Friday, February 17, 2017

The Great Wall

My ViewThe Great Wall  (2017)  PG-13  When a mercenary warrior named, William (Matt Damon), is incarcerated within the Great Wall of China, he discovers the mystery behind one of the world’s greatest structures. There has been some unjust criticism about this film being a “white guy saves the day” type of film, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  William is a selfish man who fights for whomever will pay him, but he only depends on himself. William learns from a young general (Tian Jing) that the greater good of the team is worth risking your life for. I loved the spectacle of this film, and the battle sequences are highly entertaining. Unfortunately, the scenes in between the battles are boring and other than the young female general whom Tina Jing plays, we don’t learn a lot about the people who make up the army on the wall. Matt Damon seems stiff in his performance, and I have no idea what kind of accent he was attempting to portray (I got Scotch/Irish with a bit of Spanish).  The film was not shot in 3-D so save your money and see it in 2-D. While not a great movie, gamers will enjoy the colorful and frantic battle sequences.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Great Wall Website
My ViewFist Fight  (2017)  R  After mild-mannered English teacher Andy (Charlie Day) gets Ron (Ice Cube) fired, Ron wants to fight Andy in the school yard.  Hollywood is so devoid of good ideas for films; they are remaking bad movies into even worse films. This film is loosely based on a bad 80’s film named, Three O’clock High. Both films are unfunny and at times, very mean spirited.  I didn’t laugh once during this “comedy” and many times was appalled by the subject matter.  Running gags are repeated so much that they are latterly dragged to the ground. If you think a teacher on meth waiting for teenagers to graduate before she can sleep with them and eight-year-olds cussing is hilarious, then this film is for you. For the rest of us, this is one class that you should skip.    My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Fist Fight Website
My ViewA Cure for Wellness  (2016)  R  An ambitious young executive (Dane DeHaan) is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a mysterious “wellness center.”  Once he gets there, he may never get out.  This is a beautifully, very stylish looking film that fails as both a horror film and dark comedy. While there are some horrific things that happen on screen, they are not scary, just highly uncomfortable to watch. I won’t go into too many details, but if you can’t stand snakes or eels, this film is not the film for you. The film is too long (four separate times our “hero” goes into his bathroom to investigate a jittering commode handle), takes way too long to set up the storyline and, ultimately, you just want the film to be over, not caring if the hero will succeed. I did enjoy the many homages to past horror films like Marathon Man, Frankenstein, and Phantom of the Opera, but it’s not enough to make you want to sit through 145 minutes running time.    My Rating: Cable   A Cure for Wellness Website
IndiefestA United Kingdom  (2016)  PG-13  Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana (David Oyelowo) causes an international stir when he weds a white English woman, Ruth (Rosamund Pike), from London set after WW II. I wish the film was as remarkable as the true story that it is based on, but unfortunately, the film plays it too safe and spells out almost the whole story in a way too simple storyline. Pike and Oyelowo are skillful in their portrayals, and I did enjoyed their courtship in England, which displays an exquisite chemistry between the two actors. But, the characters they portray are shown very lightly, with very little complexity. The story is predictable and never pulls on the heart strings, even at the end. I enjoyed this film, mostly because I didn’t know anything about the main characters’ lives, but I just wish the filmmaker had delved more deeply into what should have been two very complex people in a complex situation.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   A United Kingdom Website
IndiefestToni Erdmann  (2016)  R  A practical joking father (Peter Simonischek) tries to reconnect with his daughter (Sandra Huller) when a practical joke goes too far. This film is one of the 2017 Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film, and plenty of film critics are giving it high marks. I just don’t know why. I never could figure out if this movie was a comedy or drama. It’s a long film about a lonely man who creates a fictional character with a thinly veiled disguise to hang out with his daughter. The daughter is a driven businesswoman who is trying to land a big client. I just never got into the storyline and never cared for either the father or the daughter. I rarely laughed during the film with the exception of a naked party sequence that is quite funny.  It’s a film that is the front runner for an Oscar, but I wouldn’t even give it a nomination.   My Take: Bargain Matinee   Toni Erdmann Facebook Page
Forgotten FilmThe Pledge  (2001)  R  Jerry Black (Jack Nicholson) is a Nevada police officer, who, on the night of his retirement, pledges to a mother (Patricia Clarkson) that he will do everything he can to find her daughter’s killer. Jerry is convinced that his replacement on the force is going after the wrong suspect, and Jerry is determined to get to the bottom of the crime. It’s a slippery path Jerry has chosen, and it’s a journey that he may never return from   Nicholson gives one his finest performances as a lonely man who has sacrificed everything for a job that he misses greatly. The cast is filled with sizzling performances from stars including  Aaron Eckhart, Harry Dean Stanton, Robin Wright Penn, Helen Mirren, Vanessa Redgrave, and Benecio Del Toro. This film, directed by Sean Penn, is worth your time.    My Rating: Full Price   The Pledge Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Great Wall:  Silk Screen Printer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Logan  (2017)  R  Logan (Hugh Jackman) is tired of all the battles that he has fought. He is holed up with Professor X (Patrick Stewart) on the Mexican border when a young mutant (Saber Bankson) being pursued by dark forces arrives. I usually don’t get excited about Wolverine or X-Men movies, but the trailer makes this one seem like a winner.  Also, the studio is holding screenings two weeks before it debuts, a sign that they think the film will get great “word of mouth.”   Logan Website

Until Next Time!

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