Movie Review: Mr. Turner (Four Stars) Captures the Man Capturing Nature

Movie Review: Mr. Turner

Four Stars out of Five

A moving investigation of the late life and works of the real “painter of light.” I’m sorry I missed this one in theaters. The outdoor scenes capture the wonder J. M. W. Turner apparently felt for light, water and landscapes. Though the public (and royals) didn’t accept his work during his lifetime, his work opened the door to the Impressionists.

But the movie, like the man, was much more than his paintings. This film explores his human relationships—especially with his dying father, his several lovers and with other artists—and his struggle to capture the wonder he saw in nature. The viewer feels immersed in the life and work of the artist. Neither happy nor reverential, but neither was Turner.

Timothy Spall is amazing. He has only one expression, like Elijah Woods in The Lord of the Rings, but he does it very well.

Movie Review: Inside Out (Two Stars)

Movie Review: Inside Out

Two Stars out of Five

This will admittedly be a minority report: “I can’t believe we wasted money seeing that.”

While a technical tour de force and perhaps a great introspective experience for adults, this is not a children’s movie. Some parts may entertain them, but for the most part they will have no idea what was going on.

I understood, and kept asking myself, “Why?”

A warning to parents: See it by yourselves before taking your children.

Movie Review: Tomorrowland (Four Stars)

Movie Review: Tomorrowland Four Stars out of Five Disney needs to fire someone in their publicity department. They may know all about publicizing fantasy movies, but they know nothing about advertising science fiction movies. Like Disney’s 2012 flop John Carter, the publicity misses the whole point of the movie. They bollixed it up.

This movie is about hope. Do you get that from any of the ads or previews? No. It’s also not a family movie.  It’s for teens and adults, not small children for whom many sequences are way too intense. Very human “robots” are dismembered violently. It’s a time travel, utopia versus dystopia, pessimists against the optimists. George Clooney doesn’t pontificate; that’s Hugh Laurie’s gig.

The movie is especially poignant to me because I attended the New York World’s Fair (featured in the movie) in 1964, though I remember most seeing Michaelangelo’s Pieta there. I first rode “It’s a Small World”, which also shown, in Disneyland in 1957. (Wish I’d had the pin.)

It’s a good movie. Not great in any sense, but an original story and potentially a good time.

Not really four stars, but I’m giving them extra credit for my having gone in curious and come out pleased.

Movie Review: Disney’s Cinderella (Five Stars)

Theatrical release poster by Annie Leibovitz

Movie Review: Disney’s Cinderella

Five Stars out of Five

An unmitigated success.

I admit skepticism, but Disney (and Kenneth Branagh) delivered. I tried to find some quibble to justify a lower rating, but it just wasn’t there. Oh, yes, there are quibbles; none reducing the impact of the movie. Slightly heavy on the computer graphics. Slightly low on the necklines.

While faithful to the script of Disney’s 1950 animated classic, this was a thoroughly re-imagined piece. Same cast, different motives and actions. No talking animals; at least not while they were animals. Casting Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter contrary to their usual roles was pure genius. Except for the step-sisters (who were a hoot) the younger leads mostly sighed and looked cute; Blanchett made the movie work

The Frozen Fever short delivered.

Fun and touching for the entire family.

Movie Review: Unbroken (Four Stars)

Movie Review: Unbroken

Four Stars out of Five

Impressive story; well told. Essentially a true story, of Louis Zamperini a young Olympic athlete who survived a crash landing, many days adrift in the Pacific only to be captured by Japanese and forced through a series of POW camps in Japan. Doesn’t shy too far from the faith aspects of the story.

Told with great skill and not a little violence. Some beautiful cinematography.

Worth seeing.

The Japanese won’t be seeing Unbroken because Universal Pictures isn’t releasing it there. Why are we so worried about North Korea, when our ally and supposed open society, Japan, still doesn’t admit to atrocities done in their prisoner-of-war camps?