January 17, 2011

Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan (2010)

A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan, but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like the evil twin sister of the White Swan, the Black Swan.

Aronofsky's dark tale is not for the squeamish, and I found myself getting impatient for the ending, but the last 20 minutes almost made up for the slow first acts.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 01/16/2011]

Posted by mark at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2011

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Brokeback Mountain (2005))

Based on the 'E. Annie Proulx' story about a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys and their lives over the years.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 06/14/2008]

Posted by mark at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

The Visitor (2007)

The Visitor (2007)

A college professor travels to New York City to attend a conference and finds a young couple living in his apartment.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 06/05/2008]

Posted by mark at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

Return to Paradise (1998)

Return to Paradise (1998)

Two friends must choose whether to help a third friend who was arrested in Malaysia for drug possession.

Rating: 6.5

[Viewing Date: 04/13/2008]

Posted by mark at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2011

Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)

Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)

Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 04/03/2008]

Posted by mark at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2011

Save the Tiger (1973)

Save the Tiger (1973)

A businessman's professional struggles begin to conflict with his personal life over the course of two days.

Another great Lemmon performance. Excellent film to watch in preparation for Glengarry Glen Ross.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 03/30/2008]

Posted by mark at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

Patterns (1956)

Patterns (1956)

When Fred Staples is recruited onto the board of a high-powered New York corporation, he finds his ethics and ambition at odds.

A good treatise on what happens when idealism and enthusiasm meets the cutthroat ruthless reality of the business world.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 03/30/2008]

Posted by mark at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2011

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

IMDB: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn't paralyzed.

Amazing tale of man facing the challenge of his own body's disability.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 02/28/2008]

Posted by mark at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

In the Valley of Elah (2007)

IMDB: In the Valley of Elah (2007)

A retired military investigator works with a police detective to uncover the truth behind his son's disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq.

Excellent work by Tommy Lee Jones in this story of the dangers soliders face even off the battlefield.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 02/20/2008]

Posted by mark at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Clayton (2007)

IMDB: Michael Clayton (2007)

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multi-billion dollar class action suit.

Excellent cast, great story, well directed script. Who could ask for any more.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 02/19/2008]

Posted by mark at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

Off the Black (2006)

IMDB: Off the Black (2006)

An aging, disillusioned alcoholic (Nolte) gets a younger friend (Morgan) and wants him to pose as his son at a school reunion.

Another great performance by Nick Nolte, somewhat typecast, but still enjoyable.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 02/17/2008]

Posted by mark at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Gone Baby Gone (2007)

IMDB: Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Two Boston area detectives investigate a little girl's kidnapping, which ultimately turns into a crisis both professionally and personally. Based on the Dennis Lehane novel.

Fine directorial debut of Ben Affleck, good acting from his brother Casey, and great performance as an unsympathetic mother given by Amy Ryan.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 02/17/2008]

Posted by mark at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2008

The Outrage (1964)

IMDB: The Outrage (1964)

Plot Outline:
A Mexican bandit, Juan Carrasco, spies a newlywed couple journeying through rugged country. He confronts them, rape and robbery on his mind, and the husband ends up dead. From the viewpoints of each participant and witness, a different story is told of what "really" happened.

This retelling of Rashomon, while minor in impact, was nevertheless an interesting piece, held together by the ensemble, including Paul Newman, who I didn't even recognize in his part of the Mexican bandit until 30 minutes into the film.

William Shatner's pastoral character was helped by Shatner's somewhat histrionic style - in this case, it wasn't laughable.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 01/26/2008]

Posted by mark at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2008

There Will Be Blood (2007)

IMDB: There Will Be Blood (2007)

Plot Outline:
A story about family, greed, religion, and oil, centered around a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Daniel Day-Lewis gives a breathtaking performance in this wonderful film, most definitely the best performance by any actor I've seen this past year.

Paul Dano, previously in Little Miss Sunshine, makes an admirable effort in the role of Eli Sunday as a foil to Day-Lewis's Daniel Plainview, but there's really no doubt throughout the movie who the 500 lb. gorilla is.

The Jonny Greenwood score (Children of Men) while at times evoking nails on blackboard irritation, is nonetheless truly matched to this epic picture.

Rating: 8

[Viewing Date:01/27/08]

Posted by mark at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2008

Time Bomb (1953)

IMDB: Time Bomb (1953)

Plot Outline:
When a terrorist plants a bomb on board a train, the police call in a US army bomb disposal expert to find, and dismantle it, but after it has been made safe, he has another shock in store.

Fairly tight suspense story, helped by the ensemble of actors.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date:01/24/08]

Posted by mark at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

The Fountainhead (1949)

IMDB: The Fountainhead (1949)

Plot Outline:
An uncompromising, visionary architect struggles to maintain his integrity and individualism despite personal, professional and economic pressures to conform to popular standards.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date:01/21/08]

Posted by mark at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)

Atonement (2007)

IMDB: Atonement (2007)

Plot Outline:
Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's (Keira Knightley) lover (James McAvoy) of a crime he did not commit. Based on the British romance novel by Ian McEwan.

Rating: 8

[Viewing Date:01/20/08]

Posted by mark at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

Fatherland (1994)

IMDB: Fatherland (1994)

Plot Summary:
Fictional account of what might have happend if Hitler had won the war. It is now the 1960s and Germany's war crimes have so far been kept a secret.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date:01/20/08]

Posted by mark at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

The 24th Day (2004)

IMDB: The 24th Day (2004)

Plot Outline:
Tom (Speedman) and Dan's (Marsden) one-night stand turns into an intense power-play between captor and captive.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date:01/19/08]

Posted by mark at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2008

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

IMDB: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

Plot Outline:
Ranch hand Pete Perkins looks to fulfill the promise to his recently deceased best friend by burying him in his hometown in Mexico.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date:01/13/08]

Posted by mark at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

Funny Bones (1995)

IMDB: Funny Bones (1995)

Plot Summary:
Tommy Fawkes wants to be a successful comedian but his Las Vegas debut is a failure. He goes back to Blackpool, UK, where his father, also a comedian started and where he spent the summers of his childhood. He starts to search for a partner, a comic relief, with whom he can be famous.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date:01/12/08]

Posted by mark at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

Big Night (1996)

IMDB: Big Night (1996)

Plot Outline:
A failing Italian restaurant run by two brothers gambles on one special night to try to save the business.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date:01/03/08]

Posted by mark at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

Reign Over Me (2007)

IMDB: Reign Over Me (2007)

Plot Outline:
A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date:01/01/08]

Posted by mark at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

Elephant (2003)

IMDB: Elephant (2003)

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date:12/30/07]

Posted by mark at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

The Great Debaters (2007)

IMDB: The Great Debaters (2007)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date:12/26/07]

Posted by mark at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

Waitress (2007)

IMDB: Waitress (2007)

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date:12/13/07]

Posted by mark at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

The Namesake (2006)

IMDB: The Namesake (2006)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date:12/08/07]

Posted by mark at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2008

A Christmas Memory (1997)

IMDB: A Christmas Memory (1997)

Plot Outline: A boy, Buddy, who's parents have split and who's mother is an actress in New York, has been dumped in the south at the small-town home of some older cousins, all of whom are unmarried.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date:11/16/07]

Posted by mark at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

The Brave One (2007)

IMDB: The Brave One (2007)

Plot Outline:
A woman struggles to recover from a brutal attack by setting out on a mission for revenge.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date:09/16/07]

Posted by mark at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

Shopgirl (2005)

IMDB: Shopgirl (2005)

Plot Outline:
A film adaptation of Steve Martin's novel about a complex love triangle between a bored salesgirl, a wealthy businessman and an aimless young man.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date:08/11/07]

Posted by mark at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

Pride (2007)

IMDB: Pride (2007)

Plot Outline:
The determined Jim Ellis starts a swim team for troubled teens at the Philadelphia Department of Recreation.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date:07/22/07]

Posted by mark at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

Sweet Land (2005)

IMDB: Sweet Land (2005)

Plot Outline:
Set in 1920, Inge travels from Germany to rural Minnesota meet the man destined to be her husband. Bureaucracy and social morality cause major complications.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date:07/15/07]

Posted by mark at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2008

Any Given Sunday (1999)

IMDB: Any Given Sunday (1999)

Plot Outline:
"Any Given Sunday" is a behind the scenes look at the life and death struggles of modern day gladiators and those who lead them.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date:07/08/07]

Posted by mark at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

Black Snake Moan (2006)

IMDB: Black Snake Moan (2006)

Plot Outline:
A God-fearing bluesman (Jackson) takes to a wild young woman (Ricci) who, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, looks everywhere for love, never quite finding it.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 06/27/07]

Posted by mark at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

Breach (2007)

IMDB: Breach (2007)

Plot Outline:
Based on the true story, FBI upstart Eric O'Neill enters into a power game with his boss, Robert Hanssen, an agent who was ultimately convicted of selling secrets to the Soviet Union.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 06/14/07]

Posted by mark at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2007

61* (2001)

IMDB: 61* (2001)

Plot Outline: Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle race to break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 06/09/07]

Posted by mark at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

Good Will Hunting (1997)

IMDB: Good Will Hunting (1997)

Plot Outline:
Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT, has a gift for mathematics which is discovered, and a psychologist tries to help him with his gift and the rest of his life.

Rating: 8

[Viewing Date: 06/02/07]

Posted by mark at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

Good Will Hunting (1997)

IMDB: Music and Lyrics (2007)

Plot Outline:
Will Hunting, a janitor at MIT, has a gift for mathematics which is discovered, and a psychologist tries to help him with his gift and the rest of his life.

Rating: 8

[Viewing Date: 06/02/07]

Posted by mark at 07:07 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2007

Edmond (2005)

IMDB: Edmond (2005)

Plot Outline:
A fortune-tellers teasing rumination sends Edmond Burke lurching into New York City's hellish underworld.

Rating: 6/7

[Viewing Date: 05/31/07]

I rated this as a 6/7 because although intriguing and disturbing wrighting by Mamet, I don't know if it engenders repeat viewing.

Consider it Falling Down 'lite' painted with a coarser brush.

Posted by mark at 09:35 PM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2007

Open Water (2003)

IMDB: Open Water (2003)

Plot Outline:
Based on the true story of two scuba divers accidentally stranded in shark infested waters after their tour boat has left.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 05/27/07]

Posted by mark at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

The High and the Mighty (1954)

IMDB: The High and the Mighty (1954)

Plot Summary:
When a commercial airliner developes engine problems on a trans- Pacific flight and the pilot loses his nerve, it is up to the washed-up co-pilot Dan Roman to bring the plane in safely.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 05/24/07]

Posted by mark at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2007

Mysterious Skin (2004)

IMDB: Mysterious Skin (2004)

Plot Outline:
A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 05/20/07]

Posted by mark at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

Monster (2003)

IMDB: Monster (2003)

Plot Outline:
Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.

Charlize Theron does a remarkable job in this biopic of Wuornos. Ricci also deserves credit for what could have been a throw away role, bringing depth to the character of Wuornos's one true love.

Rating: 8

[Viewing Date: 05/20/07]

Posted by mark at 06:48 PM | Comments (0)

Seraphim Falls (2006)

IMDB: Seraphim Falls (2006)

Plot Outline:
At the end of the Civil War, a colonel hunts down a man with whom he has a grudge.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 05/17/07]

Posted by mark at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2007

The Slender Thread (1965)

IMDB: The Slender Thread (1965)

Plot Outline:
A college volunteer at the crisis phone gets a call from a suicide caller.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 05/12/07]

Posted by mark at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

Tomorrow Is Forever (1946)

IMDB: Tomorrow Is Forever (1946)

Plot Summary:
Elizabeth and John say good-bye as John leaves to go to war. When the war ends, Elizabeth receives a telegram that her husband has been killed in action. She finds comfort in Harry and they marry. John returns 20 years later, disfigured, with a new identity and an adopted daughter, Margaret.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 05/06/07]

Posted by mark at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

Little Children (2006)

IMDB: Little Children (2006)

Plot Outline:
Little Children centers on a group of young marrieds, whose lives intersect on the playgrounds, town pools and streets of their small community in surprising and potentially dangerous ways.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 05/03/07]

Posted by mark at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

Buffalo '66 (1998)

IMDB: Buffalo '66 (1998)

Plot Summary:
Billy is released after five years in prison. In the next moment, he kidnaps teenage student Layla and visits his parents with her.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 04/23/07]

Posted by mark at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)

Tigerland (2000)

IMDB: Tigerland (2000)

Plot Outline:
A group of recruits go through Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana's infamous Tigerland, last stop before Vietnam for tens of thousands of young men in 1971.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 04/01/07]

Posted by mark at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

The Paper (1994)

IMDB: The Paper (1994)

Plot Summary:
Henry Hackett is the editor of a New York City tabloid. He is a workaholic who loves his job, but the long hours and low pay are leading to discontent.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 04/07/07]

Posted by mark at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

Blood Diamond (2006)

IMDB: Blood Diamond (2006)

Plot Outline:
A fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 04/03/07]

Posted by mark at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

Hollywoodland (2006)

IMDB: Hollywoodland (2006)

Plot Outline:
A detective examines the mysterious death of George Reeves, TV's Superman.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 04/01/07]

Posted by mark at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)

The Stunt Man (1980)

IMDB: The Stunt Man (1980)

Plot Outline:
A fugitive stumbles on a movie set just when they need a new stunt man, takes the job as a way to hide out, and falls for the leading lady.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 03/18/07]

Posted by mark at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

Game 6 (2005)

IMDB: Game 6 (2005)

Plot Outline:
Combining real and fictional events, Game 6 centers around the historic 1986 World Series and a day in the life of a playwright who skips opening night to watch the momentous game.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 03/18/07]

Posted by mark at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2007

Longford (2006)

IMDB: Longford (2006)

Plot Outline:
A portrait of Lord Longford, a tireless British campaigner whose controversial beliefs often resulted in furious political debate and personal conflict.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 03/16/07]

Posted by mark at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

Smoke Signals (1998)

IMDB: Smoke Signals (1998)

Plot Summary:
Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversize glasses and telling everyone stories no-one wants to hear.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 03/13/07]

Posted by mark at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

Gideon's Daughter (2005)

IMDB: Gideon's Daughter (2005)

Plot Summary:
Bill Nighy and Miranda Richardson star in a story of grief and celebrity, set in the intense spring and summer of New Labour's election victory and Diana's death. Nighy is a PR guru who has to stop and re-evaluate his world when his daughter threatens to leave his life, perhaps as revenge for his serial infidelities. Richardson plays a mother trying to bury her grief in an unconventional way after the loss of her young son.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 03/03/07]

Posted by mark at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)

SherryBaby (2006)

IMDB: SherryBaby (2006)

Plot Summary:
Sherry Swanson returns home to New Jersey after serving a three year prison sentence. Eager to reestablish a relationship with her young daughter, Sherry soon discovers that coming back to the world she left behind is far more difficult than she had planned.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 02/25/07]

Posted by mark at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

Babel (2006)

IMDB: Babel (2006)

Plot Outline:
Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 02/17/07]

Posted by mark at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

Half Nelson (2006)

IMDB: Half Nelson (2006)

Plot Outline:
An inner-city junior high school teacher with a drug habit forms an unlikely friendship with one of his students after she discovers his secret.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 02/22/07]

Posted by mark at 04:28 PM | Comments (0)

United 93 (2006)

IMDB: United 93 (2006)

Plot Outline:
A real time account of the events on United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on 9/11 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers foiled the terrorist plot.

Rating: 8

[Viewing Date: 02/15/07]

Posted by mark at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2007

Dear Wendy (2005)

IMDB: Dear Wendy (2005)

Plot Outline:
A young boy in a nameless, timeless American town establishes a gang of youthful misfits united in their love of guns and their code of honor.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 02/03/07]

Posted by mark at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2007

Mini's First Time (2006)

IMDB: Mini's First Time (2006)

Plot Outline:
A rebellious girl hooks up with an escort agency where her stepfather is a client.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 01/25/07]

Posted by mark at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Grande silenzio, Il (1968)

IMDB: Grande silenzio, Il (1968)

Plot Outline: Bounty killers led by Loco prey on outlaws hiding out in the snowbound Utah mountains. After Pauline's husband becomes Loco's latest victim, she hires a gunman for revenge; Silence, mute since his throat was cut as a child

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 01/15/07]

Posted by mark at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

Children of Men (2006)

IMDB: Children of Men (2006)

Plot Outline:
In 2027, in a chaotic world in which humans can no longer procreate, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea, where her child's birth may help scientists save the future of humankind.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 01/14/07]

Posted by mark at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2007

The Upside of Anger (2005)

IMDB: The Upside of Anger (2005)

Plot Outline: When her husband unexpectedly disappears, a sharp-witted suburban wife and her daughters juggle their mom's romantic dilemmas and family dynamics.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 01/14/07]

Posted by mark at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2007

Coach Carter (2005)

IMDB: Coach Carter (2005)

Plot Outline: Samuel L. Jackson plays the controversial high school basketball coach who benched his undefeated team due to their collective poor academic record in 1999.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 11/25/06]

Posted by mark at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

The Woodsman (2004)

IMDB: The Woodsman (2004)

Plot Outline: A pedophile returns to his hometown after 12 years in prison and attempts to start a new life.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 01/07/07]

Posted by mark at 08:12 PM | Comments (0)

Pursued (2004)

IMDB: Pursued (2004)

Plot Outline: A fast rising hi tech executive must protect his career and family from the ruthless tactics of a homicidal corporate headhunter.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 01/01/07]

Posted by mark at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

Proof (2005)

IMDB: Proof (2005)

Plot Outline: The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students who wants to search through his papers and her estranged sister who shows up to help settle his affairs.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 12/18/06]

Posted by mark at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

Three Days (2001)

IMDB: Three Days (2001)

Plot Summary: Ten years ago, Andrew married his childhood sweetheart, Beth. Now Andrew's a high-powered literary agent, but his relationship with his wife has not fared as well. When Beth is tragically killed just days before Christmas, an angel gives Andrew the chance to relive the last three days his wife was alive. But he can't change fate and Beth will still lose her life. However, Andrew can still discover the gift Beth needs most from him.

While not in the Must-Have Christmas movies, this was an interesting one if not just for some of the decent portrayals.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 12/17/06]

Posted by mark at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

The Mortal Storm (1940)

IMDB: The Mortal Storm (1940)

Plot Summary: The Roth family lead a quiet life in a small village in the German Alps during the early 1930's. When the Nazi's come to power, the family is divided and Martin Brietner, a family friend is caught up in the turmoil.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 12/09/06]

Posted by mark at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

Dead Man's Shoes (2004)

IMDB: Dead Man's Shoes (2004)

Plot Outline: A disaffected soldier (Considine) returns to his hometown to get even with the thugs who brutalized his mentally-challenged brother (Kebbell) years ago.

Paddy Considine was to me at least, the only redeeming grace of this movie.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 12/09/06]

Posted by mark at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

Chasing Amy (1997)

IMDB: Chasing Amy (1997))

Plot Outline: Holden and Banky are comic book artists. Everything's going good for them until they meet Alyssa, also a comic book artist. Holden falls for her, but his hopes are crushed when he finds out she's a lesbian.

I can see now why folks recommend this early work of Kevin Smith's. I really liked the characters, and found the story to be more than simple formula.

Joey Lauren Adams pretty much eclipses the work of Affleck IMHO.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 12/09/06]

Posted by mark at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2006

Wonderland (2003)

IMDB: Wonderland (2003)

Plot Outline: In the police investigation of a brutal crime scene, one man was at the center of it all: legendary porn star John Holmes.


Kilmer, Bosworth, and Kudrow were quite excellent in the parts they played. The film has you wondering until the end exactly who is telling the truth, and who was really responsible for the multiple murders that day.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 11/12/06]

Posted by mark at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

The Cooler (2003)

IMDB: The Cooler (2003)

Plot Outline: In an old school Las Vegas casino, its top gambling jinx breaks his curse when he falls in love, much to his boss' consternation.


William H. Macy -- does this guy ever make a bad movie? He is such a sublime artist, I believe the answer is no. There are movies that suffer for many other reasons than that Macy is in them, but that's another story (Spartan for example)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 11/12/06]

Posted by mark at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

American Gun (2005)

IMDB: American Gun (2005)

Plot Outline: Seemingly disparate portraits of people -- among them a single mother, a high school principal, and an ace student -- Distinctly American -- all affected by the proliferation of guns in American society.


Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 10/15/06]

Posted by mark at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2006

"Reilly: The Ace of Spies" (1983)

IMDB: "Reilly: The Ace of Spies" (1983)

Plot Outline: A dramatization of the missions and adventures of the greatest spy in British history.


Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 10/11/06]

Posted by mark at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

Flight of the Phoenix (2004)

IMDB: Flight of the Phoenix (2004)

Plot Outline: Survivors of a plane crash in the Mongolian desert work together to build a new plane.


Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 10/01/06]

Posted by mark at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

The Illusionist (2006)

IMDB: The Illusionist (2006)

Plot Outline: In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a magician (Norton) uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing.


Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 09/17/06]

Posted by mark at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

IMDB: Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

Plot Outline: In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma; a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.


Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 09/05/06]

Posted by mark at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2006

This Girl's Life (2003)

IMDB: This Girl's Life (2003)

Plot Outline: "Slice of life" take on life of international porn celebrity, Moon, and her musings on modern life, love and loss.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 08/27/06]

Posted by mark at 07:34 PM | Comments (0)

Emperor of the North Pole (1973)

IMDB: Emperor of the North Pole (1973)

Plot Outline: The Hobos vs. Ernest Borgnine.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 08/21/06]

Posted by mark at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

Max (2002)

IMDB: Max (2002)

Plot Outline: A film studying the depiction of a friendship between an art dealer named Rothman and his student, Adolf Hitler.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 08/19/06]

Posted by mark at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

Fail-Safe (1964)

IMDB: Fail-Safe (1964)

Plot Outline: American planes are sent to deliver a nuclear attack on Moscow, but it's a mistake due to an electrical malfunction.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 08/15/06]

Posted by mark at 06:27 PM | Comments (0)

Syriana (2005)

IMDB: Syriana (2005)

Plot Outline: A politically-charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 08/13/06]

Posted by mark at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

Ransom (1975)

IMDB: Ransom (1975)

Plot Summary: A gang of hijackers led by Ian McShane seize a British plane as it is landing in Scandinavia.

Even Sean Connery can't seem to put much oomph in this bland telling of a terrorist highjacking.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 08/12/06]

Posted by mark at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

World Trade Center (2006)

IMDB: World Trade Center (2006)

Plot Outline: Two Port Authority police officers become trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 08/10/06]

Posted by mark at 06:08 PM | Comments (0)

Fear (1996)

IMDB: Fear (1996)

Plot Outline: A 16 year old girl takes up with a charming young man who quickly shows his colors when he beats a friend simply for walking with her and then goes totally ballistic after she tries to break up with him.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 08/07/06]

Posted by mark at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

Matewan (1987)

IMDB: Matewan (1987)

Plot Outline: A labor union organizer comes to an embattled mining community brutally and violently dominated and harassed by the mining company.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 08/06/06]

Posted by mark at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

One Way Passage (1932)

IMDB: One Way Passage (1932)

Plot Outline: Suave Dan Hardesty, a convicted murderer, is apprehended by Steve Burke, a police detective, in Hong Kong and accompanied on the SS Maloa headed for San Francisco. On board, Dan romances Joan Ames, a terminally ill socialite. She is unaware that his ultimate destination is San Quentin. Both realize that their time together is fleeting so they make a pact to meet at a Mexican night club on New Years Eve. When they part in San Francisco they know that the odds are against them.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 08/06/06]

Posted by mark at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

Dante's Inferno (1935)

IMDB: Dante's Inferno (1935)

Plot Outline: Jim Carter moves in on the McWade's carnival concession which shows scenes from Dante's "Inferno". He makes it a going concern, marrying Betting along the way. An inspector calls the amusement pier unsafe but Carter bribes him. The pier collapses, leading to the inspector's suicide, injury to Pop McWade, trial for Carter, and Betty's leaving him. Carter starts over with an unsafe floating casino.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 08/06/06]

Posted by mark at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

Nazi Agent (1942)

IMDB: Nazi Agent (1942)

A story of German-born identical twins (both played by Veidt), one a loyal American and the other, a Nazi official. The American is forced to help a group of German spies, but eventually rebels, kills his brother, impersonates him, and exposes the ring.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 08/02/06]

Posted by mark at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2006

Saturday's Children (1940)

IMDB: Saturday's Children (1940)

Pretty Bobby Halevy loves Rims Rosson, a dreamer and inventor without much going for him.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 07/17/06]

Posted by mark at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

Palindromes (2004)

IMDB: Palindromes (2004)

Aviva is thirteen, awkward and sensitive. Her mother Joyce is warm and loving, as is her father, Steve, a regular guy who does have a fierce temper from time to time. The film revolves around her family, friends and neighbors.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 07/09/06]

Posted by mark at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

The Wool Cap (2004)

IMDB: The Wool Cap (2004)

The mute superintendent of a ramshackle apartment building, becomes the unwilling guardian of a little girl with an attitude.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 07/08/06]

Posted by mark at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

Sydney (1996) (aka Hard Eight)

IMDB: Sydney (1996)

John has lost all his money. He sits outside a diner in the desert when Sydney happens along, buys him coffee...

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 07/08/06]

Posted by mark at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

The Last Hit (1993)

IMDB: The Last Hit (1993)

A retired asassin tries to make himself at home in New Mexico.

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 07/06/06]

Posted by mark at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

IMDB: Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

A young girl from South Los Angeles tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 07/05/06]

Posted by mark at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2006

Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002)

IMDB: Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002)

Blurb: "Three women's escapes from their afflicted lives. Each struggles to flee from the men who confine their personal freedom."

Great women's empowerment trilogy by Rebecca Miller. Sedgwick, Posey, and Balk all give strong performances.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 06/20/06]

Posted by mark at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

The Notebook (2004)

IMDB: The Notebook (2004)

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 06/16/06]

Posted by mark at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

Broken Flowers (2005)

IMDB: Broken Flowers (2005)

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 06/14/06]

Posted by mark at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

The Business of Strangers (2001)

IMDB: The Business of Strangers (2001)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 05/31/06]

Posted by mark at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

Transamerica (2005)

IMDB: Transamerica (2005)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 05/30/06]

Posted by mark at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

The Good Thief (2002)

IMDB: The Good Thief (2002)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 05/27/06]

Posted by mark at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

The Player (1992)

IMDB: The Player (1992)

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 05/23/06]

Posted by mark at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

Sweet and Lowdown (1999)

IMDB: Sweet and Lowdown (1999)

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 05/21/06]

Posted by mark at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

IMDB: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 05/15/06]

Posted by mark at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

Lone Star (1996)

IMDB: Lone Star (1996)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 05/26/06]

Posted by mark at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2006

Fury (1936)

IMDB: Fury (1936)

Fritz Lang's first American production works well as a study on vengeance and mob rule.

A solid cast including Spencer Tracy as Joe Wilson, the believer in all things good, who barely escapes death from a lynch mob and subsequently seeks vengeance on them.

Trivia: 'Terry', the Cairn Terrier, played Joe's dog Rainbow, and later played Toto in The Wizard of Oz.

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 05/07/06]

Posted by mark at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2006

Man on Fire (2004)

IMDB: Man on Fire (2004)

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 04/23/06]

Posted by mark at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

Crash (2004)

IMDB: Crash (2004)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 04/22/06]

Posted by mark at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

The Browning Version (1994)

IMDB: The Browning Version (1994)

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 04/16/06]

Posted by mark at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

Mr. Lucky (1943)

IMDB: Mr. Lucky (1943)

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 04/10/06]

Posted by mark at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

Gone with the Wind (1939)

IMDB: Gone with the Wind (1939)

Rating: 8

[Viewing Date: 03/26/06]

Posted by mark at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

On the Waterfront (1954)

IMDB: On the Waterfront (1954)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 03/25/06]

Posted by mark at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

IMDB: Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 03/24/06]

Posted by mark at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

21 Grams (2003)

IMDB: 21 Grams (2003)

Rating: 6

[Viewing Date: 03/19/06]

Posted by mark at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

Hustle & Flow (2005)

IMDB: Hustle & Flow (2005)

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 03/04/06]

Posted by mark at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

Cherish (2002)

IMDB: Cherish (2002)

Rating: 5

[Viewing Date: 03/01/06]

Posted by mark at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2006

Junebug (2005)

IMDB: Junebug (2005)

[Viewing Date: 02/26/06]

Posted by mark at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)

The Gift (2000)

IMDB: The Gift (2000)

[Viewing Date: 02/25/06]

Posted by mark at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

Bully (2001)

IMDB: Bully (2001)

[Viewing Date: 02/19/06]

Posted by mark at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

Unagi (1997) "The Eel"

IMDB: Unagi (1997)

[Viewing Date: 02/18/06]

Posted by mark at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

IMDB: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

[Viewing Date: 02/11/06]

Posted by mark at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2006

Munich (2005)

IMDB: Munich (2005)

Eric Bana, once again, gives a great performance as Avner, the Mossad officer given a task by Golda Meir to hunt down and assassinate the Palestinian terrorists who killed the Israeli Olympic athletes taken hostage in Munich in 1972.

Rating: 7

[Viewing Date: 01/22/06]

Posted by mark at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2005

The Petrified Forest (1936)

IMDB: The Petrified Forest (1936)

Humphrey Bogart (in a character role he played on stage) is intense as Duke Mantee -- based on John Dillinger, in this great crime drama. I haven't watched this since college, but seeing Betty Davis give cow eyes to Leslie Howard is a hard image to forget.

Rating: 7

Posted by mark at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2005

Love Liza (2002)

IMDB: Love Liza (2002)

Although quite dark in theme, once again Phillip Seymore Hoffman, arguably the best thespian of the day, portrays a strongly disturbed and hurt character with passion and grace.

Rating: 7

Posted by mark at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Prime Cut (1972)

IMDB: Prime Cut (1972)

Great 'Bad Boys' fare with Gene Hackman being the true scum of the earth and Lee Marvin as hitman seeking redemption.

Rating: 7

Posted by mark at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

Four Brothers (2005)

IMDB: Four Brothers (2005)

The Boyz n the Hood director does an ok family revenge movie. Wahlberg is tolerable, but suspension of disbelief is a requirement for what transpires.

Rating: 5

Posted by mark at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2005

The Americanization of Emily (1964)

IMDB: The Americanization of Emily (1964)

This Arthur Hiller anti-war film has lost none of it's power in the 40 years since it's initial release. I believe I first saw it in the 70's while in college and after seeing 'The Great Escape' became forever a fan of James Garner. His character was actually quite similar in both films, but two more different pictures you'd be hard pressed to find.

The Paddy Chayefsky treatment of the William Bradford Huie novel is quite exceptional. For a black comedy, the dialogue retains a sublime nature, memorable, while entertaining.

I still, to this day, can't see why Julie Andrews was cast as the love interest in the film, but she does a decent bit of work and seeing her popularity level during that timeline, I guess the studios thought her to be a good pick.

Rating: 7

Posted by mark at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2005

The Bedford Incident (1965)

The Bedford Incident (1965)

I never tire of watching this movie. The fantastic cast and depth of characters easily maintains the tension of this Cold War classic.

To say that submarine chaser Capt. Eric Finlander (Richard Widmark) maintains a taut ship is an understatement. In fact, it takes little time for the audience to realize that it is inevitible that something, or someone, will snap.

Discovering a Russian sub inside the territorial waters of Greenland leads to an oceanic cat and mouse game, but the real match of wits and fears is onboard the sub chaser.

Sidney Poitier's reporter Ben Munceford is probably the weakest performance -- he barely manages to compete with the inexorably determined Finlander.

Martin Balsam shines as the ineffable ship's doctor, and of course James McCarther (Hawaii Five O) is memorable for his small role as the somewhat too anxious to please Ensign Ralston.

Rating: 7

Posted by mark at 05:50 PM

May 30, 2005

Unleashed (2005)

IMDB: Unleashed (2005)

This is the part that allows Jet Li to show a bit of himself aside from his martial arts prowess. If you're looking for lots of kung-fu-Jet-Li this is really not the vehicle for that.

While there's plenty of decent fighting in this film, it is the character studies that push the film above the baseline of standard martial arts fare.

Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins portray the salvation mentor (Freeman) and animal trainer (Hoskins).

Li meanwhile, decides on his own what path he wishes to follow, and it is that decision that causes most of the agitation of the film.

Rating: 7

Posted by mark at 08:11 PM

My Family (1995)

IMDB: My Family (1995)

Strong performances, especially from Jimmy Smits, but unfortunately the script drags this generational family saga into the ground.

Rating: 5

Posted by mark at 07:38 PM

Garden State (2004)

IMDB: Garden State (2004)

Quirky life slice flick -- it was enjoyable, but didn't hold the level of revelation that the critics tried to impart.

Rating: 5

Posted by mark at 07:19 PM

February 13, 2005

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

IMDB: Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Plot Outline: A hardened trainer/manager works with a determined woman in her attempt to establish herself as a boxer.

A remarkable story of self-proclaimed "White Trash" Margaret Fitzgerald (Hillary Swank) who has a dream to become a world champion boxer, persists in asking trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) to take her on.

Dunn eventually gives in, with some coaxing from friend, and former boxer, Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris (Morgan Freeman) who sees the potential in Maggie's talent.

What starts as a sports achievement success story, suddenly changes two thirds of the way through the movie to a different story entirely, but you'll have to watch it to discover for yourself what I found to be a fantastic picture.

I can't encourage you enough to go and see this. Eastwood and company have once again produced a remarkable life story of dreams of sucess and desire, old mentors and youth, life's constant challenges all in the framework of 'real world' situations.

For those who've only seen the trailers, let me at least tell you that this is *not* a remake of Rocky with Hillary Swank playing Sly Stallone's character. It is instead a multi-faceted tale that reminded me more of the textures of The Shawhank Redemption (perhaps because of the narration by Morgan Freeman) and was chock full of vignettes of humor, angst, tragedy, and triumph.

Go see it!

Rating: 8

Posted by mark at 09:37 PM