Tag: cancer


The Young Kieslowskik

June 12th, 2015 — 10:36pm

***

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 11.27.18 PMThe Young Kieslowski – sp

This is a very well done film by screenwriter and Director Kerem Sanga which examines a universal issue for young people. Brian (Ryan Malgarini) is a somewhat naïve, still a virgin college student. He meets Leslie (Haley Lu Richardson) at a party. She is drunk and a little flirtatious. They have consensual sex as she is sobering up and he is having a few drinks. Despite the fact that they used a condom, she becomes pregnant (apparently, that can happen 2% of the time)…with twins…and she decides that she wants to carry the pregnancy to term and keep the babies. We meet her father, Walter (James Le Gros) who is a tough as nails writer who has written bestsellers about war. We also meet Brian’s parents. His Dad is a warm, very supportive guy (Joshua Malina) who is very devoted to his wife (Melora Walters) who is dying of cancer although she still gets around quite well.

The story is seen through the eyes of Brian who is really lying most of the time when he says, he wants the babies and goes along with the plan of his girl friend We are also able to see that he is very conflicted because he wants to do the right thing. On the other hand, we never really understand why Leslie from the beginning wants to go forth with the pregnancy with all the implications that it has for her life. The insight into Brian is achieved by a voiceover of what he is thinking with some film scenes of his fantasies.The attraction of the film is the likeability of all the characters and the insight that we get into the struggle of both of these young people and their parents.

I suppose the Pro Life people might jump on this film as supporting their point of view although the story made it clear that Leslie was not driven by religious Christian views.

This is another one of these low budget independent films that has a great cast, superb writing, and directing which will hold your interest and attention, stimulate questions, and discussions as well as being an enjoyable experience. It should be in local theaters by July24th. (2015)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

The Forger

March 19th, 2015 — 7:33pm

****Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 12.30.39 PM

The Forger sp

This is not your father’s old fashion gangster heist movie. Nor is it your mom’s tearjerker movie about a family situation where a father connects with his son who is dying of cancer. Instead it is a brilliantly written screen play by Richard D’Ovidio that combines both of these elements into an outstanding film directed by Philip Martin. This relatively low budget movie ($11 million) attracted John Travolta, who plays Ray Cutter, the dad who might have been a great artist but now finds himself forging a classic painting. His dad is Joseph Cutter played by Christopher Plummer as the old, rough, wise, grandfather who, himself know something about the underworld of Boston. The teenager who turns to dad to help him fulfill his short life is extremely well played by Tye Sheridan. All of these stars could not be better in their roles. The fourth star is the actual Boston Museum of Fine Arts that allowed this movie to be made on its premises adding to the authenticity of the film. This movie will be released to theaters on April 24 but will be available to Direct TV subscribers On Demand at the end of March as an example of the latest marketing techniques to get the word out. We are sure there will be lots of good words about this movie. (2015)

 

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Merchants of Doubt

March 3rd, 2015 — 12:43am

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 4.41.39 PM****

Merchants of Doubt-sp

At the beginning of the film, we meet a magician who is performing at the Los Angeles’ venue called the Magic Castle. He relates how magicians deceive and misdirect as they perform. This, of course, is the metaphor for the work of the people we meet in this film. They work for various industries such as the Food, Tobacco and Oil Corporations. Although most of the time this fact is concealed from the public, they do deceive and misdirect in how they do it. And the fact that they do it is the amazing story of this documentary film. It is directed and produced by Robert Kenner, who also made the film Food Inc, the behind-the-scene story of the food industry. This time, Mr. Kenner mostly focuses his attention on global warming. It has become clear that the scientific community almost unanimously believes that the products of carbon dioxide create a blanket over the Earth’s environment that is causing global warming. The consequences are quite dire for the world in the next 50 years. Already, we are seeing a melting of the Arctic icecap with potential flooding of our coastal cities, colder winters and warmer summers. Before the civilized world can come together and address these serious problems, there is a group of seemingly knowledgeable spokespersons who appear to respectfully offer another viewpoint and explanation for the presence of global warming. However, these people are secretly paid by the oil industry to create uncertainty. Now is the time for action but these people are “merchants of doubt” and are highly effective in delaying, diverting and obscuring that fact and the need for action. They employ the same tactics that the cigarette industry had used to delay the recognition of the fact that nicotine is addictive and that cigarettes cause cancer. This is an amazing story, and interestingly enough, it comes from “the horse’s mouth” as much of it is directly told by the slick, well-spoken people who are operating at the bidding of the corporations who have paid them in defiance of the truth established by the scientific community. In the past when the companies in the tobacco industry were finally discovered to be deceiving the public, they were ordered by the court to inform the public of the truth about cigarettes and also to reveal that they were knowingly deceiving the public. The truth about cigarettes is now on every cigarette box and in advertisements, but we have yet to see statements from climate change deniers admitting that they have lied to the public. We can only hope that the necessity for these confessions of deceit will be forced upon those responsible for misleading the public about global warming. We also hope that a large number of people will see this film so that the truth will prevail.(2015)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Documentary

Lullaby

June 11th, 2014 — 6:18am

*****Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 11.46.00 PM

Lullaby-sp– We gave this film our highest rating but we suggest that you think twice before you go to see it. It is about Robert Lowenstein (Richard Jenkins), a very successful wealthy man with lung cancer who has been battling his disease for 12 years and decides he is ready to die. Rachel (Ann Archer) his loving wife is at his side. Jonathan, his cigarette smoking son (Garrett Hedlund), the not so successful musician who hasn’t been around for many years finally comes to town (New York) and his bedside. As does his daughter (Jessica Brown Findlay), the Ivy League law student who soon will try to make a legal brief to convince her father why he should not agree to physician assisted suicide, which she contends is against the constitution. But early on, as soon as they all assembled at his bedside, the father announces that he has given away all his money so they won’t all become dependent on his wealth and not live out their own lives by their own abilities (including his wife). This becomes a story of a sometimes-dysfunctional family who underneath it all had great love for each other. It isn’t difficult to find some issues to identify with as the family conflicts unfold and it will be impossible not feel the emotion as you put your self in the shoes of all the characters as they appreciate the father’s pain and his need to say goodbye. If this were not enough to make this a tissue pack or damp handkerchief movie, there is another element that will tear you apart. Through a chance hospital stairwell meeting, Jonathan meets a 17-year-old girl (Jessica Barden in a perfect wonderful performance) who is dying of bone cancer baldhead and all. She confronts him with his underlying ambivalence about his father. He is drawn to visit her on the children’s ward where he sees many kids who are dying as his father, the difference being that most of then will never experience even adolescence. We don’t think this film despite our top rating is perfect. There are moments, which are played out to an almost gratuitous level to achieve every extra bit of emotion. The introduction of Jonathan’s ex-girlfriend (Amy Adams), while used to show the son’s personal growth, seems unnecessary. Despite this movie being almost 2 hours, it is sure to rivet your attention and take control of your feelings. This must be the reason why this outstanding cast, which also included Jennifer Hudson and Terrance Howard, as the nurse and doctor, as well as the stars previously mentioned, all signed on to this independent production. This film could not have had the budget, which they all usually command. Credit has to be given to Andrew Levitas, who is an established painter and sculptor, as well as a film producer. He directed and wrote this screenplay, stimulated by his experience of his father’s dying and his return home. He creatively broadened his story to encompass the potentially painful and beautiful life defining moments of the end of life. (2014)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

The Broken Circle Breakdown

November 7th, 2013 — 7:57am

***The Broken Circle Breakdown

The Broken Circle Breakdown –sp (In Flemish with subtitles) This will be Belgium’s bid for the best foreign film of the year. Early on in the movie you learn about  a married couple, very attracted to each other, have a 5 year old child who is dying of cancer. Elise is a tattoo artist (played by Veerle Bactens a very popular Belgium actress who can also sing quite well ) who joins her husband Didier (Johan Heldenberg)  and his  bluegrass musical group. Their grief over the loss of their adorable daughter Maybelle  (Nell Cattrysse) tears them apart and they turn on each other. The anger and the hurt that they inflict on each other breaks up this wonderful relationship. This is one of the points of the film. Number two would seem to be the difference in how people deal with such a loss. Elise would like to believe that their daughter’s soul or spirit might reappear as a bird or is living on in some way whereas Didier believes that when you are gone you are gone! The third point we get from the film seems to come out of left field but is connected to the storyline. That is related to former President George W. Bush who vetoed stem cell research in the US and all the people who on religious grounds might have agreed with him. Didier in the film ridicules this point of view and goes on a tirade against it since he feels such research can save lives such as that of his daughter. The final point we believe that is made is that some people can never recover from such a tragedy, leaving one to believe that you should enjoy life while you can because you never know what terrible thing is around the corner . These are all worthy themes for a movie but we felt that they were dealt with in a relatively superficial manner thereby missing the opportunity to leave us with memorable film. Certainly the acting was outstanding. The movie was directed by Felix Van Groeningen who also wrote the screenplay with Carl Joos, after he saw the story written and directed on the stage by  Johan Heldenberg who played Didier in this film. Van Groeningen showed the sexual chemistry of the couple quite well. He also used flashbacks, which is often the vogue in today’s movies but which we thought was somewhat overdone in this one. Whatever shortcomings the film may have had was made up by the effective intertwining of some terrific country bluegrass music throughout the film which included vocals by the two stars. This is particularly interesting because we learned that bluegrass music is not yet a popular genre in Belgium today. (2013)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Foreign, Romance

Love Is All You Need

May 2nd, 2013 — 5:21pm

Love is All You Need***

Love Is All You Need- sp  This is a mostly romantic and somewhat comedic film. It is mostly a Danish film with  English subtitles when needed, but a somewhat English film with Pierce Brosnan. The Screenwriter and director is two time Oscar nominee  Susanne Bier who directed the  2011 Academy Award winning Best Foreign Film In a Better World . This current film opens with Ida  (Trine Dyrholm) having just completed her course of cancer treatment hoping that she is cured. She is about to travel to Italy for her daughter’s wedding in a beautiful mansion on the Italian Mediterranean where the two families will get together for the ceremony. On the way she bumps into Philip (Pierce Brosnan) the father of the groom. Everyone but Ida seems to be dysfunctional in some way or have some interpersonal and personal conflicts. As family and friends prepare  for the wedding their interactions reveal their  conflicted lives and relationships. The storyline is engrossing despite the fact that most of the characters are cardboard stereotypes which does allow for some good comedic moments. Nevertheless, you cannot help but be drawn to the heroine Ida whose inner and outer beauty shows through despite the results of her treatment for cancer, personal affronts suffered and even losing her suitcase on her trip to Italy. There are easily predicted outcomes, some surprises and an unanswered question. The photography of the beautiful setting is magnificent by Morten Soborg which compliments Ms Biers very fine directing. Dean Martin provides the familiar musical themes of Italy. (2013)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Foreign, Romance

50/50

April 24th, 2012 — 10:26pm

***

50/50- nf  A 27 year old single guy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)  gets a diagnosis of cancer with a 50/50 chance of survival. His girl friend (Bryce Dallas Howard) gets him a boney dog but can’t handle the situation and they break up. His mother (Angelica Huston) as usual tries to smother him. His best buddy (Seth Rogen) sticks by him and decides that this will be a great pick up line to get girls. Rogen’s comedic style carries the movie and allows a painful subject to be appreciated in a more palatable manner. Admittedly as a psychiatrist and a social worker who have trained medical students and physicians how to talk to patients, it was disappointing to see the cancer specialist as being quite insensitive. It also was a little disheartening to see the student therapist (Anna Kendrick) who was supposed to help him deal with the situation, act out a romantic crush that she developed for him. But it was done in good taste and, after all, it is only a movie. On the other hand the back-story for the film is quite authentic. As shown in the bonus feature of the DVD, the script writer (Will Reiser) actually lived this story and his best friend who stood by him through this ordeal was Seth Rogen. (2011)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Drama

Back to top