Monday, August 29, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Don't Breathe

There is no question that this has it's share of problems, but being suspenseful is not among them.

In a nutshell, this is the story of three young amateur thieves in the worst part of abandoned Detroit who are pulling off small time home robberies. They decide to try to pull off a huge heist that seems easy to the naked eye. But they soon learn that it is anything but.

They hear of a former US military veteran, who is blind, having a minimum of 300 grand in his house as a result of a lawsuit from the car crash that killed his daughter.  So our thugs, 2 guys and a girl go in for the job at 2AM in the worst part of Detroit where the veteran lives.  What ensues is a vet, who is cunning, well trained, angry, and ready to defend what he has left.  And once they find their way in, our crooks find it impossible to get out. 

This is very well written, and quite interesting. There are a few twists you will not see coming that keep this 1 hour 30 minute flick moving along nicely. This also does not wear out it's welcome.  Does this make some mistakes? Well yes. There are a few moments of silliness that I quite frankly don't understand, because it didn't need them in the story and don't make this better.  But this is filmed well, acted well, and doesn't go over the edge with gratuitous violence.  This remembers that the story is what brought this to the dance, and that was a good decision.

Stephen Lang is great as our blind hero, who comes off as completely credible.  There is just enough here to keep you on the edge of your seat, and stays the course. This is well done, and for once, pretty intense in a genre lately that has increasingly become less intense and simply more violent.

Don't Breathe.  Quite good for what it is.

Monday, August 22, 2016

MOVIE REVIEWS - New In Theaters

War Dogs

This is a very interesting movie, that if it wasn't true, you would never believe it.  Jonah Hill, Miles Teller and Bradley Cooper star in this stunning story of two 22 year old dudes somehow become incredibly wealthy international arms dealers, supplying weapons to the US Military with virtually no experience or accreditation. What a story!

All of our stars are great here. The writing is slick and this moves along nicely.  Cooper is especially good here as a real dirt bag of a character running weapons all over the world and getting insanely rich doing it.  The good thing here, is that they never forget who the star of this movie really is. The story - period! Hill, and Teller are willing to let the story play out, and shine, all the while not getting in the way with wayward performances, or overacting.  Great soundtrack, fair amount of action, shot in great locations and that gives this a real nice look and feel.

War Dogs.  This is darn good, and well worth your time.

Hell Or High Water

When a movie stars Jeff Bridges, I feel it is mandatory viewing, and this is. In fact, this is one of the best movies of the year so far.  This also stars Chris Pine, and Ben Foster and they both deliver incredible performances. There isn't anything about this that isn't great.

Pine and Foster star in this terrific story about two brothers living in thoroughly depressed West Texas, go on a poorly thought out bank robbing spree.  Bridges is a soon to be retired Texas Ranger who is out to catch them before he hangs it up.  Why is each side doing what they are? That's the story, and it's great.  While Pine and Foster are great in their large roles as close knit outlaw brothers, Bridges is simply amazing again. In the right role, he is simply Hollywood's best actor these days.  This also one of those movies, where every single person in it, no matter how small the role, is perfectly cast.

This is exciting, thrilling, suspenseful, and funny at times.  This is about as well written as it could be.  The characters are well defined, and the story is topical, relevant, and exceedingly believable. 

Hell or High Water. Go watch great actors be great.  One of the best movies of the year. First class project.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Sausage Party

Some may say why review this movie?  But I say this movie could be a real turning point into the next big trend in movie going.

As you can clearly see, even the title suggests that this is not going to be the slightest bit family friendly even being a completely animated flick.  This is the brain child of Seth Rogen and others to do an extreme parody of  very friendly Pixar animated movies.  And being honest, they do that very, very well here.  This really makes fun of the Pixar formula.  And this absolutely has serious political and social over and undertones.  Some of that quite well done as well.

But this is also raunchy without end, very direct and flat out offensive for many -  in many regards.  Easily the mildest part of this is the incredible harsh and never ending foul language.  There is a constant sexual undertone throughout, and this again glorifies harsh recreational drug use and that entire lifestyle.  And with that said, some of this is still quite funny.

This movie brings to life, food, in a grocery store and the life it leads.  Sound way out there? It is. Talking, walking, drug ingesting, sexually active and down right horny animated food.  You may have caught on, this is not for youngsters. This is the hardest of R ratings.  In fact, I saw a theater where NO ONE under 7 would be admitted under any circumstances.  I have never seen that before. 

What Sausage Party may do though, is usher in a new line of movie making if it makes a ton. Mainstream, extremely naughty, harsh, and unfriendly for kids animated movies.  I think it is safe to assume that there will be more movies like this from various movie makers. Is this a good idea?  Doesn't make any difference, if there is big money in it, it will happen because of all the platforms we have to view it. 

Sausage Party.  Not for the kids at all, highly adult, funny in spots. It seems a new era may be born.

Friday, August 5, 2016

MOVIE REVIEWS - Various Out Now


This is a very interesting movie that has come out to very little fanfare, but is not a bad night at the flicks. This is a fictional story about an interactive video game called Nerve.  It seems a quick way to make money if you do the "dares" that you are challenged to do as a "player."  Then the "watchers" follow the players, and drive the game.  The more followers you get as a player, the more you can make and the more your popularity soars. But there are problems.

The game becomes a mind control and life controlling entity that makes it impossible for you to get out of it, unless you win it outright.  It is an identity stealing, harsh game that is driven by the watchers desire to see more and more graphic and live content.

This is good original story and a nice performance from our star Emma Roberts who is becoming more of a star all the time.  It showcases, certainly in an extreme form, the public's appetite for fame, voyeurism, greed, and the need for acceptance in social media. Very topical, and a real eye opener, and this could be the precursor to actual events in the future.  Well done.

Bad Moms

This is an all star cast of many of today's most popular female Hollywood stars in a parody of being a mom in today's very difficult environment.  This has been referred to as the "Hangover" for girls and for the most part it is true.  This is a hard R rated movie that shows a group of moms, who have had it with the politically correct world they are forced to live in, while raising young children.  And for the most part, there are some really good laughs here.

But in addition to the laughs, there are also gaffs.  This is a good idea that veers off the tracks at times and goes a bit too far, drifting into areas that are no longer funny.  But they don't wreck the ship. There is a bit too much harsh language and a few too many redundant scenes, but this is a good day, especially a group of women to go together and laugh out loud.  Kudos too, to Kristen Bell, who is really funny in her supporting role.  Easily the funniest thing I have ever seen her do.

Bad Moms. Target audience will LOVE this!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Ghostbusters

There was certainly enough negative on the internet leading up to this flicks release.  But, sadly for the naysayers, it's not the horrible garbage they were anticipating.

This is the updated version of the 1984 classic. This of course with an all-female cast featuring some big names including Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. This has been brought up to date in some ways, and that part of this was done pretty well.  This is a big CG fest, and you get plenty of it.  But, this movie was kept to a nice one hour and thirty-five minutes and that was a good decision.  Also a good idea to not let this sink into the raunchy hole as that was my biggest fear.  Language tame  - and sight gags same.  And amazingly someone made a comedy without horrible human bodily functions gone wrong.

This version, is the genesis for what will certainly be more of these, with this cast in tact.  There are some fun cameo's here that are quick and work well.  The soundtrack has been updated nicely, and the original Ghostbusters theme in used as well, in a newer version. 

Is this funny?  Actually no.  Much of the completely over used technique of improv dialogue really doesn't work very well here.   Our stars are again, the same character as they were in last movie they made only this time fighting ghosts.  Many of these performances are really starting to meld together and look the same.  McKinnon for some reason really doesn't work here, as her character in theory should be really funny, but is not. Sadly, she is the weak link, but inn fairness, more was asked of her, as McCarthy, and Wiig are relegated to be the same character again, and again, and again - again.

But as non-funny as this is, Ghostbusters is pretty entertaining.  This moves along well, and there is enough to hold you till the next scene.  Most are quick and tidy, and they do pay off well as far as the special effects many want to see.  Strangely too, this is being reviewed far better than it is being received by many fans who seem to be so-so on the whole idea and movie.

Ghostbusters.  On a rainy or 100 degree day, not a bad afternoon in air conditioning.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates

Summer means summer comedies.  Since The Hangover series is long over, we need something to replace it for the next few summers, and that franchise is here.

Sometimes you go to a movie and you know what it is.  You know this is going to be a raw, if not raunchy comedy.  And that's basically what this is. But looking at it fairly, this is more than that. No doubt they take the easy way out for much of this with predictable raunchy stuff,  but this also takes a really honest look at this generation as a whole. 

This is based on actual characters. Meet Mike and Dave. They are brothers in their late 20's who ruin about everything they touch at family gatherings with their drunken and even light drug infused antics.  As their baby sister is getting married, the parents insist they bring dates to the wedding who will keep them in line. Instead the girls they choose are in many ways even worse than them as far as the partying is concerned. So it's on!

As the escapades roll on there are some good laughs, some of them guilty pleasure, laughs but a lot of this is pretty funny. It walks up to, but never really crosses over the line as far as gross, or outrageous comedy is concerned.  Plenty of drinking, sex talk, light drug use and general inappropriateness.  And some of this works.  But there is more.

This movie actually addresses the issues that this generation faces, and looks at them head on.  Some of this is done through comedic dialogue and some of it heartfelt.  This does poke fun at the characters in general, and the generation at large.  Is this perfect? Heck no, but this is not a bad day a the flicks.  This is a hard R rated flick, so it may not be for everyone. But for the intended target, this will be spot on.

Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates.  It's no Hangover, but it's fun.  And there will be more.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Indians - Tribe Time Is Our Time

When the Cavaliers won the NBA Title and bridged the 52 year sports crevasse, we all breathed a little easier, and stood a little taller. 

The celebration across the region was amazing, as we all took part in one way or another, and maybe you still are.  Enter the Indians, our Tribe.  Yes, they have been playing terrific baseball since the Cav's title, and I feel that is not a coincidence.  Who, in essence are the Indians?  They are just young guys, be it rich ones, who own televisions too. They saw what happened in the wake of a championship in Northeast Ohio. They liked it, and they want it too.

What the Cav's did was partly because of us, and with our help. I will always believe that. We felt that that it was within our grasp, and we willed this team to perform at its best when it seemed all was too late.  Then we took to the streets and let it all our when Lebron and the boys came home.  That has rejuvenated the area in total. What a great gift from the Cavs.

Many fans are coming back to the Tribe now that it is fashionable to to so.  I personally don't care how you get there, just so you do.  Many on Sports Radio and Social Media complain about the Tribe's ownership, and have problems with the Indians because of that, and are slow to support. Please!  How ridiculous and uneducated is that?  I have never decided to be a fan of any sports team because of the billionaire who owns them. 

But this Indians team is good.  And they have a much larger advantage than even the Cav's do.  No, the Tribe does not have the worlds best player, but they have something even more bonding for all of us to grab on to. They have the everydayness of baseball.  I know that's not a word, but so what, it's the truth.  It's so ironic that what the very casual fan views as baseball's negative in so-so or losing years, becomes it's biggest asset when it's finally "next year."  I don't know about you, but I find myself a bit ticked off  - on days off.  When you're winning, you want to play.  With this team,  I'm all in!

But the truth is, the Tribe has laid the framework down for an amazing season, and now it's up to us to push them as far as we can any way we can.   Take the ride with them and get involved emotionally with this very likable team.  As much as the Cav's brought us together, the Tribe now has the opportunity to galvanize us like never before, day in and day out.

Virtually no one reading this was even alive the last time the Tribe won the World Series in 1948 me included.  And I don't know about you, but I am ready.  I embrace the Tribe every year, but I am a realist from season to season and look at them as the really are. And this year, they are really good and really built right to give us all the thrill of a lifetime, and remind us that there is nothing like a World Series Title. - In OUR town.

It's Tribe time now,  and that's true. But just as important, it is our time too.  Enjoy this, because what you're seeing is damn rare air.  Go Tribe!