Movie Round Up, What?: Conversations with Eileen & Slice of Life Tuesdays

Evening Friend,

Max’s bris is tomorrow and I’m so sad I can’t make it, but I have some workshops to present in Dover tomorrow for their Superintendent’s Conference Day.   But I can’t wait to meet him.

Of course his bris comes on a very big day: election day.  Will we have the Obamas in the White House for a second term?  I think Tuvia will be heartbroken without Michelle for the next 4 years, but things are looking very good now.  Over the last week of hurricane Sandy Nate Silver and movies kept me sane.  I’ve written a lot about Nate so let me switch to the collection of movies we raced to see when we had no power, when we had no TV and even when it all came back.

I’d recommend ALL the movies we got to see,  in fact let me move back to an earlier flick experience to add to the list.

1. The Perks of a Wall Flower:  It’s a coming-of-age story, adapted from a novel about a young boy living with childhood demons who writes therapeutically  to his dream girl.  He is the new boy at school after a stint in a mental hospital.  He is back home but not quite steady yet. His older sister is distracted with a goofy boyfriend and as the new kid he is tortured by bullies.  He is befriended by his English teacher, and soon he does find his “group”.  A freshman taken in by an outlandish boy and his sister, a dream girl for our new boy.  Their eccentric crowd fits him perfectly.

I believed it all, in fact the last 30 minutes offered me time to a great cry. A great set of actors in a familiar story. In fact Harry Potter’s Hermione steps away from her magical role effectively.


Sandy flicks included Denzel’s new Flight  and even though the trailers paint it as a comedy, there’s nothing very funny about a talented pilot who lands his plane skillfully but he is not viewed as a hero, not with a very serious drinking problem and that’s what this movie takes on, spiraling out-of-control-alcoholism. Denzel fans, you will love this one! Do I smell an Oscar coming ?

So far the two movies above can be easily found in most malls in the area but the next two will be harder to find and that’s a shame.

A Late Quartet stars Christopher Walken,  Seymour Philip Hoffman,Catherine Keener and Mark Ivanir  and  was directed by new Israeli filmmaker, Yaron Zilberman. At the Burns Film Center we got to preview the movie first and then meet with the director during a live interview.  I can’t think about this piece without remembering the passion of  Zilberman.  I loved listening to his stories about selecting and working with this amazing quartet of actors.  He shared his own passion for chamber music and his selection of the movie soundtrack: Beethoven’s Quartet in C  sharp minor, uniquely composed in 7 movements without a pause.  As the group is challenged to its core  and how perfect that their shooting time in the dead of a NYC winter allowed for a perfect setting for this piece.

Zilberman not only directed this, his first fictional film, but he is the author of its screenplay and we loved it.  Tuvia was in heaven as each transition included another segment of the musical piece.  The story was a good one, filled with the entanglements of  this quartet family celebrating its 25-year anniversary as its center, cellist Robert, played by Walken, is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease  and knows he will have to leave the group.

Will the group survive? We ride along to find out.  It’s great acting again that moves the story along.

And finally, the lights come back, the TV and internet return as well and we are still on the road to Cinema 100 in Greenberg, NY to see the Israeli film, The Flat.

 We assumed that everyone was coming back to normal and as we turned left into the mall, lights were on everywhere but as we parked right across from the theater, crossed to the box office  we read the small, hand lettered note to customers: NO HEAT!  I thought twice.  Tuvia didn’t and we gave it a try.  Luckily I had my winter coat, Tuvia was layered and fortunately the documentary was the usual, 1 &  1/2 hours.  My nose, fingers and toes did begin to freeze but it  was only uncomfortable in the last minutes.

This documentary was intriguing.  The family’s grandmother has recently died in Tel Aviv, Israel and her large  family clan takes on the task, led by her daughter, of cleaning out her apartment after 50 years of living. One grandson Arnon Goldfinger, an established documentary filmmaker,turns his cameras on as the cleanup begins. Collections of gloves, hats, shoes, books, newspapers, lead down to layers of collected papers, photos and nicknacks, that uncover a Nazi mystery.

In the tradition of Holocaust survivors, Gerta and Kurt Tuchler kept their past lives in Germany before the war buried from the next generations.  The future was the focus and that next generation, Arnon’s mother, accepts the silence even when confronted with questions from Arnon about his grandparents and their strange ties with a high profile Nazi.  His mother is focused to face the past but she can’t judge her parents.

I loved Arnon’s passion for uncovering the history of his family.  Yes, the theater was freezing but the hunt was hot.  I might have to watch this one again.  It’s in Hebrew with subtitles in English.  I enjoy movies laid out authentically but  it’s a heads up if that might be a problem for you.

Does anything sound interesting? Have you seen any of these?  Leave me a comment.



Categories: At the Movies, Conversations with Eileen | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Movie Round Up, What?: Conversations with Eileen & Slice of Life Tuesdays

  1. Bonnie, once moved (next month) I hope I can begin to be a little back to normal & actually watching movies in places other than my home. There are some great theaters who do play films like The Fist near where I am moving so I’ll be watching for it. And the others look good too. Philadelphia with Denzel Washington is one of my most favorite films. Best to you-glad all is okay with you & am hopeful for those with great loss.

  2. I really want to see A Late Quartet…after the elections, when I can (hopefully) relax about the whole thing. First, I am off to vote – our friend Nate has some positive statistics with which to take comfort, but only tonight counts. Fingers crossed!

  3. Thanks for the recommendations. I’m adding The Flat to my list. Movies and books, never enough time to watch or read all of them!

  4. Elsie

    Oh the joy one can get from being transported to anther place and time for a few hours. Movies make a nice diversion. I’m afraid I would have to pass when there’s no heat. Great reviews, you leave me intrigued.

  5. What a great list of suggestions. If the next Nor’easter (tomorrow) leaves us with “time off” and IF she leaves the power on and IF I can download movies from Amazon….this will be a great starting point! If no, then I will have the list ready for winter break!

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