My View: Thank You For Your Service (2017) R A three U.S. soldiers (Miles Teller, Joe Cole, Beulah Koale) return home after serving in Iraq. They all struggle to integrate back into civilian life. This is an earnest telling of the story of three damaged soldiers trying to find help to cope with the damage that the war did on their bodies and the psyche. Teller gives a compelling performance as a man, Adam Schuman, who was counted on his men to look out for them in the field and is struggling to do the same now that they are back home. I enjoyed the performance of Haley Bennett, the wife of Adam, who tries as hard as she can to try and understand what her husband is going through. The film has a been there/done that feel to it, mostly because writer/director Jason Hall wrote the Clint Eastwood directed American Sniper, which also dealt with a soldier trying to cope with what he had been through as a sniper. Overall, it’s a film filled with outstanding performances that just never delivers the emotional punch that the film needs. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Thank You For Your Service Website
My View: Suburbicon (2017) R Gardiner (Matt Damon) lives in a quiet family town. The problem is that Gardiner has a secret, he owes money to the mob, and the mob is willing to destroy his family to get what he owes. Gardiner will have to defend his family, and it will be costly. This film isn’t funny enough to be a black comedy and not smart enough to be a satire. This is the combination of two scripts, one written by the Coen brothers and one written by George Clooney and Grant Hesllov. Because of that, there are two main stories; the one story involving Gardiner’s family being threatened by the mob and the other story is about a black family moving into a neighborhood that doesn’t want them there. The two stories are so different in tone that it pulls the whole film down into a sloppy mess. The only time this film shows any life is when Oscar Isaac appears as an insurance investigator, but as soon as he leaves, the film goes downhill quickly. If Clooney had stayed with the Coen script, the film might have worked but by adding the second story to make a statement about racial intolerance just doesn’t work. My Rating: Cable Suburbicon Website
My View: All I See is You (2016) R A blind woman, Gina (Blake Lively) regains her sight and discovers that her husband, James (Jason Clarke) has been hiding some secrets that could destroy their relationship. This is a story about the dynamics of a relationship. When Gina, who has been blind since being in a car accident when she was young, regains her sight in one eye, she is no longer dependent on her husband, and this causes a rift between the two of them. I got very tired of seeing the point of view of Gina, both when she couldn’t see anything other than blurry shapes, and when she regains her sight, showing us her slightly off view. The film’s trailer makes the film look very different than it is as this movie is a drama about changing relationships. I would like to see Blake Lively in a film that gives her more to do than this film does. My Rating: Bargain Matinee All Is See Is You Website
Indiefest: Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) PG A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) has returned from WW I to his wife (Margot Robbie) but is suffering from PTSD. After the birth of his son, Christopher Robin, he moves his family to the country. There, as he interacts with Christopher, a book idea springs up. That book would become the beloved Winnie the Pooh. This film only works when Christopher Robin and his dad are out in the woods playing. The rest of the film is a depressing view a very dysfunctional family that exploits a child for fame and money. The film never finds its voice and Will Tilston, as the eight-year-old Christopher Robin isn’t up to the spotlight shining on him, with a performance that is one dimensional. I don’t think fans of "Winnie the Pooh" are going to be happy with this very un-Pooh like film. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Goodbye Christopher Robin Website
Indiefest: The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) R Steven (Colin Farrell) is married to Anna (Nicole Kidman) and live in a nice house with their two children. After Steven begins mentoring a young man, Martin (Barry Keoghan), things start going horribly wrong that will threaten Steven and his family. I am sure there will be lots of critics that will love this strange and monotonous film, but I am not one of them. I found the film unsettling, which I am sure the filmmaker wanted me to feel that, but I also felt boredom, not something the filmmaker intended. We are supposed to believe that Steven’s family is happy and that they love each other, but by giving them dialogue that is short and tone deaf, it makes it seem that the family is more robotic than loving. There is absolutely no chemistry between Kidman and Farrell, making their marriage look ready for a divorce. I will say that Barry Keoghan as Martin gives a creepy but powerful performance as the strange and troubled Martin. If you liked (or loved) 2015 film The Lobster which was also written and directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, then you will probably like this movie. If you didn’t, or you like films that make sense, then stay away from this film. My Rating: Cable The Killing of a Sacred Deer Website
Indiefest: 78/52 (2017) Documentary on the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), a sequence so terrifying and dramatic that it changed the bathing habits of a generation. Fascinating film that breakdowns in detail one of the most famous scenes of all time. What I love about this movie is they have people like director Guillermo del Toro or composer Danny Elfman watch the scene while the camera is rolling on them as they give their thoughts and reactions. I am a big fan of Hitchcock and have read quite a few books about him, and I still learned a bunch of things about the film. I especially enjoyed the interviews with Marli Renfro, who was the body double in the shower scene. She was there for the whole sequence of shooting and gives some valuable insight into what went into the film and why. Even if you aren’t a big fan of Hitchcock, you will enjoy this behind the scenes look at an iconic scene that will never be topped. My Rating: Full Price 78/52 Info
My View: Acts of Vengeance (2017) Criminal defense lawyer named Frank (Antonio Banderas) takes a vow of silence and goes on a mission to find the man responsible for killing his wife and child. This is an old fashion redemption/revenge film made better because, unlike a lot of this genre, the lead actor, Antonio Banderas can act. The film is aided by a stellar cast including Paz Vega, a nurse who helps him recover from a fight, Robert Forster, playing a grieving father, and Karl Urban, a police officer that shows Frank around the world of mixed martial arts. The action sequences are fun to watch, and if you are an MMA fan, you will enjoy the numerous fight scenes. It’s a simple story that knows what it is and accomplishes everything you would want in this type of film. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Act of Vengeance Info
Indiefest: Barracuda (2017) Sinaloa (Sophie Reid) comes to Texas to meet her half-sister (Allison Tolman) and stake a claim to the family musical legacy.
The film takes place in Austin, and it captures the look and feel of the quirky town. Allison Tolman gives an emotionally convincing performance of a woman who has to deal with someone who may or may not be her relative. Sophie Reid is dazzling as the talented singer who is a troubled soul looking for a family that she may never find. The two actresses work well with each, creating tension throughout the film. It’s a film you don’t want to miss. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Barracuda Website
Forgotten Film: Reds (1981) PG The story of John Reed (Warren Beatty), an American journalist that traveled the world to be a part of history. He was in Russia when communists revolted in Russia against the Czar, and then he tried and failed to bring communism to the United States. At the core of this epic film is a love story between John Reed and Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) taking place at a historical time. Beatty, who also wrote and directed the film, Beatty is brilliant as the man who wanted to change the world and Keaton is sparkling as the woman who wanted to be at his side while he attempted the impossible. The cinematography is beautiful and perfect matches the mood of the story. It’s a love story that is doomed from the start, but we are all the better for going on the ride. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Reds Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of All I See is You: Boar Wrangler
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Lady Bird (2017) The adventures of a young woman (Saoirse Ronan) living in Northern California for a year. I don’t know much about this film but that doesn’t matter, I see it because Greta Gerwig wrote and directed it. Lady Bird Website
Until Next Time!