Bright, splashy film musical about an ambitious young window washer who rises through the ranks of a large corporation following the advice of a self-help book. Textbook example of how to do everything right in translating a musical from stage to film. Features a wonderful Frank Loesser score including the songs, “I Believe In You” and “The Brotherhood of Man”. Robert Morse and Rudy Vallee reprise their original Broadway roles. Film debut of Michele Lee.
Archive for May, 2009
Judy Holliday is a an absolute delight in her final film as a telephone answering service operator who becomes romantically involved with one of her clients. Stylish musical based on the 1956 Broadway hit of the same name is heartwarming and sweet from start to finish. An undervalued gem. Songs include the popular standards “Just in Time” and “The Party’s Over”.
Spellbinding odyssey about a 78-year-old balloon salesman who teams up with an 8-year-old Wilderness Ranger in an exploration of the wilds of South America. Unlikely pair’s escapades are more profound than simply exploring the world’s fourth largest continent. This under-stated, nuanced animated adventure explores themes of grief and regret, love and loss, and one’s purpose in life, with a depth that rivals most live action films. An uplifting tale full of heart, whimsy and emotion. Pixar’s 10th animated feature is an unqualified joy.
Flimsy chick flick depicts an escalating feud between two best friends who, each to be married to their boyfriends, clash over the same booked location of their respective weddings. As these lifelong friends, sabotage each other’s impending weddings in vicious ways, it’s unclear why we the audience, would want to spend even one minute with these wholly detestable characters. Script champions superficiality, materialism and narcissism. If your life’s goal is to be married in New York’s Plaza Hotel, perhaps this strident comedy might make some sense. All others should simply check “will not attend”.
Classic MGM spectacle is highlighted by remarkable re-enactment of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. What’s more, this romantic drama includes an engaging story as well. Young, classically-trained singer is plucked from obscurity and becomes a success. Complications arise when she is also offered a chance to sing with the Opera, in decidedly classier surroundings. Grand, but dated period film was a huge blockbuster in its day and it’s easy to see why. Nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Baz Luhrmann’s long awaited follow up to Moulin Rouge! is a bright, bold, epic adventure with sumptuous cinematography. Lady Sarah Ashley’s life is forever changed when she travels to Australia to deal with a cattle farm that her philandering husband bought, and meets up with the rugged cattle drover assigned to help her. Meandering drama is so lavishly mounted, so cheerfully old-fashioned, one is inclined forgive its excessive length and just bask in its grandeur. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman make an appealing couple and newcomer Brandon Walters is memorable as Nullah, a young Aboriginal boy.
Mindless sci-fi war film is a series of explosions connected by a weak plot. The fourth installment of the Terminator series foolishly disregards the format of the previous films, which focused on an identifiable Terminator to root against. As a result, the movie lacks that emotional element that would allow you to connect with the characters. It seems music video director McG is more concerned with explosions than actual plot. Actor Sam Worthington plays the only interesting character, a former death row inmate who mysteriously awakens from hibernation in a research facility. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appears briefly via CGI, is sorely missed.
Young Anna is tormented by her father’s romantic relationship with Rachel Summers, the former nurse of her deceased mother. Did Rachel kill her mother? Is Rachel trying to kill her? American remake of the 2003 South Korean horror film A Tale of Two Sisters is only a middling success at best. The problem: the script doesn’t play fair with the audience, tacking on a “twist” ending that doesn’t jive with the rest of the film. Of note are the performances of its two lead actresses: Emily Browning and Elizabeth Banks. They almost save the film…almost.
Reverent drama of the lawyer who became the leader of the nonviolent resistance movement against British colonial rule in India. Ben Kingsley gives a flawless performance in the role of a lifetime. Technically stunning, exhaustively detailed biography about one of the 20th century’s most important figures is indeed impressive. However, one cannot get over the fact that this sprawling, lengthy epic feels more like a history lesson than entertainment. An unknown Daniel Day-Lewis appears briefly as a South African street tough who harasses Gandhi.
Religious thriller concerns a kidnapping plot of the 4 leading Cardinals being considered for the Papacy, for which a successor is needed. Fast moving, visually stunning sequel to The Da Vinci Code, is an even more exciting race against time than its predecessor. Unfortunately the story could have benefited from some romance or humor amidst all the impenetrable dialogue. These people talk and talk and then they talk some more. Director Ron Howard’s beautiful location shooting in Rome improves the story which ultimately climaxes into preposterousness. An action packed, but flawed diversion.