Friday, April 17, 2015

Ex Machina

My View:  Ex Machina (2015)  R   A computer coder named, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), wins a chance to spend the week at the mountain home of Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the man who owns the company where Caleb is employed. It turns out, though, that Caleb is there to test Nathan's latest experiment, a life-like robot named, Ava (Alicia Vikander). Ex Machina is one of the best pictures I have seen this year and is an outstanding film with a highly creative script. Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson are perfect on the screen together, giving us a great "cat and mouse game" of a film. The story line is rich, and the characters are complex, which makes this film an extraordinary experience. This is a film that will be the standard-bearer of great Sci-Fi films for years to come.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See It Again   Ex Machina Facebook page
Family Faire:  Monkey Kingdom  (2015)  G   A nature documentary about a family of monkeys that live in the ancient ruins of an area of Sri Lanka. This is a funny, sweet film the whole family will enjoy. Narrated by Tina Fey, the film centers around the life of a female adult monkey named, Maya. We follow Maya and her newborn son as they struggle to survive in the jungle of an ancient temple. The film is beautifully shot, and the storyline keeps you riveted as you root for Maya to succeed. The monkeys are fascinating to watch, and you will leave the theatre with a smile on your face. My Rating: Full Price   Monkey Kingdom Website
Indiefest: Queen and Country (2014)    Bill Rohan (Callum Turner) has had to leave his beloved home and family to join the army. During boot camp, he meets Percy (Caleb Landry Jones), and they strike up a friendship that lasts through their next assignment. Now they are dealing with lazy subordinates, crazed officers, and, all the while, looking for love from the local girls. This is a sequel to the brilliant and entertaining 1987 film Hope and Glory (see Forgotten Films below). Unfortunately, this film isn't very funny, and a lot of its characters are mean-spirited. The film only comes alive when Bill goes back home on-leave and interacts with his quirky family. While there are some excellent performances by the supporting cast, both Rohan and Jones disappoint in their portrayals. Jones overacts in almost every scene, and Rohan is dull and lifeless. Instead of making a film about life in the drab 1950s, director/writer John Boorman should have set his film in the 60s, where life was fast-moving and changing.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Queen and Country Website
Indiefest: The Riot Club (2104)  R  Alistair (Sam Claflin) and Miles (Max Irons) are new to Oxford University and make their goal to join the social group called, "The Riot Club. I am guessing that this film was meant to be a biting satire on the excesses of the privileged upper class. Instead, this film leaves a bad taste in your mouth as each member of the club becomes more and more outrageous and gruesome as the night goes on. The film never lets us understand why these characters feel the way they do, which makes the film seem hollow. Most of the characters are unlikeable, which is fine, but we end up not liking even the one character who had some redeemable traits. It's a film that, at the end, I felt that I had just wasted two hours of my time.   My Rating: Cable   The Riot Club Info 
Indiefest:  The Salt of the Earth (2015)  PG-13   Documentary about award-winning photographer, Sebastiano Salgado, who has traveled the world documenting it with his camera.  A moving documentary that, at times, is breathtaking as Salgado's pictures are displayed, most of which are in gorgeous Black and White. It is also a heartbreaking film because a great deal of his work dealt with war-torn areas of Africa. I will warn you that there are quite a few shots of dead and dying people, some due to starvation. Ultimately, it's an uplifting film because Salgado's uncanny ability to get into the heart of a picture, allowing us to see the humanity in his work. The film perfectly captures a remarkable man who has taken some remarkable and vibrant pictures.   My Rating: Full Price   The Salt of the Earth Website
My View: True Story (2015)  R  A newspaper reporter, Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill), has just lost his job due to a scandal. One day he receives a phone call from prison. The call is from a recently captured prisoner, Christian Longo (James Franco), who has been accused of murdering his own family. Michael may regret answering his phone after he gets involved with investigating Christian's story.  At first, the film was compelling as Finkel discovers who Christian Longo is. But the film's use of close-ups, when the characters were interacting in Longo’s prison, was claustrophobic and dull. The film failed to keep me involved with the storyline, and by the end, I didn't care about either character and found both rather uninteresting.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  True Story Info
My View: Unfriended (2015)   Six friends get together via Skype when a seventh unknown person joins them. The unknown person begins to reveal that they know a lot about the group, including that the six friends bullied a fellow classmate into killing herself.  It's a great idea for a film; a movie that takes place only on a computer, with other characters interacting using Facebook, Skype, Instagram, and Twitter. Unfortunately, the movie is let down by a script that is un-imaginative and worse yet, for a horror movie, not scary. The first part of this film works, as the characters interact with each other on one of the character's computer screens. The film starts breaking down when the killing starts, and what started out as an interesting idea becomes tedious and predictable.   My Rating: Cable
Forgotten Film: Hope and Glory (1987) This is a warm, joyful film about a boy living in war-torn London during, “The Blitz.” We see the story through the eyes of Bill (Sebastian Rice-Edwards), who treats the rubble of bombed homes as his playground. His family is full of eccentric people who are trying to deal with a war and all its consequences. My favorite scene in this film is when Bill rounds a corner and finds his classmates happily dancing around the playground because a bomb has been dropped on his school the night before.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Hope and Glory Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Ex Machina: Additional Greens: For Palmbrokers

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Misery Loves Comedy (2015) A documentary directed by Kevin Pollack that asks more than 50 comedians, “ Do you have to be miserable to be funny?”  Misery Loves Comedy Info  
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Longest Ride

My View:  The Longest Ride (2015) PG-13   Luke (Scott Eastwood) is a professional bull rider who is trying to make a comeback and make it to the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) finals. Sophia (Britt Robertson) is an art major who is about to graduate and do an internship at a New York City art gallery. They meet and start dating but only after encountering an old man (Alan Alda) whom they rescue from a car accident. Now their interaction with him will change their lives forever. I liked this film. Yes, it has all the Nicholas Sparks plot points; there is a death, two star-crossed lovers, lovers separated for a time, etc.  What I think is different about this film is the bull riding sequences are well done and exciting. There is good chemistry from Eastwood and Robertson, and Alan Alda makes any film better. I would rank this film third in the Sparks movie list behind A Walk to Remember and The Notebook.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Longest Ride Website  My interview with Nicholas Sparks, Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson

My View:   While We’re Young (2015)  R   A middle-aged couple’s (Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts) lives are overturned when a young couple (Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver) infiltrate their lives. Their world will never be the same. This is an excellent adult comedy about dealing with aging when your mind says you are still 25, but your body says you’re in your late 40’s. Stiller and Watts work well together and have some terrific scenes. Driver and Seyfried are the perfect young couple, full of energy and stupidity. The strong point of this film is the dialogue, which the cast performs at a quick, very crisp and funny pace. Twenty-somethings will like this film, Fortysomethings (and beyond) will love this film. This was one of my favorite films from the SXSW Film Festival.  My Rating: Full Price  While We're Young Website

Indiefest:   Kill Me Three Times (2014)  R    A professional hit man, Charlie Wolfe (Simon Pegg), is sent to kill the wife (Alice Braga) of a wealthy man (Callan Mulvey).  Wolfe soon realizes that he isn’t the only one trying to kill her.  The start of this film is inventive, and I just wish the plot for the rest of the film was as imaginative, but it isn’t.  Pegg is wasted as a steely-eyed hit-man, as the film never gives him a scene where he can shine. I do like Bryan Brown as the police chief that has his hands in everybody's illegal money. The film jumps too quickly from hard drama to light comedy, making the film seeming disjointed. The ending of the film is easy to predict and doesn’t make a lot of sense.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Kill Me Three Times Website

Indiefest:   The Sisterhood of the Night (2015)  PG-13   A teenage girl (Kara Hayward) says she is the victim of a secret network called, The Sisterhood of the Night. Accusations run rampant, and the girls of the network, led by Mary (Georgie Henley), refuse to talk about their group. The film is based on the Salem Witch Trials, which is an outstanding idea, but, unfortunately, this is another film where the superlative cast is let down by a weak script.  Henley just shines on the screen and dominates every scene she is in. The plot is rather boring, though, and never delivers on the intriguing premise. This isn’t a bad film, but it just isn’t all that interesting.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Sisterhood of the Night Website   My ATLFF Red Carpet interview with the cast

Forgotten Film:   Night on Earth (1991)  R   No one saw this Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive) film back in 1991, and that’s a pity because it’s a cool, well-done film.  It’s five short films that take place around the world at the same moment. The film’s common denominator is each film has a taxi ride at its core. The film is bold and gets better with repeated viewing. The cast is mostly made up of unknown actors with a few notables like Winona Ryder and Gena Rowlands.   My Rating: Full Price  Night on Earth Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Kill Me Three Times: Surf Cinematographer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Age of Adaline (2015)  PG-13  I don’t know if this will be any good but the plot, about a young woman (Blake Lively) who after an accident stops aging, looks interesting.  The Age of Adaline Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Furious 7

My View: Furious 7 (2015) PG-13   Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is out for revenge, and he is targeting Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family. It’s time to get the gang back together and take down Mr. Shaw.  I loved Fast & Furious 6 (up to that point, I wasn’t a fan of the series), mostly because writers decided to make the Furious crew superheroes who could fly from one car to another when jumping off a bridge. This film brings more of the same impossible stunts and deadly looking accidents where the crew just walks away unscathed. I liked this film, but I didn’t love it, mostly because while Furious 6 was a new take on the series, this film is just more of the same (and much longer). There is horrible dialogue, The Rock is only in the beginning and ending of the film, and some of the acting is amateurish (looking at you, UFC fighter Ronda Rousey and Iggy Azalea), but it’s still loads of fun to watch. The skyscraper scenes from Abu Dhabi are worth the price of a ticket. If you haven’t seen any of the other Fast & Furious films, you can see this one, as the plot is easy to figure out. The very last portion is a tribute to the late Paul Walker, who died in an unrelated car accident during the filming of this movie.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Furious 7 Website
Indiefest: Danny Collins (2015)  R   Danny Collins (Al Pacino) is an aging rock star who has been self-absorbed his whole life. After given a letter written to him by John Lennon, he decides to try to right the wrongs of his life.  This is the best performance that Al Pacino has done in the last five years. He plays a man who, instead of writing his own material, has been creating very popular songs written by teams of other writers. I loved the cast in this film with Annette Bening giving an outstanding performance as the manager of a New Jersey hotel that Danny stays at and Christopher Plummer, who steals the movie as Danny’s world-weary manager. It’s an enjoyable film with great performances that explores the price of getting famous and then staying there.   My Rating: Full Price   Danny Collins Website
Indiefest: An Honest Liar (2014)    Documentary about James “The Amazing” Randi, a world-famous magician and escape artist who has dedicated his life to exposing psychics, faith healers, and con-artists. For a man who has practiced the art of deception all his life with magic, there is one secret that he is hiding from the world. FULL DISCLOSURE: I backed this film on Kickstarter, as I have been a fan of James Randi for many years. This is a fascinating look at a very complex, smart man. His appearances (shown in this film) on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson were landmark moments in television, and this movie gives us all the background on those appearances where he exposed phony faith healers and so-called psychics. The film does take a hard look at some of the things that Randi has done, and, to his credit, he is upfront and candid about those issues.  I loved the scenes when Randi used to perform his escapes from straitjackets, usually while hanging upside down, as I had never seen that footage of his younger days. It’s an interesting film about an “Amazing” man.   My Rating: Full Price   An Honest Liar Website
Indiefest:  Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter  (2014)  Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi) is a Japanese woman who hates her job, is criticized for being single at 29 by her mother, and has a her only friend, a rabbit.  She goes on a treasure hunt and finds an old VHS copy of the 1996 movie Fargo.  She convinces herself that the money that one of the characters buried in the snow really happened and travels to the U.S. to find the hidden money. This is a strange but interesting film that drags a few times but ultimately finds it’s footing and becomes a film worth watching. Kikuchi has the difficult task of making a character, who isn’t very appealing or likable, someone that you root for to succeed. It’s heartbreaking at times but also inspiring.   My Rating:  Full Price  Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter Website
Indiefest: The Hunting Ground (2015)  PG-13  A documentary about sexual assaults on U.S. college campuses, how universities are not taking the assaults seriously and how a group of student activists are trying to force the schools to deal with the issue.  This a scary, maddening film that makes you want to write letters and make calls to the very Universities that we trust our sons and daughters to take care of. Every year between 16 and 20 percent of college underclass students will be sexually assaulted.  The film looks at how the accuser is almost always treated worse than the accused (even though 95 percent of all sexual assaults are found true). A portion of the film looks at sexual assaults done by fraternities and by college athletes and how the colleges and universities almost always side with the frats and athletes. This is a film that every parent needs to see before they send their child off to school.    My Rating: Full Price   The Hunting Ground Website
Forgotten Film: Rolling Thunder (1977)  R   Major Charles Rane (William Devane) has just returned to Texas after spending years as a POW in Vietnam.  He is given a few gifts by his community in recognition as a war hero.  A couple of thugs break into his home, kill his wife and child and mangle his hand.  Now, Rane is out for revenge and won’t stop until the people who murdered his family are dead. This is a gritty film with a lot of violence, but at its core is an unbelievable performance by William Devane. A very young Tommy Lee Jones plays the vet who Rane enlists to attack the thugs and get his revenge.My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Rolling Thunder Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Furious 7: On-Set Food Stylist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)  R   Retelling of the Mad Max movie franchise with Tom Hardy in the starring role. The trailer looks so cool, and I will always go see anything that Tom Hardy makes.   Mad Max: Fury Road Website   
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 27, 2015

It Follows

My View It Follows  (2015)  R  For nineteen-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), life should be all about school and boys. After having sex in what should have been an innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself having visions and the feeling that she is being followed.  This movie is a scary, inventive horror film that keeps building the suspense until the very end.  The film is very reminiscent of the classic 1978 John Carpenter film, Halloween, right down to a perfectly matched musical score.  I loved the performances of the very young cast including Maika Monroe. If you are a fan of horror or suspense films, you will want to see this one.   My Rating: Full Price   It Follows Website

IndiefestMerchants of Doubt  (2015)  PG-13  A documentary that explores the world of pundits-for-hire who present themselves to the media as experts on topics such as global warming and toxic chemicals. This is an interesting film about the how PR people try to change public opinion by misdirection of the facts.  The film looks at some of the great PR stunts of the last 50 years including that smoking isn't bad for you, global warming and use of toxic chemicals to make our furniture flame retardant. I enjoyed this film as it often takes a reverent look at the art of taking facts and shaping them to fit your argument, making the film a highly entertaining experience.   My Rating; Bargain Matinee    Merchants of Doubt Website

IndiefestThe Wrecking Crew  (2014)  PG-13  A celebration of musicians you have never heard of but have loved their music.  The wrecking crew was a group of session musicians who backed up everyone from Frank Sinatra to The Beach Boys.  This is a documentary about a group of session musicians who recorded a number of hit songs from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. If you like a hit from the 60’s and 70’s and that album was recorded in L.A., more than likely the music on that album was from the artist on the front cover, and more than likely it was recorded by the Wrecking Crew.  (Not sure what you are saying here – “on the front cover” of what?)  The film is a little too long and focuses too much on the filmmaker’s father, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, but it’s filled with impressive stories and some unique characters.  After seeing this film, you will wonder, is it really the artists listed on the album or is it the Wrecking Crew?    My Take: Bargain Matinee   The Wrecking Crew Website

Indiefest: Deli Man (2014)  PG-13 The deli has been the center of Jewish culture in America for over 100 years. One man, a third-generation deli man, Ziggy Gruber, is keeping the traditions and the delicacies alive in his Houston, Texas deli. His story, along with the great delis in America, such as the 2nd Avenue Deli, Nate 'n Al’s, the Carnegie and the Stage, are told in this documentary. I enjoyed this film and its lovable subject, Ziggy Gruber. Ziggy has a passion for the food and tradition of the deli, determined to preserve as many recipes as he can as traditional Jewish delis are disappearing out at an outstanding rate. It’s a film for foodies and be sure to go see it on a full stomach, or you will be looking for a hot pastrami sandwich right after the film.   My Rating: Full Price   Deli Man Website

Forgotten FilmHousekeeping (1988) PG Two sisters are taken on a sudden trip by their mother to visit a relative.  The mother commits suicide, and the two sisters are passed between family members until they end up with their mother’s sister, Aunt Sylvie (Christine Lahti). Sylvie is a little strange, liking to take long walks at a moment’s notice and collecting tin cans. The sister’s lives are changed forever in the care of the Aunt Sylvie.  Lahti is stunning as the free spirit Sylvie. The film is about love and sometimes you can find it from uncongenial places.   My Rating: Full Price   Housekeeping Info  

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Cinderella:  Pumpkin Carriage Builder

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouAdult Beginners (2014)  A young businessman’s (Nick Kroll) company crashes after an unsuccessful launch.  He moves back to the suburbs to live with his sister (Rose Byrne) and her family.  Little does he know; he’s about to be their nanny.   Adult Beginners Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wild Tales

IndiefestWild Tales (2014)  R   Six stories of people who have been or think they have been wronged and seek revenge.  If you liked the old TV show, Tales from the Darkside, this movie is for you.  The running theme throughout this film is revenge, sometimes it works out for the person getting the revenge, and sometimes it doesn’t. This is an imaginative film that continues to surprise you up until the very end. This is a strange and violent film that is one of the most creative and enjoyable films I have seen in the past year.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Wild Tales Website

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): The Transporter Refueled (2015)  A reboot of the popular Transporter series. I don’t recognize anyone in the cast, and not a good sign.  Let’s face it, the only reason the original series worked was the on-screen magnetism of Jason Statham.   The Transporter Refueled Info

Forgotten Film: White Nights (1985) PG  I could explain that plot (expatriate Russian dancer’s plane is forced to land in Russia, then forced to dance with the Bolshoi) but what is important about this film is that you get to see Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines, in their prime, dance!  Nothing else about this movie matters.  My rating: Cable

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Mr. Turner:  Special Effects Teeth

In Case You Missed It (A New Release Out on DVD and Blu-Ray): Song of the Sea (2104)  PG  Saoirse is a child who is the last of the Selkies, a legendary group that can transform from seals into people. Now, she is on a journey to free fairy creatures who are trapped in the modern world. This beautiful and moving film is one of the best-animated films I have seen in the past five years.  It’s destined to become a classic. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Song of the Sea Info

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)  The Avengers was one of the best films of 2012.  Can Marvel do it again?  Let’s hope so.  The trailer looks bonkers.  Avengers: Age of Ultron Facebook page
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 13, 2015


Familyfaire: Cinderella (2015)  PG  A live-action retelling of the classic tale. Ella (Lily James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett) after Ella’s father suddenly dies (Ben Chaplin). Ella’s fortune begins to change when she meets a handsome stranger (Richard Madden) in the woods.  Fans of the 1950 animated film will not be disappointed in this updated version. Lily James makes a very capable Cinderella and has good chemistry with her Prince Charming, played by Richard Madden. The film is fun because of Helena Bonham Carter playing the wacky Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett, playing the wickedly evil Stepmother. Blanchett is the highlight of the film, and it’s very obvious that she had a blast playing the over-the-top Stepmother who delights in putting down Cinderella every chance she can. The film is beautifully shot, and the ballroom dance sequence is breathtaking, mostly because Cinderella’s gown seems to come to life on the dance floor. Kids of all ages will enjoy the film, as the film has humor aimed at both kids and adults. The film has kept the spirit of the original film and has added a few touches of its own to a tale we all love.   My Rating: Full Price   Cinderella Website 

Indiefest: Red Army (2014) PG  Documentary on the legendary Soviet Union’s Red Army hockey team, the team that lost the “Miracle on Ice” Olympic game.  This is a superb documentary on one of the greatest sports teams of all time. The film has larger than life personalities, intrigue (one of the men interviewed is a former KGB agent whose job was to make sure the players didn’t defect), and a unique inside look on how the team operated during the height of the Soviet Union propaganda machine. The main focus of the film is one of the best hockey players of all time, Slava Fetisov, a man of enormous ego and personality. The film is fascinating and riveting, giving you a glimpse into a world we never really understood. This is a film that will delight hockey fans and will keep non-fans interested until the end.   My Rating: Full Price  Red Army Website 

Indiefest: Ballet 422 (2015)  PG  A behind-the-scenes look at one of the youngest ever choreographers who has two months to get a new ballet put together before its premiere.  The film is shot in the “Observational Mode’ style of filmmaking, where there is no narration, and the camera is ignored by its subject matter. For people who love dance and ballet, this film is a real treat, as it gives a look at creating a ballet from the ground-up. The film follows choreographer Justin Peck, a 25-year-old member of the New York City Ballet, as he struggles to find the tone in his ballet. It’s a fascinating look at a profession that few have seen so up close and personal. My only quibble with this film is I wanted to see more of the finished product.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Ballet 422 Website 
Forgotten Film: Swimming with Sharks (1994)  R  A young man (Frank Whaley) wants to work in Hollywood. He gets his chance when he becomes an assistant to a big time movie producer (Kevin Spacey). It turns out; the producer is one of the worst bosses of all time, and it’s time for payback. This film is a dark comedy with witty lines and two outstanding performances. Spacey has a ball playing possibly the biggest jerk in the history of film. It’s a very funny film with a very imaginative ending.  My Rating: Full Price   Swimming with Sharks Info 

Weird Credits: From the credits of Cinderella (2015): Cinderella Foot Double 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Furious 7 (2015)  PG-13 I wasn’t a fan of the Fast and the Furious series until Fast & Furious 6, where the filmmakers said, screw it, we will just make everyone in this film a superhero. All I want to know about this film; will there be another 28-mile runway?   Furious 7 Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

My View:  The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  (2015)  PG   The hotel that Sonny (Dev Patel) manages is now a success, so much so they have only one room available, just in time for Guy (Richard Gere) to move in.  I enjoyed the first film, and it was fun to see actors as Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, and Bill Nighy explore India and its wonders.  This film has very little of that wonderment or exploration.  The film has too many storylines and rushes at the end to tie them all up.  Richard Gere is not given much to do, and Dev Patel’s Sonny is extremely annoying throughout the film.  It’s not a bad film; it just doesn’t bring anything new to the story   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Website  
Indiefest:  Kidnapping Mr. Heineken  (2015)  R   A group of down on their luck men decide to kidnap one of the richest men (Anthony Hopkins) in the world, the heir to the Heineken beer fortune.  The film is based on a true story, and the first thirty minutes are fun and interesting.  There is a great chase scene through the streets of Amsterdam that is thrilling and imaginative.  Unfortunately, the film slows down to a crawl by the time Mr. Heineken is successfully kidnapped.  There is no tension built in the film, and the last portion limps to a very slow and inevitable conclusion.       My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Kidnapping Mr. Heineken Website
Indiefest:  Mr. Turner  (2014)  R The life of legendary artist J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall) considered one of the great painters of the 1800s.  It’s a hard life being a painter and Mr. Turner treats everyone as if they are beneath him.  Mike Leigh wrote and directed this film that takes place over the last twenty-five years of Turner's life. The film plays out in little vignettes, as we see slices of Turner's life. It makes for a rather disjointed film, as you try to figure just how much time has elapsed since the last scene, and Leigh uses his typical character actors to fill out the cast. This allows Spall to dominate the scenes, making his performance even more remarkable. Spall’s performance is outstanding, and it's sad that he didn't get the Oscar nod. Dorothy Atkinson is terrific as the put-upon housekeeper willing to do just about anything to keep her employer happy. Marion Bailey is lovely and a joy to watch as a widow who takes Mr. Turner in first as a border and later as a lover late in his life.  Mr. Turner is a film where the performances are better than the script.  It’s a beautiful film to watch, but there just isn’t enough substance to the script to make this film interesting.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    Mr. Turner Facebook Page
Indiefest:  Human Capital  (2013)    The lives of two families are changed forever when a cyclist is killed on a road by a person driving a Jeep late at night.   This is a stunning film that will keep you guessing until the very end.  The story is interwoven between two families on the opposite sides of the economic and social worlds of Italy.  One family is desperate to become rich; the other family is desperate to keep their lifestyle and status, and both are threatened by the death of the cyclist.  It’s an extremely well-paced and well-written film that keeps the story moving from the first frame to the last.  This is one of those films you will be talking about for a long time.  My Rating:  Full Price  Human Capital Website
Forgotten Film:  The Moderns  (1988) R   A starving artist (Keith Carradine) in 1920’s Paris, is shocked to see the woman he was married to (Linda Fiorentino) is now involved with a ruthless millionaire (John Lone).  The attraction between the artist and his former wife is still there and will complicate their lives forever.  While not a great film, it is an interesting look at a time when the world’s greatest writers and artists all seemed to live in the same city.  Linda Fiorentino gives an outstanding performance as the unlucky in love woman.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Moderns Info

Weird Credits:  From The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:  Crowd Runner

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Salt of the Earth  (2014)  PG-13  Photographer Sebastiao Salgado has taken some of the greatest pictures ever, traveling around the world while witnessing some of the major events of the planet.  Now in this documentary, he goes to discover and document pristine territories of wild fauna and flora.   The Salt of the Earth Website
Until Next Time!