Friday, March 27, 2015

It Follows

My View It Follows  (2015)  R  For nineteen-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), life should be all about school and boys. After having sex in what should have been an innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself having visions and the feeling that she is being followed.  This movie is a scary, inventive horror film that keeps building the suspense until the very end.  The film is very reminiscent of the classic 1978 John Carpenter film, Halloween, right down to a perfectly matched musical score.  I loved the performances of the very young cast including Maika Monroe. If you are a fan of horror or suspense films, you will want to see this one.   My Rating: Full Price   It Follows Website

IndiefestMerchants of Doubt  (2015)  PG-13  A documentary that explores the world of pundits-for-hire who present themselves to the media as experts on topics such as global warming and toxic chemicals. This is an interesting film about the how PR people try to change public opinion by misdirection of the facts.  The film looks at some of the great PR stunts of the last 50 years including that smoking isn't bad for you, global warming and use of toxic chemicals to make our furniture flame retardant. I enjoyed this film as it often takes a reverent look at the art of taking facts and shaping them to fit your argument, making the film a highly entertaining experience.   My Rating; Bargain Matinee    Merchants of Doubt Website

IndiefestThe Wrecking Crew  (2014)  PG-13  A celebration of musicians you have never heard of but have loved their music.  The wrecking crew was a group of session musicians who backed up everyone from Frank Sinatra to The Beach Boys.  This is a documentary about a group of session musicians who recorded a number of hit songs from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. If you like a hit from the 60’s and 70’s and that album was recorded in L.A., more than likely the music on that album was from the artist on the front cover, and more than likely it was recorded by the Wrecking Crew. The film is a little too long and focuses too much on the filmmaker’s father, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, but it’s filled with impressive stories and some unique characters.  After seeing this film, you will wonder, is it really the artists listed on the album or is it the Wrecking Crew?    My Take: Bargain Matinee   The Wrecking Crew Website

Indiefest: Deli Man (2014)  PG-13 The deli has been the center of Jewish culture in America for over 100 years. One man, a third-generation deli man, Ziggy Gruber, is keeping the traditions and the delicacies alive in his Houston, Texas deli. His story, along with the great delis in America, such as the 2nd Avenue Deli, Nate 'n Al’s, the Carnegie and the Stage, are told in this documentary. I enjoyed this film and its lovable subject, Ziggy Gruber. Ziggy has a passion for the food and tradition of the deli, determined to preserve as many recipes as he can as traditional Jewish delis are disappearing out at an outstanding rate. It’s a film for foodies and be sure to go see it on a full stomach, or you will be looking for a hot pastrami sandwich right after the film.   My Rating: Full Price   Deli Man Website

Forgotten FilmHousekeeping (1988) PG Two sisters are taken on a sudden trip by their mother to visit a relative.  The mother commits suicide, and the two sisters are passed between family members until they end up with their mother’s sister, Aunt Sylvie (Christine Lahti). Sylvie is a little strange, liking to take long walks at a moment’s notice and collecting tin cans. The sister’s lives are changed forever in the care of the Aunt Sylvie.  Lahti is stunning as the free spirit Sylvie. The film is about love and sometimes you can find it from uncongenial places.   My Rating: Full Price   Housekeeping Info  

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Cinderella:  Pumpkin Carriage Builder

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouAdult Beginners (2014)  A young businessman’s (Nick Kroll) company crashes after an unsuccessful launch.  He moves back to the suburbs to live with his sister (Rose Byrne) and her family.  Little does he know; he’s about to be their nanny.   Adult Beginners Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wild Tales

IndiefestWild Tales (2014)  R   Six stories of people who have been or think they have been wronged and seek revenge.  If you liked the old TV show, Tales from the Darkside, this movie is for you.  The running theme throughout this film is revenge, sometimes it works out for the person getting the revenge, and sometimes it doesn’t. This is an imaginative film that continues to surprise you up until the very end. This is a strange and violent film that is one of the most creative and enjoyable films I have seen in the past year.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Wild Tales Website

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): The Transporter Refueled (2015)  A reboot of the popular Transporter series. I don’t recognize anyone in the cast, and not a good sign.  Let’s face it, the only reason the original series worked was the on-screen magnetism of Jason Statham.   The Transporter Refueled Info

Forgotten Film: White Nights (1985) PG  I could explain that plot (expatriate Russian dancer’s plane is forced to land in Russia, then forced to dance with the Bolshoi) but what is important about this film is that you get to see Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines, in their prime, dance!  Nothing else about this movie matters.  My rating: Cable

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Mr. Turner:  Special Effects Teeth

In Case You Missed It (A New Release Out on DVD and Blu-Ray): Song of the Sea (2104)  PG  Saoirse is a child who is the last of the Selkies, a legendary group that can transform from seals into people. Now, she is on a journey to free fairy creatures who are trapped in the modern world. This beautiful and moving film is one of the best-animated films I have seen in the past five years.  It’s destined to become a classic. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Song of the Sea Info

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)  The Avengers was one of the best films of 2012.  Can Marvel do it again?  Let’s hope so.  The trailer looks bonkers.  Avengers: Age of Ultron Facebook page
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 13, 2015


Familyfaire: Cinderella (2015)  PG  A live-action retelling of the classic tale. Ella (Lily James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett) after Ella’s father suddenly dies (Ben Chaplin). Ella’s fortune begins to change when she meets a handsome stranger (Richard Madden) in the woods.  Fans of the 1950 animated film will not be disappointed in this updated version. Lily James makes a very capable Cinderella and has good chemistry with her Prince Charming, played by Richard Madden. The film is fun because of Helena Bonham Carter playing the wacky Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett, playing the wickedly evil Stepmother. Blanchett is the highlight of the film, and it’s very obvious that she had a blast playing the over-the-top Stepmother who delights in putting down Cinderella every chance she can. The film is beautifully shot, and the ballroom dance sequence is breathtaking, mostly because Cinderella’s gown seems to come to life on the dance floor. Kids of all ages will enjoy the film, as the film has humor aimed at both kids and adults. The film has kept the spirit of the original film and has added a few touches of its own to a tale we all love.   My Rating: Full Price   Cinderella Website 

Indiefest: Red Army (2014) PG  Documentary on the legendary Soviet Union’s Red Army hockey team, the team that lost the “Miracle on Ice” Olympic game.  This is a superb documentary on one of the greatest sports teams of all time. The film has larger than life personalities, intrigue (one of the men interviewed is a former KGB agent whose job was to make sure the players didn’t defect), and a unique inside look on how the team operated during the height of the Soviet Union propaganda machine. The main focus of the film is one of the best hockey players of all time, Slava Fetisov, a man of enormous ego and personality. The film is fascinating and riveting, giving you a glimpse into a world we never really understood. This is a film that will delight hockey fans and will keep non-fans interested until the end.   My Rating: Full Price  Red Army Website 

Indiefest: Ballet 422 (2015)  PG  A behind-the-scenes look at one of the youngest ever choreographers who has two months to get a new ballet put together before its premiere.  The film is shot in the “Observational Mode’ style of filmmaking, where there is no narration, and the camera is ignored by its subject matter. For people who love dance and ballet, this film is a real treat, as it gives a look at creating a ballet from the ground-up. The film follows choreographer Justin Peck, a 25-year-old member of the New York City Ballet, as he struggles to find the tone in his ballet. It’s a fascinating look at a profession that few have seen so up close and personal. My only quibble with this film is I wanted to see more of the finished product.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Ballet 422 Website 
Forgotten Film: Swimming with Sharks (1994)  R  A young man (Frank Whaley) wants to work in Hollywood. He gets his chance when he becomes an assistant to a big time movie producer (Kevin Spacey). It turns out; the producer is one of the worst bosses of all time, and it’s time for payback. This film is a dark comedy with witty lines and two outstanding performances. Spacey has a ball playing possibly the biggest jerk in the history of film. It’s a very funny film with a very imaginative ending.  My Rating: Full Price   Swimming with Sharks Info 

Weird Credits: From the credits of Cinderella (2015): Cinderella Foot Double 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Furious 7 (2015)  PG-13 I wasn’t a fan of the Fast and the Furious series until Fast & Furious 6, where the filmmakers said, screw it, we will just make everyone in this film a superhero. All I want to know about this film; will there be another 28-mile runway?   Furious 7 Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

My View:  The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  (2015)  PG   The hotel that Sonny (Dev Patel) manages is now a success, so much so they have only one room available, just in time for Guy (Richard Gere) to move in.  I enjoyed the first film, and it was fun to see actors as Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, and Bill Nighy explore India and its wonders.  This film has very little of that wonderment or exploration.  The film has too many storylines and rushes at the end to tie them all up.  Richard Gere is not given much to do, and Dev Patel’s Sonny is extremely annoying throughout the film.  It’s not a bad film; it just doesn’t bring anything new to the story   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Website  
Indiefest:  Kidnapping Mr. Heineken  (2015)  R   A group of down on their luck men decide to kidnap one of the richest men (Anthony Hopkins) in the world, the heir to the Heineken beer fortune.  The film is based on a true story, and the first thirty minutes are fun and interesting.  There is a great chase scene through the streets of Amsterdam that is thrilling and imaginative.  Unfortunately, the film slows down to a crawl by the time Mr. Heineken is successfully kidnapped.  There is no tension built in the film, and the last portion limps to a very slow and inevitable conclusion.       My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Kidnapping Mr. Heineken Website
Indiefest:  Mr. Turner  (2014)  R The life of legendary artist J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall) considered one of the great painters of the 1800s.  It’s a hard life being a painter and Mr. Turner treats everyone as if they are beneath him.  Mike Leigh wrote and directed this film that takes place over the last twenty-five years of Turner's life. The film plays out in little vignettes, as we see slices of Turner's life. It makes for a rather disjointed film, as you try to figure just how much time has elapsed since the last scene, and Leigh uses his typical character actors to fill out the cast. This allows Spall to dominate the scenes, making his performance even more remarkable. Spall’s performance is outstanding, and it's sad that he didn't get the Oscar nod. Dorothy Atkinson is terrific as the put-upon housekeeper willing to do just about anything to keep her employer happy. Marion Bailey is lovely and a joy to watch as a widow who takes Mr. Turner in first as a border and later as a lover late in his life.  Mr. Turner is a film where the performances are better than the script.  It’s a beautiful film to watch, but there just isn’t enough substance to the script to make this film interesting.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    Mr. Turner Facebook Page
Indiefest:  Human Capital  (2013)    The lives of two families are changed forever when a cyclist is killed on a road by a person driving a Jeep late at night.   This is a stunning film that will keep you guessing until the very end.  The story is interwoven between two families on the opposite sides of the economic and social worlds of Italy.  One family is desperate to become rich; the other family is desperate to keep their lifestyle and status, and both are threatened by the death of the cyclist.  It’s an extremely well-paced and well-written film that keeps the story moving from the first frame to the last.  This is one of those films you will be talking about for a long time.  My Rating:  Full Price  Human Capital Website
Forgotten Film:  The Moderns  (1988) R   A starving artist (Keith Carradine) in 1920’s Paris, is shocked to see the woman he was married to (Linda Fiorentino) is now involved with a ruthless millionaire (John Lone).  The attraction between the artist and his former wife is still there and will complicate their lives forever.  While not a great film, it is an interesting look at a time when the world’s greatest writers and artists all seemed to live in the same city.  Linda Fiorentino gives an outstanding performance as the unlucky in love woman.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Moderns Info

Weird Credits:  From The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:  Crowd Runner

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Salt of the Earth  (2014)  PG-13  Photographer Sebastiao Salgado has taken some of the greatest pictures ever, traveling around the world while witnessing some of the major events of the planet.  Now in this documentary, he goes to discover and document pristine territories of wild fauna and flora.   The Salt of the Earth Website
Until Next Time!