Friday, August 31, 2018


My View:  KIN  (2018)  PG-13  A recently released con-man, Jimmy (Jack Reynor) and his adopted teenage brother, Eli (Myles Truitt)  who go on the run with a weapon of mysterious origin. The brothers are being chased by a vengeful criminal (James Franco), the feds and a gang of otherworldly soldiers. I wanted to like this film, but it has serious flaws, the most significant being that we are supposed to root for Jimmy, but he is an unlikeable person who makes one selfless lousy decision after another. How can you root for someone that causes every bad thing to his younger brother Eli. I did enjoy the surprise reveal at the end of the film but it much too long to get there.   My Rating: Cable   KIN Website
My View:  Operation Finale  (2018)  PG-13  A group of Israeli secret agents, led by a brash secret agent( Oscar Issac) go after Adolph Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), the man responsible for murdering six million Jews,. Eichmann, under a different name,  is hiding in South America among a group of Nazi supporters. I enjoyed this film, though the first half of the film is much better than the second half. Both Kingsley, playing the unapologetic Eichmann and Issac, playing an Israeli secret agent who hasn’t always done the right thing, give convincing performances as they play a cat an mouse game. And anytime I can see Melanie Laurent, who plays a fellow Israeli agent, on the screen, I’m happy.  My Rating: Full Price       Operation Finale Website
IndiefestThe Little Stranger  (2018)  Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson) is a country doctor, who is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, a large estate that his mother once worked at. He begins to visit on a regular basis, and strange things started to occur. This is the type of film that some critics are going to love, but I hated it. Part supernatural thriller, part mystery, the film never worked for me. I found the ending of the film stupid and confusing, but that also sums up the rest of the movie. There is a reason this movie is being released at the end of summer, it’s just not good enough to play anytime else.  My Rating: Cable   The Little Stranger Info
My View:  Searching  (2018)  PG-13  After his 16-year old daughter (Michelle La) goes missing, her father (John Cho) with the help of a detective (Debra Messing) practically search for clues on where she could have gone. This film, if told in a conventional way, might make an OK TV movie, but because it’s told entirely from the view of a computer screen, makes the film exciting and fun to watch. I enjoyed both Cho’s and Messing’s performances, as they desperately search for his missing daughter, and they have good chemistry on screen together (though they are rarely in the same room). While the story was simple, I was entertained throughout the film by the smart and entertaining way the story was told.  My Rating: Full Price   Searching Website
IndiefestScotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (2018)  Documentary about Scotty Bowers, who spent decades as a sexual procurer to the stars in Hollywood. This should have been an interesting film because Scotty holds a lot of secrets about Hollywood royalty of the 40s and 50s. Instead, too much time is spent on Scotty and his wife living in a home that should be on Hoarders. The tidbits that you get on people like Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (Scotty says both were gay and never slept together) are too far between seeing Scotty doing gardening and sorting through trash to make it enjoyable. My Rating: Cable    Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood Website
Forgotten FilmAlbino Alligator (1996)  Three robbers (Matt Dillon, Gary Sinise, and William Fichtner) try to hold up a bar and things go wrong, they take hostages, and they are cornered by police. While the actors are sometimes let down by the script, the performances are top-notch, especially Matt Dillon. While not a great film, if you are interested in characters and how they react to pressure, this is a film to check out.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Albino Alligator Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of KIN:  Tattoo Designer for Mr. Franco

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouLizzie  (2018)  A psychological thriller based on the 1892 murders of the Borden family.  With a cast that includes Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart, who I consider one of the best actresses of her generation, this film should be good. Lizzie Website 
Until Next Time!

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Happytime Murders

My View: The Happytime Murders  (2018) R  In a world where humans and puppets co-exist, a puppet cast of an 80’s children’s TV show is being murdered one by one. A disgraced former policeman (Bill Barretta) and a detective (Melissa McCarthy) team up to find the killer. First off this is not for kids, there is a lot of languages, violence, and even some puppet sex. The film isn’t funny enough to make it fun to watch, it goes for the easy laughs too often, and the plot is incredibly weak. I am also getting tired of Melissa McCarthy’s one-note act in every movie she is in. The final problem with this film is that all the funny bits in the film are in the trailer.   My Rating: Cable
In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray): Life of the Party  (2018)  PG-13  After her husband asks for a divorce, a middle-aged mother (Melissa McCarthy) goes back to college to complete her degree at the same school her daughter goes to. Another comedy dud from the married team of Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy. This tedious and unfunny film feels twice as long as its one hour and forty-five-minute running time. The film’s plot is highly predictable and with plot holes the size of a keg of stale beer. McCarthy’s fish-out-of-water performance gets old very fast, and Gillian Jacobs’ performance as ‘Coma Girl’ is strange and offsetting. Rent Back to School, instead, and stay away from this mess of a film.    My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again    The Happytime Murders
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Hell Fest (2018)  A masked serial killer turns a horror-themed amusement park into his personal killing zone. When you don’t recognize any of the cast, it’s never a good sign.   Hell Fest Website
Forgotten FilmCroupier  (1998) An writer, Jack (Clive Owen) who is down on his luck and takes a job at a London casino as a croupier (a dealer). As Jack’s relationship with his girlfriend (Gina McKee) starts to fall apart, Jack starts seeing a woman  (Alex Kingston) who is drowning in debt to the casino. She proposes that with Jack’s help they defraud the casino. The reason to watch this film is Clive Owen, who gives a mesmerizing performance as a man who thinks he is in control of his world but soon realizes he isn’t.    My Rating: Full Price   Croupier Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Happytime Murders: Puppet Builder

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouLove Gilda  (2018)  In her own words from a recently discovered audio tape, Gilda Radner tells her life story in her own words. She was my favorite from the original Saturday Night Live cast, and I can’t wait to see this documentary.     Love Gilda Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians

My View: Crazy Rich Asians (2018)  PG-13  Native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) has fallen in love with the man of her dreams Nick (Henry Golding). When he decides to take her to Singapore to meet his family, she finds out that his family is one of the richest in the city and his mother doesn’t think Rachel is good enough for her son. I loved this movie, it’s so much fun to watch. Great storyline and a fantastic ending. I will warn you that you will probably leave the theatre wanting Asian street food because there are some really cool scenes with food. Awkwafina, playing Rachel's best friend, is the breakout star of the film, just dominating the film with her brilliant and hilarious performance. Go see this funny and fun film.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Crazy Rich Asians Website
My View: Mile 22  (2018)  R  An elite American intelligence officer (Mark Wahlberg) is given the easy of smuggling a mysterious police officer with sensitive information out of the country. Making Mark Wahlberg a genius was the first mistake that this film did. The film takes forever to get going. While the story is confusing and the ending is puzzling, I did like the fight sequences that Iko Uwais does, including a brilliant sequence in an examining room. For an action film, there is an incredible amount of dialogue, mostly done by Wahlberg. I just wish there was less talking and more action to this film.  My Rating: Cable   Mile 22 Facebook Page
My View Alpha (2018)  PG-13  Set in the last Ice Age, the story of how man developed a relationship with a dog. Letting you know up front that the actors speak a foreign language that requires subtitles. This is a beautiful film that has some great shots of the scenery from the air. I loved the relationship of the dog, Alpha with his fellow traveler Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee), which makes the film work on all levels. It’s a feel-good film that is needed at this time. A word of caution for families, there is some violence at the start of the film and their are several tear jerking moments.  My Rating: Full Price   Alpha Website

Indiefest:  Puzzle  (2018)  R  A housewife, Agnes (Kelly Macdonald) discovers that she has a knack for solving jigsaw puzzles and gets involved with her puzzle partner, Robert (Irrfan Khan). The problem is Agnes is married and has two sons, both of who live at home. I absolutely loved this film. Kelly Macdonald is brilliant as a woman who discovers there is more to life than cleaning the house and making dinner. Macdonald and Irrfan Khan have fantastic chemistry on the screen, and that makes their attraction to each other believable. Puzzle is a quiet but stellar film that is enjoyable from start to finish.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Puzzle Facebook Page
Forgotten FilmLaurel Canyon (2002) R  A young man (Christian Bale) and his fiancee (Kate Beckinsale) move in with his mother (Frances McDormand), a record producer. While this isn’t a great film, it contains an excellent performance by McDormand, who shines in every scene she is in.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Laurel Canyon Website

Weird Credits: From the credits of Alpha: Flint Knapper Adviser

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Operation Finale (2018) PG-13  A group of secret agents are attempting to catch the man who masterminded the Holocaust. I’ll see anything that Melanie Laurent is in.   Operation Finale Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Meg

My ViewThe Meg  (2018) PG-13  Jonas (Jason Statham) must protect his ex-wife and fellow workers from a 70-foot shark while in a sunken submersible. I wish I could say that this was at least a fun movie to watch but it really isn’t. The biggest problem with this film is Jason Statham, who continually mugs for the camera, letting us know that he, the actor knows this is a stupid movie. The film is made for the Chinese audience. The lead actress is Chinese, the film takes place off the coast of China, about a fourth of the dialogue is in Mandarin, and even the controls of the subs are written in both English and Mandarin. The special effects are dull, and at times the giant shark seems like almost a cartoon character. The movie feels as long as it’s nearly 2 hours length and takes forever to get started. A fellow critic almost walked out of the film because it was so poorly done. That says a lot because this critic has watched his fair share of Adam Sandler films and never felt like walking out on them.    My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   The Meg Website
My View:  Dog Days  (2018)  PG  A group of interconnected people in Los Angeles are brought together by the dogs that fill their lives with love and hope. This very bland movie has a few cute dogs in it, but that’s about it. The film is made up of a bunch of stories about people and their dogs. A morning TV hosts (Nina Dobrev) gets a new on-air partner, and their dogs get along better than they do. A husband (Rob Corddry) and wife (Eva Longoria) adopt a young girl who seems unhappy until a dog enters their life. All the stories are dull and lifeless, and worse yet, highly predictable. Go walk your own dog around the block rather than going to the theatre to see this film.   My Rating:  Cable   Dog Days Website
My ViewBlacKkKlansman  (2018)  Based on the true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American police officer in Colorado Springs. With the help of a white police (Adam Driver), Ron infiltrates the local Ku Klux Klan, becoming a confidant of the Imperial Wizard himself, David Duke (Topher Grace) and eventually becoming the leader of the local pack. A young woman (Vanessa Hudgens) starts volunteering at a rescue center when she finds a dog wandering on its own on the street. This is one of the best films of the year and probably director Spike Lee’s most mainstream movie he has made. The amazing thing about this film is that almost everything that happens in the film actually happened to Ron Stallworth. I loved the performance of John David Washington, and he and Adam Driver have fantastic chemistry that makes this film a joy to watch. Do yourself a favor and go see this brilliant gem of a movie.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    BlacKkKlansman Website
My View:  Slender Man  (2018)  PG-13  Teens are disappearing across the United States at an alarming rate. Could it be to the legend of Slender Man, a tall, thin, horrifying figure with long arms and a featureless face? If you are looking for a scary film, this isn’t it. The film fails to be scary and takes forever to get going in the plot. Director Sylvain White gets too cute with the camera movements and angles which don’t contribute anything to the feel and the look of the film. I am always up for a good horror film, but this isn’t one of those, it’s just dull.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Slender Man Facebook Page
Indiefest: Three Identical Strangers  (2018)  PG-13  This documentary showcases the story in 1980 New York, three 19-year-old men meet accidentally and discover that they are brothers. This incredible story is so fascinating to watch. Just when you think that nothing else could be revealed in the story, another twist in the story suddenly shows up, and some of the mysteries in the story may never get solved. Go see this fantastic film about a story that just seems so strange that if it were to be made into a fictional work, no one would believe it.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Three Identical Strangers Website
Forgotten FilmBody Heat  1981)  R  In the midst of a Florida heat wave, a woman (Kathleen Turner) persuades her lover, Ned (William Hurt), a small town lawyer (William Hurt) to kill her wealthy husband (Richard Crenna). Turner is dazzling in the role of the seductress, a woman who is so sexy you believe that Hurt’s character would do anything to please his lover. The film is filled with exciting, fully fleshed out characters such as the one that Ted Danson plays brilliantly, the best friend to Ned, who also happens to be the D.A. in the small town and fMickey Rourke, as an arsonist and client of Ned’s. Body Heat is reminiscent of the old film noir pictures of the 40s and 50s with a slightly modern touch. The film has one of the greatest first kiss scenes of any movie.    My Rating: Full Price   Body Heat Info

Weird Credits: For the credits of The Meg:  Pre-visualization Supervisor

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Wife (2017) A woman (Glenn Close) questions her life choices and what she gave up when she became the wife of a famous author (Max Irons), who is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. I hear from other critics that Close is a shoe in for an Academy Award nomination for this role.    The Wife Website
Until  Next Time!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Christopher Robin

Family FaireChristopher Robin (2018)  PG  Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) is grown up and has a family. His old friend Winnie-the-Pooh visits his old friend Christopher Robin and helps him find the joy in his life that he has been missing. When I was growing up, one of my favorite books was Winnie-the -Pooh which I read over and over. So going into this live-action family film, I was a little worried that it wouldn’t live up to the source material. While extremely slow starting, having a plot that is simplistic and predictable, the film does capture the essence of Pooh, Christopher Robin and the rest of the 100-acre forest. While at times I think both parents and children will be bored, when Pooh and his friends are on screen, everyone will have a good time. I loved the voice cast of the film, with Jim Cummings doing a magical job with Winnie and Tiger, Brad Garrett voicing Eeyore, Peter Capaldi voicing Rabbit and Toby Jones voicing the wise old Owl. Take your family and spend a couple of hours reliving your childhood, and maybe you will find some magic again as Christopher Robin does.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Christopher Robin Website
My View: The Spy Who Dumped Me  (2018) R  Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) are best friends who become caught up in an international conspiracy when they discover one of their ex-boyfriends is a spy. This more a spy film than a comedy, in fact, there is very little comedy in this film, as I only chuckled once during the whole movie. Kunis looks uncomfortable working with McKinnon, who looks like she ab libbed a lot of her part. I like McKinnon on SNL but those are short sketches, and a little of McKinnon goes a long way, especially when she starts mugging for the screen. The plot is predictable (I came up with what would have been a great twist but the writers with the obvious choice) and the situations that the film puts the two women in are just plain stupid. There is a reason why this film wasn’t screened for critics, it is because it’s a lousy movie that feels every bit of its almost two-hour length.  My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   The Spy Who Dumped Me Website
In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray) Tully (2018)  R  Marlo (Charlize Theron) is a mother of three including a newborn, and Marlo is about at the end of her rope. She is gifted a night nurse named Tully (Mackenzie Davis) by her brother. Tully is the godsend that Marlo needs. Tully is the third collaboration between director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody. While I am a huge fan of their first film, Juno (2007), I never warmed up to their 2nd film, Young Adult (2011). I am happy to say that third time’s a charm, as Tully is witty, funny and overall moving…and packed with a few surprises. The cast is superb, led by Charlize Theron’s Marlo, a performance that could get her an Academy Award nomination. We forget just how good Theron’s comedic timing is, and she uses it to perfection in this film. Theron’s on-screen chemistry with Davis is sublime and makes this film so enjoyable to watch. While not entirely on the level of the brilliant Juno, Tully still is a film not to be missed. It’s a hilarious film that any mother can relate to. Now, if every mother could just get someone like Tully to help her out…   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Tully Website 
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  A.X.L.  (2018)  PG  A.X.L. stands for Attack, Exploration, Logistics, which is a top-secret, robotic dog designed to help soldiers in tight situations. When the experiment goes wrong, A.X.L. is discovered in the desert by Miles (Alex Neustaedter), and they develop a bond. The scientists are out to find and destroy A.X.L. by any means necessary. Instead of this horrible looking film, go and watch a sci-fi classic A Boy and His Dog, I can guarantee you will enjoy it more.   A.X.L. Website
Forgotten Film: Sunshine (2007)  R  Set in the year 2057, a group of international astronauts is sent on a dangerous mission to reignite the sun using a nuclear fission bomb. The film is stylishly directed by Danny Boyle, Sunshine is part Sci-Fi film, part psychological drama, and part horror film. The special effects are incredibly well done, but it’s the performances of the cast, especially Rose Byrne, Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans that make this film special. This is an intense film about how the strain of the world on their shoulders combined with the isolation the astronauts have to deal with can cause irreparable consequences.   My Rating: Full Price    Sunshine Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Christopher Robin:  Witness Camera

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouBlackkKlansman (2018)  R  based on the true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American police officer in Colorado Springs. With the help of a white police (Adam Driver), Ron infiltrates the local Ku Klux Klan, becoming a confidant of the Imperial Wizard himself, David Duke (Topher Grace) and eventually becoming the leader of the local pack. I don’t always like Spike Lee’s films, they always make me think, and the trailer for this film looks incredibly impressive.   Blackkklansman Website
Until Next Time!