52. 10 Items or Less
: (✩✩✩½) - DVD
- Morgan Freeman plays an actor who's doing research for a role by visiting a grocery store. Through a series of events, he ends up wandering around the seedy unerbelly of L.A. with the store's 25 year old cashier played by Paz Vega. This is a small independent film that was shot in 15 days and was the first movie to be made available online legally while it was still in theatres. Morgan Freeman isn't playing himself, but you think he is at first because he and his character have a similar profile. There's even a joke about Paz Vega's character being the new Ashley Judd. Freeman's characgter is never named, and the end credits list Morgan Freeman as "him". Now Paz Vega, she was pretty easy on the eyes. If Penelope Cruz and Megan Fox were fused in a transporter accident, you'd get Paz Vega. Her accent is pretty thick but you get used to it. As for the chemistry between the two, it came off more like a horny old man who was trying to get into a young woman's pants than the friendship it was supposed to be. Part of my feeling on this is because I was distracted by Vega's hotness and I was thinking about how I would have reacted to spending the day with her. I admit it. However, it's also because the ordinarily larger-than-life Morgan Freeman was a bit "off". Apparently, Freeman wanted to ditch his usual image and try his hand at being less "larger than life", but he doesn't quite sell it. He's better when he's doing grand voiceovers or playing God. I can't complain though. Morgan Freeman is still cool and I'd probably be much less charismatic as as an older man chasing skirt.
53. The Old Man and the Sea
: (✩✩✩✩) - TV
- Spencer Tracy stars in this movie based on Ernest Hemmingway's novel. It's about a Cuban fisherman who spends a few days at sea grapling with a giant fish that bit his line. It's pretty gripping. No pun intended. Lots of internal dialog and it captures the quiet and peaceful life of a simple man in a simple fishing village. It's the kind of life I'd love to have.
54. The Reader
: (✩✩✩✩✩) - TV
- A teenage boy in post-war Germany has a sexual affair with a 30-something woman played by Kate Winslet. She disappears only to resurface years later in a trial because of something she did working for the SS in Nazi Germany. The boy used to read to her before they'd have sex, hence the title. I thought this was an excellent movie. It's the second one to receive 5 stars from me this year. Kate Winslet was great as an aloof woman who wants sex from a boy, and her later performance as the progressively older version of her character is equally compelling.
55. The Stunt Man
: (✩✩) - TV
- A man on the run from the police finds himself on the set of a movie where the director (played by Peter O'Toole) keeps his secret and hires him as a stunt man. O'Toole is great as the cocky full-of-himself director and the movie has a humorous feel, but it kind of drags.
: (✩✩✩✩) - TV
- Guido is a famous italian director who is supposed to be working on his next big movie, but as the public awaits, he finds himself without a script and unable to produce anything. The movie is intercut with musical numbers featuring the women in his life. I'm not a fan of musicals, but this was pretty creative and well done. One was to describe this movie is "sexy". And Daniel Day Lewis blew me away as the Italian lead. It wasn't loved by critics, but I loved it. My only problem with it is that it started to lose steam midway through.
: (✩✩½) - DVD
- Diane Lane stars as an FBI agent trying to track down a man who's setting up his captured victims to be tortured and killed on a live web feed. Here's how it works... The more people log on to watch, the more the torture intensifies, hastening the victim's death. If no one visited the site, nothing would happen to the victim. It's a watchable thriller, but subpar.
58. The Quiet
: (✩✩✩½) - DVD
- A deaf withdrawn girl (Camilla Belle) who lost her parents is constantly taunted by her adoptive sister (Elisha Cuthbert) at home and at school. Over the course of the movie, we learn that each one is keeping a big secret. I like Camilla Belle in anything, so I liked this one, but some of the drama was a little over the top.
59. My Mother's Secret
: (✩✩½) - TV
- This one is a TV movie staring Nicole De Boer. She plays a woman who just found out that she's pregnant. She also finds out from her mother that she was adopted. As she digs into her past and real parents, she gets embroiled in trying to solve a cover-up that put one of them in prison. This one is general TV movie fare, but it's nice to see De Boer. Michael Riley, who might not be well known in the U.S. was also in this one and delivered a fantastic performance as De Boer's real dad who was sent to prison. He's quite the versatile actor.
60. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
: (✩✩✩½) - DVD
- This Japanese anime is about a girl who discovers that she can leap a day or two into the past. At first she has some fun with these abilities, but eventually finds that she has to correct a lot of wrongs that resulted from her time-travelling. Eventually we find out how she's able to move though time due to a big revelation near the end. I liked the concept of the movie and found myself liking the lead character, but the story got pretty convoluted in spots, as did the time travel logic. Reading up on this movie afterwards, I was surprised to find out that it's based on a novel and that it's had several live-action adaptations. Hopefully I can check them out. One interesting thing though... In this movie, our lead character has an aunt who also travelled through time when she was younger. Apparently the novel that this was based on was about her
adventures. That makes this more of a sequel with a similar story.
On Demand: 3