Thursday, December 8, 2016
     

Movie Review

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How funny is "Bad Grandpa"?

Take it from the ticket-seller at the multiplex: "The girl at the concession counter had to use her inhaler three times."

Don't take it from me.

Then again, two movie-goers walked out during the first 30 minutes at a recent matinee of "Bad Grandpa" at that same multiplex.

Don't take it from me.

"Next time, let's go to lunch and forget it when there's a bad movie," said an elderly woman to her two elderly female friends sitting in the row in front of me at the matinee.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

When is speaking your mind saying too much? When is biting your tongue saying too little?

Truth in conversation, feelings and action is at the heart of "Enough Said," an entertaining and thoughtful romantic comedy memorable for its nuanced performances, especially that of James Gandolfini in what is his second-to-last big-screen role.

Look for an Oscar actor nomination for Gandolfini and a possible Oscar for the highly-regarded and beloved actor best-known as Tony Soprano on HBO's "The Sopranos."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Captain Phillips" is a harrowing movie bristling with tension. It is superb film-making and has incredible performances.

The movie, directed by Paul Greengrass, is based on the true story of the 2009 hijacking of a United Stated-flagged container cargo freighter with 25 crew members and the hostage-taking of the ship's captain, Richard Phillips.

The screenplay by Billy Ray ("The Hunger Games," 2012; "Fllghtplan," 2009) is based on Phillips' book, written with Stephan Talty, "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Gravity" is a masterful achievement in cinema. It will be regarded as a classic and a landmark film.

Look for Oscar nominations in the double digits, including actress: Sandra Bullock; supporting actor: George Clooney; director: Afonso Cuaron; original screenplay: Cuaron and his son, Jonas; cinematography, and numerous technical categories.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Salinger" is a seemingly honest documentary about J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of "The Catcher in the Rye" who wrote a heralded, controversial, generation-shifting novel and never published another.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

When it comes to psychological thrillers, "Prisoners" takes no prisoners.

"Prisoners," paced by an intense, carefully-crafted and completely believable performance by Hugh Jackman, is a tension-filled nail-biter with a plot twist that you probably won't see.

Keller Dover (Jackman) is a middle-class father living in western Pennsylvania who owns his owns remodeling business. He and his wife, Grace (Maria Bello), have a teen son, Ralph (Dylan Minnette), and young daughter Anna (Erin Gerasimovich).

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"The Family" is a generically-titled film that is anything but generic.

The mob drama-comedy stars the iconic Robert De Niro, in one of his best roles in years, and the magnificent Michelle Pfeiffer, also in one of her best performances.

"The Family" is smart entertainment on the order of "Goodfellas" (1990). In fact, there's a nod in the storyline to "Goodfellas," directed by Martin Scorsese, who produced "The Family."

There's also a sense of "Married to the Mob" (1988) "Analyze This" (1999), and "Meet the Fockers" (2004).

Call it "Meet the Mobsters."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"In A World ... "You may have heard that phrase, intoned by Don LaFontaine at the beginning of movie previews, or trailers, as they are known.

LaFontaine, who died in 2008, was dubbed "the voice of God" for his recordings of more than 5,000 film trailers, and thousands of television commercials, network promotions and video game trailers.

LaFontaine parodied his own career in TV commercials for Geico Insurance and the "Mega Millions" lottery game.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"It's the end of the world as we know it," to quote the 1987 R.E.M. rock song, and I was feeling fine until near the end of the movie "The World's End."

Then, as in so many movies nowadays, it seems all apocalypse breaks lose, and "World's End" ends in fire.

"Ice would suffice," to quote the 1920 Robert Frost "Fire and Ice" poem.

Instead, director Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead," 2004; "Hot Fuzz," 2007; "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," 2010), loses his cool.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Blue Jasmine" is the 49th film directed and 71st film written by Woody Allen, including some shorts, in the 47 years since his first movie in 1966. He's already filming his next movie, an untitled feature scheduled for release in 2014.

Allen, noted for his hilarious social satires, has also made dramas, often including funny moments. "Blue Jasmine" is one such film.