Thursday, August 10, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW - In Theaters Now

Let's get caught up on what is out there for you at the flicks. 

Atomic Blonde

This graphic novel come to life with the full weight of actor and producer Charlize Theron is what's fun for you right now.  This has been highly anticipated all spring, and being honest, this good - not great.

This is in the John Wick vein, but not as effective.  But what this lacks in parody and fun, it does make up for in a deeper story, and and overall more adult feel.  Theron plays our hero, our secret agent who works for....well who?  She is an amazing hand-to-hand combat agent, and quite frankly is great at about everything, ala James Bond.  This takes place in 1989, just days before the Berlin Wall came down, and it's a battle for control of sensitive info before the world changes for good

This is really fun, and Theron is terrific as this enigmatic character, who does much of her own stunt work.  James McAvoy, and John Goodman too.  This is not as great as the anticipation, but this is good summer fun. Violent yes, and adult all the way, but good summer flick.

Girls Trip

OK, this is a bit late but this is worth the wait.  This is the latest of the "Hangover" type movies, and the new trend is to show women acting "badly."  This has much of the same formula as Hangover, and Bridesmaids, but this is so much more than that.

This has a number of good laughs, and maybe a few too many sight gags.  Some I could have done without seeing.  But, after you cut through all the stuff, this delivers a pretty nice message on friendship, and of self empowerment, no matter who you are. 

Four girls in  New Orleans doing a lot of naughty things, OK.  But there is more here.  It may have taken them to long to say it, at 2 hours, 2 minutes shorter would have been better, but not a deal breaker.  This is overall fun, and had the theater laughing out loud.

The Emoji Movie

Can we just stop?  Please?


Friday, July 21, 2017


Director Christopher Nolan gets a lot of praise for his movies, some of it warranted.  As decent as some of his directed movies have been, I have been slow to get on the bandwagon. I do believe his movies have flaws.  But this is terrific!

Dunkirk is based on the true story of the 400,000 trapped British and French troops in Dunkirk in the dark days of WWII.  The Nazi's had them pinned in with no way home, and sitting ducks on the beach.  Then "home" came to rescue them.  This is a tough story to watch sometimes as little went well there for the Allies, but this is a remarkable story told very well here.

Nolan's movies for me, have always have a flaw or two that are big.  They have all been way, way too long, and many of them infused with him being far to infused into the movie.  Most of his flicks check in at almost 3 hours, and just need less of "him" and more of "them" (the people in the movie).
Dunkirk is under two hours and the star of this movie is  - the movie!  This incredibly written story, (that Nolan wrote) is told exrtremely well through action, with little emphasis on dialogue.  There is not a lot of character development, and needless side plots.  And this doesn't smack of  "I'm the smartest guy in the room" vibe.

This is filmed brilliantly, and acted same.  The editing is amazing and we, and Nolan, can sit back and watch the movie itself tell its important story as if we are really there.  This is exciting, suspenseful, and told as simply as it can, and as it should be.  This is important stuff here, and the respect shown to the participants is really on full display.  Adapted well, written well,  and directed with a restrained skill and sharp editing blade, not generally displayed in Nolan films. 

Dunkirk.  Will get some Oscar buzz, and will be one of the best movies of the entire year.   Just flat out great!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now

Baby Driver

This us terrific!  A great cast led by Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, John Hamm, Ansel Elgort, and Lily James.  This gets a ton of originality points with me.

It's the story of Baby, (Elgort) a young hot shot getaway driver with a small group of big time bank robbers.  Baby has a back story that is interesting and and original. He falls in love with Deborah, (James) and decides he wants out of the crime business. But his boss (Spacey) feels differently.

This is fun, fast, well paced and  a story you have not seen before, with original characters and good performances.  HUGE kudos to Lily James, she is amazing as the reluctant love interest and is a very nice break from the fast pace of the much of this movie.

Baby Driver - Flat out good!

The Beguiled

This should have been much better than it is, and that's a shame. All the parts were assembled together for this to be really strong.  Adapted by Sophia Coppola, and starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell. 

National critics are loving this, but the public is not.  It's the story taking place in 1864 Virginia.  A school for woman takes in a wounded Northern soldier (Farrell) in the waning days of the Civil War. He is badly injured and they bring him back to health, even though the are Southern Loyalists.  Then the problems begin.  They have not seen a man in years, and he a dishonest guy with ideas about how he can "benefit" from being locked up with many lonely women.  How do they take revenge? Or deal with him?

This lacks teeth.  Yes, there is some nice acting, and some twists that are interesting, but this lacks a any real direction, and there is really no strong end payoff.  This could have been way more compelling and way more scary, but this just comes up as a movie packaged way better than produced.

The Beguiled - disappointing.

The House

Will Farrell and Amy Poehler can be funny people, or maybe used to be funny people.  But quite frankly, I feel they are just out of ideas and have been for a while.

I am sure you know the premise here, and if you've seen the trailer, there is no real reason to see the movie.  You have seen all of it.  There is not one thing here that is new, original, and the laughs are few.

The House - Huge flop and flat out bad.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW - Megan Leavey

There are some movies that are not going to be gigantic hits, but deserve to be made.  This is one of those.

Based on the true story of Marine Megan Leavey and her bomb sniffing, warrior dog, Rex, this is an emotional piece that tells a story you have not seen before.  Megan and Rex are kindred spirits as they each have bad past and have trouble connecting with others still.  They find each other in the Marines as Megan becomes Rex's handler and they end up in the Middle East together in 2006, saving lives by sniffing out explosives.

But where will this journey eventually end?  Rex is the property of the U.S. Military, as is Megan. What happens in the Middle East, and what happens when Rex, or Megan for that matter can no longer work?

This movie is very powerful at times, and as a dog lover you can't help but be moved by all that Rex is, and what he becomes. This movie is moving, interesting, and entertaining. It could be a bit too long, but it's not a deal breaker.  It also takes us somewhere we have never been before, and that always gets high marks from me.

Megan Leavey.  Limited release, but worth the find.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW - 47 Meters Down

Well you can tell summer is here, because here comes the obligatory "shark" movie. And 47 Meters Down, is OK.

This stars Mandy Moore and Claire Holt as two young sisters who are very different on vacation somewhere in southern, tropical waters.  One sister learns of this off the books boat charter that drops you in a cage in scuba gear and submerges you down about 15 meters, and lets the great white sharks swim around you.  Sound fun?

One of sisters (Moore) wants nothing to do with this scheme, while the other (Holt) is all about it, and she pressures the other to do it. So they do.  And it does not go well. The cable snaps that he cage goes to the sea floor. They are stuck, no way to get up, and sharks, and limited air supply.

This movie does a number of things well. First off, it does not wear out its welcome, very short.  It is filmed well, as 90% of this is underwater.  The story is a good one, that is as original as a shark movie can be, and our stars do well in a limited setting.  The only real negative here is in your own mind.  You just may be tired of shark movies, or there may not be enough shark for others.

But this is an entertaining movie. It's no perfect, but neither is any other movie.  Above all this is NOT hokey or stupid. It has a story, it tells it, and that's it.  Effects good, story good, over all good.

47 Meters Down.  Well done!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW - Wonder Woman

It's no secret, I am not a fan of the millions of unneeded Superhero movies. There are too many, they come out to fast, and they all look the same. -  But this -  this is really something.

Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, and for my money is the best, non parody Superhero movie yet, and not be a little.  Guardians is the best comical one I have ever seen, but this is straight, and this is incredible.  In fact, this is one of the best movies of any kind in this young year so far.  The strength of this, is its incredibly smart, slick and well written script.  I have always stated, all GREAT movies start with a great script and not what you can generate on a computer.

This script is sensational, patient, smart, and they develop the characters wonderfully.  You learn who WW (Diana) is, where she's from, why she is the way she is.  You like her, you feel with her, you understand her the best you can given her complicated origins.  Gadot is so well cast, it's one of the best decisions possible.  You have to have an up and comer be Diana so we can grow with her.  Because of that, you are learning about and watching Diana, and not some huge A-lister in a skimpy costume.  This is also not written for any wise-cracking big stars' comedic ego either. There is no real attempt at being funny here like so many of these other series. This has a story to tell in a troubled time, and tells it directly. 

This takes place during the waning days of WWI, and you feel the horror that was that horrible war.  The settings are in Europe and the locations, sets, music, effects and costuming are fabulous. The story is a great blend of an actual event, (WWI), and of course the fantasy that are Superheros. This makes you feel, it makes you angry, and puts you right in the middle of a place we seldom go to at the movies.

The effects are fine, but they are in all these flicks. The star here is Gadot, Pine and "the smart." The enemy is the the war and its horror. What a great decision. There's not some stupid villain that has some far fetched ray gun trying to eliminate mankind.  This is written for adults, and boy is that a nice switch from the rest. 

Wonder Woman - Not just a great superhero movie.  This is a great movie -period!

Friday, May 26, 2017


The much hyped Baywatch satirical movie is here with The Rock and Zac Efron.

This movie is getting ripped by critics, and here is a good example of a flick they will hate, and those who goes will like. Probably a lot.  This movie totally makes fun of every aspect of the long running TV show.  The plot lines, the filming, the whole concept of these lifeguards somehow turning into cops.  We all wondered that when the show was on, or were we simply giving it a pass because of the pretty people on it?

This movie spends the entire film making fun of itself, and what's not to like about that?  Yes, this is mindless fun.  Great?  No! Too long?  Yes!  And yes sometimes the "comedy" envelope was pushed a bit too far and the movie is not better for it.  I could have done without seeing a thing or two that happens here, but I dealt and you can too.

You do have to have some knowledge of the TV show to get all the jokes and situations, but if not, you can catch on pretty quickly.  The Rock is funny, I like him in roles like this, and the supporting cast is fine too.  Some nice action, and of course lots of pretty people.

 Baywatch.  Go, it's fun.  Leave your mind at home for a bit.