Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

All the fun, adventure, humor and style of this franchise has disappeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The charm and chemistry of the characters in the past films is non-existent in this one. Even the effects are wooden and disappointing.I'm so glad that I did not see this movie in the theater.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson is a story of transgender history, cold-case mystery and advocacy. Stories like this need to be told.

Friday, October 27, 2017

My Cousin Rachel

Mystery and murder in My Cousin Rachel is masked by a quaint period setting. Knowing nothing going into the film is best. There is intrigue, mystery and revenge. Good film.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Personal Shopper

The title of Personal Shopper does the film no favors. Yes, the main character's profession is a personal shopper, but her relationships and experience are the heart of the film.She has lost her twin brother and she a medium. Mysterious things happen and there is a crime element. I think that grief underlies her experience. A complex, thoughtful film.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

GAGA: Five Foot Two

If you like behind the scenes music drama then Gaga: Five Foot Two is your documentary. Lady Gaga takes the camera backstage and we see her stress, her dealing with an injury, making an album and the support of the team she has around her. The culmination is her performance at The Superbowl. She allows herself to be seen as vulnerable, hard working and strong. A quiet, intimate documentary.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Quick Change

A bank robbery and a little romance fuel the action in Quick Change.It's the 90s in NYC and a ragtag crew pull off a clever bank robbery. Things go wrong and the chase is on. This performance driven heist comedy was very satisfying. Well done.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Meyerowitz Stories

Three siblings share their point of view of their respective childhoods in The Meyerowitz Stories. Strong performances and poignant memories are shared and compared. When their father falls ill they are forced to cooperate and care for a man who was not very nice to them. This is a good family drama I really enjoyed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Stronger

In the film Stronger we get the story of Jeff Bauer. When he went to the Boston Marathon in 2013 to cheer on his girlfriend at the finish line, he was in direct line of the bomber and lost his legs. He is an average guy working at Costco whose life is changed forever. He becomes a celebrity and he struggles to be comfortable with that. Gritty and realistic, this is quite a story and quite a film.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

If you are going to make a film about the origins of the origins of Wonder Woman you turn to the 20s. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women shows us that exploration of psychological theories can lead to love and lust. Professor Marston and his wife take on a young assistant and their relationship turns poly-amorous. This is a progressive lifestyle for the times. When the professor discovers super heroes he creates a female superhero to illustrate his theories. There are heavy themes of dominance and kink which are not received well by the general public and morality police. This is an interesting story based on true events and I learned that the professor's son had Wonder Woman Museum nearby in CT. Thoughtful film.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Victoria and Abdul

My father wanted to see Victoria and Abdul so we went on a rainy Sunday afternoon and it was sold out! In Rhode Island! Good news for the film, bad for us. The next week I bought tickets ahead of time and we made it in to the theater. We were treated to a lovely yet brutal depiction of aristocratic England in the late 1800s. Victoria was queen and it looked like a bore. When she meets Abdul she is taken with his friendly demeanor. To keep him around, she assigned him as her teacher (munshi) to teach her the language and ways of India. This did not go well with her staff and family and she often had to use "because I am the queen" to advocate for Abdul. The queen embraced the culture and she and Abdul were great friends. There is a lot of drama in this story. The performances in this film are great and it is beautifully filmed. There is a lot of emotion too. (My Dad cried.) Nice film

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

I'm not a huge fan of horror, but The Autopsy of Jane Doe has been on my list since Tribeca Film Festival. A father and son work in a mortuary and the arrival of Jane Doe brings unexpected problems as they try to solve the mystery behind her death. The performances and special effects are good. Smart and creepy. Graphic and gruesome. I liked this film.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Great Dictator

The movie podcast Movie BS with Bayer and Snider talks about a classic movie each month. For November, the film is The Great Dictator. I've only seen Charlie Chaplin's silent work, so this one was interesting. Amazing to think that this film was made in 1940 and had the latitude to satirize the Nazis. The parallels to today's situations are amazing. Poking fun at attitudes and politics works well. The storm trooper's actions often looked like scenes we see in the news today. I really liked the characters and the physical comedy. Chaplin's time in silent films is used well in this film.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Jerry Before Seinfeld

After seeing The Comedian, a documentary where Jerry Seinfeld agonizes over putting together an hour of material, I have always  marveled at the art of stand up comedy. 15 years later, it is refreshing to watch the ease Seinfeld shows in his new special, Jerry Before Seinfeld. If he still feels angst and stress, it is invisible in this show. An hour and 2 minutes of stories, reminiscence and observation are delivered with laughs earned from great material and impeccable timing. Comedy at it's best.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Battle of the Sexes

I was 17 when Bobby Riggs challenged Billie Jean King to a tennis match. King had been advocating for equal pay for female tennis players on the pro circuit. For Riggs it was a publicity stunt and was about the money and attention. For King it was a platform to demonstrate strength and dignity for women in the sport. The film  Battle of the Sexes is a decent depiction of the event and those times. It delves into King and Riggs' relationships off the court as well. It did a good job stirring up the anger and frustration I feel when experiencing sexism. The film made me cry. Sexism makes me cry.I liked this film.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

A Ghost Story

The film A Ghost Story can be frustrating to watch. The soundless chronicle of a spirit moving through life moving on with out him takes getting used to. If you rent the DVD, I would recommend watching the making-of feature to understand the film maker's intentions. A quiet, thoughtful film.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

The Room

For many years I have heard The Room referred to as the worst movie ever made. I don't know if that's true, but it's sure in the running. This is probably the worst acting I've ever seen, the story is lame and the sets look like a bad soap-opera. I'm glad that I saw this so that I will have a frame of reference when I see The Disaster Artist, but once was enough. I'm not sure how people can watch it over and over again, though it is easy to laugh at. Wow!