Monthly Archives: December 2011

Wild Target (2010) J. Lynn

‘Wild Target’ is a lovely import from Englad circa 2010. Despite it’s cheeky humor, that is a signature of many great films from our neighbors ‘across the pond’, and it’s talented cast it never quite found a foothold for distribution in America. Image

Bill Nighy stars as the films introverted and uptight assassin to Emily Blunt’s quirky and unhinged con woman. Rupert Grint is thrown in as some lovely color and humor to the film, who’s main purpose was to lighten the sexual tension between Blunt and Nighy’s characters, and help avoid a few holes where deux ex machina would had pushed the movie from tongue-in-cheek to just another failed attempt to be slyly funny (see: ‘The Love Guru’).

I found this movie enjoyable and chuckle worthy. It’s quirky throughout int a way that is endearing and not aggravating. It’s not really enough to write home about, but it’s definitely enough to write an adoring blog post about. It’s on Netflix for instant viewing and I would say it’s definitely worth a viewing. So grab yourself a Royal Oak pale ale, some fish’n chips and settle in for a few hours of kitschy fun!

The Descendants (2011) Alexander Payne

So here’s another film that’s not so off the beaten path, Alexander Payne’s third installment to his awesome movie track record, The Descendants. The film center’s around George Clooney’s character of a jilted and suddenly single father.

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One of the great attributes of Payne’s films, consistently, is his ability to write/direct real people. Characters on screen that you know in your life (and if you can’t think of anyone you know like that person, odds are you are that person in your life). Payne’s films consistently display men coming to terms with their life in a way that is so tangible it leaves the audience comforted with a notion of not being alone. And this is coming from a twenty-four year old girl.

Payne’s paired up with unsung and highly talented Phedon Papamichael again. Papamichael is a working d.p. in Hollywood, every cinematography students dream, who has been shooting and average of two to three films a year. And his style just becomes more refined with every shoot. Papamichael is not afraid to expand his shooting portfolio or test out new styles that show real foresight on his side.  His portrayal of Clooney’s run to  find out more about his philandering wife and the close-ups of a reflective Clooney taking in the terms of his life throughout the film are two elements that stick out the most vividly in my mind. I cannot wait to see this talented duo team up again in next years Nebraska.

The characters in this film range from angsty teen daughter, played by talented young actress Shailene Woodley, to gruff and clueless grandfather, Robert Forster, are the charm of this film. No one fleshes out a movie quite as well as Alexander Payne and his casting team.

Mix the talented Payne’s palatable script, the actors, and the vibrant flora and fauna of Hawaii (a great expose on the idea of living in ‘paradise’) and you’ve an ace film. I’m happy to see that the SAG’s and the Golden Globe’s have acknowledge this film, even though it was inevitable they would as this is the kind of fete that they love, but it’s also one that the everyday man can relate to. Hence the beauty of a Payne film.

My advice is go see this movie if you haven’t already. And if you can see it in a beach resort town during the off season with all the elderly locals, like I did, it’s an added bonus. One of the great things about watching films with an audience is watching people who have a good 30 years life experience on you, is they cheer when the “retarded” youngin’ ‘Sid’ gets punched in the face; real color.

Little Women (1994) Gillian Anderson

I spent the weekend at my fathers house and let me tell you, movies look so much better on a 55-inch screen. Men and their TVs, I’m starting to think there’s something to it!

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Here’s a great piece of trivia, apparently Christina Ricci auditioned for the role of young Amy but it was given to Kristen Dunst instead, a decision I can understand, is easy to believe that a young Dunst would be more conventional beautiful than a young Ricci would once Amy finally marries Laurie.

And now for my favorite quote which is delivered by Susan Sarandon in the role as the mother ‘Mrs. March’ or ‘Marmee’.

If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find
yourself believing that’s all that you really are. Time erodes all such beauty, but what it cannot diminish
is the wonderful workings of your mind: Your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage.
These are the things I cherish so in you. I so wish I could give my girls a more just world.
But I know you’ll make it a better place.

Arranged (2007) D. Crespo & S. Schaefer

ImageArranged‘ is an indie film made by directing duo Diane Crespo and Stefan C. Schaefer. It centers around two New York City public school teachers Rochel Meshenberg and Nasira Khaldi. Rochel and  Nasira are two young twenty-somethings just starting their teaching careers within one of the most diverse public school systems in the country. And while they have their religious differences, Rochel is Orthodox Jewish and Nasira is Muslim, they are both walking through the stages of an arranged marriage with their families.

Despite their one major difference (or as many people would be be defaulted to believe is major) of religious views, Nashira and Rochel are like minded spirits believing in modesty and humility.  Rochel is a bit more romantic and passionate in her views but as Nasira is the more optimistic of the two, she is more of a risk-taker that can only be founded in spoiled last born’s. The fact that that alone came out to me is a testament to the love and thought that went into this film.  Arranged is beautifully crafted and well casted. Zoe Lister-Jones and Francis Benhamou are absolute gems.

If you are a Verizon FIOS viewer this film is now available for free viewing on the IFC on demand channel or you can buy the dvd here.  I highly, highly recommend that you do so.