Film Review: Lost In Translation — 1 star

ONE WORD REVIEW: Dull

SUMMARY: Two people you don’t really care about wander around their hotel in Japan for way too long.

DETAILS: Sophia Coppola, please give me my 101 minutes back! I haven’t seen a film with so little story in a long time. If you like watching people sing karaoke, ride elevators, and hang out in hotels in Japan with little-to-no character development this could be the film for you. It has to be the most disappointing Bill Murray movie ever made. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is an aging movie star who is now making whiskey commercials in Tokyo. He meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) a twenty-something two years into her marriage who has no purpose other than to help waste 101 minutes of your life. They meet as residents of the same hotel and proceed to wander aimlessly around Tokyo… but mostly just around the hotel. This film was an extreme let down. I’d heard about it and wanted to see it for a decade. Ugh…

 

SCORE: 1 out of 5

RELEASE: 2003
RATING: R

Film Review: The Railway Man — 4 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Forgiveness

SUMMARY: A British prisoner of war is forced to help build the Thai-Burma Railway and is nearly tortured to death. Decades later he confronts his captor and extends the only gift that will set them both free… forgiveness.

DETAILS: Based on the true story of Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), a British Army Officer who is captured during World War II by the Japanese and forced to help contstruct the Thai-Burma Railway. The film cuts back and forth between 1980’s England where Lomax and his new wife (Nicole Kidman) struggle to overcome his horrific war memories and the POW environment of the 1940’s where he was tortured beyond imagination. Along the way he realizes there may only be two ways out of his pain – suicide or revenge, so he sets out to find the one who played a key role in his torture and enact his retribution. In the process he realizes that his captor has been tortured by the wartime memories as well and that perhaps there is a third option that may lead to freedom for both of their tortured souls… forgiveness.

 

SCORE: 4 out of 5

RELEASE: 2013
RATING: R

Quartet — 4 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Rich

SUMMARY: A famous operatic quartet finds themselves living together in a home for retired musical stars… but will they ever perform again?

DETAILS: Dustin Hoffman directs this fantastic story about life in a retirement home for aging musicians. When the fourth member of an operatic quartet moves into Beecham House, three of the four decide to get the quartet together again for a final performance of their famous Rigoletto. But an aging diva who worries about her voice along with her failed marriage to one of the other members of the quartet are obstacles that may be insurmountable. A brilliant performance by Billy Connolly (A Series of Unfortunate Events) tops this great cast of fun, rich characters.

SCORE: 4 out of 5

RELEASE: 2012
RATING: PG-13

Elf — 2 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Ho-Ho-Hum

SUMMARY: Raised by Santa’s Elves, Buddy the Elf learns he’s a human and sets out to meet the father he’s never known. Pseudo-hilarity ensues.

DETAILS: Will Ferrell plays Buddy the Elf who was raised among elves in Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole. But the day comes when Buddy learns he’s a human and that his real father lives in New York City. So Buddy leaves on a journey to meet the man he’s never known. He gets a job in a department store’s Christmas department, falls in love with a co-worker, and destroys his dad’s career, but along the way he helps restore the Christmas spirit that’s long been lost. A Christmas comedy it is, but it’s funny moments are only so funny, and in the end, Elf just can’t compete with the Mother of all Christmas Comedy’s… A Christmas Story.

SCORE: 2 out of 5

RELEASE: 2003
RATING: PG
COMEDY

The Giver — 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: 1984ish

SUMMARY: In a world where all emotions have been neutered, a young man sets out to free them all.

DETAILS: Based on the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry, The Giver tells the story of a young man in a world free of emotion. Each individual is assigned work based on their giftedness, but Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is special. He’s given the responsibility to carry the history for the people, an extremely rare assignment that literally places the emotional weight of the world on the one who carries it. The Giver (Jeff Bridges) shares his gift with Jonas who soon learns that he has the opportunity to help bring emotions back to his world.

They say I should have read the book before seeing the movie. I wish I had. I really wanted to like this more, but certain parts of the story (i.e. the boundary being crossed to restore emotion) just fell flat for me.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

RELEASE: 2014
RATING: PG-13

Karakter (Character) — 4.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Compelling

SUMMARY: A bastard child is strengthened by every opposing move his father makes

DETAILS: 1920’s Netherlands is the beautiful backdrop for this film about a boy who’s mother was impregnated by the town’s oppressive bailiff. The story begins with the death of the father on the day the son becomes a lawyer and the son his the last to see his father alive… a bloody visit where we don’t know all the details. The story then takes us back in time as we learn of the boy’s origins, his struggles to make a life for himself, his mother’s continual rejection of his father, and his father’s continual attempts to make life difficult for his own son… a conflict designed to build Character.

This film won the Academy Award for best foreign film of 1997.

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5
RELEASE: 1997

RATING: R
FOREIGN

12 Dates of Christmas — 2.5 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Cute

SUMMARY: Groundhog Day meets Christmas Eve

DETAILS: A girl learns to look beyond herself as she has to re-live Christmas Eve 12 times and take 12 blind dates with the same guy. Once she starts taking care of others in her life, she falls in love, and is able to get the clock moving beyond Christmas Eve

SCORE: 2.5 out of 5

RELEASE: 2011
RATING: TV