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!

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