Cultureguru's Weblog

Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

She says / He says (C–F)

Links are to the Rotten Tomatoes Web site, where you can read what other critics and moviegoers thought of each film. Ratings are from * (stinker) to **** (absolutely wonderful). Theatrical release date is in parentheses, followed by whether we saw the movie in theatre or as a home rental.

C

**½ Caché (Hidden) (December 2005) – Theatre
Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche. Bourgeois Parisian couple’s life is disrupted when they start to receive voyeuristic videos with disturbing, child-like drawings. French with subtitles.

She says: This is the kind of movie that sends you to the Internet afterward to figure out what it actually meant. So definitely thought-provoking, but also a little frustrating in trying to make sense of what happens.
He says: I didn’t get it.

*** Capitalism, a Love Story (March 2010) – Rental

Michael Moore documentary looks at the recent financial collapse and questions the economic system that made it possible.

She says: This is Moore’s most radical film to date. Where previous had fairly uncontroversial (to Canadians) arguments that guns are bad, George Bush wasn’t a great President, and America’s health system needs fixing, this one questions the capitalist economic system itself. I couldn’t as easily get onboard. And yet, I couldn’t poke that many holes into his arguments, either. Why couldn’t more companies be run as cooperatives? Why do we allow such enormous wage disparities between executives and workers? It definitely made me think, and that’s a good thing.
He says: So he’s like Fox News, at the other end of spectrum.

***½ Capturing the Friedmans (May 2003) – Rental
Documentary. Details a family breakdown as they deal with sexual allegations against the father and one of the sons.

She says: An amazing movie that allows both the prosecution and the family to make their case, leaving the audience to make their own assessment. Despite the father’s admitted pedophilia, I came to the conclusion that the “computer class” allegations were false. This opinion becomes even stronger after viewing the additional information on disk 2 of the DVD. Given the information they uncovered, the filmmakers have been criticized for not having produced a stronger case for Jesse (the son)’s innocence, in particular. Just another level of debate in a movie that really makes you think.
He says: Given the subject, I had trouble watching this for extended periods.

*** Cast Away (December 2000) – Rental
Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt. Fedex manager goes down in a plane and ends up stuck on a deserted island.

She says: The bulk of the movie takes place on the island, and it is compelling to see his efforts to survive there.
He says: It’s good. And I don’t see why people were complaining about the ending.

***½ Catch Me if You Can (December 2002) – Theatre
Leonardo di Caprio, Tom Hanks. Teenager successfully passes as a pilot, doctor, and lawyer.

She says: A perfectly enjoyable movie that is very well paced. The story is so bizarre, it had to be true, or you wouldn’t believe it. Doesn’t give rise to too many afterthoughts, but that’s OK.
He says
: Now that was a good little movie.

***½ Catfish (September 2010) – Rental
Documentary. Nev Shulman’s roommates decide to do a documentary about his long-distance friendship with an eight-year-old artist and her family, and it develops in a way that none of them expect.

She says: I got very caught up in the twists and turns of this real-life story. The additional interview on the DVD is also well worth watching for those lingering questions.
He says: I was surprised how interesting I found that. I was expecting something different, maybe more terrible, but it was really fascinating.

*** Central Station (November 1998) – Rental
Fernanda Montenegro, Vinicius de Oliveira. A middle-age woman who writes (but doesn’t necessarily mail) letters for the illiterate becomes the reluctant custodian of young boy after his mother dies. Subtitled.

She says: It’s a moving story of how this fairly unpleasant older woman is transformed by her relationship with the boy who is left with no one after his mother dies. Great acting, nice cinematography, and enough twists of fortune to keep your attention. (And not really a depressing movie, though you might expect that.)
He says: I was able to get through it, but it was bit too slow and character-driven for me.

** Charlie’s Angels (November 2000) – TheatreDrew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz. Y2K version of the 70s hit TV series, with all new angels but the same old Charlie.

She says: Oh sure, entertaining enough while you watch it, but there’s nothing to it, is there? Just an empty, forgettable movie.
He says: Why did we go see that?

***½ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (July 2005) – Theatre
Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore. A poor but kind boy is one of five children who wins a golden ticket into Willy Wonka’s mysterious candy factory.

She says: Very enjoyable. Creates a weird world that totally works within itself. Looks fantastic. And Johnny Depp is hilarious.
He says: That was strange.

***½ Charlie Wilson’s War (December 2007) – Rental
Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts. Obscure Senator’s role in the covert war in Afghanistan.

She says: Very smart, snappy movie, and a really interesting look at a period of American history that isn’t very well known.
He says: That was a really good movie. I’m surprised we didn’t see it at the theatre.

** Chicago (December 2002) – Theatre
Renée Zellwegger, Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Musical about Roxie Hart’s efforts to get out of jail and become a star.

She says: Given all the reviews and awards—not to mention the fact that I often like musicals—I expected to like this a lot more than I did. Some of the numbers really are great (the pupeteer sequence, the tap dance, the opening number), and the performers do acquit themselves well. But I found the “bit of story between songs” pacing tiresome, and I was kind of uncomfortable with murder, prison, and the death penalty made the stuff of fluffy entertainment.
He says: I can’t believe how quickly I got bored with women in fishnets.

**** Children of Men (December 2006) – Theatre
Clive Owen, Claire Hope-Ashitey. In the not-so-distant the future, where women are infertile and the world has descended into violence, a quest to save one miraculously pregnant young woman.

She says: Not exactly cheery, but smart and exciting. Good acting, great sets, great editing. Alfonso Cuaron has yet to make a bad movie.
He says: Wow. That was engrossing. I don’t know what else to say. It was a really good movie.

** Chloe (March 2010) – Theatre
Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried. Wife suspects her professor husband of infidelity and hires a prostitute to test him.

She says: It’s a beautiful looking movie, the cast is good, and it’s an interesting premise. But the story doesn’t really hold up in the end, and that’s a problem.
He says: That movie didn’t work for me. [Pause] That girl was really beautiful, though.

***½ Chocolat (January 2001) – Theatre
Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp. Fable about intolerance and chocolate.

She says: Not enough Johnny Depp, but certainly a pleasant film-going experience; how could it fail to be? It’s trying so hard! All characters are presented sympathetically, even the “villains.”
He says: I liked the chocolate-making scenes in particular.

** Chunhyang (October 2001) – Theatre
Korean film about the romance between a courtesan’s daughter and the son of the Emperor. (Korean, with subtitles)

She says: This movie is carried forward by a Korean folk tale sung in the traditional pansori style that takes some getting used to. I found the music occasionally very effective, but often an annoying distraction from the lovers’ story (which is very good).
He says: I really wished that guy would stop yelling.

*** Closer (December 2004) – Rental
Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen. The relationships of two couples become complicated and deceitful when the man from one couple meets the woman of the other.

She says: This movie’s structure is odd: You see only the moments of initial attraction between the various couples, and the moments where the relationships break down. So you don’t get to know any character all that well, and you see them all at their worst. Does not make for a warm and cuddly movie experience, but you aren’t bored, either.
He says: I was a bit confused by it, and I’m not sure I buy everyone’s actions. But it held my interest.

*** Cold Mountain (December 2003) – Theatre
Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Renee Zellwegger. Civil war soldier deserts to return to the woman he loves.

She says: Kind of grim, but a well-acted, compelling story.
He says: It was a good movie. Not happy movie. But a good movie.

**½ Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (June 2011) – Theatre
Documentary about Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television tour.

She says: I’m not a huge fan (I almost never watch his show), but I did get interested in the drama surrounding O’Brien’s removal from The Tonight Show, and did enjoy seeing the preparations and behind-the-scenes look at his tour.
He says: Oh my God that seemed long. [It’s a 90-minute movie.]

** Control (October 2007) – Rental
Sam Riley, Samantha Morton. Biopic about the lead singer of Joy Division, Ian Curtis.

She says: Beautifully filmed, and a tragic tale well-acted, but I definitely felt I was missing out by not knowing much at all about Joy Division. (Like, why was he still so broke despite the band apparently being quite successful?) It’s also a bit of a slow starter.
He says: I’m bored. Can I go back on the computer?

*** Control Room (May 2004) – Theatre
Documentary look at Al Jazheera’s coverage of the war on Iraq.

She says: This look at Al Jazeera’s work is a real eye opener. Much of it is simply seeing familiar events in a new light. But most shocking to me was an event that I did not remember: the apparently deliberate bombing of the Al Jazeera and UAE media offices, which killed two journalists, all caught on camera.
He says: It wasn’t well put together—it was more of a jumble of events. But it still absolutely fascinating to see this other side of the war coverage.

***½ Crash (June 2005) – Theatre
Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock. The source and effect of racism is explored as lives intersect in LA, often accidentally.

She says: A movie that makes you think shouldn’t be a rarity, but it is. Initially tough going, as it features scene after scene of racism in various forms, we gradually see more of the many characters. Characters aren’t redeemed, exactly, but they do become more understandable.
He says: This movie shows all the shades of gray.

***½ C.R.A.Z.Y (November 2005) – Theatre
Sexually confused young man, second youngest of five brothers, struggles to be himself in a traditional Québecois family

She says: Although quite an enjoyable movie, I must say I’m surprised by its great success, what with its not-always-sympathetic protagonist, subtle climax, and focus on character over drama and action. Definitely worth seeing, if only to ponder those same questions.
He says: Even though not that much happened, I liked this movie. I enjoyed seeing the Réveillon traditions played out.

**½ crazy/beautiful (June 2001) – Theatre
Kirsten Dunst, Jay Hernandez. Romance between wild, wealthy teenage girl (crazy) and studious, working-class teenage boy (beautiful).

She says: Much attention displayed to character development—these aren’t just stereotypes. And another excellent performance by Kirsten Dunst. (***)
He says: But nothing happened! (**)

Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone. After 25 years of marriage, Emily tells Cal she’s had an affair and wants a divorce. He moves out and meets Jacob, a ladies’ man, who offers to coach him in the single life.

She says: The base plot doesn’t sound like much to work with, but this movie was very entertaining. It was often laugh-at-loud funny (in the right places) and featured a number of plot twists I did not expect, yet seemed to work in retrospect. For so much talk of sex throughout, it wasn’t particularly sexy, but I must say I totally get the Ryan Gosling thing now. Wow.

And, you know, good acting by him, and by all involved in this one.

He says: That was a funny movie! I really liked it. Interesting that the most mature character was probably the 17-year-old girl.

***½ Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (December 2000) – Theatre
Chow Yung-Fat. Dreamy, kung-fu romance. (Chinese, with subtitles)

She says: An absolutely beautiful movie, well worth seeing on the big screen. And enough plot and character development to keep it going. Not necessarily the best of the year, but certainly good.
He says: A good movie, and amazing looking, but maybe overrated.

D

*** A Dangerous Method (November 2011) – Theatre
Keira Knightly, Michael Fassbinder, and Viggo Mortenson.The birth of psychoanalysis, through Carl Jung’s treatment of Sabina Spielrein, using Freud’s theories.

She says: I was going to say that this is another movie about marital infidelity, but although that occurs in this movie, that’s not really what it’s about. It’s about the birth of psychoanalysis, as Carl Jung uses Sigmund Freud’s “talking cure” with a female patient of his, to great success. The two men eventually meet, and debate both the theory and practice of their new field. The patient, Sabina Spielrein, also studies to become an analyst. At one point she and the married Jung begin an affair, despite their doctor / patient relationship.

It’s an interesting movie. Keira Knightly is quite good in the role, and this movie gave me the sense that Spielrein also made a contribution to the field and ought to be better known than she is. (I’d never heard of her before this.) It’s also probably the least violent Cronenberg movie I’ve ever seen. It’s a bit notorious as the film where “Keira Knightly gets spanked”, but those scenes are filmed pretty discreetly. There’s no doubt what’s going on, but you’re not getting any close-ups.

But I wasn’t really sure what the overall point or message of the movie was. Not that every movie needs a big message. It just seemed like this particular movie, so focused on ideas and the nature of human condition, should have one. So while worth seeing, I wouldn’t call it a complete success.

He says: I didn’t mind the movie. It wasn’t sexy at all, but I guess he wasn’t going for that.

*** The Dark Knight (July 2008) – Theatre
Christian Bale, Heath Ledger. Batman’s will to continue his crusade is tested when a psychopath named the Joker uses him as the excuse for murder.

She says: Very complex for a comic book movie; a lot of moral issues to ponder here. A little too long, a few too many car chases for my taste, but overall a very smart action movie, which is a rare thing indeed.
He says: Boy, that was long. And twisty, and convoluted.
She says: Sorry you didn’t like it.
He says: I never said I didn’t like it.

*** Dark Side of Oz (release date unknown) – Theatre
The Wizard of Ozplayed to the soundtrack of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

She says: Though probably much better when you’re stoned, and despite significant stretches where the synchronicity is not that notable, still some pretty cool match-ups—the scarecrow introduced by the song “Brainless”, the heartbeat pounding when Dorothy puts her ear to the tin man’s chest, Glenda introduced with “goody-good” while the wicked witch is introduced by “black – which”, and the song “Home Again” always ends on a significant scene, the last of which is when Dorothy gets home, home again.
He says: I didn’t notice any of that. But at least I’ve now seen Wizard of Oz on a big screen.

**½ Dear Frankie (May 2005) – Theatre
Emily Mortimer, Gerard Butler. A woman writes letters to her deaf son purporting to be from his sailor father—which becomes a problem when the son discovers his father’s ship is coming to the local port.

She says: A pleasant but not sappy story about a feisty mother, her sensitive son, her lively new girlfriend, and a mysterious but kind stranger.
He says: That just didn’t hold my interest.

**½ December Boys (October 2007) – Rental

Daniel Radcliffe, Christian Byers. Four Australian orphan boys get an opportunity to spend a month away in a seaside town, where they compete to be adopted.

She says: The religious overtones of this movie really didn’t sit well with me. And without spoiling what it is, I didn’t think the ending especially worked. I don’t think the choice was a good one.
He says: The religious stuff didn’t really bother me. But I agree with you about the ending.

***½ Despicable Me (July 2010) – Theatre

Steve Carell, Jason Segal. 3D animated movie about a villain who uses three orphan girls in his diabolical plan to steal the moon.

She says: A lot of fun, with plenty of jokes specially for the adults in the crowd. And must say this one is worth seeing in 3D; they do a nice job of playing with the extra dimension.
He says: I would have enjoyed it more without the raging headache, but given that, yeah, it was good. [She adds: He didn’t get the headache from the 3D. He had it going in.]

***½ The Descendants (November 2010) – Theatre

Directed by Alexander Payne, starring George Cloone. With his wife in a coma following a boating accident, Matt King is forced into reconsidering his relationship with her, his daughters, and his extended family.

She says: This movie is all aftermath. All the drama—the building of small family empire, the betrayal, the accident—happened before it begins, and we don’t even get flashbacks to it. It’s all learning about and dealing with what has happened. The script is tight, with bits of humour amidst a mostly tragic story, and the twists are unexpected. George Clooney is excellent, saying so much with those beautiful eyes.

He says: I liked that they didn’t go Hollywood with this. Like where you’d expect a big fist fight, you got a tense argument. It made the whole story seem plausible, realistic. And I thought the actress who played the oldest daughter [Shailene Woodley] was very good.

*** The Devil Wears Prada (July 2006) – Theatre
Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway. Bookish journalism graduate Andy Sachs struggles to survive her job as second assistant to the editor of fashion magazine Runway.

She says: Moves along very nicely, supported by a great performance by Ms Streep as the devilish editor. And the clothes! One can almost see why you’d put up with such a job for those.
He says: Really? The clothes? I thought she looked fine before her makeover. Anyway, a pretty good movie.

Die Another Day (November 2002) – Theatre
Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry. The latest adventures of James Bond.

She says: I liked the pretty people, and the pretty cinematography in the Arctic scenes. But there were just so many ludicrous vehicle chases, explosions, and fight scenes that it was, at first, overwhelming, and finally, simply boring.
He says: Too much action. Not enough sex.

Diving Bell and Butterfly movie poster***½ The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (November 2007) – Theatre
Matthieu Almaric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze. French editor of Elle has a stroke at age 42, leaving his brain intact but his body completely paralyzed, except for one eye. French with subtitles.

He says: Well that was a bit of a downer.
She says: In parts, it was certainly touching.
He says: But I liked that he stayed a guy.
She says: Yeah, he was totally still sex-obsessed. I loved the scene with the crab and the oysters.
He says: He was a bit of a jerk, too.
She says: Sometimes. Like it didn’t kill his old personality; he didn’t completely change inside.
He says: Do you think the French healthcare system is really that good? Because that was quite a rehabilitation regime he was on.
She says: I was wondering that. Whether they have a two-tier system of some kind, and as a rich guy, maybe he got the deluxe treatment.
He says: Cause he was way too close to our age. We should look at moving to France. I wouldn’t want that to happen here.
She says: Well, it is rare. Which is good, because I don’t think I’d have that vivid an imagination.
He says: I know I wouldn’t. [Pause] That was a good movie.

*** Dogma (June 2001)Rental
Matt Damon, Ben Affleck. Two angels who have been cast out of heaven try to get back in via a loophole.

She says: Kind of over the top, but definitely entertaining.
He says: I liked that one. Except maybe for the poop monster.

*** The Door in the Floor (July 2004) – Theatre
Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger. A film of the first third of John Irving’s novel, A Widow for One Year.

She says: I’m not sure what this would be like for people who haven’t read the novel, but I enjoyed this adaptation. The film’s present-day setting was a little distracting, as it seemed more “right” to have this story set in the 50s, as in the novel. But that’s a quibble on this well-acted, well-told story.
He says: I liked that one! A lot of things happened—made it interesting and kind of sexy.

E

*** Eastern Promises (September 2010) – Rental
Viggo Mortenson, Naomi Watts. In caring for the baby of young woman who died in childbirth, a midwife gets entangled with the Russian mob in London.

She says: I had to turn away from the violence a number of times, but was definitely caught up in the story. The ending was rather abrupt, though.
He says: I think there should have been more about the Russian mob, less about the pretty woman and the baby. The mob story was the interesting one.

*** Easy A (September 2009) – Rental
Emma Stone. High school girl decides that a path to popularity is in encouraging the rumours that she’s an easy lay. Then it gets complicated.

She says: A very likable movie, primarily due to the charismatic performance of lead Emma Stone, and the writers who gave her bright and funny dialog to work with.
He says: That was a good one, eh?

*** Easy Virtue (September 2009) – Theatre
Jessica Biel, Colin Firth. A British country family is thrown in disarray when the oldest son returns with his new bride, a feisty American widow.

She says: It didn’t get the greatest reviews, but I found this a fun movie, with some good performances, especially among the Brits.
He says: That Jessica girl did look good in that white dress.

*** An Education (October 2009) – Rental

Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard. A 16-year-old girl takes up with an older man, and starts to reconsider her plans to attend Oxford.

She says: A simple enough story, but a great, funny script by Nick Hornby along with strong acting by all made it very engaging. You do kind of want to tell this young girl to run screaming from this older (though charming) guy who is tempting her away from university, but the character is very intelligent, and her arguments about how much an education will benefit her at time (early 1960s) when career prospects for women are very few can’t that easily be dismissed.

He says: This movie just made me way too uncomfortable. The whole premise was wrong. I could barely watch it.

*** The Eleventh Hour (August 2007) – Theatre
Leonardo DiCaprio. Documentary about the current environmental crisis.

She says: That movie made me wish I was older.
He says: What? Why?
She says: Because then I’d be dead before all the environmental crisis really hits.
He says: I think I will be dead. I have high blood pressure and cholesterol, you know.

[Postscript: We haven’t given up on healthy diet and exercise yet, but have installed a few more fluorescent lightbulbs and bought more cloth bags.]

*** The Endurance (January 2002) – Theatre
Documentary about the Shackleton Antarctic expedition.

She says: Compelling movie on an interesting subject. It contained a lot more archival footage than I would have expected.
He says: Those people were crazy! But for some reason I like real-life stories about crazy adventurers.

*** Enemy at the Gates (March 2001) – Theatre
Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes. WWII from a Russian perspective—the Battle of Stalingrad.

She says: A different view of the war from one we usually see. Not sure I buy Joseph Fiennes as the guy who has trouble getting the girl, but…
He says: That was a good movie. Of course, I am a war movie fan.

*** Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (March 2004) – Theatre
Jim Carey, Kate Winslet. After a bad breakup, Joel decides to undergo a procedure to get all memory of the relationship erased.

She says: Another interesting exploration of the psyche by Charlie Kaufman, with an unusally understated performance by Jim Carey.
He says: I liked it. Not a lot happened, but enough to keep me interested.

** Eve and the Fire Horse (February 2006) – Theatre
Young Chinese-Canadian girl tries to make sense of life at the crossroads of two religions, Buddhism and Christianity.

She says: Along the tragic events of a miscarriage and Grandmother’s death, the film has many funny and fantastical scenes. It’s a charming and thought-provoking look at how we make sense of the world through various religious and cultural prisms. (***)
He says: I didn’t see the point of this story. It didn’t seem that very much happened. ()

**** Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – Rental
Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman. A wife’s admission of mental infidelity sends her husband out on a sexual odyssey.

She says: I know some people hated this and left in the middle, but I found it utterly compelling from beginning to end, and I’m not even sure why. I just couldn’t miss a second. Quite an impressive achievement.
He says: Even though it was slow—like, deadly slow—I was just fascinated by this.

F

***½ Fahrenheit 9/11 (July 2004) – Theatre
Documentary look at George W. Bush’s term in office.

She says: Though it has less pure entertainment value than Bowling for Columbine, and drags just a tad in outlining the various business connections of the Bushes and the Saudis, the movie builds up a truly compelling and devastating case. Its greatest strength is in the raw footage that just hasn’t been seen anywhere else: uncensored clips of Bush, the Pentagon on fire, and the many horrors of Iraq.
He says: The movie was what I expected it to be, but I did learn some things. It certainly made clear why Saudi Arabia has never been targetted, though most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. It also presented a strong argument that 9/11 was a convenient excuse for a long-wanted attack on Iraq.

***½ Fair Game (November 2010) – Theatre

Naomi Watts, Sean Penn. The story of Valerie Plame, who status as an undercover CIA operative was leaked by Bush administration officials after her husband publicly questioned their intelligence on Iraq.

She says: Seeing all the Bush-ites at work again, building their phony case against Iraq, is infuriating. The story of Valerie Plame’s work before the leak and the effect it has afterward, on those she worked with, and on her marriage, is riveting. It makes me curious to read her book, though I guess it’s heavily censored. (Speaking of which, look at the credits at the end…)

He says: Well, that was frightening. Hard to believe that actually happened.

***½ Fantastic Mr Fox (November 2009) – Rental

Animated. Directed by Wes Anderson, voiced by George Clooney and Meryl Streep. A fox who had abandoned his thieving ways after the birth of his son plans one last heist.

She says: A thoroughly entertaining mix of the old-fashioned stop-motion animation and a kind of sly, modern humor. The extras make you realize that animators of this type have almost super-human patience.

He says: A good recommendation. I liked the style of this movie.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) – Rental
Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro. Hunter Thompson and his lawyer on a trip to and in Las Vegas.

She says: Johnny, Terry, you know I love you guys. But the fun of watching grown men take every manner of drug, see weird things, and behave badly wears off after about 15 minutes. And unfortunately, this movie goes on for another 1 hour and 45 minutes.
He says: This is weird. [A bit later] What is this about? [A bit later.] I think I’m going to go work on the computer.

*** Finding Nemo (May 2003) – Theatre
Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres. Over-protective clownfish father embarks on a journey to retrieve his son Nemo. Animated.

She says: It is an amazing feat of animation—at times I forgot it was computer generated, and just admired the gorgeous views. It also avoided the over-sentimentality that often plagues Disney films. Degeneres’ Dory and the sea turtles were comic gold.
He says: I think it was a little too naive. I don’t think fish would do all of that.
She replies: I think you’re missing the metaphorical point…

***½ Finding Neverland (November 2004) – Theatre
Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet. Playwright JM Barrie is inspired by the Davies family to create Peter Pan.

She says: Fantastic dramatization of the creative process—the scenes transitioning between the everyday and the imagination are gorgeous. Great performances, and blessedly avoids becoming over-sentimental.
He says: I really enjoyed that movie. It was very well done.

***½ The Fog of War (December 2003) – Theatre
Robert McNamara. Documentary about McNamara’s involvment in World War II, Ford company, and Vietnam.

She says: Very interesting, especially considering that it’s mostly based on an interview with one man. Discusses the past, but makes you think about today. Probably of more interest to those who follow American history and politics.
He says: I don’t really agree that this is more for people with an interest in US politics. I’m not interested in that, but I still found the movie interesting.

***½ (500) Days of Summer (July 2009) – Rental

Synopsis: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. A look back at a failed relationship, and its aftermath.

She says: Funny and true and tightly edited, with good performances by both leads. Definitely a good rental.
He says: Well, her I liked. I could see why he become so obsessed with her. Fun movie.

*** Freaky Friday (August 2003) – Rental
Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan. Mother and teenage daughter magically switch bodies.

She says: Definitely recommended if you’re in the mood for a light comedy. Good acting and sharp writing make this fine way to spend a couple of hours.
He says: Boy, that was different from the movies we usually watch. It had a lot funny scenes.

***½ Freedom Writers (April 2008) – Rental
Hilary Swank, Imelda Staunton. Idealistic English teacher finds a way to reach her students, whose lives are torn apart by gang violence in Los Angeles, 1992.

She says: The students’ dark stories are very compelling, and the teacher’s development from cluelessness to engagement with them really is moving. Strong acting from everyone. An underrated film, I’d say.

*** Frida (October 2002) – Theatre
Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina. The life of artist Frida Kahlo.

She says: A beautiful-looking movie that really gives insight into Kahlo’s art. A bit too much focus on her relationship with Diego, perhaps, but definitely worth seeing in a theatre setting. (***)
He says: That was good. The story was interesting, and the women were beautiful. (***½)

*** Friends with Benefits (July 2010) – Theatre
Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake. Tired of failed romantic relationships, two friends decide to add sex to the mix without the complications. Then it gets complicated.

She says: I find both Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake very appealing as actors, so was willing to go root for them as they went through the romantic comedy plotline, even as they openly mock the romantic comedy. No must-see, but doesn’t insult your intelligence, and not bad characters to spend time with.
He says: That was a chick flick. [She says: So, you didn’t like it?] I didn’t say that.

***½ Forgetting Sarah Marshall (April 2008) – Theatre
Jason Segal, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis. Suddenly dumped by his longtime girlfriend, television star Sarah Marshall, composer Peter Bretter seeks solace in a trip to Hawaii, only to find that Sarah and her new boyfriend had the same idea.

She says: Much better than I was expecting, because the characters—even minor ones—seem like people, not just punchlines. Which doesn’t mean the punchlines aren’t good… This is a funny movie. But it’s one I’d actually like to see again, and see more of.
He says: OK, so I’m glad you dragged me out to the movies. That was really worth seeing. And not just because Mila Kunis takes her top off.

*** From Hell (October 2001) – Theatre
Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Robbie Coltrane. Opium-smoking, psychic detective investigates the Jack the Ripper murders.

She says: Kind of depressing, but well-acted, stylish, and compelling throughout. And a lot less explicit than I’d feared.
He says: It wasn’t too scary and it wasn’t too gory, but I liked it anyway.

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