Holiday Movie Picks

December 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

national lampoon's christmas vacation

With the holidays upon us, I thought it would be nice to list a series of movies you can watch with different types of audiences in mind.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

This 1989 classic is definitely one that is safe for all ages. Sure it has mildly inappropriate humor, but how is that different from what’s on TV these days? The picture here is probably the raciest scene in the film. SEE it’s not that bad right? That aside, Chevy Chase’s humor is something every generation should experience. He’s an onscreen legend whose likability will withstand the test of time. Add it to the queue.

Hall Pass

hall pass

Ok, this definitely isn’t a movie to watch with kids BUT it is beyond hilarious. I loled so many times. I would compare it to the laugh level of The Hangover. It’s a lot like a 40-something’s version of The Hangover. A must for  your rotation if you need a good laugh, and everyone needs a good laugh right? It stars Owen Wilson, Christina Applegate and Jason Sudeikis. Look for it this month on HBO.  And sit around for the credits, there are a few golden nuggets that you won’t want to miss.

The Royal Tenenbaums

the royal tenenbaums

Out of my many many many years watching movies professionally (family video store & film fest organizer), I can say this classic will always occupy a place on my movie top shelf. It’s just a good film that pokes fun at family oddities and drama, the good old fashioned way–by dealing with it! Gene Hackman, who plays the head of the family narrates and stars alongside Angelica Houston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke & Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Danny Glover. What better time to watch a familycentric comedy than the holidays?

The Dilemma

the dilemma

This comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James is centered on Vaughn’s character scheming ways to tell his best friend (James) about his cheating wife. During his undercover spying, he runs into a series of fights and makes everyone suspect his strange behavior all while trying to maintain a developing business deal with Queen Latifah’s character, who steals the show. The CoverGirl model could not be funnier. Her performance alone makes this film worth watching, referencing her “girl wood hanging down to here” when being sold on a new car idea. It’s airing on HBO.

Happy holidays. 🙂

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Friday Night Movie Pick: La Vie En Rose

December 9, 2011 § 3 Comments

the real edith piaf

Because the weather is less than perfect, why not cozy up and watch some movies? This one in particular will make an excellent setting for you to wind-down to with a glass of wine, yes? It’s a deep and moving story about the horror and glory of fame. A biopic about the late Edith Piaf, a legendary French singer whose life was riddled with extreme highs and lows, which mirrors what some celebrities even today struggle with: too much life in the spotlight, obligations to maintain too many social/work engagements and everything that accompanies those excesses. It takes you behind the scenes and into the heart of the star; really an entertaining and emotional case study. Keep the tissue handy for this one — it’s a category five tear jerker — not having what is called an “American ending.”

Marion Cotillard‘s portrayal of Piaf won her the 2007 Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, an accolade rarely handed out to foreign language film stars. Javier Bardem, the Spanish actor who played the air-gun-totting-psycho in No Country for Old Men, came very close with a nomination last year for his leading role in Biutiful — another foreign masterpiece I highly recommend. It’s raw life on film with all of its ups and downs, meaningful, and makes you think about your life. It’s something some foreign filmmakers are exceptional at doing. These are films that will change you.

A Look Back at J.C. Chávez

December 2, 2011 § 2 Comments

With the Margarito/Cotto fight on the horizon, I have my attention turned to fight news. I’m tuning in of course, but have another fighter on my mind: JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ JR., son to who is considered the epitome of Mexican boxing excellence — Julio César Chávez, Senior.

Some years ago Diego Luna, the young actor turned filmmaker, taped them for the documentary J.C. Chávez.  The film showcases footage from Chávez’s rise from street fighter to world class contender and one of the most respected fighters in boxing history. Commentaries from boxing majors like Mike Tyson, Bob Aram, Don King and former Mexican President Vicente Fox along with a slew of other mainstream notables openly talk about his early mismanagement, political entanglements and iron left hook.

Highlights from his most memorable beat-downs fused with key news footage and Junior’s first bouts are complimented with a perfectly choreographed score. I wouldn’t have guessed this was Diego Luna’s directorial debut; it appears to be put together with the eyes of a veteran filmmaker.  It’s in both English and Spanish (subtitled on DVD) and worth watching if you’re a fight fan. Chavez’s legacy lives on through Chavez Jr., an up and comer with his golden boy face and stronger than steel Chávez blood. He’s not his father of course — no one will ever be — but Junior is definitely one to watch.

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