Moonrise Kingdom-A Movie Review

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Dec 052012

Boy, am I way behind on reviewing movies. I’ll try to get caught up. We saw this movie back in June.

Two twelve-year-olds fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore — and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle.

MPAA Rating : PG-13 (for sexual content and smoking); Genres: Drama; Run Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Director:Wes Anderson

Writers: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Stars: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jared Gilman

Occasionally a movie comes along that breaks that pattern and changes our perspectives, The Artist being a fine example. Moonrise Kingdom not only takes chances, it does it with zeal. Daring is at the heart of this film. Start with the acting. Edward Norton is exceptional as the over-zealous Khaki Scout leader. Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand take infidelity to a new and hilarious level. And Tilda Swinton, what can you say about a character who refers to herself as Social Services? Every character makes us laugh, cringe, and simply, truly feel their personality. Now move to the screenplay, the use of maps, a narrator, impending hurricanes, social upheaval on a small island, and the anxious calm of young misfits running away from it all. Continue reading »

Julie and Julia – A Movie Review

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Feb 222010

Click here to watch the trailer for this movie at Yahoo Movies.Based on two true stories, “Julie & Julia” intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

Genres: Comedy and Adaptation; Running Time: 2 hr. 3 min.; Release Date: August 7th, 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language and some sensuality.

Starring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Jane Lynch

Directed by: Nora Ephron

I watched this as an Amazon On-Demand movie one evening last week while Lay was at work. He was not interested in seeing this movie, but I was. And I found myself enjoying the experience.

Nora Ephron likes to observe how two people meet and bond with each other, ultimately forming a relationship that we hope will transcend time, and like in her previous films, she manages to nuance both characters seamlessly and bind them in our eyes to a point where we can’t care for one without wondering what will happen to the other. It is a rare accomplishment.

The film is based on two true stories. First there’s the story of the world-renowned Julia Child, who wrote the American classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” It is the story of Julia’s arrival on France in 1949, how she learned to cook, and how she went about co-writing the book with two of her friends. The other story happens in 2002. It follows Julie Powell, a government worker who lives atop a Pizzeria with her husband, and who decides that to find some meaning in life she’ll cook all of Julia Child’s recipes in a maximum of one year, and write about the experience in a blog. The film seamlessly interweaves these two stories, with Julia’s life experiences going into her cookbook, and those experiences wafting through the years to Julie’s kitchen.

The film may seem, at first, unimpressive…and it is, to a point. It’s a biopic, and we must admit that lives are seldom as impressive as Hollywood makes them out to be, so don’t be expecting ingenious plot twists or the characters coming full circle at the end. The film portrays the life of America’s most beloved cook and of a woman following in her footsteps. Just that. But it is amazing how the lives of these completely different women are similar, even though they live in different centuries and countries. They’re both: happily married, they both experience an important move at the beginning of the film, both take up cooking to fill up an emptiness in their life and both harvest so much passion and art from what they cook; both are writers, but find almost the same hardships when looking for publishers, both have similar marital problems, and at the end they both understand how life works for them.

Ephron knows how to relate two characters. These two women have never met, but they’re so similar and share so much that we wonder whether they may be family. And notice how Julie adores and reveres Julia, even though she’s never met her, and how Julia is the motivation and spark behind Julie’s life even if she’s not aware of her existence. Meryl Streep as Julia Child takes over what could be an uninteresting story and injects it with glee and joy with a powerful and entrancing performance, an Oscar-worthy one. Amy Adams as Julie Powell is very good too, depicting a typical struggling American woman and bearing her heart for the audience. Her story is a bit uninvolving too, but her performance does wonders for what could otherwise be a stale film.

“Julie & Julia” has two seamlessly intertwined story lines and two superb leading ladies. The cinematography and editing are very well done, but not spectacular. The production design is very good, actually, especially on the Julia storyline, recreating bourgeois France in 1949 and seeping us into the charming and infectiously fun lifestyle she led.

It’s not the movie of the year, but Streep and Adams and outstanding, and all the supporting characters are excellent. The screen play is very interesting, and the two stories are woven together nicely. This is is a movie well worth watching.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)

Burn After Reading – A Movie Review

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Jan 032009

burnafterreading_poster2.jpgAn ousted CIA official’s memoir accidentally falls into the hands of two unwise gym employees intent on exploiting their find.

Genres: Comedy and Crime/Gangster; Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.; Release Date: September 12th, 2008 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence.

Cast: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Brad Pitt
Written, Produced and Directed: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

I wasn’t sure it would be as good as he thought/ In the end I am so glad we went. This is a very good dark comedy. The story is all over the place, yet the Coen brothers find a way to bring it all together at the end. This movie contains great acting including superb performances by Brad Pitt and John Malkovich. Viewers that do not enjoy dark comedies or movies that do not follow linear plots will not enjoy this movie.I thought the acting was excellent and the storyline was unexpected and fresh! I would even go see this one again!

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