Cultureguru's Weblog

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

She says / He says (M–R)

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.


** Made (July 2001) – Theatre
Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn. Two longtime friends gets mixed up in a Mob caper.

She says: Well, it certainly wasn’t dull, but the friendship was rather incomprehensible. Why does Bobby put up with Ricky?
He says: Well, I didn’t like that. That guy [Ricky] was just too annoying — it left me irritated all the way through.

**½ Made in Dagenham (November 2010) – Theatre
Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins. Set in Britain in the 1960s, shows how women workers at a Ford plant achieved pay equity with men through labour action.

She says: Really positive view of history that you realize must have been streamlined somewhat for dramatic purposes, but still makes for a pretty engaging movie.
He says: It was mostly good, but it was slow in parts.

*** Manufactured Landscapes (November2006) – Theatre
Ed Burtynsky. Documentary about photographer’s Burtynsky’s work in making environmentally horrible landscapes look beautiful.

She says: I’m still not sure how I feel about Burtynsky’s approach, but I did find his point about it reflecting our modern ambivalence interesting: We both hate the environmental consequences and love the comfortable lifestyles we have. Certainly the film does a good job of showing the actuality of the scene as contrasted to the photographs captured, which are amazing and almost always beautiful. And makes you very glad you’re not a production line worker in China.
He says: Huh. I think I slept through part of that.

***½ Mao’s Last Dancer (October 2009) – Theatre
Chi Cao, Bruce Greenwood. Biography of Li Cunxin, a China-trained ballet dancer who managed to defect to the US in the early 1980s.

She says: Definitely an interesting story, though I somehow expected more ongoing drama once he’d initially managed to stay in the US. But particularly spectacular are the dance sequences, which also carry the story forward. The previously unknown Chi Cao is fantastic in the lead role: a beautiful dancer, a very good actor, and great charisma—very sexy.
He says: That made me want to go to a ballet. I really enjoyed it.

*** Maple Flavour Films (June 2008) – Theatre
A documentary by the director of Sidekick, about why no one goes to see English-language Canadian movies.

She says: It’s kind of ironic that almost not one went to see this documentary about why no one goes to see Canadian movies. But it shouldn’t be taken as a comment about the film itself, which was both entertaining and educational.
He says: Sorry, honey, but I just want a quiet evening at home.

*** Margin Call (October 2011) – Theatre
Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Zachary Grub. An investment firm risk analyst discovers that past miscalculation of complex new stock offerings have left the firm on the brink of ruin.

She says: The recent financial crisis, through the eyes of the 1%, which is a really weird perspective on it. As we see the situation only through various actors at this one financial firm, who aren’t all shown to be monsters, you kind of find yourself rooting for them. Yeah, save yourself. Sell those junk bonds. Wreck the economy. But then you‘re jolted back to the fact that these people’s jobs are not like anyone else’s, as absolutely incredible amounts of bonus money is dangled as a lure to take immoral action.
He says: Showing the characters with bits of humanity and ethics, on the edges, made it more interesting. It was a good movie.

*** Marvel’s The Avengers (May2012) – Theatre
Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johanesson. The unlikely team of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow team up to battle a threat to humanity.

She says: Though not a big comic book person, I did really enjoy the interplay of these very different characters: the 40s-era Captain American with the ultra-modern Iron Man; or the god Thor and the Incredible Hulk. And I appreciated the humor and pacing that Joss Whedon brought to this special-effects extravaganza.

And now I kind of want to see Iron Man, because he was my favorite.

He says: That wasn’t that great, was it? I mean the story wasn’t much. There was no mystery to it.

I don’t know what happened. I should have liked this one.

*** Match Point (December 2005) – Theatre
Jonathan Rhys-Myers, Scarlett Johansson. Ambitious former tennis pro struggles with lust for his friend’s fiancee.

She says: Very interesting that this whole movie is shown from the immoral Chris Wilton’s point of view. You’re forced into understanding him even though you don’t like him. Great chemistry between the two leads makes this movie work.
He says: That made me uncomfortable. I do not approve of their behavior!

*** Memento (March 2001) – Theatre
Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss. Man with no short-term memory works to avenge his wife’s murder.

She says: Well-crafted movie that puts you in the same confused state that the main character is in by telling the story backward. Ends up being both a compelling mystery and a statement about how memories can lie.
He says: I don’t even know what the heck I saw.

*** Men with Brooms (October 2002) – Theatre
Paul Gross, Molly Parker. Canadian comedy about curling and making amends. And also beavers.

She says: It’s a fun movie! The acting is good, and the story and characters are compelling enough to carry you through, though nothing overly surprising happens.
He says: Too much curling, but otherwise definitely worth seeing.

*** Michael Clayton (October 2007) – Theatre
George Clooney, Tom Wilkonson, Tilda Swindon. A lawyer who works as a corporate “fixer” has to manage a senior partner’s fit of ethics, and finds himself questioning his own role.

She says: An interesting twist on the crusading lawyer taking on the corporation story, and this time it’s told from the point of view of the corporation’s lawyers. The characters are rich and the actors are excellent, including George Clooney in the lead role.
He says: Still not sure what the guy did, exactly, but it was an interesting story.

*** Microcosmos (1996) / Baraka (1992) – Theatre
Bunch of bugs / Bunch of people. Documentaries.

She says: A double feature is very long to sit through, but both of these narrative-free documentaries are worth seeing for amazing images and (especially Baraka) thought-provoking concepts.
He says: I liked Baraka better. Especially the darker parts, for some reason. Microcosmos was too long for a movie about bugs.

*** Midnight in Paris (June 2011) – Theatre
Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams. Young American man visiting Paris with his fiancee finds himself whisked away to 1920s Paris, the era of his romantic dreams.

She says: A very fun movie—quite the love letter to Paris. When the time travel begins, the movie really takes off, as lead character encounters a dizzying array of historical figures: Hemingway, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso, Man Ray, Gertrude Stein, and more!
He says: This, along with Ratatouille, would be the perfect movie to watch before visiting Paris. I didn’t think the lead performances were that great, I didn’t know that much about all the historical figures, and it spelled things out too much—but I still enjoyed the movie. (Even though it was directed by Woody Allen.)

**½ Milk (November 2008) – Theatre
Sean Penn, James Franco. The political career of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to political office in the US.

He says: Next time I get to pick the movie.
She says: Why?
He says: So it’s one I like!
She says: You didn’t like that? But it was full of plot! And issues!
He says: It was boring.
She says: But you liked Sean Penn’s performance.
He says: Oh, I did! He was fantastic.
She says: He was. Really transformed himself into that character.
He says: Did the critics like this movie?
She says: Oh yeah—big praise, lots of awards.
He says: Guess I’m wrong, then.
She says: Well, it maybe could have been a little shorter. Tighter editing.
He says: Could have been a lot shorter, for me.
She says: It kind of struck me that that country hasn’t really progressed that far on gay rights. You just had California voters opting to take away their marriage rights…. It’s still a big issue there.
He says: And so is gun control. They still have way too many guns.
(She: *** He: **)

***½ Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (December 2011) – Theatre
Tom Cruise. The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in a global terrorist bombing plot. Ethan Hunt and his rogue new team must go undercover to clear their organization’s name.

She says: A better plot than most action movies have, one that actually makes a certain amount of sense and isn’t just an excuse to get from one action scene to another. And the action scenes are great (and I often end up bored by them). That climb up the building was especially compelling.
He says: Wow, that was exhausting. I’m not used to these kinds of movies anymore. (Good for an action movie, though.)

**** Moneyball (September 2011) – Theatre
Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill. How the Oakland A’s Manager, Billy Beane, reinvented his team on a tight budget by using “sabermetrics” to recruit players of hidden value.

The conversation before the movie…

She says: How about we go see Moneyball tonight?
He says: Sure. What’s it about?
She says: Well, it’s about how a baseball manager manages to make his team better using statistical analysis… Or something like that. It’s supposed to be really good.
He says: It sounds boring.
She says: I know! It does. I saw the author of the book it’s based on on The Daily Show, and he said he thought it should have never have been made into a movie. But apparently they did a good job with the movie.
He says: You’re really not selling this very well.
She says: Brad Pitt is in it.
He says: Still not helping.

The conversation post-movie:

She says: So?
He says: You’re right. It was really good.
She adds: It really is quite a feat to make a movie on this subject (baseball crossed with economics) so gripping. The script is just excellent. Brad Pitt is also great, to the point where you basically forget he’s Brad Pitt.

**** Monsieur Lazhar (February 2012) – Theatre
Mohmed Fellag, Sophie Nelisse, Emilien Neron. After a teacher’s suicide, an Algerian immigrant is quickly brought in as a substitute. Despite the culture gaps, he’s able to form a bond with the students. French, with subtitles.

She says: The synopsis makes this sound like one of those well-made but dreary Canadian movies, but it’s not. The traumas like the suicide and the tragedy that led Lazhar to leave his native Algeria happen mostly or entirely off-screen. On-screen is a lot of warmth and humour, as Lazhar fumbles his way through Canadian norms that are strange to him. There are moments of anger and sadness, but they’re never overwrought.

The movie tells a very simple story but deals with complex cultural, political, and emotional issues. The lead actor is great and the children are just astounding in showing how this unexpected teacher is just what these kids need.

He says: I feel like I missed the message of this one. Like I wasn’t evolved enough to understand it. And kept waiting for more to happen.

Despite that, weirdly enough, I still liked the movie!

*** Monster’s Ball (December 2001) – Theatre
Billy Bob Thorton, Halle Berry. Drama about two wounded, flawed people who unexpectedly connect.

She says: From a very dark beginning, the movie and the characters move to a better place, in ways that aren’t at all predictable and yet doesn’t feel implausible.
He says: It was another one of those movies that is more about character than plot, but it was OK.

***½ Moon (June 2009) – Rental
Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey. An astronaut miner is nearing completion of a solitary three-year contract to harvest helium 2 when he meets someone else up there: himself.

She says: Haunting and thought-provoking. A mix of suspense and science fiction with a philosophical undercurrent. It contains numerous twists are truly surprising, yet plausible in the context of the story. A strong script, a great performance, and a nice-looking movie on a low budget. Worth seeing.
He says: OK, that was disturbing.

**½ The Motorcycle Diaries (September 2004) – Theatre
Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna. A young Che Guevara goes on a South American road trip that changes his life. Spanish with English subtitles.

She says: Well-acted with some interesting scenes, but not quite the inspiration I’d hoped it would be.
He says: Well, that was kind of slow. And I still don’t know what made Che Guevara famous.

***½ Moulin Rouge! (June 2001) – Theatre
Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor. Musical about ill-fated lovers in 19th century France.

She says: Another movie that successfully makes anachronistic use of rock music. Starts out frenetic and thrilling, and then slows down to touching. Bonus points for including Queen’s “The Show Must Go On.”
He says: To my surprise, I really liked that. I felt for that couple. Bonus points for Nicole Kidman in fishnets.

*** Mulholland Drive (October 2001) – Rental
Laura Heering, Naomit Watts. The strange “story” of a woman with amnesia and the aspiring actress who helps her.

She says: It’s strange and difficult to make sense of, but also beautifully shot and fascinating to watch.
He says: Huh?

***½ My Big Fat Greek Wedding (April 2002) – Theatre
Nia Vardalos, John Corbett. Greek girl and non-Greek boy fall in love and try to wed.

She says: Just as you would expect, it’s fun, it’s funny… It’s a good way to spend two hours.
He says: I liked it; it was a good movie. I didn’t know Greeks were like that, though.

***½ My Kid Could Paint That (October 2007) – Rental
Documentary look at four-year-old painting sensation Marla Olmstead.

She says: Really fascinating documentary. Starts off as a look at the nature of abstract art, taking as a given that even a four-year-old can produce works in high demand. Then a 60 Minutes report on the young artist changes the story: is this really her work, or has her father assisted? Finally, the documentarian, realizing he hasn’t really captured any great footage of her painting (despite months of work on the film) reluctantly becomes part of the story himself, and the story evolves again, to his role and the appropriateness of such a young child getting so much adult attention. So many layers. The DVD includes a worthwhile additional set of follow-up footage, scenes deleted from the original, and additional discussions about the many questions raised by the film.
He says: It didn’t quite hold my interest.

*** My Week with Marilyn (November 2011) – Theatre
Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne. A young British man working as a “third assistant director” gains the attention of star Marilyn Monroe and is smitten.

He says: No man would stand a chance with her. That combination of seduction and vulnerability—just irresistible. I finally get the appeal of Marilyn Monroe.
She says: Me too. Michelle Williams was just great at conveying her charisma—why she was such a big deal.
He says: She was really good.
She says: And it looked like she gained some weight for the movie. She didn’t look so waif-y. Though the dresses could have been padded.
He says: The dresses were definitely padded. But back to the story… You know, the main character was the least powerful person on that movie set. But she made him feel like he was the most important person to her. That she needed him. Of course he was a goner. Am I right that they never actually had sex, though?
She says: That was my interpretation. What with him always being in bed with clothes on.
He says: No matter. 23 year-old-guy… He didn’t stand a chance.


**** New Waterford Girl (2000)Theatre
Lianne Balaban. Being “different” in a tiny, stifling Cape Breton town.

She says: The other great movie of 2000. A completely charming story, featuring an excellent performance by Lianne Balaban. Also answers the question: Whatever happened to Andrew McCarthy?
He says: I kind of forget now. But I think I liked it at the time.

**½ The Notorious Bettie Page (May 2006) – Theatre
Gretchen Mol, Lilly Taylor. Bio-pic of pinup star Bettie Page.

She says: It is an interesting story, and an interesting character, but I would say that not enough is done with it. This very religious girl embracing this soft-porn lifestyle—the subject is touched on, but never really explored to my satisfaction.
He says: It was a pretty fun movie. Not sure how she justified her behavior to herself, though.

*** Nowhere Boy (October 2010) – Theatre
Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas. A look at the early life of John Lennon, when he was getting to know both his mother Julia and a boy named Paul.

She says: Well cast and acted; a fairly intense look at this tumultuous time in John Lennon’s life. Lots of passion burning below the reserved British surface, which occasionally erupts.
He says: I think you have to care about The Beatles more than I do to really get into this movie.

*** Nurse Betty (September 200) – Theatre
Renee Zellweger, Morgan Freeman. Woman with traumatic amnesia thinks she is a soap character and behaves accordingly.

She says: A really unsettling mix of sweetness, light, and comedy and extreme violence. Definitely original.
He says: That was so weird.


***½ Ocean’s Eleven (February 2003) – Rental
George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt. Eleven men attempt to rob three Las Vegas casinos.

She says: It was a fun movie, from Ocean’s opening interrogation sequence to the “and introducing Julia Roberts” credit at the end.
He says: Now, that was a good movie.

**** Office Space (August 2002) – Rental
Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston. Tech worker decides to stop making his job a priority, and gets promoted.

She says: Just a great little comedy about people with real jobs, including a bunch of nerds who work for a technology banking company and a roadhouse waitress. I have definitely worked with people like these (no names, though).
He says: Mmm, what did I miss? [Jeans been working hard—he was sleepy]

** Once Upon a Time in Mexico (September 2003) – Theatre
Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas. A corrupt CIA agent recruits El Mariachi to do his dirty work in a political revolution.

She says: Surprisingly not boring, given the number of highly choreographed action sequences (which aren’t really my thing). Johnny Depp is definitely the best thing in this movie, as the only character who seems to have any sense of humour. But overall, not my kind of film. (**)
He says: God, that was awful. You didn’t like that, did you? I thought it was terrible. ()

***½ The Others (May 2002)Rental
Nicole Kidman. Woman whose husband disappeared in war is seemingly haunted in a large house that must be kept dark.

She says: Atmospheric, well-acted, and with some neat twists.
He says: A little scary in parts, but hey! I guessed part of the ending right!


***½ Pan’s Labyrinth (December 2006) – Theatre
Young girl uses her imagination to escape from the grim reality of life in fascist Spain. Spanish with subtitles.

She says: Intense and engrossing, with the blend of the fantastic and the realistic working better than you’d expect. Definitely not for children, though.
He says: I wish I hadn’t missed the ending [badly timed bathroom break], but I liked what I did see.

**** The Perks of Being a Wallflower (September 2012) – Theatre
Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller. A troubled young man finds high school less traumatic when he finally makes friends with some misfit seniors.

She says: Since we (the North American over-14 “we”) have all been to high school, it’s hard not to connect with this film: the hormonal confusion, the drug experimentation, the fear of not having anyone to sit with in the cafeteria, or talk to at the school dance. One is so relieved when lead character Charlie gains the friendships that help him negotiate all this, but the movie’s drama shows how Charlie’s problems are deeper than most’s, the friendship’s life-lines more important.

Though it’s mostly serious, the movie has plenty of fun and funny moments. It made me emotional at times, but those moments felt honest, not manipulative. The young actors are strong, though Emma Watson seemed a little hamstrung by having to focus on her American accent. A few details clunked, most notably that these music-obsessed teens were mystified as to the origins of David Bowie’s very famous song, “Heroes”. It also took me a while to locate the movie in time (late 80s / early 90s), though that may not be a critique.

I say, go see this one.

He says: I really liked that one. I don’t even know why I liked that one, because it seems to me not much happened, and usually I don’t like movies like that. But I really enjoyed this one.

*** The Perfect Storm (June 2000) – Theatre
George Clooney, Mark Wallburg. Fishermen seek fish in the eye of the “perfect storm.”

She says: I’ve read all that business about the characters being too stereotypical and such, but I didn’t notice any of that when actually watching this gripping thriller.
He says: I’m glad I didn’t know the ending going in. There wasn’t a dull moment in this one.

***½ Persepolis (December 2007) – Theatre
Animated; French with subtitles. Coming of age tale of a young Iranian girl living through some of her country’s turmoil.

She says: Another great, strong woman character. The simple animation is surprisingly effective in telling her story.
He says: Yes, I liked it. It was an interesting movie. Though I liked Ratatouille better.

**½ Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked) (November 2009) – Theatre
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy. Follows one British pirate radio station in 1966, when the government was trying to shut them down.

She says: In part this is a love story to British rock of the 1960s, and that part is fun. But the story hanging around that is weak, and that’s too bad. There are funny moments, but no big narrative drive. It’s more like a series of vignettes with a really great soundtrack, where there was certainly potential for it to be much more.
He says: I didn’t get the central premise. Why on earth wouldn’t women have been allowed on the boat?

**½ Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (May 2007) – Theatre
Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly. Elizabeth, Will, Barbossa, and crew set out to rescue Jack Sparrow and resolve other lingering issues brought about in Dead Man’s Chest.

She says: Through the magic of low expectations, I enjoyed this well enough. Something was always happening, so it was hard to get bored, and I didn’t find the story as confusing as all the critics said, though I hadn’t seen Dead Man’s Chest since it first came out.
He says: Yeah, it wasn’t too bad. They should stop now, though.

**** Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (July 2003) – Theatre
Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Keira Knightly. Pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, governors daughter Elizabeth Swann, and blacksmith Will Turner get caught up in adventures involving a cursed pirate ship.

She says: I found it fun. I liked the girl-power/Buffyesque way Elizabeth was portrayed. The skeleton effects of the cursed pirates were cool. The fight scenes didn’t get boring.
He says: The critics kept saying Johnny Depp was so amazing. The other actors were good, too.
She says: Yeah, I was impressed with that Bend It Like Beckham girl. And Geoffrey Rush made a good villain. And those two pirates in drag were a hoot. Orlando Bloom was pretty dull, though.
He says: The one who played Will? Yeah, he didn’t bring much to the part.
She says: Salon’s review said this was an adventure movie you didn’t have to grade on a curve, as in, “it’s not so bad for an action movie.” They said that was an insult to this movie, which had so much going for it that it was almost a very good movie.
He says: Almost? What “almost”? That was the most fun I’ve had at a movie since…
She says: Well, you know critics are snobs.
He says: But he was good, though.
She says: Who?
He says: Your Depp guy. He was hilarious. He did that part really well. And I don’t know why the critics complained about the plot…
She says: I know. What was wrong with the plot? It made enough sense, it was interesting…
He says: This kind of reminded of A Knight’s Tale. They weren’t as clever with the music in this one, though.
She says: Yeah, but at least they never did the dumb “musical montage” of scenes just to have a hit single. This was comparable to A Knight’s Tale—a lot of fun.
He says: Men on boats with swords. I liked it.

**½ Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (July 2006) – Theatre
Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom. The continuing adventures of Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann.

Jack and ElizabethShe says: Everything the critics said is true—the movie has a meandering, somewhat senseless plot; the wit is in much shorter supply this time out; and Will Turner is, in my opinion, a fairly dull leading man. Nevertheless, I generally enjoyed it, because of the great look of the film, the occasional truly hilarious scenes, and the incredible charisma of most of the cast.
He says: I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t nearly as good as the first one. It seemed like just an action movie, when the last one was a lot more than that.

*** Polytechnique (February 2009) – Rental
Karine Vanasse, Sébastien Huberdeau. Looks at the Montreal Massacre through the eyes of two survivors, a man sent from the room, and a woman who had to stay inside. French with subtitles.

She says: I don’t know the best way of tackling this subject matter. This movie was very arty—black and white, moments of banal quiet suddenly interrupted by moments of terror. The killer is never named, not glorified. The focus is on the victims—that day, and some months afterward—and they get all your sympathy. At a taut 70 minutes, the movie certainly keeps your attention.
He says: Can I sit here and watch this with you? [A little later] Oh God, I don’t want to see this. I’m going on the computer. [A little later, having returned] Are you expecting to sleep well after this? [After it was done] Well, that was depressing.

**½ POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (April 2011) – Theatre
Morgan Spurlock documentary looking at product placement in movies, by trying to finance this movie through product placement.

She says: The meta-nature of this documentary was interesting, but it seemed as though it should have gone further. The movie just seemed to end, without really addressing the questions it was raising.
He says: I think his sponsors got in the way of his message.

*** Pontypool (March 2009) – Theatre
Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle. A new DJ’s first morning radio talk show is disrupted by reports of very strange mob attacks in the community.

She says: A movie that makes much of a small cast and an even smaller budget. Based on the clever idea that people are being infected by a virus transmitted by the English language. Maybe that high school French will save us all…
He says: You didn’t tell me it was going to be that scary.

** P.S. (September 2004) – Theatre
Laura Linney, Topher Grace. 39-year-old university admissions officer believes a Fine Arts candidate is the reincarnation of her high school boyfriend

She says: Great performances but an odd premise that prevents you from totally relating to this story. Still worthwhile if you like movies that focus on character more than plot.
He says: I didn’t like that. But at least it was short.

** Punch-Drunk Love (October 2002) – Rental
Adam Sandler, Emily Watson. Anti-social eccentric is transformed by love.

She says: I finally concluded that I liked this movie. Yes, it’s very odd—even the extras on the DVD are odd—but in the end, it’s romantic, it’s weirdly fascinating, and it’s beautifully shot. (***)
He says: When you said this would be weird, I thought it would be weird in the way that we always see weird movies. But this was a special kind of weird. ()

*** Public Enemies (July 2008) – Theatre
Johny Depp, Christian Bale, Mariam Cotillard. The attempts to bring down bank robber John Dillinger.

She says: Definitely a quality production in terms of acting, directing, cinematography… Along with some very exciting action sequences. But the script does leave you wanting a bit more, as ultimately Dillinger’s life and death, while interesting, also seemed somewhat pointless.
He says: Kind of disturbing that you were completely on the bank robber’s side the whole time, and never on the policer officer’s. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great.


***½ The Queen (October 2006) – Theatre
Helen Mirren. The British Royal family has difficulty responding appropriately to the public reaction to Diana’s death.

She says: Well done—an unusual take on a well-known story. Strong script makes the the Royal family seem like real people, and excellent work by Helen Mirren in the lead role.
Kristi says: It was one of those movies where I was close to tears all the way through.
He says: I’ll meet up with you when the movie’s over.

*** Queen Rock Montreal (September 2007) – Theatre
Queen. Concert footage from 1981, in Montreal. Special theatrical showing.

She says: I don’t know if this is their best concert video over—bit hard to top the best moments of Live at Wembly and Live at Budapest—but it’s a worthwhile document of its time, and it was definitely fun seeing this on the big screen it was filmed for.
He says: Have fun at the movies, dear.


** Rachel Getting Married (October 2008) – Theatre
Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger. Young woman leaves a drug addiction center to participate in her sister’s wedding, and family drama ensues.

She says: Very talk-y, but it worked for me. Anne Hathaway is as good as everyone says, but is also surrounded by strong performances. And the outfits, vows, music, menu? That was one cool wedding. (***)
He says: Did you like that stupid movie? (*)

*** Rare Birds (March 2002) – Rental
William Hurt, Molly Parker. Friend convinces failed Newfoundland restaurateur to attract birders by claiming a rare sighting.

She says: Off-beat but entertaining little movie. I wish it had shown more of the food!
He says: That was pleasantly quirky in a Canadian sort of way.

**** Ratatouille (June 2007) – Theatre
Animated. Rat with a flair for cooking gets into a Paris bistro kitchen after an accidental separation from his family.

She says: A gorgeous movie, with built-in appeal for those who love Paris and fine food, but it also has compelling characters and a fast-moving plot. Instead of being a kid’s movie that adults can also enjoy, it’s really an adult movie (in theme, not in excessive violence or sex) that kids may find enjoyable.
He says: OK. Where should we go eat?

*** Reign Over Me (March 2007) – Theatre
Don Cheadle, Adam Sandler. Dentist mysteriously dissatisfied rekindles a friendship with his old college roommate, who lost his whole family on 9/11.

She says: Well-developed characters and a lot of humour in this movie, despite the grim backstory. It’s well done and recommended. (Even if you don’t strangely like Adam Sandler, as I do.)
He says: That was good. I liked the women characters in particular.

***½ Religulous (September 2008) – Rental
Documentary featuring Bill Maher, exploring religious belief.

She says: Better than I expected. Maher travels the world, visiting some well-known religious sites (the Vatican, Jerusalem) and some less well-known (Holy Land Experience in Florida, a fledgling Creation museum), speaking to all manner of religious people. Yes, he is rude sometimes; he’s Bill Maher. But the only thing that I made me uncomfortable was his associating Muslims and terrorism. And he does seem to approach the subject with a sincere desire to understand why people believe. I learned some things, the most surprising being the many similarities between the stories of ancient Egyptian god Horus and that of Jesus. And it was hard not to agree with his final conclusions.
He says: Nice to see a documentary that I can agree with.

**½ Revolutionary Road (December 2008) – Rental
Leonardo de Caprio, Kate Winslet. A couple’s marriage falls apart under the weight of thwarted expectations.

She says: Excellent performances, especially from Winslet, and an interesting, interior exploration of these people as individuals and as a couple. The backdrop is the conformity of 1950s American suburbia, and the reality of women’s more limited options when they could not as easily control their fertility. None too cheery, but interesting.
He says: I like more to happen in movies. That needed more plot, for me.

*** Romance (February 2000) – Rental
Caroline Ducey. Woman embarks on a sexual odyssey when her boyfriend refuses to make love to her. French with subtitles.

She says: A strange movie, and definitely the most sexually explicit non-porn one I’ve ever seen. But it certainly keeps your attention…
He says: Quite weird and kind of sexy. I think the main character may have issues.

***½ Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (March 2008) – Theatre
Documentary looking into Roman Polanski’s 1977 statutory rape trial.

We say: This one inspired a lot of discussion and debate between the two of us, which is what you want from a good documentary.

**½ The Royal Tenenbaums (December 2001) – Theatre
Gwyneth Paltrow, Gene Hackman. Comedy about the reunion of a dysfunctional family.

She says: Very offbeat movie, but also highly entertaining, due to the interplay of the sharply drawn characters. (***½)
He says: Well, I really didn’t like that. (*½)

*** Ruby Sparks (July 2012) – Theatre
Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan. A young novelist struggling to write his second book after the successful first is finally inspired by a character he names Ruby. Then one day, Ruby shows up in the flesh, just as he has envisioned her…

She says: It was hard not to go all “feminist analysis” on this one, with the character of Ruby being, of course, the ultimate “manic pixie dream girl”. Having literally been imagined into existence, she is indeed a quirky young woman who exists only to inspire and please the main male character.

But then the movie examines that point. Having been brought to life, Ruby starts to chaff under her limitations. She’s lonely. She wants to do more. She wants to be more. And the reclusive Calvin isn’t sure he likes it.

It was definitely an interesting movie. Though I still wonder what it would have been with the genders reversed.

He says: OK, enough happened in that movie; it had enough plot for me. He was an odd duck, that Calvin, though. Not a typical guy at all. She was just riveting. The whole thing held my interest.

Yeah, OK, I liked it.

*** The Runaways (April 2010) – Rental
Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart. A look back at the story of The Runaways, the first all-girl rock band.

She says: It focuses mostly on Cherie Currie, whose biography this is based on, and secondarily on Joan Jett, the movie’s producer, with the remaining Runaways mostly treated as background players. Though at times you kind of feel an urge to run and protect the very young women from some of these experiences, overall it was kind of inspiring. Nice music sequences. And a great reminder of how awesome Joan Jett is.
He says: Is it over? I think I fell asleep. I guess I was really tired from the canoeing. How did it end?
She says: Joan Jett became a big star.