Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies! It’s a good batch.
Married Life (2007)
Starring: Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Patricia Clarkson, Rachel McAdams, David Richmond-Peck, Timothy Webber, David Wenham, Anna Williams, Ty Olsson, Fred Keating, Erin Boyes
Director: Ira Sachs
Genres: drama, romance
Synopsis: Cooper and Brosnan’s characters are business associates and friends. Cooper’s character is married to Clarkson’s character. The two have an enviable relationship and life. Enter “the other woman,” played by McAdams, a well-off war widow. Cooper’s character falls for the widow and plans on leaving his wife, but he can’t bear the thought of causing her pain, so he hatches a hare-brained scheme. Brosnan’s character narrates the film and gets firmly embedded in the network of intrigue.
Impressions: Excellent, intelligent plot; set back in WW2 times with wonderful sets, cars, clothes for the period; beautiful interiors. The acting is superb by all; the ensemble works well together.
Awards: 2 other nominations
What We Do in the Shadows (2015)
Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathon Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stu Rutherford
Director: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Genres: spoof, comedy, horror
Synopsis: 4 vampires share a home together. A filming crew (similar to Trailer Park Boys) documents the day-to-day – oops, night-to-night life of these 4. Each is very different from the other, but some things they have in common – sucking blood.
Impressions: This is laugh-out-loud funny. The humor is found in how ordinary they make being a vampire be. They have turf issues with other beasts of the night. Those who are their minions or who are in service to them have their grievances aired. The house they live in should be a character in and of itself. It’s downright creepy and seems like a place where vampires would live. Some scenes border on frightening, but mostly it’s a comedy.
Etc.: New Zealand film; there is a series by this name but not connected to this team; very well could become — or already is — a cult classic.
Awards: 26 other wins, 18 other nominations
Trivia: Each of the main characters are similar to a vampire from a famous vampire movie: Petyr is analogous to Count Orlok from Nosferatu, Deacon reflects Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, Vladislav is comparable to Gary Oldman’s Dracula, Nick is reminiscent of Edward from Twilight (2008), and Viago is like Louis de Pointe du Lac from Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994). I just read that another movie is in the works from this team, about werewolves. Yes!
David Crosby: Remember My Name (2019)
Starring: David Crosby, Cameron Crowe, Roger McGuinn, A.J. Eaton, others
Director: A.J. Eaton
Synopsis: Crosby being interviewed both at his home and on the road; he takes the interviewer to famous places that music lovers know, like Laurel Canyon and Kent State University campus where “[4 dead in ]Ohio” happened. Tough questions are asked. Incisive answers are given.
Impressions: Anyone who is a fan of Crosby, Stills, and Nash or CSNY, or just Crosby himself should see this. Those who don’t think much of Crosby should see it also. Lots of good footage, hearing him talk about the two places mentioned above is worth seeing it for.
Awards: 2 other wins, 8 other nominations
The Way Back (2020)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, Janina Gavankar, Jeremy Radin, Brandon Wilson, Melvin Gregg, T.K. Carter, John Aylward, Hayes MacArthur, Rachael Carpani, Lukas Gage, Yeniffer Behrens, Chris Bruno, Marlene Forte, Cynthia Rose Hall, Chad Mountain, Shay Roundtree, Matthew Glave, Todd Stashwick, Glynn Turman, Jeremy Ratchford, Tom Archdeacon
Director: Gavin O’Connor
Genres: drama, redemption, grief
Synopsis: Affleck was the star basketball player at his Catholic high school. Now he’s a hard-drinking construction worker who is separated from his wife. The priest unexpectedly wants to talk with him and explains their coach is out for the season and asks if he will step into the coach’ shoes. Against his better judgement he agrees. As the title suggests, the movie revolves around a broken man’s attempt to put himself back together again.
Impressions: The story is more about Affleck than the basketball team. Shows how an alcoholic or other addict struggles with relapse and relationships. Affleck is convincing in the role. He still has the gravity of a superstar and it was enjoyable watching him in a role of depth like this. Everyone else in the movie fades to insignificance, although there are some decent supporting cast members.
Awards: too new to have any compiled
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (2019)
Starring: Robbie Robertson, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Martin Scorsese, Taj Mahal, Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Larry Campbell, Rick Danko, Peter Gabriel, David Geffen, John Hammond, Van Morrison, Jimmy Vivino, Jann Wenner
Director: Daniel Roher (executive producers Martin Scorcese, Brian Grazer, & Ron Howard)
Synopsis: The doc is based on Robbie’s 2016 book, Testimony. It focuses on Robbie being interviewed and telling the story of his childhood, how he got interested in music, how he met other musicians, how The Hawks came together, then how they morphed into The Band. Lots of coverage of the time at Big Pink, including the rabble-rousing that went on there. Lots of photographs, some videos, interviews with lots of well-known musicians (archival mostly.) Robbie’s wife speaks quite a bit. Addiction and its affect on the musicians and the music is covered.
Impressions: For anyone who is a fan of any of The Band members, Bob Dylan, or the music they have made, it’s must-see.
Etc.: Robbie’s wife is a substance abuse treatment specialist.
Awards: 2 other wins, 3 other nominations
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker ()
Starring: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, Billie Lourde, Dominic Monaghan, Jimmy Vee, Greg Grunberg
Director: J.J. Abrams
Genres: fantasy adventure
Synopsis: lifted from imdb:
The surviving members of the resistance face the First Order once again, and the legendary conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak bringing the Skywalker saga to its end.
Impressions: I’m not a religious fan of the series but I have enjoyed it over the years. This installment, the last I think, is just like the others in intergalactic high speed action throughout. The main Jedi is a female, which is a wonderful change of pace. Adam Driver as the unstoppable Sith of the First Order does a fair-to-middling job with the role. Lots of great support actors in this, as usual. Surprised to see Billy Dee Williams back in this, as well as Carrie Fisher, who continues to lead the resistance forces against the dark side. No strange creatures as stupid sidekicks. The droids play second fiddle. Chewy doesn’t have much of a role.
Etc.: When George Lucas originally laid out plans for 12 episodes, then reduced it to nine, he said that C-3PO and R2-D2 would be the only characters to appear in all nine. This proves to be true: Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, the only other characters to appear in every movie of the original and prequel trilogies, did not appear in the sequel trilogy. Anthony Daniels is the only actor to appear in all nine episodes.
Awards: Nominated for 3 Oscars, 7 other wins, 35 other nominations.