***** 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.