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Miss it and you'll miss out on a special film experience
Jake (Asa Butterfield) lives in Florida and is a shy teen who makes friends rarely. Mainly, he is closest with his Grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp), who babysat him a lot when he was younger. Abe's bedtime tales of a home in Wales which housed a bevy of peculiarly talented children were mesmerizing. Now, Jake gets a call from Abe and must speed up to his house an hour away to make certain the old man is okay. He's not. Out in the woods behind Abe's house, Jake finds him dying, with his eyes missing. Moreover, a huge skeleton-monster tries to attack the teen, with the lad only escaping with a well-timed gunshot from a friend. Soon, Jake finds a letter inside a book which directs him to go to Miss Peregrine's Home for PC. A grief counselor thinks its a good idea for Jake to go and his author-biologist father (Scott O'Dowd) has time to take him. Once there, Jake finds that the house was abandoned long ago when it suffered a hit from a German bomber in WWII. Yet, when Dad goes birdwatching, Jake finds that Emma, Olive, and the rest of the Peculiar Children come to lead him into a time warp, where its always the day BEFORE the bombing and the children are safe. Huh. Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) smokes a pipe and takes good care of her charges; she can shape-shift into a bird when it suits her. The other kids have fantastic abilities, too; one can grow giant plants, another is invisible, still another can project his dreams from an eye camera. Yet, two evil groups of folks, the Wights, led by Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) and the Hollows (monster skeletons) are out to find the time warp where Miss P's brood lives. It is there the Jake discovers his own peculiarity; he can see the Hollows where most folks cannot. This will ultimately set up an epic battle between the feisty children, led by Miss Peregrine, and the wicked forces. But, can Jake stay in the time warp to help them? Doesn't he have to go back to Florida? This film is a dazzling visual experience, taken from the YA books by Ransom Riggs. First, the cast is great, with Green, Butterfield, Stamp, Alison Janney, Jackson, Rupert Everett, and all of the rest doing mighty fine work. Then, the film has been shot in near black-and-white, with only a pale shade of color seeping through. Now that's quite an interesting angle! Naturally, the sets on the Welsh island are terrific, as are the historic costumes, and Burton's one-of-a-kind direction of the weird and unusual. So, truly, don't miss this MISS! Nuf said.
The Girl on the Train (2016)
Full-steam thriller, great performance by Blunt, who is one of the finest actresses of the modern age
Rachel (Emily Blunt) has had a horrific year. First, she started drinking after receiving terrible personal news and her husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) ran off with Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) and divorced Rach. Now, this often tipsy lady rides the train to Manhattan every day, where she seems to do little except gawk at the houses on the Hudson River route. You see, Rachel passes right by the house she shared with Tom, where he now lives with A and their baby Evie. Sometimes Rach gets a glimpse of their new happiness. More important, another couple, two doors down, also interests Rachel, as she feels they are the "perfect couple". This would be Megan (Haley Bennett) and Scott (Luke Evans). They are often on the back deck embracing, making Rachel believe in true love. Alas, it is false. One day Rachel spies Megan kissing another man, a therapist Dr. Kamal (Edgar Ramirez). Then, all Hades breaks loose. Megan disappears and no one knows where she is. When a detective (Alison Janney) shows up at Rachel's residence, a room in a friend's house, the policewoman tells Rachel that she was seen in an area where Megan was last spotted. The trouble is, Rachel has inebriated blackouts and CANNOT remember what happens in the midst of them, this time included. Could Rachel possibly be a murderer? This very fine thriller has been adapted faithfully from the great book, except in one aspect; its set in Manhattan not London! Even so, Blunt is still a Brit transplant and our Emily is amazingly wonderful in a complex role. She is my FAVORITE ACTRESS of the 21st century and this performance is another winning one in a list growing longer. The other female cast members are likewise wonderful; Bennett as the gorgeous but troubled Megan, Ferguson as the equally lovely, husband-stealing Anna and Janney as the tough police detective. Alas, the male cast members don't fare quite as well. Ramirez is the best, handsome and sensitive, while Evans is rather scary as the explosive Scott. Theroux seems perfect, being a charming guy who can turn dark, but, in this case, he doesn't get a chance to deliver. Perhaps, the director didn't give him enough guidance, as the ladies shine brightly. It's unfortunate. Yet, its not a deal maker as far as the film's overall positive experience. Viewers will love the sumptuous scenery and costumes, as well as the excellent, eerie score by Danny Elfman. All in all, you've got to see GOTT!
Watch it for the kitten and stars Peele and Key; otherwise, very violent and offensive in parts
Rell (Jordan Peele) has just lost his girlfriend, her decision. Now he is a couch potato, crying and smoking weed. His pal Clarence (Keegan Michael Key), however, is happily married to a beautiful gal (Nia Long). Meanwhile, a meth lab is raided and all of the cookers are, well, "cooked" and drugs stolen. However, one being makes it out alive. A darling kitten runs frantically away and makes it to Rell's doorway. Wow, this wee cat arrives just at the right moment to heal Rell's heart! Naming the feline Keanu, things are looking up. Its not for long. While Rell is out, the members of a gang raid his house, mistaking his house for his neighbor's, a low level drug dealer. They take Keanu! With Clarence's wife going out of town, Rell convinces his C-pal to help him get back Keanu, even if they have to become "fake gangsters" to infiltrate the network of bad guys and thieves. Can these two basically decent guys truly dive into a dangerous world and act like tough killers? What if one of the gang members, Hi-C, starts to capture Rell's heart? First, this is not my kind of film, being too violent and raunchy. I confess I watched it because a) I was with a pal who suggested it, b) I love cats and c) I like funnymen like Key and Peele. The darling cat and the two stars are the only reasons to watch it, truly. Otherwise, there are shootouts, strip clubs, and bad language in abundance. Therefore, unless you can keep your thumb on fast forward, you might want to skip it. Hopefully, Peele, Key, and Keanu will all make a family film next time out.
Excellent, harrowing film about a true American hero
Sully Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) has been flying since he was a teenage crop duster. Now after a gazillion flights, he takes the controls again with his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) on a cold January day. But, alas, almost immediately after takeoff, a flock of geese fly into the engines, disabling both of them. As experienced pilots, both know how far a plane can fly to land. The air traffic controller offers a return to LaGuardia and a nearby Jersey airport. But, within a few seconds, Sully deems these choices impossible. The glorious Hudson river stretches out in front of them and Sully makes a MIRACULOUS landing in the water. Then, at once, the plane is taking water and the 155 passengers have to be rushed to the inflatable lifeboats and wait to be rescued by the Coast Guard. They are, all of them. Yet, Sully and Skiles must spend a few days in New York while the NSA begins to question their judgments on landing in the water. While Sully is a hero to the passengers, crew, and the whole world, the NSA bigwigs try to tell him he should have headed for the airports. Simulations show they could have made it. Aghast, Sully and Jeff counter that it was impossible. Further tests are ordered while Sully's wife (Laura Linney) is waiting for him, anxious and afraid his career will be over. Will it? This fine, 90 minute film is exciting and maddening. Hanks gives a great performance, making you forget everything but that he is Sully. Eckhart, Linney, and all of the others support him wonderfully. When Eastwood recreates the water landing, it is terrifying and amazing. But, how annoying it is that the NSA is slow to thank this great pilot and quick to doubt his abilities and decisions. Its probably routine but it sure doesn't seem like it. Audiences will like the NYC setting with lots of great views from the air, too. Inventive, also, is the director's choice to unfold the film, not chronologically, but in jumps between past and present. All in all, this is another masterful film by Ms. Clint Eastwood. See it, see it!
Fun with Dick and Jane (1977)
Always a favorite; Fonda and Segal make a gr r r eat team!
Dick Harper (George Segal) and Jane, his wife (Jane Fonda) believe themselves to be living the high life. Dick has a great job and they are just putting the landscaping and pool into their dream house. But, alas, Dick gets fired by his asinine boss (Ed McMahon) and they are quickly behind on payments. Although Dick signs up for unemployment and gets it, its still crazy hard to pay any of the bills. Also, when Dick hilariously tries to moonlight as a gypsy song and dance man, his act is caught by the State officials and his income is cut off. No other jobs in the aerospace industry come along. That's when Jane gets the zany idea to try holding up businesses and doing other shady crimes to make ends meet. They even take the offerings of an obviously crooked evangelist ( an hilarious Dick Gautier) as he starts spouting off some VERY UNCHRISTIAN sentences. When they find out Dick's former boss is a cheater, too, D and J make plans to fix him but good and vastly increase their incomes. Can they pull it off? This adorable movie is a comedy classic that everyone will like. After a string of very serious roles, like Klute, Fonda chose to show her funny side again and she's great. So is Segal, who has never been more likable or attractive. Gautier, McMahon, and all the supporting cast is quite nice, too. Also, you will like the sets, costumes, script and energetic direction. This is fun, fun, fun, indeed, with Dick and Jane.
Bridget Jones's Baby (2016)
Baby, am I glad that Bridget is back! Lots of laughs and sighs, don't delay in seeing it!
In this third installment of life with Bridget Jones, B (Renee Zellweger), 43, has risen the ladder at the television station. Now a producer of a well-respected talk show, her working life has improved. Alas, this is not so for her personal life. Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) has married someone else, deeming them too different for eternal happiness. Boyfriends are absent at the present, so Bridget goes to a "glamping" event with a close friend. Its a big love encounter, where each person gets a yurt with amenities. But, that doesn't eliminate muddy paths, as our Ms. Jones falls in the slime almost immediately. That's when handsome Jack (Patrick Dempsey) comes to her rescue and hooks up with her later, in a very romantic night. Yet, Bridget leaves the area before they even exchange names. Back in London, B barely makes it on time for a memorial service for a friend and, then, to a christening where she meets Mark both times. He's separated and getting a divorce. With Bridget dancing along to Gangnam style, Mark puts the moves on his former love, ending in a nearby bedroom. Yet, Bridget walks away from him, too, before the dawn breaks. Flashing forward six weeks, without seeing either gentleman, Bridget starts getting nauseous and discovers she's pregnant. So, who's the father? She doesn't know! With her mother running for a local election, Dad there to comfort her, and friends and work colleagues intrigued over her "plight", what's a lady to do? It turns out Jack is an American billionaire advice guru, too, as Bridget struggles to alert him and Mark to her condition. Both seem pleased to hear they are about to become fathers, until they realize it could be either of them! The OB-GYN (Emma Thompson) finds it a dryly amusing state of affairs! Who IS the baby daddy and who will Bridget end up with? Baby, I am beyond happy that Bridget Jones is back! The third time is definitely a charm, as Zellweger returns to delight audiences everywhere as the affable but zany Ms. Jones. She's great. Thank Providence, too, that Firth returns as the uptight but handsome Mark Darcy while Dempsey is also quite fun as Jack and likewise attractive. Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent, Thompson, and all of the other cast members are terrific as well. With a very funny script, fabulous costumes, nice sets, and a great direction, what, what is not to love? Sneak out of work, college, housework or anything else to catch it!
Two Night Stand (2014)
Charming but RACY romantic comedy, heed the R rating
Megan (Analeigh Tipton) is adrift in Manhattan. She lost her job, lost her fiancé and has been bunking with a kind friend and her boyfriend. On a night the threesome go out to celebrate Christmastime, Megan can't find her I.D. and a bouncer won't let her into a drinking establishment. It hurts. Leaving her friends to enjoy their evening, Megs goes home and finds a "one-night stand" hookup site. Lo and behold, a nice looking man, Alec (Miles Teller) is also searching for a fling. Therefore, Megan goes to Alec's apartment, they are a bit tipsy and they spend a nice evening together. When dawn breaks, however, there is bad news. A BLIZZARD has fallen in and the front door won't even open. In addition, M and A soon take a dislike to each other that wasn't a problem the night before. They are stuck in close quarters for hours and hours. Yet, after a morning of cold shoulders, they start conversing again and break into an empty nearby apartment for a needed household appliance. By day's end, they may be attracted to one another again. Unhappily, there are more secrets to uncover and when the snowplows do their thing, Megan leaves at once. Without even knowing Megan's last name, will the smitten Alec be able to find her in a city of 8 million folks? This charming romcom rests on the likable performances and attractive qualities of Tipton and Teller. They are the film's main stars and are in one setting, alone, for quite some time. Kudos to them for their turns. Then, too, the script is very witty and honest; beware, though, that there are many sexual discussions. The supporting acting cast, costumes, and direction are nicely worthy. Don't wait one, two, or three nights to find Two Night Stand. You will be happy you viewed TNS this coming evening.
The Light Between Oceans (2016)
A tempest for the mind and soul; beautiful story, performances and settings
Shortly after WWI, Tom (Michael Fassbender) returns to his native Australia a changed man. He has seen and experienced terrible events and has a touch of survivors guilt, too. Therefore, when he applies for a position as a lighthouse keeper on an island off Perth, he welcomes the chance for solitary existence. No one else will be on the isle and supplies come but once every six months. Nevertheless, at a dinner before he ships out, he meets beautiful Isabel (Alicia Vikander). Tom continues to think of her often as he eeks out his life on Janus. A boat picks him up after three months, just to make certain he is okay, and he is allowed a brief shore leave. Heading to Isabel's house, they soon go on a picnic and love follows. Before long, the two are married and return as a couple to Janus. Life is beautiful. That is, until the day Isabel, pregnant with the couple's first child, loses the baby in the midst of a violent storm. Heartbroken, it takes some time before they are ready to try again. Yet, the same thing happens, Isabel miscarries nearly six months into the pregnancy. Grief is overwhelming. Then, a miracle arrives. Tom spies a small boat drifting near the shore and hears a baby cry. Inside the vessel is a dead man and a live infant girl. Against his better judgment, Tom is persuaded by Isabel to NOT record the incident as it is but to only note the man's death and to adopt the girl as their own, telling all the baby came early. Yet, on a trip to the mainland for Lucy the baby's christening, Tom spies a crying woman (Rachel Weisz) in the church graveyard. Looking at the stone after she is gone, he notes the inscription states beloved husband and daughter, lost at sea. Unknown to Isabel, Tom sends the woman an anonymous letter that the baby is alive and loved in a new family. But, how can this bode for anything but agony in the future, as the lady starts a search to find her daughter? This story is a tempest for the heart, even as the waves roll and crash in the film's knockout gorgeous setting. Tears will fall as the struggle for a baby by three people can bring no other result. Fassbender is terrific as the war haunted veteran who has no other family but his wife and child. Vikander, too, though somewhat young for the role, is wonderful in her role as a woman, blithe in spirit, who changes in the course of losing two children. Weisz, Bryan Brown and all of the others support them well. The story and setting, too, deserve high praise for their loveliness while the direction strikes the right note, being slow and reflective. Film fans, if you, like me, long for quality movies that don't have superheroes, offensive humor, and trite plots, here is one to welcome with open arms.
All Roads Lead to Rome (2015)
All roads lead to romantic comedies, for us die-hard fans; this one is quite wonderful
Maggie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is a divorced college professor in Manhattan. So, her marriage struck out. Now, she is having serious trouble with her 17 year old daughter, Summer (Rosie Day). Summer has chosen a bad boy for a boyfriend and Maggie is at her wit's end trying to discourage her offspring. Finally, in desperation, she drags Summer away to Italy, for maybe an ocean will work wonders, Besides that, Maggie was once a grad student in Tuscany and she wants to revisit a time of happiness. But, ho, what memories indeed. Almost at once, Mags runs into Luca (Raoul Bova), a former flame, who still lives the single life in the country, caring for his 80 year old Mother (Claudia Cardinale). There's electricity in the air between the two who once loved each other. While they are engaging themselves in conversation, Summer steals a car to head back to Rome for a jet plane back home. Riding shotgun is Luca's Mama who wants to meet her fiancé in Rome to get married once and for all. This is against Luca's wishes. The two fugitives find they have much in common and bond quickly while Maggie and Luca speed off to get them back. Will love grow again on a journey to Rome for the one- time lovers? This lovely romantic comedy has so many assets. The cast is great, with Parker always an engaging performer and Bova just a doll. Day and Cardinale are terrific also as the delinquents. Then, what could be more beautiful than the Italian Tuscany, with its put your eyes out glory? With a funny script that is a mixture of languages and a tireless direction, this trip is well worth taking. Romcom fans, all roads lead to enjoyment if you make the trip to find this nice little flick.
A win win win for romantic comedy fans
In Hollywood, talented but reckless Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel) has been caught by the press in situations not befitting his wholesome star image. Therefore, his agent (Nathan Lane) must think up a solution. Eureka! How about a win a date contest with Tad, where they can choose the most sweet-and-light woman for the movie actor? Meanwhile, in Frazier's Bottom West Virginia, Rosalee Fudge (Kate Bosworth) is a beautiful lass who works at the local Piggly Wiggly. Toiling beside her are two best friends, Cathy (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Pete, the PW manager (Topher Grace). Unknown to everyone is that Pete is in love with Rosie and wants to go beyond palsy walsies. Guess who enters the win-a-date contest? Yes, its our Rosalee and she wins! The date is a dream in Tinseltown and Tad is surprised he thinks so highly of the WV lady. In fact, after the date is over and after Rosalee comes back to the Piggly Wiggly, Pete may not be able to breathe a sigh of relief. That's because Tad, who is in-between roles, chooses to travel to Fraziers Bottom and pursue a possible romance with a beautiful blonde cashier. With Pete thwarting Mr. Hamilton's chances at every turn, will Rosalee remain starry-eyed over Tad? Will Pete ever get an opportunity to tell Rosie how he feels? This truly fine romantic comedy is a win win win for romcom fans. The trio of Bosworth, Duhamel, and Grace are wonderfully talented, handsome actors while Goodwin, Lane and the rest provide excellent comic relief. The cameras have captured beauty of West Virginia without showing any flaws while the costumes, script and zesty direction are quite acceptable. Are you pining away for a romcom you haven't seen? Make a date with Tad, Rosalee and Pete and grab this movie.