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!

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