What an incredibly moving and powerful movie!  Would it be manly to say that after watching Aron Ralston (James Franco) suffer for 5+ days through the cold and the heat, the mental and emotional anguish of believing you’re going to die, and then the physical torment of cutting off your own arm in order to save your life, that I cried as he eventually ran through the canyon away from the place that held him captive. 

I’ve had movies choke me up before, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually shed tears over something that wasn’t related to my kids being born or me getting married.  But I guess I felt it more from his parents’ point of view of the fact that they didn’t lose their son.

As with seemingly all movies with James Franco, you know you’re going to get a terrific acting performance.  But English director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) surpassed my expectations with the direction he took this film.  Going into it, you know that Ralston loses his arm and so the movie may not be as suspenseful as if you didn’t already know the outcome.  But Boyle weaves in and out between Ralston’s present demise and reflections of his past so beautifully that it still keeps you on the edge of your seat.  And to incorporate Bill Withers into the mix isn’t so bad either.


A recently divorced guy meets the woman of his dreams.  Then he meets her son.

I was so ticked when I watched this movie because I was expecting to get 2 hours of Miley Cyrus and instead got 2 hours of John C. Reilly.  Just kidding.  This was a satisfyingly delightful movie about a man (John C. Reilly) and a woman (Marisa Tomei)…and the person that comes between them (Jonah Hill). 

It’s almost shot like a documentary with choppy screen shots and frequent panning, but it’s very well done.  Reilly, Hill, & Tomei are an excellent trio who tackle an emotional situation with a lot of humor.  The hatred between the level-headed John (Reilly) and semi-psychotic Cyrus is palpably hilarious, but the level-headed John wins out in the end.

The soundtrack includes a couple really good tracks, especially “I Buried a Bone” from Blind Pilot.

If this is the direction that Bruce Willis’ career has taken, I would suggest that he keeps along the same path.  This movie was hilarious as were many of the additional cast members that appeared, including, but not limited to, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and especially John Malkovich.

While not everything I just wrote is 100% true, I did like that this movie was able to make fun of itself as it followed these characters along an absurd road trip that had several laugh-out-loud moments and some funny lines.  And Malkovich was especially hilarious, especially at the end when they were escaping in Moldova.

As much as I like Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and the comedy they bring to the screen even if it’s only through voice alone, I can’t stand Jay Baruchel (or his voice) ever since I saw him in She’s Out of My League. 

Even worse was the predictability of every facet of the movie.  It was basically every other similar type Pixar-wannabe movie but without meaningful characters or storyline.  Why oh why do these movie makers insist on regurgitating the same mindless message over and over again.

I think my kids liked it though.

Although beautifully written and filmed, this tragic drama doesn’t necessarily move as quickly as the Bond-esque movie poster might suggest.  However, with a great cast and gorgeous cinematography, having been filmed in Italy and Sweden, this is no doubt a wonderful film that hearkens back to Cary-Grant thrillers from a bygone era.

The relationships that Jack (George Clooney) develops with the various citizens of Castel del Monte seems to be an important balance to his otherwise dangerous profession of firearms customizer.  And ultimately it’s because of his relationship with the beautiful Clara (Violante Placido) that contributes to his tragic conclusion.

All that being said, I loved this movie and everything that came with it.  It makes we want to return to Europe and explore it further.

“As Alan Ginsberg talks about his life and art, his most famous poem is illustrated in animation while the obscenity trial of the work is dramatized.”  This is the description of the film, but like most works of writing, it is enhanced as it comes to life on the big screen.

James Franco portrays the famous poet Ginsberg as he reads his most famous poem “Howl” while the movie attempts to interpret its meaning, presented in four separate parts.  At the same time, the poem is interwoven with the obscenity trial, in which the prosecuting attorney Jake Ehrlich (John Hamm) and defending attorney Ralph McIntosh (David Strathairn) argue its literacy merits by examining various witnesses, including professors of literature and others.

In order to enjoy this movie, I think you need to have a very open mind, not only because it’s about poetry and not necessarily a thriller, but also because the poetry itself could be considered questionable in nature.  I, however, enjoyed it thoroughly, even though I’m a poetry novice.

Like most people (especially Americans, but from what I’ve heard this includes many British as well), I was familiar of the stoic leadership of Winston Churchill on the verge and during World War II, but I had never heard of this story of King George VI, including his ascension to the throne or subsequent reign, and certainly knew nothing of his speech impediment.

With that backdrop in mind, this is an incredibly wonderful film that plays out on screen as beautifully as screenplay writer David Seidler envisioned it.  Starring a superb cast of Colin Firth (King George VI), Helena Bonham Carter (Queen Elizabeth), and Geoffrey Rush (Lionel Logue), this based-on-a-true-story film shows how a friendship developed between a common man, uncertified speech pathologist (Logue) and a regal defender of the faith (King George VI) is instrumental in helping the King overcome his severe stuttering to deliver the first speech as England declares war on its former ally Germany.

This is an incredible story told from the privacy that common folk were never allowed to see.  And even though the methods used to help King George tackle his stuttering may not have been completely accurate, including the absurd singing exercises and excessive cursing, it made for a very entertaining and touching film.