June 6, 2012

Short 'n' Sweet Reviews: May Movie Reviews

PRINCESS KA'IULANI (2009) - Lush scenery and gorgeous photography highlight this bio of Princess Ka'iulani, a 19th-century Hawaiian princess raised in England but determined to maintain her people's independence from aggressive American businessmen.  

RATING: ****  Loved the actress who played Ka'iulani.  She was great and the story of a strong female who can lead her people is one that I will definitely watch again.

RED STATE (2011) - Director Kevin Smith puts a unique spin on the horror genre in this tale of hormonal urges gone awry. Three high school boys answer an online ad from a woman seeking wild sex and soon find themselves in the hands of some dangerous religious zealots.  

RATING: **  Great concept and John Goodman is always fun to watch but the ending left me wanting to shoot the TV.

DRIVE (2011) - A Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver is lured from his isolated life by a lovely neighbor and her young son. His newfound peace is shattered, however, when her violent husband is released from prison.  

RATING: **** I heard this movie was great and I heard the movie was boring.  I am one of those who found it pretty entertaining.  I really liked Carey Mulligan in it, too.

THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER (2010- French Language Film) - Aristocrat Marie de Mézières (Mélanie Thierry) loves the dashing Duke Henri de Guise (Gaspard Ulliel), but her father (Philippe Magnan) forces her to marry a prince she doesn't know (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet). With her new husband at war, Marie's passion for Henri grows stronger than ever. Bertrand Tavernier directs this historical drama set against a backdrop of religious conflict in 16th-century France. 

 RATING: ***  I really liked the story line and Melanie Thierry was excellent.  I was not sure about the ending or I would have rated it higher.

CATHERINE COOKSON'S THE RAG NYMPH (1997) - When her mother, a prostitute, runs away from the police, Millie is left alone on the streets and is taken in by Aggie, a kind rag lady. Despite Aggie's meager finances, Millie thrives under her care -- but a greedy pimp lurks just around the corner. 

RATING: **** I really liked this miniseries.  There were 2 sisters who played Millie, as a child, and Millie, as an adult, and they were both very good actresses. I really enjoyed the story and it made me want to look into reading Catherine Cookson books.

HOME ROOM (2003) - A small town is rocked by a shooting at its high school that results in nine deaths and serious injury to one popular female student, Deanna (Erika Christensen). As a detective (Victor Garber) looks for those responsible, his concentration turns to a defiant outcast named Alicia (Busy Phillips). With her involvement still in question, Alicia visits Deanna in the hospital, and the two forge a rare bond over what they saw that fateful day. 

 RATING: ***  Predictable ending, but a very good film about the dangers of bullies, peer groups, mental illness, and breaking points.  I think it is worth a viewing.

THE BABYSITTERS (2007) - When honors high school student Shirley (Katherine Waterston) becomes romantically entangled with Michael (John Leguizamo), the married father of one of her baby-sitting clients, she quickly recognizes the affair's potential for turning a profit. The enterprising Shirley soon sets up a teenage prostitution ring made up of school chums who she matches up with Michael's bored married friends, all under the guise of baby-sitting. 

 RATING: ***  Interesting film if you can handle the content.  I actually am of the persuasion this should be viewed by all teenagers so they understand the ramifications of their actions if they thought up something like this.

HART'S WAR (2002) - When an African-American pilot (Terrence Howard) in a German POW camp is accused of murdering one of his fellow inmates, Lt. Tommy Hart (Colin Farrell) must defend him. But Hart's superiors (including Bruce Willis) caution that digging too deep could expose secrets that would mean death to all prisoners. In a place where lies keep men alive, one young officer must uncover the truth -- whatever the cost. 

RATING: ***  I enjoyed this POW movie and the relationships, both positive and negative, that developed between the prisoners.

REINDEER GAMES (2000) - Action-adventure master John Frankenheimer directs this sordid tale of deadly deception. Fresh out of prison, Rudy (Ben Affleck) poses as his cellmate Nick so he can meet Nick's alluring pen pal, Ashley (Charlize Theron). But Ashley has less romantic reasons for befriending Nick. As Rudy soon discovers, Ashley and her brother (Gary Sinise) are plotting a heist that requires his participation, whether he agrees to it or not. 

RATING: *** I will watch pretty much any movie that Gary Sinese is in.  I did not go into this movie with very high expectations since I heard it was only so-so but I thought that the action/adventure movie was worth watching, if only once. :)

BEING ELMO (2011) - Beloved by millions of children, Elmo is a global icon. However, few people know the soft-spoken man behind the furry red monster: Kevin Clash. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this documentary follows the Clash's remarkable career as a puppeteer.  

RATING: ****  I never would have watched this film if it had not been on Instant Netflix but I gave it a shot and I thought it was very interesting.  I highly recommend this documentary on the man behind Elmo.

THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE (2008- DOCUMENTARY) - In a world fraught with hostility and violence, an altruistic group of young men endeavor to understand the true essence of the human spirit by visiting forgotten souls such as homeless New Yorkers, Peruvian orphans and isolated Ghanian lepers. By spotlighting heartwarming stories from around the world, this uplifting documentary shows viewers that every single person, no matter his or her lot in life, is beautiful. 

 RATING: ****  If you watch only one movie on this list, make it this one.  


  1. I readlly do want to see Drive one of these days.

  2. Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books)June 8, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    You wouldn't think puppeteering would be an interesting topic for a documentary, but I really liked Being Elmo.  It was fascinating.


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