Tuesday, November 28, 2006



Déjà Vu
Etymology: French, adjective, literally, already seen.
“The illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time, a feeling that one has seen or heard something before.”

Denzel Washington: ATF agent Doug Carlin
Val Kilmer: F.B.I. Agent Andrew Pryzwarra
Paula Patton: a young woman Claire Kuchever
Adam Goldberg: Dr. Alexander Denny, leader of the investigation
Jim Caviezel: Carroll Oerstadt

An entertaining movie that moves along at a good clip but a little too long at 2 hours and 8 minutes. All performances are first-rate and the action scenes well executed.

for intense sequences of violence and terror, disturbing images and some sensuality.


Animated cartoon

Hugh Jackman: Roddy St. James, a pet mouse
Shane Richie: Sid, a sewer rat
Kate Winslet: Rita, owner/operator of a small boat
Ian McKellan: villainous Boss Toad
Andy Serkis: his right-hand “man” Spike
Bill Nighy: Spike’s partner in crime Whitey
Jena Reno: Le Frog, the Boss’ cousin

Although there are the pre-requisite bodily function gags and shots to the crotch, there are no cute loveable creatures in this slightly different slant on the London “underworld”. Instead we get a smartly styled story about the importance of friends along with some clever British wit aimed at the adults in the audience.

Despite the sewer setting there is nothing gross.

for crude humor and some language.

Before going away on vacation, the little girl dumps out a huge pile of food for Roddy. In the following scene he leaves the cage but the food is no longer to be seen.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Animated cartoon

Nicole Kidman: Norma Jean, an Emperor girl-penguin
Hugh Jackman: her husband Memphis
Elijah Wood: their son Mumble
Brittany Murphy: his love interest Gloria
Robin Williams: Ramon, leader of The Amigos
Robin Williams: their tribal prophet Lovelace

Unlike most movies geared to children, this could best be described as a musical rather than “a cartoon for kids”. Relying upon song-and-dance routines rather than simply a narrative story line distinguishes this one from other movies of this genre.

Although it’s not particularly lengthy by today’s standards, some of the numbers drag on too long. And several scenes would be too scary for the very young crowd (my guess would be those under 7 or 8).

for some mild peril and rude humor.



Sacha Baron Cohen: Borat Sagdiyev, a Kazakhstani TV personality
Ken Davitian: his producer Azamat Bagatov

Warning: this movie is not for everyone!
Don’t consider for a moment inviting your mother (or anyone else of the polite-gentile persuasion) to see this one with you. Nor should you make it your first-date-movie because that could well be your last.

Please note that Borat’s racist, sexist remarks, his frequent use of profanity, the anti-Semitic scenes, the demeaning comments about gays and Muslims could be offensive to many.

Others will find themselves laughing at the sheer foolishness of it all.

for profanity and nudity (lots and lots of it…but all male)

Thursday, November 23, 2006



The Directorate of Military Intelligence section 6 (commonly referred to as MI6) with it headquarters in London, England is responsible for espionage activities outside the United Kingdom. Its first director was Captain George Mansfield Smith-Cumming who typically signed correspondence as “C”. All subsequent directors of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Services, including M16 and the Internal Security Service M15, have adopted this practice and use just one initial as their code name.

Supposedly agents who have killed two people in the line of duty are assigned a new number beginning with double zero. James Bond was the seventh MI6 agent to become a member of this elite group and subsequently is known simply as Agent 007.

Daniel Craig: James Bond, agent 007
Judi Dench: M, Director of MI6
Mads Mikkelsen: Le Chiffre, money launderer for terrorists
Mr. White: broker for one of Le Chiffre’s biggest deals
Eva Green: MI6 treasury officer Vesper Lynd
Giancarlo Giannini: Mathis, the British agent based in Montenegro
Jeffrey Wright: Bond’s old friend CIA agent Felix Leiter

It’s got all the ingredients of a James Bond movie: lots of action, several chase scenes, wholesale mayhem, beautiful women, bad guys/good guys, fast cars, exotic locations and vodka martinis, “shaken not stirred”.

But there are a few changes too: the violence has been cranked up a notch and there are no gadgets to be seen anywhere. But the biggest change of all is that we’re back to square one since this is about the recently graduated (promoted?) agent 007.

It all works very well but at almost two and a half-hours, it’s a bit too long.

for intense scenes of violent action, a scene of torture, some sexual content and brief nudity.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006


True story
In Afrikaans and Zulu with English subtitles

The first person to refer to himself as an afrikaner (meaning someone who lives in Africa) was Hendrik Biebouw in 1707. Afrikaners are descended from northwestern European settlers, mainly coming from the Netherlands. Some 12,000 of Biebouw’s descendants moved into the area of South Africa now known as the Orange Free State to escape British rule. They became known as Boers (a Dutch word meaning farmer).

The African National Congress (ANC) was created in 1912 to bring all Africans together as one people to defend their rights and freedoms. In 1944 Nelson Mandela was instrumental in getting a new generation committed to non-violent mass action against the white minority's supremacy.

In 1948 an Afrikaner-led National Party government introduced the policy of apartheid (an Afrikaans word meaning apartness) designed to form a legal framework for continued economic and political dominance of the other races by people of European descent. Under apartheid, people were legally classified into a racial group and were geographically and forcibly separated from each other on the basis of their classification. During the 1950s, non-whites were removed from electoral rolls, residence and mobility laws were tightened and political activities restricted.

After years of official government oppression, the ANC leadership concluded that the methods of non-violence were not suitable against the apartheid system. It was decided that other tactics had to be used, which primarily involved targeting and sabotaging the government's resources. A military wing was formed in 1961, called Umkhonto we Sizwe, meaning "Spear of the Nation". Mandela, as its first leader, was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964.

Derek Luke: Patrick Chamusso, foreman at the oil refinery in Secunda, just east of Johannesburg
Bonnie Henna: his wife Precious
Tim Robbins: Nic Vos, the government’s anti-terrorism chief

The struggle against a repressive ruling force is always of some interest. Even though we have seen or heard about the problems of apartheid before, it becomes more poignant when seen from one man’s perspective.

The movie has some really good up-beat music, excellent acting and is fast-paced.

for thematic material involving torture and abuse, violence and brief language.

In a tripartite alliance with the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the ANC won a landslide victory in the 1994 general election and Nelson Mandela became the first President of South Africa.


In French, Spanish, Japanese and Arabic with English subtitles

Yussef and Ahmed, two young Moroccon brothers
Brad Pitt: Richard
Cate Blanchett: his wife Susan, both touring Morocco
Nathan Gamble: their son Mike
Elle Fanning: their daughter Debbie
Adriana Barraza: the children’s Mexican nanny Amelia
Gael García Bernal: her nephew Santiago
Rinko Kikuchi: Chieko, a deaf-mute teenager
Kôji Yakusho: her father Yasujiro

At first it’s a bit confusing with three separate stories not all on the same time line. But gradually the pieces start falling into place. Despite the length of the movie (it’s 2 hours and 22 minutes long) there is a lot going on and not much could be edited out.

Excellent acting throughout and the cinematography is top notch.

for violence, graphic nudity, some sexual content, language and brief drug use.

1. a city in Shinar where the building of a tower is held in Genesis to have been halted by the confusion of tongues
2a: a confusion of sounds or voices
2b: a scene of noise or confusion

Friday, November 3, 2006



Born Truman Streckfus Persons in New Orleans on September 30, 1924, he was sent to Monroeville, Alabama to be raised by his mother's relatives. As a child he lived a solitary and lonely existence, turning to writing for solace. When he was nine, he moved to New York City to live with his mother and her second husband, Joseph Capote, who adopted him and renamed him Truman García Capote.

At age seventeen, he dropped out of school and got a job with THE NEW YORKER magazine. Within a few years he was writing regularly for an assortment of publications. Capote's first book, OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS, was published in 1948. With literary success came social celebrity. The young writer was lionised by the high society elite, and was seen at the best parties, clubs, and restaurants.

He also penned or co-wrote screenplays including BEAT THE DEVIL released in 1953 starring Humphrey Bogart, Gina Lollobrigida and Peter Lorre about a quartet of international crooks who are stranded in Italy while their steamer is being repaired. He also had several films produced based on his original writings

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S was published in 1958. The subsequent hit film staring Audrey Hepburn, assured Capote's popularity and place among the upper crust.

Throughout his career, he remained one of America's most controversial and colourful authors, combining literary genius with a penchant for the glittering world of high society. Though he wrote only a handful of books, his prose styling was impeccable, and his insight into the psychology of human desire was extraordinary. His flamboyant and well-documented lifestyle has often overshadowed his gifts as a writer, but over time Capote's work has outlived the celebrity.

Gwyneth Paltrow: singer Peggy Lee
Toby Jones: author Truman Capote
Peter Bogdanovich: Bennett Cerf, publisher and founder of Random House
Sandra Bullock: Capote’s childhood friend and assistant, author Nelle Harper Lee
Jeff Daniels: Alvin Dewey, sheriff of Holcomb, Kansas
Daniel Craig: good-for-nothing drifter, Perry Smith
Lee Pace: Perry’s partner, Richard Hickock

Without the names appearing on the screen the first time we see them, most of us would have no clue as to the identity of these famous personalities. But they were all part of Capote’s world; he knew all the “right people”.

Eventually we get to see what he was most famous for: his ability to put together a good story. And it’s a dandy. Although the subject matter is one of serious reflection, there are lots of funny moments too.

for language, violence and some sexuality.

When Capote and Nell meet Dewey in his office, Capote’s shirt collar is outside his jacket, but when the scene changes it’s nicely tucked in until the scene chages once more and now it’s back out again.

As the suspects are taken from the car, behind them on the other side of the street there is a Dollar General store. Founded in 1939 as J.L. Turner & Son, the company pioneered the dollar store concept in 1955, opening retail stores that sold all items for $1. In 1968, the company launched its initial public stock offering and changed its name to Dollar General, some 9 years after the movie takes place.

Inevitable comparisons will be made to the film entitled Capote that came out a year ago. Suffice it to say they both cover pretty much the same ground but each with a different slant on it and the actors portray a slightly different man. I see no point in trying to decide which is better. They are both good.