Film Review: Intimate Stranger — 3 stars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVVGS1H_ZuQ

ONE WORD REVIEW: Sad!

SUMMARY: The compelling, tragic, global story of Joseph Cassuto, a man who loved his work more than his family.

DETAILS: Intimate Stranger is the story of Joseph Cassuto, an average, hardworking Jewish man whose life changed drastically due to WWII. Living in Egypt prior to the war, Joseph had a lovely wife and four children and a very successful career exporting Egyptian cotton to Japan, but following Pearl Harbor his life and career would take a drastic turn. His American wife and his two youngest children were able to return to America just prior to the war breaking out with the thought that Dad and the others would soon join them. But as fate would have it, it would be several years before they would arrive in Brooklyn, and in America, their successful father was a nobody. Mr. Cassuto soon started rebuilding his relationships with the Japanese and he eventually would live in Japan, away from his family, for 11 months of the year. As he became more loved by the Japanese, he became more hated by his own family. The best quote of the film is by one of his own sons who said, “I never met anybody who disliked him, other than the immediate family.” Intimate Stranger was made by Cassuto’s grandson Alan Berliner and is a great look at a man who busied himself too much with his career at the expense of those who should have loved him the most.

WATCH THE TRAILER
SCORE: 3 out of 5 stars
RELEASE: 1991
RATING: NR
DOCUMENTARY

Film Review: The Silence of the Lambs — 3 stars

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1140457753/

ONE WORD REVIEW: Not-What-It-Was!

SUMMARY: A rookie FBI agent must trust her instincts and a locked up psychopathic cannibal in order to prevent a another psychopath from killing again.

DETAILS: It’s hard to believe that an entire generation has grown up since The Silence of the Lambs was originally released. The story was so unbelievably frightening back in 1991… a cannibal named Hannibal Lecter that gets inside your mind and literally under your skin (Anthony Hopkins), a novice FBI agent who is uncertain about herself (Jodie Foster), and a plot involving suspense, the skinning of kidnapped humans, and a transsexual antagonist who lodges sphinx moths in the throats of his deceased victims. I remember seeing this film with my wife back in the 90’s. For years I could make the rat-like noise that Hopkins makes with his tongue repeatedly striking his teeth and it would freak my wife out and of course it would typically be proceeded by my best Hannibal Lecter impersonation, “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” Unfortunately, time has passed and the world is literally a different place than it was in 1991. Perhaps the film was so shocking at the time, but we have all been so continually shocked since, that the film’s shock-factor has lost it’s punch. Perhaps there has been so much talk of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transvestites in recent years, that the antagonist is not nearly as “out there” any longer. Perhaps it’s that there are several scenes where the suspension of disbelief is not enough to justify the actions of the characters (i.e. how our heroine finds the murderer, how Lecter knows where to call her at graduation, etc.). Or perhaps it’s just simply because I knew how it was going to turn out. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards and winner of 5 including Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Demme), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Hopkins), and Best Actress (Foster) this film is definitely worth watching… but it’s just not what it was back in 1991.

WATCH THE TRAILER
SCORE: 3 out of 5 stars
RELEASE: 1991
RATING: R
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress

Inglorious Basterds — 3 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Tarantinish

SUMMARY: Americans killing Nazi’s Tarantino-Style

DETAILS: A group of American soldiers work with freedom fighters to kill a bunch of “Nazi’s” and end the war. Bloody, Violent, Overdone… aka Tarantino-Style

SCORE: 3 out of 5

RELEASE: 2009
RATING: R

The Fault In Our Stars — 3 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Sad

SUMMARY: A depressing ride to death through the lives of people with no hope to hold onto.

DETAILS: Sad… this film is sad on a couple of levels. Sad in that it deals with death and dying. Our main characters are on their way to the grave. But more sad in that no one in the film has a hope to hold onto… there is no afterlife, no heaven, no God, no hope. The brief glimpse of any Christian influence is done in a mocking manner of a cancer support group leader who makes a hook rug of Jesus and is portrayed in a very cheesy way. The part that I did like was the Willem Dafoe character… who really is the God character in the film. He is the author of book that our heroes love… but the book literally ends in the middle of the sentence. Our characters must travel across the sea to meet this author and ask him why and what really happened next. When they arrive they are sorely disappointed and they learn that “God doesn’t care about them or for them” or so they perceive. But in the end this God character comes to our heroine and leaves letter that she won’t read until later, a letter that brings an element of redemption. The farther I get from this movie, the more I like it… or at least parts of it. Or maybe I just like being far from it???

SCORE: 3 out of 5

RELEASE: 2014
RATING: PG-13

A Night In Old Mexico — 3 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Duvall

SUMMARY: If you love Robert Duvall, watch and enjoy this movie… but don’t look for brilliance from him or the storyline.

DETAILS: Duvall… Robert… He’s one of my favorite actors. But the storyline of A Night In Old Mexico seems a little tired and worn. There are some good moments, but things are a bit unbelievable in a film that wants to be gritty and real. The story begins with Duvall’s character wanting to end his life when a grandson he’s never met shows up. Together they end up in the adventure of lifetime with bullets, money, bad guys, and a beautiful señorita…. yeah, she’s contributes to the unbelievable part. Not her performance (which I liked) but her falling for Duvall who happens to be getting up there in age. If you love Duvall, watch it. If not, skip it.

SCORE: 3 out of 5
RELEASE: 2014
RATING: NR

Tiny: A Story About Living Small — 3 out of 5 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Downsized

SUMMARY: This movie will make you consider downsizing your current way of life

DETAILS: A young man who is turning thirty searches for the meaning of “home” when he embarks on a mission to build a tiny house. What begins as a summer project takes over a year of his life as he struggles to complete his undertaking. I love the ideas presented in this film of living less cluttered and more simply. I wish the film would have dug deeper into the relationship between the main guy and his girlfriend who was helping build the house. In essence, that’s the deeper, real, more human story taking place. Will their relationship survive? Will they live happily ever after in this tiny house? Those are the lines I wanted to see explored and unfortunately it was more about building their house, than building their lives.

SCORE: 3 out of 5

RELEASE: 2013
RATING: NR
DOCUMENTARY