Sunday, November 27, 2016
That Richard and Mildred Loving were jailed for loving each other is ironic, appropriate and awful. In the film Loving the story of their pursuit of the lawsuit Loving vs The State of Virginia to legalize interracial marriage, is told in a quiet, respectful, realistic way. That this was ever against the law in this country blows my mind. The most powerful statement in the film is when Mildred is asked why they keep pursuing the lawsuit she says, "maybe this will help other people too." Boy did it. This is a good film and an important story.
Family stories are common in film. Captain Fantastic puts a twist on the family trope by setting the family off the grid until the mother passes away. The emotions within the nuclear family and the conflict with the traditions surrounding death are interesting and emotional. I liked this film much more than I expected to. It was a solid rental. Well done.
Roberto Duran had a successful boxing career. His story is told in Hands of Stone. From childhood to his championship, his training and personal life are played out. The film stops with his championship and does not acknowledge the decline of his career. The performances are good and the story has a lot of heart.
Werner Herzog explores the intricacies and concerns of technology. The documentary Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World is an interesting, sometimes scary, sometimes depressing look at the impact of cyber life and it's future. Good documentary. Makes you think.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
It's always fun to see a movie with a large group of people. When my grandson chose Moana as the movie we were to see for his birthday I knew we were in for quite a ride. 21 adults and children were in our group, and we took up 3 rows in the theater. The short film Inner Workings set the tone for the theme of "follow your heart". Moana is the age-old story of a headstrong young girl who wants more than the protected world her parents insist on. She feels a destiny to help her people and sets off on a quest. In the exotic land of island culture we follow our optimistic hero. There is action, there is folklore, there is humor, there is heart and boy oh boy is there music! Lin Manuel Miranda weaves wonderful songs throughout the film in his own magical style. Moana is appealing and the young actress, Auli'i Cravalho, who plays her has a gorgeous voice. Everyone in our group loved this film and the packed theater applauded at the end. I look forward to seeing it again.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
The first part of Arrival seemed slow to me. I was expecting more slam-bang from a movie about an alien encounter. Once I realized that there was more heart and smarts to this film I could go along. The exploration of language and communication is a quiet adventure I enjoyed. Good film.
When a local story finds its way to the big screen it's usually a lot of fun. The story of RI boxing legend Vinny Paz is told so well in the film Bleed for This. I feel I am biased because I have local knowledge, but I got a kick out of the portrayal of this colorful character. He was a cocky guy who shook it in everyone's face. When Paz was in a car accident, his condition was in the news every day. As time has gone by, it is with nostalgia that I look back at his story. Seeing him do press tours today, it's nice to see him happy, and still a character. A helluva sports comeback and a helluva guy. Fun film.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
The structure of a film can make a touching story pack an emotional wallop. In Moonlight we watch a young man grow up under very difficult conditions. The journey is told in three parts, I was happy to be along for the ride. One of the most powerful dramas I've seen this year. Well done.
Friday, November 18, 2016
Billy Wider is a wonderful film maker. Watching The Lost Weekend this is quite obvious. The story of a man struggling with alcoholism is compelling. Even though it is black and white, the shots, the structure, the acting and the music are blended so well. A true classic.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Not far into Alice Through the Looking Glass I realized that it is assumed that the audience has seen Alice in Wonderland (2010). Since it has been 6 years, and it wasn't that great a film, my memory of it is dim. The story of Alice trying to help the Mad Hatter is weak at best. The costumes and makeup are great, but there was not much else in this film for me.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
The film Out of the Furnace is a rather bleak look and two brother's relationship and how they deal with the consequences of their actions. They make choices dealing with bad people and things do not go well. Story is depressing but the performances are very good. An OK rental.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
In the documentary Life, Animated we meet Owen Suskind who is autistic. His family and he have learned that he can communicate and relate to the world through Disney films. His family is working to transition him to living on his own as a young adult. Owen is charming and works hard to achieve his goals. He also draws to express himself and has several big accomplishments in the film. If you rent this on DVD be sure to watch his short film in the extras. This is an uplifting film. Good rental.
Friday, November 11, 2016
In 1846 southern Texas was struggling to keep its identity. The living was tough and people were territorial and brutal. In the film The Duel a man and his wife try to navigate to new territory looking for answers and find themselves in a tough town. The story plods and the violence is brutal. An OK rental.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
The drama Indignation is a well written portrayal of a young man coming of age on a difficult path. He speaks his mind at a school that would prefer him to conform. Some of his relationships are difficult, some confusing, some rewarding. A good drama that I'm glad I saw as a rental.
Sunday, November 06, 2016
Producer Norman Lear is the father of the TV sitcom. In the documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You we learn of his formative years and career. A look inside TV producing and how the sitcoms expressed social issues with humor. At 94 Lear is still working and still making solid TV. This film was a good peek behind the curtain. Good rental.
Saturday, November 05, 2016
The new Marvel film Doctor Strange was a breath of fresh air to me. I thought I was on super-hero overload, but his film explained all situations well and had enough humor to make it entertaining. It reminded me of the first Iron Man movie. A clever script and solid performances helped too. The visuals make this a must-see-in-the-theater movie. I liked this movie a lot.
The thriller Imperium goes inside the world of white supremacy in the form of an FBI sting. The situation is scary and the characters are menacing. I really liked the performances, but the foray into this world is very disturbing. Good rental.
Thursday, November 03, 2016
I Saw the Light is another music biopic in which the age of the star, Hank Williams', at the end of his life stunned me. The battle of egos in his personal life certainly overshadow his music. Excellent performances salvage this sad story to make it an OK rental.