Friday, July 28, 2017

Atomic Blonde

My View:  Atomic Blonde  (2017) R  The Berlin Wall is about to fall, and Lorraine (Charlize Theron), an undercover MI6 agent, is sent to the Communist side to find a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents. This film is a blast to watch. It has some of the best fight sequences I have ever seen, and, while the plot is slim, it has plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. Theron is stunning as the spy who can kick butt with the best of them. What I loved about this film is that Theron’s character isn’t a superhero - she can fight and fight well, but she also gets the crap beat out of her. There is a great fight sequence where Lorraine and the guy she is battling both can barely stand due to the beating that they have given each other. I love that Charlize Theron did 95 percent of the fighting in this movie, and it shows. The soundtrack for this film is outstanding and I loved the use of color in the film which adds to the overall mood.    My Rating:  Full Price   Atomic Blonde Website
IndiefestA Ghost Story  (2017) R   A recently deceased man (Casey Affleck) remains in his home and tries to reconnect with his bereft wife (Rooney Mara).  Let me first warn you that this is not a scary movie. The only scary thing about this film is the stupid plot of this movie. A Ghost Story is a film that some film critics are going to love due to the chances it takes, but I am going to tell you that I hated it. This is a film where the main character dies early in the film and, then for the remaining, he wears a sheet with two eye wholes cut out (like a cheap Halloween costume), barely moves and doesn’t say a thing. There is a nine-minute sequence where Rooney Mara sits on the floor and eats a whole pie.  So if pie eating and seeing a guy walk around in a ghost costume is your thing, then you will enjoy it when the spirit travels back in time and sees a pioneer family gets massacred by Indians.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again    A Ghost Story Website
My ViewDetroit  (2017) R  Set in 1960’s Detroit, during the chaos of the Detroit Rebellion, the city is under crew, and the National Guard patrols the streets. Three young black men are murdered in the Algiers Motel, and Detroit will never be the same.  The first two-thirds of this movie, which is the lead up to the event and then the death of three young men and the beating of others, is moving, shocking and brutal to watch. It’s some of the best filmmaking I have seen in a long time. Unfortunately, the last third of the film is the aftermath, which I feel would have been better served and had more impact if it has just been explained with some title cards. The whole cast does an outstanding job with stellar acting roles by John Boyega, who plays a security guard who gets caught up in the incident and Will Poulter, who plays a racist cop and the instigator of the beatings and deaths. The tension in the first two-thirds of the film builds to almost an unbearable peak as you know what is going to happen but hope against hope that it won’t. That’s why I don’t like the last third of the film; I feel that most of the scenes in that portion of the film were predictable, and we didn’t need to see it.  Overall, this is a film that needs to be seen.   My Rating: Full Price   Detroit Website
IndiefestLady MacBeth  (2016)  R  Set in 19th century rural England, Katherine (Florence Pugh) marries a man (Paul Hilton) much older than she. It’s a loveless marriage, and Katherine’s attention is soon drawn to a common worker, Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis). When Katherine relets to the temptation, a path that may destroy everything and anyone is set into motion.  Florence Pugh is outstanding as the fiery Katharine, who is willing to do anything to keep her lover Sebastian safe. Pugh plays a very unlikeable character that, against our better judgment, we still root for. Hers is a brave and chilling performance that makes this film worth watching. There are some pacing problems with the film as director William Oldroyd has a tendency to stay on single takes a little too long, and he seems to fall back too many times on close-ups of Pugh.  Overall it’s an interesting view into just how far someone will go to get what they want.  My Rating:  Full Price    Lady Macbeth Website
IndiefestLandline  (2017)  R  For the first time in her life, older sister Dana (Jenny Slate), recently engaged and struggling with her own fidelity, bonds with her wild teenage sister Ali (Abby Quinn) after the two sisters suspect their father (John Turturro) is having an affair. The two try and discover the truth without letting their mother (Eddie Falco) know. There is a big problem with this film, no matter how much I love Jenny Slate (she should be in every ‘rom-com’ that is made from now on), her character, Dana isn’t likable. Dana makes one mistake after another (if you can call cheating on her fiancé just a mistake) and never seems to learn from them.  It’s as if co-writer/director Gillian Robespierre thought that because Slate, the actress, is cute and adorable, that we would find Dana cute and adorable, but, in reality, we never can get behind anything that she does. I did like Abby Quinn who is marvelous and fascinating as the high strung little sister. The plot seems a little disjointed, trying to cover too much instead of focusing on the problems of Dana and Ben. The film is funny at times and occasionally heartbreaking, but I wanted more heart. I was disappointed in this film. It comes from the same team that gave us the brilliant Obvious Child and has a cast that most films could only dream of, but this film never quite comes together making it seem incomplete.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Landline Website
My ViewThe Last Face (2017)  R  Set in war-torn Liberia, Dr. Wren Petersen (Charlize Theron) and Dr. Miguel Leon ( Javier Bardem) start a relationship in difficult conditions.  They both want to help the people of Liberia but have different ideas on how to do that. “Are you a playboy?” “I’m playing anything Wren.” That’s just one of the many badly written lines in this film. You know Charlize’s character cares a lot because she is always crying. The two star-crossed lovers spend a whole lot of time watching each other and talking to each other in whispered tones that’s meant to be romantic but just seems rather selfish. It’s too bad that this movie decides to focus on their relationship and not the refugees whom they are supposed to be treating. This is a movie about 1st world problems in a 3rd world country. “It is not until you can’t leave that you will know.” Know what, I’m not sure because this film sure doesn’t know.   My Rating: Cable   The Last Face Website
Indiefest:  13 Minutes  (2017)  R  A man (Christian Friedel), is arrested on the Swiss border for possession of suspicious objects, and just minutes later a bomb goes off in Munich, killing eight people. Just 13 minutes before Hitler had been giving a speech at the very lectern that the bomb was planted in. This is a fascinating film based on a true story of a man whose world changes for the worse, and he can see no other option than to kill the man that is responsible for his beloved Germany to go in the wrong direction. Friedel gives a powerful performance of a man who used to be carefree and quite the playboy but as the years in Germany give way to Nazi crackdowns, he slowly loses everything he finds dear, including friends and family. A bit of a warning, the Nazi’s, including an SS honcho named Heinrich Müller (Johann von Bülow) and police chief Arthur Nebe (Burghart Klaußner) will do just about anything to get a full confession and the torture scenes are graphic and hard to watch. Overall, it’s an interesting film about a man and a country on a crash course, one that little known.   My Rating: Full Price   13 Minutes Facebook Page
Forgotten FilmLove with the Proper Stranger  (1963)  Angie (Natalie Wood) is an innocent Italian Catholic Macy’s salesgirl, who has a one night stand with Rocky (Steve McQueen).  Angie discovers that she is pregnant and, after hunting down Rocky, they have to decide what they are going to do next. This is a rather unconventional love story (especially for the early 60’s because abortion is one of their options) that has two stars at the height of their carriers. Wood and McQueen have great chemistry on screen, and, that alone makes this film worth watching.  My Take:  Full Price   Love with the Proper Stranger Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Atomic Blonde:  Water Supply Operator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Patti Cake$  (2017)  An aspiring rapper (Danielle Macdonald). who goes by the name Patti Cake$, is fighting for her place in the entertainment world from her downtrodden hometown in New Jersey.  The film was the talk of SXSW and won the Screenwriting Award at the 2017 Nantucket Film Festival.   Pattie Cake$ Info
Until Nest Time!


Friday, July 21, 2017


My ViewDunkirk  (2017)  PG-13  Allied soldiers from Britain, Belgium, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army on the beaches of Dunkirk. Now, one of the largest evacuations will take place. This is an incredible motion picture experience…a feast for both eyes and ears. The film follows three aspects of the evacuation; from the land, from the air, and from the sea. We follow two soldiers trying to get off the beach by any means necessary. We follow a father and son as they pilot their small ship from Britain to Dunkirk. The air is represented by an RAF pilot who is trying to fight off the Luftwaffe and keep the men on the beach alive. The visuals of this film are stunning. Director Christopher Nolan used IMAX cameras for almost seventy-five percent of the movie, and the detail is astonishing. The battle sequences are brilliant and keep you on your edge of your seat. The score by Hans Zimmer is one of the best I’ve ever experienced and keeps the tension at a high level. The score is  important as portions of the film don’t have any dialogue. This is one of the best films of the year and is meant to be seen on the big screen.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Dunkirk Website
My ViewValerian and the City of a Thousand Planets  (2017) PG-13  A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast space station and home to species from a thousand planets. Special Ops Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are sent to find out what is happening to the space station and fix it. The film is beautiful, and the special effects are dazzling, but the storyline is slow and confusing. The film ends up being a little annoying. I just didn’t care about the very shallow and un-complex characters. Fans of the comics are going to be disappointed because the film doesn’t come close to capturing the spirit of those stories and varies off so far that you might not even recognize the main characters. I don’t think there is enough fun in the script to keep people coming back to this film like they did with director Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Website
IndiefestThe B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography  (2016)  R  Documentary about the life and work of photographer Elsa Dorfman. The subject of the film is a very colorful woman who has spent most of her life taking portraits on a giant 20x24 Polaroid camera. For those of you who aren’t old enough to know, Polaroid made cameras could instantly print a photograph, and the camera that Elsa uses is huge and prints beautiful photographs in large format. The problem with this film is most of it is spent on Elsa finding an old photograph and telling us about it while she holds it for the camera. This causes the film to drag once the novelty of the photograph wears off. It’s an interesting subject; it just should have been a shorter film.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   The B-Side Info
Indiefest:  Band Aid  (2017)  Ben (Adam Pally) and Anna (Zoe Lister-Jones) are a couple in trouble. They fight about everything, and the only time they seem ok is when they both are high. They are at the end of their rope until they discover that they can make songs up about their fights. Could it be through their songs that they can reconnect and find the love they once had?  I enjoyed this film because the characters are complex and real. This film is part comedy, part drama with a bit of a musical thrown in. Writer/director Lister-Jones (who also co-wrote the songs) is a delight to watch, and her chemistry is outstanding with Pally. Both characters are haunted by their failures, not only because of the miscarriage but also because their professional lives have not come even close to where they thought they would be. This is a couple who isn’t connecting anymore, and it’s bringing down their marriage. Only when they start creating music, do they reconnect and find the love that was always there. They just need a way to let go of the past and look to the future, one filled with song. My Rating:  Full Price    Band Aid Website
Forgotten FilmMikey and Nicky  (1976) R   In Philadelphia, a small time bookie, Mikey (Peter Falk), steals Mob money and is in hiding. A hitman is on his trail, and it’s up to his good friend, Nicky (John Cassavetes), to help his buddy escape from the hitman. I liked this movie because of its use of natural sound, so you get a real feel of the city. Falk and Cassavetes play off each other, and it’s fun to see the two up on screen together. This isn’t a great film but a fun one to watch.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Mikey and Nicky Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Dunkirk: Weird Music Instruments

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Trip to Spain  (2017)  Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on a trip to Spain, sampling local cuisine and trying to one up each other by doing impressions of famous people. From the same people who gave us The Trip (2010) and The Trip to Italy (2014).   The Trip to Spain Website
                                                             Until Next Time!

Friday, July 14, 2017

War for the Planet of the Apes

My View:  War for the Planet of the Apes  (2017)  PG-13  Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are at war with the humans. After suffering heavy losses, Caesar decides to find the man who is responsible for the suffering, The Colonel (Woody Harrelson), and get his revenge.  I have enjoyed this trilogy, and this is the best of the three. If Andy Serkis doesn’t get an Oscar nomination, I will be shocked. It’s a truly spectacular performance and a moving one. Woody Harrelson is fascinating as the villain of the film, an evil man who wants to destroy the apes. The film moves at such a pace that it seems the action doesn’t stop. And, you will fall in love with the chimpanzee named, Bad Ape (played by Steve Zahn).  Don’t monkey around and miss this film. It’s one of the best of the summer and the year!  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again    War for the Planet of the Apes Website
My ViewWish Upon  (2017)  PG-13  Clare (Joey King) is given a mysterious music box. She is surprised to find her every wish coming true, but soon she learns that there is a price for each wish. Wish Upon is an annoying horror movie where the deaths are right out of the ‘Final Destination’ series. Joey King is horrible as the teen who causes many deaths due to her wishing, but it takes almost the whole movie to realize that she is the reason for those deaths.  The film isn’t scary, and all of the dying is predictable. The biggest problem with this movie is that you just don’t care about anyone in the film. Almost everyone, including the lead character, is a jerk. Be sure and look quickly for the un-credited role by Jerry O’Connell. If I had a wishing music box, I would wish that I had never seen this film. If you do go see this movie, stay through the first set of credits, as there is a bonus scene.    My Rating:  Cable    Wish Upon Website
Indiefest Maudie (2016)  PG-13  An arthritic Nova Scotia woman, Maude (Sally Hawkins), works as a housekeeper while she practices her artwork and becomes a beloved figure in the community.  Sally Hawkins gives a powerful and moving performance of a unique woman who, despite her disabilities, became a nationally known artist. Ethan Hawke plays Everett, Maude’s employer, a man who is set in his ways and doesn’t give in to anyone, that is until he has been around Maude. This is a love story, not just between Maude and Everett, but also about Maude’s consuming passion for painting. This is a beautifully shot film that focuses on how Maude sees the world, through the eyes of a painter.  My Rating: Full Price   Maudie Website
IndiefestThe Little Hours  (2017)  R   A young servant (Dave Franco) flees his master and takes refuge at a convent full of emotionally unstable nuns in the Middle Ages.  From the beginning of the movie when the two nuns shout obscenities at the gardener for looking at them, you know that we're not watching an ordinary movie about nuns in the 14th century. The language and actions of the inhabitants of this movie are more like a sitcom on HBO. The language is modern, bawdy and often vulgar with the dialogue mostly improvised. The characters seem to want to sleep with as many people as they can, and they do. The Little Hours is a comedy that pushes the boundaries, like a Monty Python film for 2017. Like Python, the comedy doesn't always work, but don't worry, there will be something new and hilarious right around the corner.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Little Hours Website
Indiefest:  Chasing Coral  (2017)  A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out to discover why the world’s coral reefs are vanishing.  This film is relentless and unforgiving in trying to portray that the cause of the world’s reefs dying at an unprecedented level is due to global warming. This movie works, not just because of its stunning cinematography but also because of two of the stars of the film.  One is a former advertising executive who has made it his mission to save the coral reefs and another is a young “coral junkie” whose passion for the reefs drives him to do very tiring and sometimes dangerous work underwater. I will warn you that parts of this film are tough and emotional to watch. It’s saddening when you see the vast areas of coral reefs that have died and turned an ugly brown.   My Rating: Full Price  The film does not have a theatrical run but can be found on Netflix.   Chasing Coral Website
Indiefest:  To the Bone  (2017)  Ellen (Lily Collins) is a 20-year-old anorexic woman who has spent her teenage years trying to beat her disease through what seems like a million programs without much success.  Her family sends her to a group home for youths, where an unconventional doctor (Keanu Reeves) and the home seem to finally offer a solution. Now, Ellen must do the hard work to make it happen. I wanted to love this film, but I only liked it. I never quite got connected to the lead character, so it was hard to root for her. It’s a heartfelt movie with some moving scenes, but the plot goes for some easy outs in a film that should have had a harder tone to it. I enjoyed Lily Collins performance and especially enjoyed Alex Sharp’s performance as a former dancer who suffered and knee injury and is trying to lick anorexia. I think people that have dealt with eating disorders will enjoy this film, but for others, it will fall a little flat.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The film does not have a theatrical run but can be found on Netflix.    To the Bone Website
Forgotten FilmRead My Lips  (2001)  This French thriller is about a woman, Carla (Emmanuelle Devos),  who is almost deaf but can lip-read. She gets involved with an ex-con (Vincent Cassel). I can’t give away much of the plot which is full of twists and turns, most of which you won’t see coming. I will tell you that Carla’s ability to lip-read is crucial to the plot. This very original film is a lesson about the need to connect to another person and how those connections or dis-connections can affect your life.   My Rating:  Full Price   Read My Lips Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Wish Upon:  Swamper

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouWind River  (2017)  An FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) teams with a town’s best game tracker (Jeremy Renner), with deep community ties and a haunted past, to track down a killer on a remote Native American Reservation.  Hey, I’ll see anything with Elizabeth Olsen in it. She is one of our best young actors out there.   Wind River Facebook Page
Until Next Time!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

My View:  Spider-Man: Homecoming  (2017)   PG-13  Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker (Tom Holand) is mentored by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). Peter is trying to balance his high school life with his spidey life. Now, a new threat, the Vulture (Michael Keaton), is on the scene, and Peter is determined to bring him down, without the help of Ironman.  I think this is the best Spider-Man movie of all time. It’s funny, has great action sequences, Michael Keaton is a superb villain, and Tom Holland is perfect in the part. Add a few appearances by Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau, and you get a fun ride. The plot has plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested and guessing about what happens next. What I love is that this isn’t a re-telling of the Peter Parker/Spider-Man story, but an all new adventure that fits in with the rest of the Marvel Universe.  You will want to see this film again, not just because the movie is a blast to watch, but because there are times you are laughing so hard you don’t hear the next line.  And, be sure to stay through all the credits as there are two bonus scenes.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Spider-Man Homecoming Website
My View: The Big Sick  (2017)  R  Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) is dating Emily (Zoe Kazan), much to the dismay of his traditional Pakistani Muslim family. Now a crisis will test their love.  Based on his life, writer/star Kumail Nanjiani and his wife in real life, Emily V. Gordon, along with director Michael Showalter, have brought us a brilliant film that is part romantic comedy and part serious drama. The film doesn’t feel its 2-hour length, mostly because the laughs keep coming. There are a few behind the scenes at the comedy club that could have been cut, but even then I didn’t mind them because there was usually a joke or two told, mostly at the expense of one of the fellow comics. There are some serious moments in this film, and they are dealt with a loving touch, though always humor is just around the corner waiting until it’s time to break the tension. The Big Sick is one of those great date films, one that has something for everyone.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   The Big Sick Website
IndiefestThe Journey  (2017)  PG-13  Two implacable enemies in Northern Ireland, Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall) and Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney), are forced to take a journey together, and it just might change history. Director Nick Hamm gives us a fictional account (though based on actual events) on how two men from seemingly impossible odds put away their profound felt differences to broker peace that seems so far from their grasp. Hamm uses a ride to an airport together to let us get to know the two men and how deeply held their beliefs are. Both Timothy Spall and Colin Meaney give exceptional and stellar performances. Meaney has to work hard in his performance as his character is the one trying to break through the icy exterior of Spall's character, trying everything from jokes to stories to get to the man. While the film stalls, at times, the performances of Colin Meaney and Timothy Spall bring home just how hard it is to create lasting peace, but understanding the other side makes it possible. The Journey is a film that you will want board and take.   My Rating: Full Price   The Journey Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD/Blu-ray)The 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 own a small zoo in downtown Warsaw. When the Nazis took over, Antonina and Jan save 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 movie 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 have the courage to step up and help their fellow man.  I just wish this film was as powerful as Chastain’s acting.   My Rating: Full Price    The Zookeeper's Wife Website
Forgotten Movie Go  (1999)  R  Three stories intertwine over the course of 24 hours during Christmas.  All the stories are connected to a drug dealer (Timothy Olyphant), and the three stories converge at an all-night rave.  This movie goes all over the place, part comedy, and part drama. The cast is the reason to watch this strange film. Katie Holmes, Scott Wolf, Jay Mohr, William Fichtner and the brilliant Sarah Polley make this movie so much to watch.  My Rating:  Bargain Matinee   Go Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Spider-Man: Homecoming:  Water Truck Driver

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouAtomic Blonde  (2017)  R  The Berlin Wall is about to fall, and Lorraine (Charlize Theron), an undercover MI6 agent, is sent to the Communist side to find a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.  Charlize Theron as a James Bond-like kickass spy?  I’m in!   Atomic Blonde Website
Until Next Time!