Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on November 25, 2013
The Book Thief opens with a voiceover by Death, so you know from the get-go that all is not right with the world, or with the story that’s about to unfold. But it’s not a suffocatingly dark movie. In fact, I tend to describe it as ‘Anne Frank light.’ The central character, Liesel (Sophie Nélisse), is a pretty, spunky, and courageous young girl who’s sent to live with foster parents (Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson) in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. She becomes obsessed with books, even before she learns to read them. Those books – and the power of words in general – become central to Liesel’s relationship with her foster father and others, including a Jew that the family hides during the height of Hitler’s purge.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on November 23, 2013
Catching Fire is both satisfying and frustrating in that it definitely leaves you hungry for more. Sadly, the final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy won’t be dished out for a while, and even worse, it’ll be broken up into TWO additional flicks! As sequels go, Catching Fire is about as good as it gets. The characters, old and new, are well-drawn and well acted. There’s humor, horror, anticipation, allegory and dread as our heroine, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is forced back onto the battlefield for another fight to the death, along with her Hunger Games co-victor and fellow tribute Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). If none of that makes any sense, you’re probably going to skip the movie anyway. So cruise around the Chickflix site for some other cinematic options! For the rest of you, here’s all you need to know as Catching Fire sets the box office ablaze:
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on November 23, 2013
Dallas Buyers Club is another of the “based on a true story” flicks this season vying for some awards love. It’s all about hard-partyin’, rodeo ridin’ Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof who was shocked to be diagnosed with AIDS in 1985 because it was then considered a “gay” disease. Shunned by his friends and unable to find the any treatment that would save him, he did his own research and found a doctor in Mexico with an effective drug combination. And when it worked for him, he recognized a great business opportunity in importing it for other AIDS patients. Matthew McConaughey starved himself into skeletal shape for the role, but fortunately his portrayal is much more than skin deep. It’s definitely an Oscar worthy turn!
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on November 20, 2013
This is a movie unlike any other in many ways. There is just one actor whose entire dialogue could fit on an index card. We find out nothing about his back-story — not his name, or why he is all alone on a sailboat in the middle of the Indian Ocean, not even a hint of family or friends. He is no one and everyman listed in the credits simply as Our Man. And Our Man is Robert Redford, still more than capable of commanding an audience’s attention despite the loss of his Sundance Kid beauty. All is Lost is the age old story of man-against-nature, and though it may not be for everyone, it is a surprisingly compelling film.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on November 16, 2013
The Best Man Holiday is a chick flick wrapped in a male-bonding movie. It’s a drama. A comedy. A romantic drama. A romantic comedy. A sports movie. A reunion movie. A tear-jerker. Think Beaches meets The Big Chill. I know – that’s a lot to process. But the bottom line is, I rather liked this movie. It’s a pleasant diversion from the special-effects laden blockbusters and awards-season downers, and it deserves a bit of mainstream love, crossing over gender and racial boundaries.
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on November 9, 2013
12 Years a Slave is a film based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a free middle class black musician who lived in upstate New York in the first half of the nineteenth century. It is the nightmare tale of his abduction and sale into slavery, and his 12-year fight to survive and rejoin his family. The film is filled with ugly brutality and Northup, who is forced by the slave traders to go by another name, is systematically dehumanized and has to hide his true educated self, since that could mean a death sentence for him. A lot of it is hard to watch, but the violence is integral to the story, and it is definitely graphic but never gratuitous.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on November 7, 2013
If you’re a fan of the science-fiction-fantasy-action-adventure-superhero genre, then you’ll get a kick out of the latest Thor flick. It’s not the best of the ‘Avengers’ movies, but it still holds its own as a source of mindless entertainment. No disrespect intended for those who actually grasp the mythology of Asgard, the Nine Realms (including Earth), and characters with names like Malekith, Odin, Sif, Fandral and Volstagg. It’s just that I tend to get a bit lost in the universe best understood by Comic-Con aficionados. Overall, I enjoyed Thor: The Dark World, but there’s really no need to see this one in 3D. Put the extra cash toward popcorn. The ‘eye candy’ comes with the price of admission. I’m not sure why Thor (Chris Hemsworth) felt compelled to take his shirt off in one particular scene, but hey, I’m not complaining.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on October 31, 2013
I almost didn’t bother writing this up at all. But then I felt an obligation to alert the Chickflix readers… that I really hated it. The fact that it features an A-list cast makes The Counselor all the more disappointing. I’d love to be able to encapsulate the plot, but I really don’t have a clue. All I know is that Michael Fassbender plays a lawyer who’s mixed up in some underworld drug dealings that begin to take a heavy toll on his personal and professional life. His girlfriend (Penelope Cruz) is blissfully unaware. His “friends” (Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt) don’t exactly have his best interests at heart. And I don’t know what Cameron Diaz is supposed to be playing. Whatever it is… it’s creepy, and gross. If you haven’t already heard about her display of ‘auto erotica’, count your blessings.
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on October 20, 2013
Robert Reich is the star of this documentary that examines the current enormous and ever widening income gap in the United States and the demise of our middle class. If you don’t know why the economy tanked in 2008, you must see this film and take anyone else who is uninformed about our economy with you. Reich is a Rhodes scholar who was the Sec. of Labor under Clinton, served in the Ford and Carter administrations, and has taught policy at Brandeis, Harvard and Berkley, so when he talks about the economy and the policy choices that got us where we are today, he has more than a bit of gravitas. The strength of the documentary is that it isn’t a partisan screed, but an engaging lesson in how we came to be in this fix and what has to change for our country to have a functioning middle class again.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on October 19, 2013
Captain Phillips is all the more fascinating when you realize it’s based on a true story… and a bit less fascinating if you the let the real-world facts get in the way of a good cinematic story. There’s been a lot of talk since the film came out about the ‘real’ Captain Phillips, the money that went missing from his boat, and the amount of bullets the Navy Seals fired in rescuing the captain from a band of Somali pirates. All that stuff aside, Captain Phillips is a good movie that will keep you interested, engaged and often on the edge of your seat… even if you know how the story ends.