Friday, February 26, 2016

Eddie the Eagle

My View Eddie the Eagle (2016)  PG-13  Eddie the Eagle (2016)  PG-13  Eddie (Taron Egerton) has always wanted to compete in the Olympics, and he discovers there hasn’t been a British Ski jumper since the 1920’s.  So, if Eddie can just figure out how to jump, he can compete for his country and achieve his dream though, he needs help learning how to jump. Can he persuade Bronson (Hugh Jackman), a former US ski jumper to coach him?  I loved this feel-good film. It’s not at all what I expected, and I credit Egerton for giving such a warm and funny portrayal of a man who was fearless and wouldn’t quit no matter what the odds. Jackman is perfect for the washed-up former ski jumper who doesn’t like to be reminded of his past. Egerton and Jackman have superb chemistry which is important as much of the dialogue in this film is between just the two of them. Go see this film and root for Eddie!   My Rating: Full Price   Eddie the Eagle Website  
My View Gods of Egypt (2016)  PG-13  Bek (Brenton Thwaites) joins the god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in a battle to save the world from the god of darkness Set (Gerard Butler). This is a mess of a movie. It’s as if the writers decided to throw most of what we know about ancient Egypt and create superheroes from the Egyptian gods. The gods are twice as big as the humans, so the scenes between the two species look weird, the Gods bleed gold when cut and not to mention that Sun God Ra (Geoffrey Rush) flies around in a spaceship. Set’s chariot is pulled by giant beetles, and the bad guys ride on the back of giant sand serpents. The specials effects are so dreadful I could almost see the “green screen” used for almost the entire film. Some of the actors, Rush especially, look downright depressed that they agreed to make this mess of a movie. This is a bad film, and, because it takes itself so seriously, it’s not fun to watch. It's the kind of film that, thirty minutes into it, I wished it would end.  My wish was granted an hour and thirty-seven minutes later.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Gods of Egypt Website
IndiefestThe Club  (2015)  Four retired Catholic priests share a house in a small Chilean beach town.  Their world is turned upside down when a fifth man shows up and makes them relive the past. This is an hard film to watch. The four priests have all done bad things (most seem to be child molesters) and have been moved to a small remote village on the coast. A fifth priest is sent to figure out if the house should be disbanded and so he interviews, at length, each priest about their past sins. The performances are riveting, especially the role of the housekeeper, played by Antonia Zegers, who has a past sin of her own. This is not a movie for the easily offended, but if you can tolerate the in-depth look at the subject, it’s well worth watching.  My Rating: Full Price   The Club Website
Forgotten FilmThe American Friend  (1977)  Directed by the great German filmmaker, Wim Wenders, this film is a modern film noir story. An American forger (Dennis Hopper) is living in Germany when he becomes a middleman between a dying picture framer (Bruno Ganz) and French gangster (Gerard Blain). The gangster needs a hit man, and, since the picture framer is dying, he decides to do the job. The American soon finds out that not everything is on the up and up. The film is shot almost as if it were a black and white film using shades of color to create what looks as almost textured darkness on-screen. Hopper gives one of his better performances, and the film will keep you guessing until the end.   My Rating:  Full Price   The American Friend Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Eddie the Eagle: Special Effects Teeth

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You (Repeated from June 2015.  That’s how long it has taken for this film to premiere):   The Bronze (2015)   R  A foul-mouthed former gymnast (Melissa Rauch) has made a living on the fact that she won an Olympic bronze medal. Now she is asked to put her ego aside and help mentor a new up-and-coming star. I love Melissa Rauch and am looking forward to seeing what director Bryan Buckley can do with this material. Buckley has directed some of the best commercials of the past ten years.    The Bronze Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, February 19, 2016


My ViewRace  (2016)  PG-13  Jesse Owens (Stephan James) is the fastest man on the planet and earns a place on the U.S. Olympic team. He now has to decide if he should compete in Adolf Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympic Games or should he stay home to protest Hitler’s treatment of minorities in Germany. I enjoyed this feel good movie about a remarkable athlete and, even more, an exceptional man. James fills the shoes of Owens with a quiet resolve and charisma that shines on the screen. Jason Sudeikis is phenomenal as Owens College coach who has to adapt his “my way or the highway” approach to much more of a mentor relationship to keep Owens on track. I especially liked the scenes in Germany, as I felt the film did an excellent job in portraying the pageantry and the excitement of those Olympic games. This is a film worth watching about a man who did the impossible and made it seem easy, under some of the direst and conflicting circumstances.   My Rating: Full Price   Race Website
My ViewRisen  (2016)  PG-13  Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), an influential Roman Military Tribune, and his aide,  Lucius (Tom Felton), are asked to solve the mystery of what happened to the body of Jesus after he was crucified. Rumors are racing that Jesus has risen as the Messiah, and a revolution is about to happen. I liked Risen for two reasons: it tells the resurrection of Christ from a different perspective as we are presented what it was like for the Roman side of the event, and it doesn’t hit you over the head with the religious angle. As the story progresses, Clavius is continually confronted with things he cannot easily explain away. By the time the movie ends, he may not be a believer in Jesus as the Messiah, but he is convinced that Jesus and his followers believe in what they preach. A lot of the faith-based films are cast with what looks to be the local Baptist church repertory players, but this movie has an excellent cast with Fiennes, Felton and especially Peter Firth, who plays Pontus Pilate, and Stewart Scudamore, who plays the apostle Peter. I liked this film and the way it presented this often told story of Jesus.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Risen Facebook Page
IndiefestTouched with Fire  (2016)  R   Two manic depressives (Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby) meet in a psychiatric hospital. Who knew that love would bloom from such an unexpected place? Writer/director Paul Dalio brings us an unusual love story based on his real-life experiences that give us a realistic insight into the world of the manic personality and how it not only impacts lives but  loved ones as well.  The two leads, especially Holmes, are impressive in their ability to convey such deep emotions and meaning through their many mood swings, some of which are painful to watch. Kirby and Holmes play off each other well, with Holmes’ character more reserved and moodier than the always talkative Marco whom Kirby portrays. While the supporting casts are acceptable in their performances, I did find that their characters were a little shallow, which made it too easy for producers to use the characters as pawns to progress the story.  Though not a perfect movie, “Touched with Fire” feels real, giving us insight into a world of mental illness that we rarely get to explore to this extent.   My Rating: Full Price   Touched with Fire Website
IndiefestThe Witch  (2015)  R  In 17th century New England, a Puritan family lives alone on the edge of a thick, dark forest.  Their newborn son disappears, crops start dying, and the chickens quit laying eggs.  All signs point to witchcraft. Could their oldest daughter be the witch? While I did not find this film very scary, I did find it creepy, and the film did give me nightmares. The tension builds from almost the opening shot and just keeps growing until the very end of the movie. The film impressively gives you what it was like in 1630s Puritan New England, where witches and the devil were always thought to be just on the other side of the forest, and it explores how quickly paranoia and fearfulness can spread in a situation that is isolated. This is a spooky and eerie film that proves what can’t be seen can be much more horrific than what you see with your own eyes. This is a film that will haunt your dreams for a long time.  My Rating: Full Price   The Witch Website
IndiefestSon of Saul  (2015)  R   Saul (Geza Rohrig) is a prisoner in the Auschwitz death camp. He is forced to burn the corpses of his own people. One day he finds a young boy who has survived the gas chamber. Could this be his son?  This is a tough film to watch as it pulls no punches to show just how hard and horrific life was in Auschwitz. The film does a fantastic job of keeping most of the ugliest of pictures out of our line of sight, either by keeping the background out of focus or keeping our attention on the face of Saul when bad things happen. The camera centers on Saul throughout the film as we spend time with him when he attempts to find a Rabbi who is willing to do a funeral for his son and then Saul’s quest to find anywhere to bury his son  while the camp has ramped up killings due to the impending Russian army. Rohrig gives a gripping and convincing performance as the father who is determined to bury his son in a proper grave. It’s a compelling, impressive film that will stay with you long after its final scene plays out, worthy of not only the Foreign Language Film Oscar that it will probably win, but a Best Picture nomination that it should have received.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Son of Saul Facebook Page
IndiefestA War  (2015)  R  Company Commander Clause Pedersen (Pilou Asbaek) is trying to keep his troops alive while patrolling the Afghan province. His wife, Maria (Tuva Novotny), is back in Denmark trying to keep everything normal for their two children. Clause is about to make a command decision that he will have to live with for the rest of his life. This is a film about the horrors of modern warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq, where you can’t tell the good civilians from the bad ones, and where an attack can come in quick and hard. It also has a fact that modern warfare has become where some want to hold soldiers accountable for actions that they make in a moment’s notice under fire. This film explores the modern life of a soldier and his family, where they stay in contact through Skype, and paints a sympatric portrait of the company commander as he goes through his job trying to get his men to perform in the field while still getting everybody home. The film asks a number of questions about modern warfare, that, to its credit lets the audience figure out their own answers to those questions. While not hitting hard on as many topics as you want it to, A War goes a long way toward showing us life in the modern army of today with all its many challenges.  My Rating:  Full Price   A War Facebook Page   
Forgotten FilmPrince of the City  (1981)  R  New York City cop Daniel (Treat Williams) is in over his head. He has been doing some illegal things as a cop and is now being questioned by internal affairs. To get a plea deal, he agrees to give information as long as he doesn’t have to name names. This is a gritty tale about how someone can get themselves into situations where there will be no happy ending. Williams is as brilliant in the role as he is on-camera throughout the film.  His is a convincing performance where, on one hand, we don’t like Daniel, and then suddenly we feel for the guy and want him to win, though we know there will be no winners in this film.   My Rating: Full Price   Prince of the City Info   

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Risen:  Drapes Assistant

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You10 Cloverfield Lane  (2016)  I have no idea what this film is about other than it happens after the 2008 film Cloverfield.  The trailer with John Goodman hanging out in a fallout bunker with Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. is fascinating.   10 Cloverfield Lane Website   
Until Next Time!

Friday, February 12, 2016


My View Deadpool  (2016)  R  Wade (Ryan Reynolds) is a former Special Forces operative who is now a mercenary for hire. He finds out he is dying of cancer and decides to accept an offer to try a rogue experiment. While it does cure his cancer, the experiment leaves him badly scarred. Now he is using his accelerated healing powers and his finely tuned reflexes to find the man who is responsible for the experiment going wrong.  If you are easily offended, then, please don’t see this film. Don’t see the trailer or even go near a theatre showing this film. On the other hand, if you love hilarious, irreverent humor that makes fun of everything, including its own genre, then this is a movie for you. The film is funny and witty from the opening credits. The Deadpool character is someone who can find humor (sometimes in a dirty way) in almost any situation, even life or death. Fans of the comic book are going to be euphoric with this movie, as am I.  I love this film and want to see more of his adventures. Make sure and stay through the credits for a bonus scene you will not want to miss. And a bit of a warning, don't take the kids! This is a hard R rated film and unless you want Child Protective Services after you, leave the kiddos at home.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   DeadPool Website
My ViewZoolander 2  (2016)  PG-13   The “world’s most beautiful people” are being assassinated and left with the “Blue Steel” look on their faces. Interpol recruits Derek (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) to find out who is doing this murderous deed.  To make matters worse, Derek’s rival, Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell), has been set free from prison and is out for revenge.  I was not a big fan of the first Zoolander film, so it should not be a surprise that I am not a fan of this movie either. I will give the filmmakers props for creating a whole new storyline and not just carrying on from where the first film left off. The jokes are too far and few between long stretches of unfunny material. I am not a fan of the fashion lifestyle, so I am sure a few of the jokes went over my head. There are quite a few cameos, just like the first film, some working better than others, and few are so quick you might not notice them. The Justin Bieber death scene at the start of the film is quite funny. I just wish that they had kept that up.  My Rating: Cable   Zoolander 2 Website
My View:  How to be Single  (2016)  R    Four friends (Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie, and Leslie Mann) struggle with being single in New York City. While displaying all the aspects of a typical rom-com, this film is a little smarter than most of its brethren.  Dakota Johnson makes an acceptable “everywoman,” Rebel Wilson is her usual off the cuff self, Alison Brie does an excellent job as the girl who over-analyzes everything, and Leslie Mann is fantastic as the headstrong doctor who is too busy for a family. This is a fun date movie (or girls night out film) where not everyone ends up with who you think they will. It’s fun, moves fast and doesn’t go for the lowest joke every time, so it’s a winner in my book.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   How to Be Single Website 
IndiefestThe Lady in the Van  (2015)  PG-13    A playwright, Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings), makes the mistake of letting a homeless woman, Miss Shepard (Maggie Smith), park her van in his driveway.  It’s the start of a relationship that lasts fifteen years. This film is based on a stage play, and I bet, it works better on stage than it does here on film. While it’s always a joy to watch Maggie Smith perform, the material never gave her enough to work with to make this performance memorable. The weak point of this film is the character of Alan.  Throughout the movie, Bennett is seen as two different characters (one real, one imaginary), the playwright and the mild person that is dealing with Miss Shepard.  While things happen in the storyline,  the playwright Alan(imagined) sits and makes judgments on the real Alan while he deals with day to day life with a woman in a van. These dialogues become very tedious and uninteresting, giving us very little insight into his character. I never got the emotional moment that I needed from this film and was never invested in either character.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Lady in the Van Website
IndiefestThe Final Project  (2016)  The film follows six college students as they set out to create a documentary about one of the most notorious haunted houses in America, Lafitte Plantation. Venturing deep into the backwoods of Louisiana, the students set out to record live footage of supernatural activity at the abandoned plantation, but one unsettled spirit gives more than they asked for.  This is a found-footage horror film that, while I did enjoy some of the storyline, took too long to develop and never quite delivered the scary moments that it needed. For a “found footage” concept, the production values were well done, especially the audio part of the film (very often that is the weak link in a smaller made film), which was crisp and clear. But the film is brought down by the idea that the first part of the film was used to make this film a full-length feature. The Final Project never can sustain any tension, and the ending is extremely predictable.  My Rating: Cable   The Final Project Website
IndiefestWhere to Invade Next  (2015)  R  Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore travels around the world to seek out alternative methods of dealing with the social and economic problems that the United States is experiencing.  I enjoyed Michael Moore’s early documentaries that were quite funny while hitting some serious subjects, but his last few haven’t quite hit the mark. I think it’s because Moore now overshadows his subject matter. It used to be that Moore was an everyman fighting for the little guy, but I just don’t get that feeling from his films anymore. The idea of this film is that other countries are doing things that could solve some of America’s biggest problems, like healthcare, the cost of education and the overburdened prison system. The film is very one-sided, showing us only the happy, harmonious side of the offered solution, but never delves too deeply to discover the problems with other countries’ systems. My biggest issue with this film wasn’t that it was one sided, it was that I rarely found it funny.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Where to Invade Next Website
Indiefest Southbound  (2016)  The film is made of five interlocking tales of horror as it follows the fates of a group of travelers as they travel through the desert. Some of the tales are better than others and most don’t deliver enough horror to make them work, but I did like two of the stories, and I also liked how they all interconnected, even at the end. There are some nice homages to “The Twilight Zone” and one of the tales is funny in a strange kind of way, so some of the pieces work. I just wished that they all had. This is the type of film that you would probably enjoy more if it were showing at a horror fest and it was the midnight movie.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Southbound Facebook Page
IndiefestIngrid Bergman: In Her Own Words  (2015)  Produced with the full cooperation of Ingrid Bergman’s family and friends, In Her Own Words is a film that is loaded with personal photos and home movies of the actress and her family. Bergman had a fascination for cameras from an early age. Her mother died when she was young, and her father seemed to want to document Ingrid’s life with photos and even home movies to make sure that she remembered everything from her childhood.  The film documents the struggles that Bergman went through, giving us insight into her thought process in the letters that she wrote to family and friends. Ingrid Bergman kept every correspondence and home movies that give us a complete picture of what it was like in the Bergman home. The home movies are wonderfully shot, primarily by Ingrid, and most are in color.  While a little long and spending a little too much time on footage showing the kids playing, Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words is a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes footage that will make any fan happy to rediscover this amazing actress and the life she led.    My Rating: Full Price   Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words Website
Indiefest:  Tumbledown  (2015)  Hannah (Rebecca Hall) is a widow of a musician who only recorded one album before he died. She still lives at their home in Maine, never quite getting over his death. A brash, New York professor(Jason Sudeikis) comes to town wanting to write a book on her husband. After much indecision, she decides to let him into her world and the grief that she has for her husband. I loved this film. It’s smart, witty and touching with great performances by Sudeikis and Hall. They have great chemistry on screen, and their banter back and forth is hilarious. It’s a film about grief, and when is it time to let that person go. Go see this rare film that combines romance and drama with a bit of comedy to make a winning combination.     My Rating: Full Price   Tumbledown Website
Forgotten Film:  Marjoe (1972)  PG   Marjoe Gortner, at the age of four, felt the call to preach to the masses and heal the sick. He went on the evangelical circuit, becoming famous for his sermons and making a boatload of money for his parents.  In 1972, at the age of 28, he went back on the evangelical circuit, this time, to expose the shady dealings and false healings that he had done in his childhood (most of which he didn’t know about). Sounds like a work of fiction, but this is one of the most fascinating documentaries that you will ever see. Because of this film, Marjoe went on to have a moderately successful acting career.  My Rating:  Full Price   Marjoe Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Deadpool:  Truck Costumer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouWhiskey Tango Foxtrot  (2016)   Kim (Tina Fey) is tired of being behind the scenes and volunteers to be a war correspondent in Afghanistan and Pakistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. She finds a fellow woman correspondent (Margot Robbie) who shows her the ropes and lets her know that she may have been a “four or five at home but is a ten here.”  Kim, who always was in the background in the states, is suddenly front and center and has the attention of a dashing war photographer (Martin Freeman). The trailer makes this film look like a blast to watch. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Website 
Until Next Time!


Friday, February 5, 2016

The Choice

My ViewThe Choice  (2016)  Travis (Benjamin Walker) and Gabby (Teresa Palmer) are neighbors who just can’t get along.  Travis is a veterinarian who likes playing the field.  Gabby is studying to become a doctor and has a steady boyfriend (Tom Welling). Only Travis’s sister (Maggie Grace) knows that Travis is about to fall hard for Gabby.  Will Gabby fall equally for Travis?  What makes this film watchable, for all the Sparks schmaltz that’s in this movie, is that Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer work well with each other. They have exceptional chemistry on-screen, especially in those moments where they are bickering. There is quite a spark between them, and it's very apparent their characters are attracted to each other from the start, and that draw continues to build throughout the film. My biggest problem with the movie is that it almost slows to a stop when the big crisis starts happening. The crisis goes on way too long, forcing us to experience the agony of the situation for what seems like forever. However, the chemistry between the two lead makes this a movie that fans of Nicholas Sparks films will enjoy.     My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Choice Website
My ViewPride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)  A plague has hit 19th century Britain, and it’s turning the dead into zombies. Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) has been training her whole life in martial arts and weaponry. Now she, along with Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley), must save the world from the zombie hoard. I enjoyed this film though I will say that it does take a bit of getting used to the blending of Jane Austen with horror. I thought that action sequences were fun, and Lily James did a fantastic job as a samurai zombie killer. I thought there was excellent chemistry between James and Sam Riley, who plays Mr. Darcy. The plot is a little complicated, has a lot of players to contend with, and I didn’t quite understand the logistics of where everything was, but I still had a good time watching this weird mix of genres.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Facebook Page
IndiefestHail, Caesar!  (2016)  Eddie (Josh Brolin) is a Hollywood “fixer” who helps the studio produce their blockbuster, “Hail, Caesar!” starring the famous actor Baird Whitlock (George Clooney). When Whitlock is kidnapped, it’s up to Eddie to rescue him with the aid of one of the studio’s biggest stars, singing cowboy (Alden Ehrenrech) Hobie Doyle. I liked this film, but with this cast and the Coen brothers as Producers, I should have loved it. I didn’t laugh enough and found the film very quirky. The film barely has a plot because I think the Coen brothers just wanted to make a movie that celebrated the Hollywood of the old studio system of the forties and fifties. We see scenes being shot and then, later (in a screening room or at a premiere), we see those actual scenes. The movies within the movie are the best things about this film. The Channing Tatum dance number is brilliant, and the Scarlet Johansson water dance sequence is fun. Alden Ehrenrech, as the simple singing cowboy, is exceptional and his scene where he’s trying to learn a line with Ralph Fiennes as a director of fancy dramas is brilliant (though it does go on too long).  This is a film whose many parts are scintillating but when pieced together, just don’t mesh.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Hail, Caesar! Website
Forgotten FilmMe Myself I  (1999)  Pamela (Rachel Griffiths) is an unhappy woman. She has sacrificed her home life to put everything into her job.  On her birthday, she gets drunk and finds a picture of a guy (David Roberts) whose proposal she turned down.  She wonders what if she had said yes.  The next day she gets hit by a car and wakes up discovering that she is in a parallel universe where she did marry the guy, and they have a family. Rachel Griffiths gives a winning performance in this funny and sweet film. She is so much fun to watch as she deals with problems she has never before had to handle.    My Rating: Full Price   Me Myself and I Info

Weird Credits: From the movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  Weather Consultant

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Eddie the Eagle  (2016)  Eddie (Taron Egerton) has a dream to compete in the Olympics as a ski jumper. The only problem is he has never ski jumped before, and the Winter Olympics are only a year away. Can he talk Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman), a washed out, drunken ex-ski jumper into coaching Eddie?  The trailer is funny and charming, plus the film has Hugh Jackman, which is always a plus.   Eddie the Eagle Website
Until the Next Time!