Friday, October 27, 2017
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!
Friday, October 20, 2017
My View: Only the Brave (2017) PG-13 An elite crew of firefighters, named the Granite Mountain Hotshots, will risk everything to protect a town from an historic wildfire. This film is a fantastic true story about a group of firefighters who risk their lives to protect towns and their people from horrific fires. We get to know the firefighters and their families, and we experience the brotherhood of this group of men. The firefighting scenes are exciting and brilliantly done. There isn’t one bad performance in the bunch, and I loved the chemistry between Josh Brolin, who plays the supervisor of the firemen, and Jennifer Connelly, who plays his fiery but supportive wife. Miles Teller is perfectly cast as the down-and-out man who changes his life by joining the firefighters. Taylor Kitsch is brilliant as a team member who hates Miles Teller’s character at first but then becomes one of his best friends. Only the Brave is a inspiring drama about a group of men who would risk their lives for their brotherhood of firefighters. My Rating: Full Price Only the Brave Website
My View: The Snowman (2017) R Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) gets put on the case of a woman who has disappeared, and her pink scarf is wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman. Oh, man this is a bad movie. The film takes place in Norway, but some actors speak perfect English, one actor keeps his British accent, and Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons has an accent from God knows where. The film is titled, The Snowman, and the serial killer leaves snowmen as his calling card, but not once do the detectives mention the snowmen. Val Kilmer has a small but important part, but because he was battling cancer at the time of filming, he had a hard time speaking, so his lines were dubbed in making Kilmer's scenes seem a little unreal. The storyline is confusing and, at times, seems like something is missing. It’s as if the director didn’t film 15 percent of the script. Oh wait, that’s exactly what happened. Those missing scenes probably wouldn’t have helped this mess of a film. My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again The Snowman Website
Indiefest: Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017) PG-13 Mark Felt (Liam Neeson), the Deputy Associate Director of the F.B.I., is forced to become “Deep Throat,” the inside man who helped journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate scandal in 1974. First, if you don’t know much about Watergate, then you should watch All the President’s Men before seeing this film. This film has an all-star cast with Liam Neeson as Mark Felt, Diane Lane as his supportive wife, Kate Walsh, Michael C. Hall, Tom Sizemore, and Tony Goldwyn. The problem with this film is the script never creates any tension even though it deals with a story of a Presidency that was taken down due to Felt’s inside information. The film never gets up to speed, and we never go in depth into Mark Felt’s reasons why he gives out the info. Liam Neeson gives a solid performance as Felt, and Diane Lane is even better as the loyal wife who becomes bitter when Mark is passed over head of the F.B.I.. These performances, though, just can’t overcome a script that is incredibly dull. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Mark Felt Website
Indiefest: Breathe (2017) PG-13 The story of Diana (Claire Foy) and Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) whose life is shattered when, at age 28, Robin is paralyzed from the neck down by polio. Base on a true story, Breathe is an inspirational story of a man who refuses to be locked up In a hospital, tied to a respirator while wasting away. Due to his loving and hardworking wife and very inventive friends, Robin not only was able to go home, but he was able to travel around Europe, lecturing doctors on how to free their patients from a hospital bed. Foy and Garfield have marvelous chemistry together, and Garfield gives a moving performance. Excellent performances by the two leads are not enough to make this film more than just average as they were let down by a meandering script that never delivered the emotional impact the two characters and two actors deserved. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Breathe Website
Indiefest: The Florida Project (2017) R Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) lives in an extended stay hotel near Disney World with her mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite). It's going to be a long summer. This heartbreakingly beautiful film is a brilliant look at people living on the edge of homelessness. Brooklynn Prince as the fiery kid named, Moonee, is the best thing in this film. Her role is an intense and scintillating performance that will cause you to fall in love with her. Willem Dafoe gives a masterful performance as the downtrodden hotel manager who has to deal with a not so reliable client base. He portrays the manager as a man who feels bad for his guests but realizes that he still has a job to do. The Florida Project is not a glamorous film, and it’s quite sad most of the time showing us all the aspects of living with very little, but you will want to spend time with little Moonee and her gang. My Rating: Full Price The Florida Project Website
Indiefest: Lucky (2017) Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton) is a retired US Navy veteran who loves his rituals: his morning exercises, his walk into town, going to the diner to work on a crossword puzzle. Lucky senses that his time on Earth is almost up, and he must reassess his life and what he believes in. Harry Dean Stanton gives a magical performance that is sure to get an Academy Award nomination. He gives the film heart as he stumbles around his small town meeting his friends at the diner or at the neighborhood watering hole. The entire cast is splendid, especially David Lynch as a friend of Lucky’s whose best friend is a 100-year-old tortoise, Ed Begley Jr. as Lucky’s longtime doctor, and Tom Skerritt as a Marine vet who meets Lucky at the diner. The film lovingly treats Lucky as a treasured soul who loves his routine and his town. Lucky is a beautiful ode to a man who made the world a better place. It’s too bad there won't be more films with Harry Dean Stanton in them, but he couldn't have chosen a better swan song to go out on. We all feel lucky that Stanton could join us for one last walk to his town. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Lucky Website
Forgotten Film: Near Dark (1987) R Caleb (Adrian) is a young man living a dull life in a small town. When he meets a young drifter named Mae (Jenny Wright), he thinks his luck has changed, that is until he finds out she is a vampire. Caleb gets bit by her and is forced to join her gang of vampires that is led by the charismatic Jesse (Lance Henriksen). Now he is part of a group of vampires that is roaming the west, causing death and mayhem. This is a cross between a vampire film and a biker film and it works due to the brilliant cast and a unique storyline. A fun ride from start to finish is a must for anyone who likes a good vampire film. My Rating: Full Price Near Dark Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of Only the Brave: Tattoo Manufacturer
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Last Flag Flying (2017) R Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, Larry Shepherd (Steve Carell) reunites with his old buddies Sal (Bryan Cranston) and Richard (Laurence Fishburn). They go on a road trip to pick up the body of Larry’s son, who has died in the Iraq War. The funny and touching trailer makes this look like a movie that you won’t want to miss. Last Flag Flying Info
Until Next Time!
Friday, October 13, 2017
My View: Happy Death Day (2017) PG-13 A college student, Tree (Jessica Rothe), keeps reliving the day of her murder. As she relives the day over and over, she starts to figure out who killed her and how to stop them. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, which is rare for a slasher genre movie. The film has a sense of humor, making fun of the slasher device in films, as Tree is killed in about every way possible. The film has some twists and turns to keep you interested as Tree (yes that is what everyone calls her) tries to discover who the killer is. Jessica Rothe has a significant screen presence and has a knack for comedy, which helps the film feel light and fun. There are some scary moments; most of them the ‘jump out of the dark' variety but it’s the tongue in cheek humor that makes this film so much fun. It’s not a great film, but it’s enjoyable for its campy theme. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Happy Death Day Website
Indiefest: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017) An estranged family, two brothers and one sister gather in New York for an event celebrating their father, Harold (Dustin Hoffman), an opinionated sculptor. Danny (Adam Sandler), the oldest son, is a recently separated father whose daughter, Eliza (Grace Van Patten) is about to leave for college. Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), the troubled daughter, is an office manager, who has never gotten over her broken childhood caused by her parents' divorce. Matthew (Ben Stiller), the youngest son, is a highly successful money manager that moved to Los Angeles to get away from his family. Writer/director Noah Baumbach brings us a story about a rather strange family, led by the bullheaded and conceited father who feels he never got the success and recognition that his work deserved. Dustin Hoffman is phenomenal as the center of attention-hungry patriarch. Baumbach gives us almost non-stop dialogue where family members try to get their point in while Harold keeps talking about what he wants to chat about. Both Sandler, as the loving father and Ben Stiller, as the slick Matthew, are exceptional in their performances. While given a lesser role within the film, Elizabeth Marvel, still holds her own as the distressed Jean. Emma Thompson, as the alcoholic fourth wife of Harold, is simply superlative in the film. The film is told short stories, centering on each character of the family. This is a funny and moving film filled with eccentric, complex characters whose layers start peeling back before our eyes. My Rating: Full Price The Meyerowitz Stories Website
Weird Credits: From the credits of Happy Death Day: Mascot Mask Designed By
Until Next Time!
Friday, October 6, 2017
My View: Blade Runner 2049 (2017) R A new Blade Runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), discovers a dark secret that could bring an end to the human race. Along the way, he meets Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former Blade Runner who disappeared 30 years ago. First, let me say that you do need to have seen the first film for this film to make sense. It would also be helpful, but not necessary, to see the three short Blade Runner shorts that were recently produced. I think this is one of those rare occasions where the sequel is better the original movie. The film did not feel it’s two hours and forty minute length as the storyline is fast moving and complex, keeping you guessing until the very end. There isn’t a bad performance in this film but make no mistake that this is Gosling’s film as he is in almost every scene. I think this could be a big Oscar winner, as the film looks and sounds stunning and Gosling gives another brilliant performance. I loved this movie, and I highly recommend that you see this remarkable film on the biggest screen you can find. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Blade Runner 2049 Website
My View: The Mountain Between Us (2017) PG-13 After their small plane crashes in the mountains, two strangers (Idris Elba, Kate Winslet) must work together to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow-covered mountain.This is a strange movie which mixes genres of disaster films with romance films and doesn’t quite work. This is the story of two strangers who spend a lot of time thinking that they are going to die, and eventually fall in love, despite of their differences. Two of the best actors in the business, Idris Elba and Kate Winslet, make the film watchable until the end when it turns into a Hallmark of the week movie. If not for the ending I could probably recommend you seeing this but unless you are a big Elba or Winslet fan, I have to say it’s just not worth the time. My Rating: Cable The Mountain Between Us Website
FamilyFaire: My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) PG In order to stop a threat to Equestria, Twilight Sparkle and her friends Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Spike must travel to far-away places to save their home.This is exactly what you think it is, an sickly sweet film that only the very young will enjoy. I did appreciate a couple of the seven original songs in the film, including the credits song by Sia. The plot is simple, the animation is nothing out of the ordinary and it’s about a group of ponies, some of them unicorns that have names like Fluttershy. There is even a singing pony, played by Sia, called Songbird Serenade, so you just know what this film is about, ponies, butterflies and rainbows. Unfortunately, there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of this film, just more cutely named ponies. My Rating: Cable My Little Pony: The Movie Website
Indiefest: Loving Vincent (2017) PG-13 The complicated life and controversial death of one of history’s most celebrated artists, Vincent Van Gogh. This incredible film took six years and used over 125 artists to animate this film using oil paints and over 65,000 panels. The movie takes 120 of Van Gogh most famous paintings and incorporates them into the scenery and the characters. It makes his paintings come to life right before your eyes. The film is told through the eyes of a Postmasters son, Armand (Douglas Booth) who is given the task of taking a letter Van Gogh wrote on the day of his death to Vincent’s brother. As Armand travels he begins seeking information of why Vincent committed suicide making the film more of a mystery than just your typical biographical picture. The animation is gorgeous and fans of Van Gogh will love how his paintings fill the screen. To fully appreciate the wonder of this film, it has to be seen on the big screen as this movie creates a love letter to Van Gogh’s magnificent, stunning paintings. Van Gogh produced works that continue to bring joy to a world, even if that world didn’t understand him at that time. As Vincent used to sign his letters to his beloved Theo with the saying “Loving Vincent,” you too will be loving Vincent if you go see this film. My Rating: Full Price Loving Vincent Website
Indiefest: Dolores (2017) Documentary on Dolores Huerta, who, in the 1950’s, went from a working-class wife and mother of eleven to helping establish the first farm workers union. This is a fascinating film about a women most of don’t know but should. Dolores is a woman who stood up to irate farmers, strong-armed unions and local police forces with a determination and will that never quit. Her sheer presence would gather crowds and promote change, all of which is expertly shown in this film. This film isn’t also afraid to show that Dolores, as powerful and inspirational as she is, has flaws; several failed marriages, placing the union in front of the needs of her children (most of which are interviewed in the film), and a fiery temperament that often got her in trouble with her co-workers. The film brings to light what an extraordinary individual Dolores is and continues to be, fighting for the rights of people. It’s a phenomenal film about an exceptional woman who the whole world needs to know and follow her example. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Dolores Website
My Rating: Cold Moon (2016) The Larkin family has suffered a terrible tragedy in their sleepy Southern town. The town starts exhibiting strange things such as traffic lights blink an eerie warning; a ghostly visage prowls in the streets and graves erupt from the local cemetery. Soon, beneath the murky surface of the river, a shifting, almost human shape slowly takes form to seek a terrible vengeance. If you are a fan of horror films, then this one is for you. I especially enjoyed the stellar special effects and the score that was reminiscent of any of John Carpenter’s films. The stellar cast that includes Christopher Lloyd, Candy Clark, Josh Stewart and Frank Whaley helps make this film fun to watch. For the Tommy Wiseau (The Room) fans out there, he does make a very brief appearance in the film. If you are looking for a fun scare for the coming Halloween season, you can do worse than this movie. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Cold Moon Facebook Page
Forgotten Film: Stir of Echoes (1999) Tom (Kevin Bacon) is an ordinary guy who works as a telephone lineman and plays in a band. At a party, his sister-in-law (Illeana Douglas) convinces him to undergo hypnosis. This awakens something that Tom never knew about himself, he is a Receiver, someone able to see ghosts. He is visited by a little girl ghost that tells Tom “dig.” Tom discovers that the little girl has been missing from the neighborhood for months and Tom goes on a mission to find out what happened to her. This film is part mystery and part suspense film that uses a clever plot and interesting characters to tell a story that becomes more complex as it goes along. Kevin Bacon has never been better as the ordinary man who is being driven mad by a talent he didn’t know he had. I loved the finish to this film, making it a cliffhanger to the very end. My Rating: Full Price Stir of Echoes Info
Weird Credits: From Blade Runner 2049: Contact Lens Painter
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: 78/52 ( 2017) Documentary on the infamous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1960 film Psycho. It gives us a detailed look at the director and the on-screen murder that continues to influence filmmakers to this day. I am a huge Hitchcock fan, so you know I will see this one. 78/52 Infor
Until Next Time!