Friday, September 27, 2013


My ViewRush  (2013)  R  This is the true story of the 1976 Formula One racing season which came down to two drivers, the good looking English playboy, James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), and the serious, calculating Austrian, Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl).  Can Hunt conquer his partying ways long enough to beat the seemingly unbeatable Lauda?  This film contains some of the most remarkable and realistic racing scenes I have ever seen in a movie.  Hemsworth isn’t bad as the cocky British racing icon, Hunt, but it’s the performance of Daniel Bruhl as the arrogant, unlikable Lauda that makes this film work as well as it does.    Burhl’s Lauda dominates every scene he is in, and Burhl gives a multi-layered performance that is sure to get the Academy notice.  Fans of action films will really enjoy this film as will all the Formula 1 enthusiasts as the movie flies by from race to race.  My Rating:  Full Price Rush Website 
Indiefest:  Don Jon  (2013)  R  Don (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), called Don Jon because of his ability to sleep with the best looking woman in the club every night, is devoted to his family, his friends and his church.  He is also devoted to porn.  His world gets turned upside down when he starts dating Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson) who has big plans for Don.  Will Don give up porn for the woman he loves?  A bit of warning:   This is an R rated film about a man who is addicted to porn, so there are a number of short scenes from porn films throughout  this movie.  It is especially prevalent in the first fifteen minutes of the film (I saw at least ten people leave during the first 30 minutes of the screening I went to), but if you can get past the first part of the movie, the rest of the film is worth it.  Gordon-Levitt does an amazing job of making a character, who has a number of bad qualities, likeable.  Johansson is perfect as the “Jersey Girl” come to life, making her character more real than anyone on the “Jersey Shore” series.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Don Jon Facebook Page
Family FaireCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2  (2013)  PG  Flint (Bill Hader) and his friends are forced to leave Swallow Falls so that a team from The Live Corp. can come and clean up the island. Flint then discovers that his invention, the FLDSMDFR, is still working and, now instead of creating food, it’s creating food that comes alive as animals.  So, Flint, Sparks (Anna Faris), Tim (James Caan), Steve the Monkey (Neil Patrick Harris), Brent (Andy Samberg) and Officer Earl (Terry Crews) must travel back to the island to stop the food-animals from invading the rest of the world.   While not as funny or as original as the first film, this movie is still a fun ride for both adults and kids.  A ton of puns and sight gags keep this film moving at a quick pace which makes the movie seem shorter than its 95 minute length.  This is one film that adults can take their kids to and not be bored out of their minds.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Website
Forgotten Film: Westworld (1973)  PG  The “vacation of the future” has been developed where the rich can vacation at a theme park divided into three sections:  Medieval World, Roman World and Westworld.  Customers can go back in time and live out their fantasies with the help of robots that will fulfill their every desire.  Peter (Richard Benjamin) and John (James Brolin) decide on Westworld, and they become gunslingers in a Wild West town.  Things are going great until something goes wrong, and a robot called, “Gunslinger” (Yul Brynner), begins killing vacationers for real.  Now Peter and John must duel it out with the Gunslinger to survive.  The film is a little cheesy, and the plot line a little thin, but it’s a whole lot of fun to watch Yul Brynner relive his glory days as a western star.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Westworld Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):  Iron Man 3 (2013)  PG-13  I enjoyed this film, though I did get tired of all the one-liners that Tony throws out.  The action sequences are excellent and the chemistry between Paltrow and Downey was still there.  I especially enjoyed Ben Kingsley chewing up the scenery as the bad guy.  My Rating:  Full Price  Iron Man 3 Website
Weird Credits:  From the credits of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2:  Helpdesk Manager
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Carrie (2013)  R  Remake of the 1976 Brian De Palma film with Chloe Grace Moretz in the role that Sissy Spacek made famous.  Should be an interesting update on a film that was about high school bullying before we knew what that was.  Carrie Website

Friday, September 20, 2013


My View: Prisoners (2013) R  When Keller Dover’s (Hugh Jackman) young daughter and her friend go missing, the families of the two girls start to panic.  A main suspect is released due to lack of evidence, and that’s when Keller decides to take matters into his own hands.  How far will he go to find his daughter?  The film is highlighted by two brilliant performances by Jackman, as the father who will do anything to find his daughter, and Jake Gyllenhaal, a detective who has always solved his cases.  The problem with this film is its length (almost 2hours and thirty minutes), and its pacing.  It just takes forever for anything in this film to develop.  The film does have some nice twists and turns to the plot that keep you guessing, but I would have liked to have gotten to the end quite a bit sooner. My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Prisoners Website
Indiefest:  Thanks for Sharing (2013) R   Adam (Mark Ruffalo), Neil (Josh Gad) and Mike (Tim Robbins) come from different backgrounds and seem like they wouldn’t have anything in common, except they are all addicts in a support group… a support group for sex addiction.  Ruffalo is outstanding as the troubled Adam, a man who is tempted at every corner by provocative ads but is determined to stay clean.  Josh Gad is becoming one of my favorite actors, and he does a great job playing Neil, a doctor who hasn’t fully realized that if he doesn’t change his ways, his life could be ruined.  I also like Pink (acting under her given name of Alecia Moore), a sex addict who becomes friends with Josh Gad’s character.  The film tackles a tough subject with humor but too many times goes into melodrama, which make the characters, especially Adam’s new girlfriend (played by Gwyneth Paltrow), seem one-dimensional.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Thanks for Sharing Website
Family FaireThe Wizard of Oz  (1939) PG  Dorothy (Judy Garland), her dog Toto, The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), and The Tin Man (Jack Haley) are off to see The Wizard (Frank Morgan).  The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) is out to stop Dorothy from finding a way home.  This timeless classic is worth seeing in the theatre because the restoration brings out the vibrant colors in the film, and it is so much fun to experience the film with an audience, especially kids who haven’t seen it before.  At the screening that I attended, kids were laughing and having the best time watching this beautiful film.  The 3-D aspect doesn’t add too much, but seeing the film on the big screen is a great experience.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again  The Wizard of Oz Website
IndiefestThe Short Game  (2013) PG  The World Championship of Junior Golf brings 1500 young golfers from 54 different countries to compete in a tourney that will crown the next possible “Tiger Woods.”  This entertaining film follows 8 young golfers, ages 7 and 8, from around the world, in their quest to win the championship.  Some of the kids are adorable, including little Sky Sudberry, who is a tiny little girl with a big heart, and Zamokuhle Nxasanna, a roly-poly kid from South Africa, who is just there to make friends, play as well as he can and have fun.  There are a couple of kids that you sort of root against, including Alan Kournikova, the brother of tennis star Anna, who is the epitome of the rich, stuck up kid who thinks he’s God’s gift to golf (and he maybe, since he is that good), and Amari “Tigress” Avery, who is coddled by her dad and has temper tantrums on the course when she hits a bad shot.  This is a must for any golfer, though throughout the film,  you will say to yourself “Man, why can’t I hit the ball like that?”  My Rating: Full Price   The Short Game Website
Forgotten FilmThe Last Waltz  (1978)  PG   A documentary, directed by Martin Scorsese, about the last concert that the legendary group The Band performed at in 1976 at San Francisco’s Winterland.  The film contains interviews with the band members about their 16 years of being on the road.  Singers such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Emmylou Harris appear on stage to sing in celebration of one of the ground breaking groups of the 60’s/70’s. This is one of the best concert films of all time.   My Rating:  Full Price  The Last Waltz Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blue-ray)World War Z  (2013)  PG-13  Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) just might be the world’s only hope to stop the zombie apocalypse that is at the brink of destroying all mankind.  Pitt is a former UN investigator who served in some of the world’s worst war-torn areas.  He is given the job to find out where the Zombie outbreak came from and determine if he can find some sort of cure. I really didn’t like this film as I felt the film had dull moments, the Zombie attacks were mostly shown in long shots, and the ending was ill-conceived and a little forced.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   World War Z Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Prisoners (2013):  prop body and snakes

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You12 Years a Slave  (2013) R  This film about a free black man (Ehiwetel Ejiofor), who is abducted and sold into slavery, was the talk of the Toronto International Film Festival.  The film is being talked about as a sure thing for a nomination for Best Picture.
Until Next Time!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Insidious: Chapter 2

My View:  Insidious: Chapter 2  (2013)  PG-13   The Lambert family is back together after Josh (Patrick Wilson) went into an astral dimension called, the Further, and saved his son from a demon.  The family’s happiness is short lived, though, as paranormal events start to occur again, and the family notices that Josh is acting strangely.  Did Josh really come back from the Further, or is he possessed by a demon? The first film, Insidious (2010), was a scary, imaginative film that didn't go for the cheap scare and had a well thought-out plot.  Unfortunately, the second film is just a rehash of the first film with a plot that is too easy to figure out and too few scary moments.  This film does try to use the first film as a springboard by showing us scenes from the first, but this one comes off tired and unimaginative as the other world, "The Further," isn't as scary the second time around.   My Rating:  Cable  Insidious: Chapter 2 Website 

Indiefest:  Short Term 12 (2013)    Grace (Brie Larson) works as a supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers.  Her boyfriend, Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), works with her at the home.  Grace’s world is changed when Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), a troubled teenaged girl, enters the facility, and Grace sees herself in Jayden.  Brie Larson gives one of the best performances of the year as the tough, but kind-hearted Grace.  She is able to show, just in her eyes, all the pain and empathy that her character has.  I also loved the scenes between Grace and Mason, as both actors bring a nice, comfortable chemistry that two people who have been together for awhile should exhibit.  The supporting cast of kids are good, and Larson plays off of them with an ability to show us she has dealt with their problems before, possibly in her own life.  This is a film that gives you hope for kids who are troubled, and there are people out there trying to help them and give them some sort of feeling of family, even if that family is not ordinary.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Short Term 12 Website

Indiefest:  Jayne Mansfield's Car (2012)  R  The Caldwell’s are a proud family with deep southern roots, but the family has never recovered from Jim’s (Robert Duvall) wife, Naomi, divorcing him for an Englishman whom she married and with whom she moved to England. Jim is then forced to raise a large family on his own. The family doesn’t see their mother for years.  Then, almost thirty years later, the Caldwell’s learn that their mother died, and her final wish was to buried in Alabama. The body will be accompanied by her British family, including Kingsley (John Hurt), the Englishman she married. Both families are full of interesting characters including Skip Caldwell (Billy Bob Thornton), who has never recovered from his stint in the Navy during World War II, and his brother, Carroll Caldwell (Kevin Bacon), also a WWII vet who now has long hair and protests the Vietnam War.  The film, set in Alabama in 1969, is a large ensemble piece that has Tennessee Williams overtones.  Thornton has made each character just a little too out there, including his own, who has a thing for fast cars and British accents so much that they almost come off too one dimensional.  I would have liked Kevin Bacon’s part as the Vietnam vet who is now an anti-war protester, bigger as it seemed that there was a much deeper story than what we got to see. I loved the look of the film as cinematographer Barry Markowitz did an outstanding job showing the back roads and old plantations of the South. The film’s soundtrack uses music from garage bands of that era, to great effect, which gives the movie a down to earth feel. As you would expect, the best parts of the film are when Duvall and Hurt are on-screen, but the film seems to lose its way with such a large cast and never quite figures out how to propel the plot along or even how to finish it.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Jayne Mansfield's Car Facebook page

Indiefest:  In A World (2013)  R  Carol (Lake Bell) is a not too successful voice-over coach where she makes sure that TV and Film stars get their accents right on-screen. She lives at her dad’s house, a legendary voice-over artist named, Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed), who constantly reminds Carol that he is the best. Carol’s luck changes when she makes the final cut to be the voice on a huge movie trailer franchise, a job that could change her life. Her only problem - her main competition is a guy she used to date, named Gustav (Ken Marino), and worse yet, her father.  This is a pleasant little comedy that, while the plot can be a little clunky, is fun to watch because of the performance of Lake Bell.  Bell shines on the screen, and we instantly like her from the start when she is shown working with Eva Longoria, trying to get her to do a Cockney accent for a film.  The film shows a world that we know little about but are exposed to on a daily basis, the job of the voice over artist.  This film is filled with characters that are behind the scenes in the entertainment industry but are full of egos that are as large as the latest box office winning actor, and these characters are willing to double-cross even family to get that next job.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  In A World Website

Forgotten Film:  La Femme Nikita (1990)  R  In the French film, Nikita (Anna Parillaud) is a drug addict whose only concern is her next fix.  She gets in on a robbery of a pharmacy with some of her friends and in the botched attempt, she kills a cop.  While in jail,  she is drugged and kidnapped by a secret government organization.  She is given the choice of dying (her captors have already faked her death in prison) or becoming an assassin for this secret organization.  Now, Nikita is cleaned up and goes from a degenerate drug addict to a femme fatale, a trained assassin, given only the toughest jobs, jobs that she may not come back alive from.  This is a tough, gritty film where it seems that we and Nikita are always kept slightly in the dark.  Parillaud, as Nikita, gives a complex performance that dazzles you with her ability to make you like her character, a character who doesn't have a lot of redeeming qualities.  The plot keeps you guessing, and the action sequences are extremely well done.  If you like action films with a female that can kick butt, this film is for you.  My Rating: Full Price   La Femme Nikita info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blue-ray):  Star Trek Into Darkness  (2013)  I loved the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek (2009) but feel this was a weak sequel.  The story has plot holes the size of the Enterprise, and it tries too hard with the one-liners that Kirk and the rest of the gang seem to spit out at an alarming pace. Overall, the film is a fun adventure that just doesn’t have a lot of heart to it.  It’s a  film that could have been so much more, but just never lived up to its pedigree.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Star Trek Into Darkness  

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Jayne Mansfield's Car:  eBook Producer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Captain Phillips (2013)  I am hearing great things about this Tom Hanks performance as the true-life Captain Richard Phillips, who, in 2009, was in charge of the first U.S. flagged ship to be hijacked by pirates in more than two hundred years.   Captain Phillips Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, September 6, 2013


Thursday, September 05, 2013 9:16 PM

My ViewRiddick  (2013)  R  Betrayed and left for dead on an isolated planet, Riddick (Vin Diesel) is now facing his most dangerous enemy, a race of alien predators that inhabit the planet. To make matters worse, the word has gone out that Riddick may be vulnerable, so bounty hunters are coming to the planet to destroy Riddick once and for all.  Let me first say that this is an “action” movie without a lot of action.  Several of the fights / killings are done off-screen to make Riddick look scary to the bounty hunters he is terrorizing, but it makes the film seem as though it was made on the cheap, and producers didn’t want to shoot the fight sequences.  Riddick, Vin Diesel’s character,  does way too much talking in this film, and the movie takes way too long to get going as the first fifteen minutes of the film are just Riddick alone, trying to survive on the planet.  The dialogue in this film is some of the worst I have heard in a long time, and the special effects / CGI look cheaply done.  I think Riddick fans or action fans, in general, will be disappointed in this weak sequel. Next time, Mr. Diesel, less talking and more butt kicking.   My Rating:  Cable   Riddick Website

IndiefestAustenland  (2013) PG-13  Jane (Keri Russell) is obsessed with the author Jane Austen and the world Austen described in her books, especially “Pride and Prejudice."  Now, against the wishes of her friends, Jane uses her life savings to go to a Jane Austen theme park where, she hopes, to find her own “Mr. Darcy,” her ideal Regency-era gentleman.  Will her fantasies become reality and can her new reality live up to her lofty expectations?  I enjoyed this film mostly for the performances of Russell and the two male leads, JJ Field and Bret McKenzie, who are Jane’s love interests.  I didn’t like Jennifer Coolidge’s character, Miss Charming, who plays her part of a pampered American way over-the-top, so much so, that I got tired of her character very quickly.  I did like the last third of this smaller, Indie film.  It had a nice twist to the normal romantic comedy genre plots that we see in the big Hollywood films.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Austenland Website

IndiefestAdore  (2013)  R  Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) grew up being best friends.  Now both women live near each other on the coast of Australia. Lil is a widow with a son named, Ian (Xavier Samuel), and Roz is married to Harold (Ben Mendelsohn) and has a son named, Tom (James Frecheville). Just like their moms, Ben and Tom grow up to be best friends. When Harold moves across the country for a job, the two women will be challenged by changes in their lives and relationships.  I normally try to stay away from describing major plot points, but I think that it’s important to point out that a third of the way into this film, both women have affairs with each other’s son’s.  So, many people may not go see the film because it deals with such a taboo subject, but if you don’t, you will miss two amazing performances by Watts and Wright, who give meaning and depth to a very complex storyline.  The film is beautifully shot on the coastline of Australia, showcasing the easy, small town life in a stunning setting.  I didn’t like the dialogue in this film as I thought it was clumsy and didn’t fit the characters, which gave this film, at times, an almost “soap opera” feel.  The film is worth seeing for the exquisite coastline shots and for Wright’s performance.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Adore Website

Forgotten FilmThe Black Stallion (1979)  G  Alec (Kelly Reno) is on a ship with his father (Hoyt Axton) when he discovers that also on board is a black stallion.  Alec is fascinated by the horse and tries to make friends.  The boat comes into bad weather, ultimately sinks, and Alec barely escapes with his life, landing on a deserted island.  He soon discovers that the stallion also made it to the island, and Alec befriends the horse, which creates a bond between the two.  When the two are rescued, they make their way back to America where they meet a trainer named, Henry (Mickey Rooney), who sees the potential of the stallion as a race horse.  This is a beautiful film, especially the first half. The scenes where Alec and the Stallion bond over time on the beach are quite magical and moving.  The film does slow down a bit once the two get back to America, and it becomes very predictable at that point, but the first half is worth watching over and over.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Black Stallion Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blue-ray): Pain & Gain  (2013)  R I didn’t really like this film about a trio of guys led by Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), who decide to kidnap a wealthy client.  I hated the last third of the film that treated serious crimes like they were cartoons.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Pain & Gain Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Riddick:  Leather master

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouGravity  (2013)  PG-13  A Medical Engineer, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), and a veteran astronaut, Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), are on a space mission.  During a spacewalk, satellite debris crashes into the space shuttle and sends Dr. Stone adrift into space with limited air.  This is Bullock’s first attempt at Sci-Fi, and the trailers for the film have been exciting and fascinating.   Gravity Website
Until Next Time!