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Posts Tagged ‘George Clooney’

“Gravity” Had Me Floored

In Movies on October 6, 2013 at 8:11 pm

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Go see this movie. Go see this movie if you like thrillers, if you like character development, if you like suspense, if you like cinematography, if you like George Clooney, if you like Sandra Bullock, and if you like Alfonso Cuaron, director of “Children of Men” and “Y Tu Mama Tambien” Go. See. This. Movie.

Gravity stars Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone who is up in space on  her first mission alongside commander Matt Kowalski, played by George Clooney, who is equal parts light-hearted and concern. Ed Harris, IMDB informed me of this, did the voice for Houston: Mission Control in this film and is worth mentioning because I didn’t know this. While up in space, Dr. Stone is a raw nerve held together by work. She is up there to complete a task, not to make any friends along the way. While uploading a new program to the Hubble telescope, Stone and Kowalski are informed by Mission Control to get back to the International Space Station because Russia has detonated a series of satellites, the debris of which is heading directly towards them. The rest of this movie is profound and edge of your seat terrifying.

I had the pleasure of seeing this film in 3-D and it was completely worth it. My God. I was immersed in it. This was due in part to the 3-D but mostly due to Mr. Cuaron. Seriously. The lack of sound in precise moments, the use of first person point-of-view, made it seem like you were right up there with them.

The length of his shots were really what stood out in this film. I don’t know how long the first shot is, but it is long, and it give the viewer a glimpse into the vastness of space as well as the characters that are bouncing around in it. Just astounding.

Sandra Bullock was excellent in this film and if she doesn’t walk away with an Oscar then the person who beat her to it better be astounding. She was unlike anything I have ever seen from her before. It was mostly her within this film which made her performance that much greater. It was just you and her. You experienced every bump, every anxiety, every chance of hope, right alongside her.

George Clooney appeared at home in this film, like he truly was Commander Kowalski who had a slew of stories up his sleeve but was read to become exacting at a moment’s notice.

This film was absolutely everything anyone said it would be. It was a simple and short story but it was powerful. Go see it for yourself and tell me otherwise if you truly feel different.

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Ray Is The Man!

In Television on July 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm

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“Ray Donovan”  tells the story of well, Ray Donovan, a Hollywood fixer, reminiscent of Michael Clayton, played by George Clooney, in “Michael Clayton”. Live Schreiber stars as the go-to man in Hollywood who will help those who are in a tight fix, especially if those individuals are involved within the seedy underbelly. As the show begins, we see that Ray’s  life is anything but perfect. His wife, Abby, played by Paula Malcomson, doesn’t like the neighborhood that her family is living in, his brother Terry, played by Eddie Marsan, is a boxer suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, his other brother Bunchy, played by Dash Mihok, is struggling with his molestation from a  priest as a child and his father, Mickey, played by Jon Voight, just got out of jail and is determined to be a part of Ray’s life. To make matters worse, a client who Ray is paid to watch is being stalked and Ray just has to intervene only come to find out that he has protected this girl in the past and she really wants to experience Ray sexually. Ashley Ruckers, played by Ambyr Childers comes off as a sex addict who just really wants Ray.

Phew, that’s enough about the plot, let’s get to the show.  The first episode was a bit clunky with a few scenes that didn’t need to be included and a few scenes that could have been flushed out more. I would have liked more of Ray’s company flushed out. There was a scene at a funeral in which another individual approached Ray telling him that Ray did not need public scrutiny. This is known of course, but I felt like I didn’t know who that was. That being said, I do like watching shows in which all the dots aren’t connected, however, I would like a wee bit of assistance. But other than that, I rather enjoyed it.

I liked the idea of Boston transplants to Hollywood, where we will get to see a little dose of Boston pressure on Hollywood types; I mean who doesn’t love seeing an actor who believes he is “the man” get bludgeoned in the face with a bat. I also enjoyed the presence of a back story. I’m interested to see what happened between Ray and his father, which, hopefully, is not resolved in the next few episodes.

I would like Schreiber flushed out more. Some of the best scenes in “Breaking Bad” occur when we see Heisenberg and Walt combine and confront one another in Bryan Cranston’s face. I want to see this. I want to see a calm Ray Donovan crack and just rage. I want to see a Dexter-like freakout when his back is up against the wall.

All in all, I enjoyed this show. I hope my requests are granted and that there is plenty of more violence within this show. 

Madre’s List of Favorite Movies in No Particular Order

In Movies on August 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm
After beginning this blog, my mother asked if she could create her own list of favorites and have it published on my blog. And of course, I said why not. Below is her top 7 favorite movies. I went through and made some changes, her grammar was just plain awful, but her list and her descriptions are her’s alone. Enjoy!
Young Frankenstein (1974)  directed by Mel Brooks:
This is hands down my favorite comedy.  The writing is spot on hilarious.  Gene Wilder is perfect as Dr. Frankenstein (that’s Franhhcensteen…).  The actors’ comedic timing is just amazing.  That comes from having a super sense of comedy, and from being so well cast. I watched Marty Feldman on his show, “The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine”, a BBC production in 1971. So British, so funny. I like this movie better than Brook’s other classic, Blazing Saddles.  To me, Young Frankenstein relies more on verbal comedy, as opposed to the sight gags of Blazing Saddles. I always watch this movie when it is on, and I practically know the whole script by heart.
CM: This movie also includes a great cameo by Gene Hackmen, that makes it that much funnier.
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse (1948) directed by H.C Potter, starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy:
This film is about a family who decides to ditch big city life, buy a house in the country(been there, done that…) and the pitfalls of home remodeling.  The situation is classic, a couple saying that all the house needs is “a little love”  and plenty of demolition.  Myrna Loy is superb as the wife getting to finally decorate her new home. Her dissertation to the contractor on paint colors is a must see. (As an interior designer… I understand her logic…) Cary Grant is at first  enamored with being a country squire, until the budget for the house gets totally out of control. This film was the basis for the Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks,  but this version is sooo much better. The script is clean, and lines are quick and clipped.  Anyone who has remodeled a house, or has relocated to the country where you have to deal with “the locals”, will totally get this movie.
CM: Never seen it but I have heard good things about Cary Grant. Will definitely give it a try
Beauty and The Beast- (1946) directed by Jean Cocteau–in French:
Dadaist poet and artist Jean Cocteau adapted the classic story into a film that is  a fantasy in such a beautiful and subtle way.  His images and camera angles are more like individual pieces of art.  He also pioneered some special effects.  My favorite scene is of Belle walking in a hallway lit by the wall sconces held by human arms. Very creepy, but also so beautiful.  This is for you art film folks; it is a must see.
CM: Saw this once when I was very young. Will probably never watch it again because it scared me so much.
Oh Brother Where Art Thou (2000) directed by Joel & Ethan Cohen:
First, it’s a Cohen Brothers films,. so what’s not to like? But this film take you through Homer’s Odyssey far better than reading any book.  George Clooney as our fearless leader is just perfect.  He can tell a tall tale like no other.  John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson round out the hapless trio on the journey.  I love how this story is worked into the time period of 1937 and the Great Depression in Mississippi. The script is written in colloquial language, which is musical and poetic, consisting of such lines as “pater familias” and “sang in yonder can” and “skeedaddled”.  Another great aspect of this film is the soundtrack. Such a great combo of old timey music done by Allison Krause and other great singer songwriters. The score was written by T Bone Burnett, and he totally captured the time period. I’m still singing those songs in the car when no one is listening.
CM: This movie is well written, well acted, and well shot. John Goodman has a great cameo in this movie as the cyclops that has a pretty pvitoal role in Homer’s Odyssey.
Chocolat (2000) directed by Lasse Hellstrom
I love this story.  While it has mystery and magic in the plot, it also deals with the difficult relationship between mothers and daughters, both living and dead. Juliette Binoche plays Vianne, a mysterious woman who shows up in a very conservative town and opens a chocolate shop.  The candies begin to awaken the passions of the townspeople, much to the chagrin of the mayor, play by Alfred Molina.  He is horrified  that such decadence has arrived in his town. But he has secrets of his own that only the chocolate will heal.  Vianne has a daughter, Anouk, who desperately wants to stop being dragged from town to town and to settle down.  And Johnny Depp is, well, the eye candy in this film as the gypsy love interest Roux. Vianne carries her mother’s ashes with her, and appears to still be taking direction from her mother, even after death. Roux opens her eyes to her issues, and how she is passing those onto her daughter.
Judi Dench and Lena Olin are both superb as tragic figures who come into their own after meeting Vianne. The film was shot on location in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in France, and the town is breathtaking.
CM: I wasn’t the biggest fan of this movie, but if you have lady parts I’m sure you’ll love it. Because well it’s about chocolate and has Johnny Depp in it.
Pulp Fiction (1994) Quentin Tarantino
Another of my favs. Tarantino can do no wrong.  Where to begin with this film? First, the casting. John Travolta’s career was reborn with this movie as Vincent Vega. And Samuel L. Jackson as Jules. As a hit man team, they interact as pragmatist and philosopher.  The plot winds, twists and turns, and goes so many places, it is a wild ride.  Harvey Keitel has to do some clean up for the two boys, and he is so cool, so slick and so funny. and Uma Thurman dancing with Travolta? Classic.  Is this film violent?  Oh hell yes. But Tarantino in his own quirky way, makes it all so funny.  I mean, who wouldn’t laugh at two guys arguing over who has to clean the splattered brains out of the car when they accidentally shoot the passenger?  I did, and you will too.  The soundtrack is awesome as well, especially “Jungle Boogie”…..
CM: This goes without saying, but it should be said. I love this film. The reason why it wasn’t included in my list is because I wanted to introduce other films that people might not have seen such as “True Romance” or “Heat”.  If you haven’t seen this movie, and you are going to see “Django Unchained” then see this movie before hand just so you know what you’re walking into. Best line in the whole movie, btw. I have posted that quote countless times as my Facebook status.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) Francis Ford Coppola
So I’m a sucker for vampire movies (haha, get it?) But this one is my all time favorite.  Gary Oldman is so captivating as Dracula. Normally, Dracula is portrayed as a soulless monster, but Oldman  plays him as a sad and tragic figure as you see him lose the love of his life.  He goes teeters evil master as he captures Johnathan Harker and lets his siren vampires torture him, to a tender and romantic loving man.  Winona Ryder is passable as Mina Harker, I found both her and Keanu Reeve’s portrayals to be a bit stiff and stilted. I know they are supposed to be repressed Victorians, but they both seemed wooden.  Gary Oldman carries the film, as does Tom Waits, who plays poor crazed Renfield. And Anthony Hopkins nailed the role of Van Helsing.  I love that fact that he played him as  an eccentric, with a somewhat mystical power… or was that just science? It was beautifully filmed and included some great costume design.  They represented the period, perfectly. This Dracula is waay more spectacular and lascivious than those True Blood dudes.
CM: Phenomenal movie and I concur with mi madre’s statement. Reeves and Winona seemed uncomfortable and confused with the role that they were playing. I almost didn’t feel bad when Reeve’s gets tortured because, well, it just didn’t seem like he was in actual pain, as crass as that sounds.