Category Archives: 4.5 of 5

Reign Over Me (2007)


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Reign Over Me

Reign Over Me

Tagline: “Let in the unexpected”

Alan Johnson has everything he needs to get through life: a good job, a beautiful and loving wife, and their wonderful children. Yet he feels isolated because he finds having a hard-working job and managing a family too much to handle and has no one to talk to about it. Charlie Fineman, on the other hand, doesn’t have a job or a family. He used to have both until he lost his family on the fateful day of 9/11, and the grief he felt caused him to quit his job and isolate himself from everyone around him. As it turns out, Alan and Charlie were roommates in college, and a chance encounter one night rekindles the friendship they shared. But when Charlie’s problems become too much to deal with, Alan is determined to help Charlie come out of his emotional abyss.

I am going to point you to the review by babubhaut, an IMDB user, which sums up my feeling of the movie nicely.

I am not quite sure why Sandler went with the Bob Dylan impersonation for this role but, that quirk not-withstanding, his performance is quite moving. Don Cheadle is always great. Jada Pinkett Smith is generally irritating, but her role here is small enough that I didn’t mind her.

Yes, it’s a message film – and it’s predictable. But it is still lovely and I know my family and friends will enjoy it.

Rotten Tomatoes: critics 63%; users 86%

David Wilcox


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David Wilcox

David Wilcox at The Rhythm Room

What a great show, he never disappoints. The Rhythm Room isn’t a great venue for a lot of acts, but for his one-man-with-a-guitar show, it is perfect. Despite the non-functioning AC, the show was very cool.

I met a very nice gentleman, an attorney who has worked in many facets of the law through several decades. A message from the universe, perhaps, as we had a lovely conversation about his work, the joys/challenges he finds everyday, and the path to get there (If there are any Wildcats reading this, he got his JD from U of A).

Many of the song selections, too, seemed to speak directly to me – not hard, David Wilcox songs are just that way – but tonight they hit just the right nerve; Start With The Ending, Inside of My Head, Ask For More….

He had a great turn-out and a very appreciative audience. He was a very appreciative performer, as well, and seemed to be enjoying his job on stage as much as we were enjoying our job in the seats.

I had a bit of an unrelated disappointment after the show, though I expected that it would turn out that way. Life doesn’t always go the way we would like it to, I guess.

I will see if I can put together a David Wilcox playlist in the next few days, I know you will enjoy it. (Yes, I know I have posted his stuff before, but it has been a while)

Upcoming at the Rhythm Room: Over The Rhine Sept 25th

Cross posted at Vox

Transformers (2007)


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I went into this movie expecting the worst; after all, I figured it was just another comic book action flick. Which it was – but it was a well-done, comic book action flick.

And the action starts right off the bat, rarely letting up. The movie clocks in at 2 hours and 24 minutes, but you hardly notice. The transformations were quite impressive – and often. I have read critics claim that this aspect was over done, something I disagree with. After all, that is what the whole movie was about and skimping on the effects would have killed the spirit of the thing.

The casting is good, the story is good enough to carry (I have no idea if it is true to the original series) – the effects are fun & fantastic (did I mention that already?) My only complaint is that after the big finish, we get another finish with voice over narration that is a bit cheesy. Five minutes out of 144 – I can live with that.

I can give this 4.5 stars because, despite the explosive action, there is little to no blood. One or two slightly off color jokes. I think Mom could even watch this and get a chuckle. I am not a big Michael Bay fan, but this one works.

Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing critics 59%; users 84%
(I think the critics missed the point of a movie like this)

Case in point, the New York Times – I don’t think he saw the same movie I did. For instance:

The result is part car commercial, part military recruitment ad, a bumper-to-bumper pileup of big cars, big guns and, as befits its recently weaned target demographic, big breasts. [I don’t usually miss big breasts but, though the girls were hot, I don’t remember big breasts]

There, under the desert sun, muscly, sweaty military types clash with an ominous helicopter that converts into a mysteriously angry critter with an articulated tail like that of a scorpion. [As I remember it, two different robots in two different battles]

And on it goes – I wholeheartedly disagree and wonder what trailer he based his review on.

Mindy Smith: Long Island Shores


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Mindy Smith

Mindy Smith – Long Island Shores

This album is fantastic! Of course, I wouldn’t have expected anything else. Mindy Smith has the sweet voice of an angel, and her lyrics are clever…and different.

Please Stay, a haunting ballad (most of them are, I guess), is just about my favorite on this album.

The Edge of Love, though, could also get that position.

“The edge of love here I stand
Feels like sky where there should be land
I wanna fly, wanna take your hand”

Peace of Mind – great.

Out of Control, Out Loud, Tennessee – all great.

Little Devil

…thought he’d have two big horns
and look at me with big red eyes
Instead he wore those baby blues
and whispered promises and lies

The only reason the album loses the half of a star is the spiritual angle of many of the songs. That works for most, but not all, of my circle.

Like Something The Lord Made (2004)

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Something The Lord Made

Something The Lord Made

It loses half a star for being hard to get my hands on.Something The Lord Made

The true story of two medical pioneers — one celebrated, one overlooked — is brought to life in this made-for-cable drama. Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman) is chief surgeon at Johns Hopkins University, where he is pioneering new techniques in heart surgery. Blalock makes the acquaintance of Vivien Thomas (Mos Def), a carpenter hired to work at the University, and to his surprise discovers a man of keen intelligence who has a great interest in medicine. However, as a poor black man in the Jim Crow South, Thomas lacks the financial resources to obtain a medical degree, though he certainly has the knowledge and the desire. Blalock takes Thomas on as his lab assistant, and together they develop a technique that allows them to correct a common congenital heart defect in children.

Wow! I watched Something The Lord Made tonight last night and was thoroughly captivated. I have been wanting to see it for some time and have had it on my Blockbuster Online list almost from the start (it actually got sent out once but never made it to me) SG, being the thoughtful guy that he is and knowing I have been wanting to see it, noticed it was on Monday night and programmed it in for us to watch during dinner.

Consummately captivated – I love small movies like this. Alan Rickman was, as usual, brilliant. Mos Def showcased Vivien Thomas’ genius, and his vulnerability. The story held your attention, even though you know how it turns out. (I do wonder how much of it was fictionalized, though I would love for every frame to have been true)

Can’t think of anyone in my circle I wouldn’t expect to enjoy and benefit from this film.

Rotten Tomatoes: Critics N/A; Audience 90%


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