Made of Honor
This one surprised me. Because a lot of effort went into making it as good as it cold possibly be. Usually this kind of "high concept" comedy goes off the rail, but this one doesn't—at least not until the last few minutes. Patrick Dempsey reveals himself to be a real movie star. The biggest problem with the whole movie is actually the concept itself. But the acting more than saves it. There are a couple of scenes that shouldn't have worked, but their acting is quite brilliant.
Madea Goes to Jail
The good news is that the character Madea is funnier than ever here—the bad news is that, in my opinion anyway, Tyler Perry is not doing a very good job writing and directing the other parts of the film. He is obviously a very talented guy, but the past films had more heart, and the soap operas were handled with more skill. However—the parts with Madea are well worth the price of admission.
Sue, Jack and I saw the play, which was fine, but then Jack played ABBA for the rest of the summer, so I vowed not to see the movie. I broke my own vow and was nicely rewarded. Meryl Streep, as she often is, was stunningly good. All the actors seemed to have a good time, as did we.
Man on Wire
If anybody ever asks you to explain performance art, you might reference this film about a wire walker who danced between the World Trade Center towers in the '70s. Like a lot of great art, his wire walk was beautiful, and more than a little insane.
Jennifer Aniston is terrific in this one, her best since The Good Girl. The movie is flawed—in my eyes—because the first half is a somewhat droll, realistic comedy, while the second half is manic farce. I'm kind of a big fan of organic unity myself.
Margot at the Wedding
Margot at the Wedding is a thoroughly depressing often very funny film that most people won't like. But I'm not most people and I loved it. It's about a completely dysfunctional and quite vicious family—especially its two sisters. Both are played elegantly by Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
This is the perfect time for a smart, dramatic film that celebrates trying to accomplish what might seem to be impossible rather than giving up because it's too damn hard (like fixing America's schools). A
I loved this movie! My favorite this year. The originality of the story and the story-telling, the acting, the flawless direction. The Master says volumes—to me anyway—about how fears, often developed early in life, control our fates; about how power—held by an individual, or an institution—corrupts and destroys. Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix) desperately needs organization and structure in his life, but he has an overpowering authority problem which makes this impossible; The Master (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is tormented by the one person (Freddie), the one emotion, the one overwhelming fear, that he cannot control. The movie continued even after I left the theater. A guy stared my way, got my attention, and handed me a card. He said, "happy hour 'till 7:30." Modern life in all its absurd glory!
The Maze Runner: The Death Cure
It’s no Hunger Games – but it does push most of the right buttons. I found the dialogue and direction too distracting but I didn’t want to leave until the film was done. B-
Men in Black III
Gets three thumbs up from Sue, Jack & Jim. III was funnier than the first II in the series, and that's what I really care about. Goofy movies should make us laugh—even if they are hyper-expensive and scare the hell out of the studios paying the bills.
I loved this movie, everything about it- the script, the acting, the dramatics. It is, however, unnecessarily convoluted and that may bug some people. Hollywood has this habit of making movies for Hollywood rather than the people who see a movie once a week and want a good story in a straight line.
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
I really shouldn't be the one telling you that you must take your kids and grandkids to Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life. So listen to some other folks. An A grade for kids on Cinemascore. 97% A grades in test screenings. Terrific reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. And here's one thing I will tell you: You'll like the movie almost as much as your kids. A
The flick is pretty interesting for about 45 minutes. Then it becomes one of those Hong Kong/karate fests, which I don’t find all that fresh or interesting. C+
A Million Ways to Die in the West
At least 100 very funny lines, but too much bathroom humor for anybody over the age of 10. Seth MacFarlane is likeable in the lead role but doesn't have much screen presence. Charlize Theron is probably the most underrated actress in Hollywood.
Miracles from Heaven
This is a sweet story with good performances all around. It's always fascinating to me how little acceptance one group's lifestyle seems to get from other groups. I can't imagine anyone having problems with this movie. But I guess that's the world we live in. B+
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
After a mildly bumpy first couple of minutes, this episode really takes off. It might be the best one of all. Good writing, good direction, good star turns. For my money, a whole lot better than any of the comic book movies that have come our way this summer. A
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
I spent a couple hours in Tom Cruise's house last year and found him down to earth, funny, not short and very focused. So I'm delighted to say that this Mission: Impossible is one of his best. Absolutely terrific action scenes, especially the one at the tallest building in the world in Dubai. Storyline may be a little too convoluted, but otherwise a lot of fun. Worth seeing in iMax.
A story about one of my least favorite groups of people—self-important, self-anointed "gifted" folk. And yet, I found the movie very funny and endearing. Probably my favorite film this summer. Take that, James. A
Aaron Sorkin can really, really write, and he’s not a bad director. Molly’s Story loses a little steam, for me, in the second half. A-
Moms' Night Out
This movie is seriously flawed as a comedy. But it does represent the belief system of a lot of people across this country. Most film critics not only trashed the movie, they trashed—without much understanding or compassion—the belief system of millions of people.
I liked the movie just fine but not nearly as much as the book—which is great. The film goes for "realism" which is achieved by limited art direction, and the actors throwing away most of their lines, and the editor putting a few fumbled dialog takes into the movie.
This one actually exceeded my expectations. Eastwood plays another grumpy old man, but manages to make the character fresh and engaging anyway. The story definitely could have fallen apart in the middle and it’s a testament to Eastwood’s directing that it didn’t. Let’s hear it for old men! A-
My Best Friend's Girl
This is one of those movies that tries to be both a gross-out and a romantic comedy. Actually, it works okay at both ends. Kate Hudson is funny, as she often is; Dane Cook does a nice job in his part, but he always seems a little one-dimensional for my taste.
My Sister's Keeper
I have watched someone young who I loved die of cancer. I don't recommend the experience. For that reason, I can't recommend this movie. The acting is very good; the emotions seem honest (though the story is somewhat manipulative). But I have been to this sad place before and this film wasn't illuminating and certainly not entertaining, at least for me.
My Week with Marilyn
Thirteen-year-old Jack wanted to see this more than any other movie at the Cineplex—to gain a historical perspective on the icon, of course—and we both enjoyed the bittersweet biopic quite a lot. Actually, it's a pretty good story about growing up.