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Movie Reviews


Cherien Dabis’s May in the Summer (Dabis is the writer, director, and star of the film, as well as a co-producer) follows May and her sisters – who all grew up in the U.S. — on a visit to Amman, Jordan to prepare for May’s wedding. The wedding is the central plot device of the film, and in some ways is also its central flaw. May’s devoutly Christian mother (Hiam Abbass) disapproves of her Palestinian Muslim fiancé Ziad (Alexander Siddig in almost no screen time whatsoever), who is a high-profile scholar in the U.S.  Additionally, May and Ziad are trying to hide their cold feet from Ziad’s mother who is deliriously into wedding planning, while May juggles the dramas of [...]

Movie Review: THE GIVER

Based on Lois Lowry’s novel, as a film The Giver manages to be unsatisfying as entertainment while also, somehow, being emotionally effective. If you’re not already familiar with Lowry’s novel, the plot takes place in a centrally planned society that has eliminated difference, conflict, and emotion. The Giver is the story of Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), who is training to be the one person allowed cultural memory and emotion in his society, referred to as The Community. While Jonas is supposed to keep his learning secret, he is ebullient at discoveries like music, dance, and colors.  He stops taking his government mandated medication that suppresses emotion, and shares these items with his family and with his two wary best friends, drone [...]

Movie Review: BEGIN AGAIN

If you are looking for a traditional romance where boy meets girl and, after a bunch of mishaps, eventually gets girl, Begin Again is absolutely, positively not your movie.  But if you’re looking for a deeply romantic story about collaboration and friendship with a side-dish on the consequences of fame, Begin Again is a delightful mishmash of genres even if its heroine is underwritten and the script doesn’t ultimately deliver on the initial promise of its structure. Visiting New York City from the U.K. as her musician boyfriend Dave (a perfectly cast Adam Levine) gets his big break, Greta (the always charming Keira Knightly) winds up sleeping on her friend Steve’s (James Corden) couch when Dave has an affair with [...]

GODZILLA—A Surprising Love Story

When I was a little girl, I watched old-school Godzilla on Ted Turner’s Supersation 17 (or TBS for you real old-timers) in Atlanta, Georgia. I might have just dated myself. Let’s keep that between us, yeah?
I remember Godzilla being this big, scary dinosaur/sea/who-knows-what-it-is monster and of course I remember people scattering like ants when he roared. I remember the epic battles with Mothra, Ghidora and King Kong. Death, mass destruction, mayhem—Godzilla was one of the original death-bringers. So when my three teen girls asked me to take them to see the new Godzilla, I was skeptical. I expected more death, mass destruction and mayhem only this time (SPOILER ALERT PEOPLE) Godzilla was a good monster, full of love and caring for the human race—look, I could be stretching that a bit, but bear with me.

Bottom line?

Weekend Viewing: The Fault in Our Stars

It’s always tricky to convert a beloved book into a film. Thankfully, The Fault in Our Stars doesn’t disappoint—mostly due to the casting of Hazel and Gus. From the first glimpse of Hazel (Shailene Woodley from Divergent), you know she is perfect for the part. Although she’s not take-your-breath-away beautiful, you love her more for that. She’s tough yet sensitive; sarcastic, yet vulnerable; nonchalant, yet scared to show her true emotions. Enter Gus (Ansel Elgort, also from Divergent): the whole theater swooned when he came into the frame, but at first I was disappointed. Gus didn’t match my image of a really hot Gus. But as the movie progressed my opinion  quickly changed.  Ansel  charmed me with his ability to give [...]

Weekend Viewing: The Other Woman

This week I got to go to an advance screening of THE OTHER WOMAN (!) which made me feel both very special and very excited because it had been on my list of movies to see this month. I love a good rom-com and in that department, THE OTHER WOMAN delivers. The basic set-up of the movie is that high-power NYC lawyer, Carly (Cameron Diaz–rom-com veteran) has been dating entrepreneur Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who happens to be very married to Kate King (Leslie Mann). She discovers this when she makes an impromptu (and sexy) visit to his house in Connecticut and Kate answers the door. While Kate comes to grips with the fact that everything she thought she knew [...]

DIVERGENT Review: Theo James is beautiful & Girl Power to the MAX

Editor’s note: Spoilers (and the abnormally beautiful Theo James) ahead! Read at your own risk. A week ago today, the young adult phenomenon DIVERGENT–the big screen adaptation of the first book in Veronica Roth’s wildly popular series–was released in theaters. And as an avid reader of all things YA and anything with an even remotely feminist undercurrent, I was there on opening night. If you haven’t read the book, you should go read it right now. But to save us both some time, here are the basics. In this world, the entire population is split into Factions: Abnegation (the selfless) Candor (the honest) Erudite (the intelligent) Amity (the peaceful) and Dauntless (the BADASSES! AKA the fearless) Tris, our heroine (played [...]

Weekend Viewing: Afternoon Delight

Last night was one of those flip around on In Demand, looking aimlessly for something to watch evenings. I still haven’t seen Gravity and my husband hasn’t seen Dallas Buyers Club, but instead of watching one of the big films of last year, we decided to try something called Afternoon Delight,  the story of a young mother with a lackluster marriage who brings a stripper home to be her live-in nanny. Rachel, a married mother of a young son living with her husband Jeff (Josh Radnor, aka Ted Mosby) in a beautiful house in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. (Rachel is played by the fabulous actress Katherine Hahn, whom I first saw on the first season of Girls as [...]

About Last Night and Endless Love: Why I Won’t See the Re-Makes

Valentine’s Day weekend brings the remake of two iconic romance films from the 1980′s: Endless Love, starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt, and About Last Night, starring Demi Moore and Rob Lowe.  Let’s start with Endless Love: Fifteen year old Jade Butterfield is in love with her seventeen year old boyfriend, David Axelrod, and he is obsessively in love with her. They exist in that sort of passion bubble – the kind that makes anyone who has been lucky enough to experience it believe that love is, in fact, a form of temporary insanity. David has ingratiated himself into Jade’s family, a household of fading WASP grandeur and bohemianism. David’s parents are strict Jewish intellectuals. Anyway, Jade and David’s flagrant [...]

Library Lovers’ Month Movie Picks

It’s not so easy to find a good movie about a librarian. Very few actually exist. Sure, there are movies about book lovers (Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Kathleen Kelly from You’ve Got Mail, Jocelyn from Jane Austen Book Club), but there are almost none about librarians. BUT, I did manage to find one excellent movie from the 90′s. Excellent because 1) Parker Posey plays a librarian 2) She wears awesome 90′s clothes 3) She makes librarians seem as cool as they really are and 4)It’s streaming on Netflix so you don’t even have to leave your bed to watch it. Check out the trailer below and let me know what you think. Will you watch it? Do you have another favorite librarian [...]

Rom Com Review: Friends With Kids

This weekend I was looking for a movie to watch and stumbled upon the 2011 Romantic Comedy Friends With Kids starring Jennifer Westfeldt (Julie) and Adam Scott (Jason) as two friends who decide to have a child together without being in a romantic relationship. The supporting cast is made up of Maya Rudolph (Leslie) and Chris O’Dowd (Alex) as a couple living with two kids in Brooklyn and Kristen Wiig (Missy) and Jon Hamm (Ben) as a couple who begin to hate each other after the birth of their first child. Seeing what’s happened to their married friends post-children, Julie and Jason think they’re going to beat the system with their arrangement. And they do–for a while. image from [...]

Happy “Le Week-End”

Happy Saturday! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend. You’ll enjoy it even more once you watch this trailer for a sweet new romantic comedy called Le Week-End. It’s about a British couple who “return to Paris many years after their honeymoon there in an attempt to rejuvenate their marriage.” Starring Jim Broadbent and Lindsey Duncan, it’s a story about falling in love again. I’m a total sucker for films about second chances at love a la It’s Complicated and this looks like it will be a good one. In limited release in the USA in March 2014. 

Bill Murray Gets Romantic in Groundhog Day :)

Happy Groundhog Day! To celebrate we’re watching the romantic moments from Groundhog Day, the movie because who doesn’t love a sweet, sappy Bill Murray? Enjoy!  

Flowers in the Attic – Movie Review

In anticipation of last night’s Lifetime original movie, I re-read the novel. I thought there’s no way it  could live up to my girlhood experience of the story. It did. I watched the movie trailer a few times. Clearly, the filmmakers were trying to hit all the high points: Corinne revealing her lashed body to her children, the forbidden passion between Chris and Cathy — even the detail about the grandmother wearing a wig. And the song! A chilling re-make of “Sweet Child of Mind” by the band Taken by Trees.  I was feeling it. And judging by the exploding blogosphere, I was far from alone. Last night was the moment of truth. The opening gave me hope: The film [...]

One Month and Counting: Endless Love

One month from today is an auspicious day on the romance calendar – and I don’t just mean Valentine’s Day. It’s the day the re-make of Endless Love hits theaters.   While I’m thrilled for any chance to see Alex Pettyfer without a shirt on, I’m not feeling confident this new film will rival the (arguably terrible) original. Yes, the original was pretty bad — but it was a cultural moment. The theme song “Endless Love” performed by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie dominated the radio. The book was re-released with a new cover of Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt in bed. And Brooke Shields, while a lousy actress, was an icon of that decade. She was so ridiculously beautiful [...]

Flowers in the Attic: Chris and Cathy Return

In anticipation of Lifetime’s upcoming Flowers in the Attic film (starring Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham) I’m going to re-read the book. It’s been decades since I last opened it, and I’m a little wary of breaking the spell it cast over me the first time around. What is it about this series that burned it into our minds? After a lifetime of reading, I’ve never experienced anything else quite like it. Author Megan Abbott (Dare Me) and Sara Grun wrote a brilliant piece about the book on the 30th anniversary of its publication in The Believer. The movie airs Saturday, January 18th at 8PM on Lifetime. I’ll be tuning in – and discussing here the next day.