Monday, January 22, 2018

The Shape of Water

A mute woman, working as a janitor at a government facility, forms an unlikely relationship with the latest top secret discovery.

This is a very dark and twisted adaptation of Hans Christian Andersens' The Little Mermaid. Set in Baltimore, during the 1950's cold war era, the production design is immaculate. The special effects are well done and the characters are intriguing. Nevertheless, the tale itself, is a far cry from Guillermo del Toros' Oscar award winning Pan's Labyrinth (2006) and at times the romantic element is slightly uncomfortable to watch.

** Rentable

Rated R (for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence and language) 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

After her daughters' rape and murder has gone unsolved for months, an enraged woman, puts up three billboards outside of her small town questioning the honor and integrity of the local police, specifically Chief William Wiloughby.

This is a rough and gritty film about how hate projects itself from generation to generation, from class to class, and from race to race. It's infectious, like a disease, and clings onto those that are so angry and often selfish that they can't see beyond themselves.

Extremely well acted, not sure if it is best picture material but expect to hear a lot of buzz come Oscar time.

*** See it before March 4th (Oscar Sunday)

Rated R (for language and violence)

Monday, January 8, 2018

I, Tonya

This biopic chronicles the rise and eventual fall of Olympic ice skater Tonya Harding.

It is a harsh dark comedy that unwinds the complicated web of what led up to the "incident" that made Tonya's name a punch line.

Brilliantly acted, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney are both heroic and horrifying in their portrayal of young Harding and her mother.

Slow in spots but worth the watch.

*** Must See

Rated R (for language, violence, sex and nudity)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Pitch Perfect 3

The Bella's are back, again. This time each of them are facing the sad disappointments of adulthood and life after their never ending college party, they decide to go out with a bang and have one last performance tour with the USO.

Hopefully the last sequel of this dying story, as this went out without the bang. Stupid and forgettable.

* 1/2 Rent it if you're bored.

Rated PG-13 (for crude humor and language) 

The Greatest Showman

Based on the imagination of P.T. Barnum, this original musical tells the story of a spectacle that became a sensation.

The music is fantastic, the story has many holes and is extremely "Disneyfied" as history tells us that Barnum was not at all benevolent or kind. So take the historical element with a grain of salt.

The movie itself is filmed like a play rather than a moving picture - which again creates holes in the storyline and can also be a tad claustrophobic. That being said the music and performances alone are spectacular and worth the ticket.

**1/2 - Rentable - but worth seeing on the big screen

Rated PG (for mild language and violence)

Victoria & Abdul

Based on a recently discovered true story, this is a bittersweet tale of an implausible and what was considered by most to be a scandalous friendship between a Queen and a servant.

Brilliantly acted, fabulous, albeit underdeveloped, story that is both heartwarming and horrifying assuming it is all historically correct.

Slow at times but worth the watch.

*** Must See

Rated PG-13 (for language and violence)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Four teenagers get sucked into a video game and must beat the game in order to get home before losing their lives.

This was a very clever, very creative new adaptation of the original movie. It will be especially endearing to those that grew up playing early NES style video games like The Legend of Zelda. In fact younger viewers who are unfamiliar with the limited technology of those early gamers may not entirely get all of the subtle humor and references. That being said, it is very entertaining and unlike the original Jumanji (1995) the CGI in this new version is very well done and doesn't look like it was pasted onto the film.

A little long at one hour and fifty nine minutes, but paced well enough to keep the audience engaged.

** 1/2 Rentable

Rated PG-13 (for violence, crude humor and language) 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Wonder Wheel

A young girl returns to the house of her estranged parents in 1950's Coney Island. Her unexpected arrival changes the subtle dynamics of the household.

Woody Allen is always at his best when not in front of the camera and this is no exception. The story is tragic, about tragic people, in tragic circumstances and the tricks we play on ourselves to cope and find happiness even if fleeting.

Admittedly this probably isn't for everyone and has a very slow pace that makes the running time of one hour and forty one minutes seem much longer than it actually is.  There are scenes of long running dialogue that are more play-like than cinematic which may put off some viewers. When all is said and done, it is a character piece and the development on screen is slow, brutal, and ugly which somehow translates into something beautiful.

**1/2 Rentable

Rated PG-13 (for thematic elements and language) 

Monday, December 18, 2017


Ferdinand is loosely based on the children's book Ferdinand the Bull (1936), written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson.

This liberal adaptation is cute albeit forgettable. With a running time of one hour and forty seven minutes it strays from the original story quite a bit and may find parents getting restless as it drags.

Although now that Blue Sky is technically a Disney company, it is still worth suggesting that one check out Walt Disney's Oscar winning short Ferdinand the Bull (1938) as it is a perfect adaptation of the book and has a running time of less than eight minutes.

** Rentable

Rated PG (for some peril and rude humor) 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi...

Spectacular, exhilarating moments wrapped in a mediocre storyline. This is fun and greatly entertaining but the narrative drags and the humor seems slightly out of place, more at home in our galaxy than theirs perhaps. The plot is weak, the pacing is off and there are several holes. Overall it has an odd vibe, that being said it was light years ahead of any of the prequels.

Fun but unfulfilling.

** 1/2 Must See for all Star Wars Fans

Rated PG-13 (for violence and language)