Friday, August 23, 2019

Angel Has Fallen


My ViewAngel Has Fallen (2019) R Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is on the run after being framed for the attempted assignation of the President (Morgan Freeman) and now he has to evade his own agency and the FBI to try and find out who is behind the assignation attempt.  I liked the action sequences but the plot is incredibly dull and implausible. If our Secret Service and the FBI are this dumb in real life than we are in a lot of trouble. Past of the Olympus Has Fallen series, this film feels like it’s a plot that the writers lifted off some old 90’s cop series. Butler is ok in the part but the rest of the cast looks like they are sleepwalking through the film. Skip this film and go see anything else that is coming out this week. Note: There is a bonus clip after the first round of credits.   My Rating: Cable    Angel Has Fallen Website
My ViewReady or Not  (2019) R  A bride, Grace(Samara Weaving), is told that she must participate in a game of hide and seek before coming a part of the grooms family. What she doesn’t know is if they find her in the family home before sunrise, she will be killed. This film is the perfect example of the definition of a ‘dark comedy,’ a film that makes light of a subject that is generally considered taboo. In this case, the family that is hunting her is made up of a bunch of crazy individuals, all who believe that if they don’t kill Grace, something horrible will happen to the family. You will be laughing one moment at the ridiculous events that occur and other moments you will be scared at the jump out of the dark moments in the film. This film does a good job of building the tension until the end of the film. The film is made by the performance of Sara Weaving, who shows she has the chops for both comedy and drama, all in one character. Weaving is a delight to watch on the screen as she starts out the innocent bride, then turns into a victim who is running for her life, and finally, an in your face antagonist who is willing to fight for her life. Go see this film, it’s so much fun to watch and the audience I saw it had as good a time watching it as I did.   My Rating: Full Price    Ready or Not Website
IndiefestDavid Crosby: Remember My Name (2019) R  Documentary on the life and music of David Crosby, a founding member of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and a member of the Rock in Roll Hall of Fame. This is a documentary about a very unhappy musician who has undermined almost every relationship he has had, survived a drug addiction that should have killed him ten times over and is about a man who knows he is on borrowed time, determined to play as much music as he can before he is gone. I have always enjoyed David Crosby’s music, especially when he was with CSNY and CSN but man, after watching this film, I don’t like the man. He has lived his life selfishly, always thinking he was right and everyone else was wrong. Other than the wonderful music and some great behind the scenes shots of his early career, this is not an easy film to watch. By the end of the film, you want to slap David and tell him to go apologize and makeup with all the people that you wronged. The problem is, you know he will never do that.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee David Crosby: Remember My Name Website 
IndiefestAfter the Wedding (2019) PG-13  A manager of an orphanage in Kolkata, Isabel (Michelle Williams) travels to New York City to meet with a possible benefactor (Julianne Moore). The benefactor invites Isabel to her daughter’s wedding, so they can get to know each other better before the benefactor makes her decision. Little does Isabel know that when she accepts the infestation, her past will rear its ugly head. I liked the two performances of Williams and Moore (who wouldn’t), but this film left me wanting more of an emotional punch. I never really connected with either character and had a hard time understanding their feelings and cations throughout the film. To put it bluntly, the film lacks heart, it all substance on the top but underneath, there is nothing to support the film by connecting with the audience. A big disappointment in my book with the cast that this film had. My Rating; Bargain Matinee     After the Wedding Website
IndiefestThe Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) PG-13 Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Downs syndrome runs away from his care home to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. On the road, he encounters Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) a small-time outlaw that’s on the run that becomes an unlikely coach. They also convince Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), a nursing home worker to join their quest. I’m not a big fan of Shia LeBeouf or Dakota Johnson but both giving wonderful and winning performances in this warm and beautiful film about finding a group of people that can become your family. As good as the two leads are, it’s Zack Gottsagen who steals the movie as the young man who is determined to travel a great distance, so he can attend his hero’s (Thomas Hayden Church) wrestling school. I can’t recommend this film more; it is brilliantly scripted and the performances are real and you can see the love on the screen. This is the feel-good film of the summer. You will enjoy every minute of this film.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    The Peanut Butter Falcon Website
IndiefestCold Case Hammarskjold (2019)   Documentary about Danish director Mad Brugger and Swedish private investigator Gorna Bjorkdahl trying to solve the mysterious death of Dag Hammarskjold who at the time was the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The film tries to determine if the plane of controversial Secretary-General died in an accidental plane crash or was he murdered. The problem the two investigators have is that the crash took place over 50 years ago and therefore, a lot of the suspects are dead. Some that are alive won’t talk or don’t remember the accident. Furthermore, hurting the two investigators is the fact that they cannot excavate the site of where the plane is buried. The film is interestingly put together as the director Brugger sits in a hotel room and dictates the ideas of the film to two different secretaries (to get their separate opinions on things). It is still a mystery by the end of the film but there is plenty of evidence to make up your own mind on if Hammarskjold was assassinated.    My Rating: Full Price    Cold Case Hammarskjold Website
Forgotten Film: Warrior (2011)  PG-13  Two brothers, who are struggling to survive in today’s world, meet in the finals of a mixed martial arts tournament. The youngest brother (Tom Hardy) is fighting to escape the demons of his past; the older brother (Joel Edgerton) is fighting for the survival of his marriage and family. But one brother has an edge over the other, as his trainer is their father(Nick Nolte). What I love about this movie is that it asks you to root for one of the two brothers but both are fighting the good fight and you want both to come out winners. I also like the contrast between the two brothers: Hardy’s character is full of rage, Edgerton’s is the family man who is forced to fight for his family.  My Rating: Full Price    Warrior Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Peanut Butter Falcon: Sticher


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouJudy (2019)  PG-13  A penniless and most considered washed up Judy Garland (Renee Zellweger) arrives in London to restart her career with a series of sold-out concerts. Looking at the trailer, this could be a tour-de-force performance by Zellweger and maybe an Oscar for her.     Judy Info   
Until Next Time!


Friday, August 16, 2019

The Angry Birds 2

FamilyFaireThe Angry Birds 2 (2019) PG When a new threat appears, The piggies, led by Pig King Leonard (Bill Hader) and the Birds, led by Red (Jason Sudeikis) decide to join forces to combat the icy island let by Zeta (Leslie Jones) an eagle who wants warmer conditions for her eagles. I absolutely hated the first Angry Birds film, calling it both unfunny and annoying. The second film is a slight improvement but that is very faint praise. There was only one sequence that I thought was funny and yes, it takes place in a bathroom as one of the characters is going to the bathroom. Little kids may enjoy this film as there are lots of different characters in bright colors and there is quite of bit of action but once again, this was a film that I looked at my watch, thinking it was almost over and we still had thirty minutes to go.   My Rating: Cable    The Angry Birds 2 Website
My View:  Good Boys (2019) R Three sixth grade boys (Brady Noon, Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams) ditch school and go on an adventure while unknowingly carrying stolen drugs. Their mission is to get back home in time for a long-awaited party. Let me warn you right away, do not take the kids to see this film as it is produced by Seth Rogan and is raunchy as heck. I swear the Jacob Tremblay character uses the F word more than some hard character from an R rated film about a drug lord. Having said that, this film is incredibly funny and at times touching. This is a film about friendship and how you and your buddies are willing to do just about anything to help each other out. The running gag throughout the film, is the boys don’t quite have the experience to know what they have gotten into, they are way over their heads but they just don’t know it, so they keep going with a determination that is just so funny. There is an action sequence that takes place in a frat house that is so well done, it could be in a Dwayne Johnson action movie. This is one of those films that you will have a blast watching.   My Rating: Full Price     Bood Boys Website
My View: Blinded by the Light   (2019) PG-13   In 1987 Britain, the economy is in ruins, unemployment is growing and so are racial tensions. Javed (Viveik Kaira), is a teenager who is just trying to survive his high school days and the hard ways laid down by is Pakistani father (Kulvinder Ghir). Javed world is changed when he discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen, giving Javed a different way to see and deal with his world. Let me start off this review with a bit of a disclaimer, I am a huge Springsteen fan, having seen the full band twice and then I saw him do an acoustic show of all his hits. So I may be a little biased when I say that I thought this film was brilliantly done. Much like the Sing Street movie from a few years ago, there is a lot of singing and dancing done by the cast, the big difference is they are all Springsteen songs. This is one of those movies that I could watch over and over because it is so joyous in its presentation of Javed being saved from working in a factory to doing something he loves, writing. Kaira is perfect in the role and is so likable on the screen that you can’t help root for him to succeed. Even if you are just a mild Springsteen fan, you will enjoy this film from beginning to end.  My Rating: Full Price    Blinded by the Light Website
My View: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (2019) PG-13  Bernadette (Cate Blanchett) quit a promising career to raise her daughter (Emma Nelson) along with her loving husband (Billy Crudup). But Bernadette can’t be held down for long and goes on an epic adventure that will jump-start her life and lead her to happiness. Despite a strong performance by Cate Blanchett in a very unlikeable role as the difficult to deal with Bernadette and a nice comic relief performance by Kristen Wiig and the put upon next-door neighbor, I found the film very hit and miss. I think the major problem is that until the end of the film, you find that you don’t like Bernadette very much, even when she is dealing with some really stupid people. The film takes way too long to get going, although I did enjoy the last 1/3 of the film, once the plot starts moving forward. I think the film spent way too much time setting up the story and way too little resolving it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Where'd You Go, Bernadette? Website
Indiefest: Luce (2019) R A married couple (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth) are forced to deal with their adopted son (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), who is from war-torn Eritrea when a devoted high school teacher (Octavia Spencer) discovers an alarming fact about their son. Appearances can be deceiving, especially when you don’t want to see what people are really like once they let their guard down. This is a fascinating film about parents who think they have raised the perfect child and then slowly realize that couldn’t be further from the truth. Luce looks to be the perfect son/student but he has a hidden past that is probably affecting him to this day. Kelvin Harrison Jr. gives one of those performances that make you excited to see him in other roles, because he has this one down. He gives Luce a vibe that isn’t always what his character projects on the outside. Harrison Jr. shows us a young man how isn’t above using every trick in the book to get what he wants. My guess he will be in the mix for the breakthrough performer when the end of the year critic ballots go out. This is not an easy film to watch and you will squirm in your seat several times during the film but it’s well worth it to see Harrison Jr. give an outstanding performance.  My Rating: Full Price   Luce Website
Indiefest: One Child Nation (2019) R   A look at the brutal ramifications of China’s policy that families could only have one child per family. Parents and their children’s lives were shattered by the policy for years. In the 1970s the government of China was worried that if unchecked, China’s population would explode and there would be wild placed starvation. So the government mandated that each family could only have one child. If you did have a second child the government would seize the child and monetarily fine the family. If the family refused, their house might be destroyed and their land taken away. This is a heartbreaking film about the damage to the families that were affected by this law. What hit me the hardest was interviews with families that had to give away a child (that they would never see again) and they all remark that they had no choice but give up the child. The film also exposes that the government made money off the children they took away, selling the children as ‘orphans’ for ten of thousands of dollars to foreign families, especially families from the U.S. This is an extremely well-made documentary about a dark time in China’s history. Be warned, when you watch this film, you will need some tissues to wipe the tears away.   My Rating: Full Price    One Child Nation Website
My View: 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)  PG-13  Four teen girls (Sistine Rose Stallone, Corinne Fox, Brianne Tju, Sophie Nelisse) decide to dive into a ruined underwater city. They go into the ruins too far and encounter a great white that has adapted to the darkness of the ruins. Now they are diving for their lives. The first third of this film feels clunky and predictable. Where this film succeeds is when the teens dive into the ruins, then the tension builds and becomes almost unbearable for the last third of the film. I just wish they had gotten to the ruins much sooner in the film. There are a few ‘jump out of the dark’ scares but the rest of the film is about the teens being hunted by a killing machine. It’s not a great film but it still is a lot of fun to watch. I will admit at one point I pulled up my legs to try and help one of the teens avoid a shark bite.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    47 Meters Down Website
Forgotten FilmDarkman (1990) R      A brilliant scientist named Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) has discovered a way to produce synthetic skin for burn victims. There is a flaw in the discovery, the skin can only last 100 minutes if exposed to light. Sent by a mob boss, a henchman blows up Westlake, leaving Peyton for dead. Peyton begins using the synthetic skin to take the form of others (for only 100 minutes) and is out for revenge and to save his girlfriend Julie (Frances McDormand) who unknowingly works for the mob boss that put out the hit on Westlake. I love Neeson in the part, who shows his two sides; one carrying for his girlfriend and one who is determined to get revenge and make it as painful as possible. The action sequences are well done. The movie is enhanced by an incredible score by Danny Elfman that adds to the mood of the film.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Darkman Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Blinded by the Light: Standby Greens

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas Documentary on the three bluesmen that formed a band that has lasted 50 years and is still packing concert halls. A portion of the documentary is a concert the band did at the legendary Gruene Hall, one of the oldest dance halls in Texas. ZZ Top was my first concert and I have seen them at least 4 times.   ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band from Texas Website
Until Next Time!


Friday, August 9, 2019

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

My View: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) PG-13 On Halloween night in 1968, a group of teenagers visit a haunted house, one where the family there kept their daughter in a room in the basement. The teenagers find a book of scary legends and the stories are coming to life to threaten their lives. I thoroughly enjoyed this horror film that while does have a few jump out of the dark scares, build’s the tension to where the third act of the film is truly terrifying. The film is based on a YA book series, so the film is aimed at pre-teens and teenagers. Do not take your young children to this film as all the creatures in this film are just ghastly and horrific. What I really liked about this film (besides all the scares) was it also deals with some subjects that were very relevant for the time period: the Vietnam War, Tricky Dick Nixon getting elected President and racism. So go see this film and get your horror groove on.  My Rating: Full Price   Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Website
My ViewThe Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) PG A dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner) shows us the life lessons he learned from his race car driving master, Denny (Milo Ventimiglia). So the unusual thing about this film is that it’s seen through the eyes of Enzo, who believes in reincarnation and is convinced that what he learns in his life as a dog will help when he comes back as a human. This film is a great one but you laugh and yes, cry. I thought Costner did a masterful job as the voice of Enzo. Ventimiglia is fine as the race car driver who falls for Amanda Seyfried’s character. People that don’t like dogs will hate this movie but if love dogs as much as I do it will be an enjoyable film to watch.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Art of Driving in the Rain Website
FamilyfaireDora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) PG   Dora (Isabela Moner) was raised by her parents to be an explorer. Now, aided by a fellow explorer (Eugenio Derbez) Dora is on a mission to save her parents (Eva Longoria, Michael Pena) and find a lost city of gold. I really liked this film and I think parents will too, but I think your kids will fall in love with Dora. This movie works because Isabela Moner is so charismatic on the screen you can’t help yourself to root for her Dora. Kids will also love Boots, the sidekick of Dora, a monkey that seems almost human in his interactions with Dora. There are a couple of things I didn’t like about this movie: Eugenio Derbez is too over the top in his performance, it just doesn’t fit the rest of the film. Also, there is an animated fox called Swiper (voiced by Benicio Del Toro) that just doesn’t look like he belongs, the animation is too cartoony. By the way, there are a couple of times in the film that the film does give homage to the cartoon series this film is based on. Take your family and go on an exploration with Dora, it will be a blast.   My Rating: Full Price    Dora and the Lost City of Gold Website
My View:  The Kitchen (2019) R The wives of New York gangsters (Elisabeth Moss, Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish) in Hell’s Kitchen in the 1970s decide to continue their husband’s illegal business after their husbands are locked in prison. If I had been one of the other three people that were watching with me at the 7 pm Friday night screening, I would have left after ten minutes. This is one of the worst written films I’ve seen in a long time. The dialogue seems to have been written by a high school student writing a script for his AV class. The film wastes the talents of the three woman that head this cast. I did like the performance of Elisabeth Moss, whose character goes from a meek housewife to a tough, confident person. The audience (if you can call three people an audience) that I saw it with laughed at several plot points that were meant to be serious. This film might have worked as a dark comedy but as a straight drama, it is a bomb.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
Indiefest:  Tel Aviv on Fire  (2018)   Salam (Kais Nashif), a young Palestinian man, through good luck and connections gets a writing job on a popular Palestinian soap opera. What I liked about this film is that it shows you the Israeli occupation from the viewpoint of the Palestinians. The soap opera centers on a woman who is in love with a Palestinian operative who is in charge of her trying to seduce an Israeli general but the trouble is she starts falling in love with the general. While I didn’t laugh out loud, I did chuckle quite a bit. The secondary plot is that Salam is trying to get back with his old girlfriend, who he hurt deeply when they broke up in the past. I really liked the performance of Lubna Azabal, who plays the lead actress in the soap that is somewhat a diva. It’s a fine performance and she plays well off of Kais Nahif. This is a fun film to watch but we also learn how hard it is to live under the occupation of Isreal.    My Rating: Full Price
My View: Brian Banks (2018) PG-13   A football player’s (Aldis Hodge) dreams to play in the NFL are shattered when he is wrongly convicted and sent to prison. He teams with a lawyer (Greg Kinnear) to try and clear his name and start his football career. Aldis Hodge gives a powerful and moving performance of a man who just wants his name cleared, nothing more. I also enjoyed Sherri Shepherd’s performance as Brian’s mother who never wavers in her belief that Brian is innocent. I found the direction a little lacking in pace and the dialogue a little too preachy. The storyline is predictable but it’s still a remarkable story that needed to be told.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Brian Banks Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray): Tolkien (2019) PG-13   J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult) was an orphan who had to work hard to get anywhere. He falls in love with a fellow orphan, Edith (Lily Collins) and just when he finds his calling, language, he is swept away in the horrors of WW I. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan, so I was excited to see this film. While not bad, the film is a bit dull and spends too much time during Tolkien’s time in the war. I wanted more about how he came up with the idea of the books and less of his time looking for his best friend in the war.   My Rating; Bargain Matinee    Tolkien Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):   Ready or Not  (2019) R   A bride (Samara Weaving) is told that she must participate in a game of hide and seek before coming a part of the grooms family. What she doesn’t know is if they find her in the family home, she will be killed. The trailer looks really stupid.    Ready of Not Website
Forgotten Film: Coherence (2013)   During a night where a comet is going to come very close to Earth, a group of friends get together for a dinner party. The eight friends begin to experience problems when their phones all give out and electricity is shut down to the whole street except for a house down the road. The group decides to travel down the road to the house with power and then things get really weird. The tension builds as the film moves on. I would call this a suspense film and not a horror film. What I loved about this film is how natural the dialogue is (actors were not given a script, just a paragraph before each scene from the director, James Ward Byrkit). See this movie and go on a wild ride you won’t soon forget.   My Rating: Full Price   Coherence Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Swamper


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)  PG-13   Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Downs syndrome runs away from his care home to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. On the road, he encounters Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) a small-time outlaw that’s on the run that becomes an unlikely coach. They also convince Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), a nursing home worker to join their quest. The film has a great supporting cast including john Hawkes, Thomas Haden Church, and Bruce Dern. Everything I have heard about this film is that it is a celebration of life and is incredibly fun to watch.    The Peanut Butter Falcon Website
Until Next Time!


Friday, August 2, 2019

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw

My View:   Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw  (2019)  PG-13  Lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and criminal Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) make an unlikely team to save the world from a deadly virus. I love this ranchise since they decided that the leads are superfeores. This is such a fun popcorn movie to watch and the chemsitry between Johnson and Statham is amazing. I love movies when you see that the leads are having fun makng the film and this film is filled with that. The atcion sequences are just birllant and there is a holicopter seaence that is just amazaing. Is this a great film, no, but it is so much fun to watch. And be sure to stay through out all the credits as it sets up a sure to come sequel.   My Rating Full Price   Hobbs & Shaw Website
Indiefest: Mike Wallace is Here (2019) PG-13 Documentary on the legendary ’60 Minutes’ newsman Mike Wallace. The film explores the career of Mike Wallace. I learned a lot about Wallace, including the fact that not only he was he an investigative reporter but in his early career he did some acting. It is also fascinating to see how many commercials he id in the 50s. But of course, you get to see what made him famous, his interviews on 60 minutes.   My Rating; Full Price   Mike Wallace is Here Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):   Pet Sematary  (2019)  R  A family relocates from Boston to rural Maine. They soon discover that their house is located near a pet cemetery that has a mysterious past. This was a highly disappointing film. Almost all the scary stuff is the jump out of the dark category. It is a very violent movie and there are a couple of gruesome scenes. This film fails as a horror film, in fact, several times, the audience laughed at scenes that were not meant to be funny. It’s sad when the best performance in the film is by the cat, though I will say that I also liked Jete Laurence, who plays the daughter. This is one of those films that after you see it, you wonder why they even bothered to make the movie because it feels like they were just going through the motions.   My Rating: Cable    Pet Sematary Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):   Good Boys  (2019)  R  Three boys go a journey while having a bunch of illegal drugs. The trailer for this film hust looks horrible.   Good Boys Website
Forgotten Film:  Duel  (1971)  One of the first movies that Steven Speilberg directed. It was first a TV movie but was so successful that it was released to theatres. The film is about a driver who is hunted and terrorised by a 18 whee driver. I will admit that this film works better with the commercial breaks. I saw it in the theatre and it's pacing is a little off but it's still exciting.  My Rating: Full Price   Duel Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw:  Splinter Unit Director

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Linda Rosntadt: The Sound of My Voice:  (2019)  Can’t wait to see this film about one of my favorite singers.    The Sound of My Voice Website
Until Next Time!