January 26th, 2017 — 11:21pm
20th Century Women-rm
This movie is set in the 1970s and examines the relationship between a single divorced mother and her only child, a 15-year-old son. It takes place in Santa Barbara, a coastal town North of Los Angeles. While we were raising teenagers on the East Coast during these years, there was little that we could relate to other than perhaps the music of Talking Heads playing in the background and the fact that parents can never fully understand their teenage children. However, it is the latter point that becomes the essence of this movie.
Annette Bening plays Dorothea, the mother in a role which she has already been nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She has decided that she can never teach a son what he needs to know about women and life so she asks Julie (Elle Fanning), a slightly older teenage girl who is her son’s friend and Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a few years older young woman who boards in their house to develop a dialogue with Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) and teach him what she was unable to do. There is also William (Billy Crudup) another boarder in the house who typifies a 1970s young man in his 30s. Jamie for the most part seems to be doing fine but it is mom who is having trouble negotiating her stage of life. Credit goes to Director Writer Michael Mills for capturing the atmosphere of this period piece with flashes of old cars, Jimmy Carter, uninhabited coastal views, 1970’s music, chain smoking of cigarettes, and discussion about the female orgasm.
Most viewers of this movie should find some meaningful identification whether it jogs memories of the 1970s or the universal dilemmas of negotiating certain stages of life. We are not sure it is worth sitting through the entire film (2016)
Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama
January 6th, 2012 — 6:48am
We Bought A Zoo– rm You get exactly what you expect with this movie. We saw it with our grandchildren and we all thought it was a good enjoyable movie. Interestingly enough, it is based on a true story. After his wife dies Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) moves his family which consists of two kids (Colin Ford and Maggie Elizabeth Jones) to the California countryside (the real life location was in London, England) where he buys a house connected to a dilapidated zoo. There is a crew of variegated zoo keepers trying to fix it up which includes their wise and appealing leader Kelly (Scarlett Johansson). There is Mee’s caring older brother (Thomas Haden Church) who thinks Mee is clearly doing the wrong thing by spending all is money trying to save this zoo. Then there are the animals who are …well exactly as you would expect them to be. There are a couple of other well done roles including Elle Fanning as the budding teenager who takes a fancy to the budding Mee child and John Michael Higgins as the mean zoo inspector who could prevent the zoo from reopening. Cameron Crowe ( of Jerry McGuire fame) had the directing honors and the movie has all the ingredients for a successful Christmas movie which will live on for children and grown up children of all ages through Netflix. (2011)
Comment » | 3 Stars, Family / Kids
June 28th, 2011 — 3:22am
Super 8 rm If you have seen anything about this movie directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg you know that it is about young children, making a movie, science fiction, a train crash, the world being threatened and a scary monster from outer space. This may sound like some coming attractions of a bunch of other movies that you have seen in the recent past which you should have been advised to take a pass on. However, the real filmmakers of this picture achieved a touch which not only held our interest, stimulated our thinking but also pushed our emotional buttons. It is well know that Abrams and Spielberg (in different generations) started making films at rather young ages. One could just picture them recalling their idealistic creative youth and putting it into this band of preadolescent kids who are on their super 8 movie making project when all hell breaks loose in their hometown. In the course of confronting supernatural forces and life threatening “ special effects” we get a chance to examine the relationships between these kids as well as the tension and bonding between two of them and their single parents. We get a glimpse at young budding romantic feelings and also see how most kids would like to imagine they might be a hero and confront dangers. We also are reminded of the potential that our military may not always get it right It is suspenseful, adventuresome, fun and poignant all at the same time. The young films makesrs as played by Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zack Mills and Joe Courtney are wonderful in their roles as they show their enthusiasm , humor and horror. Courtney also has the opportunity to reach down into his short life and demonstrate some effective emoting. Elle Fanning, the younger sister of the talented Dakota Fanning is a real standout as the young girl who joins the boys in their filmmaking adventure. Every detail of the plot may not be completely clear but nevertheless you will be on the edge of your seat emotionally whipped around and still have a lot to think about when you leave the theatre. This adds up to a worthwhile movie. (2011)
Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Thriller