Tuesday, September 23, 2008


2 out of 5 Stars
It actually rather pains me to only be able to give 2 out of 5 starts to an Alan Ball film. Especially a film with such a strong and talented cast. But I thought Alan Ball completely missed the mark with Alicia Erian's novel. Issues that I had with the book (ie. cringing page after page for Jasira's innocence and youth and how she allowed herself to be so taken advantage of) were made less sympathetic in the film. I think the loss of first person narrative (which made the novel what it was) contributed to taking difficult but important subject matter and turning it into a jumbled and poorly arranged film. Or maybe something got lost in the editing?

Still, Summer Bishil did an excellent job using a poor script adaptation. Her 'Jasira' stuck with me, days after I left the theater.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mrs. Pettigrew Lives For A Day

3.5 out of 5 Stars
A delightful (though somewhat unforgettable) period film kept crisp and sharp by an adequate adaptation of a fun novel and made even more enjoyable by fabulous performances by Amy Adams, Lee Pace, and Frances McDormand. A wonderful 'air plane movie', it certainly kept me entertained during the flight from NYC to San Francisco.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tropic Thunder

4 out of 5 Stars
I thought this movie was clever and extremely funny. Okay yes, it's offensive (interestingly I was one of the few people in the theater who was laughing out loud) but Ben Stiller compiled a cast of such strong actors who play satire with impeccable wit and timing. I thought this film trumped Hamlet 2 by a long shot (and it was great to see Steve Coogan on screen again). Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise clinched it for me. I would definitely like to see this again.

Vicky Christina Barcelona

3.5 out of 5 Stars
This is the first Woody Allen film I've seen since he 'left' Manhattan and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The cast was impeccable, particularly Penelope Cruz. The shots of Gaudi architecture and the romace of Spain was beautiful, and the story itself was both comic, thought provoking, and honest. I identified with both Vicky and Christina, at different times throughout. I thought overall this film was very well done.

Monday, September 1, 2008


3 out of 5 Stars
Incredibly poetic cinematographry -- a very well made 'documentary' (though most of it uses actors) about an extremely disturbing and upsetting subject. I see why this film garnered such a reaction at Sundance and also received honors. At times I was queasy, at times I felt peaceful watching the images of the Washinton Mountains, but mostly, I felt like taking a shower when it ended to cleanse myself of watching 1 hour and 20 minutes about such an upsetting topic.