My View: Don’t Breathe (2016) R Suspenseful film about a group of friends who break into a house inhabited by a blind man. They think it will be an easy heist…boy are they wrong. I enjoyed this film, but let me tell you, there is a lot of violence, gruesome, bone-cracking violence in this film. Also, there is a scene that is so gross, the audience I saw the film with let out a huge “eew.” There is a lot of suspense in this movie, and it builds extremely well. I thought that Jane Levy did an outstanding job as the cat burglar, Rocky, who steals to get enough money to take her and her sister out of state and away from their abusive mother. There is an excellent use of sound in this film, making the scenes incredibly tense. What I liked about this movie is that takes a very simple premise and makes it a highly entertaining film. But, be warned, it is very violent, and you will be talking about the gross scene long after the movie ends. My Rating: Full Price Don't Breathe Website
My View: Hands of Stone (2016) R Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez) was one of the toughest fighters ever. He fought from age 16 to age 50. In 1980, he defeated Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher) to capture the WBC welterweight title. That was just the start of the story. The film takes what is a remarkable tale and makes it seem generic. The script, which has some horrible dialogue, lets down the cast, especially Edgar Ramirez, who, in spite of the script, gives a phenomenal performance. Robert De Niro didn't seem to break a sweat playing the legendary trainer, Ray Arcel, who takes Duran under his wing. I hated the editing of the fight sequences, which were choppy and hard to follow. The film tries to cover too much of Duran’s life and so seems to drag in certain places. The film takes a fascinating, dynamic fighter and makes him seem dull. My Rating: Cable Hands of Stone Facebook Page
Indiefest: Southside with You (2016) PG-13 The film chronicles the first date in 1989 Chicago of future President Barack (Parker Sawyers) and Michelle Obama (Tika Sumpter). I enjoyed this romantic drama by director/writer Richard Tanne, as it has a nice light touch of romance with some smarts to it, much like the subjects it profiles. The film concentrates on two people getting to know each other, both confident in their abilities to express themselves and make a point. Tanne creates a world where we see the potential in both of these people individually and as a team. It’s the dialogue that makes this film interesting and fun to watch. The heart of this movie and why it works so well is the performances by Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers. Sumpter gives a spirited and fiery performance as Michelle, while also being a little reserved, almost cold, especially early on. Sumpter plays off Parker well, with the patter between the two seeming natural and effortless. Sawyers does an excellent job capturing the future President’s speech pattern and mannerisms. It’s a delightful romance that works on every level. My Rating: Full Price Southside with You Website
Indiefest: Miss Sharon Jones! (2016) This documentary follows R&B singer Miss Sharon Jones in the most challenging year of her life when she confronts pancreatic cancer. Cancer will soon learn that you can’t keep a Grammy nominated powerhouse down for long. This documentary is from the two-time Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple. Kopple’s camera follows Jones, who is talkative and mostly upbeat, as she goes from surgery to remove and reroute her organs, to moving in with a holistic nutritionist to help her with recovery from her chemo. The film contrasts the concert scenes of the past, where Jones is a whirling dervish, to a woman who has lost her strength so much that she struggles to walk up a flight of stairs. We get to see the smaller moments of Jones’s struggle. You are constantly amazed at her positivity and her lust for life, such as when she revels in telling the camera of her seemingly endless list of daytime TV watching or when she interacts with other chemo patients, always with a positive attitude and ear to listen to their stories. You are going to want to go on this journey with this fireplug of a singer who, through her grace, spirit makes you feel better about the world, a world filled with the beautiful music that she creates. My Rating: Full Price Miss Sharon Jones! Website
Forgotten Film: The Whole Wide World (1996) PG In a small Texas town in the 1930s, a young schoolteacher, Novalyne (Renee Zellweger), meets a young man named Robert Howard (Vincent D’Onofrio). Robert is the writer of the Conan the Barbarian stories and is quite shy and a little strange. They start up a friendship that just might lead to better things. This is a beautiful story about two people who seem exact opposites but find common ground to relate to each other. Zellweger is dazzling as the school teacher with the heart of gold, and D’Onofrio gives one of his best performances. My Rating: Full Price The Whole Wide World Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of Don’t Breathe: Standby Props
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Magnificent Seven (2016) PG-13 Two of my favorite films are Seven Samurai (1954), the original source for both westerns and The Magnificent Seven (1960), so I am looking forward to this retelling of the tale of seven gunfighters coming to the defense of a western town. The cast includes Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke. The Magnificent Seven Facebook page
Until Next Time!