Friday, February 28, 2014

Son of God

My ViewSon of God (2014)  PG-13  The story of Jesus (Diogo Morgado), from his humble beginnings, his lifelong teaching, his crucifixion and his resurrection.  Morgado is admirable in the role and has a pleasing presence on the screen with the perfect amount of charisma the part needs.  The supporting cast is a little weak, with the exception of Darwin Shaw, who plays the hot-headed Peter.  It is very evident that this film was made on a very small budget, especially when the film keeps showing very obvious shots of miniature models of the towns of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. This isn’t a bad film, but it’s a film that brings nothing new to the story of Jesus.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Son of God Website

Indiefest:  Kids for Cash (2014)  PG-13 A documentary about the “kids for cash” scandal that unfolded in Pennsylvania in 2008.  A hard-line judge, who was known for his stiff sentences of juveniles, was accused of accepting bribes from privately-owned juvenile prison facilities. By handing down the harsh, long term sentences, the judge increased the number of inmates at the prisons, making the facilities more profitable. This is a film that could have been better as it never quite finds its emotional punch. The film does a excellent job of letting both sides express their opinions, including letting the judge accused of taking the bribes, keep digging his case for prosecution deeper and deeper.  But we only see the emotional impact of the case near the end of the film, and it's not an impression that this type of film needs to make.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Kids for Cash Website

Forgotten Film:  A Private Function  (1984)  R  In 1947 England, rationing due to World War II is still going on, but that doesn't discourage a small town from having a party to celebrate the marriage of Princess Elizabeth.  Soon the whole town is in a frenzy on how to provide food for the celebration, and a plan is hatched to steal a pig, that is until the pig the townspeople want to steal is missing.  This is a light British comedy that makes fun of life in small town post war England.  The comedic talents of Maggie Smith and Michael Palin are on display to enjoy and savor.  My Rating:  Full Price  A Private Function Info

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)  I don’t know what the plot is but does it really matter?  This film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, the same man who brought us Battle: Los Angeles (2011) and Wrath of the Titans (2012).  Enough said.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray):  Gravity (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 oxygen.  I hope you took my advice and saw this film in the theatre.  Sandra Bullock is perfect as the astronaut who is tries to survive in space.  The storyline is so strong that even if you see the film on a small screen, you will still be wowed.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again  Gravity Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of 3 Days to Kill (2014):  ripper

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouChef (2014)  Jon Favreau wrote, directed and starred in this film about a chef, who, at the sacrifice of his family life, rises to the top of the culinary world, only to lose it all.  Now, he starts a food truck business to not only resurrect his career but to give him time to reconnect with his family.  An all-star cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, John Lequizamo, and Oliver Platt. Chef Info 
Until Next Time

Friday, February 21, 2014

3 Days to Kill

My View:  3 Days to Kill (2014)  PG-13 Ethan (Kevin Costner) is one of the best Secret Service agents the agency has ever had, but it ‘s come at a price, his family. Ethan decides to retire from the agency to spend time with his teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) before she leaves for college. Before, though, he can leave, he must serve one more mission, a mission to kill the world’s most wanted terrorist. This film is such a strange movie it’s hard to put into words.  Its part father/daughter reconnecting after 5 years apart, and part action film where Costner is trying to kill one of the world’s bad guys. The film goes for every cliche in the book, including having Costner teach his daughter how to slow dance.  The plot is full of holes, including the fact that  if Amber Heard’s character, Vivi, is such a badass spy, why can’t she kill the bad guy herself, instead of putting Costner’s character through the ringer.  Costner, after having taken a few years off from acting, has had quite a little comeback with some good parts this year. This wasn’t one of them.  I guess he just wanted to see Paris.  My Rating: Cable  3 Days to Kill Website   
The 50  (A Movie from My Best/Worst Films of All Time)
#2 Worst Film:
 The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)  I don't have to say much more about this film than it's a little people musical western.  What little (no pun intended) plot there is about a bad guy who reigns his “terror" on the townspeople of a western town, is lost in an attempt to have its actors go between a western, a musical and a comedy.  The songs are bad, the acting is worse, and the attempts at comedy are beyond in bad taste (instead of going through the swinging doors of the saloon, our hero walks under them).  The only redeeming thing  about this film is it's only 62 minutes long, but I guarantee you watch this film, and it will be the longest hour of your life. And remember the tag line of the movie, "Little Guys with Big Guns!"
 The Terror of Tiny Town Info
Forgotten Film:  Smile (1975) PG This well written satire revolves around the contestants and judges of a beauty pageant called, California 's Young American Miss Pageant.  The film centers around the contestants as they are whipped into shape by a ruthless choreographer (real life choreographer Michael Kidd), who works the young women until they are in tears.  The pageant is run by Big Bob (Bruce Dern) who hits on every girl in the pageant, Brenda (Barbara Feldon), a former winner of the event, and her husband (Nicholas Pryor), who is being driven mad by his wife's unrelenting antics. The film is a satiric look at how we perceive beauty, especially in young women, and how far people will go for recognition.  The film is also helped by a brilliant cast that make up the contestants, including Melanie Griffith, Annette O’Toole, Denise Nickerson and Colleen Camp.  My Rating:  Full Price  Smile Info

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Think Like a Man Too (2014)  Sequel to the 2012 hit with the cast returning to follow up on the characters from the first film.  I think it's time Kevin Hart slowed down a bit and took his time making his next appearance in a about in 2016?  Think Like a Man Too Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray):   Escape Plan  (2013)     A world renown security expert (Sylvester Stallone) is asked to test the world’s most secure prison from the inside, as a prisoner.  Now he realizes that he was set up and must gain the help of one of the prison's most notorious criminals (Arnold Schwarzenegger) for help to escape.  When is an action film not an action film?  When your two stars are getting up there in age and can’t handle a full-fledged action film.  The film can’t decide if it wants to be a drama, an action film or a snarky comedy and, therefore, fails at all three.   My Rating: Cable   Escape Plan Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Monuments Men:  snow effects

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Island of Lemurs: Madagascar  (2013) A documentary about the wild Lemurs of Madagascar.  It's a doc, narrated by Morgan Freeman with Lemurs as the subject matter. You had me at narrator Morgan Freeman.  Island of Lemurs: Madagascar Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, February 14, 2014


My View:  Robocop (2014)  PG-13  In the near future, the United States is the last country in the world to not use some sort of robotic police force. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a loving father and good cop, is critically injured in the line of duty, the corporation behind most of the world’s robotic police force, OmniCorp, sees an opportunity. They plan on using what is left of Murphy to create a one-man police force called, Robocop.  I enjoyed this film as it attempted to bring something new to the Robocop franchise.  The supporting cast is perfect, including Michael Keaton as the slimy CEO of OmniCorp, Samuel L. Jackson as a pro OmniCorp TV host, and Jay Baruchel as a sleazy marketing guru.  I didn’t like the action sequences as the PG-13 violence seemed too rooted in video games.  I also didn’t like that the film takes way too long for Robocop to hit the streets to kick some bad guy butt.  Kinnaman is enjoyable as the Robocop, but I just wish the creators had really upped the action sequences.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Robocop Website
The 50  (A Movie from My Best/Worst Films of All Time) 
#4 Best Film:  The Godfather (1972)   The story of a mafia crime family trying to stay on top is one of most brilliant films of the past 50 years.  The cast of Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Cann and Diane Keaton is brilliant in this stirring film directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  Every scene in this movie could be studied in a film class, with its perfect framing and lighting.  Pacino is magnificent as Michael, a war hero who naively thinks he can leave the family business.  Brando dominates every scene he is in, and Keaton is never more appealing.  It’s a film that makes you root for the bad guys and feel good about doing it.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again  The Godfather Info  
Forgotten Film:  Outland (1981) William Neal (Sean Connery) is a Marshall, assigned to a mining colony on Io, one of Jupiter’s moons.  When Marshall starts investigating the mysterious deaths of a number of miners, he discovers that a drug trade is responsible for the deaths, and the dealers are out for the Marshall’s death.  Now the Marshall must face a gang of ruthless killers, and the population that he has protected is letting him go against them all alone.  This is a new take on the western theme of one man against many, like the 1952 film, High Noon.  Connery is at his charismatic best, playing the tough-as-nails Marshall who is willing to take on the bad guys.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Outland Info
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  The Other Woman (2014) A wife (Leslie Mann) and her husband’s girlfriend (Cameron Diaz) team up to get revenge on the husband when they discover he is cheating on both of them.  Just what we need. A female buddy movie about cheating.  The Other Woman Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray):  The Best Man Holiday (2013)  R   When old college friends get together for the Christmas holidays, they find out just how easy it is to pick right back up where they left off, which is good in the romance department but not so much when dealing with a rival.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first film in the series, The Best Man, and while this film isn’t quite as enjoyable as the first one was, it’s still a fun movie with a great message about love and family.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Best Man Holiday Facebook Page

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Robocop:  Balloon light technician

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You:  Captain America: The Winter Soldier  (2014)  Captain America (Chris Evans) is struggling to adapt to the modern world while there is also a new threat from an old foe, a Soviet agent known as the Winter Solder.  I really liked the first Captain America film, but I wanted a little humor in it.  They say this one will have that humor that I was looking for.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Lego Movie

Family FaireThe Lego Movie (2014)  PG  For Emmet (Chris Pratt), every day is awesome. He enjoys his life working in construction until he meets a girl named, Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). She is convinced that he is the “Special,” the greatest Master Builder who can save the Lego universe from the evil President Business (Will Ferrell). Now with the help of Batman(Will Arnett), Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), Metalbeard (Nick Offerman) and Uni-Kitty (Alison Brie), Emmett must find the courage to fight President Business from using his secret weapon.  My biggest complaint about animated movies is three years are spent making the film but, then they seem to have scripts that took a weekend to write.  This is not the case with this film as it is one of the best animated scripts in the past ten years and encompasses highly imaginative, extremely creative filmmaking.  In the screening I attended, parents were laughing at times more than the kids because the film packs on the sight gags  and funny lines.  I liked Chris Pratt as the everyman Emmet, but it’s Will Arnett who steals the show as the voice of Batman.  He has the Batman voice down pat, as sort of a cross between Bale and Keaton.  Near the end of the film, the action slows down, but the rest of the film is such a fun, wild ride, you can overlook that part. By the way, there is a theme song in the movie called, “Everything is Awesome,” that shows up in various forms in the film. I predict that you will be singing the song with a smile on your face as you leave the theatre.  My Rating:  Full Price   The Lego Movie Website

My View:  The Monuments Men (2014)  PG-13  An unlikely group of World War II soldiers is put together to create a platoon whose job it is to rescue stolen art masterpieces from the Nazis before they destroy them. The strength of this film is its cast with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban and Jean Dujardin all making up the squadron that is in charge of trying to rescue the art.  The film does have some very nice moments between some of the characters in the film, especially the relationship of Damon’s character, an art historian who tries to get a key French woman, played by Blanchett, to cooperate in the finding where the Nazis took the art work.  There's a nice chemistry between Blanchett and Damon in the scenes where they are trying to figure out each other’s motives.  There is also a great “bromance” between Murray’s very laid back character and the very stuck up character that Bob Balaban that is probably the best and funniest relationship of the whole film.  The cast is let down by the script as it can never find the right tone for the film, and the film, at times light and funny, never seems to find the right mix to put in the hardships of war.  The film tries too hard to touch on the heartstrings and almost begs us to care before we are given good reason to.  This is not a bad film, in fact, at times, it is very enjoyable, but it’s not the Oscar contender that the studio thought it had.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  The Monuments Men Website  

IndiefestGloria (2013)   Gloria (Paulina Garcia) is a 58 year old divorcee' who is determined not to spend her nights alone. She hits the single scene, but it seems as though she can’t find love. That is until she met Rodolfo (Sergio Hernandez), an ex-naval officer who sweeps her off her feet. The question is, will this new romance last?  When people complain that movies aren't made for adults anymore, we should point them to this film. Garcia is a force on the screen as she plays a character who, while is comfortable being single, is still looking for love.  Her character has a love of romantic songs and dancing, which shows us that she is hopeful that she will find love again.  This is an interesting, and at times, delightful film, with a performance from Garcia that makes you want to see her find love again.   My Rating:  Full Price  Gloria Website

Forgotten FilmThe Limey (1999)  Wilson (Terence Stamp) is a recently released ex-con who flies overseas to L.A. to investigate the recent death of his daughter.  Once in L.A. he soon gets involved with the sleazy underworld of L.A. life, including his daughter’s boyfriend, Terry (Peter Fonda), who is a record producer with ties to drug trafficking.  Steven Soderbergh directed this taut crime drama that is told through flashbacks.  Stamp gives a performance of a lifetime as a man on the road to vengeance.  It’s a film where you'll discover new things with each viewing.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Limey Infor

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)Need for Speed (2014)  Looks to me like a rip off of the Fast & Furious franchise starring Aaron Paul.  This one, unlike the Fast franchise, looks like it takes itself way too seriously. I know Aaron Paul was in the TV show “Breaking Bad,” but this film just looks like it’s “Breaking Down.”  Need for Speed Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)Rush  (2013)  R  I like this movie about the 1976  season of Formula One racing.  The film has great racing sequences (the best I have ever seen), and Daniel Bruhl gives a riveting performance as driving legend Niki Lauda., one, which I thought, was worthy of an Academy Award nomination (alas, he didn’t get one to my dismay).  My Rating:  Full Price  Rush Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Lego Movie:  Physical Objects Coordinator

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You:  Muppets Most Wanted (2014) PG  I don’t really care what the plot is (something about a Kermit look-a-like jewel thief).  All I care about is that it’s a film where the Muppets interact with Tina Fey and Tom Hiddleston!  Muppets Most Wanted Website
Until Next Time!