Tuesday, November 15, 2011
This 10-disc series released in 2000 provides an adequate and entertaining summary of the evolution of this uniquely American art form. I’m sure many expert aficionados would view it otherwise. My only complaint, as a guitar lover, is the complete lack of any history of jazz guitarists, outside of a brief reference to Charlie Christian.
The Lincoln Lawyer:
Matthew McConaughey is good at playing slick and witty characters. This role is custom made for him. He plays a successful defense lawyer who discovers disturbing information about his client that cannot be revealed due to attorney-client privilege.
This drama looks at several different Vietnamese refugees, as they are resettled at Ft. Pendleton, near the conclusion of the Vietnam War. They struggle to deal with separation from family, hopelessness, and the anxiety of starting over in a new land.
Beyond the Sea:
If you, like me, enjoy the seemingly unlimited talent of Kevin Spacey (who stars, directs, and sings) this film is worth viewing. However, the screenplay for this biopic of singer Bobby Darin has a lot to be desired. The fantasy sequences and Darin’s conversations with his “younger, child self” were extremely annoying and distracting. A straight ahead view of the short, explosive, life of one of music’s great singers would have been much more appealing.
This Belgian made drama looks at a coming-of age-age boy being raised by his grandmother, alcoholic father, and three loving, though drunken, uncles. Even within such a dysfunctional family, familial love and loyalty is preached and practiced.
This comedy feature can rightly be considered the “Anti-E.T.” A bawdy, cigarette smoking alien takes off on adventurous road trip with two UFO watchers in order to meet up with his mother ship. The character of Paul is endearing and you’re given just enough laughs to make viewing worthwhile.
This is the 2005 film version of the Dickens tale directed by Roman Polanski. Very entertaining and includes a wonderful performance by Ben Kinsley as Fagin.
A sword warrior escapes from the Far East to Old West America after refusing to kill the last remaining baby of an enemy clan. Even the brilliant Geoffrey Rush can’t save this turkey.
Of Gods and Men:
This is an enthralling, well made, French spoken, historical drama about Trappist monks who attempt to deal with Islamic fundamentalists in Algeria. This occurred in the mid-1990’s. A gripping, real life tale of perseverance and commitment.
Everything Must Go:
Will Ferrell plays a good natured alcoholic who loses his job and is thrown out of his house by his wife on the same day. He decides to take residence on his front lawn while he takes stock of his life, make some new friends, and refocus his direction.
Police State Four- The Rise of FEMA:
This is an informative, 2009 update by Alex Jones and the InfoWars crew concerning the growing fascist police state that is the United States.
Mel Gibson is excellent playing a chronically depressed man who adopts a hand puppet and alternate personality to turn his life around. Sometimes black, sometimes emotional, but always interesting and thought provoking.
Sons of Anarchy- Season 3:
Another great season of action and suspense for the California MC. This season finds the Sons spending time in Belfast, Ireland, as they search for Jack’s kidnapped son. This is one of those well written and expertly acted series (oh so rare) that finds yourself wishing they would produce an episode 52 weeks a year, rather than a dozen.
I finally took the time to venture into Quentin Tarantino's 1994 journey into violence and depravity. Surprisingly, with the exception of a couple well acted scenes, I found myself bored.
Hanna is a teenage girl who is was created as an embryo in a discontinued, government sponsored experiment to create super soldiers. She is rescued as an infant by an ex-CIA operative who trains her in the isolated Arctic forest as a highly skilled assassin- all to assist and defend her when she inevitably decides to return to the civilized world she has only read about in books; a world that includes a US government that wants her dead.
A very well executed drama that revolves around a young man on a ledge, preparing to jump to his death and the police officer (with extreme family issues of his own) who attempts to persuade him otherwise. The film includes a very intelligent discussion among the characters about the existence or not of God, the meaning of life, and the relevance of faith.
Winter in Wartime:
This is a very enjoyable Dutch war drama which revolves around a teenage boy in German occupied Netherlands in World War II. His frustrations with his father’s seeming lack of will to resist the Nazis inspires him to assist a shot down British pilot to escape to freedom. It’s a decision that has major repercussions on his family.