Saturday, February 25, 2006


Concert film

Neil Young (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer and songwriter who has become one of the most respected and influential musicians of his generation. Young is recognisable for his high-pitched, nasal voice and for his deeply personal lyrics. Musically, most of his work falls into one of two distinct styles: the first is country-tinged folk rock heard on such songs as “Heart of Gold” and the other is a grinding, lumbering form of hard rock heard on songs like “Cinnamon Girl”. He has also experimented with soul, swing, jazz and electronica (a term that covers a wide range of electronic or electronic-influenced music) during his career.
Young came to prominence in the mid-1960’s and reached his commercial peak during the singer-songwriter boom of the early ‘70’s with the albums “After the Gold Rush” and “Harvest”. He has fiercely refused commercial stardom, which has led him to create both durable, uncompromising music and outlandish experiments that have left critics, audiences and—in one notable case—his record label baffled.
Despite a lack of consistency Young is a widely influential and acclaimed performer. He has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Unless you are a fan of Neil Young (or his type of music) you will find this movie a big bore. Apart from brief anecdotes from some of the principals at the beginning, this film is simply a compilation of a two-night concert performed in the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

for some drug-related lyrics.

The title refers to the only number 1 single of his career, “Heart of Gold”.



Set in a Sydney suburb nicknamed “Little Saigon” for its large Vietnamese population, the area is known as the heroin capital of Australia

Cate Blanchett: Tracy Heart, a 32-year-old recovering heroin addict who manages a video store
Hugo Weaving: Lionel Dawson, Tracy's former step-father who is still having a problem with drugs
Noni Hazlehurst: Tracy’s mother Janelle
Martin Henderson: Tracy's brother Ray, a small-time drug dealer
Sam Neill: Bradley (Brad) Thompson, a big-time drug dealer
Dustin Nguyen: Jonny, Tracy's ex-boyfriend

It’s not easy to shake your past despite your best efforts. This is the major theme of the movie and superb acting makes it very convincing. The gritty rough world of drugs contrasts sharply with the kind of life Tracy is working so hard to attain. We can only watch as she tries so hard against a stacked deck.

for frequent drug use and brief sexuality.

Lionel’s Last Will and Testament is dated Wednesday November 15, 2004. That was a Monday not Wednesday.

The title refers to small blue fish-shaped packets of liquid heroin.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Original title:L'efant
In French with English subtitles

Jérémie Renier: Bruno, a 20-year old head of a small gang of part-time thieves
Déborah François: his 18-year old girlfriend Sonia
Jérémie Segard: Steve, one of the gang
Fabrizio Rongione: Steve’s friend

A couple living on the fringes of society in a gritty industrial town with their only sure income from her unemployment insurance face even more difficulties when their newborn infant makes them a threesome. The acting is so real and the extensive use of a handheld camera providing that “up close and personal” perspective, it’s easy to forget you’re watching a movie.

for brief language. This must be a mistake! There is nothing said that comes even close to warrant this rating.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006



Jonathan Rhys Meyers: Chris Wilton, former professional tennis player
Matthew Goode: his first student, Tom Hewett
Emily Mortimer: Tom’s sister, Chloe
Scarlett Johansson: Tom's American fiancée and aspiring actress, Nola Rice
Brian Cox: Alec Hewett, a wealthy British businessman
Penelope Wilton: his wife Eleanor

The movie makes the point that luck is often a factor in how things turn out in life. With excellent acting and a good story about relationships and personal pursuits, it is entertaining as well as thought provoking.

for some sexuality (but hardly warranted)

Friday, February 10, 2006


In Hebrew and Yiddish with English subtitles

With the final blowing of the Shofar, the 5,000 year-old musical instrument usually made out of rams horn, the High Holy Days draw to a close and the focus of the Jewish community shifts from the solemnness of Yom Kippur to the jubilant celebration of the festival of Sukkot.
The festival of Sukkot is named for the temporary huts (sukkah) that Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land.
In Israel (and among Reform Jews), Sukkot is a 7-day holiday, with the first day celebrated as a full festival with special prayer services and holiday meals. During this holiday, Jews eat their meals, entertain guests, relax, and even sleep in a sukkah. Not having a sukkah curtails the full participation in the celebrations.

Shuli Rand: Moshe, a pious man living in Jerusalem
Michal Bat Sheva Rand: his wife, Mali
Shaul Mizhahi: Eliyahu Scorpio, an old friend who knew Moshe before he turned to religion
Ilan Gannai: Yosef, Eliahu’s buddy

This is a charming view of the secular life of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and is primarily about Moshe and his wife who are looking for a miracle or two: for some money to purchase a sukkah, for ushpizin ("holy guests") to share the Sukkot holiday with and for a son. He has even asked for help from a yeshiva charitable fund but so far, nothing has come of it.

for mild thematic elements.

Thursday, February 2, 2006



Thomas Sangster: Simon, the ringleader of seven unruly children
Colin Firth: their father, Cedric Brown, a recently widowed undertaker
Imelda Staunton: Mrs. Blatherwick, the red-faced ex-military cook
Kelly Macdonald: the scullery maid Evangeline
Emma Thompson: Nanny McPhee
Angela Lansbury: Brown’s rich Great Aunt Adelaide
Celia Imrie: Selma Quickly, one of Brown’s customers

This is a rather charming movie with lots of subtle British humour. Sometimes the antics of the children are a bit outlandish, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable. We know Nanny McPhee will put that right.

for mild thematic elements, some rude humor and brief language.

The movie takes place around the turn of the century when people still travelled in stagecoach. While sitting at his desk, Mr. Brown picks up a ballpoint pen. A Hungarian journalist named Laszlo Biro invented the first one in 1938, quite some years later.

Following a food fight, Evangeline is left with icing on her face. In the close-ups, the drips are almost to her chin whereas in the medium length shots only her top lip has icing on it.


Animated cartoon

Anne Hathaway: Red, the distributor of Granny's cookies and cakes
Patrick Warburton: the Wolf
Glenn Close: Granny
John Belushi: the Woodsman who makes his living driving a schnitzel stick truck
Xzibit: Police Chief Grizzly
Anthony Anderson: Detective Bill Stork
David Ogden Stiers: Inspector Nicky Flippers
Cory Edwards: Twitchy, the hyperactive squirrel
Benjy Gaither: Japeth, a singing goat
Andy Dick: Boingo, a cute little bunny

This is not your traditional storybook version of Little Red Riding Hood. It’s more like a TV whodunit with each of the four principals involved in the “crime” telling their version of the days events. With a heavy emphasis on the music soundtrack (from melodious to melancholy) there are moments of hilarity scattered about. Although marketed for kids, it’s geared more for adults.

for some mild action and thematic elements.