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!


Friday, April 7, 2017

Going in Style

My View:  Going in Style  (2017)  PG-13  Three retired pals (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin) decide they will rob the very bank that absconded their retirement money.  I wasn’t a big fan of the 1979 film that this movie is based on, and this film isn’t an improvement. I wanted the film to be funnier, but instead of laughing, there were times that I was wincing at the attempt at comedy. Speaking of laughs, the ending is unbelievably contrived as the film ends with everybody winning. I think with this cast, a much better film would have happened if creators had made it a drama but they didn’t, and we suffer because of it.    My Rating:  Cable   Going in Style Website
IndiefestAfter the Storm  (2016)  After the death of his father, a private detective (Hiroshi Abe) struggles to reconnect with his son and ex-wife. It’s a heartfelt movie that I just had trouble connecting with; I think that mostly because the father is such an idiot. The film moves too slowly for my taste, as the characters tend to over analyze their relationships. The film is bolstered by the performances, especially Hiroshi Abe, but I just wish the film had moved at a quicker pace.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   After the Storm Website
IndiefestQueen of the Desert  (2015)  PG-13   British writer Gertrude Bell (Nichole Kidman) traveled the world, spending her entire life trying to make a difference in the Middle East, an area she loved. For such an interesting real life person, writer/director Werner Herzog has made such a dull picture. The film wants to be a female version of Lawrence of Arabia, but instead, we get an over-long, slow tale of a woman who was one of the great explorers of her time. You can’t fault Kidman who always gives a sparkling performance. The movie has a tedious storyline that seems to go on forever, with long shots of Kidman on a camel, traversing the desert as her character talks about her love of the desert.  Speaking of T.E. Lawrence, Robert Patterson gives a laughable performance as the man, showing absolutely no charisma the role needs. The film is beautifully shot, and the locations are as exotic as you can get, but I just wish the plot was as interesting as the scenery.   My Rating:  Cable   Queen of the Desert Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray):   Office Christmas Party  (2016)  When the CEO (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close the company branch, her hard-partying brother (T. J. Miller) and his Chief Technical Officer (Jason Bateman) decide to host the office Christmas party to end all parties. If the clients have a good time, it just might save the branch office. In the hands of Judd Apatow, this might have been a funny film, but it’s written by two screenwriters who have never written a feature-length film, and it shows. This should have been a wild ride, but instead, we get the same old clichés, a plot that is easy to figure out and very unfunny jokes. Add to the fact that this movie is 105 minutes long, and it makes it a very slow watch. When the outtakes during the credits aren't funny, you know the film is in trouble.    My Rating: Cable    Office Christmas Party Website
Forgotten FilmTwo Hands  (1999)  19-year-old Jimmy (Heath Ledger) becomes in-debt to a local gangster named Pando (Bryan Brown).  When some of the gang’s money goes missing, the Pando thinks Jimmy is responsible, and Jimmy goes on the run.  Along the way, Jimmy meets a young country girl (Rose Byrne) who changes his outlook on life.  While the plot has a few holes, Heath Ledger makes this film work. His performance makes you wish that he was still around to dazzle us as he does in this film.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Two Hands Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Going in Style:  Saxophone Consultant

Opening Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Fate of the Furious  (2017)  I have liked the last two films where characters become superheroes doing stunts that no one ever could do with a car. The addition of Charlize Theron to cast is an added bonus.  I could describe the plot to you, but does it really matter?  All you need to know is that there are a bunch of really cool cars in it.   The Fate of the Furious Website

Until Next Time!


Friday, March 31, 2017

The Boss Baby

My View The Boss Baby  (2017)  PG  Tim (Miles Christopher Bakshi) was happy in his home with his mom (Lisa Kudrow) and dad (Jimmy Kimmel). Then, one day, a suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby (Alec Baldwin) arrives at Tim’s home via taxi. Tim knows something is up with this new baby, but his parents can only see that the baby needs all the attention. This is one of those films that after you see it, you say, “Well, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.” There are some funny bits in the film (loved Alec Baldwin making a Glengarry Glen Ross joke), and kids will enjoy all the action. The film is brought down by its many sub-plots and a somewhat confusing conclusion. Older kids and adults will be bored at times, but little kids may enjoy it.  My Rating:  Cable  The Boss Baby Website

My View:  Ghost in the Shell  (2017)  PG-13  A cyborg counter-cyberterrorist field commander, called Major (Scarlett Johansson) and her task force thwarts cyber criminals and hackers. Now a new enemy has emerged that will stop at nothing to sabotage the artificial intelligence technology that the world runs on. I love Scarlett Johansson, and I hope that someday there will be a Black Widow standalone movie. Unfortunately, this film wastes her talents in a slow moving, confusing tale that has some of the dullest villains I have ever seen on screen. The action scenes are well done, and you can see the video game influence throughout the film. Much has been made about the whitewashing of this movie, and it is disturbing that the film is set in Japan but it seems like three-quarters of the cast isn’t Japanese. I understand that Johansson, someone who has proven she can open a film by herself (Lucy), getting cast in the lead, but to have almost all the other major parts portrayed by non-Japanese actors just made the film seem silly.  My Rating:  Cable   Ghost in the Shell Website
My ViewThe Zoo Keeper’s Wife  (2017)  PG-13  Based on a true story, this film tells the story of Antonina (Jessica Chastain) and her husband Jan (Johan Heldenbergh), who owned a small zoo in downtown Warsaw. When the Nazis took over, Antonina and Jan saved hundreds of Jews in their zoo, right under the German’s noses.  Jessica Chastain makes this film worth watching as she gives a compelling and moving performance of a brave and loving woman who risks everything to save the lives of over 300 strangers. Being a big fan of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (a co-sponsor of the screening I went to), I have seen a lot of films about the Holocaust. Where this film is lacking is in its depiction of the Warsaw ghetto and the horrors that went on there.  The husband travels into the ghetto numerous times (to transport Jews out under the ruse of collecting garbage for his pigs), but its depiction feels frail and sanitized. The Zoo Keeper’s Wife is a fascinating tale about two people who had the courage to step up and help their fellow man.  I just wish this film was as powerful as Chastain’s acting is in it.   My Rating: Full Price   The Zookeeper's Wife Website 
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  (2016)  PG-13  Seventy years into the future, Harry Potter will read writer Newt Scamander’s (Eddie Redmayne) book. First, Newt has to have the adventures in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards. If you are a fan of the Harry Potter film and book series, then you will want to see this movie. The film uses the Harry Potter world as its basis but makes this its own world. The action is fun and fast paced with special effects that bring the many, and I do mean many, beasts alive. Redmayne is obviously having fun with the role, and it shows in his performance. His boyish charm makes his character come alive on the screen. Alison Sudol is dazzling as the headstrong love interest for Newt, Queenie, and I adored Katherine Waterston as the sweet and mind reading-sister.  Dan Fogler steals the movie as the hilarious human who becomes Newt’s sidekick. You will enjoy this fantastic ride full of beasts and wizards.    My Rating:  Full Price   Fantastic Beasts Website
Forgotten FilmTimes Square  (1980)  R  Two troubled young women (Trini Alvarado, Robin Johnson) meet in a  psychiatric hospital. They call themselves the Sleaze Sisters, and they run away to New York City.  The two friends get help from a rock DJ (Tim Curry) and embrace the punk scene of NYC. While not a great film, there are two reasons you should check it out:  the two actresses are a blast to watch, and the soundtrack really represents what the Punk/New Wave music scene in the late 70s, early 80s sounded like with music performed by The Cars, The Cure, Joe Jackson, David Johansen, Gary Numan, Lou Reed, The Pretenders, Roxy Music and XTC.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Times Square Info

Weird Credits:   From the credits of The Zookeeper’s Wife:  Animal Prosthetics

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)  The continuing adventures of the band of misfits as they travel the outer reaches of the cosmos.  If it’s just half as good as the trailer, we are in for a fun ride.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 24, 2017


My ViewLife  (2017)  R  Six astronauts aboard a space station discover that life on Mars is a reality. They find a single-celled organism that will have unintended consequences for the astronauts.  I enjoyed this horror movie that takes place in the worst place ever to be terrorized by an alien, a space station. The action sequences are exciting, and the tension keeps building throughout the film.  I especially enjoyed the performances of Jake Gyllenhaal as the pilot of the space station and Rebecca Ferguson, as the security officer.  My only problem with this film is that the ending is too predictable and easy, but the film is a lot of fun to watch. You need to see this on the big screen; I’m afraid that some scenes will lose their claustrophobic feel on a TV screen.  My Rating: Full Price   Life Website
Indiefest Personal Shopper  (2016)  R  Maureen (Kristen Stewart) is a lonely personal shopper who starts communicating with ghosts, especially her deceased twin brother. Kristen Stewart has become quite the accomplished actress (having suffered through the Twilight series, I never thought I would make that statement), and she shines in this film. The problem is that this is such a weird movie, full of paranormal stuff, with an ending that will leave you with your head scratching. I have talked with four different film critics, and we all have no earthly idea what exactly happens at the end.. I look forward to seeing more of Stewart’s work, just not in such a strange, tangled film such as this one.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Personal Shopper Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)Miss Sloane  (2016)  R  Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is considered the best and most formidable lobbyist in Washington D.C. She decides to take on the most powerful opponent of her career, the “gun lobby.” Just how far is Elizabeth willing to go to win? This is a satisfying political thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. Chastain commands the screen as the tough-as-nails lobbyist, and it’s her outstanding performance that makes this film worth watching. I especially enjoyed John Lithgow, who plays a slimy senator and Sam Waterston, head of the lobby group who represents the gun lobby. While not Oscar material like All the President’s Men, this film is still an excellent suspenseful movie with a sterling performance by Jessica Chastain.    My Rating: Full Price   Miss Sloane Website
Forgotten FilmLiving in Oblivion  (1997)  R  A well-known A-list actor called Chad Palomino (James Le Gros) has agreed to be in a low-budget film being made by a grizzled director (Steve Buscemi).  Everything that can go wrong does, and Chad plays every power trip a star can make.  It’s a delightfully goofy movie that will have you wondering how any film gets made.  The cast is outstanding, with Catherine Keener playing the leading lady and Dermot Mulroney as a cameraman who thinks he is a genius (he isn’t), both are brilliant in their roles.    My Rating: Full Price   Living In Oblivion Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Life:  Special Effects Teeth

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Free Fire  (2016)  R  Two rival gangs meet in a Boston warehouse in 1978. When a deal goes bad, the two gangs start a shootout that they will be lucky to survive.  This was one of the most buzzed about films at the SXSW Film Festival. I hear it’s ten minutes worth of setup at the start and then eighty minutes of gunfight.   Free Fire Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

My View:  Beauty and the Beast  (2017)   PG  Disney tale of the monstrous beast (Dan Stevens) and Belle (Emma Watson), the young woman who commits to live in the castle to save her father. When you remake a classic animated film into a live-action CGI-filled movie, you have to ask if it’s worth it?  I am going to say yes because of two reasons: some huge plot holes were fixed from the original film and Emma Watson, who is a delight to watch and has a tremendous singing voice. She is the perfect live-action Belle, a blend of spunky defiance and curiosity, that is a perfect match for the Beast. I will say that I was disappointed in the ballroom scene. In this film, it just doesn’t have the impact of the original. There are five new songs which add to the running time of 2 hours and 9 minutes - maybe a little too long for young kids. The Beast isn't too scary although there are some wolves that may give the very young a bit of fright. The film wasn't shot in 3D, so save the bucks. Much has been made of the gay character in the movie, but it’s such a minor detail in the film, that most won’t even notice.   My Rating:  Full Price   Beauty and the Beast Website
IndiefestThe Sense of an Ending  (2017)  PG-13  A semi-retired divorced man (Jim Broadbent) receives notice that he has inherited an item from the mother of an old flame. His attempt to retrieve the item causes him to relive his past, a past full of friends and lovers of his school years.  Part mystery, part love story, this film is an interesting take on lost loves and how one wrong decision can change the direction of the rest of your life. Broadbent gives one of his better performances as a man who is haunted by his past and is desperately trying to make amends. The story is full of really cool plot twists, some of which I didn’t see coming.   My Rating:  Full Price    The Sense of an Ending Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)Passengers  (2016) PG-13   A spacecraft is traveling to a distant colony planet with thousands of people, all of whom are in a state of suspended animation.  There is a malfunction of the sleep chambers for two of its passengers (Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt) who have been awakened 90 years early.  I enjoyed the first 40 minutes of the film, which reminded me of an excellent 70s Sci-Fi movie called, Silent Running. The art direction is fantastic, and the set design is brilliant, making this a film a wonder to watch. Unfortunately, the film goes downhill quickly, with a plot that takes forever to get going.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    Passengers Website 
Forgotten FilmPeter’s Friends  (1992)  Ten years ago a group of friends were part of a comedy troupe, but in the years since, they have scattered around the world. Peter has inherited an estate and invites the troupe members for a New Year’s Eve celebration. The friends gather once again to see if fences can be mended, loves rekindled and new friendships started. The cast is the reason to see this movie, and both Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson standout in a very memorable ensemble. I consider this a much funnier and enjoyable film than other films in this genre including, The Big Chill (1983).   My Rating: Full Price    Peter's Friends Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Beauty and the Beast:  Dental FX Design and Manufacture

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouGhost in the Shell  (2017)  This live-action film, based on a beloved animated movie and series, could go either way.  Since Scarlett Johansson is the lead, I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt.    Ghost in the Shell Website
Until Next Time!