Archive for the ‘MOVIE REVIEW’ Category

“Black Panther”–movie review   Leave a comment

After recently seeing “Logan”, “Wonder Woman” and “The Ant-Man” I thought I should rethink the sci-fi movie genre after years of avoiding them and then today I did just that by going to see “Black Panther” and realized that I had been right from the beginning.

The movie, from opening to closing, is special effects whether between the actors or in the background or car chases, battle sequences, even in hand to hand combats. Talking about things like fights and car chases, why have one of each when you can have two? Also, let’s have two villains instead of one plus instead of an all-white cast with one, maybe two faces of color, here we have an all-black cast with two white faces.

As with other sci-fi movies this runs around 20 minutes too long but this, in a way, distinguishes itself by having 2or 3 more storylines, even going for Shakespearean plots here and there of kings and queens, family treachery and rivalry.  All in all, at certain times it gets convoluted and you just have to shake your head and skip on to the next special effect.

Chadwick Boseman does a fine job as the Black Panther but Winston Duke who challenges Boseman and is another Black Panther at times, except for the shifting color of his costume, makes a good rival. The two scene stealers are Andy Serkis as an over the top villain and Letitia Wright as Boseman’s sister who can cracks jokes that are hilarious, that make you laugh out loud and can walk into any James Bond film as Q and steal that movie from Bond.

Also in the cast are Angela Bassett,  Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuyya, Lupita Nyong’o and Sterling K. Brown. It was directed by Ryan Coogler, who also wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, with a lo0t of help- from the editors Michael P. Shawver and Debbie Berman.

Along with Letitia Wright the musical score by Ludwig Goransson are the two outstanding features of the movie.

“Black Panther” will obviously appeal to the millions of sci-fi fans and Marvel comic followers and by the same token not appeal to the rest, like me!


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“A Fantastic Woman”–a movie review   Leave a comment

“A FANTASTIC WOMAN is the story of Marina, a waitress and singer, and Orlando, an older man, who are in love and planning for the future. After Orlando suddenly falls ill and dies, Marina is forced to confront his family and society, and to fight again to show them who she is: complex, strong, forthright, fantastic.” So goes the synopsis for this movie nothing mentioning that she is transgender which is the reason for/of the movie.

Sixty years ago it would have been Orlando’s mistress and twenty years ago his male lover, today it is his transgender partner. When Orlando unexpectedly dies, just like the mistress and gay lover in past years and still sometimes today, if they aren’t married, the family comes and takes away everything the couple had from the car to the apartment and even the dog. The most hurtful is not being allowed to attend the funeral or say goodbye.

The mistress, the gay lover and Marina had/have to face the indignities that all might face such as being called names, accused of murdering the lover, being abused by him or, with the latter two, being beaten up and possibly killed for being gay or transgender but Marina has the extra humiliation of having to strip for an excruciating body exam under the eyes of a female detective and a male doctor.

Maybe I have been around too long and have read too many books, seen too many films and movies where the mistress and/or gay man has been shunned or I have personally seen what happens to a gay couple when one dies and I don’t see the transgender person being any more degraded, though yes, today they are the target of hate and being misunderstood.

The director Sebastian Lelio, who also wrote the screenplay with Gonzalo Maza, doesn’t seem to involve the audience in what should be an emotionally touching story except in two scenes, with one being the strip search, which definitely shows how people can mistreat other people and the one scene that shows Marina for being the strong person she is.

Marina is played by transgender actress Daniela Vega who seems to be hindered by the director. There are certain moments when she shows vulnerability and/or strength but not enough of them. As difficult as it is for someone in that position one doesn’t feel empathy for her character. People who are new to what transgender and/or gay live through and what hostilities they face may find this movie interesting.

“A Fantastic Woman” is nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Film but I don’t recommend seeing it.

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“Westchester”–a movie review   Leave a comment

“Winchester” is based, very loosely based, on the true story of Sarah Winchester, widow of William Westchester, whose family started the famous Winchester rifle.

After his death, Sarah was left very rich and lived in a 150+ room house that she constantly worked on it having construction done 24/7. The house, today, is a California magnet for tourists.

With such a large house, directors Michael and Peter Spierig, who also helped Tom Vaughn write the screenplay, it all seems to be confined to the same walls, rooms, hallways, windows, stairs and the one big bell clanging.

The main story is about Sarah being haunted by the ghosts of the people killed by Winchester rifles and that story is a bunch of clichés that is filled with violence and not a scary moment.

When Helen Mirren’s presence can’t make a movie better you know you are in a movie worth skipping.

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“The Commuter”–movie review   Leave a comment

In ‘the good old days’ when they had double bills in the movie theatres consisting of 2 movies, a cartoon, a newsreel, coming attractions among other things “The Commuter” would be the B feature on the double bill.

“The Commuter” is a ‘popcorn film’ where you check your logic at the door, sit back in the auditorium chair, eat your popcorn or whatever you buy, enjoy and forget as you walk out the theatre.

Liam Nesson is our hero who can do no wrong and even lies for no reason by saying, in the movie, that he is 60 when in real life he is 65! Guess what? He is a commuter, which is shown in the first few minutes, married, has a kid and gets married after 10 years on a job and at one time had been a police officer.

When the movie settles down he is on his way home and after sitting in his chair and opening a book to read he is approached by Vera Farmiga with an offer he can’t refuse, as only happens in a movie. The logic goes out the air with the proposition just as we see Neeson in fights that would kill normal men while he just gets up and fights the next guy or does minor, compared to other, deeds like falling off a train and jumping back on!

Just recently Liam Neeson said he is too old to keep on making action movies but keep on he does and makes it look easy. I, personally, wish he would make a ‘serious drama’ like he used to now and then.

The cast has the usual suspects but anyone with crime movies will guess the villain before it hits the halfway mark. I have yet to see Vera Farmiga give a bad performance and though she is seen briefly on screen just hearing her voice for a lot of the screen time is intriguing. With a fine supporting cast on the train, Adam Nagaitis as conductor Jimmy offers needed humor.

Director of photography, Paul Cameron, along with director Jaume Collet-Serra, offers some dazzling camera work including a fight on the train that uses everything on hand along with arms, legs, train seats, windows, an ax, a gun, etc., constantly moving from train car to train car.

“The Commuter” is for Liam Nesson fans, crime/thriller fans, train fans, B movie fans and a film to see on a rainy day to forget whatever troubles you might have and giving your brain a rest!

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Posted January 30, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

“Hostiles”–movie review   Leave a comment

I haven’t seen a ‘western’ in at last 20 years and I can do without seeing one again after “Hostiles”. ‘They’ certainly don’t make them like they use and John Wayne would be embarrassed, let alone not know how to act, doing Christian Bale’s role!

The only westerns I have liked are “Shane”, the campy “Duel In The Sun” and “Johnny Guitar” and though Bale is excellent I couldn’t/wouldn’t watch this 2 hour and 13-minute film again even if you gave me all the carrot cake I can eat!

In spite of the fantastic scenery, whether it is in mountains or forests or streams or desert to open plains, there isn’t much new in “Hostiles”. Let’s go over the checklist: Indians raiding and killing all the white settler family except the mother—check, a white man getting scalped—check, women being raped—check—the black soldier getting shot—check—a very wise Indian chief—check—people dying and being buried—check—people dying and being left to rot—check—an Indian being hung from a tree—check. Should I go on?

By the way, the above aren’t spoilers as you have seen these scenes in almost every western!

There are two things that are new in this movie and that is basically understanding Bale’s character though you are told very little about him and, in spite of the fact that I love a ‘happily ever after’ ending this has one of the most ludicrous ones I have ever seen. This also isn’t a ‘spoiler’ because it is so unbelievable!

Christian Bale is excellent and though there was talk of his getting an Oscar nomination he didn’t which is as senseless as Denzel Washington getting one for his role in “Roman J. Israel, Esquire”. Rosamund Pike does what she can with the ‘damsel in distress’ role while no one leaves an impression in any of the other roles.

“Hostiles” is in the same category as “Phantom Thread” in that except for the leading actor neither are worth seeing.


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And now at peak of coming movies

Posted January 27, 2018 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, Uncategorized

“Phantom Thread”–movie review   Leave a comment

Being this is, supposedly, Daniel Day-Lewis’s last movie before he retires I wish he had retired after doing “Lincoln” and winning an Oscar, though he is retiring with an Oscar nomination for his role as Reynolds Jeremiah Woodcock.

Woodcock is at the center of British fashion dressing royalty, movie stars, rich women and socialites with the House of Woodstock along with his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) who manages the business and, to a certain extent, him. He is, and seems to boast about it, a confirmed bachelor and has women coming into his life and his sister getting rid of them when he is tired of them.

Taking a break he goes to his out of town cottage and in a restaurant, he meets a clumsy waitress, Alma, played by Vicky Krieps, starts dating her and she becomes his muse, lover and then wife. His falling in love with her disrupts his life and his work. As Cyril tells Alma her brother likes quiet in the morning, especially at breakfast, and she is noisy such as scraping and cutting her toast, noisily pouring her tea and stirring her spoon just for starters.

Soon he is using all this ‘noise’ as excuses to end what they have and looking at his sister to do her job which is to send Alma away but then he gets sick and she takes care of him only endearing her to him.

At that point, I lost it. I lost what was going on. I lost interest in the film and Daniel Day-Lewis and the two women and the fashions but, also, where it was going if it was going anywhere.

When I got home I read three rave reviews to see what I had missed and one reviewer referred to Hitchcock’s “Rebecca”, another to Gene Tierney in “Dragonwyck” while another mentioned films made in the 1940s and 1950s and I could understand those references. The film starts with the song “My Foolish Heart” from the 1950 movie starring Susan Hayward and Dana Andrews, which was a favorite of mine and I wish I had seen that instead of “Phantom Thread” which takes place in the 1950s probably the reason for the song.

For the record it was announced today that “Phantom Thread” received the following Oscar nominations:  1) Best Picture 2) Best Actor 3) Best Director Paul Thomas Anderson 4) Best Supporting Actress Lesley Manville 5) Best Costume Design Mark Bridges and 6) original score Johnny Greenwind.

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“The Post”–a movie review   Leave a comment

Steven Spielberg is such a fine director that he can make you sit on the edge of your seat for the answer to a question you already know. You lived through the exposure of the Pentagon Papers and the ruling of the Supreme Court—as most of the members in the audience did—yet as it comes closer and closer to the outcome you question yourself as to whether you remembered it right!

“The Post” shows that our current President wants to curtail what and which news reports on him, including what reporters, just as President Nixon did when, at first, the New York Times exposed the massive report on the Vietnam War and was challenged by him and brought to the court.

“The Post” tells the story of the Washington Post, whose owner Katherine Graham inherited the paper left to her husband by her father and she became the owner after the former committed suicide. The company is talking about going public and her decision to print the Pentagon Papers, started by the Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, a good friend of hers, could bring disgrace to him for continuing the indefensible war, she and her editor played by Tom Hanks could go to prison and the new shares of the company could be worthless.

There is a lot of exposition to be told but Spielberg, along with writers Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, keeps the movie going until the story takes over with the decisions Graham must make, the actual showing how a newspaper is put together from setting the type to getting the paper in bundles and delivered. There is very little time wasted in this 1 hour and 55-minute movie that doesn’t seem even that long!

From Bruce Greenwood as Robert McNamara, Bob Odenkirk as the Post’s managing editor Ben Bagdikian, Matthew Rhys as Daniel Ellsberg who  leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times  reporter, along with other actors like Tracy Letts, Sarah Paulson, Bradley Whitford, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon among others get their time/moments to shine.

Tom Hanks, as good as he is, fights the memorable Oscar-winning performance of Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee in “All The President’s Men”. I am not particularly a fan of Meryl Streep as I always see her ‘acting’ but in this movie, she becomes Katherine Graham.

“The Post”, in spite of the story, the actors and writers, is a Steven Spielberg movie from beginning to end, who at 70 seems to still have not reached his height yet!


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