Nick’s Picks 03/14/12
FEATURE FILM REVIEW
Nick Flynn (Paul Dano) is a young writer seeking to define himself. He misses his late mother, Jody (Julianne Moore), and her loving nature. But his father, Jonathan, is not even a memory, as Nick has not seen the man in 18 years. Jonathan Flynn (Robert De Niro) has long defined himself as a great writer, “a master storyteller.” After abandoning his wife and child, Jonathan scrapes through life on his own terms, and ends up serving time in prison for cashing forged checks. After prison, he drives a cab for a number of years, but with his drinking and eccentricities now accelerating, he loses his job. Despite the occasional grandiose letter to his son, he has remained absent from Nick’s life.
Suddenly facing eviction from his apartment, Jonathan impulsively reaches out to Nick and the two come face-to-face. The older man is eloquent and formidable; overwhelmed, Nick nonetheless prepares to integrate his father into his own life. But, as quickly as he materialized, Jonathan flits away again. Moving on, Nick takes a job at a homeless shelter, where he learns from Captain (Wes Studi) and Joy (Lili Taylor) how to relate to the guests who arrive night after night. Seeing the homeless – some permanently, some temporarily so – and hearing their stories, Nick finds purpose in his own life and work. He also sustains a romance with a co-worker, Denise (Olivia Thirlby). Then one night, Jonathan arrives, seeking a bed, and Nick’s senses of self and compassion falter. To give the two of them a shot at a real future, Nick will have to decide whom to seek redemption for first.
Evocatively told, ruefully funny, and moving in its depiction of the ties that bind, Being Flynn tells a story that reveals universal truths. Paul Weitz began writing a screenplay adaptation of Nick’s memoir in 2004. It took him seven years before it was ready to be filmed as Being Flynn. Both Weitz and Nick were compelled to tell Nick’s story, as well as that of another man – Jonathan Flynn, Nick’s father.
Nick’s memoir chronicles his life growing up in suburban Massachusetts in the 1970s and his work at a Boston homeless shelter in the 1980s. He reflects, “I hadn’t grown up with my father; I didn’t know him well. It had been 18 years since I last saw him. Then he ended up a guest, a resident in the shelter where I worked. “Our lives intersected, and we got to know each other a little.” While facing down a painful family history in the form of his long-estranged father, Nick also faced up to his own drug and alcohol addiction. Weitz read the book upon its 2004 publication, and immediately felt that it should be a movie. Corduroy Films’ Michael Costigan introduced Nick to Weitz, who lobbied the author for a chance to make the movie.
Nick was so encouraged by their first meeting that he soon gave his blessing for the feature film adaptation. Nick reflects, “Paul really had a cogent vision of the material from the beginning. Once we decided to move forward and work together, he wrote a first draft of the script that was quite spectacular.” Paul Weitz’s work as writer and director had consistently gravitated to family dynamics, most often exploring father/son relationships or their equivalents. But Being Flynn would situate him in a new dramatic context, requiring the articulation of a compelling point of view on an emotional real-life narrative.
Starring: Paul Dano & Robert De Niro
Director: Paul Weitz
Company: Focus Features
Now Showing: In Local Area Theatres
MPAA Rating: R
FREE DVD GIVEAWAY
We are doing a Free DVD Giveaway! If you are interested in a chance at winning a free copy of The Whistleblower, Tora Tora Tora, Lethal Landscapes, The Fabric of the Cosmos, Arthur Hooray for Health, Star Light Star Bright, Shark Reef The Sacred Island, History Detectives: Season Nine, Smartest Machine on Earth, America’s Test Kitchen: Season 11, Roseanne: Season 1, Roseanne: Season 2, 3rd Rock from the Sun: Season 2, The Civil War, Alfred Hitchcock: A Legacy of Suspense, Happy Feet 2, Fortress of the Bears, Raccoon Nation, Separating Twins, America Goes to War or The Amish, it is really easy! All you have to do is send me an email at HoustonMovieGuy@gmail.com. The subject line of the email should read DVD GIVEAWAY. In the body of the email, be sure to put your name, full mailing address and which DVD or Blu-ray you would like. Winners will be selected by random drawing. Best of luck!
THE WHISTLEBLOWER – Fox
Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave head a powerful cast that includes David Strathairn in writer-director Larysa Kondracki’s harrowing dramatic thriller. When Nebraska cop Kathryn Bolkovac (Weisz) accepts a U.N. peacekeeper position in post-war Bosnia, she discovers a deadly sex trafficking ring. Risking her own life to save the lives of others, she uncovers an international conspiracy that is determined to stop her, no matter the cost. With masterful acting and a heart-racing plot, The Whistleblower is an acclaimed film inspired by actual events.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS – Acorn
George Orwell. Susan Sontag. Sigmund Freud. Margaret Mead. These giants and dozens more appeared in BBC interviews, documentaries, and films, offering insights on their work and their world. This remarkable compilation gathers archival footage—much of it available for the first time since its original airing—featuring some of the greatest minds of the 20th century. The collection includes rarities such as the only surviving voice recording of Virginia Woolf, J.R.R. Tolkien reading in his invented Elvish language, disquieting footage of participants in Stanley Milgram’s experiments in the human capacity for cruelty, and Jane Goodall discovering behavioral links between humans and chimpanzees. As a real-life compilation of historic moments, it’s beyond compare; as an overview of the social and political forces of the 20th century, it’s compelling viewing and an exceptional glimpse of the geniuses who have shaped the modern world.
BENEATH THE DARKNESS – Image
Beneath the Darkness is a teen thriller in the style of Disturbia, with high school kids pitted against a psychotic villain in a community where adults refuse to see one of their own is a serial killer. The villain (Dennis Quaid) is a well-respected mortician in a town where he was once a legendary high school football star. But among the kids he is legendary for a more sinister reason – rumors that his house is haunted. The truth is more evil and much more dangerous – the town leader murdered his wife and her lover when he caught them having an affair, and now has secretly set up house with his wife’s embalmed corpse. The local hero is a flesh-and-blood monster who buries his victims alive, a sociopath who befriends adults and police while openly flaunting his murderous intentions to the teens. He will kill anyone who threatens to expose him or his now-perfect marriage.
@SUICIDEROOM – Wolfe Video
A series of humiliating events 100 days before his graduation pushes privileged Dominik into the virtual world for comfort. He begins spending all his time as an avatar in the Suicide Room, but soon his online adventures begin to dangerously bleed into his real life. Breathtaking animated sequences draw the viewer into the virtual world portrayed in this psychological drama of a teenager trying to escape the torment of bullying.
SCREWBALL: The Ted Whitfield Story – Anchor Bay
In this hysterical ‘mockumentary’, Ross Patterson of Funny Or Die stars as Ted ”The Wiffler” Whitfield, the greatest professional wiffleball player in sports history. But when Ted’s attempt to break the homerun record with his best friend and teammate Willie ”High Sox” Hamilton (Joey Kern of Grind and Super Troopers) is derailed by a steroid scandal, everything starts to fall apart. It’s a non-stop hilarious tale of fame, groupies, firearms, sex tapes, mountain lions, peanuts and more. Most of all, it’s about love of the game.
TITANIC: The Complete Story – History
Using newsreels, stills, diaries, and exclusive interviews with survivors, this program charts the fateful history of the ship and its passengers as well as providing an overview on the popular culture phenomenon that this tragedy has become. The unsinkable Titanic was a dream come true: Four city blocks long and a passenger list worth 250 million dollars. But on her maiden voyage in April 1912, that dream became a nightmare when the giant ship struck an iceberg and sank in the cold North Atlantic. More than 1,500 lives were lost in one of the greatest disasters of the 20th century. Now, the complete sensational history of the premier liner is recounted in Titanic: The Complete Story. With three feature length programs (Death of a Dream, The Legend Lives On, Titanic’s Achilles Heel), this set is sure to answer all of your questions regarding this tragic event.
THE SWELL SEASON – Docurama
The world fell in love with Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova the duo behind the band the Swell Season when their songwriting collaboration in the indie film Once culminated in a euphoric Oscar win. Behind the scenes, though, a grueling two-year world tour threatened to destroy their remarkable bond. Offering an intimate glimpse into the exhilaration and the turmoil of both love and fame, The Swell Season follows Glen and Marketa through a three-year period of incredible intensity, pressure and passion. As the two wake up in strange towns and navigate a new realm of public exposure, they undergo intense changes that lead them to question their love, their ambitions, and their identities. Ultimately, the audience witnesses the unraveling of a romance and the reconfiguring of a beautiful musical collaboration. A fresh, probing documentary overflowing with music, ardor, and authenticity, The Swell Season narrates a love story between two searching souls forever linked by their music.
THE GUILD: Season Five – Flatiron
For the first time, Season 5 takes the Guildies out from behind their computers and on a road trip to an epic fan convention, MegaGame-O-RamaCon! Codex (Felicia Day, Dr. Horrible s Sing-Along Blog, Dragon Age: Redemption) tries to rally the Guildies to action when she overhears upsetting news about The Game. Bladezz tries to make money with his Cheesybeard s pirate alter-meme-ego, while Vork is starstruck by his boyhood crush, sci-fi heroine Madeleine Twain (Erin Gray). Meanwhile, Clara tries to make friends with a snooty Steampunk trio, Tink hides from her past and Zaboo joins up with Halo s Master Chiefs… what?! This unrated DVD includes all 12 episodes from Season 5 featuring special guest stars Nathan Fillion, Wil Wheaton, Brent Spiner and more! Plus exclusive bonus material never before seen on the Internet.
BAG IT – Docurama
Try going a day without plastic. In this touching and often flat-out-funny film, we follow everyman Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic and its effect on our waterways, oceans and even our own bodies. We see how our crazy-for-plastic world has finally caught up to us and what we can do about it. Today. Right Now.
FRESH – Docurama
Fresh outlines the vicious cycle of our current food production methods, while also celebrating the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are reinventing our food system, from a basketball player and former-executive-turned-urban-farmer to a poetic prophet of the fields who tells us: We can raise everything we need without any of the industrial food system. Director Ana Joanes takes her camera coast to coast and explores the lives of amazing Americans who are redefining the way we eat and how we live. Fresh features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur s 2008 Genius Award, sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan s book, The Omnivore s Dilemma, and supermarket owner, David Ball, who continues to challenge our discount superstore-dominated economy.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN – Anchor Bay
During Marilyn Monroe’s (Michelle Williams) first trip to London to film “The Prince and the Showgirl,” with Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), she befriends Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), an ambitious 23 year-old production assistant on the set. As their relationship progresses Colin’s focus shifts from making his way in the film business to rescuing her from the pressures of celebrity life. When Monroe’s new husband, playwright Arthur Miller, makes a brief trip to Paris, Clark takes the opportunity to introduce her to the world outside of Hollywood fame. Based on the true story by Colin Clark, this memoir describes a magical week in which Monroe opens herself up to a stranger and finds in him a confidant and an ally.
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Set 9 – VIZ Media
Naruto is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. The plot tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who constantly searches for recognition and dreams to become the Hokage, the ninja in his village who is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all. The series is based on a one-shot comic by Kishimoto that was published in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump.
THE AMISH – PBS
The Amish intercuts historical analysis with contemporary footage to provide an unprecedented look at this highly private, little understood, and utterly unique community whose beliefs raise important questions about religious liberty in American life.
AMERICA GOES TO WAR – PBS
Journalist Eric Sevareid relives the war-torn years on the American home front during World War II. Initially unprepared for war, America amazed the world with the swiftness of its industrial and military mobilization. But the road to victory was long and bitter, and American resourcefulness was tested again and again. Wartime newsreels are interwoven with narrative to reveal the trials and triumphs of this remarkable era in American history.
RACCOON NATION – PBS
The question being asked in this film is Are people, in an effort to outwit raccoons, actually making them smarter and unwittingly contributing to their evolutionary success? Are the ever more complex obstacles that our fast-paced, urban world throws at them actually pushing the development of raccoon brains?
FORTRESS OF THE BEARS – PBS
Part of the massive Tongass National Forest, Admiralty Island in Southeast Alaska supports the largest concentration of bears anywhere in the world. Sustained by a wealth of salmon streams, isolated and protected by their environment, some 1,700 Alaskan brown bears are part of a unique circle of life that has played out here for centuries.
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN – Paramount
The Adventures of Tintin follows the exciting exploits of a young reporter, his dog, a sea captain with a drinking problem, and a couple of bumbling Interpol detectives as they travel from Europe to the Sahara and Morocco in pursuit of a pickpocket, model-ship collectors, and long-lost treasure. Steven Spielberg’s and Peter Jackson’s long-awaited full-length film. The individual stories and the characters Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock, and Thompson and Thomson are all quite faithfully represented.
HAPPY FEET 2 – Warner
The sequel to “Happy Feet”, the Academy Award®-winning animated smash hit, “Happy Feet Two” returns audiences to the magnificent landscape of Antarctica. Mumble, The Master of Tap, has a problem because his tiny son, Erik, is choreo-phobic. Reluctant to dance, Erik runs away and encounters The Mighty Sven – a penguin who can fly! Mumble has no hope of competing with this charismatic new role model. But things get worse when the world is shaken by powerful forces. Erik learns of his father’s “guts and grit” as Mumble brings together the penguin nations and all manner of fabulous creatures – from tiny Krill to giant Elephant Seals – to put things right.
YOUNG ADULT – Paramount
Academy Award winner Charlize Theron stars as Mavis Gary, a 37-year-old former prom queen, and current writer of young adult novels, who returns home to relive her glory days and win back her now-married high school sweetheart. When she finds her homecoming more challenging than expected, Mavis forms an unusual bond with a former classmate and both must face the harsh realities of growing up in this brilliant and bittersweet story.
WALLACE & GROMIT’S WORLD OF INVENTION – Lionsgate
Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention sees world-renowned inventor Wallace and his faithful sidekick (turned camera dog) Gromit turn their hand to presenting for the very first time, hosting a six-part series from the basement of 62 West Wallaby Street. They take an enthusiastic look at some real-life cracking contraptions, from gadgets that help around the home to the mind-boggling world of space travel and much more in between. From their self-built television studio, Wallace introduces films of inventors from around the world, and unveils some of his very own creations.
WHERE THE DEAD GO TO DIE – MVD
Where the Dead Go To Die revolves around a troubled group of children living on the same block. They are haunted by a talking dog named Labby who brings them on surreal hell-rides between different dimensions and time periods. On the night of a lunar eclipse he informs Tommy about the devil fetus living inside his mother. The same night he attempts to help Ralph court the girl across the street, who is an unwilling participant in her father’s child porn tape trading ring. Add in a memory stealing junkie living inside an abandoned church and you have 90 minutes of pure mind melting insanity!
IMMORTALS – Fox
Immortals explodes off the screen with action-packed battles, mythological adventure and an all-star cast. In this epic tale of vengeance and destiny, power-mad King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) threatens to destroy all of humanity on his maniacal quest to obtain the ultimate weapon – the legendary Epirus Bow that gives the power to unleash war on both Heaven and Earth. But Theseus (Henry Cavill), a heroic young villager chosen by the gods, rises up to stop Hyperion’s brutal rampage. With supernatural help from the beautiful oracle Phaedra (Freida Pinto), Theseus embraces his destiny and leads a fierce band of warriors in a desperate fight for the future of mankind.
THE SUNSET LIMITED – HBO
The Sunset Limited is a searing, two character drama that mixes humor and pathos while examining the relationship between two strangers who are brought together by desperate circumstances. The story focuses on two very different men – a deeply religious black ex-con (Samuel L. Jackson) who thwarts the suicide attempt of an asocial white college professor (Tommy Lee Jones), who tried to throw himself in front of an oncoming subway train, the Sunset Limited. As the one attempts to connect on a rational, spiritual and emotional level, the other remains steadfast in his hard-earned despair. As their philosophical debate progresses, each spar passionately to defend their personal credo and convert the other.
OUT OF AFRICA – Universal
Spectacular, beautiful filming of author Isak Dinesen’s accounts of her life in 1910s Africa won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Director. Meryl Streep stars as the Danish woman who reluctantly goes to Africa with husband Klaus Maria Brandauer to run a coffee plantation, but slowly comes to fall in love with the untamed land and with hunter Robert Redford; directed by Sydney Pollack.
WHERE ON EARTH IS CARMEN SANDIEGO: Complete Series – Mill Creek
The world s greatest thief is on the loose, and it s up to you to find her! The world famous thief, Carmen Sandiego, plays an intricate game of cat and mouse with teen ACME detectives, Zack and Ivy. Based on the award-winning line of educational computer games, this energizing series is rich in both excitement and education as Carmen Sandiego attempts to steal the most valuable objects in the world. It s up to our detectives and the audience to figure out where in the world she is. Filled with unique characters, wonderful story lines and humor, this Emmy award-winning animated series, educates kids of all ages in the subjects of history, geography and fun through its action-packed adventures!
Short URL: http://www.fortbendstar.com/?p=16853