James Bond Supports International Women’s Day (2011)  - 2 minute short documentary woman made film.  

Director:  Sam Taylor-Wood aka Sam Taylor-Johnson 
Actors:  Daniel Craig and Judi Dench

Day 53 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.

Tonight I Netflix streamed a shamanic/magical story about the power of unconditional love:  Maggie Greenwald’s The Last Keepers.  A soft and gentle film about love.

It was wonderful to see Aidan Quinn, Virginia Madsen, and Olympia Dukakis together with the young stars Zosia Mamet and Sam Underwood.

Day 201 of  A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.


Lynn Shelton’s short film Moral Centralia flows like a psychedelic trance.

Day 243 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.


Loved Bless Me, Ultima (2013), Carl Franklin’s beautiful adaptation of Rudolfo Anaya’s magical novel.  Thanks to my friend Lyn for letting me know how much she enjoyed it.  I watched it this evening on disc from Netflix.

Day 161 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.  Second feature film for today.


Brilliant!  It was great to sit in the University Theatre tonight - now known as IU Cinema - and watch National Theatre Live’s Encore Presentation of Macbeth with a highly engaged crowd of theatre lovers!  Thanks!

It took the space back to its live theatre roots.

Day 170 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.

I don’t have words to adequately convey my experience watching Andrea Arnold’s exquisite film Fish Tank (2009).  

Please see this film.   I don’t make a habit of suggesting film viewing but I make an exception for this amazing work.  It’s rough in places but just flawlessly constructed, beautifully infused with rich, complex performances - particularly by Katie Jarvis and Michael Fassbender.

I am off to watch everything else Arnold’s done so far and will go way out of my way to see whatever she does next. The Criterion Collection disc of Fish Tank has all her shorts, so I can watch Dog and Milk before returning the disc to Monroe County Public Library.  I recently watched her Oscar winning short Wasp, so that will bring me up to speed on all her shorts.  I have her 2011 Wuthering Heights out from the library and plan to watch that this afternoon.  I have Red Road at the top of my Netflix list… 

Day 57 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act is turning out to be a stellar day filmwise.

Planet of Snail (2011), a man made documentary by Yi Seungjun, is an exquisite, deeply moving love story about a deaf-blind poet/essayist and his wife.  It’s a richly evocative unfolding of a life deeply and poetically connected to the tactile world, a life lived in patient, loving cooperation.

I borrowed this film on DVD from Netflix.

Day 29 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.  


Over 160 people at tonight’s screening of Kill Your Darlings at Indiana University Cinema.  Applause broke out afterwards.  Wonderful cast.  Radcliffe was terrific as Ginsberg. Ben Foster’s portrayal of Burroughs was particularly enjoyable to the crowd in the thick of THE BURROUGHS CENTURY events unfolding in Bloomington this week.  

Director:  John Krokidas
Writer:  John Krokidas and Austin Bunn
Cinematographer:  Reed Morano
Editor:  Brian Kates

Day 279 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.


Stephen Frears’ Philomena starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan is marvelous.  My sweetie and I saw it this evening at the Landmark.  Thanks to everyone involved.  Just great. Funny and deeply moving.

Day 245 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.


Mosquita y Mari was nominated LAST YEAR for the John Cassavetes Award. Seems fitting that I watched it on the day when Independent Spirit Awards named this year’s nominees in all categories.

I hope it won’t take me a whole year to watch all 44 films with nominations in this round.  

So… about Aurora Guerrero’s coming of age story…. lovely… self-assured and confident in letting the film unfold without trying too hard.  Thanks.  Really appreciated it.  Will look forward to seeing what’s next.  I noticed Aurora just got some grant money from San Francisco Film Society.  

Los Valientes / The Brave Ones — Aurora Guerrero, writer/director; Chad Burris, producer

$25,000 for packaging

Felix Lopez is gay, undocumented and living in San Francisco until his family obligations move him across the country to a small Pennsylvania mining town to join his undocumented sister. Once there, alienated by local and family politics, Felix finds unexpected solace in the company of one person: his sister’s husband.

So I hope that means something good is coming soon.  Meanwhile I’ll look for her earlier shorts.

Oh.. and the two stars of this film were just wonderful.  Will be so happy to see them get meaningful work in the future.

Day 207 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.


Saw Austenland with my sweetie at AMC Bloomington 11 this evening.  We both very much enjoyed it.  Laughed and laughed.  

I do like Jane Austen… and I have to say I really got a kick out of this.  

Have to say thanks to AMC for bringing us another woman directed film.  There have been far too few this year.

Director:  Jerusha Hess
Writers:  Jerusha Hess, Shannon Hale
Cinematographer:  Larry Smith
Editor: Nick Fenton

Day 133 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.


An incredible film:  Wim Wenders’ documentary Pina (2011).

I was out of town - alas - when this film screened in 3D at Indiana University Cinema, but I have had a chance to witness it in 2D on disc… and it moved me to tears multiple times.  The dances and the dancers!  The film work! The music and sound!

Day 82 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.

Rob Reiner’s The Magic of Belle Isle (2012) has a light weight, fairytale quality.  I always appreciate films about storytellers and about re-acquiring the power to write… so this story held my interest on those grounds.  Lovely performances by the 3 girls.  Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen had a relaxed rapport.  It’s not Reiner’s strongest work, but I was happy to let the story wash over me.  It helps me with my man made film count.  I’d gotten ahead with the women made films… Balance is so important if A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act is going to work.  I’m on Day 66.  A long way to go, but I have to stay clear about things or the process will implode.

I streamed the film on Netflix.  I notice it is also available on Amazon Prime and probably other places as well.  


Love Is All You Need (Den skaldede frisør)

Director:  Susanne Bier
Writers:  Anders Thomas Jensen (screenplay/story), Susanne Bier (story)
Cinematographer:  Morten Søborg
Editor:  Pernille Bech Christensen, Morten Egholm

Day 64 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act - I drove 90 minutes each way to see this woman made film at the Landmark Keystone Art Cinema.  It’s much more rewarding than the trailer lets on.  

Trine Dyrholm and Pierce Brosnan are both fantastic.   Lots of other great performances, but I particularly loved Kim Bodnia as the impossible, whiny, completely inappropriate and clueless unfaithful husband.  In some ways the film is bursting with story and doesn’t entirely manage to wrangle all the pieces with equal robustness… but the experience of watching the movie startled me with the range of emotions it took me through.

I shared a few other thoughts on Facebook at my O'Leary’s Reel Life page…. 


I’ve said it before…. and I’ll keep saying it… I love Star Trek.  I relish watching the Star Trek universe morph and evolve.  I get a kick out of watching the films circle back to re-engage themes of exploration, friendship, capability, love, humanity, etc etc etc.  Star Trek Into Darkness, the second film in the J.J. Abrahms era, engaged me on a number of levels.  Despite having blown the Star Trek narrative timeline out of the water in the previous film with the destruction of the planet Vulcan, this latest addition to the franchise recognized itself as the 2nd film in this cycle and honored that knowledge proudly.  I like knowing that we can boldly go where no one has gone before while still retaining qualities of the Star Trek universe that have helped it flourish for close to 50 years.

Yesterday - Day 15 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act - my sweetie and I went to the AMC Showcase 11 in Indianapolis so we’d have a high quality experience - visually and sound wise.  We saw the film in 2D, so the fight scenes involving jumping from one flying transport to another did very little for me.  I imagine someone must like scenes of that kind as filmmakers repeatedly include them in action films.  I am not their audience.  

I prefer the personal interactions - conflicts and camaraderie. This film provided that in satisfying ways. 

Strong casting.  Chris Pine continued to impress me with the way he’s carving out his own interpretation of James T. Kirk, while weaving in Shatner like touches.  Zachary Quinto’s Spock continues to evolve as well.  They make a great team.  I have to say though that I was quite relieved to see Simon Pegg come back strong part way through this film.  His vigor and humor enliven every scene he’s in.

Benedict Cumberbatch:  Fabulous.  Riveting.  Complex.  Heartbreaking.  Beautiful.  Alive.  Commanding.  I’m looking forward to many many many more opportunities to see him bring his considerable skills to the screen.

I keep reading that STID had a disappointing weekend with box office of ONLY $84 million.  I hope that doesn’t impede further Star Trek films from emerging in the near future.  Make more.  I’ll continue to show up to enjoy them.  

Live long… and prosper…

If you’re planning to see the film, go soon before someone messes with your head by spilling some of the details and spoils the fun of discovering them for yourself.


Day 300 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act #yfvba

Beautiful GoPro short film by Nana Trongratanawong: Lost in jellyfish space


Finally had a moment to watch Vera Farmiga’s powerful directorial debut Higher Ground (2011).  Exquisite.  Can’t wait to see what she brings us next.  

Day 104 of A Yearlong Film Viewing Balancing Act.