Deb and I are artists, painters actually. We go see films as often as once a week. That's right, we go to the theater and sit in a dark room with strangers to see movies. We rarely rent. We like "little" movies, foreign and documentary films. We try to stay away from mainstream and blockbusters whenever possible, but a couple sneak in each year. We seek out the obscure. We try to avoid violent movies, and that really limits our choices, most film makers seem to think violence makes a story interesting.
I try not to give anything away in the reviews, but offer an honest reaction.
We rate them 1~10, 10 being highest.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Take Me To The River

Deb 8      Me 8

This is a movie made about creating an album of music fusing talents of the legendary STAX musicians and the popular rap artists of today. From the first scenes I could see that the filmmaker took the time to sync even the most incidental almost-off-camera performers to the music up front. That was impressive. Then there was a quick a capella performance of the Rhodes Sisters (who look like a bunch PTA moms) that could've been embarrassing but was terrific. That sold me. The rest of the movie was riveting. 
The STAX musicians are not only wonderful, but they're fun people too. The work of the rappers is integrated into the live recordings, and although the heartfelt words are strung together in a clever way they are all strikingly similar in delivery. There were moments when the film felt like a commercial for the pending album, and the unexplained absence of Steve Cropper stands out, but overall this was a great document of our society in the heyday of the STAX (from about 1960 through early 70s) and how the music shaped and reflected its times. A really nice way to spend the evening.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Love Is Strange

Deb 7    Me 6

Strange title. Didn't seem to fit anything. I didn't really accept the premise and there too many unrealized story elements and superfluous characters to make this feel like a whole movie. I get the feeling this was a book and they had to at least mention certain people or situations for fear of alienating the readers. The readers had their chance and including the peripheral stuff screwed up what could have been a better movie. It is about a long term gay relationship and that was presented well, but the supporting people and situations were half baked at best. Didn't get it for me.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The 100 Foot Journey

Deb 9    Me 8

Oh I dreaded having to see this one. I'm so burnt out on all this Baliwood kind 'o stuff. I know the English have some fascination with India but I don't. It's one of the few places on my list to avoid (which is probably true with a lot of people), hence all this "once you get past the rampant monkey shit and selling children as prostitutes stuff" there's a real charm and dignity in India. 
So this movie is different. It's not in England or India, but in France. It starts out spelling out the background and moves in exciting ways that threw me off balance, not knowing what to expect in the rest of the movie and what unfolded was a pretty neat little story, not at all what I  figured. There are holes and weirdnesses and a few odds and ends that maybe don't add up. There were several places where I thought the movie would end, but it didn't, so the 122 minute running time seemed like a long time, but it was a nice way to spend the evening.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Trip to Italy

Deb 3    Me 1

After fifteen minutes I was looking for a way out of the theater, hoping for an earthquake or something. I had trouble understanding what they were saying and when I could understand them I found they were referring to something i know nothing about. These are my problems. The movies problems were much simpler. It is billed as a comedy and they weren't funny. They are in Italy but it didn't really matter, we didn't see much of it, could've been done in front of a blue screen. It just wasn't anything. There were a couple funny lines and some of the cutaways to food preparation were great, but they couldn't mask the inane ongoing meaningless trite commentary of two boring buffoons. Maybe not the worst film I've ever seen, but in the bottom five. Three. Maybe second worse film ever behind Movie 43 or Prince Avalanche. We're talking boring.

Get On Up

Deb 9    Me 6

It's amazing how many entertainers seem to have identical backgrounds. Or maybe the ones with similar backgrounds are chosen to be film topics. Maybe once the groundwork for a successful movie has been laid, producers look for others to fit the mold. It's now a tired story, so this one focuses on the business side of being a superstar. Acting is terrific (as in so many bio-pics) and this one has a great soundtrack because the star lip syncs to the original soundtrack. It is extremely well done and works even better because his speaking voice perfectly melds into the singing voice. A good movie, good music, a few insights perhaps, and some effort at making a tired formula interesting to watch.


Deb 8      Me 5

This didn't look like something I'd ever see and I shouldn't have. Somehow a KCRW review was related to me that this was a comedy so I figured I read it wrong and went. It is a very good movie though. There have been a few movies about the Catholic church and the effect of priests raping children have on the victims, the community and the church itself. Set in a small Irish town the film is filled with interesting looking people who no respect for the church or its officials and have a crude cynical demeanor toward the clergy. That part is neat, but I wish I didnt see the rest of it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Magic In The Moonlight

Deb 9   Me 10

This is THE BEST Woody Allen movie I have seen since he made Woody Allen movies. Whoever made this did a great job. I dug the Midnight In Paris movie largely because of all the art references, but this is a story driven movie that digs right in and doesn't let up until resolution. I loved the way it unfolded, everything about it was just right in (the old Alfa 1500 was nice too). The star is Colin Firth and he just rocks. The other people do a fine job too, he's the only one I've heard of though. I really enjoyed this thing from start to finish.