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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dallas Buyers Club

Seen recently at AMC Oakview Plaza 24
Rating: Wag

All the talk is about Matthew McConaughey, but Jared Leto (Jordan Catalano for all you My So Called Life fans) is Oscar worthy as Rayon.

Bonus Bones: 0

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nebraska

Seen recently at Film Streams
Rating: Wag

Beautifully shot, worth it for Bruce Dern's performance, almost brought down by June Squibb's overacting and its shopworn view of small-town America.

Bonus Bones: 0

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thor: The Dark World

Seen recently at Aksarben Cinema
Rating: Sniff

Dark elf sports great braids, Frigga is one bad ass mom, great cameo by Captain America, some funny moments.

Bonus Bones: 0

New Format, New Rating Scale

Okay, so after a brief hiatus, we're back with a new format - the Twitter review (140 characters or less) - and a new rating scale.

Grrrrr
- A real stinker.

Sniff
- Worth checking out.

Wag
- This is how you make a movie.

We'll continue to award bonus bones to denote the presence/absence of dogs in the film.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

2.5 Paws
Seen recently at Film Streams

So there I was, sitting in a theatre packed with local indie music types, tears streaming down my face. Caught unprepared, I had to wipe my nose on my sweater. We exited through the side door into the parking lot, which gave me a chance to recover my voice - and a little of my dignity - as we made our way to the car.

I had no idea who Big Star was until recently when I rushed into my husband's home office one evening to find out who he had on the turntable. The music was sweet, sad and shot me straight back to the seventies - why hadn't I ever heard this on the radio back in the day?

It turns out I wasn't alone. The story of the group's lack of breakthrough success - despite critical acclaim - is covered in this documentary, which runs a bit too long and relies a bit too much on still photos in heavy rotation to accompany the voice-over. But here it is three days later, and I'm still haunted by Chris Bell and all he was and all he wanted to be.

I think he might have liked that.

Bonus Bones: 1
Look for a basset hound in the lap of an interviewee.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Man of Steel

2 Paws
Seen recently at Aksarben Cinema

Super performances, not so super plot.

I've never forgiven Kevin Costner for 1995's Waterworld, but it just doesn't get much better than his turn as Jonathan Kent, the earthly father of the wonder child. Truth be told, it almost produced a tear or two. Russell Crowe brings a Shakespearean presence to Jor-El, the caped one's real dad, and Henry Cavill gives Superman a serious, badass quality that makes you look at the character in a different way.

But that's where my gushing ends. In terms of the second half of the film, it's like Cavill came back from lunch one day, accidentally walked onto the set and into the script of a Transformers movie (doesn't matter which one) and director Jack Snyder just went with it. Superman's not my favorite comic book hero, but he deserves better.

Bonus Bones: 10
Best showing of dogs on film so far this summer. Look for the two Kent family pets, one of which is featured in a pivotal scene.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Way Way Back

3 Paws
Seen recently at Aksarben Cinema

I love little movies that say a lot without whacking you over the head to do so. This one adds up to the perfect summer flick - a setting that makes you want to book a trip to Cape Cod, an ensemble cast that's so good you feel like you're spying on a group of real people and a script that's funny, genuine and a little bit dark.

The always lovable Steve Carrell excels as Trent, the asshole boyfriend of Toni Collette (Pam) who ruthlessly torments her son, Duncan (played by Liam James), during a summer season at the beach. But it's Sam Rockwell who brings a needed kindness to the film and a little bit of a lump to your throat as Owen, the water park manager who gives Duncan a job and a true sense of his self-worth.

I reached for my iPad as soon as I got home to read more about Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the writer/directors who also had two great cameo roles (see if you can figure out who they are without cheating). It turns out they know a thing or two about writing, having taken home the Oscar - along with Alexander Payne - for The Descendants (best writing, adapted screenplay). I hope fame doesn't screw up their partnership.

Bonus Bones: 0
Where are all the frisbee-playing beach dogs?