Friday, October 26, 2018

Hunter Killer

My View:  Hunter Killer  (2018) R   An untested American submarine captain (Gerard Butler) teams with U.S. Navy Seals to go on what could be a suicide mission that could start World War III, rescuing the Russian president, kidnapped by a rogue general. I went into this film thinking I wouldn’t have a good time but I quite enjoyed myself. Now the plot is pretty unrealistic, and there is some horrible, but the action sequences are well done and exciting. Butler doesn’t have to do too much, other than be stoic and commanding so that works in the film’s favor. I think most critics are going to kill this film, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee     Hunter Killer Website
My ViewJohnny English Strikes Again  (2018)  PG   After a cyber attack exposes all of the undercover agents in Britain, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) comes out of retirement to find the hackers and bring them down. I have never been a big Rowan Atkinson fan because he mugs for the camera too much. This is a one-note film, as Johnny messes things up repeatedly due to him being incredibly stupid. I think that is the biggest problem with this film because you never believe that Johnny could ever be a Jame Bond-like secret agent. I laughed a couple of times, but for the most part, the jokes and stunts fell flat.   My Rating:  Cable    Johnny English Strikes Again
Indiefest:  Beautiful Boy (2018) R   A husband and wife (Steve Carell, Maura Tierney) deal with the downward spiral of their son (Timothée Chalamet) into drug addiction. Heartbreaking and moving, Beautiful Boy is full of brilliant performances by Chalamet and Carell. The two have great chemistry on screen, and it never feels that Chalamet is acting as the raw nerve of a teenager who wants to be clean but can’t because he wants to escape life. This is a film that is going to be hard for parents to watch, as Carell’s character tries everything he can to help his son. Based on a true story, the film is a little too long (almost 2 hours in length), the film’s pace is slow, and that hurts the emotional impact that you should have, especially at the end of the film. Still, this film is another chance to see Timothee Chalamet work his magic on the screen and that’s a good thing.  My Rating: Full Price   Beautiful Boy Website
Indiefest:  Mid90s  (2018)  R   Stevie (Sunny Suljic) lives in a troubled home in 90s L.A. with a mother (Katherine Waterston) that is never there, and an older brother Ian (Lucas Hedges) that takes out his frustrations on Stevie. Stevie’s life changes when he finds new friends at the Motor Avenue Skate Shop. This is a film that is not for everyone. There are some disturbing scenes involving Stevie drinking, smoking, doing drugs and even having sex. Also, there is a ton of cursing, some of it done by Stevie, who looks much younger than his age. There is also quite a bit of violence, most of which is committed by Ian on Stevie. The film does have some humorous scenes and at times is quite enjoyable, but it’s hard to overlook the sex scene where an older teenage girl seduces Stevie at a party. I will say this that Sunny Suljic gives an incredible performance as the kid who just wants to fit in with his idols, the skateboarders. Written and directed by Jonah Hill and shot on 16mm film, Mid90s captures that time period so well that at times I thought I was watching a documentary.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Mid80s Website
IndiefestStudio 54  (2018)   Documentary by Matt Tyrnauer about the New York dance club sensation Studio 54, that led the disco craze in the mid-70s. The film is told in three acts; the creation of Studio 54, its unbelievable success, and the downfall of its two creators, Steve Rubell, and Ian Schrager. Rubell died in 1989, so the film uses Ian Schrager to tell the story, along with news reports and the tons and tons of pictures taken of celebrities that used to go to be seen. It’s a fascinating look at a club that we will never see the likes of again.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee     Studio 54 Website
Forgotten FilmThe Escapist  (2008)  Frank Perry (Brian Cox) is in prison for life without parole. When his daughter falls ill, he conceives a plan to ingenious plan to break out of prison. This small film by Rupert Wyatt was little seen at the time of its release but is worth viewing, especially for the lead, Brian Cox. The plot has a bunch of twists that you won’t see coming and has an outstanding cast including Damian Lewis, Joseph Fiennes, and Dominic Cooper.    My Rating:  Full Price   The Escapist Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Hunter Killer:  Crowd Marshall

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouBoy Erased  (2018)  R  The son (Lucas Hedges) of a Baptist preacher is forced to participate in a church-sponsored gay conversion after being forcibly outed by his parents (Russel Crowe, Nicole Kidman). This is one of the most talked about films coming out in time for Oscar nominations.   Boy Erased Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, October 19, 2018


My ViewHalloween  (2018) R Michael Myers comes back to get revenge on Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) four decades after their first confrontation. Let me say first off that Jamie Lee Curtis gives one heck of a performance, giving the role everything she has. This is a sequel to the 1978 original film, it’s if all the other Halloween movies didn’t happen. So Michael has been locked up in a mental institution for the past 40 years. Laurie has been obsessed with Michael, convinced that he will come back for her and she wants to make sure she is ready. Laurie became obsessed with Michael has cost Laurie her family, her marriage broke up, her daughter taken away by child services when Laurie’s daughter was twelve. What I loved about this film is it captures the essence of the first film. The film continually references the first film both visually and in the storyline. The audience that I saw it with, thoroughly enjoyed the movie, continuously screaming throughout the film and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. I will say that this is different from the first film, the body count is high (only five people died in the first film) and extraordinarily bloody and violent. Lovers of the original will have a great time as Michael and Laurie battle it out once again.  My Rating: Full Price   Halloween Website
Indiefest:  The Guilty  (2018)  R  A police officer (Jakob Cedergren) is assigned alarm dispatch duty when he gets a call from a kidnapped woman. This tense thriller that has plenty of twists and turns, some of which I didn’t see coming and a plot that moves at a quick pace. The cool thing about this film is that it takes place all on the phone as the police officer attempts to track down the kidnapper and keep the kidnapped woman calm and alive. What starts out as an ordinary and boring night of answering and dealing belligerent, drunk callers turns into a night fraught with tension that continues to build as the film moves along. This Danish film that is their entry for the Foreign Film Academy Award competition is a riveting film that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  My Rating:  Full Price    The Guilty Info
In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray)Eighth Grade (2018) R  Kayla (Elsie Fisher) is all about blending into the woodwork so that she doesn’t stand out. All Kayla wants to do is survive the last week of the eighth grade so she can start high school on a clean slate. Life has decided that Kayla should come out of the shadows. Kayla decides to give advice on how to navigate life through a series of YouTube videos. I loved this film, and Elsie Fisher is a delight to watch on screen. Her performance is heartfelt and beautiful and writer/director Bo Burnham treats her with a loving touch. The film is filled with beautiful moments about an awkward kid trying just to survive one last week of school. This is a film that everyone will enjoy going into the last week of eighth grade with Kayla.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Eighth Grade Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):   Johnny English Strikes Again  (2018) PG  After a cyber attack exposes all of the undercover agents in Britain, Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) comes out of retirement to find the hackers and bring them down. I have stated before I don’t get Rowan Atkinson’s style of comedy and I can’t believe they have now made three of these films. This one is not for me.    Johnny English Strikes Again Website
Forgotten FilmLymelife  (2009)  R  The story of two families in the 1970s that are struggling to stay together as seen through the eyes of two fifteen-year-old kids, Scott (Rory Culkin) and Adrianna (Emma Roberts). Charlie (Timothy Hutton) has Lyme disease, his wife, Melissa (Cynthia Nixon) is having an affair with their neighbor, Mickey (Alex Baldwin), whose wife, Brenda (Jill Hennessy) knows about the affair. The characters are complex and the acting, especially Hutton and Culkin, who give some of their best performances of their careers. This is a sad, sensitive film that sometimes delves in comedy.   My Rating: Full Price    LymeLife Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Halloween:  Prosthetics Lifecasting

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Overlord  (2018)  R  Two American soldiers find themselves behind enemy lines on D Day. It appears that the Nazi’s have been up to some very evil experiments. The trailer looks really scary, and it’s being produced by J.J. Abrams.   Overlord Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, October 12, 2018

First Man

My View First Man  (2018)  PG-13    The life of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling), the American astronaut who was the first man to walk on the Moon. The film is technically a marvel, with the space scenes some of the most amazingly shot films of all time. The lunar landing is amazing to watch, and you really feel that you are apart of the experience. This is a great film, but I came away from this film feeling that the subject of the film, was a joyless man who couldn’t show (and maybe feel) emotion, other than sadness and that makes the film feel a little flat. The film does a great job at showing just how amazing and complex it was to get a man on the moon.   My Rating: Full Price   First Man Website
My View: Bad Times at the El Royale  (2018) R    Seven strangers meet at the El Royale, a hotel with a dark past. In one night, all seven will have a shot at redemption before things go to hell. I enjoyed this film which is reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino film. I loved how the film slowly reveals the story and the background of each character based on their room numbers. There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot, and it will keep you guessing how it's going to turn out until the final credits. By the way, I did not recognize Chris Hemsworth who must have lost 40 pounds of muscle for the role. The film is a little long but well worth the time.    My Rating: Full Price   Bad Times at the El Royale Website
My ViewThe Old Man & the Gun  (2018)  PG-13      Based on the true story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) who escaped from San Quentin and then went on to rob over 80 banks while in his seventies. If this is genuinely Redford’s last acting performance, then he goes out on a high note. It’s a brilliant, understated performance that only someone with skill like Redford can do. Redford’s performance is bolstered by the performances of Casey Affleck, the world-weary cop trying to catch Forest, and Sissy Spacek, who slowly falls in love Forest. The film is based on a true story, and I loved the ending of the movie where they used old photos and footage of Redford to illustrate the 16 prison escapes that Forest did over the years.   My Rating: Full Price   The Old Man & the Gun Website
Family FaireGoosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween  (2018)  PG    On Halloween night two boys named Sammy (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Sam (Caleel Harris) find a manuscript written by R>L. Stine (Jack Black) in an abandoned house. When they open the manuscript, it releases Slappy (Avery Lee Jones) an evil ventriloquist doll. Slappy plans to create a Halloween Apocalypse with the help of his Halloween monster allies.  While not quite as fun as the first Goosebumps film, it’s still an enjoyable film to watch. Slappy is still really creepy, and the monsters that he unleashes are imaginative. I loved the unconventional ending to this film, and I am guessing that we will meet up with Slappy again. A word of caution: some of the monsters are quite scary, so very young children should probably not see this film.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Goosebumps 2 Facebook Page
Indiefest 22 July  (2018)   The story of Norway’s worst terrorist attack in which over seventy people, mostly children,  lost their lives. The first third of this film is compelling and scary as we see the killer prepare and then carry out the attack, far more terrifying than any horror film that I have seen. The next two-thirds of the film are quite as interesting, as the government tries to figure out how the attack happened and if it could have been prevented, along with the trial of the attacker. The film bogs down in the 2nd half as the debate on whether the attacker can use the insanity defense in his trial. The film is extremely long and it just drags on as we focus on one of the kids that was shot by the attacker goes through his rehab. I am going to give this an excellent rating because of that first third was so well done and horrifying as hell.    My Rating: Full Price   22 July Website
IndiefestTea with the Dames  (2018)  Documentary where Dames Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Maggie Smith talk about their careers and friendship that goes back more than fifty years. A fascinating documentary with four legendary actresses talking and laughing with each other. The film does a great job of giving us background on the four women, and we get to see plenty of their performances on stage and screen. The film also does a great job showing us old interviews that the women did earlier in their careers. I loved the ending of the film when it showed footage of the women receiving all the awards they have gotten during their careers.   My Rating: Full Price   Tea With the Dames Website
Forgotten FilmComing Home  (1978)   Sally (Jane Fonda) is married to a captain (Bruce Dern) in the U.S. Marine Corps who is fighting in the war in Vietnam. With nothing to do, she decides to volunteer at a veterans hospital. There she meets Luke (Jon Voight), a former soldier who was wounded and paralyzed fighting in Vietnam. Sally slowly changes her outlook on the war and falls in love with Luke. Excellent film about dealing with the aftermath of the war in Vietnam and how we treated the soldiers that fought there. What I love about the film is the opening scene which was filmed with actual Vietnam war vets and was unscripted. This was one of the first films that openly dealt with the conflicts about the war in Vietnam. The film won three Academy Awards and probably should have won more.       My Rating:  Full Price   Coming Home Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween:  Slappy Lead Puppeteer 

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You Halloween  (2018)  R   Michael Myers comes back to get revenge on Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) four decades after their first confrontation. All I needed to know was that John Carpenter was doing the score for this film that I knew I wanted to see this film.   Halloween Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, October 5, 2018

A Star is Born

My ViewA Star Is Born  (2018)  R  A legendary musician, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) takes a young singer (Lady Gaga) under his wing and guides her to becoming a star, all the while his career beings to suffer due to his drinking. This is a fantastic movie with an excellent soundtrack (some of the songs were written by Cooper and of course, Lady Gaga). I highly recommend going out and buying the music to this film because there isn’t a bad song in the bunch. Bradley Cooper not only co-wrote the film and stars in it, he also directed the film and did an incredible job. I had doubts about Lady Gaga in the role, but she knocks it out of the park with a multi-level performance that will bring you to tears. Cooper is perfect as the weathered music star whose career has seen better times. I can’t recommend this film more. Go see this magical film but bring a tissue or two.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   A Star is Born Website
My View: The Sisters Brothers  (2018)  R  In 1850’s Oregon, two legendary gunmen (John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix) the Sisters brothers, are chasing a gold prospector (Riz Ahmed with the help of a scout (Jake Gyllenhaal). I highly enjoyed this slightly unconventional western. Phoenix is excellent as the brash, drunken younger brother but it’s Reilly steals the movie as the older, more thoughtful brother who dreams of a girl back home. Reilly’s performance is moving and funny as his character struggles to deal with his troublesome brother who tends to get them into trouble. I liked the performances of the rest of the cast, including Jake Gyllenhaal as the thoughtful scout trying to track the prospector down and Riz Ahmed as the said prospector who is on the run because he possesses something take could make a lot of money. It's also fun to see Allison Tolman (season 1 of Fargo) as the hooker with the heart of gold.   My Rating: Full Price   The Sisters Brothers Website
My ViewVenom  (2018)  R  When Eddie (Tom Hardy) acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego “Venom’ to save his life. I went into this film with minimum expectations, and all I knew about the Venom character was from the horrible Spiderman 3. That being said, I enjoyed this film. It was very different than what I was expecting. The Venom character is what you would call an ‘anti-hero.’ He really isn’t about the normal Marvel hero who is all about saving lives, he is all about what is best for him. Eddie is a self-called ‘loser’ who is his own worst enemy. His world changes when he gets infected by Venom, a creature from outer space. What was the most fun in this movie was the interaction between Venom and Eddie. Venom talks to Eddie in his mind and Eddie talks to Venom out loud, which made for some hilarious interactions. The action sequences are well done, and there is a thrilling chase sequence about halfway through the film. I didn’t like that fact that it took too long for Venom to show up (about 35 minutes into the movie) which made the film much longer than it needed to be. All in all its a fun ride, not a great film, but still fun to watch.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Venom Website
Indiefest:   Hal  (2018)  Documentary on the legendary director Hal Ashby, who directed cinema classics in the 1970s including Harold and Maude, Shampoo and Being There. Exceptional documentary about a talented man who consistently fought for his films. Ashby went on a run in the 70’s where he directed 7 films in 9 years, and Hal rightly concentrates on those years. Those seven films got twenty-four Oscar nominations and seven wins. Unfortunately, Ashby fought the studio system constantly, and his movies in the eighties suffered for it. This is an excellent introduction to a director that should be talked about in the same circles as Coppola, Scorsese, and Lucas.  My Rating: Full Price   Hal Website
Forgotten FilmShampoo  (1975)  Directed by Hal Ashby and written by Robert Towne and Warren Beatty, the film is about a Beverly Hills hairdresser named George (Beatty) who sleeps with just about every client. George is sleeping with Felicia (Lee Grant) a wealthy married woman who George hopes will give him money to start his own shop. George’s girlfriend is Jill (Goldie Hawn) whose best friend is Jackie, an old girlfriend of George. The performances are top notch, and Lee Grant won an Academy Award for her performance of Felicia, a woman who is a little too involved with the life and loves of George. This is a scintillating look a man who loves women too much and his indiscretions will soon catch up with him.   My Rating: I would Pay to See it Again   Shampoo Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Sisters Brothers: With the Participation of Rutger Hauer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouVice  (2018)  The story of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) and his turn as Vice President of the United States.  Christian Bale does another chameleon job as he looks so much like Cheney. All you need to know is that it is written and directed by Adam McKay who won an Academy Award for The Big Short (2015) and the cast includes Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell. In addition, the film is being released in late December, which means the studio thinks it could win some major awards.   Vice Info
Until Next Time!