Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on October 11, 2013
Roger Ross Williams’ powerful documentary God Loves Uganda shines a light on the American evangelical Christian group that instigated Uganda’s horrid anti-gay movement. Focusing on the Kansas City church called International House of Prayer (yes, IHOP), the film follows a group of fresh-faced idealist missionaries as they head out to spread the Word a world away from home. They truly believe that they are doing good and in many ways they are. They bring medicine and schools, but serve a heavy dose of indoctrination alongside their philanthropy. Right there beside their love of Jesus is their demonization of homosexuality and a call for the local community with a high rate of HIV/AIDS to stop using condoms. And this same movement, along with other American evangelicals, is able to have a disproportionally large influence on Ugandan government policy. It is all very scary.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick 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 by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on September 29, 2013
Joseph Gordon-Levitt took on a pretty dicey subject for his filmmaking debut (he wrote, directed and stars!), and came up with an unusual and entertaining film. Starring as the title character, Jon, a porn addict who is looking for love in all the wrong places, Gordon-Levitt brings a depth to his character that could easily have been pretty off-putting. On the surface, Jon is just a working class Jersey boy who likes to hang with his buddies and pick up girls for one-night stands, objectifying them all and comparing their hook-ups with his ideal women on the web. That is until he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johannson.)
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick 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 by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick 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 by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on September 22, 2013
Love Jane Austen novels and always imagined yourself finding your very own Mr. Darcy? Then you may enjoy this trifle of a flick about a lovelorn young woman named Jane (Keri Russell) who spends her last penny on a vacation where she is promised she can live the “Jane Austen Experience.” Despite her friend’s protestations that she is letting her Austen obsession ruin her life, she heads to England where she and a couple of other women immerse themselves in a recreation of the world of Austen, with the beautiful period clothes and accoutrements of the time, in a fancy manor house following the rules of Regency-era society, with a selection of hunky suitors vying for their affections. It’s very Bachelor circa 1800.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick 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.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on September 12, 2013
The Family is fine, but ultimately fuhgeddable. Robert De Niro plays Fred Manzoni, a mafia boss with a price on his head for ratting out his friends. Fred and his quirky family – including wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and teenage kids Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D’Leo) are placed in the Witness Protection Program – but keeping them out of trouble is no easy task. Old habits die hard and all.
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on September 4, 2013
This one sneaked past us while it was in the theaters, but it feels like a “stay home with a big bowl of popcorn” kind of movie anyway. It’s basically a pleasant flick in search of a genre. It’s not really a comedy or a romance or a romcom or anything else. It has a good cast, but there is no chemistry between the two leads, Paul Rudd and Tina Fey. And even though the characters are likeable, they are not given a whole lot to do. Perhaps the problem lies with the setting, the Admissions Office at Princeton University, not the first place you think of for hilarity and romance.
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on August 25, 2013
What if Bernie Madoff was a younger, better looking man who left behind a beautiful yet clueless wife to fend for herself? That’s the basic premise of Woody Allen’s latest, Blue Jasmine. In this case the wife, Jasmine French, late of Park Avenue, is brilliantly played by Cate Blanchett who brings an amazing range of emotional states to the role as Jasmine throws herself on the mercy of her working class sister in San Francisco. She’s lost everything, but can’t seem to grasp the situation she is in or give up the lifestyle and pretense she’s grown so accustomed to, because it is who she is. A modern day Blanche DuBois (a role Blanchett played to stellar reviews off-Broadway not so long ago), Jasmine is ill-equipped for the life she’s been suddenly thrust into and has already begun to lose her grip on reality.