Friday, March 29, 2019


My ViewDumbo  (2019)  PG  A retelling of the timeless story of the baby elephant that has ears so big he can fly. I have liked the recent films of Tim Burton. While the film isn’t bad, it’s not great. I don’t know who this movie is for. The first half of the film is definitely aimed at kids but when the villain of the story, V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) shows up, the film goes really dark. Vandevere owns Disney like park called Dreamland and recruits the owner of a small circus, Max Medici (Danny DeVito) to bring his circus and his flying baby elephant to Dreamland. The is probably Michael Keaton’s worst performance of his career. I have no idea what he was trying for, but Keaton is way over the top and it does not work. Other than two kids (Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins) there isn’t a likable character in the film, including the kid’s father, Hoit (Colin Farrell), a wounded soldier coming back from WW I. The CGI mostly works but there are a couple of flying sequences that don’t look quite right. Fans of the classic Dumbo film may be upset by how much different this film looks and feels. A fellow film critic, FanBolt’s Emma Loggins, hated this film and found it creepy. A bit of warning, young kids may get scared a couple of times when Dumbo is flying around.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee     Dumbo Website
My ViewThe Aftermath  (2019) R  A few months after WW II has ended, Rachael (Keira Knightly) joins her husband, (James Clarke) who is still in the British army, in Hamburg, Germany. They stay at a German’s (Alexander Skarsgard) home who is still grieving for his wife that died in an Allied bombing. With a tired plot and no chemistry from Keira Knightley and her two love interests, this film never gets off the ground. I was really glad when the film ended because the dialogue was hurting my ears it was so bad. And this film has an ending that is just plain stupid. There is more believable romance in Us, a horror film, than this film.    My Rating: Cable   The Aftermath Website
IndiefestHotel Mumbai (2018)  R  The film recalls 2008 siege of the famed Taj Hotel by a group of terrorists in Mumbai. A chef (Anupam Kher) and a waiter (Dev Patel) risk their lives to protect their guests. This taut thriller will have you on the edge of your seat. The film does a great job of letting you get to know the main guests and staff, so we start rooting for them as soon as the attacks start. The action (and there is quite of bit of it) is well done, The tension builds throughout the film and after seeing this film I can guarantee that you will be drained by the emotion tugs this film creates. You will also admire the courage of the staff, most of which stayed to protect their guests. It’s a film the shows the brutality of man but also the goodness of people helping people in a deadly situation.   My Rating: Full Price   Hotel Mubai Website 
IndiefestAsh is Purest White  (2018)  The story of the rise and fall of the love between a small time local hood named Bin (Fan Liao) and his lover, Qiao (Tao Zhan). So, let me tell you, the director, Ahangke Jia, loves to do long takes and has his actor pause for long times before replying to another character. The film centers on Qiso, played by the amazing Tao Zhan, who is headstrong and willing to do anything for her man. We go on a journey with Oiao that lasts 20 years as Bin comes in and out of her life. Zhan is a remarkable actress and Jia uses her talents to the utmost. This is a long, slow film that is worth seeing because of the performances of the two leads.  My Rating:  Full Price      Ash is Purest White Website
Forgotten FilmDave  (1993)  PG-13  Dave (Kevin Kline) is an ordinary guy who just happens to look exactly like the President of the United States. When the President wants to spend time with his mistress, Dave is recruited by the White House to fill and be seen. The problem is that while the real President is with his mistress, he has a stroke, making Dave’s impersonation of the President permanent. This is a funny and smart film which puts its main character is really funny and sometimes touching situations. The film has an outstanding cast with Sigourney Weaver as the First Lady, Frank Langella as the chief of staff, and great actors like Ving Rhames, Ben Kingsley, and Charles Grodin. Kline is hilarious in the role and so much fun to watch My Rating: Full Price

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Dumbo:  Drapes Master

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouAmazing Grace  (2018)  G  Documentary showing Aretha Franklin backed up by a choir giving a concert at a Baptist church in Los Angeles in 1972. This is going to be amazing!     Amazing Grace Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 22, 2019


My ViewUs  (2019)  R  A family is threatened by a group of doppelgängers who begin to terrorize them. Writer/director Jordan Peele has done it again. While not on the level of his first film Get Out, this horror film is still brilliantly done. One of the best things about his film is the score which uses some incredibly creepy original music along with some classic hip hop, rap, and rock songs. There is quite a bit of humor in this film, mostly provided through Winston Duke’s performance as the father playing a big, kind of a nerdy goofball.  Lupita Nyong’o is absolutely amazing playing two parts, the fierce mother, Adelaide,  who will do anything to protect her family and the horrific doppelgänger who wants to destroy Adelaide’s family. The tension builds almost from the start and doesn’t let up until the credits roll. I will warn you that there is quite a bit of blood spilled in this film but the violence, for the most part, is done off-screen. This is a film that you may have to see a couple of times to let it all sink in. My fellow critics and I talked for about an hour after we saw the film, trying to figure everything out. If you are a fan of intelligent horror films, this is a must for you.    My Rating:  Full Price     Us Website
IndiefestGloria Bell  (2019)  R  A free-spirited woman (Julianne Moore) in her 50s is living her life, going to dance clubs alone until she meets a man (John Turturro) and falls in love, but that man might not be right for her. This is a remake of the writer/director’s 2012 Spanish film Gloria. The reason to see this film is the performance of Julianne Moore, who is a force of nature in the role. She portrays Gloria as a free-spirited woman who is kind but won’t put up with any relationship that doesn’t give her respect. This moving and sometimes heartbreaking film treats its subject with a loving look at a woman who discovers who she is.    My Rating:  Full Price    Gloria Bell Facebook Page
IndiefestGiant Little Ones  (2018)  R    Two popular boys (Darren Mann, Josh Wiggins) lives are turned upside down by an incident that happens on one of the boys 17th birthday. The film centers on Josh Wiggins character, Frankie, whose life gets turned upside down by the incident. This is a lovely film about dealing with all the crazy things that you go through as a teenager. I really loved this film about a young man trying to find his way in the world. Wiggins gives a dazzling and moving performance in the movie. I also liked the performance of Taylor Hickman, who plays a former friend of Franky’s who comes back into his life. Give this warm and tender film a chance, you won’t regret it.     My Rating: Full Price    Giant Little Ones Facebook Page
Forgotten FilmCherish  (2002)  R  After a martini-induced rampage, a young woman (Robin Tunney) is placed under house arrest. She figures out how to defeat her ankle alert in order to break the monotony of her confinement. Robin Tunney is amazing in this little-seen film. Part mystery, part comedy with a little romance mixed in Cherish is such a fun film to watch. Give this film a chance, I think you will enjoy it.    My Rating: Full Price    Cherish Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Us:  Stunt Pre-viz

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You Avengers: Endgame  (2019) After the events that happened in Avengers: Infinity War.  With the help of Captain Marvel, the remaining Avengers are going to undo what Thanos did. Lots of rumors are flying around for this film.    Avengers: Endgame Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Wonder Park

Family Faire:  Wonder Park  (2019)  PG  June (Brianna Denski) and her mom (Jennifer Garner) using their imagination have created an amusement park named Wonder Park in June's room. June’s mom has gotten sick and has to go out of town to get treatment. June discovers the amusement park of her dreams is really out there and is under attack. Parents will enjoy the message of believing in yourself and kids will love the action and the fun storyline. June is helped by a bear that faints when pressured, two beavers that are eager to help but kind of dense and a bunch of other animals that all battle a group of zombie dolls who are trying to destroy the park. I was pleasantly surprised by this warm and joyous film. My Rating: Full Price   Wonder Park Website
My ViewFive Feet Apart  (2019)  PG-13  Two teenagers (Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse) with life-threating illnesses meet in the hospital and fall in love, despite the fact that they have to stay at least five feet away from each other. I agree with a fellow critic who said after the screening that this just might be Haley Lu’s break out movie. She is brilliant in the role of the girl with cystic fibrosis who is trying to do everything she can to keep living. Cole Sprouse is good in the role of the rebellious patient who becomes interested in Haley Lu’s character. This isn’t a great film, but it delivers what you want in this genre with all the tugs at the heartstrings. I was happy that there a couple of twists I didn’t see coming. I have trouble with a couple of the plot points but there aren’t too troubling and don’t really interfere with the storyline. If you like a romance with a few tears then this film is for you.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Five Feet Apart Website
Indiefest:  Finding Steve McQueen  (2019)  R  Henry (Travis Fimmel) has been keeping a secret for eight years; in 1972, Henry and his gang of close-knit thieves from Ohio attempted to steal thirty million dollars from President Richard Nixon’s  Illegal re-election campaign funds. Man, this is a fun movie to watch. Henry, eight years after the robbery is telling his girlfriend, Molly (Rachael Taylor) the story that he has been hiding from her. At first, she doesn’t believe what he is telling her, that he used to steal muscle cars, run from the police and got involved with a small-time mob boss who planned a bank heist to steal 30 million dollars. A French horn playing FBI agent (Forest Whitaker) is trying to catch the gang who almost pull off the perfect crime, except for one mistake might bring them down. Full of humor and a couple of really cool car chases, Finding Steve McQueen is a highly enjoyable and smart film.    My Rating: Full Price    Finding Steve McQueen Info
IndiefestMapplethorpe  (2018)  R  A look at the life of controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (Matt Smith) from his rise in the 1970s art world to his untimely death in 1989. Mapplethorpe was an artist who specialized in large format, highly stylized B&W photographs. Mapplethorpe took all types of photos, from celebrity portraits, nudes, and pictures of flowers but he is best known for his pictures of the BDSM world in NYC. Some of his pictures were so controversial that some galleries refused to show his work scared of public opinion and possible loss of funding. The film shows Mapplethorpe early life with iconic punk singer Patty Smith. Mapplethorpe was bi-sexual, though in his later life he mostly slept with men. I really like the first third of this film. I especially enjoyed the performance of Marianne Rendon who plays Patti Smith, a woman who supported Mapplethorpe but couldn’t ultimately put up with his cheating ways. The film starts to drag once the Patti Smith character leaves the picture, as Mapplethorpe starting finding success. The last third of the film bogs down almost to a stop as Mapplethorpe slowly dies from AIDS. Matt Smith is excellent in the role, but he can’t overcome the script that just doesn’t have any pacing. A bit of a warning, as you can imagine, there is quite a bit of nudity and the film shows a ton of his pictures, some may find offensive.   My Rating:: Cable    Mapplethorpe Website
Forgotten FilmThe Passenger (1975)  PG-13    Locke (Jack Nicholson) is a reporter who is trying to interview a guerrilla leader fighting a war in Africa. Unable to find the leader, he meets a mysterious man at a hotel. When Locke discovers the mysterious man dead in his hotel room, he decides to take the dead man’s identity. It turns out the dead man was a gun runner and was selling guns to the guerrillas. This is a strange movie about losing your identity. The film’s plot isn’t as important as the look and tone of the film. The reason to see this film is the performance of Maria Schneider, who gives a dazzling performance as a woman who gets involved with Nicholson's character, eventually becoming his lover. This is definitely a movie that values style over substance.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Passenger Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Mapplethorpe:  Instrument Designer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouDumbo  (2019)  PG  Retelling of the classic story of the little elephant with the giant ears that can fly. Tim Burton brings us a live-action movie with an incredible cast. Eva Green, Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, and Alan Arkin are just some of the stars of the film. I’m not a big Tim Burton film but the trailer looks amazing, and it’s getting great word of mouth from critics who saw it at SXSW.    Dubo Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Captain Marvel

My View:  Captain Marvel  (2019)  PG-13   Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes and she will need that power when Earth is caught in the middle of a battle between two alien races. I absolutely love this movie! There is a wonderful and moving tribute to Stan Lee before the film starts, and he does make one last cameo in the film. Brie Larson is amazing in the role, and her character kicks major butt. There is a cat in the named Goose that will steal your heart. The action sequences are fun and well choreographed. The film starts a little slow but I liked that there is a quite big mystery on how Captain Marvel got her powers. There are some nice twists and turns to the plot that keeps you guessing. I loved the chemistry between Samuel L. Jackson, playing Fury and Larson. The film has a killer soundtrack from the 80s and 90s. This film features a very strong supporting cast, the best of the bunch is Lashana Lynch, who plays an Air Force pilot. This picture delivered everything I wanted and more. There are two bonus scenes in the credits, so make sure to stay all the way through the credits.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Captain Marvel Website

Indiefest:  The Invisibles  (2017)  In 1943, the Nazi’s declared that Berlin was ‘free of Jews.’ Little did they know that  Jews still lived in the city. This is the story of four Jews who somehow hid, some in plain sight. This is a fascinating documentary that uses recreations, interviews and archival footage to tell the story of these people that stayed in Berlin and survived. Their stories are all varied on how they were able to hide for so long in a city that was hostile to them. The recreations are well done and really helpful in experiencing the terror that these people felt every day. It also shows you how many ordinary Germans helped them survive.   My Rating: Full Price   The Invisibles Website
In Case You Missed It (A movie just released on DVD/Blu-Ray):  Creed II  (2018)  PG-13   With Rocky’s (Sylvester Stallone) help, newly crowned light heavyweight champion Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) faces off against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of the man that killed Adonis’ father. This is a disappointing film because the first Creed film was one of the best of that year. Sylvester Stallone co-wrote this film, and it has his heavy hand all over it. This feels more like a Rocky picture than a sequel to Creed. What is surprising is how good Dolph Lundgren is as Ivan Drago, the boxer who lost everything when Rocky beat him thirty years ago. Lundren makes Drago a real character who wants revenge through his son and it’s the best performance in the film. I just wish the movie wasn’t so over the top and was much too long.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Creed II Website
Forgotten Film:  Short Term 12  (2013)  R   Grace (Brie Larson) works as a supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers.  Her boyfriend, Mason (John Gallagher Jr.), works with her at the home.  Grace’s world is changed when Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), a troubled teenaged girl, enters the facility, and Grace sees herself in Jayden.  Brie Larson gives one of the best performances of the year as the tough, but kind-hearted Grace.  She is able to show, just in her eyes, all the pain and empathy that her character has.  I also loved the scenes between Grace and Mason, as both actors bring a nice, comfortable chemistry that two people who have been together for awhile should exhibit.  The supporting cast of kids are good, and Larson plays off of them with an ability to show us she has dealt with their problems before, possibly in her own life.  This is a film that gives you hope for kids who are troubled, and there are people out there trying to help them and give them some sort of feeling of family, even if that family is not ordinary.   My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again     Short Term 12 Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Captain Marvel:  Prosthetic Makeup Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Penguins  (2019)  A Disney documentary that centers on the story of Steve, a very clumsy Addie penguin, who is looking for a mate. The trailer just looks adorable.    Penguins Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, March 1, 2019


My View Greta  (2018)  R  A young woman, Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz), befriends a widow (Isabelle Huppert) against the advice of her roommate (Maika Monroe). Frances will soon regret that she started up the friendship. This is a really strange stalker film with a performance by Isabelle Huppert that is just wacky. I enjoyed some of the film but I think that the filmmakers pushed it too far into left field and it never quite returns. I like Chloe Grace Moretz as an actress but she only has two expressions in this film; afraid and angry. My Rating: Cable    Greta Website
IndiefestRuben Brandt, Collector  (2018)  R  A Psychotherapist (Iven Kamaras) suffers from violent nightmares inspired by famous works of art. He hires four patients of his to steal the artwork because he believes if he posses the artwork, the nightmares will stop. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this film. Part film noir, part experimental animation, the film has a unique look to it. All the characters look like they are right out of a Picasso painting, with some having two heads or three eyes. The plot is really cool and there are some great action sequences (one is a car chase in the streets of Paris). I highly recommend this animated action film for adults   My Rating: Full Price    Ruben Brandt, Collector Website
IndiefestThe Boy Who Harnessed the Wind  (2019)  A young boy named William (Maxwell Simba) lives in a small village that is suffering through a horrible drought. To help his village survive he build a wind turbine inspired by a bike headlight. This is moving film about a family that is tearing apart and how a young boy saves the family and their crops by a keen mind and determination to never give up. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who stars as William’s father, also wrote and directed the film. Maxwell Simba gives a moving performance as William. The film is a beautiful look of a family struggling with life in a harsh country.  My Rating: Full Price    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Website
IndiefestTo Dust  (2018)  R  Shmuel (Geza Rohrig) is a Hassidic cantor in upstate New York who has just lost his wife and is struggling to find religious solace. He is secretly obsessing over how his wife’s body will decay. He develops a strange relationship with Albert (Matthew Broderick), a local community college biology professor. This film deals with death and how two very different men help each other and become unlikely friends. Geza Rohrig gives a brilliant and passionate performance of a man who is having a hard time dealing with the loss of his wife. Matthew Broderick is funny as the dim professor who is reluctantly helping Shmuel understand how a body decomposes.  My Rating:  Full Price   To Dust Website
Indiefest:  Apollo 11  (2019)  G   Documentary that looks at the landing on the moon by the Apollo 11 mission led by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Run, don’t walk, to your local IMAX theatre and see this amazing and spectacular film. This is one of the best documentaries that I have ever seen. It is worth the extra money for IMAX for the launch sequence alone. The footage is stunning and you see the mission from so many angles. I am a space junkie, having seen the landing while I was eleven on a B&W small tv in Mexico, but there is footage in this film that I have never seen before. One of the best film experiences that I have ever had.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again   Apollo 11 Website
Forgotten FilmAltered States  (1980)  R  A Harvard scientist (William Hurt) conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug while he is in an isolation chamber. He starts to exhibit problems due to the process. Directed by Ken Russell and written by Paddy Chayefsky, this movie is one strange trip. The film delightfully goes in multiple directions because not only is this about tripping on mushrooms, it is also a love story between the scientist and his wife (played by the talented Blair Brown). The special effects for the time are amazing and it has a great soundtrack too.  My Rating:  Full Price    Altered States Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Greta:  Piano Coach

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Mustang  (2019)  R  Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) is in prison for a violent crime. He volunteers for a rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of wild mustangs. The trailer is great and the stellar cast includes Connie Britton, Bruce Dern, and Jason Mitchell.    The Mustang Website
Until Next Time!