Monday, December 25, 2017

All the Money in the World

My ViewAll the Money in the World  (2017)  R   Jean Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) is the wealthiest man in the world. When his 16-year-old grandson (Charlie Plummer) is kidnapped, his mother (Michelle Williams) will do anything to get him back, in spite of Jean Paul Getty, who refuses to pay a ransom.  Michelle Williams as the mom willing to do anything to get her son back and Christopher Plummer as the miserly J. Paul Getty are superb in their roles.  You feel the pain and desperation of the mom in Williams’ performance. Plummer is at the top of his game as the world’s richest man who cares more about collecting art than his own family. I can’t see anyone else but Plummer in this role. Kevin Spacey, who was replaced by Plummer after principle shooting was done, I believe, would not have done as well as Plummer did in this role. The film moves along and doesn’t feel anywhere near its two hours and twelve-minute running time.      My Rating: Full Price   All the Money in the World Website

My ViewMolly’s Game  (2017)  R  Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) runs an underground poker game in Hollywood that high profile gamblers and celebrities attend. Her world comes crashing down when she crosses the wrong people. This is an Aaron Sorkin movie, so you know the characters will have a lot of dialogue, but I got tired of the endless narration that Jessica Chastain’s character does. I hate when screenwriters think they have to explain every single thing to the viewer. The film feels every minute of its long two hours and twenty minutes run time. Chastain, as usual, gives a brilliant and moving performance. There is a scene that, later in the film where Kevin Costner, who plays Molly’s father and comes to apologize for being a crappy father, brings the film to a screeching halt. I think this film just doesn’t meet the quality of the book (by Molly Bloom).     My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Molly's Game Website

My View I, Tonya  (2017)  R   The story of ice skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) who overcame poverty and abuse to become a member of the U.S. Olympic team. Tonya is brought down when her ex-husband (Sebastian Stan) decides to take out her most significant competitor. Margot Robbie is stunning in a performance that gives Harding a rough but almost loveable edge. With a less-skilled actor, the role could have become kitschy, but Robbie makes Harding a real person who battles her mom and the world to do the one thing that she loves, skate. It’s an intriguing story that is funny at times, but also you see how hard a life Harding led. The only problem I have with this film is the CGI special effects that put Robbie’s face on another skater’s body as the more difficult jumps are done. It’s highly distracting and takes away from some of the more thrilling moments. Go see this film; you won’t believe how stupid the plan to hurt Nancy Kerrigan was.      My Rating: Full Price   I, Tonya Website

Forgotten FilmThe Shop Around the Corner (1940)   Two employees (Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan) at a gift shop can’t stand each other. Little do they know that they are pen pals with each other and through those letters have fallen in love. One of my favorite directors, Ernst Lubitsch, made this film. It’s a brilliant comedy with robust dialogue and a creative plot that takes a few twists and turns    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   The Shop Around the Corner Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of All the Money in the World:  Personal Hair Stylist to Mark Wahlberg

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Black Panther (2018)  After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his country only to be challenged by a rival faction. Now T’Challa as the Black Panther teams up with C.I.A. agent Ross (Martin Freeman) to keep his countrymen free. The trailer looks so spectacular that I wish the film was coming out tomorrow.   Black Panther Facebook Page
Until Next Time!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Pitch Perfect 3

My ViewPitch Perfect 3  (2017)     After their world championship, the Bellas decide to get together one last time for a singing competition at an overseas USO tour. Pitch Perfect was one of my favorite films of 2012, but the quality of the film series has gone down with each sequel. One of the significant aspects of the first film is the songs seemed heartfelt and original.  Now, some of the songs seem tired, and the plot of this film is right out of a cartoon. The characters that we fell for in the first film seem one-sided and predictable. I did like Anna Camp's performance of a love struck Bella. I am hoping this is the last film of the series because I want to remember it by the first one.  My Rating: Cable   Pitch Perfect 3 Website
My ViewDownsizing (2017)  R  To solve the world’s overcrowding problem, people can be downsized, shrinking people to only inches tall. Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife (Kristen Wiig) decide to downsize to solve their money problems.  There are some great performances in this film, Christoph Waltz comes to mind, but the greatest is Hong Chau, who plays a cleaning woman who fled from Vietnam after being in prison for protesting. It’s a performance worthy of her Golden Globe nomination. Chau plays her part beautifully, making her character headstrong and fiery but also with a heart of gold who cares about her fellow man. The story goes back and forth from a comedy into drama and then back again into comedy. It’s a movie that has a lot to say about how we treat each other and the world around us. The film is worth seeing if just for the funny sequence when Paul gets downsized.    My Rating: Full Price   Downsizing Website
My View:  The Greatest Showman  (2017)  PG  P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) loses his job and decides to create the most fantastic show that you have ever seen, a show soon to be called, “The Greatest Show on Earth.”  I love this film as it is full of life and energy, making me smile from the first moment of the film. The songs (there are eleven of them) are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the same team who gave us those great songs in La La Land. The songs are unbelievably moving, and the choreography is dazzling and, at times, intense. Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams are exceptional but it’s the supporting cast who really stands out, including Zendaya, who plays a high-wire artist and Keala Settle who plays the bearded lady. Do yourself a favor and see this dazzling film.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again    The Greatest Showman Website
Indiefest 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.  This is a beautiful love story that develops between Oliver and Elio, who slowly gravitate to each other. Armie Hammer is mesmerizing as the man who falls for Elio, but the real star of the film is Timothee Chalamet. Chalamet gives a multilayered performance that shows the longing and exhilaration of a first love. It’s a touching and moving performance that is so rare to see someone so young pull off. The film is gorgeous, utilizing the Italian landscape to its fullest. It’s a film full of love, lust, and heartbreak, just what a first love is supposed to be.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Call Me By Your Name Website
Forgotten Film:  Broadcast News  (1987)  R  Jane (Holly Hunter) is a writer/producer for a Washington news show. Her best friend, is Aaron (Albert Brooks), a reporter who is desperate to become an anchor and is secretly in love with Jane. Tom is new to the news team and though a little dim, is great on-camera. Jane, against her better instincts, falls for Tom, even though she has always put her job ahead of her personal life. I love this film about a broadcast team that gives their all for their job because they believe in their industry. It’s also about how sometimes we fall in love with the wrong people, people with whom we know we won’t be spending the rest of our lives. The script is brilliant and gives an accurate look at what it’s like to work at a local news station.    My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Broadcast News Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Greatest Showman: Hand Double – Siamese Twin

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouPaddington 2  (2017)  PG  Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) happily living with the Brown family (Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville) picks up a series of odd jobs around the neighborhood to buy the perfect present for Aunt Lucy’s (voiced by Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday party. I loved the first film, so I have high hopes for this one.   Paddington 2 Website
Until Next Time!


Friday, December 15, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

My View:  Star Wars: The Last Jedi  (2017)  PG-13  Rey (Daisy Ridley) joins Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to learn about her Force abilities. Rey and Luke go on an adventure with Leia (Carrie Fisher), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac). Rey will learn that The Force is more powerful than she could ever imagine. This is in my top three Star Wars film, and Mark Hamill gives a performance of a lifetime. The storyline moves at a quick pace, making it seem much shorter than its run time of 153 minutes. Star Wars fans will be happy with the introduction of new characters along with homages to the past. Daisy Ridley shines in the role of Rey, making her a new champion for the rebels. We have a new villain in Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) worthy of taking the role that Darth Vader played in the first three films of the Star Wars sequence.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Star Wars Website
Family Faire:  Ferdinand  (2017)  PG  Ferdinand (John Cena) is a gentle soul with a big heart. He is mistaken for a dangerous beast and is taken from his home to train as a bull for bullfighting. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit gang to go on the ultimate adventure. As a kid Ferdinand the Bull was my favorite book. The movie does do a good job of capturing the essence of the book. The animation is a little dull and the movie is way too long to keep the kids interested. I did like the song from the film Home sung by Nick Jonas. I thought John Cena made a great Ferdinand.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Ferdinand Website
Indiefest:  The Other Side of Hope   (2017) Wikstrom (Sakari Kuosmanen) buys a restaurant with his poker winnings. Khaled (Sherwan Haji) is a Syrian refugee who stows away on a freighter to Helsinki. Khaled goes underground to avoid being deported and is found by Wikstrom who offers him a job that will change both their lives.  I can’t tell what type of film this is. I think it is meant as a dark comedy, but the storyline never really pulls that off. I found the film boring, and I never really cared for any of the characters which are key to liking this film. The plot takes forever to get moving, and its ending feels rushed.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee     The Other Side of Hope Website
Forgotten Film:  All That Jazz (1979)  R  Joe Gideon (Roy Schneider) is working himself to death. Between editing a movie and choreographing a Broadway show, Gideon uses drugs to burn the candle at both ends. The movie is by filmmaker/choreographer Bob Fosse and is loosely based on his life. Scheider gives the performance of his career as Gideon. Fosse cast some of his dancers in the film such as Leland Palmer and Ann Reinking, giving the film an air of authenticity. The dance sequences are spectacular, and I love Deborah Geffner as a dancer willing to do anything to get Gideon’s attention.  My Rating:  Full Price   All That Jazz Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Star Wars: The Last Jedi:  Wookie Consultant 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  All the Money in the World  (2017)  R   The story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III whose grandfather was one of the richest men in the world but wouldn’t put up a ransom to free his grandson. I can’t wait to see this film since all the scenes were re-shot with Christopher Plummer replacing Kevin Spacey in the cast.    All the Money in the World Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Disaster Artist

My View: The Disaster Artist (2017) R   Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) meets Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in an acting class, and the two decide to make a movie. The movie they make together is The Room, considered one of the worst films of all time. I see a lot of bad movies, especially at film festivals, but I always remember that the movie that I hated was someones passion project, probably taking years of their life to bring it to the screen. That’s one of the messages of The Disaster Artist, while Tommy Wiseau created one of the worst movies of all time, it was his creative life up on the screen. The film is a comedy, but like a lot of good comedies, it has some serious moments that move you. James Franco gives an unbelievable performance mimicking Wiseau perfectly, playing a character that is oblivious to how bad an actor/writer that he is. This is a film that does, rightly so, make fun of a man who lives in his own world, literally, he believes he lives in ‘Tommy’s World,’ but it also knows that this man is someone who has feelings and is extremely isolated until Greg enters his life. This film is a fun ride from beginning to end, but it also has heart and that makes it stand out from the crowd, much like Tommy Wiseau does in real life. Be sure that you stay through all the credits for an incredible bonus scene.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    The Disaster Artist Website
My View: The Shape of Water (2017) R   An other-worldly fairy tale set against the backdrop of the Cold War era America in 1962. In a hidden high-security government laboratory Elisa (Sally Hawkins) discovers a secret classified experiment that will change her world. This is an enchanting and fascinating film about a budding though strange romance and the man who wants to kill it (literally). Sally Hawkins is charming as Elisa, the mute cleaning lady who is desperate for love and is willing to do anything to get it. Hawkins gives Elisa a unique view of the world, and with the help of a neighbor, played by the soulful Richard Jenkins and a co-worker, played by the spunky Octavia Spencer, they take on one of the evilest villains in the history of cinema, Richard Strickland, played by Michael Shannon. Shannon’s Strickland is malicious, violent, and uncaring how he gets the job done, just that it is done. This is a gorgeous film and the cinematography creates precisely the right mood for each scene. This is a highly creative and imaginative fairy tale that will astound you in every scene.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again
My View: Darkest Hour  (2017)  PG-13    During the early day of World War II, the fate of Western Europe was being threatened by the Nazi war machine. Newly appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) must decide to either make a stand or negotiate a truce that will surely break his country. Gary Oldman gives a dominant performance as Churchill, letting us see the man behind all the bluff, bluster and elegant words. The film lets us see that many thought Churchill would fail at the job and the man himself had doubts that he was up to the task. The legendary makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji did the prosthetic makeup to turn Oldman into Winston Churchill and it’s so good that I forgot it was Oldman in the part. Oldman is the reason to see this film and his portrayal is mesmerizing and a sure Oscar nomination. My favorite scene in the movie is when Churchill is full of doubt about if he should start terms to give up the war with Germany. He rides the London Underground rail and talks to the people of England, all of which tell him that England should never give up. It’s a wonderful film about a very dark time in England’s history and the man that pulled them out of that darkness.   My Rating: Full Price
Indiefest:   Tom of Finland  (2017)    Touko Laaksonen (Pekka Strang) returns home to Finland after serving in World War II. He makes a name for himself with his homoerotic drawings that bring him trouble both from his sister and the Finnish society. It’s hard to explain how important Tom of Finland (he signed his drawings with just Tom but an America publisher gave him the ‘of Finland’) was to the gay culture of the 50’s and 60’s. It was a time in Europe where gays were hunted down by the police, where even two men holding hands would cause a ruckus. Touko kept his drawings hidden for a long time, worried he would be jailed for them if discovered. The film is a little slow but Pekka Strang’s performance keeps the film moving along. It’s a hard film to watch because there was so much pain and hurt in Touko’s life, but it’s an interesting look at a man whom I knew nothing about.  Just a bit of a warning, Touko's drawings can be very sexually graphic.    My Take: Bargain Matinee
Forgotten FilmAmerican Movie (1999)   Documentary about Mark Borchardt, a Milwaukee resident who for the past three years has been trying to finish his short horror film. Will he overcome his demons (alcohol, gambling, a family he doesn’t always get along with) and finally complete his film? This is an immensely funny but also touching film, where you root for Mark almost right from the start. You will fall in love with Mark and his band of merry filmmakers.    My Take: Full Price

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Shape of Water: Sign Language Coach

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   The Greatest Showman   (2017) PG    P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) loses his job and decides to create the most amazing show that you have ever seen, a show soon to be called ‘The Greatest Show on Earth.’ With a cast that includes Zac Efron, Michelle Williams and Zendaya, and a musical score by the people that brought us La La Land, I think this could be a magical film.  
Until Next Time!

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Breadwinner

IndiefestThe Breadwinner  (2017)  PG-13   Animated story of a young girl, Parvana (voiced by Saara Chaudry) who is living in Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban. When her father is unjustly imprisoned, she cuts her hair and disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family. This is a gorgeous and charming film about a girl who loves her family so much she is willing to risk it all to help them. The film is two stories: one is the plight of Parvana and her family, the second story is one that Parvana tells to her brother about a boy on a quest to get his village’s seeds back after they were stolen by some magical beasts. The animation is lush, with the stories that Parvana tells, done in a mosaic-like style. The story is captivating and delightful, though it is, at times, heartbreaking as Parvana is given obstacle after obstacle to overcome. While dealing with a tough subject, it’s a film that families, especially young girls, should see; a film about the determination of a young girl who won’t stop to protect and feed the family whom she desperately loves.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   The Breadwinner Website
Indiefest Thelma  (2017)  R  Thelma (Eili Harboe) is a Norwegian student with a religious background. When she moves to Oslo, she meets and falls in love with a young woman who changes how Thelma sees the world. Just as the world starts opening up for Thelma, she begins having seizures, which may be related to mysterious power outages. This is a beautiful and somewhat strange film where you constantly question what you are seeing on the screen is real or imagined by Thelma. The film, Norway’s entry to the Best Foreign Language Oscar, reminded me a bit of Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. Thelma has powers that are slowly revealed to us, and these powers are forces that maybe affecting people around her. The cinematography is stunning, and Elli Harboe gives a moving performance that is filled, at times, with the excitement of a new romance and, at other times, with gloom and dread. The film has some tense moments that sneak up on you, hitting you hard when they happen.  Thelma is a film that you won’t always know what is going on, but isn’t that the point?    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again     Thelma Website  
My Review:  New Life (2016) PG  When Ben was seven he moved from England to the States and on his first day moving into his new home with his family he meets Ava, and they quickly become fast friends. That friendship would eventually turn to love and marriage. Life is funny in that it has ups and downs and Ben (Jonathan Patrick Moore) and Ava (Erin Bethea) are going to be challenged unexpectedly. While this is a faith-based move, what I loved about the film is that there really isn’t a moment where a character talks about God or prays to help, it’s just a story about two people in love who have some setbacks in their life. Moore and Bethea have great chemistry together, making their relationship feel real. The film is helped by a stellar supporting cast including James Marsters, Barry Corbin, Terry O’Quinn and Bill Cobbs. This is a fine relationship film that moves at a quick pace and is enjoyable to watch. I will warn you, you are going to need a few tissues, so be prepared.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee     New Life is available now on DVD, VOD and Digital       New Life Facebook Page
In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-ray)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 beaten out of her. There is a great fight sequence where Lorraine and the guy she is battling both can barely stand due to the beatings 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
Forgotten FilmRiver’s Edge (1986)   Sampson (Daniel Roebuck) is part of a lost generation who has been abandoned by their parents, spending all their time getting drunk and high. Sampson decides to kill his girlfriend (we don’t know why) and then leaves her dead body out in a field. Sampson, along with his speed-addicted friend Layne (Crispen Glover), decides that it’s okay to bring their friends around to see the body, knowing no one will call the police. This is not an easy film to watch, and it will depress the heck out of you. Why should you see this film? For the dazzling performance of Crispen Glover, who knocks it out of the park with his portrayal of the strung-out, fast-talking Layne.  My Rating: Full Price    River's Edge Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Thelma:  Barrier Guard

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouI, Tonya  (2017)  R  Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) is a rising star in the glamorous would of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Her future changes when her ex-husband (Sebastian Stan) intervenes.  There is a lot of talk from film critics that this role could get Robbie an Academy Award nomination.   I, Tonya Website
Until Next Time!