Friday, February 23, 2018

Game Night

My View:  Game Night (2018) R    A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves trying to solve an actual murder mystery.  First, don’t judge a movie by its trailer because this film is so much funnier than I thought it was going to be. The film moves at a fast pace, and the humor of the film is outstanding. Jessie Plemons is a riot as a stoned-faced cop who lives next door to Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams. His character wants to desperately be a part of their game night, but they think he is just too creepy to play (and he is creepy). I loved Rachel McAdams in this film as she has a knack for comedy, including physical comedy. The film has plenty of twists and turns, a plot that gets more complicated and funnier by the minute and a sensational cast that gets every drop of joyfulness out of the script. Game Night is a perfect date night film as the center is the excellent relationship that McAdam's and Bateman's characters have.    My Rating: Full Price   Game Night Website
My View:  Annihilation (2018) R   A biologist (Natalie Portman) signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition, going into an area called Area X, where the laws of science and nature don’t apply.  The film is one-thirds horror film and two-thirds sci-fi film. This is a gorgeous film to watch, and the art department did an outstanding job, as plant life and animals have morphed into fantastic looking flora and beasts. The horror aspects of this film are frightening, with one scene that matches the intensity of a scene in Alien. The full cast does a phenomenal job with Gina Rodriquez standing out as a tough as nails paramedic. It’s a very different role than her portrayal of Jane the Virgin on TV, and she makes us believe that she is the toughest of the group. I will warn you that the violence in this film is horrific and graphic, with one scene so gross that a lot of the audience with whom I saw the movie turned away. If you like Sci-Fi films that are a little trippy, and you don’t mind strange endings that don’t answer all your questions, then this film is for you.   My Rating: Full Price   Annihilation Website
Indiefest:  A Fantastic Woman  (2018)  R  Marina (Daniela Vega), a transsexual woman who works by day as a waitress and, at night, sings at a nightclub, is bowled over by the death of her boyfriend.  This is a tough film to watch because Marina’s life and lifestyle are being attacked on almost every side. Her boyfriend’s family doesn’t approve of their relationship and shows it in many ways including violence. Marina is threatened by the police because of the sudden death of her boyfriend and the fact that they don’t believe she was in a long-term relationship with him. Life keeps knocking Marina down, but she keeps getting up and perseveres. Daniela Vega, a transgender woman, and trained singer, is stunning, and gives a meaningful and heart-wrenching performance. It’s a splendid film that is worthy of its Academy Award nomination.    My Rating: Full Price   A Fantastic Woman Website
Forgotten Film:  Waking Life  (2001) R A man (Wiley Wiggins) seems to be stuck in a dream as he meets various people discussing the meaning and purpose of the universe. This animated film is beautiful to watch, and you will get joy from the conversations that happen. The animation is a type of rotoscoping, where they shoot the movie on film and then animate over those images, making the visuals of the film pop on screen. This is a movie that will make you think about life and its mysteries. The great thing about this film is that everyone is going to take something away that is different.    My Rating: Full Price   Waking Life Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Annihilation: Hair Puncher

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Love, Simon  (2018) Pg-13  Simon (Nick Robinson) is a gay high school student who hasn’t come out. He is in love with an anonymous classmate whom he has only talked to online.  Now, Simon’s life is going to change in a big way.  I love the trailer for this film, so I have high hopes.   Love,Simon Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Black Panther

My ViewBlack Panther (2018)  PG-13  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 try and defeat the evil Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and keep his countrymen free.  This is a groundbreaking superhero movie because it doesn’t focus on the action sequences (though they are incredible) but focuses on the people and their back stories. The film feels extraordinarily personal and close up. You get to know why the heroes and villains become who they are now and why they are so driven. Michael B. Jordan’s character, Erik Killmonger, is the best Marvel villain ever. His backstory is exceptional and riveting. He is a character whom you hate, but you also understand why he does what he does. What I loved about this film is how many female characters kick butt. Letitia Wright, as the younger sister of T’Challa, steals every scene that she is in as the smart but snarky woman who is the brains behind the technology that T’Challa uses as Black Panther. I loved the humor in this film, which feels real and personable. This is one of the best Marvel films out there, but it’s also one of the best films of the year. Be sure and stay through all the credits as there are two bonus scenes.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again
Family Faire:  Early Man  (2018)  PG  Forced out of their homeland by the evil Lord Nooth, Dug, and his fellow tribe members unite to take on the Bronze Age City dwellers in a game of soccer.  I loved this film as I do much of the movies by Nick Park, creator of the Wallace and Gromit films. The film has a great comedic feel about it and is so much fun to watch. The stop-motion animation is bright and brilliantly done, giving the film a light tone. The storyline is funny and moving, hitting all the right notes. The voice actors are perfect for the roles, and I especially loved Eddie Redmayne as our hero, Dug. The film is a blast to watch, and I had a great time seeing it.  My Rating: Full Price
IndiefestHappy End  (2017)  R  Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), the patriarch of the family, is gradually succumbing to dementia.  His son (Mathieu Kassovitz) and daughter  (Isabelle Huppert) are slowly destroying his business. This is a dark and bleak look at a family that is falling apart at the seams. From the patriarch who continually tries to kill himself to the young daughter who has killed her mother, the film paints a bleak picture of a family who seemingly has everything but is rotten to the core. Not one person in this Michael Haneke film is happy in their lives, and we see their pain scrawled across the screen. This is a brutal film to watch but is worth seeing.   My Rating: Full Price
Forgotten Film:  My Blueberry Nights  (2007)  PG-13 A lonely young woman (Norah Jones) trying to get over a broken relationship takes a trip across America and encounters a series of offbeat characters along the way. This is a beautiful film about relationships and how they define us. The heart of this film is the performances of a brilliant cast, including Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman, and David Straitharm. The film explores a person who is broken but heals herself through helping others find their way in life.  My Rating: Full Price

Weird Credits: From the credits of Black Panther:  Creature Technical Director

Coming Soon To a Theatre Near YouAnnihilation  (2018)  A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don't apply. I’m not sure what this film is about, but the trailer looks impressive and advanced word from film critics is excellent.
Until Next Time!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Fifty Shades Freed

My ViewFifty Shades Freed  (2018) R  Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Doman) are married, but their marriage is threatened by Jake Hyde (Eric Johnson). For a movie that has a ton of sex scenes, this is one unsexy film. With a plot that makes very little sense, the film moves from one sex scene to another; sometimes there is almost no space between them. The dialogue is laughable. Early on Anastasia says, “Boobs in Boobland” to give you an idea of the sparkling wit this film displays. The two leads have absolutely no chemistry on screen, and the sex scenes feel like two actors doing a sex scene instead of two passionate people in love. You can almost hear the director off camera giving them cues on what they should do to each other next. If you took out all the sex in this movie, you would have a beautiful travelogue about some very rich tourist spots, but it would still be a very dull movie.    My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See It Again   Fifty Shades Freed Website
Indiefest:  Spilled Milk  (2017)  A documentary about two lifelong friends, Omar and Jaqai (the director of the film), and how Omar’s Sickle Cell Disease affects both of their lives. Using animation and humor, the film explores what Sickle Cell Disease is, the effects that it has on the people who have it, and the possible cure for it. We get an inside look at just how devastating this disease is as it continually puts Omar in the hospital when he experiences so much pain. The film also spotlights just how little doctors and nurses know about the disease since they rarely encounter someone who has it. Spilled Milk is an imaginative and fascinating look at a disease that I knew very little about, but this isn’t just a documentary about a disease, it’s also about friendship.   My Rating:  Full Price   Spilled Milk Website
In Case You Missed It (Movies just released on DVD/BluRay):  A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)  R   The bad moms (Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Kathryn Hahn) are back, and they are tired of creating the perfect Christmas, so they plan to rebel like the bad moms they are. I liked the first film, but this one misses the mark. I only laughed once and giggled a couple of more times, but that’s it because most of the material just isn’t funny. I love the three leads, but they are let down by a very skimpy plot that you can see coming from almost the film’s first frame. I also missed Christina Applegate, who was the villain in the first film but only makes a cameo in this one.   My Rating:  Cable    A Bad Moms Christmas Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  Acrimony (2018)  R  A faithful wife (Taraji P. Henson) tires of standing by her cheating husband (Lyriq Bent) when she discovers that he is leaving her for another woman. Now it’s time for revenge. Look, I love Taraji P. Henson, but all I have to say about this film is that it’s written and directed by Tyler Perry.    Acrimony Info
Forgotten FilmZathura: A Space Adventure  (2005)  PG  Two brothers (Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson) began playing an old board game, and suddenly their home is hurled through space. Think Jumanji in space, but a whole lot more fun. As the brothers play the game (they figure out that the only way they are going to get back to earth is to finish the game) their actions become more dangerous. The film is a blast to watch, and the two kids work well with each other on the screen. I enjoyed the performance of Dax Shepard who plays an astronaut they pick up along the way.    My Rating: Full Price   Zathura: A Space Adventure Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Fifty Shades Freed:  Truck Costumer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Deadpool 2 (Untitled Deadpool Sequel)  (2018)  I have no clue what this film will be about (read the IMDB summary, it’s hilarious). All I know is I loved the first one and can’t wait to see this one.   Untitled Deadpool Sequel Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, February 2, 2018


My ViewWinchester  (2018)  PG-13  An eccentric firearm heiress (Helen Mirren) believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle. I was hoping because it is based on a true story and it has Helen Mirren in it that it would be good. Instead, we get a rather ordinary jump out of the dark, scary movie. Mirren is ok in the role, but I would have liked her to camp it up a bit just to make the storyline more interesting. The special effects are few and far between, though I did enjoy the house (which is still around and a big tourist draw) which is full of dead ends and staircases that go nowhere, much like this film.  My Rating: Cable   Winchester Website
Full disclosure: This film is released by CBS Films and I work for a CBS owned station.
In Case You Missed It (Movies just released on DVD/BluRay):  Professor Marston and the Wonder Women  (2017)  R    The true story of psychologist William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) who was in a polyamorous relationship with his wife (Rebecca Hall) and his mistress (Olive Byrne). Marston went on to create the legendary and controversial (for its time) comic book character Wonder Woman. This is a movie about the choices we make in our relationships and how those choices sometimes take great courage to make. This film isn’t for everyone as it contains a bit of nudity, along with some bondage. I liked Hall and Evans’ performances, but it’s Rebecca Hall who makes this film worth watching. Playing the hard-headed, opinionated, and brilliant wife, Hall dominates every scene that she is in. I think you will be shocked at Marston’s ideas that he incorporated into his creation of Wonder Woman. This is a complex, moving tale about the exploration of what love means and if it, indeed, can conquer all that life gives us.   My Rating:  Full Price   Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Sherlock Gnomes  (2018)  The garden gnomes, Gnomeo & Juliet are back, and this time they get the help of detective Sherlock Gnomes to find out what happened to the other lawn ornaments in the yard that went missing. I heard the first one was pretty bad, so I doubt a sequel will be any better.   Sherlock Gnome
Forgotten FilmThe Late Show (1977)  PG  An old, retired Private Investigator (Art Carney)decides to take on one last case - find the lost cat of a woman (Lily Tomlin). While searching for the cat, the P.I. gets involved in solving a robbery and a murder. Part comedy, part crime drama (there is quite a bit of violence) this film is a blast to watch and will keep you guessing up until the end. Tomlin and Carney work off each other brilliantly, and the dialogue is smart and, at times, hilarious. While an amusing film, The Late Show also captures the look and feel of the classic gumshoe crime films of the 40’s and 50’s.  My Rating: Full Price    The Late Show Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Winchester: Stand By Props Assistant: Casual

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouI Kill Giants  (2018)  Barbara (Madison Wolfe) is a young loner who struggles through life by escaping into a world of magic and monsters. Barbara is convinced that her town is going to be attacked by giants. The question is, is Barbara crazy or does she know something that no one else knows?  The trailer looks phenomenal, and it has one of my favorite actresses in it, Zoe Saldana.   I Kill Giants Info
Until Next Time!