Friday, October 20, 2017

Only the Brave

My ViewOnly the Brave (2017)  PG-13  An elite crew of firefighters, named the Granite Mountain Hotshots, will risk everything to protect a town from an historic wildfire. This film is a fantastic true story about a group of firefighters who risk their lives to protect towns and their people from horrific fires. We get to know the firefighters and their families, and we experience the brotherhood of this group of men. The firefighting scenes are exciting and brilliantly done. There isn’t one bad performance in the bunch, and I loved the chemistry between Josh Brolin, who plays the supervisor of the firemen, and Jennifer Connelly, who plays his fiery but supportive wife. Miles Teller is perfectly cast as the down-and-out man who changes his life by joining the firefighters. Taylor Kitsch is brilliant as a team member who hates Miles Teller’s character at first but then becomes one of his best friends. Only the Brave is a inspiring drama about a group of men who would risk their lives for their brotherhood of firefighters.    My Rating: Full Price    Only the Brave Website
My View The Snowman  (2017)  R  Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) gets put on the case of a woman who has disappeared, and her pink scarf is wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.  Oh, man this is a bad movie. The film takes place in Norway, but some actors speak perfect English, one actor keeps his British accent, and Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons has an accent from God knows where. The film is titled, The Snowman, and the serial killer leaves snowmen as his calling card, but not once do the detectives mention the snowmen. Val Kilmer has a small but important part, but because he was battling cancer at the time of filming, he had a hard time speaking, so his lines were dubbed in making Kilmer's scenes seem a little unreal. The storyline is confusing and, at times, seems like something is missing. It’s as if the director didn’t film 15 percent of the script. Oh wait, that’s exactly what happened. Those missing scenes probably wouldn’t have helped this mess of a film.    My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   The Snowman Website  
IndiefestMark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House  (2017)  PG-13  Mark Felt (Liam Neeson), the Deputy Associate Director of the F.B.I., is forced to become “Deep Throat,” the inside man who helped journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate scandal in 1974.  First, if you don’t know much about Watergate, then you should watch All the President’s Men before seeing this film. This film has an all-star cast with Liam Neeson as Mark Felt, Diane Lane as his supportive wife, Kate Walsh, Michael C. Hall, Tom Sizemore, and Tony Goldwyn. The problem with this film is the script never creates any tension even though it deals with a story of a Presidency that was taken down due to Felt’s inside information. The film never gets up to speed, and we never go in depth into Mark Felt’s reasons why he gives out the info. Liam Neeson gives a solid performance as Felt, and Diane Lane is even better as the loyal wife who becomes bitter when Mark is passed over  head of the F.B.I.. These performances, though, just can’t overcome a script that is incredibly dull.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Mark Felt Website
IndiefestBreathe  (2017)  PG-13  The story of Diana (Claire Foy) and Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) whose life is shattered when, at age 28, Robin is paralyzed from the neck down by polio.  Base on a true story, Breathe is an inspirational story of a man who refuses to be locked up In a hospital, tied to a respirator while wasting away. Due to his loving and hardworking wife and very inventive friends, Robin not only was able to go home, but he was able to travel around Europe, lecturing doctors on how to free their patients from a hospital bed. Foy and Garfield have  marvelous chemistry together, and Garfield gives a moving performance. Excellent performances by the two leads are not enough to make this film more than just average as they were let down by a meandering script that never delivered the emotional impact the two characters and two actors deserved.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Breathe Website
IndiefestThe Florida Project  (2017)  R  Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) lives in an extended stay hotel near Disney World with her mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite). It's going to be a long summer.  This heartbreakingly beautiful film is a brilliant look at people living on the edge of homelessness. Brooklynn Prince as the fiery kid named, Moonee, is the best thing in this film. Her role is an intense and scintillating performance that will cause you to fall in love with her. Willem Dafoe gives a masterful performance as the downtrodden hotel manager who has to deal with a not so reliable client base. He portrays the manager as a man who feels bad for his guests but realizes that he still has a job to do. The Florida Project is not a glamorous film, and it’s quite sad most of the time showing us all the aspects of living with very little, but you will want to spend time with little Moonee and her gang.   My Rating:  Full Price   The Florida Project Website
IndiefestLucky  (2017)  Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton) is a retired US Navy veteran who loves his rituals: his morning exercises, his walk into town, going to the diner to work on a crossword puzzle. Lucky senses that his time on Earth is almost up, and he must reassess his life and what he believes in.  Harry Dean Stanton gives a magical performance that is sure to get an Academy Award nomination. He gives the film heart as he stumbles around his small town meeting his friends at the diner or at the neighborhood watering hole. The entire cast is splendid, especially David Lynch as a friend of Lucky’s whose best friend is a 100-year-old tortoise, Ed Begley Jr. as Lucky’s longtime doctor, and Tom Skerritt as a Marine vet who meets Lucky at the diner. The film lovingly treats Lucky as a treasured soul who loves his routine and his town. Lucky is a beautiful ode to a man who made the world a better place. It’s too bad there won't be more films with Harry Dean Stanton in them, but he couldn't have chosen a better swan song to go out on. We all feel lucky that Stanton could join us for one last walk to his town.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Lucky Website
Forgotten FilmNear Dark  (1987)  R   Caleb (Adrian) is a young man living a dull life in a small town. When he meets a young drifter named Mae (Jenny Wright), he thinks his luck has changed, that is until he finds out she is a vampire. Caleb gets bit by her and is forced to join her gang of vampires that is led by the charismatic Jesse (Lance Henriksen). Now he is part of a group of vampires that is roaming the west, causing death and mayhem. This is a cross between a vampire film and a biker film and it works due to the brilliant cast and a unique storyline. A fun ride from start to finish is a must for anyone who likes a good vampire film.   My Rating: Full Price   Near Dark Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Only the Brave:  Tattoo Manufacturer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Last Flag Flying  (2017)  R  Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, Larry Shepherd (Steve Carell) reunites with his old buddies Sal (Bryan Cranston) and Richard (Laurence Fishburn). They go on a road trip to pick up the body of Larry’s son, who has died in the Iraq War. The funny and touching trailer makes this look like a movie that you won’t want to miss.     Last Flag Flying Info 
Until Next Time!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Happy Death Day

My ViewHappy Death Day  (2017)  PG-13  A college student, Tree (Jessica Rothe), keeps reliving the day of her murder. As she relives the day over and over, she starts to figure out who killed her and how to stop them.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film, which is rare for a slasher genre movie. The film has a sense of humor, making fun of the slasher device in films, as Tree is killed in about every way possible. The film has some twists and turns to keep you interested as Tree (yes that is what everyone calls her) tries to discover who the killer is. Jessica Rothe has a significant screen presence and has a knack for comedy, which helps the film feel light and fun. There are some scary moments; most of them the ‘jump out of the dark' variety but it’s the tongue in cheek humor that makes this film so much fun. It’s not a great film, but it’s enjoyable for its campy theme.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Happy Death Day Website
My ViewThe Foreigner  (2017)  R  An ordinary businessman, Quan (Jackie Chan), seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism. They messed with the wrong man as Quan has a past that will help him track down his daughter’s killers.  This is not your typical happy-go-lucky Jackie Chan roll, nor is it your typical Jackie Chan movie. The Foreigner is a grim movie about a grieving father who wants revenge on the killers who exploded a bomb in downtown London. I loved the action sequences with Chan which are fast moving and, as with any film with Jackie Chan, are full of almost impossible stunts. The problem with this film is that it wants to be a revenge film and political drama, which the two don’t mix very well up on the screen. Pierce Brosnan plays a former IRA leader who, for the past nineteen years, has been working with the English government to keep the peace. I wanted more of Jackie Chan and a whole lot less of Pierce Brosnan.  The political stuff is too slow moving and weighs down this almost 2-hour film. I would give this film a lower rating, but Jackie Chan is just too darn good at action scenes to do that.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Foreigner Website
My View:  Marshall  (2017)  PG-13   Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown) is accused of raping his employer, Mrs. Strubing (Kate Hudson). NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) is sent to defend him and is forced by the court to use local lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), who typically works on insurance cases.  Chadwick Boseman is an unmovable force in this outstanding film about a man who continually challenged the system and won. This is a gripping courtroom drama, which, even though I knew the outcome, kept me on the edge of my seat. There is impressive chemistry between Boseman and Josh Gad, who plays a reluctant lawyer who comes around to Marshall’s ideas on how to run a case. The whole cast is outstanding, including Kate Hudson was the woman who filed the rape charges. This film is worth the price of admission to see Chadwick Boseman work his magic, making Thurgood Marshall come alive before our eyes.  My Rating: Full Price    Marshall Website
IndiefestProfessor Marston and the Wonder Women  (2017)  R    The true story of psychologist William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), who was in a polyamorous relationship between his wife (Rebecca Hall) and his mistress (Olive Byrne). Marston went on to create the legendary and controversial (for its time) comic book character Wonder Woman. This is a movie about the choices we make in our relationships, those choices that sometimes take great courage to make. This film isn’t for everyone as it contains a bit of nudity, along with some bondage. I liked Hall and Evans’ performances, but it’s Rebecca Hall who makes this film worth watching. Playing the hard-headed, opinionated, and brilliant wife, Hall dominates every scene that she is in. I think you will be shocked at Marston’s ideas that he incorporated in his creation of Wonder Woman. This is a complex, moving tale about the exploration of what love means and if it indeed can conquer all that life gives us.   My Rating:  Full Price    Professor Marston and the Wonder Women Website
Indiefest:  The King’s Choice  (2017)  In 1940, the Nazis invade Norway, who, up to that time in the war, had been neutral.  The Norwegian King (Jesper Christensen) must make the tough decision to give in to the German’s demands or fight on and lose countless lives of his own people. The film is the dramatic telling of a King who has to make a hard choice that will have far-ranging consequences. King’s Choice lets us see the workings of not only a Monarchy but how a King deals with a government that can’t come to a decision. We get to know the King’s family, including the hot-headed son, and we also meet the brave soldiers that were fighting for King and country under impossible odds. It’s an entertaining film that lets us see how war affects people, not only the powerful but also the powerless.    My Rating: Full Price    The King's Choice Website
IndiefestM.F.A.  (2017)  An art student, Noelle (Francesca Eastwood), gets creatively inspired when she accidentally kills the man who raped her. After her painting is well received, she decides to become a vigilante, killing men who have wronged women on campus, which fuels her creativity. This is an interesting and sometimes brutal look at a woman who becomes empowered by her revenge. The more she becomes a vigilante and rights what she perceives as wrongful acts on women, the more creative she becomes to where it becomes an obsession. Eastwood gives a robust and compelling performance, making it hard to not root for her even though she is killing men right and left. M.F.A. will leave you thinking about how to stop violence against women on college campuses  in this tale of a woman who seeks solace in revenge.  My Rating: Full Price    M.F.A.Website
Indiefest: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)   (2017)   An estranged family, two brothers and one sister gather in New York for an event celebrating their father, Harold (Dustin Hoffman), an opinionated sculptor. Danny (Adam Sandler), the oldest son, is a recently separated father whose daughter, Eliza (Grace Van Patten) is about to leave for college. Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), the troubled daughter, is an office manager, who has never gotten over her broken childhood caused by her parents' divorce. Matthew (Ben Stiller), the youngest son, is a highly successful money manager that moved to Los Angeles to get away from his family. Writer/director Noah Baumbach brings us a story about a rather strange family, led by the bullheaded and conceited father who feels he never got the success and recognition that his work deserved. Dustin Hoffman is phenomenal as the center of attention-hungry patriarch. Baumbach gives us almost non-stop dialogue where family members try to get their point in while Harold keeps talking about what he wants to chat about. Both Sandler, as the loving father and Ben Stiller, as the slick Matthew, are exceptional in their performances. While given a lesser role within the film, Elizabeth Marvel, still holds her own as the distressed Jean. Emma Thompson, as the alcoholic fourth wife of Harold, is simply superlative in the film. The film is told short stories, centering on each character of the family. This is a funny and moving film filled with eccentric, complex characters whose layers start peeling back before our eyes.   My Rating: Full Price   The Meyerowitz Stories Website
Forgotten FilmNight Falls on Manhattan  (1996)  R  A newly elected District Attorney (Andy Garcia) finds himself in the middle of an investigation of police corruption that may involve his father (Ian Holm and his father’s police partner(James Gandolfini). This is an absorbing tale where you never know which character is telling the truth. I love James Gandolfini in the film playing the possible corrupt policeman; he is just a blast to watch to perform. It’s a dark film about the intricate workings of a city that is choking on lies and deceit.   My Rating: Full Price   Night Falls on Manhattan Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Happy Death Day: Mascot Mask Designed By

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Snowman  (2017)  Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) gets put on the case of a woman who has disappeared, and her pink scarf is wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman. You had me at Michael Fassbender. The Snowman Website 
Until Next Time!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Blade Runner 2049

My ViewBlade Runner 2049  (2017)  R  A new Blade Runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), discovers a dark secret that could bring an end to the human race. Along the way, he meets Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former Blade Runner who disappeared 30 years ago. First, let me say that you do need to have seen the first film for this film to make sense. It would also be helpful, but not necessary, to see the three short Blade Runner shorts that were recently produced. I think this is one of those rare occasions where the sequel is better the original movie. The film did not feel it’s two hours and forty minute length as the storyline is fast moving and complex, keeping you guessing until the very end. There isn’t a bad performance in this film but make no mistake that this is Gosling’s film as he is in almost every scene. I think this could be a big Oscar winner, as the film looks and sounds stunning and Gosling gives another brilliant performance. I loved this movie, and I highly recommend that you see this remarkable film on the biggest screen you can find.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Blade Runner 2049 Website
My View:  The Mountain Between Us  (2017)  PG-13  After their small plane crashes in the mountains, two strangers (Idris Elba, Kate Winslet) must work together to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow-covered mountain.This is a strange movie which mixes genres of disaster films with romance films and doesn’t quite work. This is the story of two strangers who spend a lot of time thinking that they are going to die, and eventually fall in love, despite of their differences. Two of the best actors in the business, Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, make the film watchable until the end when it turns into a Hallmark of the week movie. If not for the ending I could probably recommend you seeing this but unless you are a big Elba or Winslet fan, I have to say it’s just not worth the time.    My Rating: Cable   The Mountain Between Us Website
FamilyFaireMy Little Pony: The Movie  (2017)  PG  In order to stop a threat to Equestria, Twilight Sparkle and her friends Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Spike must travel to far-away places to save their home.This is exactly what you think it is, an sickly sweet film that only the very young will enjoy. I did appreciate a couple of the seven original songs in the film, including the credits song by Sia. The plot is simple, the animation is nothing out of the ordinary and it’s about a group of ponies, some of them unicorns that have names like Fluttershy. There is even a singing pony, played by Sia, called Songbird Serenade, so you just know what this film is about, ponies, butterflies and rainbows. Unfortunately, there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of this film, just more cutely named ponies.   My Rating: Cable   My Little Pony: The Movie Website
IndiefestLoving Vincent  (2017)  PG-13  The complicated life and controversial death of one of history’s most celebrated artists, Vincent Van Gogh. This incredible film took six years and used over 125 artists to animate this film using oil paints and over 65,000 panels. The movie takes 120 of Van Gogh most famous paintings and incorporates them into the scenery and the characters. It makes his paintings come to life right before your eyes. The film is told through the eyes of a Postmasters son, Armand (Douglas Booth) who is given the task of taking a letter Van Gogh wrote on the day of his death to Vincent’s brother. As Armand travels he begins seeking information of why Vincent committed suicide making the film more of a mystery than just your typical biographical picture. The animation is gorgeous and fans of Van Gogh will love how his paintings fill the screen. To fully appreciate the wonder of this film, it has to be seen on the big screen as this movie creates a love letter to Van Gogh’s magnificent, stunning paintings. Van Gogh produced works that continue to bring joy to a world, even if that world didn’t understand him at that time. As Vincent used to sign his letters to his beloved Theo with the saying “Loving Vincent,” you too will be loving Vincent if you go see this film.   My Rating:  Full Price    Loving Vincent Website
IndiefestDolores  (2017)  Documentary on Dolores Huerta, who, in the 1950’s, went from a working-class wife and mother of eleven to helping establish the first farm workers union. This is a fascinating film about a women most of don’t know but should. Dolores is a woman who stood up to irate farmers, strong-armed unions and local police forces with a determination and will that never quit. Her sheer presence would gather crowds and promote change, all of which is expertly shown in this film. This film isn’t also afraid to show that Dolores, as powerful and inspirational as she is, has flaws; several failed marriages, placing the union in front of the needs of her children (most of which are interviewed in the film), and a fiery temperament that often got her in trouble with her co-workers. The film brings to light what an extraordinary individual Dolores is and continues to be, fighting for the rights of people. It’s a phenomenal film about an exceptional woman who the whole world needs to know and follow her example.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Dolores Website
My Rating:  Cold Moon  (2016)  The Larkin family has suffered a terrible tragedy in their sleepy Southern town. The town starts exhibiting strange things such as traffic lights blink an eerie warning; a ghostly visage prowls in the streets and graves erupt from the local cemetery. Soon, beneath the murky surface of the river, a shifting, almost human shape slowly takes form to seek a terrible vengeance. If you are a fan of horror films, then this one is for you. I especially enjoyed the stellar special effects and the score that was reminiscent of any of John Carpenter’s films. The stellar cast that includes Christopher Lloyd, Candy Clark, Josh Stewart and Frank Whaley helps make this film fun to watch. For the Tommy Wiseau (The Room) fans out there, he does make a very brief appearance in the film. If you are looking for a fun scare for the coming Halloween season, you can do worse than this movie.     My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Cold Moon Facebook Page
Forgotten Film: Stir of Echoes (1999)  Tom (Kevin Bacon) is an ordinary guy who works as a telephone lineman and plays in a band. At a party, his sister-in-law (Illeana Douglas) convinces him to undergo hypnosis. This awakens something that Tom never knew about himself, he is a Receiver, someone able to see ghosts. He is visited by a little girl ghost that tells Tom “dig.”  Tom discovers that the little girl has been missing from the neighborhood for months and Tom goes on a mission to find out what happened to her. This film is part mystery and part suspense film that uses a clever plot and interesting characters to tell a story that becomes more complex as it goes along. Kevin Bacon has never been better as the ordinary man who is being driven mad by a talent he didn’t know he had. I loved the finish to this film, making it a cliffhanger to the very end.  My Rating: Full Price   Stir of Echoes Info

Weird Credits: From Blade Runner 2049: Contact Lens Painter

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  78/52  ( 2017)   Documentary on the infamous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1960 film Psycho. It gives us a detailed look at the director and the on-screen murder that continues to influence filmmakers to this day. I am a huge Hitchcock fan, so you know I will see this one.   78/52 Infor
Until Next Time!


Friday, September 29, 2017

American Made

My ViewAmerican Made  (2017)  R  Barry (Tom Cruise) is a former TWA pilot who became a spy plane pilot for the CIA and a drug smuggler for the Medellin Cartel in the 80s. To avoid being put in jail, he turns informant for the DEA. This film is much funnier than I thought it would be, with some hilarious sequences. At one point, Barry has so much money that, when he digs a hole in the backyard to bury the money, he digs up a bag that he had already hidden. I liked Tom Cruise’s performance though I felt it was rather easy for him to do the role, playing a guy wjp gets by using his looks and has the ability to talk his way out of sticky situations. The rest of the cast is outstanding, including Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Barry’s CIA handler, and Sarah Wright, who plays Barry’s put-upon wife. Caleb Landry Jones gives his usual creepy vibe in the role of the dimwitted brother of Barry’s wife. This film wants to be on the level of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,” but it just doesn’t have enough. I think you can blame that on Tom Cruise because he won’t play a role where you don’t like his character. For example, this is the first R rated film that Cruise has been in since Tropic Thunder which was almost ten years ago. Overall this is an enjoyable film, but if it had been grittier, it would have been a better film.    My Rating: Full Price   American Made Website
My ViewBattle of the Sexes  (2017)  PG-13  This film is loosely based on the 1973 tennis match that all America watched between Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), an aging huckster who used to be a great tennis star, versus Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), the best woman tennis player of all time. This is two films in one; the story of how the most watched tennis match of all time happened, and the slow realization by Billy Jean King that she is a lesbian. I enjoyed this film because I am old enough to remember the match, and the look and feel of the early 70 is perfectly captured. The film does a superlative job of mixing in actual footage from the match, including showing Howard Cosell on-screen with Natalie Morales, who plays tennis player Rosie Casals. Steve Carell is brilliant as the bombastic Bobby Riggs, who was a man who lived to gamble. In contrast to Carell’s over-the-top Riggs (warranted because that’s how Bobby Riggs acted), Emma Stone gives a quiet but convincing performance of a woman who dared to take on the world to get women’s tennis the prize money and notoriety they deserved. The film feels a little long because it spends so much time on King’s awakening to her true feelings. There are too many scenes of her exchanging glances with the hairdresser (Andrea Riseborough) whom she eventually falls in love with. Overall, buoyed by the spectacular cast, Battle of the Sexes is an interesting look at a time when a tennis player changed her sport through her toughness and determination.   My Rating:  Full Price   Battle of the Sexes Website
IndiefestWoodshock  (2017)  R  After helping her terminally ill mother commit suicide, Theresa (Kirsten Dunst) finds comfort in the reality-altering effects of a potent cannabinoid drug.  I hated this film which is too artsy for its own good. The film spends lots of time with Dunst alone in her house, either being depressed or high on the drug, seeing colored lights on the walls or staring at herself in the mirror. Since she keeps taking the drug (some sort of liquid that she mixes with pot) we never know what scenes are real and what scenes are just in her head. I have no idea what the point of this film was and why an actress of Kirsten Dunst’s level would take the part. Much like the movie itself, it’s a mystery that won’t be solved.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Woodshock Website
IndiefestTrophy  (2017)  This documentary looks at the industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and Africa. Trophy sometimes was difficult to watch (lots of animals are killed on screen) and is maddening because there isn’t an easy solution to the problem of extinction. The fascinating part of this film is it doesn’t judge, just presents all the sides; the hunter that feels he is a conservationist, the rhino rancher who wants to sell the horns to support his farm, the big game rancher who raises animals to be killed and the people on the street that want to stop it all. The only group that the film does judge is the human race which through just being on the planet is causing wild animals to die at an alarming rate. I didn’t know much about big game hunting, but this film gave me a lot to think about.   My Rating: Full Price   Trophy Website
My View:  Flatliners  (2017)   PG-13  Five medical students become obsessed with what lies beyond when we die. They start experimenting on themselves by stopping their hearts for short periods of time. Each student has a different experience with the afterlife. The cast which includes Ellen Page, Diego Luna, and Nina Dobrev, tries to overcome a weak and bland script. The film relies on the jump out of the dark scares that just never work. Flatliners was supposed to be a sequel, but it feels like a watered down remake that brings nothing new or original to the storyline. This film is a waste of an excellent cast, in fact, it’s just a waste of time.   My Rating: Cable    Flatliners Facebook Page
Forgotten FilmThe Getaway  (1972)  PG  A recently released ex-con (Steve McQueen) and his loyal wife (Ali MacGraw) go on the lam after a heist goes wrong. This film has a bunch of flaws in the script but is worth seeing for two reasons: the chemistry between McQueen and MacGraw is so good it almost steams up the screen, and there is a brilliant chase sequence on a train that is a master class in how to direct action sequences.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee     The Getaway Info

Weird Credits:  From the Battle of the Sexes:  Tennis Double

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouMarshall (2017)  PG-13  The story of Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman), who became the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. We follow him when he is a young man as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.   Marshall Facebook Page
Until Next Time!


Friday, September 22, 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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

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

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

American Assassin

My ViewAmerican Assassin  (2017)  R  Michael Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) is recruited to become black ops for the CIA. He and his trainer, Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton), set out to stop a mysterious operative nicknamed, Ghost (Taylor Kitsch), who is set on starting a world war in the Middle East.  I liked the action sequences in this film which are well done and exciting. Dylan O’Brien makes for a sterling young hot-head agent, and Michael Keaton as the gruff CIA Black Ops chief is fun to watch because he is obviously enjoying this role. What I didn’t like about this film is that it seems even longer than its almost two-hour length, and I hated the way over-the-top performance of Taylor Kitsch, who plays the ex CIA agent called, Ghost, and who is determined to get revenge. I never got the feeling that he was dangerous, just that his character was crazy. As exciting that the fight sequences are, there are some car chases that are just downright boring. This film is based on a series of books by Vince Flynn, which the studio is hoping will be a franchise like the Jason Bourne or Jack Reacher films, but I doubt we will see any more of this series because this movie misses the mark.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   American Assassin Website  Note: This film is released by CBS Films and I am employee of CBS Television Station Group.
IndiefestFirst They Killed My Father  (2017)  R  Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung recounts her life under the rule of the Khmer Rouge.  This is a stunning and touching film about a young girl who, under horrible conditions, never loses her humanity. Co-writer/director Angelina Jolie brings us a true tale of the unspeakable suffering that the Cambodian people endured under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. This is Jolie’s best work, and the care and affection she shows on the screen for the people of Cambodia and Loung Ung  (Sareum Srey Moch), in particular, is immense. Sareum Srey Moch is dazzling in the role of a little girl who is forced to grow up much too soon, bringing an emotional performance to the screen that is worthy of someone three times her age. Jolie has written this film with an emphasis on seeing the journey through the eyes of Loung Ung, and our heart breaks throughout the film as she struggles to survive an unjust world. I will warn you that there are several very graphic scenes of people dying in fire fights, but that’s Jolie’s intention as she wants to portray war as an ugly, dirty thing, and that families suffer the most during those times.    My Rating: Full Price   First They Killed My Father Website
Indiefest:  mother!  (2017)  R  A couple’s (Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem) love is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their lives forever. This is a trippy and strange film that not everyone will enjoy. This is unlike the usual Jennifer Lawrence film, it’s a movie that is an allegory, so it isn’t rooted in reality. The film is beautifully shot, and I loved all the sounds that this movie has, so make sure that if you want to see this film, see it in a theatre. The film is hard to watch at times, and there are a couple of scenes that are just brutal to watch. This is defiantly a movie that will have you talking about it for a long time after you leave the theatre. Lawrence and Bardem are brilliant in the roles and have incredible chemistry on the screen. mother! is a film that will cause you to think and try to figure out just what it all means. Sometimes we need that in a film, something to make you think instead of just reacting.   My Review:  Full Price   Mother! Website
Forgotten FilmMean Streets  (1973)  R  Two small time hoods (Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel)  are trying to move up in the mob from the streets of New York City’s Little Italy. Both men are destined to a sad and violent end. Robert De Niro, as the psychotic, troubled gangster, Johnny Boy, is mesmerizing in the role. His performance is riveting, and you can’t take your eyes off of him as he gives it all on screen. Keitel, as the hood with a heart, is just as spellbinding in his role. This is a gritty, tough film that set the definition for mob movies and is a treasure to watch.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See It Again   Mean Streets Website  
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-Ray): Paris Can Wait  (2017)  PG  The wife (Diane Lane) of a successful movie producer takes a car trip from the south of France to Paris with one of her husband’s associates (Arnaud Viard ). To say that they are going to take the scenic route would be an understatement. If you are a foodie, this is the film for you. The couple takes a leisurely trip through France, centering their journey on the fine cuisine of the country.  Lane’s character loves food, so much so, that she takes endless pictures of her plates, and we see the results (some of which could grace the cover of Bon Appetit magazine). Lane and Viard play off each other extremely well, and there is quite a bit of sexual tension between the two that builds to the very end. The scenery is beautiful, and the food looks almost too beautiful to eat. If you want to imagine dining your way across France, this film isn’t a bad way to go.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Paris Can Wait Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)Daddy’s Home 2 (2017)  Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) must deal with their fathers (Mel Gibson, John Lithgow) during the holidays. I hated the first film, so why would I want to see a sequel?   Daddy's Home Facebook Page

Weird Credits:  From the credits of American Assassin:  Props: Hair Punching

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Murder on the Orient Express  (2017)  A murder has occurred on the lavish train, ‘The Orient Express.’  Lucky for us, the world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), is on the case. An all-star cast, which includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, and Johnny Deep make this a must see film.    Murder on the Orient Express Website
Until Next Time!