December, 2012

“Silver Linings Playbook”

December 30th, 2012 at 4:15 pm by under A Look at the Movies

 

 

Rated R
2 Hours

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro

Two poor souls with emotional problems become kindred spirits in the touching and funny off-beat love story called “Silver Linings Playbook”.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper give memorable performances as the troubled soul mates. They’ll dazzle you with their irresistible chemistry.

No sooner does Cooper get out of a mental hospital then he’s back driving his parents crazy.

Lawrence is on the verge of a nervous breakdown with problems of her own that she’s willing to share. In one of the film’s most amusing moments, it seems their prescription drugs give them something to talk about at social functions.

“Silver Linings Playbook” has you caring deeply about the characters. Director David Russell gets every last drop of sensitivity out of these mismatched lovers. Even Robert DeNiro, as Cooper’s frustrated father, delivers his most sensitive performance in years.

And who knows, love just might be the best medication of all.

What’s best about “Silver Linings Playbook”, unlike most movies today, the picture seems fresh and completely unpredictable. The plot is purely incidental to the appealing characters, who together help earn this superb human comedy four stars.

When you compare all of the holiday season movies, you’ll see that “Silver Linings Playbook” is pure gold.


“The Guilt Trip”

December 29th, 2012 at 10:46 am by under A Look at the Movies

Rated PG-13
1 hour 35 minutes

Starring: Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen

Barbara Streisand’s return to the big screen in “The Guilt Trip” is no cause for celebration, unless you’re among her most devoted fans.

The overbearing Streisand teams up with moody Seth Rogen for 95 minutes of unresolved mother and son conflicts.

These conflicts are mostly comprised of Streisand’s embarrassing quirks getting on Rogen’s nerves. “The Guilt Trip” is little more than a two character play, off each other’s irritable personality problems.

Out of the blue, Rogen invites Streisand to tag along on a cross country business trip. Neither realizes at first how much excess emotional baggage they’re carrying.

A few funny moments here and there fail to fuel the lows octane road comedy. But was this “Guilt Trip” really necessary? Sour Puss Rogen just can’t reconcile his distain for the smothering Streisand, to the point that he comes across as a very unpleasant character, who insultingly doesn’t even want to be seem with Streisand.

Streisand, veteran trouper that she is, plays it to the hilt for a lost cause. But at least she tried.

“The Guilt Trip” just can’t muster enough charming humor to avoid running off the road with 2 stars.

Considering the strong competition this holiday season, “The Guilt Trip” won’t go very far.


Another Round of Snow

December 28th, 2012 at 9:59 pm by under Weather

We’ve been telling you about snow heading our way for today. At first it looked like a little bit of snow, but as time has gone on our more recent computer models continue to hint at a bit more of a troubling storm when it comes to snowfall.

The low pressure system responsible for bringing us this snow seemed like it was going to stay further off the coast, but with the latest computer model runs the storm has tended to adjust it’s course to bring it slightly closer in, with some heavy snow expected to parts of central Massachusetts, Rhode Island and even Connecticut.

Here in western Mass. we’re expecting our fair share of accumulating snow. Typically we see the most snow over the eastern slopes of the Berkshires. While that will sort of be the case with this storm, there could be a second (and potentially larger) jackpot area in eastern Hampden and eastern Hampshire county. Those areas are closer to the center of the storm system and could get some potentially heavy bands of snow.

The wobbling nature of our expectations for this storm system do bring with them some wiggle room when it comes to change. If we had consistency in our computer model forecasts we would feel much more confident about accumulations with this storm than we are now given the recent changes.

You can see our latest snowfall accumulation projections here. Keep in mind we may be adjusting these numbers up or down as we get close to the arrival of the snow, and even once the snow has arrived.

Bottom line, expect snow that will be shovelable and plowable. Eastern Hampden and eastern Hampshire County should be prepared for some more significant accumulations. The hilltowns of the eastern slopes of the Berkshires can expect your usual, higher-than-the-valley, snowfall accumulations.

We’ll be tracking the snow today on 22News at 6AM-10AM and again at 6PM and 11PM.


“Hitchcock”

December 23rd, 2012 at 4:05 pm by under A Look at the Movies

Rated PG-13
1 hour 40 minutes

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson

Who knew that Alfred Hitchcock would face so many obstacles making his classic horror film, “Psycho”?

“Hitchcock” treats movie buffs to a glorious glimpse into cinematic folklore. Anthony Hopkins was born to play the master of suspense as an uncanny judge of movie material.

But It’s Helen Mirren who upstages Hopkins. She’s Hitchcock’s wife, collaborator and harshest critic.

As daringly creative as he was,  Alma would always go him one better. He wants to shock the audience by killing off Janet Leigh, played by Scarlett Johansson half way through “Psycho”. Mirren called that huge mistake. He should kill her off after 30 minutes.

The beautifully crafted script is just filled with the famous Hitchcock droll humor. He just loved getting a rise out of people. Neither does the film stint on exploring the darker side of his complex character flaws.

He was persistent. Against all odds, he’ll bring “Psycho” to the screen and he’ll do it his way.
“Hitchcock” shows us what two marvelous actors can do to bring to life this fascinating tribute to Alfred Hitchcock”, and also to Alma, the love of his life.

“Hitchcock” gives you Goosebumps of joy earning all of its three stars.

“Hitchcock” is genuinely one of the year’s most enjoyable and revealing films.


It’s Looking More And More Like A White Christmas

December 22nd, 2012 at 8:43 pm by under Weather

So far this December we haven’t seen much snow at all and officially winter arrived at 6:12 Friday morning. Lately it’s been very mild and we’ve been getting more wet than white. Cooler more seasonable air has moved in now and that is helping to set the stage for snow.

It’s now looking like a fairly weak systen will pass through Monday night into Tuesday bringing us some snow late Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. Right now it looks like we could pick up around an inch or two of snow.  So if you’ve been dreaming of a white Christmas it looks like you just might be in luck.

After that we’ll be tracking a more significant storm that could bring us snow or a wintry mix late Wednesday into Thursday. We’ll keep you posted.

Have a very Merry Christmas!


“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

December 22nd, 2012 at 10:21 am by under A Look at the Movies

Rated PG-13
2 Hours 55 Minutes

Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett

I was hoping to bring you some good movie news, but unfortunately “The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey” is hardly an unexpected pleasure. The back story for “The Lord of the Rings” matches the classic trilogy only in the nearly 3 hour running time.

The first of the three “Hobbit” epics find homebody Bilbo Baggins reluctantly joining forces with the army of Dwarfs to help them regain their lost kingdom.

Familiar characters abound as the stunning but overblown production drags its way through one dreary cliffhanger adventure after another. Fans of “Lord of the Rings” will wonder why the Hobbit saga isn’t quite the same pleasurable experience.

Like a feast stuffed with too many calories, the “Hobbit” adventures pack in too many battles, which normally would be welcome, except there’s little else to fill the spectacular landscape. “The Hobbit” proves that even magnificent visual effects together with a lot of stodgy pontificating can eventually become tiresome.

I would have hoped for a lot more from a Director of Peter Jackson’s caliber. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is visually filling from emotionally empty. Just don’t expect this epic disappointment to scale the heights of middle earth beyond 2 stars.

Apparently Gandalf the Wizard failed to conjure enough the right kind of magic to make “The Hobbit” a holiday delight.


“Playing for Keeps”

December 16th, 2012 at 3:58 pm by under A Look at the Movies

Rated PG-13
1 hour 40 minutes

Starring: Gerard Butler, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jessica Biel

What’s a holiday movie season without a heartwarming comedy about a washed up soccer star, trying to be a hero to his young son, and to win back his ex-wife in the bargain?

Gerard Butler makes a valiant effort to make the shopworn plot seem fresh and original. And for awhile “Playing for Keeps” plays like a PG family film about the dad bonding with his neglected son.

But it’s not long before “Playing for Keeps” slips in to its PG-13 mode. Soccer Mom Catherine Zeta-Jones makes a play for the coach, who eventually becomes fair game for every Soccer Mom in town.

WillButler’s ex, Jessica Biel rescue the coach from the predators in the stands? Sometimes being overly predictable doesn’t damage a film’s sincerity and all around good natured spirit.

“Playing for Keeps will keep you entertained If not exactly surprised.

The characters are charming, the situations amusing and the picture’s got its heart in the right place. I’d say “Playing for Keeps” scores with a game winning 3 stars.

“Playing for Keeps” looks like a keeper.


“Anna Karenina”

December 8th, 2012 at 8:30 am by under A Look at the Movies

Rated R
2 hours 10 minutes

Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson

The ageless tragic love story “Anna Karenina” has been given a gorgeous makeover. Keira Knightley heads a wonderful cast in this stylish production set in the Imperial Russia of 1974, when the strict morality of the time could crush the most passionate of extra marital affairs.

With Jude Law playing Anna’s strict but deeply loving husband, the audience has trouble making him out to be the villain. He’s hoping he’s wrong about Anna’s Indiscretion, but she admits everything.

The real tragedy is she’s too unstable and insecure to make the most of her romantic illusions, and her youthful lover doesn’t quite understand the demons tearing her apart.

Add to that the terrible price women paid for adultery at the time. And you can see she would have been better off staying put in a loveless marriage.

The classic love story holds up very well, especially under Joe Wright’s elegant directing. And the acting is worthy of a Masterpiece Theater production. “Anna Karenina” works her way into your good graces with three stars.

This “Anna Karenina” is one re-make that truly honors the story.

 


“Red Dawn”

December 2nd, 2012 at 11:15 am by under A Look at the Movies

Rated PG-13
1 hour 35 minutes

Starring: Christ Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Why is it that during every holiday movie season, there’s got to be at least one stinker? Now I’m asking why did they have to reach back and recycle “Red Dawn”, one of the worst movies of 1984?

When North Koreans invade America’s Pacific Northwest, you can always count on the high school football team to wage guerilla warfare, while the pillars of the community cave in and collaborate with the enemy.

With the help of war veteran Chris Hemsworth, one of the few non-teenage good guys, the high school football team and the cheerleaders become a crack special forces unit harassing the invaders.

Hemsworth exhorts his overnight heroes into feats of unparallel heroism to send those so and so North Koreans back where they came from.

Unlike the hacks at the bottom of “Red Dawn, who’ve created one-dimensional characters speaking phony dialogue you don’t dare take seriously.

The situations are so ludicrous, most of the audience sits dumbfounded shaking their heads in disbelief and muttering, the moviemakers really blew it.

Within minutes of the opening credits, you’ll be saying why didn’t I see “Lincoln” or “Life of Pi” instead?

“Red Dawn” has nothing to offer except one star. I just had to get “Red Dawn” out of my system. Now I feel better.


“Life of Pi”

December 1st, 2012 at 11:01 am by under A Look at the Movies

Rated PG
2 hours 5 minutes

Starring: Siraj Shamra, Ifran Khan

On its simplest level, “Life of Pi” is the beautifully photographed story of a shipwrecked boy bonding with a ferocious Bengal Tiger in the middle of the ocean.

But “Life of Pi” goes much deeper if you bother reading between the lines. Together with the wild animal he calls “Richard Parker”, newcomer Siraj Shamra battles the elements and their mutual fear of each other.

Director Ang Lee provides a breathtaking visual backdrop for his masterful story telling, that could earn Lee the top prize for cinematography.

He takes us back in a pivotal scene to the boy’s first attempt to make a friend of the Tiger years earlier at his father’s Zoo.

The director’s vivid imagination never lets their mutual adventures go stale. The beguiling story of their growing relationship keeps us enthralled. Animal and human have come to realize how much they depend on each other for survival.

“Life of Pi” is pure and simple a work of art, embellished with a charming story that constantly works on your emotions. What better film to reward with four stars?

It’s a film for the whole family to enjoy together.