Category Archives: Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday-40 Days And 40 Nights (2002)

Recovering from a breakup is never easy.  Especially when we thought that our ex was the one we would spend the rest of our lives with.

Matt (Josh Hartnett) is unhappily single.  He has not gotten over his ex-girlfriend, who is now engaged. Matt tries to get over her, but no matter how hard he tries, she is always on his mind. In a last-ditch attempt to finally get over his ex, he decides to give up all forms of sex for Lent. Then he meets Erica (Shannyn Sossamon), who might just be the one. The problem is that Lent has just begun and trying to be celibate is only the beginning of Matt’s problems.

I have mixed feelings about this movie. On one hand, the narrative is not the cookie cutter romantic comedy. But on the other hand, the narrative is not entirely unique.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Flashback Friday-Tamara Drewe (2010)

Returning to our childhood homes can either be a heartwarming or traumatic.

In the 2010 movie Tamara Drewe, the title character played by Gemma Arterton returns to her childhood home in the English countryside to sell her family farm after the death of her mother. It should be a simple affair, but it proves to be more complicated, especially when her neighbors get involved in the process. Tamara also has three men vying for her affection: Andy Cobb (Luke Evans) who has nursed a crush on her for years, Nicholas Hardiment (Roger Allam), who is older, married and unfaithful to his wife and Ben Sergeant (Dominic Cooper), the drummer of a popular rock band.

Loosely based on the Thomas Hardy novel, Far From The Maddening Crowd, this movie is an interesting reboot of the source material. The thread that ties the narrative in the movie and the narrative in the book together is not only the question of how we would like to live our lives, but who we potentially spend our lives with.

I recommend it.

 

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Flashback Friday-2012 (2009)

End of the world movies are nothing new. While these movies are known for their special effects, it is the narrative and character development that makes or breaks films that fall within this genre.

In the 2009 movie, 2012, Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) must not only deal with the turmoil in his family, he must also deal with the fact that earth will no longer be inhabitable. While there are arks to save humanity, the arks cannot hold everyone. If nothing else, Jackson wants to rebuild his marriage with Kate (Amanda Peet) and make sure that their family survives. The question is will both happen or will they join the millions whose lives will be potentially lost?

As end of the world movies go, this one is not bad. What makes it stand out for me, is that as much as it is about the world ending, it is about a man trying to hold onto his family and his marriage. For that reason, this film rises above the standard end of the world film.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Flashback Friday-Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

The mythological island of Atlantis has intrigued humanity for an untold number of generations.

In 2001, Disney broke from its standard singing princess narrative when it released Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

Milo Thatch (voiced by Michael J. Fox) firmly believes that Atlantis is not a myth, but a real place. No one believes him, except for Preston B. Whitmore (voiced by John Mahoney) who agrees to fund the expedition. Milo and the rest of the crew find Atlantis, but someone on the crew may have another reason for the expedition besides simply finding the lost island.

I get it, someone at Disney had an idea to try something new. However while the concept is interesting, the narrative and character development are not what they could be.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday-Mystic River (2003)

Law and Order fans are used to crimes solved within the time span of an 1 hour television show. In real life, this process is not always so quick or painless.

In the 2003 movie, Mystic River, Dave (Tim Robbins), Sean (Kevin Bacon) and Jimmy (Sean Penn) have been friends since they were boys. In 1975, Dave is abducted and sexually abused by strangers. He escapes his attackers, but the scars of that experience are always just below the surface. Flashing forward to the present, Jimmy has a prison record and three children. When his daughter, Katie (Emmy Rossum) is found dead, and Sean, who now works the homicide beat accuses Dave of killing Katie.

Directed by Clint Eastwood, this film is not so cut and dry when it comes to the narrative. There are questions to be answered. The problem is that the answers are murky, complicated and tied to unresolved issues from the past. But that is what I like about this film. It has enough drama and intensity to keep the audience’s attention without going over the top.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999)

Dorothy Dandridge was was undoubtedly a trailer blazer in not just the Civil Rights Movement, but also in opening doors for performers of color to move beyond the stereotypical roles of servants or background characters.

Her life and work is chronicled in the 1999 television movie, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Halle Berry starred in the title role with Brent Spiner as Earl Mills, Dandridge’s faithful manager who stayed with her through thick and thin.

This television movie is one of the better biographies to have come out in recent years. Neither over the top or too long, it was the story of a trail blazer whose legacy will never be forgotten.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Flash Forward (1996-1997)

Our pre-teen and early teenage years are some of our most trans-formative years.  The growth from childhood to young adulthood can be traumatic, but also life changing.

The short-lived television series Flash Forward (1996-1997) told the story of four best friends, two of whom have known each other since they were little. Tucker (Ben Foster) is the goofball. His best friend, Becca (Jewel Staite) is the serious one. Miles (Theodore Borders) provides the reality check. Christine Harrison (Asia Vieira) is the listener.

While this show only lasted one season, it still stands out because it spoke to the audience, who were the same age as the characters.  It spoke to the audience because the audience understood the characters and visa versa. Unfortunately, the show was not given the opportunity it could have had.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

 

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Flashback Friday-My Week With Marilyn (2011)

There is an old saying: all that glitters is not gold. The same could be said about Hollywood and the movie stars that fill up our screens. Behind the performer is the real human being who is dealing with the same sh*t that we all deal with.

In the 2011 movie, My Week With Marilyn, Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) is in London in the mid 1950’s to film The Prince And The Showgirl. Being directed by and starring opposite Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), Marilyn is not the easiest performer to work with. Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) is a young film student who gets a job as a part of the film crew. As time goes on, Marilyn reveals that there is much more to her that the on-screen sex goddess and Colin begins understand some truths about people and life that only time, experience and maturity bring.

What I really appreciated about this movie was that it revealed some truths that many of us, regardless of whether we are a Hollywood star or a John or Jane Doe, deal with on a day-to-day basis. I also appreciated that the film humanized one of Hollywood’s best known icons and brought her down to a level that makes us appreciate and respect her as a person, not as a performer.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008)

Sometimes, when life throws us a curve-ball, we can only think quickly and hope for the best.

In Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008) Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is a middle-aged governess who has just lost another job. The agency who has found her work in the past is not so quick to find her a new position. With no other way out, she steals the information of a new client and presents herself as the new social secretary for Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), an actress and nightclub performer. Delysia is juggling three men: Nick (Mark Strong), the owner of a night club, Michael (Lee Pace), who plays piano for Delysia and is ready to marry her at a moments notice and Phil (Tom Payne), a young theater producer who is eager to cast her in his newest production.

While juggling all of that, Guinevere has caught the eye of Joe (Ciarán Hinds), a fashion designer. Will Delysia choose from one of her three boyfriends and will Miss Pettigrew be unmasked for whom she truly is?

Set during World War II, this film is the perfect modern screwball comedy that was a staple of the movie going experience in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Amy Adams channels Marilyn Monroe as a goodhearted, but not all there actress who does not know what she wants. And of course, there a couple of 1990’s Austen leading men, which always makes a film that much better.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday-Free Willy (1992)

A child and their pet animal has been a story that never gets old. The question, is how does a writer spin the story so it stands out among other stories in the genre?

In he 1993 movie, Free Willy, Willy is a orca whale who was caught by fisherman when he was young. Since then, he has lived in a marina. Jesse (Jason James Richter) is a young man with a troubled past. When he is caught vandalizing the marina, he is let off easy. His punishment is to clean up the mess he made. While cleaning his mess, Jesse makes friends with Willy and is able to train him. But when Willy cannot perform, the owners of the marina seek to kill him. It is up to Jesse and his friends to free Willy.

What can I say about this movie? It’s very early 90’s, especially with Michael Jackson singing the movie’s theme song.

However, it is quite sappy and borders and predictable.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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