Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara), who has been patiently waiting for her husband’s release from prison for insider trading, has several anxieties and psychological issues, which compel her to seek psychiatric help. Her husband, Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum), seems to be adjusting well to his freedom after release from prison, but Emily and her psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), can’t seem to find the appropriate psychotropic drugs that will enable Emily to feel “normal”. Emily’s complaining about this drug and the other, leads Jonathan to consult Emily’s previous shrink, Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones). She suggests considering some of the newer meds. At first, the results appear acceptable, until, in a sleepwalking state, Emily stabs Martin to death. In the ensuing court action, to determine whether Emily or the drug is responsible, a deal is struck with the prosecution that commits Emily to a mental hospital, until doctors pronounce her “cured”. Meanwhile, Jonathan, as a prescriber of dangerous drugs, watches his marriage, reputation and practice go down the tubes. Slowly he realizes that the psychodrama may in fact be a psych crime. There are interesting twists and turns. ….****
This picture is an interesting bit-slice of Alfred Hitchcock’s (Anthony Hopkins) personal and professional life before, during and after the filming of Psycho. It deftly demonstrates his willingness to take risks, his skill in mollifying censors, and in promoting the picture after completion. His relationships with his wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), his co-workers and his leading-lady Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) are explored. An interesting feature of the film is the way flashbacks to the original ghastly events are treated, that is, Alfred appears in the scenes, in various poses, as an observer. 3 stars
I went to see the movie Lincoln by Steven Spielberg last week. I liked the movie a lot. Ron, our guest reviewer, did not. He wrote a review, as did I. So I thought I’d post both on this blog and let you decide. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Abraham Lincoln in the midst of trying to pass the 13th Amendment, which would abolish slavery. I (Amy) was mesmorized by Day-Lewis’s performance. I felt like I was looking at Lincoln. Sally Field played Mary Todd Lincoln. I didn’t think that she was right for the part. All I kept seeing was Sally Field instead of Mary Todd. The political goings on in the movie were a bit confusing at times, because I forgot who people were, I couldn’t keep them straight. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience watching this movie. I felt as if I was there. Day-Lewis will definitely be in Oscar contention for his performance, and I predict he will win for Best Actor. 4 stars
Here is Ron’s Review: Although three of the Lincolns, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis), Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field), and Robert Lincoln (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are included in this film, the film is sadly, and badly mistitled since it mainly deals with the political maneuverings, wrangling, intimidation and deceits engaged in by the politicians of the time, in relation to the passage of the thirteenth amendment. It’s true that exemplars of the costumes worn by some of the principals exist and may have been expertly copied, and the language used may be true to the original, but the tones of voice, and speakers’ attitudes remain left to interpretation. Generally, the film is drab and dark, physically and emotionally. Apparently the sun never shone on the set, and some characters were inserted and given roles to satisfy some sort of political correctness need. One would think it would have been prudent to leave out the Anglo-Saxon f-word as well. 2 stars
So what did you think of this movie?
In 1980, when the American Embassy in Iran was swamped and over-run by mobs demanding the return of their Shah, so that he could be tried and executed, six embassy workers were able to escape and were in safekeeping at the Canadian ambassador’s residence. The CIA toyed with various plans to extract these six, especially since they knew that the Iranians were prone to find out that six were absent from among their captives. Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) was vocal in pointing out flaws in many of the CIA’s proposals. Tony suggested a daring, bizarre plan which may have a chance of working. The ruse was to go scouting for a location for a movie, which Tony was purportedly directing. Once in Iran with proper permissions, he was to contact the six, provide fake Canadian passports, quickly train the six as location scouting film crew members, and then exit Iran. John Chambers (John Goodman) and his studio are recruited to produce Argo. He insists that everything must look real, because the Iranians will check, and to that end a star that can be trusted to keep a confidence needs to be recruited. Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) is that star. Tension filled and gripping to the end even if you know the outcome. .
A factory worker, Douglas Quaid / Hauser (Colin Farrel), plagued by nightmares of being chased and hunted, yearns to escape his humdrum existence to a more exciting life, at least in memory, and goes to an organization called Rekall to have other, more interesting memories, chemically implanted into his brain. His wife Lori Quaid (Kate Beckinsale) turns out to be a government secret agent assigned to keep tabs on Douglas, who is suspected to be an agent of the resistance. After several daring elusions from robo-cops, he is saved by Melina (Jessica Biel) who, as a girlfriend, knew Douglas as Hauser, a man who supposedly has somewhere in memory the deactivation code for all robo-cops. Everything is not what it seems, is Douglas living his nightmare or is he merely recalling implanted memories, or both? The code is sought by the leader of the resistance so that the army of robo-cops can be deactivated and foil Cohaagen,s (Brian Hanston) plan to crush the rebellious Colony (Australia). Among interesting features of the film are: The Fall, a tube from Britain to Australia which provides fast, gravity powered transportation, a transparent mask which can change a person’s appearance, and a plethora of maglev powered vehicles. 3 Stars.
A young princess, Merida (Kelly Macdonald), is being trained by her mother to, one day, become queen. Merida succumbs to her training, schooling and grooming, but she especially enjoys her days off, when she can ride her steed Angus, and practice her marksmanship with her bow. As she grows older she has increasingly difficult disagreements with mom. On one rambling trip, she discovers a wood whittler’s cottage. The whittler, of course, turns out to be a witch. Merida strikes a bargain with the witch, whereby the witch will cast a spell to change mom. The potion is baked in a tart, which Merida gives her mom. Surprisingly, mom’s mind doesn’t change at all, but her physique does. From here on, the grim tale begins (but unlike any of Grimm’s tales that I know). Many funny, sometimes tearful, sometimes frightful, scenes later, Merida and mom are reconciled. PIXAR’s smooth action and highly detailed graphics lull one into forgetting that this is all PIXAR. Mothers, convince your recalcitrant daughter’s friends to take your daughter to see this movie….4 stars
Wow! Where and how do they find these superb pre-teen actors? OK, the other superlatives will remain suppressed throughout this narrative. Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) are two twelve year olds, on a small island with one town, a scout camp and a lighthouse, who perceive themselves to be misfits in the social groups they’re in. After a chance meeting in town, Sam and Suzy correspond. They make a plan to meet, and escape together into the wild and rough it. A few days later, they’re discovered, Suzy is returned to her parents and Sam is remanded to the temporary custody of the island’s police chief, awaiting transfer to DCFS and probably an orphanage. When Sam’s troop finds out of his impending fate, they resolve that, after all, “he’s one of us”, and after kidnapping Suzy, they convince Sam to sneak out of the police chief’s trailer. A new set of adventuress ensues. There is plenty of levity, peril and narrow escapes. Young, guileless love triumphs. This is a latter day Romeo and Juliet story without a suicide, especially for anyone who has ever felt left out. 5 stars
Selene (Kate Beckinsale), a Vampire and Lycan hybrid, breaks out of her cryogenic chamber to find that some evil Lycans, thought to be extinct, are planning to take over the world. She discovers that while in stasis for twelve years she’s borne a daughter, Eve (India Eisly), who is eleven or so, with even more awesome powers than Selene has. (How Selene knows this remains a mystery). Selene fights Lycans, humans and anyone else who’s in her path to save her daughter and find her lover Michael, from twelve years ago. That Selene is one tough babe. There’s plenty of gore and mayhem with a large indeterminate body count. If you spot a chick in a shiny, black, skin-tight wet-suit (regardless whether she has a gun or not) —– RUN! 2 Stars (guest reviewer Ron)
In a world of spy versus spy versus spy, Mallory (Gina Carano), a smart, tough, and beautiful ex-marine, works as a contract secret agent. When an asylum seeker is rescued by her and her team from a foreign country, an unknown betrayer sells the refuge seeker’s whereabouts to another agency, which contracts someone to murder him. Clearly, to tidy-up the betrayal, all the witnesses including Mallory need to be eliminated. Mallory escapes and overpowers all her hunters. Haywire has plenty of action, fight scenes, flight scenes, a variety of demises, and keeps one in suspense throughout. This tough babe is for real – women’s middleweight kick boxer and martial arts competitor. Her exemplary record is in Wikipedia. 5 Stars (guest reviewer Ron)
This “silent movie” is anything but. Silent movie format alright, smaller screen, important dialog on following dialog screens, black and white, faces of actors with dialog more expressive than in talkies, BUT, super crisp black and white picture, probably digital, no specks, streaks or splices, and a terrific score, great 20’s and 30’s music played by whole orchestras when portraying silent movies in the movie.”The Artist” is an interesting portrayal of the decline of one actor, George Valentin (silent star, played by Jean Dujardin) and the ascendancy of another, Peppy Miller (singer/dancer, played by Bérénice Bejo). There’s an interesting resolution.
Uggi the dog, if it were human, is an entertaining consummate ham. It is also a fun surprise to discover that at least some of the actors are mouthing words in English – it’s fun to discover how much one can lip read, at least of the obvious common phraseology. 5 Stars (guest reviewer Ron)