Archive for the ‘MOVIE REVIEW’ Category

“The Little Hours”–a movie review   Leave a comment

Do you think nuns using the ‘f’ word is funny? Do you think virgin nuns trying to seduce a supposedly deaf mute young hunky guy is funny? Do you think an orgy of 3 nuns and a man is satire and funny? Do you think that showing women in full frontal nudity but only showing the chest of a man having all kinds of sex is okay? If so then “The Little Hours” is meant for you.

In the past week I saw the movie of the year so far, “The Big Sick”, and a very different sort of love story, “Maudie” taht held my interest from beginning to end, then today I saw the worst movie of the year so far called “The Little Hours” beating out “A Very Sordid Wedding” which held the title until now.

Look at the trailer and after seeing/hearing the first line you think this is your kind of movie go for it but, even though I will always put watching a film on a movie screen versus a televison screen, save yourself movie and watch it on youtube.

I am far from being a prude but I found “The Little Hours” to be distasteful!

Movie Trailer

“Maudie”–a movie review   1 comment

Walking out of “Maudie” I felt the same way I did after seeing “Monster” when I said that IF Charlize Theron didn’t win an Oscar for her transformation, and acting, then I would never go to the movies again. Whew! She did. I am saying almost the same thing about Sally Hawkins playing the title role in this film. Her transformation into Maud, and her acting, draws you into the film to such a point that you forget she is Sally Hawkins, the actress.

“Maudie” is a love story between two people who not only are different from everyone else but completely different from each other. I wasn’t aware the screenplay, by Sherry White, was based on a true story until the end and it made me wonder how true it really is. About 30-35 minutes into the film I gasped and really didn’t believe what I had just seen but that was only part of the story. There are sweet, funny, sad and cruel moments along the way. Neither Maud nor Everett, played by Ethan Hawke, had an early easy life and when we meet them they are still struggling in the world they inhabit.

The film is 1 hour and 55 minutes, with Newfoundland and Labrador filling in for Nova Scotia, is, necessarily, slow moving but still could have been cut by about 10 minutes.

The film basically concentrates of the story of Maud and Everett with minor characters such as Gabrielle Rose as Maud’s aunt and Zachery Bennett as her brother along with Kari Matchett as a vacationing New Yorker and Billy MacLellan as possibly the only friend Everett might have. Though Hawke does a fairly good job he does not quite reach Hawkins’ level.

“Maudie” in many ways is not an easy film to sit through but should be seen for Hawkins performance, and possibly, learn about an artist you didn’t know about. I hope I am wrong but I don’t think this movie will ‘sell’ to the public.

Movie trailer

“the Big Sick”–best movie of the year so far BUT…   Leave a comment

“The Big Sick” is an excellent movie with only 3 negatives, two really minor and another, in my opinion, major but I got over it!

The movie is being sold as a romantic comedy, which two thirds of it is, but a major third is the drama and all are in equal parts. With Kumail Nanjiani, who I am familiar with from the HBO show “Silicon Valley”, starring and Judd Apatow producing I expected a lot of laughs and they are delivered in grins, smiles, laughs, out loud guffaws along with nods of the head that derive from real moments in life that all can identify. The drama also gets the spotlight and in some scenes you will be crying and laughing at the same time while in others the tears will flow. Yes the romance is there and it is as romantic as in any film you have seen.

The two really minor negatives, surprisingly, are the stand up routines by the real in life stand up comics Aidy Bryant, Kurt Braunohler and Bo Burnham and the interactions between them and Kumail but none really take up that much time.

Not getting into the screenplay itself, written by Nanjiani and his real wife Emily V. Gordon and based on their true romance, the acting is some of the finest from the whole cast including what would be considered minor roles such as the nurse played by Myra Lucretia Taylor and Kuhoo Verma as a potential bride.  Anupan Kher and Zenobia as his parents could teach today’s parents in how to make your child feel guilty, especially the mother.

A big discovery for me was Zoe Kazan who I don’t recall seeing before. She makes Emily a real person whether it be in her kookiness, ‘only having sex once the first time with somebody’, who is going to be a therapist and in some scenes could really use therapy. She makes a lasting impression any time she is on screen but also has you thinking of her when she is not in a scene.

Ray Romano has never caught my attention as I was usually more interested in his co-stars, whether on television or movies, but here as a father, referring to his daughter, says “Being a parent is a nightmare. Loving somebody this much sucks” he is funny and heartbreaking sometimes in the same sentence.

I could talk for days about Holly Hunter’s performance in “Big Sick”. She appears on screen about 30-40 minutes into the film and steals every scene from everyone in the film for the rest of the film. No way do you want to get her teed off in a comic club because no matter how tall or big you are you aren’t going to win! Don’t you dare hurt her daughter because you will get her wrath, sneers and coldness but show her daughter love and with one gesture you know you will never be able to do anything wrong again. I certainly hope she is remembered at award time.

Yes Kumail Nanjiani is playing himself, even being called Kumail, but you get to know more than the comedian. You get to know the man, the actor, the writer, the comedian, the man who can woo women with doe eyes, a smile and caring. I hope he gets to do more roles where he is involved as a person who happens to also be a comedian or not.

The “The Big Sick” is a must see movie and be prepared to laugh, cry and, yes, experience the drama of the title.

 Movie Trailer

“The Beguiled”–a movie review   Leave a comment

Of the 60 plus movies that Nicole Kidman has made I have seen at least 30 and she is always good, many times rising above the material given her to work with. Of the 6 movies Sofia Coppola has made I have seen 3 and have no desire to see any more by her.

In “The Beguiled” Kidman once again rises above the material while only Colin Farrell and Kirsten Dunst equal her. Oh yes the plantation, the inside and outside, which is the set of the movie, also rises above the material.

Coppola, directing and writing, remade the movie, originally directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page, eliminating a very interesting aspect from the original, and leaves many questions as to why and what did she think she was bringing to the film?

We have seen Southern women and girls in peril during the civil war before in many movies and she brings nothing new to that angle and her two most forceful scenes will have the audience turning their head away and/or closing their eyes.

I found “The Beguiled” to be a slow, quite boring movie.



Beguiled trailer

“The Hero” a movie review   Leave a comment

Sam Elliot is one of those very rare actors who can make a bad role and/or movie better just because he is doing a role and he does it effortlessly! He is very seldom the star of a movie but whatever star is playing opposite in a scene is forgotten as your eyes will go to him.  Tall, lean, with a silver mane any old man would envy plus a mustache that falls in love with women (see the movie!) and a voice that can melt any female, plus quite a few males, that even with 50 movies plus 137 episodes and television movies he has never reached that upper tier of actors and has very seldom been listed above the title.

In “the Hero” Sam Elliot, and that mustache, star in the film experiencing every emotion a man can have including all the extremes and takes the audience along with him. We see, and believe, a woman, Charlotte (Laura Prepon), 35 years younger than him, falling in love and pursuing him. We feel bad for him when he messes up an audition and we cheer when accepting an award his speech goes viral to over 2 million people. His disconnect with his daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter) is heartbreaking and his reaching out to the wife he is divorced from, Kathryn Ross (his real life wife), is touching as you understand why they divorced.

The story revolves around Lee Hayden, who made a western movie four decades ago that was a big hit but he is now making a living doing voice over commercials. His best, and seemingly only, friend is a fellow actor Jeremy (Nick Offerman) who had appeared in a TV series with him and now makes a living selling drugs, including to Lee and Charlotte which is how they meet. On the same day that he is asked to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Western Appreciation and Preservation Guild he receives the news from his doctor that the tumors he has found on Lee’s pancreas is malignant.

Though we wish “The Hero” had followed, and gotten more into, the relationship between Charlotte and Lee just watching Sam Elliot makes sitting through this 93 minute movie a treat. Stretching it with too many waves landing on the beach, it takes place in Los Angeles, Director Brett Haley, who also wrote the screenplay with Marc Basch, throws in some not meant to be but are laughable scenes involving the poetry of Edna St. Millay and Lee, Charlotte and Jeremy smoking weed in scenes that add nothing to the movie except time. The soundtrack offers many songs adding to the many different moods in the film.

For fans of Sam Elliot this is a must see fan while those who may be familiar with his face should come to see it for the actor. Laura Prepon, of “Orange Is The New Black”, is new to me and I am looking forward to seeing her in more movies.

And lets not forget that mustache!!

Movie Trailer

“Beatriz At Dinner”–movie review   Leave a comment

Donald Trump doesn’t star in “Beatriz At Dinner” though in every way, except physically, John Lithgrow is him with the name Doug Strutt. Strutt is a billionaire owner of luxury hotels, and golf courses, around the world among other buildings, who will ask Beatriz (Salma Hayek), after mistaking her for ‘help’  to get him a drink, who is corrected and proceeds to ask Beatriz if she is in this country legally.

Strutt cares for no one, including his third wife, besides himself and he does anything to get rid of people or things that get in his way. He cares nothing for the environment or society unless it benefits him. He is the 1% of society who is the dinner guest of honor, with his wife Jeana (Amy Landecker), at the home of business partner Grant (David Warshofsky) and Cathy (Connie Britton) which also includes their young new lawyer Alex (Jay Duplass) and his wife Shannon (Chloe Sevigny).

Beatriz is a masseuse and healer working mainly for a cancer clinic and has private clients such as Cathy who the former cared for the latter’s daughter when, as a teenager, had cancer. Cathy looks upon Beatriz as a friend and when  she is getting ready to leave only to find that he car won’t start and she has to call a friend for help who won’t be able to arrive for awhile it is only natural that Cathy asks her to join the dinner party and Beatriz accepts. 

Beatriz lives alone with her 2 dogs and a goat who she is very protective of including keeping the goat in a pen in her bedroom who she is afraid her neighbor might kill. She is, I believe divorced and may have a daughter who died.

It isn’t long before Beatriz and Doug butt heads especially after he shows a picture of his having killed a rhinoceros in Africa and boasting about it.

“Beatriz At Dinner” is a short movie, only 83 minutes, but in this case should have been longer. Did Beatriz have a daughter and is the telephone call to her? What does the white squid have to do with anything?  It is the scenes between Hayek and Lithgow, and they are excellent, that hold the audience’s attention but there are too few of them. And what is the meaning of the ending? Where and why do the other dinner guests fit in to all of this and why not a scene, even a short one, between Beatriz and the two household helpers?

“Beatriz At Dinner” is an interesting film with rich performances by SalmaHayek and John Lithgow but doesn’t go far enough into what could be a meaningful film!

Movie Trailer

Posted June 16, 2017 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW

“My Cousin Rachel”–a movie review   Leave a comment

Like sequels, very seldom is a remake of a movie ever as good or, less seldom, ever better and “My Cousin Rachel” certainly isn’t as good as the original which was made in 1954 and featured Richard Burton in his first American movie earning an Oscar nomination for his role as Philip Ashley. Philip is an orphan and adopted by his cousin, Ambrose, who becomes the father he never knew.

Ambrose goes to Italy because of his health where he meets, falls in love and marries Rachel. He writes Philip praising Rachel until suddenly his letters get darker fearing that she is scheming to kill him. Philip races off to Italy but by the time he gets there Ambrose has died and Rachel is gone. He swears vengeance and her and returns to the estate in England that he will soon inherit on his 25th birthday.

When Rachel eventually shows up at his door his vengeance turns first into puppy love and then a love so deep, so blind, he decides to turn his inheritance, the estate and jewels, over to her at the stroke of midnight on his birthday. It is then that Philip starts to get sick and as Rachel makes him a special brew of tea he gets even sicker.

The question asked at the beginning of the film is “Did she? Didn’t she? Who’s to blame?”. During the film the questions become whether she is just a strong woman at the wrong time and place–the 1830s in England–or a dangerous, bewitching woman who goes after what she wants no matter what sinister behavior it involves?

Sam Claflin, as Philip, is no Richard Burton and gives the weakest performance in the movie. Rachel Weisz, as Rachel, is a good enough actress that you don’t know who she really is and what she wants.

The supporting cast, as in many English movies, is strong but the director-writer Roger Michell who based the film on the novel by Daphne du Maurier, brings it into today’s world of film by having a sex scene, referring to one of the male characters as ‘being more interested in boys than girls”, having the male lead showing a bare backside and doesn’t make the love story more interesting or the suspense, mystery scenes more suspenseful and mysterious.

The bottom line is I really didn’t care if she did it or didn’t do it!

Movie trailer

Posted June 9, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

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