Monday, March 30, 2015

February 2015

Ah, February. This was the month I traveled back to Florida for the Miami International Boat Show; got to see friends and family—and spend a lot of time sitting in horrible I-95 traffic during an exceptionally busy event week in Miami. I'm now nearing the end of Frasier's ninth season, and Better Call Saul launched this month. Only had time for five movies, and here they are:

THE KID WITH A BIKE (2011)—After naming Two Days, One Night as the best film of 2014, I was understandably eager to check out other movies by its directors, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, one of their most warmly received being this heartfelt drama. In it, a boy who has been all but abandoned by his father attempts to forge a new life with a foster mother. The kid can’t understand why dad doesn’t want him in his life anymore, and he acts out with the woman who takes him in. I wasn’t nearly as moved by this outing as I was Two Days; it did have the same basic flavor, if not the same emotional impact. (7)

BEYOND THE LIGHTS (2014)—This was one of the movies I was sorry I missed last year. It’s about a beautiful black singer who contemplates suicide because of all the pressures of fame and her domineering manager/mom. When a handsome but strangely quiet cop saves her life, a romance develops. Superior soap-opera stuff with a gorgeous soundtrack. (9)

CAKE (2015)—Friends star Jennifer Aniston takes a vacation from her mindless romcoms to play an alcoholic accident victim who has lost her son in the same car crash that has made her a pill-popping train wreck. On her long, brutal road to recovery, she fantasizes about a fellow member of her support group (Anna Kendrick) who took her own life. It’s a black comedy with some truly sharp writing and a career-defining performance by Aniston. (9)

AMIRA & SAM (2015)—When a young Iraqi war vet (Martin Starr) meets a pretty Iraqi immigrant (Dina Shihabi), it’s hardly a love connection—she’s untrusting of him and treats him like garbage. But soon she comes to see his heroism, humanity and humor, and the two hook up. What separates this from being a typical romcom is the unorthodox nature of the characters, along with an excellent script and sharp direction by  Sean Mullin. (9)

HOME SWEET HELL (2015)—I should learn by now to stay away from movies starring Katherine Heigl, but she is so goddamned sexy and beautiful that I couldn’t resist checking her out in this direct-to-DVD black comedy about a goal-obsessed wife who insists that her husband (Patrick Wilson) kill the woman he’s been having an affair with—and who is now blackmailing him. There are some uncomfortable laughs and a bit of suspense, but the movie is never really lives up to its promise. There's a bit of an ambiguous ending where one major loose end was not tied up, and wide-eyed Patrick Wilson spends more than half the movie looking overly shocked, dumbfounded and bewildered—I find him kind of difficult to look at. Heigl, meanwhile, is the very embodiment of sexuality...WOOF! (7)

No comments: