Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on January 6, 2014
In the battle of Meryl vs Julia, who will chew more scenery? August: Osage County pits them against each other as the drug addicted Mom versus the only person in her large extended family capable of taking her on. Based on a stage play of the same name, it is a star-studded dramedy about what must be the most dysfunctional family in the state of Oklahoma all coming together after a tragedy. None of them want to be there, and I started to feel the same way, but stuck with it because it’s one of those acting slugfests you just have to see through.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on January 2, 2014
I don’t particularly like lists – especially where movies are concerned because so much depends on what you’re hoping to gain, and the kind of mood you’re in. I generally want to be entertained. If I leave a theater happy, or at least content with what I saw, then the movie did its job. With that said, here’s my list of the best, worst and not bad flicks from among the dozens I happened to see in 2013. Click on the titles to see the full review (don’t worry – they’re short and sweet).
1. The Way, Way Back 2. Rush 3. Side Effects 4. The Conjuring 5. 12 Years a Slave 6. American Hustle 7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 8. Saving Mr. Banks 9. Man of Steel 10. A 10-way tie among the following: Frozen, Philomena, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Enough Said, The Butler, The Kings of Summer, 20 Feet from Stardom, The Book Thief, Prisoners
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on December 30, 2013
Inside Llewyn Davis is one of those indie films that you either love – or don’t. I wanted to. But I didn’t. Fans of folk music and the Coen Brothers will surely appreciate the film’s soundtrack and gritty portrayal of a week in the life of a young folk singer in Greenwich Village in 1961. But others may find it kind of slow and depressing.
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on December 30, 2013
Martin Scorsese’s latest film The Wolf of Wall Street is basically three hours of sex and drugs and pure unadulterated greed. It is another “based on a true story” flick, only this one is all about one truly despicable guy and his equally morally deficient friends and family. Sure, the “wolf” is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who does all he can to make the greedy jerk human, but at the end of the day, it is a relentlessly long slog through a lot of pretty unsexy sex fed by a veritable pharmacy full of Quaaludes, coke, and top shelf alcohol. It’s a pretty underdeveloped story of a bunch of late 20th century conmen who made a killing by lying though their teeth and their years of living the “high” life in every sense of the word.
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on December 27, 2013
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is based very loosely on a James Thurber short story. As a lover of old films, I fondly remember the Danny Kaye version from the 40s, which was also kind of loosely based on said short story. What the two movies have in common is that they focus on a mild-mannered man who lives his life of adventure through his own very imaginative daydreams. From there they diverge quite a bit. The new version directed by and starring Ben Stiller is not content with Walter’s fantasies remaining in the realm of the imagination. It turns the story into a very 21st century personal growth, action hero flick. Walter starts off as the same milk toast kind of nice guy, but inspired by his unrequited love for a co-worker, he becomes the man of his dreams.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on December 24, 2013
“Some of this actually happened.” With that, American Hustle proceeds to take a fair amount of creative license to create a really good movie. The story is loosely based on the FBI corruption sting of the 1970s code-named ABSCAM. It features a schlumpy but successful con man named Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale with a paunch and a comb-over) who, along with his smart and seductive partner Sydney (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wacky FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) who will let them off the hook, if they help him catch some bigger fish.
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on December 23, 2013
I have been appreciative of Alexander Payne’s quirky films (Sideways, The Descendants) since he began with Citizen Ruth, and Nebraska does not disappoint. This time we have a delusional father (Bruce Dern) and his big-hearted son (Will Forte of SNL) on a road trip. The father, Woody, thinks a letter he received in the mail announcing that he won a million dollars is real. His son David knows it is a scam, but after trying and failing to talk Dad out of walking to Nebraska to claim his winnings, he decides to take a long weekend and drive him there to prove it is fake. And of course things do not go as easily as one would hope.
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on December 23, 2013
La Vie d’Adèle—Chapitres 1 et 2 aka Blue is the Warmest Color was the hit of this year’s Cannes Film Festival winning top honors and scoring its young stars Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos the first ever shared acting Palme d’Or. It also stirred up some controversy for its very graphic depiction of lesbian sex and the intensity of the film shoot for its two young actresses. But beyond the stories about the film, it is a beautiful movie exploring first love and longing, that watches a young woman come into her own.
Posted by Hannah Buchdahl aka Mainstream Chick on December 22, 2013
Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on December 14, 2013
2013 is the year of the “based on a true story” movie. The latest addition to the group is Philomena a tragicomic tale from director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons.) It stars the ever wonderful Judi Dench in what is turning out to be a much nominated role. She plays Philomena, an old Irish woman whose life has been colored by the theft of her adorable little son Anthony back when she was an unwed teenage mum sent to live in a convent. She has kept the story secret for decades, but realizing that it would be her son’s 50th birthday, she decides to come clean to her daughter. The daughter thinks the story should be told, so she introduces her mom to a journalist she met at a party. And the rest is essentially a very engaging odd couple road trip in search of the son.