Melina Gunnett

October 25, 2012

Review – The Sessions

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 1:23 AM

The Sessions was a difficult film to watch. Not because it was bad, it was actually rather well done, but because of the subject matter. Sessions is a docudrama about Mark O’Brein, a writer and poet who contract polo at a young age and live most of his life in an iron lung. The film covers the last decade of his life.

O’Brein (John Hawkes) his hired to write an article on sex for the disabled. While doing research for the article he begins to wonder about the possibility of having sex himself. Deeply religious he consults his priest (William H. Macy) and eventually hires a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to help him explore his capabilities.

While the focus of the film is O’Brien’s sessions with his sexual surrogate, the film is also about his relationships with those around him. While O’Brien had almost no control over his muscles from the neck down and could only remain out of his iron lung for a few hours a day, he was still determined to live as full of a life as possible. He attended and graduated from college and continued to go out into the world on gurney with the aid of his caretakers.

It is through his interactions with these caretakers, his priest and his surrogate that we see glimpses of the wit and intelligence that made O’Brein such a good writer. Samples of his poetry are also interspersed through out the film, giving us an even deeper glimpse into the thoughts and emotions of the man trapped within his own body.

The film is handled tastefully, but it does center around sex and audiences should be prepared for a significant about of nudity.

October 23, 2012

Review – Cloud Atlas

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 8:53 PM

I walked away from this movie feeling like I needed to see it again just to catch pieces and connections that I know  I missed. I’m Okay with that, its a Wachowski film. This is a complicated movie, with six interlacing plot lines, and the same cast members portraying different characters in each vignette.

“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” Madame Horrox


The Cloud Atlas Sextet is a composition by one one of the characters, Robert Frobisher. Each movement represents its own time, its own story, and is the life music for the character with the comet birthmark.

It is hard to say much more about the story without giving spoilers. The acting is good all around. I even liked Halle Berry, who up until now I had always considered a fairly weak actress. The make up and consumes should both be expecting Oscar nods as should the FX team.

I am surprised to see how many of the “professionals” have been panning this movie. I can understand that it isn’t to everyone’s taste. I’m not particularly fond of movies that jump around between story arcs myself, but in this particular case it is well done and I can not think of any other way to show this particular movie. Had it been filmed linearly, many of the connections would have been lost.

I suspect that the biggest problem most of these critics are having with the film is – they just don’t get it. – People tend to dislike things they don’t understand. I think this movie will go over well with it’s target audience (Science Fiction/Fantasy Fans). I know I will be buying the DVD.


October 21, 2012

Review – Lincoln

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 4:01 PM

Lincoln – A name I expect to hear called over and over this Oscar season.

Steven Spielberg has once again brought an amazing docudrama to the big screen. This movie is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. It begins shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s election to a second term in office and takes us through to his assignation. The story focuses on the fight to end the civil war and pass the thirteenth amendment.

Not only is the cast phenomenal, pulling the characters right of history and on to the screen, [You can click here for a full listing of the amazing cast] but the rest of the movie was just as well done. The sets, costume, and make-up artists all came together to turn well known actors into the historical personages they are portraying.

Unless you completely skipped high school history, you probably have a pretty good idea who won the American Civil War and wither or not the 13th amendment, outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude, passed. The true art of this film is in the way it takes those topics and shows us the details behind them making a tense, suspenseful story out of a history we already know.

I came away from this film, not only awed by the skill with which it was done, but with a wonderful reminder as another presidential election year comes to an end – Things do change and people can come together, cross lines and accomplish amazing things if the are willing.

October 19, 2012

Time Keeps on Slipping

Filed under: Odd Thoughts — Tags: , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 11:37 PM

While work has only take up a few hours each day and movie screenings a few more, it seems to have made my time vanish. I finally took a step back today and ask myself why. The answer – I’m not organized, so I don’t have a plan to make my time between activities useful. The solution, sit down and program my schedule into my calendar.

It sounds simple, and truthfully it was, but it is amazing how much time I spend trying to remember what goes when so that I don’t miss anything. I literally felt the relief once it was all on the calendar. My phone will now send me alerts so I can spend the rest of my free time getting stuff done instead of sorting through what I should be doing.

I’m hoping this frees up my brain space for more writing time. I only got one story out the door last month, and if I am going to call myself a writer, I need to do more than that. I have several things in my kitty, ready to start pouring out onto paper, so hopefully I will be able to finish up at least one and maybe two more before the month ends.

In the mean time, I’ll have another movie review up tomorrow and I have a couple more schedule for next week.

Oh, and while I’m thinking about time, just a reminder – Here in the US, Day Light Savings time starts up again on Sunday November 3rd. Remember to set your clocks b

October 17, 2012

Review – Alex Cross

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 8:23 PM

If you are going to watch this movie, I recommend arriving early enough to get a good seat somewhere in center and not too close to the screen. This is an action movie and there is always something moving on the screen. The director has unfortunately chosen to compound this by using hand held “point of view” shots during fight scenes, making it difficult to follow the action from close up.

Detective Doctor Alex Cross is Detroit’s Sherlock Holmes, picking up clues by observation and psychological profiling, but this isn’t a who dun-it movie. We know who the bad guy is. There is some slight suspense in what he is going to do next, but for the most part, this is an out and out revenge flick.

Tyler Perry held his own as Alex Cross, not an easy feat since the part was previously played by Morgan Freeman. Edward Burns also did well as Tommy although it would have been nice to see him with a bit more dialog, I get the feeling that a bit too much was left on the cutting room floor. Actually, most of the movie felt a bit rushed. It was almost seemed like they director wanted push past all that pesky dialog as quickly as possible so he could get on with the action scenes.

If you enjoy action films, this is worth seeing. I’ll give it a B-. It wasn’t great, but I would be willing to see it again.

October 11, 2012

Review – Here Comes the Boom

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 8:51 PM

I’m going to give this movie a 7 out of 10 and not just because I was feeling a bit nostalgic when them movie opened by taking a motorcycle ride through my old neighborhood. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. I didn’t think I would like it much more than the Nelly song it is named after. (I should clarify, since I know that Nelly has a lot of fans. – I’m not one of you. – Sorry, just not my thing.) but I ended up both laughing and crying before I left the theater.

Maybe I just need to stop watching trailers. I had expected this to be a mostly physical comedy about a buffoon pretending to be a wrestler to try and raise funds for his school. Instead I found myself watching a heartwarming tale of a teacher who had lost his zeal rediscover his love of teaching by helping to raise funds to save another teacher’s (Henry Winkler) job.

It isn’t all heart tugs, although there are plenty of them, as they are what motivate Voss (Kevin James) throughout. There is also a lot of humor and, for those of you looking forward to seeing Kevin James flattened, several cage matches and a fist full of training scenes.

The lovely Selma Hayek plays Bella, Voss’s futile love interest and Greg Germann (Who, even though he has played dozens of roles since then, I will always remember as Richard Fish from Ally McBeal) plays Voss’es nemesis  Principle Betcher. Germann isn’t the only supporting actor in this film from my favorite TV shows. Charice (Glee) plays one of Voss’s students and sings a wonderful version of Neil Diamond’s Holly Holy and Reggie Lee (Grimm) plays her father.

October 9, 2012

Review – Seven Psychopaths.

In theatres October 12th, 2012

Seven Psychopaths movie posterAfter watching the trailer, I expected Seven Psychopaths to be about the zany antics of a group of dog nappers as they are pursued by the psychopaths they stole their dogs from. While dogs were napped and antics did ensue, that was only part of the plot.

The real story is that of Marty (Colin Farrell), a writer, struggling to finish his screen play which is, not coincidentally, titled “Seven Psychopaths. Billy (Sam Rockwell), Marty’s dog-napping best friend, wants to help. Unfortunately, his help just might get Marty killed.

Seven Psychopaths was written and directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Six Shooter). The films style reminded me of Quintin Tarantino’s movies, especially in McDonagh’s use of the aestheticization of violence throughout, and I would not be surprised to see McDonagh list him as one of his influences.

The characters in the movie balance between the uncaring psychopathic ruthlessness and devoted dedication to the things they have decided to love and McDonagh has gathered an all star ensemble (Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko) to portray them. Harrelson is at his psychotic best and Walken’s dead pan performance was ideal for the role of Hans, Billy’s dog-napping partner.

Seven Psychopaths is the story of the story being written and it is done well. McDonagh allows Marty’s life to become a mockery of the script he is trying to write without turning the film into a complete farce. Each psychopath has their own tale and they are all brought together in, sometimes, unexpected ways. While the movie is filled with chaos, all the pieces are also brought together and somehow, it all works and works well.

I enjoyed Seven Psychopaths and suspect this film will be finding a place on my video rack when it comes out on DVD.

Review – Argo

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 7:46 PM

I expected Argo to be a good movie, but I did not expect it to be an enjoyable one. I was pleasantly surprised.

I am old enough to remember the Iranian Hostages being taken and the countdown that appeared every night on the evening news for over a year. I am not old enough to remember the details. The only rescue mission I remembered was the spectacular failure of Operation Eagle Claw and that is what I had thought this movie was going to be about.

Instead the movie was about a crazy plan to to rescue the six Americans that had escaped from the Embassy and had hidden themselves at the home of the Canadian Ambassador. I didn’t remember anything about anyone having escaped the U.S. Embassy as it was taken over and for that I am thankful. It allowed me to fully appreciate the suspense as the rescue was attempted.

This plan didn’t involve special forces and/or helicopters., but it was pure Hollywood. They CIA set up a movie company, backed a B-movie Science Fiction film and created positions for each of the six trapped Americans as part of the crew sent to scout locations. The plan was to simply fly them out of the country as part of the crew. Of course nothing is every quite that simple…

Argo was the name of the movie they were theoretically there to scout for. I did a quick search, but it does not seem that the script was ever made into an actually movie (Although there are three other films with that title.). Sad, I would have found in amusing to watch after having heard bits and pieces about it throughout this film. Perhaps the CIA still holds the option on it, or it really was bad enough that no one was willing to produce it.

While the never made Argo may have been a “B” movie at best, Chris Terro’s script was anything but bad. He masterfully mixed humour and tension to keep everyone in suspense throughout the movie. Will they or won’t they make it. You can probably find the answer on the Internet, but if you don’t already know how it ends, I recommend waiting and seeing the movie first.

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