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All is Bright-Movie Review 12/24/2015

Posted by Films to consider in American, Christmas film, Comedy, Dark Comedy, Movies, North Carolina Film Critics Association.
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All is Bright (American) 2013

Directed by Phil Morrison
Starring Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd, Amy Landecker, and Sally Hawkins

NOMINATED, Tar Heel Award, North Carolina Film Critics Association

Dennis (Giamatti) is a thief. When he gets out of prison, he finds out that his wife Therese (Landecker) has told their young daughter that he died of cancer. Not only that, but his former partner is set to marry Therese. Still, the two men decide to go to New York City together to make some fast money selling Christmas trees.

This film is not a family film for the holidays; its ending is only slightly uplifting to keep with the spirit of the season. It’s moderately amusing, with darkish comedy mostly based on the situation Giamatti’s character finds himself in. Still, it might give you a few chuckles and get you out of any Hallmark rut you’ve gotten yourself into! And hey, it gave me a new award category.

P.S. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to post more films. Happy holidays to all and to all a good day!

107 min. Rated R.

For more info:
All Is Bright

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The 100-Year-Old Man . . . Movie Review *** 10/30/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Adventure, Based on a novel, Chicago International Film Festival, Comedy, Dark Comedy, European Film Awards, Movies, Swedish language film.
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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Swedish) 2013
Based on the novel by Jonas Jonasson

Directed by Felix Herngren
Starring Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, and David Wiberg

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Audience Choice Award (Herngren), Chicago International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Audience Award (Herngren), European Film Awards

Allan Karlsson (Gustafsson) doesn’t want to celebrate his 100th birthday at the nursing home, so he opens the window of his room and climbs out. Off he goes on an adventure that will eventually include disposing of a dead body.

The quirky tale of Allan’s latest adventure is interspersed with flashbacks from what has been a most unusual life. We see events of decades of history unfold through a series of coincidences that brought him into contact with major players; unwittingly he influenced the course of history.

The 100 Year old man is not your usual generic look at aging. If you like dark humor, this movie should tickle your funny bone.

Highly recommended. ***

114 min. Rated R.

For more info:
The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared

Life’s A Breeze-DVD Review 03/12/2015

Posted by Films to consider in Comedy, Galway Film Fleadh, Irish film, Irish Film and Television Awards, Movies, Newport Beach Film Festival.
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Life’s A Breeze (Irish) 2013

Written and directed by Lance Daly

Starring Fionnula Flanagan, Pat Shortt, Kelly Thornton

WINNER, Bingham Ray New Talent Award (Thornton), SECOND PLACE-AUDIENCE AWARD-Best Irish Feature, Galway Film Fleadh
NOMINATED, Best Lead Actress-Film (Thornton); Best Supporting Actress-Film (Flanagan), Irish Film and Television Awards
WINNER, Outstanding Foreign Film (Daly), Newport Beach Film Festival

To celebrate their elderly mother Nan’s (Flanagan) birthday, her five adult children surprise her by giving her home a  makeover. Problem is, they got rid of her old mattress, in which she had deposited all the money she had scrimped and saved for all her married life. Now everyone has to face the fact that they have thrown away a small fortune. What ensues is a moderately amusing and touching story, as the dysfunctional family frantically searches for the mattress.

A pleasant enough movie, not overly long, with somewhat predictable characters, but a funny storyline as the entire city of Dublin gets involved. I learned a new Irish slang word: “culchie” – someone from the countryside, often delivered in a disparaging way (as it was in this film).

83 min. Rated R.
For more info:
Life’s a Breeze

The Grand Budapest Hotel-DVD Review *** 12/15/2014

Posted by Films to consider in American, Berlin International Film Festival, Comedy, David di Donatello Awards, Golden Globes, Movies, New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Suspense.
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The Grand Budapest Hotel (American) 2014 ***

Directed by Wes Anderson

Starring Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Mathieu Amalric, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum and several other big-name stars

Among other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Director (Anderson); Best Motion Picture; Best Actor (Fiennes); Best Screenplay, Golden Globes
WINNER, Silver Berlin Bear-Grand Jury Prize (Anderson); NOMINATED, Golden Berlin Bear (Anderson), Berlin International Film Festival
WINNER, Best Foreign Film (Anderson), David di Donatello Awards
WINNER, Best Screenplay, New York Film Critics Circle Awards

In a formerly majestic hotel in a mountainous area of Eastern Europe, Zero Moustafa (Revolori), now an old man, tells the fantastic story of how he rose from lobby boy to owner, with the help of his former boss Gustave H (Fiennes). What ensues is a zany and fast-moving tale that features an all-star cast in roles ranging from supporting to cameo.

Highly recommended if you like a quirky comedy. Wes Anderson also directed The Darjeeling Limited and the Royal Tannenbaums.

*** Highly recommended.
100 min. Rated R.

For more info:
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nebraska-DVD Review *** 11/23/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, AFI Awards, American, Cannes Film Festival, Comedy, Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, Light Drama, Movies.
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NEBRASKA (American) 2013 ***

Directed by Alexander Payne
Starring Bruce Dern, June Squibb, and Will Forte

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Picture; Best Leading Actor (Dern); Best Supporting Actress (Squibb); Best Cinematography; Best Director (Payne), Best Original Screenplay, Academy Awards
NOMINATED, Best Picture; Best Actor (Dern); Best Supporting Actress (Squibb); Best Director (Payne), Best Screenplay, Golden Globes
WINNER, Movie of the Year, AFI Awards
WINNER, Best Actor (Dern), NOMINATED, Palme d’Or (Payne), Cannes Film Festival
WINNER, Best First Screenplay (Bob Nelson); NOMINATED, Best Feature; Best Director (Payne); Best Male Lead (Dern); Best Supporting Female (Squibb); Best Supporting Male (Forte), Independent Spirit Awards

When senile and curmudgeonly Woody Grant (Dern) becomes convinced that he must travel to Lincoln, Nebraska in order to claim the grand prize, neither his wife Kate (Squibb) nor his younger son David (Forte) can change his mind. David decides to take his father on a trip that includes a family reunion and a visit to the prize headquarters.

This film must have been up against some tough award competition; although it was nominated for many, it only won a few. Bruce Dern and June Squibb will surely remind you of some couple you know. Bob Odenkirk (lately of Breaking Bad fame) appears as the older son. Alexander Payne also directed Sideways and The Descendents.

*** Highly recommended.

114 min. Rated R.

For more info:
Nebraska

Delicacy-DVD Review 08/08/2014

Posted by Films to consider in César Awards, Comedy, French language film, Light Drama, Movies, Romance, Romantic comedy, Sarlat International Cinema Festival.
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DELICACY (French) 2011
La délicatesse

Directed by David Foenkinos and Stéphane Foenkinos
Starring Bruno Todeschini, Audrey Tautou, Melanie Bernier, and Francois Damiens

NOMINATED, Best Adapted Screenplay (David Foenkinos); Best First Film, César Awards, France
WINNER, Prix Aquitaine: Prix d’interprétation masculine (Damiens), Sarlat International Cinema Festival

After losing her husband in an accident, young widow Nathalie (Tautou) devotes herself to her work. She seems to have no time for romance, but one day she inexplicably plants a sensual kiss on Markus, a Swedish coworker who is unpolished, to say the least. Once she happens down that road, there is no going back.

A romantic comedy/poignant story that will be enjoyed by fans of Audrey Tautou, although this film is not of the same caliber as the better-known Amélie. Bruno Todeschini does well in his role as her bumbling but charming suitor.

105 min. Rated PG-13

For more info:
Delicacy

Death at a Funeral-DVD Review 05/11/2014

Posted by Films to consider in British, Comedy.
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Death at a Funeral (British) 2007

Directed by Frank Oz
Starring Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, Jane Asher, Ewen Bremner, Peter Dinklage, Daisy Donovan, and Peter Egan

Daniel’s extended family is about to arrive for his father’s funeral, and he is hoping for a most dignified affair. From the very first moments, that was not to be the case; amidst all the usual and unusual family interactions, a secret is revealed and soon there are two bodies in the casket.

A thoroughly British comedy that was much funnier than I expected. Although the movie was not an award winner, it does get high audience reviews. Star Matthew Macfadyen as Daniel will be familiar from many other roles; his wife in the movie, Keeley Hawes, is his real-life wife (which I didn’t know) and former MI-5 co-star (which I did know). They are accompanied by a motley collection of characters, all contributing to the mayhem that ensues.

90 min. Rated R.

For more info:
Death at a Funeral

The Big Lebowski-DVD Review 04/20/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Action/Thriller, American, Berlin International Film Festival, Comedy, Dark Comedy, Empire Awards, European Film Awards, Joel Coen, Movies, Satellite Awards.
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The Big Lebowski (American) 1998

Written by Joel and Ethan Coen
Directed by Joel Coen
Starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, and Julianne Moore

Among other awards and (mostly) nominations:
NOMINATED, Golden Berlin Bear (Coen), Berlin International Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Film (Coen), Empire Awards, UK
Nominated, Screen International Award (Coen), European Film Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actor-Comedy or Musical (Bridges); Best Supporting Actor (Goodman); Best Supporting Actress (Moore), Satellite Awards

The Dude (Bridges) likes his lifestyle on the casual side. For him, smoking pot and bowling with his friends describes a typical good day. But it turns out his real name, Jeffrey Lebowski, is the same as that of a very rich and powerful guy. Because of a mixup the Dude gets involved in a kooky kidnapping scheme, when all he wants is his rug back. It really ties the room together.

If you haven’t seen this movie–or haven’t seen it for a while–it’s definitely worth a look. The dialogue, while replete with foul language, is non-stop funny.

119 min. Rated R (Language, drug, sexuality, and violence)

For more info:
The Big Lebowski (Widescreen Collector’s Edition)

Romantics Anonymous-DVD Review *** 04/03/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Cabourg Romantic Film Festival, César Awards, Comedy, French language film, JeanPierre Améris, Light Drama, Romance, Romantic comedy.
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Romantics Anonymous (French) 2010 ***
Les émotifs anonymes

Directed by JeanPierre Améris
Starring Benoit Poelvoorde and Isabelle Carré

WINNER, Best Actress (Carré), Cabourg Romantic Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Carré),César Awards, France

A very sweet and funny story about a couple who meet because of their mutual love of chocolate. Jean-René (Poelvoorde) and Angélique (Carré) are each afflicted with a level of shyness that is emotionally crippling. At work Jean-René hides his anxieties behind a stern demeanor, but his business is failing and will soon be bankrupt. Angélique is too overcome by her fears to have her skill in creating exquisite chocolates acknowledged. The couple meets by chance, but beginning a relationship is not simple.

The cast, including the supporting characters at Jean-René’s chocolate-making business, helps the movie soar above the simple plot.

Highly recommended.

80 min. Not rated.

For more info:
Romantics Anonymous

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel-DVD Review 01/13/2014

Posted by Films to consider in BAFTA Awards, British, British Independent Film Awards, Comedy, Golden Globes, Light Drama, Movies, Romantic comedy, Screen Actors Guild Awards.
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THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (British) 2011

Directed by John Madden
Starring Dame Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, and Dev Patel

Among other nominations (no wins are listed):
NOMINATED, Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical; Best Actress (Dench), Golden Globes
NOMINATED, Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film (Madden), BAFTA Awards
NOMINATED, Outstanding Supporting Female Actress (Smith); Outstanding Cast, Screen Actors Guild Awards
NOMINATED, Best British Independent Film; Best Director (Madden);Best Actress (Dench); Best Supporting Actress (Smith); Best Supporting Actor (Wilkinson), British Independent Film Awards

A group of retired British citizens decide individually to move to India where they plan to take up permanent residence in what they soon find out is a rundown hotel.

An amusing story that makes little sense if/when you think about it, but it does provide a pleasant enough vehicle for some major British stars, all of whom give good performances as expected. Over two hours long, though.

124 min.
For more info:
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel