by M. Polier
SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN/BBC FILMS
U.S. Release Date: March 9, 2012
DIRECTOR: LASSE HALLSTROM
STARRING: EWAN McGREGOR, EMILY BLUNT, KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS
- Puts a much needed good spin on the Middle East with a nod to the dangers. A happy story with a good ending.
- It’s fun to see Ewan McGregor in a comedic role – he plays a pompous expert with no heart, so when he finally cracks and shows it we are really cheering for him. And he has a mean Scottish brogue.
- Some wonderfully witty and fun dialogue. The salmon steal the show with their jumping. If you’ve never seen it (we’ve been to Alaska and seen it live) you are in for a treat. You haven’t seen fishing like this since “A River Runs Through It.”
- Tries hard to be everything to everyone and just misses.
- Story is overly contrived.
- Satires the hypocrisy in the world today – in media, politics and even the Middle East.
FINAL VERDICT: A sweet film, a good time, you leave the theater in a happy place. A good family film if kids are over 14.
Sheikh Muhammed: “But fishermen, they don’t care whether I’m brown or white, rich or poor, wearing robes or waders. All they care about is the fish, the river. For fishermen, the only virtues are patience, tolerance and humility.”
DAVE SAID, “Sweet. A feel good movie. It’s not believable, but so what?”
by M. Polier
MONSIEUR LAZHAR/MUSIC BOX FILMS
U.S. Release Date: January 20, 2012
DIRECTOR: PHILIPPE FALARDEAU
STARRING: FELLAG, DANIELLE PROULX, BRIGITTE POPART
- With sensitivity and humor, the story reconciles the taboo subjects of immigration, death and change. Adapted from a play by the director. Fellag steals the show which is hard to do with such great kids in his class.
- Starting with Simon (Emilien Neron), the student who discovers that his teacher has hung herself in their classroom in the beginning moments of the film, you are drawn into the story and emotionally in sync with all of them. Each character is sympathetic. No one is the villain, except maybe the cruelty of life and the heartbreak of coming of age.
- Although we rarely see a parent at the school, their burdensome threats and inappropriate opinions are present in almost every scene. Very interesting.
- Monsieur Lazhar after losing his wife and two daughters to terrorism – and has to argue for his life in front of heartless immigration officials – is astonishingly trauma free.
- This time it is the men who are powerless, with no way out.
- Some might think the ending is too abrubt.
FINAL VERDICT: A small film with big themes, an adult movie starring kids, with a great ending – recommended. French w/English subtitles.
Alice: “Everyone thinks we’re traumatized. It’s the adults who are.”
DAVE SAID, “It had a lot of good messages, but it was a little slow.”
by M. Polier
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY/UNIVERSAL
U.S. Release Date: January 6, 2012
DIRECTOR: THOMAS ALFREDSON
STARRING: COLIN FIRTH, GARY OLDMAN, JOHN HURT
- The characters, the book and the look are up there on the screen.
- Oldman delivers a deadpan that is very alive.
- It’s a man’s business, a man’s world, a man’s chess game and Briton is at stake.
- The book was a best seller in 1974…how come it took so long to get there? That world is gone. Do we really care?
- Directors and producers forgot that deadpan can be deadly boring.
- Did they film every page? It went on and on. The fans of the book are a distant memory.
FINAL VERDICT: They tried to create film drama out of code names and secrets but the look was bleak and white in color and the performances do not surmount the effort.
Ricki Tarr: “She told me she had a secret, the mother of all secrets…”
DAVE SAID, “I have no idea what that movie was all about.” And he fell asleep at the beginning for 10 minutes. My 82 year old mother said, “I find every movie disappointing…”
by M. Polier
IRON LADY/THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
U.S. Release Date: December 30, 2011
DIRECTOR: PHYLLIDA LLOYD
STARRING: MERYL STREEP, JIM BROADBENT
- No matter what you believe about Meryl Streep’s former roles, this is the BEST of the BEST.
- The flashback from today’s dementia to yesterday’s clarity works in the film and on your heart.
- The film leaves you wanting more… No one wanted to move and the crowd erupted in applause with the final credits…
- If you are not the sentimental sort, you probably want more history in your “Iron Lady” biopic.
- Power corrupts everyone in the end…even our hero did not know when to throw in the towel, sad to see.
- How would we all feel if Ronald Regan’s story was filmed like this? Wouldn’t there be an outcry? After all, she didn’t show signs of dementia in office like he did, and they made this incredulous choice?
FINAL VERDICT: Above criticisms notwithstanding, this is one of the year’s best and nominations will abound…thank goodness they squeaked it in prior to 12/31. Don’t miss it and don’t wait too long…
My father always said … Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become.
Dave said, “Now that was exciting. I loved the history. And seeing Meryl Streep, she’s amazing. If they had put more history in it, it would have been ‘purr-fect’!
by M. Polier
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE/ PARAMOUNT PICTURES
U.S. Release Date: December 25, 2011
DIRECTOR: STEPHEN DALDRY
STARRING: TOM HANKS, SANDRA BULLOCK, THOMAS HORN
- Don’t listen to the criticism. This movie is well written, is very moving and has something to say.
- The acting is superb. Thomas Horn is wonderfully cast and Max Von Sydow steals the show. Borderline autism is interesting because smart characters are interesting, and Grandpa’s silent role speaks volumes.
- You leave the dark theater with light in your heart, interested in all the stories and people of 9/11 and beyond. Our 2 pm matinee audience burst into applause at the credits.
- What were they thinking with that title… We possess stories with our ears… It is hard to overcome a terrible title.
- What were they thinking with that movie poster… we eat with our eyes. Thomas Horn is so much cuter and his character intelligently struggles with his predicament. He does not look at all like the weird kid in the poster covering up his face with his hands…
- What were they thinking with this release date??? This movie is getting buried by the competition when it is such a worthy and wonderful film experience.
FINAL VERDICT: Bad title and poster aside, they can’t kill a winner. Process 9/11 along with Scott Rudin and team and feel the sweet pain along with this imaginary family. You will be amazed at your capacity to empathize with each character and how close you feel to the events of that day and to the shared pain of the family of man throughout the decades of human history…
Oskar: “I found something from every decade of the 20th century.” (He places a rock on the table.)
Thomas: (Erupting with laughter) “You ROCK!”
DAVE SAID, “That was a surprise!”
by M. Polier
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN/THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
U.S. Release Date: December 23, 2011
DIRECTOR: SIMON CURTIS
STARRING: MICHELLE WILLIAMS, EDDIE REDMAYNE and KENNETH BRANAGH
- Michelle as Marilyn was better than anything you could ever have imagined…
- Eddie Redmayne, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Kenneth Branagh, Julia Ormond, Dominic Cooper, the entire supporting cast, was absolutely as great as she was. They were truly supporting in the best sense…
- The script, the direction, the music, all AAA+
- It’s hard to find a flaw, but I guess if you push me, I’d have to admit that the makeup on Kenneth/Sir Laurence was forced. His lips are so naturally similar to Larry’s he really didn’t need the extra Hollywood exaggeration…
- I did not read Colin Clark’s book, or see anything but excerpts from The Prince and the Showgirl, so if you are a purist you might see flaws I did not see.
- Well, it is hard to admit a flaw in the portrayal…but truth be told, Michelle put Marilyn right there behind her eyes, when all of us who remember, know that Marilyn always kept her soul a buried safe distance away from the surface of them.
FINAL VERDICT: It’s a little slice of heaven when a movie can be this close to perfect and transport you body and soul to another time and place. Go see it fast…before everyone’s comments have a chance to remove any magic…you don’t want to cheat yourself. There is real magic up on this movie screen.
Marilyn: “Shall I be her?” Colin: “Who?” Marilyn: “Marilyn!”
Paula: “Marilyn is not ready!” Marilyn: “Excuse my horrible face…”
Marilyn: “Are you frightened of me, Colin?” Colin: “ No” Marilyn: “Good, because I like you.”
Dave said, “Wow, that was amazing. She’ll get nominated for sure.” Yes, Dave, and I believe she’ll win….