Monday, January 15, 2018


The Post

When you toss two huge stars together and have Steven Spielberg directing it, you should have a great movie. But here, you only have a good one.  Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep star in the new flick, The Post.

It's based on a true story that takes place in the early 1970's, with the landmark case of the Washington Post printing deeply classified Pentagon papers, essentially proving the Vietnam War was a sham, and the government had been lying to the public for 35 years.  There's a court case too, and it's basically a First Amendment movie.  There is nothing really wrong here, there just should have been a lot more right.

Hanks and Streep are fine, and there a moments in this that are really moving.  It's a period piece and we are transported back in time nicely.  There's just something missing.  I think it's the lack of really strong dialogue, instead of a bunch of average speak.  It's a bit too long and a bit to - average, with a ton of potential, but that's where it ends.

The Post.  Rental, or stream in a couple months.

The Darkest Hours

This is simply fantastic.  And right up front, Gary Oldman gives one of the best performances I have ever seen.  He stars as Winston Churchill in the incredible movie about the early and dark days of WWII in England, and his defiance of Hitler and even members of his own government.

Oldman should win about every award there is for this.  It's one thing to transform and invent a fictional character for a movie.  It's quite another to take on the awesome responsibility to play maybe the most important historical figure of the 20th century.  Oldman is amazing, and totally unrecognizable as he becomes Churchill.   In this, Churchill is real, good, fallible, and human. 

The script is incredible, and the amount of dialogue that Oldman delivers is insane.  And he delivers it with unmatched skill.  His performance alone is not to be missed.

The Darkest Hours. Fantastic.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now

New year, new movies, let's see what's out there for you right now in the theaters.

The Commuter

Liam Neeson recently said he is done making action movies, but that must have been before he and Vera Farmiga made this one.  His formula over the past few Mid-Winters with action flicks has proven to be a winner for him.  And despite the formula, and your possible eye-rolling, I enjoyed this.

This is the story of a an ex-cop (Neeson) that has financial problems, that works in New York City and rides a commuter train every morning.  He meets up with the very beautiful, but strange woman (Farmiga) who makes him a proposition one morning on the train.  He gets 100K if he finds a certain person on the train and gives them up to her and her "peeps."   He reluctantly does, but later learns that he is in a world of trouble, and so is his family.

This drags badly out of the box, and is a bit too laggy after the movies main climax.   BUT for the moments in between this is fun, moves nicely and holds us very well.  Is this great?  No, but it's January enjoyable, and for the most part is done quite well. Special effects are good, this is filmed well, and Neeson again, is the same guy in another action movie, but I'm good with it.

The Commuter.  Worth it now, or a stream later.  Matinee good way to go, or bargain day.

All The Money In The World

This may be the most overrated movie of the year. This is one of those dreaded "based on true events" movies, and my radar always goes off when I see that.  This is story of the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty's grandson in the early 1970's. Getty was the worlds richest man at that time, and his refusal to pay the ransom, and the aftermath.

This stars Mark Wahlberg,  Christopher Plummer and the incredible Michelle Williams.  SHE is amazing in this as the mother of the kidnapped boy, and deserves every good thing that may come her way as a result of her performance. Plummer, you may remember took over on very short notice for the fired Kevin Spacey, and gives a nice performance.  But let's not get carried away, this is not an award worthy role.

And it's not his fault.  This is too darn long, very draggy in sections, and as you watch this, you can't help but really wonder what is fact, what is embellished, and what is flat out Hollywood.  Don't get caught up in the hype, this is a decent flick, but not one of the years best. 

All The Money In The World.   Stream or rental for sure, but Williams is great, she is Hollywood's best actress.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW - Pitch Perfect 3

Do we need this?  Well, no we don't. 

The Pitch Perfect series has had some real fine moments of fun, satire and self lampooning.  But the old saying three's a crowd is apt here.

OK, the music with the Bellas and the supporting cast is good again, as it always is with these movies.  But the rest of this is a just a mess.  They say this is the end of this very successful series, but I'll believe it when I don't see it. 

There is nothing really new here. Same characters, same jokes, same delivery, and same formula.  Movie makes just can't help themselves sometimes. Take a nice original idea and over time make it anything but anymore, and that's the trouble here.  You're gonna throw down 10 bones or so and see the exact same movie you saw a couple years ago. 

Pitch Perfect 3.  Save your money.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now!

The movies are coming out at a fast pace these days, keep checking in on the latest reviews.

The Greatest Showman

Hugh Jackman, Zac Ephron and Michelle Williams star in this new story of the real P.T. Barnum in this LA LA Land type of musical.  This movie is going to be this years LA LA Land, as it has the same feel, and made by many of the same people.  This is very good by any measure, and will be enjoyed by many.

Great music, and solid production numbers, and some by any account, are simply breathtaking.  This story moves along nicely, has something to say, says it, and finishes up.  This is only about 1 hour 45 and that is plenty.  This is not a "total" musical like Les Mis, but is more like the more modern LA LA Land.  

Jackman is great, and I have yet to see a movie where Williams isn't brilliant.  She is quietly become Hollywood's best actress. I love her in this.

The Greatest Showman.  Quite good, and good for the whole family.

Father Figures

You know, you kind of have to like this flick, even if it's full of guilty pleasure laughs, and some juvenile humor.  This does grow a heart and is not exactly what you think it will be. This stars Owen Wilson, Ed  Helms, Glenn Close and a bunch of others in a story where two 40 somethings go looking for their biological father.

This is crass, crude and silly at times, but in the end, there is a story here and, twists and turns you won't see coming.  Yes, this sells out at times for some stupid laughs, but overall this is far better than its packaging.  Is this going to win an Oscar?  Well no, but this is generally OK for most to see, and will be a nice getaway when you need to get out of the house and laugh over Christmas.

Father Figures.  Better than you may think.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now

The prime movie season is here now, and the movies are coming out fast and we will keep up.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Real quick here.  Reviewing Star Wars is almost futile. Fans of this franchise simply love every frame of this series, and this movie before ever seeing it.  And if you're a fan of this, you will love this.

There is lots to like here, and it's a visual feast for sure.  But this is a bit lengthy at 2 hours 20.  And to me, as I am not a super fan of this series, many of these are now really looking much the same.  What this is, is simply another Star Wars flick, and not a terribly great  - movie.  But many times franchises as large as this are compared against each other and not other movies.  So it's a solid Star Wars movie.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Solid, entertaining, and a favorite for its fans.


It would be very tough to release a movie that is better timed in its release than this one.  Jumangi is the continuation of sorts of the 1996 original and it is updated very nicely for the new century and more up to date movie making.  This stars, The Rock, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and a really nice supporting cast, that is well casted and flat out funny.

This time, our heroes go inside the game of Jumangi instead of the game coming to them.  The effects are fun, the script is very solid and the imagination here is really the star.  It would have been very easy to make the same movie over again, but they did not.  This does a great job of tipping the cap to the original and just keeping the fun going.

Many people may wonder why this has been rebooted, and the answer is clear.  This is funny, entertaining and virtually good for everyone to see.  This by the numbers will be no Star Wars, but this will be the family fun movie of the Christmas season.

Jumangi.  Flat out fun. Well done!

The Shape Of Water

This is nominated for a ton of Golden Globes and there is a lot to like here.  This movie has a huge check in the positive category.  It is an original. A story you have not seen told this way before. Although this borrows a few "feels" from some classic stories, TSOW, is an original.

It takes place in 1962 in Cold War America, Baltimore being precise.  The US Government has captured a "swamp type creature" in the Amazon, and brought him to America.  Many think he could provide keys to winning the space race with the Soviet Union, as he possesses many incredible traits.  Problem is, he's a creature, and there are those that want to kill him and examine him.  All except a young, lonely, pretty, and mute woman, Elisa.  She is on the cleaning crew.

She falls in love with the creature, and he with her.  And you can take it from there.  The question is, can he be saved, and can they be "together" forever?  There are moments this is really nice, and exciting, and there are moments this is really  - weird!  This overall looks great and takes you back to 1962 very well, and is very original.

The Shape Of Water.  An acquired taste.

3 Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri

This is in very limited release, and should not be missed. This small, independent movie is a remarkable story of a woman in small town Missouri, who takes out a blatant billboard campaign against the local sheriff who has not found her young daughters murderer in over a year.

This is a hard R rated movie, and should be. A GREAT cast of Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell, bring this highly original story to life.  This is gritty, powerful and extremely well acted and directed.  This is tough to watch sometimes, as there is a fair amount of direct violence, but is is central to the story.  This is Fargo like in its feel and in it's timely dark comedic moments. 

And this is very, very good.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


The better movie season is finally here, and let's see what's new for you this week at the flicks!

Justice League

I really wish I had better news on this one, but Justice League misses the mark.  This brings together numerous DC characters to save the world, with the main plot revolving around Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)  and Batman. (Ben Affleck).

This is what you would think it is.  A huge CG fest that at times looks like a video game, with our characters fighting for good, and for screen time.  The action scenes are long, drawn out and a bit clunky with no real flow to them.  This is also the basic formula you would expect, about 40 minutes of team building and about 90 minutes of action sequences. 

To its credit, it's not too long checking in at about 2 hours. And this movie knows its audience, and could care less about what the critics say, as it will bring in a ton this weekend, and for the next few weeks.  And they are counting on it, as the budget was about 300 million. 

Justice League.  This is NO Wonder Woman, that for my money is the best superhero movie ever.  But fans will be ready for this one, as where many of the rest of us will simply tolerate it.


Good to see Julia Roberts back on the screen in the new very good, Wonder.   Roberts stars with Owen Wilson, and a really nice young actor, Jacob Tremblay in a well told story about a young boy named Auggie who is badly disfigured since birth.  His struggle to integrate into middle school is the plot here, and his acceptance, or not.

This movie is so relevant to pretty much any parent in today's world, and the struggle they have many times with any kid today.  This takes on bullying, and abandonment, the school systems, and parenting, or the lack thereof.  Even though Auggie clearly has more mountains to climb in middle school than most kids, this flick does a remarkable job of making it for everyone.

Tremblay as Auggie is amazing, and Roberts and Wilson as his caring parents are terrific too. This is a nice movie the for the most part is very family friendly, without looking like a "family" movie.

Wonder.  Great!

Daddy's Home 2

Real quick.  This movie knows its fan base and what they think is funny, and that's to it's credit.  But I think many have to draw the line at drunken 9 year olds, and the continuation of more of the same with this cast.

The original cast is joined this time by Mel Gibson, John Lithgow, and John Cena, but it makes no difference.  There is nothing new here, despite a could of funny scenes.

Daddy's Home 2.   Too many.

Monday, November 6, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now

Bad Moms Christmas

This bunch is back again, and this time taking on Christmas.

Here comes Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Katherine Hahn reprising their characters again.  And this time, their moms are involved, as we welcome Kristine Baransky, Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines. A big cast, but are there big laughs. Well, yes there are some.  This is a movie that is a good example of knowing exactly what its target audience wants and gives it to them.  Don't look for this at the Oscars though.

This movie does a few things well.  It is wonderful parody of the relationship between mom and daughter, and how it relates to the holidays. Of course it's exaggerated and over the top, but it's overall effective.  I do like how they have carved out these three main characters, and our stars are fine.  Is this hilarious? No, but fun.

I do wish that sometimes editors would realize when a joke, or phrase is being beaten to death though. Fair statement, this is no where near original.  There is too much of the same gag, and jokes in much of this, but if you can wade through that like I was able to, this is fun.

Bad Moms Christmas. If this is your thing, then it's your day!

Thank You For Your Service

Miles Teller stars in this movie that s very powerful, and anything but light movie watching.

But, this is good.  Being fair, this is not as good as I thought it would be.  But it's still good.  This deals with three veterans, all young, and their re-entry to being out of the Army and blending back into society. And it's not very easy, if possible at all.  I do like the story and the entire idea of telling these stories, as this is based on true events.

But some of this becomes to my eye a bit like a news feature at times, and for moments loses its focus. But is does refocus and gets back on track. This is a very serious movie that deals with a very poignant topic, and I'm glad it's here for us to see.

Performances are good, story is worth telling and this will leave you more aware than when you walked in.

Thank You For Your Service.  Quite good.

Only The Brave

This is a movie that is a great example of a story that should be told, and takes you somewhere you have never been before.  Both are huge checks in the plus column.

Toss in a GREAT cast,  lead by Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, and Miles Teller, and you have a really strong early fall flick. This movie makes us all pause and again give thanks for the fearless folks who fight fires of all kinds, including suburban, city and wildfires.  This movie is the true story of the Arizona Granite Mountain Hot Shots.  All were lost in a terrible wildfire a few years ago.

I won't give too much away, but this tells you exactly who these guys are, and who their families are, as they are all in the lifestyle together.  These are truly the Navy Seals of firefighters.  They fight fires without water, and go places that most would never dream of going daily, putting themselves in incredible danger.

Brolin and Bridges are terrific, and the story is powerful and on point.  To this movies extreme credit, this movie is far more story and substance as opposed to special effects.  This movie is very careful to get it right, and spends far more quality time on what they should do...and not what they could do.

Only The Brave.  I loved every frame of this movie.

The Foreigner 

It is so good to see Jackie Chan back making movies.  With all due respect to the half action, half comedy movies he has made and had great success with.  This is the Jackie Chan I really like.

This is the story of a very sad man, (Chan).  His entire family has been killed over the years all by political means.  After his youngest daughter is killed in England, our hero decides he has had enough and sets out to avenge years of horrible events.  The last killing has ties to the political wars in Ireland and England, and this is backdrop of our story.

Chan is still remarkable as he continues to amaze us with his physical talent, and his overall charm and likability.  This also stars Pearce Brosnan, who I thought was terrific in this movie.  This has action, and a strong story, and more than that, it marks the return of the Jackie Chan we have been waiting for.

The Foreigner.  Very good, and is set up for more!

The Mountain Between US

Very quick. Idris Elba and Kate Winslet star in this love story, that I really liked.  Can these two survive a plane crash in the Rockies, and where do they go from there if they do.

Great date movie, and just a good movie that got lost in the movie shuffle

The Mountain Between Us -  Good!