Currently browsing posts by Hannah Buchdahl.
Posted on May 9, 2013
The Great Gatsby is a glitzy and fantastical cautionary tale about excess and heartbreak. It’s a literary classic brought to 3D life with decent actors, lavish party scenes, and a cool soundtrack that somehow manages to infuse contemporary rap into the rhythms of the Roaring 1920s. So why didn’t I like it all that much? Perhaps because, ultimately, I felt as disconnected and disillusioned as the characters themselves. They didn’t make me care. Or cry. Or laugh. Or feel much of anything. Granted, the book never grabbed me either, unlike my favorite high school read, “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Now that movie (with Gregory Peck) never fails to move me. It’s as brilliant and enduring in its simplicity as Gatsby is boring and fleeting in its grandiosity. That said, if you do like “The Great Gatsby” novel, then you may glean something more from the movie than I did. My literary-minded seatmate thoroughly enjoyed it.
Posted on May 9, 2013
The poster and the trailer for this documentary promise to reveal “the truth behind the legends”. That’s a bit of a stretch, but the film does offer an interesting, if uneven, glimpse into the Williams sisters’ rise from the gritty streets of Compton, California to the Center Courts of the championship tennis circuit. I still can’t tell them apart. But I now know that Venus is the older one – by 15 months. And together, they are one fierce, super-talented, competitive, intimidating and inspiring pair.
Posted on May 3, 2013
I knew I was in trouble when a friend of mine described the book “Midnight’s Children” as a “classic – but emotionally draining.” I generally don’t do very well with emotionally-draining classics – in literature, or on the big screen. And sure enough, I had a tough time with this film version of Salman Rushdie’s novel about two babies switched at birth in a Bombay hospital as India was declaring its independence from Great Britain in August, 1947.
Posted on May 2, 2013
The plot of Iron Man 3 is wonky. But when you’ve got Robert Downey Jr. donning the suit, it doesn’t really matter. You’re in for a fun ride – especially if you’ve seen the previous two Iron Man movies and The Avengers, one of my favorite flicks of 2012.
This time around, wealthy industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey) finds his Malibu complex reduced to rubble and his loved ones (most notably, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts) threatened by a menacing terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).
Posted on April 26, 2013
Usually, when a movie is based on a true story, it’s inspirational, dramatic, transformational, or heartwarming… or some combination thereof. This one is just plain absurd. And tragic. And gross. And yes, pretty darn funny in a “You can’t be serious. That did not just happen!” sort of way. And did I mention it stars a very buff and often shirtless Mark Wahlberg? Just throwin’ that out there, so you have all the facts at hand when weighing your cinematic options.
Posted on April 25, 2013
Ouch. This movie is getting some harsh reviews. So maybe I missed something – or am simply more forgiving – ‘cause I didn’t hate it. I actually thought it was mildly amusing, especially if you’re in the mood for a quirky, formulaic, pseudo-romantic, somewhat raunchy comedy that’s strictly for grown-ups. Sure, it’s not as good as you might expect (or hope), considering the all-star cast. But it’s not as bad as it might have been, thanks to an all-star cast. If you have 90 minutes to kill and want to say “I Do”, here’s the scoop:
Posted on April 18, 2013
Tom Cruise plays quintessential Tom Cruise (aka a heroic guy named Jack) in this epic post-Armageddon sci-fi fantasy flick about a drone repairman who goes rogue in an effort to save humankind. You go, Jack! There’s more to the plot, of course, but good luck trying to figure it out. Perhaps it should have been called “Oblivious”. The movie is a bit like Top Gun meets Independence Day – set in the future. Cruise plays a pilot, and aliens are out to destroy the Earth. Oblivion is quite loud, with an overabundance of musical crescendos. But it’s also visually impressive, with lots of sweeping vistas of raw devastation and pristine beauty. Put it all together and you’ve got an engaging yet perplexing movie.
Posted on April 12, 2013
42 isn’t a cinematic grand slam – but it is based on such a great and transformative moment in American sports history that you can’t help but cheer it on. 42 tells (with some dramatic, and some sanitized license) the true story of two heroes: Jackie Robinson, the first African American baseball player to play in the Major Leagues, and Branch Rickey, the baseball executive who brought Robinson into the fold – and onto the field- in 1947.
Posted on April 5, 2013
Every once in a while, a movie comes along that you know you should see, but for one reason or another, you just don’t. Such was the case with the 1993 Steven Spielberg classic Jurassic Park, based on the book by Michael Crichton. Fortunately, life is all about second chances. So 20 years later, I can finally say “Of course, I’ve seen Jurassic Park – in 3D no less!” I went into the theater armed with the vast knowledge that the movie had something to do with dinosaurs. I came out of the theater armed with the knowledge that this flick is indeed really good, but scary as sh*t for young kids. It seems trite to yell “Spoiler Alert!” when a movie’s been out for 20 years and spawned two sequels (with JP4 due out next year). But just in case it’s new to you, I’ll tread carefully:
Posted on April 4, 2013
I am a huge fan of the original Evil Dead. I am even more-so a fan of one Mr. Bruce Campbell, star of the 1981 original and a producer of the remake. After seeing the trailer, I knew this was a must-see for me because it was The Evil Dead – with a bigger budget. And it looked terrifying. But I have to say, when I left the movie all I could think was, “That made me sad.”