Archive for the ‘MOVIE REVIEW’ Category

“Pain and Glory”–a must see movie–review   Leave a comment

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I have been a huge fan of Pedro Almodovar since 1983 when I saw his “Dark Habits” and have seen about 15 of the 20 movies he has directed.  This, without a doubt, is one of his best if for nothing else the writing and direction of a scene between Banderas and Julieta Mallo though this is just one of many scenes that grab and hold your attention. I defy you to take your eyes off the screen in the scene between  Asier Flores, playing the young Salvador Mallo, and Cesar Vicente, a laborer with artistic abilities, that provides another scene with the older Salvador, played by Banderas, bringing back the past.
Many of Almodovar’s films have featured and/or revolved around beautiful women with one being Penelope Cruz who in this film plays the young mother of Salvador but in this one it revolves around 4 beautiful men, including Banderas who grows better looking every day he grows older!
Talking about Antonio Banderas, there is no doubt in my mind he gives one of the best performances, not only of his career but, of this year. There are so many facets to this story of an old(er) man and his journey to where and who he is today and the actor deliveries in every scene. Whether in flashbacks or current day we follow him every step of the way and the complex life he has lead.
“Pain and Glory” is in many ways a perfect film but not an easy one to watch as there is a lot of pain and a little glory.
PS If for no other reason I will have to see it again and find out what I missed those first 15 minutes!

Posted October 18, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

“Lucy In The Sky”–movie review   Leave a comment


Was it titled “Lucy In The Sky” just so a few lines of the Beatles’ song could be sung? Maybe.
I hadn’t been to a movie theatre for 11 days and though I watch movies on TV it isn’t the same! My choices were “Jexi” which I would have liked to have seen but the schedule was wrong or “Joker”–NO WAY!—or “Lucy In The Sky”. I like Natalie Portman when I see her but I usually don’t go to a movie just because she is in it so off I went.
“Inspired by real events” the names have been changed—to use the title song?—and is based on a female astronaut attacking a lover who has been seeing another woman.
The picture starts off showing Lucy (Portman) in space, lost in thought and asking for just a few minutes more. After landing, and at the first opportunity, she signs up for another trip not comfortable on earth anymore with her husband (Dan Stevens). In a brief conversation they decide she will have another child after she returns from the next trip but she knows that will never happen and so the affair with Mark (Jon Hamm), another astronaut, starts. It is here the film goes completely off track.
Lucy looks, feels different, even states that she never felt so alive and instead of following why the change, what happens physically and mentally when you go into space, we get into the melodrama.
The script by Noah Hawley, who also directs, Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi misses the chance to approach a space movie from a different and interesting angle. Hawley’s direction does many  tricks with the camera to try and see Lucy’s big world out in space and the small world she has returned to only making the screen annoying.
Natalie Portman does fine as does  Dan Stevens and Jon Hamm but Ellen Burstyn is wasted, as is the title tune!
“Lucy In The Sky” is too long at 126 minutes to hold your interest but as your mind wanders what it could have been helps the time past.

Posted October 15, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

“Monos”–movie review   1 comment


For the past 19 years I have been going to a movie matinee on Friday, missing only 2, because in the back of my mind, for some stupid, unexplained reason that I know is not true, I think the world will come to an end. I wish I had taken that chance today.
I had a choice between “Joker” and “Monos”. I am a huge fan of Joaquin Phoenix and don’t think I have ever missed a movie he has been in but I had heard about all the violence in “Joker” and I do not like seeing violence in movies no matter how phony I know it is but then I have never heard of “Monos”. I looked up the synopsis of the latter and it seemed ‘different’ so I decided to go see that movie.
When I got to The Classic Gateway Theatre I sort of smiled and, at the same time felt good about, to see that there were 2 fully dressed and armed policemen stationed at/in the auditorium that “Joker” was playing! “Monos” here I come.
After 102 minutes watching a group of teenagers running amok, supposedly guarding an American hostage, I couldn’t see how “Joker” could have been more violent, and “Monos” is one of those pictures that is so indecipherable I really want to ask you to go and see it and then tell me what it was/is about and what it is all suppose to mean? I came home and read a few critics reviews  and I still ahve that question!
I won’t even ask how and/or what that American is doing in the jungles of Columbia—I guess that is where they are because the movie was made there—but who are the kids and what are they doing there?
“Monos” is certainly a movie I don’t recommend but wouldn’t mind if you went to see it and emailed me what it was about!!

Posted October 4, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

“Downton Abbey”–movie review   1 comment


There were two kind of people in the audience: those who have seen every, or almost every, 52 episodes of “Downton Abbey” and those who never saw it or, like me, only saw, maybe 3-4 episodes, over the 6 seasons it was on PBS.
You could tell people from the first category as they laughed at EVERYTHING Maggie Smith said, and did, funny or not, while those in the latter category might have smiled at one of her barbed witticisms but certainly didn’t laugh out loud.
This is a review looking at it as a stand alone movie while those who see it as an extension of the series most definitely would review it differently.
The screenplay by Julian Fellowes introduces between 30-40 characters with about as many story lines involving 2 or 10 of them. Anyone who is a movie goer can see where most of them are heading but a couple fail to pay off and a couple just fizzle out while a major one had me going, “So what’s new? Knew that from the moment they came on screen!”
The opening segment sets the direction of all the  lush photographic scenes and rich looks, in more ways than one, of the costumes, jewellery, and the settings both in and out of Downton Abbey.
The story revolves around the visit of King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) who will be spending an evening at Downton Abbey, bringing their own staff of kitchen and servants which brings about a rebellion between the Royal’s and Abbey’s staffs offering about 5-6 story lines while there are many, some confusing, story lines regarding family members in all sorts of matches from mother and daughter to sister-in-laws.
There are too many actors/characters to mention all but, yes, Maggie Smith is a delight and the encounters between her and Imelda Staunton are master classes in acting. I have been a fan of Elizabeth McGovern since I saw her in 1981 in “Ragtime” but I have a feeling her role in the TV series was larger and stronger. I recognized a few actors such as Jim Carter but the one who really made an impression, and getting the biggest laugh, is one I am unable to put a name with the face even looking through the cast credits–possibly Brendon Coyle–playing one of the major Abbey servant’s.
While “Downton Abbey” is a good example of the genre it is not as memorable as “Howards End” or, my favorite, “A Room With A View”.  While the outdoor scenes are lush this sequel would have done better as a ‘made for TV movie’.
Am curious to hear from fans of the TV series as to what they thought of the movie.

Posted September 24, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

“Non-Fiction”–movie review   Leave a comment


In 1927 Al Jolsen sang and spoke in a movie instantly making ‘silents’ become ‘talkies’ and for many years most movies had a lot of talk with some silence and then the “Star Wars”, “Indiana Jones” among others brought the more action than talking in films. “Non-Fiction” is definitely a talking movie with, maybe, 3 minutes of silence, no dialogue!

There is a lot of talk mainly about books being published, print versus digital, where blogs are the novels, documentaries, etc., and what Truman Capote in 1966 called a non-fiction novel an author here refers to his work as ‘autofiction’, works based on his real life with names, places and, possibly, events changed.

Leonard (Vincent Macaigne) the author is having an affair with Selena (Juliette Binoche) the wife of his editor, Alain, (Guillaume Canet) who is having an affair with Laure (Christa Theret) who Alain has brought into the company to head the digital department.  The only one not having an affair is Leonard’s wife, Valerie, (Nora Hamzawi), who is aware and okay with her husband’s affair, (hey folks this IS a French film!) as she is very busy helping a Socialist candidate running for office.

The film starts with Alain telling Leonard that he won’t publish his latest book which leads to many very interesting discussions about today’s publishing world and what it may be tomorrow.  Even with scenes of the various couples in, and out of, bed there is talk about writing, reading, authors and what the latter use for source material. Here and there other, non-literary, topics are discussed, some for humor others to explain their relationships but it all gets back to what Leonard’s new book is about and the ‘autofiction’ that pleases the woman, Selena, he is having the affair with or his wife, Valerie, who doesn’t want to know anything about the affair.

“Non-Fiction” though well acted and interesting belongs more on PBS or a Hollywood Reporter round table session as it needs a more intimate setting than a theatre auditorium and a large movie screen and you very seldom hear me suggest that!


Juliette Binoche and Guillame Canet reunite with acclaimed director Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper, Carlos) for this wry, slyly seductive tale of sex, lies, and literature. Set amidst the bohemian intelligentsia of the Parisian publishing world, Non-Fiction traces the romantic and emotional fallout that results when a controversial writer (Vincent Macaigne) begins blurring the line between fact and fiction, using his real-life love affairs – including a passionate fling with an actress (Binoche) who happens to be married to his editor (Canet) – as fodder for his explosive new novel. Balancing dry wit with keen observations on the tensions between art, commerce, and technology, Non-Fiction is a buoyant, breezy delight from a master director at his most effortlessly brilliant.


Movie trailer

“Rocketman”–Movie review   2 comments


Magic! Whimsy? Reality? Fantasy? Truth? “Rocketman” is all that plus more with a screenplay by Lee Hall, direction by Dexter Fletcher, director of photography George Richmond, not to forget the costumes by Julian Day as they reach into the life of Elton John with a not to be forgotten performance by Taron Egerton as the star.

Opening up so soon after the massive success of “Bohemian Rhapsody” this movie has to do a lot of business to match it financially though the bottom line is “Rocketman” is a much better movie showing who the man is including all the bad out front and not being shy either about his addictions or his Gay life. At the very beginning we see Elton in a massive devil’s outfit invading a rehab center and talking about his coke, crack, sex, shopping weed, alcohol among various addictions plus his bulimia and anger issues. It is at this point the fantasy musical numbers start along with his life before he became famous and the years that established him as a star up until he makes the decision to stop the drugs and booze.

Targon Egerton is stellar as John Elton using his own voice to sing the Elton/Taupin songs without imitating the former. He goes through a heart attack, an attempted suicide (fantasy or truth?), loving people without the love being returned. He has a mother who tells him she wishes he had never been born, that because he was gay he would never be loved, a father who never hugs him and one day just leaves and never comes back, a lover/manager who doesn’t love him, cheats on him and his feeling that he doesn’t deserve to be loved. Matthew Illesley does a fine job as the child Reginald Dwight as does Kit Connor as the teenager Reginald, both to become the Elton John who is in so much pain as a young man.

The one man who loves Elton John is his working partner, Bernie Taupin the man who wrote the words and still does and they both claim not to have had an argument in those 50 years, is not gay. He is played by Jamie Bell who deserves as much recognition as Egerton does. A third person who gives an explosive performance is Richard Madden as a self-serving manager and lover who betrays John in many ways.

Playing his mother Bryce Dallas Howard comes over as too stereotyped in some of the scenes and Steven Macintosh as the cold father who doesn’t love his son coveys that cold man while Gemma Jones as his grandmother comes across as the only adult who loves and believes in this child.

There are several supporting actors who deliver the goods but it is Targon Egerton the whole movie revolves around and whose performance makes the “Rocketman” an outstanding movie. While there may be one too many fantasy song and dance numbers slowing the movie down the very effective ending will touch you just as it touched many in the audience today to applaud the movie. Be sure to stay for the ending credits for the happily ever after ending even Hollywood couldn’t improve on!

Movie Trailer


ROCKETMAN is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years. The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. This inspirational story – set to Elton John’s most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton – tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. ROCKETMAN also stars Jamie Bell as Elton’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as Elton’s first manager, John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother Sheila Farebrother.

“Booksmart”–movie review   1 comment

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Every time I walk into a movie I have high expectations and every time I see a boring, stupid ‘comedy’ and don’t even laugh once, the first thing I ask myself is “Why didn’t I walk out?” and the second thing I do is tell myself “At least I won’t see anything worse the rest of the year!”
Sadly I didn’t walk out of “Booksmart” and I hope it is the worst movie I will see this year! I really have nothing positive to say about the cast except to ask if today’s teens are really this vulgar, this dumb or is it the screenplay by 4 writers and the director showing them to be this way?
The worst part–and that is saying a lot–is the cringe-worthy performance and lines by Lisa Kudrow as a parent. We won’t even talk about the ‘father’!

Trying to be positive–and not understanding why–Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 97% rating by professional critics and 74% by the audience while Meta Critic had a 84% rating by critics and 5.6 out of 10 by the audience.

Please, please if you see it let me know what YOU think of “Booksmart” though you would be smart not to go!


The story follows Dever and Feldstein’s characters, two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, suddenly realize that they should have worked less and played more. Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night.




The story follows Dever and Feldstein’s characters, two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, suddenly realize that they should have worked less and played more. Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night.



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