The streaming service Netflix is altering the game and hence, caused controversy at the Cannes Film Festival with their entries of “Okja” and “The Meyerotiz Stories” into the competition.
Joon-ho Bong’s “Okja”, a Netflix Original Film, chronicles the story of Mija (the marvelous and charming Seo-Hyun Ahn) who strives to rescue the massive animal Okja (voiced by Jungeun Lee) in South Korea and the United States. The multi-national company – Mirando Corporation, led by the CEO Lucy Mirando (the utterly brilliant Tilda Swinton) intends to utilize Okja to feed the masses.
The meat we consume originates in the animals. Damn devastating. You may not be a vegetarian, and yet, you may wish to become one for two hours. Nonetheless, I am still devouring meat. “Okja” taps into the zeitgeist in terms of corporate greed – the various companies lie to sell the products and if a controversy arises, the company does anything to market the product once again. Besides product consumption, the theme of everlasting friendship is touched upon here as Mija travels the globe to save Okja from horrific abuse.
“Okja” is occasionally extremely brutal to witness, allowing you to sympathize with Mija and Okja. You may root for the companionship to be the victor. Despite a few predictable moments, “Okja” strikes a chord when you least expect it. The moral dilemma gets under your skin, allowing you to ponder your meat consumption.
Okja will instantly become your best friend if you allow it and the movie is one of my favorite films to be released thus far in 2017. B+
“Okja” is rated TV-MA (similar to the Motion Picture Association of America’s R rating). NOW STREAMING VIA NETFLIX.
The incredible Landmark Theatres currently operates the Oriental Theatre, 2230 North Farwell Avenue in Milwaukee’s Upper East Side, Wisconsin 53202. Milwaukee Film just announced they will operate the movie palace, commencing during the July 1, 2018. The Oriental Theatre celebrated the Ninetieth Anniversary during the Sunday, June 25, 2017 – with awesome festivities, including Glen Gerard’s magic tricks, the cake, and the organist Perry Petta playing the organ prior and following the screening of Michael Curtiz’s “Casablanca” (1942). Pure magic. Let me tell ya, this movie palace will alter your life for the better, regardless of the operators. I will miss Landmark Theatres operating the theatre. No offense to Milwaukee Film.
The Oriental Theatre presented the Black and White restored version in the darkened theatre. It is obvious why “Casablanca” is hailed a classic film. A timeless and enduring love story, regardless of your age.
Prior to attending the celebration, I attended the fine “Beatriz at Dinner”. I accomplished my first quadruple feature – “Band Aid” and “Dean” at the Downer Theatre and the aforementioned “Beatriz at Dinner” and “Casablanca” at the Oriental Theatre. I ate some cake prior to the screening.
The Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett introduced the film, announcing the Oriental Theatre is one of the hottest places to see a film, particularly the independent films. Glen Gerard presented a couple mesmerizing magic tricks. The crowded theatre witnessed the short cartoon film and “Casablanca” and yes, several folks clapped during the film. As everyone was walking out, I was able to personally speak to and capture the photo with Mr. Barrett (the best moment during the evening, in my opinion).
“Christine” (2016) and “Certain Women” (2016) were my initial two films I attended at the Oriental Theatre. I was stunned during my first visit. You know what: I am still astonished by the theatre during the several visits. Probably the oriental decorations and Buddhas get to me – in a good way. I would like to give a shout out to the brilliant manager Crystal for the breathtaking introductions prior to the films and the whole nine yards. The entire Oriental Theatre staff is jaw dropping. For real.
I highly recommend visiting the Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee. The movie palace will capture your heart and never leave. Life altering, indeed.
“The Book of Henry” (PG-13) – Colin Trevorrow exhibited his heart in the right place and yet, his latest film is freaking absurd, engaging in questionable twists and morals. C-
“Rough Night” (R) – Freaking ridiculous from start to finish; however, Kate McKinnon’s hilarious Australian accent saved the day. In general, McKinnon slightly redeems the absurd mess. D
“Cars 3” (G) – Lightning McQueen is forced to consider retirement. The “Cars” franchise ran out of fuel a long time ago. Retire once and for all. C
“All Eyez on Me” (R) – The initial hour or so is a snoozefest. The final hour and thirty minutes are slightly intriguing. The point is “All Eyez on Me” begs to be another “Straight Outta Compton” (2015) and never achieves the goal when all is said and done. D+
“47 Meters Down” (PG-13) – Lacks a coherent narrative, just some sharks yearning to bite two close knit sisters. Despite a few moderately tense moments, you cannot escape the one dimensional screenplay. D-
“Band Aid” (NR) – Despite necessitating the emotional oomph, Zoe Lister-Jones and Adam Pally respectably examines relationships among the couples and the neighbors. C+
“Dean” (PG-13) – Poignant and endearing, the director-writer-actor Demetri Martin impeccably examines grief, parenthood, and friendships. The film strikes a chord when you least expect it. B
“Beatriz at Dinner” (R) – Salma Hayek is brilliant here. Moreover, the director Miguel Arteta provides the mostly unsuccessful political statement, pointing the middle finger to the President Donald Trump. Despite slightly tapping into the zeitgeist, the abrupt conclusion may piss you off. C
“The Mummy” (PG-13) – Universal’s Dark Universe is off to a rough start – provides the one dimensional script and characters. Not even remotely entertaining to boot. D-
“Megan Leavey” (PG-13) – The dog lovers will adore the narrowly inspirational film. Nonetheless, Kate Mara marginally redeems the film. C
“My Cousin Rachel” (PG-13) – Rachel Weisz is brilliant as the cousin Rachel; however, the narrative lacks mystery and suspense – causing a snoozefest in the process. Brilliant production and costume design, though. D+
I will not be able to review “All Eyez on Me”, “47 Meters Down”, “Rough Night”, “Cars 3”, “The Book of Henry”, and “Dean” during the opening weekend due to the family vacation. There are plenty of upcoming reviews to be published in about one week.
I love the independent production and distribution company A24, founded by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges. A24 is a force reckoned be with, despite releasing some disappointments as of late such as “Free Fire” (2017) and “The Lovers” (2017) that pale in comparison to the likes of “The Spectacular Now” (2013), “A Most Violent Year” (2015), “Ex Machina” (2015), and “20th Century Women” (2017). Long the story short, the studio provided some of my favorite films in recent memory. It is an understatement to proclaim how much I adore A24.
“It Comes At Night” is the second feature film by Trey Edward Shults (“Krisha”). Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), Paul (Joel Edgerton), and Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) welcomes Kim (Riley Keough), Will (Christopher Abbot), and Andrew (Griffin Robert Faulkner) into the home during the mysterious and contagious plague.
It is always exciting to witness A24’s films due to their consistency and utter brilliance (there are more minor disappointments than major letdowns). I stepped out of my comfort zone to witness “It Comes At Night”, even semi horror films scare the living daylights out of me.
Anchored by the understatedly powerful performances, “It Comes At Night” relies on the eerie atmosphere, tension, and suspense. There are at least four “jump scares” if you have low terror tolerance. (I jumped when something bumped.) Shults is a master, regarding setting the tone – the initial frame allows you know what to anticipate ahead and the final frame may piss you off without the providing spoilers.
You must read in between the lines to completely understand and appreciate the narrative. The it is not literal. The it is metaphorical – the families surviving the fear, the paranoia, and the plague. Therefore, “It Comes At Night” surprisingly taps into the zeitgeist – you may dread the United States’ future under the Trump Administration. This film expresses my beliefs concerning the Trump Administration (the political message is extremely subdued).
Intelligent psychological thriller films are rare. With that said, I urge you to seek out “It Comes At Night”. B
“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” (PG) – Mr. Underpants provides inventive yet repetitive toilet humor. It is nearly impossible to produce a toilet humor driven film without disgusting overkill and silliness. Amusing until it is not anymore. B
“Churchill” (PG) – It’s difficult to enjoy this film, providing the grouchy characters and the tedious narrative. D
“The Wedding Plan” (PG) – Hebrew with the English subtitles. Provides the unconventional wedding narrative (the bride Michal, portrayed by Noa Koler boasts thirty days to discover the groom) with plenty of charm and suspense. B
“Paris Can Wait” (PG) – Provides the picture-esque travelogue than the substantial narrative. Diane Lane and Arnaud Viard are just delightful, regardless. B-
The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) consists of “Man of Steel” (2013), “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016), “Suicide Squad” (2016), and “Wonder Woman” (2017) thus far. “Man of Steel” is fine; however, “Batman v Superman” and “Suicide Squad” are two of the worst films released during the 2016. I have good news to tell you, my lovely readers – DCEU redeemed themselves with their latest film, “Wonder Woman”.
Based on the characters by William Moulton Marston, Diana Prince also known as Wonder Woman (the utterly brilliant Gal Gadot) prepares to be a warrior in the Amazon and departs home to confront the World War One with Steve Trevor (the underwhelming Chris Pine). Meanwhile, Diana discovers her capabilities and destiny.
You may feel enlightened and empowered during the complete duration, especially if you’re a woman. Ms. Gadot is genuinely badass here. Diana is fierce, determined, and does not request a man to rescue her in the process. Director Patty Jenkins’ feminist voice elated me from the start to finish. Unlike “Ghostbusters” (2016), you actually recognize mainstream fare is slowly attempting to allow the feminine voice to be heard once and for all here.
Despite the tried and true origin narrative and the typical villain, “Wonder Woman” is a miracle. Men may be dominant everywhere, but women are strong, not weak. Diana sticks up for herself and you are able to do the same. We can be our own superhero, ladies. Don’t allow the men underestimate you.
Marvel is indeed the top tier superhero film studio and yet, DCEU proved redemption is the key to success. I am ready for “Justice League” (2017). B+
The struggling comedy writer David (Jesse Plemons) returns to the hometown to comfort his cancer stricken mother Joanne (Molly Shannon) and reunite with family in Sacramento, California.
“Other People” impeccably examines family dynamics without the melodrama, allowing you to be fully invested the characters’ lives. Brilliant performances, particularly by Ms. Shannon to boot. Recommended. B
Now Streaming via Netflix.
Okay, folks – I caved in and finally joined Netflix during the 2017 Memorial Day Weekend and hence, watched three films via the streaming service as well. Alas, I dislike how Netflix does NOT champion the theatrical experience – most of their Original Movies only play in LA and NY to be considered for the Academy Awards – no wide release at all.
Yes, “My List” is full of films and now, it is time to play catch up when I am not at the cinema analyzing the current theatrical releases. Seriously, how could I not deny $7.99 per month with unlimited films?! I will always advocate the theatrical experience, regardless.
Without further ado, the brief reviews.
“Two Days, One Night” (2014) (French with the English subtitles)
The factory worker Sandra (Marion Cotillard) discovers the colleagues selected 1,000 Euros bonus in exchange for her absence. Meanwhile, she convinces the colleagues to surrender the bonus during one weekend.
Anchored by the incredible performances and the relevant screenplay, “Two Days, One Night” understatedly taps into the zeitgeist – job security is iffy, regardless of the government circumstances. Highly recommended. B
“Things to Come” (2016) (French with the English subtitles)
The philosophy professor Nathalie Chazeaux (the incomparable Isabelle Huppert) loses the husband and the mother all at once. Therefore, she eventually adjusts to the changes.
Brilliant performances. Underwhelming yet lifelike screenplay. “Things to Come” just reiterates the fact that Ms. Huppert is the Meryl Streep of France. B-
The end of life examination via a few families and their decisions, regarding their loved ones.
“Extremis” is powerful and heart wrenching. You’ll be depressed during the viewing from start to finish – guarantee it. Just be prepared to have your heartstrings pulled here. B
I am introducing the Thirty Second Film Reviews due to I’ve been busy with several commitments as of late.
“Snatched” (R) – Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn’s talent are neglected from start to finish and yet, results in a tolerable yet stale comedy. C
“King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword” (PG-13) – A tedious period drama that delivers the ultimate snooze fest. D-
“Everything, Everything” (PG-13) – Provides the tried and true young adult romance narrative resulting in another “The Fault in Our Stars” (2014) wannabe. C
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” (PG) – Lacks a coherent narrative, consisting of humorless toilet jokes. Do not travel with the Heffley Family. F
“A Quiet Passion” (PG-13) – In an otherwise underwhelming narrative, Cynthia Nixon’s performance as the legendary poet Emily Dickinson prevails. C+
“The Lovers” (R) – Incredible performances and chemistry among Debra Winger and Tracy Letts, but not up to the standard of the prior A24 films. B
“Baywatch” (R) – Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron are adorable eye candy; however, you may not dismiss the predictable buddy narrative. C
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (PG-13) – The screenplay is as foolish as the pirate Captain Jack Sparrow himself. Only genuinely entertaining during three brief sequences. D
Based on the novel “Their Finest Hour and a Half” by Lissa Evans, the British film crew – involving Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton), Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin), Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy), and several others are tasked to produce propaganda films during the 1940.
Lone Scherfig is one of my favorite British film directors – helmed the utterly brilliant “An Education” (2009) and the respectable “One Day” (2011). “Their Finest” is a tad underwhelming, compared to her previous films.
Propelled by charming performances and beautiful production and costume design, the slightly meandering narrative follows the familiar beats – a film about producing a film (ponder the far superior “Birdman”). “Their Finest” admires and respects the motion picture art form.
Despite the underwhelming narrative, “Their Finest” is an elegant period piece, regardless. B-
Based on the same biography of the same name by David Grann, The Lost City of Z tells the story of British Colonel Percy Fawcett and Henry Costin mission into the Amazon to search for a mysterious city, dubbed Z via Fawcett during the 1920's. The expedition ended with the disappearance of both Fawcett and his son.
Charlie Hunnam's performance is mediocre in the lead role of Fawcett. He's supported by Robert Pattinson in a disappointing turn as Fawcett's compatriot. Tom Holland rounds out the cast with a commendable performance as Fawcett's son.
It is difficult to deny James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” is ambitious in terms of scope. Yet, Fawcett’s adventures depicted onscreen are far from exhilarating. The monotonous expeditions result in an extremely underwhelming film. I viewed the film twice, hoping to find something new with a second screening, but regrettably, the second viewing provided a confirmation of genuine disappointment.
Amazonian adventures are usually a genre full of surprises, however “The Lost City of Z” follows takes the predictable route, resulting in a lukewarm experience. C
Nacho Vigalondo’s “Colossal” is a subtly brilliant science fiction with an unexpected finale.
Alcoholics Gloria (the brilliant Anne Hathaway) and Oscar (the equally remarkable Jason Sudeikis) discover that tragic events occurring in Seoul, Korea, involving agiant monster and robot are connected to their recurring mental collapses.
“Colossal” is simultaneously refreshing, ridiculous, and hilarious. There are several laugh out loud moments, however beneath the hilarity, Colossal doubles as a cautionary tale about the dangers of substance abuse and its effect on friends and family. Flashbacks are used to enrich the relationship of the characters, however, the conclusion is outright insane and anticlimactic, undoing the groundwork of the first two acts.
Innovative science fiction films are few and far between in the current box office climate and “Colossal” presents a wildly entertaining story that shatters most sci-fi cliches. B+
The two gangs, involving Justine (Brie Larson), Vernon (Sharlto Copley), Ord (Armie Hammer), Chris (Cillian Murphy), Stevo (Sam Riley), Bernie (Enzo Cilenti), and a few others reunite in the warehouse to accomplish the gunfight and play a game of survival.
“Free Fire” boasts the recipe of success – the independent film studio A24, Larson, Hammer, and Murphy. Yet, the film never fulfills its hidden potential – certainly a complete blast and outrageously ridiculous; however, the narrative is nothing new and thus, predictable. The underdeveloped character arcs do not allow you to appreciate the characters, regardless when they die. I anticipated something a lot better, considering the studio and the talent involved. Nonetheless, “Free Fire” does not undermine A24’s excellent reputation. B-
I’ve seen and reviewed plenty foreign language films, my lovely readers. Most people are scared, regarding reading the subtitles. I recognize you may be one of them… You may believe they suck your enjoyment out of a movie – actually, they do not.
Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” (Germany) and Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” (France) are two particular favorite films during the 2016. (Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” / “Forushande” won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.)
The foreign films allow you to explore a different facet of the cinema – witness original and wacky narratives and discover various cultures and customs & unknown filmmakers, actresses, and actors (however, they may be known in their native country). Ultimately, attending foreign films are a rewarding experience on many levels.
Trust me here, attending your first foreign language film may be taunting and tempting – but once you attend several films of this nature, you eventually become acclimated and reading the subtitles is actually no big deal. You just smoothly transition yourself. This is easy for me to proclaim: SUBTITLES ARE NOT THAT BAD. So, let me leave you with this – foreign cinema and the subtitles may be initially outlandish and yet, the reward is positively insurmountable.
Auteur director Terrence Malick is known for using multiple, nonlinear narratives and unconventional film making. His latest film “Song to Song” is experimental to the maximum.
Terrence Malick films are an acquired taste, akin to Woody Allen films. You either like or dislike them – divisive, to say the least.
The love triangles are the center of the narrative that involve Faye (Rooney Mara), Zoey (Berenice Marlohe), BV (Ryan Gosling), Rhonda (Natalie Portman), and Cook (Michael Fassbender), all of which intersect the Austin music scene.
“Song to Song” is confusing, frustrating, and infuriating – all at once. The intertwining, incoherent narratives do not reach their full potential during the conclusion. The multiple narrative technique should be effective, not shallow and confusing. Everything is open ended.
On a positive note, Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography is gorgeous and dizzying, making the viewer feel as if they are twirling, alongside the actors onscreen. There are several stunning nature shots, but they don't seem to correspond to the context of the story. This couples with mediocre performances to create a forgettable mess. "Song to Song" departs from the lucid "Tree of Life" (2011) into nonsensical territory, causing me to lose some faith with respect to his upcoming films. D+
Ceyda Torun’s “Kedi” features seven cats – Sari, Duman, Bengü, Aslan Parçasi, Gamsız, Psikopat, and Deniz and their journeys in Istanbul, Turkey. The various people, the Istanbul’s history, and the cats themselves provide the context.
I own two cats – the female gray tabby Abigail and the Black Bombay Jim and indeed, “Kedi” is literally the cat’s meow, in my perspective. Just gazing upon the cats is genuine joy and bliss. Despite the one hour and twenty minute runtime, you may desire to spend additional time with the cats, especially the cat owners.
Yes, “Kedi” is a documentary and yes, it is spoken in Turkish with the English subtitles. But man, those cats melt your heart and you’re in heaven – of course, metaphorically. Furthermore, “Kedi” thoroughly demonstrates the power of the cat companionship and characteristics.
In fantasy, I would’ve adopted another cat following the screening. In reality, I did not. “Kedi” is easily one of my favorite films ever. Be thankful, regarding the cats’ existence. A
The child prodigies are few and in between and hence, “Gifted” cannot determine to be the mainstream film or the independent film – a hybrid in the worst possible way.
The single father Frank Adler (the rather mediocre Chris Evans, he just cannot escape his Captain America alter ego) nurtures the niece and mathematical genius Mary Adler (the delightful McKenna Grace). Meanwhile, Bonnie Stevenson (the brilliant Jenny Slate) recognizes Mary is a gifted child. The biological grandmother Evelyn Adler (the respectable Lindsay Duncan) proceeds with the court custody battle. The neighbor and provisional Godmother Roberta Taylor (the always sublime Octavia Spencer) assist the Adler family if necessary.
“Gifted” delivers the effective manipulative narrative – meaning it really begs the audience to sob. And yes, I sobbed once during the final act. Moreover, it doesn’t help that we’ve seen this tale several times before – extremely predictable that you may be able to foretell the conclusion prior to occurring onscreen. Despite the inconsistent tone, Grace, Slate, and Spencer’s charm saved the day.
Geniuses may be rare and yet, “Gifted” is far from a mastermind. B-
Advance screening courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. “Gifted” debuts in limited release tomorrow. The scheduled wide release is Wednesday, April 12, 2017.
Based on the manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow and the cult classic film by Mamoru Oshi, the cyber enhanced the Major (the surprisingly fine Scarlett Johansson) is devoted to terminate hackers and criminals. The Major is the human and artificial intelligence hybrid. I will leave you with this much plot due to I may suck the fun out of this live action remake if I tell you the rest – the rest is what allowed me to relish the film.
“Ghost in the Shell” provides the complex yet intriguing concept and narrative allowing you to fully immerse yourself and forget about the whitewashing controversy. I believe some unknown Asian actress should’ve replaced Ms. Johansson; although, she is the box office draw for the American audiences. From the gorgeous production design to the minimalist score, “Ghost in the Shell” is an admirable treat at best and a slight letdown at worst – a genuine example of pure popcorn, escapist entertainment. B
Based on the book of the same name by Marla Frazee, the Boss Baby (voiced by Alec Baldwin) collaborates with the seven year old brother Tim (Miles Bakshi) to terminate the cruel scheme implemented by the Puppy Co. CEO Francis Francis (Steve Buscemi).
“The Boss Baby” is a harmless family flick; however, it includes excessive toilet humor – initially fun yet quickly repetitive and redundant. The narrative is so darn focused on the toilet jokes that the heartfelt message (appreciating the sibling or two) is left in the dust. Nevertheless, the vibrant animation is decent eye candy.
Despite the cute infants, “The Boss Baby” is grueling – more so than the baby herself. C-
I rarely discuss the cinemas I attend, but I would like to advocate a particular film exhibitor during this evening – Landmark Theatres, the leading exhibitor specializing in independent film.
I frequently attend the Oriental Theatre (2230 North Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee’s Upper East Side) and the Downer Theatre (2589 North Downer Avenue, Milwaukee’s Upper East Side) to witness and review the independent films for you, my lovely readers.
Without further ado, I am providing five reasons why the Landmark Theatres is awesome.
Number One: Landmark Theatres showcase foreign language films and documentaries.
The mighty commercial theatre chains, such as Marcus Theatres and AMC Theatres primarily present the mainstream films (e.g. superhero films) and thus, the indie film buffs are required to travel to another theatre chain to attend the shoestring budget, independent films. Landmark Theatres is the chief independent film theatre chain in the Metro Milwaukee area.
Number Two: Landmark Theatres provide unique cinema experiences.
I frequently visit the cinema to witness the mainstream and independent films. Marcus Theatres – mainstream fare and Landmark Theatres – independent fare. Every experience is unique and special, regardless whether it is located at the Oriental or the Downer. However, I cannot determine why it’s so singular because it’s in Milwaukee or it’s the theatres themselves – most likely a combination of both.
Number Three: The Oriental Theatre is GORGEOUS.
The Oriental Theatre is an operating movie palace, the only movie palace within the vicinity of Menomonee Falls and neighboring towns, villages, etc. The theatre is extremely elegant and breathtaking inside, especially the main theatre. You will fall in love with movies if you haven’t already during the visit(s) at this theatre. Ultimately, the Oriental Theatre is a reminder why I fell in love motion pictures in the first place.
Number Four: The showtimes are usually listed during the Monday evenings.
Whereas the Marcus Theatres list the showtimes during Wednesday, Landmark Theatres usually list the showtimes during Monday evening at the latest. It is convenient and awesome, so you are able to schedule the independent films prior to the mainstream films.
Number Five: The Oriental Theatre manager Crystal sometimes introduces the upcoming films that will play at the Milwaukee Landmark Theatres prior to the films.
This rarely occurs at the fellow cinemas, so this is the additional reason to attend films in Milwaukee. It’s also another reason why I love the Oriental Theatre – besides the fact it is beautiful. While we’re on the topic, “Song to Song” is scheduled to play at the Oriental Theatre and “Personal Shopper” is scheduled to play at the Downer Theatre. Of course, be on the lookout for my reviews.
Thank you to Landmark Theatres for never disappointing me in terms of the film selection and the cinema experiences.
Variety’s Brent Lang reported that the studios are flirting with the notion of offering movies seventeen days after their theatrical release – drastically cutting the ninety day theatrical window. 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Pictures are in negotiations to offer the exhibitors a percentage of the digital sales. The consumers would disburse $30 for the rental fee.
Hell yes, we are in the digital age. Therefore, the singular magical cinema experience is in jeopardy. I cannot delve into movies via home video as there are too many distractions; however, the cinema provides little to no distractions – the lights to dim and thus, I am immersed in the film. Let’s just say watching movies at home is just not the same as watching films in the cinema.
There are advantages and disadvantages to the cinema and home video, but the latter format is disrespecting the film exhibitors if the consumers are renting new releases. The ninety day theatrical window is essential because first of all – movies are meant to be seen in a darkened theatre, second of all – films are able to produce the revenue if the box office failures occur, and finally, most Disney movies demand the cinema experience (e.g. the live action “Beauty and the Beast”, now playing in cinemas nationwide).
Some cinemas are better than others in regards to fully preserving the cinema experience. Landmark Theatres is the best, particularly the Oriental Theatre (not so much the Downer Theatre). But regardless, the films need the exhibitors and the exhibitors need the films – despite the ticket prices have drastically risen and the concession prices are utterly insane.
No one yearns to die, but it happens anyway. The circle of life, indeed.
The retired businesswoman Harriet Lauler (the legendary Shirley MacLaine) controls everything. Ms. Lauler hires the local obituary writer Anne Sherman (the underwhelming Amanda Seyfried) to establish a particular legacy and scribe the obituary when the time arrives. You may mostly anticipate Ms. Lauler’s death from the outset to the finish.
Let’s admit “The Last Word” is just outright ridiculous – like, let’s get real here – who would want to write their obituary before their death? Ugh, no one. Sort of depressing. Beyond the regular dose of melancholy. The caveat is Mark Pellington’s film attempts to be inspirational when the subject matter is not. Not even Ms. MacLaine and Ms. Seyfried could rescue the somber narrative.
If anything, “The Last Word” delivers the most bitter and disgusting aftertaste following the screening (by the way, I’m still recovering from it). C-
Director Amma Asante astounded me with “Belle” (2014) and hence, it was safe to conclude the expectations were raised high prior to the screening of her latest film “A United Kingdom”. (The Milwaukee Landmark Cinemas were playing the Oscar nominees, so I apologize for not immediately reviewing this motion picture.)
Based on the biography “Color Bar” by Susan Williams, Prince Seretse Khama (the brilliant David Oyelowo) marries the British white woman Ruth Williams (the understated yet exquisite Rosamund Pike) during the 1940s. However, the couple causes the international dispute.
Despite the utterly delightful performances, “A United Kingdom” provides the safe and conventional biopic. The several scenes attempt to be groundbreaking – but failed every single time. Whereas “Loving” (another interracial marriage tale of Mildred and Richard Loving) delivered urgency, “A United Kingdom” is rather detached. Love is vital, regardless of the circumstances. C+
“Alien” (1979) + “The Martian” (2015) = “Life” (2017), a cheap rip off of two Ridley Scott films.
The scientists Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), Katerina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya), Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds), David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare), and Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada) discover and examine the rapidly evolving life form – Calvin abroad the International Space Station (ISS); however, Calvin endangers the aforementioned crew.
“Life” is the outer space diary of sorts, a tense and terse nonlinear narrative that provides a strange case of déjà vu. Despite the spectacularly sinister Calvin, the crew is given nonexistent character development. Meanwhile, the crew’s mission and purpose is unclear. Calvin’s only intention is just killing every human for its pleasure and therefore, the audience is allegedly to enjoy it in return (spoiler: it’s the complete opposite).
Please return Calvin to Mars. Just witness the real deal – “Alien” – instead of receiving the mildly offensive déjà vu here. C
Review Structure Key
Regular reviews ~ Word count varies.
Mini reviews ~ Positives and negatives (+/-) analysis.
Brief reviews ~ One hundred words, more or less.
Thirty Second reviews ~ Multiple films will be reviewed all at once, hence the editions. One sentence to three sentences. Primarily utilized for when I have personal commitments (may or may not be stated).