Friday, December 16, 2016

Rogue One: A Stars Wars Story

My View:  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story  (2016) PG-13   Set shortly before Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), the Rebel Alliance recruits Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) to join a team including Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) to steal the design schematics of the Empire’s new Death Star. Stars Wars fans are going to love this film as it fills in the back story to Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) and has so many Easter egg (references, both visual and vocal to past films) that you may have to see the movie more times to see them all. I love the hero, or should I say heroine, of the story - a young woman who is the reason why the mission fails or succeeds. Sure, she is part of a team, but it all comes down to her if the mission is a success. There is quite a bit of humor in the film, and the action sequences are fast moving and a blast to watch (no pun intended). It fits nicely into the Star Wars universe, and, though I think I enjoyed Star Wars: The Force Awakens a little more, that was mostly due to nostalgia purposes. I think you will enjoy this film so much, you just might see it again or more. The film was not shot in 3-D, so save your money to buy that 2nd ticket.   My Rating:  Full Price   Rogue One Website

My View:  La La Land  (2016)  PG-13  A musical about a determined jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) who falls in love with an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) in Los Angeles. This is a magical film that tips its hat to the old Hollywood classic musicals of the past. Gosling and Stone have chemistry that makes their romance so believable. The singing and dancing by Stone and Gosling is so effortless and beautiful that it makes it a joy to watch. The opening number is one of the most amazing dance sequences that I have ever seen on the screen, and the final dance sequence of the film is just unbelievably gorgeous. I have seen this movie three times, and each time I had a smile on my face throughout. In fact, I felt as if I should have danced across the lobby after I saw the film. Needless to say: My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   La La Land Website
My View:  Jackie  (2016)  R  Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) has to deal with the grief and trauma of the event while trying to regain her faith, console her children and fight for her husband’s historic legacy. This is Natalie Portman’s film, and she handles it with ease. It takes a few minutes to get used to her talking like Jackie, but once you get used to it, Portman disappears into the role. It’s a tough role to tackle because, after the assignation, Jackie was all emotionally over the place; at times defiant, other times subservient, always demanding that her husband is treated with respect and determined to show the world what horror had happened to him. It’s a scintillating performance as Portman turns Jackie’s emotions on and off at a moment’s notice, as one in shock/grieving does. Portman dominates the film and is on the screen in almost every scene. Overall, this film works as a study of a person who was larger than life by one of the few actresses who could handle that type of role. You may feel, after seeing this film, that Natalie Portman gave us everything she could give, just like the woman whom she portrayed did for this country.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Jackie Website

My View:  Collateral Beauty  (2016)  PG-13  A successful New York advertising executive’s (Will Smith) life has been in a downward spiral since he suffered a tremendous loss.  When he writes letters to Love, Time and Death, he is surprised when each of them appears in front of him to talk about the letters.  For a movie that includes two Oscar winners, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren, and three Oscar nominees, Will Smith, Edward Norton, and Keira Knightley, it’s rather dull film. I enjoyed the performances of Mirren, who plays Death, and Jacob Latimore, who plays an outraged Time, but the rest of the cast seems to be sleepwalking in their parts, especially Will Smith. There are some major plot points that we are asked to just not question and an ending that I saw coming from almost the start of the film which makes it seem patched together from a number of horrible ideas. I don’t think this is a bad film, but it never delivers the tug on the heartstrings that the audience may desperately want.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Collateral Beauty Website
Forgotten Film:  Death and the Maiden (1994) R  Paulina (Sigourney Weaver) is a political activist living in a South American country that has just ousted a dictator. She finds a man (Ben Kingsley) sleeping on her couch and decides that it’s the man who tortured and raped her during the dictatorship. Paulina captures the man and begins a night of interrogation and discovery. This is a fascinating psychological drama with two intense and powerful actors. The film keeps you guessing until the end, and Kingsley gives a speech that is so intense it is mesmerizing.  My Rating:  Full Price   Death and the Maiden Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of La La Land:  Tap Foley for Ryan Gosling

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Lion  (2016)  PF-13  A five-year-old Indian boy ends up a thousand miles from home. After living on the streets of Calcutta, a miracle occurs. Twenty-five years later he is hoping for another miracle - that he find his long lost family. The film has won at a number of film festivals around the world and is nominated for four awards at the Golden Globes and two at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.   Lion Website
Until Next Time!

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