement, nor is it an action-packed thriller. It has its flaws, but it is a charming movie that is worth seeing and I really enjoyed it.

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Movie of the Month - December, 2007

November 20th, 2007

Talk To Me

Talk To MeAcademy Award nominee Don Cheadle portrays the one and only Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Jr. in this funny, feel-good and inspiring true story. Ex-convict Greene talks his way into an on-air radio gig with program director Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and his unprecedented "tell it like it is" style breaks all the rules while electrifying a city and bringing a nation together when it needs it the most. Also starring Cedric The Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, Mike Epps and Martin Sheen, Talk To Me tells the extraordinary story of an outrageous and beloved voice ready to shake up the world in the movie critics are hailing as "fresh and revelatory" (Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times).

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November 19th, 2007
Inside ManDalton Russell: My name is Dalton Russell. Pay strict attention to what I say because I choose my words carefully and I never repeat myself. I've told you my name: that's the Who. The Where could most readily be described as a prison cell. But there's a vast difference between being stuck in a tiny cell and being in prison. The What is easy: recently I planned and set in motion events to execute the perfect bank robbery. That's also the When. As for the Why: beyond the obvious financial motivation, it's exceedingly simple... because I can. Which leaves us only with the How; and therein, as the Bard would tell us, lies the rub.

Juno

November 16th, 2007

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0467406/

At 16 Juno MacGuff is into 70s Punk Rock and Slasher films; she lives with her Dad, Stepmom and half-sister; she is a junior in high school; oh, and she's pregnant. Juno tells the story of the girl by the same name as she faces the choice of how to handle her situation. She is not married to, or even dating the baby's father. She is, as already mentioned, only 16 years old. She makes an interesting decision and the movie goes from there.

Rarely will I address the soundtrack or the casting of a movie. I normally tune out the music (sorry for the pun) and will address only individual casting decisions. I have no choice but to talk about both here.

Music is one of the comforting, yet (at times) conflict-inspiring, elements in Juno. With it being so important to characters, it is only appropriate that more attention be given to the soundtrack. The music was not ambient noise; it was used almost as a narrative technique and also to ease transitions between scenes. Music played a key role in the film and was used perfectly throughout.

I cannot remember the last movie I saw where there was not a person out of place. Each person who participated in Juno seemed perfect for his or her role.

Ellen Page (Juno) showed a lot of versatility as the movie's title character. She was always in control of the role, even when it meant playing someone so conflicted. Juno was strong, but vulnerable. She was smart, but ignorant. She was mature, but too young to know any better. Her personality was abrasive, which was not eased with the amount of slang that she piled on to every conversation early in the movie. But that changed. As the movie went on, Juno did what 16-year-old girls do: she grew up.

I had not experienced the "magic" of Michael Cera until Juno. He has received such an incredible amount of praise from his role on "Arrested Development" and his part in Superbad, but I never watched the former and he did not impress me in the latter. But in Juno he was perfect. However, I sure hope I am not the first person to point out the stark similarity in his performances. Beware the typecast Michael, even though it is probably too late.

Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner deserve some praise for selling their parts so well. And while everyone was so good, one person rose above the rest: J.K. Simmons, who played Juno's father. He was a lot of the movie's comedic relief, but that was such a special character for what his relationship meant to Juno. My appreciation wasn't entirely for the part, J.K. seemed to bring something extra to the it. His performance was one of my favorites of the year.

From my -- however limited -- experience, Juno was an original story with a unique perspective on one pregnant teen. The story flirted with "afternoon special," but never went over the edge. Any scene which could have led to sappy cliché was immediately steered clear, usually with humor. While I would not classify Juno as a "comedy," it definitely had some of the most genuinely funny dialogue I have heard. As the credits roll you will find that Juno was a story you would not normally snuggle up to, but preconceived notions be damned! Both touching and funny, Juno was a very good movie.

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November 14th, 2007
Beautiful GirlsWillie Conway: Do you want to go home with me?
Andera: No.
Willie Conway: I had to ask, because to be honest with you, I don't find you the least bit attractive. Now do you want to go home with me?
Andera: No.

Apocalypto

November 12th, 2007

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0472043/

ApocalyptoFrom Mel Gibson, director of The Passion of The Christ and the Academy Award-winning Braveheart (Best Director, Best Picture 1995) comes the thrilling historical epic Apocalypto. This intense, nonstop action-adventure transports you to an ancient Central American civilization, for an experience unlike anything you've ever known. In the twilight of the mysterious Mayan culture, young Jaguar Paw is captured and taken to the great Mayan city, where he faces a harrowing end. Driven by the power of his love for his wife and son, he makes an adrenaline-soaked, heart-racing escape to rescue them and ultimately save his way of life. Filled with unrelenting action and stunning cinematography, Apocalypto is an enthralling and unforgettable film experience.

For a story which spans only about 24 hours, I can understand any apprehension about the plot, which seems weak when you think about it. But while the movie played I never felt it lacking.

It is not a movie that you will find overwhelmingly intellectual. Apocalypto is a brutal movie. Most of it is very intense and suspenseful, but it is a movie you should see only if you are ok with some very graphic scenes.

I thought the acting, what little there was, was good. The story was believable (enough), but the writers took some creative shortcuts which were clearly for convenience. I do not think this movie was made for its story, which was simply woven around some powerful scenes. It was these scenes which made Apocalypto a gory thrill ride.

I watched this movie in the middle of the day with a friend. There was no pressure to sit quietly and try to digest its formal elements. We were free to bounce around in our seats and ooooh and ahhhh during some of the more gruesome scenes. It made for a fun movie-watching experience and probably facilitated my enjoyment of Apocalypto.

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Movie of the Month - November, 2007

October 29th, 2007

Apocalypto

ApocalyptoFrom Mel Gibson, director of The Passion of The Christ and the Academy Award-winning Braveheart (Best Director, Best Picture 1995) comes the thrilling historical epic Apocalypto. This intense, nonstop action-adventure transports you to an ancient Central American civilization, for an experience unlike anything you've ever known. In the twilight of the mysterious Mayan culture, young Jaguar Paw is captured and taken to the great Mayan city, where he faces a harrowing end. Driven by the power of his love for his wife and son, he makes an adrenaline-soaked, heart-racing escape to rescue them and ultimately save his way of life. Filled with unrelenting action and stunning cinematography, Apocalypto is an enthralling and unforgettable film experience.

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October 26th, 2007
Beautiful GirlsTommy: Can I ask you a question?
Andera: Go ahead.
Tommy: How long have you been going out with your boyfriend?
Andera: Eight months.
Tommy: And it's good?
Andera: It's very good.
Tommy: He makes you happy?
Andera: Yeah. I look for that in a man you know. The ones that make me miserable don't seem to last.
Tommy: Right.
Andera: You know there are fours words I need to hear before I go to sleep. Four little words. "Good night sweet girl." That's all it takes. I'm easy, I know, but a guy who can muster up those four words is a guy I want to stay with.

Top 5 Movies: Best Sing-Along Scenes

October 4th, 2007