Friday, March 22, 2013

Sleepwalk With Me

Director: Mike Birbiglia, Seth Barrish

Starring: Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, James Rebhorn, Carol Kane, Sondra James

This is a funny movie which explores what makes comedians funny and more specifically the origins of their source material. Matt Pandamiglio (Mike Birbiglia) is a funnyman with a serious sleep disorder called Rapid Eye Movement disorder (REM) i.e. he physically acts out his dreams as he sleeps. Living with his girlfriend Abby (Lauren Ambrose) he feels trapped and his frustration compounds by his lack of success as a stand up. Living in fear of hurting Abby during his sleepwalking episodes he starts taking work away from home and begins using his personal dilemmas and fears as comedic source. The act takes off but his sleep disorder soon spins out of control. Matt’s bemused parents Frank (James Rebhorn) and Linda (Carol Kane) watch on as crusty agent Colleen (Sondra James) tries to keep the comedian on track. A good cast which features many of Birbiglia's real-life funny friends.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Position

Director: Bess Kargman

The film follows six young dancers over a year as they prepare for a chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries while navigating the drama of adolescence. The fly-on-the-wall documentary goes behind the scenes at the Youth America Grand Prix and we meet individual dancers all committed to compete for scholarships and job offers with major ballet companies. Each comes from a different background but they all share talent, work ethic and family support. The documentary follows the dancers to the final in New York. Riveting.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Disney's Oz the great and the powerful

Director: Sam Raimi

Starring: Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, James Franco

A visually ambitious prequel to the 1939 classic, Wizard of Oz . Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is a carnival magician and small time con man who is swept by a tornado from Kansas to the magical world of Oz. He is mistakenly taken for savior of Oz and all he needs to do is kill “the wicked witch” who lives in the Dark Forest. Along the way Diggs meets a flying monkey named Finley (voiced by Zach Braff) and a China Doll (voiced by Joey King) with his way hampered by t he three witches. Theodora (Mila Kunis) is a young woman who begins as good and trusting but transforms into the Wicked Witch of the West; the villainous Evanora (Rachel Weisz) ; and Glinda (Michelle Williams) tries to help where she can. The Munchkins put in an appearance but there is no Toto. Not a patch on the original screen adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic story but the computer imagery does enhance more than it detracts.

Big Shoe Trailer 2011

A good day to die hard

Director: John Moore

Starring: Yuliya Snigir, Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney

The 5th in the Die Hard franchise with all the usual bullets, trucks flip, choppers explosions, shattering glass and buildings collapsing. Sadly, yet again, the action supersedes story as the John McClane saga loiters on. The plot involves McClane's (Bruce Willis) undercover CIA agent and estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney). Jack is stationed in Moscow and dad travels to Russia for a holiday only to find Jack has been arrested. In a blaze of explosions Jack breaks loose and dad follows in hot pursuit. On an undercover mission McClane junior resents his father’s interference but the pair bond as they create havoc and mayhem until they end up in Chernobyl and discover a major national security threat. The highlights are the movie was Shot in Moscow, Budapest and Chernobyl otherwise little to recommend it.

Rust and Bone

Director: Jacques Audiard

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure, Céline Sallette, Corinne Masiero, Bouli Lanners, Jean-Michel Correia

A romance drama written adapted for the screen from a story by Craig Davidson tells the story of a single parent Alain aka Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) a homeless street hustler who is he is suddenly handed custody of a 5 year-old son, Sam (Armand Verdure). He given them a chance he moves from his native Belgium to Antibes to live with his sister, Anna (Corinne Masiero). There he gets a job as a bouncer becomes romatically entwined with Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), a double amputee who works at the local oceanarium. Steph has lost her legs in a terrible accident with a killer whale and is struggling to come to terms with her new life she finds Ali’s strength helpful. Under the wing of a local crook, Martial (Bouli Lanners), Ali starts fighting in illegal, bare-knuckle fights and the unbridled violence excites Stephanie. But before the two are lost in their animal behaviours gradually Ali finds his sensitive side. Good performances from the principles as the unlikeliest of lovers.