Movie Review: Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men (2006)___8/10
Tyranny and terror in a world of the “death of birth”

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Screenplay by Alfonso Cuarón
Based on the novel by P.D. James

Clive Owen …. Theo Faron
Julianne Moore …. Julian Taylor
Michael Caine …. Jasper Palmer
Chiwetel Ejiofor …. Luke
Charlie Hunnam …. Patric
Claire-Hope Ashitey …. Kee

Children of Men is an escape thriller set in a dystopian England 20 years into the future, where for reasons that are never made explicit women of the world stopped having children (ca. 2009).  While the continents crumble into chaos, England holds on through an extreme xenophobic (foreigner-bashing) police state.

Sounds depressing, right?  Well, sure.  But the plot is tight and interesting, and high hopes counter the dangerous bleakness.

Londoner Theo Faron (Owen), a former peace activist with a reasonably comfortable position in the government, has a run-in with his still-revolutionary (kind of a pro-immigrant movement known as Fish) ex-wife, Julian (Moore).  She wants him to use his connections to help smuggle an illegal immigrant Kee (Ashitey) out of the country.

Kee has miraculously conceived and is close to bearing her child.  The Fishes are loosely associated with a sea-faring group called The Human Project, which has arranged to accept Kee with the goal of restarting the species.  In addition to providing the transit papers, Theo winds up as Kee’s escort.

The everpresent state cameras and police are always on their tails, then an internal Fish power struggle threatens to upend the mission.  Their route to the sea is full of obstacles.  Theo and Kee, with a woman serving as Kee’s birth coach, make their way into the woods where Theo’s longtime friend, Jasper (Caine) sets them up for the final leg. Continue reading

Movie Review: Far from Heaven (2002)

The way we (really) were _________ 9/10

Far_From_HeavenCathy Whitaker: That was the day I stopped believing in the wild ardor of things. Perhaps in love, as well. That kind of love. The love in books and films. The love that tells us to abandon our lives and plans, all for one brief touch of Venus. So often we fail at that kind of love. The world just seems too fragile a place for it. And of every other kind, life remains full.  Perhaps it’s just we who are too fragile.

When I read the above bittersweet reflection from Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore)—homemaker extraordinaire in upscale, extremely class-conscious 1957 Hartford, Connecticut, and wife to Frank Whitaker (Dennis Quaid), high-powered sales executive at a leading ad agency—I thought, wow, that’s my exact impression of her… and sums up a major idea of the movie.  The only problem is I’ve been back over the DVD several times, and I can’t find where anyone says these words!  [If any of my readers can locate the statement, please contact me on the Coffee Coaster Blog.] Continue reading

Movie Review: Still Alice (2014)

Movie message that hits you like a freight train, not a train wreck (8/10)

AliceA conversational review:

Me: Mixed feelings on this movie, but I must say it was absolutely brilliantly written and executed. Probably the most economical, and for that the sharpest, treatment of the subject that we’re likely ever to see. Doesn’t it strike you personally?

It was both mercifully spartan and ruthlessly honest. I said to myself not to finish a couple of times. I totally received the message to my core… just thinking what it would be like for me to go through that with how thoroughly word centric I am, to lose all of that would be to lose who I am… I think. But the final scene with Kristen Stewart was goosebump city. The message is love persists.

And how I would feel such agony if someone I know and love were to have to go through all that. It raises the Problem of Evil argument vs. God to a whole new level. Wow. A tour de force. Continue reading

Movie Review: Don Jon (2013)

Modern morality comedy in candid setting ___  8.5/10

DonJonDon Jon is another Netflix pic that panned out nicely.

[Who goes out to the movies anymore? Last time yours truly took in the silver screen up close and personal was to watch Atlas Shrugged III. To make it an official night at the cineplex I ordered a MEDIUM cola and MEDIUM popcorn… then walked away, I think it was, $12 poorer! Yikes! They need to surround the concession stands with yellow tape as a crime scene.]

But back to the movie at hand. The IMDb blurb says, “A New Jersey guy dedicated to his family, friends, and church, develops unrealistic expectations from watching porn and works to find happiness and intimacy with his potential true love.” So I expected it to be on the frank, perhaps even raw, side, but I’ve always liked Gordon-Levitt’s movies where he’s an actor—since Brick (2005), The Lookout (2007), and especially (500) Days of Summer (2009)—and this one he also writes and directs. So I put my offensiveness meter on standby and gave Don Jon a fair shake, so to speak.:) Not the kind of movie to watch with one’s parents… or one’s kids. Continue reading