Friday, March 16, 2012


Happy Friday, My Friends!

I'd like to tell you about four new-to-DVD movies I've seen within the past few weeks. All were Academy Award nominated, and some were winners.

First, Tree of Life: This movie is unusual. However, it's beautifully made because it was directed by Terrence Malick. The problem: I cannot even give you a hint about the plot because I do not know what this movie is about. It seems to be a passage through time that includes dinosaurs and the lives of a family in more recent years. It's gorgeous. It's beautifully shot. If you appreciate the look of a film and if you have ever loved Terrence Malick (Days of Heaven, and yes I could follow that plot easily), then you will want to see Tree of Life. If you want your movies to have a clear plot, then don't bother with Tree of Life.

Second, Hugo: Loved it. Absolutely loved. The story of Hugo, a young boy who lives in the walls of a Parisian train station, turns into a magical mystery tour into the the beginnings of films. Directed by Martin Scorsese, this is no Casino or The Departed, so don't rent it or buy it expecting typical Scorsese. Hugo is totally different. Also beautifully shot. Love the color palette.

Third, Warrior: Loved it. Absolutely loved. Two estranged brothers fight in mixed martial arts competitions. They end up in the cage competing against each other for $5 million. One brother wants security for his family; one brother wants to give the money to the wife and children of his fallen Marine comrade in Iraq. Who will win? Beautiful performances all around, especially by Nick Nolte as the brothers' recovering alcoholic father.

Fourth, My Week With Marilyn. This one is more of a chick flick. I thought it was cute and is Michelle Williams' (Marilyn Monroe) best performance to date. It tells the story of Monroe in England to make The Prince and The Showgirl with Laurence Olivier (a crusty Kenneth Branagh). Olivier is a nasty grouch. Monroe is a nervous, barely able to perform wreck. She becomes involved with an assistant director on the shoot, who later wrote a memoir about the brief experience. I'm not a Michelle Williams fan, but she captures Monroe nicely without being too giggly or too breathy. The best parts of her performance are when she dances and sings. Then she almost seems to be Monroe. The problem: No one is Marilyn Monroe except Marilyn Monroe.

Here's my ranking of these four movies, with #1 as the movie most worth your time:

1. Warrior
2. Hugo
3. My Week With Marilyn
4. Tree of Life

So, should you want to watch a movie this weekend, now you know what the Junebug thinks.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


  1. Dear Janie,
    Thanks for reviewing these four movies for us. I'd like to see Hugo because I read the book by Brian Selznick last year.

    Have a great weekend.


  2. "Warrior" sounds really good, like something my husband and I might both enjoy. Thanks for the recommendation. Happy weekend!

  3. You almost had me with Warrior, but then you had to go and ruin it by saying "beautiful performances"

    Now if you had said, "And then the brothers team up, learn an ancient and forbidden style of fighting, and use it to defeat the evil emperor and his army of mutants" well then I'd have added it to my queue almost instantly. ;)

  4. I recently watched "we need to talk about kevin" - very disturbing, but I had read the book first so I knew what it was about.

    Not a feel good film but I would definitely recommend it. Makes you think.

  5. Dee, I was really amazed and impressed by Hugo.

    Susan, Warrior is definitely something husband and wife can enjoy together.

    Uh, Rick, how about if the brothers team up and defeat all evil in the world and it's really cool, but nobody performs well at all?

    Jane, I'll put that in my queue and prepare to be disturbed.

  6. Janie, I should probably learn to stay out of movie discussions. I am a bad b-movie fan all the way. I consider "The Story of Ricky" (a kung fu movie in which they had more fake blood than sense lying around :) to be high art. :)

  7. Rick, It's fine if your taste is a bit different from mine. I'm sure you have reasons for it you can't help -- such as poor upbringing.

  8. So glad you talked about My Week With Marilyn. As a big Marilyn Monroe fan, I have always been hesitant to watch any films "about" her simply because no actress can ever come close to Marilyn. But, I do like Michelle Williams, and the film looks interesting. :)

  9. Frisky, I know what you mean about MM. There will never be another Monroe. But the movie is cute and enjoyable. I'm glad Michelle Williams doesn't overdo trying to be MM.

  10. I have not seen all of them, but you have rated them as I would have too. I thought Nick Nolte was brilliant in Warrior.

  11. Jason, Yes, Nick Nolte is brilliant in Warrior. I was not familiar with the two actors who play the brothers, but I was impressed with them also.

  12. I've heard Hugo was fantastic. I'm not a huge Scorsese fan, but it is on our list of to see movies.

    The Marilyn movie sounds like it's right up my alley, and I do so love Michelle Williams.

  13. Juli, Hugo is not typical Scorsese at all. I love Scorsese, but Hugo is a great surprise, coming from him. My Week With Marilyn is cute and sweet and a bit sad.


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