Friday, April 22, 2016

The Huntsman: Winter's War

My ViewThe Huntsman: Winter’s War  (2016)   PG-13   As two rival Queens and sisters, Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and Freya (Emily Blunt), expand their empires, two warriors, Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain), try to keep their forbidden love alive. After seeing this film, all the critics sitting next to me said “Well, it was better than the first one.” And, while it’s true, that isn’t much of an endorsement. At least this film didn’t try to convince us that Kristen Stewart is more beautiful than Charlize Theron.  While there were things that I did like, especially the fun banter between Eric and Sara, I thought that most of the action sequences were badly done, utilizing quick cuts and jumpy camera work, to mask the fact that Hemsworth and Chastain don’t do action sequences well.  Halfway through this film I really wanted Emily Blunt to play Chastain’s part because we know she can do action films extremely well.  Any film with Blunt, Theron and Chastain can’t be all bad, and this film isn’t horrible, in fact, the middle section of the film is quite good. Unfortunately, the first and last portions of the film don’t work.  Even with that, “it was better than the first one.”      My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Huntsman: Winter's War Website

IndiefestElvis & Nixon  (2016)  R   Elvis, the “King,” (Michael Shannon) decides that he needs a Federal Agent at Large badge.  He travels to Washington D.C. in 1970 to get one and meets President Nixon (Kevin Spacey) along the way. This film is as wacky and crazy as that meeting surely was. It’s interesting that Shannon doesn’t do a full-on portrayal of Elvis.  While he does Elvis’s mannerisms, he doesn’t attempt to do the voice. Spacey, on the other hand, goes all out in his impersonation of Nixon, voice and all. This is a fun film to watch and Shannon, as usual, dominates every scene (which is hard when you have Kevin Spacey playing a dead=on Nixon). The film is touching, and, at times sad, but mostly, it’s a blast to watch.    My Rating: Full Price   Elvis & Nixon Website
IndiefestMiles Ahead  (2016)  R   Legendary jazz musician Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) hasn’t been heard from in the five years. Wannabe Rolling Stone reporter Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor) connives his way into Miles’ apartment and his life. As Davis and Brill talk, Miles flashes back to his meeting and falling in love with his first wife, Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi). Don Cheadle is amazing in this film, giving a performance that is worthy of an Academy Award.  Unfortunately, he is let down by his own script (co-written by Steven Baigelman), as the film is part bio-pic and part buddy adventure film. I would have loved to see a more in-depth storyline, in particular on the early years as Davis was developing his sound.  Instead, we get a film that moves back and forth in time. The timeline in the 70s is this film’s weak point, as Davis and reporter Brill go off on a quest to get back a stolen item. Too often the humor in that part of the movie is forced and there is almost no chemistry between Cheadle and McGregor. This would have been a much better film if it had just been the rise and fall of the love of Davis and Taylor.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Miles Ahead Website
Indiefest:  Too Late  (2015)  Private investigator Mel Sampson (Academy Award nominee John Hawkes, “Winter’s Bone,” “The Sessions”) is tasked with tracking down the whereabouts of a missing woman from his past. Too Late takes the spine of the classic private eye genre and tears it to pieces, weaving it back together into a tapestry of Southern California and the menagerie of eccentric personalities and lost souls who inhabit it. This is a highly inventive film that was shot in five 20 minute continuous segments. The storyline is fascinating, and it kept me guessing where it was going to go next. Hawkes, as a world-weary P.I., is brilliant and stunning. He is in almost every scene, and I just didn’t want the film to end. The film has an impressive supporting cast including Rider Strong, Joanna Cassidy, Dichen Lachman, Vail Bloom, Jeff Fahey and Robert Forster.  The film is being shown around the country in select theatres in 35mm, and it’s worth seeing in all its grainy glory.  My Rating:  Full Price   Too Late Info
Forgotten FilmBlue Crush  (2002) Three young woman (Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriquez, and Sanoe Lake) struggle with their day jobs as maids in a hotel, as they prepare for a big surfing competition. This film will surprise you with its heart and its intelligent storyline. Of the three actresses, it’s Rodriquez that steals the movie, playing the tough Hispanic woman with dreams of surfing stardom. The surfing sequences are exciting, and the film moves at a quick pace.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Blue Crush Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Huntsman: Winter’s War:  Standby Contact Les Optician

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Papa Hemingway in Cuba  (2016)  In 1959 a young journalist (Giovanni Ribisi) travels to Cuba to meet his literary idol, the legendary Hemingway (Adrian Sparks). Any film about one of my favorite writers is a film that I want to see.   Papa Hemingway in Cuba

Until Next Time!

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