Saturday, December 31, 2016

An Affair to Remember

I have known of the classic film An Affair to Remember for many years. New Year's Eve seemed like a great time to experience this classic. A man and woman meet on a cruise ship and a flirtation occurs. They both have significant others, but their flirtation makes them feel guilty. I'm glad that I saw this classic.

Celebrity Sightings 2016

In 2016 my path crossed with several celebrities. Most I bought tickets to see, but a few were by chance

At the play Turn Me Loose we saw both Dick Gregory and Joe Morton

At Tribeca Film Festival I had the pleasure of seeing Francis Ford Coppola, Viola Davis, Ira Glass, Keegan-Michael Key, Rose Byrne, Katie Holmes, Cecile Strong, Jane Rosenthal and Susan Sarandon

I saw Mike Birbiglia at The Cloumbus Theater in PVD working out Thank God for Jokes and at Tribeca Film Festival with Don't Think Twice

At The Comedy Cellar I had a drunken (me not him) encounter with Jud Apatow

I saw Tig Notaro at The Columbus Theater in PVD

I ran into Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban at Americano in NYC

La La Land

In the style of a modern musical, La La Land brings dance, music, dreams, work, love and life to the screen. I like a mature love story with realistic consequences, and if you throw in a song, that's even better. The story holds up, the choreography is great and the numbers were meant to be filmed. The music is infectious, so we've got a winner here.

Manchester by the Sea

The film Manchester by the Sea is a study in family dynamics in the most awful of circumstances. The performances make this story bearable, and in a quiet way, sends a message of hope in the face of cruel reality. The characters mature in interesting ways. I really liked this drama, one of my favorite films this year.

Friday, December 30, 2016

American Honey

One of the most mesmerizing films of this year is American Honey. Watching a girl escape an awful home life to hit the road with a young band of  "sales associates" is beautifully shot with nuanced performances. The action is subtle and powerful. This was a good rental.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The BFG

A big friendly giant, The BFG bears the signature of Steven Spielberg. The visuals are deep and the story rolls at a brisk pace. There is ridicule, revenge and redemption. This tale is well done and the effects are very good. I liked this film.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Pete's Dragon

Live action with a dragon could be crazy. In Pete's Dragon it is heartwarming. Pete and his dragon persevere being hunted by the townspeople. Set in present day with a touch of reality, this tale has adventure and heart. When reality rears it's head I had to remind myself that dragons aren't real. Good fantasy film.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Late Bloomer

I don't mind a raunchy comedy, but The Late Bloomer is a strange story where sex is the main character. When a young man goes through puberty at a late age, the story takes a nice guy and turns him into a jerk. This story had a lot of potential, but the execution was to sophomoric for me. I tried.

Friday, December 23, 2016

War Dogs

A couple of assholes start running guns in the movie War Dogs and they have no idea what they are doing. Policy and politics are not their strong suit. The story unfolds with banter and motive, but the two main characters are so unlikable that I didn't care if they succeeded or not. An OK rental.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Magnificent Seven

The most striking thing about The Magnificent Seven is the way it looks. Gorgeous cinematography and expanded vistas made me wish I had seen it in the theater. The story of revenge is interesting and at times amusing. Just when I thought the movie was over there was a half hour gun battle. Bullets everywhere, but the goal was attained. This was a good western with good performances. I liked it enough to see it again some time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Suicide Squad

The movie Suicide Squad held little interest tome when it was in theaters, so I waited to rent it. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I get lost in the talky politics of the super-hero world, but I liked the action and the visuals. There was a fair amount of humor as well. A good rental.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Nocturnal Animals

The many layers of Nocturnal Animals makes it an intriguing film to watch. The story goes back and forth between a novel sent to a woman by her ex-husband, and the woman's real life. This sparks memories her life which sets off a third story line. This thriller is violent and dark. Highly stylized, the filming is brilliant and the performances are outstanding. I am anxious to see this again because there is so much to absorb. Excellent film.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Hollars

Family dramas that surround an illness are a popular theme in film. In The Hollars a family deals with the Mother's brain tumor operation.The siblings are an odd assortment of personalities, but the story is sweet and I liked it a lot. Margo Martindale really shines in this film.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Other People

How do you live out the last months of your life? In Other People, when a woman contracts cancer, her son moves home to help with her care. We watch her live. We watch her die. We see the effect both have on her family and especially her son. This is a powerful drama with a very big heart and great performances. A solid rental.

The Secret Life of Pets

To me, it is ideal when I can watch a family film with my grand-kids. Fiona, Mason and I sat down to The Secret Life of Pets and went on an adventure. The pets had voices and they were out in the streets of New York City. Some of the scenes were set in Brooklyn so the kids really related to the location. I thought some of the threatening situations were a bit intense, but the kids rolled with the talking animals and the action. They especially liked the bunny. Overall a decent rental.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Chicken People

If you enjoyed Best in Show the documentary Chicken People will feel familiar. The difference? The people in the doc are totally serious. The ins and outs of show chickens are explored along with the people who participate. They are very self-aware and love their chickens. This is a documentary worth seeing!

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

When a boy in foster care takes to the bush of New Zeland, the plot of Hunt for the Wilderpeople takes off. The boy is troubled, yet lovable. His companion is the unwilling foster father and their chemistry is great. His love of haiku is a fun form of expression. I really enjoyed this rental.

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.