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Saturday, October 22, 2011

CARNAGE

A NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

By D.E.Levine

Roman Polanski directed and co-wrote with playwright Yasmina Reza, this film about two couples who meet to discuss a "civilized" resolution to a fight between their two sons on a New York City playground.

Two couples, the Cowans and the Longstreets, meet at the Longstreets apartment to discuss resolution after a fight between their two sons where Cowans son broke one of the Longstreet boy's teeth.

Although the meeting starts off as civilized, it quickly disintegrates. The protagonist's father Alan Cowan (Chrisoph Waltz) is a lawyer for a pharmaceutical company who is always on his cell phone. He's actually the only character who realizes how senseless the meeting is while the other three individuals spend an enormous amount of time and energy senselessly trying to place blame.

While Penelope Longstreet(Jodie Foster) demands an apology on Longstreet turf, Nancy Cowan (Kate Winslet)starts stress-related vomiting, Michael Longstreet (John C. Reilly) tries to wash and dry Penelope's art books and catalogues with a hair dryer, and the situation rapidly disintegrates.

While the dispute may have been different, didn't Edward Albee do this years ago in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?"

In the end, the couples get on each others' nerves and also on the nerves of the audience. I was interested in what Roman Polanski did with the play, but it's not a great, or even an interesting film.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PUSS IN BOOTS

By D.E.Levine

Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas), that endearing Spanish feline with the killer Spanish accent, who we know from his relationship with Shrek,became a hero when he teamed up with Kitty Southpaws (Selma Hayek) and Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianikis) and set off with them to save their town.

In his high-heeled Musketeer boots, prancing along with absolutely no modesty as to his superior traits and talents, Puss is flat out hilarious.

We already know and love Puss from the Shrek franchise so this 3D prequel just endears him to us further.

When Puss learns that Jack (Billy Bob Thorton) and Jill (Amy Sederis) have magic beans in their possession and that the beans will lead to a castle and a goose that lays the golden eggs, Puss develops a craving for the eggs.

It's when he decides to steal the beans that Puss meet the street smart cat burglar, Kitty Southpaws and Humpty Alexander Dumpty.

All in all this is a happy film with Puss purring seductively, dancing a flamboyant flamingo and courting Kitty.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

RIO

By D.E.

This is definitely a fun animated film. Living a reclusive life in Moose Lake, Minnesota, a McCaw named Blu lives with his human friend Linda. Blu doesn't know how to fly and since living with Linda doesn't necessitate flying, he doesn't learn.

Blu and Linda think he's the last of his kind until they hear about another McCaw, Jewel, who lives in Rio De Janeiro. So Blu and Linda set out to visit Rio and contact Jewel.

The film is filled with vibrant color and music, just like Rio itself.

When Blu and Jewel are kidnapped by some less than expert animal smugglers, they must work together, with the help of some street smart city birds, to escape their kidnappers. Once free, the birds must thwart the kidnappers and Blu must find the courage to learn to fly.

In the end Blu must reunite with Linda, his best friend.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

A NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

By D.E.Levine

Starring Elisabeth Olsen, the younger sister of the famous Olsen sisters, this is a chilling pyschological thriller about a young woman who joins and then escapes from a cult.

Through flashbacks we see how Martha became involved with the cult, what took place on their rural farm, sexual interactions and criminal activities that took place and how she finally left and contacted her married sister (Sarah Paulson) and her brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy).

Unfortunately, re-assimilating into a "normal" life isn't as simple as one would think and Martha becomes more and more obsessed with the thought that the cult is coming after her to wreak vengeance and make certain she doesn't discuss what she's seen or taken part in while with the cult.

Having fallen under the "spell" of a charismatic cult leader, fallen prey to being drugged and undergoing various forms of deprivation.

Writer-director Sean Durkin builds the suspense, moving back and forth between the awkward and increasingly uncomfortable stay of Martha with her sister and the earlier initiation into the cult.

Unable to tell the truth about her absence, Martha becomes increasingly paranoid, and with Durkin's script and direction terror mounts. Is it real or is it imagined?