Author Archives: Brian

Meditations on Movies: James Cameron and ‘Titanic’

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Release Date: December 19, 1997
Runtime: 194 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox / Paramount Pictures
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio; Kate Winslet; Billy Zane; Kathy Bates; Frances Fisher; Victor Garber; Gloria Stuart

In the spirit of Oscar season, I thought I would revisit some previous Academy Award winners in the days leading up to the 85th Annual Academy Awards ceremony. This won’t be so much of a “review,” since this particular film has ingrained itself so thoroughly in the public consciousness, but more of a treatise on the merits of James Cameron’s 1997 disaster epic-cum-love story. Continue reading

Roman Holiday

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Release Date: September 2, 1953
Runtime: 118 minutes
Rating: N/A
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: William Wyler
Cast: Gregory Peck; Audrey Hepburn; Eddie Albert

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to go romantic. I didn’t want a weepie, nor did I want some saccharine Nicholas Sparks adaptation (“Safe Haven” – now playing). So I decided to turn to the classics of the genre. Once again, I sing the praises of Xfinity On Demand, which had 1953’s “Roman Holiday” available. Continue reading

Zero Dark Thirty*

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Release Date: January 11, 2013
Runtime: 157 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: Jessica Chastain; Jason Clarke; Kyle Chandler; Jennifer Ehle; Chris Pratt

[POSSIBLE SPOILERS, I guess…]

Goooooooood movie!!

The search for Osama Bin Laden took a really long time. While most of the American public wasn’t aware of the actual behind-the-scenes military machinations of what truly went into the search, “Zero Dark Thirty” attempts, and very much succeeds, in giving us an insider look into what is, undoubtedly, one of the most fevered manhunts of all time. Continue reading

Silver Linings Playbook*

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Release Date: December 25, 2012
Runtime: 122 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Director: David O’Russell
Cast: Bradley Cooper; Jennifer Lawrence; Robert DeNiro; Chris Tucker; Jacki Weaver

This movie is faaaaantastic!  A romantic movie for grown-ups, teeming with brave, brilliant performances from the leads right down to the support.  I was astonished by some of the acting in this film, particularly from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, whose chemistry together practically seeps from the corners of the screen.  It is an absolute joy to watch. Continue reading

Hitchcock*

Hitchcock

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Release Date: December 14, 2012
Runtime: 98 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Cast: Anthony Hopkins; Helen Mirren; Danny Huston; Scarlett Johansson; Jessica Biel

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Psycho,” set against the backdrop of Hitch’s relationship with wife Alma…..and therein lays the problem.

This movie, I proffer, wants to be a study of a relationship between a high-profile movie director and his collaborator-wife, who mainly stays in the background.  The problem is the execution is backwards. Continue reading

Mama

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Mama

 

 

Release Date: January 18, 2013
Runtime: 100 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Universal
Director: Andres Muschietti
Cast: Jessica Chastain; Nikolaj Coster-Waldau; Megan Charpentier; Isabelle Nelisse; Daniel Kash

This is a creepy little movie.

Mama tells the tale of two little girls who are brought to a cabin in the woods by their suicidal father.  The father intends on killing the girls (very uplifting), but something gets to him first.  The girls are discovered years later, living in said cabin in a feral and animal state.  They are brought to a psychiatric clinic where Dr. Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash) intends to study their assimilation back into society.  Coming to the girl’s rescue is their uncle, Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and his rock-chic girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), who will assume parental roles for the girls, much to the chagrin of their maternal aunt (Jane Moffat).  The older of the two girls, Victoria (Megan Charpentier), has retained some language skills, while the younger, Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse), was barely a toddler when her father died.  After the uncle falls down a flight of stairs and lands in a coma, it is left to Annabel to become a surrogate, single mom and care for the girls, who keep mentioning a seemingly imaginary friend named Mama.

Who or what is Mama?  What happened to Victoria and Lilly in that cabin?  Who or what killed their father?  All questions are answered in due time. Continue reading