Friday, January 6, 2017

A Monster Calls

My ViewA Monster Calls (2016)  PG-13  Conor (Lewis MacDougal) is dealing with the one thing that any child fears, the illness of his mother (Felicity Jones). One night, Conor meets a “monster” (Liam Neeson) who is in the shape of a giant tree. The monster promises to help Conor deal with the sadness of his life.  This is a visually stunning movie that is more for adults than kids. It’s a solemn film that deals with death, childhood bullying, and grief. The film is moving and brought tears to my eyes at several places as Conor deals with the dark realization that life sometimes really hurts. MacDougal is impressive as the kid who sees a tree come to life as a big monster. There are some beautiful animated sequences as the Monster tells Conor stories to teach him about love and life. This film is a tale that is rarely happy, but in the end, I had enjoyed my experience with the monster and Conor.  My Rating: Full Price   A Monster Calls Website

My ViewSilence  (2016)  R  In the seventeenth century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver) travel to Japan to find their mentor (Liam Neeson). They soon find that they are not welcome in this foreign country so far from home and their lives are in danger. This is a beautifully shot film that I found to be just a little bit boring. Like Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, this film also explores religion and faith. While the film is breathtaking in its visuals, I found the plot very repetitious, as we see at least five different ways the Japanese torture people to get the priests to revoke their vows. Andrew Garfield’s performance is a little too over-the-top for me. I got very tired of Garfield constantly breaking down, and he keeps falling for the same problems throughout the movie. I really felt the running time of 2 hours and 41 minutes. I think if the film had been much shorter, it would have had more of an impact on me, but I must confess, this just isn’t my type of film. Other critics whom I saw the film with were moved by it and felt that it was a superior film, but I just can’t agree with them.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Silence Website

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)Denial  (2016)  PG-13  Professor Deborah E. Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) is in the legal battle of her life when Holocaust denier, David Irving (Timothy Spall), accuses her of libel in a British court. The film is based on a true story, and that’s what makes it so riveting.  Weisz masterfully plays the headstrong woman who makes a stand against a bigoted bully. Her performance is captivating, and, at times, you can almost see the steam coming off her head when her character gets intensely mad. Timothy Spall is perfect as the smug so-called “historian,” as he portrays the man as someone who isn’t as smart as he thinks. Tom Wilkinson gives one of his best performances as the wine drinking lawyer who represents Professor Lipstadt in her case. It’s a compelling and engaging courtroom drama that will have you on the edge of your seat until the end.   My Rating:  Full Price   Denial Website

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)Monster Trucks (2016)  PG  The film was inspired by a talk between the former president of Paramount Pictures and his four-year-old son. His idea:  Big trucks that have monsters in them.  Considering that this film has been sitting on the shelf since 2014, I think I will stay on the highway and not get off on the Monster Truck exit.   Monster Trucks Website

Forgotten FilmSeven Minutes in Heaven  (1985)  PG-13  Natalie (Jennifer Connelly) is a teenager whose mother is dead, and her father is always on the road with his job.  Her friend Jeffrey (Byron Thames) is having trouble with his stepfather, and Natalie lets him crash at her house.  Polly (Maddie Corman) is Natalie’s best friend and is always meddling in Natalie’s life. I like this film because it’s very different from most of the teen “coming-of-age” movies from the eighties. The characters in this movie have real life problems that they realistically must deal with. I love the ending of this film as it doesn’t wrap everything up in a neat conclusion, though you do figure that all three kids will end up being significant adults.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Seven Minutes in Heaven Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of A Monster Calls:  Stand-in: The Monster

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  The Red Turtle  (2016) PG   This animated film about a castaway stuck on a deserted island populated by turtles, crabs, and birds, is making a lot of critics’ “Best of the Year” lists.    The Red Turtle Info 
Until Next Time!

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