Tuesday, July 7, 2015
     

Movie Review

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Furious 7" is one wild ride.

If you like action films, the action is, true to the series' titles, fast and furious.

"Furious 7," generically named because it's the seventh in the "Fast and Furious" franchise, reunites the band of brothers and sisters, including Paul Walker, who died in a nonfilm-making related car crash before his scenes were completed for the seventh installment.

In scenes that weren't completed, the image of Paul Walker's head was, through the magic of computer-generated imagery, grafted onto the body of his brother.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Home" is an entertaining animated feature that should be especially entertaining for elementary-age and preschool children.

The science-fiction fantasy is about an alien named Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons), who is from a species called Boov.

The leader of the Boov is Captain Smek (Steve Martin). The Boov, led by Smek, have fled to earth to escape the Gorg, their arch enemies.

On earth, Oh meets Gratuity "Tip" Tucci (Rihanna), whose mom, Lucy (Jennifer Lopez), is one of the humans relocated by the Boov to Humansville, which is somewhere in Australia.

Friday, April 3, 2015

With "Cinderella," it's about the shoes.

That qualifies the live-action "Cinderella" as a chick's flick.

Yet, just as a pair of ruby slippers is part of Dorothy's quest along the yellow brick road in "The Wizard Of Oz" (1939), there's much more to the "Cinderella" story than a pair of glass slippers.

In the live-action "Cinderella," narration by Helena Bonham Carter (onscreen a stunning Fairy Godmother) keeps the story on track, fills in the blanks and appeals to the movie-goer's sense of being read to from a storybook.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Mr. Turner" is a film of stunning beauty.

At times, viewing director Mike Leigh's lovely film is like seeing a landscape painting put into motion.

Some scenes depicting British landscape painter, Joseph Mallord William "J.M.W." Turner (1775-1851) are outlined as a solitary stroll against the ocean, cliffs or fields. The movie-goer is given the point of view of what the painter might be seeing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

You're asking for critical brickbats when you title a sequel "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."

So, here goes: The film is aptly named. It's rarely as much fun as the original, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2011), even though nearly the entire original cast is back.

Tom Wilkinson is not back because the character he played, Graham Dashwood, died in the first film.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Kingsman: The Secret Service" is as convoluted as its title.

The movie has a good premise: a young London street punk recruited for a spy agency loosely modeled after The Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6) is groomed in the art of espionage and of being a gentleman.

It's to the "Kingsman" filmmakers' misfortune that they can't decide which storyline is more important: learning to be a spy or learning to become a gentleman.

Friday, March 6, 2015

OK. The serious season of Oscar nominees and recipients is over.

It's time for some guilty pleasure.

"Fifty Shades Of Grey"?

No.

"The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water."

"SpongeBob SquarePants" (which began on Nickelodeon in 1999) was part of the Saturday morning animation TV show ritual for my son, Elias, and me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Still Allice" cuts to the core of human existence.

"Still Alice" examines the essence of communication.

"Still Alice" asks: When is Alice still Alice?

The film drama, "Still Alice," sensitively examines what happens when the brain no longer functions properly.

Alice (Julianne Moore) is a respected Columbia University professor of linguistics and an author. She is married to a successful medical researcher (Alec Baldwin). They live in a beautiful, charming and tastefully decorated Manhattan townhouse.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

"Drum roll, please!"

"Whiplash" has five Oscar nominations, for picture, supporting actor (J.K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher, the hard-driving music teacher), adapted screenplay, editing and sound mixing.

Even for those who don't know the difference between a single paradiddle and a double-stroke roll, "Whiplash" is a must-see for the performance of Simmons alone, the presumptive supporting Oscar recipient. It's the role of a lifetime for Simmons, a noted character actor.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

It's an embarrassment of riches at this year's Oscars.

While 2013 was regarded as one of the best years in a decade for great films, one could make the case, based on the Oscar picture nominees alone for the 87th Academy Awards, that 2014 was even better.

The year 2014 will be remembered as the year of the director.

There was writer-director Richard Linklater's "12 Years a Film," i.e., "Boyhood," filmed over the course of 12 years with the same actors as we see lead actor Ellar Coltrane grow from an elementary school student of age 5 to a college teen of 18.