|As much as I enjoy Kate Bosworth, “And While We Were Here” looks a little too much like every other traveling abroad romance film with a twist. The film touts the inklings of a French romance where a woman (Bosworth) touring the Island of Ischia meets a young man and falls for him, only to reveal she’s married and unhappily so. Bosworth is often a draw, but there’s just not enough going for the film to justify a screening.
|Based on a true story in the point of view of the DC snipers, “Blue Caprice” is intriguing in the fact that you’re getting a glimpse into the mind of the sadistic killers. Isaiah Washington is compelling and the faded out color of the film draws me in even more.
|Whether “Four” stands for the 4th of July, on which the film takes place, or whether its because there are four characters, the film looks like a dramatic stretch into the secret lives and sexuality between two different couples. A young woman who is very smart but looks to find a night of escape with a not so impressive peer. And a father who lies about a work trip to spend time with a young man. In setting this film at night and giving these characters secrets, I could see how this could be compelling.
|Harry Dean Stanton seems like an interesting enough person, but if the message of his story is to get out of acting, why are we putting him in a documentary. “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction” appears to visit the friends of Stanton’s as they sing his praises, along with him singing some folk music in the background, but the trailer does little to expand any of this man’s story and really provides me with little reason to see it.
|I definitely appreciate the story in the documentary, “Herb & Dorothy: 50×50”. The thought that this ordinary and selfless couple would be willing to split up their art collection to museums in all 50 states is phenomenal, but this is a case of the trailer offering me enough to be glad I heard the story but offering to real reason to sit down and experience an entire film about the subject.
|My new favorite thing in documentary trailers is over-dramatizing everything to make it appear like the biggest deal ever, when in fact it’s a simple story with simple motivations. But somehow the trailer editor is able to bring up this huge debate with intense music playing it up to be some epic battle. “Informant” has that trailer. About an anti-establishment activist that actually becomes an informant for the FBI, the story is simple, but you wouldn’t know it from the ridiculous trailer.
|Apparently I never knew Billy Bob Thornton was a director on top of being a very recognizable actor. Directing films like “All the Pretty Horses” and “Sling Blade”, his latest ensemble piece, “Jayne Mansfield’s Car” shows him calling in a lot of favors with a huge cast but no discernible through-line. Starring Robert Duvall, Robert Patrick, Kevin Bacon, and John Hurt, just to name a few, the film looks like it could have been funny if it were handled by someone more inept.
|One day I will visit Paris and see the Eiffel Tower and life will be grand. Visiting Paris through black-and-white footage collected from ordinary people in 1962 feels more like a history lesson than an enjoyable, escapist film. “Le Joli Mai” is an interesting concept and I commend the effort, but the trailer alone is boring, not touting the brilliance that this came from 55 hours of home video. That being said, I’d rather wait to visit.
|Yet another week of endless documentaries, I would say fashion and design documentaries are on the lower tier of films I enjoy. Chronicling Carine Roitfeld from French Vogue who branches off into her own business, this feels very self-fulfilling and self-indulgent. I do enjoy fashion for its sake and of course the gorgeous women, but there’s nothing drawing me into seeing “Mademoiselle C”.
|The imagery of “Mother Of George” is undeniable, with Cinematographer Bradford Young winning the Cinematography Award: U.S. Dramatic at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Presenting Danai Gurira (Michonne from AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) as a recently married Nigerian woman who has troubles conceiving a child, her presence is strong and matched with the photography could transcend its somewhat bland delivery.
|Despite the horrible trailer for “Plush”, I have a growing affinity for the leading lady, Emily Browning (“Sucker Punch”, “Sleeping Beauty”) who is just thriving in her career and could possibly be the only enjoyable part of this stalker/crazy fan film starring “The O.C.’s” Volchek (Cam Gigandet), whom I could care less for. As much of a thriller as it probably can be, I will only be seeing this for Emily and will not be expecting much.
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|One more documentary for you this week. “Sample This” is yet another look at the history of hip hop music and specifically the producer Michael Viner and his 70s album that went unnoticed until a DJ used the beats from it, which are still used by today’s artists like Will Smith and Jay-Z. Forgive me for saying it, but hip hop history documentaries are a bit played out.
|“A Strange Brand of Happy” feels like a first feature film. The production quality and acting are both slightly off and something feels completely unnatural about the entire film.
|The first ever film made in Saudi Arabia by a first time female director, “Wadjda” already has all of that going for it. With what looks to be strong performances from the females in the film, I have to say my interest is peaked. About a rebellious young girl who wears Converse shoes and dreams of owning a bike, she must embrace her culture’s customs in order to get the money to buy one. Surprisingly and consistently upbeat, I am impressed with the marketing for this film.
- The Family
- Insidious Chapter 2
MOST LIKELY CATCH ON NETFLIX (75%)
PROBABLY CATCH ON NETFLIX (50%)
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- Blue Caprice
- Mother Of George
- And While We Were Here
- Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction
- Herb & Dorothy: 50×50
- Jayne Mansfield’s Car
- Le Joli Mai
- Mademoiselle C
- Sample This
- A Strange Brand of Happy