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Patriots Day (2016)
I had reservations about seeing this movie, mostly because the event happened in my hometown. I had felt it was too soon to have a movie made about the Boston Marathon bombings. I remember the day as if it was yesterday,I felt the same way I did after 9/11. After seeing the movie I felt the right people were in charge and it turned out to be a great film. Patriots day takes place the day of the bombing on 4/15/13 on Boylston Street. Mark Wahlberg plays Tommy Saunders, a character who is basically a composite of all the police officers who assisted on that tragic day. Kevin Bacon who plays FBI agent Richard DesLauriers does a good job John Goodman as commissioner Ed Davis was great (though he should have worked on his Boston accent. The movie centers on the day of the bombings and the manhunt to find the terrorists responsible. Film director Peter Berg did a fantastic job researching for the film including talking to the family members of their deceased loved ones as well as talking to the people who lost limbs to get recollections of that day. The family of Martin Richard, the 8 year old boy who lost his life requested that their family not be the focus of the movie and Peter Berg honors their wishes. Martin is not named but there is a scene where a state trooper is keeping guard over his dead body, a truly emotional scene. Patriots day is a terrific tribute to the brave men and woman who risked their lives on April 15 2013. There is one note Krystal Campbell who lost her life was from my hometown. Today a memorial garden in her memory which also has the names of the other victims of that tragic day was dedicated in 2016. In Memory of Krystal, Martin, Lingzi Liu, and MIT officer Sean Collier. This movie is a remarkable tribute to them. Boston Strong!!
An important film during a dark time
Spotlight, the movie that won the academy award for best picture at The Oscars is an important film that focuses on a subject that needed to be addressed, The sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Based on a true story, the movie is about the Boston Globe newspaper's "Spotlight" team that broke the news story about the sex abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese. Since the story broke in 2002 the investigation led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston as well as leading to reform in not only Boston, but the entire Catholic church as well. The actors in this film are first rate, led by Michael Keaton as editor Walter "Robby" Robertson, the story centers on the reporters working through sources and talking to abuse survivors. In an Ironic twist, the reporters investigating the story are catholic themselves and are disgusted by the story. One performance I really enjoyed was Mark Ruffalo as Mike Rezendes, Mark delivers a powerful performance and even though he was nominated for best supporting actor for the role, he tragically didn't win. Spotlight is a powerful movie. The true story not only exposed the scandal, but led to new standards in the church to reporting Priest abusers and new rules to protecting children. It was a dark time in the city of Boston but it was a story that needed to be told and here is hoping the Catholic church see to it that this never happens again 10/10 stars.
The Force is back!
I have been a Star Wars fan from the very beginning and while I was happy that the Walt Disney Company would make another trilogy of films I was somewhat reserved because while I thought the prequels (Episodes 1, 2, 3,)were good I felt they could have been better, but JJ Abrams take on the Star Wars mythology reminded me how much I loved the original trinity. The Force awakens takes place 32 years after Return of the Jedi, During that time Luke Skywalker attempts to restore the Jedi order by training padawans the way of the force. But one of his students has turned to the dark side and takes the name of Kylo Ren. Luke Skywalker then disappears and the majority of the movie is spent trying to find him by Ren and the first order (an offshoot of the Galactic Empire that was defeated in episode 6). The movie is action packed but it also has a great storyline unlike the prequels. Old favorites return such as Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, C3PO,and R2D2, but the movie introduces us to 3 new characters that in a way are being passed the torch by the original cast. Rey, a female scavenger played by the enchanting Daisy Ridley, Poe, an experienced X-Wing pilot played by Oscar Isaac, and Finn, a rebel stormtrooper played by John Boyega. While the main villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is impressive, he doesn't come close to matching Vader, but Vader does play a key role in Kylo's mission. The Force awakens is a breath of fresh air in the Star Wars universe and I cant wait for episode 8 in 2017! May the force be with you!
Unexpected Disney Classic
When this movie came out in 2013 it reminded me in a way of Star Wars back in 1977 because no one expected Star Wars to become the pop culture icon like it did and the same can be said for Frozen. The movie is very enjoyable. It is loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson story The Snow Queen. It centers around two girls Elsa and her sister Anna. Elsa was born with the power to create ice and snow and because of this the girls get to play and create snowmen but during one recent romp Anna is injured by Elsa's power. Their Parents decide that Elsa's powers must be made a secret and kept under control. A few years later and its Elsa's Coronation but she gets into an argument with Anna when she asks Elsa for her blessing to marry a Prince she just met on the same day. Elsa loses control and her powers are exposed to everybody, As a result the entire Kingdom is engulfed in Winter. Elsa runs away to the mountains and Anna with help from an iceman named Kristoff and his pet deer Sven go after her to bring her back so she can use her powers to break the winter spell and bring summer back. The voice acting is first rate with Kristen Bell as Anna and the amazing singer Idina Menzel as Elsa. What sets Frozen apart from other Disney movies is its soundtrack which features the Academy award wining song "Let it Go" by Idina Menzel. (The film would go on to win the Academy award for best animated movie) another thing that's unique is the focus of the relationship between the two sisters witch is original in a Disney film. One character that's a scene stealer is Olaf the snowman who was created by Elsa as a little girl but comes to life to help Anna find her sister (He likes warm hugs). All in all Frozen is good movie that's not to dark or sad and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
The King of the Monsters!
I remember as a kid on Saturdays watching the old Godzilla movies on TV I have been a Godzilla fan for more than 30 years but I had never seen the original 1954 movie. (the original Japanese film, not the the badly edited Raymond Burr Americanized version.) I finally got to see the Japanese version today and watching it made me realize why I am a fan. The later versions of these films were cheesy and childish, not this one. Producer Tomiyuki Tanaka wanted to make a film that was very similar to the 1930's King Kong movie, but the studio did not have the time or the budget so they went with a man in a suit. This movie came out 9 years after the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki so the event was still fresh in the minds of the people of Japan. The movie depicts Godzilla as an unstoppable force of nature that was mutated by H-Bomb tests in the Pacific. Unlike the later films this movie takes a very serious take on the dangers of nuclear weapons. Godzilla's destruction of Tokyo was brilliantly film using low angles and life like minatures. The special effects are by 1954 standards pretty good and you tend to forget there is a man in a suit when Godzilla terrifies Japan. There are scenes in the movie that look like they came from World War II and the after effects of the Atomic bombing, the scenes of death are very realistic as well as the damage. The acting is first rate as it doesn't come across as too hammy and it is believable. It is a terrific monster movie that gave birth to a character I liked as a little kid. The King of the Monsters!!
Bill Cosby: Himself (1983)
Bill Cosby at his best!!
I have been a fan of Bill Cosby for a long time and this documentary is one of the main reasons why. I remember first seeing this on TV back in 1983 and I could not stop laughing! Filmed in Toronto, Canada Bill takes us through his life from when he became a father to his childhood and to raising 5 children. 30 years later and it still makes me smile. Bill proves why he is one of the greatest comics of all time. He includes such bits such as why children have brain damage, being drunk, a story about Jeffrey on the airplane, and my personal favorite: "The same thing happens every night". Bill Cosby is a laugh riot from beginning to end. You will enjoy it!
The Avengers (2012)
The Avengers is one of if not the best comic book movie ever! The buildup to it was worth the wait. The heroes from previous film (Iron Man 1 & 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America) are united to save the world from Thor's adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who gets in his possession the Tesseract, which has the power to teleport from one universe to another, Loki uses this power to transport war mongering aliens to earth to rule the world. The first part of the movie deals with getting all the Avengers to coexist with each other as they are constantly fighting on what is the best course of action. The second half is non stop action with our heroes working together to stop Loki and his army. With the exception of Ed Norton, all the stars from the previous films are here: Iron Man(the charismatic Robert Downy Jr.) Captain America(Chris Evans) Thor,(Chris Hemsworth) and new character Hawkeye(Oscar nominated Jeremy Renner)the Hulk (played by Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow(the beautiful Scarlet Johannson). The Avengers is a wild and fun ride and make sure you stay after the credits are over for a funny scene. Assemble!
Tribute to a terrific actor.
When you think of legendary movie actors names such as Brando, Pacino, De Niro, and Duvall are some that come to mind. But one that rarely, if ever gets mentioned is John Cazale. In the opening scene in this documentary ordinary people on the street are shown a picture of the Godfather cast and while they can name the actors playing their respected parts. the one they don't know is John Cazale who played Fredo Corleone. Cazale only acted in 5 feature films (The Godfathers I & II, Dog Day Afternoon, The Conversation, and The Deer Hunter). He was 42 when he died of lung cancer in 1978, but his impact on movies is still felt today and I feel that had he lived he would be talked in the same breath as his friend and acting legend Al Pacino who along with De Niro and Meryl Streep (who was at one time engaged to Cazale before his death) pay tribute to him as well as actors whom he influenced such as Steve Buscemi and Sam Rockwell. This documentary is worth watching to let people know about the man who could have given us so much more had he not died so young. Rest in Peace John Cazale.
The Muppets (2011)
Jim Henson would be proud!
Ever since Jim Henson's untimely death in 1990, I always felt the Muppets over the years have lost some of their magic because they no longer had Henson's creative genius. But after seeing this movie I now feel that they got some of that magic back! The Muppets is a funny charming, and song filled spectacle, The Story centers around couple Gary and Mary (Jason Segel & Amy Adams) along with Gary's brother Walter (who is a Muppet himself) Travel to LA to tour the Muppet Studios but find out that bad guy Tex Richman (Oscar winner Chris Cooper) wants to destroy the Muppet Theatre so he can dig for gold. The trio set out to find Kermit and the rest of the Muppets in order to save the theater. All your favorite Muppets are here. The songs are first rate, and its a joy to watch. There is somewhat of a passing of the torch with this movie because old favorites have new puppeteers and voices as Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson are not performing their characters but Steve Whitmire still voices Kermit and does a terrific job! This movie is a great way to introduce the Muppets to a new generation of viewers and holds a special place in the hearts of those who grew up with Jim Henson's creations. Sit back and enjoy the famous cameos which are trademarks in past Muppet movies and get sentimental when Kermit sings "The Rainbow Connection" again. Welcome back Muppets!
The Secret of NIMH (1982)
The Secret of NIMH is one of the first movies I ever saw as a child and after all these years it still has a special place in my heart. The animation is superb as it was done by former Disney animators. The story is centered on Mrs Brisby, a widowed field mouse who lives in a field near a farm with her 4 children faces a potential problem when her youngest son Timothy is stricken with pneumonia. Because its harvest season the farmer will be plowing the field. the animals who live in the field have to move away or they will be victims of the tractor. But Mrs Brisby can't move her family because of Timothy's illness so what can she do? She gets some help from Jeremy (a crow voiced by the late Dom Deluise) and from rats who live in the rosebush near the farmhouse to help move her home away from the plow. The voice acting is spot on with Deluise and the late Elizabeth Hartman as Mrs Brisby (this being her last film role.) The Secret of NIMH is one of if not the best animated films by Don Bluth. The story is centered around a mothers love for her family and will leave you wanting more.