Friday, March 31, 2017

The Boss Baby

My View The Boss Baby  (2017)  PG  Tim (Miles Christopher Bakshi) was happy in his home with his mom (Lisa Kudrow) and dad (Jimmy Kimmel). Then, one day, a suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby (Alec Baldwin) arrives at Tim’s home via taxi. Tim knows something is up with this new baby, but his parents can only see that the baby needs all the attention. This is one of those films that after you see it, you say, “Well, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.” There are some funny bits in the film (loved Alec Baldwin making a Glengarry Glen Ross joke), and kids will enjoy all the action. The film is brought down by its many sub-plots and a somewhat confusing conclusion. Older kids and adults will be bored at times, but little kids may enjoy it.  My Rating:  Cable  The Boss Baby Website

My View:  Ghost in the Shell  (2017)  PG-13  A cyborg counter-cyberterrorist field commander, called Major (Scarlett Johansson) and her task force thwarts cyber criminals and hackers. Now a new enemy has emerged that will stop at nothing to sabotage the artificial intelligence technology that the world runs on. I love Scarlett Johansson, and I hope that someday there will be a Black Widow standalone movie. Unfortunately, this film wastes her talents in a slow moving, confusing tale that has some of the dullest villains I have ever seen on screen. The action scenes are well done, and you can see the video game influence throughout the film. Much has been made about the whitewashing of this movie, and it is disturbing that the film is set in Japan but it seems like three-quarters of the cast isn’t Japanese. I understand that Johansson, someone who has proven she can open a film by herself (Lucy), getting cast in the lead, but to have almost all the other major parts portrayed by non-Japanese actors just made the film seem silly.  My Rating:  Cable   Ghost in the Shell Website
My ViewThe Zoo Keeper’s Wife  (2017)  PG-13  Based on a true story, this film tells the story of Antonina (Jessica Chastain) and her husband Jan (Johan Heldenbergh), who owned a small zoo in downtown Warsaw. When the Nazis took over, Antonina and Jan saved hundreds of Jews in their zoo, right under the German’s noses.  Jessica Chastain makes this film worth watching as she gives a compelling and moving performance of a brave and loving woman who risks everything to save the lives of over 300 strangers. Being a big fan of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (a co-sponsor of the screening I went to), I have seen a lot of films about the Holocaust. Where this film is lacking is in its depiction of the Warsaw ghetto and the horrors that went on there.  The husband travels into the ghetto numerous times (to transport Jews out under the ruse of collecting garbage for his pigs), but its depiction feels frail and sanitized. The Zoo Keeper’s Wife is a fascinating tale about two people who had the courage to step up and help their fellow man.  I just wish this film was as powerful as Chastain’s acting is in it.   My Rating: Full Price   The Zookeeper's Wife Website 
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  (2016)  PG-13  Seventy years into the future, Harry Potter will read writer Newt Scamander’s (Eddie Redmayne) book. First, Newt has to have the adventures in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards. If you are a fan of the Harry Potter film and book series, then you will want to see this movie. The film uses the Harry Potter world as its basis but makes this its own world. The action is fun and fast paced with special effects that bring the many, and I do mean many, beasts alive. Redmayne is obviously having fun with the role, and it shows in his performance. His boyish charm makes his character come alive on the screen. Alison Sudol is dazzling as the headstrong love interest for Newt, Queenie, and I adored Katherine Waterston as the sweet and mind reading-sister.  Dan Fogler steals the movie as the hilarious human who becomes Newt’s sidekick. You will enjoy this fantastic ride full of beasts and wizards.    My Rating:  Full Price   Fantastic Beasts Website
Forgotten FilmTimes Square  (1980)  R  Two troubled young women (Trini Alvarado, Robin Johnson) meet in a  psychiatric hospital. They call themselves the Sleaze Sisters, and they run away to New York City.  The two friends get help from a rock DJ (Tim Curry) and embrace the punk scene of NYC. While not a great film, there are two reasons you should check it out:  the two actresses are a blast to watch, and the soundtrack really represents what the Punk/New Wave music scene in the late 70s, early 80s sounded like with music performed by The Cars, The Cure, Joe Jackson, David Johansen, Gary Numan, Lou Reed, The Pretenders, Roxy Music and XTC.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Times Square Info

Weird Credits:   From the credits of The Zookeeper’s Wife:  Animal Prosthetics

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)  The continuing adventures of the band of misfits as they travel the outer reaches of the cosmos.  If it’s just half as good as the trailer, we are in for a fun ride.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 24, 2017


My ViewLife  (2017)  R  Six astronauts aboard a space station discover that life on Mars is a reality. They find a single-celled organism that will have unintended consequences for the astronauts.  I enjoyed this horror movie that takes place in the worst place ever to be terrorized by an alien, a space station. The action sequences are exciting, and the tension keeps building throughout the film.  I especially enjoyed the performances of Jake Gyllenhaal as the pilot of the space station and Rebecca Ferguson, as the security officer.  My only problem with this film is that the ending is too predictable and easy, but the film is a lot of fun to watch. You need to see this on the big screen; I’m afraid that some scenes will lose their claustrophobic feel on a TV screen.  My Rating: Full Price   Life Website
Indiefest Personal Shopper  (2016)  R  Maureen (Kristen Stewart) is a lonely personal shopper who starts communicating with ghosts, especially her deceased twin brother. Kristen Stewart has become quite the accomplished actress (having suffered through the Twilight series, I never thought I would make that statement), and she shines in this film. The problem is that this is such a weird movie, full of paranormal stuff, with an ending that will leave you with your head scratching. I have talked with four different film critics, and we all have no earthly idea what exactly happens at the end.. I look forward to seeing more of Stewart’s work, just not in such a strange, tangled film such as this one.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Personal Shopper Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)Miss Sloane  (2016)  R  Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is considered the best and most formidable lobbyist in Washington D.C. She decides to take on the most powerful opponent of her career, the “gun lobby.” Just how far is Elizabeth willing to go to win? This is a satisfying political thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. Chastain commands the screen as the tough-as-nails lobbyist, and it’s her outstanding performance that makes this film worth watching. I especially enjoyed John Lithgow, who plays a slimy senator and Sam Waterston, head of the lobby group who represents the gun lobby. While not Oscar material like All the President’s Men, this film is still an excellent suspenseful movie with a sterling performance by Jessica Chastain.    My Rating: Full Price   Miss Sloane Website
Forgotten FilmLiving in Oblivion  (1997)  R  A well-known A-list actor called Chad Palomino (James Le Gros) has agreed to be in a low-budget film being made by a grizzled director (Steve Buscemi).  Everything that can go wrong does, and Chad plays every power trip a star can make.  It’s a delightfully goofy movie that will have you wondering how any film gets made.  The cast is outstanding, with Catherine Keener playing the leading lady and Dermot Mulroney as a cameraman who thinks he is a genius (he isn’t), both are brilliant in their roles.    My Rating: Full Price   Living In Oblivion Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Life:  Special Effects Teeth

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Free Fire  (2016)  R  Two rival gangs meet in a Boston warehouse in 1978. When a deal goes bad, the two gangs start a shootout that they will be lucky to survive.  This was one of the most buzzed about films at the SXSW Film Festival. I hear it’s ten minutes worth of setup at the start and then eighty minutes of gunfight.   Free Fire Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

My View:  Beauty and the Beast  (2017)   PG  Disney tale of the monstrous beast (Dan Stevens) and Belle (Emma Watson), the young woman who commits to live in the castle to save her father. When you remake a classic animated film into a live-action CGI-filled movie, you have to ask if it’s worth it?  I am going to say yes because of two reasons: some huge plot holes were fixed from the original film and Emma Watson, who is a delight to watch and has a tremendous singing voice. She is the perfect live-action Belle, a blend of spunky defiance and curiosity, that is a perfect match for the Beast. I will say that I was disappointed in the ballroom scene. In this film, it just doesn’t have the impact of the original. There are five new songs which add to the running time of 2 hours and 9 minutes - maybe a little too long for young kids. The Beast isn't too scary although there are some wolves that may give the very young a bit of fright. The film wasn't shot in 3D, so save the bucks. Much has been made of the gay character in the movie, but it’s such a minor detail in the film, that most won’t even notice.   My Rating:  Full Price   Beauty and the Beast Website
IndiefestThe Sense of an Ending  (2017)  PG-13  A semi-retired divorced man (Jim Broadbent) receives notice that he has inherited an item from the mother of an old flame. His attempt to retrieve the item causes him to relive his past, a past full of friends and lovers of his school years.  Part mystery, part love story, this film is an interesting take on lost loves and how one wrong decision can change the direction of the rest of your life. Broadbent gives one of his better performances as a man who is haunted by his past and is desperately trying to make amends. The story is full of really cool plot twists, some of which I didn’t see coming.   My Rating:  Full Price    The Sense of an Ending Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)Passengers  (2016) PG-13   A spacecraft is traveling to a distant colony planet with thousands of people, all of whom are in a state of suspended animation.  There is a malfunction of the sleep chambers for two of its passengers (Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt) who have been awakened 90 years early.  I enjoyed the first 40 minutes of the film, which reminded me of an excellent 70s Sci-Fi movie called, Silent Running. The art direction is fantastic, and the set design is brilliant, making this a film a wonder to watch. Unfortunately, the film goes downhill quickly, with a plot that takes forever to get going.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    Passengers Website 
Forgotten FilmPeter’s Friends  (1992)  Ten years ago a group of friends were part of a comedy troupe, but in the years since, they have scattered around the world. Peter has inherited an estate and invites the troupe members for a New Year’s Eve celebration. The friends gather once again to see if fences can be mended, loves rekindled and new friendships started. The cast is the reason to see this movie, and both Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson standout in a very memorable ensemble. I consider this a much funnier and enjoyable film than other films in this genre including, The Big Chill (1983).   My Rating: Full Price    Peter's Friends Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Beauty and the Beast:  Dental FX Design and Manufacture

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouGhost in the Shell  (2017)  This live-action film, based on a beloved animated movie and series, could go either way.  Since Scarlett Johansson is the lead, I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt.    Ghost in the Shell Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Kong: Skull Island

My ViewKong: Skull Island  (2017)  PG-13  In 1973, a team of explorers along with a company of soldiers are following the myths and legends of the Pacific. It seems that there is an island where creatures both prehistoric and monstrous live, including Kong, the legendary giant that is King of Skull Island. This is an old fashioned  “leave your mind at the door” popcorn movie. The best parts of this film are the battle sequences, which are spectacular looking and exciting to watch. The special effects (CGI), especially Kong, who has quite a few close-ups, are sensational.  The worst part of this film is the huge plot holes and the blatant way the movie tries to get you to care about the team. The character that Toby Kebbell portrays, a soldier who writes letters to his kid, exists only so you will feel sorry for the soldiers as they fight monsters on the island. You just don’t care about anyone in this film, and there are few characters (like the one Samuel L. Jackson portrays) that are so annoying, you want them to die. Stay through all the credits, as there is a bonus scene. Kong: Skull Island was not shot in 3-D, so save the money and buy some popcorn.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Kong: Skull Island Website
IndiefestThe Last Word  (2017)  R  Harriet (Shirley MacLaine) is a retired businesswoman who needs to control everything and everyone in her life. She decides to hire a young journalist, Anne (Amanda Seyfried), to write her obituary. Anne finds out that writing Harriet’s obit is going to be the hardest job she has ever had.  I enjoyed this film, mostly due to the performances of MacLaine and Seyfried. They have sparkling chemistry together and make the film entertaining to watch. MacLaine is a blast as the woman whom everyone can’t stand.  The plot is a little predictable, and the story takes a little while to take off, but this is an enticing and poignant film to watch.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Last Word Website
Family FaireMy Life as a Zucchini  (2016)  PG-13  After his mother dies in an accident, a young boy who likes being called Zucchini, is sent to a foster home with other orphans his age. There he meets and falls in love with a girl named Camille. This Oscar-nominated stop-motion animated film is a gem and a delight to watch. The animation is colorful and warm.  I will warn you that a few times this movie can be a little grim, and there aren’t a lot of laughs, but you will have a marvelous time watching a young boy find his place in the world.  I wish more animated films were of this quality and substance.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   My Life as a Zucchini Info
IndiefestThe Ottoman Lieutenant  (2016)  A strong-willed woman, Lillie (Hera Hilmar), meets an American doctor (Josh Hartnett) who runs a remote hospital within the Ottoman Empire. She decides to join him and she meets Ismail (Michiel Huisman), a lieutenant in the Ottoman Imperial Army. They quickly fall in love as the world begins to fall apart. This film has gorgeous cinematography and exotic locations, but that can’t make up for a storyline that plays out like a bad romance novel. I did like Hera Hilmar’s performance as the headstrong nurse who falls in love with “the enemy,” but she isn’t given much to work with in a script that wants to be a combination of Lawrence of Arabia with a little of The English Patient thrown in.  The film seems to never find its footing and just becomes slightly boring to watch.  My Rating:  Cable   The Ottoman Lieutenant Website
Forgotten FilmBroadway Danny Rose  (1984)  PG  A talent agent, Danny (Woody Allen) who represents the worst talent out there, gets involved with trying to reconcile a lounge singer (Nick Apolo Forte) with his mistress (Mia Farrow). When Danny gets mistaken as her lover, the mob goes after him. This comedy is funny because Allen allows us to see Danny as a real man and not just another character he is playing. Mia Farrow is wondrous as the mob girl who is rough and tumble.  This is a fun and witty comedy that will keep you laughing until the end.  My Rating:  Full Price   Broadway Danny Rose Info   

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Ottoman Lieutenant:  Turkish Dialogue Coach

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouPrevenge  (2016)  This rather strange sounding comedy from actress Alice Lowe looks nuts but so much fun.  A pregnant woman (Alice Lowe) goes on a killing spree, but it’s not her idea; it’s her unborn baby giving orders from her womb.  I am making sure that I see this at SXSW Film Festival.   Prevenge Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 3, 2017


My ViewLogan  (2017)  R  Logan (Hugh Jackman) is tired of all the battles 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. Logan is the X-Men/Wolverine movie that you have always wanted. It’s gritty, bleak and incredibly well done. A bit of a warning, this is a hard R rated film with a ton of very gory violence and quite a bit of cussing, so do not take young kids to see this movie. I loved the action sequences in this film, as its fast paced and doesn’t use a lot of “shaky cam.” Hugh Jackman puts everything he can into the role of the world-weary Logan. While there isn’t a closing credit sequence, don’t be late to the theatre because there is a great opening sequence that is not to be missed.   My Rating:  Full Price   Logan Website
My View Before I Fall  (2017)  PG-13  Samantha (Zoey Deutch) is a high school student who keeps reliving the same day over and over. If you had one day to do all over again, how would you do things differently?  This is a “groundhog” type of movie which doesn’t work because the main character keeps doing the same things. This film wants us to root for Samantha, but the problem is she isn’t a likable person. She is part of a “mean girls” group of friends who are self-centered and only concerned about having a good time.  The storyline is boring and predictable with an ending that is too simple to work.    My Rating: Cable   Before I Fall Website
IndiefestTable 19  (2017)  PG-13  Ex-maid of honor Eloise (Anna Kendrick), after being dumped by the best man who is the brother of  the bride, Eloise decides to attend the wedding anyway and is assigned to the losers table, table 19.  This is an entertaining movie that is smart and whimsical. The film starts out like it’s your normal, big cast funny event movie, but soon the tone of the film changes and gives us clues to why each member has ended up at the table of people the wedding party invited but hoped wouldn’t show.  Kendrick is her usual dorky, adorable self. The rest of the cast is outstanding with June Squibb as the bride’s former nanny, giving a dazzling performance.  I loved the ending which is as brilliant as the rest of the film.   My Rating:  Full Price   Table 19 Website
IndiefestKedi  (2016)  Istanbul is famous for its cats, most of which live on the streets. The film focuses on seven cats and how people interact with them. On the surface, this documentary looks like it would be boring and stupid, but it’s just the opposite. It’s a fun look at the lives of cats that roam the streets of a very colorful city. Using unique camera angles and close-ups, we get to know and love seven very different cats and the unusual people that interact with them. Each cat profiled in the film has a distinct personality. There is the polite cat that never begs for food, the bully cat that is always protecting her turf and her man. Some cats in the film love to be petted, others almost disdain any contact with humans. All the cats profiled in the movie are “homeless,” but each have marked territories that they frequent. This is a funny and fascinating film that even a person who doesn’t like cats will love.    My Rating: Full Price    Kedi Website
Forgotten FilmMichael  (1996)  PG  Three reporters (Robert Pastorelli, William Hurt, Andie MacDowell), working for a tabloid newspaper, are sent to Iowa to investigate reports that an angel is living at a small, remote motel. They discover that yes, an angel named Michael (John Travolta) is living there, soaking up earth on his last visit ever (angels can only visit a set number of times).  Travolta is the reason to see this film, as he plays an angel who is living it up, sometimes at the expense of others. He’s there to help these reporters rediscover love and a reason for living. Michael is an enjoyable and charming film that is just fun to watch.    My Rating: Full Price   Michael Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Logan:  Stunt Pre-Viz

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Zookeeper’s Wife  (2017)  PG-13  During WWII, the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo helped save hundreds of people and the animals during the German occupation.  You had me at “starring Jessica Chastain.”   The Zookeeper's Wife Website

Until Next Time!