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The Flick Chick
There are always a few swell films out there. Don't know which ones they are? Check here for the Chick's flickpicks.
Do your opinions match mine? Then take in the ones I like. Hate my choices? Okay, you know what to avoid. Simple, huh?
GREAT STUFF TO SEE
(And also some bad stuff to avoid):
A splendid film: beautiful; touching; heart wrenching; gripping; funny. All the good adjectives. Daniel Day Lewis is too pretty in real life to play Lincoln, of course, but with the makeup and the beard, he was intensely believable. Lots of Lincoln's beautiful words, all the parts we already knew, plus some we didn't know about him. (Note that the Chick was reading Gore Vidal's Lincoln simultaneously which may have added to the fervor of her appreciation. ) But gosh! of course it had to be great. It was about Lincoln! When the film ended, we were all crying. And clapping. Of course! (11/2012)
Piqued by the reviews, Chick & Co., went to the picture show after an extended absence, and now it is the Chick's job to pique and persuade you to do the same. Yes, it is a strange film/films. (Because there are five or more semi-connected story lines, interconnected characters, and numerous interconnected lives.) But it is also extremely beautiful and often deeply moving. And, admittedly, confusing at times. But . . . it's nourishing. It unselfconsciously (And, yes sometimes selfconsciously) deals in subjects like honor, and courage, and self-respect. And it's a great film anyway! So there!
Now that you're shaking your head, let me remind you that it stars Tom Hanks (who looks to be in excellent shape), Halle Berry (in even more attractive shape), Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, and a very beautiful young actress named Xun Zhou to name a very few. The actors each play a variety of parts in a variety of story lines, but the viewer is not aggressively conscious of this most of the time; there is too much story-line to follow.
Maybe none of this convinces you of the worth of this film? Go see it anyway. You'll enjoy it! (11/12)
This is definitely a winner. Simple story: Two pre-adolescents run away together; chaos results.
Bill Murray is the dad, in a bit part. Frances Mcdormand is the mom, in an even smaller part. Bruce Willis, playing against type, is the fairly dumb sheriff, but it's the kids who carry the show: Gold stars to Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, who are quirky, natural, always intent. While thinking, "Hey, kids aren't really like that," you realise that they really ARE like that.
The storyline is a farce . . . but it's also extremely touching. Impossible? See for yourself. You won't be disappointed. (Yeah, even you the one who hates flicks about kids!) (11/12)
Mozart's Sister (video)
What an odd film. Did you even know that Mozart even had a big sister? Who played the piano as well as he did? And was nice looking? She really did exist, and although much of the substance of the film is fictional, the predicament she faced as a creative, talented woman in the deeply chauvenistic social settings of France and Germany was only too true. The film holds you, the characters are appealing, the actors have an un-Hollywoodish beauty, and we enjoyed it.
It's in French, with subtitles. (1/13)
Men in Black III
You must take into consideration that any film that stars both Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith is going to be a winner, even if it's the same film you saw last time. But this one is the same film plus new goodies. And real goodies, too! There is the lovely Emma Thompson in a very small love-interest role. There is a flashback of Tommie Lee Jones as a younger cheerier man. But best of all there is a very strange and charming character (Character! Right!) who sees into alternate futures. And . . . well . . . he won the Chick's heart.
So see it and see whether you agree. (5/12 )
It is intensely interesting to watch an actor grow. In this film, Clooney has taken yet another major step forward. Some time ago, in Good Night and Good Luck he made himself invisible unhandsome and unimpressive, which was what the role called for but soon after that, he became a major star, and for a while he fell into the Cary Grant charming rogue trap and although it fit him well, he might have become a Beloved Icon, which would have meant the end of him as a fine actor.
Ah, but this was a growth film. Here he walks the fine line between tragedy and comedy, touching our hearts and making us smile, both at the same time. Bravo!
Don't miss it. (2/12)
Tinker-Tailor-Soldier-Spy (Ver. I vs Ver. II)
Love good mysteries. Really like the John le Carre books. Half in love with Smiley. (Just leveling the playing-field here.)
BUT . . . as with the Lavendar Hill Mob an Alec Guinness performance is an utter spoiler for any subsequent version. It's not that the current version is bad, it's just that the previous George Smiley is inimitable.
As a matter of fact, the Ver.II delineation of the other members of the organization is much superior to other versions, even the written one. (Must admit that I always had trouble keeping the characters straight even when I read the book.) Thus it helped my feeble mind to have one actor much taller, one much blonder, etc.
HOWEVER, either the director of Ver.II had read something into the original text that I had missed, or else he threw a big curve into the story line toward the end of the film. Effective enough in the film, I guess but it took a big liberty wth the arc of the story. Le Carre's intent, as I saw it, was that spying the deliberate undermining of people's faith in their relationship to what is right and wrong . . . trafficking in betrayal takes its toll on the character, draining out the vital juice that keeps us loving and loyal and sane.
So, with all due respect, the Chick's advice is to rent or buy the Ver.I in its 3-part series and fall in love with Alec Guinness all over again! (12/11)
Midnight in Paris
Ah . . . a darkened street, the sound of jazz playing over the radio on a silent evening, and then an elegant, antique car stops at your feet, a hand reaches out holding a brimming champagne glass and invites you in. And then you're off to ornate drawing rooms filled with great paintings and enlivened by the presence of beautiful women in jeweled flapper-style headbands and feather boas, and tall, thin gentlemen in evening clothes, speaking with English accents. Take time for a chat with Hemingway, Picasso, F.Scott Fitzgerald. Consider dreams and dreams come true.
That sound good to you? Then you 'll love this film.
Owen Wilson is appealingly American, and if the dopy ignorance of his character does not quite ring true as the portrayal of an aspiring author, his golden charm makes up for it. What we have here is a delicious, gilded evening, with almost none of the cruelty of Woody Allen's recent films. We came away smiling and ready for ice cream. Bet you do, too. (August, 2011)
This was an elegant, beautifully mounted film, with strong and moving performances by Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter. And must mention Guy Pierce (a fave of the Chick's) as Edward, in the thrall of the rather nasty Mrs. Wallace Warfield Simpson. There was a stronger reason for her not to be queen than the fact that she had been divorced: She was an irresponsible, greedy woman. (And certainly no lady!)
Although I can see why loyal Brits might feel that it was too . . . hmm . . . perhaps too intimate, too emotional, or maybe too graphic (language! and because Stiff Upper Lip is very British, y'know), to an American who is accustomed to watching American performances, it was simply very touching.
A film much to be enjoyed. A film to see. (Jan, 2011)
Men Who Stare at Goats
Now, that was FUN! George Clooney was loony! McGregor (Ewan) was stewin'! Jeff Bridges was (running out of bad rhymes now) an off-kilter guru and Kevin Spacy was an intensely disagreeable corporal (never recognized him until 3/4 of the way through the movie!). To the Chick, the storyline was somewhat reminiscent of the hi-jinks in Catch-22 only without anything grim about it. And nothing particularly smutty. Just funny. And fun. And mildly crazy. And with a completely unexpected and satisfying finale. It's probably not in theaters any more, so get the DVD, settle down on the sofa and . . . enjoy.
Oh, yes, there were real goats. Lots of them. I do like goats! (11/10)
RED (Not to be confused with the brilliant Czerwony film, also titled RED, that is reviewed in the "C-R" Chick file
Say when was the last time you went to a movie and really had fun? Never had to worry about who the bad guy was? Laughed yourself silly without having to listen to fart jokes? (Pardon the language.) Watched fine stars enjoying themselves? Always knew that everything would turn out all right!
Plus: Bruce Willis at his charming, sly, derring-do best!
Plus: John Malkovitch as a deadly-crazyperson (only for OUR side)!
Plus: The fabulous Helen Mirren!
Morgan Freeman, suave, clever, and noble.
Oh you will enjoy this one!
When the picking are slim at the local flickers, seek out this oldie (1991) but hilarious goodie. Sally Field, with a comedic tour de force, and Kevin Kline who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance are stars in a soap opera . . . which is the McGuffin of this soap opera storyline. (BTW Kline should stick to comety. He's really good at that.)
The starry cast includes a very young Robert Downey, Jr., a then-fhin and shapely Whoopie Goldberg, plus Teri Hatcher and a bit part by Carrie Fischer. The storyline is too ridiculous to recount, but you'll find youself laughing at almost every scene. It's a great way to transform a dull, rainy night at home.(8/10)
Smilla's Sense of Snow (Video)
Yes, this 1997 film is an oldie, but we were shopping for a nice thriller . . . and this is a good example. The film, set in Denmark, is handsome to see, Julia Ormand, as the title character, is also very good to look at, and Gabriel Byrne is the same. The Chick is handicapped by having read the book which differs sharply from the film in many aspects but this has an adequate plot, there's plenty of excitement, and the somewhat happier ending of the film made the Chick happy, too.
Want a nice evening? Nothing you care for in the theaters? Or just don't want to dress and go out? Try this one. (7/10)
The Blind Side
Billed as a true story, this film, which won an Oscar for Sandra Bullock, has a strong storyline, highly appealing characters, and is almost too sweet for some tastes. Could be that's because kind hearts and good behavior don't make the news the way incest and brutality and gunfights do.
However, I must admit what that interested the Chick the most was seeing Ms. Bullock play so strongly against type. She usually plays waifs and innocents, sometimes shows her stuff as a comedienne. But here, as a tough, blonde, heart-of-gold Southern Mom, she adopts a street kid from the wrong side of town, and he turns out to be a Champ.
She lit up this film. Worth your while to watch it, just to see her work! (2010)
Well! This is not the Holmes with whom we have previously been acquainted. Nor the Watson. We have always suspected, my dear Reader, that there were areas of Holmes' life into which we had hitherto never been invited. But now the veil is lifted, and we discover that Master Detective is also a master of the manly arts, as a bare-knuckle fighting event displays his skills. His softer side is also on display from time to time, and we frequently see him dishabille, unkempt and unshaven. Moreover, we are made privy to his genuine regard for his young friend's rapier-like wit and also his skill with the rapier. (Obviously, in Watson's narratives, his innate modesty has kept him from revealing the true extent of his own abilities.) And, as we always suspected, the fair sex is not immune to Holmes' charms, nor is he immune to theirs.
The film plays havoc with the literary tradition, but all in all, the Chick found Holmes and Watson both to be great fun and Really Hot Stuff! This is a rousing thriller and Robert Downey, Jr, and Jude Law have distinguished themselves! (1/2010)
Julie and Julia
Been a long time since a film gave such pleasure.
While acknowledging her great acting ability I'd never entirely liked Meryl Streep until now, but the radiant warmth of her Julia Child has won my heart. Stanley Tucci's glowing benevolence was an inspired choice for Paul Child. And Amy Adams and Chris Messina were winning performers as Julie and her kind and long-suffering (and hungry) husband. This is a very funny, immensely good-humored production. A gold star to Nora Ephran for screenplay and direction. Gold stars all around.
You know, films (and novels) today too often portray lovers and married partners only in states of confict. We view rough love, tough love, the struggles of narcissistic and shallow relationships, often based on competition, and laced with sarcasm and unkindness both deliberate and accidental. It's as if the film-makers thought the end purpose of human relationships was to do harm. Or take coup. The cutting word almost always trumps the loving one. As if our best hope is for no more than quiet desperation.
Ah, but in JULIE AND JULIA, for a touch over two hours, we had the joy of sharing time with two very different but equally loving couples treating each other with good humor and affection in easy times and in hard times, too. When Paul Child comes home to a mountain of smelly, chopped onions, he shakes his head, sighs mildly, and goes downstairs. He does not wave his fists and shout "To the Moon, Julia!" When Eric Powell has put up with one too many obsessive cooking catastrophes, he does not flee to the arms of some cutie . . . he just camps out on the couch at his office until she calms down and his temper has cooled. These married people are good to each other. Patient with each other. This is what it should be like! So . . . this is THE film. Be good to yourself and see it now. (And maybe buy the DVD later, so you can enjoy it again!) (8/09)
Yes. It's way old. But this film confirms all the horrible things we always suspected were true about fast food. It's bad for your health. It makes you fat. And eating it makes you act dumb. Our protagonist (playing himself) goes from doctor to doctor and is pronounced in super health before he goes on a one-month three-meals-a-day diet of MacDonalds. At the end of the month he has gained 20 pounds, feels awful all the time, raised his cholesterol into the danger zone, possibly damaged his liver and (according to his outspoken girl friend) seriously damaged their sex life. OOps!
Although the film picks on the Golden Arches exclusively, and although, admittedly, most people do not make fast-food stops at every meal, the evidence against a steady diet of burgers-and-fries-and-oil-based-shakes is compelling. You may not come out of the film as a confirmed vegan, but I bet you won't take quick run-through at the local drive-in on your way home.
Compelling or not, will this make a permanent dent in the fast-food biz? Only time will tell. My guess: A word to the wise is sufficient. (7/04)
Yep, this 2004 film is still on the top page. Just consider it a reminder to you from me . . . on behalf of your heart. Available on DVD.
The Flick Chick Reviews New Films
More Film Reviews. Click the appropriate letter for films whose titles begin with . . .
A few choice foreign films (subtitles)
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