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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

GREENLIGHT #115: Breach (with "The Falcon and the Snowman" and "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold")

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Ann and Les were simply thrilled by Breach (2007.) It's a clever movie for adults by adults starring Chris Cooper as the U.S.'s real-life worst security breach: an FBI agent who sold information to the Soviets for 20 years. Cooper plays the man as smart, tough, and vulnerable as he's engaged in an intense cat-and-mouse game with not-even-quite-a-rookie FBI agent played by Ryan Phillipe. We know the ending before it starts, (it's a true story after all,) but director Billy Ray managed to keep Ann and Les on the edge of their seats. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another smart spy film called The Falcon and the Snowman (1985.) In this movie, a young idealist, played by Timothy Hutton, discovers that his country is hard on people who might be spying on us, so he corrals his drug-pushing buddie, played by Sean Penn, to help him help the spies. Then things don't turn out the way they thought they would. Ann's pick features Richard Burton in, perhaps, his role-of-roles as a Cold-War era British spy who wants to get out of the business - or does he? In this very complicated plot he manages to fall in love with a young idealistic Communist played by Claire Bloom and become a Communist spy - or does he? Find out for yourself in this spine-tingling and mind-twisting film directed by Martin Ritt called The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:54

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Monday, February 26, 2007

GREENLIGHT #114: Music and Lyrics (with "Ever After" and "About a Boy")

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Ann and Les don't sing the same tune for Music and Lyrics (2007.) Les says it was a delightful romp of a movie starring Hugh Grant as a has-been rock star who gets a second chance with the surprising help of a plant-mister played by Drew Barrymore. Ann, on the other hand, thought it was drippy and charmless. She also wonders why anyone would choose two non-musical stars with minimum drawing power to star in a muscial movie. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends Ms. Barrymore in another charming role as a 16th century Cinderella in Ever After (1998.) The movie is doubly delightful because the wicked stepmother is played with much gusto by Anjelica Huston. Ann's rental pick sticks with Mr. Grant in a role in which his "aw shucks" persona was kept in check while he played an aging slacker who decides to find himself a girlfriend by posing as a single father at a single parents support group. But he finds a boy first. Nicholas Hoult plays the boy who thinks Grant is perfect for his mom, played by Toni Collette, though she doesn't agree. However, with the boy's help, Grant does find the character played by Rachel Weisz in the film called About a Boy (2002.)
RUNNING TIME: 15:00

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GREENLIGHT Reviews: 2006 Oscars Picks

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Ann and Les preview The Oscars . They pick who they think should win and who they think will win.
RUNNING TIME: 15:31

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

GREENLIGHT #113: Venus (with "My Favorite Year" and "Educating Rita")

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Ann and Les were enthralled with Venus (2006.) They say that Peter O'Toole puts on a performance of a lifetime as an old great actor who can't get any decent work and who takes a strong liking to a young actress played by Jodie Whittaker. It sounds a bit creepy but Ann and Les assure you that Mr. O'Toole is very aware of the age difference and doesn't do anything he shouldn't - or can't(!) For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends his favorite comedic performance of Mr. O'Toole's which is in a movie called My Favorite Year (1982.) Here O'Toole plays a true lech and drunkard "movie star" who somehow has to be managed, (or perhaps more accurately "babysat,") by a junior writer, played by Mark Lynn Baker, of a TV variety series on which O'Toole character is appearing. Ann's rental focuses more on the old man-young girl relationship and recommends watching Michael Caine, who plays an English literature professor, go from disdain to true appreciation of a young hairdresser who comes to his class eager to better herself. The unorthodox but still surpringly smart hairdresser is played by Julie Walters who does a fabulous job but Ann thinks the movie belongs to Caine. The film's name is Educating Rita (1983.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:57

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

GREENLIGHT #112: Because I Said So (with "Gypsy" and "Terms of Enderament")

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Ann and Les can't imagine seeing anything worse this year than Because I Said So (2007.) In this miserable film, the talented Diane Keaton plays a mother highly motivated to get her last daughter married so she doesn't end up alone like herself. (Perhaps there's a lesson right there.) Anyway, she actually signs up her unwitting daughter, played by Mandy Moore, to an internet dating service and then screens all the men for her. Yep, they say it's as pathetic as it sounds. For good measure, the creators of this drivel throw in a slapstick make-out scene with Keaton and Stephen Collins. As Les says, "It's a puppy" and he doesn't mean cute. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends a much better written and better dramatized story about a mother desperate to create a better life for her daughter in Gypsy (1962.) Rosalind Russell plays the mom who thinks its best to let her daughter, played by Natalie Wood, achieve stardom and success by becoming a great stripper. Ann recommends a film featuring yet another overbearing mom, played by Shirley MacClaine, who continually meddles in the life of her daughter, played by Debra Winger, who is married to, in mom's opinion, a loser man, played by Jeff Daniels, but annoying as she is, the mother turns out to be a real source of strength and comfort. Ann thinks director James L. Brooks should be proud of his movie Terms of Endearment (1983.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:56

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

GREENLIGHT #111: Catch and Release (with "Moonstruck" and "Three Men and a Baby")

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Ann and Les would have rather gone fishing than watch Catch and Release (2006.) It's billed as a romantic comedy but they didn't see much that was romantic or comedic about the character Gray, played by Jennifer Garner, getting over the death of her fiance (whom, it turned out, she didn't really know) and finding some kind of love in the arms of his jerky friend played by Timoth Olyphant. Ann particularly thinks this movie is an insult to women everywhere and cannot believe that director Susannah Grant would be willing to put her name to such a fiasco. Les, on the other hand, just thinks it was boring and not so offensive so he gives it a pass. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends the romantic comedy by which he thinks (and Ann agrees) most others should be measured -Moonstruck (1987.) It's a tour-de-force performance by Cher who plays a young Italian widow who realizes she will have a happier and more exciting future if she dumps her nice and predictable fiance, played by Danny Aiello, and instead take on life with his younger brother played by the one-handed Nicholas Cage. Ann recommends another romantic comedy from that year about three single men whose lives are turned upside-down by the arrival of a female in their midst. It's pure charm to watch Tom Selleck , Ted Danson, and Steve Gutenberg , (despite what Homer and his secret order of men sing about him,) learn to really love in Three Men and a Baby (1987.)
RUNNING TIME: 15:00

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

GREENLIGHT #110: Children of Men (with "On the Beach" and "Mad Max 2: Road Warrior")

Ann and Les hope there is a better future for Children of Men (2006) than the one seen in this movie. It's a dark and pretty-much depressing story of life in 2027 when for some unexplained reason the human race can no longer procreate. The unwitting hero is played by Clive Owen who is thrust into the role of savior to the one miraculously pregnant woman on earth. The people who pick him for this role are played by a long-white-haired Michael Caine and a blase Julianne Moore. Though both Ann and Les think that director Alfonso Cuaron photographed this film beautifully, they split on their review. Les found himself bored quickly. Ann, though also bored in spots, was sufficiently intrigued by the story. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another depressing tale of life in the future but its told better in On the Beach (1985.) It's director Stanley Kramer's view of the final survivors of a nuclear war who know their about to run out of time. It pairs Gregory Peck with Ava Gardner who are both accompanied by a non-dancing Fred Astair and it's quite thought provoking. Ann recommends a much more light-hearted look at a depressing vision of the future as seen by the flamboyant director George Miller through the eyes of Mel Gibson in Mad Max 2: Road Warrior (1981.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:59

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