The movies selected for review are the choice of the reviewer Suggestions for DVD titles are welcome. Enjoy the movies.
IN THEATERS NOW
(DVD release not
"Up," rated PG
Once in a while a movie comes along that crosses the line. "Up" crosses any number of lines and all in a good way. Pixar Animation Studios has produced a long list of wonderful features including "Toy Story" (1 & 2), "The Incredibles," "Cars," "WALL-E," and, my personal favorite, "Finding Nemo."
"Finding Nemo" was my favorite, until now. "Up" is currently in theaters and one of the aforementioned "crossed lines?" "Up" is a movie for all ages. I had the good fortune of attending this 3-D experience with a 5-year-old, a 10-year-old
and a 14-year-old and we all loved "Up."
Mr. Fredricksen (the voice of Ed Asner) is about to be removed from his lifetime home to make way for high-rise apartments. Rather than be relegated to an old persons home, he chooses to fight back by tying 10,000 balloons to the roof of his home and, quite literally, "taking off." Without the elderly man realizing it, Russell, an earnest young Scout, is on the front porch at liftoff and their adventure begins.
The script for "Up" is written by Bob Peterson ("Finding Nemo") and Pete Docter ("Monsters, Inc.") and is clever and funny. The first 10 minutes or so of the film prove that a picture is worth a thousand words. With very little dialogue and a terrific musical score, we learn the touching and sometimes sad reasons Mr. Fredricksen is determined to follow his dream. However, once Russell is on board (soon to be joined by the lovable mutt Dug and the rare and colorful bird Kevin), "Up" takes off on an adventure equal to the original Indiana Jones only with lots of balloons.
If you're not accustomed to going to animated films, "Up" offers the perfect opportunity to cross the line.
"The Magdalene Sisters," rated R
"The Magdalene Sisters" is set in Ireland in 1964. This fictional telling of a very real way of life begins with the commitment of three young girls into unpaid servitude in the Sisters of Mercy laundry. (That is not a typo - the movie is set in 1964. The last of the actual laundries closed in the 1990s.)
The girls' sins wouldn't even stack up to the grounding of junior high teenagers for transgressions today but the nuns were anything but merciful in the treatment and imprisonment of these defenseless girls.
Written and directed by Peter Mullan, "The Magdalene Sisters," complete with beatings, naked humiliation and desperate suicide attempts, may seem a bit farfetched in this day and age.
I rarely recommend the bells and whistles added on most DVDs - they usually are produced for hard-core fans with a focus on sales, but the addition of the documentary, "Sex in a Cold Climate," to this disc is at once moving and disturbing.
Watch the fictional feature first. The actresses are wonderfully cast and the ensemble, girls and nuns, is frighteningly believable. Then watch the documentary.
The lives of the women interviewed offer a glimpse of what happens after these crimes against humanity in the name of the Father occur. No one escapes unscathed.
"The Magdalene Sisters" is not a "feel good" movie; however, it is a part of history that should not be buried by the glitz of a blockbuster or the censorship of a country.
"Seven Year Itch," unrated
When you think of glamorous movie stars, Marilyn Monroe still tops the list. She had "it" whatever "it" is. Whenever the curvaceous blonde is on screen, it's impossible to take your eyes off her.
Billy Wilder directed "Seven Year Itch" four years before his comic masterpiece "Some Like it Hot" (with Monroe and Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis). Although Tom Ewell had starred as the delusional Richard Sherman in the hit Broadway version of "Seven Year Itch," he lacked the charisma that Lemmon and Curtis brought to the screen opposite Monroe.
Sherman's wife Helen (Evelyn Keyes) and young son are off to the country to avoid the unbearable heat of Manhattan in the summer. He promises to watch his diet, give up smoking and drinking, and generally behave himself when "The Girl" sublets the apartment upstairs. From that moment on, Sherman talks incessantly to himself about his fantasies and realities, so much so, it's distracting, if not irritating.
No matter. Monroe, known only as "The Girl" in the credits, carries this 1955 release that features the famous shot of her in a flowing white dress standing over a sidewalk subway grate. That shot is worth the wait and makes "Seven Year Itch" worth watching.
Rebecca Redshaw can be reached at
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