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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

GREENLIGHT #93: Casino Royale (with "Goldfinger" and "Harper")

Ann and Les will bet their houses on Casino Royale (2006.) Ann, as a matter of fact, would bet more than that. She LOVES the blond-haired blue-eyed Daniel Craig as the new James Bond. Les thinks he's pretty great too. In this movie, we meet James Bond just as he receives his 007 status. His first mission, which they quickly asked him not to accept although, "him being him," no one was surprised to see him stay on the case, was to stop a banker-to-terrorists from winning $100 million in an exclusive poker game. The banker terrorist with the bleeding eye is played by Mads Mikkelsen and he plays him interestingly as a vincible villain. The Bond girl is played freshly by Eva Green. She gets to be smart and sexy and reveals a vulnerability to the young Bond, James Bond. Ann and Les were also thoroughly enjoyed director Martin Campbell's thrilling yet very un-Bond like realistic action sequences. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends his formerly favorite Bond film called Goldfinger (1964) featuring his formerly favorite Bond played by Sean Connery and the oh-so-memorable Honor Blackman as Bond girl Galore. Ann recommends another movie featuring a blue-eyed charmer, Paul Newman, and the ever-glamorous though barely out of her teens, Lauren Bacall called Harper (1966.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:56

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Monday, November 27, 2006

GREENLIGHT #92: Babel (with "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and "A River Runs Through It")

Ann and Les could go on and on about Babel (2006.) They think this is a movie that delights the eyes while stimulating the mind and that makes them happy. It's an ensemble piece with the two biggest stars being Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett who both give wonderful performances - one very emotional and one, well, almost comatose. And they were thrilled to see some fantastic performances from newcomers Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another film about a family in trouble in Morocco (that old theme again!) called The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956.) It stars James Stewart and Doris Day as innocent witnesses to political intrigue. It was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and is suspenseful and charming at the same time. Ann recommends a simpler movie about a family trying to avoid trouble. It's a very quiet and peaceful movie directed by Robert Redford and starring Tom Skerritt as the fisherman preacher father to his two sons played by Mr. Pitt and Craig Sheffer. The film is called A River Runs Through It (1992.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:57

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Monday, November 20, 2006

GREENLIGHT#91: Borat (with "Moscow on the Hudson" and "Waiting for Guffman")

Ann and Les don't agree at all on the merits of Borat (2006.) Well, OK, both agree that the movie is bold and brash; that it's an equal opportunity offender; and that Sacha Baron Cohen is fantastic but that's where the agreement ends. Les thought it was over-the-top gross and, therefore, not funny. Ann thought that as gross as it is it maintained an innocence about it that allowed her to laugh-out-loud. He gives it a bright red. She a bright green. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends a much gentler but still very amusing film about a foreigner finding his way in the United States called Moscow on the Hudson (1982.) It stars Robin Williams and Maria Conchita Alonso and he says it's a charmer directed Paul Mazursky. Ann recommends a modern classic about a man dreaming of greatness that's directed by and starring Christopher Guest along with his amazing troupe of comic actors. Guest plays a small-town director with dreams of Broadway in this film called Waiting for Guffman (1996.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:57

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GREENLIGHT #90: Stranger Than Fiction (with "Tootsie" and "Harvey")

Ann and Les are split on the tried-but-true premise of Stranger Than Fiction (2006.) Both liked the idea of the movie but only Les was truly amused. He thought Will Ferrell plays a fine boring IRS auditor. Ann thinks one needs super acting abilities to make boring interesting and Mr. Ferrell, while fine, didn't show super acting abilities. Their reviews are split on the performances of Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson as well. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends watching Mr. Hoffman in another film about a character who isnt' what he or she seems in Tootsie (1982.) Written by Larry Gelbart, directed by Sydney Pollock, and co-starring Jessica Lange, Bill Murray, and Terri Garr, this movie is a tour-de-force of cinematic comedy for everyone involved. Ann recommends a charming movie about a man, played by Jimmy Stewart , dedicated to his imaginary seven-foot tall white rabbit friend in the film called Harvey (1950.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:57

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Friday, November 10, 2006

GREENLIGHT #89: The Queen (with "Mrs. Brown" and "The Long Good Friday")

Ann and Les want everyone to pay homage to The Queen (2006.) This movie is a fascinating look at modern royalty and how it's pride in a stoic bearing doesn't play well today - all told on the amazingly stoic face of Helen Mirren. With two months left in the Oscar race, Ann and Les both believe Ms. Mirren will rightly wear the crown of Best Actress for 2006. She may not be alone on the podium though because James Cromwell as Prince Phillip and Alex Denning as Prince Charles were wonderful too. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another film about another queen who temporarily loses her bearing called Mrs. Brown (1997.) It features Judi Dench as Queen Victoria who is bereft after the death of her husband Prince Albert and has been in isolation for years. Much to everyone's surprise, it's her horseman, John Brown, played by Billy Connolly, who brings her back to herself and her royal position. Ann recommends an early Ms. Mirren film by John Mackenzie in which the elegant Ms. Mirren plays the mistress of a London mobster played by Bob Hoskins . The film is called The Long Good Friday (1980.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:55

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

GREENLIGHT #88: Running with Scissors (with "The Grifters" and "The American President")

Ann and Les wouldn't recommend Running with Scissors (2006) to many people. In fact, Les doesn't recommend it at all and Ann recommends it only if you really love Annette Bening and you're interested in movies about mental illness. They story was quite appalling though they agree that most everyone in the movie did a terrific job especially the not-so-known Brian Cox and the too-little-seen Jill Clayburgh. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends the first Annette Bening film which he still loves called The Grifters (1990.) Ms. Bening plays the ingenue girlfriend of Anjelica Huston's son played by John Cusack. The three of them match wits against each other with great aplomb. (Incidentally, this movie was directed by the same director as Running with Scissors, Stephen Frears.) Ann recommends a film featuring a much more darling side of Ms. Bening where she gets to play the smart and earnest ingenue to Michael Douglas in The American President (1995.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:56

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Friday, November 03, 2006

GREENLIGHT #87: Catch a Fire (with "The Bone Collector" and "The Player")

Ann and Les were awed by Catch a Fire (2006.) This Philip Noyce movie pits Tim Robbins as an apartheid era white policeman against Derek Luke who plays a happy black businessman in South Africa. And does it ever get ugly. But as ugly as it gets, it's also a tale of redemption and that's why they think this painful political tale is extraordinary. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another Noyce film that was just as scary, (but for different reasons,) called The Bone Collector (1999.) It featured a bed-ridden detective played by Denzel Washington who conducts the investigation of a serial murderer through his assistant played by the unglamorous Angelina Jolie. Ann recommends a film highlighting the much more playful side of Mr. Robbins as he plays a studio executive who has to negotiate the intricate and silly world of Hollywood after he's accused of killing a screenwriter. This film is quite an astounding namedropper because director Robert Altman is loved by everyone out there so they all agreed to be in his film called The Player (1992.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:56

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GREENLIGHT #86: Flags of Our Fathers (with "Sands of Iwo Jima" and "Coming Home")

Ann and Les certainly respect Flags of Our Fathers (2006) but they weren't overwhelmed by it. The movie tells the story of three of the guys who raised that famous flag on Iwo Jima in World War II and then were brought home by the military to be poster boys for the war. Clint Eastwood directed it and it's quite moving but just not up to being great. In particular, Ann thought it was so heavy that it eventually numbed you. Les, too, wanted to know more about the guys so he could care about them indvidually rather than just because of this one tragic part of their lives. They both agreed that although the three guys played by Ryan Phillipe, Jesse Bradford, and Adam Beach were good, they just didn't have the star power to draw us into the story. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends the quintessential film about this episode in American military history called Sands of Iwo Jima (1949.) It features the Duke, John Wayne, and is directed by the master of manly films, Allan Dwan. Ann recommends a film about the personal aftermath of yet another American war, the Vietnam War. A paraplegic Jon Voight competes with a mentally wounded Bruce Dern for the attentions of a confused Jane Fonda . It's a Hal Ashby film called Coming Home (1978.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:59

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