Monday, September 30, 2013

The Village Barbershop

Nine Items or Less in a small town. John Ratzenberger plays the proprieter of a small town barbershop who has just lost his partner of many years. His partner ran the business part of the business and was the personality as well. He doesn't quite know how to cope with the loss or plan for the future. So he just goes about his routine. Enter a "sweet young thing" to help him out. Shelly Cole plays Gloria, a young woman needing a new start. Unwilling to put up with the stereotypes that are put on her as a woman hairdresser, and unwilling to accept 'No' as an option, she drags the barbershop into the future... or at least the present. A nice little relationship film that explores changing ideas and thoughts about the world regardless of how old you are.
4 stars (out of 5)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Serious Man

Maybe I am not serious enough, but I didn't get it? I never saw a reason to be interested, and while it was labeled a black comedy, I never found a reason to laugh.
1 star (out of 5)

Walk the Line

I am not a die hard bio-pic fan, but I am a sucker for good singing. Have had this on my list for awhile just based on the bass line in the preview. What I found most interesting was the way all the famous (or soon to be famous) stars traveled and played in small houses. Very much reminded me of the "days of my youth" when bands would travel to county fairs and play in front of crowds. Can you imagine U2 doing a county fair in the middle of Iowa? Wouldn't happen anymore in the download world. Other than this inside look at the concert scene, and the fun competitive ribbing between the stars, this was an average film. The soundtrack didn't knock my socks off, and I was hoping it would. Maybe had I seen it in the theater with all the hype???
3 stars (out of 5)

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Spectacular Now

Sutter envisions himself as the Ferris Buhler of his time. Maybe the drunk Ferris. Party all the time & don't care about anything. He meets a girl (she finds him in her front yard after a particularly potent party) and finds that she looks at the world differently. He seems to be sincere and engage her as an important person. He seems to be looking at the world differently because of her. And yet we find that the real struggle is not how he looks at the world, but how he looks at himself. Is he ready to be mature? To take himself seriously? This is probably supposed to take me on my own journey of self discovery while making me laugh along the way. But it wasn't that funny and I wasn't that engaged. Probably will forget this one pretty quickly.
2 stars (out of 5)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Word on the street is that this is a modern Huck Finn. Well, it is on a river and it does have a guy running from the law helped by a couple of young kids. But I think this is really a story about love. Or maybe an investigation of love. Ellis and Neckbone are the two local kids living on the Mississippi River. Ellis is our protagonist who lives with his parents ON the river, on a houseboat passed down from generation to generation. Mom and Dad are disagreeing about the direction of their lives and Ellis now looks to every relationship as a benchmark to determine what he can expect from his own life in the realm of love. He watches Neckbone and his uncle, Mud and his girlfriend, his parents, the old guy across the river, his popular girl girlfriend. He is always watching or asking about what makes relationships work or not work. So while the plot involving Mud was interesting, for me it was only a device to allow me watch Ellis inquire and grow in his understanding of human relationships. Very well done.
4 stars (out of 5)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Winning Season

Sam Rockwell is a down and out guy. Job, fatherhood, identity... nothing is going his way and he forgets about it by drinking. Then he helps out a friend by taking the job coaching the local girls basketball team. Well, the 6 girls at the local high school who are on the team. So in many ways, this is a classic sports underdog film. Team loses all the time, gets a new coach, soars to new heights while bonding as a team in ways never thought possible. Rockwell is unconventional as a coach only because his constant state of drunkenness affects his ability to care. What I liked about the film was that the team did not aim for an undefeated season and a national championship. They were happy with a few wins, and with progress. Like the players, the script stayed within its abilities, not trying to be too much. This is a nice, small film. Don't expect too much and you will enjoy.
3 stars (out of 5)