Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Prisoners #1 film weekend of Sept 20-22 2013

How do you write about a film that is a puzzle within a maze in a mysterious drama?

You start where the movie starts. There are two families who live on the same street who come together to celebrate Thanksgiving When the youngest daughter of each family disappears ALL of their lives begin to spiral out of control. The wonderful cast that makes up Prisoners includes Jake Gyllenhaal (who and I would be lying to you and myself if I didn't admit this was the main reason I wanted to see this flick). But there is so much more to this intriguing film.

The amazing Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover a carpenter and a father who teaches his son to hunt, gives his daughter a whistle to use in case of emergencies and has a basement full of canned food just in case. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Detective Loki and is the first to get the call that the girls are missing and makes it his personal mission to find them before it is too late. As Locki goes by the book, for the most part, to question each suspect, Dover deals with one suspect, a grown man with the IQ of a 10 year old played by Paul Dano, in his own "special" way. In fact each of the characters deal with the girls disappearance in their individual way, Maria Bello who plays Jackman's wife completely shuts down and Franklin, friend and father to the other missing girl played by the superb Terrence Howard may know what his friend is up to with the suspect but keeps it to himself at least until his wife Nancy played by the wonderful Viola Davis asks. A unrecognizable Melissa Leo also stars.

Director Denis Villeneuve and Cinematographer Roger Deakins shoot each frame with such love and perfection that one feels like they are in Pennsylvania on a cold Thanksgiving week. Prisoners is a tense and suspenseful game of cat and mouse, a thriller with twists at every new turn around each corner. Screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski story will have the viewer on the edge of their seat as Hugh Jackman leaves Wolverine way way behind. If there is one thing I learned from this well made film is that you really never know who is living in your suburban neighborhood and some of them are really creepy. As hard as it was to watch, once, I will have to see Prisoners again partly for the good film that it is and partly because I know there were clues that I missed the first time.

P.S. If you are a parent with small children whom I'm sure you love you may want to skip this one or risk  staying up all night in his or her room to watch as they sleep and hopefully stay safe.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Neighbors-Watch now!

An family of 4 just trying to make it through this thing we call life, with a twist, is how I would begin to describe this quirky sitcom. This family is from another planet and choose their names from some of earth's popular sports figures. They along with others of their kind live in a gated community and were quite happy and unknown to the outside world, that is until a human family moved in next door.

 When I first read about The Neighbors I thought it sounded like a horrible idea and that it would only last a week and quickly be forgotten, boy was I pleasantly surprised be the time the first episode had ended.

As these two families come to learn from one anther they begin to like each other. It is a joy to watch this talented cast and every moment between the unusual characters is perfect.

This show is fun and fascinating and I find myself laughing, unexpectedly at/with each episode. As the only new sitcom that survived last season to return for this one I strongly suggest those who haven't to tune in just in case it disappears from this planet forever.

The Neighbors on Fridays at 8:30 on ABC!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Goodbye to Burn Notice

"When you're burned, you've got nothing: no cash, no credit, no job history...."

   When Burn Notice premiered on The USA Network in  2007 I tuned in to see my favorite “B” list actor Bruce Campbell (Whom I fell in love with while watching the short lived but brilliant The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.) and as the season progressed I became a fan.

Burn Notice, you were a TV series about ex-CIA Agent Michael Westen played perfectly by Jeffrey Donovan. With former Navy Seal and  best friend Sam Axe (Campbell) and ex-IRA member and girlfriend Fiona “Fi” Glenanne  played by the wonderful and lovely Gabrielle Anwar ( I 1st saw her as Queen Anne in The Three Musketeers with Chris O’Donnell in 1993) and every once in a while his mom, Madeline played by Sharon Gless 

   For 7 seasons the three lived and worked in Miami.  Each week they would come to help those who needed their “special” kind of help.  Whether it was a single mom trying to find her kidnapped son, a dangerous old foe trying to get his hands on chemical weapons or the U.S. government doing whatever they could to stop him, Michael and his "gang" (later joined by fellow burned CIA guy Jesse played by Colby Bell) always got their man or woman.

Michael was the brains as his voice over told the viewer how to make it through a high speed car chase without much destruction or open a safe, usually using only what was on your person (Paper clip and shoe string anyone :)?) 
Fi was the explosives expect. You have to love a girl who knows her bombs!
Sam or is it Chuck Finley was always there to lend a hand, 
Mom Maddie was the heart, always worried about her son never knowing what he was doing but supported him and Fi along the way,
By the time Jesse joined the series it went from a weekly procedural to a three year long story arc that cleared Michael of his burn notice but then things with his old boss and career really got complicated.
In then end you helped make the USA Network a place for prime time TV and were one of the most entertaining shows of the decade.
Goodbye to the cast and crew of Burn Notice maybe a spin-off starring "Chuck Finley" would make losing you less hurtful (A girl can dream). 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Nothing to do flick pick-Beasts of the Southern Wild

         Sometimes a film comes along that you didn’t catch in theaters but gets all of the industry nominations so you know it is good and you have to watch it. When you do finally have the time to sit and watch it on some lazy day when you have nothing else to do you never know what to expect. With 4 oscar nomination earlier this year, including best movie and actress (youngest ever.) I knew Beasts of the Southern Wild was going to be a treat. I didn’t know it would be such a delicious treat with many layers and a satisfying end.

Directed by newcomer Benh Zeitlin and written by him and Lucy Alibar based on her play. This beautiful film takes place in a part of this country that I never knew about but won't forget, The Bathtub a Louisiana Bayou.  The story centers around a father played by  Dwight Henry and his 6 year old daughter played by newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis who live in this small community where everyone knows one another and they all look after each other especially when a major storm hits their tiny piece of the country and are cut off from the rest of humanity. But let me get back to the father called Wink and his young daughter Hushpuppy who is also the storyteller. At first they didn’t seem to get along, as I watched I felt like she was someone the father wanted nothing to do with. I was proven wrong as the film went on. All the father really wanted for his daughter was that she survived. He taught her everything he could in order to do this, including a cute little scene where he is teaching her to fish by placing her hand into the water and wait for a fish to come to her then grab and “punch it”. When the storm hits the two take shelter in their small roughly put together home. Father and daughter survive along with others in the town including the female owner of a bar, two elderly men and a teacher looking after three orphans. They live and celebrate life together within the bar as they wait for the levees to open allowing the water to go down so they can walk on land once again.

Every year I watch The Oscars and every year I hear those who are say “it’s just an honor to be nominated “ which can be hard to believe them but every once in a while a film comes along that just being nominated is TRULY a honor. I say Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of those films. It is beautiful to watch, a roller coaster of emotion from beginning to end and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. The story is not what I expected, in a good way, and the entire (small) cast is amazing. In the end there was a great lesson to be learned a lesson about knowing who you are and finding your place in this large world.  

If you haven’t seen this passionate little film find a copy and watch Beasts of the Southern Wild

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Ian Ziering
Tara Reid
Sharks swimming in the streets of L.A.
One climbing up a rope.

Enough Said.