Friday, May 26, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

My ViewPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales  (2017)  PG-13   Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back and so is his old nemesis, Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) who has escaped from the Devils Triangle and is determined to kill every pirate at sea.  Captain Jack’s only hope is to find the legendary Trident of Poseidon, which will help him defeat Salazar. This film series must stop. I don’t care what happens to these characters, and the last two films have been a waste of time. To say that Johnny Depp doesn’t give any effort in his performance would be an understatement.  The storyline is confusing and not well thought out, and it seems that some of the plot points are just there to add more action sequences to the film. If you do see this film (and I hope you don’t) stay through all the credits as there is a bonus scene that unfortunately sets up the next Pirates movie.   My Rating: Cable   Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Website
My ViewBaywatch  (2017)  R  Lifeguard Mitch Buchanan (Dwayne Johnson) is known for running the beach his way. He is being challenged by a brash new lifeguard (Zac Efron) and a threat of a local criminal plot that harm the future of the Bay. I was a big fan of the original TV series, and I loved how campy and goofy it was. I just wish the filmmakers of this movie had captured more of that stupid magic that the series had. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t know what kind of film it is. Is it an R-rated comedy like 21 Jump Street, making fun of the TV series it’s based on, or is it an action film, or maybe, it’s a coming of age film? Because the movie never finds its footing, it feels uneven and choppy and every bit of its almost 2 hours length. I did like the chemistry between Johnson and Efron as both actors play off each other extremely well. I enjoyed the performance of Kelly Rohrbach, who plays the part of CJ Parker, a woman who doesn’t know how beautiful she is and thinks she is just one of the guys. On a side note, I hate that the opening credits did not use the original Baywatch theme song from the TV series. I think it would have been perfect for the opening scene of the film. This is not a bad film; it just could have been so much better.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Baywatch Website
IndiefestThe Wedding Plan (2016)  PG  Michal’s (Noa Koler) fiancé leaves her on the eve of their wedding.  Michal refuses to cancel the wedding, convinced that God will supply her a husband, but the clock is ticking. I loved this film and Noa Koler’s performance. Koler is stellar in the role and makes you want to root for her character.  It’s a brilliant look at a woman who is tired of looking for a man to marry and decides that God will find a way to get her a groom. It’s a film that takes a number of twists and turns and keeps you guessing. This is an engaging, inspiring and beautiful film filled with interesting characters.  I definitely enjoyed going on this strange journey with Michal.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   The Wedding Plan Website
Forgotten FilmOn Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)  PG  James Bond (George Lazenby) goes undercover to find out the true reason for Blofeld’s allergy research being done in the Swiss Alps.  Along the way, Bond falls in love with a mob boss’s daughter (Diana Rigg). George Lazenby had the task of taking over the 007 franchise after Sean Connery decided to quit the series. This is probably one of the few Bond films that feels like the book. Lazenby is perfect as Bond, bringing a bit more of a tough guy to the part. There is an excellent chase sequence on skis that works better than some of the current film chases that use CGI computer special effects.  My Rating:  Full Price   On Her Majesty's Secret Service Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Baywatch:  Weather Consultant

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouMegan Leavey  (2017)  PG-13  Based on a true story of a young Marine (Kate Mara) who bonds with her military combat dog to save many lives during her deployment in Iraq.  I am a sucker for movies that involve dogs, and the trailer makes this film look like a winner.   Megan Leavey Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Alien: Covenant

My View Alien: Covenant  (2017)  R  The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted planet that, on the surface, seems perfect. The perfect world quickly becomes deadly, and the crew must scramble to retreat.  Talking to my fellow critics, I found that a lot of them hated this film. I didn’t; in fact, I had a good time watching it. After the weird and disappointing Prometheus (2012), director Ridley Scott has gotten back to what made Alien (1979) one of the all-time scary movies, the ”Alien” monster on a ship in space with humans. This movie has plenty of scary scenes, and I enjoyed the performance of Katherine Waterston, who has to match wits with the monster. I will warn you that if you got queasy during the chest burst scene in the first film, there are quite a few more scenes just like that one. The film moves at a quick pace, and the action sequences are extremely well done. My biggest problem with this movie is how stupid the crew is; from deciding to endanger the colonists they are shuttling to exploring an unknown planet without any sort of protection or protocol is just plain dumb. Overall, I found the film exciting and quite scary.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Alien: Covenant Website 
IndiefestEverything, Everything  (2017) PG-13  Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) is a 17-year old girl who, due to a rare disease, has to stay inside her sealed, filtered air home. Her life is changed when Olly (Nick Robinson) moves in next door.  This is a satisfying film about first love and all its complications. I enjoyed the performances of the two leads, as Stenberg and Robinson have a charming chemistry together. The plot is a little shallow, but the romance that develops between two people that can’t meet in-person is delightful. There are a few twists and turns to the plot, especially one that I didn’t see coming, that help the film feel fresh. Overall, Everything, Everything is not a bad attempt at a young adult type of film.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Everything, Everything Website
Family FaireDiary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul  (2017)  PG  The Heffley family is going on a road trip to Meemaw’s 90th birthday party.  Greg (Jason Drucker), though, needs to find a way to re-route the trip so that he can go to a video gaming convention.  If jokes and pratfalls involving peeing into a bottle, pigs farting, vomiting on a carnival ride and hearing someone go to the bathroom are your ideas of funny, then this is the movie for you. I don’t think I laughed once, and the kids at my screening were bored. It’s sad to see how far down Alicia Silverstone's once promising career has gone when you see her playing the mom in this film. Hey, it should tell you a lot that a kids movie is rated PG. This movie has already been placed on my worst films of 2017 list.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul Website
IndiefestThe Lovers  (2017)  R   Michael (Tracy Letts) and Mary (Debra Winger) are in a marriage that has seen better days. Both of them are having affairs, and, as soon as their son finishes his visit, they plan to break up. Their relationship becomes more complicated when a spark between them suddenly ignites, leading them into an impulsive romance.  I didn’t like this film because I could not tell if the film was supposed to be a drama, comedy or a dark comedy. It’s almost if writer/director Azazel Jacobs had written two versions of the script and then combined the two into this mess of a movie. I did enjoy Debra Winger’s performance as a woman who starts to reconsider her choices in life. It’s just a shame it’s wasted in this film that some “art house” critics are going to say is a masterpiece.  I just say it’s a mess of a film.   My Rating: Cable   The Lovers Info
IndiefestGraduation  (2016)  R  Romeo (Adrian Titieni) has raised his daughter, Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragus), with the idea of her going to college. After she gets assaulted a day before her final exams, her scholarship could be in jeopardy.  This is an absolutely brilliant film about a man who, in trying to ensure the future of his daughter, gets caught in a web of intrigue that slowly spirals out of control. Titieni is brilliant as the father who is good at heart but is willing to do anything to make sure that his beloved daughter gets out of Romania, even if it means that he will have to suffer consequences.  It’s a heartbreaking film that is beautifully told. You want to reach up and shake Romeo, warning him what’s about to happen if he goes through with his actions. I hope we hear about this film again come Oscar time.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Graduation Website
Forgotten Film: Me and Orson Welles  (2008)  PG-13  Richard (Zac Efron) is a young man who hopes to be an actor. A chance meeting with the legendary Orson Welles (Christian McKay), gets Richard a part in Welles’ latest production. Richard is star-struck and in over his head, especially after meeting Sonja (Claire Danes) with whom he quickly falls for. Will Richard make it to opening night or will his lack of experience finally catch up with him?  The reason to watch this film is the performance of McKay as Orson Welles, the larger than life actor who, when at the top of his game, was an egomaniac but had the talent to back it up. McKay is perfect in the role, so perfect that I forgot at times that it wasn’t Welles, himself, on the screen.  My Rating:  Full Price   Me and Orson Welles Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul:  Animatronic pig and Manny effects

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Dean  (2016) PG-13   A New York City illustrator, Dean (Demetri Martin), is not dealing well with the death of his mother and the fact that his father (Kevin Kline) is thinking about selling the family home.  He meets a woman (Gillian Jacobs) at a party and, after hitting it off with her, decides to follow her to California.  This film was one of the movies that people were talking about at this year’s Atlanta Film Festival. Demetri Martin wrote, directed and stars in this film.   Dean Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 12, 2017

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

My View:  King Arthur: Legend of the Sword  (2017)  A young Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) runs with his crew on the back streets of Londinium, unaware of his royal lineage. He then draws the sword Excalibur from the stone. With the sword and a mage (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey), he is ready to take on the tyrant Vortigern (Jude Law) – the man who murdered his parents and stole his crown. The director of this film, Guy Ritchie, also directed the two Sherlock Holmes films starring Robert Downey Jr. This movie feels like Sherlock Holmes goes to the Middle Ages. It has modern dialogue, fast quips and big action sequences that are done in slow motion, with the hero avoiding arrows “Matrix” style.  There is a lot of flash in this film but very little substance. I hated the performance of Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey who plays the mystical mage like she is a geek girl in high school. Hunnam does well in the action sequences, but the star of the film is Jude Law, whose scenes are fun to watch because he just goes over the top with his performance.  Overall, this retelling of the legendary tale just doesn’t work.    My Rating: Cable   King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Website
Indiefest Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer  (2016)  Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) is a small time operator who befriends a young Israeli politician (Lior Ashkenazi) at a low point in his life.  Little did the two friends know that the young politician was bound to become the Prime Minister of Israel. This is a fascinating tale and Gere, as the well-worn small time “fixer,” is brilliant. You feel sorry for Norman almost as soon as he appears on screen due to Gere making himself almost disappear before our eyes in his frumpy suit. It’s an enjoyable tale of a man who, by accident, gets what he has always wanted and then loses it, mostly due to his past transgressions.  This isn’t a perfect film as it gets bogged down toward the end, but it’s worth seeing to experience Gere in this role.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Norman Website
My ViewSnatched  (2017)  When her boyfriend dumps her before their exotic vacation, Emily (Amy Schumer) talks her ultra-cautious mother (Goldie Hawn) into taking the vacation with her. They will go on a trip of a lifetime if it doesn’t kill them.  I was surprised by how much I laughed during this film because I hated the trailer, but the film is saved due to the great chemistry between Schumer and Hawn. Amy Schumer threatened to leave the project if Goldie Hawn wasn’t hired as her mother in the film, and thank goodness the studio listened. Hawn perfectly plays off of the sarcastic alcohol-fueled Schumer. Christopher Meloni is hilarious as an American adventurer who vows to help the women get back to the U.S. There is a scene in this film with Meloni that I thought a fellow film critic was going to die because he was laughing so hard. There are a few dumb gags, and the film does justice to its R rating, but overall this is a funny movie.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Snatched Website
IndiefestCitizen Jane: Battle for the City  (2016)  A documentary about the writer and urban activist Jane Jacobs, who fought to save historic buildings in New York City in the 1960’s. This is an intriguing film about the little guy being able to take on and win against big government. The film moves at a brisk pace and never becomes dull, using extensive archival footage to show what was happening in the battle to shape a city. Jacobs was an accomplished strategist who studied the streets of New York City and its people. The film does an excellent job of giving us both sides of the story; a battle between a very smart woman and a government who thought it could solve its urban problems with bigger and newer buildings. After seeing this film, you will come away with a feeling of respect for old neighborhoods in big cities and you might be inspired to fight for them.  My Rating:  Full Price   Citizen Jane Website
Forgotten Film: Smashed (2012)   (I reviewed this film back in 2012, but after talking to some friends, I realized that not many people have seen this film.)  Married couple Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul), whose love is built on their drinking habits, are tested when Kate decides to get sober. This is one of those films that is very hard to watch, just because the characters go through so much pain. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is outstanding as Kate, who lies at the drop of a hat to cover up her drinking but realizes, after waking up too many times in strange places, that she must change her life. Aaron Paul doesn’t do a bad performance as her husband, but this is Winstead’s movie, and she runs with it. You sincerely hope that she can get her life together, but you also know that it’s going to take some significant changes and sacrifices, including, probably, the sacrifice of her marriage.    My Rating: Full Price   Smashed Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Snatched:  Textile Breakdown Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   The Mummy (2017)  Universal Studios is attempting to redo their lineup of classic monster movies, and this film looks like it could work. A stellar cast, including Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe, could go a long way to making this film special.   The Mummy Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

My ViewGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2  (2017)  The Guardians have a price on their head as Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) family heritage will become clearer. I had a great time watching this movie. I think it’s funnier than the first because now we know these characters, how they work together and react to situations. While Baby Groot steals the film, I also enjoyed Dave Batista as Drax, the mountain of a man who has no filter when he speaks. A major charm of the last film was the soundtrack, and while I did enjoy it, it didn’t always deliver the needed emotion for the scene. The film is a blast to watch and moves at a quick pace. The opening action sequence is brilliantly done and so funny. Save some bucks and don’t see it in 3-D because it wasn’t shot in that format. And yes, stay all the way through the credits due to the five, yes five, bonus scenes.  My Rating: Full Price   Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Website
IndiefestThe Dinner  (2017)  Stan (Richard Gere), a popular congressman running for Governor, and his wife (Rebecca Hall), invite his troubled younger brother, Paul (Steve Coogan), and his wife, Claire (Laura Linney), to a fancy dinner at a high-priced restaurant. The two families are connected because their sons have committed a terrible crime. This is a film that some film critics are going to like because the director takes chances, but in my opinion, those chances don’t work. An example of this is when Claire is in a room with Paul and a friend.  As Paul reads, not paying mind to the conversation going on, we hear both the conversation between the two women and what Paul is reading. So, trying to understand what the women were talking about was very difficult. There are a number of flashbacks, which makes the film feel choppy and the flashbacks unnecessary.  I did like the performances of the main cast, especially Richard Gere as the congressman who seems to care more about getting a bill passed than his family. Overall, the film makes you work too hard for very little return.    My Rating: Cable   The Dinner Website
IndiefestMy Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea  (2016)  In this animated film, an earthquake causes a high school to float into the sea and begins slowly to sink like a shipwreck. I never could get into this strange film. I liked the look of the animation, with hand drawings, but the tone of the movie was depressing, and I hated the ending. There are some funny scenes, but they are few and far between, and the main character’s sarcasm drags the film down. With sharks tearing students to bits and dead bodies floating around, it’s not a film for kids. I loved the idea behind the movie, but it never quite captured the magic to make it work.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray): The Comedian  (2017)  R  Jackie (Robert De Niro) is an insult comedian who has seen better days. His fans are stuck in the past when he had a hit TV show in the 80’s. Jackie has just about hit rock bottom, so can he mount one last comeback? This movie should have been better, and I think its failing is due to its star. I never believed that De Niro was a stand-up comedian. His delivery is horrible, he looks so uncomfortable up on stage, and he was not helped by jokes that aren’t much better.  The movie only comes to life when Leslie Mann is on-screen as the love interest. There is great chemistry between De Niro and Mann, and the film slows way down when she isn’t in a scene. I did enjoy seeing old pros like Charles Grodin and Billy Crystal gives De Niro’s character some guff, but the film never finds its footing, and I hated the ending (it should have ended 5 minutes before).  If you are going to make a film about a comic, the heckler shouldn’t be the funniest thing.   My Rating:  Cable   The Comedian Website
Forgotten Film: Silkwood  (1983)  Based on a true story, Silkwood is the story of Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep), a worker at a plant that makes plutonium fuel rods for nuclear reactors. Karen blows the whistle on dangerous conditions at the plant. Her life, though, is made a living hell by both the company she works for and her fellow workers who are worried their jobs are in jeopardy.  Streep gives another one of her stunning and fascinating performances. Streep’s performance is bolstered by a strong cast including Kurt Russell as her on again/off again boyfriend and Cher as her best friend. What I love about this film is that director Mike Nichols does a lot of long takes, using these actors to their fullest.  It’s a heartbreaking film but a moving performance by Streep.   My Rating:  Full Price   Silkwood Info
Weird Credits:  Credits from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Prosthetic Makeup Artist to Dave Bautista
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouWonder Woman  (2017)  I have high hopes for this film about Diana, Princess of the Amazons, who leaves her home to fight a war to end all wars.  Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was the only good thing in the horrible Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).   Wonder Woman Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Circle

My View:  The Circle  (2017)  PG-13  A young tech worker (Emma Watson) gets a job at a powerful internet company and quickly makes her mark in the business.  She learns that her company is involved with getting and keeping information on everyone, information that could be used to hurt her friends, family and even threaten the future of humanity. This is a dull film that never creates the tension that it needs to make us care about what happens to Mae. Emma Watson has to play a character that while shows some smarts on how quickly she picks up her job but is so gullible that it becomes laughable, then we are supposed to believe that she can pull off what happens at the end of the film. Tom Hanks plays basically Steve Jobs but with, at least on appearances, nicer. Karen Gillan is wasted as Mae’s best friend that gets her the job, as she almost sleepwalks through her role. This is a film where main characters just disappear for stretches of the film, making it seem as if the film need one or two more rewrites. Co-writer/director Jame Ponsoldt is one of my favorite directors out there (my love of his The Spectacular Now is well known), but he really misses the mark in this movie.  My Rating: Cable   The Circle Website
Indiefest:  Truman  (2015)  Julian (Ricardo Darin) gets an unexpected visit from his old friend Tomas (Javier Camara). Julian’s life is a little complicated and Tomas, along with Julian’s dog, Truman, are there to help him sort it out. I loved this marvelous and moving film about friendship, accepting the mistakes you have made in your life and trying to live life to its fullest.  Ricardo Darin gives a masterful performance that is both bittersweet and, at times, humorous. Darin has great chemistry with Javier Camara, which is crucial because the two are almost always on the screen together. The storyline is touching and thought provoking, and the ending is perfect, making this a film that will stay with you for a long time.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Truman Website
Indiefest:  A Quiet Passion  (2017)  PG-13   The story of one of America’s greatest poets, Emily Dickinson (Cynthia Nixon). The film follows her life from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist.  I am not a big fan of poetry, and this film is full of Dickinson’s poems, which sometimes interfere with the story and make the film feel choppy. Cynthia Nixon does give a riveting performance as the troubled Dickinson, who battled both mental and physical problems. My biggest problem with the film is that it’s hard to root for Dickinson, as she was such a troubled soul whom, as she aged, became mean and unforgiving. If you are a fan of Emily Dickinson’s work, you will enjoy this film, but I felt every minute of its two hours in length.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee     A Quiet Passion Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray):  La La Land  (2016)  PG-13  A musical about a determined jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) who falls in love with an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) in Los Angeles. This is a magical film that tips its hat to the old Hollywood classic musicals of the past. Gosling and Stone have a chemistry that makes their romance believable. The singing and dancing by Stone and Gosling is so effortless and beautiful that it’s a joy to watch. The opening number is one of the most amazing dance sequences that I have ever seen on the screen, and the final dance sequence of the film is just unbelievably gorgeous. I have seen this movie three times, and each time I had a smile on my face throughout. In fact, I felt as if I should have danced across the lobby after I saw the film. Needless to say: My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   La La Land Website  
Forgotten Film:  Rachel Getting Married  (2008)  R  Kym (Anne Hathaway) has been in and out of rehab for the past ten years.  This time rehab seems to be sticking, and her treatment facility gives her a day pass so that she can see her sister, Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt), get married.  Kym’s situation may just dominate the wedding as family members from all over descend on the family home. The late director Jonathan Demme was a master of letting us inside even the most minor character, giving his films a personal feel, and he uses this to perfection in this film that has a constant flood of characters moving in and out.  Hathaway and DeWitt are scintillating as the two sisters who have problems with each other, but it’s Debra Winger who makes the film for me.  Her performance as the overwhelmed mother is a perfect piece of acting. The film shows just how flawed and fragile a family can be, even in what is supposed to be a happy time.    My Rating:  Full Price    Rachel Getting Married Info   

Weird Credits:  From the credits of  The Circle:  Aerial Drone Visual Observer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  King Arthur: Legend of the Sword  (2017)  PG-13  I have always been fascinated by King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, so I want to see this retelling of the legend by director Guy Ritchie.  It helps that the two main leads are Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law. I am a little worried because they used a Led Zeppelin song in the trailer.   King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Free Fire

My View:  Free Fire  (2016)  R  Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting between two gangs in a deserted warehouse turns into a gunfight that few will survive. I loved this film! It’s 20 minutes of setup, where we get to know each character and why they are at the meeting, then it’s 70 minutes of one crazy firefight.  This is a funny film that has some of the quickest dialogue I’ve ever heard. The action sequences are fun to watch, even though there are times you don’t know who the characters are shooting at, but that’s the point because the action is so nutty. There are a few surprises that will keep you guessing who is conning who, and I think you will be shocked by the ending. The film is a blast to watch, and while I saw it at SXSW, I went again to a recent Atlanta screening. That’s how much I love this film.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Free Fire Website
Indiefest:  The Promise  (2016)  PG-13  Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, Chris (Christian Bale) is a hard-drinking newspaperman who is in love with Ana (Charlotte Le Bon). Michael (Oscar Isaac) is a brilliant medical student who, even though he is promised to a woman in his small hometown, falls in love with Ana as he goes to school in the big city. This is a film that is overburdened by its attempt to bring to light a little-explored piece of history. The film feels every bit of its 134-minute length, taking way too long to get the story going and then seems to endlessly go on and on. There isn’t much spark to the love triangle, with almost no chemistry between Bale and Le Bon. I never got the emotional impact of the atrocities that this film so wants to show, which makes it feel almost lifeless.   My Rating: Cable   The Promise Website
Indiefest:  The Lost City of Z  (2016) PG-13  Based on a true story, the film centers on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon. This is a beautiful-looking film whose storyline never matches the remarkable true story of Col. Fawcett. The film is dragged down by its clumsy dialogue that, at times, feels out of place - the characters speak as though they are in the present day rather than in the early twentieth century.  I found the film vastly slowed down when Fawcett returns to his home and only picked up again when he was out exploring.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Lost City of Z Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray):  The Founder  (2016)  PG-13  The story of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), who turned a small hamburger shop into Mc Donald’s, the biggest restaurant business in the world.  Ray Kroc wasn’t a nice guy, as he would do just about anything to get his way. Michael Keaton gives a scintillating performance of a ruthless, unlikeable man. The film is highly enjoyable in the first half, but it loses its way when the most interesting characters in the movie, the McDonald brothers (Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch), are forgotten during most of the second half. It’s a hard look at a man who hid behind the American flag and family values to steal a company from two honest-to-a-fault brothers.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    The Founder Website
Forgotten Film:  Murderball  (2005)   Documentary about two paraplegic teams, the U.S. and Canada, as they compete in full-contact rugby in the Paralympic Games. The movie uses the games as a way to let us see these amazing athletes as people with hopes and dreams. There is intrigue as an older player is dropped from the U.S. team and becomes Canada’s coach vowing revenge. The action sequences are stunning as the violence of the sport will stun you. This is a brilliant film and is well worth your time to see these men go about their lives with grit and determination.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See It Again   Murderball Info

Weird Credits:  Credit from The Promise:  Drapes Breakdown Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Alien: Covenant  (2017)  I am ready to board the Ridley Scott directed ship once again. I still consider Alien (1979) as one of the scariest films of all time.   Alien: Covenant Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Fate of the Furious

My View:  The Fate of the Furious  (2017)  PG-13  Dom (Vin Diesel) is seduced by a mysterious woman (Charlize Theron) and becomes a terrorist, betraying his friends and family. Now the gang has to get back together to try and defeat Dom.  I have liked this series since Fast Five (2011) when the studio decided the characters were superheroes and could do amazing things like jumping from one car to another while they are dropped from a plane. This film has plenty of action, and I love the start of the movie which is a tribute to the first films of the series when it was all about suped-up cars racing on the streets. In this film, the gang races a submarine in the Arctic, so don’t think the studio is cutting down on the special effects. The stunts are so outrageous in this film I believe the next movie in the series will be in space. If that happens, I can guarantee that it will be fun!  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Fate of the Furious Website
My View:  Gifted  (2017)  PG-13  Frank (Chris Evans) is raising niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) by himself. His mother (Lindsay Duncan) feels that Frank is not fostering the child’s talent for math. His mother decides to sue him for custody of Mary.  I loved this movie about parenting in challenging circumstances and sacrifices we make so that our children have the best opportunities in life. The cast is what makes this film work so well. Jenny Slate is wonderful as Mary’s new schoolteacher who becomes attracted to Frank. Chris Evans is outstanding as the man who is just trying every day to make sure Mary is healthy and happy. It’s Mckenna Grace who makes this film so rewarding to watch. Under a lesser actress, Mary could have come across as overbearing and strange, but Mckenna Grace is brilliant as the smart, cute little girl who knows she is special but sees herself as just an average girl. The chemistry between Grace and Evans is something magical, shown in a scene shot against the setting sun as Mary climbs all over Frank as they talk about God and life. Gifted just might be the “feel good” film of the year.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See It Again   Gifted Website
Indiefest:  Land of Mine  (2016) R  In post-World War II, a group of young German POW’s are forced to clear a beach of thousands of land mines.  Writer/director Martin Zandvliet brings us a taut and tension filled film that is worthy of its Foreign Language Film nomination at this year's Oscars. The film is uncomfortably tense right from the start and continues throughout to build the tension, as we get to know, and in some cases, fall in love with the boys. There are powerful moments in the film that aren't going to leave you soon. Some of the most high-powered scenes surprisingly aren't the deaths that occur, but the small moments when connections are made during this horrible experience. Zandvliet makes use of the brilliant widescreen cinematography of Camilla Hjelm, who makes the beaches seemly, endless and impossible to clear. Land of Mine is a film that dares to make heroes out of villains as the boys are shown to be paying for the sins of a nation and ideology that, due to their young age, they didn't have much to do with.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Land of Mine Website
My View:  Colossal  (2016)  R  Gloria (Anne Hathaway) returns home when her boyfriend kicks her out of their NYC apartment because of her drinking. She soon learns that she is somehow connected to a giant monster that is terrorizing downtown Seoul, South Korea.  Writer/director Nacho Vigalondo brings us an unusual tale of part Science Fiction and part domestic abuse film, with a splash of alcoholism thrown in. It’s strange mix with giant monsters appearing straight from those bad 60’s Japanese larger than life reptile movies. At first used for comic effect and then later as the symbolism of the struggle between good and evil, the monsters appear half way across the world, in Seoul, South Korea. The biggest problem with Colossal is that Hathaway’s character is very one dimensional. We never really know why Gloria drinks so much and never find out what demons she is trying to escape. Hathaway is what I call a pretty drunk, someone we can laugh at, and not be too concerned with because, other than a boyfriend who drops her, her drinking never seems to get her in trouble. Her realization that being intoxicated could cause other people pain seems shallow and too simply realized. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this film, but I just don’t think there is as much to it as Nacho Vigalondo wants us to believe. Much like the Japanese monsters, the film is what you see on the surface; there’s not a lot of substance lying beneath the water.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Colossal Website
Indiefest:  Their Finest  (2016) R  This film tells the story of a British Ministry of Propaganda film team making a morale-boosting film during the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz.  Gemma Arterton plays Catrin, a woman in an unhappy relationship who is hired to help write the film. Her job is to help head writer, Tom (Sam Claflin), make his film more relatable to women stuck back at home. Their relationship starts out a little rocky, but soon, as they get to know and trust each other, they begin to work well together. As they work together and their writing and conversation starts flowing, they fall in love. I loved this film which has a feel of the old war films of the 40’s. There is incredible chemistry between Arterton and Claflin, making their relationship seem real. Bill Nighy gives a funny performance as an egomaniacal actor who thinks he invented acting and will let everyone know it. The film bogs down a little in the middle, but I thoroughly enjoyed this film and its look behind the scenes of making a movie during wartime in Britain.  My Rating: Full Price   Their Finest Info   
Indiefest:  Tommy’s Honour  (2016)  PG  The film tells the story of the pioneering Scottish golf champions Old Tom Morris(Peter Mullan) and his son Young Tom Morris (Jack Lowden).  If you are a golfer, you will love this film about the origins of the sport and the two men who shaped it.  The film is based on a true story, and it’s fascinating how far golf has come from its very primitive ancestry.  Most of the film takes place in Scotland at the legendary Royal, and Ancient Golf Club and the scenery is rugged and beautiful. The golf scenes are the best part of the film creating some badly needed tension. The heart of the movie is the father that is set in his ways and his son who is determined to change the way the game is played. While the movie is predictable and went on a little too long, I found the golf games in the film fascinating (that’s how good the games are, they make it fascinating).    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Tommy's Honour Website
Forgotten Film:  Betrayed  (1988)  A woman (Debra Winger) starts working on Gary’s (Tom Berenger) farm. They become friends and fall in love. The problem is that Gary is an anti-government white separatist. Little does Gary know that the woman he has fallen in love with is hiding a past also.  Debra Winger gives another superb performance and has great chemistry with Berenger. The plot is a little thing, but Winger makes this film worth watching.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Betrayed Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Fate of the Furious:  Cultural Advisor

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Born in China  (2017)  G  Living in Atlanta, I have gotten to see not one but two sets of panda twins born here. This film will show us how pandas live in the wild, along with other animals like snow leopards and monkeys in the forests and tundra of China. I can’t wait to see it.   Born in China Website

Until Next Time!