Friday, January 29, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3

Family FaireKung Fu Panda 3  (2016)  PG  Po (Jack Black) finds out he has a father (Bryan Cranston) and that there are more of his kind in a far-away land. When Po travels with his father to find this magical land, the world is threatened by a new evil one, Kai (J.K. Simmons), who wants to destroy everything. Now Po must train his new-found family and take on the evil Kai.  I enjoyed this film, and its 3-D animation is some of the best I’ve seen. There are some beautiful scenes up in the mountains, and the final fight sequence is a wonder to watch. It’s a fun and funny film that adults will enjoy just as much as the kids. The plot moves quickly and has some commendable life lessons for anyone watching. Kai is an enjoyable villain, and J.K. Simmons is delightful in the performance. This is one kid’s film that adults won’t mind seeing.  My Rating: Full Price   Kung Fu Panda 3 Website
My ViewThe Finest Hours  (2016)  PG-13  An oil tanker off the Cape Cod coast is destroyed by treacherous winter winds and waves, splitting the ship into two pieces.  It’s up to the Coast Guard to try and save the tanker’s crewmen. First, do not see this film in 3-D. It was not shot in 3-D, and the process adds nothing to the viewing of the movie. The action sequences are the best part of this film. Chris Pine is Bernie Webber, the Coast Guard sailor who attempts the rescue in a tiny four-man motorboat. His performance, though, is not given a lot to work with, and he has absolutely no chemistry with his love interest, Holliday Grainger. Grainger plays Miriam, a determined and head-strong woman who works at the telephone company.  The best part of this film is the performance of Casey Affleck, who plays the sinking ship’s engineer. Affleck gives a strong and powerful performance as the man who leads by example and comes up with a way to slow the ship’s sinking.  The film is weighed down by the love story and the fact that this is a Disney produced movie that tries too hard to keep the movie rating at PG-13. The film, based on a true story, is set in 1952, and even though the film deals with a very stressful situation, there isn’t any cursing or, more amazingly, any cigarette smoking. I might wait and see this film when it comes out on DVD so you I fast forward through the love story and get to the action.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Finest Hours Website   
Indiefest:  Lazer Team  (2015)  PG-13  A 1980s style sci-fi comedy about four misfits who stumble upon alien technology, a mysterious suit made up of two boots, two arm pieces, and a helmet.  Each guy puts on a piece of the equipment, which attaches to their bodies with no way of getting them off. They are then forced to work together to save the planet.  If you are a fan of the Sci-Fi films of the eighties, you will enjoy this crazy, and sometimes nutty take off of the superhero films.  This is a fun film, which, while not all the jokes and gags work, there are enough scenes that do work to make this such an entertaining film. The cast, made up of relative unknowns, is enjoyable to watch and work well with each other on camera. Burnie Burns, as the picked-on small town sheriff, and Gavin Free, as a stoner who suddenly becomes smart when he puts on the alien helmet, stand out, both showing some exceptional comic timing. I love when the stoner puts on the helmet, he starts talking with a British accent because “that’s what stupid people think smart people sound like.” The best part of this film is the band of characters who must work together to save the earth but can’t quit arguing and feuding long enough to learn how to operate the alien equipment.  Their back and forth banter is quick-witted and laugh out loud funny. The special effects are well done, the action is fast, and the plot is well developed. Overall, Lazer Team is a blast to watch.   My Rating: Full Price   Lazer Team Website
Forgotten FilmPrimal Fear  (1996) R  A big time lawyer, Martin Vail (Richard Gere), takes on a case that no one thinks he can win when an altar boy, Arron (Edward Norton), is accused of murdering a priest. Gere is extraordinary as the lawyer who takes the case, not because he thinks his client is innocent, but because this case will get him the most publicity. Edward Norton is even better as the teenager who has been accused of the crime, caught running caught the scene, covered in blood. Norton was so good in this, his first feature film role, that he got an Academy Award nomination. The movie has a brilliant cast including Laura Linney, a former girlfriend of Vail’s who is the prosecuting attorney, John Mahoney as the hard-nosed DA, and Frances McDormand as the psychologist hired to profile Arron and Alfre Woodard as the presiding judge.  The plot has a number of great twists which makes this film enjoyable court genre film to watch.   My Rating: Full Price   Primal Fear Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Finest Hours:  Photo Double For “Tiny”

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Witch  (2015) R   Audiences at Sundance and Toronto were raving about this horror film about a family in the 1630s torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic, and possession.  We don’t get enough good horror movies.   The Witch Website
Until Next Time!

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