Friday, May 27, 2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass

My ViewAlice Through the Looking Glass (2016) PG  After being away for three years, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland to save her friend, The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). I hated the first film of the series, Alice in Wonderland. I can say that this film is better than the first, but it’s still a bad film. The film is too long with its almost two hour run time. I didn’t care about the characters in the first film, and I certainly don’t care about what happens to The Mad Hatter or Alice. I enjoyed the beginning, though, as Alice, captain of her father’s ship, evades pirates by navigating through a perilous reef. Unfortunately, the film goes downhill from there with a storyline that is boring and un-imaginative. It’s sad when the one character you really like is a church mouse that is rarely on-screen. The movie was not shot in 3-D, so save your money.   My Rating: Cable   Alice Through the Looking Glass Website
My View:  X-Men: Apocalypse  (2016)  PG-13  An ancient cyber-mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) has awakened and plans on using his Four Horsemen to take over the world.  It’s up to the X-Men to stop him and his team. This is a film where you walk out of the theatre and go “blah.” It’s not a bad movie; it just doesn’t bring anything new to the table. I knew almost from the start how the film was going to end. The only actor in this film I was interested in watching was Michael Fassbender because his Magneto character was one of the few that wasn’t entirely predictable. While the film was shot in 3-D, I didn’t think it was used to capitalize on the effect, so save the money. There is a scene after all the credits that may just set up a few of the next Marvel films, so stay till the final credits.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   X-Men: Apocalypse Website
IndiefestLove & Friendship  (2016)  PG  Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) decides it’s time for her and her daughter to find husbands. She will manipulate anything and anybody to make that happen.  You don’t normally equate funny with Jane Austin but this film surprised me on just how fun and whimsical it is. Beckinsale is a delight as the woman who seemingly pulls all the strings to better her situation. She has excellent comedic timing, delivering lines with droll delivery that just kills every time. The film moves at a ripping pace, and it’s a blast to watch. If you are a fan of Jane Austin, you will love this farcical tale.  My Rating: Full Price   Love & Friendship Website
IndiefestWeiner  (2016)  R  Documentary on disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s campaign for mayor of NYC.  Weiner was a fast rising Democratic congressman who was brought down by a texting scandal in 2011 that was fodder for late night talk show hosts. This is a fascinating film that is, at times, hilarious, cringe-worthy, and, very often sad. Right from the start the filmmakers are given access that no other politician would allow. While Anthony Weiner is the front and center character of the film, the far more fascinating person in the film is Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife. When the film opens, the husband and wife are playing with their child, but there is almost no interaction between Anthony and Huma. Most of the conversations that they have on camera are short and one-sided with Anthony doing most of the talking.  It’s a brilliant film that even the filmmakers are amazed at the amount of access they have gotten. Near the end of the film, one of the filmmakers asks Weiner off camera, “Why did you let us film this?” Weiner doesn’t have an answer, and we don’t either, but we get a movie that is mesmerizing to watch.   My Take: Full Price    Weiner Website
Indiefest:  The Lobster  (2016) R   Set in the near future, David (Colin Farrell) is at “The Hotel” where he has 45 days to find a partner.  If he doesn’t find one, he will be turned into an animal of his choice. I liked this film and loved Colin Farrell performance but this is a film that not everyone is going to be comfortable with or even enjoy. It’s funny at times but it also has some truly sad parts and you never know where it is going to go next. Part comedy, part satire, and occasionally mean-spirited, the film is a mix that while doesn’t always hit the mark, it keeps trying. A bit of warning, there are several animals that are killed on screen.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Lobster Website
Forgotten FilmTrespass (1992)  R  Bill Paxton and William Sadler play two firemen who find a map in a burning apartment of an old man who confesses that he stole a collection of old gold artifacts from the church many years ago. The two men get caught with the gold in an old building by a gang. Now the fireman are going to have to fight their way out in order to keep the gold and their lives. Action is what makes this movie worth watching. Walter Hill, who directed 48 Hours and The Warriors, knows how to direct action sequences and there are plenty in this film. I also really enjoy Bill Paxton’s performance as the straight laced fireman who decides his future is more important than his present.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Trespass Information

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Alice Through the Looking Glass:  Thatcher

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Captain Fantastic  (2016)  R    A father (Viggo Mortensen) has been living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest with his six kids. His wife dies while visiting her parents, and now the family must travel to the big city for the first time for the funeral. The film did really well at the Cannes Film Festival and director Matt Ross won the Director to Watch award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.    Captain Fantastic Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Angry Birds Movie

Family Faire:  The Angry Birds Movie  (2016)  Red (Jason Sudeikis) has an incident at kid’s birthday party and is sentenced by a judge to take anger management classes. There he meets the teacher, Matilda (Mya Rudolph), Chuck (Josh Gad), Bomb (Danny McBride) and Terence (Sean Penn), all of who soon go on an adventure with Red.  I hated this very unfunny and annoying movie. I didn’t like that several times there were very inappropriate adult puns uttered by the birds. The only thing going for this film is that the animation is very cool looking, and it was done with 3-D in mind. Let’s put it this way; I looked at my watch thinking the film had about 10 minutes left but discovered  it was only half way through. The film made me angry, angry enough to give the film the bird.    My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   The Angry Birds Movie Website 
My ViewNeighbors 2: Sorority Rising  (2016)  Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are expecting their second child and need a bigger house.  The problem is they are never going to be able to sell their current house with the new neighbors next door, a hard partying sorority, led by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz). Mac and Kelly are going to need reinforcements, and Teddy (Zac Efron) is the man for the job.  I didn’t like the first one, as there were some funny parts, but that film never could keep its momentum. I feel the same about this film; I think mostly because I don’t like Mac and Kelly. Why should I root for them when I don’t like them? I did like Zac Efron’s performance, though.. He is consistently funny in the part of the un-grown-up frat boy. Efron is willing to make himself look ridiculous or stupid on the screen, and most of the time it works. I usually love Chloe Grace Moretz performances, but, to me, she mailed this one in. Do not take the kids as there is lots of drug use, a bit of nudity, cartoon-like violence and lots of cussing.   My Rating: Cable   Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Website
Indiefest:  The Nice Guys  (2016)  In 1970’s Los Angeles, private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) must work with enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) to find a missing girl. Along the way, they just might run into a few problems like stumbling onto a conspiracy that could get them killed. Co-written and directed by Shane Black, The Nice Guys is a laughed-filled, action-packed, good old-fashioned film noir mystery where Crowe, and especially Gosling, shine. Crowe plays the straight man to Gosling’s goofy Holland. Jackson is a part that isn’t easy to do, but Crowe plays off Gosling brilliantly, giving his character a world-weary menace. Gosling shows a talent for slapstick, bringing to mind Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau. Some of the best scenes in the film involve Gosling just falling, and he does it a lot…off roofs, down hills, and even across rooms. Black’s script, co-written by Anthony Bagarozzi, takes us on a very complex and funny adventure into the seedy world of bars, pornography, and, wait for it, car manufacturing. The dialogue is quick and witty with some great cultural references of the 70’s mixed in. Like Black’s under-appreciated 2005 film, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys perfectly captures the quirky pulp fiction style of filmmaking, combined with impressive action sequences, sidesplitting comedy and superb performances from Gosling and Crowe.    My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   The Nice Guys Facebook Page
IndiefestThe Meddler  (2016)  A recent widow, Marnie (Susan Sarandon), needs a project to keep her busy, so why not be in every aspect of her single daughter’s (Rose Byrne) life? While surrounded by a supporting cast that includes Jason Ritter, Michael McKean, Lucy Punch, Cecily Strong and Jerrod Carmichael, it’s Susan Sarandon’s film, with a great deal of help from Byrne and Simmons. Sarandon is phenomenal as the big-hearted, well-meaning Marnie. Sarandon has one of those rare qualities that almost as soon as she appears on the screen we like her character and want her to succeed in whatever quest she is on. She plays well off Rose Byrne, making their characters back-and-forth banter feel natural. Sarandon has equally exceptional chemistry with Simmons, making their attraction seem unique. As with the recent films, I’ll See You in My Dreams and Hello, My Name is Doris, The Meddler gives us hope that Hollywood will continue this trend of making films about strong, older women and women who are re-inventing their lives for the better. I don’t know about you, but I could use some of Marnie’s advice right now.   My Rating: Full Price   The Meddler Website
Forgotten FilmCinderella Liberty  (1973)  A sailor (James Cann) is without a ship and money because the Navy has lost his papers. He meets a hooker (Marsha Mason) and her nine-year-old son (Kirk Calloway). They latch onto each other and things seem to be working until an old Navy buddy comes to town and shakes things up. This is a slightly flawed film (a little too by the books about the hooker with a heart of gold) but is worth watching because of the performance of Marsha Mason. Mason’s hooker is full of bluff, but we can see that below the surface she is full of doubt and fear.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Cinderella Liberty Info

Weird Credits:   From the credits of The Nice Guys:  Body Painter

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouWeiner  (2016)  Documentary on disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s campaign for mayor of NYC. I haven’t seen one bad review of this film. It’s won some pretty impressive awards already including the Grand Jury Prize for Documentaries at this year's Sundance Film Festival.   Weiner Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Money Monster

My ViewMoney Monster  (2016)  R Financial TV host Lee Gates (George Clooney) and his producer (Julia Roberts) are held against their will in the studio by a disgruntled investor (Jack O’Connell) who wants Lee to hold the people who ruined his life accountable. This is another film where I said after seeing it, “Great cast, okay film.”  I wanted the film to better, but it never quite hits its mark. The pacing of this film is very slow, making the movie seem much longer than the hour and a half running time. Clooney, who plays an egomaniac who thinks he is God’s gift to both women and the TV audience, doesn’t look like he is breaking a sweat (except in the dance sequences and yes, Clooney dances), making me not totally believe the transformation of his character in the film. Roberts, who plays Clooney’s TV show producer, has to do most of the heavy lifting and makes the film seem more about her character and less about Clooney’s or Jack O’Connell’s character.  The film preaches a little too much, and I hated the ending (which I’m guessing was added after audience testing).     My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Money Monster Facebook Page
IndiefestHigh-Rise  (2015)  R   Dr. Robert Lang (Tom Hiddleston) moves into a 25th-floor apartment within a new high-rise tower. Dr. Lang soon regrets moving in as things in the building start unraveling very quickly. This is a movie that a few film critics will rave about due to its bizarre storyline, fast cuts, and at times, over the top acting. I, on the other hand, hated this movie, mostly due to the same points. The storyline is so bizarre, the only way I can describe it is it’s as if mental illness took over an entire building. If you do dare to see this film, be warned that there are scenes of rape, orgies, suicides and several dogs being served for meals (you read that right). It’s a movie that, after you see it, you’ll wonder how it ever got made.     My Rating: You  Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   High-Rise Website 
IndiefestThe Man Who Knew Infinity  (2016)  PG-13 Growing up poor in Madras, India, Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar (Dev Patel) gains admittance to Cambridge University during WWI. He becomes a pioneer in mathematical theory with the help and guidance of his professor, G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons). I enjoyed this film which is a chess match between Ramanujan and Hardy. The film is about the two men finding common ground in math, bridging two very different, set in their way cultures. The two men give superlative performances, especially Irons playing the mathematician who has a hard time with personal relationships. While I did like this film, it is a little too predictable making the film seem a little slow.   My Rating: Full Price   The Man Who Knew Infinity Facebook Page
Indiefest: Being Charlie  (2016)  R   Charlie (Nick Robinson) is a troubled young man battling drug addiction. He is forced by his parents to enroll in a rehab program. While in rehab, he meets a fellow addict, Eve (Morgan Saylor), who changes how Charlie sees the world. I wanted this movie to be good, but instead, it’s just boring. After a promising start, the film gets bogged down into how bad Charlie feels his life is and how it really isn’t all that horrible. This is a film that hits you over the head, time and time again, to impress its message onto you. The problem is we never like Charlie, and, therefore, we don’t care what happens to him. When you leave the theatre, you wonder what happened to Rob Reiner (Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men) to cause his career to sink to this depth.    My Rating: Cable   Being Charlie Info
Forgotten Film: Once  (2007)    Two people (Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova) both working odd jobs to make a living while all they want is to make music. They meet on the streets of Dublin, and the girl decides to help the guy record a demo disc. As they play songs about their past lives/loves, they discover that they are slowly falling in love with each other. Written and directed by John Carney, who also brought us the brilliant Sing Street (2016) and the fantastic Begin Again (2013), first brought this film to us. The music is what makes this film work so well, and the two leads are phenomenal performers. This is a movie that you will watch over and over.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Once Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Money Monster: Eco Assistant

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Me Before You  (2016)   PG-13  Lou (Emilia Clarke) has lost her job, and there aren’t a lot of prospects in her small town. She is forced to get a job as a caretaker for Will (Sam Claflin), who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident. This job will change both their lives forever. This is one of those films that I just love and it will be interesting to see Emilia Clarke in a romantic role.   Me Before You Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Captain America: Civil War

My ViewCaptain America: Civil War  (2016)  PG-13  The government is concerned about the Avengers and their activities, asking the Avengers to agree to give up control of their team.  Could this cause a rift between Captain America and Iron Man?  Will the Avengers split up?  This is one of the best comic book films that I have seen. There are stunning and magnificent action sequences, one that had the audience standing and clapping. There are some new characters introduced to the Marvel world, including a certain web-slinger, whose appearance gave me hope for the franchise. Robert Downey Jr as Ironman and Chris Evans as Captain America are outstanding, but it’s Paul Rudd’s appearance as Ant-Man that steals the film. While I saw it in 3-D Imax, I would not recommend as it made one of the early action sequences feel very choppy. Do stay through all the credits as there are two bonus scenes, one after the first set of credits and the other after all the credits.    My Rating:  I Would Pay to See It Again   Captain America: Civil War Website
IndiefestDough  (2015)  NR  Nat (Jonathan Pryce) is a Jewish baker, whose shop has fallen on hard times.  His cliental has either died or moved away from his neighborhood, and his assistant quits. He hires a young Muslim, Shaun (Malachi Kirby), to help in the shop. At first, the two clash, but eventually mutual admiration and cooperation happens, changing both men. Full disclosure: I saw this film over a year ago at the Atlanta Film Festival, and there may have been changes since then. I loved the performances of Jonathan Pryce, as the world-weary baker, and Malachi Kirby, as the brash kid who knows very little about baking and even less about Judaism. The story is sweet and predictable, and while not groundbreaking, Dough is an enjoyable film.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Dough Website

Indiefest: A Hologram for the King (2016) R  Alan (Tom Hanks) is an American businessman who has just gone through a rough divorce, lost his high power job and his daughter has to take a year off from college because he can’t pay for it. He has one chance to recover with a new job. That job will take him to Saudi Arabia to try and convince the King to buy his companies high tech software. I really liked this film. Tom Hanks gives another winning performance as a man who is struggling to find his confidence and will power to make the sale. There is great chemistry between Hanks and actress Sarita Choudhury, who plays a Saudi doctor that treats his character. It’s a film that is sweet and at times funny with a great message about it’s never too late to rework your life and maybe even find love.    My Rating: Full Price   A Hologram for the King Website
Forgotten FilmThe Deep End (2001)  R  Margaret (Tilda Swinton) is the mother of three who is dealing with the fact that her husband, an admiral, is away at sea. Her oldest son, Beau (Jonathan Tucker), has started acting up and running with a dangerous crowd. Beau’s struggles could get him into big trouble and just might cause the family to fall apart, no matter how hard Margaret tries to keep everything under control. This is a fascinating film that keeps piling on problem after problem for Margaret to handle. Tilda Swinton shines as the mom who has to deal with the impossible and still survive, making her character likable and believable. It’s a movie about death and deception that will keep you guessing how it will end.   My Rating: Full Price   The Deep End Info
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've only seen in Trailers but just looks like a bad idea): Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows  (2016)  NR  All you have to know about this film is that Megan Fox is still in it. ‘Nuff Said.   Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Website

Weird CreditsFrom the credits of Captain America: Civil War:  Trainee Silicone Runner

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Lobster  (2016)  R  In the near future, single people are taken to “The Hotel” where they have to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or they are turned into an animal of their choice and sent off into “The Woods.”  As weird as this film sounds, it’s been winning awards at film festivals around the world, including three awards at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.   The Lobster Website
Until Next Time!