Friday, November 9, 2018

Dr. Seuss' The Grinch

Family Faire:  Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch  (2018)  PG  T  he Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) lives a solitary life with his loyal dog Max. The cynical grump goes on a mission to steal Christmas from the residents of Whoville. Kids are going to love this colorful and funny film. Adults, especially fans of the old 60s TV special maybe a little bored by the story that covers no new ground. I did love the Grinch’s dog Max, who steals the movie with his antics. Cumberbatch, doing the voice of The Grinch is almost unrecognizable in the role.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Website
My View: The Girl in the Spider’s Web  (2018)  R      Computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) is back on the prowl dispensing her style of justice. With journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason), Lisbeth gets caught up in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials. So this film takes place three years after the third book (and the third Swedish films). I really enjoyed Claire Foy’s performance as she perfectly captures the fire and ice of Lisbeth’s personality. It was a little jaring getting used to a much younger Mikael Blomkvist, and though he isn’t given that much to do, Sverrir Gudnason is fine in the role. The action sequences were well done and the several chase sequences are fast and exciting. I am a big fan of the Swedish trio of films starring Noomi Rapace and I think this film is equal to those films. It is certainly better that the 2011 American version.  My Rating:  Full Price   The Girl in the Spider's Web Facebook page
Indiefest: The Great Buster  (2018)  Documentary on who is considered one of the greatest silent film comedians, who at the height of his fame, lost control over his movies and ‘talkies,’ film with sound brought his downfall. Directed by Academy Award nominee and film historian Peter Bogdanovich, The Great Buster is a loving look at one of the greatest filmmakers of the silent era. Using interviews with friends and family, vintage photos and footage from his numerous films, Bogdanovich lets us get to know Buster, warts and all. What I loved about this film, is that Bogdanovich looks at the ten featured films that Keaton did in the 20s, going into detail why each is a masterpiece. I am a fan of Keaton and his films, but I still learned a lot about the man and his movies.   My Rating: Full Price   The Great Buster Website
Indiefest:  Boy Erased  (2018)  R  The son (Lucas Hedges) of a Baptist preacher (Russell Crowe) is forced to go to a church-sponsored gay conversion program. If he doesn’t complete the program, his family will kick him out. While Lucas Hedges gives us a passionate and insightful performance as the troubled Jared, it’s the performances of Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman that shine in this film. Crowe, playing the father who is conflicted by his love of his son versus the conviction of his faith that the gay lifestyle is wrong in the eyes of his religion gives a first-rate performance. Kidman is brilliant as the mom who is conflicted by the love of her son and the religious beliefs of her husband. I was let down by this film because it never delivers the emotional punch that the film needs.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Boy Erased Website
In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray):  BlacKkKlansman  (2018)  Based on the true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American police officer in Colorado Springs. With the help of a white police (Adam Driver), Ron infiltrates the local Ku Klux Klan, becoming a confidant of the Imperial Wizard himself, David Duke (Topher Grace) and eventually becoming the leader of the local pack. A young woman (Vanessa Hudgens) starts volunteering at a rescue center when she finds a dog wandering on its own on the street. This is one of the best films of the year and probably director Spike Lee’s most mainstream movie he has made. The amazing thing about this film is that almost everything that happens in the film actually happened to Ron Stallworth. I loved the performance of John David Washington, and he and Adam Driver have fantastic chemistry that makes this film a joy to watch. Do yourself a favor and go see this brilliant gem of a movie.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   BlacKkKlansman Website
Forgotten FilmState of Grace  (1990) R    A New York cop (Sean Penn) is recruited to return to his old neighborhood and infiltrate a mob run by his childhood friend’s brother (Ed Harris). There are some incredible performances in this film, including Ed Harris as the crazy mob boss. There is a rather neat twist that happens around the middle of the film that changes the complexion of the movie. This film was overshadowed by Goodfellas, which came out about the same time. If you are a fan of great acting and love mob movies, this is one for you.   My Rating: Full Price   State of Grace Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch:  Characters Surfacing Supervisor

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouWidows  (2018)    Their husbands have died in a botched heist and a drug lord is demanding the money that was stolen from him, three of the widows plan to rob a local politician. The film is directed by Academy Award winner Steve McQueen and stars Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Carrie Coon, and Colin Farrell.   Widows Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

My ViewBohemian Rhapsody  (2018)  PG-13  Story of one of the world’s greatest rock bands, Queen, led by their flamboyant lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek). I loved the concert scenes, especially the last 20 minutes which is from their legendary 1985 Live Aid appearance. This is probably the best I’ve seen in a film of four actors playing instruments, all for play with skill and conviction. I really enjoyed the first half of the film; it’s fun to see how they were formed and how they came up with their unique sound. What I didn’t like about the movie is that they mess with the timeline. For example, Freddy was diagnosed with Aids in 1987, but in the film he is diagnosed in 1985 before Live Aid, making that concert appearance more meaningful. I didn’t like how the made Freddy the party boy, and the other three members of the band come off like perfect husbands and fathers. I found that I didn’t enjoy the 2nd have of the film (except for that ending) when Freddie starts acting like a diva and breaks up the band. The 2nd half seems very long and isn’t much fun to watch. Unlike the rumors that were circulating this year, it does deal with Freddie being gay, but it’s pretty sanitized. If you are a fan of Queen like I am, you will enjoy the film, but you probably won’t think its a great movie, but you will enjoy the concert scenes.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Bohemia Rhapsody Website
Family Faire:   The Nutcracker and the Four Realms  (2018)  PG  Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is on a search for a key that will open a box her late mother gave her. When Clara searches for the key, the trail takes her to a magical, mysterious parallel world. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. The art direction, costumes, and hair design are fantastic in this film. The storyline moves along at a great pace and is fun to watch. It takes the basis of the Nutcracker story and makes it its own original story. There is an ode to the Nutcracker ballet with a fantasy sequence where some of the famous dance is performed. I immensely enjoyed the performance of Mackenzie Foy who plays Clara, the girl trying to find the key to open up her dead mother’s gift.   My Rating: Full Price   The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Website
Indiefest:   Suspiria  (2018) R    A promising young dancer, Susie (Dakota Johnson) joins a world-renowned dance company. Susie soon learns that mysterious things are happening at the company and dancers have gone missing. This is a bizarre, weird, sometimes violent film that has plenty of nudity and a couple of extremely violent scenes, one early on in the film that is really hard to watch. There is quite a bit of modern dancing in this film, much more than in the original 1977 Suspiria. The film feels every bit of its 2 hours and twenty-minute length. This is very different than director Luca Guadagnino’s 2017 film Call Me By Your Name. There is a subplot about a highjacked plane that I don’t have any clue why it's in the film. The director tries to get too cute with strange camera angles, slow-motion scenes that don’t work and an ending that is very creepy. This is a horror movie that just isn’t scary. I did not enjoy this film, and I plan on never seeing it again.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again     Suspiria Website
My View:   Can You Ever Forgive Me?  (2018)  R    Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) has made her living writing about celebrities. When she falls out of style and can’t get published, she begins to forges letters from deceased authors and playwrights. Melissa McCarthy gives a stunning performance of someone who is utterly unlikeable. In fact both her character and her best friend, Jack (played superbly by Richard E. Grant), a gay man who doesn’t seem to have a job or a home, are horrible people. McCarthy’s character thinks that she is the greatest writer in the world and that nobody realizes that. It makes Lee bitter and angry at the world. Jack gets by on his looks, which are rapidly fading as he ages, and by selling cocaine. The film is entertaining to watch as we wait for when it will all fall apart for Lee. You are not going to like these characters, but you are going to love the film and its performances.    My Rating: Full Price    Can You Ever Forgive Me? Website

Forgotten Film: Mary and Max  (2009)  This film is done in claymation, but it’s not for kids. It’s the tale of a 20-year friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary (voiced by Toni Collette) a lonely 8-year old girl from Australia and Max (voiced by Philip Seymour Hoffman), an obese, 44-year old New Yorker with Asperger Syndrome. It’s a beautiful story about friendship that is funny at times but can also be melancholy as it deals with topics like depression and isolation. This is a lovely film that will make you think and maybe shed a tear or two.  My Rating: Full Price   Mary and Max Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: Hair Technician

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You Creed II  (2018)  With Rocky’s help, newly crowned light heavyweight champion Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) faces off against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of the man that killed Adonis’ father. I loved the first film, so I am hopeful that this will be good. I am a little worried because the writer/director of the first Creed film, Ryan Coogler, is not involved with this film.   Creed II Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Hunter Killer

My View:  Hunter Killer  (2018) R   An untested American submarine captain (Gerard Butler) teams with U.S. Navy Seals to go on what could be a suicide mission that could start World War III, rescuing the Russian president, kidnapped by a rogue general. I went into this film thinking I wouldn’t have a good time but I quite enjoyed myself. Now the plot is pretty unrealistic, and there is some horrible, but the action sequences are well done and exciting. Butler doesn’t have to do too much, other than be stoic and commanding so that works in the film’s favor. I think most critics are going to kill this film, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee     Hunter Killer Website
My ViewJohnny English Strikes Again  (2018)  PG   After a cyber attack exposes all of the undercover agents in Britain, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) comes out of retirement to find the hackers and bring them down. I have never been a big Rowan Atkinson fan because he mugs for the camera too much. This is a one-note film, as Johnny messes things up repeatedly due to him being incredibly stupid. I think that is the biggest problem with this film because you never believe that Johnny could ever be a Jame Bond-like secret agent. I laughed a couple of times, but for the most part, the jokes and stunts fell flat.   My Rating:  Cable    Johnny English Strikes Again
Indiefest:  Beautiful Boy (2018) R   A husband and wife (Steve Carell, Maura Tierney) deal with the downward spiral of their son (Timothée Chalamet) into drug addiction. Heartbreaking and moving, Beautiful Boy is full of brilliant performances by Chalamet and Carell. The two have great chemistry on screen, and it never feels that Chalamet is acting as the raw nerve of a teenager who wants to be clean but can’t because he wants to escape life. This is a film that is going to be hard for parents to watch, as Carell’s character tries everything he can to help his son. Based on a true story, the film is a little too long (almost 2 hours in length), the film’s pace is slow, and that hurts the emotional impact that you should have, especially at the end of the film. Still, this film is another chance to see Timothee Chalamet work his magic on the screen and that’s a good thing.  My Rating: Full Price   Beautiful Boy Website
Indiefest:  Mid90s  (2018)  R   Stevie (Sunny Suljic) lives in a troubled home in 90s L.A. with a mother (Katherine Waterston) that is never there, and an older brother Ian (Lucas Hedges) that takes out his frustrations on Stevie. Stevie’s life changes when he finds new friends at the Motor Avenue Skate Shop. This is a film that is not for everyone. There are some disturbing scenes involving Stevie drinking, smoking, doing drugs and even having sex. Also, there is a ton of cursing, some of it done by Stevie, who looks much younger than his age. There is also quite a bit of violence, most of which is committed by Ian on Stevie. The film does have some humorous scenes and at times is quite enjoyable, but it’s hard to overlook the sex scene where an older teenage girl seduces Stevie at a party. I will say this that Sunny Suljic gives an incredible performance as the kid who just wants to fit in with his idols, the skateboarders. Written and directed by Jonah Hill and shot on 16mm film, Mid90s captures that time period so well that at times I thought I was watching a documentary.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Mid80s Website
IndiefestStudio 54  (2018)   Documentary by Matt Tyrnauer about the New York dance club sensation Studio 54, that led the disco craze in the mid-70s. The film is told in three acts; the creation of Studio 54, its unbelievable success, and the downfall of its two creators, Steve Rubell, and Ian Schrager. Rubell died in 1989, so the film uses Ian Schrager to tell the story, along with news reports and the tons and tons of pictures taken of celebrities that used to go to be seen. It’s a fascinating look at a club that we will never see the likes of again.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee     Studio 54 Website
Forgotten FilmThe Escapist  (2008)  Frank Perry (Brian Cox) is in prison for life without parole. When his daughter falls ill, he conceives a plan to ingenious plan to break out of prison. This small film by Rupert Wyatt was little seen at the time of its release but is worth viewing, especially for the lead, Brian Cox. The plot has a bunch of twists that you won’t see coming and has an outstanding cast including Damian Lewis, Joseph Fiennes, and Dominic Cooper.    My Rating:  Full Price   The Escapist Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Hunter Killer:  Crowd Marshall

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouBoy Erased  (2018)  R  The son (Lucas Hedges) of a Baptist preacher is forced to participate in a church-sponsored gay conversion after being forcibly outed by his parents (Russel Crowe, Nicole Kidman). This is one of the most talked about films coming out in time for Oscar nominations.   Boy Erased Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, October 19, 2018


My ViewHalloween  (2018) R Michael Myers comes back to get revenge on Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) four decades after their first confrontation. Let me say first off that Jamie Lee Curtis gives one heck of a performance, giving the role everything she has. This is a sequel to the 1978 original film, it’s if all the other Halloween movies didn’t happen. So Michael has been locked up in a mental institution for the past 40 years. Laurie has been obsessed with Michael, convinced that he will come back for her and she wants to make sure she is ready. Laurie became obsessed with Michael has cost Laurie her family, her marriage broke up, her daughter taken away by child services when Laurie’s daughter was twelve. What I loved about this film is it captures the essence of the first film. The film continually references the first film both visually and in the storyline. The audience that I saw it with, thoroughly enjoyed the movie, continuously screaming throughout the film and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. I will say that this is different from the first film, the body count is high (only five people died in the first film) and extraordinarily bloody and violent. Lovers of the original will have a great time as Michael and Laurie battle it out once again.  My Rating: Full Price   Halloween Website
Indiefest:  The Guilty  (2018)  R  A police officer (Jakob Cedergren) is assigned alarm dispatch duty when he gets a call from a kidnapped woman. This tense thriller that has plenty of twists and turns, some of which I didn’t see coming and a plot that moves at a quick pace. The cool thing about this film is that it takes place all on the phone as the police officer attempts to track down the kidnapper and keep the kidnapped woman calm and alive. What starts out as an ordinary and boring night of answering and dealing belligerent, drunk callers turns into a night fraught with tension that continues to build as the film moves along. This Danish film that is their entry for the Foreign Film Academy Award competition is a riveting film that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  My Rating:  Full Price    The Guilty Info
In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray)Eighth Grade (2018) R  Kayla (Elsie Fisher) is all about blending into the woodwork so that she doesn’t stand out. All Kayla wants to do is survive the last week of the eighth grade so she can start high school on a clean slate. Life has decided that Kayla should come out of the shadows. Kayla decides to give advice on how to navigate life through a series of YouTube videos. I loved this film, and Elsie Fisher is a delight to watch on screen. Her performance is heartfelt and beautiful and writer/director Bo Burnham treats her with a loving touch. The film is filled with beautiful moments about an awkward kid trying just to survive one last week of school. This is a film that everyone will enjoy going into the last week of eighth grade with Kayla.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Eighth Grade Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):   Johnny English Strikes Again  (2018) PG  After a cyber attack exposes all of the undercover agents in Britain, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) comes out of retirement to find the hackers and bring them down. I have stated before I don’t get Rowan Atkinson’s style of comedy and I can’t believe they have now made three of these films. This one is not for me.    Johnny English Strikes Again Website
Forgotten FilmLymelife  (2009)  R  The story of two families in the 1970s that are struggling to stay together as seen through the eyes of two fifteen-year-old kids, Scott (Rory Culkin) and Adrianna (Emma Roberts). Charlie (Timothy Hutton) has Lyme disease, his wife, Melissa (Cynthia Nixon) is having an affair with their neighbor, Mickey (Alex Baldwin), whose wife, Brenda (Jill Hennessy) knows about the affair. The characters are complex and the acting, especially Hutton and Culkin, who give some of their best performances of their careers. This is a sad, sensitive film that sometimes delves in comedy.   My Rating: Full Price    LymeLife Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Halloween:  Prosthetics Lifecasting

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Overlord  (2018)  R  Two American soldiers find themselves behind enemy lines on D Day. It appears that the Nazi’s have been up to some very evil experiments. The trailer looks really scary, and it’s being produced by J.J. Abrams.   Overlord Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, October 12, 2018

First Man

My View First Man  (2018)  PG-13    The life of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling), the American astronaut who was the first man to walk on the Moon. The film is technically a marvel, with the space scenes some of the most amazingly shot films of all time. The lunar landing is amazing to watch, and you really feel that you are apart of the experience. This is a great film, but I came away from this film feeling that the subject of the film, was a joyless man who couldn’t show (and maybe feel) emotion, other than sadness and that makes the film feel a little flat. The film does a great job at showing just how amazing and complex it was to get a man on the moon.   My Rating: Full Price   First Man Website
My View: Bad Times at the El Royale  (2018) R    Seven strangers meet at the El Royale, a hotel with a dark past. In one night, all seven will have a shot at redemption before things go to hell. I enjoyed this film which is reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino film. I loved how the film slowly reveals the story and the background of each character based on their room numbers. There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot, and it will keep you guessing how it's going to turn out until the final credits. By the way, I did not recognize Chris Hemsworth who must have lost 40 pounds of muscle for the role. The film is a little long but well worth the time.    My Rating: Full Price   Bad Times at the El Royale Website
My ViewThe Old Man & the Gun  (2018)  PG-13      Based on the true story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) who escaped from San Quentin and then went on to rob over 80 banks while in his seventies. If this is genuinely Redford’s last acting performance, then he goes out on a high note. It’s a brilliant, understated performance that only someone with skill like Redford can do. Redford’s performance is bolstered by the performances of Casey Affleck, the world-weary cop trying to catch Forest, and Sissy Spacek, who slowly falls in love Forest. The film is based on a true story, and I loved the ending of the movie where they used old photos and footage of Redford to illustrate the 16 prison escapes that Forest did over the years.   My Rating: Full Price   The Old Man & the Gun Website
Family FaireGoosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween  (2018)  PG    On Halloween night two boys named Sammy (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Sam (Caleel Harris) find a manuscript written by R>L. Stine (Jack Black) in an abandoned house. When they open the manuscript, it releases Slappy (Avery Lee Jones) an evil ventriloquist doll. Slappy plans to create a Halloween Apocalypse with the help of his Halloween monster allies.  While not quite as fun as the first Goosebumps film, it’s still an enjoyable film to watch. Slappy is still really creepy, and the monsters that he unleashes are imaginative. I loved the unconventional ending to this film, and I am guessing that we will meet up with Slappy again. A word of caution: some of the monsters are quite scary, so very young children should probably not see this film.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Goosebumps 2 Facebook Page
Indiefest 22 July  (2018)   The story of Norway’s worst terrorist attack in which over seventy people, mostly children,  lost their lives. The first third of this film is compelling and scary as we see the killer prepare and then carry out the attack, far more terrifying than any horror film that I have seen. The next two-thirds of the film are quite as interesting, as the government tries to figure out how the attack happened and if it could have been prevented, along with the trial of the attacker. The film bogs down in the 2nd half as the debate on whether the attacker can use the insanity defense in his trial. The film is extremely long and it just drags on as we focus on one of the kids that was shot by the attacker goes through his rehab. I am going to give this an excellent rating because of that first third was so well done and horrifying as hell.    My Rating: Full Price   22 July Website
IndiefestTea with the Dames  (2018)  Documentary where Dames Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Maggie Smith talk about their careers and friendship that goes back more than fifty years. A fascinating documentary with four legendary actresses talking and laughing with each other. The film does a great job of giving us background on the four women, and we get to see plenty of their performances on stage and screen. The film also does a great job showing us old interviews that the women did earlier in their careers. I loved the ending of the film when it showed footage of the women receiving all the awards they have gotten during their careers.   My Rating: Full Price   Tea With the Dames Website
Forgotten FilmComing Home  (1978)   Sally (Jane Fonda) is married to a captain (Bruce Dern) in the U.S. Marine Corps who is fighting in the war in Vietnam. With nothing to do, she decides to volunteer at a veterans hospital. There she meets Luke (Jon Voight), a former soldier who was wounded and paralyzed fighting in Vietnam. Sally slowly changes her outlook on the war and falls in love with Luke. Excellent film about dealing with the aftermath of the war in Vietnam and how we treated the soldiers that fought there. What I love about the film is the opening scene which was filmed with actual Vietnam war vets and was unscripted. This was one of the first films that openly dealt with the conflicts about the war in Vietnam. The film won three Academy Awards and probably should have won more.       My Rating:  Full Price   Coming Home Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween:  Slappy Lead Puppeteer 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You Halloween  (2018)  R   Michael Myers comes back to get revenge on Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) four decades after their first confrontation. All I needed to know was that John Carpenter was doing the score for this film that I knew I wanted to see this film.   Halloween Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, October 5, 2018

A Star is Born

My ViewA Star Is Born  (2018)  R  A legendary musician, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) takes a young singer (Lady Gaga) under his wing and guides her to becoming a star, all the while his career beings to suffer due to his drinking. This is a fantastic movie with an excellent soundtrack (some of the songs were written by Cooper and of course, Lady Gaga). I highly recommend going out and buying the music to this film because there isn’t a bad song in the bunch. Bradley Cooper not only co-wrote the film and stars in it, he also directed the film and did an incredible job. I had doubts about Lady Gaga in the role, but she knocks it out of the park with a multi-level performance that will bring you to tears. Cooper is perfect as the weathered music star whose career has seen better times. I can’t recommend this film more. Go see this magical film but bring a tissue or two.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   A Star is Born Website
My View: The Sisters Brothers  (2018)  R  In 1850’s Oregon, two legendary gunmen (John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix) the Sisters brothers, are chasing a gold prospector (Riz Ahmed with the help of a scout (Jake Gyllenhaal). I highly enjoyed this slightly unconventional western. Phoenix is excellent as the brash, drunken younger brother but it’s Reilly steals the movie as the older, more thoughtful brother who dreams of a girl back home. Reilly’s performance is moving and funny as his character struggles to deal with his troublesome brother who tends to get them into trouble. I liked the performances of the rest of the cast, including Jake Gyllenhaal as the thoughtful scout trying to track the prospector down and Riz Ahmed as the said prospector who is on the run because he possesses something take could make a lot of money. It's also fun to see Allison Tolman (season 1 of Fargo) as the hooker with the heart of gold.   My Rating: Full Price   The Sisters Brothers Website
My ViewVenom  (2018)  R  When Eddie (Tom Hardy) acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego “Venom’ to save his life. I went into this film with minimum expectations, and all I knew about the Venom character was from the horrible Spiderman 3. That being said, I enjoyed this film. It was very different than what I was expecting. The Venom character is what you would call an ‘anti-hero.’ He really isn’t about the normal Marvel hero who is all about saving lives, he is all about what is best for him. Eddie is a self-called ‘loser’ who is his own worst enemy. His world changes when he gets infected by Venom, a creature from outer space. What was the most fun in this movie was the interaction between Venom and Eddie. Venom talks to Eddie in his mind and Eddie talks to Venom out loud, which made for some hilarious interactions. The action sequences are well done, and there is a thrilling chase sequence about halfway through the film. I didn’t like that fact that it took too long for Venom to show up (about 35 minutes into the movie) which made the film much longer than it needed to be. All in all its a fun ride, not a great film, but still fun to watch.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Venom Website
Indiefest:   Hal  (2018)  Documentary on the legendary director Hal Ashby, who directed cinema classics in the 1970s including Harold and Maude, Shampoo and Being There. Exceptional documentary about a talented man who consistently fought for his films. Ashby went on a run in the 70’s where he directed 7 films in 9 years, and Hal rightly concentrates on those years. Those seven films got twenty-four Oscar nominations and seven wins. Unfortunately, Ashby fought the studio system constantly, and his movies in the eighties suffered for it. This is an excellent introduction to a director that should be talked about in the same circles as Coppola, Scorsese, and Lucas.  My Rating: Full Price   Hal Website
Forgotten FilmShampoo  (1975)  Directed by Hal Ashby and written by Robert Towne and Warren Beatty, the film is about a Beverly Hills hairdresser named George (Beatty) who sleeps with just about every client. George is sleeping with Felicia (Lee Grant) a wealthy married woman who George hopes will give him money to start his own shop. George’s girlfriend is Jill (Goldie Hawn) whose best friend is Jackie, an old girlfriend of George. The performances are top notch, and Lee Grant won an Academy Award for her performance of Felicia, a woman who is a little too involved with the life and loves of George. This is a scintillating look a man who loves women too much and his indiscretions will soon catch up with him.   My Rating: I would Pay to See it Again   Shampoo Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Sisters Brothers: With the Participation of Rutger Hauer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouVice  (2018)  The story of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) and his turn as Vice President of the United States.  Christian Bale does another chameleon job as he looks so much like Cheney. All you need to know is that it is written and directed by Adam McKay who won an Academy Award for The Big Short (2015) and the cast includes Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell. In addition, the film is being released in late December, which means the studio thinks it could win some major awards.   Vice Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, September 28, 2018


Familyfaire:  Smallfoot  (2018)  PG  Migo (Channing Tatum) is a Yeti who is convinced that he saw a ‘Smallfoot’ also known as a human. He goes on a quest to prove to his friends and family that humans do exist. I liked this film but didn’t love it. Other than an inspired rap by Common, the songs in the film feel very generic. The story is very predictable, and I didn’t like the ending at all. I did enjoy the lead character of Migo (voiced by Channing Tatum), and it was fun seeing how the Yeti and the human heard each other’s voice. Better songs would have made a better movie.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Smallfoot Website
My View:  Night School  (2018)  PG-13  A group of troublemakers are forced to attend night school taught by a no-nonsense teacher (Tiffany Haddish). Kevin Hart’s one-note act is getting a little long in the tooth. About halfway through this film I just wanted him to shut up. Unfortunately, Haddish is given almost nothing to do in this film, other than being mean to Kevin Hart’s character. Now, I will say that most of the audience I saw the movie with were continually laughing, I rarely chuckled and I never really did laugh. The film goes too many times for the easy laugh and feels much longer than it’s nearly 2-hour length.  My Rating: Cable   Night School Website
Indiefest:  Colette  (2018)  R  Colette (Keira Knightley) is pushed by her husband (Dominic West) to write novels under his name. When the novels become a success, she fights to be known as the writer of the books, challenging gender norms. While the storyline moves a little too slowly at times, the performances by Knightley and West outshine the script and make this a compelling film to watch. The fact that this film is based on a true story makes it even more interesting, especially how Colette’s husband, Willy, turned her writing into an industry, with Colette dresses, hairstyles and even soap being sold under the brand.   My Rating: Full Price   Colette Website
Indiefest:  The Children Act  (2017)  R  As her marriage falls apart, a judge (Emma Thompson) must decide a case where a teenage boy (Fionn Whitehead) is refusing a blood transfusion due to religious principles. Emma Thompson is a tour de force as a judge who’s world is crumbling, but she must continue her life and work. The film never gets boring as Thompson's multifaceted performance is a delight to watch. I was worried when the blood transfusion trail ends about 45 minutes into the film, but the movie finds new roads to go down and explore.    My Rating: Full Price    The Children Act Website
Indiefest:  Blaze  (2018)  The life and loves of country musician Blaze Foley (Ben Dickey), the best singer/songwriter you have never heard off. The heart of this film are the songs, and they are heartbreakingly beautiful. Ben Dickey gives a masterful performance as the man who was his own worst enemy. I absolutely loved the performance of Alia Shawkat as the one woman who Blaze loved and was, for a short while, happy with. This is a sad and sometimes frustrating look at a man who should have been a star. Luckily, we still have his songs to listen to.  My Rating:  Full Price   Blaze Website
Forgotten Film:  Liberty Heights  (1999)  R   The story of two brothers, Van (Adrien Brody) who goes to a local college and Ben (Ben Foster) a senior in high school, growing up in the 50’s in Baltimore. This comedy/drama is the last of the four Barry Levinson’s ‘Baltimore Films’ that included Diner, Tin Men and Avalon. Ben becomes enamored with a black teenager named Sylvia (Rebekah Johnson) who has just joined his class in high school. Their father, Nate (Joe Mantegna) runs a failing burlesque theatre and a numbers racket which will eventually cause his downfall. This is a typical Levinson film, filled with funny moments along with deadly serious ones as well.  My Rating: Full Price    Liberty Heights Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Colette:  Water Supply Operator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Beautiful Boy (2018)  R  The heartbreaking story of a father (Steve Carell) and his son (Timothee Chalamet) dealing with addiction over many years. Many film critics that have seen the film feel that Chalamet will get another Academy Award nomination.    Beautiful Boy Website

Until Next Time!