"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, June 26, 2010

SNMR 8.12: "Up In The Air"


Only six other people in the world have done it. To be the seventh has been Ryan Bingham's (George Clooney) goal for the longest time. But it's a goal he's kept to himself: accumulating a total of ten million air miles. He's even pictured in his mind the conversation he'd have with the airline pilot when he passed the milestone. He's got a great, albeit stressful job flying around the country firing people from their jobs. His company is hired to perform this task when the employer doesn't have the guts to do it themselves. Ryan is perfect for the job because he's single with no kids and unattached, even to his sisters.

On one particular trip, Ryan meets the sexy Alex (Vera Farmiga), a savvy business traveler who is his match in air travel. They start a conversation and become friends. More than friends when their schedules connect.

Then there's Natalie (Anna Kendrick), the bright, sexy, young newcomer to Ryan's company that has a program to bring all of the company's meetings into the virtual world, which will save the company millions per year on air travel and hotel expenses. The boss, Craig (Jason Bateman), loves the idea, but Ryan doesn't. Feeling threatened by this new way of doing business, and therefore losing his freedom, Ryan and Natalie hit the road so she can see what the job is like sitting across from the people whose lives they are ruining in the guise of 'new opportunities.'

Jason Reitman continues to prove that he is one of the best young directors Hollywood has today, following up his previous box office successes Thank You For Smoking and Juno with this film, which was nominated for six Academy Awards at the 2010 Oscars.

The cast is superb. George Clooney continues to show why he's an Oscar winning actor with another smooth, believable, Oscar nominated performance. Less well known are co-stars Vera Farmiga and youngster Anna Kendrick, who each deservedly garnered their own Oscar nominations for their work in this movie. What's up with Jason Bateman? He seems to be in everything that I've seen recently. Bateman and many of the other supporting cast have appeared in multiple films directed by Reitman and they don't disappoint.

Reitman again does a fine job converting previously published material into a fine script and because of this movie, I'm eventually going to read the novel on which it is based.

I found it surprising that this film was shown at twelve different film festivals between September 2009 and its wide US release just before Christmas last year.

This movie would have earned five out of five stars if not for one of the last scenes, which I thought was a bit harsh and caught me off guard.

There wasn't much in the way of extras on the DVD, aside from the director's feature commentary and requisite deleted scenes, which was disappointing.

Even so, this was an excellent movie which deserved all of the hype it received and is worthwhile to own if you're of a mind to do so.

****½ out of *****

Up In The Air (2009, R, 109 minutes), starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick and Jason Bateman. Based on the novel by Walter Kirn. Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner. Directed by Jason Reitman.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Birthday to me

41. XLI. A prime number. Cool.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

SNMR 8.11: "Ghost World"


Best friends and social misfits Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) have just graduated from high school and have no idea what they want to do next. Especially Enid, who has to take an art appreciation summer school class for failing art. They both decide that they do not want to go to college. One day they read a really pathetic sounding ad in the personals section of the paper and jokingly decide to answer it as a prank. When they see Seymour (Steve Buscemi), the dweeb who wrote it, they don't let him know who they are, letting him think he's been stood up. Some time after Enid and Seymour meet again and become friends. Then the one time prank turns in a way that no one expected.

I must confess that I was not aware that this movie originated from a graphic novel, nor had I ever heard of this movie before. The only reason I borrowed it from the library is because it has Scarlett Johansson in it and I've become a huge fan of hers lately. That Steve Buscemi was in it too was a bonus. He's not your prototypical Hollywood actor but still very good here. The only other movie I can recall seeing Thora Birch in is American Beauty. Birch and Johansson have a good on screen chemistry and are convincing as best friends. The supporting cast, specifically Douglas and Balaban, is good.

Terry Zwigoff doesn't have much directing experience but overall he does a good job with this movie. It has reasonably good pacing and doesn't sag for long too often. I like the fact that author Daniel Clowes co-wrote the screenplay with Zwigoff, which makes it a stronger movie.

I liked how this movie ends, even though it didn't really end like I thought it might.

The DVD extras include some short deleted scenes, a short "making of" feature and the full 1965 music video featured at the beginning of the film that Enid is dancing to.

This is not a movie that I can see owning but was worthwhile to watch as a freebie from the library.

*** out of *****

Ghost World (2001, R, 111 minutes), starring Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Bucemi, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas and Bob Balaban. Based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. Screenplay by Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff. Directed by Terry Zwigoff.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another summer of Big Brother fun


Saturday, June 12, 2010

SNMR 8.10: "Bringing Up Baby"


The two things straight laced paleontologist Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant) wants most is a philanthropic grant of a million dollars for his museum and an intercostal clavicle bone to complete his prized brontosaurus skeleton. What he doesn't want is to be around the eccentric Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) yet he keeps running into her and getting mixed up in her scatterbrained schemes. Much to his chagrin he learns that she is the key to getting the money that his museum needs. Throw in a superior supporting cast, a dog named George with a penchant for burying anything and everything, a tame 300 pound leopard named Baby, and a not-so tame leopard from the local zoo. Then mix those in with a boatload of improbable situations and voila!

This is a terrific, old fashioned, madcap, screwball comedy written by Hagar Wilde and Dudley Nichols and deftly directed by the great film maker Howard Hawks. The pace is frenetic from the get-go and never lets up - a pace only topped by Hawks own His Girl Friday which would be released two years after this. Who knew Katharine Hepburn could do comedy as good as she does? This film is simply about as good as comedy gets.

I watched the two disc DVD edition and was quite pleased with the excellent full length documentaries on Cary Grant and Howard Hawks included on disc two. If you are a fan of classic American cinema, and of the great actors of the early to mid 20th century, this is a movie you must see.

***** out of *****

Bringing Up Baby (1938, NR, 102 minutes, B&W) starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charlie Ruggles, Barry Fitzgerald, May Robson, Walter Catlett and Fritz Feld. Story by Hagar Wilde. Screenplay by Hagar Wilde and Dudley Nichols. Directed by Howard Hawks.


Saturday, June 05, 2010

SNMR 8.9: "Just Married"


Imagine that you’ve found the woman or man of your dreams and after a month you move in together. After nine months together you decide to get married, surprising her family because you‘re less than they expected for their youngest daughter. If you’re the woman, you’ve likely taken the lead in planning your wedding. If you’re the guy, you’ve got two responsibilities: don’t screw it up and plan the honeymoon.

Now the wedding goes off without a hitch and you’re off to Europe for the best honeymoon ever. Except that everything that can go wrong does go wrong. You’re late for your flight and in your rush to get up you and your spouse head butt each other. You get your foot caught in the airplane toilet while trying to join the mile high club and it only gets worse from there, as you proceed to have the honeymoon from hell and are ready to rip out each other’s throats soon after.

Such is the case with Tom (Ashton Kutcher), a graveyard shift radio traffic reporter and Sarah (Brittany Murphy), the daughter of a wealthy sports team owner. They meet on the beach when Tom throws a football that Sarah attempts to catch with her face.

Like many DVD’s I’d seen this one in the library and kept passing it by. Finally I decided to give it a shot, partly because of Brittany Murphy’s untimely death late last year and partly because I was in the mood to watch a funny romantic comedy.

Ashton Kutcher probably will never win an Oscar for Best Actor but every romantic comedy I’ve seen him in has been very funny. This is only the third movie I’ve seen that Brittany Murphy was in and one of them she was part of a large ensemble cast, so her role was limited. It’s a shame and a tragedy that such a young talent like Murphy died so young. It took me a while but I finally figured out what other film I saw David Moscow in. He plays Ashton Kutchers' best buddy Kyle.

This is one of the films that director Shaun Levy cut his teeth on and he shows a good feel for directing a comedy. This was the first screenwriting credit for Sam Harper.

The main DVD extra is a newlywed game show type interview with Kutcher and Murphy which is kind of corny but still good.

*** out of *****

Just Married (2003, PG-13, 95 minutes), starring Ashton Kutcher, Brittany Murphy, Christian Kane, Valeria Andrews and David Moscow. Written by Sam Harper. Directed by Shawn Levy.