Thursday, December 31, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The opening crawl with iconic music brought me to tears at the beginning of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This 7th installment picks up 30 years after the 6th ends. New characters carry the legacy of the past nicely. The story moves at a nice clip with plenty of action and humor. The nostalgia is sprinkled in nicely. This film was a very fun ride.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bone Tomahawk

The bearded face of Kurt Russell drew me to rent Bone Tomahwak, an indie film that looked like an old fashioned western. The story begins as a rescue mission and ends in a horrific confrontation. Crazy story, beautifully shot with amazing performances and a shocking ending.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Beasts of No Nation

Critical acclaim had me glad that Beasts of No Nation was available on Netflix Instant. The life of child soldiers in third world countries is a dramatic, disturbing story. Here, it is told slowly, thoughtfully and in detail. The emotions of the children are transmitted well in their faces and actions. The adult soldiers are formidable. After many intense battle scenes, the ending offers satisfying relief. Beautifully filmed, this is one worth watching.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Before We Go

Movies set in New York City have a romantic advantage. The film Before We Go uses this background to great effect. A busker runs into a young girl late at night and attempts to protect and rescue her. The dialogue and acting made this for me. A decent rental.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Deli Man

The deli is an institution with a colorful history and a present day pride. In the documentary Deli Man we are lead through the history of deli culture in a well structured film. From New York to Houston to Toronto to Chicago all kinds of delis are highlighted. This film made me hungry and happy.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Slow West

A quiet, tense drama takes us on a western journey in Slow West. A young man is guided through the old west to find his love. Though slow in the beginning, this film has a wild ending that I rather liked. A decent rental.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


In Hollywood, the night culture has a gritty side. Hookers, pimps, drug dealers. In the film Tangerine this is the backdrop for the homecoming of a sex worker after 28 days in prison. Looking for her boyfriend (pimp) and reconnecting with friends and clients, parallels the story of a cab driver on Christmas Eve. The story takes interesting dramatic turns and comic relief is used well. This film is very well edited. This is one of the best films I've seen this year. Well done.

Sunday, December 06, 2015


Another story of suppression is told in the film Trumbo. It was not against the law to be a communist in the 40s and 50s, yet people were jailed and blacklisted for not thinking like the men in power. For all his talent and articulation Dalton Trumbo went to prison for doing nothing wrong. When he got out the steps he took to make a living were aggressive and impressive. The performances in this film are great. Well worth a look.


I am a huge fan of the Halloween film Trick 'r Treat. Now the creator takes a shot at Christmas with Krampus. Taken from Norwegian folk lore, Krampus brings his wrath on a town after a boy writes a letter to Santa asking him to change the people in his family. The beginning of the film as a lot of darkly funny moments. Dave Koechner is especially funny as the redneck brother-in-law. When the Krampus appears things get dark, cold and creepy. People start to disappear, and they don't spare the gore. Another film with a good ending. I was surprised that this film put me in the holiday spirit. 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Mockingjay Part 2

The final book of the Hunger Games series is split into 2 films. After seeing The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 I don't think this was necessary. The film is quiet and pensive. Conflicts come to a head and are resolved, but it often felt dragged out to me. As always, the acting and effects were good. This was a solid series.

Friday, December 04, 2015


Listening to an interview with director Ron Howard, he mentioned Backdraft and I realized that I've never seen it.The story of firefighter brothers has an amazing cast. The story is one of a struggling family, but there is an arson at bay which lends an air of mystery and adventure. The fire effects and explosions are dramatic and powerful. I'm glad I finally watched this one.