My favorite movie so far this year. Very clever, twisty, intelligent plot. Some people might not like it because it’s not very cinematic. Kind of a small masterpiece, though. A
This movie has a classic western theme—it's a vengeance—fueled chase. Visually authentic—even the two Irish actors as "cowboys" pass muster—but it's an awfully slow trip to an expected ending. Nice cameo by Angie Harmon who, if the rumors are true, will play Detective Lindsay Boxer in the ABC TV pilot for the Women's Murder Club.
Sex and the City
Finally, Sue came home and I got to watch this one. I was a fan of the TV show and I liked the movie quite a lot as well. Funny, emotional at times. I can see why it's popular, and I'm happy that female side is alive and well.
The Shape of Water
It’s a miracle that Guillermo del Toro could pull this off – a truly romantic story of love between a woman and a sea monster. A
The ads for this movie proclaim that it's "nonstop action," "exhilarating," "funny," and "deftly written." Amazingly, the ads tell the truth. This is a comic book version of Sherlock Holmes, but a really nifty one. My only nitpick is that it has the standard Hollywood reliance on crazy-over-the-top plot to save the world. But this is a top drawer escapist movie.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Expensive but handsome photography? Check. Expensive actors muttering clever dialog? Check. A modicum of artsy incoherence? Check. Lots of fiery explosions? Check. Narrative power? Well you can't have everything. But hell, I enjoyed it.
Shine a Light
The dilemma for the filmmakers, the Stones, and the viewer is that to some extent we all want to hear the old songs—but the Stones probably don't want to be seen as an oldies band. There are a number of newer songs and covers in the first two hours of the movie and, while they're quite good, they're not the classics. An interesting sideline, to me at least, was that other than myself, everyone in the theater had white hair.
Shrek Forever After
I really didn't like the trailer for this (fat cats, Rumpelstiltskin) so Jack and I avoided it for a couple weeks. But for me, at least, this is the best summer movie so far. Clever, funny, fun—everything Jack and I could have hoped for.
Maybe they should have called it Shudder Island. Lots of icky visuals (Sue walked out). Good DiCaprio, good Scorsese. But the makers couldn't decide whether it should be a thriller or an art film. And it doesn't completely succeed as either. Not for me, anyway.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Not nearly as good as the first Sicario – we miss Emily Blunt – but still worth a couple of hours. B
Probably the most effective of Moore's movies because the actor/writer/director has decided to cut down the part he plays visually, and also to write a more compelling script. I find it hard to imagine anyone arguing with the need to find some way to get healthcare to all the Americas who are currently without it.
Side Effects is an upper-middle-class-appealing thriller. Which usually means pace is slow, the characters attended the better schools, have better jobs, eat at better restaurants. The dialog is more intelligent, and seemingly endless. I liked it.
There's a certain kind of movie that hooks you and you pray that the ending isn't going to involve aliens, or dreams, or psychologically-driven fantasy. Unfortunately, your dreams will not come true with this one. As for the acting, Elizabeth Olsen is terrific in the lead role.
Silver Linings Playbook
This is weird maybe, or crazy, but I can't think of a storyteller who I'm more in synch with than David O. Russell (Spanking the Monkey, The Fighter), and now Silver Linings Playbook. I love this guy as a writer and director.
The Simpsons Movie
I love the Simpson's—even before I was a character in the show myself. There are approximately 25,000 cool jokes in the movie—which makes it the equivalent of a very good episode in the TV show, but maybe not a great one. I think they got a little hung up in creating a BIG HOLLYWOOD PLOT.
This flick got mostly bad reviews—and maybe you'll agree with them—but I don't. For my money, The Sitter is all about the craziness modern kids are exposed to, the dilemma of how they stay sane, and the story is very (darkly) funny. There, I said it. Screw the critics.
The Skeleton Twins
Terrific performances by Bill Hader—and especially Kristen Wiig. Here's what diminished the film a little for me: the continuing Hollywood myth that an unhappy unconventional life is so much more meaningful than a contented conventional one. Honestly, what's the big deal either way? B+
I always enjoy Dwayne Johnson but the parts are starting to blend together. I was never bored by Skyscraper but I also wasn’t enthralled.B-
Snow White and the Huntsman
This movie completely surprised me—in a good way. Slick storytelling, good acting, and beautiful art direction. A lot of care went into making this movie work, and it works very well. For me, at least, Snow White beats The Avengers.
I saw the documentary by Laura Poitras. So there wasn't much new in Oliver Stone's dramatization. I think that the folks who love Snowden will contine to feel that way, and this movie won't change the opinions of those who think he's a traitor. C+
Gorgeous photography (of Norway), a very strong cast, in one of the more incoherent thrillers I’ve seen. What a waste of talent and a fine book by Jo Nesbø. D-
The Social Network
As far as I can tell, there's a must-see and there's a must-read this fall. The must-read is Freedom, a novel by Jonathan Franzen. The must-see is The Social Network. In my opinion, The Social Network is definitely a must-see. I'm not entirely sold on the Franzen. What's particularly impressive about The Social Network is the degree of difficulty in making the subject matter not just watchable, but riveting.
Maybe somewhere, sometime in a galaxy far, far away I’ll get into the Star Wars movies. Or maybe not. B-
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
"Spellbinding," "The perfect summer movie," "Dazzling," "Magical," say the ads. What a lot of b.s. Bad storytelling, unbelievably sloppy special effects, irritating product placements, a huge waste of acting talent and money. And Disney can quote me on that.
This is a tough one to talk about. At times, it's a powerful and effective movie. The acting is excellent, especially my friend, Jamie Foxx. For me though, the artiness of the film got in the way of the story. Joe Wright, the director, also did Atonement. I felt the artiness got in the way of that story as well. Hey, there's no accounting for taste.
You know what they always say-the comic book is better than the movie. Seriously, my 9 year-old and I had a good time at this one, which goes on a bit too long, and gets a little too goofy, but who am I to complain about goofiness?
The Spiderwick Chronicles
My ten year-old read all the books and loved the movie. I'd read a couple and loved the move too. Much preferred over The Chronicles of Narnia and Bridge to Terabithia by both of us. The story clips along and is fine and dandy.
A Star Is Born
God bless Bradley Cooper. The movie is directed very well, written very well, and both he and Lady Gaga turn in nice performances. For me personally, watching someone descend into alcoholism and heavy drug use isn’t exactly what I need at the end of the day – but that’s the story, and I leave it to you to make your own decisions. A-
On DVD: Amazon
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Just not my cuppa tea. Never has been. Sorry Star Wars fans. B
State of Play
This thriller is lifted up by terrific acting by Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, and others; and by some terrific dialog from three of Hollywood's best screenwriters (and some people complain about my occasional collaborations...). So why doesn't this movie has audiences standing up and cheering? In my opinion, it's because somebody involved with the production doesn't think it's important for audiences to cheer at the movies. Good as it is in many respects, State of Play doesn't have terrific narrative power. And I don't think you can make a great thriller without it.
The 700+ pages of Walter Isaacson's biography on Jobs seemed to fly in comparison with this 122 minute film. Maybe that's what happens when a talented, but crazy screenwriter tries to tell the story of a talented, but crazy marketer-provacateur. B
The Strangers: Prey at Night
Totally unwatchable. D-
I give this one an A. A lot of amazing things. Amazing how much I didn't know about this story. Amazing how much the press didn't know given the fact that they told the story over and over and over again. Amazing that Clint Eastwood directed this movie when he was 85. A
Don't be fooled by the title, because this is no Little Miss Sunshine. This movie has to do with two women who have to clean up after murders and suicides. However—it is very charming, well acted and contains some nice, dark comedy. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are excellent. The movie actually reminds a lot of small, very well done novels that I read.
Stand By Me meets Close Encounters meets The Predator. Jack and I absolutely loved the kid dialog (Stand By Me). The rest of the story was a little predictable. It's one of those tales in which strange things are happening and you hope that the reveal is surprising and satisfying. It isn't. Still, the movie's set-up is worth the price of admission.
I expected to love this, but I only liked it. The kids are all great, but the constant potty-talk got kind of repetitive for me. Also, the storyline could have been stronger. But when it's funny, it's funny. And I love Kevin Bacon, but he really got over-cooked by the director on this one.