Nightcrawler — 3 1/2 Stars — October 31, 2014

October 30, 2014 on 4:15 pm | In Movie Reviews | Comments Off

Don’t get hung up on the specifics of “Nightcrawler”.  Jake Gyllenhaal plays a midnight to dawn blood and guts cameraman who finds a station willing to run the most horrific crime footage for money.  Jake meets his match in Rene Russo an ambitious producer with a blood thirst for success  The material shown on the local newscast goes way beyond reality but that’s not the point. Really “Nightcrawler” is a horror movie about success and ethics.  Jake Gyllenhaal gives a jaw dropping performance.  This one’s a stunner. DoeS it deliver what it promises?  Jaw dropping drama.  Is it entertaining?  Like watching a car crash.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Another must see

Birdman — 3 1/2 Stars — October 24, 2014

October 30, 2014 on 4:12 pm | In Movie Reviews | Comments Off

Tap into your most creative impulses when you settle in to watch “Birdman.”  And get ready to laugh at the explanation of its title “The Unexpected virtue of Ignorance.”  Michael Keeton plays a one time superstar superhero who walks away from his franchise and watches his career fade.  So he finances,,directs,and stars in a highly serious and quite pretentious drama on Broadway.  Of course everything goes wrong.  With Edward a Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Ryan.  ”Birdman” has some jaw dropping moments amid its backstage chaos.  This is not your father’s backstage comedy.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Outrageous theatrical backstage comedy.  Is it entertaining?  Like a car crash.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Total unique must see movie.

 

 

 

 

 

Whiplash — 4 stars — October 17, 2014

October 30, 2014 on 2:08 pm | In Movie Reviews | Comments Off

Miles Teller plays a music student who longs for greatness as a jazz drummer.  J. K.,Simmons — best known for those funny Farmer’s insurance ads and a long string of character parts on TV — gets in touch with his inner bad guy.  Simmons brow beats and bullies his students into what he hopes is greatness.  Or is it abuse?  ”Whiplash” mixes Music and drama and shades of grey and never goes where you expect.  One of this year’s outstanding movies.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Stunning scenes in an unconventional drama.  Is it entertaining?  A knock out.  Is it worth the price of admission?  One of the year’s greats.

St. Vincent — 3 stars — October 17, 2014

October 30, 2014 on 2:00 pm | In Movie Reviews | Comments Off

Bill Murray plays a typical Bill Murray role—a grumpy old man who befriends the scrawny kid next door and shows him highly inappropriate things and places.  With Melissa McCarthy as a single mom, Naomi Watts as Murray’s pregnant hooker girlfriend, and Jaeden Lieberher as the kid.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Grumpy old man comedy.  Is it entertaining?  Bill Murray – what else do you want.  Is it worth the price of admission?  For fun.

Fury — 3 stars — October 10, 2014

October 30, 2014 on 1:26 pm | In Movie Reviews | Comments Off

Brad Pitt commands a tank during the last days of World War Two In Germany.  He leads his men into a heroic last stand.  Fury leaves you saying Wow!  That Brad Pitt guy is a real movie star. Does it deliver what it promises?  World War Two drama.  Is it entertaining?  Old school war picture.  Is it worth the price of admission?  The price is right.

Gone Girl (R) — 4 stars — Opens October 3rd, 2014

October 3, 2014 on 3:05 am | In Movie Reviews | Comments Off

Thank goodness I didn’t read the book, because watching the new film of “Gone Girl” gave me an evening full of shocks, surprises, and delights.  The shocks I can’t reveal because I don’t want to spoil things for you.  All I can tell you is the story begins five years after Ben Affleck marries beautiful Rosamund Pike, whose childhood her parents made famous in a series of children’s books.  Things go well and then money gets tight and they leave their fabulous life in Manhattan for the suburbs of Missouri.  One morning Ben leaves the house and when he returns his wife is missing and the living room looks like a crime scene.  Rosamund Pike — who has done some fine work in the past without achieving the stardom she deserves — tells us her side of the marriage in a series of flashbacks.  The pitch perfect cast includes Tyler Perry (yeah that Tyler Perry) as a slick lawyer, Kim Dickens as a detective trying to get to the bottom of things, Carrie Coon as Affleck’s sister and Neil Patrick Harris as a former lover.  The combination of script and acting make “Gone Girl” a movie delight — so good I didn’t want it to end.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Thrilling thriller.  Is it entertaining?  Will keep you alert and guessing.  Is it worth the price of admission?  A must see movie.

The Good Lie — 3 stars — Opens October 3, 2014

October 3, 2014 on 2:54 am | In Movie Reviews | Comments Off

Reece Witherspoon takes a page from “The Blind Side” as a young woman trying to help a group of Sudanese “Lost Children” adjust to life in America.  Casting real refugees as actors gives this story heart, even though recreating their experience feels a little less than real.  Once in America, they struggle to adjust and struggle with the weight of their chaotic former lives.  The story could have turned overly sentimental but manages to avoid that trap and has a twist that few will resist.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Uplifting story that deserves telling.  Is it entertaining?  Well told.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Worth the effort.

The Equalizer (R) – 2 1/2 stars – Opens September 26, 2014

September 25, 2014 on 4:43 pm | In Movie Reviews | Comments Off

Denzel Washington plays it cool in “The Equalizer”—a kind quiet older man working in a large hardware store.  On late night visits to a local diner, he makes friends with young street-walker Chloe Grace Moretz.  She runs afoul of the Russian mob and winds up in intensive care.  Our hero can’t have this — so he goes after the mob in a series of thrilling, jaw dropping, violent encounters that build to a midnight climax in a Home Depot topped off with an even more outrageous dose of revenge.  Washington’s the perfect guy to play this cool cucumber.   “The Equalizer” reminds me of the “Dirty Harry” series and like that series could well turn into a string of films.  Not the greatest movie ever made but Denzel makes it watchable.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Denzel Washington gets his revenge.  Is it entertaining?  Thrilling but violent.  Is it worth the price of admission?  For action fans.

Tracks—2 1/2 Stars — Opens September 26, 2014

September 25, 2014 on 4:34 pm | In Movie Reviews | Comments Off

In the 1970′s before cell phones and GPS, Robyn Davidson made a journey across 1700 miles of Australian desert sponsored by National Geographic.  Davidson turned the article into a best selling memoir.  The event took place so long ago I am wondering why the movie arrives only now.  Mia Wasikouska leads four camels and a dog across the desert in quiet believable fashion.  Adam Driver — who continues to make an impact in his appearances — plays the National Geographic photographer assigned to connect and photograph the project — and Davidson’s unlikely love interest.  “Tracks” serves up beautiful photography and a woman’s determination.   I wondered why they didn’t make more of setting the stage of the 1970′s  pre technology world.  Sometimes the film feels like an “Award” effort which makes it an effort to watch.  Does it deliver what it promises? One woman’s journey across the Australian desert.  Is it entertaining?  Slow and quiet and sometimes boring and sometimes awesome.  Is it worth the price of admission?  For the serious that’s for sure.

Two Night Stand — 1 star — Opens September 26, 2014

September 25, 2014 on 4:13 pm | In Movie Reviews | Comments Off

Two Night Stand merits a mention because of its director Max Nichols–son of Mike Nichols.    Unfortunately “Two Night Stand” tells a generic boy meets girl story with a contemporary twist.  But I guess you have to start somewhere.  Analeigh Tipton finds herself jobless and boy-friend less so she goes on line and hooks up with Miles Teller — the young actor so many people liked in “The Spectacular Now.”  The couple spends the night not knowing a major blizzard has trapped them in his apartment.  They argue and can’t leave.  The movie feels like a two character play and might have worked better on a small stage done live.  Don’t go looking for sexy.  “Two Night Stand” comes off blah and boring.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Not even close.  Is it entertaining?  Not even close.  Is it worth the price of admission?  You’ll hate yourself in the morning.

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