Friday, June 28, 2019

Annabelle Comes Home

My View:  Annabelle Comes Home  (2019)  R  Annabelle, the doll that has an evil spirit inside it has been locked in the basement. While babysitting a teenager and her friend Unknowingly awaken the doll. Annabelle isn’t the only thing that has been unleashed and the evil spirits have set their sights on the Warren’s young daughter. Horror fans will enjoy this film though I think it depends a little too much of the ‘jump out of the dark’ scares. Unlike the past Conjuring films, this one does not focus on the husband and wife team of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Instead, this film is about a night when their daughter, Judy (Mckenna Grace), a psychic like her mom, who is being babysat by Mary (Madison Iseman). When Mary’s friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) visits things go to hell, mostly because Daniela has let Annabelle out of her case. I enjoyed Mckenna Grace’s performance which is deep and nuanced. If you want to have some fun and get a few scares in, this film is for you.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee      Annabelle Comes Home Website
My ViewYesterday  (2019)  PG-13  A musician, Jack(Himesh Patel) who realizes he’s the only person to remember The Beatles. He then starts performing their songs and becomes a big star. Patel has a fine voice and what I like about this film is Patel puts a new take on some of the Beatles songs. His version of Help near the end of the film is a perfect example of this; it’s full of anger and angst. I loved Lily James, who plays Ellie, Jack’s manager, who at times is the only one that believes that he can succeed as a musician. I enjoyed the music in the film, seventeen songs of The Beatles are sung, showing just how prolific they were. This is a sweet film that doesn’t always work. The film never quite finds its footing and I hated the ending. You get the feeling that screenwriter Richard Curtis didn’t quite know how to get his characters out of the predicament they find themselves at the end of the film.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Yesterday Website
IndiefestToni Morrison: The Pieces I Am  (2019)  PG-13  Documentary on the Pulitzer and Nobel prize-winning writer, showcasing her life and her work.  I confess I have only read one of Morrison’s books, ‘Beloved’ and knew very little about her. Through this film, I learned that she has lived a very interesting and is incredibly hard working but also she, as an editor at a major publishing house, fostered a number of great writers. When you read a Morrison book you get to really understand the characters and in this documentary, it does the same thing with Morrison. You get to understand her beliefs about writing and life. I also enjoyed her sense of humor that comes through in this film. Watch this film and you will want to explore the catalog of Morrison’s work.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
Forgotten FilmDogfight  (1991)  R  It’s 1963 and Eddie (River Phoenix) are about to be shipped out to Vietnam. They decide to play a game; they put in fifty dollars each and then go about trying to date the ugliest girl they can find. Eddie meets Rose (Lili Taylor) at a restaurant and convinces her to go to a party. When they get to the party, Rose figures out what is going on but by that time Eddie has figured out that he really likes Rose. What makes this movie works is the great chemistry between Phoenix and Taylor, it’s sweet and warm but it’s also deeply moving. Some people don’t like the ending of the film but I think it works perfectly for what the film is trying to accomplish.   My Rating:  Full Price    Dogfight Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Annabelle Comes Home:  German Shepherd Puppet Sculptor

Coming Soon to A Theatre Near YouOnce Upon a Time…in Hollywood  (2019)  The story takes place in Hollywood in 1969. The story centers around a faded star (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt) but the part of the story that I am more interested is about Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) who was about to become a big star when she was murdered by Charlie Manson’s gang.    Once Upon a Hollywood Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Toy Story 4

FamilyfaireToy Story 4  (2019)  G  When Woody’s (Tom Hanks) ‘kid’ Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) goes off unhappily to kindergarten, Woody helps her create a new toy called Forky (Tony Hale). The problem is Forky doesn’t want to be a toy and escapes the RV Bonnie’s family is going on vacation in. Now Woody must go on a mission to find and bring back Forky to Bonnie. I don’t know how Pixar keeps doing it but Toy Story 4 is as good as any other of the Toy Story films. It is probably the funniest of the 4 films, mostly due to the antics of Forky. There is a sequence in the first ten minutes of the film that involve Forky that will have on the floor laughing. There are some great new characters including a motorcycle stuntman named Duke Caboom, voiced by Keanu Reeves and two stuffed caravel prize animals voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. It is Toy Story, so you are going to shed some tears and hate to break it to you, this is the last Toy Story film but rest assured it has a wonderful ending that is perfect. Stay through all the credits as there are bonus scenes, including a fantastic play on the Pixar logo at the end of the film. I will say this, this might not be a film for very small children. There are some rather scary bad guys that even creeped me out.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Toy Story 4 Website
Indiefest:  Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation  (2019)   Fifty years ago 500,000 people saw three days of magical musical performances. It was more than just a concert and the people that were there tell their stories about the event. Unlike the 1970 Woodstock film, this movie concentrates on the people, both behind the scenes and the people that experienced the concert from the grounds. They do show some of the more iconic performances like Santana and Hendrix. The fascinating facts are numerous as we learn that the land they intended to have the concert on was taken away by a local city council and they had to find and construct everything in just four weeks. Also, the two main investors didn’t know anything about put on a concert much less one that 500,000 people attended. I enjoyed this film, getting to know the people that first hand experienced it.  My Rating: Full Price     Woodstock Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):  Five 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
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've only seen in Trailers but just looks like a bad idea):  The Angry Birds Movie 2  (2019)  PG  A second movie based on the game? I hated the first one, so I am guessing this won’t be an improvement.    The Angry Birds 2 Movie Website
Forgotten FilmPushing Tin  (1999)  R  Nick (John Cusack) is the number one air traffic controller, always getting his planes safely to their destinations. All this changes when the cocky and reckless Russell (Billy Bob Thornton) comes into the control tower. Will this rivalry endanger the lives of passengers? The reason to see this film is the preferences of Cusack, Thornton and Angelina Jolie, who plays Russell’s wife that Nick has an affair with. It is also interesting to see how air traffic controllers do their high-stress jobs. You are little let down by the ending but overall this is worth watching.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Pushing Tin Info

Weird Credits:   From the credits of Toy Story 4:  Sets Shading Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You The Farewell (2019)  PG  A Chinese family discover that their grandmother has only a short time to live. They decide not to tell her and stage a wedding as an excuse to gather the family together to say goodbye. This film made a big impact with audiences at the 2019 Atlanta Film Festival.    The Farewell Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Men in Black: International

My View Men in Black: International  (2019)  PG-13  Agent M (Tessa Thompson) has just joined the Men in Black to protect Earth from the scum of the universe. Teamed up with Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), Agent M learns something thought impossible, there is a mole inside the MIB organization and she and Agent H must find the mole or the Earth is doomed. I was very disappointed in this film that wasted the comedic talents of Chris Hemsworth. The film is dull and seems much longer than its almost two hour run time. The only redeeming quality of this film is the character of Pawny (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani), a small little creature who becomes the sidekick to Agent M. Pawny is hilarious, always voicing his opinion on everything. For most of the film, I was bored and the action sequences aren’t well done.    My Rating: Cable    MIB: International Website
My ViewLate Night  (2019)  R  Molly (Mindy Kaling) is a quality control worker at a chemical plant that dreams of working as a writer on a late night talk show. Due to being in the right spot at the right time, Molly gets a job on the writing staff of a talk show hosted by the legendary Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson). Katharine is about to lose her job and it is up to Molly to save it. Absolutely brilliant writing from Mindy Kaling. The film is filled with witty dialogue and Kaling kills it on the screen as the writer desperate to succeed. Emma Thompson is a delight as the embattled talk show host that slowly warms up to Kaling’s character and her ideas to improve the show. This was such a fun film to watch and I enjoyed it immensely.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Late Night Website
IndiefestThe Dead Don’t Die  (2019)  R  The small, peaceful town of Centerville is suddenly turned into a killing zone as a horde of zombies invades the town. Now it’s up to its Police Chief (Bill Murray) and his deputies (Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny) to save the town with a little help of the new funeral home director (Tilda Swinton). How writer/director Jim Jarmusch swung and missed with such a great cast is a mystery. The film has its moments, mostly due to Bill Murray but the film never finds its tone or footing and just isn’t funny enough to be called a comedy. Also, while funny, the film breaks the fourth wall which takes you out of the movie, almost grinding the film to a halt. The film had such promise but never delivers, making it a great disappointment.    My Rating: Cable   The Dead Don't Die Website
Indiefest The Last Black Man in San Francisco  (2019)  R  Two best friends (Jimmie Falls, Jonathan Majors) try to decide if they stay in their hometown of San Francisco which has drastically changed since their childhood. This is a wonderful film about the importance of friendship and how inter-cites landscapes are changing, not always for the best. This is also a love letter to the city of San Franciso, a city that director Joe Talbot and his lead actor Jimmie Fails absolutely adore. I loved the chemistry between Fails and Majors, who work well with each other on the screen. In a climate where a bunch of blockbuster films are duds, this small film deserves to be seen and treasured.   My Rating:  Full Price   The Last Black Man in San Fransisco Facebook Page
My View:  Shaft  (2019)  R   After his best friend mysteriously dies, john Shat Jr. (Jessie T. Usher) enlists the help of his father (Samuel L. Jackson) and his grandfather (Richard Roundtree) to find out what happened. This film just can’t figure out what it is: is it a buddy film? A gritty action film? A comedy? The only thing this movie knows what it is, a vehicle for Samuel L. Jackson to say as many F-bombs as he can. Some of the dialogue is downright laughable and the villains are so cut and dried that they could be from a 70s TV crime drama and the plot has holes as big as the muscle car that Shaft drives. I will say this, the small audience that I saw the film with laughed at all the jokes that Jackson made but that might be some hometown cooking (Jackson lives in Atlanta).   My Rating: Cable   Shaft Website
Forgotten FilmRyan’s Daughter  (1970)  PG  During the 1916 IRA rebellion a British officer (Christopher Jones) has a torrid affair with a married woman (Sarah Miles. Two reasons to see this movie; the performance of Robert Mitchum who is terrific and a storm sequence that is spectacular. The movie lacks some of the drama that director David Lean’s earlier movies such as The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) or Doctor Zhivago (1965) but is still worth watching.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee    Ryan's Daughter Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Men In Black: International:  Crowd Hair Junior

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouYesterday  (2019)  PG-13  A musician (Himesh Patel) realizes he’s the only person to remember The Beatles. He then starts performing their songs and becomes a big star. The film is directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) so I have high hopes for this film.    Yesterday Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Dark Phoenix

My ViewDark Phoenix  (2019)  PG-13  Due to a freak accident in space during a rescue, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) starts developing powers far beyond she can control. If Jean doesn't get a hold of these powers it could be the end of what the X-Men have worked so hard to build. What horrible ending for a franchise that never quite hit their mark. How Simon Kinberg screwed up with a cast that includes James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult I’ll never know. The plot makes no sense, the battle sequences are boring and there are actual moments where the film is trying to be serious but instead brings laughter from the audience. I have never seen a film where I noticed how much makeup everyone was wearing. I guess eyeshadow helps you fight. Skip this film and go see End Game again.    My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   Dark Phoenix Website
FamilyfaireThe Secret Life of Pets 2  (2019)  PG  The continuing adventures of Max (Patton Oswalt), Snowball (Kevin Hart)  and Duke (Eric Stonestreet), I mildly liked the first film. This film is much better than the first film mostly due to the addition of Harrison Ford as a stoic working dog named Rooster and a fast-talking dog named Daisy voiced by Tiffany Haddish. I also thought that Patton Oswalt was a big improvement as Max, replacing Louis C.K. from the first film playing the small dog with the heart of a lion in Max. The big scene stealer is, of course, Kevin Hart who plays Snowball, a bunny rabbit that thinks he is a superhero. The film is aided by some excellent action sequences that are thrilling and funny at the same time. I was shocked that they used ZZ Top’s ‘La Grange” as the music in one scene since the song is about a notorious ‘Cat House’ in Texas. Take the kids, you and they will enjoy the movie, just don’t tell them about what the song is about.  Oh, and stay through the first section of closing credits where you see youtube videos of pets doing stupid things to humans because there is a very funny rap song that Snowball performs.  My Rating: Full Price   The Secret Life of Pets 2 Website
IndiefestThe Tomorrow Man  (2019)  PG-13   Ed (John Lithgow) is retired and spends all his time and money on preparing for a disaster that he is convinced is coming. Ed meets Ronnie (Blythe Danner) at a chance meeting. Ed becomes enamored with Ronnie and to his delight, they begin dating. Ronnie is hiding a secret that may cause them to break up. This a moving and beautiful film about two lonely, quirky people finding love again in their 60s. Lithgow and Danner give a multilayered performance and their chemistry on the screen is breathtaking. What I love about this film is that these are two very unique characters that find a common ground to fall in love. I will warn you that the ending is a little strange but I think it perfectly ties the film up.   My Rating:  Full Price   The Tomorrow Man Website
IndiefestWalking on Water  (2018)  An uncensored look at controversial artist Christo who is known for creating large-scale installations, most of which only lasts for days. This film chronicles the building of a series of floating piers that measured 1.9 miles long. The event took place in Italy with the Swiss Alps in the background. The project was fraught with problems, including crowds that were never anticipated. The film is a fascinating look at a man who has a giant ego, loves to have tantrums and likes being the center of attention. But Christo is also a remarkable artist and engineer and to pull off this feat is almost unbelievable. The filmmaker took over 700 hours of footage that gives us an inside look at a man some have called mad and other’s have called genius. The film does have some tense moments, like when a young girl goes missing in a massive crowd and when Christo threatens to shut down the project only two days into the event when crowds become too big. The film does a great job of giving us the perspective of just how big the project was and how hard the crews had to work to complete the project. It’s a rare thing to get to see this sort of look at a legendary, controversial artist.   My Rating:  Full Price    Walking on Water Website
Forgotten FilmOpen Water (2003)  Two scuba divers (Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis) come to the surface after an ocean dive to discover that the tour boat has left them behind. They have to decide how to handle this situation when it becomes very aware that the tour boat isn’t coming back. Now they are going to have to deal with exhaustion but also sharks. This is a horrifying film, make even more chilling by the fact that this is based on a true story. Plus, just to add to the horror, both the jellyfish and the sharks were real. The film was shot on an incredibly small budget but is so well done and scary that you wouldn’t know it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Open Water Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Dark Phoenix:  Estimator

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Dead Don’t Die  (2019)  The small, peaceful town of Centerville is suddenly turned into killing zone as a horde of zombies invades the town. Now it’s up to its Police Chief (Bill Murray) and his deputies (Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny) to save the town with a little help of the new funeral home director (Tilda Swinton). The trailer looks just crazy and it has a great cast including Steve Buscemi, Sara Driver, Danny Glover, Selena Gomez, Carol Kane, and Caleb Landry Jones.    The Dead Don't Die Website
Until Next Time!