BEST PICTURE NOMINEE: The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right
Directed by: Lisa Cholodenko
Written by: Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
Starring: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Mia Wasikowska

You usually watch a movie about the inner workings of the suburban American family expecting to see it deconstructed, but sitting through Lisa Cholodenko’s bracing, hilarious The Kids Are All Right you watch something strange: it being rebuilt.  Following an economic crisis and subsequent rethinking of what it means to be American, Kids comes at the perfect time.  It rethinks the nuclear family on the silver screen by doing the most daring thing: not mentioning it.

Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), the two moms at the center of the film, were each impregnated by the same sperm donor.  Now that their daughter Joni (Mia Wasikowska) has turned 18, her brother Laser (Josh Hutcherson) pressures her to contact the donor (Mark Ruffalo).  They do, it’s awkward, and it almost tears the happy family apart.

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Five Movies to Celebrate Family

If there was anything I noticed missing on the dinner table this Thanksgiving, I could tell you it is nothing I would put salt or pepper on. All the years of Thanksgiving I have had in the past, I celebrated by sitting around with my family appreciating the things we had, like a big turkey dinner, a home over our heads, time off from school and friends to see movies with later that night. But when I sat around with those people I called my family, I didn’t realize the things we thankful for weren’t any of those things combined. Instead it was just the fact that we were all in the same room, mood and had the company and joy of each other for a single afternoon. Comfort is the only word I can put on it.

It seems like a simple concept that we are told all the time, but cannot truly grasp until we’ve had to spend Thanksgiving thousands of miles away from the memories and people we so badly long to be with.

In honor of my little revelation I offer a handful of films that give me a great warmth and sense of family, the sweetest Thanksgiving treat, as a theme.

Up in the AirSure Ryan Bingham, the corporate executioner fighting to save the old school ways of his job, is known for flying solo. Without friends at work, without family in his empty apartment, and without the company of a lover, Bingham may seem like quite the loner when in fact he couldn’t feel more confident and content with his ways. However, after two women enter his life and take him for a life changing ride, Bingham reconsiders his philosophy on family and people in general. It is a beautifully endearing film and a story for the ages.  Continue reading

REVIEW: Secretariat


Secretariat
Directed by: Randall Wallace
Written by: Mike Rich (screenplay), William Nack (book)
Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh, and Margo Martindale

Apparently Seabiscuit and The Blind Side weren’t enough.  According to Disney, we needed at least one more historically sugar-coated “impossible true story.”  Something savory for the whole family, with perfectly timed and safe one-liners and plot points that the company has had on repeat since it started doing live action movies.

Of course, when this company has a lack of creativity and innovation, they simply write a check.  This gives them access to the best filmmaking tools at their disposal to make this pile of garbage.  The race footage in Secretariat is amazingly well-done and even a little bit exhilarating.  It’s too bad once the horses stop, the movie does too.

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