Friday, June 30, 2017

Baby Driver

My View:  Baby Driver  (2017)  R   Baby (Ansel Elgort) is the best getaway driver out there, and he works for a veteran kingpin (Kevin Spacey) who he owes big money to. Baby’s world changes when he meets a young waitress (Lily James) who gives him something other than driving to live for. This is a stunning, highly enjoyable film. The best way to describe it is a car chase musical. Baby has a permanent case of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and to drown it out; he is constantly listening to music. Music is an important part of his life, so he lives his life with a constant soundtrack. Elgort sings, dances and drives to the beat of 30 different songs that make of the film’s soundtrack. The action sequences are brilliant, timed to the music that Baby is listening to (at one point he has to re-cue a song before he can drive away from the cops) and were done with no CGI (computerized special effects). The car chases are some of the most exciting chase sequences I have ever seen. The cast is brilliant, with Kevin Spacey as the planner of the bank robberies and Jon Hamm as one of the robbers, making the most of their parts. The star of the film is Ansel Elgort, and he gives a dazzling performance that is mesmerizing. Go see this magical film. You just might drive home from the theatre a little faster with your sound system blasting after seeing this movie.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Baby Driver Website
My View:  The Beguiled  (2017)  R  At a girls’ school in Virginia during the Civil War, the young women have been sheltered from the outside world. A wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell) is taken in, and it changes the school forever. The Union soldier charms his way into getting to stay longer than he should, but trouble starts when the women all start to think that he is in love with each of them. This is a beautiful looking film that, at times, almost seems like a dream. The film is a little slow, but it works, as the undercurrents start to build tension. The film is a remake of a 1971 movie of the same name, with Clint Eastwood starring as the Union soldier. I didn’t like that film, as I never felt the danger that is in this movie. While I like Farrell’s performance, it’s Nicole Kidman that makes this film work. She plays the woman who owns the boarding school, and she plays the part with a restraint that slowly gets broken down by her desires for the soldier. While not a horror film, there are quite a few suspenseful moments and an ending that may shock you.  My Rating: Full Price  The Beguiled Website
Family Faire:  Despicable Me 3  (2017)  PG  Gru (Steve Carell) has lost his job and has decided to go back to being a villain. His long-lost twin brother, Dru (Steve Carell) shows up, and they go on a criminal heist together. I am not a fan of the Despicable Me franchise, and as they keep making these films, it seems that they are writing them for six-year-olds. The plot is thin, and I have always felt that the bad guy (this time voiced by South Park co-creator Trey Parker) is never well-thought-out. Even the Minions are not utilized, and they leave Gru because he doesn’t want to be a villain. I will admit there are a couple of funny scenes when the Minions get thrown in jail, but those are few and far between. The film is so boring, a critic next to me looked at his watch to see how much longer we had until the movie would end, and then 3 minutes later he did it again. This film may be okay and entertaining for little kids, but grownups may want to take a nap in the theatre, or you might be like my fellow critic and think that time has stopped.   My Rating:  Cable   Despicable Me 3 Website 
IndieFest:  Okja  (2017)  TV-MA  A young girl named Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn) has raised a giant pig named Okja for the last ten years in Korea.  A massive agricultural company now wants the pig back and will do anything to return it to their headquarters. Mija will have to travel far and wide, battling bad guys and a mean CEO (Tilda Swinton), to save her beloved Okja. I want to warn you; this is not a film for kids. It deals with subjects like industrial farming, animal cruelty, and can get very graphic and disturbing. But this film isn’t all dark. You will fall in love with Okja and Mija. There is humor in this film and shows up at odd or dark times due to the absurdity of the situation or the weird and wild cast of characters.  Jake Gyllenhaal stands out as a TV show host of a popular TV animal program. Gyllenhaal is hysterical as the over-the-top, self-centered host (think an over-caffeinated Steve Irwin with a little Richard Simmons mixed in).  The storyline is moving, funny and scary, sometimes in the matter of minutes of each other. Ultimately you will want to go on this journey with Mija and Okja.  Note: this film is not in theatres but available on Netflix.  My Rating: Full Price   Okja Website
Forgotten Film:  Matchstick Men  (2003)  A con man, Roy (Nicolas Cage), who has all sort of obsessions that dominate his life, and his partner in crime (Sam Rockwell) stumble upon a great con game when Roy’s teenage daughter (Alison Lohman) comes back into his life. Cage gives a performance of a lifetime as the clever conman who can have a panic attack at a moment’s notice and wants desperately to connect with his brash daughter.  I think it’s a real shame that Cage didn’t get an Oscar nomination for this brilliant and complex role. The storyline will keep you guessing if they can pull off the con, and I loved the end of this film.    My Rating:  Full Price   Matchstick Men Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Beguiled:  Sticher

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Breathe  (2017)  PG-13  The true story of Robin (Andrew Garfield), a man who loves adventure, meets a woman (Claire Foy) and quickly falls in love with her.  Their life is idyllic until he’s afflicted with polio that leaves him paralyzed. I can’t think of anyone else but Garfield who could play this man who decides that polio won’t stop him from living his life the way he wants to.   Breathe Info
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight

My ViewTransformers: The Last Knight  (2017)  PG-13  In the absence of Optimus Prime, a war has been started between the human race and the Transformers.  To save the world, Cade (Mark Wahlberg) forms an alliance with Bumblebee to try and learn why the Transformers keep coming back to Earth.  If you paid me to explain the plot of this film, I would have to give back your money because I have no clue what this movie is about. It’s a film that introduces a main character in the first 20 minutes and forgets about that character until the last portion of the film. The main Transformer, Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) is missing for at least a third of the movie, and you have a character, Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins), who gives us a backstory that is so complicated it would take a flow chart to know what he is talking about. It took six editors to make this film, and I think that’s part of the problem - the film seems like it wants to be 3 or 4 different films, skipping storylines all over the place. This movie is all noise and no plot, at least not one I could figure out. There is an extra scene during the closing credits, but typical of the whole movie, I have no clue what it’s supposed to set up for the next film. The film was shot in 3D, so it’s worth the money to see it in that format, but you really should see something else…or just watch some of the animated series from the 80’s. At least those shows had plots you could follow.  My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Transformers: The Last Knight Website
IndiefestThe Hero  (2017)  R  Lee (Sam Elliott) is a Western icon whose best roles are in his past.  He makes most of his living by doing voice overs. He finds out that he has cancer, and the prognosis is not good. But Lee has a good friend, Jeremy (Nick Offerman) and a new love, Charlotte (Laura Prepon), who give him something and someone to live for. I loved this film, and saw it at both the SXSW Film Festival and the Atlanta Film Festival. Sam Elliott is masterful as the actor who is known for one iconic film, a western called The Hero that was made over forty years ago. Lee is a role that was tailor-made for Elliott, and he gets every bit he can out of it. Appearing in every scene, Elliott gives what is surely his finest performance of a world-weary man who is near the end of his life, a life that is full of regrets and missed opportunities. Co-writer/director Brett Haley, as he did with the last years I’ll See You in My Dreams starring Blythe Danner, gives Sam Elliott a movie in The Hero he can be proud of and that is moving, funny and full of life. Heck, I would see that western that Lee wanted to make just to see Elliott star in another movie.    My Rating: Full Price   The Hero Website
Indiefest:  The Exception  (2017)  R  Set during World War II, a German soldier (Jai Courtney) is sent on a mission to investigate exiled German Emperor Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer).  As the soldier begins his investigation, he falls for a maid of the Emperor, Mieke (Lily James). This is a well made thriller with lots of romance thrown in. The chemistry between Courtney and James is amazing and their love scenes are a bit steamy. The plot keeps you guessing on how it will end and it's a fascinating look at a bit of history that is forgotten. Christopher Plummer gives a brilliant performance as the cranky but somewhat lovable German Emperor, he makes buying a ticket to this movie worth it.   My Rating: Full Price  The Exception Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray): John Wick: Chapter Two  (2017)  R  John Wick’s (Keanu Reeves) retirement didn’t last long as he now has to travel to Rome to take on a squad of assassins to defend a former associate who has seized control of the assassins’ guild. The first John Wick film was one of the biggest surprises of 2014, as it was a highly enjoyable full-out action-fest.  I enjoyed this movie as much as the first and love that it tries to outdo the first film on ways to kill the bad guys. The action sequences are fast, well done and, unlike some recent films, don’t rely on the use of “shakycam” to cover up the lack of real action. If you like action films and especially up close hand-to-hand fighting, then this is the movie for you. And, by the way, a third film is in the works.   My Rating:  Full Price   John Wick: Chapter Two Website
Forgotten FilmThe Sterile Cuckoo  (1969)  M  Two college freshman start a relationship that is doomed to failure due to both of their inabilities to connect on a personal level. Liza Minnelli gives a performance of a lifetime as Pookie, a loony, lonely girl who has no family and doesn’t get along with others. It’s a brilliant performance by Minnelli, who takes an unlikable person and makes us want for her to succeed.  Wendell Burton gives an equally profound performance of Jerry, a young man unprepared to be swept up in Pookie’s world.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Sterile Cuckoo Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Transformers: The Last Knight:  Rattle Snake Safety

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: War for the Planet of the Apes  (2017)  PG-13  After a raid on his apes by an elite military force, Caesar (Andy Serkis) decides to go on a quest for revenge.  I really enjoyed the first two films, so I am looking forward to the final installment of the trilogy. Could Andy Serkis get an Oscar nomination for this role that is entirely CGIed (Special Effects) of the ape Caesar?    War for the Planet of the Apes website  
Until Next Time!


Friday, June 16, 2017

Cars 3

Family FaireCars 3  (2017)   G  After losing his racing title to Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) decides he will retire after the season. Lightning decides to make one last stand at the Florida 500 and starts training with a spunky race technician named, Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), who has her own racing dreams. Certainly the weakest franchise in the Pixar family, I can say that this film is a step above the horrible Cars 2 (2011), but that isn’t saying much. I cringe just thinking about how many times we had to hear that awful catch phrase, “Git her dun,” said by Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) in that film. Luckily, Mater is just a minor character in this movie, so right there, it’s an improvement. I liked the storyline and especially enjoyed the finish, but, man, it takes way too long to get there. At an hour fifty (which does include a Pixar short named LOU), it seems every second of that length. The animation is top notch, but I just wish more time was spent on the script. The film was not shot in 3-D, so save some bucks. There is a bonus scene at the end of the credits, but it’s really not worth sticking around for.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Cars 3 Website   
My ViewRough Night  (2017)  R  Five best friends from college (Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer) reunite ten years later for a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami. While partying, they accidentally kill a male stripper and then try to conceal the death. Talk about a buzz kill. I did not enjoy this film; it seemed much longer than the 1 hour and 40 minutes that is listed in The film tries to be a hard R comedy in the vein of The Hangover or Bridesmaids, but it fails miserably in its attempt, with few and far between comedic moments lost in its over-the-top attempt to be raunchy. I was hoping that Kate McKinnon would take over the film, but her scenes seemed forced and just aren’t funny. I have a real problem with comedic films that trivialize the use of hard drugs as a vehicle for jokes. In this case, both Coke and Meth are seen as just fun drugs that have no consequences and are portrayed as fun drugs the characters use to act even goofier. The fact that this film centers on the accidental death of someone (which, by the way, is seen by the end of the film as a good thing) should clue you in on how bad this film really is.  My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Rough Night Info
IndiefestThe Book of Henry  (2017)  PG-13  In a small town, a single mom (Naomi Watts) is raising her two boys, an 11-year old genius named, Henry (Jaeden Lieberher), and his younger brother, Peter (Jacob Tremblay). Henry has a crush on his neighbor Christiana (Maddie Ziegler), and when she is threatened by her stepfather, Henry comes up with a plan to rescue her. This is a film that has no clue what it is and, the audience I saw it with thought it was a comedy for the first half of the movie. This is a bizarre film, dealing with loss, abuse and the idea that it’s okay not to always fit in. Without giving anything away, the film takes a big turn at around at the halfway point, but it never recovers from that major twist. I enjoyed the performances in this film, including Naomi Watts, who plays a mother who would rather play video games than worry about finances and Jaeden Lieberher, who plays Henry, a kid, who at age twelve, is smarter than any adult he deals with.The biggest problem with this film is that it has a central character that is a genius but his solution isn't well thought out. Lee Pace, whom I love as an actor, is wasted in a too small part as the family’s doctor. I loved the first half of this film, but the second half is such a wreck of a film with a plot that just doesn’t make sense and a message that is just too messy to deliver.  My Rating:  Cable   The Book of Henry Website
Indiefest Dean  (2016)  PG-13  A New York illustrator, Dean (Demetri Martin) is still not over the death of his mother. To make matters worse, his love life is nonexistent, and his father (Kevin Kline) is thinking about selling the family home.  At a party, Dean meets Nicky (Gillian Jacobs), whom he clicks with right away. Learning Nicky is about to go back to L.A., he uses a business opportunity to follow her.  Will Dean’s history of bad luck end with Nicky? I loved this film! It’s got heart and a bit of heartbreak too. The whole cast is so much fun to watch, and Martin has marvelous chemistry with Jacobs, both playing off each other with great comedic timing. Their ‘meet cute’ is priceless and humorous. Kevin Kline gives a very understated but beautiful performance as Dean’s dad, who is ready to move on with his life. Mary Steenburgen is delightful as the real estate agent who keeps figuring out ways to meet up with Dean’s father. Demetri Martin does all the illustrations that his character draws, and they are flat out funny. It’s an unconventional story about trying to get over a loss in the best way you can. You won’t be sorry if you take the trip out west with Dean in his pursuit of love.  My Rating:  Full Price   Dean Website
Indiefest:  Wakefield  (2017)   R  Howard (Bryan Cranston) suffers a nervous breakdown, which causes him to leave his wife (Jennifer Garner) without telling her and living for months in their attic while she believes that he has been abducted or worse, is dead. This is a strange but enjoyable film about a man who decides to go off the grid and observe his family from the garage attic to see how they deal with him no longer around. The film is told through the eyes of Howard, who observes not only his family, but the neighborhood from his perch in the attic. He reflects on his life, mostly through flashbacks, as he evaluates his relationship with his kids and his wife. This film is part black comedy and part drama that takes on subjects like materialism, infidelity, the hard work of marriage and how we treat the homeless. While it’s Cranston’s movie (he’s in every scene), I loved the performance of Jennifer Garner, whose role is seen through Howard’s eyes and often times from afar. Garner gives a powerful performance that centers the film and gives it a shot of reality when it’s needed. This isn’t a movie for everyone, and some will find it a bit maddening or confusing, but I enjoyed the experience of hanging out with Howard in the attic.  My Rating:  Full Price   Wakefield Info   
Indiefest:  Past Life  (2016)  Nana (Nelly Tagar) and Sephi (Joy Reiger) are two very different sisters living in Israel in the 1970’s. Nana is a fiery writer who is fast with sharing her opinion. Sephi is a singer who is going to school to try and become a composer in the man-dominated field. On a chance encounter, Sephi is confronted by a woman who accuses her father (Doron Tavory) with murder.  Now the two sisters are determined to find out what happened to her father during World War II. This is a moving tale of sibling rivalry, a past that could destroy a family and the determination of Sephi to find the truth, while she struggles to survive in an environment that is trying to get her to quit her dreams. Both Tagar and Reiger give powerful, multilayered performances as Tagar is always bringing her anger to the forefront and Reiger, giving her character a quiet restraint. The storyline has plenty of twists and turns, which keeps you riveted to your seat until the end.   My Rating:  Full Price   Past Life Website
Forgotten FilmThe Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!  (1966)  A Russian sub has run aground off the New England coast.  The Russians come ashore to find a small town that is ready to take them on, if only they knew how. This comedy by Norman Jewison is a reflection of the Cold War that was at its height in 1966. The film was nominated for four Oscars and has a brilliant cast including Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin, Brian Keith, Jonathan Winters, and  Richard Shaal. While the film is a little dated, it’s still funny as heck.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Book of Henry:  Rube Goldberg Machine Creator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:    Dunkirk   (2017)  PG-13  Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and make one of the greatest evacuations in the history of warfare. Christopher Nolan directs this film, and the trailer looks astounding.   Dunkirk Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Mummy

My ViewThe Mummy  (2017)  PG-13  An ancient Egyptian princess, whose destiny was unjustly taken from her, is awakened from her crypt. Now she seeks revenge on mankind. This movie is the first in what Universal Studios calls its “Dark Universe” (think the Marvel Universe for monsters). Universal Studios is known for its classic horror films like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Universal has scared generations by creating truly horrific characters in their classic monsters. The big problem with this Mummy reboot is it isn’t scary but feels more like a weird edition of Mission Impossible, including a scene with a plane that seems to take five minutes to crash. In fact you could call this film Mission Impossible with Sand. In a bit of a gender swap, this story is about a princess who has been wronged and seeks revenge. She finds Cruise’s character and decides he is the perfect beloved to help her evil plan. The problem is we don’t care about any of these characters, as producers give us almost no backstory. Cruise looks a little lost in portraying the pursued one (instead of his usual suave ladies’ man). Finally, the main character’s chief weapon is she uses sex to drain the life out of her victims and then make them zombie-like slaves. The use of sex as a weapon just seems wrong.  I don’t remember the classic mummy characters doing that; they just killed people. This is a film that is filled with so much CGI (special effects) that it becomes boring. The few attempts at humor (much needed in this movie) are shallow and don’t work. This is a very shaky start to Universal Studios’ plan to start a franchise. Hey, here’s a clue:  make your horror films scary. By the way, the film was not shot in 3-D and doesn’t have any post credit scenes.  My Rating: Cable   The Mummy Website
My ViewMegan Leavey  (2017)  PG-13  Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) is a troubled soul who has lost her best friend. She decides to join the Marines and become a bomb-sniffing dog handler. The bond she develops with her dog allows her to save many Marines’ lives on more than 100 missions. I loved this film about a woman who has no purpose in life until she meets a dog named, Rex, who teaches her how to love. This is Kate Mara’s finest performance, and it’s a brilliant one. Touching and heartwarming, she gives us a woman who fights for her best friend, her dog.  The story is a true one, and that makes the film even more poignant and moving. Skip the recent superhero films and see a movie about two real life heroes.  My Rating: Full Price   Megan Leavey Info
IndiefestIt Comes at Night  (2017)  R  A family lives in the isolated woods as the world is engulfed in a breakout of some deadly plague. Now their family is threatened when a young family arrives at the home wanting refuge.  While not a true horror film, this movie has plenty of scary moments that keep the tension building and nerves frazzled.  We never learn what has created this plague or how it has affected other parts of the country, but that doesn’t matter because it has completely engulfed the daily life of this family. This is a film that, at its root, is about only trusting your family, how far you will go to defend them, not letting the outside world in and finally suffering the consequences when you leave your heart to rule by your head. My only quibble with this film is I would have ended it about two minutes early, but that is minor compared to the brilliance of this film. Big Hollywood blockbusters should learn a lesson: you don’t need a huge budget to make a great movie.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   It Comes at Night Website
IndiefestParis Can Wait  (2017)  PG  The wife (Diane Lane) of a successful movie producer takes a car trip from the south of France to Paris with one of her husband’s associates (Arnaud Viard ). To say that they are going to take the scenic route would be an understatement. If you are a foodie, this is the film for you. The couple takes a leisurely trip through France, centering their journey on the fine cuisine of the country.  Lane’s character loves food, so much so, that she takes endless pictures of her plates, and we see the results (some of which could grace the cover of Bon Appetit magazine). Lane and Viard play off each other extremely well, and there is quite a bit of sexual tension between the two that keeps building to the very end. The scenery is beautiful, and the food looks almost too beautiful to eat. If you want to imagine eating your way across France, this film isn’t a bad way to go.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Paris Can Wait Website
Indiefest:  I, Daniel Blake  (2016)  R  Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a 59-year-old man who has a heart attack at work. He is now caught in the system as his doctor tells him not to work, but the government says that he is fit to do so.  Take an exceptional performance by Dave Johns, add in a script that is moving and full of empathy, with just a bit of wit and wisdom, and you get a film that will fill you with multiple emotions. It’s a film that is filled with controversy, and it will make you mad how someone can fall through the cracks but still keep his humanity. You may want to scream at times because of the indignity that this man goes through, but it’s tears in the end that will fill your soul.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   I, Daniel Blake Website
IndiefestThe Hunter’s Prayer  (2017) R   Lucas (Sam Worthington) is an assassin hired to do a hit on a young woman, Ella (Odeya Rush). When he can’t pull the trigger, the two join forces to get away from the people who want them dead.  We know that Sam Worthington can do action pictures, and he does yeoman's work in this film as a hit man with a big secret. I like the chemistry between Worthington and Rush, as they work well on screen together.  The problem with the film is the very simplistic plot that never gives us the twist that we need. Everything that happens is predictable which makes the action sequences a little annoying. It would have been interesting to see what the two leads could have done with a more complicated script. If you are into action films, this film might fit the bill, but anyone wanting a little more plot is going to find the movie lacking.  My Rating:  Cable   The Hunter's Prayer Info
Forgotten FilmSet it Off  (1996)  R   Four inner-city women (Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise) have come to their wits end and decide robbing a bank will solve at least some of their problems.  Little do they know that their problems have just started.  There are plenty of shoot-outs and car chases for the action film fan to like, but what makes this film work is the well-rounded characters.  We get to know these women and why, in their desperation, they would turn to robbing banks. My favorite part of the film is when the four women are sitting around the table and start doing a scene from The Godfather. Yes, this is a bank heist film, but it’s a bank heist film with heart.  My Rating:  Full Price    Set It Off Info   

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Mummy:  Dunes Assistant Location Manager

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Big Sick  (2017)  R  A couple (Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan) think they are perfect for each other, but just about everyone else thinks otherwise.  This film was the talk of SXSW and is being compared to Little Miss Sunshine and The Way, Way Back in its feel and look.    The Big Sick Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Wonder Woman

My ViewWonder Woman (2017)  PG-13  Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, Princess of the Amazons and a trained warrior. When a pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes his plane on the Amazons island, he tells Diana about a war that is going to end all wars.  Diana decides to go with Steve to help defend liberty.  Wow, we finally have a DC film that gets it right. All it took was a woman director with a story about a female superhero. What has been severely lacking in the DC universe has been a lack of humor in their films (something Marvel excels at). Due to incredible chemistry and timing of the two principles (Gadot and Pine), this movie works. I loved the fight scenes, and we already knew from her appearance in Batman v. Superman, that Gal Gadot can do action sequences.  The first big fight sequence is a spectacular example of choreography and directing, with Amazon warriors flying off of massive cliffs while shooting arrows at their enemy.  This big, dramatic action movie is meant to be seen on the big screen, but it was not shot in 3-D, so save a few bucks.  There is no bonus scene in the closing credits.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Wonder Woman Website
Family FaireCaptain Underpants: The First Epic Movie  (2017)  PG   When two school pranksters (Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch) are threatened by the Principal (Ed Helms) to be sent to separate rooms, the boys use a magic ring to hypnotize the Principal and turn him into the superhero Captain Underpants. I loved the first half of the movie, with the friendship of the two boys being the center of the film and they creatively use three types of animation. My problem with this movie, though, is it starts to go downhill when they introduce the bad guy, Professor Poopypants (Nick Kroll), whom I found very annoying and one dimensional.  From talking to kids at my screening, the film does an excellent job of making the characters of the book series come alive. This is another one of those family films that kids will love, and parents will be very bored.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Website
Indiefest Obit  (2017)  A look at the staff obituary writers at the New York Times, having, to sum up, a life in a 500-word article.  Obit is a fascinating film about one of the last newspaper obituary staffs. The writers of the obituaries often have to do research, question loved ones of the deceased and write a story in a matter of hours.  What I adore about this movie is you get to hear the stories behind the writing of the obituary, why the writers write what they write, how they pick the pictures they use, what the writers leave out, and whom they talked to. Some of the obits in the film are about very famous people, and then others are about equally interesting people who are not well known.   My Rating:  Full Price   Obit Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)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
Forgotten FilmTop Five  (2014) R  It’s sad that this film only made 25 million at the box office (it got lost on a weekend that Wild got released). This amusing and touching film is about a comedian (Chris Rock) who is trying to make it as a serious actor. His fiancée (Gabrielle Union) convinces him to allow their wedding to be broadcast on her reality TV show. Everything is going well until a reporter (Rosario Dawson) shows up to do an interview that just may change his life. I loved this witty, sometimes raunchy comedy written and directed by Chris Rock. The film, while very funny, also has a lot of heart.  There is great chemistry between Dawson (in one of her best performances) and Rock. The film also looks at what it’s like to be successful and still have doubts about your life and your career.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Top Five Facebook Page 

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Wonder Woman:  The filmmakers would like to thank Linda Carter.

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Mountain Between Us  (2017)   Two people (Idris Elba, Kate Winslet) are in a small plane that crashes on the side of a remote snow-covered mountain. These two strangers must now come together to survive a perilous journey across miles of wilderness. Two incredibly gifted actors and a trailer that looks stunning makes me wish this film was coming out today and not in months.   The Mountain Between Us Info

Until Next Time!