Friday, August 18, 2017

The Hitman's Bodyguard

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

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

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


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Friday, August 11, 2017

Annabelle: Creation

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

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

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


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Friday, August 4, 2017

The Dark Tower

My ViewThe Dark Tower  (2017)  PG-13  The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Mathew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.  While not a hit out of the park, this film is watchable and sometimes enjoyable. The problem with this movie is it feels incomplete coming in at only 95 minutes in length. McConaughey is brilliant as the bad guy; he’s so good you want more of his character, and this film gives it to you. Idris Elba is does an outstanding job as the hero, the Gunslinger, and he has exceptional chemistry with Nicholas Hamilton, the young boy who is the key to defending the Dark Tower. I have not read the books, but after talking to a fellow critic who has, the film is very different from the first book and may upset fans of Steven King because it is so different. This isn’t a bad film. It’s just not the spectacle that you want.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Dark Tower Website
IndiefestStep  (2017)  PG  Documentary of the senior year of a girls’ high school dance team. The girls strive to make their dancing a success against the backdrop of social unrest in the troubled city.  This uplifting movie is one of the best films of the year. The film centers on three girls at a school whose mission is to have not only a 100 percent graduation rate, but also that every girl is accepted into a college. The three girls are very different. One is driven to get into Johns Hopkins, a second is distracted by a new boyfriend, and a third girl has never applied herself to school work and realizes that she has to do better in her senior year or she won’t fulfill her dreams. It’s a fascinating look at young women who are determined succeed, not only in high school but in life. The film hits all the right notes, and you just might clap at the end.  I know the audience that I saw it with did.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Step Website
My ViewKidnap  (2017)  R  A mother (Halle Berry) is on a mission to save her son’s life after he is kidnapped from a park.  A note first: when I saw this film, the movie kept freezing for 10 to 15 seconds, so it made it very hard to judge the pacing. This is a one trick pony movie with Halle Berry’s character chasing after the people who kidnapped her son. It’s tough to keep a chase film going, especially when most of the movie is one car chasing another one. Some of the car chase sequences are not well done and are quite confusing. It’s a very shallow story, and it’s hard to watch Berry consistently go from crying to screaming and back to crying. I wish for the days where Berry was given a script where she could use all of her acting skill.  This just wasn’t one of those.    My Rating: Cable   Kidnap Facebook Page
My ViewArmed Response  (2017)  A team of special forces soldiers approach the designer of a high-tech military compound to investigate the disappearance of another team guarding the facility.   The compound, known professionally as a Temple, is an artificial intelligence powered facility designed for interrogating high-level prisoners.  Upon entering the Temple, the soldiers quickly find the earlier team horrifically slaughtered, but there is no evidence of who is responsible.  This is more of a psychological thriller than an action film, as Wesley Snipes only has one fight sequence in this movie, and it’s near the end. The cast features Colby Lopez aka WWE wrestler Seth Rollins, Dave Annable, and Anne Heche. The movie builds the tension well, and it has an intriguing ending. If you like thrillers and a bit of a horror movie thrown in, this could be your film.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Armed Response Website
Indiefest: Person to Person (2017)  The film follows a variety of New Yorkers as they work, live and play in the big city. I loved this movie about a bunch of New Yorkers living their lives. All the characters (there is a lot of them) are funny and strange and are just trying to find happiness in their lives. Some of the characters are interlocking but most are just part of the story. The standouts of the cast are Bene Coopersmith,  who is in search of a Charlie Parker rare album, Abbi Jacobson, who is working her first day on the job with a reporter played by Michael Cera, and Tavi Gevinson who plays a high school girl who is full of opinions and is just too cool for school. There are a few characters that aren’t developed enough but with such a large cast, it doesn’t really matter. Spend a little time with this quirky cast of characters as they live their lives in NYC.  My Rating: Full Price    Armed Response Info
Forgotten FilmGone in 60 Seconds (1974)  PG  Maindrian Pace (H.B. Halicki) and his gang are hired to steal 48 cars. They are successful until it gets to the last car, a supped up Mustang, because the police have been tipped off that the car was stolen. Maindrian is then chased by seemingly every cop in the greater LA area. This is a very low budget film (it was written and directed by the star), and some of the acting is horrible, but it has a 40-minute car chase that has to be seen.  This film was shot in the days before computers could animate everything, so every car crash you see in this film, and there are a lot of them, were done by stuntmen.  If you love car chase movies, this one is for you.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Gone in 60 Seconds Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Kidnap:  Biscuit Technician


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You Ingrid Goes West  (2017)  An unhinged social media stalker moves to LA and figures out a way to become part of an Instagram Star’s life. Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen lead the cast of this film, so you know that I am there.   Ingrid Goes West Facebook Page
Until next time!


Friday, July 28, 2017

Atomic Blonde

My View:  Atomic Blonde  (2017) R  The Berlin Wall is about to fall, and Lorraine (Charlize Theron), an undercover MI6 agent, is sent to the Communist side to find a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents. This film is a blast to watch. It has some of the best fight sequences I have ever seen, and, while the plot is slim, it has plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. Theron is stunning as the spy who can kick butt with the best of them. What I loved about this film is that Theron’s character isn’t a superhero - she can fight and fight well, but she also gets the crap beat out of her. There is a great fight sequence where Lorraine and the guy she is battling both can barely stand due to the beating that they have given each other. I love that Charlize Theron did 95 percent of the fighting in this movie, and it shows. The soundtrack for this film is outstanding and I loved the use of color in the film which adds to the overall mood.    My Rating:  Full Price   Atomic Blonde Website
IndiefestA Ghost Story  (2017) R   A recently deceased man (Casey Affleck) remains in his home and tries to reconnect with his bereft wife (Rooney Mara).  Let me first warn you that this is not a scary movie. The only scary thing about this film is the stupid plot of this movie. A Ghost Story is a film that some film critics are going to love due to the chances it takes, but I am going to tell you that I hated it. This is a film where the main character dies early in the film and, then for the remaining, he wears a sheet with two eye wholes cut out (like a cheap Halloween costume), barely moves and doesn’t say a thing. There is a nine-minute sequence where Rooney Mara sits on the floor and eats a whole pie.  So if pie eating and seeing a guy walk around in a ghost costume is your thing, then you will enjoy it when the spirit travels back in time and sees a pioneer family gets massacred by Indians.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again    A Ghost Story Website
My ViewDetroit  (2017) R  Set in 1960’s Detroit, during the chaos of the Detroit Rebellion, the city is under crew, and the National Guard patrols the streets. Three young black men are murdered in the Algiers Motel, and Detroit will never be the same.  The first two-thirds of this movie, which is the lead up to the event and then the death of three young men and the beating of others, is moving, shocking and brutal to watch. It’s some of the best filmmaking I have seen in a long time. Unfortunately, the last third of the film is the aftermath, which I feel would have been better served and had more impact if it has just been explained with some title cards. The whole cast does an outstanding job with stellar acting roles by John Boyega, who plays a security guard who gets caught up in the incident and Will Poulter, who plays a racist cop and the instigator of the beatings and deaths. The tension in the first two-thirds of the film builds to almost an unbearable peak as you know what is going to happen but hope against hope that it won’t. That’s why I don’t like the last third of the film; I feel that most of the scenes in that portion of the film were predictable, and we didn’t need to see it.  Overall, this is a film that needs to be seen.   My Rating: Full Price   Detroit Website
IndiefestLady MacBeth  (2016)  R  Set in 19th century rural England, Katherine (Florence Pugh) marries a man (Paul Hilton) much older than she. It’s a loveless marriage, and Katherine’s attention is soon drawn to a common worker, Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis). When Katherine relets to the temptation, a path that may destroy everything and anyone is set into motion.  Florence Pugh is outstanding as the fiery Katharine, who is willing to do anything to keep her lover Sebastian safe. Pugh plays a very unlikeable character that, against our better judgment, we still root for. Hers is a brave and chilling performance that makes this film worth watching. There are some pacing problems with the film as director William Oldroyd has a tendency to stay on single takes a little too long, and he seems to fall back too many times on close-ups of Pugh.  Overall it’s an interesting view into just how far someone will go to get what they want.  My Rating:  Full Price    Lady Macbeth Website
IndiefestLandline  (2017)  R  For the first time in her life, older sister Dana (Jenny Slate), recently engaged and struggling with her own fidelity, bonds with her wild teenage sister Ali (Abby Quinn) after the two sisters suspect their father (John Turturro) is having an affair. The two try and discover the truth without letting their mother (Eddie Falco) know. There is a big problem with this film, no matter how much I love Jenny Slate (she should be in every ‘rom-com’ that is made from now on), her character, Dana isn’t likable. Dana makes one mistake after another (if you can call cheating on her fiancé just a mistake) and never seems to learn from them.  It’s as if co-writer/director Gillian Robespierre thought that because Slate, the actress, is cute and adorable, that we would find Dana cute and adorable, but, in reality, we never can get behind anything that she does. I did like Abby Quinn who is marvelous and fascinating as the high strung little sister. The plot seems a little disjointed, trying to cover too much instead of focusing on the problems of Dana and Ben. The film is funny at times and occasionally heartbreaking, but I wanted more heart. I was disappointed in this film. It comes from the same team that gave us the brilliant Obvious Child and has a cast that most films could only dream of, but this film never quite comes together making it seem incomplete.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Landline Website
My ViewThe Last Face (2017)  R  Set in war-torn Liberia, Dr. Wren Petersen (Charlize Theron) and Dr. Miguel Leon ( Javier Bardem) start a relationship in difficult conditions.  They both want to help the people of Liberia but have different ideas on how to do that. “Are you a playboy?” “I’m playing anything Wren.” That’s just one of the many badly written lines in this film. You know Charlize’s character cares a lot because she is always crying. The two star-crossed lovers spend a whole lot of time watching each other and talking to each other in whispered tones that’s meant to be romantic but just seems rather selfish. It’s too bad that this movie decides to focus on their relationship and not the refugees whom they are supposed to be treating. This is a movie about 1st world problems in a 3rd world country. “It is not until you can’t leave that you will know.” Know what, I’m not sure because this film sure doesn’t know.   My Rating: Cable   The Last Face Website
Indiefest:  13 Minutes  (2017)  R  A man (Christian Friedel), is arrested on the Swiss border for possession of suspicious objects, and just minutes later a bomb goes off in Munich, killing eight people. Just 13 minutes before Hitler had been giving a speech at the very lectern that the bomb was planted in. This is a fascinating film based on a true story of a man whose world changes for the worse, and he can see no other option than to kill the man that is responsible for his beloved Germany to go in the wrong direction. Friedel gives a powerful performance of a man who used to be carefree and quite the playboy but as the years in Germany give way to Nazi crackdowns, he slowly loses everything he finds dear, including friends and family. A bit of a warning, the Nazi’s, including an SS honcho named Heinrich Müller (Johann von Bülow) and police chief Arthur Nebe (Burghart Klaußner) will do just about anything to get a full confession and the torture scenes are graphic and hard to watch. Overall, it’s an interesting film about a man and a country on a crash course, one that little known.   My Rating: Full Price   13 Minutes Facebook Page
Forgotten FilmLove with a Proper Stranger  (1963)  Angie (Natalie Wood) is an innocent Italian Catholic Macy’s salesgirl, who has a one night stand with Rocky (Steve McQueen).  Angie discovers that she is pregnant and, after hunting down Rocky, they have to decide what they are going to do next. This is a rather unconventional love story (especially for the early 60’s because abortion is one of their options) that has two stars at the height of their carriers. Wood and McQueen have great chemistry on screen, and, that alone makes this film worth watching.  My Take:  Full Price   Love with a Proper Stranger Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Atomic Blonde:  Water Supply Operator


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Patti Cake$  (2017)  An aspiring rapper (Danielle Macdonald). who goes by the name Patti Cake$, is fighting for her place in the entertainment world from her downtrodden hometown in New Jersey.  The film was the talk of SXSW and won the Screenwriting Award at the 2017 Nantucket Film Festival.   Pattie Cake$ Info
Until Nest Time!

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Dunkirk

My ViewDunkirk  (2017)  PG-13  Allied soldiers from Britain, Belgium, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army on the beaches of Dunkirk. Now, one of the largest evacuations will take place. This is an incredible motion picture experience…a feast for both eyes and ears. The film follows three aspects of the evacuation; from the land, from the air, and from the sea. We follow two soldiers trying to get off the beach by any means necessary. We follow a father and son as they pilot their small ship from Britain to Dunkirk. The air is represented by an RAF pilot who is trying to fight off the Luftwaffe and keep the men on the beach alive. The visuals of this film are stunning. Director Christopher Nolan used IMAX cameras for almost seventy-five percent of the movie, and the detail is astonishing. The battle sequences are brilliant and keep you on your edge of your seat. The score by Hans Zimmer is one of the best I’ve ever experienced and keeps the tension at a high level. The score is  important as portions of the film don’t have any dialogue. This is one of the best films of the year and is meant to be seen on the big screen.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Dunkirk Website
My ViewValerian and the City of a Thousand Planets  (2017) PG-13  A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast space station and home to species from a thousand planets. Special Ops Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are sent to find out what is happening to the space station and fix it. The film is beautiful, and the special effects are dazzling, but the storyline is slow and confusing. The film ends up being a little annoying. I just didn’t care about the very shallow and un-complex characters. Fans of the comics are going to be disappointed because the film doesn’t come close to capturing the spirit of those stories and varies off so far that you might not even recognize the main characters. I don’t think there is enough fun in the script to keep people coming back to this film like they did with director Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Website
IndiefestThe B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography  (2016)  R  Documentary about the life and work of photographer Elsa Dorfman. The subject of the film is a very colorful woman who has spent most of her life taking portraits on a giant 20x24 Polaroid camera. For those of you who aren’t old enough to know, Polaroid made cameras could instantly print a photograph, and the camera that Elsa uses is huge and prints beautiful photographs in large format. The problem with this film is most of it is spent on Elsa finding an old photograph and telling us about it while she holds it for the camera. This causes the film to drag once the novelty of the photograph wears off. It’s an interesting subject; it just should have been a shorter film.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The B-Side Info
Indiefest:  Band Aid  (2017)  Ben (Adam Pally) and Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) are a couple in trouble. They fight about everything, and the only time they seem ok is when they both are high. They are at the end of their rope until they discover that they can make songs up about their fights. Could it be through their songs that they can reconnect and find the love they once had?  I enjoyed this film because the characters are complex and real. This film is part comedy, part drama with a bit of a musical thrown in. Writer/director Lister-Jones (who also co-wrote the songs) is a delight to watch, and her chemistry is outstanding with Pally. Both characters are haunted by their failures, not only because of the miscarriage but also because their professional lives have not come even close to where they thought they would be. This is a couple who isn’t connecting anymore, and it’s bringing down their marriage. Only when they start creating music, do they reconnect and find the love that was always there. They just need a way to let go of the past and look to the future, one filled with song. My Rating:  Full Price    Band Aid Website
Forgotten FilmMikey and Nicky  (1976) R   In Philadelphia, a small time bookie, Mikey (Peter Falk), steals Mob money and is in hiding. A hitman is on his trail, and it’s up to his good friend, Nicky (John Cassavetes), to help his buddy escape from the hitman. I liked this movie because of its use of natural sound, so you get a real feel of the city. Falk and Cassavetes play off each other, and it’s fun to see the two up on screen together. This isn’t a great film but a fun one to watch.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Mikey and Nicky Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Dunkirk: Weird Music Instruments


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Trip to Spain  (2017)  Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on a trip to Spain, sampling local cuisine and trying to one up each other by doing impressions of famous people. From the same people who gave us The Trip (2010) and The Trip to Italy (2014).   The Trip to Spain Website
                                                             Until Next Time!


Friday, July 14, 2017

War for the Planet of the Apes

My View:  War for the Planet of the Apes  (2017)  PG-13  Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are at war with the humans. After suffering heavy losses, Caesar decides to find the man who is responsible for the suffering, The Colonel (Woody Harrelson), and get his revenge.  I have enjoyed this trilogy, and this is the best of the three. If Andy Serkis doesn’t get an Oscar nomination, I will be shocked. It’s a truly spectacular performance and a moving one. Woody Harrelson is fascinating as the villain of the film, an evil man who wants to destroy the apes. The film moves at such a pace that it seems the action doesn’t stop. And, you will fall in love with the chimpanzee named, Bad Ape (played by Steve Zahn).  Don’t monkey around and miss this film. It’s one of the best of the summer and the year!  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again    War for the Planet of the Apes Website
My ViewWish Upon  (2017)  PG-13  Clare (Joey King) is given a mysterious music box. She is surprised to find her every wish coming true, but soon she learns that there is a price for each wish. Wish Upon is an annoying horror movie where the deaths are right out of the ‘Final Destination’ series. Joey King is horrible as the teen who causes many deaths due to her wishing, but it takes almost the whole movie to realize that she is the reason for those deaths.  The film isn’t scary, and all of the dying is predictable. The biggest problem with this movie is that you just don’t care about anyone in the film. Almost everyone, including the lead character, is a jerk. Be sure and look quickly for the un-credited role by Jerry O’Connell. If I had a wishing music box, I would wish that I had never seen this film. If you do go see this movie, stay through the first set of credits, as there is a bonus scene.    My Rating:  Cable    Wish Upon Website
Indiefest Maudie (2016)  PG-13  An arthritic Nova Scotia woman, Maude (Sally Hawkins), works as a housekeeper while she practices her artwork and becomes a beloved figure in the community.  Sally Hawkins gives a powerful and moving performance of a unique woman who, despite her disabilities, became a nationally known artist. Ethan Hawke plays Everett, Maude’s employer, a man who is set in his ways and doesn’t give in to anyone, that is until he has been around Maude. This is a love story, not just between Maude and Everett, but also about Maude’s consuming passion for painting. This is a beautifully shot film that focuses on how Maude sees the world, through the eyes of a painter.  My Rating: Full Price   Maudie Website
IndiefestThe Little Hours  (2017)  R   A young servant (Dave Franco) flees his master and takes refuge at a convent full of emotionally unstable nuns in the Middle Ages.  From the beginning of the movie when the two nuns shout obscenities at the gardener for looking at them, you know that we're not watching an ordinary movie about nuns in the 14th century. The language and actions of the inhabitants of this movie are more like a sitcom on HBO. The language is modern, bawdy and often vulgar with the dialogue mostly improvised. The characters seem to want to sleep with as many people as they can, and they do. The Little Hours is a comedy that pushes the boundaries, like a Monty Python film for 2017. Like Python, the comedy doesn't always work, but don't worry, there will be something new and hilarious right around the corner.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Little Hours Website
Indiefest:  Chasing Coral  (2017)  A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out to discover why the world’s coral reefs are vanishing.  This film is relentless and unforgiving in trying to portray that the cause of the world’s reefs dying at an unprecedented level is due to global warming. This movie works, not just because of its stunning cinematography but also because of two of the stars of the film.  One is a former advertising executive who has made it his mission to save the coral reefs and another is a young “coral junkie” whose passion for the reefs drives him to do very tiring and sometimes dangerous work underwater. I will warn you that parts of this film are tough and emotional to watch. It’s saddening when you see the vast areas of coral reefs that have died and turned an ugly brown.   My Rating: Full Price  The film does not have a theatrical run but can be found on Netflix.   Chasing Coral Website
Indiefest:  To the Bone  (2017)  Ellen (Lily Collins) is a 20-year-old anorexic woman who has spent her teenage years trying to beat her disease through what seems like a million programs without much success.  Her family sends her to a group home for youths, where an unconventional doctor (Keanu Reeves) and the home seem to finally offer a solution. Now, Ellen must do the hard work to make it happen. I wanted to love this film, but I only liked it. I never quite got connected to the lead character, so it was hard to root for her. It’s a heartfelt movie with some moving scenes, but the plot goes for some easy outs in a film that should have had a harder tone to it. I enjoyed Lily Collins performance and especially enjoyed Alex Sharp’s performance as a former dancer who suffered and knee injury and is trying to lick anorexia. I think people that have dealt with eating disorders will enjoy this film, but for others, it will fall a little flat.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The film does not have a theatrical run but can be found on Netflix.    To the Bone Website
Forgotten FilmRead My Lips  (2001)  This French thriller is about a woman, Carla (Emmanuelle Devos),  who is almost deaf but can lip-read. She gets involved with an ex-con (Vincent Cassel). I can’t give away much of the plot which is full of twists and turns, most of which you won’t see coming. I will tell you that Carla’s ability to lip-read is crucial to the plot. This very original film is a lesson about the need to connect to another person and how those connections or dis-connections can affect your life.   My Rating:  Full Price   Read My Lips Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Wish Upon:  Swamper


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouWind River  (2017)  An FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) teams with a town’s best game tracker (Jeremy Renner), with deep community ties and a haunted past, to track down a killer on a remote Native American Reservation.  Hey, I’ll see anything with Elizabeth Olsen in it. She is one of our best young actors out there.   Wind River Facebook Page
Until Next Time!