Friday, August 21, 2015

American Ultra

My View:  American Ultra  (2015)  R  Mike (Jesse Eisenberg) seems like your usual stoner but, aside from being good at smoking weed, he is also the greatest government agent in existence.  Mike has been marked for extermination because the CIA thinks that he has become such a liability, but it’s not going to be easy to take him down. This is a movie that can’t decide what type of film it is. It’s part stoner comedy, part romantic drama, and part violent action film. The problem is that the first two parts (stoner comedy/romantic drama) don’t mix well with the violent action film. And boy is this film violent and bloody. Mike kills one man with a spoon to the throat and another by beheading a guy with a metal dustpan. Eisenberg does have excellent chemistry with Kristen Stewart, who plays his girlfriend. There is an amusing running gag where Mike keeps trying to propose to his girlfriend, and it never is the right time. Unfortunately, the violent action sequences just don’t mesh well with the lighter moments of the film, which makes the film feel very jagged and uneven. I think even if you were high watching this movie, you wouldn’t enjoy it.   My Rating:  Cable   American Ultra Website

Indiefest:  The Diary of a Teenage Girl  (2015)  R   In 1970’s San Francisco, 15-year-old Minnie (Bel Powley) dreams of becoming a comic book artist, like her hero Aline Kominsky.  Minnie’s world changes when her mother’s boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgard) takes an interest in her. Minnie thought that no one would be interested in her, but now she must decide if she is going to give in to her desires. Writer/director Marielle Heller has created a unique film that explores the sexual awaking of a young girl who had doubts she would ever be in a relationship. Minnie was feeling like a lot of young girls - that she just wasn’t attractive enough for anyone to be interested in her. While this film has great love and respect for Minnie, it’s full of nudity and very adult situations. The cast is outstanding with Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd brilliantly playing the slightly dimwitted Monroe. Kristen Wiig plays the part of the selfish Charlotte to perfection, making her character seem very vulnerable. Bel Powley is an absolute gem to watch in this role. Though she was twenty-one when she made this film, she looks all of fifteen, which makes the film feel real. Powley also narrates, giving the movie a voice that we won't soon forget. The Diary of a Teenage Girl gives us a rare look at the world of a real teenager; one moment sure of herself and the next feeling hopeless, convinced that she will never be loved. While some scenes may be uncomfortable to watch, it is well worth going on this journey with Minnie as she travels through her sometimes animated world.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   The Diary of a Teenage Girl Website

IndiefestListen to Me Marlon  (2015)     A documentary on the legendary Academy Award-winning actor Marlon Brando.  Listen to Me Marlon is a fascinating look that lets us see Marlon Brando, not as just as the actor, but as the man. Using hundreds of hours of audio tapes that Brando recorded, Brando narrates this brilliant film. Director Stevan Riley combines those audio tapes with news footage, interviews, roving shots through Brando’s house and movie scenes to create an insightful look at a very complex and sometimes troubled man.  The film lets us know what Brando was thinking and feeling during his life, letting us experience just how he saw the world. Brando was a complex and sometimes maddening person, someone we truly did not know, until now.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Listen to Me Marlon Website

IndiefestMeru  (2015)  R  Documentary about three elite climbers who attempt to climb Mount Meru, part of the Himalayas.  Mount Meru is considered the most difficult mountain to climb and has never been ascended. Some of the best climbers in the world have attempted to scale it and have have been defeated by a mountain that is a combination of ice climbing, mountain climbing and wall climbing. And oh, by the way, some of the climbing is done at night. Meru is 20,000 ft and is called the anti-Everest because you don’t have sherpas to carry your 200 pounds of stuff and it takes days, possibly weeks to do the climb.This is a brilliant film about overcoming incredible odds, coming back from adversity, and yes, even doing the crazy and impossible. It’s awe-inspiring and at the same time, jaw-dropping, especially when you realize that the 3 men also shot of the footage while also climbing the mountain. This is a beautiful, exhilarating film that is not to be missed.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again    Meru Website

Forgotten FilmThe Boy Who Could Fly  (1986)  PG  Milly (Lucy Deakins) moves into a new neighborhood with her family.  Living next door is Eric (Jay Underwood).  Eric has had a tough life; his parents died when he was five, he lives with his uncle, who is a drunk, and Eric is autistic. Milly befriends Eric, who has a secret:  He thinks he can fly. This is a warm and touching film about overcoming every roadblock that life gives you.  The casting is perfect, including Bonnie Bedelia, who plays Milly’s mom and Fred Savage as the plucky brother of Milly.   My Rating: Full Price   The Boy Who Could Fly Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of American Ultra:  Martial Arts Training for Mr. Eisenberg

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Reflektor Tapes  (2015)   Documentary about the band Arcade Fire and its conception and recording of the band’s Reflektor album. This should be an interesting and insightful look at one of the most creative bands out there.   The Reflektor Tapes Website
Until Next Time!

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