In 1939, The New Yorker magazine published The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a short story by James Thurber. In the story, Mitty passes through a day of errands in the city with his wife, while random events send him on wild daydream fantasies. (You can still find it on their website.) There’s no real plot to it, but that didn’t stop filmmakers from adapting it into a jewel caper comedy starring Danny Kaye in 1947. Now, director/star Ben Stiller has taken the same story in a different direction, a schmaltzy, product-placement-filled encouragement to "Stop Dreaming. Start Living." But darned if it doesn’t stir something in you, at least some of the time.
Posts Tagged ‘Movie Review’
We think of “holiday movies” as tales of families coming together. Philomena is most definitely not a holiday movie, but its portrayal of a family torn apart and a search for answers warms the heart nonetheless. It’s worth your time this Christmas.
The film is based on a true story. Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) is a former journalist and political operative who has just lost his job with the British government in a highly-publicized scandal. Casting around for something to do next, Sixsmith learns of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), an elderly Irish woman who was separated from her first child long ago. A “shamed girl” due to her teenage pregnancy, she was given shelter by Catholic nuns, who eventually allowed her son to be adopted by another family.
As a film reviewer with a mandate to serve Oakville and its neighbouring citizens, I’ve become more and more frustrated by a lack of variety in our local theatres. Movie programming is determined by studio accountants and corporate projections, loading the high-profile, big-budget movies into more theatres to pump box office numbers. Outside of the big cities, this practice freezes out "smaller" pictures that don’t always have large distribution budgets. They may not necessarily be better, but they definitely add diversity, and some are genuinely deserving of larger audiences. I really don’t want to sound like a film snob, but surely a 10-theatre Oakville multiplex has room for more options than running Thor: The Dark World in 4 of its halls.
I caught one such "smaller" movie recently, and if you have the opportunity to get into the city, it’s worth the trouble to seek it out. All is Lost is a riveting survival tale, as much notable for what it portrays as for what it doesn’t.
Robert Redford stars as a lone yachtsman sailing the Indian Ocean. We know nothing about him – his name, his profession, where he comes from, how he got here. The only substantial dialogue in the whole film is a voiceover, right at the beginning, narrating a journalled apology to unknown but obviously important persons. That’s it.
2009′s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was an original and very humorous story about an inventor’s machine that goes haywire. The sequel, with its new directors, committee-written script and forumulaic plot, feels like it’s been produced by an equally haywire machine. Luckily, it does throw a lot of funny material at the wall, and more often than not it sticks, so at least the kids should enjoy it.
Picking up minutes after the previous film left off, we find Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) and his friends deciding how to deal with the mess that Flint’s miraculous water-into-food machine has made of their home island. Enter Chester V (Will Forte), the globally-famous inventor who has been Flint’s idol since he was a boy. Impressed by Flint’s invention, Chester offers to relocate everyone while he conducts cleanup operations. He also offers Flint a job at his company, Live Corp, where Flint might just get to become one of Chester’s famous “thinkquanauts”, adventurous inventors who travel the world.
All is not what it seems, however. Secretly, Chester is just out to get his hands on the machine for nefarious purposes, but when he discovers it’s still working, and now generating dangerous food-animal hybrids, he tricks the naive Flint into retrieving it. Flint’s friends tag along, but Chester intervenes to drive a wedge between them, making the quest even more difficult and dangerous.
In recent years, we’ve seen many high-profile financiers exposed as frauds living off their clients’ money. As the media focuses on the trial and conviction of these crooks, one thing that’s often forgotten are their families. It’s easy for us to blame spouses and children for turning a blind eye in order to preserve the lifestyle they’re accustomed to, but what really becomes of them after that lifestyle disappears? Blue Jasmine is writer-director Woody Allen’s story of one such wife, and her struggle to carry on.
Jasmine’s (Cate Blanchett) idyllic life is gone, after her husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) was exposed as both a swindler and a serial philanderer (adding insult to injury). With no one else to turn to, she seeks out her estranged sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) and makes the journey from New York to San Francisco to sort herself out. Ginger lives a simple life, having also lost money and a marriage as a result of Hal’s dealings, but she still wants to help out family.