movie reviews

Movies that Disturb Me: Slice #4 and Conversations with Eileen


Morning All,

One thing that cements my relationship with Tuvia is our shared passion for movies- the deeper, more challenging the better, but yesterday was tough.  Yesterday afternoon we raced home to see a documentary, a Oscar-nominated documentary called, The Gatekeepers.  For an hour and 1/2 we watched 6 former heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s secret service share their experiences for the first time publicly. Tuvia was heartsick as we moved through the movie, as their hopes for the future of Israel grew darker. You might say it’s quite amazing that they were willing to be so open about Israel’s difficult position as a democratic state occupying Palestinian lands for so many years. In a war on terror, morality has to take a back seat.
They don’t agree on everything, but they all agree that communication with the other side is essential.

A few years ago we watched another documentary, The Land of the Settlers on this subject created by a well respected TV newsman in Israel, Chaim Yavin who stepped down from his anchor role and toured the West Bank to see for himself. His conclusions were similar, the State of Israel was paying a high moral price for its occupation. I remember meeting Yavin in New York City at a small gathering of Hebrew University alumni. We just watched a trailer of his work and we were moved and then hopeful that something could change in Israel. I wonder how Yavin feels today?

Here’s the trailer for The Gatekeepers:

And if this wasn’t enough to feel sick and saddened, but a few months ago at the Burns Film Center, just over the Tappan Zee Bridge, we sat at a screening of Five Broken Cameras another documentary nominated this year for an Oscar. This piece, created and narrated by a Palestinian living in the West Bank, was probably the most difficult movie we have ever watched. At the end of this movie we got to meet the filmmaker, his young Israeli director and the international organization of artists who financed the film. The issues of occupation were specific and local and harrowing.

It’s interesting too that right now Netanyahu is having difficulty creating a new government after his weak win in the last election.  Just yesterday there was a demand made by Israel’s religious right to create a bus line just for Palestinians traveling from the West Bank into Israel.

I can understand Tuvia’s despair.

Categories: Conversations with Eileen, movie reviews, Slice of Life Tuesdays 2013 | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Surprise, Sessions!: Conversations with Eileen

Morning my friend,

The fog is thick today. I know the Hudson is flowing just below me but at the moment I am patiently waiting for burn off.  My camera is itchy for new shots.

It’s hard to believe that yesterday was so gorgeous and that we got to see another great movie. This one did not come from me-it was Tuvia’s discovery. Good thing I went along for the ride.

Sessions is the true story of  Mark O’Brien, a 38-year-old man who contracted polio at a young age and was left crippled from the neck down.  He lives in an iron lung and can only be out 3 hours at a time and  he is obsessed with the fact that he’s still a virgin and Helen Hunt, sex therapist, to the rescue.

I’m not sure how you’re feeling about the story so far, but trust me, it’s so worth it.

Great acting from John Hawkes playing Mark and Helen Hunt, who at 49 looks amazing in the nude and continues to take on challenging films that probably don’t offer the paycheck that she might take home if she had landed a small role in let’s say, the latest James Bond film. Maybe this will win her an Oscar nomination along with John. And  William H. Macy plays Mark’s friend-priest who encourages him to live as fully as he can.

What a great Sunday!  Home for the morning, lunch at Strawberry Place, Sessions in the afternoon, back home for dinner, a new episode of Homeland and a great dreamy night.

Perfect way to get ready for a busy week.

Sessions, I so recommend this one! Of course, it might be a challenge to find it.


Categories: Conversations with Eileen, movie reviews | Tags: , | 1 Comment

The Avengers and Some Love from Tuvia: Conversations with Eileen Day 42

May 21, 2o12

Morning Friend,

Looks like some rain and chill coming today.  Nothing like keeping us guessing. But yesterday and Saturday were perfect for a weekend in May and we took advantage and lived outside  until yesterday at 4, when  we moved indoors for a movie.

It was totally and completely my pick.  Tuvia was officially just along for the ride and it was a bumpy one for him at that.  He was only there for me and for the first 30 minutes, maybe more, if Tuvia had looked really miserable, I would have given him the look and we would both have been out and on our way to dinner.  But I didn’t say a word:  I was  just sitting and waiting for the place I’d start enjoying it.

I’m not sure how I felt about the movie.  I loved the climax, but the devastation of NYC even if it was make-believe was too violent for me.  It was generally too violent for me.  But I did enjoy the group of actors taking up the roles of the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Ironman of course, etc.  But I didn’t join the crowd at the end of film with a burst of applause.  I couldn’t.

I was distracted throughout most of it, wishing I was spending time with a film with more meat on the bone.

But give it up to Tuvia for sitting patiently, waiting for the end and our romantic dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

He is good, really good to me.

TIme for some cereal,


Categories: Conversations with Eileen, movie reviews | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Dreary Again: Conversations with Eileen Day 27

Gloomy Greetings to YOU:)

There’s nothing you can do about gloom, right?  It hangs on you like  a loose but heavy winter coat.You can go about your day and ignore the clouds, or even embrace them. Boy, did we need the rain and there could be rare moments of sunshine but still gloom.

Tuvia, who is never here on a Monday ,did what he needed to do with his work,schedule,  to free up his afternoon and we were off to a Monday afternoon movie and we were not alone. Of course, most of our group, like us, don’t work full time anymore. Think about it, 2:30 on a Monday.

My Australia, is an Israeli film that’s  part  of the annual Jewish FIlm Festival at the Jacob Burns Center.

Two young boys grow up in Poland believing that they are Catholic. They even participate in some “good fun”, beating up Jewish kids in a neo-Nazi group and they are caught and taken to jail,  But their mom is resourceful and can tell a good tale and gets them out.  The truth is told and they are off to Israel, even though the younger son, the center of the movie dreams of life in Australia.

Nope, it’s Haifa for them, in fact, it’s a kibbutz for the boys while their mom makes the transition.

What a great start but the focus is off.  The boys are uncircumcised and that becomes their fear factor of being found out to be a gentile (not really).  Instead, the great issue might have focused around their initial feeling about Jews and learning something about their mom’s experience as a Holocaust survivor.  Nope we didn’t go there.

So it was a nice way to spend an hour and a half and it was a nice ride back home and even with the clouds still all around us, we still had each other and Tuvia could recommend some eye drops for my stuffed head.

So it could be gloomy again tomorrow and gloomy makes it hard to get moving but hey, seeing a nice movie hid those clouds for a few hours.

Remember those cloudy days, my friend? What did you do?


Categories: Conversations with Eileen, movie reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

An Odd Sunday: 10/365

Just a usual Sunday at the Jacob Burns Film Center.  The place was packed with movie lovers.  A select group of donors were lunching upstairs with Robert Redford. Some were there just for a good movie and then another group, our group had a special event combination: a new movie,” Barney’s Version”  and then an interview with its star, Paul Giamatti.

We arrived early enough to get close enough to the front of the line to grab our favorite seats once the house doors opened. Once the theater went dark and to movie began It did  take  me a while to get connected to it, but with patience, I found the movie’s center, powered of course, by great acting.   Barney is hard to like, let alone love,  but when he meets “the one”, Miriam at the marriage ceremony to his second wife played by Minnie Driver.  Once his relationship to Miriam takes center stage the characters unfold: demanding Barney and stoic, composed, Miriam.  And  Dustin Hoffman appears often dazzling us as  Barney’s loving father and I was in.

When  the credits rolled I was softly sobbing and with chairs being set on the stage for Janet Maslin to interview Paul Giamatti, I was ready to applaud him for his work that has been publicly acknowledged  with a Golden Globe best actor nomination for his Barney.

Okay, lights up! A burst of sound, we are on our feet, Paul looks relaxed and a regular guy and it’s all down hill.

What happened?

Janet Maslin, New Times movie and book critic has been a big supporter at the Burns and usually interviews the stars.   I often find her surprisingly unimaginative in this role, but she is always positive.  Yesterday, for the first time, she wasn’t.  Paul G. is a star and he is modest about it; just a guy who works hard and loves making movies.  This was a good movie and he was wonderful. It was clear that Janet didn’t think so.  From the start, she put down the screenplay and encouraged Paul to agree with her. How ridiculous, he was the star and sitting there to be the film’s cheerleader.  She set an odd tone and it seemed disrespectful.  Afterall, she was not wearing a reviewer’s hat now.

And then the conversation moved from begin sacrcastic about the quality of the piece to the issue of  religion. Yes, Paul Giamatti  isn’t Jewish and he played a Jew.  So what?    Maslin commented incorrectly that Paul had played four Jews. He, seemingly uncomfortable with this focus, corrected her. No, only 3.  Wait, what about” Sideways”? No, that character was not Jewish. “Really, but what about that mother? She seemed to be one of those…” The audience gasped.

What was going on?

What an odd experience that seemed to leave us all feeling strange.

But Bravo to Paul Giamatti!

I think I need to send a version of this to the Burns directly.

Have a good one,


Categories: a photo a day 2011, At the Movies, movie reviews, post a day 2011 | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where do I Start?: 77/365 Slice#28

Here’s a change of pace. I didn’t shoot this  photo but it’s the only one that can showcase this Slice.

I am totally caught in THE GIRL books.  When I found out that all the movies (3) of the series have been made and with the same cast, especially THE GIRL I was breathless with anticipation.

Last week the first movie opened in the US. It’s been around for a year outside America.  I could have talked Tuvia into seeing it last weekend, but I knew that it would make its way up here and yes, in fact we were able to see it last night at the Burns, the perfect place for it.

We bought our tickets online and good thing. Even getting there 45 mintues early, before the theater was open, both evening performances were sold out. I got the seats, Tuvia went across the street for  the coffee at the Dunkin’ D. and I settled in, waiting…

Last week Lynne, my LA movie bud saw it and reported back that it was violent but worthwhile. So I was prepared to look away.  I had seen the poster of THE GIRL (Noomi Rapace’) and heard an NPR interview with her and her director and both sounded great. I was so ready to see it.

Almost finished with book two, I am trying hard to wait for Tuvia to catch up to me. After a few long evenings of reading well beyond my sleep time, I am so hooked with these characters.

So the movie looked great!  The visuals of place and the sound of the Swedish language added so much to the my own mind pictures and the characters in the movie also work well with my own visual especially THE GIRL.

BUT…the book is the book and the rich details of life are the treasures offered by the writer, who sadly never lived to see the success of the books or movies from his work.

The screenwriter was challenged by the size and scope of the book to select the material for 2 and 1/2 hours.  He opted for the thriller plotline, leaving the book to fill in the life gaps- the day-to-day coffee, the world of the village, Mihael’s inner life, his work, actually him.  Bobby recently shared something interesting in our film class- when the title of a movie is a person’s name, that character is probably someone new to us- THE GIRL, with her tattoos, piercings, computer hacking- she is someone new to us.

THE GIRL the center of the movie… in the book… she shares the stage.

I would guess that most of the audience had also read the book and were fans like me.  I wonder what my experience would have been like if I came to the movie fresh.  THE GIRL is fantastic and story is thrilling, so I like I would have liked it, but the book is, well, a wonderful reading experience and I am so glad I still have more to look forward to.  The third and sadly, last one arrives on my Kindle on May 21. I’ll be ready.

We just have a few more days of Slicing. Who will continuing?  Tara?  Let me know and let’s keep sharing, even if it’s not every day!

Now I am off to shop.  I have a pot roast to make for Passover. Enjoy your Sunday!


Categories: A Month of Slicing 2010, movie reviews, NabloPomo March '10 | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

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