Tag Archives: Reel reviews

Zero Dark Thirty

CBN_B10-9feature

By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net The beginning of “Zero Dark Thirty” is controversial and unsettling. Shortly after the first scene at the World Trade Center, the site changes. A CIA operative has an Al-Qaeda member in a dank dungeon – a “black site” – somewhere in Pakistan. It’s 2003. What makes the scene disturbing is the sequence of torture that takes ... Read More »

“Anna Karenina”

CBN_B9-2feature

REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” is generally considered one of the greatest novels ever written. It’s been made into movies 13 times, and the Greta Garbo/Fredric March version of 1935 is widely recognized at the best. This latest edition is a balletic show-within-a-show that dances back and forth from footlights to backstage to “reality”. Despite ... Read More »

BOND AT 50

CBN_B2-10

REEL REVIEWS  By Monte Lazarus  Bengoshi@comcast.net For the fiftieth anniversary of the James Bond movies, “Skyfall” is a perfect fit. Daniel Craig ranks one or two with Sean Connery as the best Bond of all. This Bond is very different. He’s not the suave, sophisticated James of yore, although he manages to handle a tuxedo fairly well. This is a ... Read More »

FLIGHT

CBN_A26-2

REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net Don’t be fooled by the title. “Flight” has very little to do with aviation; it has a lot to do about character, lies and deception, and morality. And, it’s beautifully done. The superb Denzel Washington plays “Whip” Whitaker, a first-rate airline pilot who is also an alcoholic, drug user and carouser. In the opening ... Read More »

REEL REVIEWS: DOUBLE FEATURE

By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net “ARBITRAGE” Richard Gere moves through “Arbitrage” like a sleek panther. Everything about him oozes wealth: not the Trump type of display, but the understated Gramercy Park Mansion type of polished dark wood and quiet elegance. Gere plays Robert Miller. As Miller, Gere is no longer the much younger playboy type of millionaire he played in “Pretty ... Read More »

AH ROMA!

REEL REVIEWS  By Monte Lazarus  Bengoshi@comcast.net   Woody Allen’s latest, “To Rome With Love”, is feel good fun. The movie is a pastiche of unrelated plots, while paying tribute to the Eternal City, with spectacular photography of Rome’s treasures. The plot? There isn’t one. Rather, the film begins with one of Rome’s elegant traffic cops introducing some of the characters ... Read More »

SAFE HOUSE IN SOUTH AFRICA

REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net Denzel Washington is, well, Denzel Washington. He’s one of those rare actors who never seem to give a bad performance no matter the plot or script. In “Safe House” he’s Tobin Frost, a cool, cynical ex-CIA agent who is viewed by the Agency as having gone rogue. There’s no particular reason given for his ... Read More »

THE ARTIST

REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net Run; don’t walk, to see this movie. It’s advertised as a “silent”, but it’s not quite. There are a few sounds, and a continuous musical background. Other than that there’s no real dialog. On its surface the film appears simply to be a tribute to the silent movie era. However, that’s only the façade. ... Read More »

TO PARIS WITH LOVE

By Monte Lazarus From the opening montage and Sidney Bechet’s accompanying soprano sax you know that you’re in for a paean to Paris. Woody Allen scripted and directed this sweet, sentimental mix of fun and fantasy in which even the unbelievable is completely charming. Young, laid-back screenwriter and aspiring novelist, Gil (Owen Wilson) joins his soon-to-be wife Inez (Rachel McAdams) ... Read More »

ADJUSTING LIFE

By Monte Lazarus Despite some silly touches and gaps, “The Adjustment Bureau” is a very enjoyable film. That’s due in part to always-excellent Matt Damon as a young Kennedyesque politician and Emily Blunt as Elise the budding ballerina. The movie is based on a rather dark short story by Philip K. Dick in which the protagonist finds the adjuster turning ... Read More »

BARNEY’S VERSION

By Monte Lazarus Every once in a while a film seizes you and won’t let go. Sometimes the film is not well publicized or well known. So it is with “Barney’s Version” centered on a dumpy producer of an awful soap opera. “Barney’s Version” is a forty year story of Barney’s chain of poor choices, his descent into utter boorishness, ... Read More »

UNKNOWN

By Monte Lazarus Suspend your disbelief; sit back; relax and enjoy a pretty good thriller. There’s some resemblance to “The Bourne Identity” and even a sprinkling of the much older “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, but there are enough twists and turns to hold your attention. Liam Neeson succeeded in the well-received “Taken”, and once again plays an apparent ... Read More »

HOW AMERICA WENT TO WAR

It’s awfully easy to characterize “Fair Game” only as a story of conflict in marriage and the tension between duty/integrity and the need to preserve that marriage. In this case, it is the relationship of Valerie Plame Wilson (Naomi Watts) a covert CIA operative and retired Ambassador Joe Wilson (Sean Penn). By now the story has been oft told: Plame, ... Read More »

FORGETTABLE, BUT UNSTOPPABLE

By Monte Lazarus It’s difficult to find a really bad movie if Denzel Washington is its star.  Throw in Director Tony Scott, for their fifth pairing, and there’s a high probability that the movie is pretty good, and that there’s a fair amount of action.  That’s all fairly descriptive of Unstoppable.  It’s a bit like the legendary average Chinese meal ... Read More »