Friday, September 22, 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle



My ViewKingsman: The Golden Circle  (2017)   After the death of Harry (Colin Firth),  Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is now the main man for the Kingsman. After his headquarters are destroyed, Eggsy, as the new Galahad, heads to America, along with Merlin (Mark Strong) to team up with a group called the Statesman, headed by a man named Champ (Jeff Bridges). Their mission is to stop a drug lord named Poppy (Julianne Moore) and her gang named ‘The Golden Circle.’ I liked the first Kingsman movie (except for the church sequence, which I hated) but this movie never quite captures the fun and magic that one had. I found the film cartoonish and filled with too many characters. Channing Tatum, as a cowboy agent for the Statesman, is just there to be a talking point in the film. Also wasted in the film is Hallie Berry, who plays Merlin’s counterpoint. She is given almost nothing to do in this film, although if there is a third, she might have a bigger part. The film feels every minute of its 2 hours and twenty-minute length. At one point, I looked at my watch thinking we are about to wrap this up, and we still had thirty-five minutes to go. I wanted to have a fun time watching this film. Instead, it just made me miss the Colin Firth performance from the first Kingsman.   My Rating:  Cable   Kingsman: The Golden Circle Website
Family FaireThe 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.  This is the third film in the ‘Lego’ series, in which I loved the first, The Lego Movie. While not anywhere near the quality or creativeness of the first film, The Lego Ninjago Movie is a fun watch that kids will eat up. I loved the character voiced by Jackie Chan, Master Wu, who is guiding the six warriors. The warrior getup is fun as they control robots, much like the Power Rangers do, and they are innovative and clever in their appearance and implication. I like the bad guy in this film, Garmadon, who is voiced by Justin Theroux. His character brings quite a bit of humor and makes a worthy opponent to the Ninjas. Be sure to stay through the first batch of credits as there are some humorous outtakes with Jackie Chan.  My Rating: Full Price   The Lego Ninjago Movie Website
My ViewFriend Request  (2016)  R  A college student (Alycia Debnam-Carey) accepts a social outcast’s (Liesl Atlers) online friend request, and soon she finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to kill her friends. This is your run-of-the mill, ordinary jump out of the dark, scary movie. It brings nothing new to the horror genre, and the whole movie is so predictable that the only thing that kept me guessing was which friend would die next. The performances are ordinary, and the film never builds the tension that it desperately needs. I like scary movies, just not ones that are this lazy.  My Rating: Cable   Friend Request Facebook Page
IndiefestBrad’s Status  (2017)  R  A father, Brad (Ben Stiller), takes his son (Austin Abrams) on a tour of colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend (Michael Sheen) who seems to have everything that Brad wants in life.  Anchored by a dazzling performance by Ben Stiller and a script that is witty and deep, Brad’s Status is a movie that any parent would enjoy. Stiller gives a very subtle and nuanced performance aided with voice overs done by Stiller that give us insight into his characters' thoughts and feelings. Now I will say this: you may want to throttle Stiller’s character, as one of the characters he encounters on the trip points out, Brad does have a good life and should be proud of the son that he has created. Austin Abrams, as the son, has immense chemistry with Ben Stiller, and it makes their scenes together feel real and emotional. This is a fantastic film that sometimes is painful but has love at its core as a father goes through a gamut of emotions when he realizes his role as a parent is changing.  My Rating: Full Price   Brad's Status Website
IndiefestPolina  (2016)   A young Russian girl named, Polina (Anastasia Shevtsova), is about to achieve her dream and become a classical ballet dancer at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet.  She meets a free-spirited Frenchman, and she decides to take a different life path. This is a beautiful and enchanting tale of a young woman trying to, somehow, channel her emotions into her dance routines. Polina is a good dancer, but something is missing that would make her a great dancer. She leaves ballet and Russia to try and find what is missing in her life. The film gives us insight into how a dancer thinks, as we see movement and dance in even the most routine task. The dance sequences are breathtaking, especially one where Polina and her dance partner/lover (Jeremie Belingard) improvise along the banks of a river in Antwerp. It’s a spellbinding and marvelous moment, one where Polina learns to not only feel the moment but also enjoy it. If you love or even just like dance, this is a film that you do not want to miss.  My Rating: Full Price   Polina Website
Indiefest:   Year by the Sea  (2016)  Joan (Karen Allen) decides to part ways with her husband and move to Cape Cod, hoping to reclaim who she was before she got married and had children.  I liked Karen Allen in the role of Joan who feels that, after years of being a wife and mother, she doesn’t know who she is anymore. I also enjoyed that the star of this film is over 60, and the subject matter is aimed at adults. What I didn’t like about this film was the soundtrack that sounded like every bad song from the 70s and dialogue right out of a self-help book. The film moves at a snail’s pace making it feel much longer than its almost two hours in length. I wanted to like this movie but it never delivers its promise. My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Year by the Sea Website
My View:   Stronger (2017)  R  The story of Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal), an ordinary man who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing and must start his life again. This is an inspirational film about how hard it is to deal with and recover from such a traumatic event. Jeff gets pulled between his family wishes, who want him to be celebrated as a hero, and Jeff’s needs to get the time to recover. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a complex, moving performance of a man who just wanted to live his life, never asking for the life he gets after the explosion. Tatiana Maslany gives a mesmerizing performance as the on again/off again girlfriend who is thrust into a role that she isn’t prepared to deal with. Some of the best scenes are the ones with Maslany and Gyllenhaal are alone, whether they are quietly loving each other or arguing full out in the car. This is a powerful film that doesn’t sugar coat how hard people have to work after a traumatic event to put their lives back together again.   My Rating:  Full Price   Stronger Facebook Page
Forgotten FilmGeneral Idi Amin Dada (1974)  Documentary on the murderous ruler of Uganda during the 70s. This is a fascinating film where the subject is an insane, egotistical despot who thinks that agreeing to be the subject of this movie will help the world understand him. This is a rare film where the subject is both intriguing and horrifying at the same time. My Rating: Full Price    General Idi Amin Dada Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Kingsman: The Golden Circle:  Sculptor


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouLucky  (2017)  Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton) is a 90 year-old man who loves his routine. He knows his life is coming to a close, and he begins pondering what his life has meant. This was one of the most talked about films at SXSW, and the late Harry Dean Stanton gives his last performance. I know I won’t be missing this one.   Lucky Website
Until Next Time!


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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