Friday, October 17, 2014


My ViewFury (2014) R It’s April, 1945, and the Germans are determined to defend their homeland with everything they have.  A Sergeant named, Wardaddy (Brad Pitt), leads his five-man tank crew with the goal of getting everybody back alive.  Norman (Logan Lerman) has just joined the crew but was trained as a typist, not a warrior. Now the crew must go on a mission that has impossible odds -  just what Wardaddy has trained his crew for. This is not a movie for the faint of heart or someone who faints at the sight of blood.  The film has some of the most realistic war scenes ever filmed.  Bodies literally fly apart as they are hit by bullets or bombs. The language in this film is equally coarse, and there aren’t many likable characters. The film, though, realistic tries too hard to hit all the bases, and though it wants to be Oscar material, it is just an average film.  Pitt, though serviceable in the lead role, never quite connects with the audience, and we are left not really knowing his character. It’s an interesting film, but not the great film you want it to be.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Fury Website

IndiefestSt. Vincent (2014) PG-13  A mother (Melissa McCarthy) and her son (Jaeden Lieberher) move next door to a cranky war veteran (Bill Murray). An unlikely friendship between the boy and the old man starts up when the vet begins babysitting the boy after school. This is a fun, smart film about a man who is unlikable, and still a kid can see the good in the man. Murray is funny as the old man, and his chemistry with Lieberher is wonderful. Lieberher shows great comedic timing, able to deliver the best lines of the film. McCarthy shows some dramatic acting chops in this role, as her part is mostly supporting. It’s a joy to watch, and Lieberher gives a beautiful speech near the end of the film that had many people, at my screening, crying.   My Rating: Full Price  St. Vincent Website

IndiefestKeep On Keepin’ On (2014)  R 90-year-old jazz musician, Clark Terry, has mentored blind 23-year-old Justin Kauflin for a few years. Just as Kauflin’s career is taking off, Terry’s health turns for the worse.  This is their story, one of friendship bound by the love of music. The film documents a year in the life of the two men. Kauflin has to move back home with his parents and is preparing for an international jazz competition.  Terry is battling diabetes and is trying not to lose his leg to the disease.  They get through the hard times by their friendship and support of one another.  Terry is a remarkable man, full of knowledge, and this is a brilliant film that will make you feel better about your place in the world.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Keep On Keepin' On Website

My View: The Best of Me (2014)  PG-13  A pair of high school sweethearts, Dawson(James Marsden) and Amanda (Michelle Monagham), reunite years later when they both return to their small hometown.  Can they overcome the past to start their romance again?  This film has every romantic cliché in the book.  The film is highly predictable, way too long and has an ending that is just cringe worthy.  Marsden and Monaghan have a bit of chemistry together, but it takes the film so long to get them in a romantic situation that you just don’t care.  I did like Liana Liberato in the part of the young Amanda, as she breathes life into this film every time she is on camera, but it’s just not enough.  If you want to see a Nicolas Sparks film, go rent The Notebook because this film just doesn’t work.  My Rating: Cable  The Best of Me Website
Family FaireThe Book of Life (2014) PG Growing up in a small town in Mexico, Manolo (Diego Luna), Joaquin (Channing Tatum) and Maria (Zoe Saldana) are the best of friends. Manolo wants to be a musician, Joaquin a solider, and Maria has a passion for saving animals. After Maria is sent away, the three are reunited years later.  Will the musician or the soldier win Maria’s heart?  Imaginative storylines and beautiful animation make this film a joy to watch.  It’s about time we had some animation films based on the Mexican culture and this film does just that by using the traditional holiday “The Day of the Dead” as its central plot point. Very young kids may be a bit frightened by some the scary aspects of the film, but older kids will delight at the story of three young people trying to make the own way in the world.  My only complaint with this movie is Channing Tatum, playing a Mexican native part,  does not sound like he is from Mexico, he just sounds like Channing Tatum. I will say that while I did see the film in 3-D, I did not notice the 3-D effects, so save your money and see it in 2-D.   My Rating: Full Price  The Book of Life Website

IndiefestDear White People (2104)  R  The lives of four black students(Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Teyonah Parris) at an Ivy League school change drastically after an ill-conceived Halloween party goes down.  It can be tough going to college, trying to find your place in the world; it’s even harder when you are in the minority.  This is a film that will spark many conversations, and, while funny at times, it is mostly a serious look at dealing with race relations in this country.  The standout performance of this film is Tyler James Williams, who plays a gay student who just doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. This is an interesting film that examines not only how the world sees young African Americans but also how they perceive themselves. My Rating: Full Price  Dear White People Website

Forgotten Film: Lady Sings the Blues (1972) R The story of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday (Diana Ross) as she struggles to make it in the music world.  This film has an incredible score with Ross singing some moving jazz standards. Billy Dee Williams plays the romantic interest in the film, but the standout performance (besides Ross’s) is Richard Pryor as Piano Man.  Pryor gives a funny and moving performance making this a much richer film.  My Rating: Full Price  Lady Sings the Blues Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Book of Life:  additional voice

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouWhite Bird in a Blizzard  (2014)  I am looking forward to one of my favorite young actresses, Shailene Woodley, taking on more mature roles.  When Kat (Woodley) is 17 years old, her mother (Eva Green) disappears.  Years later she comes home to confront the feelings of abandonment and guilt.  White Bird in a Blizzard Website
Until Next Time!

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