Tag: Julianne Moore


The Great Lebowski

October 28th, 2014 — 9:33pm

*** 
Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 11.33.05 PMThe Great Lebowski nf – There is nothing like a cross-country plane ride to find an old film that you missed and think you might like. In this case for us it turned out to be The Great Lebowski starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman. This movie is often affectionately referenced in various settings and we were curious to watch it. Bridges plays “The Dude” who might be described as a good old boy with a heart of gold who is usually content to mind his own business and hang out with his buddies at the bowling alley. He dresses as if he is walking around in his underwear, with a bathrobe thrown over him. He is, of course, very likeable. The biggest event in his life would seem to be the latest bowling tournament. That is until The Dude gets mistaken for some rich guy called The Big Lebowski and gets drawn into an apparent kidnapping and ransom scheme of The Big Lebowski’s wife. The Dude’s good friend Walter (John Goodman) gets involved. He sees himself as a tough guy who knows how to handle difficult situations but usually he makes things worse. But that doesn’t stop him from trying to help the Dude with some new twist that develops. These guys are the charm of the film. The more the Dude tries to work his way out of trouble, the deeper he gets into it. In fact, he gets punched out several times and there is always a very creative depiction of his journey being unconscious. The movie really doesn’t go any place. The Coen Brother who wrote and directed the film put together a supporting cast that includes Julianne More, Steve Bucemia, Ben Gazzara, John Turturro and others. In the end we see that life goes on. The Dude carries on his life. Perhaps we all know this guy in a small way or he is someone we think we know or maybe on some level he is us. (1998)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Drama

Don Jon

October 13th, 2013 — 7:46pm

***images-8

Don Jon- rm – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a writer, director and lead actor takes on a complicated and difficult subject and that is relationships and sexuality. He also takes a swipe at the Catholic Church and what some might say is the stereotype of New Jersey women and men. Don Jon  (certainly a name to remind us of the great lover Don Juan), played by Levitt is a 30 something guy living a single life in New Jersey. He lives near his parents (Tony Danza and Glenne Headley) and is a working guy like his dad. He has a bachelor pad where he enjoys sex with his latest girlfriend. However, he enjoys watching pornography on his computer even more. Ms. Sugaraman (Scarlett Johansson), his new girlfriend is a knockout but she has definite ideas what a man should be like and thus tries to set the bar for Don Jon. This includes, going back to school, having a maid clean his apartment rather than himself (which Don would rather do), spend time with her and her friends together and most of all enjoy seeing romantic movies with her. Don tries to do all of this but still goes back to his Porn. All the Hail Mary’s ordered by his Priest after his Confession don’t help. He meets a slightly older widow (Julianne Moore) who shows him that sex and lovemaking can even be better than porn when the two people are really into each other. Levitt makes his points with good writing and great acting (especially his and Johansson’s). However, it isn’t clear to us if he is talking about the current state of sexuality in today’s society or if he is making a statement about the coming of age of his generation or both. In either case, he made a bold creative movie that may be able stand on it’s own. We suspect that Mr. Levitt who has established himself as an actor will be on the scene as a filmmaker for some exciting new movies. Perhaps we are seeing the the new Woody Allen. (2013)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Romance

Being Flynn

February 16th, 2012 — 8:14pm

**

Being Flynn- sp  Paul Weitz (American Pie) directed and wrote the screenplay of this movie based a real book about real people. Robert DiNero plays Jonathan Flynn a crusty old self proclaimed great writer who left his wife and child at very young age. The mother (Julianne Moore) tried her best to raise her son with two jobs but ultimately couldn’t handle things and ends her own life. The son Nick Flynn (Paul Dano) in trying to find himself, takes a job in a homeless shelter where his dad shows up, down and out, but still spouting how he is about to write the next great novel. The film is a great vehicle for DiNero who captivates the screen and hold the audience with his great character interpretation. Despite this virtuoso performance we couldn’t figure out if this man is a self centered narcissistic character or a man plagued by mental illness demons and the ravages of alcohol. This uncertainty for us made it difficult to understand and empathize with what it was really like Being Flynn. Dano is excellent as the young man who falls into his own depravity during his struggle. His own attempt at resolution only was half the story so in the end we couldn’t raise two thumbs for the movie.  (2012

Comment » | 2 Stars, Drama

Crazy, Stupid, Love

July 28th, 2011 — 7:18pm

****

Crazy, Stupid, Love, sp  Dan Fogelman, who wrote Cars and other successful animated movies wrote this well thought out comedy about all too human relationships. He wrote it having  Steve Carell in mind  as Cal , the middle age guy around whom all the actions swirls as his marriage suddenly falls apart. Carell loves the project and decides to produce it with Warner Brothers coming on board to make it a big studio film. The team of Glen Ficarra and John Requa are brought in to direct it. They have been working together since their college days at Pratt in New York City. They have written Bad Santa and  Bad News Bears as well as  recently directing I Love You Phillip Morris with Jim Carrey. After meeting these three talented people at our screening we can see how their chemistry worked for this character driven comedy with a wonderful cast. Ryan Gosling played Jacob, the cool single but obviously complex guy who takes the recently jilted Cal under his wing.  Julianne Moore is Emily, Cal’s wife who is going through what she describes as a mid-life crisis. Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon round out this all star cast with each putting just the right touch on their characters. Special mention should be made about young Jonah Bobo who plays Robbie, the 13 year old son of Cal and Emily whose emotional experience helps all the characters and the audience understand the essence of the movie. The result is not only a funny comedy but a touching story which examines love that  can start as teenagers and sometimes be destined to last a life time with trials and tribulations. It also looks at teenage “love” that may only just feel like love. The story line is close to being brilliant as the characters evolving relationships are charming, touching, surprising and fun to watch as well as being easy to identify with. (2011)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Romance

The Kids Are All Right

December 30th, 2010 — 1:33am

*****

The Kids Are All Right  rm- By now you know that this movie is about two lesbian parents who are raising two teenage kids. But actually it could be about any heterosexual couple who just happened to have their two kids by artificial insemination with the use of a sperm donor. (Technology these days overcomes physical infertility) The film raises the possibility of what might happen if one of children decides to track down his or her biological father. The system allows for a grown child to meet his donor if the donor is willing, In this case the 15 year old sibling convinces his 18 year old sister to make the telephone call to the Sperm Donor agency. The donor Paul (Mark Ruffalo) says he is cool on meeting them and then the complications begin. The script by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg is well written, creative, and insightful. It deservse Oscar consideration.  Jules (Annette Benning) is one of the parents, a successful hardworking obstetrician who doesn’t quite appreciate the frustration of her stay at home wife Nic (Julianne Moore) who put her career aspirations on hold and now is trying to establish a architectural landscaping business. This new man in their life is not only her first client but emerges as a lover. This becomes an examination of how people change in a marriage and find that their needs are not being met any more. Established roles may need to be reexamined. Are partners being appreciated for who they are and how they may have evolved? When you can put all these issues into a creative story that shows that a gay marriage can be just like any other marriage- good and bad, and you have a winning film. It is directed by Cholodenko who deserves  much of the credit for the perfect balance in this film about human relationships, sexual attractions, social commentary and real life issues with which most everyone can identify. (2010)

1 comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

Chloe

October 23rd, 2010 — 2:23am

***

Chloe- rm- this movie deals with the situation of a partner in a marriage believing that a spouse has lost sexual interest. A middle aged female gynecologist (Julianne Moore) suspects that her college professor husband (Liam Neeson), who always seems to flirt with his female students, may be having an affair. She finds Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), a younger but very experienced woman, at a nightclub. She hires her to approach her husband to determine if he seems interested in her. Chloe is to report to the concerned wife as to the results of the encounters. It is clear that from the beginning of meetings between two women, that there was an intense sexual attraction. Chloe is a contemporary of the physician’s son who is starting a career as concert pianists as well as beginning to bring women home. He has a chance meeting with Chloe, which further complicates things. The story turns on an interesting variation of the of plot of the classic film Fatal Attraction. Director Atom Egoyan provides fast pacing to this intense drama. Julianne Moore expresses the intensity of her emotions very well through her facial expressions. The movie was surprisingly explicit especially since we viewed in flight where sexual scenes usually are toned down, on the other hand it was an international airline. (2010)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Thriller

A Single Man

September 15th, 2010 — 2:24am

***

A Single Man – nf-  This is one of those films which tries to explain what life is all about. It is set in 1962 and George Falcon  (Colin Firth)  is a gay English Professor at a college in Los Angeles. Very early in the movie we learn that his partner of 16 years has died in car accident while visiting his family in the north. The funeral is only for  “ family” and George is not welcome to attend. The movie proceeds to show a subsequent meaningful day in his life, albeit with various flashbacks, while he is drowning in his grief. It is a meaningful day because we see that George is planning for this day to be his last one. Many of the people whom he meets in his usual day seem to detect that he is unhappy and do seem to care about him. There are two people who are capable of moving him   We meet Charley (Julianne Moore) whom he first knew in England, was briefly a former lover  and now lives nearby and is a very good friend. She seems to mirror his struggle trying to find the meaning of life and their interaction is warm, intimate and provides rich insight into both of them. However he seems to be able to leave her behind. As determined, as George is to make this his last day, his order of things seems to be shook up as Kenny (Nicolas Hoult) one of his students seeks him out and makes a connection with him. This is very complicated connection, no doubt, and this relationship makes the point of the movie about the meaning of life. This film is based on book written by Christopher Isherwood more than 25 years ago and appears to have had a very special meaning to director Tom Ford who wrote the screenplay with David Scearce. In the commentary on the DVD, it is clear that Ford clearly identifies with the main character. He describes many of the complicated symbolism and imagery, which he used in the film which certainly did not come to mind while watching it.  On  the other hand, it is the total effect that really counts and Ford has put into the film a musical score that parallels the mood being developed, as does the changing tints and colors that have been used . Whether or not you get caught up in the message of the movie, it is easy to see why Colin Firth was nominated for an Oscar for this performance. In his British understated manner he conveys usually just with his facial expressions a range of emotions from unmitigated grief and sadness to the subtle joy of caring and being cared about. (2010)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Romance

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