Posted by Jay Firestone
What would you do if your mother was a pastrami sandwich? How long would she keep before getting bitter? Does she come with a side of coleslaw?
All pertinent questions for the first installment of “My Pastrami Mama,” a new Web series brought to you by JewishJournal Mobile.
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January 25, 2012 | 3:15 pm
Posted by Joan Alperin-Schwartz (video by Joan and John Schwartz)
It takes a lot for a film to truly scare me. I mean, after seeing hundreds and hundreds of movies featuring, knife wielding masked maniacs, cannablistic nuclear families preying on hot teenage girls and demon possessed embroyos, I’ve become kind of blaise about the horror genre.
So many horror films are derative of one another. But I’m happy to say…this is definitely not the case with ‘The Grey’ directed by Joe Carnahan (‘Narc’, ‘The A Team’) and starring the very tall and always excellent, Liam Neeson.
The story is simple. A group of super macho oil workers, including the heartbroken, slightly suicidal, Ottway (Liam Neeson) are travelling to a work site when their plane crashes in the remote Alaska wilderness. By the way this is a very realistic plane crash. I found myself grabbing the arm of the stranger sitting next to me. Luckily he didn’t mind. Anyway…
The survivors must find a way back to civilization before they either freeze to death or die of starvation.
Unfortunately, besides the cold (and it’s really, really cold) and lack of food, they have…one other…not so small problem…Wolves…Big, Bad, Vicious, Ugly, fierce, red eyed…Wolves.
And these furry, grey creatures are extremely…pissed off. Seems the humans have invaded their territory and and to the wolves…this is means war.
These are cunning, determined animals and here’s where the really scary part comes in.
When the men and the audience least expect it, the wolves…Well, I’m not going to tell you. Don’t want to spoil the fun. And yes, ‘The Grey’ is fun. It’s also horrific and totally terrifying.
What makes ‘The Grey’ not just another typical survival film…is the excellent script. The film is written by Carnahan and Ian MacKenzie Jeffers and they’ve created some really interesting characters.
At first, the men hide behind their macho facade, going out of their way not to show any fear. But as the story progresses, their facades peel away and we get to see what’s really underneath.
The supporting cast including including, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Nonso Anozie, Joe Anderson, Ben Bray and James Badge Dale are all excellent.
The wolves are a combination of giant puppet animatronics, CGI and real ones…that are trained of course.
Make sure you stay past the credits…there’s a surprise you don’t want to miss.
I gave ‘The Grey’ 4 and 1/2 bagels out of five. Check out our video to hear John’s wolf imitation and to see how many bagels he gave this film.
‘The Grey’ opens in theatres, Friday January 28, 2012. Don’t miss it.
January 12, 2012 | 4:18 pm
Posted by Joan Alperin-Schwartz (video by Joan and John Schwartz)
9/11…All you have to do is say that date and most people will have a reaction…usually an emotional reaction…And for me, that emotion is one of saddness…for the senseless loss that so many people experienced.
And now, ten years after that infamous day, Stephen Daltry has directed a beautiful, moving film about…loss.
‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ stars first time actor, Thomas Horn. He plays the young boy Oskar, trying to come to terms with his father’s death on 9/11.
What’s amazing about Thomas, is that just like the character Oskar, he too has Asperger’s Syndrom. Horn is in every scene of this film and he’s absolutely riverting.
Apparently Scott Rudin saw him on the tv game show Jeopardy and cast him in the part. I’m sure there’s more to the story, but in any case, Thomas Horn definitely, if he chooses, has a great future ahead of him as an actor.
‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ is many things…A mystery…a family drama, a quest…even at times, a comedy, but in the end, this is a film about the relationship between a father (Tom Hanks) and his adoring son.
A year after his father’s death in the Twin Towers, Oskar is still ridden with guilt and pain from his loss.
One day, he finds a key in his dad’s closet…And it’s this key, that takes Oskar on an odyssey to discover the lock that the key fits. And of course, he winds up finding something much more profound than he ever could have imagined.
Oskar’s travels take him on a journey throughout New York’s five boroughs and along the way, he runs into some eccentric, wonderful characters, including Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright, a married couple with their own set of secrets.
He also gets some unexpected help, from his grandmother’s (Zoe Caldwell) mysterious Renter…Max Von Sydow.
Von Sydow will surely get an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor. He gives one of the most compelling performances in the film and…he does it…without uttering one single word.
Sandra Bullock plays Linda, Oskar’s mother and although she isn’t in many scenes, her presence is felt throughout the film. In fact, one of the twists has to do with Linda’s relationship with her son.
‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ is based on a novel written a few years back by Jonathan Safran Foer and Eric Roth (‘Benjamin Button’) has done an excellent job in adapting it for the screen.
Roth mentioned at the Writer’s Guild Q & A that he wrote 50 drafts of the script. Now that should give hope to all aspiring screenwriters.
In my opinion, I think this movie is a must see for everyone. Simply put, it’s a story about a very special boy, who comes to realize, that even when you lose someone you love, they never really go too far away…
‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ opens in selected theaters, December 25, 2011 and expands to wide release on January 20, 2012. It’s a perfect holiday movie.
‘Two Jews On Film’ are ending the year, disagreeing…as usual…At least about this film.
Check out our video to see our bagel score.
January 4, 2012 | 5:17 pm
Posted by JewishJournal