Archive for the ‘ENTERTAINMENT’ Category

“The Kitchen”–Movie review   1 comment

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The main reason for seeing “The Kitchen” is if you really like the 3 actresses who star in the film. The one who impressed me the most was Elisabeth Moss who I have seen now and then but not her acclaimed “The Handmaiden’s Tale”. Here, as the abused wife of a gangster, she has the best arc in the film and does an excellent job.I like Melissa McCarthy but have sort of rationed myself in the work I have seen her in. I love her appearances on Saturday Night Live, have watched and enjoyed a few of her “Mike and Molly” television episodes. I became aware of her first in “The Gilmore Girls” and thought she did a riveting portrait of Lee Israel in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and was a standout in “St. Vincent”. I, generally, skip movies she is in that has been written and/or directed by her husband.I can understand the third lead, Tiffany Haddish, making as many movies as she can, doing television shows and specials in what seems every week as she came on the screen, quickly becoming the ‘flavor of the month’ and was everywhere and annoying me with her loud, brash, cursing, blue comments so I started avoiding her. I must admit she does good work here and you can see her potential as a serious actress who can be subdued when needed to be and can sustain a believable character.The film about 3 women who take over their husband’s ‘gangster’ business, offering protection in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York city when they are sentenced to jail is sort of far fetched but does include a lot of the violence that would come with the job.Talking about the violence, aside from showing the occasional shooting, it was different in today’s cinema world whereas like in the old days it was indicated instead of being shown though I am still wondering why there were laughs during the explanation of cutting up a body in a bathtub, showing knives and blood, to get rid of it!The director/screenwriter Andrea Berloff did a good job sort of taming McCarthy and Haddish while offering the three strong actresses a male supporting cast who aren’t blown away in their scenes with the women. Surprisingly Margo Martindale,  having a one note role doesn’t impress as usual.“The Kitchen” isn’t as funny or as dramatic as it should be but for a rainy afternoon in Fort Lauderdale it is a good way of staying dry.Just a note: though the movie takes place in the last 1970s and the cars, clothes and building facades all are realistic the scene of 42nd Street between 7th & 8th Avenues with all the movie marquees does not have the Lyric theatre where I had one of my first jobs (in the 1950s)! :O)

Movie trailer

THE KITCHEN – Official Trailer

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synopsis

“The Kitchen” stars Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss as three 1978 Hell’s Kitchen housewives whose mobster husbands are sent to prison by the FBI. Left with little but a sharp ax to grind, the ladies take the Irish mafia’s matters into their own hands proving unexpectedly adept at everything from running the rackets to taking out the competition literally.

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Posted August 9, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

“The Farewell” movie review   Leave a comment


As effective as “The Farewell” is on the huge movie screen I think it will be even more effective on the television screen. It is what use to be called  a ‘small’ film but in reality it covers a lot of subjects all families deal with which brings laughs and tears and major differences no matter how small or big a family is.I have seen Awkwafina in both “”Crazy Rich Asians” and “Ocean’s 8” and I vaguely remember her ‘wacky’ roles but here she becomes a major player in movies and should get an Oscar nomination if not more. In the pivotal role as Billi, a daughter and granddaughter, she is rarely off screen whether in the New York or Changchun, China. Starring opposite her and, at times, stealing the picture from everyone, is Zhoa Shuzhen as the grandmother Nai Nai who has kept a close relationship with her granddaughter.The film opens with “based on an actual lie” and it is a whopper of one as Nai Nai has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer without too much time left and the whole family conspires to keep the news from her and, yet, as in all families little lies are brought to light as we get to know the characters.In more than one way “The Farewell” is a family movie, for any family of any nationality and background. This is a film the whole family can see together and in many cases will see themselves in how they relate to the various relatives from parents to siblings to cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.The film is based upon the true story of the director’s, Lulu Wang, family and she does a great job of drawing you into the story without any melodrama, keeping  the lie real and except for two scenes keeping it all low keyed making it more moving not to forget bringing in a lot of humor.Has not knowing of her diagnosis did Nai Nai live longer and if she had known would she have died sooner? Be sure to see the ending credits which, in a way, answers that question but, in any case,  be sure to see “The Farewell”!

synopsis

After learning their beloved matriarch has terminal lung cancer, a family opts not to tell her about the diagnosis, instead scheduling an impromptu wedding-reunion back in China. Headstrong and emotional writer Billi rebels against her parents’ directive to stay in New York and joins the family as they awkwardly attempt to rekindle old bonds, throw together a wedding that only grandma is actually looking forward to, and surreptitiously say their goodbyes

details

Comedy
1 hr. 38 min.

Movie trailer

Posted August 4, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood–movie review   2 comments

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The only reasons to see Tarantino’s latest movie are the really alive performance by Brad Pitt, the red Rottweiler Brandy and a scene where Margot Robbie, playing Sharon Tate, watches herself on the screen in a theatre and enjoying the audience’s reaction plus it is always good seeing Al Pacino, even in a wasted role.As to be expected in a Tarantino’s film there is a lot of very vivid violence, much distortion of history and facts and a lot of extraneous scenes that bring nothing to the film.I have always been a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio since “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” even in his lesser pictures but in this movie he is just bad and I put the blame on Tarantino’s shoulders as director and screenplay writer. There are many cameos but none memorable or even remembered 5 minutes after you see them.The only reasons to see “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood” are if you have 2 hours and 41 minutes of your life to waste and/or your electricity has gone out and this is the only theatre that has air conditioning! synopsis Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer/director features a large ensemble cast and multiple story lines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age. Comedy, Drama   2 hr. 41 min.
 
Movie trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELeMaP8EPAA

Posted July 26, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

“The Lion King” 2019 Movie Review   1 comment

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In 1994 I saw the animated film of “The Lion King” and was impressed. I was even more impressed seeing the Broadway musical version 3 times including just this past May 9, 2019, in Miami and each time my jaw dropped to the floor with the opening number. Now we have a live action/CGI version. I admit I haven’t the slightest idea what that means except the talking animals really seem to move and talk just as human actors do!
I very seldom have good things to say about a remake but in this case a remake of a remake of an original held my attention from beginning to end even knowing the story forward and backwards.The cast voices fit perfectly and Billy Echner as Timon the meerkat almost, almost, makes me forget Nathan Lane’s voice in the original animation and Seth Rogen gets all the laughs he can as Rumbaa the warthog. It is good to hear James Earl Jones reprise his roll as King Mufasa while the new voices of Chitwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Donald Glover as grown-up Simba and Beyonce Knowles as Nala are equal to the best. By the way the cubs playing Simba and Nala will make anyone a cat person!
The direction, (how do you direct a live/CGI animal?) by Jon Favreau, the photography by Caleb Deschanel with the visual effects by Robert Legato and Adam Valdez all combine to make this version of “The Lion King” a clear winner!

synopsis From Disney Live Action, director Jon Favreau’s all-new -The Lion King- journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother -and former heir to the throne- has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. details Animation, Action/Adventure
1 hr. 58 min.
Opens July 19th, 2019 cast Donald Glover Beyoncé Knowles-Carter James Earl Jones Chiwetel Ejiofor Alfre Woodard

Movie Trailer The Lion King Official Trailer







Posted July 19, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

“Toy Story 4”–movie review   1 comment

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All right, I do it in public so I might as well admit to all: most people who know me know I cry in movies and I have never been ashamed of it but to cry in an animated film??? Come on!! Okay I did and I do. I remember years ago crying when Bambi’s mother died but until cartoon movies became way more, in technical ways, I didn’t during Snow White, Pinocchio or even Fantasia!I saw “Toy Story 1” but aside from remembering some of the characters I remember little of the story. I skipped 2 & 3 but not having anything else to see today I decided to see the, supposedly, latest and last story. It is a story about how one feels not being wanted or loved anymore and how to handle the feelings and life changes.In this film we find an old friend Woody, a sheriff, has lost his first owner, Andy, who pushed him aside when Andy went off to college. Woody found consolation with Bonnie who inherited him but now she is off to kindergarten and has made her own toy, Forky, made from trash items like pipe cleaners, a plastic spoon, doll’s eyes and considers himself trash but Bonnie loves him.

Very shortly after bringing him home she loses him and Woody feels it is his duty to return Forky, now Bonnie’s friend who in turn deserts him while at the same time convince Forky he is not just trash.

The chase involves some old, and many new characters, in the Toy Story series but bogs down in the chase sequences while at the same time offering a few laughs such as a skunk sort of being a Trojan horse or at least camouflage! The main tug at the emotional strings are the reunion of Bo Peep and Woody with the former having accepted the fact that she no longer serves a purpose just moving here and there.

Not having seen the middle stories I am not sure who is new here but Tom Hanks, as always, is very effective and, yes, believable as Woody. Tony Hale, new as Forky, is funny while Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear gives solid backup to his friends while Annie Potts returns as Bo Peep as a very strong woman and Christina Hendricks as sort of a villainous Gabby Gabby who wants Woody’s voice box. One of the newest characters, and definitely the funniest, is Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, a Canadian stunt motorcyclist, full of himself and daring to do anything.

“Toy Story 4” is a film for both children of all ages and adults will, in many cases, enjoy it more! After seeing about a dozen of the ‘new’ ways films are animated I am still intrigued at how the characters seem alive and, in many cases, you believe in them.

Synopsis Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called “Forky” to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy.

Movie trailer

https://youtu.be/wmiIUN-7qhE

Posted July 16, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

“The Reports of Sarah & Saleem”–movie review   Leave a comment

Sarah, a cafe owner, is cheating on her husband, Israeli army Colonel David, with Saleem, a delivery driver whose wife Bisa is pregnant, which is nothing new in the world of movies and television. The conflict here is that Sarah and David are Israelis while Saleem and Bisa are Palestinian and the affair takes on geopolitical dimensions when Saleem is arrested under not quite believable circumstances.

Going back and forth between West and East Jerusalem, the illicit affair and the seemingly normal home lives of both couples the movie goes a bit awry from the point of Saleem’s arrest, the unsuspecting spouses finding out what is going on and the reactions of all 4 with 1 having to lie in the hope of saving their marriage. The second half of the movie is a little over the top when it becomes a ‘thriller’. A couple of scenes are way too melodramatic if not completely explainable but they do raise expectations of topics to be discussed after the movie.

Sivane Kretchner (Sarah), Maisa Abd Elhadi (Bisa), Adeeb Safadi (Saleem) and Ishai Golan  (David) give excellent performances with Elhadi having the greater arc of change.  Though at times it is difficult to tell which side the officials are on the supporting cast does first rate job with Hanan Hillo a standout as public defender while Rebecca Esmeralda Telhami, as Sarah’s employee, has a line that explains a lot of what the politics of Jews and Arabs are all about.

The screenplay by Rami Alayan, brother of the director, Muayad Alayan, has to take some of the blame for not as clear last third of the picture while both deserve the credit for the open-ended scene.

“The Reports of Sarah & Saleem” is a good movie but a little too long and one too many shots of the hillside village.

Movie trailer

 

The Reports on Sarah and Saleem Trailer #1 (2019) | Movieclips Indie

 

 

Posted July 12, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

“Wild Rose”—movie review   Leave a comment

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At one point in the movie an American says to Rose-Lynn, “I don’t know what you just said but…” and that sums up a major problem as the Scottish accents of Jessie Buckley as Rose-Lynn, Julie Walters as her mother Marion and Sophie Okonedo as her employer Susannah are, in most of the film, indecipherable.  The fact that the film is a by-the-numbers story of a woman having to choose between what she wants, which is to be a country singer at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and her life and 2 children in Glasgow, helps overcoming the accents.
 
The story is also about the relationship between the 3 women which elevates the movie but it is Buckley’s singing and her acting that puts this in a must-see category. With the screenplay by Nicole Taylor and the direction by Tom Harper the acting by the 3 women–men are very incidental to the film–is what sells this film.
 
Buckley is Irish while Walters and Okonedo are English so maybe that had to do something with the accents but even then Walters is superb, as always, putting over what she has to say and makes the dramatic impact she must while Okonedo makes you want for her to be your employer and backer.
 
Getting back to Jessie Buckley even if you aren’t a country music fan, I’m not, she will make you one. Though from the opening she, getting out of prison, the neglecting of her children, her attitude towards her mother and her disdain of the men around her is not someone you would root for but by the end of the film you will be cheering for her. The next film she will be in, coming in September, is “Judy” with Renee Zellweger playing Judy Garland in her last days with Buckley as her production assistant, Rosalyn Wilder, who I hope, sings!
 

Summary: Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley), a rebellious country singer who dreams of trading the working-class streets of Glasgow for the Grand Ole Opry of Nashville, juggles her menial job, two children, and committed mother (Julie Walters), as she pursues her bold ambition of a one-way ticket to musical stardom. With the support of her boss (Sophie Okonedo), Rose-Lynn embarks on a life-changing journey that challenges her sense of self and helps her discover her true voice

Movie Trailer

Posted July 9, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

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