Friday, July 13, 2018

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

Family FaireHotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)  PG  When his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), decides that Dracula (Adam Sandler) needs a vacation, little did she think that he would meet Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), the captain of the ship they are vacationing on. Dracula is falling in love, but there is a secret that his new lady love is hiding and it could cost Dracula his life. The Hotel Transylvania series is getting a little long in the tooth as we quickly lose our interest in the film almost from the start. The jokes are stale, and the characters are uninteresting. The plot is just too simple to keep us engaged in the movie. I think only young children will like this film.   My Rating: Cable   Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Website 

My View: Skyscraper (2018) PG-13  U.S. war vet Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong, the tallest building in the city is ablaze, and Will is being blamed for it. To make matters worse, his family is trapped in the building above the fire line. Will must save his family and clear his name. It’s hard not to laugh at some of the situations that this film puts Dwayne Johnson in. This film will be compared to Die Hard because it takes place in a skyscraper, and the hero is trying to save his family, but that’s where the comparisons should end. Skyscraper takes itself too seriously. For a film that was written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, a man known for his comedies, there is very little humor in this film, something that is desperately needed. Skyscraper has numerous plot holes and an ending that is ridiculous and unsatisfying.   My Rating: Cable   Skyscraper Website

IndiefestLeave No Trace (2018) PG  A father (Ben Foster) and his daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) are living off the grid in a vast park in Portland, Oregon. One small mistake changes their lives forever. In one of the best films of the year, Leave No Trace tells the story of a father and daughter that are living in a forest, willing to take only what nature gives them. Thomasin McKenzie gives a convincing performance as the girl who knows her father will never be able to live in the city due to his post-traumatic stress disorder. Director/co-writer Debra Granik brings us a moving tale that explores the love between a father and daughter. Buoyed by two intense, vivid performances in Foster and McKenzie, Leave No Trace packs a powerful punch.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Leave No Trace Website   

Forgotten Film: The Last of the Mohicans (1992) R Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Chingachgook (Russell Means) protect Cora (Madeleine Stowe), the daughter of a British Colonel in the midst of the French and Indian War. I love this film. What sets this movie apart from others is the score. The music fits perfectly with the look and feel of this film. The cinematography is exquisite, and the action sequences are robust and well-choreographed. Day-Lewis and Stowe have splendid chemistry that makes the film work so well. This is one I can watch over and over.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See It Again   The Last of the Mohicans Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Skyscraper: Disparity Map Creation


Coming Soon To a Theatre Near You:  Christopher Robin  (2018)  Christopher (Ewan McGregor) once had a friend in Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings), the stuffed bear that came to life. Now, when he needs him the most, Winnie comes back into Christopher’s life. The trailer makes this film seem warm and friendly. We all could use a little Winnie in our lives.   Christopher Robin Website
Until Next Time!


Friday, July 6, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp


My View:  Ant-Man and the Wasp  (2018)  PG-13  Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is trying to balance his life as a  superhero and being a dad.  Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) are faced with a new threat, and the Ant-Man and the Wasp are sent into action, but this time as a team. I much enjoyed the first film, and I am happy to say that Ant-Man and the Wasp is another fun ride. Ant-Man is an unconventional hero, irreverent and fun-loving, and he isn’t the sharpest guy. Rudd is charming as a man who is trying to do the right thing but doesn’t always make the best decisions. I loved the chemistry between Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as their back and forth banter really makes the film work. I was hoping, before seeing this film, that Michael Pena would be given more to do, and he is and runs with it, giving a funny performance that never fails to make you laugh. The film moves at a quick pace and doesn’t feel its almost 2-hour length. The action sequences are exciting and well-choreographed. There are two bonus scenes in the credits with one of them, I think, is the most startling extra scenes that Marvel has ever done.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again

Indiefest:  Sorry to Bother You (2018)  R  Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) finds work at a telemarketer, and, after determining the secret to selling, he becomes successful beyond his wildest dreams. But, at what cost? This is a one-of-a-kind film that starts out being funny, then turns into a weird sci-fi film that you never quite know where it will end up. Stanfield gives a dazzling performance of a man who is just trying to get ahead, but when he becomes successful, he loses his true self. This is a film is groundbreaking, but doesn’t always work, yet, overall, it’s a compelling film that will make you think.  My Rating:  Full Price

In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray):  Beirut  (2018)  R  Caught in the crossfires of civil war, the CIA brings in a former U.S. diplomat (Jon Hamm) to negotiate for the life of a friend left behind.  This is the best performance that Jon Hamm has given in a film. He is perfect as the world-weary diplomat who is forced to help a friend get released from kidnappers. It’s refreshing to see a movie that doesn’t explain everything, but you have to pay attention to keep up with the plot. There are plenty of twists and turns that keep the story moving, and the ending is quite surprising. If you like a good spy caper, this film is for you.   My Rating: Full Price 

Forgotten Film: Corrina, Corrina  (1994)  PG  In 1959, a widower (Ray Liotta) hires a housekeeper (Whoopi Goldberg) to help manage the house and take care of his daughter (Tina Majorino), who hasn’t spoken since her mother died. This is a sweet, family film where Corrina, the housekeeper, spins her magic to transform a home filled with gloom into one filled with love. This isn’t a perfect film, but all three principle actors give superb performances, and you get an ending that you wanted from the start.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Ant-Man and the Wasp:  Visual Effects Ant Double


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Mission Impossible: Fallout  (2018)   Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team have a mission go bad, and now Ethan is a wanted man. This series has been hit or miss, but you know Cruise will do some crazy stunts. 

Until Next Time!


Friday, June 29, 2018

Black Water

My View:  Black Water  (2018)  R  A deep-cover operative named, Wheeler (Jean-Claude Van Damme), finds himself imprisoned in a CIA black op-site on a submarine. Kidnapping Wheeler will be a deadly mistake.I was looking forward to seeing Black Water because I thought putting Van Damme in tight quarters to fight in but there is too much talking in this film and not enough fighting. Dolph Lundgren is in his fifth film with Van Damme playing a fellow detainee, but fans of Lundgren are going to be disappointed as he doesn’t get into the action until seventy minutes into the film. The plot does have a few twists and turns, one which I didn’t see coming. I just wanted more action from this film and less talking.  My Rating: Cable   Black Water Info

In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray)Pacific Rim Uprising (2018)  PG-13   Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) teams with Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots. Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), Jake’s rival and hacker, and Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny), join the team when a new Kaiju threat rears up.  Unlike the first, this film doesn’t have heart. The characters are shallow, the dialogue is creaky, and the action sequences are confusing. The only thing that saves this movie is the performances of John Boyega, who is charismatic, and Cailee Spaeny, who does a phenomenal job, considering this is her first feature film. I just wish the two of them had better material to work with.  My Rating: Cable   Pacific Rim Uprising Website

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  The Meg (2018)  PG-13   Jonas (Jason Statham) must protect his family and fellow workers from a 70-foot shark while in a sunken submersible. We already have the Sharknado movies, why do we need this version?    The Meg Website

Forgotten Film Frailty  (2001)  R   A man named, Fenton (Matthew McConaughey), shows up at an FBI agent’s (Powers Boothe) office and tells the agent that he knows who did a series of serial killings that occurred in the area and have never been solved. The man begins to tell the story of his dad (Bill Paxton), who was visited by an angel and told to kill demons disguised as people. The movie flashes back to when he was a young boy, and we see how and why his father, with the help of his sons, killed the victims. The late Bill Paxton directed this psychological drama that adds a little horror to the story as it goes along. Paxton is brilliant in the part, creating a character that is terrifying but is also a loving father who thinks he is doing the right thing. Frailty is a movie that isn’t always easy to watch but is fascinating in its delivery.  My Rating: Full Price    Frailty Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Black Water:  Stunt Guard


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouWhitney  (2018)  R  Documentary on the life and music of the immensely talented but troubled Whitney Houston. The director of the film, Kevin Macdonald, got two nominations for this project at the Cannes Film Festival.    Whitney Facebook Page
Until Next Time!


Friday, June 22, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

My View Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom  (2018)  PG-13  When the island’s once dormant volcano starts erupting, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) race to save the remaining dinosaurs of the isle. This film has so many problems, I don’t know where to start. Hollywood has taken a film franchise and just destroyed it. So, the movie starts with a volcano erupting on the island. So, you build a billion-dollar resort on an island that has a volcano? This stupid stuff happens throughout the film. The first Jurassic World film was fun, and I especially enjoyed Chris Pratt’s performance. Well, Pratt can’t save this one. By the way, the movie thumbs its nose at the critics and fans who made fun of Bryce Dallas Howards’ footwear (she is running from dinosaurs in heels throughout the first film) by showing us a close up of her shoes. (The second time when she gets off the plane on the island, she wearing boots.) There is a very annoying girl (Isabella Sermon) in the film who spends most of the movie screaming and thinks she can get away from a dinosaur by hiding under the covers (but still doesn’t cover her head). By the way, spoiler alert, the characters only spend the first half of the film on the island. The film feels as long as its 2 hours and 8 minutes length and has some of the worst dialogue I have ever seen in a major motion picture. There is a slightly funny scene at the end of final credits, but it’s not worth seeing, and neither is the rest of this film.    My Rating:  Cable   Jurassic World Website

IndiefestHearts Beat Loud  (2018) PG-13   A father, Frank (Nick Offerman) and his daughter, Sam (Kiersey Clemons) bond over writing and performing songs before she goes off to college. I loved this film when I saw it at the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival. The chemistry between Offerman and Clemons is dazzling and makes the film work. Fans of Nick Offerman will not be disappointed as he is perfect in the role of Frank, who is trying to raise his daughter and run a struggling record store. The music is lovely and was recorded live as they were filming, making the performances breathtaking and inspiring. Clemons is a star on the rise, and her performance in this film is striking. The impressive, supporting cast includes Ted Danson as Frank’s best friend, Blythe Danner as Frank’s mother, Sasha Lane as Sam’s best friend and sounding board, and Toni Collette as a neighbor and possible love interest of Frank. Go see this movie and bring along your teen daughters because they will fall in love with this film, just as I did.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See It Again   Hearts Beat Loud Website

In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray):  The Circle  (2017)  PG-13  A young tech worker (Emma Watson) gets a job at a dominant 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. The Circle is a dull film that never creates the tension that it needs to make us care about what happens to Mae. Emma Watson plays a character who 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 basically plays Steve Jobs but is, at least on appearances, nicer. Karen Gillan is wasted as Mae’s best friend who gets her the job, as she almost sleepwalks through her role. This is a film where main characters just disappear for stretches, which makes it seem that one or two more rewrites were needed. Co-writer/director James 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

Forgotten Film: The Theory of Everything (2014) PG-13  Since Stephen Hawking died this year, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit this film. The love story between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife, Jane (Felicity Jones). Redmayne and Jones are extraordinary in this film about the love between two people who decide to live every day like it could be their last. They give unbelievable performances and have incredible chemistry on screen. It's a beautiful story and has a lot of up and downs, as two people team up to achieve remarkable things, not only in their professional lives but also in their personal lives. If you are a fan of romantic films, this one is for you.  My Rating: Full Price   The Theory of Everything Website    

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom:  Stunt Scaffolder


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Catcher Was a Spy  (2018) R  A major league baseball player in the 30s and 40s, Moe Berg (Paul Rudd), lives a double life as a spy. I read the book that this film is based on, and he led a fascinating and sometimes dangerous life. Moe Berg toured Japan as part of a baseball goodwill tour and was able to give the American government information about Japan’s ramping up for war.    The Catcher Was A Spy Info
Until Next Time!


Friday, June 15, 2018

Incredibles 2

My View:  Incredibles 2  (2018)  PG  Bob (Mr. Incredible) is playing “Mr. Mom,” taking care of Jack-Jack while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world. While not as good as The Incredibles, the film is still a lot of fun and the ending of the film is as good as any live action adventure film. The film moves at a quick pace and has a few twists and turns to make the film interesting. As with the first film, this is a movie not just for kids but adults as well. The best character in the film is the baby, Jack-Jack, who starts developing super powers that Bob has to deal with while Elastigirl is out saving the world. These are some superheroes that we have missed for thirteen years. The lovely short Bao plays before Incredibles 2 and it's a welcome addition to Pixar short film library.   My Rating:  Full Price   Incredibles 2 website
My View:  Tag  (2018)  R  A group of former classmates get together every year and play the kids game, Tag. One of the members (Jeremy Renner), who has never been tagged, announces he is quitting the game after this year.  I have severe problems with this film. It wants to be a raunchy comedy, but it also wants to be a serious picture about friendship, and it fails on both counts.  The film makes jokes of miscarriages and cancer. I did enjoy the performances of Isla Fisher, who plays the wife of Ed Helms and takes the game too seriously, and Hannibal Buress, who plays one of the gamers who sees a conspiracy theory in everything.   Both actors bring some energy and fun to the film. Unfortunately, both Jon Hamm and Ed Helms bring very little to the picture and take the air out of it in their main scenes. The film never finds its footing and just doesn’t deliver enough laughs to overlook the horrible writing.  My Rating: Cable   Tag Website
In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray):  Love, Simon  (2018)  PG-13  Simon (Nick Robinson) is a gay high school student who hasn’t come out, even to his best friends. He is in love with an anonymous classmate whom he has only talked to online.  Now, Simon’s life will change in a big way.  This is one of those rare movies about teenagers where the characters on the screen are real people with real problems, ones we can relate to and feel. Nick Robinson gives an intelligent and moving performance as the teenager who is afraid to come out. Simon just wants to last until he is out of high school before revealing he is gay. He also doesn’t want to rock the boat with his closest friends, especially with his best friend, Leah (Katherine Langford), whom he has known since childhood. Love, Simon is a funny and sweet movie that hits all the right notes. At the screening, when the big scene near the end of the film happened, teenage girls jumped up out of their seats and cheered. Go see this film, and you just might do the same.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Love, Silmon Facebook Page
Forgotten Film:  Atlantis: The Lost Empire  (2001)  PG  Atlantis is a rare Disney animated film that doesn’t have any songs or dances. It’s an adventure story of a team of explorers looking for the lost city of Atlantis. The movie is based on a story idea by Buffy and Angel creator Joss Whedon. The animation looks very different than most Disney movies, with almost a Japanese anime feel to it. The storyline is sharp and it has an ending that delivers. While the film is aimed at kids, adults may also enjoy this movie with its adventure theme.  My Rating: Full Price    Atlantis Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Tag:  Hoagie’s Mom Photo Double

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  A Star is Born  (2018)  R  A musician (Bradley Cooper) who has seen better days, helps a young singer (Lady Gaga) as she becomes a star. His demons get a hold of him as he falls for the young singer, and their relationship suffers. Bradley Cooper also directs this film, and the trailer looks brilliant.    A Star is Born Info
Until Next Time!


Friday, June 1, 2018

Adrift

My ViewAdrift  (2018)  PG-13  A young couple, Tami (Shailene Woodley) and Richard (Sam Clafin)  who are avid sailors, head out on a small boat for the ride of a lifetime. What they don’t know is that they are about to head directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.#####  Part romantic movie and part survival film, Adrift successfully melds the two together, mostly due to Woodley and Clafin. The movie moves back and forth, between their courtship in Tahiti, and the storm and its aftermath. Woodley and Clafin have spectacular chemistry and their characters falling in love seems real and beautiful. Woodley has to do the heavy lifting for the wake of the storm, and as usual, Woodley is masterful in her performance. Shot in Tahiti and New Zealand, the landscapes are spectacular, and the storm sequence is riveting. There are some nice twists and turns along the way, and the film moves a quick pace. You are going to enjoy this film, going on an adventure of a lifetime with Tami and Richard.  My Rating: Full Price   Adrift Website

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on BlueRay and DVD):  Red Sparrow  (2018)  Ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) is injured in a freak accident. Her dancing career is over, and she is forced to join the “Sparrow School,’ a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission is to seduce an American CIA agent (Joel Edgerton). When the mission starts to unravel, it just might threaten the security of both countries. If you think you are going to see something like last year’s Atomic Blonde, you aren’t. While a violent film with a couple of very hard to watch torture scenes, this is more of a movie about the psychology of breaking people down to become someone who will do anything for their country. The film is too long (two hours, twenty minutes), and the storyline, while it has some nice twists and turns, is too slow. Lawrence doesn’t do a Russian accent well, to the point that it just gets distracting. While Atomic Blonde was a blast to watch, I was either revolted at the torture or bored by the countless talking head scenes. I did enjoy the all too brief part that Mary-Louise Parker has as a wisecracking chief of staff of the American Embassy. She breathed life into the film, but her role was too short to save this film.   My Rating: Cable   Red Sparrow Facebook Page

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  Uncle Drew  (2018)  PG-13  After draining his life savings, Dax (Lil Rel Howery) enters a team in streetball tournament, then he loses his star players to a rival (Nick Kroll).  Dax stumbles across a legendary streetball player, Uncle Drew (Kyrie Irving) and convinces Uncle Drew to assemble his legendary streetball team and join Dax’s squad for the tourney.  All have to tell you is that Shaq is in this film to let you know how bad it’s going to be based on Shaq’s past films (Kazamm, Steel).   Uncle Drew Website

Forgotten FilmThe Descent  (2005)  R  A caving expedition goes horribly wrong as six women become lost inside a previously unexplored cave. Trapped in the cave, they desperately try to find a way out as a strange breed of predators pursues them. This little-seen horror film was one of the best movies of 2005. The film builds the tension almost from the start, and there are some first-rate performances. I will warn you that this film is very gruesome and rather graphic, but if you are looking for a horror film, you can't do better than this one.  My Rating: Full Price    The Descent Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Adrift:  Tattoo Builder


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouDon’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (2018)  R  John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) has been in a horrific car accident and is permanently confined to a wheelchair.  On his journey to sobriety, he uses his mangled hands to draw hilarious, often controversial cartoons, which gives him a new lease on life.   Don't Worry Facebook Page
Until Next Time!



Friday, May 25, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story

My View:  Solo: A Star Wars Story  (2018)  PG-13   Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is desperately trying to get back to the world where his girlfriend (Emilia Clarke) is held captive. He joins a thief (Woody Harrelson) and his band of thieves, meets his future co-pilot, Chewbacca, and encounters the flashy Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover).  I enjoyed this origin’s story of how Han got the Millennium Falcon and how Chewbacca became his co-pilot. It’s a rollicking, fun adventure with a surprising number of laughs and some exciting chase sequences. I was worried when the studio cast Alden Ehrenreich for the part of Han, but Ehrenreich really pulls it off. The man who steals the movie is Donald Glover, playing Lando Calrissian to perfection. The film’s pacing is a little off, but that may be due to the film changing directors after it was already in production. Overall, I think that Star Wars fans will leave the theatre happy. I know I did. There is not an after credits scene in the film.   My Rating: Full Price
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  Action Point (2018) R   An owner (Johnny Knoxville) of a failing amusement park decides that, to bring in the crowds, his thrill rides will be dangerous. I think all I have to say is the star of the film is Johnny Knoxville, who also came up with the story idea.


In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on BlueRay and DVD): Wonderstruck (2017)  PG  Ben (Oakes Fegley) goes on a journey to New York to try and find his long-lost father, and we also see a young deaf girl named, Rose (Millicent Simmonds), 50 years ago, making her way through the streets of New York to see her mother (Julianne Moore). The film is divided into two stories: one takes place in 1927, is in black and white and is shown like a silent film (dialogue is displayed with title cards and a musical soundtrack), and one story is set in the 1970’s, is in color and uses a soundtrack of popular music from that time period. I loved the silent film part, and Millicent Simmonds (who is deaf in real life) is brilliant as the strong-willed Rose. The story, though, drags a bit in the 70’s section. I did enjoy the performance of Oakes Fegley, and I especially enjoyed Jaden Michael as Jamie, a kid who befriends Ben, and who breathes some life into the 70’s section. This is a film that I wanted to love but only liked. If only the 70’s scenes had lived up to the brilliance of the silent film part.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee


Forgotten Film:  Moon  (2009)  R  Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is about to go back to Earth after a three-year stint sending parcels of a resource that has helped diminish Earth’s power problems. His return to Earth is threatened when he encounters a major problem, a problem that may kill him. Moon is an extraordinary film exploring the loneliness and isolation in space. Rockwell gives one of his best performances, and the storyline has a few twists and turns that you don’t see coming. The film was made on a minimal budget, but it looks as good as 100 million dollar films.   My Rating: Full Price

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Solo: A Star Wars Story:  Action Vehicle Dressing Props

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Eighth Grade  (2018)  A teenager (Elsie Fisher) tries to survive her last week of middle school before she starts what she hopes will be a successful high school transition. This was the closing night film of the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival and got a lot of positive response.

Until Next Time!