*** Sideways We went to see this movie on the basis of the numerous awards and good write ups it had received. The movie captures the hazy-smoggy quality of the central California wine country (did they use a smog filter on the camera?), and the character of the wine enthusiast. But while the casting and acting were good, in our opinion, this was just an average movie. But what do weÂ know?
Former Wine Country residents
Marin County, CA
***** The Wire We rented the first year of this HBO series on NetFlicks. The entire production is first rate from the gritty sets to the superb casting and excellent direction. The series covers the projects in Baltimore where a heroine operation is run in an extremely organized and businesslike manner. The Baltimore Police do their best to bring down the head of the drug ring. In between the politics of the police department and the city hall unwittingly or otherwise do everything within their power to steer the investigation away from the money trail which leads to corruption. The dialog of the projects is almost impossible to understand, but this production is so visual that you get the idea, even if you miss every other word. If you have not seen this series, I highly recommend it.
*** SAW This movie had much potential from the exciting trailers to the freightening pictures on the advertisement. Good concept but bad follow through; the visuals are good and there are scenes that make you go Oh S**T but to believe and connect with characters is something this movie lacks. A person who is terminally ill would not have the strength or time to pull these stunts off.
**** What the Bleep do we know? This film is a very artistic if somewhat biased (Buddhist) view of how science and religion are coming together with the new physics. As in "The Matrix" you come away from the film not sure where reality ends and your own imagination begin. Its "Greek chorus" style of introducing concepts is intriguing and the animations are hilarious. Being a "thinking" movie rather than an "action one" it may not stay long in theaters. So see it on the big screen while you can for the tremendous lighting and artsy effects.
***** Farenheight 9/11 I saw this powerful documentary on DVD and while I felt the narrative was a bit frenetic and jumped around a lot, Moore brings up some very important issues. For example, why Bush allowed the Bin Laden and Royal Saudi Families to leave the country before the FBI could question them was disturbing at best. 15 of the 18 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia! And the image of Bush continuing to read to the school kids in Florida after being informed that a second plane had crashed into the World Trade Center should cause any American to question the President’s ability to comprehend a dangerous situation and react as the Commander in Chief he claims to be.
***** Farenheit 9/11 Do you love your country? Are you a patriot? Whatever your persuasion… Whatever your leaning, get up off your couch and see this movie. It’s important.
***** Farenheit 9/11 Every one in America - of whatever political persuasion - should see this film and think about it and what it means personally to you as well as to our country. I saw it in a theater with a bunch of marines just back from Iraq and they dug it. They laughed and cried like almost everyone else in the theater. We all came out into the desert evening talking about and discussing what we'd seen and feeling we wanted our country back.
**** Real Women Have Curves A wonderful movie!!!!!!! About women and those of us who aren't exactly supermodels and doing what you know you should do even if it is against your family's wishes. Although the plot doesn't go where it seems like it will the ending is sweet sad and empowering! A VERY good movie!!!!
***** Cheaper by the Dozen!!! It is very funny!! And it's a really good family video. Steve Martin is just so funny and a really good actor!!!
**** TROY Definitely a very good movie although it strays a bit from the true story. The acting is excellent especially Orlando Bloom. All in all a WONDERFUL movie!
*** PLAYING MONA LISA A very good "chick flick" about not giving away your personal power. Full of comedy drama and surprising personality twists.
*****The Triplets of Belleville A brilliant and entertaining piece of animation. The fact that this imaginative and creative animated feature did not win the Oscar this year for best animated feature shows what a joke the academy is. The original drawing is exceptional, the characters are engaging and the plot is as wacky as the animation. And, this movie is almost entirely without dialog. The animation easily conveys the plot without the need for special celebrity voice overs.
**** Lost in Translation To be honest there's not much to say about Lost in Translation except that it delt with emotions and an unlikely friendship in a beautiful way. Scarlet Johansson was my personal highlight of the film. she was terrific.
*****The Skulls A WONDERFUL movie especially because it is based on the very real Skull and Bones Secret Society at Yale. Everyone should see it... and the sequels too.
***** The Madstone Theater (on San Mateo in Albuquerque). This is a movie review for a theater. Finally, a theater where the sound is not so earsplitting that you have a headache for the next two weeks. And a concession stand that serves sweet rolls, sandwiches, coffee and even a glass of wine. The theaters are clean and the seating is comfortable. Wonder of wonders, there are NO commercials and only one coming attraction preview! If you are sick and tired of paying for a movie ticket and then having to significant suffer hearing loss while sitting through 45 minutes of commercials and coming attractions, the Madstone Theater is for you.
***** Love Actually We loved this movie! A fabulous cast of just about every major British actor you have ever seen, including: Hugh Grant, Emma Thomson, Alan Richtman, this is what going to the movies is all about. A warm and witty script, and romance at every turn, that will have you laughing and reaching for a Kleenex at the same time. And there is not one happy ending but a dozen or so. This movie is entertainment pure and simple. The music is great, and the acting first rate. Not a movie for movie snobs, but a movie for people who want to come out of the theater happy and sad and fulfilled.
L. Wayne Mijo
***** Lost in Translation is a delightlful movie, written and directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Bill Murray and Scarlet Johannson. The movie while billed as a comedy, and at times it is a riot, is also poignent and sweet. Scarlet Johannson is captivating and hard not to like. And while I have never been a Bill Murray fan, in this movie he manages to leave his Saturday Night Live personae behind and is genuinely touching and all too human. Having spent two weeks in Japan, and having experienced the feeling of being in a totally foreign world where the senses are constantly assaulted with exotic sights and sounds, and where being sleepless in what would be the middle of the day here and is in the middle of the night there, I really identified with the two lead characters as they tried to take it all in and make sense of it all.
***** Man on the Train grabs you & doesn’t let go. It begins with an aging bank robber getting off a train. He meets a teacher who invites him to stay in his house as the town’s hotel is closed for the winter. Over a period of a few days they spend time together and each begins to wish he could have lived the other's life. It is smart & intelligent and keeps your interest. The ending may seem a bit confusing but you take the movie home with you and realize that in a strange way they did exchange places. Go see it and you make up your mind as to how it ends! Subtitled. Playing at the Madstone.
***** Northfork has a great cast: James Woods, Nick Nolte, Mark Polish, Daryl Hannah, Anthony Edwards, Peter Coyote, and a very brief bit by Kyle MacLachlan. The film is about a Montana town, Northfork, in the mid 50’s as it is about to be flooded forever by a new dam. To me it seemed like a fairly tale as it has many “fairy tale” elements: the scenery is awesome with its wide open desolate spaces; angels on a quest; an abandoned sick boy who believes he is a lost angel fallen to Earth and captured by humans who removed his wings; an ark; and some very interesting characters. The film’s use of color is interesting as sometimes the film seems to be in black & white with only sections of color. If you see it look very closely at the items on the boys' night stand at the end of the film. The film is made by the Polish brothers (twins) who made "Twin Falls Idaho." It has the look & feel of a David Lynch flick and it evokes many emotions. It is both funny and sad uplifting and unsettling!
*****Sea Biscuit I love this movie! And the ultimate bit of nudge-winkery about this powerful story of a small horse with a big heart, is the choice of Randy Neuman to compose the score. After more than a dozen nominations for best musical score, Neuman finally won his well deserved Oscar. And I’m sure he can identify with the underdog, a horse in this case, named Sea Biscuit. If your kids can sit still in a movie with no car chases, senseless killing, or gratuitous sex, take them to see this movie.
***** Whalerider is a pleasant surprise. This uplifting movie is set in a rural village in New Zealand and was filmed on location. Much of the cast consists of local actors. The cinematography is lush and the story, while predictable, is riveting and engaging. The star of the film is Keisha Castle-Hughes who shows remarkable depth and emotion for an eleven year old with no previous acting experience. In these trying times, it is a relief to see a movie like this with no special effects, no car chases, gratuitous violence, or mass destruction of personnel and property, just a well written and acted story. Although the audience was mostly adults when we went, I would highly recommend this movie for the entire family.
Gary W. Priester
***** My Big Fat Greek Wedding On video and DVD - Charming and fun movie for the whole family, and in this case “the whole family” is an understatement. While the movie is predictable, watching the plot unfold was much fun. Great acting and fun contrast of the big Greek family and the very small anglo family. See it, it will cheer you up!
**** Together - In Chinese with English Subtitles-playing at the Madstone. Good story, acting, & music. I really cared about the characters. It's about a boy who plays violin & his father-who's does eveything to further the boys music education. Has a real twist in the story. Go see it, it is really good.
***** Whale Rider Go see "Whale Rider." It's a wonderful flick!
***** Spirited Away - Rent this movie! It's not a kiddie cartoon. It's Miyazaki's Oscar winning animated full length movie. See it on DVD & watch the special features. It is beautiful to watch & wonderful to experience.
***** Bend it Like Beckham - Another wonderful film! Knowing nothing about soccer I reluctantly saw this film but it was absolutely great! Music is great too. If you missed it in theaters rent it!
**** Finding Nemo - a delightful film - made for older kiddies but enjoyable for adults. Underwater animation is beautiful. Characters are interesting and enjoyable. Voice acting is great. You will not want to eat fish for about a week!
**** A Mighty Wind If you liked "Best In Show" you'll enjoy this movie. It's about folk music groups of the 60's coming back together for a reunion in 2003. I enjoyed it very much as did everyone in the theater over 40. And really who gives a darn what the slack-jawed idiots under 40 think? They probably wanted to see the latest retarded Matrix movie, with lots of stupid violence and insane pretend dialogue, and they wandered into the wrong theater - or maybe they were trying to get 17 movies off of one ticket. And what's the deal on their big vats of movie popcorn and their supersized cokes. (Did you ever notice that the fatter the idiot is, the bigger their tub of popcorn and drink?) Anyway, go see a Mighty Wind. It's a lot of fun, and the music isn't bad either. If you don't like spoofs, stick to the action pretend thrillers. I couldn't care less.
Johnny Moribund Peterson
West Placitas Heights
*****+ The Pianist - deservedly received Oscars for Best Director, Roman Polanski, Best Actor, Adrien Brody, and Best Adapted Screenplay, Ronald Harwood. This extraordinary film reminds us once again of the despicable extermination of the Jews, this time in Poland, by the occupying German troops under the rule of Adolph Hitler. (The effect of total deafness achieved by the sound crew in one of the scenes in which a shell explodes is the most incredible audio effect I have ever experienced. That scene alone should have won an Oscar for best sound).
But while we were all feeling so smug at seeing Germany’s collective faces rubbed, once again, in this historical outrage, I could not help finding parallels in this country. I do not recall seeing a movie in which the systematic genocide of the Native American peoples was ever portrayed so vividly as the barbaric inhumane treatment of the Jews by the so-called civilized Germans. (The American victories over the Indians were always referred to in the history books as great, and just victories. But when the Indians triumphed in battle American history calls it a massacre!) And yet, 90% of the Native American population was wiped out by either American-introduced disease, or unprovoked murder. And our treatment of blacks, Chinese, Latin Americans has not been anything to brag about.
Sadly, what it all boils down to is man does not seem very well-equipped to deal with his fellow human beings. Tolerance of other people’s beliefs and race does not appear to be within our ability to achieve. Bad news for the human race, but good news for the movie makers.
Jewish in Placitas
***** Frida --- for art lovers and friends (rated R). The colors were mesmerizing, cast of top actors. You'll want to see it again.
*** ABOUT SCHMIDT Saw "About Schmidt" over the weekend. Good movie - not great, but enjoyable. I give it three and a half biscochitos.
***** ABOUT SCHMIDT Mr. Libman and I must have seen two different versions of this movie! The movie we saw had an outstanding group of actors (Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, et. al), a powerful script, dynamic acting, evocative set design, and all the things that make a movie rise to the top of the pack. My only question is: was this an advertisement for Winnebago?
***** The Hours Great movie. Outstanding acting - particularly from Ed Harris, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Nicole Kidman. Stephen Daldry's direction was incredible mainly because he took Michael Cunningham's novel (adapted by David Hare) and put together a very complicated film involving three different but somehow related plots. The thread for the stories of course was the Virginia Woolf 1923 novel "Mrs Dalloway".
Kudos for the genius who decided to utilize Phillip Glass' music for the background. His minimilistic themes were beautifully woven into the stories. Phil Glass - ya either love 'im or hate 'im. I love his music but am probably in the minority.
As to the acting, what can I say? The only question is to whom to give the awards - maybe they should all share them as an ensemble group. (The antithesis of these actors if I may digress is when Pia Zadorra played the part of Anne Frank in an off-Broadway production of "The Diary of Anne Frank". She was so bad that when the Nazis pounded on the front door all the audience yelled "she's in the attic".) Not so with these actors. All were outstanding. Best movie I've seen this year - and I've seen some good ones.
Thelma L. Mingus
***** Chicago I really enjoyed the movie "Chicago". This is my first attempt to write to a website so I hope you'll be kind and correct any mistakes. The movie "Chicago" is a period piece showing Chicago in the early 1920's. The three main stars were Richard Gere (who allegedly does his own dancing although I am not so sure), Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones. They were marvelous. It was so nice to see a musical which is well-made. The music was awesome (but why is everything so loud these days? I was unable to hear clearly for days), and the director Rob Marshall did a superb job of cutting up and back during the musical scenes. The music which was written by Kander and Ebb was a big hit when it played on Broadway. I saw the musical on Broadway and I liked the movie as much as the play.
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