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Welcome to my website!
Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
Enjoy my reviews and please comment and come back frequently! Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The White Crow

Being the ballet fan that I am, I eagerly trotted to the theater to see The White Crow, a film about Rudolf Nureyev. He famously defected from the Soviet Union while in Paris, and this film had that time of his life front and center.

Rudolf (Oleg Ivenko) lives to dance. From an early age, he showed an aptitude for the graceful art of movement and after many years of study, most famously under Alexander Pushkin (Ralph Fiennes), he embarks on a tour in 1961 with the Kirov Ballet, closely chaperoned by Soviet agents.

We get to see Nureyev in all the complexity of who he was, his charms attracting both men and women to desire him. Clara Saint (Adèle Exarchopolos) becomes a devoted friend, and a helping hand when Nureyev is considering whether to defect. The Soviet agents are conniving and relentless in their manipulations of Nureyev, and really with all the dancers.

Directed by Ralph Fiennes, the film is rated R for some sexuality, graphic nudity, and language. It was heavy on the dance, much to my pleasure. If you are someone not that enamored of ballet, you might not enjoy the film as much. I thought it was excellent. 

At this same time, a documentary about the famous dancer hit the art cinema. I would like to see this film simply titled Nureyev to see if it sheds even more light on the White Crow, the very gifted Rudolf Nureyev.

Did you see The White Crow? Do you enjoy ballet, and did you think the film lived up to the high standards Nureyev achieved?

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Ocean's 8

In keeping with the extravagant wealth theme that began last week with Crazy Rich Asians, I move on to Ocean’s 8. The fashion and high society element makes this fourth “Ocean’s” film more for a girls night out, and that’s great for me. I’m sick and bored with films of battles and men killing each other. More power to the women!

I enjoyed the previous three Steven Soderbergh directed “Ocean’s” films. I also saw the original Ocean’s 11 (1960) that inspired the remakes. They are a few of my favorite films. Ocean’s 8 leaves the male cast behind and introduces us to female characters in an all-star cast. It is rated PG-13 for language, drug use and some suggestive content.

Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is the sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney). She has been serving time, and thus has had many hours alone to plan a perfect heist with her girlfriends. It is not surprising that Danny and Debbie should be alike in their choice of occupation since sometimes a younger family member may choose to follow in her big brother’s footsteps.

Debbie has concocted a scheme to steal a very expensive Cartier necklace right off the neck of celebrity Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) while she is wearing it at the Met Gala. Each member of the crew Debbie assembles has their own specialty or strength that is required in order to pull off this heist.

I enjoyed Ocean’s 8. I’d watch it again, especially on a night I just want some good, clean fun. The sets and the cinematography are first rate, and it’s a pleasure to watch the heist unfold. The references to other “Ocean’s” films make it even more fun.

Did you see Ocean’s 8? What did you think of it? Which “Ocean’s” film is your favorite?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Crazy Rich Asians

A good friend of mine who happens to be Taiwanese asked me to watch this film and write a review about it. So this is for you Ming!

Crazy Rich Asians is based on the book of the same name written by Kevin Kwan. It is rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and language.

It is a crazy comedy, mostly taking place in Singapore, an exotic location I hope to visit someday. Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an Asian American, has been dating Nick Young (Henry Golding), a handsome Asian man raised in England. He invites her to accompany him to the wedding of a good friend in Singapore. She accepts, and is in for a big surprise. 

Nick is wealthy. Not just a little bit wealthy, but over the top rich. His family is not really welcoming to Rachel as there are expectations for Nick to marry within his class. All sorts of comedic situations evolve as Rachel navigates the traditional Asian family and the hostility of the women who would like to snatch Nick for a husband. Fortunately, her friend Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina) is living in Singapore, so she is not totally alone. 
I really, really enjoyed this movie. There are over the top moments of extravagance, but there are equally as many moments that will tug at your heart. This film is after all about a relationship, love, family, and the need for acceptance and belonging. There were times I actually had tears in my eyes. 

I highly recommend this film if you enjoy romantic comedies. I also liked that I was able to get a peek into Asia and Asian families and realize that there are differences between Asian Americans, Asians raised in other countries, and those who remain in their homeland. Thank you Ming, for encouraging me to watch this film.

Did you see Crazy Rich Asians? Have you visited Asia? What were your favorite scenes in the film?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Anonymous

I am not a Shakespeare groupie, such as those who make a pilgrimage to Ashland, Oregon every year for Shakespeare plays and others! But I have attended a few live performances, and then there’s the classic Romeo and Juliet I watched on-screen as a freshman in high school (the one with Leonard Whiting, not Leonardo DiCaprio). My favorite Shakespeare play is Twelfth Night, and I of course loved the film Shakespeare in Love.

Now comes this interesting 2011 film Anonymous that suggests that Will Shakespeare was not the person we think he was. How far fetched is it that someone else actually penned all those plays and sonnets, and because of social standing could not come forward to claim them as his own? This film presents an alternative to who the bard really was. Anonymous is rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content.

The time is England, the Queen is Victoria. Not as Victorian as that era has often been made out to be, she was quite the scandalous hotheaded woman with an appetite for lovers and the stage.

Edward De Vere (Rhys Ifans), the Earl of Oxford, is of noble birth, well educated and good at everything he attempts. He has a passion for writing, but the noble class frowns upon this activity. Poets and dreamers are not held in high regard; warriors and knights are the heroes of the day.

Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) becomes Edward’s accomplice, staging the plays he pens at The Rose, as Edward needs to remain anonymous to protect himself from being found out by his peers. Jonson was to take the credit for the plays, but when the time comes, an actor, Will Shakespeare (Rafe Spall), steps forward claiming the play as his own, and thus the ruse is born.

I liked this film. It really didn’t seem that far fetched. They claim that Shakespeare was not well educated, and did not have the opportunities for travel and study that Edward De Vere would have had. The story in Anonymous seems plausible to me.

But who is to know? This is the late 1500’s/early 1600’s after all. History in this film anyway, makes a good case for the true author of comedies and tragedies for the stage to be Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford.

Have you seen Anonymous? What do you think? Is William Shakespeare the real author or someone else?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi

I saw this last installment of Star Wars many months after its release in theaters in the comfort of my own home. I’m afraid that’s where I’ll see the next one also. I’m glad I didn’t pay full price to see it in the theater. Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence.

I watched the entire two and a half hours. I had to; I’ve been following these stories since the first one came out in 1977. But this time around, I was acutely aware that some of the characters were there simply to sell toys. Creatures that can easily be formed into little dolls and playthings and sell millions of dollars of them to parents and kids. Cynical yes, but it’s the truth isn’t it? It’s not just movies and storytelling; it’s a whole big merchandise line to make billions.

The main story line for this film is Rey (Daisy Ridley) seeking out Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), as she wants to learn about the Force. There are also tricky battles between the armies of space travelers, and yes, I am tired of that action. Nothing new in warfare to get excited about. In fact, there is nothing really memorable in this entire film.

If you’re young and have never seen a Star Wars movie, don’t bother. Go straight to Star Trek. The crew of the Enterprise are much more intelligent and funny.

What’s your take on these more recent Star Wars installments?

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Mother's Day

I wanted to watch a light comedy and chose Mother’s Day directed by Garry Marshall. An ensemble cast beckoned me to this tale of interconnecting lives as they merge around the time of Mother’s Day. The film is rated PG-13 for language and some suggestive material.

Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is trying to work out the shared responsibilities of her two sons after a divorce from their father Henry (Timothy Olyphant). An aspiring designer, she juggles it all valiantly. Henry remarries quite suddenly to Tina (Shay Mitchell), a woman much younger than the two divorcees.

Kristin (Britt Robertson) is pregnant and working in a bar. She evades marriage with the father of her child, citing reasons of having been adopted as an infant.

Jesse (Kate Hudson) is married to Russell (Aasif Mandvi) and they have a son. Her sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke) has a female partner Max (Cameron Esposito), and they also have a child. They have not told their conservative, flag waving parents about either of their relationships due to the parents’ racism and prejudice against persons of color and lesbians. Much to their chagrin, their parents Florence (Margo Martindale) and Earl (Robert Pine) show up in a huge RV for Mother’s Day and are shocked to learn the truth about their daughters.

Miranda (Julia Roberts) is a successful career woman who has secrets she hasn’t even told her loyal personal assistant Lance (Hector Elizondo).

How all these families come together, you’ll have to see for yourself. I think you’d be enchanted with these intertwining relationships. The comedy is first rate, the dialogue snappy and spot on, and you may even shed a tear or two by the end of the film.

Whether you’re a parent or not, we all have a mother, and I thought this film touched on several of the possible scenarios that could make up the relationship between mother and children. Did you see Mother’s Day? How did you like it? How do you like other Garry Marshall films?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The World Before Your Feet

The World Before Your Feet is a wonderful documentary about Matt Green, a young man who decided to walk every block of every street, park, cemetery and public space in New York City. This is about 8,000 miles so it is no small feat. The film is rated PG-13.

I enjoyed this film very much, partially because I am a walker myself, and also because it tells the story of this man so well, and shows New York City in a way tourists and even residents don’t get to see.

This is his passion, and Matt researches where he walks. He has a blog at I'm Just Walkin' and has found people all around New York City to be kind and supportive of his endeavors. I especially liked the segments where we get to see things in the city that are alike. His walks are ongoing now for five plus years. It is amazing to me how he has found a rhythm of sorts in where he sleeps, what he eats, his relationships, and how he schedules his time for this unusual goal.

In some respects, the last film I reviewed, Free Solo, is along the same lines of this man’s quest. Both men are determined and exacting in their plans to do what others wouldn’t even dream about, for perhaps reasons that aren’t even in their personal awareness.

Are you a walker? Have you watched The World Before Your Feet? What did you think of Matt’s goal and discoveries?