Lured – Lucy I’m home!!! Who doesn’t absolutely marvel at Lucille Ball? I grew up with this darling red head, watching her and her handsome hubby grace the small screen in I Love Lucy! But did you also know that Lucy with her alluring fiery mane and fashionable figure could have opted to be a model? Instead she chose acting in general and comedy in particular because she realized her talent lie in comedic timing. And her assessment was spot on! Below is one of my favorite Lucille Ball movies, a thriller called Lured. She’s absolutely sensational and no matter how serious her role, no director or producer could help but allow her humor to shine throughout.
The Salvation – You know every now and then I’m just a sucker for a great vengeance flick and The Salvation does NOT disappoint. The cast is platinum, Mikkelsen, Persbrandt, Pryce, Green and Morgan and oh my word, did I forget to mention, it’s a western? Yes siree and when the dust settles it’s anyone’s guess who the last man standing will actually be.
Bobby – Everyone knows the tragic story behind the death of our former President, John F. Kennedy but how about his brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy? The cast is so star studded that you remember and forget everyone. It’s like seeing all of your old friends at a funeral in a way. You’re a little taken even in the midst of tragedy. The golden nugget of this beautiful puzzle piece is how much you learn about Bobby’s thoughts, what he stood for, his principles and his policies. Distinction every once in awhile runs through a family and evil occasionally snakes through the world as if searching to engulf and eradicate all the incredible catalysts for change.
Hanging Up – Have you noticed the latest trend of movies that deal with coping with flawed characters that play pivotal roles in your life, such as parents, spouses and siblings? Well Hanging Up does just that. First off, let me say that they really put three sisters together with personalities just like real sisters and what I mean by that is they’re 100% similar and 100% different. If you are or have a sister, then you know exactly what I mean. This is a story about coping and self acceptance and dealing with circumstances and family members well beyond your control. And most importantly cutting yourself and everyone else around you some slack when you have no solutions or answers. Sometimes the best thing to do is hang up and breathe!
Pocket Full of Miracles – Bette Davis is one of my all time favorite actresses. Her wide, bright eyes pull you into a scene like nobody’s business and I don’t know if you can see it but her face structure reminds me a little bit of Ashwariya Rai, who can also pull you into a scene in much the same way. But I digress. Pocket Full of Miracles is a tale about everyone coming together to perpetuate a monstrosity of a lie in order to make one poor mother happy in her golden years. Life hasn’t been very kind to old Apple Annie, but you can be sure that her friends will be. If you need a great feel good flick, seasoned with laughter, a bit of fashionable posh, sprinkled with New York charm, this is one for the ages!
Fargo – Oh yahhhh? Yahhh! I was flicking channels one day and came across this at the beginning. Since nothing else of note was on, I said, ah, I might as well give it a whirl. I was even more interested when I saw that Frances McDormand and William H. Macy was in it. I love these two. They’re both genuine, funny, relate-able and have made your average and perhaps ordinary man or woman sexy just by being themselves. I’m all about it. AnyhoosiE, moving on – Let’s start and end with the accent. Everyone says yah and I find it terribly charming. I don’t know why it makes me curl up deeper into the sofa and want to sip hot chocolate but it does. The tone of this movie keeps you between a comfortable edge and nail biting. The tension is slow building but you can feel the eruption around every corner. Make no mistake though – whether this is loosely based on real events or not (there’s been some debate among the writers and the press) this is a dark story, where desperate fools have no comprehension regarding the consequences of their actions. Should you see it? Oh hell Yahhhhh!
Period of Adjustment – I love watching movies before the 80’s because you get a real sense of the attitudes of men and women during certain events and important time periods. For example, Period of Adjustment was released in 1962, during the sexual revolution. Women were challenging not just men’s thoughts and attitude toward traditional clothes, roles, and careers but more importantly, their own, during this time. It was the start of a huge change sweeping our nation. Hollywood has been a very reliable source when it comes to documenting on film, these changes. For me, watching these films are like opening a historical treasure trove. There’s so much rich value in everything that you see and hear. Period of Adjustment was a movie I watched simply because I can hardly take my eyes off of Jane Fonda. She was and remains one serious sexpot. But what I love most about Jane is that there’s an intelligence and kindness innate in her nature that no amount of “dumb blonde” roles can gloss over. I also found one of the leading male co-stars, Anthony Fanciosa, utterly handsome and charming. Did I mention that both Anthony and Jane are originally from New York City? Period of Adjustment is a comedic look about a couple who gets married without hardly knowing one solid characteristic of their spouse, and what ensues beyond the expeditious “I do’s.”
Nightcrawler – I hardly need to say much about this film, I mean Jake’s in it. Jake is someone I (and millions of others) just love to watch. He’s beguiling. This movie focuses on the upside of being a possible socio/psychopath, who is exceptionally focused and driven at being the best in his field no matter what the cost. The thing that may surprise you is that there are others who are probably aware on some level, of what Jake truly is, but admire the end result so much that they themselves have no compunction with how he may obtain his incredible work. His calm rationale and verbal sparring skills are ingeniously exhibited in quite a few scenes. Once this guy sets a goal, it’s like a tidal wave. Resistance is futile. Even at his worst, you’re completely under his spell, and find yourself easily vindicating his behavior. This movie is an unflinching glimpse of brilliance without the hangups of morality or emotion.
Nocturnal animals – Tom Ford, Tom Ford, Tom Ford! Clap your hands and say it like Eddie Murphy would say Hercules Hercules Hercules. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas! Ok so Tom Ford, American Fashion Designer first and foremost struts his artistic vision in every single scene, whether it’s the digs that graced the cover of June 2014 Architectural Digest, Amy Adams perfectly groomed scarlet hair, lips and nails or a brutal run in with the unsavory on a lonely stretch of road; the juxtaposition of sublime beauty and vicious savagery is a constant presence. This is quite literally one movie your eyes are going to devour and feast upon. Sometimes our predilections are predictable and indulging or denying them can both have dire consequences. This film forces the audience to analyze life choices and ponder what might have been if you’d chosen another path.
***SPOILER ALERT***** DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO READ SOME IN DEPTH KNOWLEDGE OF THE MOVIE ITSELF ******
In the end we are lead to believe that Tony is still angry many years later about the dissolution of his marriage and exacting a subtle yet telling revenge. Susan in retrospect seems to resent her choice to leave Tony many years later when her second marriage shows signs of crumbling. Does that mean because Susan is unhappy with her current husband Hutton that she would have been happier had she stayed with Tony? For me it’s just like Antonio fiercely whispered through his exceptionally sharp canines in Interview With A Vampire – “ah but you’re asking the wrong questions.” Sometimes is not about each of these characters regretting their choices but the fact that someone else, who they hurt, made them (even though it’s probably a complete fantasy) feel that they have something to regret. The greatest trick of the devil is to make people think he does not exist. Perhaps the greatest trick of a spurned lover is to make you think your choice to be free of them is something you should regret. One might argue that simply the fact that they made you feel it could be true, is a victory for them and a loss for you. And whilst all of this melodramatic psychoanalysis is going on in your think tank, you have incredible visuals to peruse and appreciate.
Out of the Furnace – I love gritty, hard knocks, steel mill town flicks like this. Up in the mountains, prairies and fields, people in small towns and gritty cities such as Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, once boomed with prosperity during the rise of the steel industry of the 1900’s but started their decline once steel became cheaper to buy from China during the 1970’s and well into the 2000’s. This economic upheaval left ghost towns and struggling communities across the board and often serve as the perfect backdrop for films such as this. The history lesson gives you a bit of the mood of this film, grey, gritty, bare knuckled, simple life, fighting to make ends meet both literally and figuratively. This flick was produced by one of my all time fav, Ridley Scott and also (as it might surprise you to know) Leonardi DiCaprio himself. Casey Affleck does an incredible job of portraying what can often be described as a disenchanted, broken, maladjusted veteran and Bale cuts us to the quick with his portrayal of strength, vulnerability, acceptance, forbearance and cunning determination – characteristics that he draws upon effortlessly depending upon the situation. This film is as raw and as real as it gets and I for one, have viewed it several times, though I guarantee you’ll be hooked only once.
Passengers – Jennifer Lawrence is the IT girl of this era and she’s well earned the title. Watching her is as effortless as watching Gerard Butler. There is no acting involved, you’re getting the real deal every, single time. Passengers just ups the ante. Chris Pratt engages us with his subtle edge, charm and humor which really compliments Lawrence’s character. I wouldn’t characterize this flick as a true sci-fi though you are enveloped by a sumptuous peek of tech candy, it’s only the wrapping surrounding an incredible story-line. He was a drowning man trying to grab on to anyone swimming by. He’s not evil. You can’t blame him for that. – Want to know how that phrase fits into this story? Easy. Watch it!
Colonia – This is a romantic thriller based on true events during the 1973 Chilean military coup. What’s a girl to do when the Chilean secret police abduct her boyfriend right before her eyes? Well our heroine Lena, played splendidly by Emma Watson slips into comfortable flats, dons a grey apron and sets off for a compound in the deep Chilean country called Colonia Dignidad. Finding her love, Daniel, played by Daniel Bruhl (my IT man of the hour) as it turns out was the easy part. Lena finds herself embroiled in a dangerous cult, that impose severe rules upon its members, especially that of the women and seemingly run by a German national madman. I won’t say more but this – it’s a nail-biter! My heart was in my throat the entire time.
Sleeping With Other People – This is one of the quirkiest, funniest and most genuine movies regarding relationships between men and women that I’ve seen in a long time. I probably haven’t laughed this much since “The Ugly Truth.” Now sometimes comedies of the Caucasian persuasion (in my experience) start off mild, then get really funny, then start to veer left – start to get uncomfortable (there’s such a thing as too real or too outrageous to be believed) and instead of boomeranging that bad boy back to the center they end up in deep space nine somewhere and I’m shaking my head like wtf just happened? Well in this movie, towards the end, they kind of did that and elongated this strange twist of scenes before wrapping the ending up in a cute, tiny bow as speedily as two bunnies getting it on. While I found this wasn’t the cleverest way to tidy things, and rather a bit unworthy of the incredible beginning and middle, it’s still worth the laughs you’re most assuredly going to get throughout. Judge for yourself.