Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bad Moms

When you are a Mom, the satisfaction and love outweighs the struggle and frustration of being a parent. In the movie Bad Moms both sides of motherhood are explored with humor and honesty. I was surprised by how much I liked this move that balanced silly with serious. Not just slapstick, there is a heart with the humor. I liked this movie.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Book of Mormon

My daughter Liza very generously gifted me with tickets to The Book of Mormon on Broadway for Christmas this year. On this Saturday afternoon we left behind the worries and struggle of our everyday lives and laughed and laughed and laughed. The irreverence and blasphemy in the story of Mormon missionaries taking their message to a village in Uganda tickled my funny-bone. My face hurt from laughing for 3 hours. After the show, we went to dinner and as we were leaving our waiter confided in us that he was auditioning for Book of Mormon on Monday. I hope he got it. Great show and a great time with my kids.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Star Trek Beyond

In my quest to see all of the Oscar nominated films this year, I caught up with Star Trek Beyond because it is nominated for makeup and hair-styling. For all of the action and battles it still has its sense of humor and nostalgia. Well written, well done. Good rental.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Can We Take a Joke?

For a long time I have been preaching tolerance, so the documentary Can We Take a Joke? was right up my alley. The history of being offensive in public, and more specifically, in comedy is explored. The talent and insight in this film is astounding. An important film about social consciousness, what is and isn't offensive and how we deal with it. I really liked this film.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Another quest to save the world is the plot of Inferno. I did not feel the urgency that the characters did, but the production value is high and the acting is sincere. An OK rental.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Handmaiden

For me, the central theme of The Handmaiden is control. Beautifully shot, this story is a struggle for dominence and a desperate longing for true love. Erotic, explicit and witty. Quite a film.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


After watching Killing Kennedy, following up with the film Jackie was a bit intense. The sadness of the assassination of John F. Kennedy Jr. is amplified through the eyes of his wife Jackie. Natalie Portman's performance is great. A very moving film.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

20th Century Women

Set in the late 70s, this story of a woman, her son and the people in her life is the journey we take in 20th Century Women. A practical, earthy, single mother enlists the help of her friends and boarders to guide her teenage son's life lessons. It is a story of relationships and decision-making. Performances are outstanding and the coming of age story gets a fresh look. I really liked this film.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Killing Kennedy

Bill O'Reilly's series of "Killing" books are being made into movies. Killing Lincoln was very good and Killing Regan is on the way. The film version of Killing Kennedy is a good recreation of the days before and of the Kennedy assassination. Interesting to see events from the shooters perspective. Sad to relive it as well. Good film.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


A crew of misfits take on the challenge of faking a moon landing in Moonwalkers to stay alive and keep the cash. Funny film with a crime twist and a great cast. Good recommendation from Movie BS with Bayer and Snider. Fun rental.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Film Favorites 2016

As always, choosing a Top 10 list of films I've seen at the end of the year is a struggle for me. This year I've narrowed it down to 24 from the dozens of new releases I've seen this year. I'm sure I will add to this as the limited releases reach our small state, but this is where the list stands right now. Click on the title to see what I thought when I saw the film. Again, these are my "favorites", I'm not a fan of the descriptor "best", as appreciating all art is subjective. The list is in no particular order. Enjoy.

Don't Think Twice
Swiss Army Man
10 Cloverfield Lane
Midnight Special
The Meddler
Elvis & Nixon
Green Room
The Family Fang
Nice Guys
Maggie's Plan

Florence Foster Jenkins
Doctor Strange
Bleed for This
Captain Fantastic
Mr. Church
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week
Manchester by the Sea

La La Land
Hidden Figures
A Monster Calls

Miss Sharon Jones

There are a lot of dynamic performers in the history of music. In the documentary Miss Sharon Jones! we meet singer Sharon Jones during her battle with cancer. She's up, she's down and the last 10 minutes of the film are rather triumphant. Her approach to music is pure joy. A wonderful piece of music history available on Netflix Instant.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Monster Calls

The book A Monster Calls is interpreted in the film of the same name. This film deals with a boy's coping with grief in his dreams and waking life. He is visited by a monster who tells him three stories, and the fourth must be his. The monster's stories force him to face his feelings and grief as his Mother is dying of cancer. The story deals with many emotions in an honest way, using fantasy as a vehicle. I loved this film, Well done.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Deepwater Horizon

The explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon is dramatized in a feature film. The disaster is huge and the lives lost are tragic. This film is tough to watch.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Steve Gleason was a talented NFL player. In the film Gleason we see his decline into ALS through his video journals. A quickly debilitating disease, we see his support system form and grow to meet his needs. The amount of medical equipment and expertise is astounding. A story of family, legacy and the power of positive thinking. Excellent documentary.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Heart of a Dog

The documentary Heart of a Dog is a true painting on film. Pieces of archival footage a pieced together like a quilt with a loving narration. I found that I just needed to sit back and let the film wash over me. A beautiful, touching film.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Hidden Figures

The story told in Hidden Figures should be taught in all classrooms. To learn of the individuals who worked so diligently at NASA to get a man in space is inspiring. Did I mention that most of them were women...of color? The essential portrayal of human rights at the time, reminds of us how far we've come and what still needs to be done. Equality in regards to race and gender is something we must always work on and be aware of. This film puts this in front of us in the historical context of the space race. I grew up in this era, and the emotion I experienced when that rocket blasts off took me by surprise. The road traveled to get there was emotional and intense. This film tells an important story well. See it.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Blue Jay

The black & white film Blue Jay is a sweet reunion between high school sweethearts. The strength of this film are the performances, especially Sarah Paulson. Near the end there is a dramatic reveal that is tender and sad. Mark Duplass should be proud of this film. Well done.

By Sidney Lumet

I first learned of the documentary By Sidney Lumet at Tribeca Film Festival last year. His work sits on the top of my all-time favorites list. He also has been generous with his process in books and interviews. In this documentary, Lumet talks about his life and time with his family and film. He has led a fascinating life. I had the pleasure of meeting he and his wife years ago at Tribeca Film Festival. They were friendly and low key. This documentary is worth a look.

Monday, January 02, 2017


There is a power in words. In the film Fences those words are delivered with strength and passion. Denzel Washington directs this film version of August Wilson's work with a steady hand and powerful performances from the entire cast. The words are sharp and the story takes dramatic turns. This drama is full of style and depth. I liked this one.

Sunday, January 01, 2017


A lot of films based on true stories are unbelievable. In Lion the story of a 5 year old separated from his family in India is heart-wrenching. He spends the next 25 years living in Australia with his adoptive family. He has success and struggles. As the internet becomes more sophisticated he has tools that ultimately help him find his mother. Beautifully shot with strong performances, this is a touching film.

Rogue One

Air battles with X wings are thrilling in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story . In the air and on the ground, the death toll is a bit devastating. Prequels give us a base and motivations for events and beloved characters. This film gives us these and then takes them away...understandably. I loved the action and the cameos of familiar characters. As others have said, this is a good stand-alone Star Wars film. Lots of action and I learn about U wing fighters. Aside from the high body count, I really enjoyed this chapter in the Star Wars universe.

Yoga Hosers

In a light film like Yoga Hosers I did not expect performance, but the young leads did a good job with some weird material. The fact that their fathers are involved definitely showed a level of confidence. I'd like to see in their future work. A fun, silly film.