Sunday, October 28, 2018

Beautiful Boy

Passionate performances and a heartbreaking story make Beautiful Boy one of the best films released so far this year. A young man battles addiction as his family tries to help. The intentions of the characters depict the struggles of addiction in a realistic, powerful way. At the core of all of the relationships is love. "I love you more than everything." "Everything?" "Everything!"

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Mom and Dad

When parents are infected with a virus that makes them want to kill their children all hell breaks lose in Mom and Dad. A silly monster movie that is tense and gory. The premise is crazy and make for a very entertaining horror film. Pretty good.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Doing research for an article on Diane Ladd, I re-watched Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. I saw this film in the theater when it came out in the mid 70s. After meeting Ladd at Newport Film Festival I thought of this film often. Watching it now, I enjoyed the story of a woman struggling to support herself and her son after her husband dies. Taking a job at a dinner while working on her singing career, she meets Flo (played by Ladd) a no-nonsense woman with experience and a life philosophy that is deeper than Alice expects. It is from Flo that Alice learns that friendship has value. This film has grit and a lot of heart. It holds up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story

The Star Wars collection continues with Solo: A Star Wars Story. This is Han Solo's origin story. The story itself is OK, but the visuals are what shine in this movie. Sweeping shots of spaceship flight kept my attention throughout. There is drama and humor as well. I liked this addition to the Star Wars universe more than expected.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

I liked the movie  Mamma Mia! fine, but I didn't like it enough to have a desire for a sequel. I waited to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again until it came out in DVD based on that feeling. I was treated to an origin story that I really enjoyed. The lead performance of Lily James as young Donna is mostly to blame for that. Great voice, great screen presence, she carries this movie. I was also surprised by how much I liked the music. Some of the supporting cast was weaker than I expected, but the spirit was there and the ending was rather sweet. Glad I saw it.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Oath

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, The Oath is an excellent addition to holiday set films. A family gathers for Thanksgiving before the deadline of signing a loyalty oath to the US. The signing is optional, but strange things start happening to people who don't sign the oath. There are differing opinions among the family members and most interactions are tense. When members of an enforcement group show up this turns into a sort of home invasion story that turns pretty violent. Things go way off the rails. Though totally fictional, there is enough reality to make you think "what would I do?" the whole time. Intense film. I liked it.

Bad Times at the El Royal

Set at the El Royal Hotel in Lake Tahoe, the thriller Bad Times at the El Royal is  wild ride. Strangers meet, situations unfold, histories are revealed. The twists and turns are many. This film is a crazy, violent ride that I rather enjoyed. Well done.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Halloween (1978)

With the release of the latest Halloween film I was reminded that I have not seen a single film in the franchise. AMC was playing the whole series this week, so I decided to watch the original Halloween. This is a classic horror film with all the tropes, crazy killer and threatening music. Not really my cup of tea, but I respect what it is, and the performances of a young Jamie Lee Curtis as she reprises the role 40 years later. Glad I saw it.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Seagull

The film The Seagull is an adaptation of Chekhov's play. The story is about acting, aging, ego and love. The character's interactions are complex and the results are not always pleasant. The performances are passionate. A good film.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hocus Pocus

As lists of Halloween films start popping up, I realize that I have never seen Hocus Pocus. This campy, silly horror film about witches, spells and curses is highly entertaining. It is also has a side theme of family. Cute, fun Halloween movie.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Night of the Living Dead

When I was in college, we would often go to my room mate's hometown of Pittsburgh for the weekend. On Saturday nights,there was a show called Chiller Theater, hosted by Bill Cardille aka Chilly Billy. Often the home grown film, Night of the Living Dead would be playing. I saw that movie countless times. Re-watching it now, I see Romero's brilliance of this horror-thriller that was shot in Pittsburgh as well. Great classic to watch this time of year.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

First Man

Growing up with the Space Race, it took me a long time to realize that astronauts had families. Being a child, I assumed that they would not send someone's Dad on such a dangerous mission. In First Man all of my childhood concerns were addressed. From the risks men were taking away from their families to the primitive nature of the technology. The focus is on Neil Armstrong and the first landing on the moon. Dramatic and emotional in it's own right. I liked this film.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

A Star is Born (2018)

The fourth remake of A Star is Born is a very satisfying film. The story of an unknown young singer being discovered by a superstar leads to love and heartbreak. Addiction plays a large roll in the relationship of the two artists. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper do impressive work in this film. It is one of this year's must-see movies.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot

Cartoonist John  Callahan was not always a paraplegic. In the film Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot, we meet him before the accident, then follow his survival, career and sobriety after the accident. He has an acerbic wit, a perverse sense of humor and is driven by success. A very interesting character.

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

I was sold on the Hotel Transylvania series when I took my grandsons to see #2. These stories are very funny with a big heart. Hotel Transylvania 3 is a great addition, taking the familiar characters on a cruise. The jokes are funny and there are some pretty clever dance numbers. This would be my third favorite in the series, but I did enjoy it.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

The Beguiled (1971)

Having watched the 2017 version of The Beguiled, I wanted to see the 1971 version. This is a much grittier, vibrant rendition. A wounded civil war soldier ends up in a remote girls' school, at the mercy of the occupants.This film is beautifully shot, well acted and disturbing as hell. Well done.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Taxi Driver

I first saw Taxi Driver in the theater on a first date. After the film, I experienced my first grown up conversion about a film. I still remember my date turning down the radio in the car so we could discuss. Every once in a while I re-watch it to appreciate the brilliance. This film is beautifully shot,
it has very sympathetic characters and many scenes almost feel choreographed to the music. This film is good to watch every once in a while.

Night Comes On

In the film Night Comes On two sisters set out on a tough road trip. A tribute to love, dedication, perseverance and resourcefulness. Not everything works out, not everything is candy-coated. The performances and story make this well worth seeing.