Category Archives: Movies

The romance I want to see… and it’s not 50SoG.

Anyone seen this romance featuring a love story between a pop star and the LA cop assigned to protect her? The initial reviews are strong. writes:

Beyond the Lights, writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s show-business romance about the slowly blossoming affair between an ascendant pop star and a down-to-earth L.A. cop, is as shamelessly soapy as movies come—but I challenge you not to slip on the soap bubbles and fall right in to this movie’s invigorating bath. Onscreen love stories live and die on the connection between their leads, and as the troubled singer Noni Jean and her earnest protector-turned-paramour Kaz Nicol, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker all but spontaneously combust each time they look at each other.

It’s got a 84% rating at Rotten Tomatoes which writes:

Thanks to smart direction and a powerhouse performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Beyond the Lights transcends its formulaic storyline to deliver thoroughly entertaining drama.

It’s been quite a while since I saw a good love story at the movies. I think the last one I loved was About Time.  (One could argue that Gone Girl is a love story but I’m not going there.)

Do you plan to see this movie? What was the last great love story you saw at the cinema?


Is there any way for a woman to age in Hollywood?

Helenrenee-zellweger-435Several news sources have slammed Renée Zellweger’s face recently. said “But when fallen It Girls like Zellweger re-emerge in middle age with radically retooled faces, we can’t look away.” Comments on Twitter ranged from snarky to snide.

For her part, Ms. Zellweger says “I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.”

In Hollywood, women over 40 are almost always visually wrong in some way. Either they look too done, too old, too fat, too thin, too saggy, or too tight. There’s a reason we all swoon over Helen Mirren. (She has confessed to considering plastic surgery but says she hasn’t gone under the knife yet.) She looks impossibly beautiful at 69. Ms. Mirren, however, is a rarity. Most actresses over 40 are marginalized or consigned to dowdy roles.

What do you think about Ms. Zellweger’s look?

Dabney Grinnan

Gone Girl: Are you going?

GGI don’t usually rush out and see films the day they are released. In fact, the last time I did that, I think it was for the IMAX version of the last Harry Potter film. So, yes, it’s been a while.

That said, yesterday, right after lunch, my husband and I went to see Gone Girl, the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel. The book is, for me, a tour-de-force of writing. Ms. Flynn’s vision of intimacy between two brilliant and deeply messed-up partners fascinates me.

The book has several jaw-dropping plot twists, as does the film, and, as I watched, I thought about what an utterly different experience seeing the film would be had I not read the book. (I was reminded of a similar experience with Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent.) I enjoyed the film which is faithful to the plot of the book but not completely true to the novel’s vision of its protagonists, Amy and Nick.

Have you read Gone Girl? Do you plan to see the movie? (In the interest of suspense, please do not post spoilers in the comments.)

AAR at the Movies: Catching Fire


Friday night, my friend and I went to see the second instalment of Suzanne Collins’s massive smash hit trilogy, adapted for the screens. I wasn’t going to see it, honestly. I’d seen the first one, and there was something about seeing the physical and psychosocial trauma that hit me viscerally in a way that the books couldn’t translate. Yes, I knew it was fiction, and yes, I knew what happened anyway. But I found the experience quite frightening, to be honest.

But then the reviews for Catching Fire came out (mainly glowing, in a nutshell), and my curiosity got the better of me. I also had a free movie voucher, and I thought, well, I could save it for The Devastation of Smaug’s Cumberbatched Voice (aka The Hobbit part 2), or I could suck it up, be my age, and see Lenny Kravitz, Jena Malone and Stanley Tucci do their thing. And you know what? I’m glad I did. Continue reading

AAR at the Movies: Ender’s Game


This Sunday, we headed to the movie theater to take in Ender’s GameEnder’s Game is one of those books that I’ve always meant to read but never managed to get around to.* I really enjoyed the movie, and while I understand from reading various reviews that a bulk of the political intrigue that happens on the page has been cut from the film, I now feel no strong drive to read the book. Indeed, given the complexity of the story’s science fiction aspects, I’m rather thankful that Hollywood provided visuals that my sci-fi-challenged brain would never have managed to make so cool. Continue reading

Favorite Movie of the Summer or Mother Nature is a Serial Killer


Now that summer is officially over I am ready to call my favorite movie of the season, which would be (drum roll please) World War Z. Terrific pacing, strong acting and an interesting story line make this a must see of 2013.

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Welcome to Battleschool


Long before The Hunger Games there was Ender’s Game which oddly enough also featured children going to war. But they went to war younger, worked longer, worked harder.

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AAR at the Movies: Man of Steel


While I didn’t stand on line at midnight Thursday to see Hollywood’s latest Superman incarnation, Man of Steel, I was excited enough to drag my husband to a Friday night showing. This says much as going to the movies is often a frustrating experience because I find the general behavior of young movie-goers these days to be sorely lacking in good manners. Sitting in front of a group of teenage boys who think loudly using the “f” word is acceptable and talk to each other as if they are sharing a bucket of wings at BW3s is akin to torture for me. But I was willing to endure the packed theater because I do love me a good superhero movie.

When all was said and done, I thoroughly enjoyed Man of Steel. On the other hand, my husband did not. Here is my review of the movie, with a bit of his viewpoint thrown in because while he is often hard to impress, he did have some valid complaints. Continue reading