Friday, August 16, 2019

The Angry Birds 2

FamilyFaireThe Angry Birds 2 (2019) PG When a new threat appears, The piggies, led by Pig King Leonard (Bill Hader) and the Birds, led by Red (Jason Sudeikis) decide to join forces to combat the icy island let by Zeta (Leslie Jones) an eagle who wants warmer conditions for her eagles. I absolutely hated the first Angry Birds film, calling it both unfunny and annoying. The second film is a slight improvement but that is very faint praise. There was only one sequence that I thought was funny and yes, it takes place in a bathroom as one of the characters is going to the bathroom. Little kids may enjoy this film as there are lots of different characters in bright colors and there is quite of bit of action but once again, this was a film that I looked at my watch, thinking it was almost over and we still had thirty minutes to go.   My Rating: Cable    The Angry Birds 2 Website
My View:  Good Boys (2019) R Three sixth grade boys (Brady Noon, Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams) ditch school and go on an adventure while unknowingly carrying stolen drugs. Their mission is to get back home in time for a long-awaited party. Let me warn you right away, do not take the kids to see this film as it is produced by Seth Rogan and is raunchy as heck. I swear the Jacob Tremblay character uses the F word more than some hard character from an R rated film about a drug lord. Having said that, this film is incredibly funny and at times touching. This is a film about friendship and how you and your buddies are willing to do just about anything to help each other out. The running gag throughout the film, is the boys don’t quite have the experience to know what they have gotten into, they are way over their heads but they just don’t know it, so they keep going with a determination that is just so funny. There is an action sequence that takes place in a frat house that is so well done, it could be in a Dwayne Johnson action movie. This is one of those films that you will have a blast watching.   My Rating: Full Price     Bood Boys Website
My View: Blinded by the Light   (2019) PG-13   In 1987 Britain, the economy is in ruins, unemployment is growing and so are racial tensions. Javed (Viveik Kaira), is a teenager who is just trying to survive his high school days and the hard ways laid down by is Pakistani father (Kulvinder Ghir). Javed world is changed when he discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen, giving Javed a different way to see and deal with his world. Let me start off this review with a bit of a disclaimer, I am a huge Springsteen fan, having seen the full band twice and then I saw him do an acoustic show of all his hits. So I may be a little biased when I say that I thought this film was brilliantly done. Much like the Sing Street movie from a few years ago, there is a lot of singing and dancing done by the cast, the big difference is they are all Springsteen songs. This is one of those movies that I could watch over and over because it is so joyous in its presentation of Javed being saved from working in a factory to doing something he loves, writing. Kaira is perfect in the role and is so likable on the screen that you can’t help root for him to succeed. Even if you are just a mild Springsteen fan, you will enjoy this film from beginning to end.  My Rating: Full Price    Blinded by the Light Website
My View: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (2019) PG-13  Bernadette (Cate Blanchett) quit a promising career to raise her daughter (Emma Nelson) along with her loving husband (Billy Crudup). But Bernadette can’t be held down for long and goes on an epic adventure that will jump-start her life and lead her to happiness. Despite a strong performance by Cate Blanchett in a very unlikeable role as the difficult to deal with Bernadette and a nice comic relief performance by Kristen Wiig and the put upon next-door neighbor, I found the film very hit and miss. I think the major problem is that until the end of the film, you find that you don’t like Bernadette very much, even when she is dealing with some really stupid people. The film takes way too long to get going, although I did enjoy the last 1/3 of the film, once the plot starts moving forward. I think the film spent way too much time setting up the story and way too little resolving it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Where'd You Go, Bernadette? Website
Indiefest: Luce (2019) R A married couple (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth) are forced to deal with their adopted son (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), who is from war-torn Eritrea when a devoted high school teacher (Octavia Spencer) discovers an alarming fact about their son. Appearances can be deceiving, especially when you don’t want to see what people are really like once they let their guard down. This is a fascinating film about parents who think they have raised the perfect child and then slowly realize that couldn’t be further from the truth. Luce looks to be the perfect son/student but he has a hidden past that is probably affecting him to this day. Kelvin Harrison Jr. gives one of those performances that make you excited to see him in other roles, because he has this one down. He gives Luce a vibe that isn’t always what his character projects on the outside. Harrison Jr. shows us a young man how isn’t above using every trick in the book to get what he wants. My guess he will be in the mix for the breakthrough performer when the end of the year critic ballots go out. This is not an easy film to watch and you will squirm in your seat several times during the film but it’s well worth it to see Harrison Jr. give an outstanding performance.  My Rating: Full Price   Luce Website
Indiefest: One Child Nation (2019) R   A look at the brutal ramifications of China’s policy that families could only have one child per family. Parents and their children’s lives were shattered by the policy for years. In the 1970s the government of China was worried that if unchecked, China’s population would explode and there would be wild placed starvation. So the government mandated that each family could only have one child. If you did have a second child the government would seize the child and monetarily fine the family. If the family refused, their house might be destroyed and their land taken away. This is a heartbreaking film about the damage to the families that were affected by this law. What hit me the hardest was interviews with families that had to give away a child (that they would never see again) and they all remark that they had no choice but give up the child. The film also exposes that the government made money off the children they took away, selling the children as ‘orphans’ for ten of thousands of dollars to foreign families, especially families from the U.S. This is an extremely well-made documentary about a dark time in China’s history. Be warned, when you watch this film, you will need some tissues to wipe the tears away.   My Rating: Full Price    One Child Nation Website
My View: 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)  PG-13  Four teen girls (Sistine Rose Stallone, Corinne Fox, Brianne Tju, Sophie Nelisse) decide to dive into a ruined underwater city. They go into the ruins too far and encounter a great white that has adapted to the darkness of the ruins. Now they are diving for their lives. The first third of this film feels clunky and predictable. Where this film succeeds is when the teens dive into the ruins, then the tension builds and becomes almost unbearable for the last third of the film. I just wish they had gotten to the ruins much sooner in the film. There are a few ‘jump out of the dark’ scares but the rest of the film is about the teens being hunted by a killing machine. It’s not a great film but it still is a lot of fun to watch. I will admit at one point I pulled up my legs to try and help one of the teens avoid a shark bite.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    47 Meters Down Website
Forgotten FilmDarkman (1990) R      A brilliant scientist named Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) has discovered a way to produce synthetic skin for burn victims. There is a flaw in the discovery, the skin can only last 100 minutes if exposed to light. Sent by a mob boss, a henchman blows up Westlake, leaving Peyton for dead. Peyton begins using the synthetic skin to take the form of others (for only 100 minutes) and is out for revenge and to save his girlfriend Julie (Frances McDormand) who unknowingly works for the mob boss that put out the hit on Westlake. I love Neeson in the part, who shows his two sides; one carrying for his girlfriend and one who is determined to get revenge and make it as painful as possible. The action sequences are well done. The movie is enhanced by an incredible score by Danny Elfman that adds to the mood of the film.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Darkman Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Blinded by the Light: Standby Greens

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas Documentary on the three bluesmen that formed a band that has lasted 50 years and is still packing concert halls. A portion of the documentary is a concert the band did at the legendary Gruene Hall, one of the oldest dance halls in Texas. ZZ Top was my first concert and I have seen them at least 4 times.   ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band from Texas Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

My View: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) PG-13 On Halloween night in 1968, a group of teenagers visit a haunted house, one where the family there kept their daughter in a room in the basement. The teenagers find a book of scary legends and the stories are coming to life to threaten their lives. I thoroughly enjoyed this horror film that while does have a few jump out of the dark scares, build’s the tension to where the third act of the film is truly terrifying. The film is based on a YA book series, so the film is aimed at pre-teens and teenagers. Do not take your young children to this film as all the creatures in this film are just ghastly and horrific. What I really liked about this film (besides all the scares) was it also deals with some subjects that were very relevant for the time period: the Vietnam War, Tricky Dick Nixon getting elected President and racism. So go see this film and get your horror groove on.  My Rating: Full Price   Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Website
My ViewThe Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) PG A dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner) shows us the life lessons he learned from his race car driving master, Denny (Milo Ventimiglia). So the unusual thing about this film is that it’s seen through the eyes of Enzo, who believes in reincarnation and is convinced that what he learns in his life as a dog will help when he comes back as a human. This film is a great one but you laugh and yes, cry. I thought Costner did a masterful job as the voice of Enzo. Ventimiglia is fine as the race car driver who falls for Amanda Seyfried’s character. People that don’t like dogs will hate this movie but if love dogs as much as I do it will be an enjoyable film to watch.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Art of Driving in the Rain Website
FamilyfaireDora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) PG   Dora (Isabela Moner) was raised by her parents to be an explorer. Now, aided by a fellow explorer (Eugenio Derbez) Dora is on a mission to save her parents (Eva Longoria, Michael Pena) and find a lost city of gold. I really liked this film and I think parents will too, but I think your kids will fall in love with Dora. This movie works because Isabela Moner is so charismatic on the screen you can’t help yourself to root for her Dora. Kids will also love Boots, the sidekick of Dora, a monkey that seems almost human in his interactions with Dora. There are a couple of things I didn’t like about this movie: Eugenio Derbez is too over the top in his performance, it just doesn’t fit the rest of the film. Also, there is an animated fox called Swiper (voiced by Benicio Del Toro) that just doesn’t look like he belongs, the animation is too cartoony. By the way, there are a couple of times in the film that the film does give homage to the cartoon series this film is based on. Take your family and go on an exploration with Dora, it will be a blast.   My Rating: Full Price    Dora and the Lost City of Gold Website
My View:  The Kitchen (2019) R The wives of New York gangsters (Elisabeth Moss, Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish) in Hell’s Kitchen in the 1970s decide to continue their husband’s illegal business after their husbands are locked in prison. If I had been one of the other three people that were watching with me at the 7 pm Friday night screening, I would have left after ten minutes. This is one of the worst written films I’ve seen in a long time. The dialogue seems to have been written by a high school student writing a script for his AV class. The film wastes the talents of the three woman that head this cast. I did like the performance of Elisabeth Moss, whose character goes from a meek housewife to a tough, confident person. The audience (if you can call three people an audience) that I saw it with laughed at several plot points that were meant to be serious. This film might have worked as a dark comedy but as a straight drama, it is a bomb.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
Indiefest:  Tel Aviv on Fire  (2018)   Salam (Kais Nashif), a young Palestinian man, through good luck and connections gets a writing job on a popular Palestinian soap opera. What I liked about this film is that it shows you the Israeli occupation from the viewpoint of the Palestinians. The soap opera centers on a woman who is in love with a Palestinian operative who is in charge of her trying to seduce an Israeli general but the trouble is she starts falling in love with the general. While I didn’t laugh out loud, I did chuckle quite a bit. The secondary plot is that Salam is trying to get back with his old girlfriend, who he hurt deeply when they broke up in the past. I really liked the performance of Lubna Azabal, who plays the lead actress in the soap that is somewhat a diva. It’s a fine performance and she plays well off of Kais Nahif. This is a fun film to watch but we also learn how hard it is to live under the occupation of Isreal.    My Rating: Full Price
My View: Brian Banks (2018) PG-13   A football player’s (Aldis Hodge) dreams to play in the NFL are shattered when he is wrongly convicted and sent to prison. He teams with a lawyer (Greg Kinnear) to try and clear his name and start his football career. Aldis Hodge gives a powerful and moving performance of a man who just wants his name cleared, nothing more. I also enjoyed Sherri Shepherd’s performance as Brian’s mother who never wavers in her belief that Brian is innocent. I found the direction a little lacking in pace and the dialogue a little too preachy. The storyline is predictable but it’s still a remarkable story that needed to be told.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Brian Banks Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray): Tolkien (2019) PG-13   J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult) was an orphan who had to work hard to get anywhere. He falls in love with a fellow orphan, Edith (Lily Collins) and just when he finds his calling, language, he is swept away in the horrors of WW I. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan, so I was excited to see this film. While not bad, the film is a bit dull and spends too much time during Tolkien’s time in the war. I wanted more about how he came up with the idea of the books and less of his time looking for his best friend in the war.   My Rating; Bargain Matinee    Tolkien Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):   Ready or Not  (2019) R   A bride (Samara Weaving) is told that she must participate in a game of hide and seek before coming a part of the grooms family. What she doesn’t know is if they find her in the family home, she will be killed. The trailer looks really stupid.    Ready of Not Website
Forgotten Film: Coherence (2013)   During a night where a comet is going to come very close to Earth, a group of friends get together for a dinner party. The eight friends begin to experience problems when their phones all give out and electricity is shut down to the whole street except for a house down the road. The group decides to travel down the road to the house with power and then things get really weird. The tension builds as the film moves on. I would call this a suspense film and not a horror film. What I loved about this film is how natural the dialogue is (actors were not given a script, just a paragraph before each scene from the director, James Ward Byrkit). See this movie and go on a wild ride you won’t soon forget.   My Rating: Full Price   Coherence Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Swamper

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)  PG-13   Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Downs syndrome runs away from his care home to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. On the road, he encounters Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) a small-time outlaw that’s on the run that becomes an unlikely coach. They also convince Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), a nursing home worker to join their quest. The film has a great supporting cast including john Hawkes, Thomas Haden Church, and Bruce Dern. Everything I have heard about this film is that it is a celebration of life and is incredibly fun to watch.    The Peanut Butter Falcon Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw

My View:   Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw  (2019)  PG-13  Lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and criminal Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) make an unlikely team to save the world from a deadly virus. I love this ranchise since they decided that the leads are superfeores. This is such a fun popcorn movie to watch and the chemsitry between Johnson and Statham is amazing. I love movies when you see that the leads are having fun makng the film and this film is filled with that. The atcion sequences are just birllant and there is a holicopter seaence that is just amazaing. Is this a great film, no, but it is so much fun to watch. And be sure to stay through out all the credits as it sets up a sure to come sequel.   My Rating Full Price   Hobbs & Shaw Website
Indiefest: Mike Wallace is Here (2019) PG-13 Documentary on the legendary ’60 Minutes’ newsman Mike Wallace. The film explores the career of Mike Wallace. I learned a lot about Wallace, including the fact that not only he was he an investigative reporter but in his early career he did some acting. It is also fascinating to see how many commercials he id in the 50s. But of course, you get to see what made him famous, his interviews on 60 minutes.   My Rating; Full Price   Mike Wallace is Here Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):   Pet Sematary  (2019)  R  A family relocates from Boston to rural Maine. They soon discover that their house is located near a pet cemetery that has a mysterious past. This was a highly disappointing film. Almost all the scary stuff is the jump out of the dark category. It is a very violent movie and there are a couple of gruesome scenes. This film fails as a horror film, in fact, several times, the audience laughed at scenes that were not meant to be funny. It’s sad when the best performance in the film is by the cat, though I will say that I also liked Jete Laurence, who plays the daughter. This is one of those films that after you see it, you wonder why they even bothered to make the movie because it feels like they were just going through the motions.   My Rating: Cable    Pet Sematary Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):   Good Boys  (2019)  R  Three boys go a journey while having a bunch of illegal drugs. The trailer for this film hust looks horrible.   Good Boys Website
Forgotten Film:  Duel  (1971)  One of the first movies that Steven Speilberg directed. It was first a TV movie but was so successful that it was released to theatres. The film is about a driver who is hunted and terrorised by a 18 whee driver. I will admit that this film works better with the commercial breaks. I saw it in the theatre and it's pacing is a little off but it's still exciting.  My Rating: Full Price   Duel Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw:  Splinter Unit Director

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Linda Rosntadt: The Sound of My Voice:  (2019)  Can’t wait to see this film about one of my favorite singers.    The Sound of My Voice Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Once Upon a .Hollywood

My View:  Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood  (2019)  R  During the final years of the Golden Age of Hollywood, a struggling television actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt) try to mount a comeback. Underneath the glamour, there is a darkness coming in the form of Charlie Manson. This film is two hours and 41 minutes in length and feels like it is longer. I did enjoy the nostalgia factor of this film, getting to see L.A. in the last years of the vast studio system. Pitt and DiCaprio do play off each other well but there is a lot of shots of Pitt driving around listening to music. Be warned that this is not a true story but a fable about DiCaprio’s character who is on the downward spiral of an actor who once was a big star and is forced to take guest roles of television. As with any film that Quentin Tarantino does there is a good bit of humor and some rather repulsive violence. The story just takes too long for the payoff at the end and there were times that I was bored with the plot.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    Once Upon a Time in...Hollywood Website
Indiefest:  The Farewell  (2019)  PG  A Chinese family discover that their grandmother has only a short time to live. They decide not to tell her and stage a wedding as an excuse to gather the family together to say goodbye. Based on writer/director Lulu Wang’s own life, the film is a loving tribute to families and how we will do anything for our loved ones. Awkwadina wows us with her dramatic performance of a woman who is the black sheep of the family and has a hard time understanding why they are lying to her grandmother. I saw the film at the 2019 Atlanta Film Festival and fell in love with it. Go see this funny and warm film that will make you feel good about your family and yourself.   My Rating: Full Price   The Farewell Website 
Indie fest:  Sword of Trust  (2019)  R  Cynthia (Jillian Bell) and Mary (Michaela Watkins) show up to collect Cynthia’s inheritance from her grandfather’s estate. The only item she receives is an antique sword that her grandfather swore proved that the South won the Civil War. Mark Maron gives a brilliant performance as the grumpy pawnshop owner who decides to help the two women sell the sword with a healthy cut for himself. This is a quirky little film whose dialogue feels real and genuine. There isn’t a lot to the story but it’s a fun ride with a surprise ending. The film is full of strange characters that seem to fit right in with the plot.   My Rating: Full Price    Sword of Trust Website
Forgotten Film:  The Boy Friend  (1971)  G  When the leading lady of a low-budget musical gets hurt, her understudy (Twiggy) takes over the role and becomes a star. This is a musical that writer/director Ken Russel did as a tribute to the 1930 musicals that Busby Berkeley made. Twiggy is fine as the lead but the reason to watch this film is the singing and dancing of Tommy Tune who is amazing in the role. The film won several awards and was a nominee for Best Music at the 1972 Academy Awards.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    The Boy Friend Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood:  Stunt Department Office Manager

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Nightingale  (2018)  R  Set in 1835 Tasmania, a young woman named Clare (Aisling Franciosi) chases a British officer through the wilderness bent on revenge for the terrible things that the officer did to her family. Written and directed by Jennifer Kent, who made The Babadook, so I’m in.    The Nightingale Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Lion King

My ViewThe Lion King  (2019)  PG  After the murder of his father, Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones), the young prince, Simba (voiced by JD McCrary) leas the area to hide. He encounters Pumbaa (Seth Rogan) and Timon (Billy Eichner) who help Simba heal. This is an amazing looking film that utilizes the Disney CGI magic to it’s fullest. There are times that you are going to swear that portions of this film are live-cation but the film is all CGI. Besides how gorgeous the film looks, the other reason to see the film is Pumbaa (voiced by Seth Rogen) and Timon (voiced by Billy Eichner). They steal the film with their antics and their dialogue, which was all improvised. Some of their back and forth banter will have you on the floor laughing. And yes, Beyonce is wonderful as Nala.  While I did like this film, I do have a problem with it. With the ultra-realistic animation, there is very little emotion shown on the faces of the animals. It is hard to tell looking at their faces if they are happy or sad and that takes away from having you related to the animals. But you should go see this beautiful looking film because as they say “Hakuna Matata.’    My Rating: Full Price   The Lion King Website
Indiefest:  Maiden  (2018)  PG  Documentary about Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, who became a skipper and led the first-ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. An incredible story of a group of women led by a very determined Tracy Edwards who dare to enter what at the time was an almost exclusively man sport (women might be on board as a cook/servant). Most of the skippers of the yachts felt that the women would not even finish the first let, much less the whole trip of 3000 nautical miles that would take over 160 days to complete. The film does an outstanding job of how the team was formed and then an inside look at what it was like to compete in this race. The film documents the highs and lows of the women as they did what was considered impossible, to not only survive the sea but to be competitive. You will come away from this film admiring the gritty courage that Edwards and her crew displayed.  My Rating:  Full Price    Maiden website
My ViewThe Art of Self-Defense  (2019)  R  Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) is beaten by a group of thugs on the street. He decides to enlist in a dojo and learn how to protect himself. The dojo is ur by a charismatic but strange sensei (Alexandro Nivola) who see potential in Casey. These lessons will change Casey’s life forever. This is a dark comedy, sometimes incredibly funny and other times horrific and shocking. Eisenberg is perfectly cast as the weak guy who takes karate classes and transforms into someone else. Alexander Nivola is superb as the very weird sensei that takes a special interest in Eisenberg’s character. It’s a cat and mouse game the two play throughout the film and we wait until the end to see who will be on top. This film isn’t for everyone but if you like strange, dark comedies then you will want to see this film.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    The Art of Self-Defense Website
Indiefest:  Three Peaks  (2017)  Aaron (Alexander Fehling) wants to become a family with his girlfriend, Lea (Berenice Bejo) and her 8-year-old son Tristan (Arian Montgomery). The problem is Tristan doesn’t like Aaron and will do just about anything for break Aaron and Lea up. I enjoyed that the film slowly builds, letting us see the dynamic of the three of them. The problem is that Aaron isn’t Tristan’s father but wants to be. Tristan is conflicted by his loyalty to his father but Aaron treats Tristan well and they have fun together. The tension builds as Tristan slowly starts rebelling against Aaron. Lea, as you would expect the mother to do, often sides with Tristan when he acts out, much to Aaron’s disappointment. By the time we get to the final scenes, the air seems to be crackling with tension. This is not your usual drama and it doesn’t end with us getting all the answers but we don’t need them, we were along for the ride of three people trying to figure out if they belonged together.  My Rating: Full Price    Three Peaks Website
Forgotten FilmDeep Cover  (1992)   A by the books police offer (Laurence Fishburne) is recruited in infiltrating a drug-smuggling organization seeking to expand their reach. The cool thing about this movie is that it not only explores the drug trade but also issues of race and how we see our place in the world. This is reminiscent of the 40’s film noir movies where the hero is drug deeper into a world he wants no part of. Fishburne gives an outstanding performance and is matched by Jeff Goldblum as a crazy drug dealer.    My Rating: Full Price    Deep Cover Info
Weird Credits:  From The Art of Self-Defense:  Action Designer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Art of Racing in the Rain   (2019)  A dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner) shows us the life lessons he learned from his race car driving master (Milo Ventimiglia).  I am a sucker for movies about dogs, so I am looking forward to seeing this one.    The Art of Racing in the Rain Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, July 12, 2019


My View:  Stuber  (2019)  R  Detective Vic (Dave Bautista) has been chasing his partner’s killer for two years without success. Vic gets a tip that the killer is going to be at a drug drop-off but it comes at the worst possible time as Vic has just got laser surgery and can’t see to drive. So gets an Uber driver Stu (Kumail Nanjiani), who is hired to take Vic on an adventure they both will remember for the rest of their lives. Ok, so this is not a great film but it is a lot of fun to watch. Bautista and Narjaiani have great chemistry and play off each other really well. I will tell you that I was a little shocked at how violent the film is with lots of blood and a ton of headshots. I also loved that one of my favorite actresses, Natalie Morales has a fairly big part in the film of playing Vic’s daughter. If you want to just go watch a film that is fun this film is for you.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    Stuber Website
Indiefest:  The Spy Behind Home Plate  (2019)  Documentary on baseball catcher Moe Berg, who played during the Golden Years of professional baseball. But Moe Berg led a double life, he was a spy for the US government, gathering intel on both the Japanese and the Germans. This film explores a man who was not just a ballplayer but was one of the smartest men of his time. Berg when he traveled always had an extra suitcase with him filled with books and newspapers. The man also was fearless, during WW II he traveled throughout Europe spying on the Nazi’s and recruiting scientists to come to America to work on the Atom Bomb. This film has incredible footage of Berg playing baseball and has great interviews, including interviews with Berg’s brother. You will be amazed at what this man accomplished.    My Rating: Full Price    The Spy Behind Home Plate Website
Indiefest:  Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppqble  (2018)  PG  Documentary on surfer Bethany Hamilton, who at a very young age it was thought that she was so talented she was sure to win a World’s Championship sometime in her pro career. Seemly Bethany’s dream of becoming a pro surfer was cut short when at age 13 her arm was bitten off by a 14 foot Tiger shark. Amazingly not only did Bethany take up surfing again she won tournaments. This is a beautiful and inspiring film about a remarkable woman who is such an amazing athlete but also an inspiration to young people around the world. What I enjoyed the most about the film is the remarkable footage of Bethany surfing. Using all sorts of camera angles, including underwater cameras and cameras mounted on her surfboards, you are right there watching Bethany’s high’s and lows. The starts and ends with Bethany attempting to surf ‘Jaws’ an area of surfing in Hawaii that has 60-foot waves that almost always do what is called a ‘barrel’ (where the wave curves over the surfer. I loved the drone shots that show Bethany surfing big waves from high above. Experience what it is like being a professional surfer. I guarantee you will be amazed by Bethany’s perseverance and talent.  My Rating: Full Price    Unstoppable Facebook page
My View:  Crawl  (2019) R    A Category 5 hurricane is about to hit. having not heard from her dad, Maley (Kaya Scodelario) goes to his house and finds that he is injured. But there is something down in the basement with them and it’s out for blood. This is quite a good horror film while there are a few ‘jump out of the dark’ scares, most of the film is building terror. You also can’t figure out how the father/daughter are going to get out of this situation. I liked the performance of Kaya Scodelario, who is very believable as a college swimmer, which the pilot uses to its advantage. There is no rhyme or reason why the gators are killing people but the shark in Jaws didn’t have a reason either, he just killed.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Crawl Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):  Shazam!  (2019)  PG-13    Billy Baston (Asher Angel), a newly foster kid, s picked to become a superhero named Shazam (Zachary Levi). All Billy has to do is say the word ‘Shazam’ and he becomes the world’s greatest superhero. This film is a blast to watch as the makers of the movie decided that they were just going to have fun with these characters. The film is hilarious and you may have to see it twice because you will be laughing so hard you won’t hear some of the dialogue. Zachary Levi is perfect in the role of Shazam, who throughout the film, keeps learning new powers he has. Mark Strong, as the evil Dr. Sivana, makes a good bad guy who wants to take Shazam’s powers for his own. The film is a little slow at first but really gets going once Shazam shows up and then it just takes off for plenty of thrills. The action is fast-paced and the fight sequences are well done. But it’s the humor that makes this film work and boy, does it ever. Be sure to stay through all the credits as there are two bonus scenes.    My Rating:  Full Price    Shazam! Website
Forgotten Film:  The Verdict  (1982)  R  A washed-up lawyer (Paul Newman) seeks redemption with taking on a malpractice case to trial rather than settling. Directed by five-time Oscar-nominated Sidney Lumet and written by two time nominated writer David Mamet, the film is an intriguing tale of a case that has plenty of twists and turns. The reason to see this film is the performance of Paul Newman, who starts out as a boozing loser who we begin to root for by the end of the film. It’s a riveting performance by Newman, one of his best (and that is saying a lot).  My Rating: Full Price    The Verdict Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Stuber:  Rain Effect

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw  (2019) PG-13  Lawman Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and outcast Shaw (Jason Statham) form an alliance in order to take on cyber-genetically enhanced villain who threatens the future of humanity. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Furious franchise since they decided to escape reality and make the cast superheroes. This one should be a lot of fun.    Hobbs and Shaw Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home

My View:  Spider-Man: Far From Home  (2019) PG-13  Peter (Tom Holand) just wants to enjoy his school trip to Europe but Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has other plans for Spider-Man. I loved this movie, especially the comedic tones that this film uses to bring across Peter’s reaction to things. I enjoyed the action sequences and felt that they were fun to watch. What this makes this film is Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, who gives a commanding performance. Be sure to stay through all the credits due to two bonus scenes that set up the next film in the series.   My Rating: Full Price   Spider-Man: Far From Home Website 
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):  Pet Sematary  (2019)  R  A family relocates from Boston to rural Maine. They soon discover that their house is located near a pet cemetery that has a mysterious past. This was a highly disappointing film. Almost all the scary stuff is the jump out of the dark category. It is a very violent movie and there are a couple of gruesome scenes. This film fails as a horror film, in fact, several times, the audience laughed at scenes that were not meant to be funny. It’s sad when the best performance in the film is by the cat, though I will say that I also liked Jete Laurence, who plays the daughter. This is one of those films that after you see it, you wonder why they even bothered to make the movie because it feels like they were just going through the motions.   My Rating: Cable   Pet Semetery Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've only seen in Trailers but just looks like a bad idea):  Trespassers  (2018)  Two couples are at a rental property when a woman shows up saying she has car trouble, then violence starts. The trailer doesn’t look like something you would want to watch, much less experience.    Tres[assers Website
Forgotten Film:  The Wanderers  (1979) R  A gang led by Richie (Ken Wahl) tries to survive in 1963 New York gangland subculture. The reason to see this film is the performance of Ken Whal, who is amazing in the role of the gang leader who wants to lead his gang to prominence.  My Rating: Full Price   The Wanderers Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Spider-Man: Far From Home: Personal Hair Stylist for  Tom Holland

Coming  Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable  (2018)  Documentary on Hamilton who lost an arm to a tiger shark and went on to become a world class surfer.    Bethany Hamilton: Unstopable Website
Until Next Time!