Currently browsing posts by Hannah Buchdahl.
Posted 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Posted on October 3, 2013
Gravity almost makes you want to go out into space… sort of… at first. And then – not so much. It’s a bit like watching Tom Hanks in Castaway, but instead of a beach, there’s a whole lot of nothingness. And instead of Hanks, you get Sandra Bullock in a space suit. The movie is good. But it’s not astronomically brilliant, despite the Oscar buzz. And it really does need to be seen in IMAX. So if you do plan to go, cough up the extra dough to see it in all its immersive glory.
Posted on September 26, 2013
Opie – oops, I mean Ron Howard – doesn’t make bad movies. At least, that’s what I told myself as I dragged myself into Rush, a film about Formula 1 racecar driving – a topic I know less than nothing about. Well, now I’m a fan. Sort of. Because Ron Howard’s movies tend to do that to – and for – the mainstream audience. It all boils down to good characters, good storytelling, and good directing. So yes, I got a rush out of Rush, and left the theater wanting to know more about the true story it’s based on. And yes – the eye candy didn’t hurt. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is a cutie. But he showed more than his taut backside in this flick. He showed some real acting chops as well. And so did his co-star, Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds).
Posted on September 26, 2013
Enough Said is really Julia Louis Dreyfus’ movie. She shines as Eva, a funny, cynical, hard-working masseuse who could probably use a massage or two to de-stress. But as soon as James Gandolfini’s Albert comes on screen, you can’t help but feel a sharp pang of sadness at Gandolfini’s recent, sudden death – and at the loss of a talent that obviously went far beyond his portrayal of Tony Soprano. In this movie, he plays a guy who’s got some flaws, but is also sweet and loveable and funny – especially when he’s exchanging banter with potential love interest Eva. Both are divorced single parents to teenage daughters about to head off to college. They meet at a party and romance blossoms. But so does doubt – at least where Eva’s concerned, after she unwittingly befriends Albert’s ex-wife Marianne, a seemingly near-perfect poet (Catherine Keener) with plenty to say about her ex and the aforementioned flaws.
Posted on September 19, 2013
This one’s tough. The performances are excellent, but I kind of wanted my two-and-a-half hours back. Prisoners is intense and plodding and psychologically taxing, and every parent’s worst nightmare. Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, a desperate father who decides to take matters into his own hands when his young daughter and a neighborhood friend go missing. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the lead detective whose entire life revolves around his job.