Posts Tagged ‘movie review’

Movie review: The Thin Man

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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Recommended for ages 12 and up

Released in 1934, this was the first in the series of Thin Man movies.

We watched this as a family. Perhaps it is less confusing on the big screen. I am not terribly good at mysteries and I am also not a very keen observer of film, but for the first hour of this film, neither my cinematically literate husband nor daughter could differentiate between the women in the movie nor could they follow the action or dialog. I ended up having to explain everything to them and since I guessed most of the plot within the first 10 minutes, I accidentally ended up telling them what happened early on too.

So, anyway, your standard oblivious, not-kind-to-others genius disappears, and a couple of rich dilettantes who are much smarter than the bungling detective assigned to the case help find out what happened, even though they drink pretty much constantly, and what’s in those glasses is not water.

The women’s dresses/gowns are astonishing (think all-Bjork-all-the-time). The dog is adorable. The bad guys are ugly. There’s no food at any party, just liquids (not water). The dialog is fast-paced, delivered in varying degrees of New-York-ese, and old-fashioned.

Challenging to follow, maybe not a bad thing in a film. But really — a mystery that I solved within minutes? I who never predict plot twists in film unless they are blasted out to me? Maybe I saw this film before in a previous life….

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Movie review: Hobson’s Choice

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

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Recommended for ages 12 and up
Cerebral — not action-packed; one short scene hints at the delights of the marriage bed, but these are not shown in any way.

Touching working class (reverse) fairy tale in which the OLDest daughter identifies and helps her “prince charming” (in this case a talented shoemaker) to notice and marry her and create his own kingdom (a shoe shop).

Hobson, played by Charles Laughton, is a widower, drunkard, and the owner of a shoe store whose success is pretty much entirely owing to the talents of his eldest daughter, Maggie, and one of his shoemakers (Willie). Hobson prevents his daughters from marrying, and thereby escaping from his household, by refusing to grant them dowries.

Beautifully filmed in black and white, directed by David Lean. As we watched Maggie, and then Willie, slowly manipulate Hobson into giving them exactly what they need (and, in the process, getting him to give up the alcohol that is killing him), my daughter would start by saying, “WHY are they telling him that?” And then, each time they had progressed in positive direction, she’d say “Ohhh, I get it.”

A great period piece. Nice to feel as if we were seeing how people lived in the late 19th century in a fairly small British town.

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Movie review: The Ramen Girl

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

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Many of the most gifted people I know have a tendency to get obsessed by things. Some suffer from serial obsessions. (See, for an extreme example, The Orchid Thief.) Others are less extreme.

But none of us/them seems to be able to say WHY/HOW their thing came to obsess them.

Which brings us to The Ramen Girl, a fascinating movie about a young American woman who is abandoned in Japan by her boyfriend and becomes obsessed with cooking ramen noodles.

One of the wonderful things about this movie is that the Japanese actors in it speak Japanese (there are subtitles) and the American actors speak English and very often they simply don’t understand each other and we don’t HAVE to read the subtitles, so we can put ourselves in their shoes.

Another thing that is simply wonderful about the movie is that it allows us to kind of understand how magical ramen is to Abby, our stranded American heroine, who is obviously a bit flighty otherwise. We see her realize that eating excellent ramen makes people cry, and makes them laugh, makes them share their emotions in ways they would otherwise never do. We see that this is silly, but we know that, to Abby, this is compelling.

This movie reminded me of the movie Tampopo, in that it is about a woman obsessed with cooking heavenly ramen. However, this film includes less sexual content and instead focuses on the cultural differences and similarities between Americans and Japanese.

We watched this movie with our 14 yr. old. There were some scenes we might have skipped over if we’d been on our toes, including an unnecessary few seconds of Abby in bed with her boyfriend when the movie begins. Also, one of Abby’s American friends claims to work as a call girl (she says \”geisha\”), but it’s not clear that she actually does.

Not a fast-paced adventure, but an adventure none-the-less. Highly recommended for mature teens and grown-ups.

— Emily

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Movie review: UP!

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

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14 year-old: \”I cried for the whole movie. It was very, very depressing.\”

Me: \”So are you glad you saw it?\”

She: \”Yes, but younger kids should not see it. It is too depressing. But because of the previews, they are going to want to.\”

Her Dad: \”It is a Disney movie. You know that the mom has to be dead in order for the plot to progress.\”

We discussed the fact that dear daughter is truly a very sensitive child. She admitted that she is. \”Nevertheless, young kids should not see this movie.\”

We all agreed that the dogs are brilliant, the plot is not entirely original, but not predictable either, and the visuals and music are impressive.