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Jun. 23 2012

Seeking a Friend, Moonrise Kingdom, Abraham Lincoln

By WBJC | Posted in Movie Reviews | Comments Off on Seeking a Friend, Moonrise Kingdom, Abraham Lincoln

Currently in Theaters

When a movie shows us the end of the world, it ought to be a blast.  Unfortunately, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World was made to emote loneliness before nothingness.  Neither Steve Carrel nor Keira Knightly can convert this overwritten script and snore-maker direction give us enough to care for these lonely souls who feel more for their self-pity than grasping to live to the end.

Moonrise Kingdom is about young love on an island called New Penzance located off the New England Coast.  The 12 year-olds have escaped from their home (Suzy) and the summer camp (Sam) to follow an Indian trail to its end, while the sparsely populated town has an all-points-bulletin out for them.  Director Wes Anderson, whose “Rushmore” this resembles, has made his best film to date.  The wit, whimsy, irresistible dialogue and plot take in more than meets the eye—each scene defines the one before and sets up the one after.  Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Ed Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Frances McDormand and newcomers Kara Haywood and Jared Gilman are some of the personalities who turn the representation of reality into full-fledged fantasy.

The latest vampire-movie-of-the week is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  There are many reasons not to like this blood gusher and among them are the continued sight of vampires in the daylight (no excuses ring true) and Lincoln’s role in some of the history display attempt tongue-in-cheek humor (“It’s time to go to the theater”).  Lincoln was some handler of the ax from his youth as a tree chopper, to cleanly behead the creatures who want to control the country.   Thus we have been saved from two sets of enemies, both vampire centered.

DVD and blu-ray

The Gold Rush is a recently restored Charlie Chaplin narrated 1942 release following its 1925 opening.  What makes this special is that the blue-ray and DVD versions look spectacular, probably as close to an original pristine print.  Chaplin was in stride with this comedy and it shows.

The Artist for home viewing has also been made available.  Award winning, the Star is Born plot works perfectly to beguile.  And the last fifteen minutes are… a sight for sore eyes.

The Swedish Summer With Monika (1953) and Summer Interlude (1951) are early Ingmar Bergman films.  They are gritty, tight and censored upon release in the U.S.  What more of a pedigree could you ask for?


Burt Shapiro


Burt Shapiro was WBJC’s Program Guide Editor, Music Host and Movie critic for nearly 3 decades. He passed away in July of 2014, and is greatly missed. Burt had seen 11,000 different films ranging from Calamity Jane and Rear Window (when originally released, at the Crest and the Uptown in Baltimore) through Orphens of the Storm to Sound of My Voice and back again. He continued to pursue his interests while achieving lousy grades in high school and as an undergraduate at Maryland. While living and working in New York, he was accepted by the NYU School of Cinema Studies. It was when the screening room was over the Fillmore East on Second Avenue and in William Everson’s living room, a locale for the very hard core. He watched hardly-ever-seen films before VHS, Beta, laser disc, DVD and bluray. His time in New York also gave him a life shattering shock when a Saturday Museum of Modern Art screening of A Condemned Man Escapes offered his most electric moment. Applause shattered the silence before “Fin” even filled the screen. The same can be said about his toddler granddaughter, Sophie, when she picks up the microphone to sing.

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