Friday, July 1, 2016

The Legend of Tarzan

My ViewThe Legend of Tarzan  (2016)  PG-13  Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) and Jane (Margot Robbie) travel back to Africa from their home in England. There Tarzan finds that the Dutch government is about to enslave the people of the Congo, and he sets out to stop them.  Let me tell you right off the bat, I am a huge Edgar Rice Burroughs fan (he created Tarzan and wrote over 80 Sci-Fi / Fantasy books), and I was one of the few critics who loved the 2012 film, John Carter (based on another creation of EBR). While this film does leave a few things out, this is closest that anyone has come to capturing the book, with the exception of the 1999 Disney film Tarzan. Skarsgard makes a remarkable Tarzan and perfectly captures his spirit of daring and adventure. Robbie is an adequate Jane, but she isn’t asked to do much more than be the love interest and the damsel in distress. I loved the action sequences, especially those involving the great apes, as finally technology is at a point where techno apes seem real. I didn’t like all the flashbacks, which tell the story of how Tarzan was left in the jungle and how he met Jane, as they have a tendency to slow the film down, and some are unnecessary.  Overall, I enjoyed this movie and hope there will be more.  My Rating: Full Price   The Legend of Tarzan Website
My ViewThe Purge: Election Year  (2016)  R  U.S. Senator Charlene Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) has fought to stop the annual purge, the one day anyone can kill anyone else without fear of arrest. On the night of the purge, she and her security agent (Frank Grillo) are forced out on the streets and must try to survive the night.  I did not like the first film in the series The Purge (2013), but I really enjoyed the second film of the series, The Purge: Anarchy (2014), which was a quick moving “video game” style of film. Unfortunately, the script for this movie is horrible, with predictable outcomes, bad dialogue and some crappy acting thrown in to help make this film boring and almost unwatchable. Let’s hope the studio “purges” this film out of its rotation.   My Rating: Cable   The Purge: Election Year Website
Family FaireThe BFG  (2016)  PG  An orphan girl (Ruby Barnhill) befriends an elderly giant (Mark Rylance) and accompanies him on a mission toward stopping a group of man-eating giants.  This is a beautiful looking film with special effects but a storyline that is rough and uneven and moves at a very slow pace. The story never quite hits the emotional tone that it needs. Mark Rylance does give a warm and impressive performance as the lovable giant who befriends a human girl. I think older kids will enjoy the film, especially if they have read the book, but younger kids might get bored by the movie’s overall length of almost two hours.  And parents are warned, your kids are going to love a scene that is full of farting. My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The BFG Website
IndiefestSwiss Army Man (2016)  R  Hank (Paul Dano) is shipwrecked on a deserted island and is contemplating suicide. He finds a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe) which he then befriends and uses to survive in a unique way. Right off the bat, I will warn you that this film isn't for everybody. It takes a bit of a strong stomach for a few of the scenes and at my Atlanta screening, two couples left at different times, deciding that this film wasn't for them. If you like weird, offbeat films that have a strange sense of humor, then this just might be your type of movie. Dano and Radcliffe do a remarkable job on the screen as the unlikely duo, playing off their great comedic timing and strong chemistry together. “Swiss Army Man” is a different type of film, mixing broad comedy aspects with some very sweet, tender moments and combines a unique script with two strong performances.   My Rating: Full Price   Swiss Army Man Website
IndiefestWeiner-Dog  (2016)  R  A dachshund passes from one owner to another as their lives are impacted in different ways by the dog. The film is written and directed by Todd Solondz, who gave us films like Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) and Happiness (1998). If you like those movies, you will probably like this one, but if you didn’t like those films, you will probably hate this one. As with most of his films, the characters in this film are all unhappy with their lives and looking for something more fulfilling. The film is made up of four stories, all centering around the ownership of a dachshund. The film has a strong cast with outstanding performances by Greta Gerwig and Ellen Burstyn. I enjoyed the 2nd and 3rd sections of the film but hated the 1st and the 4th sections. I especially hated the ending of the movie, feeling that Solondz created this ending (which I saw coming) just to make an impact, not caring if it helped or hurt the storyline. Most of the characters in this film are highly unlikable people, and when the film ended,  I was happy I didn’t have to spend any more time with them.    My Rating: Cable   Weiner-Dog Website
IndiefestTickled  (2016)  R  Filmmaker David Farrier delves into the mysterious world of competitive endurance tickling.  This film starts out very light and funny but, in an instant, it becomes dark and full of intrigue. I won’t go into details; I’ll just tell you the story gets more intriguing as the film delves into the tickling world (it’s weirder than you can imagine). It’s full of twists and turns that’s better than most Hollywood dramas. Farrier tells the tale with a deft touch and builds the tension until the surprising ending. This is one of the better documentaries of the year and well worth the price of admission.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Tickled Website
IndiefestOur Kind of Traitor  (2016)  R  A British couple (Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris) gets involved with a Russian money launderer (Stellan Skarsgard) who soon involves them in a high-stakes journey through Paris, the Swiss Alps, and London.  This is a good old-fashioned spy thriller that fans of novelist John LeCarre will enjoy. While the film does have a couple of action sequences, the film is more about the intrigue that governments get into to spy on each other and the chess games that they play with people’s  lives. I enjoyed McGregor in the role of the professor who is in over his head, but the real treat of the film is Skarsgard, who chews up the scenery with relish as the Russian money mover. He is a blast to watch as he bulls his way to get people to do what he wants. There are plenty of twists and turns in the film to keep you guessing until the end.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Our Kind of Traitor Facebook Page
Forgotten FilmHandle With Care (1977)  PG   The film, when it was the first release, was called Citizens Band. A small town has been taken over by the CB craze of the mid-seventies. A local CB coordinator (Paul LeMat) is struggling to regulate the town’s overuse of their CB’s.  This is strange, funny film that is creative with its use of quick cuts from scene to scene.  The film is filled with interesting, oddballs that make the town they live in seem like it’s inhabited by the residents of a mental institution.  LeMat and Candy Clark are hilarious as an on again/off again couple.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Handle with Care Info

Weird Credits: From The Legend of Tarzan:  Thatcher

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Jason Bourne (2016)   R  Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has gotten his memory back, and people are going to pay.  I like Matt Damon as Bourne and enjoy this film series.   Jason Bourne Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

My ViewIndependence Day: Resurgence  (2016)  PG-13  Two decades after the first alien invasion on Independence day, the Earth is facing a new attack. It’s time to see if Earth is ready for another fight. The 1996 film Independence Day was a fun movie to watch with great special effects (won an Academy Award for them), goofy lines, and actors like Will Smith, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum chewing up scenery like there is no tomorrow. While not a bad movie, this film just isn’t as much fun as the original. I think some of it has to do with the fact the 1996 movie was our time, our world.  In this film, the world has had twenty years to adapt to alien technology and has united in its quest to prepare for the alien invasion part 2. It was fun watching Will Smith fly a 20th-century fighter jet against aliens. Old school technology defeated new tech. Now it’s not our world but a parallel universe, so it’s not us defeating the aliens. I will say that both Pullman and Goldblum give it their all, but some of the new cast, including Liam Hemsworth, just don’t have the star power that Will Smith had. The film was not shot in 3-D, so save some money and see it in 2-D.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Independence Day: Resurgence Website
My ViewFree State of Jones  (2016)  R   During the Civil War, a Mississippi farmer (Matthew McConaughey) decides to quit the Southern army and lead a rebellion against the Confederate army. While watching this film, I looked at my watch thinking the film was about fifteen minutes away from ending. Instead, to my despair, it had only been playing for an hour, and we had an hour and twenty minutes to go. The film is incredibly slow placed. Even the dialogue seems slow people make speech after speech in this movie. There are very few action sequences, and the best one is used in the trailer, so the element of surprise is gone when you watch the scene.  Over the past ten years, Matthew McConaughey has become one of my favorite actors, but he isn’t given much to work with in this role. I didn’t recognize Keri Russell, who plays McConaughey’s wife, until near the end of the film. There is a strange side story that is set in the 1950’s that makes the film stop and start with glaring suddenness and almost no explanation.  If you want to explore that time, rent 12 Years a Slave (2013) or wait until The Birth of a Nation (2016) comes out later this year.     My Rating: Cable   Free State of Jones Website   
IndiefestThe Neon Demon  (2016)  R   Jesse (Elle Fanning) is an aspiring model who has just moved to Los Angeles. She knew that the modeling world would be harsh, but she didn’t know that it could threaten her life. I am not a fan of writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn’s films Drive (2011), which I gave a Cable rating, and Only God Forgives (2013), which I gave a You Would Have to Pay Me to See It Again. This film is all style over substance.  It’s a beautiful looking film, and some of the scenes in this movie are breathtaking, but the storyline is slow, meaningless and confusing. I usually like Elle Fanning’s performances, but she comes off dull and lifeless. Keanu Reeves and Christina Hendricks are both wasted in very small, unimportant parts. The only performance that has some life to it is the one by Jena Malone, who plays a makeup artist who befriends Jesse. Several people walked out of our screening during scenes of necrophilia and cannibalism.    My Rating: Cable   The Neon Demon Website
IndiefestArt Bastard  (2016)   A documentary that tells the fascinating story of New York painter Robert Cenedella, a contemporary of Andy Warhol. It’s an intriguing story of family secrets, money, fame and an artist who refuses to compromise.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film about one of the art world’s most talented and outspoken artists.  Cenedella doesn’t just paint for painting sake; he makes commentary on life inside his paintings. His paintings are full of satire and often use his beloved New York City as the setting of his work. The film does a superb job of showing us Cenedella’s artistic ability, where the camera goes in tight on his paintings (most of which are enormous) so that we see each and every face in crowds.  Cenedella is a fascinating man, with a rich history of stories about his life and his work. Art Bastard does a wondrous job of letting us get to know the artist’s work and his life.    My Rating: Full Price   Art Bastard Website
My View: The Shallows (2016)   PG-13   A young pro surfer, Nancy (Blake Lively), takes a break from medical school and surfs on a secluded beach in Mexico. The beach and the waves are perfect; that is until an enormous great white shark attacks Nancy. She takes refuge on a rock 200 yards from shore and must now figure out show to outfox the shark and get back to shore in one piece. This is a splendid thriller/escape genre film with a little dash of suspense/thrills mixed in. This movie is a death match between Blake Lively’s character and a massive shark that is pissed off and isn't leaving anytime soon. The film moves at a swift pace, and the action sequences (though a little unbelievable) are fun and thrilling to watch. I enjoyed Lively’s performance, as she looks the part of a surfer girl that has the guts and the smarts to survive. If you liked Jaws and it’s shark, then see his great grandchild terrorize a young woman in Mexico. Nancy doesn’t need a bigger boat, just a larger surfboard.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    The Shallows Website
Forgotten FilmRachel, Rachel  (1968)  R  Rachel (Joanne Woodward) is a 35-year-old school teacher who has never been married, doesn’t have a man in her life and she still lives with her mother.  When Nick (James Olson), an old high school friend, comes back into town, her world starts crumbling.  This is a very stark and understated film about taking chances and learning from your mistakes. Woodward is brilliant as the downtrodden school teacher who can’t win for losing, which makes us fall in love with her, hoping that she will succeed in life. Woodward’s dazzling performance was undoubtedly aided by the fact that her husband, Paul Newman, directed the film.  My Rating: Full Price   Rachel, Rachel website   

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Free State of Jones: Hair Puncher

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Life, Animated (2016)  R   A documentary about an autistic boy and his family who learn to communicate with each through the animated films of Disney.  The film was a big hit at the Sundance Film Festival, and I have not seen one bad review. This beautiful, touching film has been winning audience awards at a number of film festivals.   Life, Animated Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Finding Dory

Family FaireFinding Dory  (2016)   PG  It’s been six months since the gangs last adventure, and suddenly Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) remembers stuff from her childhood. She remembers something about “the Jewel of Morro Bay. Dory takes off on an another adventure with Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks) in tow, this time, to find her family. While not as perfect as Finding Nemo was, it’s still a beautiful, funny and touching film that has an incredibly meaningful message about overcoming disabilities by having faith in yourself and your ability to persevere. Both kids and adults are going to fall in love with this film, and the 3-D animation is worth the extra bucks. There is a whole host of new characters in this movie with Ed O’Neil as a crusty octopus being the standout. This film has lots of heart, and you just might find yourself seeing it more than once. There is a small bonus scene after all the credits, and I really enjoyed the short film, Piper, about a baby bird learning to eat on his own that played before the feature film.   My Rating: Full Price    Finding Dory Website
IndiefestGenius  (2016)  PG-13  The story of Max Perkins (Colin Firth), who worked for the famous publishing house Scribner, oversaw  some of the greats writers of all time, including Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West)  and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce.) Now a new author is on the scene, Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), and Max is going to be challenged like never before. I enjoyed this film about the close and sometimes contentious relationship between brilliant writer and his equally brilliant editor. It’s a unique partnership, and Firth and Law are up to the task. Law portrays Wolfe as a man who is so full of life that he can’t contain himself, Firth portrays Max as an almost the exact opposite, a man who is fully in control of himself and his surroundings, his only quirk is that he rarely takes off his hat. Both men are brilliant in the roles. Law chews up scenery like it’s his passion and that ok for this part, as Wolfe was a larger than life personality that commanded and demanded attention. Firth is perfect as the restrained Max, who only wants his writers to produce their best work and is willing to give it his all to see that they do. My only quibble with this film is the part that Nicole Kidman plays. She portrays the lover and benefactor of Wolfe, and it seems that her part is there only to move to plot along at times or to show what the future of Max’s relationship with Wolfe will be, but that’s a minor aspect of the film. What this movie does the best is show us the incredible talent that Thomas Wolfe had, letting his words just flow on the screen. If you love books and reading, this is a film that you will want to explore. My Rating:  Full Price   Genius Website
IndiefestDe Palma  (2016)  R  This is a documentary about the writer and director, Brian De Palma, who directed some of the greatest films of the Twentieth century including Carrie and The Untouchables.  I have never been a big fan of Brian De Palma’s movies, though I do like The Untouchables and Sisters is one of my Forgotten Films, but I enjoyed this documentary and found it fascinating as De Palma goes through his entire career. He is extremely frank and probably hurts quite a few filmmakers and especially, some actors feelings. De Palma has always been accused of ripping off the work of Alfred Hitchcock and in this film he basically says, “yeah, so what?” The film goes back and explores this concept throughout his career, and we do see how much he was influenced by Hitchcock, especially what many consider his masterpiece, Vertigo. I have much more respect for De Palma and his craft because he never sold out to Hollywood but always stayed true to his work. Even if you aren’t a movie buff, you will thoroughly enjoy this documentary about a fascinating man who loved his work.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   De Palma Website
Forgotten FilmThe Last American Hero  (1973)  PG  Junior (Jeff Bridges) is a bootlegger who works alongside his brother (Gary Busey)  for their father (Art Lund).  When Junior’s dad is arrested, Junior decides to go on the racing circuit to make some money. There are some thrilling races in this film and Bridges gives a sizzling performance as the brash Junior.  The supporting cast works well in this movie, especially Valerie Perrine, who plays a girl that’s never met a stock car driver she did like.  It’s a fun story that works because of the winning performances of the cast.  My Rating: Full Price    The Last American Hero Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Finding Dory: Music Copyist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Legend of Tarzan (2016)  PG-13  Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) is called back home to Africa when he hears of natives being treated unfairly by a mining company.  As a kid, I read every book that Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) wrote, so I am looking forward to this film. Plus, the film has a killer cast including Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Djimon Hounsou, and Jim Broadbent.   Legend of Tarzan Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Conjuring 2

My View The Conjuring 2  (2016)  Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) head to North London to battle malicious spirits that are terrorizing a single mom and her four kids. I loved the first film because it truly was scary and had some great acting, both rare for horror films. While this movie is a slight letdown from the first, it still delivers scary scenes, and it still has Farmiga and Wilson in the lead roles. The film stalls a little in the middle, but the opening and closing scenes are chilling and move at a quick pace. Vera Farmiga gives a stunning performance as the paranormal investigator who can talk to the spirits and demons that terrorize families and homes. If you like horror films. this is the one for you.  You will be in for a wild ride.    My Rating;  Full Price    The Conjuring 2 Website
My ViewNow You See Me 2  (2016)  It’s been eighteen months since the Four Horsemen stole all that money from a Paris bank. They decide to make a comeback appearance, but their plans are thwarted by a tech prodigy (Daniel Radcliffe). He threatens to kill them if they don’t pull off a major heist. I liked the first film, mostly for the magic scenes which I thought were creative and fun. That’s the problem with this film: it’s a movie about magicians that doesn’t have any magic in it. The closest to believable magic in the movie is when the cast throws a playing card around during a heist. The film is boring, predictable and just not much fun. I did enjoy Lizzy Caplan’s performance as Isla Fisher’s replacement in the “Four Horsemen” because she looks like the only one in the cast who is having a good time. Most of the cast look like they are just going through the motions for a big paycheck. It makes me wonder if Isla Fisher didn’t really appear in the film because she was pregnant but because it was such a bad script.    My Rating: Cable    Now You See Me 2 Website
IndiefestMaggie’s Plan  (2016)  Maggie’s (Greta Gerwig) life turns upside down when she falls for a “ficto-critical anthropologist” named, John (Ethan Hawke), who is in an unhappy marriage with Georgette (Julianne Moore). John leaves Georgette, but soon Maggie realizes that John just might not be the man for her. She hatches a plan to get Georgette and John back together. While Maggie’s Plan is rarely laughing out loud funny, it is a sly, humorous look at a modern-day woman and the choices she makes in her life. Julianne Moore is priceless as John’s wife, Georgette, who has a personality full of hostility that dominates everything in the room. I am sure that Rebecca Miller wrote this film with Greta Gerwig in mind because I would have a hard time with anyone else in the role. Gerwig has great comedic timing that the movie uses to the utmost. She gives us a memorable performance where she commands you to concentrate on her character even when you have scene stealers like Rudolph and Moore up on the screen. Gerwig gives a performance that, while sweet, doesn’t go overboard, making us root for Maggie even more. Maggie’s Plan is a funny and surprisingly moving film that capitalizes on sharp, witty writing and cast that gives us as a pleasurable and gratifying film centered around a woman. We need more of these type of films, and I hope Rebecca Miller keeps giving them to us.   My Rating: Full Price     Maggie's Plan Website
Indiefest:  Dheepan  (2015)  Dheepan (Jesuthasan Antonythasan) leaves his life as a Tamil Tiger soldier during the last days of the Sri Lankan Civil War. He buys the passport of a dead man and, along with a woman (Kalieaswari Srinivasan) he doesn’t know and her child, travels to France to start over. There he gets a job as a caretaker of a building in a housing project that turns out is its own war zone.  Jesuthasan Antonythasan and Kalieaswari Srinivasan give moving performances that are multi-layered and thrilling to watch. The film is full of brilliant slices of life in an area of Paris that feels more like a war zone than a suburb. This is a film that will stay with you for days because it’s a movie that has complex issues at every turn of the story, and those issues don’t really have a solution. This is a fascinating film that keeps you guessing until the end.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See It Again    Dheepan Website
Forgotten FilmStay Hungry (1976)  The mob has bought every house in a district to rebuild it. Every building is purchased but one, a small gym where Mr. Austria Joe Santo (Arnold Schwarzenegger) prepares for a major body building competition. Jeff Bridges plays a rich kid named, Craig, who is brought in to be a patsy to buy the gym. He quickly likes the people in the gym, especially Joe’s friend, Marie (Sally Field). He decides to stand up to the mob with the help of his new found bodybuilding friends. While not a great film, it was the director, Bob Rafelson’s favorite film because they had so much fun making it. Bridges and Field are a delight to watch and have great chemistry. Arnold isn’t the best actor in this film, but it’s fun to see him in his bodybuilding prime.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Stay Hungry Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Now You See Me 2:  Charge Hand Dressing Prop

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouSwiss Army Man (2016)  A man (Paul Dano) is stranded in the wilderness and finds a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe) he uses to help him get back home. This film looks and sounds so weird that it has to be seen.    Swiss Army Man Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

My ViewPopstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)  R  Conner4Real (Andy Samberg) is a world-famous recording artist. A documentary team follows Conner as he undergoes the reuniting with his old boy band, “The Style Boyz.” If you are a fan of the Lonely Island videos that pop up from time to time on Saturday Night Live, then you will love this film because it’s really one long music video. The music videos that Lonely Island usually does are funny, but there just isn’t enough material to fill out an 87 minute movie. There are some very funny bits in this film, but they are too few and far between to keep the film moving. I did enjoy the numerous cameos by a whole host of musical stars. I especially enjoyed the performances of Mariah Carey and Usher. About half-way through the film I was hoping that Popstar would just stop. My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Website   

IndiefestMe Before You  (2016)  PG-13  Lou (Emilia Clarke) has lost her job, and there aren’t a lot of prospects in her small town. She is forced to get a job as a caretaker for Will (Sam Claflin), who is wheelchair-bound after a motorcycle accident. This career move will change both their lives forever. Be sure to bring lots of tissues because you are going to need it. I really enjoyed this film, mostly due to the impressive and highly likable performance by Emilia Clarke. She lights up the screen and is an absolute delight to watch. There is a marvelous chemistry between Clarke and Claflin, making their attraction to each other seem real and believable. The storyline is sweet but also sad, so be warned. My Rating: Full Price   Me Before You Website

IndiefestDark Horse  (2015)  PG  In an old mining town in Wales, a group of friends decide to take on the elite “sport of kings” and breed themselves a racehorse, a horse named, “Dream Alliance”. “Dark Horse” isn't just about horse racing, it's about the power of animals to help us heal, to feel better and bring people together. It's an uplifting film that will bring a tear to your eye from time to time. It's also a “Rocky” tale of a working class group of people taking a “working class” horse, that has no way of winning in the high-price stakes of racing, and turning their world on its ears, because not only does this horse win, it wins big. I loved this warm and uplifting film. The love between the horse and its owners is almost overpowering. Each and every one of them felt that Dream was part of the family. “Dark Horse” is about beating the odds and, as long as you believe in yourself, you can succeed. If you like rooting for the underdog or the little guy, this is the film for you. “Dark Horse” is a winner no matter how he places in the race.   My Rating: Full Price   Dark Horse Facebook Page    

IndiefestPresenting Princess Shaw  (2015)  Documentary about a young woman from New Orleans whose songs on YouTube are turned into viral hits by an Israeli composer/video artist Kutiman. Princess Shaw was a wannabe singer who worked at a nursing home. She posted videos of her singing but had only twenty followers. One of her videos is seen by a world famous video artist who turns her song into a music video. There is a great scene in the film when she realizes that someone has taken her song and people are watching it. Her joyful reaction is just beautiful to watch. If you enjoy music and wonder how some of the YouTube music videos are made, this film is for you.  My Rating:  Full Price   Presenting Princess Shaw Website

Forgotten FilmStraight Time  (1978)  R  Max (Dustin Hoffman) is a lifetime criminal. He gets released from prison and decides to go on the straight and narrow. The world seems determined to make sure that Max doesn’t succeed, but soon, Max is back to his criminal ways. Hoffman is brilliant as the doomed Max, and he is helped by an outstanding supporting cast including M. Emmet Walsh as a creepy parole officer who is determined to make sure Max doesn’t find a job. This is a gritty look at the world of a criminal and how hard it is for someone to overcome their past.   My Rating: Full Price   Straight Time Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Me Before You:  Weather Consultant

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Free State of Jones  (2016)  R  During the Civil War, a Mississippi farmer (Matthew McConaughey) decides to quit the Southern army and lead a rebellion against the Confederate army.  It is interesting how I used to detest McConaughey’s movies and now I can’t wait to see them.   Free State of Jones Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass

My ViewAlice Through the Looking Glass (2016) PG  After being away for three years, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland to save her friend, The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). I hated the first film of the series, Alice in Wonderland. I can say that this film is better than the first, but it’s still a bad film. The film is too long with its almost two hour run time. I didn’t care about the characters in the first film, and I certainly don’t care about what happens to The Mad Hatter or Alice. I enjoyed the beginning, though, as Alice, captain of her father’s ship, evades pirates by navigating through a perilous reef. Unfortunately, the film goes downhill from there with a storyline that is boring and un-imaginative. It’s sad when the one character you really like is a church mouse that is rarely on-screen. The movie was not shot in 3-D, so save your money.   My Rating: Cable   Alice Through the Looking Glass Website
My View:  X-Men: Apocalypse  (2016)  PG-13  An ancient cyber-mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) has awakened and plans on using his Four Horsemen to take over the world.  It’s up to the X-Men to stop him and his team. This is a film where you walk out of the theatre and go “blah.” It’s not a bad movie; it just doesn’t bring anything new to the table. I knew almost from the start how the film was going to end. The only actor in this film I was interested in watching was Michael Fassbender because his Magneto character was one of the few that wasn’t entirely predictable. While the film was shot in 3-D, I didn’t think it was used to capitalize on the effect, so save the money. There is a scene after all the credits that may just set up a few of the next Marvel films, so stay till the final credits.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   X-Men: Apocalypse Website
IndiefestLove & Friendship  (2016)  PG  Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) decides it’s time for her and her daughter to find husbands. She will manipulate anything and anybody to make that happen.  You don’t normally equate funny with Jane Austin but this film surprised me on just how fun and whimsical it is. Beckinsale is a delight as the woman who seemingly pulls all the strings to better her situation. She has excellent comedic timing, delivering lines with droll delivery that just kills every time. The film moves at a ripping pace, and it’s a blast to watch. If you are a fan of Jane Austin, you will love this farcical tale.  My Rating: Full Price   Love & Friendship Website
IndiefestWeiner  (2016)  R  Documentary on disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s campaign for mayor of NYC.  Weiner was a fast rising Democratic congressman who was brought down by a texting scandal in 2011 that was fodder for late night talk show hosts. This is a fascinating film that is, at times, hilarious, cringe-worthy, and, very often sad. Right from the start the filmmakers are given access that no other politician would allow. While Anthony Weiner is the front and center character of the film, the far more fascinating person in the film is Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife. When the film opens, the husband and wife are playing with their child, but there is almost no interaction between Anthony and Huma. Most of the conversations that they have on camera are short and one-sided with Anthony doing most of the talking.  It’s a brilliant film that even the filmmakers are amazed at the amount of access they have gotten. Near the end of the film, one of the filmmakers asks Weiner off camera, “Why did you let us film this?” Weiner doesn’t have an answer, and we don’t either, but we get a movie that is mesmerizing to watch.   My Take: Full Price    Weiner Website
Indiefest:  The Lobster  (2016) R   Set in the near future, David (Colin Farrell) is at “The Hotel” where he has 45 days to find a partner.  If he doesn’t find one, he will be turned into an animal of his choice. I liked this film and loved Colin Farrell performance but this is a film that not everyone is going to be comfortable with or even enjoy. It’s funny at times but it also has some truly sad parts and you never know where it is going to go next. Part comedy, part satire, and occasionally mean-spirited, the film is a mix that while doesn’t always hit the mark, it keeps trying. A bit of warning, there are several animals that are killed on screen.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Lobster Website
Forgotten FilmTrespass (1992)  R  Bill Paxton and William Sadler play two firemen who find a map in a burning apartment of an old man who confesses that he stole a collection of old gold artifacts from the church many years ago. The two men get caught with the gold in an old building by a gang. Now the fireman are going to have to fight their way out in order to keep the gold and their lives. Action is what makes this movie worth watching. Walter Hill, who directed 48 Hours and The Warriors, knows how to direct action sequences and there are plenty in this film. I also really enjoy Bill Paxton’s performance as the straight laced fireman who decides his future is more important than his present.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Trespass Information

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Alice Through the Looking Glass:  Thatcher

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Captain Fantastic  (2016)  R    A father (Viggo Mortensen) has been living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest with his six kids. His wife dies while visiting her parents, and now the family must travel to the big city for the first time for the funeral. The film did really well at the Cannes Film Festival and director Matt Ross won the Director to Watch award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.    Captain Fantastic Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Angry Birds Movie

Family Faire:  The Angry Birds Movie  (2016)  Red (Jason Sudeikis) has an incident at kid’s birthday party and is sentenced by a judge to take anger management classes. There he meets the teacher, Matilda (Mya Rudolph), Chuck (Josh Gad), Bomb (Danny McBride) and Terence (Sean Penn), all of who soon go on an adventure with Red.  I hated this very unfunny and annoying movie. I didn’t like that several times there were very inappropriate adult puns uttered by the birds. The only thing going for this film is that the animation is very cool looking, and it was done with 3-D in mind. Let’s put it this way; I looked at my watch thinking the film had about 10 minutes left but discovered  it was only half way through. The film made me angry, angry enough to give the film the bird.    My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   The Angry Birds Movie Website 
My ViewNeighbors 2: Sorority Rising  (2016)  Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are expecting their second child and need a bigger house.  The problem is they are never going to be able to sell their current house with the new neighbors next door, a hard partying sorority, led by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz). Mac and Kelly are going to need reinforcements, and Teddy (Zac Efron) is the man for the job.  I didn’t like the first one, as there were some funny parts, but that film never could keep its momentum. I feel the same about this film; I think mostly because I don’t like Mac and Kelly. Why should I root for them when I don’t like them? I did like Zac Efron’s performance, though.. He is consistently funny in the part of the un-grown-up frat boy. Efron is willing to make himself look ridiculous or stupid on the screen, and most of the time it works. I usually love Chloe Grace Moretz performances, but, to me, she mailed this one in. Do not take the kids as there is lots of drug use, a bit of nudity, cartoon-like violence and lots of cussing.   My Rating: Cable   Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Website
Indiefest:  The Nice Guys  (2016)  In 1970’s Los Angeles, private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) must work with enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) to find a missing girl. Along the way, they just might run into a few problems like stumbling onto a conspiracy that could get them killed. Co-written and directed by Shane Black, The Nice Guys is a laughed-filled, action-packed, good old-fashioned film noir mystery where Crowe, and especially Gosling, shine. Crowe plays the straight man to Gosling’s goofy Holland. Jackson is a part that isn’t easy to do, but Crowe plays off Gosling brilliantly, giving his character a world-weary menace. Gosling shows a talent for slapstick, bringing to mind Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau. Some of the best scenes in the film involve Gosling just falling, and he does it a lot…off rooves, down hills, and even across rooms. Black’s script, co-written by Anthony Bagarozzi, takes us on a very complex and funny adventure into the seedy world of bars, pornography, and, wait for it, car manufacturing. The dialogue is quick and witty with some great cultural references of the 70’s mixed in. Like Black’s under-appreciated 2005 film, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys perfectly captures the quirky pulp fiction style of filmmaking, combined with impressive action sequences, sidesplitting comedy and superb performances from Gosling and Crowe.    My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   The Nice Guys Facebook Page
IndiefestThe Meddler  (2016)  A recent widow, Marnie (Susan Sarandon), needs a project to keep her busy, so why not be in every aspect of her single daughter’s (Rose Byrne) life? While surrounded by a supporting cast that includes Jason Ritter, Michael McKean, Lucy Punch, Cecily Strong and Jerrod Carmichael, it’s Susan Sarandon’s film, with a great deal of help from Byrne and Simmons. Sarandon is phenomenal as the big-hearted, well-meaning Marnie. Sarandon has one of those rare qualities that almost as soon as she appears on the screen we like her character and want her to succeed in whatever quest she is on. She plays well off Rose Byrne, making their characters back-and-forth banter feel natural. Sarandon has equally exceptional chemistry with Simmons, making their attraction seem unique. As with the recent films, I’ll See You in My Dreams and Hello, My Name is Doris, The Meddler gives us hope that Hollywood will continue this trend of making films about strong, older women and women who are re-inventing their lives for the better. I don’t know about you, but I could use some of Marnie’s advice right now.   My Rating: Full Price   The Meddler Website
Forgotten FilmCinderella Liberty  (1973)  A sailor (James Cann) is without a ship and money because the Navy has lost his papers. He meets a hooker (Marsha Mason) and her nine-year-old son (Kirk Calloway). They latch onto each other and things seem to be working until an old Navy buddy comes to town and shakes things up. This is a slightly flawed film (a little too by the books about the hooker with a heart of gold) but is worth watching because of the performance of Marsha Mason. Mason’s hooker is full of bluff, but we can see that below the surface she is full of doubt and fear.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Cinderella Liberty Info

Weird Credits:   From the credits of The Nice Guys:  Body Painter

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouWeiner  (2016)  Documentary on disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s campaign for mayor of NYC. I haven’t seen one bad review of this film. It’s won some pretty impressive awards already including the Grand Jury Prize for Documentaries at this year's Sundance Film Festival.   Weiner Info
Until Next Time!