Friday, September 15, 2017

American Assassin

My ViewAmerican Assassin  (2017)  R  Michael Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) is recruited to become black ops for the CIA. He and his trainer, Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton), set out to stop a mysterious operative nicknamed, Ghost (Taylor Kitsch), who is set on starting a world war in the Middle East.  I liked the action sequences in this film which are well done and exciting. Dylan O’Brien makes for a sterling young hot-head agent, and Michael Keaton as the gruff CIA Black Ops chief is fun to watch because he is obviously enjoying this role. What I didn’t like about this film is that it seems even longer than its almost two-hour length, and I hated the way over-the-top performance of Taylor Kitsch, who plays the ex CIA agent called, Ghost, and who is determined to get revenge. I never got the feeling that he was dangerous, just that his character was crazy. As exciting that the fight sequences are, there are some car chases that are just downright boring. This film is based on a series of books by Vince Flynn, which the studio is hoping will be a franchise like the Jason Bourne or Jack Reacher films, but I doubt we will see any more of this series because this movie misses the mark.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   American Assassin Website  Note: This film is released by CBS Films and I am employee of CBS Television Station Group.
IndiefestFirst They Killed My Father  (2017)  R  Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung recounts her life under the rule of the Khmer Rouge.  This is a stunning and touching film about a young girl who, under horrible conditions, never loses her humanity. Co-writer/director Angelina Jolie brings us a true tale of the unspeakable suffering that the Cambodian people endured under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. This is Jolie’s best work, and the care and affection she shows on the screen for the people of Cambodia and Loung Ung  (Sareum Srey Moch), in particular, is immense. Sareum Srey Moch is dazzling in the role of a little girl who is forced to grow up much too soon, bringing an emotional performance to the screen that is worthy of someone three times her age. Jolie has written this film with an emphasis on seeing the journey through the eyes of Loung Ung, and our heart breaks throughout the film as she struggles to survive an unjust world. I will warn you that there are several very graphic scenes of people dying in fire fights, but that’s Jolie’s intention as she wants to portray war as an ugly, dirty thing, and that families suffer the most during those times.    My Rating: Full Price   First They Killed My Father Website
Indiefest:  mother!  (2017)  R  A couple’s (Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem) love is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their lives forever. This is a trippy and strange film that not everyone will enjoy. This is unlike the usual Jennifer Lawrence film, it’s a movie that is an allegory, so it isn’t rooted in reality. The film is beautifully shot, and I loved all the sounds that this movie has, so make sure that if you want to see this film, see it in a theatre. The film is hard to watch at times, and there are a couple of scenes that are just brutal to watch. This is defiantly a movie that will have you talking about it for a long time after you leave the theatre. Lawrence and Bardem are brilliant in the roles and have incredible chemistry on the screen. mother! is a film that will cause you to think and try to figure out just what it all means. Sometimes we need that in a film, something to make you think instead of just reacting.   My Review:  Full Price   Mother! Website
Forgotten FilmMean Streets  (1973)  R  Two small time hoods (Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel)  are trying to move up in the mob from the streets of New York City’s Little Italy. Both men are destined to a sad and violent end. Robert De Niro, as the psychotic, troubled gangster, Johnny Boy, is mesmerizing in the role. His performance is riveting, and you can’t take your eyes off of him as he gives it all on screen. Keitel, as the hood with a heart, is just as spellbinding in his role. This is a gritty, tough film that set the definition for mob movies and is a treasure to watch.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See It Again   Mean Streets Website  
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-Ray): Paris Can Wait  (2017)  PG  The wife (Diane Lane) of a successful movie producer takes a car trip from the south of France to Paris with one of her husband’s associates (Arnaud Viard ). To say that they are going to take the scenic route would be an understatement. If you are a foodie, this is the film for you. The couple takes a leisurely trip through France, centering their journey on the fine cuisine of the country.  Lane’s character loves food, so much so, that she takes endless pictures of her plates, and we see the results (some of which could grace the cover of Bon Appetit magazine). Lane and Viard play off each other extremely well, and there is quite a bit of sexual tension between the two that builds to the very end. The scenery is beautiful, and the food looks almost too beautiful to eat. If you want to imagine dining your way across France, this film isn’t a bad way to go.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Paris Can Wait Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)Daddy’s Home 2 (2017)  Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) must deal with their fathers (Mel Gibson, John Lithgow) during the holidays. I hated the first film, so why would I want to see a sequel?   Daddy's Home Facebook Page

Weird Credits:  From the credits of American Assassin:  Props: Hair Punching


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Murder on the Orient Express  (2017)  A murder has occurred on the lavish train, ‘The Orient Express.’  Lucky for us, the world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), is on the case. An all-star cast, which includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, and Johnny Deep make this a must see film.    Murder on the Orient Express Website
Until Next Time!

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Friday, September 8, 2017

IT

My ViewIT   (2017)  R   A group of bullied kids ban together when a monster named, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), has taken the appearance of a clown and begins hunting children. This is a coming of age film, so it’s as if Stand by Me or E.T. had been made into a horror film.  Bill Skarsgard makes a scary and riveting Pennywise, the menacing clown who preys on children. The two lead kids, Sophia Lillis, who plays Beverly, a young woman with a bad rep, and Jaeden Lieberher, who plays Bill, a young man who is constantly picked on because of his stutter problem, are outstanding in a cast of superlative young actors. My problem with this film is that all the scary parts of this movie are the ‘jump out of the dark’ variety of frights. While I did jump a few times, I never felt the level of fear that I need from this type of film. The film also gets a little repetitious, as we are shown each kid’s thing that makes them the most frightened. Each time a kid is lured into a situation where they are confronted by their worst nightmare, like a scary painting coming to life, and, then when they are totally frightened, Pennywise shows up to attack. It just gets a little old after a while. What I did love about IT is its remarkable amount of humor. The kids have some awesome lines that help break the tension which makes this film so much fun to watch.   My Rating:  Full Price   IT Website
My ViewHome Again  (2017)  PG-13   Alice (Reese Witherspoon) is a single mom living in Los Angeles.  Her life changes when she lets three young men move in with her. This film was written and directed by a woman, and it shows because Alice is the focal point of this movie, and she doesn’t need to be rescued by a man or have her life fulfilled by one. Alice is a strong woman who, while still figuring out how to make it on her own with two kids, is getting along just fine. Her and her kids’ lives are enriched when the three guys move into her guest house, bringing a new perspective to the home. This is a perfect Reese Witherspoon vehicle that allows her to drive the film as only she can do with spunk and humor. I loved how the film ends, leaving it up to us to figure out where Alice’s life goes next. Home Again is a perfect ‘girls night out’ film but one that also can be a great ‘date night’ outing.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Home Again Website
IndiefestColumbus  (2017)  Jin (John Cho) is a Korean-born man who finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana because his father is in a coma. He meets Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young woman who is staying in Columbus because she has to support her mother who is a recovering addict. Writer/director Kogonada brings us a magical film about family, relationships and dreaming of things that you think can't come true. The film takes place in Columbus, Indiana, the “Midwest Mecca of Architecture,” and its magnificent buildings are the backdrop for this film. Every shot utilizes these brilliant buildings, making you really feel a part of the landscape. What I love about this film is that the two characters slowly peel back the layers of Jin and Casey as their conversations continue. The characters become part of the architecture, interacting with it and exploring it. Casey has even numbered her favorite buildings like a film lover would rate movies. Columbus is a movie that will hold you spellbound as it explores the importance of relationships, the ones that we honor and the ones that we have to leave to better ourselves.    My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Columbus Facebook Page
Forgotten FilmTom Horn  (1980)  R  A legendary cowboy, Tom Horn (Steve McQueen), is hired by a group of ranchers to hunt down a group of rustlers. His methods are too brutal for the turn of the century community. Horn is a man of strong convictions but is stuck in the past, and that just might be his undoing. McQueen, in one of his last roles, is powerful and intense as the grizzled old cowboy. While the story drags at some points, it’s still worth watching McQueen do his magic on the screen.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Tom Horn Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-Ray)Megan Leavey  (2017)  PG-13  Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) is a troubled soul who has lost her best friend. She decides to join the Marines and become a bomb-sniffing dog handler. The bond she develops with her dog allows her to save many Marines’ lives on more than 100 missions. I loved this film about a woman who has no purpose in life until she meets a dog named, Rex, who teaches her how to love. This is Kate Mara’s finest performance, and it’s a brilliant one. Touching and heartwarming, she gives us a woman who fights for her best friend, her dog.  The story is a true one, and that makes the film even more poignant and moving. Skip the recent superhero movies and see a movie about two real life heroes.   My Rating: Full Price   Megan Leavey Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of IT:  Hair for Pennywise/Bill Skarsgard


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouMother!  (2017)  A couple’s (Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem) love is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their lives forever. Although the trailer is very confusing, this is one of the most talked about films of the fall season.   Mother! Facebook Page
Until Next Time!


Friday, September 1, 2017

Crown Heights

My ViewCrown Heights  (2017) R   When Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield) is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend, Carl King (Nnamdi Asomugha), devotes his life to proving that Colin is innocent. Though slow at times, the performance of the two leads, Stanfield and Asomugha, are riveting and insightful. This is a film that will make you angry, at times, due to the injustice of putting an innocent man behind bars with no chance of being released. Stanfield is instantly likable on the screen and does an exceptional job of showing his character's anguish and torment.  Asomugha is even better as CK, a man who sacrifices everything to get his best friend out of jail. Crown Heights is a powerful film that audiences need to see because it will make you think about the justice system in this country.   My Rating: Full Price
IndiefestCity of Ghosts  (2017)  R  A documentary about the efforts of ‘Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently’ movement showing a group of activists who banded together to show how their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. The unbelievable story of a group of courageous men and women who hate what has happened to their country and want the world to know about it. The film is as tense as a fictional spy caper because the activists are on the ISIS hit list. The film gets inside why these men are willing to risk their lives for their country and their families. It’s a brilliant and suspenseful film about heroic men.  My Rating:  Full Price
Indiefest:  I Do…Until I Don’t  (2017)  R  Three couples are the subject of a documentary on marriage. The question is, will any of the couples survive the making of the film? I Do…Until I Don’t is an uninspired mess of a film that rarely is funny and mostly dull and tame. Instead of originality, we get a film that seems to use every plot device of a bad TV comedy from the 80s to try and find laughter. The cast is outstanding with Ed Helms, Mary SteenburgenI, Paul Reiser, Amber Heard, Ed Helms, Dolly Wells, and Wyatt Cenac filling out the cast. I just wish the script had lived up to the quality of the cast. I love Lake Bell as an actress and look forward to her next film that she decides to write and direct, but I hope I never have to see this film again.   My Rating:  Cable
IndiefestThe Fencer  (2015)  Endel (Mart Avandi) is a man with a past that he would like the world to forget. He starts teaching fencing to a group of children, and they want to participate in a national fencing tournament that could endanger Endel. This is a rag-to-riches story about a man who risks everything for his students. He takes children who have never fenced and molds them into a winning fencing team. Avandi is riveting as the world weary Endel, a man who just wants to live his life but is forced to go into hiding in 1950s Soviet Union. Avandi makes the part come alive, and he has great chemistry with the kids whom his character is teaching. I love the fact that the film is based on a true story and that the fencing club he founded is still around. This is a bewitching movie that the whole family can enjoy.   My Rating:  Full Price
Forgotten FilmJack & Sarah  (1995) PG   A recent British widower (Richard E. Grant) hires a nanny (Samantha Mathis) for his newborn child. The reason to watch this film is Richard E. Grant, as he makes you root for a very unlikable character. He and Samantha Mathis have great chemistry, and, while predictable, it’s a movie that you can watch over and over again.  My Rating: Full Price

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Crown Heights:  Art Truck Drivers


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Victoria and Abdul  (2017)  Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named, Abdul (Michael Gambon). I’ll see anything that has Oscar winner Judi Dench.
Until Next Time!


Friday, August 25, 2017

Leap!

Family FaireLeap!  (2017)  PG  A young orphan named, Felicie (Elle Fanning), always dreamed of being a dancer. She and her best friend, Victor (Nat Wolf), escape from the orphanage and make their way to Pairs. Will Felicie be able to follow her dreams and dance at the Paris Opera Ballet?  The film combines beautiful and lavish animation with a storyline that any ballet fan will love. The dancing in this movie is stunning as the animators used footage of real Paris Opera Ballet dancers to make their film feel and look authentic. I love the soundtrack of this film with songs by Carly Rae Jepsen and Sia. Leap! is a movie that will inspire kids to become dancers with its message that you can succeed against all the odds with determination and hard work.  My Rating: Full Price   Leap! Facebook page
IndiefestIngrid Goes West  (2017)  R  An unhinged social media stalker (Aubrey Plaza) moves to LA and figures out a way to become part of an Instagram Star’s (Elizabeth Olsen) life. Not quite a comedy, more like a drama with a few light hearted moments, Ingrid Goes West works because Aubrey Plaza is a chameleon of an actress. You both pity her character at the same time that you are rooting for her against all the odds that she will find happiness. The film doesn't always work but those moments that do work are magical. There is great chemistry between Olsen and Plaza, making their almost instant friendship seem real, though you feel that both characters aren't genuine or telling the truth. The film covers a lot of ground in this day of instant gratification and celebrities that make their living endorsing products online. Aubrey Plaza makes this movie worth seeing and if you follow some of the 'Instagram stars' you just might find that you are unfollowing them after seeing this film.   My Rating: Full Price   Ingrid Goes West Webpage
IndiefestGood Time  (2017)  R  Connie (Robert Pattinson) and his brother, Nick (Benny Safdie), have money problems and decide to rob a bank. The bank job goes bad, and Nick is caught by police. Connie is on the run and wants to, somehow, get his brother out of prison.  Anchored by an unprecedented performance by Robert Pattinson, this is a gritty crime film about a bank robbery that goes bad very quickly. Pattinson, who has come far as an actor from those early Twilight days, gives a powerful and dynamic performance. I don't know if enough Academy Award voters will see this film, but I think he could be on some Indie and film critic awards lists at the end of the year. The cinematography is brilliantly executed and perfectly enhances the mood and feel of the movie. Good Time is an impressive film with a scintillating performance by Robert Pattinson.  My Rating: Full Price   Good Time Facebook page
IndiefestPatti Cake$  (2017)  R  Patricia Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald), aka Killa P, aka Patti Cake$, dreams of being a rapper and being famous. She fights to achieve this unlikely quest in her downtrodden hometown in New Jersey.  Macdonald gives an impressive performance as the young woman who dreams big and is willing to do just about anything to achieve her goals. I'm not a big rap fan, but her songs are outstanding, and Macdonald delivers them with a gusto that is fun and compelling. The final song is one of the best performances of the year in film. Patti Cake$ is a fun experience that will have you rooting for her to succeed.  My Rating:  Full Price   Patti Cake$ website
IndiefestLetters from Baghdad  (2016)  This documentary tells the story of Gertrude Lowthian Bell, sometimes called the ‘female’ Lawrence of Arabia.  She traveled all over the Middle East before, during and after World War I, often going where she was the only female. The Middle East, especially Baghdad, fascinates Bell as she gathers information for the British government. This documentary uses Bell's letters and communiqués to give us her voice as narrated by Tilda Swinton. Actors are used on-camera to portray people like T. E. Lawrence to help chronicle the story. The film uses archival pictures and movies from the period to give us the feel of what it was like to live in that part of the world during that time. Bell was an intriguing woman and an interesting subject for a film, which this movie brings to life.  My Rating: Full Price   Letters from Baghdad website
IndiefestRumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World  (2017)  Packed with compelling concert footage, this documentary explores how the Native American influence helped shape music history, despite attempts to ban, censor and erase Indian culture in the United States. This is an engrossing film about how much Native Americans have influenced rock and roll. From the legendary guitarist Link Wray to The Band's Robbie Robertson, artists who are Native Americans have shaped rock. The film explores the roots of rock looking at artists like Mildred Bailey, a Native American singer who was the first woman to have her own radio show. The film showcases guitarist Jessie Ed Davis, who made legendary music with Taj Mahal in the 60s.  It's a subject that I didn't know much about, but now I'll look at these rockers in a different, more informed light.    My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Rumble website
Indiefest:    Gook  (2017)  Set in  community near South Central L.A. on April 29, 1992, two brothers, Eli (Justin Chon) and Daniel (David So) run a struggling shoe store. The two brothers form an unlikely friendship with Kamilla (Simone Baker), an eleven year—old girl who has cut school, again. It’s the day of the Rodney King verdict, and soon the three will have to decide to fight for their store or flee. Your pulling for the three main characters right from the start as writer/director/actor Justin Chon has created a movie that may seem far away from us but is instantly relatable. The use of black and white, along with hand held cameras allows us to feel like we are apart of this world. We get to experience what it was like to live in a world that was falling apart in front of the people that lived in that area and this film delivers that for all the emotional impact for the full muster.  My Rating:  Full Price   Gook Website
Forgotten FilmHard Eight  (1996)  Professional gambler Sydney (Phillip Baker Hall) takes John (John C. Reilly), a down-on-his-luck young man under his wing and teaches him how to gamble. John flourishes until he falls for a cocktail waitress named, Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow). The reason to watch this film is that it is filled with interesting characters and brilliant dialogue. The plot has a nice twist that you don't see coming, and you actually believe that these characters live and breathe gambling.    My Rating: Full Price   Hard Eight Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Leap!: French Dubbing Artist


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe LEGO Ninjago Movie  (2017)  PG  By day six, young friends are just trying to survive high school, but, at night, they change into ninjas who have been given the task of defending their island home from evil. I loved the LEGO Movie and enjoyed the LEGO Batman Movie, so I am looking forward to this one.   The LEGO Ninjago Movie website
Until Next Time!


Friday, August 18, 2017

The Hitman's Bodyguard

My ViewThe Hitman’s Bodyguard  (2017) The world’s top bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) gets a new client, a hit man (Samuel L. Jackson). The bodyguard has to keep the hitman alive so that he can testify at the International Court of Justice.  If you like car chases and big explosions, this film is for you. Part comedy, part action film, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is action packed from the start. Reynolds and Jackson have marvelous chemistry that makes their scenes together so much fun. Reynolds is a great straight man, playing off lines of the very funny Samuel L. Jackson. The action sequences are brilliantly done, though I could have used a few less explosions. I do want to warn you that this film is filled with extreme violence, lots of deaths and some pretty tough fight sequences. While it won’t be an Oscar winner, it’s still highly entertaining and very funny.  My Rating: Full Price  The Hitman's Bodyguard Website
My ViewLogan Lucky  (2017) PG-13  Two brothers (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver) come up with a wild plan to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.  This is one of the best films of the year, and it already has a place on my yearly top ten list. It’s difficult to describe this movie because it’s a little bit of a lot of things. It’s one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long time, and there is a Game of Thrones joke that had me on the floor laughing. It’s a ‘caper’ film, and it pulls off the caper with lots of twists and turns. The cast is outstanding, so exceptional that I can’t really pick anyone that isn’t superb in their role. Oh wait, yes I can! Seth MacFarlane is horrible as a vain NASCAR sponsor. My critic friends and I came to the conclusion that MacFarlane could have been written out of the film, and we wouldn’t even notice. If you aren’t a big NASCAR fan, don’t worry as the race itself is only a small portion of the film. Don’t miss this astonishingly funny and smart film.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Lucky Logan Website
IndiefestBrigsby Bear  (2017)  PG-13  Brigsby Bear Adventures was a children’s TV show, a show that James becomes addicted to. When the show abruptly ends, James (Kyle Mooney) decides to make the show himself. Director by Dave McCary, a veteran writer/director of Saturday Night Live shorts and co-writer/star Saturday Night Live's Kyle Mooney, bring us an imaginative, funny and sometimes touching story of a fish out of water. While Brigsby Bear doesn’t always succeed, the films ambition and delightful story go a long way to make this an enjoyable, fun film. It’s rare that you can describe a film as charming, sweet and a little disturbing because it contains a story about child abduction, but that’s what you get from Brigsby Bear. It’s an imaginative and original film that sometimes tries a little too hard, but, overall, the movie is worth seeing. After watching this movie, like James, you just might believe in Brigsby Bear too.    My Rating: Full Price   Brigsby Bear Website
IndiefestMenashe  (2017)  PG  Menashe is about a Brooklyn ultra-orthodox widower, Menashe (Menashe Lustig), who, due to his faith, has had to let his sister’s family raise his young son.  Menashe vows to one day raise his son and honor his late wife. This film is in Yiddish and was shot in an ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community. This is a bittersweet tale about a man who doesn’t always make the right decisions but his love for his son is unquestioned. Menashe Lutig has an everyman quality about him that makes him feel real, and you want him to succeed in his quest to get his son back.  Menashe is an enjoyable film about a culture we may know very little about, but anyone can understand the love between a father and a son.  My Rating:  Full Price   Menashe Website
IndiefestThe Midwife  (2017)  Claire (Catherine Frot) is a midwife who is losing her job due to the closing of the hospital where she works. Her life gets more complicated when her father’s old mistress (Catherine Deneuve) comes back into her life. Writer/director Marin Provost gives us a tale of two women: Beatrice (Catherine Deneuve) who has lived life to the fullest, never settling down for too long and at no time worries about who she hurts as she leaves people behind, and Claire, who was desperately wounded as a teenager and has lived her life through her work and her son. Of course, the reason to watch this film is Catherine Frot as the headstrong and cautious Claire and Catherine Deneuve as the flashy Beatrice, a woman who is always looking for someone to help her, especially if it deals with money. Both women play survivors. Deneuve's character does it through looks and flare, Flot’s character does it through determination and focus. The Midwife story may be a little weak and its resolution predictable, but Deneuve and Frot give us performances that we will not soon forget.    My Rating: Full Price   The Midwife Info
IndiefestDave Made a Maze  (2017)  An artist named Dave (Nick Thune) has never done anything in his career. His girlfriend leaves for a few days, and when she comes back to their apartment, she finds that Dave has built a maze in their living room.  The problem is that he is trapped inside and now Dave’s friends must go in and rescue him from his own creation. Bill Watterson makes an impressive directorial debut with the highly creative and amusing Dave Made a Maze. It’s hard to describe this film since it involves the construction of imaginative sets that used 3,000 glue sticks and over 30,000 square feet of cardboard. While Watterson and co-writer Steven Sears should be credited with a very creative script, the stars of the film are the production designers John Sumner and Trisha Gum, who had to lead a team of set builders who use just about every medium in the book, including puppetry, stop-motion animation, and rear projection. You will want to spend some time exploring the maze with this zany cast of characters. Just make sure not to step on any booby traps, or it could be your last film ever.   My Rating: Full Price    Dave Made a Maze Website
Indiefest: The Only Living Boy in New York  (2017)  R   Thomas (Callum Turner) is the son of a publisher (Pierce Brosnan) and his artistic wife (Cynthia Nixon) and has just graduated from college. Thomas is trying to find his place in the world when he discovers that his father is having an affair with a younger woman (Kate Beckinsale). Thomas is determined to break up the relationship and in doing so will change everything he thinks he knows about himself and his family. The film felt much longer than its 88 minute run time; I think mostly due to an incredibly slow narration by Jeff Bridges (he plays a mysterious writer in the film) and long winded speeches that just about everyone gives. I did enjoy Jeff Bridges on screen performance, and I thought Kate Beckinsale was brilliant as the jaded mistress. The story is just too slow moving and very predictable to a great film, and it’s barely a good movie. I think this film about writers needed another one to flesh out the story better.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Only Living Boy in New York Facebook
Forgotten Film:  The Unbelievable Truth  (1989)  R   Josh (Robert John Burke) goes back to his hometown after serving time for murder.  The town has changed, and no one can remember exactly what Josh did, but the whole city, including Josh’s father doesn’t trust him. This is a dark and twisted comedy that plays off of old movie clichés with its tongue firmly in its cheek.  Adrienne Shelly is stunning as Audry, a young woman determined to grow up as fast as she can. This film is filled with weird and strange events that make it so interesting to watch.  My Rating: Full Price   The Unbelievable Truth Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Hitman’s Bodyguard:  Bowser Control

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Home Again  (2017)  Alice (Reese Witherspoon) is a single mom living in Los Angeles.  Her life changes when she lets three young men move in with her.  It’s about time we got a new Reese Witherspoon comedy.   Home Again Website
Until Next Time!


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Friday, August 11, 2017

Annabelle: Creation

My View:  Annabelle: Creation  (2017)  R  Several years after the death of their little girl, a doll maker and his wife let a nun and several orphan girls into their home. They soon become the target of the doll maker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.  If you like horror films that use the jump out of the dark technique to scare you, then you will be pleased with this fourth film in the Conjuring series. While not as imaginative as the first Conjuring film, this movie is far better than the first Annabelle film, and this one gives us answers to how and why the doll became possessed.  The audience I watched this film with thoroughly enjoyed this movie, almost from the start. While not a great film, it’s still a lot of fun if you like to be scared at something creepy coming out at you from the dark.  Fans of the series will want to stay through the first section of credits as there is a short bonus scene.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Annabelle: Creation Website
Family Faire: The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature  (2017)  PG  Surly (Will Arnett) and his friends are back.  Life is good with the nut shop giving the gang a huge supply of food. A corrupt mayor (Bobby Moynihan) is out to replace the park that Surly calls home with an amusement park.  Can Surly rally the gang to stop the Mayor from his plan?  The only time I laughed was during an outtake shown during the closing credits. The film is annoying and other than a Kung Fu fighting mouse, has a bunch of characters we really don’t care about. The kids whom I saw this film with were bored and didn’t pay much attention after the opening sequences. The plot is laughable, and the animation is dark and dingy. While not as bad as The Boss Baby, it’s still not anything you should spend your family money on.  My Rating: Cable   The Nut Job 2 Website
Indiefest:  The Glass Castle  (2017)  PG-13  A young woman named Jeannette (Brie Larson) looks back at her childhood when she was raised by a mother who was an eccentric artist (Naomi Watts) and an alcoholic father (Woody Harrelson) who kept his family moving to avoid the bill collectors.  Based on a true story, the film never reaches that emotional impact that you expect from a movie like this. The film seems every bit of its 127-minute runtime. I think the big problem is that it continually shows how badly the father treated the kids. While he seems to have a good heart, he consistently puts his needs (most cigarettes and booze) over the needs of his family. The film does have a number of superlative performances with Brie Larson playing the grown up daughter who is trying to forget her past and Ella Anderson, who brilliantly plays Jeannette at age 10. Anderson is superb, giving her role depth and compassion. The film just never comes together, and due to its extended flashback sequences, seems disjointed.  Fans of the best-selling book may enjoy this film, and anytime I can see Brie Larson perform is a good thing, but the film never hits the mark, making you feel you watched a very long movie for nothing.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Glass Castle Website
Indiefest:  Escapes  (2017)  Documentary chronicling the life of actor and Blade Runner screenwriter Hampton Fancher. This is a film about a man who isn’t quite as fascinating as he thinks he is. It’s like going to a cocktail party, and one guy tells a story that is an hour and a half long. Portions of the film are boring as a story or two is told that don’t go anywhere. There are times that his tale comes alive, and you see why while Fancher was never a star, kept working as an actor for a long time. The last 15 minutes of the film is about the writing of the script for Blade Runner. If the film had concentrated on this aspect of his life, it would have been a better, more entertaining film.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Escapes Website
Indiefest:  Whose Streets?  (2017)  R  A documentary that looks at how the killing of 18-year-0ld Mike Brown inspired a community to fight back and inspired the world to take a stand.  The film does an outstanding job of letting us see and get to know some of the people who live in this community and care about it. We visit their homes, seeing how they live and deal with the day to day of running their families, all the while trying to make an impact on their community. Whose Streets? is a gritty and sometimes tough to watch documentary that shows you what it was like as part of the community of Ferguson, what they went through and continue to experience. It's a fascinating film that gives you what it was like from the right there inside the protests and the community of Ferguson. While the film is very one sided, that’s the point of this film, the director’s felt only one side was being told. It’s a movie that’s going to make you mad, sad and wonder how we got to this point in our society.   My Rating: Full Price    Whose Streets? Website
Indiefest: Wind River  (2017)  R  An FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) teams with a town’s best game tracker (Jeremy Renner), with deep community ties and a haunted past, to track down a killer on a remote Native American Reservation. The film is a slow moving mystery/thriller that will keep you captivated because Renner and Olsen work so well on screen together. The movie isn't just a solve a crime film; we get to see the pain of losing a loved one so suddenly, how it still affects you years later as Renner’s tracker character has suffered a loss that motivates him to work so hard on this mystery. Renner gives the role both depth and warmth, so much so you instantly like his character. Olsen does a bang up job as the naive but determined FBI agent determined to solve the crime, despite the odds and the weather. Beautifully filmed in a land that you have to move quickly or the snowfall will wipe out any trace of clues. This is a movie where you don’t get lucky, you just survive, or you don’t in an unforgiving land. Wind River a mystery that you will want to solve.    My Rating:  Full Price   Wind River Facebook Page
Forgotten Film:  Raising Cain (Director’s Cut)  (1992)  R  This is a review of the director’s cut that was released on DVD/BlueRay and not the version that was released in the theatre. A prominent child psychologist (John Lithgow) has a seemingly perfect life, a wonderful practice, a beautiful and loving wife (Lolita Davidovich) and a lovely child. The father, the John Lithgow character, decides to take a year off to help raise their child. There’s only one problem:  the father has a secret that could change their family forever. This is a film that messes with the thriller genre and constantly changes the narrative to mess with the audience's minds. It uses humor to make this more of a dark comedy than a thriller, and it works.  My Rating: Full Price   Raising Cain Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Glass Castle:  Child Coordinator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Battle of the Sexes  (2017)  PG-13  The legendary true story of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.  Emma Stone is playing Billie Jean, and Steve Carell is Bobby Riggs, the legendary tennis hustler.   Battle of the Sexes Website
Until Next Time!


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