Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters / ** (R)

Hansel: Jeremy Renner
Gretel: Gemma Arterton
Muriel: Famke Janssen
Mina: Pihla Viitala
Ben: Thomas Mann
Horned witch: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal
Edward: Derek Mears
Red-haired witch: Joanna Kulig
Sheriff Berringer: Peter Stromare

Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Pictures present a film written and directed by Tommy Wirkola. Running time: 88 min. Rated R (for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity and language).

Ever since I first saw “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” advertised, I haven’t been able get that Bugs Bunny short out of my head; the one where he tells the prince that he’s reading the story of “Hansel and Gretel”, and the prince walks away asking, “Hansel? Hansel?” flabbergasted by the pronunciation of the name as “Hahnsel.” It seemed to me that was going to be a more worthwhile memory than this movie. It is, but the movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Unfortunately, it also isn’t as good as it could’ve been.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Withnail & I (1987) ****

R, 107 min.
Director/Writer: Bruce Robinson
Starring: Paul McGann, Richard E. Grant, Richard Griffiths, Ralph Brown, Michael Elphick, Michael Wardle

“Withnail & I” is a glorious celebration of being drunk and being British. It follows the inebriation exploits of two young actors; one is also a scribe who documents their paranoia and poverty. He’s the “I” of the title. He will learn and grow. Withnail, on the other hand, is what he is.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Dredd (2012) ***

R, 95 min.
Director: Pete Travis
Writers: Alex Garland, John Wagner (characters), Carlos Ezquerra (characters)
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris, Domnhall Gleeson, Rakie Ayola, Warrick Grier

And now the pendulum swings another way entirely here at A Penny in the Well. We go from Woody Allen to futuristic comic book action. The really surprising thing, though, it that “Dredd” isn’t half bad for what it is. The Woody Allen crowd isn’t going to like it, but I don’t think anybody thought they would.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—To Rome With Love (2012) ***

R, 112 min.
Director/Writer: Woody Allen
Starring: Judy Davis, Flavio Parenti, Roberto Benigni, Allison Pill, Alessandro Tiberi, Alessandra Mastronardi, Alec Baldwin, Antonio Albanese, Fabio Armiliato, Woody Allen, Jesse Eisenberg, Monica Nappo, Greta Gerwig, Penélope Cruz, Ellen Page

Woody Allen’s European fantasy adventures continue with his latest film “To Rome with Love”. Like his previous “Midnight in Paris”, this film is spun from a whimsy more reflective of his work in the 70s than most of his recent work. Also like last year’s film, this year’s is a virtual travelogue of the famed city from its title. Unlike “Paris”, he’s not content to tell just one story this time around. Here he gives us four.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011) **

R, 95 min.
Directors/Writers: Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Tyler Labine, Leslie Bibb, Lake Bell, Michelle Borth, Nick Kroll, Lindsay Sloane, Angela Sarafyan, Martin Starr, Rhys Coiro, Will Forte, Lucy Punch

I’m not sure how old fashioned the orgy in “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy” is. That’s not an area of expertise I posses. What I do know is movies, and what “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy” is not is a good old-fashioned raunchy sex comedy. In fact, it does a rare thing in comedy today. It takes itself seriously—perhaps a little too seriously.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—The Invisible War (2012) ***

NR, 93 min.
Director/Writer: Kirby Dick
Featuring: Kori Cioca, Jessica Hinves, Trina McDonald, Lt. Elle Helmer, Hannah Sewell, Rob McDonald, Cpt. Debra Dickerson

“The Invisible War” is a four star subject in a three star movie. This is important stuff, and it’s important to impress that although I haven’t awarded the movie four stars, that doesn’t make it any less of a priority to see than a four star movie.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Searching for Sugar Man (2012) ****

PG-13, 86 min.
Director/Writer: Malik Bendjelloul
Featuring: Sixto Rodriguez, Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, Dennis Coffey, Mike Theodore, Dan Dimaggio, Jerome Ferretti, Steve Rowland, Willem Möller, Craig Bartholomew-Strydrom, Clarence Avant, Eva Rodriguez, Regan Rodriguez, Sandra Rodriguez-Kennedy

A friend who shared a number of new music albums with me in 2009 introduced me to Rodriguez’s debut album “Cold Fact” at that time. I was unaware at first that this was not a new album. It certainly had an older Dylan-esque sound to it. It was my favorite album of all the ones to which he’d introduced me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—American Horror Story (2011) ***½

TV-MA, 12 45-min. episodes
Creators: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk

Directors: Ryan Murphy, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Bradley Buecker, David Semel, Michael Uppendahl, Tim Hunter, Miguel Arteta, John Scott, Michael Lehman

Writers: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Jennifer Salt, James Wong, Tim Minear, Jessica Sharzer

Starring: Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Denis O’Hare, Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy, Alexandra Breckenridge, Christine Estabrook, Jamie Brewer, Kate Mara, Mageina Tovah, Azura Skye, Michael Graziadei, Lily Rabe, Matt Ross, Zachary Quinto, Teddy Sears, Morris Chestnut, Bohdi Schulz, Kai Schulz, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Paulson, Joshua Malina, Mena Suvari, Charles S. Dutton, Rebecca Wisocky, W. Earl Brown, Mayala Rivera Drew, Gregory Rivas

The second season of “American Horror Story” ended its run last night. The creators say that it was always their intention that each season be a separate storyline, although they use many of the same actors in each story playing unrelated characters. I’ve already started my run through “American Horror Story: Asylum” and am impressed by how different they’ve made the second season. But this entry is about the first season, which I guess would be subtitled “House”.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Pitch Perfect (2012) ***

PG-13, 112 min.
Director: Jason Moore
Writers: Kay Cannon, Mickey Rapkin (novel)
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Adam DeVine, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, John Benjamin Hickey

I, like many, was surprised by this movie. It looked like a silly movie about collegiate a cappella competitors in the trailer, which is what it is, but it is much funnier than such a subject matter deserves and it has some truly impressive a cappella arrangements. I think the film speaks for itself better than I can. Here are some of its hilarious one-liners.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

12 Films for ‘12

There are years when I struggle to see enough great movies to compile a Best Of list, and there are years when the list seems to write itself. The former is more common than the latter. This year was one of the latter. I can’t remember a year when the best movies seemed as readily available as they did this year. I can’t remember a year when the quality of the movies that have made up my list have been so high and so similarly well matched. Of any year there was that I shouldn’t succumb to ordering the list into numerical values from best to worst, this was that year. All twelve of these movies are the best movie of the year in my eyes. Even some of the films that didn’t make that list could be the best on any given day.

So here are the films in the order I like them today.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Fringe (TV series 2008-2013) ***½

TV-14, 5 seasons, 100 43-min. episodes
Creators: J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci

Directors: Joe Chappelle, Brad Anderson, Fred Toye, Jeannot Szwarc, Charles Beeson, Dennis Smith, Akiva Goldsman, Jeffery G. Hunt, David Straiton, Paul A. Edwards, Paul Holahan, Tom Yatsko, Jon Cassar, Miguel Sapochnik, P.J. Pesce, J.H. Wyman

Writers: J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, J.H. Wyman, Jeff Pinker, Akiva Goldsman, Graham Roland, Josh Singer, Alison Schapker, J.R. Orci, Robert Chiappetta, Glen Whitman, Monica Breen, David Fury, David H. Goodman, David Wilcox, Matt Pitts, Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Ethan Gross, Julia Cho, Brad Kane, Zack Whedon, Jeff Vlaming, Jason Cahill, Andrew Kreisberg

Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole, Blair Brown, Lance Reddick, Michael Cerveris, Kirk Acevedo, Seth Gabel, Ryan Mcdonald, Mark Valley, Lily Pilblad, Michael Kopsa, Leonard Nimoy, Ari Graynor, Jared Harris, Sebastian Roché, Eugene Lipinski, Kevin Corrigan, Shaun Smyth, Georgina Haig, Orla Brady, Clark Middleton, Chance Kelly, Michael Gaston, Gerard Plunkett, Philip Winchester, Amy Madigan

Over the past weekend, one of television’s most original and brilliant programs came to its end. After five seasons of dwindling ratings, “Fringe” finally succumbed to that all too frequent fate of so many great shows on major network television—cancellation. To FOX’s credit, the show really should’ve been cancelled at the end of season four, because of its poor viewership. The network appreciated the show and the fans enough to give the producers 13 extra episodes to wrap up all its storylines.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Why Stop Now (2012) **½

R, 85 min.
Directors/Writers: Phil Dorling, Ron Nyswaner
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo, Tracy Morgan, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Sarah Ramos, Emma Rayne Lyle, Stephanie March, Tanya Wright 

“Why Stop Now” is one of those movies that has all the right elements, but just doesn’t work for some reason. I can’t put my finger on just what it is that brings this movie down. Perhaps it’s a lack of passion. Perhaps it doesn’t succeed in investing us in its characters well enough. Whatever it is, there is much to appreciate here.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook / *** (R)

Pat: Bradley Cooper
Tiffany: Jennifer Lawrence
Pat Sr.: Robert De Niro
Dolores: Jacki Weaver
Danny: Chris Tucker
Dr. Cliff Patel: Anupam Kher
Ronnie: John Ortiz
Jake: Shea Whigham
Veronica: Julia Stiles
Randy: Paul Herman

The Weinstein Company presents a film written and directed by David O. Russell. Based on the novel by Matthew Quick. Running time: 122 min. Rated R (for language and some sexual content/nudity).

There are times when my fanaticism over the New York Football Giants crosses over into the obsessive/compulsive realms. If the Giants lose a game when I wear one of my jerseys, I’ll probably wear a different one the next week. I am like an anvil when it comes to anything conflicting with seeing a game live. If a kid has soccer practice, I’ll still go, but I have to sit in the van with the satellite radio tuned to the Giants. But, every once and a while I give in. I recorded a couple this year and just had to catch up with the live feed after getting home from a couple family events here and there. I don’t insist that I sit in the exact same seat for every game. When they lose, although I feel I’ve let the team down, I know in my heart that I don’t really have supernatural abilities to affect the outcome. If I thought that, people might think I’m crazy.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Premium Rush (2012) *½

PG-13, 91 min.
Director: David Koepp
Writers: David Koepp, John Kamps
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Wolé Parks, Jamie Chueng, Aasif Mandvi, Christopher Place, Henry O

“Jurassic Park”, “Carlito’s Way”, “Mission: Impossible”, “Panic Room”, “Spider-Man”, “Secret Window”, “War of the Worlds”, “Zathura: A Space Adventure”, “Ghost Town”—Those are some of the good screenplays written by David Koepp. “Toy Soldiers”, “Death Becomes Her”, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”, “The Shadow”, and “Snake Eyes” are some of his worst. “Premium Rush” will categorically fall in the latter set of Koepp screenplays. This movie is bad.  Its collection of clichés is rendered laughable by its even greater collection of ridiculous coincidences and utter impossibilities.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Bones Brigade: An Autobiography (2012) ****

NR, 111 min.
Director: Stacy Peralta
Starring: Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Lance Mountain, Rodney Mullen, Tommy Guerrero, Mike McGill, Stacy Peralta, George Powell, Craig Stecyk, Tony Alva, Fred Durst, Shepard Fairey, Ben Harper, Christian Hosoi

For anyone who had anything to do with skating in the 80s—even if it was just watching your older brother fall on a halfpipe—Stacy Peralta’s new sports documentary “Bones Brigade: An Autobiography” will be a nostalgic rush back to a turning point in your life. Peralta’s film gives the entire history of the skate team he formed from a bunch of unknown and well under age boarders that would eventually become the most famous skateboarders of all time and would revolutionize the sport on professional and pop culture levels.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Treasure Planet (2002) ***

PG, 95 min.
Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker
Writers: Ron Clements, John Musker, Rob Edwards, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Robert Louis Stevenson (novel “Treasure Island”)
Voices: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brian Murray, David Hyde Pierce, Emma Thompson, Michael Wincott, Martin Short, Roscoe Lee Browne, Laurie Metcalf, Patrick McGoohan

“Treasure Planet” is a surprisingly good animated romp through the story of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel “Treasure Island”, but with a futuristic space opera bent. It came in an era when its production company, Walt Disney Pictures, was struggling with reaching the wide audience they wanted for their animated fare. The company had great success with their traditional animated projects throughout the nineties, but the success of Pixar Animation Studios was beginning to change the market for animated films. Other studios were breaking into the market with their own CGI animated films and Disney was loosing their monopoly on the animated market.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty / **** (R)

Maya: Jessica Chastain
Dan: Jason Clarke
Joseph Bradley: Kyle Chandler
Jessica: Jennifer Ehle
George: Mark Strong
Larry from Ground Branch: Edgar Ramírez
Steve: Mark Duplass
Patrick – Squadron Team Leader: Joel Edgerton
Justin – DEVGRU: Chris Pratt
C.I.A. Director: James Gandolfini

Columbia Pictures presents a film directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Written by Mark Boal. Running time: 157 min. Rated R (for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language).

The movie opens in darkness. Only a title card that states “September 11, 2001” appears on screen and is gone again. We hear air traffic control chatter from that fateful day. Then we hear a 911 dispatch call from a victim inside the World Trade Center. Then more and more audio layers of actual emergency communication from that day are piped in from different speakers throughout the auditorium. It bounces around the theater. This is the film’s rising incident—the motivation for everything else to come. There is a price for killing over 3000 innocent people.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Game Change (2012) **

TV-MA, 118 min.
Director: Jay Roach
Writers: Danny Strong, Mark Halperin (book), John Heilemann (book)
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, Peter MacNicoll, Jamey Sheridan, Sarah Paulson, Ron Livingston, David Barry Gray, Larry Sullivan

“Game Change” seems like a bully wrote its screenplay. It looks at the failed bid for the presidency by John McCain in 2008. It pays respect to McCain himself and to his advisors, but highlights their crucial mistake in picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. It attacks the weaknesses of that choice and Palin in particular. It finds the easy targets, the surface flaws, and never attempts to look too deeply into the mechanics of choosing Palin or into Palin’s own personal and professional successes. It’s like a kid that doesn’t like the other kid that was invited to the party, so he kicks sand in her face, points at her, and gets everyone else to laugh along.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Arbitrage (2012) ****

R, 107 min.
Director/Writer: Nicholas Jarecki
Starring: Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta, Nate Parker, Stuart Margolin, Chris Eigeman

Nicholas Jarecki’s “Arbitrage” is a classic thriller. Like a perfect version of an 80’s plot tangler, this movie knows how to pull us into to a not so nice man’s life, have him muck everything up, and somehow get us rooting for him. Richard Gere might be the only actor who could’ve pulled this role off.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Cosmopolis (2012) **

R, 109 min.
Director: David Cronenberg
Writers: David Cronenberg, Don DeLillo (novel)
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Sarah Gadon, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Durand, Abdul Ayoola, Juliette Binoche, Emily Hampshire, Bob Bainborough, Samantha Morton, Zeljko Kecojevic, Jay Baruchel, Philip Nozuka, Mathieu Amalric

“Cosmopolis” is another of David Cronenberg’s dense explorations into the complexities of a challenging man. In this case, he is a young billionaire who rides in his limousine across Manhattan for a hair cut. That sounds like a simple enough plot, but the complexities of just that notion suggests the density of the material.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Oscar Retains the Ability to Surprise

Oscar nominations were announced early Thursday morning, Jan. 10th, 2013 for the 2012 release year. After several years of fairly predictable nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for their annual awards ceremony and equally predictable winners, it seems this is the year for the Oscars to surprise us once again.

In what was generally thought of as an excellent year for Hollywood born movies, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that such a broad field of candidates should yield the most surprising batch of nominees in recent years. Lead by Steven Spielberg’s historical epic “Lincoln” with 12 nominations, this year’s candidates are some of the most diverse movies to be nominated in the history of the awards.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Hugo (2011) ****

PG, 126 min.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: John Logan, Brian Selznick (book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”)
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths, Michael Stuhlbarg, Ray Winstone, Jude Law

This movie is a cineaste’s dream! I knew that upon my initial screening in theaters, but seeing it a second time unlocks even more secrets from its meticulous homage to everything cinema.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) ****

PG-13, 93 min.
Director: Behn Zeitlin
Writers: Lucy Alibar (also stage play “Juicy and Delicious”), Behn Zeitlin
Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landis, Pamela Harper, Gina Montana, Jovan Hathaway

I haven’t heard much comparison of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” with the events affecting the 9th Ward of New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina, but the film seems to be a fantastical analogy to the people of that hard hit area. Now, I haven’t really read any reviews of the movie, in order to keep my own opinion of it fresh. For all I know, everybody has written about this obvious parallel. I can’t imagine I’m the first or even the 101st.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Killer Joe (2012) ***

UR, 102 min.
Director: William Friedkin
Writer: Tracy Letts (also play)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon

William Friedkin’s film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ play “Killer Joe” is a quirky little, fun romp of odd characters and sudden disturbing violence. I liked it. It’s certainly no cinematic masterpiece, but it’s made by skilled filmmakers who see its weird story for the original entertaining oddity it is.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Sleepwalk With Me (2012) ***½

PG-13, 90 min.
Directors: Mike Birbigia, Seth Barrish (co-director)
Writers: Mike Birbiglia, Joe Birbiglia, Ira Glass, Seth Barrish
Starring: Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, James Rebhorn, Carol Kane, Marc Maron, Cristin Milioti

Not only is “Sleepwalk With Me” one of the best movies ever made about stand up comedy, it is also an engaging and atypically good examination of a romantic relationship. Made entirely independently by stand up comic Mike Birbiglia, this movie is not just some silly comedy, but a serious self analysis by the man, who approaches the material on what seems to be entirely autobiographical terms. The names have been changed, but not by much. Birbiglia plays a stand up comedian named Matt Pandamiglio. Comedian and podcaster Marc Maron plays a headlining veteran comedian named Marc Mulheren. I hope for the sake of Birbiglia’s ex-girlfriend depicted in the film that her name is a far cry from Abby.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Young Frankenstein (1974) ****

PG, 106 min.
Director: Mel Brooks
Writers: Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (novel “Frankenstein”)
Starring: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Kenneth Mars, Gene Hackman

Now, my recent screening of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” wasn’t exactly witnessed under ideal conditions. It was queued up for our family’s New Year’s Eve festivities. While much of the family enjoys playing cards all night, I’m not one for cards much. So I generally draw kids watch. Which gave me a good amount of time to watch most of the movie, since most of the kids are at ages where they watch themselves, but there were some incidents that pulled me away. So I think any in depth analysis should really wait for a proper screening. This time all I have to say is…

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Promised Land / ** (R)

Steven Butler: Matt Damon
Sue Thomason: Frances McDormand
Dustin Nobel: John Krasinski
Alice: Rosemarie DeWitt
Rob: Titus Welliver
Gerry Richards: Ken Strunk
Paul Geary: Lucas Black
Frank Yates: Hal Holbrook

Focus Features presents a film directed by Gus Van Sant. Written by John Krasinski & Matt Damon and Dave Eggers. Running time: 106 min. Rated R (for language).

If you haven’t seen the trailers, you won’t know exactly what it is that Matt Damon’s character Steven Butler does from the opening scenes of his new film “Promised Land”. You will learn that he is a sort of salesman who closes three times as many deals as his fellow employees at half the rates to the company for which he works. He’s part of a two-person team, with the down-to-Earth Sue Thomason, which goes into farming communities and leases land from farmers for his company to use to extract natural gas from the shale beneath the ground. Steven believes what he does for these communities helps them survive hard economic times.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) **

PG, 107 min.
Director: William Shatner
Writers: David Loughery, Harve Bennett, William Shatner, Gene Roddenberry (tv series)
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Lawrence Luckinbill, David Warner, Charles Cooper, Cynthia Gouw, Todd Bryant, Spice Williams

“Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” is often cited as the worst of the Star Trek franchise. It may be so. Often the blame is placed on budgetary constraints that greatly affected the scripted finale of the film. While the finale is decidedly underwhelming, and one of the worst features of the movie, it cannot take all the blame. The scripted finale wouldn’t have pull the movie up to quality standards either, since it was primarily action that was cut, not substance.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012) **½

PG, 105 min.
Director: Peter Hedges
Writers: Peter Hedges, Ahmet Zappa
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Odeya Rush, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Rosemarie DeWitt, David Morse, M. Emmet Walsh, Lois Smith, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dianne Wiest, Ron Livingston, James Rebhorn, Common

“The Odd Life of Timothy Green” is a movie that is all heart. It has a good story to tell, and for the most part it tells it well. It also contains perplexing ambiguities and a grave misconception of the adoption process. Perhaps its poor depiction of adoption can be forgiven as the film is intended to be a fantasy about the adventures and hardships of parenting. In a fantasy, I suppose it’s OK that a kid can just be left with a loving family and that’s all there is to it. But it’s like when the fighter pilot is watching “Top Gun” and says, “Yeah, you can’t really do that.” Getting a kid from an adoption agency just isn’t that easy.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Watchmen: The Complete Story – The Ultimate Cut (2009) ****

UR, 215 min.
Director: Zach Snyder
Writers: David Hayter, Alex Tse, Dave Gibbons (graphic novel), Alan Moore (graphic novel)
Starring: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson, Gerard Butler (voice), Carla Gugino, Matt Frewer, Stephen McHattie, Laura Mennell, Rob LaBelle, Jared Harris (voice)

As we ring in a new year, I contemplate what was once a new era in comic books, a comic that told the story of a new kind of superhero being led into a new era. That’s a lot of “new.”