Across The Universe - Beatles Musical with Evan Rachel Wood

Jude and Lucy
Jude and Lucy
Across the Universe

Across the Universe - Directed by Julie Taymor, Across the Universe is a classic "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl" story--all presented as a musical containing 33 class Beatles songs. I'm not usually drawn to musicals, but the familiar and catchy Beatles tunes quickly got my attention. From there, the ensemble cast of young actors/singers (including Evan Rachel Wood from King of California) brought something genuine and earnest to the often psychedelic storyline that knitted together lyrics from Dear Prudence to Why don't we do it in the road.

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A.I. - Spielberg Directs for Kubrick

A.I. Movie poster

AI - Artificial Intelligence - Haley Joel Osment portrays a "mech" (robot) child who forms a unique, unbreakable obsession (love?) for his human "mommie." Steven Spielberg directed this emotional sci-fi story. Stanley Kubrick co-produced the film, but died before shooting started. Heard a rumor Kubrick was slated to direct; not sure that's true. Surely, it would have been a different story with Kubrick at the helm.

Frances O'Connor plays Osment's "mommie." It's a terribly emotional role. Programming a machine to "love" a human is one thing. But will the human love the machine? What happens if the human can't?

These are the questions posed in this film. I was quite stirred up by the end. Is love between a human and machine possible? Is hate? Are we prepared for such relationships?

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Bridge to Terabithia - A REAL Children's Story

Bridge to Terabithia

An enemy is one whose story we have not heard.
~ Gene Knudsen Hoffman

Bridge to Terabithia - What a wonderful and deep children's story - a real children's story. I say real because the story illustrates how relationships and people change and are not set in stone. This is so refreshing.

Most kids stories -- most stories in general -- seem to follow a rigid formula where the good guys remain good, and bad guys remain bad. In contrast, in the Bridge to Terabithiam some of the bad guys (or gals) turn out to be real people; real people who changed and who turned out to have the same vulnerabilities as anyone else. Try to find that in a typical TV show, movie, or novel. So refreshing!

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Snow Falling On Cedars - Cinematography Masterpiece

Snow Falling on Cedars

Saw an absolutely beautiful film last night, Snow Falling on Cedars. The cinematography by Robert Richardson is simply exquisite -- every frame a fine photograph. And masterful editing by Hank Corwin knitted the abstract poetry of images into a compelling storyline, which included many flashbacks and dream sequences. It could have been a disaster, but the level of craftsmanship on this film was extremely high. Director Scott Hicks (Shine) orchestrated a nuanced work of art that deserved its 5 Oscar nominations and many other awards.

The acting in this movie was equally magnificent, with delicate, subtle performances by Max von Sydow, James Cromwell, Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under), Ethan Hawke, and Yauki Kudoh (Memoirs of a Geisha). I particularly like Kudoh's performance, and that of Anne Suzuki who played her Hatsue character at a younger age. Sydow was also fantastic, and I love Richard Jenkins -- would like to see more of this guy.

Adapted from the international bestselling book Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, the film is an experience in itself. Definitely worth viewing.

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Review-lets - Movies I've Seen

Running With Scissors - Quirky, weird, bizzaro...and true. It's like a cross between Royal Tenenbaums and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Based on Augusten Burroughs Running with Scissors: A Memoir, the film portrays the eccentric (often disturbing) teen years of Burroughs. Annette Bening, who plays Burroughs' biological mother, gives an authentic, daring performance, as does Brian Cox and the rest of the cast. Odd film, but worth watching.
The Fifth Element - Luc Bresson directs this quirky sci-fi flick with Bruce Willis and the totally adorable Milla Jovovich as Leeloo. Gary Oldman plays the evil nemesis. And Chris Tucker adds to the comedic weirdness of the film as the effeminate, flamboyant DJ Ruby Rhod. Strange, strange, strange...but it all works. Enjoyed it a lot.
Brothers Grimm - Terry Gilliam film NOT based on the true Brothers Grimm, but a mashup of their story elements. Visually very interesting and I liked Heath Ledger's performance. Kept my interest, but not a favorite film. Gilliam is quite creative, and I respect his vision. It just didn't draw me in very deeply. Worth seeing for the visual elements.

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Thank You for Smoking Movie - Truthful Satire?

We don't sell Tic Tacs, we sell cigarettes. And they're cool, available, and *addictive*. The job is almost done for us.
~ Budd 'BR' Rohrabacher

Just watched Thank You for Smoking, starring Aaron Eckhart as Tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor. Director and screenwriter Jason Reitman adapted the film from Christopher Buckley's novel of the same name.

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Band of Brothers

I'm awed by the opening theme of Band of Brothers. Composed by Michael Kamen, it's haunting, expresses the emotional range of the nine-plus hour film in just a few minutes. The story goes that Kamen was working on the score for some piece of shlock (can't remember what), couldn't get anywhere, and was approached or referred by Hanks to do Band of Brothers. Hanks knew Kamen from the miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, which Hanks produced and Kamen scored.

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