December 22, 2015

What a pleasure for movie buffs – a wonderful film focusing on Dalton Trumbo during the period he when was questioned by the House Un-American Activities Committee for his involvement in communist politics, jailed, and blacklisted from screenwriting for the Hollywood studios.

Bryan Cranston plays Trumbo, Helen Mirren channels Hedda Hopper with more viciousness than Cruella de Vil, and a slew of lesser known actors bring even more famous names into the act.


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December 22, 2015

I remember reading a cryptic review of a little novel that was highly recommended but, as the reviewer noted, to tell much about the story would be to tell too much.

Intrigued, I got a copy of Emma Donoghue’s book Room and slipped into another world perfectly evoked through the eyes of an unusual five-year-old boy. I was so deeply drawn into the story that at times I could hardly breathe.


Could I continue to put myself through an emotional wringer? I asked that question repeatedly when I would pause before turning another page and am glad that I decided to forge ahead despite my angst.

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December 22, 2015

Every holiday season, I look for a new Christmas movie to help me get into the spirit of things.

Not one to dive into the cable movies, I look for something on the big screen where my phone and computer can’t intrude on the experience.

This year I’ve seen Krampus and Love the Coopers and have to give the edge to the latter.

Love the Coopers

I love the ensemble cast, which makes up a bit for the fact that the story doesn’t quite coalesce – but how often does that happen in the Christmas movies?

After all, even It’s a Wonderful Life was panned when it was first released.


December 22, 2015

This is a great date movie (with a date-date, your BFF, your sister, or your mother – I took my mom) because Brooklyn is lovely to look at and poignant without delving into emotional terrain that is too dangerous.

A young Irish woman (played by Saoirse Ronan) leaves Ireland during the 1950s to seek greater opportunity in the United States by settling in Brooklyn. She finds homesickness first then, eventually, opportunity in both personal and professional realms.

brooklyn 2

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December 22, 2015

This is the seventh Rocky movie. That’s a good run for a franchise. My assessment?

It’s slow.

I love Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station, Saturday Night Lights, The Wire) as Adonis Johnson Creed (at least partly because I admire him in the other roles), and it’s kind of fun to see Sylvester Stallone take another turn as Rocky Balboa (and exhibit the smarts to play second fiddle to give the franchise legs), but the movie drags.



December 22, 2015

I was quite taken with my former student Jack McKinney’s Facebook post about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. So taken with it (and I agree with all points except #4 – good pacing and a good length do not lead me to wish for a longer movie!) that I asked his permission to share his take on my blog before my own assessment of the film.

Star Wars

From Jack:

Six spoiler-free things you should know about the new Star Wars movie:

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Catching Up

December 17, 2015

I’ve neglected the blog a bit lately. Just been busy, etc., and – until very recently – not so many great films to write about!

Well, except for Suffragette and Spotlight, which I’ve been meaning to write about together to address some important issues.

Now that the end of the year Oscar contenders are coming out fast and furious, I can hardly keep up!

In coming hours and days, look for posts on Carol, Brooklyn, Room, Creed, Trumbo, the two films mentioned above, and more!

In the meantime, here are three short takes on films I’ve seen but don’t intend to write about in detail.

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