Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Family Faire:  Coco  (2017)  PG  Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) wants more than anything to be a musician, but his family has an ancestral ban on music. Miguel will enter the ‘Land of the Dead’ to figure out why his family has followed the ban for so long. This is a beautiful film, both visually and story-wise. The songs are vibrant and fit the film with the song ‘Remember Me,’ one of the focal points of the movie an Oscar contender. Anthony Gonzalez has a fine voice that is made for Mariachi/Ranchera style songs of this film.This film took me back to my childhood summers that I spent in a small town in Mexico as it extraordinarily depicts life in a tiny town. It lovingly explores how much music means to the Mexican culture, and I love how the filmmakers add in cultural heroes like the wrestler Santo or the beloved artist and icon Frida Khalo.  The film really gets going when it goes to the magical ‘Land of the Dead’ with its incredibly colorful buildings and magical creatures. The movie treats the Mexican culture that few American films have, with love and respect. I will caution you, this film deals with death and with loss of family and abandonment. During the screening I went to a child, probably 6 or 7 started crying pretty uncontrollably, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing this visually stunning and genuinely touching movie.  And yes, the 21 minute Frozen short Olaf's Frozen Adventure is as bad as you have heard. Normally the Pixar shorts are brilliant and moving, this one is stupid and boring.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Coco Facebook Page
My View:  The Man Who Invented Christmas  (2017)  PG  The journey that led Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) to create his magical ‘A Christmas Carol’ which re-defined what Christmas means to us.  I enjoyed this new and imaginative spin on the Dicken’s tale.  We get to see the writing process of Dickens as he struggles to pen a new book under the pressure of needing to provide for his family. As he struggles to write, we see how Dickens uses his imagination to help him overcome writer's block and a very annoying father. What makes this film is the performance of Christopher Plummer as Scrooge. Plummer is perfect in the role of the crabby and despicable Ebenezer, giving what could be an Oscar nomination performance. I think this is the perfect film to get you in the mood for the Christmas season.     My Rating: Full Price     The Man Who Invented Christmas Website

Indiefest:  Novitiate  (2017)  R  Set in the early 1960’s a young woman ( Margaret Qualley) in training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, the changing ways of the church and her sexuality.  An impressive feature film debut by writer/director Margaret Betts who gives us what it was like to become a nun in the 60s as the Pope was reforming the church during the era of Vatican II. Melissa Leo gives a tour de force performance as the stern Reverend Mother, and Margaret Qualley gives the performance of a lifetime as Sister Cathleen, a young woman who is determined to become a nun, until she has a crisis of self-doubt.  Qualley is brilliant, quietly filling up the screen with her presence as her love for God is shone in every move that she makes. The film throws emotional punches at us throughout. The girls who want to become nuns are challenged at every turn as the Reverend Mother throws roadblocks at the women from the start. There is a painful scene where Sister Evelyn, played by Morgan Saylor, is forced by the Reverend Mother, in front of all the girls, to confront and expound on her faults, as ‘no one can be perfect.’ The film questions the old ways of the church, the power of faith and if someone like the Reverend Mother should be given so much power and influence over impressionable women. Novitiate is not always a comfortable film to watch, but it is worth your time to see a new filmmaker express her voice.    My Rating: Full Price   Novitiate Website

In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-ray):  Good Time  (2017)  R    Connie (Robert Pattinson) and his brother, Nick (Benny Safdie), have money problems and decide to rob a bank. The bank job goes bad, and Nick is caught by police. Connie is on the run and wants, somehow, to get his brother out of prison.  Anchored by an unprecedented performance by Robert Pattinson, this is a gritty crime film about a bank robbery that goes bad very quickly. Pattinson, who has come far as an actor from those early Twilight days, gives a powerful and dynamic performance. I don't know if enough Academy Award voters will see this film, but I think it could be on some Indie and film critic awards lists at the end of the year. The cinematography is brilliantly executed and perfectly enhances the mood and feel of the movie. Good Time is an impressive film with a scintillating performance by Robert Pattinson.  My Rating: Full Price   Good Time Website
Forgotten Film:  Ripley’s Game (2002)  R   Tom Ripley (John Malkovich) is a man you do not want to cross as, not only is he a con man, he is a steely-eyed killer. When his past catches up with him, and he is hired to take down a mob boss, he hires Jonathan (Dougray Scott), a down on his luck picture framer, to become his protégé. Malkovich is mesmerizing as Ripley (and yes, this is the same character that Matt Damon played in the 1999 film The Talented Mr. Ripley) as he doesn’t care what you do or think as long as you stay out of his way. The film has plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end.    My Rating: Full Price   Ripley's Game Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Coco: Simulation Technical Director

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Call Me By Your Name  (2017)  R  In Northern Italy in 1983, Oliver (Armie Hammer) is visiting Mr. Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his family as they do research for a project. Oliver takes Elio (Timothee Chalamet ), a 17-year-old music prodigy, under his wing and teaches him about life and love. Critics who have seen this film are raving about the performances of Hammer and Chalamet.    Call Me By Your Name Website
Until Next Time!

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