James Quillinan, known primarily for his expertise in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, Trusts, Conservatorships and related Litigation is also an avid movie-goer. His reviews started in the Law Office around 1998 when associates and clients began asking him about the movies he had seen. He began sending his reviews by email to a list of friends and movie fans which now has grown to include world-wide distribution.
Click here to see all of Q's Reviews. To receive Q's Reviews via email each week, sign up here.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Black Nativity. An inspirational Soap Opera that becomes a bit too sudsy, but worth a look for some great singing and heartfelt effort. Langston (Jacob Latimore) is a 15 year-old boy from Baltimore hanging out on the streets with his bros. His single mother, Naima (Jennifer Hudson), is losing their home and sends Langston to New York City to spend Christmas with her estranged parents, Reverend Cornell Cobbs (Forest Whitaker) and Aretha Cobbs (Angela Basset). Langston is intimidated by Reverend Cobbs' strictness and rebels into bad behavior. But Langston has more family and support than he realizes. He begins a journey that not only saves his soul but also reunites his family in the spirit of Christmas. The film’s message of faith, healing and family is delivered with a heavy hand but with inspired singing. Mary J. Blige as a singing angel is a bit much. Rated PG for thematic material, language and a menacing situation.
Nebraska. What do air compressors, a new truck, bleak landscapes, a hoax and $1M have in common? You will have to see this new Alexander Payne movie to find out. Payne explores his familiar subjects of family, heritage and real life. Bruce Dern is Woody Grant, an addled old drunk who is self-duped into thinking he has won a magazine sweepstakes. He needs to get from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska to claim his prize. He tries to walk to Nebraska in the dead of winter but the cops return him home to his blunt spoken wife (June Squib – who steals the film). He eventually embarrasses his son David (Will Forte) into taking a road trip across the heartland of America to claim his fortune. Along the way they visit family and old friends. David begins to understand his dad and himself a lot better when old flames, friends, family and enemies of Woody share their stories. The film is slow and in glorious back and white. It is quietly quite funny and ultimately very poignant as this might be all of our futures. Rated R for some brief language. It is a Peggy’s Pick.
November 30, 2013 - Special Saturday Edition
Philomena. This film of a true story is a devastatingly charming look at real kindness and forgiveness. Dame Judi Dench stars as Philomena Lee who as a teenage girl in 1952 Ireland commits the ultimate sin, she gets pregnant. As a mother of a boy conceived out of wedlock, a condition her Irish-Catholic community severely condemned, she was forced to live and work in a convent until her child is spirited away at age 3 to America for adoption. Church doctrine required her to sign a contract that wouldn’t allow her to inquire into her son’s whereabouts. On her son’s 50 birthday, she can no longer hold her secret and begins a journey of discovery with BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan). Based on his book, "The Lost Child of Philomena Lee," the film focuses on their efforts to find her son. The film is part odd couple, part road trip as these two discover a lot more than Philomena’s son. Guaranteed to touch your heart, seek out this indie treat. Rated PG-13 for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references. It is a Peggy’s Pick.
Frozen. The folks at Disney have done it again. This is an adventure aimed right at the hearts of girls and boys (especially girls) that everyone will enjoy. The Disney hokum is well done with stunning artwork, show tunes and characters that draw you into their world. Princess Anna is the spunky and forever optimistic younger sister of Princess Elsa, who becomes Queen of Arendelle when their parents are lost at sea. Elsa has a curse, everything she touches turns to ice. In despair Elsa flees Arendelle but leaves it in perpetual winter, frozen solid. Anna sets off on an epic journey to find her sister and free their homeland from the ice. Along the way she teams up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal and very expressive reindeer Sven. The mountains are steep and covered in snow and ice. They meet singing trolls, an ice monster and a hilarious snowman named Olaf. Anna must find true love to break the ice curse and of course does in a most wonderful way. Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor. It is a Peggy’s Pick.
The Book Thief. It is 1938 in Nazi Germany. The country is getting caught up in madness. A spirited and courageous young orphaned girl named Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) is sent to live with a childless couple. Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa (Emily Watson) are a couple seemingly at odds, but have real love and caring in their hearts. Liesel is welcomed into their home and with charm and native intelligence she touches the lives of everyone around her. Hans and Rosa hide a young Jewish man Max in their basement. Liesel is discovering the power of books and Max teaches her how to use the power of her words and of her imagination to transcend the awful existence in which they find themselves. The story is a powerful one of survival and triumph in the face of adversity, even in the face of ultimate death. Keep an eye out for Sophie and Geoffrey at Oscar time. Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material. It is a Peggy’s Pick.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The silliness is back for the next installment. Despite rolling of eyes and disdain for the ridiculous plot, I found myself drawn into this story line a bit more. A year after winning the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) are on their Victor's Tour. But before leaving, Katniss is visited by vile President Snow (Donald Southerland) who fears that Katniss has become too popular and may undermine his regime. Snow threatens her family and everyone she cares about. Katniss stands up to Snow so he decides to enact what is known as the Quarter Quell, the right to make a change to the Hunger Games. For the 75th Games the previous winners will compete again so Katniss and Peeta are again in danger. This time the games have deadly fogs, attacking monkeys, lightening strikes, landslides, along with all of the usual contrivances under the dome. Be sure to catch Katniss’s never-ending supply of arrows. As the film ends, we are left with a Perils of Pauline moment as we must wait for the next one or two installments to come to the end of the tale. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.