Thursday, December 25, 2014

Into the Woods

My View: Into The Woods (2014) PG  A childless couple (Emily Blunt, James Corden) makes a deal with The Witch (Meryl Streep) to get the child they have always wanted. That deal will come back to haunt them. Corden and Blunt are the standouts in this very large cast. Blunt just shines on the screen and has a lovely singing voice. Corden has a knack for comedy and belts out his songs with a strong, clear voice. Be warned - this film can be dark and is not your normal Disney fairy tale. There are deaths, double crosses, infidelity, and not every story ends happily ever-after. While I liked this film, I didn’t love it. It tends to start and stop a bit, and the last third of the film bogs down. Also, Johnny Depp plays the Big Bad Wolf, and his scenes with Little Red Riding Hood are so creepy I almost called the police to report child endangerment.  Meryl Streep gives an brilliant performance, as does Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, but the film lacks energy at important parts and, therefore, is a mild disappointment. My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Into The Woods Website
My View: The Interview (2014)  R   Dave Skylark (James Franco) is the star of a popular celebrity tabloid TV show called, "Skylark Tonight." It's the type of show that focuses on such topics as, “Does Miley show too much,” or that Rob Lowe is bald. Skylark’s producer, Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen), wants to do more serious news items but is always being shot down by Skylark. When the two discover that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a big fan of the show, they attempt to land an interview with him, one of the most isolated leaders in the world. They land the interview and prepare to travel to Pyongyang when the CIA comes knocking on their door with a request - take out the Supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. The film starts on a high note with a North Korean girl singing a song that promises the downfall of the U.S. Unfortunately, the film never is as funny as that moment and gives you the feeling that you are seeing a poor man's “Anchorman.” This film is about what you would expect from a film co-written/co-directed by Seth Rogen with lots of jokes about sex acts and bodily functions. While I wasn't surprised by the crassness, I was shocked by the amount of violence. There are some laughs, but the film never sustains any topic very long, which makes it extremely predictable. It’s that un-predictability made Rogen and Franco’s last film, This is the End (2013), so much fun. I think the hackers should have just let the film be released It would have died very quickly, much to the happiness of the Supreme Leader. My Rating: Bargain Matinee  "The Interview" Website  

My View: Selma (2014) PG-13   Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) changed a nation with his civil rights marches at Selma, Alabama. After the bombing of a church in Birmingham which killed four young girls, King decided that the right to vote was his next mission, and Selma was the place to start. Let me start out by saying Oyelowo’s performance is one of the best of the year. He has King’s cadence down pat, and your eyes (as they should) are always drawn to him. The film is moving and shows how hard it was to tackle the issues of the day, not only with the government, but within King’s ranks. Stephan James stands out in this big cast as a very young John Lewis. My favorite scene in this film is where King is driving John Lewis in a car, and Lewis conveys to King, in a very moving speech, just how important King is. I highly recommend this film. My Rating: Full Price  Selma Website

Indiefest: Big Eyes (2014) PG-13   Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) has a secret. Her husband (Christoph Waltz) isn’t the painter the world thinks he is. Margaret is the creator of the “big eyes” portraits that the world has fallen in love with. Both Adams and Waltz give superlative performances, with Waltz bringing another of his trademark disturbed characters to the screen. What I didn’t like about this film is it never could quite decide what type of film it wanted to be. Tim Burton directs, and I don’t know if he meant the film to be a satire, a drama or a comedy. It’s all three but at no time stays in one genre for long. It’s a provocative film that never finds its footing. My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Big Eyes Website
My View: Unbroken (2014) PG-13   Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) was an Olympic runner who had a bright future ahead of him. After a near-fatal plane crash in World War II, Zamperini now must survive a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Before anyone had seen this film, critics were saying this could become an Oscar contender. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it’s not. While it does have some excellent performances, especially Jack O’Connell as Zamperini, the film at no time hits the emotional points that it needs to. I wanted the film to peel away the layers of Zamperini’s psyche, but we never get that. Angelina Jolie directed the movie, and while it’s a first-rate film, there never is that spectacular shot nor is there ever the big, moving scene that I needed from this type of film. Instead of marveling about the man, you just walk away thinking “he went through some bad times.”   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Unbroken Website  

Indiefest: The Imitation Game (2014) PG-13   English mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is given the task of breaking the Enigma code used by the Nazi’s during World War II. Cumberbatch gives another one of his compelling and complex performances in this film. It’s an absorbing film about a man who saved lives without the recognition. I would have liked the role that Keira Knightley plays – a woman who works on the project - to have been more quirky. I just didn’t believe that she would still be alone at age 25. I mean, it’s Keira “she’s striking” Knightley, for God’s sake. It’s a thought-provoking film that makes what could have been a rather dull subject into a film that keeps moving at an enticing pace. My Rating: Full Price  The Imitation Game Website

Forgotten Film: We’re No Angels (1955) Three convicts (Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov) escape from Devil Island and find themselves in a tiny French coastal town. The three decide to con a small family until they realize that the family's financial situation is in dire straits. They decide to use their vast criminal skills to help the family out and make their Christmas a little better. Who doesn’t want a little Bogart magic in their holiday film? The three principals have a blast, and it’s just so much fun watching them perform. Do not confuse this with that 1989 stinker of a film that starred Robert De Niro and Sean Penn. My Rating: Full Price  We're No Angels Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Into the Woods: Crashing Tree Sounds

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Leviathan (2014) This Russian film about a man who tries to fight the system in a small coastal village is getting great reviews by critics. It’s nominated for a Golden Globe and is on the short list for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Film.  
Until Next Time!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

My View:  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) PG-13  When we last left Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), things were in dire straits.  Smaug the dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch) had been awakened and released into the world.  Gandalf had been imprisoned, and the dwarves had been separated. Now, Bilbo and the gang  will have to fight off Smaug and a number of combatants from acquiring a massive fortune and keep Middle-Earth free.  This isn't a bad film - it's quite enjoyable, but it doesn't match the scope or punch of the Lord of the Rings films. The film never gives you the big emotional moment you want from a finale, and there are too many "video game" like action sequences. I did enjoy the 3-D effects, and the battle sequences are spectacular (Better, more descriptive word?).  There is a great scene involving some larger than life animals that make the film fun to watch. I just wanted more from the film.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Website
Indiefest:  Foxcatcher (2014) R Mark (Channing Tatum) and Doug Schultz (Mark Ruffalo)  are both Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestlers.  Mark is struggling to make a living, and when the wealthy heir to the Du Pont fortune, John du Pont (Steve Carell), calls him out of the blue to train on his estate, it seems like a godsend.  What should have been a great experience, quickly turns bad and could have disastrous results.  One of the best films of the year! Unbelievable performances by the three main cast members.  Many are talking about Carell's performance as the weirdly creepy du Pont, and it's a great performance, but I loved Channing Tatum as the slow-witted, easily controlled Mark. I think it's the best Tatum has ever done and shows he has great range. Not to be outdone, Ruffalo is amazing as the older, much savvier Doug.  The film slowly builds tension to the final outcome.  A fascinating look at how power and money can overwhelm common sense and can corrupt even the best intentions.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again  Foxcatcher Website 
My View:  Night at the Museum: The Secret of the Tomb (2014) PG The Tablet of Ahkmenrah, which brings all the museum exhibits to life at night, is slowly losing its power.  Larry (Ben Stiller) with the help of his son Nicky (Skyler Gisondo), take Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Jedidiah the cowboy (Owen Wilson), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Octavius (Steve Coogan), Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck) and Dexter the Capuchin monkey to London to try and restore its powers. This film will probably be the last of the series, and they should have stopped after the second one.  This film feels very tired, the actors seem to be just going through the motions and the jokes are all repeats from the other two films. There is a scene near the end of the film with the late Robin Williams that will make some audience members shed a tear or two.  But it's not worth sitting through to get to that moment.   My Rating: Cable  Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Website
Forgotten Film:  Christmas in Connecticut (1945) Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is the most famous food writer in the country, writing about her idyllic life on her farm as she creates some of the most amazing meals while taking care of her husband and child. The problem is Elizabeth is single and lives in a small New York apartment, where the most she does in preparing a meal is dial for takeout. Her publisher has decided to give a returning war hero a Christmas he will never forget, one at Elizabeth Lane’s country farm. Stanwyck’s character was loosely based on a real magazine writer, Gladys Taber, who lived on a farm in Connecticut. This is a warm and funny movie with Stanwyck at her best.  The film has a great supporting cast, and it’s one of the better Christmas films out there.  My Rating: Full Price  Christmas in Connecticut Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb:  Laa prosthetics makeup FX

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near you:  Cake (2014)  Claire (Jennifer Aniston) investigates a suicide of a member of her support group.  As she delves into the woman's life, she begins to tackle demons of her own.  Many critics are saying that Aniston will get an Oscar nomination for her gritty but humorous portrayal.  Cake Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings

My View:  Exodus: Gods and Kings  (2014) PG-13 Moses (Christian Bale) has always known he was different than his brother, the future Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton).  He learns that he was born a slave and that his destiny is to lead his people to freedom. Exodus: Gods and Kings is director Ridley Scott’s latest attempt to dazzle us with big action sequences and lots of brooding by Christian Bale.  Bale plays Moses, whose brother is the future pharaoh Rameses, played by Joel Egerton.  Egerton, doing his best Marlon Brando imitation, is given the task of performing on-screen with the scene chewing Bale. The film wastes a marvelous cast.  Aaron Paul barely says a word, and I think Sigourney Weaver, who plays Rameses's mother, has two lines, at best. It's Egerton and Bale’s movie.  Rameses is written as a real jerk, who is willing to kill any slave who dares to rebel. Moses is portrayed as a man who doubts  that he is worthy of God's faith, constantly debating God's decisions. The story of Moses leading 600,000 slaves out of Egypt has been told many times in film and TV. Ridley Scott brings nothing new to the story. The film feels very cynical and lacks the wonderment that biblical films usually have. The film is 150 minutes long but feels more like the 4 hours that Scott's first cut was rumored to be. The special effects are drab and lifeless.  Even (spoiler alert) the parting of the Red Sea seems boring and almost an afterthought. And it's not worth seeing in 3-D as I rarely noticed the 3 D effects.  It’s a film that you will want to avoid like a plague of locust.  My Rating: Cable  Exodus: Gods and Kings website  
My View:  Wild (2014) R  In 1994, a troubled young woman, Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) decides to hike, alone, more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. This is a very deep and spiritual film that, at times, is funny and, at other times, is quite sad.  Cheryl has made a mess of her life, and it has gotten to the point that she has alienated everyone who is important to her.  To find herself, she decides to go on a hike that even the most experienced hikers have a hard time completing.  Witherspoon is brilliant in this film, and gives a gritty, brave, no-holds-barred performance that is sure to get her an Oscar nomination.  She takes what is a quite unlikable person and makes her sympathetic, getting us to root for her.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Wild Website
Indiefest:  Top Five  (2014) R  A comedian (Chris Rock) is trying to make it as a serious actor.  His fiancée (Gabrielle Union) convinces him to allow their wedding to be broadcast on her reality TV show. Everything is going well until a reporter (Rosario Dawson) shows up to do an interview that just may change his life. I loved this witty, sometimes raunchy comedy written and directed by Chris Rock.  The film, while very funny, also has a lot of heart.  There is great chemistry between Dawson (in one of her best performances) and Rock.  They spend a great deal of the film on screen together, and their back and forth banter feels natural and relaxed.  The cameos are what make this film work, and there are plenty of them.  Cedric the Entertainer stands out as a brash promoter who spends a wild night with Rock’s character involving some ladies of the evening and alcohol.  The film also looks at what it’s like to be successful and still have doubts about your life and your career.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Top Five Website
My View:  The Babadook (2014) A young boy, Samuel (Noah Wiseman) suffers from insomnia when he believes that monsters will come out of his closet or from under his bed.  In order to get him to sleep, his mother, Amelia (Essie Davis) reads the boy bedtime stories.  When the mother reads Mr. Babadook to the boy, both mother and child realize that they have just made a mistake that could cost them their lives.  This is one of the scariest and inventive horror films that I have seen in a long time. Smartly done and with incredibly scary scenes, this film will terrify you.  It’s refreshing to have a horror film that doesn’t get too bloody or go for the cheap “gottcha” scare tactics, but instead builds the tension till you just can’t stand it anymore.  This is one of the best horror films that I have seen in many years.  My Rating: Full Price  The Babadook Website
Indiefest;  Antarctica: A Year on the Ice (2014) PG  This documentary looks at the scientists and researchers that work in one of the most isolated places on earth, Antarctica. It's tough to live there in "summer" but imagine living there in winter, where two months the sun never comes up, and they endure category 1 hurricane winds at least once a week.  This is a fascinating film that has beautiful time lapse photography that capture a place that we will never visit in person. The film does a brilliant job of showcase the people that choose to live their, giving us insight into what draws them there and why they continue to come back. This a must see for any fan of nature documentaries.  My Rating: Full Price  Antarctica: A Year on the Ice Website
Indiefest:  Glen Campbell:  I’ll Be Me  (2014)  PG  In 2011 singer Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Campbell was determined to go public with the diagnosis and also go on one last “Goodbye Tour.”  The tour was only to last for a few weeks but turned into a 151 show nationwide tour as Campbell and his fans got to say goodbye.  At times funny, sad and maddening, this film is an incredible inside look on what it’s like to deal with Alzheimer’s and its impact on not only the victim, but the family and friends that have to take care of the person.  It’s remarkable that Campbell was able to play and sing (with help from a teleprompter) for as long as he did.  This moving film that touches your heart and makes you want to do whatever you can to fight this deadly disease.  My Rating: Full Price  Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me Website
Forgotten Film:  Crimes and Misdemeanors  (1989)  PG-13  This is one of Woody Allen’s strangest films, as half is a comedy and the other half is a drama.  An adulterer (Martin Landau) decides that his mistress (Anjelica Huston) is getting to brash, and he decides to try and kill her.  Allen plays a filmmaker is a loveless marriage, falls in love with a co-worker (Mia Farrow) without much success.  Landau gives the performance of a lifetime and Allen is his usual funny, self-deprecating character. The film is an interesting take on love and relationships.  Just how far are we willing to go to find happiness once again?  My Rating: Full Price  Crimes and Misdemeanors Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Babadook:  brush hands

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Red Army (2014) PG This documentary about the Soviet Union Ice Hockey team is getting great critical acclaim. Who doesn’t want to relive the “Miracle on Ice” ?  Red Army Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Low Down

Indiefest: Low Down (2014)  R   Joe (John Hawkes) is one of the best bebop pianists alive. Unfortunately, Joe is a heroin addict and is frequently in jail. His daughter, Amy (Elle Fanning), struggles to keep her dad alive in a seedy Hollywood hotel with the help of her aging grandmother (Glenn Close). I liked the performances in the film and feel that Elle Fanning gives the best performance of her career. Unfortunately, the cast is let down by the script that stops and starts way too many times. It’s a continuous loop of Joe trying to stay clean but can’t and his daughter hoping he will stay clean but knows he won’t. I wish the director had listened to the sound track (which is marvelous) and let the film flow like the jazz standards that Joe plays.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Low Down Website 
IndiefestForce Majeure (2014)   A family of four is on a ski vacation at a resort. A traumatic event happens that changes the dynamic of the family, and a once happy marriage becomes broken. This film is part comedy, part drama as the film explores the dynamics of a family coming apart. The film is filled with gorgeous cinematography and is full of long shots that let the film play out over time. It’s an enjoyable film that makes you wonder how you would handle the situation that the family found themselves in.   My Rating: Full Price  Force Majeure Website
Indiefest:  Point and Shoot (2014) Matthew Vandyke, the child of single mom, never really had any friends and spent hours watching adventure movies and playing video games. Even after getting his Masters Degree, he was still  in his mother's basement wondering what to do with his life. Inspired by the films of an Australian documentary filmmaker, Matthew decides to buy a bike and a camera.  He takes both to Africa where he spends two years traveling across the upper continent, including many of the hot spots in the middle east. In his travels, he meets a man from Libya who invites Matthew to visit him. Matthew sneaks into Libya and falls in love with the culture and the people. While  in the US, the Libyan revolt to overthrow Gaddafi starts, and Jerry goes to Libya to fight for freedom. In what sounds like a work of fiction, this fascinating documentary follows Jerry on his trip to "find his manhood."  What makes this film even more interesting is that Matthew has OCD, with compulsions like constantly stopping to check that the bump in the road wasn't a person he had run over. Most of the footage was shot by Matthew, himself, and it looks like a world that most of us will never experience first-hand. At least we have this captivating documentary to enjoy.  My Rating: Full Price  Point and Shoot Website

Forgotten Film: Frenzy (1972)    A serial killer (Barry Foster) is murdering women with a necktie in London. The police have a suspect (Jon Finch), but it’s the wrong one. The suspect goes on the run to try and prove his innocence. This film has a couple of scenes that only its director; Alfred Hitchcock could do. One is a scene in an office where the camera pulls back and tracks down the hallway, down a flight of stairs and then goes out into the busy streets of London. Beware that this film was given an R rating, and there is a bit of nudity and language (unlike most of Hitchcock’s films).    By Rating: Full Price  Frenzy Info 
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Focus (2015) R  I have seen this trailer twice and still don’t have any desire to see this film about a con man (Will Smith) who takes a rookie grifter (Margot Robbie) under his wing. It looks so boring and I plan on yelling "focus" in the theatre throughout the film.  Focus Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blue Ray): The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) I liked the start of this film about an immigrant family opening a restaurant right across the street of a fancy French restaurant. But the film doesn’t finish well, and I never felt any passion for the food they were preparing. My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The 100-Foot Journey Website 

Weird Credits: From the credits of Low Down: driver: honeywagon

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Mr. Turner (2014) There is a lot of Oscar buzz around the performance of Timothy Spall in the title role of the eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner.   Mr. Turner Facebook page 
Until Next Time!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Horrible Bosses 2

My View:  Horrible Bosses 2 (2014) R   Dale (Charlie Day), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Nick (Jason Bateman) have decided to be their own boss and start up a company to manufacture the, “Shower Buddy.”  A father (Christoph Waltz) and son (Chris Pine) steal the boys’ idea, and it looks like they will get away with it.  The guys come up with a plan to save their company, kidnap the son and hold him for ransom.  What could go wrong?  I wasn't a big fan of the first film. I thought that there wasn't enough of the bosses and too much of the guys.  This film has the same problem as Christoph Waltz’s character is so much more interesting than the main characters. This film, just like the first one, is crass (way too many rape jokes) and too often goes for the easy joke.  I just didn't laugh enough to make this one a film I would recommend.   My Rating: Cable  Horrible Bosses 2 Website

Family Faire:  Penguins of Madagascar  (2014) PG  Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights) are out to stop the evil Dr. Octavius Brine (John Malkovich) from taking all the penguins out of zoos.  Skipper comes up with a plan that just might work if the undercover organization, The North Wind, comes to their aid.  I had so much fun watching this film. Kids will love all the action and the pratfalls, and adults will love the puns and quick dialogue. This is a film that doesn't take itself too seriously and just decides to have a good time, making fun of the world's obsession with cute animals.  Malkovich is a blast playing the evil bad guy with a bit of a grudge. I really like the Skipper character, especially when he does a running gag where he can't remember the bad guy’s name.  Stay through the first part of the credits for some bonus material.  I didn't really notice the 3-D effects, so save a few bucks, but do go see this film. 
 My Rating:  Full Price  Penguins of Madagascar Website
IndiefestDiplomacy (2014)  As the Allies march towards Paris in 1944, Hitler wants Paris not to fall into enemy’s hands.  He has given the order to General Dietrich von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup) that if he leaves Paris, it should be in rubble.  The Swedish Consul General Raoul Nordling (Andre Dussollier) finds out that mines have been planted on all the important French landmarks (such as the Eiffel Tower) and most of the bridges in the city.  Nordling’s plan is to talk the General out of blowing up Paris. This is a film that works due to the chemistry and on-screen presence of the two leads. The dialogue is well written and moves quickly, as the two debate why the General shouldn't blow up Paris. It's a fascinating look at a tense few hours that could have changed France forever.  My Rating: Full Price  Diplomacy Website
Forgotten Film:  Vanishing Point (1971) R    A car delivery driver, Kowalski(Barry Newman), makes a bet that he can drive a 1970 Doge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco in less than a day.  Kowalski is a man haunted by his past, and he survives his demons by adrenaline. It's a film that is filled with great scenery, and, even better, car races and police pursuits. While not a great film and a little dated (lot of counter-culture references), it's still full of great action sequences with some thrilling car crashes.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Vanishing Point Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released onDVD/Blue Ray):  The Giver (2014) PG-13  A very strange Young Adult book adaptation that misses the mark.  There is very little action in this story of a young man who receives the memory of his people.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  The Giver Website

Weird Credits
:  From the credits of Horrible Bosses 2 (2014):  pursuit crane operator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Inherent Vice (2014)  In 1970’s Los Angeles, detective Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend. From Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of Magnolia (1999), Punch-Drunk Love (2002) and There Will Be Blood (2007) comes a film that looks be a combination of The Big Lebowski (1998) and American Hustle (2013).  Inherent Vice Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

My View:  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1  (2014) PG-13  After destroying the games forever, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) fights for the rebellion, determined to rescue Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) from the clutches of President Snow (Donald Sutherland). I enjoyed this film and fans of the book won’t be disappointed.  It is darker in tone than the first two films, and while there are a few weak points, it’s still a blast to watch.  While this is Lawrence’s film, and she does a great job, it’s sad to see the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman on-screen.  Of the supporting cast, I thought Hoffman and Elizabeth Banks  stood out from the rest of the cast as both have some interesting, fun scenes.  The first part of this film takes a while to get going, but once the action starts, the film starts to click.  My Rating:  Full Price   The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Website

Indiefest:  The Homesman  (2014) R Three women have been driven insane by the hard life of living in the west.  Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) volunteers to help transport the three across the country by covered wagon.  She enlists the help of a low-life drifter (Tommy Lee Jones) to move the women.  The best word to describe this film is meandering.  With a cast that includes Jones, Swank, John Lithgow, James Spader and Meryl Streep, you would think this film would be filled with memorable scenes and high energy performances - but it isn’t. The film takes a very strange turn about two-thirds through and never recovers from with an ending that is just puzzling and unsatisfying. I was excited to see this film, but I would recommend going back and watching Lonesome Dove, instead.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee The Homesman Facebook page

Forgotten Film:  Chaplin  (1992) PG-13 The story of Charlie Chaplin (Robert Downey Jr.) as told by Chaplin to his autobiographer (Anthony Hopkins).  The film is a little long and tries to cover too much ground, but Downey nails Chaplin, making him come alive, especially when he plays Charlie working on the set.  The supporting cast is outstanding with Kevin Kline as Douglas Fairbanks and Dan Aykroyd as Mack Sennett.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Chaplin Info

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2015) PG-13 I didn’t like the first one, so why would I like this sequel about the house haunted by the “Woman in Black?”  Plus, no Daniel Radcliffe.  The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blue Ray)The Wind Rises (2014)    PG-13 This is a beautiful, animated film that is let down by its very long and slow moving storyline. Other critics went nuts over this film by legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, but I think it just doesn’t rank up there with his Spirited Away (2002) or Princess Mononoke (2000).  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Wind Rises Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1:  Screening Operations Executive

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouStill Alice  (2014) PG-13 Julianne Moore plays a linguistics professor who starts to forget words and soon learns she has an illness that will change both her and her family’s lives.  Many are saying that Julianne Moore gives a performance of a lifetime.  Still Alice Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dumb and Dumber To

My View: Dumb and Dumber To (2014) PG-13   It’s been 20 years since their last adventure, so the boys (Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels) are ready for a new road trip. This time Lloyd and Harry try to find Harry’s daughter. If you are a fan of the first film, then stay away from this one. This film isn't funny (I saw the film with a screening full of fans of the first film, and not much laughter occurred.).  This film is mean-spirited and badly written, and, too often goes for the easy, predictable joke. The first film has a sweetness to it, a film about really stupid but loveable guys. This film is full of fart jokes, harmful practical stunts and a plot that takes way too much time to get going. Apparently, you can get too dumb with your material. There is a very short bonus scene at the end of the credits but it's not worth staying to see it.  My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again  Dumb and Dumber To Website
My View: Beyond the Lights (2014)  PG-13  A young musician (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) has been trained her whole life by her manager / mother (Minnie Driver) to become a pop star at any price. It all becomes too much until the striving star encounters a knight in shining armor - a police officer named, Kaz (Nate Parker). This is a good film made better by the amazing performance of Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the talented pop star who is trying to find her place and get out from under her dominating mother. Mbatha-Raw just radiates on the screen, as your eyes just constantly follow her. The film has a great supporting cast including Minnie Driver as the mother and Danny Glover as Nate's father. The film moves at a nice pace and will remind you of the old Whitney Houston / Kevin Costner film, The Bodyguard (1992). It's a feel-good romantic movie that hits all the marks.  My Rating: Full Price  Beyond the Lights Facebook page
Indiefest: Rosewater (2014)  R   Journalist Maziar Bahari (Gael Garcia Bernal) was back in his home country of Iran to cover the national elections for the BBC. After reporting on protests going on in the country, he was arrested and held for more than 100 days in solitary confinement, enduring both mental and physical torture. This is a good, first effort from director / writer Jon Stewart. Bahari, played by the talented Garcia Bernal, uses humor as one of his coping mechanisms, so this film isn't all torture and despair. There are some moving scenes in the film, and Gael Garcia Bernal gives it his all. While it is a film about the power of journalism, at its core, it's really a film about the importance of family and love.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Rosewater Facebook page
Indiefest: The Theory of Everything (2014) PG-13  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 an 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, then this one is for you.  My Rating: Full Price  The Theory of Everything Website
Indiefest: The Way He Looks (2014) PG-13  Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo) is a blind teenager who is searching for his place in the world. His world changes when Gabriel (Fabio Audi) enters his life. This is a great coming-of-age film that is a sweet, touching look at first love. Lobo is perfect in the role of Leonardo, a boy who is a little shy but is determined to live life on his own terms. This Brazilian film has won awards at a number of film festivals, and it doesn't disappoint, hitting it out of the park. This is a film that will move you and make you root for the underdog.  My Rating: Full Price  The Way He Looks Website
Forgotten Film: A Simple Plan (1998) R  Hank (Bill Paxton), Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton) and Lou (Brent Briscoe) find a deserted plane out in the woods filled with millions of dollars. They figure out a plan to claim the money, and then everything goes wrong. This is a combo of a rather dark comedy, mixed in with a bit of a mystery/thriller vibe. Paxton and Thornton give some of their best performances in this film that explores what happens when ordinary men are overwhelmed by greed.  My Rating: Full Price  A Simple Plan Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Rosewater: Audience Engagement Strategist

Coming to a Theatre Near You: Into the Woods (2014) PG  A witch (Meryl Streep) sets out to teach important lessons to various characters of popular children's stories. The film has an outstanding cast, including Anna Kendrick, Streep, Chris Pine and Emily Blunt. The trailer for this film makes you want to buy your tickets now! Into the Woods Website
Until Next Time!