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Saturday, June 30, 2007

GREENLIGHT #150: A Mighty Heart (with "Girl Interrupted" and "Missing")

GREENLIGHT #150

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Ann and Les were mesmerized by A Mighty Heart (2007.) Angelina Jolie is a commanding though controlled lead as Marianne Pearl in this true story of the wife of the murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. There are other people in the film, to be sure, and they even do a credible job in their roles but, as Les says, this is an Angelina Jolie film and that’s that. Interesting to note, too, though that Brad Pitt is one of the producers. Michael Winterbottom deserves notice too for his cool direction. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends the film in which he first saw Ms. Jolie called Girl Interrupted (1983.) It’s another true story about the writer Susanna Kaysen a young girl committed to a mental institution in the 1960’s. Ms. Kaysen is played by Winona Ryder who gives a good and interesting performance but the dramatics were offered to and taken with flying colors by Ms. Jolie who plays a very disturbed friend girl who becomes friendly with Ms. Ryder’s character. The energy and youth of the two girls are nicely balanced by the head nurse played byVanessa Redgrave. A bold picture to be made by a man but it was. James Mangold was the director. Ann recommends another gripping movie about the search for a kidnapped loved-one that doesn’t end well though the people conduct themselves well. Here she’s talking about Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek as fellow searchers in Chile for Lemmon’s character’s son. Director Costa-Gavras appropriately titled his film Missing (2003.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:59

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GREENLIGHT #149: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (with "Dragon Heart" and "Space Cowboys")

GREENLIGHT #149

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Ann and Les simply loathed Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007.) While they assure us there is nothing to recommend this film, they do agree that it probably suffers from being yet another sequel based on yet another comic series. That said, they can’t imagine how the leads Ioan Gruffudd or Jessica Alba managed to make any public appearances after the performances they gave. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends a fantasy-genre film calledDragon Heart (1986.) It’s a sweet little film with Dennis Quaid playing a knight who teams up with a dragon, voiced by Sean Connery, to entertain and con the people in villages throughout the land. Look for the uncredited appearance of John Gielgud. Ann picked a movie that really could have been called “The Fantastic Four.” This film stars Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, James Garner, and Clint Eastwood who is also the director. It’s a romp in space about four has-been astronauts who get called back into action to save the world and it’s called Space Cowboys (1988.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:49

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

GREENLIGHT #148: Once (with "The Quiet Man" and "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg")

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Ann and Les simply glow about Once (2006.) They wish everyone they know – and everyone they don’t – will go see this movie. Simply put, it’s a delightful Irish tale about love and music. The leads, Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova, are just charming. Many many kudos to writer-director John Carney - he should be showered with praise more than once. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les stays in Ireland to recommend one of his favorites of all time, The Quiet Man (1952.) The leads in this film, John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, and Victor McLaglen are in complete control of this witty and forceful film but Les wants you to particularly watch for the quiet charm of Barry Fitzgerald too in this John Ford classic. Ann goes to France for her rental to bring you a delightful musical featuring the talented beauty Catherine Deneuve who plays a young girl in a dilemma about marrying the boy she loves (and whose baby she’s having,) played by Nino Castelnuovo , or the nice rich boy her mother, played by Anne Vernon , would prefer. And she does it all in melodic song in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964.)
RUNNING TIME: 15:09

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

GREENLIGHT #147: Ocean's Thirteen (with "Switch" and "Sea of Love")

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Ann and Les were amused but not equally by Ocean’s Thirteen (2007.) Every male in Hollywood seems to be in this third “Ocean’s” movie but, as always, leading the way is George Clooney , Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon as they hunt down the “bad guy” played by Al Pacino. The only female in the movie is Ellen Barkin. Les just enjoyed the summer-time caper feel of the movie. Ann tried to but was disappointed by the convoluted storyline. She thinks Mr. Damon didn’t need the fake nose. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends a movie with Ms. Barkin in the lead called Switch (1991.) In this Blake Edward’s comedy, a stereotypical male-pig is rejected in heaven and sent back to our world as a woman played by Ms. Barkin. Most of the fun of the movie comes from watching the other characters figure out who this woman is. It’s particularly hard for his former best friend played by Jimmy Smitts who has new feelings for his character. Ann also recommends an Ellen Barkin film but this time she plays Mr. Pacino’s equal and then brings him to his knees in Sea of Love (1989.)
RUNNING TIME: 15:01

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GREENLIGHT #146: Jindabyne (with "The Usual Suspects" and "A Cry in the Dark")

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Ann and Les don’t see eye-to-eye on Jindabyne (2006.) Les was intrigued by this slow Australian mystery about a bunch of guys, led by Gabriel Byrne , on a fishing trip who find the murdered body of a young woman. Much is made, then, of their decision to keep fishing a few more days. As you might imagine, the lead’s wife, played by Laura Linney , did not think that was such a great idea. Neither did Ann. She thought this was a boring movie with a whole lot of talk and very little action that she cared about. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends his favorite movie filled with intrigue and talk calledThe Usual Suspects (1950.) This is a slow but riveting thriller filled with great actors but especially Kevin Spacey. Pay as close attention to his tale as the detective played by Chazz Palminteri tried to and you won’t be disappointed. Ann stayed in the land-down-under for her rental and picked a film featuring Meryl Streep and Sam Neill. Those two greats play a husband-and-wife whose child is taken by a dingo and then end up on trial themselves. Or that’s how they put it in A Cry in the Dark (1988.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:56

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

GREENLIGHT #145: Mr. Brooks (with "The Big Chill" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley"

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Ann and Les don’t see eye-to-eye on Mr. Brooks (2007.) Les thinks this film about a successful corporate man played by Kevin Costner who has an alter ego, played by William Hurt, who talks to him incessantly about his murderous after-hour activities while a local photographer played by Dane Cook tags along just for fun is an intriguing provocative film. Ann, on the other hand, thinks Mr. Costner has no taste in movie-picking, that Mr. Hurt used to make good movies, and that the concept of a wanna-be serial-killer is revolting no matter how well done. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends a wonderful William Hurt film called The Big Chill (1983.) This film with the amazing cast-list and trailblazing soundtrack was about a group of college friends who reunite after one of them dies, (a good story in that alone.) The action takes place at the home of the successful running shoe-salesman and his wife played by Kevin Kline and Glenn Close. A lot of interesting conversation and twisted relationships made this Lawrence Kasdan film an almost instant classic. Ann recommends a movie she thinks Mr. Brooks wanted to be but wasn’t. This movie features a washroom attendant with little future, played by Matt Damon who mistakenly gets sent to the Italian playground of the jet-set. Once there he decides he likes the lives of the playboys, especially the one played by Jude Law and, even without an alter-ego he finds a way to become one of them because he is The Talented Mr. Ripley (2003.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:55

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

GREENLIGHT #144: Knocked Up (with "Love With the Proper Stranger" and "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days")

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Ann and Les would like to knock-around anyone involved in the creation of Knocked Up (2006.) They wholeheartedly agree that this is a gross film. The slacker male lead played by Seth Rogen finds himself about to be a father after a surprising one-night stand with a successful reporter played by Kathryn Heigl. They decide they’re now a couple and go about doing the only thing that makes them a couple with a whole lot of expletives thrown in for good measure. Beware. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends a film with a similar story-line but handled with much more finesse in Love With the Proper Stranger (1963.) In this film Natalie Wood plays a Macy’s salesgirl who has a fertile one-night stand with a jazz musician played an unknown Steve McQueen. They try to work it out as reasonable though scared and fearful adults and the resulting story is much easier to digest. Ann recommends a much lighter film about difficult men-women relationship. In this one, Kate Hudson plays a columnist who does everything she can to sabotage her new relationship with a hunk played by Matthew McConaughey but to her surprise he’s got amazing sticking power which plays havoc on her deadline as she is determined to write the definitive rules about How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days (2003.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:50

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GREENLIGHT #143: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (with "Treasure Island" and "The Sea Wolf")

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Ann and Les enjoyed a good swashbuckle over Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007.) Les thought Johnny Depp put on a delightful performance matched only by the short but charming stylings of Keith Richards. Ann thought it was an interminable three hours of over-the-top pirate cacophony, most of which she couldn’t even understand. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends his favorite pirate movie Treasure Island (1950.) This comedic send-up of the famous novel featured the creative talents of Robert Newton as Long-John Silve and Bobby Driscoll as Jim Hawkins. It’s a movie made for kids that adults should be ashamed to miss. Ann also recommends a sea-faring film based on a great novel. This one features the commanding talent of Edward G. Robinson as the terrible Captain in Jack London’s The Sea Wolf (1941.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:59

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

GREENLIGHT #142: Waitress (with "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" and "Frankie and Johnny")

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Ann and Les enjoyed their journey to the South with Waitress (2007.) They acknowledge it starts slow but the warm performance of Keri Russell grew on them steadily. It’s a comedy about troubled marriages and the resulting affairs including Ms. Russell’s with her OB/GYN played by Nathan Fillion but somehow they play it so sweetly that it ends up tugging at your heartstrings. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another film about a down-and-out-though-plucky waitress called Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974.) In this film Ellen Burstyn plays a recently widowed woman who sets out the change her life in Hollywood but ends up sidetracked in a diner in Arizona. This movie has lots of good characters exploring life which is a pleasant surprise from director Martin Scorcese. Ann also recommends a film set in a diner. In this one Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino play tough-luck people who find true-romance in this Gary Marshall directed film called Frankie and Johnny (1991.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:55

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Friday, June 15, 2007

GREENLIGHT #141: Away from Her (with "Shampoo" and "Darling")

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Ann and Les did not want to get Away from Her (2007.) Instead they thoroughly enjoyed watching Julie Christie and Gordon Pinset play a long married couple dealing with the wife’s slow but definite descent into Alzheimer’s. Perhaps most amazing is that this poignant tale was written by 27-year old Sarah Polley who put together a script of intense emotion but no cheap tears. Ann and Les also really enjoyed seeing Olympia Dukakis play a mature woman without overacting. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another sad but thought-provoking film featuring the talents of Ms. Christie called Shampoo (1975.) In this film Warren Beatty plays a sexy hairdresser who has a lot of girlfriends including Ms. Christie and Goldie Hawn. But it’s also got a political message too. Ann recommends another Julie Christie film but this time she plays a thoroughly distasteful young model who tries to reach the heights of the London modeling scene in the 1960s. It’s a fabulous film directed by the great John Schlesinger called Darling (1965.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:58

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

GREENLIGHT #140: Shrek the Third (with "Aladdin" and "Austin Powers in Goldmember")

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Ann and Les predicted that Shrek the Third (2007) would be what it was. It’s not as good as the second and nowhere near the creativity and joy of the first. The voices were all quite good with a special nod going to the beautiful voice of Julie Andrews who made her queen both regal and playful. And while star Mike Myers does his usual wonderful job as Shrek, Ann and Les l. uses his obvious talents on a more character-laden film soon. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends his most favorite of the modern Disney films, Aladdin (1992.) In this animated film Robin Williams seems ot come alive in his character of the Genie. And listen for the incredible singing of Broadway star Lea Salonga. Ann recommends a third-round live-action film with decidedly comic overtones featuring the rubber face of Mr. Meyers as the coolest spy ever. Beyonce Knowles gets her comic debut here as well. It’s a romp in hilarity watching Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002.)
RUNNING TIME: 14:58

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