Friday, April 25, 2014

The Other Woman

My ViewThe Other Woman (2014)  PG-13  Carly (Cameron Diaz) discovers that her boyfriend is married when she shows up at his house to surprise him.  Kate (Leslie Mann) confronts Carly about the affair, and they soon discover that Kate’s husband (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is cheating not only on her but Carly, as well with, Amber (Kate Upton).  When another affair is discovered, the three women decide to get revenge on the cheating husband and make him pay for his transgressions.  This is a fun, and, at times, a little raunchy comedy that never takes itself too seriously.  Diaz is enjoyable as the driven Carly, using her knack for physical comedy to the upmost.  Upton is beautiful and cute but isn’t asked to do too much on-screen than react to what Diaz and Mann do.  Leslie Mann is why you will want to see this movie, as she gives an impressive comedic performance.  Kate overreacts to everything, and Mann uses that to make every scene her own.  This isn’t a perfect film, as it’s too long and has plot holes, but it’s a fun romp that uses Mann’s comedic talents to full effect.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Other Woman Website 
IndiefestHateship Loveship (2014)  R  Johanna (Kristen Wiig) is a caretaker who seems to be from another era - she dresses as if she were from the 50’s, right down to her laced up shoes.  She gets a job to take care of a grandfather (Nick Nolte) and his granddaughter, Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld), a teenager who seems determined to get into as much trouble as she can. Johanna meets Sabitha’s father, an ex-con drug addict named Ken (Guy Pearce) who lives in another town.  When Ken writes Johanna a thank you note, she takes the gesture to heart and writes him back.  Sabitha and her best friend, Edith (Sami Gayle), intercept the letter and begin posing as Ken, writing her letters (just to be mean) that get more and more romantically involved.  Now Johanna is in a romance with Ken, and he knows nothing about it. Wiig gives the dramatic performance of a lifetime, making us slowly fall in love with Johanna.  The script is well written and Wiig doesn’t have a lot of lines, but she gives us all we need to know about Johanna through her body language and facial expressions.  The rest of the cast is outstanding, including a low-key performance from Nick Nolte, and the script gives us a plot that keeps us guessing.  My Rating: Full Price  Hateship Loveship Website  For a full length review of this film click here 
My View: Walking with the Enemy  (2014) In Hungary during the final days of World War II, Elek (Jonas Armstrong), son of a Rabbi, helps save thousands of his fellow Jewish countrymen by posing as a Nazi officer.  Unfortunately, Elek was too late to save his own family.  I found this film, based on a true story, absorbing  about a subject that not many people know about and a story of heroism and sacrifice.  I enjoyed the performances of Armstrong, who projects a steely backbone as the heroic Elek and Hannah Tointon, who plays Elek’s girlfriend who joins him in the fight to keep as many Jews safe as they can.  The film has some splendid action sequences and a plot that is full of tension and surprises.  It’s an engaging film about a dark time in our world history.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee Walking with the Enemy Website 
Forgotten Film: The Opposite of Sex (1998) R DeDee (Christina Ricci) is a fast-talking, smart ass of a teenager who, unhappy and pregnant, moves to Indiana to stay with her half-brother named, Bill (Martin Donovan).  Bill is gay and lives with Matt (Ivan Sergei).   Dedee seduces Matt, convincing him that he is bi-sexual.  The film has just about everything, including gunplay, accusations of molestation and double crosses.  What sets this film apart is it is funny, at times, mostly due to DeDee being the narrator of the film, where she makes sarcastic comments about what is going on in the story.  Ricci is always fun to watch on the screen, and in this film she gives one of her better performances.  This film isn’t for everybody, but if you are ready to go on a wild ride with DeDee, then this film is for you.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Opposite of Sex Info 

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Walking with the Enemy: German language consultant 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: God’s Pocket (2014)  A man investigates the construction accident of his stepson and gets in way over his head.  I don’t need to know any more than it stars the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.  God's Pocket Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 18, 2014


My View Transcendence  (2014) PG-13 Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is a researcher trying to do what no one has ever done before with computers – make a device that possesses sentience and collective intelligence.  While this movie is about technology taking over more and more of our everyday lives, the core of this film is about the love between a man and a woman.  Rebecca Hall plays Dr. Caster’s wife who stands by her man, even when he makes bad decisions.  The film was shot on 35mm film but because it has so much CGI (computer generated special effects), you really don’t notice.  I didn’t like this film, mostly because it doesn’t have heart.  We are supposed to care about the couple and their struggle to stay together, but I ended up caring more about the survival of a fellow computer scientist, played by Paul Bettany, than I did about Dr. Caster and his wife.  It's two hours of blah.  My rating:  Cable Transcendence Website 
IndiefestDom Hemingway (2014) R After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safecracker Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) is back on the streets ofLondon looking to collect what he is owed. Traveling with his devoted best friend, Dickie (Richard E. Grant), Dom visits his crime boss, Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir), in the south of France to claim his reward. After a near death experience, Dom tries to re-connect with his estranged daughter but is soon drawn back into the only world he knows and is looking to settle the ultimate debt. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, but a bit of warning, it’s raunchy, violent and profanity is uttered in almost every line.  Law is a blast to watch as he plays Dom as an over-the-top hoodlum.  There is outstanding chemistry between Law and Grant, who plays his best friend. This is evident in a very funny scene in a bar where the two go back and forth on how they are going to kill each other. This is just a fun film to watch, but man, you are glad at the end of the film that you don’t know any of these people.  My Rating:  Full Price   Dom Hemingway Website

IndiefestUnder the Skin (2014)  R In Scotland, an alien (Scarlett Johansson), in the body of an attractive woman, travels the cities, looking for unattached males. She lures her victims to her home and proceeds to kill them.  This is a beautiful looking film but its storyline is so bizarre, many people may not enjoy it.  Johansson is perfectly cast as the alien that seduces men to their death, but the only dialogue she utters is mundane chit chat when she is trying to pick up men.  Most of the men in the film whom she picks up are not actors but just locals, and the conversations she has with them are not scripted. I loved the look of the film, but its storyline left a lot to be desired, and I came away not really enjoying the viewing experience.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Under the Skin Website

IndiefestThe Railway Man (2013) R Eric (Colin Firth) has a chance encounter with a woman (Nicole Kidman) on a train.  Eric figures out a way that they can meet again a few days later and, eventually, fall in love.  But Eric has a secret - he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to his internment in a Japanese POW labor camp. He and his fellow British soldiers are forced to help build a railroad in Thailand. Firth and Kidman have great chemistry on-screen, and Firth is a remarkable actor who can do more with silence than most actors can do with dialogue.  The reason to see this film is Jeremy Irvine, who plays Eric when he is young and going through the horrors of the prison camp. Irvine is extraordinary in the role and brings intensity to the screen. The actors, though, are let down by a script that moves back and forth between 1980 and 1942 at a rapid rate, making the film a series of jarring cuts.  It’s a film that is enjoyable for the level of acting, but the storyline, which is about the power of love to overcome all, isn’t memorable or moving enough to give us a great film experience.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Railway Man Website  For a full length review of this film click here

My ViewHeaven is for Real (2014) PG Colton (Connor Corum) is a 4 year-old boy who, after having surgery for a burst appendix, tells his family that he traveled to heaven and talked to Jesus. Now the family has to decide to believe Colton and, if they do, how will the small town they live in react? Acting is usually the weak point of the faith based genre, but this one has an outstanding cast, including Greg Kinnear playing the father, Kelly Reilly playing the mom, Thomas Haden Church playing the best friend and Margo Martindale playing an important church member.  I loved Kinnear in this film, playing the preacher of a small town church.  Kinnear has such an easy going presence that it makes it highly believable that he would be a well-liked preacher.  The film is full of conversations about Heaven and God, but it’s what you would expect from this type of film.  It won't be for everyone, but it's a feel-good Christian film that many people will enjoy.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Heaven is for Real Website

Forgotten Film: Keeping the Faith (2000) PG-13 Jake (Ben Stiller), Brian (Edward Norton), and Anna (Jenna Elfman) are childhood friends.  Anna moves back into the neighborhood and both Jake, who is now a Rabbi, and Brian, who is a priest, are both interested in dating Anna.  Who will end up with Anna, and will their friendship survive?  This is a very interesting, unusual romantic comedy, with the importance of religion as one of its central themes.  Elfman is absolutely perfect as the quirky object of Brian and Jake’s affection.  It’s a fun romantic comedy that has witty dialogue and a very smart storyline.  My Rating: Full Price  Keeping the Faith Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Transcendence: Prop Paperwork 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouPhilomena  (2013)  PG-13   In an effort to resurrect his journalistic career, Martin (Steve Coogan) agrees to do a human-interest story on Philomena (Judi Dench), a woman who is searching for her son and whom she gave up for adoption almost 50 years ago. I liked this film and thought it was funny and touching. Judi Dench was superb in this film and she matched up with Coogan perfectly.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again Philomena Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Rio 2

Family Faire:  Rio 2 (2014) G  Your favorite feathered friends are back!  Jewel (Anne Hathaway), Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), and their three kids have left Rio and now are in the wilderness of the Amazon.  Blu thought he had it bad facing Nigel (Jermaine Clement), but he is about to encounter a worse enemy, his father-in-law.  I really liked the first Rio (2011), which I thought was funny and original.  This film isn't very original, the plot is predictable and the music, with the exception of the opening number, is a series of remixes of old songs.  Fans of the first film will be disappointed, especially that some of the characters from the first film, like Tracy Morgan's Luiz the dog, are barely featured.  Kids may enjoy the film (it's bright and silly), but parents will be bored.  The film was made in 3-D, but you can keep the extra money and see it in 2-D, as it didn't use the effect to its fullest potential. My Rating:  Cable  Rio 2 Website

My View:  Draft Day (2014) PG-13 Sonny (Kevin Costner) is the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns.  His team has a high draft pick, but Cleveland's owner (Frank Langella) wants to make a splash and trade up to take the number one draft pick. Complicating things - if Sonny doesn't make the right pick, it could cost him his job.  I enjoyed this film, mostly because I enjoyed the chemistry between Costner and Jennifer Garner, who plays the team's salary cap expert and love interest for Costner.  It's an interesting look at what goes on during the NFL draft and most football fans will enjoy it.  I just wish the ending had been a little better as they go for the easy way out.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Draft Day Website

Indiefest: Joe (2014)  R  Joe (Nicolas Cage) is a solitary man who owns a company that specializes in killing trees for reforestation. He hires Gary (Tye Sheridan), a young man who lives with his homeless family. Soon, Gary and Joe strike up a friendship, but that friendship is threatened by Gary's alcoholic dad (Gary Poulter) and a troublemaker named, Willie (Ronnie Gene Blevins).  Nicolas Cage gives his best performance in years in a role that is very complex and layered.  Cage and Sheridan have great chemistry together and their scenes are some of the best of the film.  It's a film that doesn't disappoint in both its acting and storyline. My Rating:  Full Price  Joe Website My interview with Tye Sheridan and director David Gordon Green

Indiefest: The Raid 2 (2014)  R  Shortly after the raid that Police Officer Rama (Iko Uwans) barely survived, he goes undercover to bring down a crime syndicate and find the corrupt officers in his police force.  The first film, The Raid, was non-stop action with almost no plot.  This film has lots of action, but there is a plot to it, and that's a bad thing.  The plot is confusing, with too many characters, and makes this film not as enjoyable as the first.  The action sequences are amazing to watch, so much so that you wonder how many stunt people were injured making.  It's an enjoyable film but could have been made better if some of the non-action scenes were cut.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  The Raid 2 Website

Indiefest: The Unknown Known (2014) PG-13  Documentary on one of the most fascinating men in the history of our government, former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.  Filmmaker, Earl Morris is back again, giving us a detailed look at a man who was in the eye of the storm for so many events of the 70's, 80's and 90's, including 9/11, the invasion of Iraq and the internment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.  Morris interviews Rumsfeld on-camera using the thousands of memos that Rumsfeld as a way of transitioning to different topics.  It's a brilliant film that delves into the mind of a very complex man.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Unknown Known Website  For a full length review of this film click here  

Indiefest:  Jodorowsky's Dune (2014)  PG-13 Documentary about director Alejandro Jodorowsky's quest to make a movie in the early 1970's of the Frank Herbert Sci-Fi novel Dune.  Jodorowsky worked for over two years on a project that would never be made.  He was a filmmaker who made very strange films that bordered on the absurd.  His most famous film, El Topo (1970), was a staple of the midnight film circuit for years on college campuses. He spent two years of his life compiling a team of artists and writers to create the film of his dreams, Dune.  Many of the artists that worked on this project went on to do amazing things, such as H. R. Gieger, who designed the look of Ridley Scott's groundbreaking film, Alien (1981).  It's a fascinating look at a man who had incredible vision for a film that would never get made.  It's a treat to watch and is a must for any Sci-Fi fan out there.  My Rating:  Full Price  Jodorowsky's Dune Website

My View:  Oculus (2014)   A young woman (Karen Gillian) tries to confirm her brother (Brenton Thwaites) didn't commit a horrific murder by proving it was done by a supernatural phenomenon.  This is a horror film that has not enough scary parts.  The film takes forever to get started and then never quite delivers.  I did like Karen Gillan as the head-strong sister who is willing to bet everything on trying to prove her brother didn't commit the murder.  But the film just doesn't give us the scary parts that we desperately need in a film like this.  My Rating:  Cable  Oculus Website 

Forgotten Film:  Permanent Record (1988)  PG-13 David (Alan Boyce) is a talented high school student who leads a rock band, is popular and is interactive with almost everyone at school.  His best friend and fellow band mate, Chris (Keanu Reeves), worships the ground that David walks on.  Chris' world changes when David does something that no one sees coming.  Reeves gives one of his best performances in this film - a very moving performance. The film is a little dated (it looks very 80's), but it's message is timeless and meaningful.  My Rating:  Full Price  Permanent Record Info  

Weird Credits: From the credits of Draft Day (2014):  Football coordinator

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You:  Locke (2014)  R The best film I saw at the Atlanta Film Festival!  The plot is simple - Ivan (Tom Hardy) is driving to London and is making phone call after phone call to try and fix a number of problems that have come up in his life.  Yes, it's an hour and a half of Tom Hardy driving a car at night, but it's an brilliant bit of filmmaking.  You are going to want to see this film.  Locke Info

Until Next Time!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

My View:  Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)  PG-13 The Captain (Chris Evans) is struggling to figure out his place in the modern world. It turns out that he isn’t the only person to time travel – an old acquaintance is back. Now the Captain must deal with an agent from the Soviet Union, The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).  I enjoyed this film so much more than the first Captain America film.  The action sequences are fast and well-choreographed without the dreaded shaky cam that so many of today’s action film directors like to use.  There is a great deal of humor in this film, something the first film sorely needed.  And Scarlett Johansson, as the Black Widow, has almost as much screen time as Chris Evans.  The plot is well thought-out and is very narrow in its range, which keeps the film focused. This film moves quickly, so you won’t notice the 136 minute run time.  Stay through all the credits as there are two bonus scenes, one after the main credits and another after all the secondary credits. They did not screen the film in 3-D for us, so I can't tell you which version to see.  My Rating: Full Price  Captain America: The Winter Soldier Website
Indiefest:  Anita  (2014)  Documentary about Anita Hill, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in the Senate hearings in 1991.  This is the first time that Anita Hill has talked at length about the ordeal she went through not only during the hearings, but also the aftermath.  While this film is very one-sided (neither Thomas or any Senator involved in the hearings as interviewed), it is fascinating to go back and see how things developed.  This film does give you, in detail, what Anita went through and why she decided to come forth with the allegations. As I was watching this film, I kept thinking that a lot has changed since 1991, especially how the workforce confronts the topic of sexual harassment.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Anita Website  For a full length review of this film click here

Forgotten Film:  Scarecrow (1973)  R  Max (Gene Hackman) is an ex-con who likes to fight and has been saving his money to open up a car wash in Pittsburg.  Lion (Al Pacino) is an ex-sailor who is homeless and wants to see his child who was born while he was at sea.  These two men meet and decide to travel together and go on an adventure.  This film is a pleasure to watch just to see Hackman and Pacino interact on-screen together.  The film gets a little too artsy with the lighting making everything very dark at times, but the performances outweigh these slight problems.  It’s a film well worth watching master actors apply their craft. My Rating:  Bargain Matinee  Scarecrow Info

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)  A western written and directed by Seth MacFarlane (Ted).  I think I will go watch Mel Brook’s film Blazing Saddles (1974) instead.  A Million Ways to Die in the West Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray): Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013) R  I feel that this sequel didn’t match the comedic standards the first Anchorman set.  It empathizes a character, Brick (Steve Carell), who is really better suited to be a supporting character.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Captain America: The Winter Soldier:  render wrangler

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Joe (2013) R I just saw this film about an ex-con (Nicolas Cage) who takes a young homeless man (Tye Sheridan) under his wing to get him away from the boy’s alcoholic father.  It’s Nicolas Cage’s best performance in years.   Joe Website
Until Next Time!