Saturday, April 15, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW - The Fate Of The Furious

This franchise keeps getting larger and larger.  This really does defy the odds.

This is number eight in this series, that was granted a 250 million dollar budget and is going to make it back ten times over.  This is no spoiler here, they are all here. All your favs and some new ones as this series is most definitely going to charge on well past this one.

This time Charlize Theron is our villain and she is terrific as the ruthless cyber bully that is bent on breaking up the family and recruiting Dom to her insanely evil side.  She is wonderful, and not overly dramatic.   She was perfectly cast. 

There is plenty of bang for your buck too. This is strewn with tons of well done action scenes. Some of them though do look like movies past, But nonetheless, there is lots to feast your eyes on.  Much of the action scenes too were filmed in downtown Cleveland and the city really is on display for you to see.  Although you are lead to believe it is New York City.

This is fun, well done and just flat out escapism, and in today's world we need some of that.   And to think this series was almost stopped after the third film.

Fate Of The Furious.  This is really fun and a long, long way from Tokyo Drift.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Silent Shoulder Chip

All is right with the world as baseball season is here at last.  I have been ready for the Tribe to begin since he final out of the amazing game 7 from last year.  And I am sure the Indians have been too.

The off season has been strewn with so much Cubs love, it's almost ridiculous.  I am a tolerant person by DNA, but even I have had enough.  According to the media, 2017 is simply a formality and the Cubs are again the champs.  ESPN has them going about 159-3 this year.  It's about that silly.  The Cubs were a great story from last year.  As a Tribe fan, I can absolutley relate to the long World Series win drought as well as anyone.  But being honest, the Cubs are good. But last year they were very, very fortunate and lucky, as well as good,  to win the title.

They were very lucky to win the National League and then to face the Tribe with tons of injuries to the games best pitching staff.  And they still almost blew it and let it get away.  But that's the inept history of a Cubs franchise that has been botching chance after chance with Yankee advantages for decades.

Being said, now that the Joe Buck/Fox Sports Kyle Schwarber smooching sessions on national TV is over (let's hope),  lets get down to  2017.  The Tribe should be good, and should be a contender to win it all.  They have the games best pitching staff, the best manager, and the most hungry of all fan bases.  My hope this year is that the Tribe stays healthy and stays focused.  My feeling is that they will.  Because as sick as you and I are of all the Cubs/Schwarber groping, my gut tells me the Indians are way more tired of it that anyone. 

I want the Tribe to be that exciting, fun team they were last year.  Fun to watch, easy to like and contending from day one.  But I also want them to play with a silent chip on their shoulders.  The one you won't see with anger, or a snarled lip.  But the one the just permeates their collective souls and drives them from within. The one that's healthy, and motivating.  The one that jams runs across the plate at a breakneck pace, and strikes out the opposition same.   The one where the game is fun for them, and not for the competition.  And the one where each team goal leads to the next one.  Where you win as much as you can, the right way, and show Joe Buck that he took the wrong date to the prom.

Can the Tribe end this long drought?  6 months will tell, but in the meantime enjoy what could be an amazing summer.  Focus on game one, then game two, and so on, all the while knowing the most important game the Indians play is the next one.  And then the one after that.  Us against the world? Maybe. 

But carry that silent shoulder chip, and know that this summer should be fun, should be memorable, and should ours.  It's our time now, it's our moment now.  The Cubs have assured that. 


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now

Kind of a yawner this week at the movies, lets see what's out there for you!

Power Rangers

OK this is the latest toy or TV series come to life for the grown adults as much as their children. This ala Transformers and the like.  There is nothing new here.

This is loud.

This is Power Rangers.  Not a bad afternoon for you and the kids.  Get set, there will be more


There is bad, there is really bad, and then there is this.  How anyone can be enthralled by this is simply amazing.  This is Alien, reborn, and ripped off.  Plus, has there been a movie in the past few years as predictable as this?

Observation here. When you make space adventure and action thrillers that are set in the way distant future, you have more license.  When you make a modern day space movie with people on the International Space Station, you need to get it right.  Making the people on the station look like morons and stupid is simply bad movie making.  And that's what this does.  Also, real stories of space set in the contemporary world as FAR more compelling than terrible fiction like this. 

True stories feature characters you like and are pulling for.  This movie has neither. I hated these characters so much, I couldn't wait to see them meet a horrible end.  This is silly, insulting and you know from frame ten, what will happen in the final one.

Life -  Go see the new Alien this summer instead. Embarrassing.


Woody Harrelson stars in the latest Indy lick about a quirky, grumpy old man. This time it's Wilson.  This has some fun moments in it, as Woody gives it his best, as this smacks some of St. Vincent, About Schmidt, and As Good As It Gets.  But it's not nearly in the same class.

This is an original story to a degree, as Wilson is a upper middle aged guy, alone in the world, as the world has passed him by.  This does have a twist or two that are compelling, but sadly overall, this is just simply a way better idea than it was a produced movie.

Wilson - a select group will see it, and walk out wishing it has been better.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now

One movie broke box office records, and one is just broke. Check out this weeks flicks here.

Beauty And The Beast

This movie is very interesting, as it has not been received as well from the national critics as I would have thought. This does have some problems, and makes a couple of strange decisions, but this is very good movie making.  In fact the making of this, is the star as it is the marriage of many different kinds of movies rolled into one.

First the problems.  Emma Watson as Belle. OK, she's not as good of a singer as the written music here, but who you gonna get?  Who can sing this incredible music, and still be a box office draw at this young age that is required?  She makes it through, in a no-win situation for her.  She's fine, not great, but not a deal breaker.  Also, this is a bit too long, with too many far too long  scenes that do wear out their welcome.  And some of this is a bit over the top.

But this does have some real nice moments.  Its old school musical format is fun to see.  The CG effects are incredible, and the sets, costuming and overall feel is certainly what they were going for.  Makeup is terrific, and music same.  And some of the techniques used here are simply breathtaking when the non human characters come to life. 

Perfect? No.  But highly enjoyable for you and your family.

The Belko Experiment

OK, this is a really, really good idea that they just fumble through, and that's too bad.  This story had the chance to be something original, but they went for simply violent instead.

This fictional American company called Belko, is taken over by some entity that delivers this ultimatum to the 6 employees inside.  They must kill 2/3 of the employees themselves in few hours, or  "they"  will kill them all by a means don't want to know here.  It all is in the name of an "experiment."  Sad part is, after about 90 minutes of blood, guts and violence, you never really find out why, or who "they" are to any real satisfaction. 

That was the whole thing here. That fact alone, was the star of this movie. Too bad the makers didn't know that. They sell out to big violence and straight out killing instead of a decent story. 

Good and original idea, flushed away

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sleep The Snow Away

Today is National Napping Day, and being honest I just woke up from one Felt great!

Naps are a funny thing. Is there anything we have such a different opinion on in different stages of  life than naps.  As a kid you fight tooth and nail NOT to take a nap. You cry, moan, throw a fit and simply are afraid to miss out on anything.  For me, being the youngest, I always played the "not fair" card as my brother and sister had outgrown the peaceful practice of the nap. 

But as adults, we can't wait to take a nap.  Oh my gosh, laying down on the couch with something bad on TV, and just dozing off for a while in the middle of the day - heaven.  If you can, you do. If you can't,  you wish you could. That's just the reality of the nap.

Snow days are the only thing I think that compare with naps in our change of perception.  As a kid, the idea of not going to school on short notice was simply amazing.  Remember just sitting there wondering if we would get enough snow not to go?  Waiting to see your school on TV, or hear it on the radio. It was the best feeling on earth!  NO School!!  It was like a gift.  An Amazon box that was for you, that you didn't know was on the way!

As a responsible adult?  Is there anything more disheartening?  Driving in it, shopping in it, shoveling, or snow blowing it.  The morons in their first 4 wheel drive who think they can drive 80. The cancelled flights, the delayed flights, the slipping, sliding, and falling.  Walking the dog..the list goes on.  It really is a stunning metamorphosis.  From giddy, to grumpy with snow.

Look, on some nice weekend night, when you are at home and there's no reason to go out, and strong blast of snow can be nice. Looks good, and you are inside safe and warm.  But when it's during the week, like this week?

I think I'll take a nap. Wake me up when it's time to get up and drive in for the show -  in the snow.

See you in the morning. 

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters This Week

A nice array of movies in the houses this week, let's take a quick look.

Kong Skull Island

Here comes King Kong yet again, rebooted and good to go with an all star cast to back him up.  This stars John Goodman, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larsen, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Rielly and many more in this story of discovering Kong deep in the South Pacific on Skull Island.

Kong looks to be in good shape, and that's saying something after 84 years have passed since his big screen debut.  This is simply escapism.  Kong is discovered, and he still basically wants to be left alone, except man, keeps butting in.  Kong is still a sympathetic character with emotions, as well as strength, and boy does he have strength.   Kong is bigger and better than ever. The CG is terrific here, and there is planty of action, and yes, there is plenty of Kong.

This is available to you in various formats, including IMAX, and 3D.  I saw it in 3D,  and being honest I'm not sure it added to the experience. But you can be the judge for yourself.

Kong, clearly he's been working out and has accepted his role again as one of cinemas most enduring characters.  Kong Skull Island, simply fun.

The Shack 

This was a gigantic book, and now it's movie, and a spiritual one at that.  Perfect and I mean perfect example of a movie critics will hate and patrons will love.  Are there better movies? Absolutely!  But this is getting a bad national rap.

This is the story of Mac, who suffers unimaginable loss in life, and he loses his way with himself, his wife, and family.  He then decides to go on a solo journey back to the scene that is the source of all of his pain, a place called, The Shack.  While there, he has a weekend long encounter with God, and Jesus - themselves in person.    Their goal is to heal Mac, and mend his life and family.

Flat out, this will be far too spiritual for some.  This does get off to a slow start, and makes a few silly flubs, but it does gather itself.  This is far too long at 2:15.  But it does offer a Mac's look inside of his own belief system, and will bring comfort to some who may struggle in every day life.  It is a bit too much like a sermon at times, but is not a deal deal breaker.

The Shack.  Great? No.  But not the tanker national critics want you to think.

Before I Fall 

This is a pretty interesting movie that dares to ask questions about not only what happens to you when you die, but what can happen before you die that matters.

This is the story of four high school girls who seem to live typical modern teen lives. Samantha, (Zoey Deutch) is our main character, and she lives through a typical day, that does not end typically.  As a result, she starts to re-live that same day over and over again, ala Groundhog Day.  But this is not a comedy, this is teen drama.

What this is, is a young girl given the chance time and time again to grow up before it's too late.  It's about coming of age, and doing the right thing that is in your heart, and not succumbing to the pressures of being a teen.  This, is overall interesting enough to hold your attention, but this does have the view that these teens aren't as average as the writer would like you to believe. I would have preferred to see teens not from such affluence showcased here.

Deutch was terrific, supporting cast decent, overall an interesting flick that teens and tweens will love as it may look like them.  For the rest of us, especially parents could be a great learning tool.


After its big Oscar win for Best Picture, Moonlight has gone wide release to about 1,500 screens this week.  This movie is a very powerful flick that is daring to take us to places seldom gone to at the movies.

This is the story of a young African American boy from his childhood, to his adulthood beginning in the worst part of the inner city.  This movie chronicles the amazingly complicated and difficult life in the projects, and the fight, or not, to break away from it.  And here, they also wrote in some ancillary life situations that add to the struggle.  This is written bravely and skillfully with a totally original story that none of us has ever seen told this way before.

Great performances, a great script, and filmed wonderfully, Moonlight is a true original. This is certainly a trip to the movies you have not taken before.  Well, well done.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Give Them A Trophy~!

As this is being written, many will say this is a silly idea.  But if you really think about this honestly, it starts to make sense.

As a movie buff all my life I will stand behind this statement, that the time has come to finally give King Kong and GodzillaHONORARY Oscars.  Not acting Oscars clearly but for lifetime achievements.  The continued success of both of these characters is nothing short of amazing and unmatched.  Kong did it again this week, raking in another 100 million or so.   And to those of the "elite set"  in Hollywood that would think this to be below them, or undignified, I say the following.  Get over yourself.  Here's the case for each.

They have been making Kong movies for 84 years!   Godzilla for 63, for aombined for 147 years!  Think about that.  Godzilla has appeared in more movies that any other character in movie history. Kong brings throngs to theaters, and will keep doing so when he and Godzilla team up in the same movie in 2020.  Look, I know that they are characters, but the Oscars would be an amazing tribute to the countless people over many decades and generations who brought those characters to life. From clay-mation, to the guy in the suit, to the incredible CG of today.  

Kong and Godzilla have been enough of an inspiration to thousands, within Hollywood to be all they can be.  From directors, to producers, to the special effects guys, to the long list of popular actors over the years who line up to star alongside them, to the studios who put up the money bring them back to life.

Both too are wonderful characters. Kong of course, is the lonely, sympathetic giant that only wants to be left alone, protect what is his, as he is the last of his kind.  Virtually every successful "monster movie" and many other tragic movies, have drawn inspiration from the original King Kong from 1933.  Kong died for what he thought was important as he was a victim of man's greed.  You felt amazingly sorry for him.

Godzilla was created from man's testing of Nuclear Weaponry in post war WWII.  He was the first of his kind and now wants to keep the balance that the world seems to need.  The original Godzilla was absolutely an anti-nuclear weapon movie as it was made just a few years after Hiroshima, and takes place in Japan.  He is a victim again, of man's encroachment on his environment.  Also Godzilla's iconic roar, is considered to be the most famous sound effect in movie history.

Somehow these two characters have endured a century and half of movie making. From the originals, to the silly ones with the guys in the suits, to the incredible CG of today. Kong and Godzilla still captivate new generations of movie goers well into this century.

And to the "elites" that may claim this undignified?  Each individually have made more movies than them over a far longer period of time. They look better now than 50 years ago, (can they say the same?).  They have been seen by FAR more patrons, and have made infinitely more money than them.  And being more than honest, are probably far more loved, and have portrayed characters as, or more substantive than them.

Would be a cool thing to do. The time has come.   I think that 147 years of successful movie making is long enough to wait.