Friday, July 21, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW - Dunkirk

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.

scott@wqmx.com

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

MOVIE REVIEW - Baywatch

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.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now

Something for everyone, but only one will really matter this week and you know what it is.


Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

I loved the first installment of this series, and I like this one way more.  As far as comic book and superhero flicks are concerned, this series has the absolute right idea.  Chris Pratt leads a terrific cast again in this incredibly entertaining movie that people will totally fall in love with.  This is the best superhero flick series - period.

For my money, the very best comic book flicks are the ones that embrace the fun that comic books can be.  I love the ones that have a thread of humor that runs through not just certain moments, but throughout the entire movie.  So many of these become too dark, too serious and make it more difficult to enjoy them.  I also think that they can become more "offensive" (the only word I can come up with), where they invent villains that resemble so closely real life terrorists that are really no joke.  And then lead us to think that some flying, ray shooting, joke cracking superhero will show up and save us all.

This movie is funny, fun, action based, and all at the same time continues to develop its characters like few others really do.  Or try to do.  This is way out there fun, that understands that these movies should be entertaining

This will easily be one of the most entertaining movies of this year or any year.  Great performances, an interesting story, and Baby Groot??  C'mon!  Who wonderful is this.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.  Run to see this. Terrific!


How To Be A Latin Lover

We need a good comedy.  What a surprise hit, and what a fun flick.  This little movie is the story of a middle aged Mexican man, who used his good looks as a young man, to hook up with rich old women simply for the money.  And when his sugar mama of 25 years throws him out, he must find a new one, or just change his life.

This movie has a bunch of names you know. Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, Raquel Welch, Kristin Bell, Linda Lavin, Micheal Cera, Rob Corddry and Eugenio Derbez who is terrific as Maximo, our Latin Lover wanna be again.  And Rapheal Alajandro is simply amazing as Maximo's young nephew.

Not all of this works, there are some moments that could have been rethought, and edited out, but this is overall pretty funny, and really fun.

Looking for a laugh, this will give it to you!


The Circle

What a disappointment.    This is a way better idea than movie.  This gigantic company that is sort of a mixture of Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter thinks that they have the answer to all of our problems.  They think there should be virtually no privacy at all.  They also upon further review seem to be up to no good, possibly evil.

This script is really silly, and not even Tom Hanks and Emma Watson can save it.  There are tons of holes in this, general silliness, and some stupid stereotypes.  Plus, this makes young people look foolish by and large.  Even though one of them wakes up and saves the day.  (Not a spoiler, you'll see it coming, like everything else in this.)

This has a lousy script, marginal performances, and is among the most predictable movies you will ever see.  Should be noted, Bill Paxton has a small role, think this was his movie shot before his tragic death.

The Circle.  Not good.

scott@wqmx.com