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Showing posts from January 12, 2014

Review: A Single Man

Colin Firth stars as a fiftyish British-born professor at a college in LA in the 1960s. He is a closeted gay man who lost his long-time lover and partner in life (Matthew Goode, in flashbacks/visions) about six months ago in a car accident. Now he is grief-stricken, and believing that he has lost the one reason to go on living (and the only other person in his life who truly understood what it was like to be gay in 60s America), he is planning on killing himself. A seeming connection with one of his students (Nicholas Hoult) seems like it might distract him from those plans, however. At least momentarily. Meanwhile, he is in infrequent contact with his one close friend, played by Julianne Moore as another relocated Brit who is in a very sorry state herself. Ginnifer Goodwin appears briefly as a friendly neighbour.

A brilliant, Oscar-nominated performance by Colin Firth is the chief selling point of this 2009 drama from debutant director and fashion designer Tom Ford. Firth has this qu…

Review: Kill For Me

Katie Cassidy (from the remakes of “When a Stranger Calls”, “Black Christmas”, and “A Nightmare on Elm Street”) stars as a troubled young woman who is trying to put the disappearance of her former roommate behind her and move on. She requests a new roommate and college girl Tracy Spiridakos answers the call. Cassidy has a thug ex-boyfriend (who may know something about the roommate’s disappearance), and Spiridakos has a drunk for a father (Donal Logue), so it’s not long before they form a quasi-Sapphic bond. When Spiridakos saves Cassidy from the violent wrath of her ex, she calls for Cassidy to help her likewise. And that’s just the beginning of this twisty little yarn as one wonders whether to take things at face value or not.

Directed by Michael Greenspan (“Wrecked” with Adrien Brody, who gets ‘thanks’ in the credits in this one), this 2013 thriller really ought to have been a TV movie. It looks like a Canadian TV movie, the plot is strictly run-of-the-mill Canadian TV movie stuff.…

Review: Deconstructing Harry

In a plot supposedly inspired by Bergman’s “Wild Strawberries”, Woody Allen plays a writer named Harry Block, who is about to be honoured by the University he was years ago thrown out of. Meanwhile, we encounter the fictional characters in Harry’s novel (Demi Moore, Richard Benjamin, Stanley Tucci, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus), as well as their real-life counterparts who are somewhat enraged with Harry for his rather thinly-veiled fictional takes on them. Harry’s journey of self-analysis leads him down some bizarro paths, including a meeting with The Devil himself (played by Billy Crystal). Judy Davis is Harry’s especially enraged sister-in-law whom he cheated on Amy Irving with, before ditching both of them for Elisabeth Shue. Kirstie Alley is another of Harry’s ex’s, a shrink and the mother of his kid, she is also the inspiration for the Moore character. Caroline Aaron plays Harry’s estranged sister who thinks Harry is a self-hating Jew. She is also married to a Conservative Jew (Eric B…

Review: The Sapphires

Beginning in the late 60s in a remote part of Australia where Irish MC Chris O’Dowd spots a trio of Aboriginal sisters (played by Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, and Miranda Tapsell) at a dopey pub talent show. He sees something in them, and wants to manage them, though he suggests they change their preferred genre from country music to soul/R&B. The girls take the drunk but laidback Irishman on as their manager, and before long, they have added their fairer-skinned cousin Shari Stebbens to the act and head for Vietnam to entertain the troops. In the midst of all this, Stebbens’ rejection of her colour/race (she is a half-caste victim of the ‘stolen generation’), forthright Mailman’s jealousy of Mauboy taking over lead vocals, and flirty Tapsell’s romantic issues (including a dalliance with an American GI) provide side stories. Hell, O’Dowd even tries to tame the rather tempestuous (and protective) Mailman and win her heart.

Everyone knows I’m not the biggest fan of musicals (to …