Friday, September 13, 2019

Hustlers

My View: Hustlers (2019) R When financial hard times hit a strip club, the crew of strip club employees decide to band together and turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. A lot of critics that were at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival were talking up how good Jennifer Lopez in the role of the ringleader of the crew (so even mentioned Oscar nomination) but I think Constance Wu, whose character Destiny is the center of the film, acts rings around Lopez’s Ramona. Wu is a force on screen and demands, even when Lopez is sharing the screen, that you pay attention to her character. Some of the film is very funny, especially a running gag that involves Lili Reinhart’s character, Annabelle. I enjoyed the film, though the last act did drag a bit and the film seemed a little too long. Still, go have a fun time learning how to steal rich guys blind from Romona, Annabelle, and Destiny.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Hustlers Website
My View: Official Secrets (2019) R True story of a British whistleblower (Keira Knightley) who leaked information on a spy operation that was designed to push the UN Security Council into sanctioning the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This is based on a true story of a whistleblower that saw something that her country (and the U.S.) were telling lies to start a war and the incredible sacrifices she endured to bring those allegations to light. Knightley gives an outstanding performance of the woman who dared to risk everything to let the world know that a conspiracy was afoot. The film is an earnest attempt to tell a story of one person against a system that tried everything to discredit a brave woman willing to take on the system.   My Rating: Full Price     Official Secrets Website
Indiefest: This is Not Berlin (2019)   Set in 1980s Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Carlos (Xabiani Ponce de Leon) does not fit it, whether it is his family or his school. His world changes when he is invited to a nightclub where discovers the underground nightlife scene. Other than the multi-layered performance of Xabiani Ponce de Leon, there is little to recommend this film. The film is one long orgy of music, art, and drugs as we watch Carlos think that he has found his place in the world, only to find out that the world isn’t what he thought it was. Be warned there is heavy drug use in the film and quite a bit of nudity. This is one of those films that having watched it for almost 2 hours, we know less about the characters in the film than when we first started it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee
   This is Not Berlin Website 
Indiefest: Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019)  PG-13 Documentary on one of the greatest voices of the 20th century. Linda Ronstadt trail-blazed a career that spanned everything from country to rock to folk to Spanish Language albums. I loved this film, mostly it doesn’t fall into the mistake that a lot of bio’s of musicians do, too many interviews and not enough music. This film does a great job of giving you lengthy segments of music followed by interviews with some of the most iconic singers of Ronstadt’s generation like Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, and Emmylou Harris. The film lets Ronstadt do the narration and we get to see the wit and humor of Ronstadt’s personality. The biggest thing I took away from this film is how important family was and is to Ronstadt and how much her family influenced her music and her voice.   My Rating: Full Price     Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice Website
My View: The Goldfinch (2019)  R  A young boy named Theodore (Oakes Fegley) is taken in by a wealthy family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of the Art. Life is going to be a bumpy road for Theodore who desperately clings to the image of his mother. Some books are just meant to be books and nothing else. The Goldfinch is a bestselling Pulitzer Prizing winning book that has plenty of fans. The problem is that the storyline makes for a rather boring and almost unwatchable movie. The film never gets going after the first couple of minutes and keeps going back and forth between present-day and Theodore’s very messy childhood. The film never really lets us connect with Theodore and the bombing is never explained why or how it happened. The other problem is that other than Theodore’s surrogate father, Hobie (played by the brilliant Jeffery Wright), we don’t like any of the characters in the film, especially Theodore. Skip the movie and settle down with a good book, maybe even The Goldfinch.   My Rating: Full Price    The Goldfinch Website
Forgotten Film: The Young Philadelphians (1959) An up and coming lawyer, Anthony (Paul Newman) seemingly has a very bright future. Anthony is on the fast track for partner at his law firm, winning cases right and left and he has a fiancee (Barbara Rush) who loves him, His life is turned upside down when he takes the case of his best friend, Gwynn (Robert Vaughn) who has been accused of murder, a case that looks like a sure thing that Anthony’s friend is guilty. Anthony must decide to stay the course or break his comfortable ties and defend his best friend. While Newman gives his usual great performance, it's Robert Vaughn, in an Oscar-nominated role, that makes this film work as the flawed friend of Anthony who believes and trusts that his friend can get a not guilty plea against the odds.   My Rating: Full Price     The Young Philadelphians Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Hustlers: Pole Trainer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Jojo Rabbit (2019)  PG-13   A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home. If anyone can make a comedy about Nazi’s and Hitler work, it’s the director of Thor: Ragnarok (2017), What We Do in the Shadows ( 2014) and one of my all-time favorite movies, Boy (2011), Taika Waititi.    Jo Jo Rabbit Website
Until Next Time!


Friday, September 6, 2019

It Chapter Two

My View: It Chapter Two  (2019)  R   Twenty-seven years after first encountering the horrific Pennywise, the Loser Club has come back to town to try and stop him again. There are three big problems with this sequel: it is way too long (2 hours 49 minutes), it isn’t scary, and it has way too many flashbacks to the first film. It’s as if the writer/director knew that we might not like the adult Loser Club, so they decided let's bring back the kids, ‘everyone loves the kids.’ I hated the special effects in this film as most of the creatures looked like they came from a 90’s cheap horror flick. I just don’t understand how you can have a cast that includes Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and Bill Skarsgard and make a boring picture but It Chapter Two is one. Skip this film and go watch the first film instead.   My Rating: Cable   It Chapter Two Website
My View: Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) R   Brittany (Jillian Bell) is a very unhappy 27-year old woman living in New York. She is overweight, parties too much and has a nowhere job in a theatre. When a doctor tells her to get healthy, she decides to take up running. With the help of a neighbor (Michaela Watkins), she doesn’t really like and a fellow out of shape beginning runner (Micah Stock), Brittany begins to succeed in losing weight and decides to set a goal of running a marathon. Unfortunately, Brittany is her own worst enemy and really doesn’t have any trust for anyone, a trust she will need if she is going to meet her goals. This is one of those films that while not a great film, is a great deal of fun, mostly because Jillian Bell is so good in the role of the woman who is tired of being overweight and overlooked. Brittany is her own worst enemy and we struggle sometimes to like her but she keeps plugging away and we hope that eventually, she will decide that she matters and that people do care about her.   My Rating: Full Price    Brittany Runs a Marathon Website
Indiefest: Vita & Virginia (2018)  R   The scandalous love affair of socialite and popular author Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton) and soon to be famous author Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki). The film is incredibly slow-moving and it seems that throughout the film we keep waiting for Virginia to have a mental breakdown but it just never really comes. This is a beautiful looking film and Arterton and Debicki have great chemistry on the screen but the film seems lifeless and I just didn’t care about any of the characters in the film. The film starts slow and just never really finds its footing.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Vita & Virginia Website
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD / Blu-ray):  Booksmart   (2019)  R   Two high school overachievers (Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein) have always placed academics over anything else. They decide they have missed the fun of being a high-school student and decide to cram four years of fun into one night. Dever and Feldstein have incredible chemistry on the screen and their timing, finishing each other’s sentences. The dialogue reminded me a little of the Gilmore Girls, where the two leads just keep it up with non-stop dialogue. The film is sidesplitting funny and what I really like, it’s an original storyline, unique in this day and age of the remake. If you want a fun time at the cinema with some winning characters, go see this film.   My Rating: Full Price     Booksmart Website
Forgotten Film: The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)    A nineteenth-century New Hampshire farmer, Jabez Stone (James Craig) has hit hard times. A mysterious man named Mr. Scratch (Walter Houston) shows up at Jabez’s doorstep and offers Jabez a deal, his farm will prosper but he has to give up his soul to the devil. Jabez makes the deal and sure enough, his farm becomes successful beyond his wildest dreams but Jabez realizes the price to pay for success is too much. Jabez talks the world’s most famous orator, Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold) into taking his case and go up against the devil himself. The film contains one of the best film scores of all time by the infamous Bernard Herrmann and Walter Houston is perfect as the devil who knows he will win, no matter how great Webster is. Great film with some incredible scenes makes this a film to be savored.    My Rating: Full Price     The Devil and Daniel Webster Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of It Chapter Two: Costume Breakdown Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)   The gang (Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Woody Harrelson) move to the heartland and have to keep fighting off zombies, all while dealing with a makeshift family that always doesn’t get along. I loved the first film, so I am hoping this one will be fun too.    Zombieland: Double Tap Website
Until Next Time!