Brief comments on film by Amy.
Some old, some new.  Domestic films and foreign too.


12 Years A Slave — I have to admit I went into this one a little warily, thinking that perhaps the ever-skewed-towards-the-politically-correct Academy Award process had gotten it wrong. But they certainly didn’t get this one wrong. Well-acted and beautifully filmed. A story worth telling. Having read the book, I wish the filmmakers had chosen to emphasize Solomon Northup’s deep faith as well as the faith of one of Adobe Photoshop PDFhis master’s particular but that would be like wishing Channing Tatum would make one movie in which he doesn’t take his shirt off. Not gonna happen. Highly recommend the book by the same name (12 Years A Slave, not Channing Tatum Makes a Movie and Doesn’t Take His Shirt Off).

The Book ThiefThis book stole my hurt (pardon the pun) and the movie certainly upheld the quality of the novel. A perfect example of historical context enriching an individual story without one overshadowing the other. Highly recommend both the book and film.

Don JonWhere is the soul cleanser when you need it? Really thought this film was going to make a serious point about porn (and romantic comedy) and it’s destructive influence. Not so much. If this film’s makers were genuinely interested in making that point, maybe they should have included less actual porn in the movie. Fast-forwarded significant portions and still regret having watched it. I think this is the moment when I say any film which includes Julianne Moore is not for me.

The Invisible WomanHuge fan of Charles Dickens’s work, but like so many before (and after) him, he was such a disappointment in his personal life. This movie was equally disappointing. Departing from the traditional “Older man abandons family for passionate affair with younger woman” format, this film went for “Older man abandons family for a younger woman whose family forces her into an affair against The_Invisible_Woman_posterher will but don’t be too sad for her because at least she got to be an inspiration for her favorite author.” It felt as though the writer and director couldn’t decide what Nelly’s feelings were, for Dickens or her husband, so they just left the audience to guess. This was more like The Undefined Woman.

American HustleBiggest disappointment this year. Perhaps my expectations were just too high. Well acted by everyone but (I hate to say it) Jennifer Lawrence, who seemed out of her depth especially with regard to her accent. Just didn’t buy it.

In A World — Can’t remember what made me rent this one, but whatever the reason, I am so glad I did. This flick made me realize how long it had been since I had really enjoyed a movie. It wasn’t heavy or educational; it was just enjoyable. Smart and clever.

Heaven is For RealFor Mother’s Day, we usually have lunch out and go for a bike ride, but with only five bikes and three flat tires, we went to the movies this year instead. We gave the kids a choice between this and the new Captain America. I have to confess I was leaning toward Captain America and had very low expectations for this film. It was certainly better than I expected and made for lots of great conversation with the kids afterwards. Plus we used our movie rewards and managed to get two drinks and a popcorn for $6! A bit flat in parts but Connor Corum, who plays Colton, brings amazing authenticity and life to every scene.

2 Responses to “Snapshots”

  1. Kat Forbes


    I always love your assessments of films. I too went into 12 Years a Slave with skepticism and emerged moved and glad I watched it. I have every intention to read the book…
    American Hustle was a disappointment despite being made by my some of my favorite actors and a really good director.
    Don Jon was a no-brainer for me to avoid. I had some guys friends that saw it and they told me how much porn was actually in it–they were even embarrassed to watch the film in a theater–just all kinds of awkward they said (they weren’t Christians, just good moral folk).
    I’ll give Heaven is for Real a try.
    Now, for my recommendations to you! You (if you haven’t yet) need to see “Short Term 12” –the short film with the same title was produced by Michelle Steffes and casted by Katie Taylor (both Taylor grads). Then the short was turned into a feature starring Bree Larson (one of my new favorite actresses) and John Gallagher Jr. (who is also in the must-see tv show “the newsroom”).
    So, Short Term 12 (the feature film) and “The Newsroom” (The tv show). Both excellent.
    For a british fix you should check out “Lark Rise to Candleford”–it has a pre-D.A. Mr. Bates in it!
    Well, that’s all I got for now.
    Look forward to your next post 🙂

    • Jim Spiegel


      Thanks, Kat. We’ll definitely check out the Steffes/Taylor film. Michelle is a tremendous talent, and I’m thrilled to see her ascendance in the film industry.


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