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Movie Mom
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The Joker was still very popular this year, and of course there were plenty of Jedis and Klingons and characters from anime and games. Watchmen were up-and-coming, especially Silk Spectre. Here I am with a special friend.
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And here are some of my other favorites.
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Paul Peterson was one of my first celebrity crushes when he appeared on The Donna Reed Show. He was briefly a Mousketeer at age 8 and played Cary Grant’s son (with Sophia Loren as his babysitter) in the affecting romantic comedy Houseboat. But his greatest success in show business was in the classic suburban sitcom with Donna Reed, Shelly Fabares, and Carl Betz.
He had trouble finding work as an actor after the show ended and his difficulties led him to become the leading advocate for child performers, founding the non-profit group A Minor Consideration. He has been an outspoken critic of Hollywood’s exploitive treatment of young actors and has been at the forefront of providing support and guidance for them and their families. Peterson’s decision to file suit on behalf of Nadya Suleman’s children has, along with recent concerns about the Gosselin children, underscored the importance of closing a to a troubling loophole — the very strict rules protecting child actors do not apply to children who appear in “reality” shows. I applaud Peterson for stepping in when child protective services have failed to make sure that Suleman’s eight infants and her older children get the care — and privacy — they need and deserve.

This is a wonderful, magical movie!

Based on the short story and play by Ray Bradbury (who adapted for the screen), this is the story of five poor men who pool their resources to buy one magnificent, beautiful, white suit, each hoping it will make his dream come true.

One man is a political speaker, one is a musician, one is a con man, one is in love, and one is homeless and filthy.

Originally selected on the basis of size (all of them have to fit into the same suit), they find that they have more in common. All feel ignored and alone. As each gets to wear the suit for one hour, each finds it a thrilling and transforming experience.

The cast is sensational. Joe Mantegna plays the con man who puts the deal together with the thought of taking the suit on a one-way trip out of town, but who thinks better of it after he puts it on. Esai Morales (“La Bamba”) plays the musician whose guitar-playing draws every female in hearing range out into the street for a joyous dance. Newcomer Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez (now Clifton Collins, Jr.) is a delight as the young man who wears the suit to find the courage to approach the beautiful woman he has adored from afar. Activist Gregory Sierra (TV’s “Barney Miller”) finds that people cheer his speeches when he wears the suit. And under all that grime is Edward James Almos (“Stand and Deliver”) as a homeless man who embraces life (and the girlfriend of a mean guy called “El Toro”) when he wears the suit.

At the end of the evening, the young man says, “This morning I had no friends, but tonight I have many friends.” You will feel you have made some, too.

This movie gives families a great opportunity to talk about dreams, cooperation, and self-confidence, and to think a little bit about what they would do if they had a wonderful ice-cream suit.

How fast? How furious? Well, this fourth in the series is so zippy it doesn’t even have time for “the” or “and.” And how necessary? Is there any more fastness or furiousness not fully covered by the original The Fast and the Furious, the terminally vapid 2 Fast 2 Furious and the let’s-drive-around-Japan “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” Do you think it tells us something that they expect the fans’ attention spans are so limited that they have to give every movie in the series pretty much exactly the same name? And the imagination of the almost-identical title matches the imagination of the almost-identical script, which primarily consists of racing cars, squealing brakes, crashing cars, tough-guy stares, shifting gears, exploding cars, meaningful pauses, big muscles, and girls with long, long legs and tiny little shorts.It’s something of a bromance, with Brian (Paul Walker) still conflicted about why he let Dom (co-producer Vin Diesel) go back in the first movie when he was a undercover cop investigating a car-theft ring and ended up romancing Dom’s sister (Jordana Brewster). As is almost inevitable in series sequels, this time it’s personal, with Dom seeking revenge for the murder of someone he loved, but the real issues that need to be resolved are who drives faster and how much Brian and Dom really like each other. The only thing glistening more beautifully in the sunlight than the paint jobs on the sleek contours of the cars as they hug tight corners are the muscles on the sleek contours of Diesel’s arms, hugged by tight t-shirts.There’s a bad guy who picks his drivers by having them race each other, so we are soon, well, off to the races, and director Justin Lin has some fun with close-ups of shifting gears and smashing steel. But the fourth time out is kind of a drag, and not in a good way.

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