2012 – Index and Previews of the Articles

As always – newest is on the top of the list. Click the text links in red.

December 2012

Les Miserables –  December 27th, 2012 – The classic Broadway musical brought to the big screen

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Cocktail – December 24th, 2012 – From India, but set mostly in London UK. One guy and two girls. Starring Saif Ali Khan.

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Jack Reacher – December 23rd, 2012 Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher – he has to solve the seemingly random murders by one sniper.  From the Lee Child novel – One Shot.

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This Is 40 – December 21st, 2012 – latest comedy from Judd Apatow

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Shanghai – December 19th, 2012 – A great film from India – sort of a government conspiracy kind of film – much like Z and Missing

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – December 17th, 2012 – Peter Jackson’s latest from the magical world of J.R.R. Tolkien

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Nashville – Sn 01 Episode 08 – Where He Leads me – Recap – December 6th, 2012 – Last Episode for a month,. Series take a hiatus for the holidays.

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November 2012

Nashville – Sn 01 Episode 7 – The Wrong Song – Recap – November 29th, 2012 – Rayna and Juliette perform together against their wishes.

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Giulia Doesn’t Date at Night – November 27th, 2012 – a film from Italy about a novelist and a woman with a secret.

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Silver Linings Playbook – November 24th, 2012 : Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence knock your socks off in this great film.

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Happy Thanksgiving – 2012 – November 21st, 2012 – Artwork to give thanks for.

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Starz Boss Series Not Renewed – Series is Cxl’ed – November 20th, 2012

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Nashville – Sn 01 Episode 6 – You’re Gonna Change (Or I’m Gonna Leave) – Recap – November 15th, 2012 : New characters are introduced including Sean Butler, a NFL quarterback as a boy toy for Juliette Barnes, Marilyn Rhodes – an agent for Avery, and Liam McGuiness, a rock star now turned record producer for Rayna.

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Skyfall – November 10th, 2012 –  The brand new James Bond film, This is the 23rd film stretching across 50 years since Ian Fleming’s fictional spy, James Bond, first appeared on movie screens. For the 3rd time, Daniel Craig is Bond. Directed by Sam Mendes.

Nashville: Sn 1 Episode 5 – Move It On Over – Recap – November 8th, 2012 – The temps heat up in this episode, but I thought it was a step backwards.

The ABC-TV Series – Nashville: Episodes 1-4 – The Season So Far – October 7th, 2012 –  Since I was overseas when the series debuted, I am in catch-up mode. Rather than doing four separate recaps of the first 4 episodes, I did a condensed version.

Flight – November 2nd, 2012 –  Denzel Washington takes to the skies – but not for long. Yes, there’s an accident, and Washington, as the pilot, Captain Whip Whitaker, brings the flight down. Six people do die, but 96 didn’t. Is Whitaker a national hero? Or is his blood test going to reveal some damaging facts?

Carnage & I Wish – November 1st, 2012 – A double review – Carnage is the Roman Polanski film set in a Brooklyn apartment, and for the four people involved, Jodi Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoper Waltz, and Kate Winslet – civilization breaks down.  Adapted from the award winning theatrical play written by Yasmina Reza.  I Wish is a Japanese film, and pretty much the opposite happens. Two brothers, living nearly 400 miles apart buy into an urban myth involving high speed bullet trains and wish fulfillment. Their wish – that their parents put aside their differences and re-unite as a family.

October 2012

Cloud Atlas – October 27th, 2012 –  A conversation with reader FD about the new and interesting film adaption of the David Mitchell novel. A number of big time actors and actresses play multiple roles in the novel set in different times and places.

Boss: Sn 2 Episode 10 (Final Episode) – True Enough – Recap – October 27th, 2012 –  Boss, the starz network dramatic series, about a fictional Mayor of Chicago,  reaches a conclusion of its second season.

Boss: Sn 2 Episode 9 – Clinch – Recap – October 25th, 2012 –  the penultimate episode of Sn 2.

Argo – October 22nd, 2012 –  A thriller set in motion after the Iranians over-ran the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, this is a don’t-miss-it kind of movie. Highly recommended.

Amsterdam, NL – Sex, Drugs, and The Anne Frank House – October 19th, 2012 –  Finally a day without rain. I get out and see Amsterdam’s best.

Amsterdam, NL – Rain or Rain? – October 17th, 2012 –  Still raining in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, NL – Good Evening Mr. Singh – October 14th, 2012 –  My vacation begins. Welcome to Amsterdam.

Welcome to Nashville – October 12th, 2012 – I’m overseas with a vacation to Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, and Paris. The introduction to the new ABC-TV Series – Nashville – is a guest post written by reader FD.

Update – October 9th, 2012 –  What’s on the immediate horizon is a vacation. We will also give you a peak about what to look for in the coming weeks.

Trees, Flowers, and Women – The Bounty of Mother Nature aka Heide Presse – October 7th, 2012 –  The great art of Heide Presse and some movie connections.

Boss: Sn 2 Episode 8 – Consequence – Recap – October 6th, 2012 –  More on this great series.

Taken 2 – October 5th, 2012 – Liam Neeson stars in this sequel. Istanbul, Turkey is the setting.

September 2012

Boss: Sn 2 Episode 7 – The Conversation – Recap – September 30, 2012   – A recap of the 7th episode.

Looper – September 28th, 2012 – Set in the near future – in 2044 there is no time travel, but by 2074, time travel is invented then banned. Only criminal enterprises still have the hardware for time travel and use it to get rid of people they find to be problematic. Press a button – the guy is zapped back to 2044 where an assassin immediately kills him. Works fine until Old Joe (Bruce Willis) heads back in time. Young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) gets the assignment. Things don’t go as planned. Jeff Daniels and Emily Blunt round out the cast. Written and Directed by Rian Johnson and he’s done a fine job. A must-see.

End of Watch – September 27th, 2012 – Another L.A. cops film by David Ayer. With Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as the leads, Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez, and David Harbour in the support roles on the police side of the street, with a whole host of Hispanic and Latino actors and actresses on board as well – this is an intense film. A visceral experience. Not for the sensitive. Don’t bring the kids. A must see.

Rich Man, Poor Woman – September 24th, 2012 – A Japanese TV Series about a guy sort of like the Facebook guy, and a young woman who he meets when she applies for a job. A modern day Cinderella crossed with The Social Network. Shun Iguro and Satomi Ishihara are the leads.

Boss – Sn 2 Episode 6 – Backflash – September 22nd, 2012the 6th of 10 episodes this season. 

Trouble With the Curve – September 21st, 2012Clint Eastwood as another old man – this time a baseball scout. This film is most accurately described as the anti-moneyball. But it really about relationships first and baseball second. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake round out the cast. Adams steals the film.

Paris (2008) – September 17th, 2012Romain Duris and Juliette Binoche star in this fine drama which is about life in a big city. This time it is Paris, France – and the story, while not gripping, is certainly involving.

BOSS: Sn 2 Episode 5 – Mania – September 16th, 2012 – the latest episode of the starz Network Series – Boss – which stars Kelsey Grammer as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane

Arbitrage – September 14th, 2012Richard Gere as a financial tycoon with a secret. Susan Sarandon as his wife, and Tim Roth as a pushy NYC Police Detective.

The Cold Light of Day – September 10th, 2012 – A thriller starring Henry Cavill, Sigourney Weaver, and Bruce Willis. A man is on vacation with his family on a sail boat along the coast of sunny Spain. One afternoon, he goes into to town to pick up a few items. When he returns the sail boat is gone. When he finds the boat, his family is missing. Then he gets the message – return the item or we will kill your family.

Boss: Sn 2 Episode 4 – Redemption – September 8th, 2012 – The series Boss, a starz Network Original Series continues.

The Words – September 7th, 2012 – an interesting film about the price one pays for stealing another man’s work. Actually we begin with a best selling author giving a book reading from his award-winning book. His novel is about a writer who finds a manuscript in an antique leather satchel. This manuscript is copied into a computer and before you know, it is a best-seller. Then the author played by Bradley Cooper meets the real author, an old man played by Jeremy Irons. Of course, these men are both the fictional work of the original  best seller and that author was played by Dennis Quaid. Of course all of that seems much more confusing than it really is. As I said, an interesting film.

Heartbreaker – September 4th, 2012 – A French rom-com, shot mostly in Monaco, with Paris, and Marrakesh, Morocco also getting screen time. Romain Duris is guy hired by over protective families to break up romances that are either perceived as wrong or actually – the couple is wrong for each other. As Alex (the character played by Duris says, I break up couples for a living. The girl is Vanessa Paradis.

Boss: Season 2 Episode 3 – Ablution – Recap – September 1st, 2012 – the plot thickens. Alliances are formed and people are choosing sides – some with Mayor Tom Kane, and some against him.

August 2012

Lawless – August 31st, 2012 – It is 1931 and we are in Franklin County, Virginia – a moonshine liquor business is threatened by a crooked cops and his minions who want to muscle in on the business built by the Bondurant family. Shia LaBoeuf and Tom Hardy star.

Premium Rush – August 29th, 2012 A bicycle messenger faces enormous obstacles in completing his delivery. He’s got to get from Columbia University at 116th and Broadway (on the Upper Westside) down to Doyers Street in Chinatown (lower East Side) in an hour and a half. His main obstacle – a NYC Police detective who will stop at nothing to intercept our messenger and steal the contents of the delivery. Fast pace, and will nearly leave you breathless.

The Newsroom – Episode 10 – The Greater Fool – Recap – August 28th, 2012 – The curtain comes down closing out the first season of The Newsroom. A full recap, and what did you think of the series?

Boss: Season 2 Episode 2 – Through and Through – Recap – August 26th, 2012 – An assassination attempt closed out the season opener. Find out who survived this week.

The Newsroom – Episode 9 – The Blackout Part II – Recap – August 20th, 2012 – The next to last episode if Season 1 of the Aaron Sorkin dramatic series on HBO. This is another recap, and going in the question is – will Leona Lansing fire the ACN news anchor Will McAvoy this week?

Boss – Season 2 Episode 1 – Louder Than Words – Recap – August 18th, 2012 – The starz original television series  BOSS kicks off. There are new characters surrounding Kelsey Grammer, but he is the same old boss.  Gripping, tense, dramatic, and powerful performances.

starz Original Series: Boss – Recap of Season One – August 16th, 2012 – The Season Two premier of BOSS is Friday, August 17th. This is a background look at Season One and a trailer for Season 2.

The Newsroom: Episode 8 – The Blackout – Part 1 – Tragedy Porn – August 13th, 2012 – The 8th episode of the HBO series introduces Paul Schneider as Brian Brenner who has been brought on board to write a magazine piece about Will McAvoy. Reese Lansing and Leona Lansing show up to add some turmoil, and the the News Night team has to change it philosophy and cover such ‘news’ as Casey Anthony and Anthony Weiner. Charlie Skinner meets Late for Dinner.

The Bourne Legacy – August 10th, 2012 – With Bourne series star Matt Damon, and 2 time Bourne director Paul Greenglass having stepped aside, Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross as well as Director Tony Gilroy have been installed to keep the franchise going. A worthwhile effort but still a cut below the originals.

Hope Springs – August 8th, 2012 – Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones & Steve Carell star in this film about a flawed marriage. Kay and Arnold are the Omaha folks who fly up to Maine, then drive for a few hours to get to Great Hope Springs where they will undergo some intense marriage counseling from Dr. Feld.  Kay is bored and frustrated, Arnold is oblivious, and Dr Feld has his hands full with the two of them.

The Newsroom: Episode 7 – 5/1 – August 6th, 2012 – In this recap, the newsroom team gets words of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Earth – August 5th, 2012 – From Deepa Mehta‘s Elemental Trilogy. This time the subject is the effects of the Partitioning of India at the time of the independence of India in August 1947. Nandita Das and Aamir Khan star.

Total Recall – August 3rd, 2012 – A remake of the Ah-nuld hit film from 1990. Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston star. 

July 2012

The Newsroom: Episode Six – Bullies – Recap – July 30th, 2012 – Sorkin’s series on HBO continues.

Water (2008) – July 28th, 2012 – From Deepa Mehta‘s Elemental Trilogy. Water is about widows, spiritual faith, and love.

The Newsroom: Episode 5 – Amen – July 23rd, 2012 – The HBO series continues. This is a detailed recap.

Trishna – July 21st, 2012Michael Winterbottom directs a film set in modern-day India. The story is  adapted from the classic 19th century novel – Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Frieda Pinto stars.

The Newsroom: Episode 4 – I’ll Try to Fix you – Recap – July 16th, 2012 – A recap in detail.

To Rome with Love – July 14th, 2012Woody Allen‘s summer film. Last year it was Paris, this year it is Rome.

The Fear Artist by Timothy Hallinan – July 13, 2012 – a book review. The latest Poke Rafferty thriller.

Moonrise Kingdom – July 11th, 2012 – A nostalgic trip down memory lane by Wes Anderson.  New England, Scouts, a boy and a girl run away ( to a secluded part of the island). They’re 12 year olds.

The Newsroom: Episode 3 – The 112th Congress – Recap – July 9th, 2012 – Ep 3 in detail.

Savages – July 7th, 2012 – The new thriller by Oliver Stone. Pot dealers vs a Mexican Cartel.

The Wild Blue Yonder – July 6th, 2012 – A look at three films about war-time pilots. The films are Flyboys, Red Tails, and Top Gun.

The Newsroom: Episode 2 – News Night 2.0 – Recap – July 2nd, 2012 – The second episode recap. Lots of quotes in the scene by scene breakdown of the show.

Sorkin on Promotion Tour for The Newsroom – July 1st, 2012 – Aaron Sorkin is interviewed by Mr. Stephen Colbert. The results are not pretty.

Bride Flight – July 1st, 2012 – A period film about some women who emigrate from The Netherlands to New Zealand and take up new husbands and lives.

June 2012

Your Sister’s Sister – June 29th, 2012Emily Blunt in a rom/com set in the Pacific Northwest. Also starring Mark Duplass and Rosemary DeWitt.

A Lonely Place to Die – June 27th, 2012 – The Scottish Highlands is the setting for a thriller involving a kidnapped child.

The Newsroom: Episode 1 – We Just Decide to – Recap – June 25th, 2012 – Brand new dramatic series on HBO. Created and written by Aaron Sorkin. It is a behind the scenes, backstage, and personal lives of a cable TV News show. Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Olivia Munn, Sam Waterston and many more.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – June 22nd, 2012 – Good old Honest Abe has a night job as you know what.

The Statement – June 21st, 2012Michael Caine plays a French collaborator who was responsible for the rounding up and execution of some French Jews during WWII. Since then, he been on the run in the South of France. I wonder if one can actually be on the run for nearly 40 years? The answer is – apparently you can with key assistance from an unexpected source.

Rapt – June 19th, 2012 – Another kidnapping film. This time it is a wealthy French business man played by Yves Attal.  He’s not really a nice guy, no one has access to his money, and his firm isn’t all that desperate to get him back.

Man on Fire – June 18th, 2012Denzel Washington plays a down-at-the-heels former agent who takes a job, as a bodyguard, and the young girl that he is guarding gets kidnapped.

Rock of Ages – June 16th, 2012The hit musical production has moved to the big screen. Many of your favorite rock songs from the 80’s are included. Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta Jones, & Alec Baldwin are the headliners – and they sing too.

Turn Left, Turn Right – June 15th, 2012 – A rom/com set in Taipei. He’s great looking, she’s beautiful – yet each are alone and lonely.

Cache (Hidden) – June 14th, 2012 – President day Paris. A family receives mysterious video tapes shot from across the street looking at the house. Then these tapes are wrapped in simplistic drawings of a man’s head with plenty of blood present. What do they mean, who sent them, and why?

Prometheus – Who’s Your Daddy – June 11th, 2012 – A discussion with blogger/critic Didion. We break down the new Ridley Scott film – Prometheus, which is at once, a return to sci-fi for Ridley Scott, a prequel to the Alien franchise, ans well as being a film should have been a lot better.

Revanche – June 10th, 2012 A marvelous film about life in a Viennese brothel, a bank heist, and at the core – revenge.

The Newsroom – June 8th, 2012 – an announcement about the new HBO Drama Series which will premier on June 24th. I will be doing a full recap of the episodes.

The Beat that My Hear Skipped – June 6th, 2012 – A French noir about a man who wants to be a  concert pianist but he’s stilled tied to the idea of family loyalty. His Dad is a small time low-rent district landlord. Starring Romain Duris and Niels Arestrup.

Today’s Special – June 2nd, 2012 – A man currently working as a sous chef desires more. The next step is a job as a head chef. It doesn’t work out, and he finds he has to run his father’s restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York.

Read My Lips aka Sur Mes Levres – June 1st, 2012 –  A deaf girl (Emmanuelle Devos) works in a Paris office of a land developer/construction firm. She hires an assistant, a just out of prison, unskilled man (Vincent Cassel). A great French thriller.

May 2012

Tell No One aka Ne de lis a Personne – May 31st, 2012 –  A French thriller. A man is accused of killing his wife, 8 years after she was murdered. We’re pretty sure he didn’t do it, but a lot of questions bubble to the surface. This is an excellent film.

HBO Films: Hemingway & Gellhorn – May 30th, 3012 – An HBO Films release. A bio film of the tempestuous relationship between famed novelist Ernest ‘Papa’ Hemingway and his 3rd wife, Martha Gellhorn. Set with a background of the Spanish Revolution which ultimately made it’s way to a novel For Whom The Bells Toll, which was later a film. Starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman.

Cooking With Stella – May 29th, 2012 – A Canadian couple move to New Delhi, India. She’s the diplomat, he’s the househusband. Their condo comes with a housekeeper/cook known as Stella., a cook with a Robin Hood-esque style.

Anthony Zimmer – May 28th, 2012 – A French mystery-thriller that was the original source for the Hollywood remake called The Tourist with Jolie and Depp. This one is far better.

Good Night, and Good Luck – May 27th, 2012 – In the 1950’s, Edward R Murrow took on US Senator Joesph McCarthy. Not a thriller but taken from real life. A black and white film directed by George Clooney. David Strathairn stars as Murrow.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – May 25th, 2012 –  British retirees head out to Jaipur in India. A well made, entertaining film that is not limited to British retirees or folks heading for India. It is about a universal theme – which is to make the best of the last chapters of our lives. Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith and others make this a very worthwhile film.

Kahaani: A Superb Top-Notch Thriller! – May 23rd, 2012 – A woman must travel thousands of miles to track down her husband who has gone missing.  Vidya Balan, India’s leading actress, stars in this excellent thriller.

Answers to Nothing – May 22nd, 2012 – An ensemble film, like Crash. With a missing seven year old girl at the core, events bring a cop, a detective, a therapist, a lawyer, a tv writer, a teacher, a singer, and others together in present day LA.

Battleship – May 19th, 2012 – Aliens from another planet respond to a signal beacon from our planet which is sent out into deep space. They don’t come bearing gifts.

Patissiere Coin de Rue – May 17th, 2012 – A small town Japanese woman come to the big city, Tokyo, looking for her boyfriend. She’s a baker and she finds work at a wonderful pastry shop. Delicious.

NBC’s Smash: Episode 15 (Bombshell) Recap – May 15th, 2012 – The last episode of the season. A full recap with spoilers, pictures, lots of dialogue from the episode, and comments by me.

NBC’s Smash Series – Not on Fall Schedule – May 14th, 2012 –  NBC releases its 2012 Fall Season Schedule. Smash is not on the schedule which means we will have to wait until winter in early 2013 to pick up Season Two.

Flavor of Happiness aka Shiawase no Kaori – May 13th, 2012 – Another wonderful film centered around a restaurant. It is a small city in Japan and you needn’t speak Japanese to enjoy it.

Hangin’ With the Girls: HBO’s Girls, Veep, Damsels in Distress and More – May 11th, 2012 –  Julia Louis-Dreyfus as The Veep, an Ellen DeGeneris Comedy performance from New York’s Beacon Theater, the HBO TV Series Girls, and a look at Damsels in Distress.

NBC’s Smash: Episode 14 (Preview) Recap – May 8th, 2012 – Marilyn, the musical opens on the road in Boston. The show is now called Bombshell. This is a full recap of the next to last episode of the season.

Marvel’s The Avegers – May 4th, 2012 – Sure to break box office records – Ironman, Thor, Hawkeye, The Hulk, and others take on a challenge – set in New York City. Wow!

The Salt of Life – May 3rd, 2012 – Written by, directed by, and starring Gianni Di Gregorio. About a 60 year old retiree who feels life, and women, are passing him by. He wants to enjoy himself, but he’s beginning to think that women no longer notice him. He wonders, “Am I invisible or transparent?“.  Shot in the Eternal City – Rome Italy.

13 Assassins – May 2nd, 2012 – Another samurai warrior film. Directed by Takashi Miike. Tons of action, and simply a brilliant film. Riveting.

NBC’s Smash: Episode 13 – Tech – Recap – May 1st, 2012 – After this episode, only two more remain. People get together and people separate. Some of the events were expected and some weren’t. Still fun to watch.

April 2012

The Double Hour – April 30th, 2012 – An Italian film – a psychological suspense thriller. Pretty good and lots of surprises. Directed by Giuseppe Captondi.

Safe – April 28th, 2012 –  Jason Statham is back in another action film. He’s protecting an young Chinese girl who is a math prodigy. Who wants her? A Chinese Triad, some Russian mobsters, and some crooked cops. Shootouts, shootouts, and still more shootouts. As always, Statham is impervious to pain, tougher than anyone else in the film, and he never misses.

The Five Year Engagement – April 27th, 2012 – Emily Blunt and Jason Segel meet, fall in love and decide to marry. Then life intrudes. Lots of laughs and a lot of fun.

NBC’s Smash: Episode 12 – Publicity – Recap – April 24th, 2012 – The struggles continue for all involved. Rebecca buddies up with Karen. Dev and Karen have issues. Watch for the shoot-out with words not bullets between Derek and Rebecca. And more. Lots more.

In Our Nature – April 21st, 2012 –  Two couples, a father and his girl friend, and his son, also with a girl friend, unexpectedly show up at the family country home, deep in the Catskills. Neither couple knew the other couple would be coming.  Starring Mad Men’s John Slattery and directed by Brian Savelson. This was an entry at the Sarasota Film Festival.

Missed Connections (2012) – April 19th, 2012 – A new film by Martin Snyder that I saw at the Sarasota Film Festival. A young blonde lawyer and a cheeky IT techie go round and round. Will they fall in love or won’t they?

Darling Companion – April 19th, 2012Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline star in this Lawrence Kasden helmed adult drama with lots of comic overtones. Just after marrying off their second daughter, the family dog called Freeway goes missing.

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding – April 17th, 2012 –  Jane Fonda stars as a present down grandmother who was a part of the Woodstock generation from the late 1960’s. In fact, she still lives in Woodstock. Catherine Keener stars as her adult daughter with two kids of her own who arrives to stay for a while after her husband told her he wants a divorce. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Elizabeth Olsen have key roles.

NBC’s Smash: Episode 11 – The Movie Star – Recap – April 17th, 2012 –  Karen, Ivy, Julia, Tom, Derek, Eileen, Ellis, Dev, Sam, and Nick continue to vie for attention, love, position, status, and respect. Round and round she goes, where she stops nobody news. The big news – Rebecca Duvall can’t sing.

The Big Picture – April 16th, 2012 – A successful French attorney stands at the brink of the abyss after his wife’s lover ends up dead.

Robot and Frank Opens the 2012 SFF – April 14th, 2012 – a great film  that played to a packed hall. Don’t Miss it.

The 2012 Sarasota Film Festival Preview – April 13th, 2012 – A preview and a look at the films that I’ll be covering. The festivals runs from April 13th through April 22nd.

Vincent Calvino – A Fictional Private Eye Heading for the Movies – April 11th, 2012 – Author Christopher G. Moore’s fictional detective Vincent Calvino is head for the movies. A look at four of the books.

NBC’s  Smash – Episode 10 Recap – April 10th, 2012 – The Understudy

AMCtv’s New Series – The Pitch – April 10th, 2012 – Each week a client (a National advertiser) invites two ad agencies to make a pitch – in short try and win the account.

Mozart’s Sister – April 5th, 2012 – a film about the little known Maria Mozart, Wolfgang’s older sister. She was talented, but in those days, a woman had no chance of success in the music field.

Tune In The Ghost – April 4th, 2012 – a look at an entertaining deejay playing classic rock and more from the 70’s and 80’s.

NBC’s Smash – Episode 9 Recap – April 3rd, 2012 – Hell On Earth

Starz TV Original New Series – Magic City – April 2nd, 2012 – A Recap of the opening three episodes. The series is due to open for real at months end.

March 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – March 30th, 2012 – This time we review the film. The stars Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, and Kristin Scott Thomas shine in this entertaining film with an ungainly title.

NBC’s Smash – Episode Eight Recap – The Coup – March 28th, 2012 – aka Uh Oh…

The Hunger Games – March 27th, 2012 – Bloggers JustMeMike and Didion of the Feminéma website talk about the film.  They break down the film and discuss the film from A to Z.

HBO Original Series – Episode 9 Recap – March 26th, 2012 – The series ends.

The Shawshank Redemption – March 21st, 2012 – a 3rd look at this classic film by JMM.

NBC’s Smash – Episode 7 Recap – March 21st, 2012 – The water in the shark tank just got bloody

HBO Original Series: Luck – Episode 8 Recap – March 19th, 2012 – ‘Racing Towards oblivion’.

The Hunter – March 15th, 2012Willem Dafoe travels to far off Tasmania to track the very rare Tasmanian Tiger. But there’s far more at play than a movie about hunting. Sam Neill co-stars. Check it out.

NBC’s Smash – Episodes 4, 5 and 6 Recap – March 14th, 2012

HBO Original Series: Luck – Episode 7 Recap – March 12th, 2012

Game Change – March 11th, 2012 – An HBO Original Movie. HBO takes a fine look at the 2008 Presidential Election Campaign. The focus? Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. Stars include Woody Harrelson as Steve Schmidt, Ed Harris as John McCain, and Julianne Moore as Palin.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – March 9th, 2012 – JMM grouses about the fact that Salmon Fishing is NOT playing anywhere near Sarasota.

Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai – March 9th, 2012 – From a humble beginning as a homeless orphan in Mumbai, India, a man grows into a mob boss.  Starring Ajay Devgn as Sultan Mirza, this India masala borrows some of The Godfather and some of Scarface and sets the film in the 1970’s.

L’ Odyssey de Cartier – March 7th, 2012 – three minutes and thirty seconds of cinematic magic. Yes, it is an ad, but … WOW!

Saathiya – March 7th, 2012 – An Indian film starring Rani Mukerji and Vivek Oberoi. Starts as a boy meets girl romance – but it is not a standard ‘they live happily ever after’ kind of story. This time the young couple learns that marriage isn’t a bed of roses.

The Mill & the Cross – March 6th, 2012 – a film by Polish director Lech Majewski that takes us back to the 16th century where we meet artist Pieter Bruegel and his famous painting The Way to Cavalry. Not an easy film to watch, but the use of cinematic cutting edge technology makes it memorable. A look at a famous painting, The Passion of Christ, and the Spanish Inquisition. Not for the kids.

HBO’s Series: Luck – Episode Six Recap – March 5th, 2012 – The series is set at Santa Anita Racetrack in Southern California. It’s horse racing, gambling, revenge, and lots more. This post recaps episode six.

The Young Victoria – March 3rd, 2012 – A gorgeously mounted period film. Emily Blunt plays a young Victoria – soon to become the Queen of the British Empire. Superb costumes worth an Oscar, plus magnificent settings in various top of the line castles. Not a full bio – as the title infers – it’s just the early years.

February 2012

The Devil Wears Prada – February 28th, 2012 –  Another Oscar nominated performance by Meryl Streep. With able assists from Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Adam Grenier, and Simon Baker. It is a look inside the fashion industry. Fresh out of college, a  fashion newbie, Andy Sachs, played by Hathaway joins Runway Magazine headed up by the world’s numero uno fashionista – Miranda Priestly (Streep).

HBO Series: Luck Episode 5 Recap – February 28th, 2012 – Episode 5 of Luck is in the books. This is a recap of what went down, in case you missed while watching the Oscar br0oadcast.

The Oscars Red Carpet Live Show – February 26th, 2012 – a piece on the Red Carpet Live Broadcast which was the lead in to the Oscars broadcast. Written on the fly during the show itself.

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within – February 26th, 2012 – Brazil’s biggest grossing film ever. A top cop fights drugs and crime so well that he is promoted or kicked upstairs to a desk job. Why? Because the greatest threat isn’t the drug lords. Instead it is the corrupt police and government. Powerful, exciting, thrilling and dramatic. A true must-see.

Hunger – February 24th, 2012 – Another film torn from the pages of history. Michael Fassbender plays Bobby Sands, a real life prisoner in a Belfast, Ireland jail. He took on the British during the Margaret Thatcher era . The whole world watched horrified as Sands led a hunger strike seeking changes in Ireland. He and other died as a result of their hunger strike. A magnificent film directed by Steve McQueen.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley – February 22nd, 2012 – A period piece set in the 1920 in County Cork, Ireland. The IRA vs the Black & Tans. Cillian Murphy heads the cast of this Ken Loach directed drama. It’s entertaining, dramatic, and well above average.

NBC TV Series – Smash – February 20th, 2012 – An introduction to the series about the making of a Broadway show called Marilyn:The Musical. Comments, notes and intros about the first three episodes.  Debra Messing, Katherine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Jack Davenport, and Anjelica Houston head the cast.

HBO Series – Luck Episode 4 – February 20th, 2012 – Dustin Hoffman stars in this series set at the santa Anita Racetrack in Southern California. This is a recap.

Defiance – February 18th, 2012Daniel Craig takes a group of Jews into the forests of eastern Europe to avoid capture and death at the hands of the Nazi’s during the World War II. Liev Schreiber is on hand as his brother who decides to join a Russian militia to fight the Nazi war machine. Actually, this is an excellent film, and well worth your time.

The Double – February 17th, 2012 Richard Gere stars in The Double,  a spy film, that came and went without anyone noticing it. It’s theatrical run lasted all of two weeks before it was pulled out of circulation.  Gere played opposite Topher Grace and Martin Sheen. If you like spy films, you’ll find this one acceptable at best, but more likely you’ll come away thinking it was disappointing.

This Means War – February 14th, 2012 Tom Hardy and Chris Pine are best buddies and top-notch spooks who are somehow dating the same woman – Reese Witherspoon. Once they find out – all bets are off – possibly even the friendship. For Witherspoon’s Lauren it is a dreamy situation – two great guys to date. For the boys, well – this means war.

The Darjeeling Limited – February 14th, 2012 – Three brothers attempt a reunion by crossing Northern India by train. They’re heading to a convent in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains where there mother has joined a convent. The concept is worthy. By traversing the spiritual India, they will find each other, as well as themselves. Starting in Jodhpur as three disparate individuals by film’s end they will re-emerge as three brothers. They hope. Starring Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman as Francis, Peter, and Jack. Directed by Wes Anderson.

Safe House – February 10th, 2012 – Though it looks, sounds, and feels like another Bourne film, don’t let that stop you from seeing it. What it lacks in originality, it more than makes up for it in action. A thriller in every sense of the word. Plus it stars Denzel Washington along with Ryan Reynolds.

Bourne 4 – Only 176 Days to Go – February 9th, 2012 – A small preview of The Bourne Legacy which has August 3rd, 2012 as the release date. Trailer included.

David Fincher: Films with Styles and Edge – February 9th, 2012 – A look at some of what makes us love Director David Fincher’s works. Zodiac, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Panic Room, Alien3, Seven, and The Game.

Lilyhammer – February 6th, 2012 – The HBO hit series The Sopranos ended back in 2007. In that series, Steven Van Zandt had the role of Silvio Dante, who was Tony Soprano’s right hand man. Now, 5 years later, it is 2012 and we have a new and updated version of Sil. This time Steve plays Frank the Fixer Tagliano. When he’s passed over as the the successor to the family’s Godfather who has just died, AND there’s an attempt on his life, he goes straight for the FBI. In exchange for testimony against Aldo DeLucci, the FBI will set up Tagliano in the Witness Protection Program in Lillehammer, Norway. That’s right the newest member of the WPP is being played by one of the original and key players from the Sopranos.  Goodbye New York and hello Norway. This series is a production from Netflix who are following the HBO business model – to not only distribute the content but to also create the content. They call it Lilyhammer.

Hum Tum – February 3rd, 2012 – From 2004, the first of three films that will star Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan. Quite likely these are two of the five biggest film stars in India. They meet, they separate, they meet, they argue. Over nine years. Shot on location in Amsterdam and other Netherlands locations. Beautifully filmed and very enjoyable. Four point zero. Rani won a number of Best Performances by an Actress for this film.

January 2012

One for the Money – January 31st, 2012 – Straight Away – this isn’t anywhere close to Midnight Run. In fact, so far it even trails The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler. I could only give this a 2.0 out 5. It’s not funny, sexy, exciting, and there’s no suspense. Predicting a quick exit from the theaters. Watchable but only barely.

36th Precinct – January 28th, 2012 – Two top cops are after a gang of thieves who take down armored cars carrying bags and bags of money. The film begins as a police procedural and ends as a revenge film as these cops are about more than just cracking the case. Set in Paris, France and starring Daniel Auteuil and Gerard Depardieu, this one has a lot of action and two strong alpha cops going after one another. Produced and released in 2004, this film has only become available in DVD and on Netflix rather recently.

The Grey – January 27th, 2012Liam Neeson stars as a survivor of a plane crash in the frozen tundra of Alaska. The crash killed most of the aboard, but some of them escaped the crash unscathed. The plane went down in the middle of nowhere, so they’re not going to be rescued quickly. For those that got out of the crash alive – they now face bitter cold, lack of water, food, shelter, and worst of all – they have to survive the pack of wolves that are hunting them down. This is a solid adventure film – and you won’t complain about heat after seeing what real cold is about.

Luck (TV Series) – January 26th, 2012 – Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Farina star in the brand new HBO TV Drama Series called Luck. It is about the Life Around the Racetrack. Created by David Minch, and Directed by Michael Mann,who is also Executive Producer, the series pilot was aired more than six weeks ago, and the comments weren’t pretty. I missed the broadcast of the pilot but am primed for the Premier of the series scheduled for broadcast on HBO, this Sunday (January 29th, 2012) night.

Haywire – January 20th, 2012Gina Carano stars as Mallory Kane, a Bourne-esque type of agent for hire. When things don’t go exactly as planned in Barcelona, Mallory’s situation changes – and that’s not good. With locations as varied as upstate New York, Barcelona, Dublin, New Mexico, and Majorca – we move around quite a bit. Mallory is both the hunted and the hunter in this action packed thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh. Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, and Bill Paxton round out the cast.

Hodejegerne aka Headhunters – January 18th, 2012 – From the novel by internationally known author Jo Nesbo. This is a Norwegian language with English Subtitles thriller. Roger Brown played Aksel Hennie is a corporate headhunter. He’s also an art thief. His wife introduces him to a man who not only can be CEO material for the position Brown is trying to fill, but on top of that, he owns an original Rubens painting. Thrilling, action-packed, lots of twist and turns – Headhunters is not only the title but it is also both literally and figuratively what this film is about.

The Flowers of War – January 16th, 2012 – Chinese film director Zhang Yimou takes us back to 1937 to Nanjing (formerly Nanking) China. The Japanese invade and a group is trapped by war’s horrific circumstance within the cathedral and its walled compound. On hand are a group of frightenrd Chinese Catholic school girls, Christian Bale as a traveling mortician, and a group of a dozen courtesans.  The film is scheduled for a limited opening in just 21 theaters nationwide in a group of select cities on January 20th. Reviews have mixed, but I intend to see this film when and if it comes to my section of Florida, or when the DVD becomes available.

The Iron Lady – January 14th, 2012Meryl Streep plays the three term former Prime Minister of Great Britain – Margaret Thatcher. A bio-film worth your time.

Contraband – January 13th, 2012Mark Wahlberg is an ex-smuggler who has to resume a smuggling career to save his brother-in-law from the bad boos played by Giovanni Ribisi. Kate Beckinsale plays the wife. Locations are New Orleans and Panama City, Panama.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – January 6th, 2012 – A spy film – smart, intelligent, but definitely not a Spy Thriller. Forget about fast cars, chases, explosions, poker and other games of chance. This is the film made from John LeCarre’s 1974 novel of the same name. It’s the era of the Cold War. Hence a cold and cheerless film. Gary Oldman does a fine job as George Smiley who has been tasked to uncover the mole in MI6’s home base aka The Circus. But the role calls for a stolid, colorless man and that’s exactly what Oldman delivers. There’s no pyrotechnics of any kind – not in the story, and not in the acting. This is the world of the anti-Bond, the anti-Hunt, and the anti-Bourne.

The Artist – January 4th, 2012 – This is a film that has generated a lot interest and plenty of buzz. It’s a period piece set in Hollywood in the period of 1927 to 1932. The talkies are taking off and the silent film era comes to an end; in some cases before those who were the stars in that medium wanted or could accept. The stars are George Dupardin and Berenice Bejo. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, this film is a b&w silent film – or said another way – a gimmicky curiosity (with lots of charm) to some (including me), and yet others have already awarded it the Best Picture of the Year honors. Have you seen it, and how did you like it?

War Horse – January 2nd, 2012 – Take one heroic horse, add in lots of courageous and brave soldiers, season with the classic Steven Spielberg sentimentality – and you’ll have the recipe for a marvelous film. This film is a sure bet for a bundle of Oscar nominations. The cherry on the top is the beautiful cinematography. You’re not likely to be all that familiar with most of the cast, unless you happen to live in the UK. But don’t let that stop you. In fact, the lack of well known actors is a major plus for American audiences because you won’t have ayn pr-econceived notions about who you will be watching. A must-see.