Friday, October 11, 2019

The Addams Family

Family Faire:  The Addams Family  (2019) PG   The creepy, ghoulish, and peculiar Addams Family is back, terrorizing their neighbors in hair-raising fun. No movie or TV show has come close to the very funny but also very dark humor that cartoonist Charles Addams put into his New Yorker cartoons. This animated family film doesn’t come close to match the inventiveness that those cartoons displayed. Instead, we get a PC version of those characters he created and a storyline that is predictable and boring. Most of the kids around me at my screening were no longer paying attention to the film by about ten minutes in. I did like that fact that the film tends to center on Wednesday, the young Addams daughter whose best friend is a tree that can move its branches to grab people and transport them around the grounds. To me, Wednesday has always been the most interesting character of the bunch, with her deadpan delivery and almost superior outlook about the world than the rest of her family. Unfortunately, this is a movie that both parents and kids will want to leave the theatre soon after it starts.    My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   The Addams Family Website
My View:  Gemini Man  (2019)  PG-13   An over-the-hill hitman (Will Smith) takes on his worst nightmare, a younger clone of himself bent on killing him. Let's get right to what everyone will be talking about, the CGI younger Will Smith in the film. At times, the CGI does a great job and looks like a real person, but there are times, especially when we first meet the clone that looks fake and very animated. This takes away from the film, as you are consistently taken from the storyline or the action, looking at how well or not the film is carrying off this gimmick. I call it a gimmick because, as one of my fellow critics noted after the film screening, it would have been easier (and less costly) to cast a young actor in the part and then add makeup for the older version. The action is well done, but the storyline is weak, and the ending is just stupid and an easy out. Throughout the film I kept asking, why did two-time Oscar winner Ang Lee want to do this film, and how could it be this bad directed by him.   My Rating: Cable   Gemini Man Website
Indiefest:   Dolemite is My Name   (2019)  R  Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) is a has-been singer/comedian who now works in a dingy club as an MC. He decides to create a character called Dolemite and records numerous successful ‘blue’ comedy records. Rudy decides that to take his Dolemite character to the next level, he will star in a ‘Blaxploitation’ film. Giving what may be his best performance ever, Eddie Murphy fills the screen with a character that is so full of confidence and heart, he is sure that his vision will triumph. The great thing about his film is that Murphy is totally emersed in Rudy Ray Moore that you never see Eddie Murphy the comedic entertainer, sneak out at any point. Be warned, the film is filled with cursing and nudity but if you have seen any of the 70/80s Blaxploitation films, you will find this film an incredible ride. From the very start, this film sets a comedic tone that lasts through the closing credits when we see the actual Rudy Ray Moore star in the original Dolemite, and yes, the ceiling does fall on him as he makes love.   My Rating: Full Price    Dolemite is My Name Website
Indiefest: Lucy in the Sky  (2019)  R  Astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) returns to Earth after having an otherworldly experience in space. Now Lucy begins to lose touch with reality as she strives to return to deep space. This film felt more like the woman goes nuts Lifetime movie of the week than a major motion picture. After about the first ten minutes, I just didn’t care about Lucy and her drive to get back to space, no matter the cost. The film goes from Lucy wanting, actually needing to get back to space, to suddenly needed to be with a fellow astronaut (Jon Hamm) Lucy has had an affair with and has dropped her for a new and younger recruit. It just didn’t make sense to me how, for two-thirds of the film, she is all consumed by getting back into space, and then she gives it all up for a man who doesn’t want her. Portman gives it everything she has but she can’t overcome a messy script or her bad Texas accent.   My Rating: Cable   Lucy in the Sky Website
My View:  Jexi    (2019)  R   Phil (Adam Devine) has no friends, a dead-end job, and his love life is just wishful dreams. His life changes when he gets a new phone that has an A.I. life coach named Jexi (voiced by Rose Byrne) that helps Phil get his life in order. Things change when Jexi (think a Siri that has gone rogue) becomes in love with Phil and will do anything to keep him hers. This could be my number one worst film of the year. The shocking thing is that right from the start Jexi is gross, crass, and horrible to Phil, and he takes it as the phone is being helpful. The amount of not just profanities but almost obscene material that comes from Jexi is amazing. Nothing about this film is funny, and several running gags (Jexi asks Phil to keep pulling the power cord in and out as she has an orgasm) are just drop dead dumb. The ending feels like the film ran out of money, as Jexi just gives up and lets Phil have a girlfriend, played by Alexandra Shipp (the only breath of fresh air in this stagnant film). I didn’t hear one laugh from the audience, and I would have heard it because there were only four other people in the audience.    My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again     Jexi Website
Forgotten Film: The Three Musketeers   (1973)   Having been trained by his father, a young D’Artagnan (Michael York), heads to Paris to join the King’s musketeers. Brashly, D’Drtagnan challenges Athos, Porthos, and Aramis (Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay, and Richard Chamberlain) to separate duels. When the Three Musketeers find out that all three of them have been challenged by the same young fool, they take pity on him and take him under his wing. The Three Musketeers enlist D’Artagnan to help them take on the evil Rochefort (Christopher Lee) and Cardinal Richelieu (Charlton Heston) and stop a plot to gain power by proving to King Louis XIII that his wife is cheating on him. I love this film as it is part swashbuckling sword-fighting action, but it is also part comedy, with someone of the comedic bits, out and out slapstick, especially the part of the clumsy and bumbling Constance de Bonacieux, played by the hilarious Raquel Welch. What is so much fun about this film is actors like Lee and Heston play their parts very straight and narrow, while others around them are almost camping it up. Oliver Reed stands out as the lead Musketeer, but the whole cast does an incredible job of making this a wonder to watch.   My Rating: Full Price    The Three Musketeers Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Gemini Man: Toolman

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Based on the true-life story of the friendship between the beloved Fred Rodgers (Tom Hanks) and journalist Tom Junod ( Matthew Rhys). Anybody (including me) that saw the brilliant documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018) is going to have to see this film.     A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Website
Until Next Time!


Friday, October 4, 2019

Joker

My View:  Joker  (2019) R   The origin story of The Joker, one of Batman’s most evil combatants. Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a man who just wants to make the world smile but instead, he is a man disregarded and looked down upon by society. No matter how hard Arthur tries he ultimately cannot deny the evil that is lurking deep inside him. Joaquin Phoenix gives an absorbing and spellbinding performance that will probably get him an Oscar nomination, but I just don’t think he will win because he is let down by a film that is too long, takes way to long to set up the Joker character and when the Joker does appear, is not all that threatening from other men and women that have killed on the screen. It is hard to believe that this man, Arthur Fleck, becomes one of the most feared criminals in the DC Universe and a villain that many times almost destroys the mighty Batman. Overall, in spite of Phoenix’s mesmerizing take, I found the film dull and in no way, shocking. This is a film that is going to divide critics, and I am on the side that this film just didn’t work. Note: Unlike a lot of comic book films, this film is not for children and the hard R is warranted for language and very real violence.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee
Indiefest: Always in Season (2019)  Seventeen-year-old Lennon Lacy was found hanging from a swing set in a small rural North Carolina town in 2014. This documentary explores the search by his mother for the truth of how her son died while also exploring the history of lynching in America. This heartbreaking film that shows that the sins of the past are the sins of the present. The film uses this modern-day lynching and others, to highlight that these horrible crimes have a deep-seated history in the South, and that justice still turns a blind eye to its continual happening. This is a tough film to watch and will make you sick to your stomach, but it’s a subject that needs to come out of the past and be dealt with. My Rating: Full Price
Indiefest:   First Love (2019)   A young boxer, Leo (Masataka Kubota) loses a fight he was sure he would win, and this triggers a chain of events that involve drug dealers, and a double-cross. Complicating things is a call girl addict (Sakurako Konishi) that Leo must protect with his life. This film has just about everything that you would want in an action film. There is the Yakuza fighting the Chinese mob, there is a female assassin, a drug deal gone wrong, a one-armed hit man, samurai swords, car chases, and a shoot-out in a warehouse that almost takes a scorecard to keep track of all the participants. On top of all this violence, there is a sweet, gentle romance going on between a woman who has been sold to the mob to settle a debt and a boxer who thinks his life is over. I thoroughly enjoyed this wild ride of a film that has touches of Quentin Tarantino mixed in with classic Japanese mob films.   My Rating: Full Price   First Love Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):  Spider-Man: Far From Home  (2019)  PG-13  Peter (Tom Holand) just wants to enjoy his school trip to Europe but Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has other plans for Spider-Man. I loved this movie, especially the comedic tones that this film uses to bring across Peter’s reaction to things. I enjoyed the action sequences and felt that they were fun to watch. What this makes this film is Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, who gives a commanding performance. Be sure to stay through all the credits due to two bonus scenes that set up the next film in the series. My Rating: Full Price 
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  Jexi (2019) R   Phil (Adam Devine) has no friends, a dead-end job and his love life is just wishful dreams. His life changes when he gets a new phone that has an A.I. life coach named Jexi (voiced by Rose Byrne) that helps Phil get his life in order. When things start going good for Phil, he begins ignoring the phone, and that’s when his life becomes a nightmare as the A.I. is determined to keep Phil at all costs. Watching the trailer of this comedy, I didn’t laugh once. 
Forgotten Film: Speak (2004) PG-13  Melinda (Kristen Stewart) is a popular high-school student until, at an end-of-summer party, she calls the cops and a number of her fellow students are arrested for under-age drinking. After that, Melinda is ostracized by her fellow students as no one in school will even acknowledge her existence. Melinda decides to stop speaking; to her parents, her teachers and especially, her fellow students. Soon the reason why Melinda called the cops will come out, and it will change everyone’s opinion of her. Stewart gives a compelling performance in her first leading role, and she is more than up for this role. Stewart is aided by Elizabeth Perkins, as Melinda’s mother who desperately wants to help her daughter and Steve Zahn, who as Melinda’s art teacher tries to figure out why Melinda has gone silent. Speak is a film to check out now that we know that Kristan Stewart is more than just that ‘Twilight girl.’  My Rating: Full Price

Weird Credits: From the credits of Joker: Prosthetic Renaissance Lab Supervisor

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Little Monsters (2019) R Dave (Alexander England) decides to accompany his nephew on a school trip, with Dave sets his sights on one of the teachers, Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o). Everything seems normal until a Zombie outbreak happens and now Dave, Caroline and Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad) must use every resource, including a guitar to ward off the Zombies and save the school children. You had me at Zombies and Oscar winner Lupita Nuong’o.
Until Next Time!


Friday, September 27, 2019

Abominable

FamilyFaire: Abominable (2019) PG   Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet), a young girl, finds a friendly Yeti that longs to go back to his mountain. Yi and two other friends make it their mission to help ‘Everest’ return to its homeland. The gang will have to avoid a wealthy man named Burnish (Eddie Izzard) who wants to put Everest in his collection. While very predictable and at times a little slow, the film is warm look at friendship and how those friends will try their best to make their friends dreams come true. This is a sweet film that families will enjoy and kids will love the action sequences. Sure the plot is a little too paint by numbers kids film, but Everest and his buddies may just make you forget that.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Abominable Website
My View: Judy (2019) PG-13   A penniless and considered washed-up Judy Garland (Renee Zellweger) arrives in London to restart her career with a series of sold-out concerts. She must deal with the demons of the past while battling her ex-husband over the custody of her children. The film is let down a bit by its storyline that centers on Judy’s self-destructive behavior but it’s the performance of Renne Zellweger, who stunningly brings Judy Garland back to life with an incredible performance. Zellweger is brilliant in the role and her singing a ton of Judy’s hallmark songs brings this film to life. I loved the flashbacks to when Judy (played by Darci Shaw) is in the middle of filming The Wizard of Oz. We see that the young Judy just wanted to spend a day or two being a normal kid but the Hollywood system wouldn’t let her. I just wish there had been a few more flashbacks in the last third of the film when Judy’s downward spiral becomes almost too much to watch.   My Rating: Full Price    Judy Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray): Yesterday (2019) PG-13   A musician, Jack(Himesh Patel) who realizes he’s the only person to remember The Beatles. He then starts performing their songs and becomes a big star. Patel has a fine voice and what I like about this film is Patel puts a new take on some of the Beatles songs. His version of Help near the end of the film is a perfect example of this; it’s full of anger and angst. I loved Lily James, who plays Ellie, Jack’s manager, who at times is the only one that believes that he can succeed as a musician. I enjoyed the music in the film, seventeen songs of The Beatles are sung, showing just how prolific they were. This is a sweet film that doesn’t always work. The film never quite finds its footing and I hated the ending. You get the feeling that screenwriter Richard Curtis didn’t quite know how to get his characters out of the predicament they find themselves at the end of the film.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee     Yesterday Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  Playing with Fire (2019)   A crew of wild-land firefighters, led by tough as nails Jake Carson (John Cena) meet their match when they rescue a trio of rambunctious children. Why does every action star feel the need to make a movie where they get bested by children that ultimately teach the action hero a lesson on how to let people into your heart?  Playing with Fire Info 
Forgotten Film:   The Big Country (1958)   A New Englander (Gregory Peck) arrives in the old west, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families who both claim a piece of land. This film is one of those big, larger than life films with a huge all-star cast that only someone like William Wyler could direct. Two reasons to see this film, Burl Ives, who won a Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance and the amazing shot after shot of the ranch lands in the film. While a good movie, it’s more known for how Wyler pissed off almost the whole cast, including Peck who would never talk to Wyler again after making the film.   My Rating: Full Price    The Big Country Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Judy: Immigration Consultant

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Doctor Sleep (2019) R   Years after the events of The Shining, a now-adult Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) meets a young girl (Emily Alyn Lind) who has similar powers as his. Dan takes the girl under his wing and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot. Their mission is to find and prey on children with powers so that their members can remain immortal. The words ‘based on a novel by Stephen King’ is enough to get me to see this film.    Doctor Sleep Facebook Page
Until Next Time!


Friday, September 20, 2019

Rambo: Last Blood


My View: Rambo: Last Blood  (2019)  R  John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone has been living peacefully and staying out of the man’s gaze. When a friend’s daughter is kidnapped, Rambo crosses the U.S.-Mexico border to bring her back home, but he will find himself up against one of Mexico’s biggest cartels. The cartel has no idea who they are dealing with, but they will soon find out. This reminds me of the days when I would walk into my local video rental store and I would find a straight to video movie that starred an action star that had once been big but now was an afterthought. The big difference between this movie and those has-been pictures of the past is none of those old VHS specials would be this gory. The level of just horrible violence is shocking in this film. Only the die-hard Stallone fans will enjoy this badly written and over the top bad guys filled film. And just so you get the meaning, we get to see the border wall twice right before Rambo kills about 100 bad guys.   My Rating: Cable    Rambo: Last Blood Website
My View: Ad Astra (2019) PG-13  Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) undergoes a mission into deep space to find out the truth about what happened to his father (Tommy Lee Jones) who went on a mission 30 years earlier and apparently is still alive and may have a weapon that can destroy half the solar system. Some critics are going to go nuts over this film, but I found that while the film is incredible looking, reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey, I found the film void of almost any storyline. After the film finished, I had more questions than answers, making me feel that I had seen an uncompleted film, that the writer and director were going to keep working on the film until it made sense. Howeverr, alas, all you get is this mess of a film.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Ad Astra Website
My View: Downton Abbey (2019) PG  The continuing story of the Crawley family, owners of a vast estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century. The estate is thrown into a frenzy when the family learns that King George V will be coming to visit. I have never seen an episode of the BBC/PBS television series of the same name and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the storyline but after about fifteen minutes into the film, I pretty much figured out the cast of characters and their relationships with each other. After that first section, I really enjoyed this film about a family dealing not only with a royal visit but all the politics and relationships that a house that size has going on. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the performance of Dame Maggie Smith, who as the feisty Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, is brilliant, funny, bringing a much needed comic relief everything she says a sarcastic line.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and I think the fans of the show are going to think this film is everything they could want in a film about their beloved series.  My Rating: Full Price    Downton Abbey Website
Indiefest: Aquarela (2018)   Documentary where the main protagonist is water. Water and ice are captured on screen from around the world, showing just how powerful water is. This is a gorgeous looking film but I got bored with the film after the first twenty minutes. How many shots of water or icebergs can you watch for minutes at a time? There isn’t any narration or titles for the film, so often you have no idea what you are looking at. After an opening sequence that piqued my interest, the rest of the film was an on-slot of shot after shot of water doing what water does, move on, just like I wanted to.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Aquarela Website
Indiefest: Ms. Purple (2019)   A young woman, Kaise (Tiffany Chu) works as a karaoke hostess in Koreatown. She reconnects with her estranged brother (Teddy Lee) when their father is on his deathbed. This is a story about a family that is torn apart not only from the past but also the present. Both siblings are trying to doing right by their father, but it’s not the life that either one envisioned for themselves. Kaise is a woman who is willing to sell her body and soul to provide for her dying father. Her brother, Carey, can’t seem to do the right thing, even when he is trying to. This is a sad and gut-wrenching film about two people trying to come to terms with their lives while being tortured seeing their father waste away in silence.   My Rating: Full Price    Ms. Purple Website
Forgotten Film: Anatomy of a Murder (1959)   A small-town lawyer (Jimmy Stewart) defends a Lieutenant in the army (Ben Gazzara) accused of murdering a man that he claims raped his wife (Lee Remick). The movie is worth watching if just for the opening credits and the incredible score by jazz legend Duke Ellington. Stewart is perfect as the lawyer who doesn't think he is up for the job and Remick is dazzling as the wife that maybe the key to the whole mystery.  This Otto Preminger directed film will keep you guessing until the end to see if the Lieutenant is guilty of committing out and out murder. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Anatomy of a Murder Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Downton Abbey: Ballroom Technician

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Irishman (2019) A mob hitman recalls his involvement in the disappearance of Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa. Are you ready for a mobster film directed by Martin Scorsese that lasts 210 minutes and stars Robert De Niro, Anna Paquin, Al Pacino, and Jesse Plemons?     The Irishman Website
Until Next Time!


Friday, September 13, 2019

Hustlers

My View: Hustlers (2019) R When financial hard times hit a strip club, the crew of strip club employees decide to band together and turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. A lot of critics that were at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival were talking up how good Jennifer Lopez in the role of the ringleader of the crew (so even mentioned Oscar nomination) but I think Constance Wu, whose character Destiny is the center of the film, acts rings around Lopez’s Ramona. Wu is a force on screen and demands, even when Lopez is sharing the screen, that you pay attention to her character. Some of the film is very funny, especially a running gag that involves Lili Reinhart’s character, Annabelle. I enjoyed the film, though the last act did drag a bit and the film seemed a little too long. Still, go have a fun time learning how to steal rich guys blind from Romona, Annabelle, and Destiny.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Hustlers Website
My View: Official Secrets (2019) R True story of a British whistleblower (Keira Knightley) who leaked information on a spy operation that was designed to push the UN Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This is based on a true story of a whistleblower that saw something that her country (and the U.S.) were telling lies to start a war and the incredible sacrifices she endured to bring those allegations to light. Knightley gives an outstanding performance of the woman who dared to risk everything to let the world know that a conspiracy was afoot. The film is an earnest attempt to tell a story of one person against a system that tried everything to discredit a brave woman willing to take on the system.   My Rating: Full Price     Official Secrets Website
Indiefest: This is Not Berlin (2019)   Set in 1980s Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Carlos (Xabiani Ponce de Leon) does not fit it, whether it is his family or his school. His world changes when he is invited to a nightclub where discovers the underground nightlife scene. Other than the multi-layered performance of Xabiani Ponce de Leon, there is little to recommend this film. The film is one long orgy of music, art, and drugs as we watch Carlos think that he has found his place in the world, only to find out that the world isn’t what he thought it was. Be warned there is heavy drug use in the film and quite a bit of nudity. This is one of those films that having watched it for almost 2 hours, we know less about the characters in the film than when we first started it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee
   This is Not Berlin Website 
Indiefest: Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019)  PG-13 Documentary on one of the greatest voices of the 20th century. Linda Ronstadt trail-blazed a career that spanned everything from country to rock to folk to Spanish Language albums. I loved this film, mostly it doesn’t fall into the mistake that a lot of bio’s of musicians do, too many interviews and not enough music. This film does a great job of giving you lengthy segments of music followed by interviews with some of the most iconic singers of Ronstadt’s generation like Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, and Emmylou Harris. The film lets Ronstadt do the narration and we get to see the wit and humor of Ronstadt’s personality. The biggest thing I took away from this film is how important family was and is to Ronstadt and how much her family influenced her music and her voice.   My Rating: Full Price     Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice Website
My View: The Goldfinch (2019)  R  A young boy named Theodore (Oakes Fegley) is taken in by a wealthy family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of the Art. Life is going to be a bumpy road for Theodore who desperately clings to the image of his mother. Some books are just meant to be books and nothing else. The Goldfinch is a bestselling Pulitzer Prizing winning book that has plenty of fans. The problem is that the storyline makes for a rather boring and almost unwatchable movie. The film never gets going after the first couple of minutes and keeps going back and forth between present-day and Theodore’s very messy childhood. The film never really lets us connect with Theodore and the bombing is never explained why or how it happened. The other problem is that other than Theodore’s surrogate father, Hobie (played by the brilliant Jeffery Wright), we don’t like any of the characters in the film, especially Theodore. Skip the movie and settle down with a good book, maybe even The Goldfinch.   My Rating: Full Price    The Goldfinch Website
Forgotten Film: The Young Philadelphians (1959) An up and coming lawyer, Anthony (Paul Newman) seemingly has a very bright future. Anthony is on the fast track for partner at his law firm, winning cases right and left and he has a fiancee (Barbara Rush) who loves him, His life is turned upside down when he takes the case of his best friend, Gwynn (Robert Vaughn) who has been accused of murder, a case that looks like a sure thing that Anthony’s friend is guilty. Anthony must decide to stay the course or break his comfortable ties and defend his best friend. While Newman gives his usual great performance, it's Robert Vaughn, in an Oscar-nominated role, that makes this film work as the flawed friend of Anthony who believes and trusts that his friend can get a not guilty plea against the odds.   My Rating: Full Price     The Young Philadelphians Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Hustlers: Pole Trainer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Jojo Rabbit (2019)  PG-13   A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home. If anyone can make a comedy about Nazi’s and Hitler work, it’s the director of Thor: Ragnarok (2017), What We Do in the Shadows ( 2014) and one of my all-time favorite movies, Boy (2011), Taika Waititi.    Jo Jo Rabbit Website
Until Next Time!


Friday, September 6, 2019

It Chapter Two

My View: It Chapter Two  (2019)  R   Twenty-seven years after first encountering the horrific Pennywise, the Loser Club has come back to town to try and stop him again. There are three big problems with this sequel: it is way too long (2 hours 49 minutes), it isn’t scary, and it has way too many flashbacks to the first film. It’s as if the writer/director knew that we might not like the adult Loser Club, so they decided let's bring back the kids, ‘everyone loves the kids.’ I hated the special effects in this film as most of the creatures looked like they came from a 90’s cheap horror flick. I just don’t understand how you can have a cast that includes Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and Bill Skarsgard and make a boring picture but It Chapter Two is one. Skip this film and go watch the first film instead.   My Rating: Cable   It Chapter Two Website
My View: Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) R   Brittany (Jillian Bell) is a very unhappy 27-year old woman living in New York. She is overweight, parties too much and has a nowhere job in a theatre. When a doctor tells her to get healthy, she decides to take up running. With the help of a neighbor (Michaela Watkins), she doesn’t really like and a fellow out of shape beginning runner (Micah Stock), Brittany begins to succeed in losing weight and decides to set a goal of running a marathon. Unfortunately, Brittany is her own worst enemy and really doesn’t have any trust for anyone, a trust she will need if she is going to meet her goals. This is one of those films that while not a great film, is a great deal of fun, mostly because Jillian Bell is so good in the role of the woman who is tired of being overweight and overlooked. Brittany is her own worst enemy and we struggle sometimes to like her but she keeps plugging away and we hope that eventually, she will decide that she matters and that people do care about her.   My Rating: Full Price    Brittany Runs a Marathon Website
Indiefest: Vita & Virginia (2018)  R   The scandalous love affair of socialite and popular author Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton) and soon to be famous author Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki). The film is incredibly slow-moving and it seems that throughout the film we keep waiting for Virginia to have a mental breakdown but it just never really comes. This is a beautiful looking film and Arterton and Debicki have great chemistry on the screen but the film seems lifeless and I just didn’t care about any of the characters in the film. The film starts slow and just never really finds its footing.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Vita & Virginia Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):  Booksmart   (2019)  R   Two high school overachievers (Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein) have always placed academics over anything else. They decide they have missed the fun of being a high-school student and decide to cram four years of fun into one night. Dever and Feldstein have incredible chemistry on the screen and their timing, finishing each other’s sentences. The dialogue reminded me a little of the Gilmore Girls, where the two leads just keep it up with non-stop dialogue. The film is sidesplitting funny and what I really like, it’s an original storyline, unique in this day and age of the remake. If you want a fun time at the cinema with some winning characters, go see this film.   My Rating: Full Price     Booksmart Website
Forgotten Film: The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)    A nineteenth-century New Hampshire farmer, Jabez Stone (James Craig) has hit hard times. A mysterious man named Mr. Scratch (Walter Houston) shows up at Jabez’s doorstep and offers Jabez a deal, his farm will prosper but he has to give up his soul to the devil. Jabez makes the deal and sure enough, his farm becomes successful beyond his wildest dreams but Jabez realizes the price to pay for success is too much. Jabez talks the world’s most famous orator, Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold) into taking his case and go up against the devil himself. The film contains one of the best film scores of all time by the infamous Bernard Herrmann and Walter Houston is perfect as the devil who knows he will win, no matter how great Webster is. Great film with some incredible scenes makes this a film to be savored.    My Rating: Full Price     The Devil and Daniel Webster Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of It Chapter Two: Costume Breakdown Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)   The gang (Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Woody Harrelson) move to the heartland and have to keep fighting off zombies, all while dealing with a makeshift family that always doesn’t get along. I loved the first film, so I am hoping this one will be fun too.    Zombieland: Double Tap Website
Until Next Time!


Friday, August 30, 2019

Don't Let Go

My View:  Don’t Let Go (2019) R   A L.A. police detective (David Oyelowo) discovers the murder of his brother, sister-in-law, and niece. He then starts to get phone calls from his dead niece (Storm Reid). Is he going mad or is this a call for help from beyond? This is one of those films that you just have to ignore the huge plot holes in the film and enjoy the performances of the two leads, Oyelowo and Reid. The film moves at a nice pace and I did enjoy the last third of the film when all the pieces start to fall into place. Like the film Frequency (2000) where Dennis Quaid’s character talks to his son (Jim Caviezel) from the past as they solve a crime together, Reid’s character is calling her uncle from the past via her cell phone and they end up working to together to try and solve her murder. The film gets bogged down in its plot too many times but the performances that Reid and Oyelowo give make up for it.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Don't Let Go Info
Indiefest: The Fanatic (2019) R   Moose (John Travolta) is a big fan of the world-famous cation hero Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa). When Moose feels he is cheated out of meeting his hero, he decides to take things into his own hands and give Hunter a visit to Hunter’s private home. I have never been a big fan of John Travolta and his performance of Moose (who I am guessing is Autistic) makes me doubt he was ever any good at acting. In one of the most bizarre performances I have ever seen on screen, Travolta goes all out in his part and the movie suffers greatly because of it. The film is not helped by a wooden performance of Devon Sawa as a hot-headed actor who plays the tough guy card too many times. Some viewers may enjoy how nuts Travolta’s character on screen is but I just found the film dull and incredibly boring.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   The Fanatic Info
Indiefest: Love, Antosha (2019) R   Documentary on the much too short life of actor Anton Yelchin, best known for his role of Chekov in the recent Star Trek movie series. Anton Yelchin was an amazing actor, starting out at age eleven and had 69 TV and movie credits by the time he died at age 27 from complications form Cystic Fibrosis. Using an incredible about of home movies (early on Anton was making home movies for his family and friends) we get to see how Anton grew up as an only child of Russian immigrants that were ice skating stars in their early life. Anton always knew that he was living on borrowed time (most children that develop CF don’t make it to their twenties) and he made the most of it, whether it was taking every role he was offered or taking risqué pictures of the strange and magical world of downtown Hollywood and the Valley. The film does a great job of showing us just how big a range Anton had with his acting, being in big box office films like Star Trek (2009) and Fright Night (2011) and then being in critically acclaimed smaller films like Thoroughbreds (2017) and Green Room (2015). You are sure to shed a few tears at the end of the film, because Anton, had he lived, was destined for greatness.   My Rating: Full Price   Love, Antosha Website
Forgotten Film: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)    Animated from the incredible Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli and the great legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki comes a simple tale of two young daughters dealing with moving to the country with their father to be closer to their mother who is in long term care at a hospital. The two daughters, Mei the younger one and older sister Satsuki, discover that there are magical creatures living in the forest next to their house. The two sisters make friends with the creatures called Totoro’s and with the Totoro’s help, they have many magical adventures. This is a rather simple but beautiful film about a family trying to deal with a crisis and two girls that find solace in the forest and its creatures. This is a type of film that we all need, full of joy and hope with its core, the importance of family in times of crisis.   My Rating; I Would Pay to See it Again    My Neighbor Totoro Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Fanatic: Wig Maker for Mr. Travolta

Coming Soon to a theatre Near You: Ad Astra (2019) PG-13   Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) undergoes a mission into deep space to find out the truth about what happened to his father (Tommy Lee Jones) who went on a mission 30 years earlier and apparently is still alive and may have a weapon that can destroy half the solar system. The film just played to rave reviews at a film festival overseas.    Ad Astra Website
Until Next Time!