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Movie Review: Farewell August 4, 2010

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Movie Review: Farewell

Alternate Title: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Story: Can an ordinary (sort of) citizen topple governments? In this fascinating, gripping spy thriller directed by Christian Carion and written by Eric Raynaud and based on the novel “Bonjour Farewell” by Serguei Kostine we get a peek at a tiny piece of history that pretty much changed the world.

It helps if you are over 50 to appreciate all of the details in this riveting story of patriotism, spies, betrayal, secrets and lies that is based on a true story that happened in 1981.

Griegoriev is a Colonel in the KGB. He is disheartened about the state of the State in Soviet Russia. He decides that the country is going in the wrong direction and wants a better life for his teenage son. He decides to give State secrets to the West in order for his country to get on the right track. How he handles this exchange of secrets is the best part of the film. He does not do it for money. He does it for his country, his son and the better life of all. It is a treat to watch him, his evolving mind, his heart, his soul, his sacrifice.

The most important thing is that we care very deeply about him. his family and the family that gets involved in the exchange of secrets.

Acting: Real life Serbian directorEmir Kusturica as Grigoriev is perfect. He is the heart of the film. Guillaume Canet as Pierre is also perfect as the French connection. The rest of the cast is also terrific including: Alexandra Maria Lara (Jessica), Ingeborga Dapkunaite (Natasha), Dina Korzun (Alina), Evgenie Kharlanov (Igor), Willem Dafoe (Feeney), Philippe Magnan (François Mitterrand) and Fred Ward as a weird Ronald Reagan.

Trivia: Vladimir Ippolitovich Vetrov (1932 -1985) was a KGB spy during the Cold War, who passed on to NATO extremely valuable information about the Soviet program to obtain technology from the West. He was code-named Farewell by the French intelligence service DST, which recruited him, and he was known by this name throughout NATO intelligence services. His history inspired the this film. Between the spring of 1981 and early 1982 he handed over to the DST almost 4,000 secret documents, including the complete official list of 250 Line X officers stationed under legal cover in embassies around the world. Among the information he provided was a complete breakdown of the organization of the Soviet effort for collecting scientific and technical information, which included elements of the GRU, the Soviet Academy of Sciences, and several other bodies. In addition, he provided summaries on the goals, achievements, and unfilled objectives of the program. His information also identified nearly 100 leads to sources in 16 countries. His career came to an end in February 1982 when, after a period of drinking caused by a cooling off period imposed by the French (fearful of discovery through too much contact), Vetrov stabbed, but did not kill, his mistress while drinking Champagne in his parked car. A man (a fellow KGB officer) knocked on the window. Thinking his spying had been discovered, he jumped out and stabbed the man, killing him. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 12 years in jail in the fall of 1982.

Predilection: None

Critters: A wolf (very important) and lots of dogs.

Sex Spectrum: Some extra marital fumbling.

Opening Titles: All titles at the end.

Visual Art: The vast grayness of Russia is perfectly depicted.

Theater Audience: About 20 other people.

Weather: Cold

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Oscar Worthy: Probably not.

Big Screen or Rental: I always vote for the big screen.

Length: Under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 8

Movie Review: Inception July 24, 2010

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Movie Review: Inception

Alternate Title: Snoozer

Story: The hoopla surrounding this movie is that it is too deep for the average person to understand. I disagree with that idea entirely. It is not too hard to understand – it is just boring. It almost put me to sleep (and I am not a napper).

The premise is that Dom Cobb is the best in the dangerous art of extraction. What is extraction? No, it has nothing to do with dentistry (although sitting through it was somewhat painful). He and his crackerjack team are able to steal valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb and the team are now involved in the sleazy world of corporate espionage so they have become fugitives which leads to much running, chasing, shooting, falling, crashing and explosions.

Cobb is now being offered a chance at redemption and a stab at getting his life back and losing his fugitive status if he does just one more espionage job. Only this time, the job involves inception of an idea into the dream state, rather than the extraction of an idea.

Written and directed by the very talented Christopher Nolan who normally holds my interest. This time, however, there is more splash and glitz and very little story. By film’s end I could not care less what happened to anyone.

Wake me when it’s over.

Acting: Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb has his usual intense, furrowed brow but this time, he was simply eye candy. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur is one of my favorites, but even here, he fails to shine. Ellen Page as Ariadne was totally miscast. She reminded me of a cute puppy that wandered into the wrong film. Tom Hardy as Eames was the most interesting of all of the characters. Ken Watanabe as Saito was difficult to understand. Dileep Rao as Yusuf was fine. Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer Jr. is always good. Tom Berenger (as Browning was almost unrecognizable.Marion Cotillard as Mal is always good. Pete Postlethwaite as Maurice Fischer is underutilized as is Michael Caine.

Trivia: Marion Cotillard won an Oscar for her portrayal of Edith Piaf a few years back. Edith Piaf’s voice is heard throughout the film and I found that quite amusing. Trade marks of director and writer Christpher Nolan include: Begins his movies and introduces his main characters with a close up of their hands performing an action. Often works with editor Lee Smith, composer David Julyan, cinematographer Wally Pfister, production designer Nathan Crowley and wife-producer Emma Thomas. Often casts British or non-American actors in American roles. Frequently casts Christian Bale, Michael Caine. Usually starts films with a flashback or a scene from the end of the movie. When shooting a dialogue scene, the actors are often framed in wide close-up with a shallow depth of field to blur out the background. His main characters are usually men with a goal who face adversity. Films conclude with the two central characters discussing the preceding events and the results which have stemmed from said events. Non-linear timelines (Following (1998), Memento (2000), The Prestige (2006))

Predilection: None

Critters: One cat

Food: You cannot eat while dreaming it seems.

Soundtrack: The Edith Piaf tune, ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’ is wonderful but much of the track is loud.

Opening Titles: All titles are at the end.

Visual Art: Some fine CGI effects but after awhile I was bored.

Theater Audience: Pretty crowded for a Wednesday afternoon.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I drifted quite bit once I figured out what was going on and on and on.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: If you like special effects I would say go for the big screen.

Length: 22 minutes over the Lobo two hours rule.

LOBO HOWLS: 5

Movie Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire July 22, 2010

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Movie Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire

Alternate Title: The Little Match Girl

Story: Lisbeth, Lisbeth, Lisbeth. Life is not easy for this fiery, angry young woman. In the second part of the Millennium Trilogy we find Lisbeth enjoying life somewhere in the Caribbean (although it is never easy to tell if Lisbeth Salandar is having fun since her range of expression is nil). This second film in the series was directed by Daniel Alfredson and written by Jonas Frykberg and, of course based on the book by Stieg Larsson.

This time out we find Lisbeth, on her return to Sweden, sudden wanted for a triple homicide. Her devoted friend Michael Nyqvist seems to be the only one in the country that is sure Lisbeth is innocent and is ready to move heaven and earth to prove it. We meet more dastardly, abusive, rotten men and get to see most of them get their comeuppance (always my favorite part).

Part two answers many of the questions left hanging from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I am ready for part three, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest to be released in October.

Acting: Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander owns this part. Brava. Michael Nyqvist as loyal Mikael Blomkvist also has ownership of his role. A fine supporting cast includes: Annika Hallin (Annika Giannini), Per Oscarsson (Holger Palmgren), Lena Endre (Erika Berger), Peter Andersson (Nils Bjurman), Mikael Spreitz (Ronald Niedermann), Yasmine Garbi (Miriam Wu) and Johan Kylen (Jan Bublanski)

Trivia: Noomi Rapace used the holes of her old piercing’s when she was a young punk rocker in her role as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Form his website: Stieg Larsson (1954-2004) was a Swedish writer and journalist. Prior to his sudden death of a heart attack in November 2004 he finished three detective novels in his trilogy “The Millenium-series” which were published posthumously; “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”. Altogether, his trilogy has sold more than 20 million copies in 41 countries (spring of 2010), and he was the second best selling author in the world 2008. Before his career as a writer, Stieg Larsson was mostly known for his struggle against racism and right-wing extremism. http://www.stieglarsson.com/

Predilection: I liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Critters: A fawn

Food: There seems to be absolutely no time to eat in Sweden.

Sex Spectrum: Oh my yes.

Blatant Product Placement: Apple Laptop Computer

Soundtrack: Appropriately scary.

Opening Titles: A sequence opens with a semi-relaxed Lisbeth on some unnamed Caribbean isle.

Visual Art: Sweden is a bit dreary in these films.

Theater Audience: Four other people

Weather: Cold and rainy.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Probably not.

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen.

Length: A tad over two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 7.5

Movie Review: The Kids are All Right July 12, 2010

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Movie Review: The Kids are All Right

Alternate Title: All in the Family

Story: I normally favor films with more action than this gem from director Lisa Cholodenko but hours after leaving the theater I was still thinking about this quiet film. The movie revolves around a routine, unexceptional family with two teenage kids, two cars and a nice house in the suburbs. The only stand out exception to the norm is that there are two ‘Moms’ in the house and both kids are from the same anonymous sperm donor. The film takes the position that there is nothing exceptional about this situation and so will you. The film was smartly written by Ms. Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg.

The spark in the film lights when the older teenager tracks down the anonymous sperm donor and he enters the picture. How this guy handles his new ‘family’ and how they handle this new ‘family member’ is the heart and soul of the film. All five of the major characters are fully formed, occasionally flawed and very real.

The production values are first rate, the acting is amazing and the story will move you in many directions. Take some time out this summer and catch this fine film.

Acting: Kudos all around to a fabulous cast. Julianne Moore as Jules has not been this good in years. Annette Bening as Nic is one of the best actors around. She should be getting more work. Mark Ruffalo as Paul is nothing short of perfect. Mia Wasikowska as Joni and Josh Hutcherson as Laser are both outstanding.

Trivia: Julianne Moore is left-handed. Director Lisa Cholodenko earned an MFA at Columbia University Film School where she made an award winning short film “Dinner Party”. Her feature “High Art” won the National Society of Film Critics award for Ally Sheedy’s performance and The Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at Sundance. Writer Stuart Blumberg attended Yale University with Edward Norton and were once roommates. Australian actor Mia Wasikowska beat out several other actresses for the lead in Alice in Wonderland (2010).

Predilection: none

Critters: Surprisingly none

Food: Lots of ‘local’ organic food featured.

Sex Spectrum: Yes. Sex is a big component in the film. Some quite funny.

Soundtrack: A terrific soundtrack featuring a lovely scene using Joni Mitchell lyrics. Music by Carter Burwell;

Visual Art: This California suburb has all of the amenities.

Theater Audience: Crowded for a 10 AM Saturday morning showing.

Weather: Lovely.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch several times after the first hour.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Hmm – there might be a nod here and there.

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen.

Length: Under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 8

Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo July 5, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Movie Review Archives, Movie Reviews, Movie Trailer, Photography.
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Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Alternate Title: Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

Story: It is better to get to the party late than to not get there at all, right? And what a dark party this gripping film turned out to be. It was directed by Niels Arden Oplev and written by Rasmus Heisterberg and Nikolaj Arcel and based on the immensely popular novel by Stieg Larsson. I admit that I have not read Larsson’s Millennium trilogy of books featuring the fascinating character called, Lisbeth Salander.

Journalist Michael Nyqvist has just lost a libel suit brought by a corrupt financier and is about to spend months in jail. While awaiting his jail time he is hired by wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger to solve the case of his niece who disappeared or was murdered 40 years ago. I will skip over lots of sub-plots and say that Salander, an amazing computer hacker, teams up with Nyqvist to attempt to solve this 40 year old mystery.

Along the way we are introduced to much evil, corruption, Nazis, sexual predators, sadists, rapists, dark secrets, anti-semitism and other such cruelties that will make you squirm. This is a film that allows you to get lost inside its ugly premise. It is beautifully filmed and I could not wait to see how this female protagonist externalized her rage to the delight of this viewer.

Yes, there are many characters and tangential story lines but I was most interested in the crime solving nitty gritty details and the use of one heck of an Apple laptop, internet searches, photo-editing software, web cams and some other very familiar computer geekiness.

If you need a break from this summer’s heat, check out the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I, for one, am ready for the next film in the trilogy.  That tattoo of a Lobo was a cockamamie – and is now gone (erased with rubbing alcohol)

Acting: Michael Nyqvist as Mikael Blomkvist was perfect in his role as was the amazing Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander.

Trivia: Noomi Rapace used the holes of her old piercing’s when she was a young punk rocker in her role as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Form his website: Stieg Larsson (1954-2004) was a Swedish writer and journalist. Prior to his sudden death of a heart attack in November 2004 he finished three detective novels in his trilogy “The Millenium-series” which were published posthumously; “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”. Altogether, his trilogy has sold more than 20 million copies in 41 countries (spring of 2010), and he was the second best selling author in the world 2008. Before his career as a writer, Stieg Larsson was mostly known for his struggle against racism and right-wing extremism. http://www.stieglarsson.com/

Predilection: None

Critters: None

Food: Eggs

Sex Spectrum: There is lots of sex (most of it violent).

Blatant Product Placement: Apple, Nikon, Heinz Ketchup

Soundtrack: I stirring soundtrack.

Opening Titles: Financier Henrik Vanger opens a strange package from Hong Kong.

Visual Art: Sweden is cold and foreboding in the winter.

Theater Audience: About 30 other NYer’s escaping form the 100 Big Apple heat. The chilly Swedish landscaped helped to cool my body temperature down.

Weather: Cold

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 3 – the sadistic scenes made me squirm quite a bit.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: I was pretty sure of what was going to happen.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Maybe

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen if you can still find it playing.

Length: 30 minutes over the two hour Lobo rule.

LOBO HOWLS: 8.5

Movie Review: Please Give June 24, 2010

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Movie Review: Please Give

Alternate Title: Givers and Takers

Story: I loved this film. I was out of town when it opened last month and finally got around to checking it out (after a few Lobo readers suggested that I should do so). I repeat – I loved this film. It was brilliantly written and directed by Nicole Holofcener who has the New York character down to perfection.

Kate and Alex own a vintage furniture store. They buy their wares from estate sales and resell at a very nice profit. Kate has guilt over the richness of their lives. They have bought the apartment next to theirs and are waiting for the 90 year old lady who lives in it to die so they can expand their apartment so that they and their teenage daughter can have even more room.

During this process we meet the nonagenarian’s two grand daughters. One is good as gold and the other is, well —is not. How these characters, plus Granny, interact during this uncomfortable, waiting to die, period is the heart of the film.

Vignette after vignette allow us to enter a bit more into their lives and under their skin. It is revelatory, funny, graceful and heartfelt. I implore you to find this film and see it. You will not be disappointed. Do you have to be a New Yorker to like it? It couldn’t hurt – but not necessary.

Acting: Catherine Keener as Kate was flawless. Amanda Peet as Mary gave the best performance of her life. Oliver Platt as Alex, hit every nail on the head. Rebecca Hall as Rebecca fooled me as an American. I did not realize she was English.Ann Guilbert as Andra was fabulous. Lois Smith as Mrs. Portman was terrific. Sarah Steele as young Abby was perfect as was and Thomas Ian Nicholas as Eugene.

Trivia: Nicole Holofcener’s movies include: Friends with Money (2006), Lovely & Amazing (2001) and Walking and Talking (1996). One of the character’s in Please Give, is reading Sarah Vowell’s book. Sarah Vowell pops up as a customer in their vintage furniture store. If you have seen Sarah Vowell on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, you will recognize her like I did.

Predilection: I like films that take place in NYC.

Critters: Two adorable dogs.

Food: Birthday cake, microwave dinners.

Sex Spectrum: Fumbling, guilt ridden, extra-marital sex.

Soundtrack: A perfect soundtrack by Marcelo Zarvos that opens with an hilarious tune by the Roches called “No Socks.”

Opening Titles: The above tune played over an opening sequence of close-ups of breasts, as objects, during mammography exams.

Visual Art: Some great NYC apartments.

Theater Audience: About 10 other urban kvetchers and us.

Weather: NY is delightful in the fall.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid great attention throughout.

Predictability Level: I was not sure where this little film would take me and was delighted by its twists and turns.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: It should be but will be overlooked.

Big Screen or Rental: It will be hard to find this perfect gem on the big screen so rental will have to do.

Length: 90 minutes.

LOBO HOWLS: 9

Movie Review: Cyrus June 22, 2010

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Movie Review: Cyrus

Alternate Title: It’s Complicated

Story: The writing and directing brother’s team of Jay and Mark Duplass have given us a summer treat. Their film is quirky and takes a number of risks. It is comedic with an edge of creepiness.

John is lonely and depressed. His marriage has been over for seven years yet he still is strangely close to his former wife, Jamie. She has feelings of guilt about John so invites him to accompany her and her fiancee to a party in order that he might meet a new woman. Lo and behold, this wreck of a man, latches on to a gorgeous woman and she ends up going home with John but leaves sometime during the night.

John discovers that she has a 22 year old son, Cyrus, living at home with her. That relationship is when the creepy factor crops up. They are uber-close and one can’t help but scream ‘Oedipus.’ How John navigates this mother son bond is the meat of the story. The relationship between Cyrus and John is funny and dark.

Should you see this movie? If you like a film that is a bit unexpected and want to see some fine performances, check it out.

Acting: John C. Reilly as John, is at the top of his game is a masterful performance. Jonah Hill as Cyrus, goes against type and does a fine job. Marisa Tomei as Molly is terrific as is the always good Catherine Keener as Jamie.

Trivia: In 2002 Jay Duplass collaborated with his brother Mark on This is John, a short film shot digitally for $3 dollars. It was accepted into Sundance 2003, and earned the brothers a representation deal with William Morris. They returned to Sundance 2004 with another digitally shot short, Scrabble. And the following year, they premiered their third short, The Intervention, at Berlin 2005, where it won the Silver Bear and the Teddy Award.

Predilection: None

Critters: None

Sex Spectrum: No nudity but implied sex.

Blatant Product Placement: Apple computer is seen and Red Bull and Adidas are spoken about often.

Soundtrack: Lively

Opening Titles: A sequence showing John’ ex-wife trying to get into his home to tell him that she is remarrying.

Theater Audience: Fairly crowded for an early Sunday showing.

Weather: LA delightful

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I did not drift at all.

Predictability Level: I was not sure how this film would end.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: I always promote the big screen but this film would be fine for a rental.

Length: 90 minutes

LOBO HOWLS: 7.5

Movie Review: Winter’s Bone June 21, 2010

Posted by judylobo in Film Awards, Movie Review Archives, Movie Reviews, Movie Trailer.
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Movie Review: Winter’s Bone

Alternate Title: What a Meth

Story: The Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s seem like kissing cousins compared to the feuding clans in this depressing, sad tale from the Missouri Ozarks. We find 17 year old Ree, taking care of her two younger siblings and her almost catatonic mother because her father, a convicted meth lab druggie has fled the coop. He has put up the family farm as bounty for his court date and never showed up. If young Ree does not find her father, they will be homeless. The law is after the absent father as are some scary competing druggies and a pissed off bounty hunter. Against all odds, brave Ree stands tall to save her siblings and mother.

Yes, this premise sounds like those crowd pleasing David Vs Goliath tales, but I found the film wanting. The characters generally are without any redeeming qualities (other than Ree) and it is hard to cheer when the odds are so very much against this young girl as she heads towards the poor, depressing, feral life that every other character on screen seems destined to live.The film was directed by Debra Granik and written by Ms. Granik and Anne Rosellini, this gray tale was based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell.

Should you see this dismal film that appears to be in black and white? It will probably roam around the Indie Art House circuit and then go to DVD. I have seen better films about the same subject – but it is worth two hours of your life? I think not.

Acting: Jennifer Lawrence as Ree is the only sympathetic character and she does a fine job. The rest of the cast is fine (but scary) including: John Hawkes (Teardrop), Kevin Breznahan (Little Arthur), Dale Dickey (Merab), Garret Dillahunt (Sheriff Baskin), Sheryl Lee (April), Lauren Sweetser (Gail) and Tate Taylor (Satterfield).

Trivia: This film won the Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at this year’s Sundance Festival.

Predilection: This got rave reviews and won some top awards at festivals so I was curious.

Critters: Many, many critters including chicks, horses, cows, birds and squirrels who also appear in the food category.

Food: The abovementioned squirrels and venison stew.

Sex Spectrum: No sex, just drugs.

Soundtrack: Interesting musical selection by Dickon Hinchliffe.

Opening Titles: A solo voice introducing the gray scenery and just the title. All other credits are at the end.

Visual Art: The film appears to be in many shades of gray with little color nor anything that is pleasing to the eye.

Theater Audience: About 30 other people and us.

Weather: Wintry and gray.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: I did not like the dressing of the recently shot squirrel. Very squirmy indeed.

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch often.

Predictability Level: I did not care what happened to most of these people.;

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 5

Movie Review: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work June 16, 2010

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Movie Review: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Alternate Title: A Work in Progress

Story: I guarantee you that when you leave the theater you will have a different impression of Joan Rivers than you did before you entered the theater. This is NOT the Joan Rivers that you hate to watch on that proverbial Red Carpet. Deftly and objectively directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg and written by Ms. Stern we get to meet a woman, who at then age 75 (now 77) has more energy than most people half her age.

We get to see how Joan Rivers thinks, emotes, creates and runs her life. She has no plans to ever retire and spends most of the film hustling for more gigs, commercials and new opportunities. She writes a play, competes in Celebrity Apprentice and financially supports a huge number of people.

Using terrific file footage we watch a very young Joan Rivers with Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. We get to see Joan at her best and at her worst. She invites the crew to film inside her apartment which is an eye popping hoot. One of my favorite lines (and there are plenty of belly laughs in the film) is when she says as she is showing off her NYC apartment “this is where Marie Antoinette would live if she had the money.”

Take a break from political correctness and go see this vastly entertaining film.

Acting: It is a documentary – so this category does not apply.

Trivia: Joan Rivers was born in 1933 in Brooklyn, NY. Her given name was Joan Alexandra Molinsky . She is of Russian-Jewish heritage. She graduated from Barnard College. She is the national spokesperson for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Started performing as a stand-up comedienne using the stage name Pepper January. About 1982, she was appointed the first permanent guest hostess on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” (1962). She infuriated Johnny Carson when she left to host her own show, “The Late Show” (1986) on rival Fox network. Johnny Carson never spoke to her again.

Predilection: None

Critters: Joan’s dog.

Food: A Thanksgiving feast and food delivered to homebound AIDS or other ill patients.

Sex Spectrum: Hysterical jokes about sex – but none to watch.

Opening Titles: The opening sequence is a close-up of Joan getting her makeup put on for a gig. A bit scary – but you get used to it.

Visual Art: Her apartment is visually quite something to see.

Theater Audience: A fairly crowded Chelsea crowd for the first show on a Saturday morning.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I did not drift.

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: You could easily watch this on the small screen but I always recommend the BIG screen.

Length: 90 minutes

LOBO HOWLS: 8


Movie Review: Ondine June 15, 2010

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Movie Review: Ondine

Alternate Title: Catch of the Day

Story: One of my favorite writers and director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) has delivered a somewhat quirky romance that starts off with an interesting premise but sadly, drifts off into the crowded land of disappointment.

An Irish fisherman named Syracuse, who is down on his luck, and has a young daughter who needs a kidney transplant, discovers a strange woman in his fishing net while out at sea. This woman, named Ondine, brings Syracuse luck as his catch of the day gets larger and larger. Her presence in this small community eventually comes to light and things begin to go awry.

The scenery is lovely, the characters are interesting but it takes too long for anything to develop and then turns into a run of the mill chase story. Is this film for everyone? Not really – but if you like Ireland, myths about selkies, looking at pretty people and hearing lovely music, check it out.

Acting: Colin Farrell as Syracuse, may finally have grown up. He gives a sensitive performance and is always easy on the eye. Alicja Bachleda as Ondine was interesting but a bit vacuous. Alison Barry as Annie the daughter is a bit too adorable.

Trivia: Alicja Bachleda was born in Tampico, Mexico but grew up in Krakow, Poland. She met boyfriend Colin Farrell on this movie set. In October 2009 she and her partner, Colin Farrell, welcomed their first baby, son Henry Tadeusz.

Predilection: None

Critters: A gray seal, a mule, fish and lobsters

Food: Eggs and toast

Sex Spectrum: Perhaps some interspecies sex and perhaps not.

Blatant Product Placement: none

Soundtrack: Lovely music by Kjartan Sveinsson and songs by Sigur Ros

Opening Titles: An opening sequence showing the fisherman’s trawler going out to sea in a lovely landscape.

Theater Audience: Two other people and us.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I started to drift during hour two.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 5