Friday, December 02, 2016

Mr. Church

In the film Mr. Church Eddie Murphy takes on a dramatic role and knocks it out of the park. Along with Britt Robertson, he tells the story of a man who cares for a dying woman and her daughter for six years, As a result, they become a family and the telling is so sweet. The third act drags a bit, but on the whole this is a solid drama. I liked it.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Mulan

Mulan is one of the few Disney films I had not seen. After taking a silly online quiz titled "What Disney character are you?" and getting Mulan, I thought I should check it out. Set in ancient China, its a bit tough to get beyond the prejudices against women, which were part of the culture, but the action and story are good. I'm not a huge fan of gender confusion plots (hello Shakespeare) but this story gets beyond it quickly and Mulan is a hero as herself. Glad I saw it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Loving

That Richard and Mildred Loving were jailed for loving each other is ironic, appropriate and awful. In the film Loving the story of their pursuit of the lawsuit Loving vs The State of Virginia to legalize interracial marriage, is told in a quiet, respectful, realistic way. That this was ever against the law in this country blows my mind. The most powerful statement in the film is when Mildred is asked why they keep pursuing the lawsuit she says, "maybe this will help other people too." Boy did it. This is a good film and an important story.

Captain Fantastic

Family stories are common in film. Captain Fantastic puts a twist on the family trope by setting the family off the grid until the mother passes away. The emotions within the nuclear family and the conflict with the traditions surrounding death are interesting and emotional. I liked this film much more than I expected to. It was a solid rental. Well done.

Hands of Stone

Roberto Duran had a successful boxing career. His story is told in Hands of Stone. From childhood to his championship, his training and personal life are played out. The film stops with his championship and does not acknowledge the decline of his career. The performances are good and the story has a lot of heart.

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World

Werner Herzog explores the intricacies and concerns of technology. The documentary Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World is an interesting, sometimes scary, sometimes depressing look at the impact of cyber life and it's future. Good documentary. Makes you think.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Moana

It's always fun to see a movie with a large group of people. When my grandson chose Moana as the movie we were to see for his birthday I knew we were in for quite a ride. 21 adults and children were in our group, and we took up 3 rows in the theater. The short film Inner Workings set the tone for the theme of "follow your heart". Moana is the age-old story of a headstrong young girl who wants more than the protected world her parents insist on. She feels a destiny to help her people and sets off on a quest. In the exotic land of island culture we follow our optimistic hero. There is action, there is folklore, there is humor, there is heart and boy oh boy is there music! Lin Manuel Miranda weaves wonderful songs throughout the film in his own magical style. Moana is appealing and the young actress, Auli'i Cravalho, who plays her has a gorgeous voice. Everyone in our group loved this film and the packed theater applauded at the end. I look forward to seeing it again.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Arrival

The first part of Arrival seemed slow to me. I was expecting more slam-bang from a movie about an alien encounter. Once I realized that there was more heart and smarts to this film I could go along. The exploration of language and communication is a quiet adventure I enjoyed. Good film.

Bleed for This

When a local story finds its way to the big screen it's usually a lot of fun. The story of RI boxing legend Vinny Paz is told so well in the film Bleed for This. I feel I am biased because I have local knowledge, but I got a kick out of the portrayal of this colorful character. He was a cocky guy who shook it in everyone's face. When Paz was in a car accident, his condition was in the news every day. As time has gone by, it is with nostalgia that I look back at his story. Seeing him do press tours today, it's nice to see him happy, and still a character. A helluva sports comeback and a helluva guy. Fun film.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Moonlight

The structure of a film can make a touching story pack an emotional wallop. In Moonlight we watch a young man grow up under very difficult conditions. The journey is told in three parts, I was happy to be along for the ride. One of the most powerful dramas I've seen this year. Well done.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Lost Weekend

Billy Wider is a wonderful film maker. Watching The Lost Weekend this is quite obvious. The story of a man struggling with alcoholism is compelling. Even though it is black and white, the shots, the structure, the acting and the music are blended so well. A true classic.