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.
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Monday, April 21, 2014
The Railway Man. Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman create a masterful drama of wartime atrocities that give way to reconciliation and a much better life. When Singapore falls to the Japanese in 1942, Eric Lomax (Firth) is a 21-year-old engineer and railway enthusiast. As a POW he is sent to work on the infamous Death Railway in the jungles of Thailand. Eric is severely tortured for building a radio. Eric survives the war, his body healed but his mind forever damaged. After the war, he returns to England and is haunted and relives the torture inflicted by one particular Japanese officer. Eric shuts out the world and obsessively rides trains. On one such train adventure in 1980 he meets and falls in love with Patti (Kidman) who is much younger than he. Their love seems to cure him, but alas no - the nightmares return despite Patti’s efforts to fix him. Eric learns that the sadistic Japanese officer is alive and giving tours of the prison where Eric was tormented. Eric travels back to Thailand hell bent on revenge but finds something else better. The film is designed to pull on your emotions and will do so. Rated R for very disturbing prisoner of war violence. It is a Peggy’s Pick.
Bears. Roar! Disney does its normal job of fantastic photography as we get to follow a Mama Bear and her two cubs in the first year of the cubs’ lives. The bears must travel across vast distances in Alaska to the sea in order for the Mama Bear to gorge herself on salmon. They face dangers from other bears, wolves, tides and the fickle nature of salmon and of the environment. The only fault, and it is universal with all Disney nature films, is that they anthropomorphize the critters by giving them cutesy names and trying to explain their behavior in human terms. But the beauty of the scenes and the amazing close-ups are well worth the time; just ignore the patronizing voice over. Rated G. It is a Peggy’s Pick.
Small Time. A wonderful indie film that is funny, poignant and just great fun to watch. An eighteen-year old boy Freddy (Devon Bostick) decides to skip college so he can work with his dad Al (Christopher Meloni) selling used cars on his lot in Covina, CA. His dad and his business partner, Ash (Dean Norris), have developed quite a patter that makes selling old cars easy. Their sales techniques are hilarious and the best part of the film. Freddy is attracted to the fun he sees his Dad and Ash having as they unload a lemon on an unsuspecting buyer. Against this backdrop of clever car sales, there is a father/son and divorced mother drama unfolding that is the counter point to the fun and games of the sales hustle. The film cleverly solves its difficulties and makes the world right. Rated R for some sexual references and language. It is a Peggy’s Pick.
Finding Vivian Maier. A fascinating documentary about the late, reclusive Vivian Maier. Maier was a nanny for several families in the Chicago area. During her many years as a nanny she took more than 100,000 photographs that were never published. She was also a hoarder. After her death, John Maloof bought Vivian’s hoard at public auction unaware of what he had. He discovered a vast amount of negatives and undeveloped film that seemed exceptional to him. Her photography is amazing and is now sought by collectors and museums. Maloof made this documentary to explore Vivian’s life, celebrate her art and to find out why she was such a masterful street photographer and such a recluse. The film is an interesting and sad look at her life.