Monday, March 28, 2016

Movie Review: Nanny McPhee Returns

While Nanny McPhee returns is a good movie, it is not near as good as the first.  Again Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) performs magic which effects a family, and by doing so goes from being a hag to a beautiful woman.  In this case father is away at war.  Nanny McPhee comes into a split family, with two cousins having arrived from London.  They do not get along.  However Nanny McPhee repairs the rift.  Uncle has need of acquiring the farm to pay off gambling debts, and so makes a case that the father is dead and the farm needs to be sold.  Two of the cousins, who were enemies, must go to London to the war department to prove he is still alive.  One of the cousins is the forgotten son of the general.  And so it goes, they just must stall the signing to give the boys time to get back.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Movie Review: ****Smoke Signals (1998)

Alexie Sherman wrote the screenplay as well as the book upon which this movie is based.  It is a great medium for Native American stories as it tells a classic story of growth and reconciliation as well as have many fascinating stories inside the story.  This movie is touted as the first all Native American movie.  As Victor (Adam Beach) struggles with first the abandonment of his father (Gary Farmer) and then the death of his father,  and his distaste for being Indian (because they all drink and hurt others) we are told a very good story.  Thomas (Evan Adams) struggles through life generally, but in his way he was worried about Victor and his reaction to his father leaving, and passing away.  Victor's mother is portrayed by Tantoo Cardinal.
This movie begins on the Coeur D' Alene Reservation and follows Thomas and Victor as the travel to Arizona to collect the things of Victor's father.  Victor can barely put up with Thomas, but through his friendship, as well as the advice of an Arizona friend of his father, Suzy Song (Irene Bedard), Victor does come to terms with his life, and with his father.  Two prominent themes in this story, it is OK to be Indian, and misuse of alcohol can have devastating effects.