Friday, July 3, 2015

Magic Mike XXL

My View:   Magic Mike XXL (2015)   R   Mike (Channing Tatum) has been out of the stripper biz for three years. He has his own furniture company, and though he occasionally thinks about his past life, it’s pretty much over. That is until he gets a call from the guys, and they decide to go on one last road trip to glory.  I wasn’t a big fan of the first film as I feel it needed more of a storyline and less of a floor show. I also did not like the romantic interest for Tatum’s character, actress Cody Horn, as she wasn’t up to the part. My feeling for this sequel is about the same. While Tatum dances up a storm, and his final dance sequence with tWitch is fantastic, once again the film is let down by a weak storyline. The film’s Director of Photography is the first film’s director Steven Soderbergh, so I thought this one would follow the big, bright scenes the original film had but this sequel is very dim on the screen with some scenes barely visible. The initial meeting between Tatum and his love interest, Amber Heard, is so dark in appearance, I wasn’t sure who he was talking to. While I did like Jada Pinkett Smith in the role of the new MC for the boys, I just could help think how much I missed Matthew  McConaughey's character from the initial film. If you were a big fan of the first movie, you will enjoy this one. If you weren’t, like me, then stay away as it is just more of the same.   My Rating: Cable   Magic Mike XXL Website

My View:   Terminator Genisys (2015)  PG-13   John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends back Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), but when he arrives, nothing is as he expected.  So, what we have here is an attempt to reboot a franchise that seems as old as Arnold. Well, it just doesn’t work. Now if you are an action fan, then you may enjoy this film because it has plenty of action and some cool-looking fight sequences. Unfortunately, the plot, which includes multiple time travels, is a big mess where it looks like the writers and director added every conceivable plot point and hoped it would somehow all make sense. It doesn’t. My other problem with this film is the actress who plays Sarah Connor, Emilia Clarke. She is just too small and  young looking to play the tough as nails, Connor. I never believed that she could hold her own in a fight (unlike Linda Hamilton in T2 who could kick most guys’ butts). It also made it a little creepy that a very bulked up Jai Courtney’s character was meant to hook up with this very young-looking Sarah Connor. Arnold is fun and has some of the best lines, but it’s not enough to make up for such a convoluted storyline. And, it’s not worth the extra money for 3-D as the film was not shot in 3-D. Do stay through the first portion of ending credits though, as there’s a bonus scene.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Terminator Genisys Website

Indiefest:  Aloft (2015)  R  Nana (Jennifer Connelly) is an artist who recently became noticed for her work. A journalist (Melanie Laurent) finds out Nana abandoned a son (Cillian Murphy) over twenty years ago. The reporter sets up a meeting between the mother and son, and it will change their lives forever. I really enjoyed this film. It has a complex plot that, while complicated, makes the film flow throughout. All three leads are impressive, with Laurent giving a moving and intelligent performance. This is one of those films that is a pleasure to watch from the first frame, even though it deals with some pretty tough subjects, including a child with cancer. The cinematography in the film is extraordinary with the stark landscapes of the frozen north. If you want a film with notable performances and a well-thought-out plot, this movie is for you.   My Rating: Cable   Aloft Website

Indiefest:  A Little Chaos (2014)  R  Sabine (Kate Winslet) is a landscape designer who is commissioned by King Louis XIV (Alan Rickman) to build a garden at Versailles. She must deal with men who aren’t used to being bossed by a woman and work with Andre Le Notre (Matthias Schoenaerts), a landscaper to whom she becomes attracted. This is a fascinating film about a woman struggling to make it in not only in a man’s world but one that is also ruled by a class system. Winslet is perfect as the headstrong Sabine, who is willing to move mountains to create her garden. Besides playing the King, Rickman also directs this beautiful and intriguing film. Stanley Tucci stands out as the King’s snobbish brother, and there is subtle chemistry between Winslet and Schoenaerts. If you are a lover of costume dramas and court intrigue, this film is for you. It’s not your typical love story, but it is an enjoyable piece made better because of the performances of Tucci and Winslet.  My Rating: Full Price   A Little Chaos Website

Indiefest:   Eden (2014)  R   Paul (Felix de Givry) is a teenager who spends his nights in the underground scene of early nineties Paris. He forms a DJ collective with his friends, and they get involved with every aspect of the nightlife scene, including sex, drugs and dance music.  I am not a fan of club music, especially the house music that fills this very long and pointless film. The lead character of this story is extremely unlikable as he goes from girlfriend to girlfriend, mooching on his mother’s money and doing coke like it’s a daily vitamin. The story never really gets going and just seems to be one long reason to play some “Daft Punk” music. I think the writer/director, Mia Hansen-Love, spent a little too much time on the dance floor and not enough time working on her script.  My Rating: Cable   Eden Facebook page

Indiefest:   In Stereo (2015)    David (Micah Hauptman) and Brenda (Beau Garrett) are perfect for each other. Everyone knows that, with the exception of David and Brenda. They decide to break up, and both their lives start spiraling down. Will they ever realize the mistake they made?  I enjoyed this very unconventional love story about two people who are going to remain unhappy until they make the choice to get back together. I especially enjoyed the performance of Garrett, who, as the self-involved Brenda, makes her character likable even though she isn’t the nicest person in the world. The film is funny and, at times, touching, which makes it one of those films where you just want to slap the main characters and say “you are with the wrong person.” It’s a very inventive film full of rich and interesting characters and takes a few twists and turns to make you keep watching.  My Rating: Full Price

Forgotten Film:  Missing (1982)  R  A young couple (John Shea and Sissy Spacek) are traveling through Chile in the early 70s when a civil war breaks out. The young man is taken away by government forces with the suggestion that he is a spy. His wife and his father (Jack Lemmon) attempt to find the young man before he gets lost in the system. Lemmon and Spacek are brilliant in this film, worthy of their Academy Award nominations. The award-winning script is smart and bold, and the direction by Costa-Garvas is superb.   My Rating: Full Price   Missing Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Magic Mike XXL: Graphic Designer Specialty Tattoo

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Ricki and the Flash (2015)  PG-13  Hey, any film that has Meryl Streep as a rock-and-roll icon can’t be half bad.   Ricki and the Flash Info
Until Next Time

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ted 2

My View:   Ted 2 (2015)  R   Ted (Seth MacFarlane) and Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) have gotten married and now want to have a kid. John (Mark Wahlberg) finds out that, for Ted to have a kid, he will have to prove, in a court of law, that he is a person.  As with most sequels, this film is mostly a rehash of the first film, but this time without the heart of the first. The film is too long, and, while the jokes are funny, it takes forever to set them up. There are a few unnecessary scenes, and MacFarlane could have taken 30 minutes out of this almost two-hour film without hurting the plot. One of the great things about the first film was it contained a love story between two best friends, but while this sequel attempts to pull at heartstrings, it never hits the mark. Amanda Seyfried fits in with the two leads, becoming part of the boy's club, but I think that is another problem with this film. The first film had Mila Kunis’s character, who played a clear opposite to the antics of the boys. It’s one of those films that does have some great laughs, but it takes too long to get to them. Make sure and stay through all the credits as there is a bonus scene that is worth the wait.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Ted 2 Website
Family Faire:   Max (2015)  PG   Max is a military working dog who returns from Afghanistan after his handler is killed. Max is adopted by the family of the slain soldier, and together they begin a journey of healing. This is an admirable family film that will touch your heart, especially if you or one of your loved ones has served in the Armed Services. The dog is the best part of the film and has a very expressive face and bark. Josh Wiggins plays Justin, the young brother of the slain soldier and has an excellent connection to the dog. The supporting cast is impressive with Lauren Graham and Thomas Haden Church playing Josh’s parents. I didn’t like the attempt at a Texas accent by Graham (no one else tries for one) as it comes off as corny. The action sequences are well done and kids will enjoy all the action that takes place on bikes and trails. It’s a perfect Sunday afternoon film that the whole family can enjoy.    My Take: Bargain Matinee   Max Website
Indiefest:  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl  (2015)  PG-13   Greg (Thomas Mann) spends most of his time making parodies of classic films with his friend Earl (RJ Cyler).  Their lives are changed when they meet Rachel (Olivia Cooke) a young girl who has just been diagnosed with cancer. I loved this touching and very inventive film. It takes the teenage coming of age romance genre and turns it on its ear. There is great chemistry between the three leads and Olivia Cooke shines as the girl who refuses to give in to cancer. This brilliant film is one of my favorite films of the year.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Website
Indiefest:   The Overnight (2015)  R  Alex (Adam Scott) and his wife, Emily (Taylor Schilling) have just moved to L.A. from Seattle with their young son. While at a park, they make friends with Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) who also has a son. He invites them to dinner at his house for pizza and kid playtime. Alex and Emily soon discover that they could be in for a wild ride.  This is a hilarious film that is going to make you uncomfortable at times as it covers some extreme adult situations. Scott and Schilling work well with each other on screen, giving us a feeling that this couple truly love and enjoy each other. Schwartzman is perfect in the role of a guy who pushes the boundaries of human behavior. The great fun of this film is that you never know where the film is going to go next - you only know that it’s going to be surprising and a whole lot of fun. I will warn you that there lots of nudity, including full-frontal male nudity.    My Rating: Full Price   The Overnight Facebook Page
Family Faire:   When Marnie Was There (2014)   PG   Anna (Hailee Steinfeld)) has been sent to the country after having a severe asthma attack. While exploring, she meets Marnie (Kiernan Shipka) a young girl who seems very familiar. Will their friendship last? Only time will tell.  This is a moving and beautiful film that is perfect for young girls, ages eight to fourteen. It’s a film about feeling alone and different, then finding out that there are other people out there who feel the same way. The characters are full and well thought-out, and the animation is breathtaking. It is rumored that this might be the last film of the legendary Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, and, if it is, it is a perfect swan song. Go see this wonderful, touching film.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   When Marnie Was Here Info
Indiefest:   Escobar: Paradise Lost (2014)  R   Nick (Josh Hutchenson) is traveling through Columbia surfing the waves and having a good time. He meets the girl of his dreams, Maria (Laura Londono) only to find out that her uncle is the legendary drug trafficker, Pablo Escobar (Benicio Del Toro). Now Nick is in danger, but he doesn’t want to leave Maria. I think fans of Hutchenson may enjoy this film, but I found his character rather boring and he really couldn’t keep up with Del Toro. The film centers on Nick and his girlfriend, I would have liked it to center on the relationship between Nick and Pablo. I did like the ending, and I liked Laura Londono’s performance, but overall I felt the 2-hour length of the film.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee
Forgotten Film:   Room at the Top (1959) An ambitious and angry young man (Laurence Harvey) decides his way to move up in the world is to marry the boss’s daughter (Heather Sears). Complicating things is his attraction to a married older woman (Simone Signoret). This is a film full of tremendous performances, but it’s Simone Signoret who makes this film so memorable. She is able to make us love her from the start, and the sadness she displays in her eyes is incredibly touching. Room at the Top is an outstanding film that makes some of today’s dramas seems soul-less.   My Rating: Full Price   Room at the Top Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Ted 2: Goose Wrangler

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Mr. Holmes (2015)  PG  Ian McKellen playing one of my favorite fictional characters, Sherlock Holmes. As a bonus, Laura Linney is one of the co-stars.   Mr. Holmes Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Inside Out

Family Faire: Inside Out (2015)  PG   Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is dealing with a lot in her young life; a move from the Midwest to San Francisco, a new school and having to make friends. Good thing she has emotions, Joy, Disgust, Sadness, Fear and Anger to help her cope. This film is destined to be a classic, in-line with other great Pixar films like Toy Story (1995), Finding Nemo (2003) and Up (2009). The film has a brilliantly written script and contains an inventive storyline. Amy Poehler is phenomenal as the character Joy, and Lewis Black is priceless as Anger. The film is funny, a joy to watch (no pun intended) and melts your heart. Though made in 3-D,  it’s not necessary to see the movie in 3-D as it didn't add anything to the experience. Don’t miss this film that the whole family will fall in love with and teaches us, it's OK to have feelings.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See It Again   Inside Out Website
Indiefest: Dope (2015)  R   Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is a geek just trying to survive in a tough neighborhood. His life changes when he is invited to an underground party, and he and his friends go on an adventure of a lifetime.  I enjoyed this film, especially the performance of Shameik Moore, who is a delight to watch on the screen as the geeky and shy Malcolm. The storyline is interesting, and I loved the ending of the film. I didn’t like that Malcolm and his two best friends get involved (not by choice) and are rewarded for distributing drugs. I also didn’t like that Molly’s drug use was seen as okay and a fun way to party. But those problems don’t overshadow that this is a unique film with a very unconventional hero at its core.    My Rating: Full Price   Dope Website
Indiefest:  The Connection (2014)  R  One man, Marseilles magistrate Pierre Michel (Jean Dujardin), makes it his life work to take down one of the most notorious drug smuggling operations in history: The French Connection. This is a well-done crime drama that focuses on the magistrate that tirelessly works to bring down a gang responsible for so many people’s deaths and destruction.  Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche, who plays the drug lord that the magistrate is trying to bring down, are both exceptional in their roles, and their scenes together are full of sparks and high drama. Lellouche does a remarkable job in making us care about a very despicable character. Unfortunately, The Connection is going to be compared to the 1971 film, The French Connection even though they are two very different films. The Connection is an excellent addition to the crime drama genre with two outstanding performances by Dujardin and Lellouche.    My Rating: Full Price   The Connection Info
Indiefest:  The Wolfpack (2015)  R   A documentary on six brothers and one sister who have lived their whole lives inside a New York City apartment. The children have been home-schooled and almost never leave the apartment due to a controlling father. To entertain themselves, the six brothers re-create their favorite films with homemade costumes and scripts.  I enjoyed the film, mostly because the boys are so outgoing, and their re-creations of films are fascinating. I wanted more on their background, and while we do see quite a few home movies, I never felt that I got to know anyone in-depth in the family. The movie also never fully explores the darker side of the father and his hold on his family. There are hints that he bullies the boys and that he might have hit his wife, but these are never fully explored. The Wolfpack is a film that never quite lives up to its potential, leaving me thinking that the boys were merely characters in their own film, instead of real kids trying to find their way in the big, wide world of New York City.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    The Wolfpack Website 
Forgotten Film:  La Cage aux Folles (1979) R   This is a far better film than the American remake, The Birdcage (1996). The plot is roughly the same; a gay couple’s son is getting married into a conservative family, so the couple attempts (very badly) to act straight so that the wedding will go off. This French film is funny, warm and is a combo of a farce and a musical. The film brilliant plays out, becoming funnier as it goes along. The film is worthy of its three Oscar nominations and is a joy to watch.    My Rating: Full Price   La Cage Aux Folles Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Inside Out: Character Modeling and Articulation Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Bronze (2015)     A foul-mouthed former gymnast (Melissa Rauch) has made a living on the fact that she won an Olympic bronze medal. Now she is asked to put her ego aside and help mentor a new up-and-coming star. I love Melissa Rauch and am looking forward to seeing what director Bryan Buckley can do with this material. Buckley has directed some of the best commercials of the past ten years.   The Bronze Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Jurassic World

My View: Jurassic World (2015)  PG-13   It’s been twenty-two years since the fatal accidents at Jurassic Park. Now, the Island features a fully functioning dinosaur-themed park called, Jurassic World. The newness has worn off, and a fresh attraction is needed to re-spark interest. A new dinosaur has been created, one that is larger and deadlier than anything in the park. This isn’t going to go well. While not as magical or moving as Jurassic Park (1993), this still is a fun and exciting film. My biggest complaint about the movie is the character that Bryce Dallas Howard plays, a corporate shill who is so clueless, there is no way she could run a Taco Bell, much less a billion-dollar amusement park. Chris Pratt is brilliant as the outspoken animal behaviorist who is training Raptors to behave. The film is packed with action sequences, and I loved the ending scene. By the way, the film was not shot in 3-D, so save a few bucks and see it in 2-D.  My Rating: Full Price    Jurassic World Website

Indiefest:  Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World (2014)    Surrealist painter H.R. Giger was the man behind the Oscar-winning visual creatures in the 1979 sci-fi hit “Alien.” But he is much more than that including his intricate, startling paintings and sculptures depicting a mixture of birth, life, death and sex. This is a fascinating documentary that mostly takes place during the last couple of years of the late artist’s life. As you would expect, he was a very strange guy who lived in a house filled with his artwork (some of which incorporated human skulls). There are a few quick scenes from the making of Alien (I would have liked more of those), but the film is really about Giger’s life and his relationships (he apparently had quite a few affairs with women). If you are at all interested in his artwork (which influenced many artists), this is the film for you.    My View: Full Price    Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World Website

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):   Pixels (2015)  PG-13   Aliens come to Earth and attack in the form of video game icons. The director of the film, Chris Columbus, hasn’t had a hit since the Harry Potter films, and this one stars two absolute “hams” - Adam Sandler and Kevin James.   Pixels Facebook Page

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blue Ray):  The Duff (2014) PG-13   Bianca (Mae Whitman) discovers that she has been labeled the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by her more popular friends. Now she enlists Wesley (Robbie Arnell) to help her reinvent herself. The film is another in a long line of teen romantic comedies. Mae Whitman is just the right amount of cute mixed in with a bit of nerdiness to make her character likable from the start. While not a remarkable film, it’s extremely watchable due to Whitman, and it makes a very cool “date night” movie.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Duff Website

Forgotten Film: The China Syndrome (1979)  PG   A reporter (Jane Fonda) and her cameraman (Michael Douglas) are doing a “fluff” piece on a nuclear power plant. While on a tour of the facility, they witness (and film) a near meltdown, only adverted due to the quick thinking of a plant engineer (Jack Lemmon). The engineer investigates why the plant almost went into meltdown and discovers a mess of problems at the plant and decides to go to the reporter with the story. Now, all their lives are in danger. There are many  movies made in the late 70s and early 80s that are dated and don’t hold up over time. This is one of the exceptions. Lemmon and Fonda are outstanding in their roles, and the tension builds throughout the film. It’s a film that is still relevant today and is expertly directed by James Bridges.   My Rating: Full Price   The China Syndrome Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Jurassic World: Practical Creature Effects

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Minions (2015)    The minions have been the best part of the Despicable Me pictures. This time they get their own movie, and it’s going to be so much fun.    Minions Website
Until Next Time!


Friday, June 5, 2015


My ViewEntourage  (2015)  R   Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) is now head of a film studio. Vincent (Adrian Grenier) is making his directorial debut, and his film is going way over budget. Can Vincent’s manager Eric (Kevin Connolly) convince Ari to cough up more money to complete the movie, or will the gang have to move back to Queens?  When you make a sequel or a film based on a TV show, it should bring something new to the screen.  Entourage brings exactly nothing new to the storyline. The movie feels a little dated as if time hasn’t been kind to Ari and Vincent. There is a reason the TV show was only 30 minutes long as if it’s any longer, you start not liking any of the characters because they are all too self-involved to care about anything else but themselves. I just didn’t care at all about what happened to any of the characters by the end of the film, and I was almost rooting for them to fail.  My Rating: Cable  Entourage Website
My ViewSpy  (2015)  R  Susan (Melissa McCarthy) is a desk-bound CIA analyst. From her desk, she assists field agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). When Fine goes missing, and every field agent has been compromised, Susan is forced to go out in the field to bring down arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne).  Normally McCarthy is the one who steals the movie, but it’s Jason Statham that steals this film.  He plays a spy who tells stories about his time as an agent, and each story gets more and more outrageous. I enjoyed the film and McCarthy does a fantastic job, especially in the broader, physical comedy pieces. This film, though, doesn’t quite hit it out of the park (it lags a bit in the middle), but it’s fun to watch.  My Rating: Full Price   Spy Website
IndiefestBarely Lethal  (2015)  PG-13   Sixteen-year-old Megan (Hailee Steinfeld) has been training to be an assassin under the tutelage of Hardman (Samuel L. Jackson). She sees how other teenagers seem to be having fun and decides to fake her own death to get away from Hardman. She soon discovers that a teenager’s life isn’t always fun and games.  This could have been a game changer for the teen romantic comedy.  Unfortunately, it is just another in a long line of movies that follow the girl out of her comfort zone toward trying to fit in and having a crush on the popular guy. Seinfeld is believable in the part of an assassin and does the action sequences quite well, and Jackson is fun to watch in his limited role. The film could, though, have been much better if it just had taken some chances.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Barely Lethal Website 
IndiefestLove & Mercy  (2015)  PG-13  The story of Brian Wilson, the talented but troubled songwriter who led “The Beach Boys” to the top of the charts. This is one of the better films of the year. You wouldn’t think that two different actors (in this case Paul Dano and John Cusack) could play the same man at different points in his life and make it work, but this film does. Dan is brilliant as the younger Brian Wilson, who, at the start of the film, has decided to stop touring and concentrate on songwriting. Cusack gives one of his better performances as an older Brian Wilson, who is strung out on drugs prescribed by his psychiatrist. I loved Elizabeth Banks in the role of the woman determined to help Brian escape the controlling clutches  of his psychiatrist (played by the always brilliant Paul Giamatti). This film gives you real insight into the brilliance of the slightly crazy mind of Wilson. It’s an astonishing bit of filmmaking and one not to be missed.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Love & Mercy Website
IndiefestSaint Laurent  (2014) R   Biography drama film about the life of famed French designer Yves Saint Laurent(Gaspard Ulliel).  I didn’t like this overlong, way too artsy film. It’s rather boring, and we never really get to know why Laurent is so tragically hurt. A number of scenes just don’t make any sense, and there are a few that were shot, it seems, just to try and be artistic. The film also spends so much time on Laurent being moody as he draws his designs that I think only someone who works in the fashion industry could enjoy this movie.  My Rating:  Cable   Saint Laurent Website   
IndiefestResults  (2015)  R   Recently Danny (Kevin Corrigan) has come into some big money. He’s bought a house and is living large, but he isn’t happy. He decides to hire a personal trainer and finds Kat (Cobie Smulders), a fiery woman who takes her job seriously. Soon Kat and Danny discover that they might have more in common than just a workout. I enjoyed this quirky little film about two unhappy people who find each other (though it takes quite a bit of time to figure it out).  Cobie Smulders is believable as the trainer who is so driven; she will show up your house to ask you why you missed your workout. Corrigan is very funny as the guy who is just having a good time but knows he is missing something in his life. While not a great film, it’s a film that you will enjoy and getting to know these rather strange people. My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Results Website 
Forgotten Films Nick of Time (1995)  R  A father (Johnny Depp) arrives on a train with this daughter.  They are visiting L.A., but before they can start their sightseeing, the daughter is taken and held by a mysterious man (Christopher Walken).  The father can get his daughter back if, in 90 minutes, he assassinates the Governor of California.  This movie is an outstanding thriller that just keeps adding more and more to the tension of the film.  Depp is at his best and gives one of his better performances. It’s the type of film not made anymore with one man desperately at his wits-end trying to make a horrible decision.  My Rating: Full Price   Nick of Time info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Spy:  Crowd Hair Supervisor

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouJurassic World  (2015)  PG-13  I hear great things about this film (critics that have already seen the film are giving it great reviews). Plus, it’s Chris Pratt and some raptors.  Enough said.   Jurassic World Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 29, 2015

San Andreas

My View: San Andreas  (2015)   PG-13   For years California has been trying to prepare for the “Big One,” and now it has happened. A series of earthquakes occur, and rescue chopper pilot, Ray (Dwayne Johnson), is making every effort to find his daughter (Alexandra Daddario). This is your standard disaster film where California, especially San Francisco, is falling apart due to massive earthquakes. Dwayne Johnson plays a fire and rescue guy who forgets that he is a public servant, passing up thousands of people in need of rescue to go and find his wife and daughter. In this two-hour movie, he rescues a total of four people…four, which is the same amount of vehicles that he flies or rides. The effects are fun to watch and there are a couple of scenes that are spectacular looking (the start of the film is some of the best part of the film), but the storyline is weak and some of the dialogue is laughable. The film is a disaster movie that doesn’t bring anything new to the screen. The film was shot in 3D, but I didn’t notice the 3D effects, so save your money and see it on a regular screen.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   San Andreas Website 
My View: Aloha  (2015)  PG-13  Brian (Bradley Cooper), a former Air Force pilot, comes back to the site of some of his biggest triumphs and his most spectacular failures. As a private defense contractor, he has to work closely with a gung-ho Air Force Pilot (Emma Stone), and against his better judgment, he starts to fall for her. Complicating matters is his ex-wife (Rachel McAdams) who still lives in the area. Watching this movie is like walking into a conversation that has been going on for two hours. It took me a long time into the film to figure out what was going on, and I still don’t know exactly what Bradley Cooper’s job is. Is he a fighter pilot? Is he a computer coder? I just don’t know. I didn’t like how Emma Stone’s character was such a strong, independent woman at the start of the film and then boom, she is in love and can’t do anything without Bradley Cooper’s character. Bill Murray is fun as an owner of a private company that is launching a satellite, but his scenes are few and far between. Rachel McAdams is wasted as the ex-wife of Cooper’s character, and John Krasinski is used even less. There is a comedic scene near the end of the film that is quite funny, but the scene’s tone (broad comedy) doesn’t fit the rest of the movie. This is another one of those films whose cast is let down by the film’s script and director. By the way, there is a bonus scene during credits but like most of the film, I have no idea what is going on during them.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Aloha Website 
Indiefest: I’ll See You in My Dreams (2015)  PG-13   Carol (Blythe Danner) is a widow who lost her husband 20 years ago. Her beloved dog dies, which propels her to make changes in her life. With the help of her pool guy (Martin Starr) and a possible romantic encounter with a rich man (Sam Elliott), she just might succeed. "I'll See You in My Dreams" is that rare film, part romantic comedy, part drama, whose main character is over sixty and a woman. The film doesn't always work, but it's an earnest attempt at exploring the possibilities of life when older and alone. Danner and Elliott have incredible chemistry on screen, and their scenes together are some of the best of the film. I also loved the scenes between Martin Starr and Danner. They work well on screen, and their experience at a Karaoke bar is a lot of fun. The weakest points of the film are when the film tries to go into broader comedy, especially the scene where Carol and her friends try marijuana. Overall, this is a sweet and moving film with some outstanding performances.   My Rating: Full Price   I'll See You in My Dreams Website 
Indiefest: Sunshine Superman (2015)  PG   A documentary about Carl Boenish, who started the sport of BASE jumping – where you skydive off of buildings, bridges, and mountains. I loved this documentary. Boenish is a character and is extremely likable. He gets excited just talking about jumping off of buildings or cliffs. The footage is remarkable as Boenish was an early adopter of the helmet mounted camera. While the film documents Boenish’s attempts to make BASE jumping a legitimate sport (you see how they avoided the police after jumping off of a downtown building), but it’s also a love story, as he finds his future wife through the sport. I highly recommend this beautiful and exciting film that is a blast to watch. It’s a sport that I would never participate in, but I could watch this movie over and over.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Sunshine Superman Website    
Indiefest: Good Kill (2014)   R   Major Thomas Egan (Ethan Hawke) used to fly fighter jets. Now he flies drones from an air-conditioned building in Las Vegas. His job is to hunt the Taliban, and he is very good at it. After fighting a war from thousands of miles away, Egan starts questioning if this war is creating more terrorists than he’s killing. The film tries to explore too many ideas, making the film feel full of stops and starts. The problem is the film never fully explores these ideas with any conviction or purpose, making it those scenes seem just another part of the film. Ethan Hawke, as the brooding pilot is at no time asked to do too much, and much like the character that he plays, it's a lackluster performance. Hawke's character rarely interacts with anyone, never giving him a chance to explore his character. The film never quite connects with its audience, failing to give anything other than a rather predictable story that can't settle on what its message is.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Good Kill Info

Forgotten Film: Reversal of Fortune (1990) The film is based on the true story of Sunny von Bulow (Glen Close), who was in a coma, possibly at the hand of her husband Claus (Jeremy Irons). He is put on trial and convicted. He then hires the brilliant lawyer, Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver). The whole cast is dazzling with Jeremy Irons standing out as the creepy, egomaniac Claus. The story is fascinating, and the tension builds as you, along with Dershowitz, try to figure out what happened.  My Rating: Full Price   Reversal of Fortune Info 

Weird Credits: From the credits of Aloha: Pashto Voice Actor 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Me and Earl and Dying Girl  (2015)  PG-13   It’s the senior year of Greg (Thomas Mann), his friend Earl (R.J. Cyler), and Rachel (Olivia Cooke). Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia and is determined to live a normal life as possible. Any film with Connie Britton and Nick Offerman (who play Rachel’s parents) is a film I want to see.  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 22, 2015


My View: Tomorrowland  (2015)  PG  Two opposites, Frank (George Clooney), a jaded former “boy genius,” and Casey (Britt Robertson), an optimistic teenager, embark upon a mission to unearth the secrets of a mysterious place - a place that, somewhere in time and space, exists in their collective memory.  While I liked the look of the film and enjoyed Clooney and Robertson’s performances, I found the film slow to start and very confusing. I have no idea what was done or why it was done to resolve the plot of the film, and because the plot was so sluggish, I just wanted it the movie to be over. This movie should have been a joy to watch, but it’s filled with too many plot points, way too much talking and not enough real action. I also didn’t enjoy the overall tone of the film, which I felt was a little insulting. The film has quite a bit of violence and I think would be too confusing for small children.  I expected more from this cast and director Brad Bird, who I have admired for quite a while. This film is a big, disappointing mess.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Tomorrowland Website 
My View: Poltergeist (2015)  PG-13  A married couple (Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt) move into a new house with their children. They start experiencing mysterious things happening inside the house. Now, their daughter is missing, and it seems there is a ghost in their home holding their daughter captive. It’s sad when the trailer and even the poster are scarier that the film itself. The wastes the talents of Rockwell and DeWitt, though it does let Rockwell be funny in early, relaxed scenes with the family. The plot is somewhat similar to the original 1982 film of the same name but doesn’t have the thrills and scary moments of the first film. All of the scary moments of this film are the type where something jumps out of the dark at you. The film has numerous stops and starts, never letting the tension build.  While it was shot in 3-D, it’s not worth the extra money. There is a short bonus scene after the first credits that is worth seeing if you haven’t left the theatre to get your money back.    My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Poltergeist Website
Indiefest: Slow West (2015)  R  16-year-old Scottish aristocrat, Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee), abandons his birthright and heads to the American frontier to find the love of his life, Rose (Caren Pistorius). Jay travels across the frontier of 19th-Century America with the help of a mysterious stranger named, Silas (Michael Fassbender). This is a moving, dramatic film that also has a good bit of humor. Fassbender is the reason to see this movie, and he is impressive in the role of the cowboy who takes Jay under his wing. There is great chemistry between Kodi Smit-McPhee and Fassbender, which makes their scenes together the highlight of the film. The film moves along at a steady pace, captures the time period perfectly, has plenty of twists and turns and packs a punch at the end. If you like westerns or impeccable acting, this is a film for you.    My Rating: Full Price   Slow West Website 
Indiefest: About Elly (2009)      Elly (Taraneh Aldoosti) is invited to join three families who go on a vacation to the beach. When Elly suddenly disappears while babysitting the kids, the group of friends begin to search for her. What became of Elly?  This is another fascinating film from the writer / director, Asghar Farhadi, who brought us the Oscar-winning film A Separation (2011). In the beginning, we get to know all the characters, just as Elly does (she is new to the group). Then, Elly disappears, and the mystery and suspense begin to unfold. Farhadi builds the tension until we find out what did happen near the end.  This movie is a brilliant piece of film-making and well worth seeing.   My Rating: Full Price   About Ely Website 
Forgotten Film: Frances (1982)  R  A fascinating film that looks at the life of actress Frances Farmer (Jessica Lange). Lange is brilliant as Farmer, an actress who was highly independent and creative but battled the Hollywood system and lost.  It’s a tragic tale that allows Lange to show her stunning acting range.    My Rating: Full Price   Frances Info 

Weird Credits: From the credits of Tomorrowland: Truck Costumer 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Gemma Bowery (2014)  R  Modern day re-telling of the Madame Bovary story. Any movie with Fabrice Luchini and Gemma Arterton is going to be a winner in my book.   Gemma Bowery Info
Until Next Time!