Thursday, December 18, 2014

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At The Movies

Turn to TWC News every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday for the At the Movies report featuring reports on movies, DVD releases, the hottest websites and more!

12/12/2014 03:10 PM Posted By: Neil Rosen
CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Movie Interview: Neil Rosen Talks About Cameo in 'Top Five' With Chris Rock
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TWC NEWS VIDEO: In this extended segment, Time Warner Cable News movie critic Neil Rosen talks to Chris Rock and several other of the movie's stars about what it was like to make a cameo in Rock's new film "Top Five."


12/06/2014 05:00 AM Posted By: Neil Rosen
CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Movie Review: 'Wild'
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Reese Witherspoon stars in a new film, that's based on a true story about a courageous woman who takes a long and treacherous journey. It's called Wild.

Reese plays Cheryl Strayed, who back in 1995, without any hiking experience, walked 1,100  miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. She's devastated by the death of her mother and distraught over a marriage that's recently fallen apart, mainly due to her many indiscretions. she's also a recovering heron addict looking for a fresh start.

So Cheryl walks through four states, with a backpack that's way too heavy and ill fitting boots, making the rough hike even tougher. Walking alone, she faces constant threats from potential predators; both animal and human.

There are flashbacks of her life with her mom, played by Laura Dern and glimpses of her self indulgent and destructive past. The walk is her way of her re-examining her life as she tries to make a fresh start. Based on Cheryl Strayed's best selling book, self reflection in print might make for captivating reading, but on film it's sort of stagnant,.

There are long, silent stretches where Cheryl just walks and ultimately it gets boring, For an 1,100  mile trek, you almost feel like you've walked the whole thing with her.There are occasional bright spots and moments of tension and danger, but too often, it's a tiring, dull experience. Like the main character herself, I couldn't wait for the journey to end I also wanted to scream.

When there is dialogue, Cheryl often shares something that's supposed to to be deep, but it comes off as paper thin, shallow cliche's.

Reese Witherspoon gives it her all, but despite serving as a producer on the film, I think she miscast herself. She 's such a peaches and cream type of gal here, that it's hard to buy her as a former promiscuous junkie. The movie shot beautifully, but director Jean Marc Vallee keeps us at an emotional distance from the main character. So consequently, we don't connect with her as much as we should.


11/22/2014 05:00 AM Posted By: Neil Rosen
CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Movie Interview: Jon Stewart Discusses Directorial Debut in ‘Rosewater’
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Neil Rosen sits down with comedian and writer/director Jon Stewart and journalist Maziar Bahari to chat about Stewart’s directorial debut in “Rosewater.” The new drama is a true story of Bahari, who was held in captivity in Iran in 2009 for close to four months after being falsely accused of being a spy.


11/08/2014 05:00 AM Posted By: Neil Rosen
CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Movie Review: ‘Interstellar’
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Writer-director Christopher Nolan, who directed the Dark Knight trilogy, checks in with a new big budget outer space adventure "Interstellar." Neil Rosen filed the following review.

Set sometime in the not too distant future, the Earth has run out of resources and humans are about to become extinct. It is up to a group of astronauts, led by Matthew McConaughey, to find a new, inhabitable planet.

There are some interesting, ambitious ideas at work here, but most of them are never fully realized as the movie tries to be too many things at once.

It is a melodramatic family saga, with McConaughey feeling pangs of guilt for leaving his daughter behind in order to save the world. It is a semi-intellectual sci-fi flick, with a not so subtle eco message, and it is a space age action film. Nolan simply spreads himself too thin.

Warm and fuzzy is not Christopher Nolan's forte. As a result, his daughter abandonment storyline is very hokey. Plus, there's an overblown, heavy-handed Hans Zimmer score.

The action sequences fare much better. But the entire movie, at close to three hours, like the outer space voyage these astronauts are on, goes on for what seems to be light years.

McConaughey is cast well as the all-American hero. However, Anne Hathaway gives a wooden performance and Jessica Chastain's talents are wasted.

There are too many long speeches about the space-time continuum. There’s also a ridiculous robot that looks like a refrigerator and a simplistic overriding message - drummed into your head too often - that love will conquer all.

Right from the start, it was too obvious where it would all end up. I have to say that the movie looks stunning, but Nolan borrows heavily from "2001: A Space Odyssey," both conceptually and visually. Overall, it is never quite as smart as it thinks it is.

Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: Two apples


11/01/2014 05:00 AM Posted By: Neil Rosen
CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Movie Review: ‘1,000 Times Good Night’
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A new film, “1,000 Times Good Night,” starring Juliette Binoche, looks at a woman who's torn between her very dangerous occupation and her quiet family life.

Binoche plays Rebecca, an acclaimed wartime photographer who constantly puts her life on the line to capture images of atrocities that are going on around the world.

While taking photos of a car bomb that explodes in Kabul, she almost dies. It's a life threatening pattern that her husband and children, back home in Ireland, find it almost impossible to deal with. They cringe every time the phone rings, thinking it may be bad news that Rebecca was killed on the job.

Rebecca is given an ultimatum: that she better give up her dangerous lifestyle and become a more stable wife and mother. She gives it a shot, but she's constantly being pulled back into the firestorm that is her career.

The slow pace of the film often works to good effect as we see the evolution of Binoche's character. How she tries to adjust to domestic life, even though it goes against her very nature. We begin to wonder if her job was really about saving the world through her photos, or if she was just addicted to the thrill of it all.

Norwegian writer director Erik Popper was once a war photographer himself and in some ways the movie is semi-autobiographical.

Binoche turns in a good multi-layered performance, making you care about her travails as she conveys the inner workings of her complex character. The entire supporting cast is also excellent, while the screenplay takes you in unexpected directions.

The film does lag a bit at times, but several harrowing and emotionally-packed scenes due their part to compensate.

Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: Three apples


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