Sunday, March 26, 2017

Life

Movies about space aren't new. Alien interpretations aren't new. In the movie Life both are thrown into a contained space and it becomes a creepy, fresh thriller. This film moves at a good pace, it is suspenseful, it has a very menacing alien and an unnerving ending. I liked this film.

Best Wort Thing That Ever Could Have Happened...

The documentary Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened... was recommended by Glen Weldon on Pop Culture Happy Hour. It chronicles the short lived Merrily We Roll Along on Broadway in the 80s. The final half hour catches up with the actors. It is touching and reflective. I got teary when they told their stories. A touching look at acting, youth, Broadway and life choices. Good doc.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Wilson

In the film Wilson a man is desperately looking for human connection. He's rough around the edges, impulsive, foul-mouthed and lovable. When he tracks down his ex-wife, she reveals a life event he did not know about and the adventure commences. Woody Harrelson plays Wilson in a performance I found very engaging. I'm glad that I saw this in the theater, but this would be a strong rental.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tower

A documentary like Tower shows us what ordinary people can do in extraordinary situations. Presented in rotoscope animation, archive footage and present day interviews, the events of a sniper shooting on the campus of The University of Texas in 1966 from a tower are reenacted and remembered. This is an excellent documentary with a unique style and a lot of heart.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Masterminds

The movie Masterminds is another unbelievable true story brought to the screen. The film takes us inside one of the largest cash robberies in US history. This A-list cast truly delivers a crazy story in a heartfelt fashion. The performances are endearing and entertaining. The story is nuts. This was a fun rental.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I liked that the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast veers from the animated version. It is darker, it has new songs, it has a Beast I connected to better and there are good one-liners. They left out a song I really like, but there is more emphasis on the spoken scenes, which I did like. Technically, I have a lot of quibbles with the filming, but I think that's because it is designed for 3D and it's hard to recreate those magical sequences in live-action. I think some of the scenes are too intense for kids under 6. The little girl in front of me had her head buried in her Mom's shoulder for much of the movie. I'm guessing she was about 4. " I also heard a small voice during the end credits exclaim, "that was scary!" There will be an audience that will love this. The more I think about this movie, the more I like it. I cried at the end which really surprised me. I'd definitely see it again. Well done.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Edge of Seventeen

The teen angst movie genre generally does not appeal to me, but The Edge of Seventeen is a refreshing exception. The script and performances made this very watchable. This is a strong teen cast that delivers. Well done and worth a look.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Passengers

This year's hot sci-fi film Passengers has drama, humor and romance. The plot is a bit dry and klunky, but the visuals are stunning. This was an OK rental that kept me company during a snow storm.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story

On Netflix Instant I discovered a lovely short film Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story. From the classroom to the stage, the story of Janet Collins, the first African American ballerina to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House, is told in a charming animated form with narration in the style of a poem. Her hard work and talent are front and center as she persevered against racism in an art she loved. An inspirational film.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Killing Regan

Like Killing Kennedy, the drama of the attempted assassination of Ronald Regan is played out from both the victim and shooter's points of view in Killing Regan. The acting is OK, I much prefer the structure and editing of this film. The inadequacies of the Regan administration are touched on. The relationship between Ron and Nancy is front and center. An interesting film. I liked the extras on the DVD that gave more background and context.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Trolls

My granddaughter taught me all of the characters in the movie Trolls, so when I finally saw it I was up to speed. When the Trolls are threatened by the Bergens there is a rescue, several chases, a couple of love stories and a lot of music...and color! Themes of friendship, self-esteem and teamwork are explored. This is an animated feature with a few more dark scenes than I like in my kid-friendly entertainment, but the music lifts those scenes and and the target audience doesn't seem to mind. Cute stuff.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore

With the awkward title of I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore I was treated to a cool revenge thriller fresh out of Sundance Film Festival. When a woman's house is broken into she gets little help from the police, so she takes matters into her own hands. Her investigation goes off the rails and the ride is a crazy one. Melanie Lynskey and Elija Wood are very good in this. The R rating is earned with language and violence. I was happy to see this on Netflix Instant. Quite a film.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

The Lego Batman Movie

I loved The Lego Movie, so seeing Lego Batman was a no-brainer. Lego Batman is a caricature of all versions of Batman. He is up against the villains of all time and it's pretty fun seeing the Lego versions of them all. There's plenty of action and laughs. This was a fun movie.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Allied

A boring story of spies in WWII unfolds in Allied. There is a potential for intrigue and action, but the performances are so wooden and the script so bland I had trouble staying interested. Even the love story was boring. It got a little better at the end, but not good enough to save the film. This one was disappointing.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Queen of Katwe

More of a survival story than a chess story, Queen of Katwe tells the story of Phiona, a girl whose family is struggling and she takes to the game of chess. In winning competitions she finds a way out of poverty. It is also the story of her family and how her success helps them as well. As in many films based on true events, shots of the real people with the actors who play them at the end is very sweet. I liked this film.