The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
This is a thriller I'll see for a second time. Director Tony Scott can be a little incoherent at times, but not here. Scott and Denzel Washington always work magically together. John Turturro and John Travolta have rarely been better, especially Turturro. I liked the original film made after John Godey's book, but this one is even better.
Tell No One
This is a movie I saw in England based on a Harlan Coben thriller. It's a terrific cat & mouse story—the kind that Hollywood doesn't seem to know how to make. The problem is I'm not sure you're going to be able to see it here since it's a French movie with subtitles.
There Will Be Blood
I admired this film more than I enjoyed watching it. Daniel Day Lewis is a force on screen, as always. He truly is a wonderful actor. It's a most unusual story told in an artful way. But it is slow, and a lot of people won't get it.
This Is 40
Well acted and well staged. But how can 40-year-olds who act like spoiled, self-centered and destructive 15-year-olds wonder why their lives are something of a mess? And they seem mostly oblivious to the fact that their charming and gifted kids will probably end up in therapy. Judd Apatow obviously wants to create comedies that don't just make people laugh—but also think. Well, I think some very smart and talented people often lead unnecessarily messy lives. Which raises the question—at least for me—How smart are they?
This Is It
I went with Jack, my 6th grader. He says that most of the kids in his class like Michael Jackson. We talked about how seldom there are monster superstars—Frank Sinatra, Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson—for this reason alone the movie is probably worth seeing.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Nicely shot, nicely dialogued, lots of f-bombs in case those bother you. One of the better movies this year. A-
The Tillman Story
The Tillman family is angry that the Army mislead them about their son's death in combat. I can understand that. The Army doesn't like to tell families their sons or daughters died by friendly fire, especially when the circumstances are unclear. I can understand that, too. Maybe I'm too understanding.
The Time Traveler's Wife
I love the idea here, but the film just didn't work for me. Almost every scene feels weaker than it ought to be. There wasn't enough chemistry between the lovers, and way too much was made of Henry's nakedness during his time travels. And it's not just me—Sue wanted to leave after 40 minutes.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
I'm not a huge fan of convoluted story telling. If a friend told us a story in the style of this film many of us would find ourselves interrupting and saying, "I'm not quite following you, and I'm not sure that I want to." At certain times this kind of stylization derives from an inability to get a narrative down clearly and succinctly. That isn't the case here. These filmmakers knew exactly what they were doing. This is premeditated confusion. It just isn't my cup of tea. Which is not to say that it's a bad movie, or a flawed piece of art—it's just not me.
To Rome With Love
Once upon a time Woody Allen used to write funny, absurdist short stories and essays—a lot of which, if memory serves, were printed in the New Yorker. This film reminded me of that zany Woody Allen—and I missed him. Jack and Sue loved the movie as well.
Fun at times, nothing much at risk, good photography, always nice to encounter Alicia Vikander. C+
Very dramatic thriller directed by and starring Ben Affleck (though I liked his first, Gone Baby Gone, even better). Here's the catch (for me anyway): Hollywood keeps making these stories in which the bank robbers (and murderer) are the good guys; the cops are basically bad. This hasn't been my experience in the real world. The majority of cops are trying to do the right thing and their job is unbelievably difficult. The majority of crooks put themselves above everybody else. I prefer Alex Cross to Gary Soneji.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The assassination of JFK? Alien robots did it. Chernobyl? Alien robots did it. The O.J. Simpson murders? Alien robots. Creation of this movie? Alien robots. There are some funny set pieces not the least of which is the heroine running through the last forty minutes (one continuous scene) half the time in high heels, half the time in flats.
In a lot of ways, I liked this better than the new James Bond; cheekier dialogue; better performances-especially Natalya Rudakova as the female lead. The problem with this series, however, is that there doesn't seem to be enough money to film the action scenes.
Is it too much to ask that the studios sprinkle a couple of adult films into their summer fair? Guess so. Anyway, this week's blockbuster has Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey, so how bad can it be? Not so bad (especially the first five and the last two minutes); but not as good as it could, and should have been.
Truth or Dare
This feels like a low end rip-off of a Blumhouse horror flick – which are usually extremely well done. The problem is that this is a Blumhouse production. C
Bloody pretty good—I kind of liked it. They needed some more money for the special effects—I would have liked more scenes like the overdone baseball game—but the young actors were fine and dandy. The acting is over the top, but I think it had to be if the film was going to work.
Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys
I really like Tyler Perry's movies but the last few—at least for me—seem to be slipping a bit. There are too many relatively flat scenes in this one. And I'm just not feeling Perry's passion the way I used to. Maybe he's doing a few too many projects—but who am I to talk.