Saturday, May 16, 2015
Monday, May 11, 2015
Previewing the Summer Film Schedule
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Saturday, April 04, 2015
Thanks so much, Phil, for your interest and support.
Thursday, April 02, 2015
No Biz Like Show Biz
As the world’s most avid movie addict, I particularly enjoyed Keogh’s revealing descriptions of fascinating behind-the-scene situations involving so many stars of the Golden Years of Hollywood, including Debbie Reynolds, Carol Burnett, Raymond Burr, Peter O’Toole, Liv Ullman, Eve Arden and more.
Sunday, March 08, 2015
An Irish Film To Remember
The lot of Irish women in the 1930s was not a happy one. But the five unmarried Mundy sisters gain strength and courage from each other. Despite poor economic conditions, individual eccentricities, and birth of a love child to the youngest sister, these women try bravely to keep the family unit intact. Led by Kate (Meryl Streep), the strict oldest sister, they knit gloves, raise chickens, and care for Michael (Darrell Johnston), an 8-year-old illegitimate child of romantic Christina (Catherine McCormack). Kate, who teaches in the village Catholic school, worries mostly about their simple-minded sister, Rose (Sophie Thompson). Big-hearted Maggie (Kathy Burke) and stoical Agnes (Brid Brennan) round out the Mundy female clan.
Although not central to the action, three men play important roles in the lives of this family. Their long-absent older brother (Michael Gambon), a man of the cloth, returns from
A great ensemble cast contributes to the excellence of this moving film. Streep’s Irish brogue is perfect, and Thompson’s unusual portrayal of Rose emerges as a memorable one.
Based on Brian Friel’s Tony Award-winning play, Dancing at Lughnasa avoids the pitfalls of so many plays adapted for the screen. Thanks to screenwriter Frank McGuinness and director Pat O’Connor, the movie version opens up the story to include such memorable scenes as a pagan ritual deep in the Donegal hills and a dangerous picnic on a boat. O’Connor states, “The challenge for me in making this film was to draw together intense and extraordinary things -- romance, humor, tragedy, realism, and mysticism -- in a work that is, I hope, emotionally uplifting.”
Filmmaker O’Connor met his challenge with flying colors. One doesn’t have to be Irish (or a woman) to appreciate this wonderful movie. (Released by Sony Pictures Classics and rated “PG” for mild language and thematic elements.)
Saturday, January 03, 2015
My Favorite Films of 2014
WINTER’S TALE. This strange but wonderful film -- which represents magical realism at its best -- took my breath away with its compelling performances, tender love story, thrilling background music, and suspenseful sequences involving a magical white horse. Colin Farrell and Jessica Findlay make a superb romantic couple on screen. They look soulfully at each other in a way that melts your heart. I would be remiss not to mention the splendid look of the film. Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel makes the most of wintry landscapes, moonlit nights, starry skies and period settings. Winter’s Tale may not be the easiest film to follow, but it’s one of the most visually stunning.
SNOWPIERCER. Snow scenes and action in a fast train, oh my! This sci-fi movie takes place after Earth has suddenly become uninhabitable because of a disastrous global warming cure-all. Those who’ve survived are living aboard a train that keeps circling the same track at super-sonic speeds. The survivors are divided into a caste system, which a daring group finally rebels against. Great special effects enhance this exciting offering starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris. I was glued to my seat while watching the captivating journey unfold.
ANNIE. In a refreshing update of the popular musical, our spunky heroine sports an Afro and the Daddy Warbucks character is now a wealthy candidate for mayor of New York City. Because these key roles are played by Quevenzhané Wallis and Jamie Foxx, they are in excellent hands. Most of the musical numbers still make me want to join in -- especially “It’s a Hard Knock Life” -- and I felt in such a good mood after seeing this amusing, uplifting movie!
LIFE’S A BREEZE. In this delightful Irish comedy, a grandmother (Fionnula Flanagan) and the youngest member (Kelly Thornton) of her extended family work together to save their other relatives who can’t seem to do anything right. This is a very funny -- yet touching -– movie with the most amazing and hilarious twists and turns I’ve seen on screen in a long time.
THE LAST OF ROBIN HOOD. This fascinating true-life tale about the desire for fame and the price it demands stars Kevin Kline as Errol Flynn in his later years after the booze and legendary philandering have taken their toll. Kline talks like Flynn, swaggers like Flynn and simply BECOMES Flynn in this movie about the famous actor’s scandalous affair with star-struck teenager Beverly Aadland, portrayed oh-so convincingly by Dakota Fanning. Kline and Fanning are disturbingly spellbinding together here. But there’s more! As Beverly’s fame-obsessed mom Florence, Susan Sarandon almost runs away with the movie. And I loved every minute of it.
Labels: Favorite Films of 2014