Sunday, November 29, 2015


I like a sequel title that does not have numbers in it. The simple title of Creed tells all Rocky fans everything they need to know. Apollo Creed's son is a young man, and thinks that a boxing career is his destiny. He goes to Rocky Balboa, who is quietly running a restaurant in Philly, for training and guidance. The chemistry between Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan is excellent. The two swap barbs, work hard and support each other in interesting ways. There is also a romantic story line that is realistic and satisfying. The references to the original Rocky movie are good and not overdone. This film will be on my favorites list this year.

Digging for Fire

A man obsessed and a woman set adrift are the focal points in Digging for Fire. This quiet indie goes back and forth between a wife looking for time to herself and a husband looking for answers to a mystery. Both get in over their heads. I liked the ending.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Winning: Ther Racing Life of Paul Newman

For seven years I was in a relationship with a man who loved cars and car racing. I learned a lot and enjoyed being around someone who was so knowledgeable and passionate about something. The documentary Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman was a reminder of our trips to Limerock Park in CT and trips to northern CA for vintage car race events. Newman was an excellent driver and had such a love for the sport. This documentary is a nice chronology of his racing life.

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Stop motion is a fascinating form of animation. In Shaun the Sheep Movie it is used to great effect. The way the sheep are built, and the city-scape are the most impressive. The story is very funny. I was highly entertained as the sheep go to the city for adventure and find a little more than they bargain for. Humor and heart are in rich supply, despite the fact that there is no dialog. Master storytelling. Well done.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Good Dinosaur

For his 5th birthday, my grandson chose The Good Dinosaur as his movie of choice. We packed up 20 adults and kids and invaded the local AMC the day after Thanksgiving. We were treated to a visually delightful film with a "get me home" story that was predictable but sweet. A lot of the characters were fun. I wish we had seen more of Beast who carried his neurosis and Deborah close. In the end I liked the characters and the message. Well done.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


That women have to fight for rights is beyond me. In Suffragette we see a story of oppression, violence and rape that is horrendous. The women are brave and tenacious, the men are monsters. This is another time in history we should be ashamed of. Thank goodness for the fighters. The statistics at the end of the film are a bit startling.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


In the film Spotlight an elite group of reporters have an important assignment. They investigate a rash of sexual assaults on children by priests in Boston that the church covered up. The crime disgusts me to such a level, that I could not enjoy this movie for the wonderful film it is. Well written, well acted and really gets to the meat of investigative journalism. My problem? The alleged crime and cover-up is so abhorrent, it actually makes me feel sick to my stomach. I had a tough time with this one.

Furious 7

The expectations of Furious 7 were low for me. I have found the Fast and Furious movies silly and poorly written. After listening to an appearance with song writer Charlie Puth at our local radio station, I decided it was time to give a little attention to the latest in the franchise. Puth wrote the final song in the film over the Paul Walker tribute, and the story behind the song was rather poignant. Watching the film I enjoyed good action sequences (though some a bit too long), impressive stunts and the emotional payoff I wanted at the end. The dialogue was cheesy, but I kind of like that in a movie like this. When the movie finished I said, out loud to no one, "Well done."

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jurassic World

I waited to see Jurassic World until it came out in DVD because the movie Jurassic Park scared the heck out of me in the theater many years ago. I like a tongue in cheek monster movie, not a realistic one. The latest trip to the artificial land of the dinosaurs is a bit clunky, a bit cheesy and a lot violent. I would not take a child under 12 to see this. Freaked me out.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


The story of a young Irish girl finding her way in life as a young adult in the 50s is not a new story. Adding immigration to the US and defining home, adds interesting elements to her journey in the film Brooklyn.There is a maturity and style to this film that I really liked. Sweet, charming and at times funny, this one is worth a look. Thanks to Fox Searchlight and RI International Film Festival for the advanced screening.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Do I Sound Gay?

The title and premise of the documentary Do I Sound Gay? makes me uncomfortable. I feel like the question connotes that sounding gay is negative. The question is dealt with both clinically and emotionally, and the analysis is very interesting. The subjects are very grounded in their lifestyles and I found the conclusion to be very positive and uplifting. It's also very nice to see David Sedaris and Dan Savage speak on this subject. So grounded, so happy, so smart. Solid documentary.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Mr. Holmes

The charm of Ian McKellan drew me to Mr. Holmes, a film depicting Sherlock Holmes as an older man. Wondering if I wanted to see an elderly Holmes I was treated to a solid drama. Holmes passes his gift of deductive reasoning to a young lad and the relationship is totally charming. Solid acting and beautiful settings made this worth watching.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


One part of the story in the film Room takes place in a small room. It's claustrophobic. It's scary. The goal is to get out of the room. Turns out that getting out of the room is just as difficult as being in the room. Just in different ways. This is a story of survival, family and love. This film is well written and edited. The performances are outstanding and make for a compelling story. Great film.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Hotel Transylvania 2

Staying with my grandsons recently, we wanted to see a movie. The boys had really enjoyed Hotel Transylvania so we decided on seeing Hotel Transylvania 2. What an entertaining film! The monsters are endearing, there were many laugh out loud moments and the theme of family is strong. Everyone in the theater seemed to enjoy this film. When I got home I rented Hotel Transylvania and was just as charmed, though I think the sequel was a little better. As Eli said, "the characters had more to do." Seven years old and solid film analyst. Nice job. 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Magic Mike XXL

I really enjoyed the first Magic Mike movie, so I was looking forward to Magic Mike XXL. The sequel was disappointing. Where Magic Mike was light and had a heart, the second film is heavy and burdened with taking itself too seriously. When the men dance, those sequences are fine, but they devolve to bump and grind, for way too long, it becomes tedious. Channing Tatum and Elizabeth Banks are the saving graces of this movie, but I still found it a chore to watch.

The Gift

Psychological thrillers are a favorite of mine. In The Gift we get a good one. A troubled couple move back to the husband's home town. When they run into an old high school acquaintance a string of gifts make the couple uncomfortable. As the past is slowly revealed, the thriller gains momentum. Great performances and a powerful ending make this a solid film.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

She's Funny That Way

When an actor is mesmerizing to watch when they are just talking, it is a gift. In She's Funny That Way Imogene Poots gives dialog in closeups that is that kind of mesmerizing. Her story is a crazy ride and the themes of secrets and mistaken identity are done well. Saying too much would take away from the entertaining surprises. Peter Bogdonavich still weaves story magic. The cast is pretty fantastic too. I enjoyed this film quite a bit.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Steve Jobs

I've never been that interested in Steve Jobs. I have enjoyed my fair amount of Apple products, but the man never held a lot if intrigue for me. I always thought his product launch extravaganzas were pretentious and unnecessary. The film Steve Jobs takes an interesting angle on the man's life and rise. This is not a biopic. It portrays specific aspects of Jobs' personal and professional life in the settings of three product launches. The performances are outstanding. This is an interesting film.