Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

Ready to Watch Some Movies?

I love watching movies, yet I’ve only been to the theater once this year.  I saw “Beauty and the Beast” when it came out this spring.

I want to share some of the recent ones I’ve watched at home.  I highly recommend some and you should proceed with caution on others.

“RULES DON’T APPLY”

If you want a movie that doesn’t have superheroes or isn’t a sequel, check out this Warren Beatty-directed flick about reclusive and eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes.

While he’s the star of the movie, it focuses on the flirting and budding affair of one of his drivers (Alden Ehrenreich) and an actress on his payroll (Lily Collins).

Ehrenreich is mesmerizing on screen and for “Star Wars” fans, he’ll be playing the young Han Solo in next year’s stand alone film.

Collins was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Sadly, the movie bombed at theaters, so here’s your chance to see it in Redbox.

GRADE:  B+

“THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES”

You’ve got to check out this Netflix original comedy!

Jessica Williams plays a struggling New York City playwright that’s trying to get over a break-up.

Since her relationship ended, life hasn’t been all that great — career rejections letters and rejects in her single life.

She goes out on a date with a divorced man a few years older, played by the charming Chris O’Dowd.

Williams and O’Dowd are funny together and that first date is hilarious.

If you’ve ever had a break-up, this romantic comedy (with some drama) is perfect.

GRADE:  B+

“THE DINNER”

This movie stars two of my favorite actors, Richard Gere and Laura Linney, and one of my new discoveries, Rebecca Hall.

Gere and Hall (he’s a politician running for governor and she’s his wife) are having dinner with his brother and sister-in-law (Steve Coogan and Linney).

They’re there to discuss a family issue that could blow up and become a public relations nightmare for Gere and bring criminal charges onto the family.

If the movie focused on the two couples and dinner at the restaurant, it would have been rated much higher.

While I know there has to be back story to set it up, some of the scenes went on way too long — especially the Gettysburg scene.  It was painfully long!

However, “The Dinner” is still a movie to see just for the spectacular acting of the four leads.

GRADE:  B-

Since I mentioned that Rebecca Hall is one of my new favorites, I want to add “Christine” to the list.

I saw this movie this summer on Netflix and wrote about it to my “Random Friday Thoughts” on June 23, 2017.

“CHRISTINE”

No, I’m talking the movie based on the Stephen King novel.

I just watched the little seen 2016 movie, “Christine”, with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) — no relation — about a Sarasota, Florida, community affairs talk show host, Christine Chubbuck, that attempted suicide live on the air in the summer of 1974.

In a just world, Rebecca Hall would have been a strong contender for an Oscars’ Best Actress nomination.  The English actress was captivating!

She was nominated for eleven acting awards from film festivals across the country and won two!

The movie definitely drove home a long-standing television news mantra, “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Sadly, the movie saw only limited release and only earned less than a third of a million dollars at the box office.

GRADE: A

“CLOSET MONSTER”

This little seen Canadian movie is about a kid that witnesses a harrowing hate crime and doesn’t tell anyone.

As he’s coming of age as a teenager, he’s traumatized living in a broken home with a homophobic father, especially since he thinks he’s gay.

Connor Jessup is incredible as Oscar, the tormented teenager.

You’ll probably remember Jessup from the second season of ABC’s “American Crime”, where he played a teen that was raped by a member of the football team, which was covered up by the school.

Jessup plays heartbreak and pain well!

GRADE:  B

“PHIL SPECTOR”

This 2013 HBO film was nominated for eleven Primetime Emmy Awards.

I bought it when a movie franchise was going out of business and just got around to watching it.

It stars one of my favorite actresses Helen Mirren as an attorney for Phil Spector, incredibly played by Al Pacino.

As you recall, Spector, one of the most famous music producers of all time, was on trial for shooting and killing a “down on her luck” actress in his home.

While the movie didn’t win any Emmy Awards, Mirren did win the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie”.

GRADE:  B+

I hope you’re able to check some of these out.  Some are in Redbox, some on Netflix, and some might be harder to find.

Anthony

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Movies To Rent & Two To Skip

It’s the middle of December and I still haven’t been to the movie theater yet!  However, I’m planning on it this weekend and it’s not “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.  Yeah, I finally get to have movie popcorn!

popcorn

If you’re done with your holiday shopping and you’re going to rent movies, I have five suggestions and two to skip.

“TRAINWRECK”

I’ll admit upfront that I was not a fan of Amy Schumer and all of the press she gets.  The sad thing is that I had not watched any of her stuff and that’s where I was wrong.

In this comedy, which she wrote, the stand-up comedian, television star, and Madonna’s opening act, can now add movie star and Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice award nominee to her resume.

She had me laughing my butt off as a hard drinking, pot smoking, and lover of one-night stands.  Oh, she was a magazine writer that ends up falling for a subject of one of her stories, too.

Oscar winner Tilda Swinton is unrecognizable in this movie.  I’ve blogged about her appearance before and will share the amazing result again.

tilda-transformation

It’s also pretty cool that Swinton co-stars, again, in this movie, with her on-screen son in the incredibly insane, “We Need To Talk About Kevin”, Ezra Miller, which was my third favorite movie in 2012.

Another standout in “Trainwreck” is NBA basketball icon LeBron James, who is hilarious and definitely has comedic chops.

The movie also stars Bill Hader and Brie Larson, who’s garnering a lot of Oscar buzz now for her role in “Room”.

After seeing Schumer in this great comedy, I’m going to have to check out her Emmy-winning series, “Inside Amy Schumer”!

GRADE:  A-

“BEASTS OF NO NATION”

This war drama is already racking up nominations and is getting Oscar buzz.

Star Idris Elba recently got both Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild nominations as the leader of a rebel group fighting a civil war in Africa with child soldiers.

Teenage actor Abraham Attah, who plays Agu, has already won the Marcello Mastroianni’s Best Young Actor Award at the 72nd Annual Venice International Film Festival and could become one of the youngest actors nominated for an Academy Award.

Very powerful movie of a sad situation.

GRADE:  B+

“INSIDE OUT”

This 2015 summer blockbuster which earned $851.6 million dollars is one of the best recent Pixar/Disney movies.

It focuses on the emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger) in the mind that manages the life of Midwestern-born 11-year-old Riley as her family moves across to the country to San Francisco.

Amy Poehler voices Joy, but it’s Phyllis Smith’s Sadness that steals the spotlight in the movie.

While a kid’s movie, grown-ups can definitely relate and enjoy.

GRADE:  B

“JURASSIC WORLD”

Full disclosure here — although the Jurassic Park series started back in 1993, I’ve never seen any of the movies.

The only reason I wanted to check out this fourth movie in the series is Chris Pratt in all of his hotness.  Okay, Bryce Dallas Howard is pretty cute, too.

I’ll keep this short because the movie has already brought in $1.67 billion worldwide and $652.3 million of that was here in the U.S. making it biggest movie of 2015!  So, everyone and their mother has likely already seen it.

A new theme park is opening on the Pacific coast of Central America and the park has been genetically modifying dinosaurs to make the park a bigger draw.  Of course, nothing could possibly go wrong! 🙂

“World” was rather entertaining until a scene toward the end with Howard’s assistant that made the movie feel very cheap like “Sharknado”! Because of that stunt, I dropped the final grade!

GRADE:  B-

“VACATION”

In my last movie review blog, I took a chance on Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy” and really enjoyed it.  I had low expectations and was surprised.

I went into the new “Vacation” movie with Ed Helms and Christina Applegate not expecting too much more than the funny scenes in the trailer.

It was enjoyable and risque, especially watching it with your 14-year-old daughter. 🙂

The real star of the movie was Kevin, Rusty Griswold’s annoying and mean youngest son, played by Steele Stebbins.

Also, for reasons I won’t write here, Chris Hemsworth’s NRA card-carrying Texas television weatherman was hilarious.  No, it’s not the fact that he is “People” magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”.  Watching the trailer, the joke is rather evident — like, in your face!

WARNING:  THIS IS RED BAND TRAILER (DEFINITELY RATED “R”)

GRADE:  B

“SOUTHPAW”

If given a choice of movies, my first choice would not be a sports-themed motion pictures.  However, I love “Bull Durham” (baseball), “Wimbledon” (tennis), “The Cutting Edge” (ice skating), and a few more.

The main draw for me on this boxing movie was director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day” and “Brooklyn’s Finest”) and star Jake Gyllenhaal.

It’s a story of loss and redemption even though I won’t say what.

The movie also stars the amazing Forest Whitaker and the always entertaining Rachel McAdams.

GRADE:  B

“THE HUNGER GAMES:  MOCKINGJAY — PART 1”

This part will be short.  I enjoyed “The Hunger Games” and “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire”.

Then, something happened.

Divergent came along and I switched teams!

I lost all interest in “The Hunger Games” series even though I love Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth.

I suffered through “Mockingjay – Part 1” and it definitely felt like filler. When “Part 2” comes out on DVD in 2016, I’ll watch it and I’m sure it will surpass this dud!

GRADE:  C

“RICKI AND THE FLASH”

I love Meryl Streep and can watch her all day.  As a matter of fact, I could watch “Mamma Mia”, “Julie & Julia”, “The Iron Lady”, and “August: Osage County” on repeat.

But, once was enough with this one.

Mamie Gummer, Streep’s real-life daughter, is the highlight of this movie.

Streep plays an aging rock singer that left her family with hopes and dreams of being a music superstar which never happened.

GRADE:  C 

Anthony