Movie Muse

August 29, 2010

Top Ten Movies of the 1990s Filmed in Illinois

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tlesch129 @ 1:58 pm

Illinois Locations for Some of 1990s Films
In a previous article I outlined some surprising movies from the 2000’s that featured some part of Illinois in filming. For this overview, I focused on my favorite movies filmed in Illinois during the 1990s. While some are obvious choices, others may surprise you. Have a look.

Illinois Movie: Home Alone (1990) Macaulay Culkin’s breakout role was largely filmed in Illinois. The airport scene was filmed at O’Hare International Airport in Des Plaines, IL. Winnetka Illinois locations include the McCallister home at 671 Lincoln Avenue, the pharmacy scene filmed at Panera Bread Company in 940 Green Bay Rd., Mitch Murphy’s house in 656 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka and the railroad bridge which is located at 1065 Gage Street, Winnetka, Illinois. The Christmas choir scene was filmed at 2417 Prairie Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.

Read More

September 19, 2009

It’s Fall and Back to School Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tlesch129 @ 10:13 am

Fall is just around the corner and that means the kids have gone back to school. For me that means more work because I home school  my kids. Tha leaves less time for writing and watching movies. However, it did get me thinking about movies…movies about school. I like older movies as well as some of the newer ones. Some of my favorites are:

Grease: Who doesn’t love John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John singing all those great songs? The movie opens on the first day of school after the summer break and follows the gang through the school year.

High School Musical: The modern day version of Grease with Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron.

Fame: Kids at the high School for the Perfoming Arts sing, dance and act their way through school on the road to becoming stars.

Blackboard Jungle: Glen Ford accepts an assignment at an inner city school in the 1950’s where the kids run the school and the faculty just try to get through the day. Filled with confrontation and danger, it is an interesting look at what some people are willing to do to make things better.

To Sir With Love: Sidney Potier accepts what he hopes will be a temporary teaching job until he can land a job as an engineer. He works in an all white East End school in London and teaches his students what respect and self-respect are all about. You have to watch to find out what he does when the engineering job is finally offered.

Dead Poet’s Society: Professor Keating played by Kevin Klein is an eccentric Poetry teacher who charges his students to seize the day and go beyond the status quo in their lives.

Mona Lisa Smile: Julia Roberts tries to get the young women of the 1950’s prep school she teaches at to realize they can do more than become housewives.

There are dozens more I love but these came to mind first and I wanted to share them with you. Enjoy fall and back to school and celebrate with a movie that takes you back to simpler times.

August 9, 2009

Movies I Want to See in Aug 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tlesch129 @ 1:03 pm

I review what’s coming out each month for another website that I write for. I try to include most everything so people have a decent representation. Of course, I look at what I want to see but for the listing, I have to keep most of my personal opinions out of it. If you’re interested in the listing, you can find it here. On my blog though, not so much. So here’s what I’m looking at catching this month at the movies.

The Cove – I’d love to see this documentary which opened July 31st but it isn’t playing at any of the theaters where I live. Granted, I lived in a small rural community where there are only 4 theaters in 30-mile radius of my house. Since we don’t live anywhere near where a dolphin might live so I guess theater owners don’t think we care. Well I care. I was child of 4 when I first saw the television series Flipper on TV. I cried each week when it went off the air because I loved Flipper so much. I can still sing the song, by golly! The man who captured and trained the dolphins used on the show is behind the documentary. Later in life he changed his thinking on the use of dolphins and with some independent filmmakers, set out to expose the trafficking of dolphins in Japan. What could be more compelling?

Julie & Julia – Meryl Streep is one of my personal favorites. I can’t think of a single film of hers I haven’t enjoyed. Amy Adams is quickly moving up the ladder of favorites as well. A film featuring both of these fine actresses promises to be very good. The trailers look great and the premise, entertaining. Julia looks for purpose in life and studies cooking in France. Julie looks for purpose in life and decides to blog her way through Julia’s book by preparing each recipe & completing the book in a year’s time.

Post Grad – This stars Alexis Bledel, whom I loved in the Gilmore Girls. I’m just afraid she’ll still be the same character she played on television. When the series ended, Rory graduated from Yale and had big plans for her career. In Post Grad, she graduates from college and has big plans for her future. While we don’t know whatever happened to Rory, it seems we may find out here. Still, it looks funny and I’ll give it a chance, though maybe not until it’s on DVD.

The Final Destination – I have loved this series of films since the first one came out. The filmmakers know just how to build the tension in scenes leading up to a death and by the end of the movie, I’m on the edge of my seat. The idea of death is terrifying to most of us. Escaping Death’s clutches is something that appeals to most of us. The premise that we cannot cheat Death because he will still come for us makes this movie work. I’m really looking forward to this one.

The Time Traveler’s Wife – This one looks like a real tear-jerker. And yes, that’s my favorite kind of movie. Rachel McAdams captured my attention in The Notebook, another of my faves. She has a vulnerability and a strength that exist side by side and she knows how to alternate between the two with precision. Eric Bana has come a long way since The Hulk and it’s good to see him in a role like this.

July 18, 2009

Do Critic’s Really Matter? Yes and No

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tlesch129 @ 10:40 pm
Tags: , ,

I was asked to write an article recently on the top 5 movies of the summer 2009. The submission guidelines stated that the article was to be based on personal experience. My interpretation of these guidelines was that it be based on my opinion of movies I’d seen, hence the “personal experience” parameter. You can read the article here.
Now, I try to see a movie every week but sometimes I can’t make it happen. And being a stay-at-home mom, I certainly cannot afford to see more than one a week. My pool of films to choose from was admittedly a bit limited but I did my best on the article.
Sadly, I did not include an explanation of the guidelines that led me to write the article in the manner I did. I took a little flack for it and that’s okay. After all, it was an opinion piece and not everyone will agree – in spite of my incredibly good taste – (just kidding!).
Several people preferred other movies, some of which I hadn’t seen and therefore could offer no opinion on. One, a valued college whose comments I have always appreciated took such opposition to the piece that he messaged me privately to tell me so rather than leave a negative comment in the public’s eye. I also appreciated his discretion.
His comments related to a review of the ratings given by RottenTomatoes.com to the movies I had selected. Three of the five had received negative ratings on this website. I looked around the site and discovered the ratings are assigned by a panel of paid critics. This got me to thinking…
Do critic’s ratings really matter to us? I hope so since I am now one of them. I see myself in a different light though. I did not attend film school or major in drama or journalism. I choose to see a movie – any movie – because on some level it appeals to me. The trailers have caught my attention or I like the past work of the stars or director. It might be that I’ve read the book it was based upon or I enjoyed the original version and want to determine if the remake measures up. Whatever the reason, I chose to see the movie. Seldom have a critic’s remarks alone given me cause to see or not see a film.
When I review a film, I do so from the standpoint of why I did or didn’t enjoy it. I want to share with my readers, the experience I had. Watching a film is a personal thing and if someone is on the proverbial fence about seeing a particular film, my insight may help them make the choice. You can check out some of my reviews on the right. Watch for more every week.
>here.


Now, I try to see a movie every week but sometimes I can’t make it happen. And being a stay-at-home mom, I certainly cannot afford to see more than one a week. My pool of films to choose from was admittedly a bit limited but I did my best on the article.
Sadly, I did not include an explanation of the guidelines that led me to write the article in the manner I did. I took a little flack for it and that’s okay. After all, it was an opinion piece and not everyone will agree – in spite of my incredibly good taste – (just kidding!).
Several people preferred other movies, some of which I hadn’t seen and therefore could offer no opinion on. One, a valued college whose comments I have always appreciated took such opposition to the piece that he messaged me privately to tell me so rather than leave a negative comment in the public’s eye. I also appreciated his discretion.
His comments related to a review of the ratings given by RottenTomatoes.com to the movies I had selected. Three of the five had received negative ratings on this website. I looked around the site and discovered the ratings are assigned by a panel of paid critics. This got me to thinking…
Do critic’s ratings really matter to us? I hope so since I am now one of them. I see myself in a different light though. I did not attend film school or major in drama or journalism. I choose to see a movie – any movie – because on some level it appeals to me. The trailers have caught my attention or I like the past work of the stars or director. It might be that I’ve read the book it was based upon or I enjoyed the original version and want to determine if the remake measures up. Whatever the reason, I chose to see the movie.

Seldom have a critic’s remarks alone given me cause to see or not see a film.
When I review a film, I do so from the standpoint of why I did or didn’t enjoy it. I want to share with my readers, the experience I had. Watching a film is a personal thing and if someone is on the proverbial fence about seeing a particular film, my insight may help them make the choice. You can check out some of my reviews on the right. Watch for more every week.

 

July 12, 2009

Do We Need Absurd Movies?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tlesch129 @ 7:32 pm

Did you ever watch a movie that you enjoyed, actually laughed all the way through it and then realized it was completely unrealistic? Of course you have. We all have. When you really think about it, they are all pretty much that way. How many robots do you battle during the course of your day as in

July 11, 2009

New on DVD Week of July 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tlesch129 @ 5:53 pm

This week’s selections have a little of everything. And just like the weather, if you don’t like what’s playin’, it’ll change soon. Many of these features are available in the Movie Muse’s Marketplace at the right.
New Movies:
Explicit Ills (2008) R, Paul Dano, Rosario Dawson – A tale of youthful love, poverty and drugs in a dangerous section of north Philly.
Grey Gardens (2008) Not Rated, Drew Barrymore, Jessica Lange – Lange and Barrymore star as the aunt and cousin respectively of Jackie Kennedy-Onassis who in the 1970’s were nearly raided by the health department because their 28-room East Hampton, NY mansion was flea and raccoon infested forcing Kennedy-Onassis to intervene to save the family name.
One Way (2007) Not Rated, Til Schweiger, Eric Roberts – Eddie is on the fast track to success as being engaged to the CEO’s daughter doesn’t hurt. And his philandering ways have so far remained a secret. An old friend who also works at the company is assaulted by Eddie’s girlfriend’s brother. Wishing to secure his future, he betrays his friend by committing perjury and testifies on behalf of the soon-to-be brother-in-law. When he is found innocent, Eddie’s friend snaps and kills the man. Eddie’s past comes out, crushing his career and destroying the engagement and he finds himself accused of murder. The friend he betrayed is the only one who can save him.
The Bracelet of Bordeaux (2007) PG, Ally Claire Carson, Kelsey Edwards – Two preteen girls become friends and use the powers of a magical bracelet to combat a gang of dognappers.
The Edge of Love (2008) R, Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy – Based on a true incident involving the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, his wife, his lifelong best friend and his wife. The poet finds his home under machine gun and grenade siege inflicted by his friend and his wife.
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009) PG-13 Virginia Madsen, Martin Donovan – A young family moves into a home that once served as a funeral home and fid that a supernatural being has plans for them.
The Horsemen (2009) R, Dennis Quaid, Zhang Ziyi – A troubled detective, struggling with the recent death of his devoted wife, investigates a series of murders that have apparent ties to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Van Wilder: Freshman Year (2009) R, Jonathan Bennett – The movie that tells how 7-year senior Van Wilder earned his reputation.
[REC] (2007) R, Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza – A reporter and her cameraman are on hand when a team of firemen break down a dorr in response to an old woman’s call for help. A horror so unspeakable is unleashed that no one would believe except for the footage shot by the cameraman.

Television
Bewitched (1971) 8th Season
ER (2004) 11th season
ER Seasons 1-11
Mad Men (2008) 2nd season
Specials
Michael Jackson Live in Japan
Sports
NBA: 2008-2009 Champions – Los Angeles Lakers
Xtreme Sports: Paragliding, Surfing, Climbing Like You’ve Never Seen Before

July 6, 2009

New on DVD Week of July 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tlesch129 @ 12:48 pm
Tags:

New on DVD Week of July 5th, 2009

Beat the summer heat by watching a newly released movie on DVD
Each week I will present a list of the latest movies, television shows, sporting events and other items of interest to be released on DVD. Take a peek at what’s coming out this week.

New Release Movies on DVD

 
Knowing: PG-13,Starring Nicholas Cage, Rose Byrne – A time capsule buried 50 years ago is excavated and a page containing seemingly random numbers is discovered. The numbers aren’t random but instead have detailed times, dates and other statistics about every major event since the time capsule is buried. Scarier still are the events predicted yet to come. Get Knowing here

The Unborn: PG-13, Starring Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman – Nineteen-year old Casey Beldon is being stalked by a dybbuk, a malevolent wandering soul of Jewish folklore, who was once a yong boy murdered in Auschwitz. Now coming to terms with the reasons her mother long ago abandoned their family, she turns to her spiritual advisor for help but must ultimately fight the ever more powerful entity alone. GetThe Unborn here.

Push: PG-13, Starring Dakota Fanning, Djimon Hounsou – A secret government group is transforming normal American citizens into psychic warriors, people who can see the future, move objects with their minds, create alternate realities and kill without even touching the victim. Those who resist transformation are killed. A band of renegades is trying to stop the Division before it’s too late. GetPush here.

Five Fingers: R, Starring Laurence Fishburne, Ryan Phillippe, Colm Meaney – A gifted jazz pianist and his security person travel to Morocco to help establish a food program. Terrorists strike. They kidnap the pair, kill the security guard and set about questioning the pianist about the source of his funding. He is tortured with the systematic removal of his fingers all the while proclaiming his ignorance. Things may not be quite what they seem. Get Five Fingers here.

Coco Chanel: PG Starring Shirley MacLaine, Barbora Bobulova – The life and career of fashion designer Coco Chanel. Get Coco Chanel here.

Flying By: PG-13, Starring Heather Locklear, Billy Ray Cyrus – Having long ago given up his dream of becoming a rock star to meet the reality of adulthood, George Barron is surprised by what happens at his 25th high school reunion. After an impromptu performance, he agrees to rehearse with the band and go out on a gig which wins them unexpected success and a chance to go on tour opening for big name performers. George’s wife is not happy about this change in plans and he must face the choices of ambition, family and responsibility. Get Flying By here.

Resolved: Documentary covering the two philosophies governing high school debating. The recently dominant technique called “The Flow” involves memorizing huge amounts of research data and spitting it out in a rapid massive verbal assault designed to tell the tale. Schools with more funding are better equipped to provide the means to the necessary research for this technique. Enter the underdog school from an inner city environment with no funding. They use the more traditional style of verbal skill and logical argument to make their point. Get Resolved here.

Near Dark: R, Starring Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton – Vampires that roam as a gun-toting, motorcycle gang in the American southwest are slow to accept a newcomer brought in by one of their own. The newbie is reluctant to kill which puts him at further odds with the group. After saving their lives during a daylight gunfight in which every bullet hole lets in a deadly ray of sunlight, the group begins to approve. When the group targets his former family, he must make some choices. Get Near Dark here.

Garrison: R, Starring James Barnes, Elizabeth Ingalls, Kerry Valderrama, Erik Collins – A military unit searches for a lost member gone A.W.O.L. though information begins to show he did not leave by choice. A series of ugly, violent event are linked to his disappearance and the team presses on to find their fellow soldier, uncovering secrets they are unprepared for.

Deadwood: R, Starring David Bryant, Sebastian Smith, Richard Stiles – Two couples, trying to find relaxation, take a camping trip deep in the woods. An unnerving woman enters their camp in search of her missing boyfriend. Her presence seems to bring with it an evil that descends upon the woods and the couples are soon fighting for their lives.

Television on DVD

Reno 911! Season 6 – Get Reno 911!: The Complete Sixth Season here

Third Watch Season 2 – Get Third Watch: The Complete Second Season here

Matlock Season 3 – Get Matlock: The Third Season here

Petticoat Junction Season 2 – Get Petticoat Junction: The Official Second Season here

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Volume 15 (4 discs) – Get Mystery Science Theater 3000: XV here

Sports on DVD

Essential Games of Detroit Tigers (4 discs) – Get Essential Games of the Detroit Tigers here

WWE: Extreme Rules 2009 – Get WWE: Extreme Rules 2009 here

NHL: Stanley Cup 2008-2009 Champions- Pittsburg Penguins – Get NHL: Stanley Cup 2008-2009 Champions: Pittsburgh Penguins here

July 4, 2009

Discussion of Movie Ending Vs Book Ending Using My Sister’s Keeper***SPOILER ALERT***

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tlesch129 @ 8:59 am
Tags: , , ,

First let me say, I loved the movie, My Sister’s Keeper. I am however, a tear-jerker addict. My husband will tell you that if praise a movie as being good, it means it had a “three tear minimum”. He’s not far for wrong.
Movies have to move me. They have to touch someplace inside where I can relate to the character on the screen. It doesn’t always have to be sad or romantic. I love a good comedy, too. Admittedly though, my preferences do run more toward the dramatic or romantic comedy. My Sister’s Keeper moved me.
I thought everyone in the film portrayed their parts beautifully. I never doubted they were a family and loved each other. Their pain, fears and stress were palpable. The scene near the end where Anna’s lawyer delivers the news that she has won her medical emancipation didn’t fit though. It was as if it were thrown in to tie up the loose thread of how the case was ultimately resolved. Coming after Kate’s death, it was no longer important and had no bearing on what had transpired within the family dynamics after Kate’s true feelings were revealed.
I did not read the book until after I saw the movie so the change in ending did not affect my viewing of the film. In the book, the case is won before Kate dies. Anna now has the freedom to choose what to do with her kidney. However she is involved in a car accident, leaving her brain dead. Her lawyer, who was given power of attorney over Anna, has the right to decide what becomes of the kidney and Kate. He elects to give the kidney to Kate. Kate feels she was given this second chance I life because Anna took her place when she died.
I would have needed another box of tissue to watch this play out. Is it the better ending? I don’t know. Being a mother, I would never want to choose which of my children should live or die. To pick which ending is better is to do just that. Should Anna, who was brought into the world to help save her sister’s life, make the ultimate sacrifice? Should Kate, who has no guarantee that the kidney will finally end the suffering and make all the illness go away, be the one to live? How can you make that choice?
Still, the author had a plan when she penned the story. It had a purpose and a message. On the other hand, the director had a vision too. He read the book and was inspired to ask ‘what if?’
The debate over film makers changing authors’ books will rage infinitum. Perhaps someday, with the technology available to us, this dilemma will be solved by the alternate ending option. Film the author’s version and the director’s version. Let audiences choose which to see or even to see both. Then the debate over which ending is better will have substance in my humble opinion.

For my review of the film, click the link at the right.

June 25, 2009

The Oscars Will Make A Big Change For 2010 – Does It Matter?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tlesch129 @ 7:42 am
Tags: , , ,

The Academy Awards has decided to change the format of five nominees for Best Motion Picture. For the 82nd Academy Awards scheduled for March 7th, 2010, the broadcast will include ten nominations. The hope is that it will up the viewing audience for the program and allow more movies the opportunity to be considered for the top honor of Best Film of the year.

Does the viewing public really care if there are five or ten films on the roster? Isn’t that like saying we’ve decided to add another race to the Triple Crown because the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness & the Belmont need a little more excitement? Why are they messing with tradition? What purpose does it really serve?

Certainly there are ten movies we’ll each like once the year has played out but do we care if all ten make it to the final round? Don’t we, the theater-going public, choose movies primarily based on whether or not it appeals to us?

I do know one or two people who are Oscar-philes and must watch everything nominated in a given year. For them, this will increase their viewing requirements and for filmmakers, that’s a good thing. Bit how many Oscar-philes can there be? Enough to make a difference to the folks at the Academy Awards?

I think, notice I said think because I have fact to base this on, that the bigger reason here is aftermarket sales…DVDs. Ever notice how many variations of some films are available? It’s not that the film changes, just the packaging. First the film comes out the cover sleeve touts quotes from film critics or taglines about the film. Then, it is release and across the top banner it says “Nominated for Ten-thousand Academy Awards”, even though some of the nominations are so obscure, no one knows what they mean. Finally, if it actually wins, it comes out again “Academy Award Winner for Best Picture”. Now if you didn’t buy it or rent when it made its original DVD release, you certainly will when the package bears one of these boastful phrases.

Don’t forget the trickledown effect of the Academy Awards. Once a picture or actor wins or is even nominated, that tidbit is used to promote every other film made by the people involved the first film. Even older films get repacked to say “starring Academy Award winner John Doe”. Does that mean we think somehow the film must be better than it was before because the guy in it won an Oscar for some other film? I guess it must. The repackaging strategy has been going on since movies were available for the general populous to buy.

So there you have it. We will now have ten films to consider for Best Picture of the Year, whether we want to or not. Make some time in your schedule and some room on your DVD shelf. What’s next…ten nominees for best director, best actress, best actor……?

June 6, 2009

Writer-mania

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tlesch129 @ 5:32 am

This is an illness. Anything that wakes you at 3:30 in the morning is an illness. It has to be.

I met with some writer-friends on Thursday and the conversation was inspiring. Writers, it seems, are solitary, hermit-like creatures who spend hours in front of computer screens. Other than family members drifting through our periphery, we have little contact with “real people”. Ask any mailman carrier or UPS delivery person who has the misfortune of having a writer on his route and they will tell you. Writers either don’t answer the door because we are so involved in what we are writing that the sound of the doorbell doesn’t penetrate the frontal lobe or we come to the door in our pajamas with two-day old pizza stains with hair bedraggled like a child’s hug toy after years of love and chat them up for hours just to practice using verbal skills which remain dormant for days at a time.

To actually talk to live human beings that understand what it is to be a writer, was energizing. We shared ideas and information and laughed at things writers laugh at. We tend to look at life in terms of “how could I write about this?” Every situation, every conversation becomes fodder for the writer mind. The death of a celebrity spurred discussion of who might be next and whether we should start preparing biographies for their eventual demise. Who thinks like this? Writers do.

So at 3:30 this morning I was jolted awake by SEO-laden paragraphs, willing themselves to be put on a page. That’s writer-speak for “write an article that Google can find”. I tried to fight the urge and snuggled closer to my husband but writer-mania had hold of me. Thoughts of blogging suggestions from those friends of mine kept poking me in the hypothalamus. I was forced to rise and work on my blog.

Another symptom of writer-mania has taken over now. The deeply driven need for readership. It is like a junkie’s craving for the drug of his choice. What good is a writer without readers to give him value? So now, I sit, staring at the screen…waiting for further inspiration….waiting for readers…waiting to be found and deemed a worthy writer.

Next Page »

The Toni Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.