Monday, November 30, 2015

Bridge of Spies 2015

Bridge of Spies     This film takes place in 1957 during the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union and it is based on a novel by Giles Whittell.  The Rosenbergs have already been convicted of spying and killed.  Children in America were shown films in school about what to do in case of an atomic bomb attack.  They were also given pamphlets to take home for further study.  The FBI has been following Rudolf Abel and they arrest him as a spy for the Soviet Union.  Someone must defend Abel in court and James B. Donovan is selected by a group of his peers to take on this task.  He is a good lawyer and he believes everyone needs a proper defense in court.  James does his best defending Abel but he is convicted on the charges.  The judge will decide if Abel will go to prison or he will receive the death penalty. James visits the home of the presiding Judge and relays his feelings about sending Abel to prison.  James thinks that there might come a time to trade Able to the Soviet Union for a captive American prisoner.
     Everything about this movie is good.  The story is interesting and it is based on truth.  All the actors are good in their roles and the period details seem accurate.  I’m not so sure about the FBI but I know the CIA will throw you under a bus if they get the slightest chance!!  4* (I really liked this movie)

142 min, Bio directed by Steven Spielberg with Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan, Jillian Lebling, Noah Schnapp, Eve Hewson, Austin Stowell, Wes McGee, Joshua Harto.

Note:  Imdb 8.4 out of 10, 93% critic 91% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Poland, Germany and California.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Prisoners of War 2009

Prisoners Of War: Season One     The country of Israel has negotiated a deal with Syria to free two soldiers held in captivity by terrorists for 17 years.  Two men are coming home but Amiel Ben-Horin died during his imprisonment.  Uri Zach and Nimrod Klein return home as heroes but they have suffered greatly.  They are allowed to spend one night with their families and then they are taken to a facility for debriefing.  They are both suffering PTSD and they have difficulty with just one night at their homes.  The work at the facility reopens all their wounds and makes them recall everything that happened to them. 
     The first season details the return of the prisoners and their families.  The debriefing at the facility is tough and the scenes of the men remembering are severe.  It’s difficult to get your mind around what happened and to let it go later.  The doctor needs to determine if they are holding back any details and if they are a threat to Israel.  4* (I really liked this series) 

TV Series, Drama created by Gideon Raff with Gal Zaid, Jonathan Uziel, Sendi Bar, Yael Eitan, Salim Dau, Hadar Ratzon Rotem, Yael Abecassis, Mili Avital, Assi Cohen, Adi Ezroni, Ishai Golan, Yoram Toledano.

Note:  Imdb 8.5 out of 10, Amazon 4.8* out of 5* Season One with 22 reviews, 4.7* out of 5* Season Two with 20 reviews.
Special Note:  The Showtime TV Series Homeland is based on this series.  The second season moves forward and is a suspense thriller located away from Damascus and Jerusalem.  There were actual abductions of Ron Arad, Gilad Shalit, Guy Hever,  Massad Abu Toameh and others.  There also have been similar kidnappings in Morocco, Syria and Iraq.  I wondered about the reason for the long time period of holding the men?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Tangerines 2013

Tangerines     The setting of this film is the war in Georgia taking place in the Akhazeti region in 1992.  Local soldiers have been fighting for independence from Georgia.  Almost everyone living in an Estonian village between the mountains has left their homes and land.  Just two men have remained, Ivo and Margus.  They are harvesting the tangerines on property owned by Ivo.  They plan to leave as soon as soon as they finish this job.  Suddenly, there is a conflict near Ivo’s house.  Two men are wounded and others are dead.  Two vehicles are wrecked by a collision.  Ivo and Margus get rid of the vehicles and they send for a doctor for the two soldiers.  These men are enemies and on opposite sides of the war.  They want to kill each other as they are recovering from their injuries.  One man is more severely injured than the other and he had shrapnel removed from his head.  Ivo and Margus are neutral in the war.
     I thought it was difficult to read the subtitles because they are white and many times the background is a light color?  I also thought the story was not very good and the characters weren’t fully developed.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

87 min, Drama directed by Zaza Urushadze with Lembit Ulfsak, Elmo Nuganen, Giorgi Nakashidze, Misha Meskhi, Raivo Trass. 

Note:  8.4 out of 10, 85% critic 90% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Guria, Republic of Georgia.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service     A European seaside village is the new home for Kiki and her black cat Jiji.  Kiki has left home at the age of thirteen because she is a young witch and she is ready for apprenticeship training.  She selects this village because they don’t have a witch in residence.  Kiki starts operating a delivery service using her magic broom to deliver goods for people in a hurry.  Osono, the owner of a bakery has asked her to stay in an attic room and also help out in the store from time-to-time.  Osono is expecting a baby and she needs someone to watch the shop.  Kiki is having a little trouble making ends meet with the income from the delivery service.
     Thirteen is young to leave home but Kiki is learning how to make friends, make the most of her money, learn her trade and gain self-confidence.  Everyone in the town she selected wants to help her and see her succeed.  Her parents will be proud to see how much she has learned.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

103 min, Animation directed by Hayao Miyazaki with the voices of Kirsten Dunst, Kath Soucie, Debbie Reynolds, Jeff Bennett, Phil Hartman, Tress MacNeille, Edie McClurg, Debi Derryberry, Matthew Lawrence, Jeaneane Garofalo.

Note:  Imdb 7.9 out of 10, 100% critic 88% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 872 reviews.
Special Note:  Hayao Miyazaki has been called the Walt Disney of Japan.  Kiki is his fifth film and it was the highest grossing movie of the year in Japan.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Child 44 2015

Child 44     This film is based on the first book of a trilogy written by Tom Rob Smith.  The setting is the Stalin era of the Soviet Union in 1953.  Leo Demidov is married to Raisa, he is pro-Stalin and a member of the secret police.  There have been a series of murders of young boys and supposedly this sort of crime doesn’t exist in this country?  The state does not acknowledge murder exits and will not believe that this could involve a serial killer.   Leo refuses to denounce his wife as a traitor when she is accused of being an informant.  This causes the exile of Leo and Raisa to the industrial town of Volsk.  Despite their lowering of their circumstances, Leo decides to continue to look into the cases with Raisa’s help.  They join forces with Leo’s new superior officer General Mikhail Nesterov.
    This is a very dark movie both in scenery and subject.  It seems difficult to follow with not much explanation given.  The Russian accents are questionable resulting in some garbled dialogue.  This all results in a movie where you are trying to understand the scenes and the story with elements missing.  There is a lot of violence with men beating each other and men also beating Raisa.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

137 min, Drama directed by Daniel Espoinosa with Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Mark Lewsi Jones, Joel Kinnaman, Fares Fares, Agnieszka Grochowska, Petr Vanek, Jana Strykova, Jason Clarke, Ursina Lardi.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 26% critic 43% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*.
Special Note:  This movie was film in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic.  The film was banned before its release by Russia and it was not screened for critics in many major cities.  The title refers to Leo because he was an orphan numbered at 44.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Song One 2014

Song One     Franny is an anthropologist working on her PhD in Morocco.  Her mother calls and asks her come home immediately because her brother has been hit by a taxi.  Henry is in a coma and the doctors don’t know what his prognosis will be.  Franny is devastated because she had a fight with Henry the last time they were together.  It was over his decision to quit college.  Henry has been practicing with his guitar, writing songs, singing and playing on the streets of Brooklyn.  He was walking one night after performing when the car hit him.  The cab driver tried to stop but he didn’t have enough time.  Franny goes to see James Forester at one of his gigs.  James is Henry’s favorite musician and Franny gives him a CD of Henry’s latest song.  Both Franny and Henry think it’s his best effort so far.  James starts to connect with Franny and visit with Henry at the hospital. 
     You can sense the devastation Franny feels when she goes to the hospital.  She doesn’t know if she will ever have another moment with her brother.  She wants to tell him how sorry she is for their argument.  She hopes arguing will not be how they remember each other forever.  Franny has been estranged from both her mother and brother plus she has been focused on her work.  James feels extremely sorry for everyone involved but his life is not what everyone thinks.  He’s not extremely busy without any free time to care.  I don’t want to give too much information about this film so maybe I shouldn’t tell you about the type of ending?  3* (This movie is OK)

86 min, Drama directed by Kate Barker-Froyland with Anne Hathaway, Johnny Flynn, Mary Steenburgen, Ben Rosenfield.

Note:  Imdb 5.8 out of 10, 36% critic 29% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*.
Special Note:  In a scene at the hospital, Karen, the mom of Franny and Henry, talks about her years in Paris and how she was an Arkansas girl.  Mary Steenburgen is from Arkansas.  The songs are by the indie rock duo Jenny & Johnny.  Also, I felt sorry for Ben Rosenfield since his acting role is lying in bed with tubes and looking sick.  The director was an assistant to The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel and Anne Hathaway was in this film with Meryl Streep. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Trial 2010

Trial     This movie is adapted from a novel by Robert Whitlow.  Kent ‘Mac’ McClain is a small town attorney in Georgia and he suffered a great loss nine years ago.  His wife and two sons were killed in a car accident.  He doesn’t see any way to relieve the pain except to take his own life.  He can’t decide if pills or a gun would be the way to go.  He opts for the gun but his phone starts ringing just as he’s going to pull the trigger.  Judge Danielson is calling Mac to request he represent Pete Thomason in a murder trial.  Pete is accused of murdering his girlfriend Angela Hightower.  She was the young and beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in town.  There is one big problem with this case, Pete doesn’t remember anything that happened on that night?  Mac agrees to take the case, he rehires his former assistant and his investigator.  He also seeks advice from psychologist Dr. Anna Wilkes about his own grief a
nd the state of mind of his client.
     This is good and interesting.  There is a lot of pressure from the prosecutor on the client and the defense team.  He has a very smug attitude all the time and he projects the attitude that he’s won this case before it’s even started.  Pete is offered a plea deal of 25 years.  Should he take it or go to trial?  This is a difficult choice!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

101 min, Drama directed by Gary Wheeler with Matthew Modine, Robert Forster, Nikki Deloach, Bob Gunton, Randy Wayne, Clare Carey, Rance Howard, Burgess Jenkins, R. Keith Harris, Larry Bagby, Brett Rice.

Note:  Imdb 5.5 out of 10, 24% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.5* out of 5* with 44 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Charlotte and Monroe, North Carolina.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Home Sweet Hell 2015

Home Sweet Hell     Don Champagne seems to have it all but in reality everything has been subsidized by his wife’s parents.  He works that their furniture store, they helped them buy their house and everything has to be perfect for them when they visit.  Don’s wife Mona is very controlling and she keeps a scrapbook of goals that they review periodically.  They have a storybook life on the surface but everything starts to unravel.  Mona learns Don has been having an affair with the new saleswoman Dusty.  Don is glad Mona doesn’t want a divorce but he’s very surprised the steps Mona will take to preserve her goals and her life!!
     I didn’t know this was a new film until after watching.  It was released video on demand February 3, 2015, in theaters March 13, 2015 and on DVD April 7, 2015. This short path in time explains everything about it without much more added!!  Tightly strung and not very good is a good summation.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

98 min, Comedy directed by Anthony Burns with Katherine Heigl, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe, Aiden Flowers, James Belushi, Jordana Brewster, Heath Freeman, A.J. Buckley, Kevin McKidd, Artie Baxter, Johnny Hawkes.

Note:  Imdb 5.4 out of 10, 5* critic 25% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1*.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Black Sea 2014

Black Sea     Robinson is a Scottish submarine captain and he’s has given 30 years of his life to this type of work.   He’s lost his son and his wife because he was away a lot.  He’s fired from his latest job but he learns about a U-boat stuck on a ledge in the Black Sea.  The best part about it is that it is full of Nazi gold.  He pulls together a half English and half Russian crew to sail a refurbished Soviet submarine.  The English crew includes misfits phased out because they never fit in, they struggle with alcoholism or hair-trigger tempers.  The Russians are grim, they don’t say much and they don’t let on if speak or understand English.  A company man goes along to remind everyone they are working for someone else and not the captain. 
     There are some things I know about submarine movies.  People who have served on or worked on submarines are attracted to this type of movie.  If you have an audience waiting out there for your movie, shouldn’t you try to have a little bit if accuracy?  Don’t watch a medical movie with a doctor or nurse and don’t watch a submarine movie with someone who knows about these boats!!  2 1/* (This movie is so-so)

114 min, Adventure directed by Kevin Macdonald with Jude Law, Karl Davies, Konstantin Khabenskiy, Daniel Ryan, Scoot McNairy, Tobias Menzies, Michael Smiley, David Threlfall, Sergey Kolesnikov, Sergey Puskepalis, Sergey Veksler, Grigoriy Dobrygin.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 82% critic 60% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  The submarine is from 1967 and a vintage Soviet Hunter-Killer owned by a private collector.  It is usually moored on the Medway River in the town of Rochester, Kent.  Also, small digital cameras were used to take the underway pictures inside the ship.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Girl 2012

     Originally, Grace Kelly was scheduled to star for Alfred Hitchcock in the movie The Birds.  She retired from films when she married Prince Rainier.  Hitchcock looked for a similar girl to take her place.  Tippi Hedren had been a TV model for 11 years in New York and she was selected for the part.  Hitchcock becomes obsessed with Tippi and he has her film the same scene in the attic with live birds for 48 takes because she refused his advances.  She is ordered to take a week off from filming by her doctor.  Hitchcock’s wife Alma and his assistant Peggy are both appalled by his behavior but they think they can’t do anything to stop it.  Tippi begs Alma to ask Hitchcock to stop but Alma refuses.  Tippi is scheduled to star in his next film Marnie and she is under contract for 7 years.  Hitchcock continues to pursue Tippi and he calls her at home every night. 
Girl     I didn’t know this background information about The Birds or Marnie.  Everyone on the set knew what is going on but Hitch was the boss so what could they do if they wanted to keep their jobs?  Hitch always reminds Tippi that he made her famous and she owes him.  He claims she has taken but given nothing back?  Hitch was demanding as a director and this added pressure was probably unbearable.
     This is surprising, interesting and good.  A lot of the filming scenes are shown for The Birds.  Hedren was actually scratched and pecked by the birds in the takes for this scene.  She was not told prior to filming that the birds would be real and not mechanical birds.  It was unusually cruel and unnecessary to keep going on and on with take after take for five days.  It was punishment for resistance toward his advances and for standing up for herself.  Hedren was divorced and her daughter is Melanie Griffith.   3 ½* (I liked this movie)

91 min, TV Movie directed by Jullian Jarrold with Sienna Miller, Toby Jones, Imelda Staunton, Conrad Kemp Penelope Wilton, Angelina Ingpen, Candice D’Arcy, Carl Beukes, Kate Tilley.

Note:  Imdb 6.2 out of 10, 41% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.8* out of 5* with 52 reviews.
Special Note:  In 2012, Hedren described Hitchcock as a “sad character, a man of unusual genius, yet evil, and deviant, almost to the point of dangerous, because of the effect that he could have on people that were totally unsuspecting.”  She also said “He ruined my career.  He didn’t’ ruin my life.”  Hedren was bound by her contract and unable to act in Fahrenheit 451 in 1966.

Friday, November 20, 2015

For the Love of Grace 2008

For the Love of Grace     Grace Harlen is engaged to Cliff and they are a very busy couple.  Grace is a freelance author writing books and Cliff does a lot of traveling for his job.  They have a five-year plan for marriage, home buying and having children.  Steve Lockwood has been taking a lot of chances as a firefighter recently and his Captain has suspended him.  Steve is mourning his wife Molly who was killed in an accident.  He is passing Grace’s home and he sees there is a fire.  Immediately he climbs up one floor to break a window and rescue Grace.  She is hospitalized for a while and she is very grateful to Steve for saving her life.  She begins to change what she values after almost dying in the fire.
     The characters are interesting but there is a touch of predictability.  Grace and Cliff are on the same page about everything until she almost dies.  An event like this can really cause a rethinking of what is valuable in your life.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

88 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Craig Pryce with Mark Consuelos, Chandra West, Cara Pifko, Corbin Bernsen, Ennis Esmer, Kevin Jubinville, Stephanie Anne Mills, Rosemary Dunsmore.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 177 reviews.
Special Note:  Mark Consuelos is married to Kelly Ripa from the television show Live with Kelly and Michael.  He has been acting in films and on television from 2000.  This movie was filmed in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Spectre 2015

     MI6 is challenged about relevance by the new head of the Centre of National Security scheduled to go into operation soon.  Max Denbigh believes James Bond is no longer necessary and he should be terminated from employment.  Bond is sent on a mission by the deceased M in Mexico City.  He nearly causes a helicopter accident above a huge parade for the Day of the Dead.  Bond travels to Rome where he uncovers a sinister organization known as SPECTRE.  The meaning of this name is Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.  When Bond returns to headquarters, he is severely reprimanded for his actions in Mexico.  Moneypenny and Q help Bond find Madeleine Swann, she is the daughter of his old nemesis Mr. White.  White is the leader of a secretive organization known as Quantum.  The real villain in Spectre is Blofeld alias Franz Oberhauser.
     This film is action from the beginning to the end.  Unfortunately for me, my local theatre had the volume turned up to maximum except for the dialog.  I needed earplugs to maintain a scant amount of sanity and future hearing.  I really wonder who will be the next Bond since Daniel Craig said in an interview that he would rather ‘slash his wrists' than act in another James Bond film!”  Also, the wife of Daniel Craig, Rachel Weiz, has been given the name of Mrs. Bond?  4 1/2* (I really liked this movie)

148 min, Action directed by Sam Mendes with Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Bellucci, Ben Whishaw, Namomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen, Alessandro Cremona, Stephanie Sigman, Tenoch Huerta.
Note:  Imdb 7.3 out of 10, 63% critic 70% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2 ½*.
Special Note:  There are a lot of references to previous Bond films included in this film.  I liked the new Aston Marten D810 Q has created for another agent and the restored Aston Marten DB5 from earlier Bond films.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving 2008

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving     This film is based on a short story by Louisa May Alcott.  Mary Bassett lives out in the country on a farm in New Hampshire just after the Civil War.  She has three children, Mathilda, Prudence and Solomon.  They are poor but they manage to get by.  Mary treats the sick and Mathilda also has a small job.  Their husband/father has died in the war and this Thanksgiving may be a sparse one.  Mathilda has secretly written to her wealthy grandmother and she is hoping for help with their situation.  Mary will not be happy if she finds out about the letter.
   This is not what I expected, I thought it was a modern day movie?  I thought it was interesting and good.  The characters are well developed and you really care about the family.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

90 min, Drama directed by Graeme Campbell with Jacqueline Bisset, Helene Joy, Tatiana Maslany, Kristopher Turner, Ted Atherton, Paula Boudreau, Vivien Enidcott Douglas, Gage Munroe, Sam Malkin, Catherine Fitch.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 51% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.6* out of 5* with 124 reviews.
Special Note:  An interesting detail about this movie is that Tatiana Maslany plays all the female character clones on Orphan Black.  Tatiana and Kristopher Turner previously worked together on Instant Star, a TV series.  This movie was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hot Pursuit 2015

Hot Pursuit     Rose Cooper lives in Texas and she started riding with her father in his police car when she was in a baby seat.  She learned all the codes for different types of calls for assistance.  When she became an adult, the only job for her was with the police force.  Her father passed away and she wanted to carry on for him.  Unfortunately, she has had some upsets in her career and she’s working behind a desk.  A new job assignment comes up with Rose assisting the transport and safety of a woman and her husband testifying against a powerful drug lord.
     This film had promise but it doesn’t fulfill any of the objectives of promoting women in film or comedy.  Witherspoon’s character is grating and Vergara doesn’t break away from any of her other performances.  It’s based on stereotypes, mistakes, ineptness, physical limitations, inability to handle situations and the need to be bailed out by men.  How does any of that help? 2 (I didn't like this movie)

87 min, Action directed by Anne Fletcher with Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara, Matthew Del Negro, Michael Mosley, Robert Kazinsky, Richard T. Jones, Benny Nieves, Michael Ray Escamilla, Joaquin Cosio, Jim Gaffigan.

Note:  Imdb 5.0 out of 10, 7% critic 36% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon 3* out of 5* with 1649 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Pearl River and New Orleans, Louisiana. The original title for this film was Don’t Mess with Texas.  Another film with the same title was released in 1987.  Vergara’s son makes an appearance a DJ in the Quincenera scenes.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Aloha 2015

Aloha     Brian Gilcrest returns to Honolulu, Hawaii to work on a job with the US Space Program.  Brian is a former Air Force serviceman who was almost killed in a missile attack in Afghanistan.  Now he is working for a wealthy private defense contractor.  The launch of a new satellite must be finished early because they are worried a hacker could cause an aborted launch.  Brian knows a lot of people in Honolulu and his pilot on this trip married his former girlfriend.  He also knows the base commander and the general.  One person he doesn’t know is Captain Ng, she’s on the Air Force fast track to move up in the ranks.
     You can throw at lot of popular and successful actors into a movie and still not come up with much of a film?  There seems to be too much going on and it feels wooden all the time.  Nothing adds up from the beginning to the end?  Plot twists possibly going in one direction end up in another direction?  Even some of the best scenery in the world doesn’t elevate this movie.  The character played by Emma Stone is very irritating!!  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

105 min, Comedy directed by Cameron Crowe with Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Canny McBride, Alec Baldwin, Bill Camp, Jaeden Lieberher, Danielle Rose Russell, Michael Chernus.

Note:  Imdb 5.5 out of 10, 19% critic 31% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*.
Special Note:  The emails hacked from Sony revealed company executives had a lot of doubts about this film before filming and release.  They were worried about quality and profit. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Predestination 2014

Predestination     This movie is based on a 1959 short story titled All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein.  The Barkeep is working as a Temporal Agent who goes back and forth in time with certain limits and restrictions.  His career in law enforcement has come to his final assignment.  He must track down the one criminal that has managed to escape him throughout time.  Killing this criminal will stop a devastating attack causing the loss of thousands of lives.
     There are a lot of twists and turns in this movie.  Some you see coming and others you are still wondering about at the end.  It takes some thinking and maybe a second viewing to add everything up.  Still, you are not sure if you have it all right but maybe that is the point?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

97 min, Sci-Fi directed by Michael and Peter Spierig with Ehtan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor, Christopher Kirby, Chrisopher Sommers, Kuni Hasimoto, Sara El-Yafi.

Note:  Imd 7.4 out of 10, 84% critic 74% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

As Dreamers Do 2014

As Dreamers Do     Walter Disney had a vivid imagination all his life.  A retired doctor with a horse named Rupert paid Walt for his drawings of the horse.  At that time, the family lived on a farm in Marceline, Missouri from 1906 until November 1910.  The farm was sold and the family moved to Kansas City.  Walt’s two older brothers Herbert and Ray ran away at the time of the move.  They were fed up with constant work and little or no spending money.  At school, Walt met Walter Pfeiffer who introduced him to vaudeville and motion pictures.  Walt attended classes at the Kansas City Art Institute.  July of 1911, Walt’s father purchased a newspaper delivery route.  Walt and his older brother Roy worked the newspaper deliveries.  Walt’s early career was at Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio where he did advertisements for newspapers, magazines, movie theaters.  He met Ubbe Iwerks and they formed Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists.  This company went bankrupt, Walt and Roy moved to Hollywood, California.  Their parents had already relocated there.  They pooled their money and set up a cartoon studio.
     All the information I have included above is not from this movie.  The film is filled with inaccuracies about the family history so there isn’t any need to repeat them.  The film does give you the basic idea of Walt and his family in their early years.  Walt became so successful because he had talent, he had many ideas and he wouldn’t give up on them.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

90 min, Bio directed by Logan Sekulow with Travis Tritt as narrator, Olan Rogers, Ryan Dunlap, Mark Stuart, William Haynes, Jonathan Schneck, Tyler Hayes.

Note:  Imdb 3.6 out of 10, 27% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.2* out of 5* with 35 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Franklin and Leipers Fork, Tennessee.

Red Army 2014

Red Army [Soundtrack]     The Red Army is the hockey team from the Soviet Union.  Their story begins in the Cold War and the hockey team was unstoppable during this era.  The sport of hockey also paralleled the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.  The captain, Slava Fetisov relates the history of the team.  He started playing and working with a coach when he was ten years old.  Russian children would stand in line for hours to try out for the Soviet teams.  They practiced eleven months out of the year and their coach was nearly a dictator.  The team was about unity, each individual did not stand out as an individual player and there was the desire to win whatever the cost.  KGB agents traveled with the team and defection was not contemplated by the players.  In later years, this changed and about 500 players were recruited for the NHL.
     Viacheslav Festisov calls the shots for this film and he doesn’t start to talk until he is finished with his own business.  He definitely lets the director know he’s in charge. In the beginning of his career, he was a national hero and then he became a political enemy when he stopped playing.  Income from playing on the hockey team did elevate the living standards for their families but nothing like the wealthy players on the teams of other countries.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie) (hockey fans will probably give a higher rating?)

84 min, Doc directed by Gabe Polsky with Viacheslav Fetisov, Scotty Bowman, Mark Deakins, Anatoli Karpov, Alexei Kasatonov, Ken Kurtis, Felix Nechepore, Vladimir Pozner, Tatiana Tarasova, Vladislav Tretiak.

Note:  Imdb 7.7 out of 10, 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.

Extant 2015 Second Season

Extant: The Second Season     Molly Woods is being held in a psychiatric hospital after her humanic son Ethan was taken away and her husband John Woods died.  She had a difficult time dealing with these events and also learning that John had been having an affair with his lab assistant Julie while Molly was away on her space mission.  Molly also burned down part of their home.  She learns of the bizarre deaths of several women and she meets up with JD Richter, he is a hired cop on this case.
      Some of the episodes stretch reality and I wondered if I could even ‘try’ to believe them?  I liked the scenes when Molly’s eyes turn a different color and she can influence people just like the aliens.  Some of the episodes were shown back to back to try to gain more viewers.  There might not be a third season if the ratings were not up enough?  3 ½* (I liked this series)

43 min, TV Episode directed by Dan Lerner with Halle Berry Goran Visniic, Pierce Gagnon, Grace Gummer, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, David Morrissey, Tyler Hilton, Omar Gooding, Barry Shabaka Henley, Christina Chang.

Note:  Imdb 7.8 out of 10, 76% critic 60% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 4 reviews.
Special Note:  The episode titles for this series are Change Scenario, Morphoses, Empathy for the Devil, Cracking the Code, The New Frontier, You Say You Want an Evolution, The Other.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

This is Our Time 2013

This Is Our Time      Five friends have just graduated from college.  They are hoping to fulfill their dreams.  Luke and Ale have married and they are going to India to work at a school.  Catherine has a job at an investment firm but it may not be the right fit for her.  Ethan wanted to go to graduate school but he was not accepted and he works at a local diner.  He feels his life is in limbo.  Ryder is a writer and he has a job working with social media for a company.
     This film has good intentions but it’s not very good.  The acting is weak and the story tries to pull at every heartstring.  It feels like 'paint-by-the-numbers' and without the confidence to make original art.  2 ½* (This movie is so-so) 

104 min, Drama directed by Lisa Arnold with Shawn-Caulin Young, Kate Cobb, T.J. Dalrymple, Matthew Florida, Erin Bethea, Bruce Marchiano, Eric Roberts, Emily Sandifer, Nazar Khan, S. Mohana Priyan.

Note:  Imdb 5.6 out of 10, 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 102 reviews.