You’re Not You

Netflix streaming – they rated it at 4.8 stars for me and 4.4 stars for the general audience. This doesn’t align with what I see on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics have slammed it (36%, but a small sample size). Reading the reviews on Netflix, almost all of them give glowing reviews. Hilary Swank does a great job as usual, but I was surprised by a newcomer, Emmy Rossum, who also does a great job. She’s definitely going to be a big star soon. This is both a sad and uplifting movie at the same time, and the true strength of this movie is how it deals with the character of both of these women at the same time, two very different women that share wonderful moments. I’m going to give it 4 stars, but I came pretty close to giving it 5.

You're Not You movie poster


Netflix DVD – they rated it at 4.5 stars for me, and 3.7 for the general audience. I really liked this movie, which contrasted the personalities of two race car drivers: the Austrian Niki Lauda and the British James Hunt, through the events of their rivalry for the Formula 1 World Championship title back in the 1970’s. Lauda was serious, dour, and not particularly social, while Hunt was a flashy, outgoing party boy, perfectly played by Chris (Thor) Hemsworth. As the movie plays on, you see their grudging relationship grow, to the point where you can say that they were almost friends, in a sort of sibling rivalry sense.

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They grew to have a grudging respect for each other. Ron Howard is the director, and he did a good job of including scenes that advanced the story at the same time as being entertaining – both serious and comedic. I’m going to give it 5 stars, and categorize it as a documentary, for telling a true story, though no doubt it is far more dramatized than a typical documentary.

127 Hours

Netflix DVD – they rated it as 4.4 stars for me and 3.7 for the general audience. I’m going to give it 5 stars. I had seen it before, and this second viewing was just as good as the first – it didn’t lose any of its power by knowing what was going to happen. This time, it was easier to see what theme filmmaker Danny Boyle was going for – that of somebody who lived his life in an adventurous, but self-centered manner. We all know what happened to this guy, and the story of his survival is amazing. Could we do such a thing? Maybe not, but look at how he has moved on to live a good, perhaps better than good, life because of that choice.

127 Hours movie poster

Danny Boyle does such a great job of making this story engaging. It’s fun to watch his use of extreme close-ups and extreme pull-backs, and every film-making trick he pulls helps out with telling the story. I would like to know if meeting the two girls and dropping through the crack with them into the water really happened. Maybe I should read the book, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, by Aron Ralston? The story itself is engaging and captivating, and it’s no surprise this movie was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor (James Franco).


Netflix DVD – they rated it as 3.9 stars for me, and 3.7 for the general audience. I’m going to give it 5 stars – while the story may not have been spectacular, it was, in its own way, a masterpiece of film-making. I can see why it won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 2014. In what appears to be a single shot, the story moves seamlessly from one scene to another as the characters move around. The characters are ALL flawed and human, and Michael Keaton’s lead character is wonderful in his desperate life.

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He portrays what must be a mid-life crisis brilliantly and it is quite a feat for him to have done it in a movie filmed in this way. Edward Norton does a great job acting as a total jerk hiding behind the facade of a brilliant actor. The amazing thing about this movie, though, is the filming, as they move from place to place in this apparent single shot, winding the camera through things that seem impossible. I would guess that they used digital effects to accomplish several key pieces of this movie. Fascinating movie, I’d love to have seen how many of these scenes they filmed in consecutive real-time, moving from place to place.

West Side Story

Netflix DVD – they rated it at 3.9 stars for me, and 3.8 for the general audience. I got this movie because Christina is studying Romeo and Juliet, which this movie is apparently based on. She was able to point out the differences between it and the original story. It’s a musical, based on a 1957 Broadway play, and I found three songs that are famous enough that I’ve heard of them: “America”, “Tonight”, and “I Feel Pretty”. This movie won 10 Academy Awards in 1961, including Best Picture, and I found it to be a lot of fun.

West Side Story movie poster

It was very clever to adapt the Shakespeare story to rival street gangs and introduce a racial perspective to it. The main Puerto Rican character makes an insightful observation that “Your ancestors are from Sweden and you’re an American, but ours are from Puerto Rico and we’re immigrants!”.

The dancing was great, and at times reminded me of Michael Jackson’s music video “Thriller” – I wonder if this influenced him at all? Natalie Wood was totally adorable here, and I was wondering if she was Latino at all. No, apparently both of her parents were from Russia! Somehow, her father, living in Vancouver, and her mother, living in China, ended up meeting, marrying, and moving to California.

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen

Netflix DVD – they rated it as 4.3 stars for me, and 3.7 for the general audience. I really like both Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt, and they were both good in this movie, but I found something just not compelling about it. The idea was interesting, the filming, scenery, acting, everything was good, but I guess the story was just not as emotionally strong as it could have been. I’m going to give it 4 stars, but a weak 4 stars. Kristin Scott Thomas was good in her role.

Salmon Fishing in the yemen - movie poster

Seeking a Friend For The End of The World

Netflix DVD – they rated it as 3.8 stars for me, and 3.4 for the general audience. I’m going to give it 4 stars. After briefly thinking I would give it 3 in the middle, I liked the direction they took toward the end. This movie is mostly a drama, but with a fair amount of comedy mixed in, and with a bunch of eclectic and fun music. It’s an interesting premise – what would YOU do if you found out the world was going to end in three weeks?

Seeking a friend for the end of the world - movie poster

I suspect not many people would bother to go to work the next day, though I know some would. I’m sure many would want to spend time with their families and do things they always wanted to do. There are some pretty funny moments along those lines in this movie. [SPOILERS] Continue reading