Archive for the ‘MOVIES’ Category

“The Sun Is Also A Star”—movie review   1 comment

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“The Sun Is Also A Star” has everything going for it so why does it just miss being an exciting love story? The leads, Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton, are an attractive couple who meet ‘cute’–he saves her from being run over–and the premise is an interesting one. He believes in love, she doesn’t and, via the screenplay, he has 24 hours to prove it to her. DUH! Guess what happens?
His parents are immigrants from South Korea who own a successful black hair care product store in Harlem and she has been living in New York for 9 years with her Jamaican parents who are about to be deported.
A lot of successful love stories have been filmed in New York City and “The Sun Is Also A Star” takes advantage of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs with aerial shots, walks through the city parks and streets and even a tram ride from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island and many glorious shots of the Statue of Liberty.
The soundtrack, except for a karaoke scene, adds a lot but….
There isn’t a reason this movie shouldn’t involve the audience’s emotions but it doesn’t. Maybe if more had been looked into regarding the immigrant aspect it would have rounded out the story of the lovers more.
John Leguizamo should have been brought more into the story because the scenes with him would have given more meaning to the fact versus fate argument that motivates the love story.  (Besides they never explain the accident he was in which was distracting!)
“The Sun Is Also A Star” has a lot going for it but just not enough, none of the ‘magic’ that makes ‘happily ever after”.
PS Don’t leave when the screen goes dark or you will the ending.


Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. She is not the type of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when her family is twelve hours away from being deported. Falling in love with him will not be her story. Daniel has always been the good son, the good student, living up to his parents’ high expectations. Never a poet. Or a dreamer. But when he sees her, he forgets all that. Something about Natasha makes him think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store – for both of them. Every moment has brought them to this single moment. A million futures lie before them. Which one will come true?


“Long Shot”–movie review   1 comment

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1) Many years ago I was taught to leave logic at the door when I go to the movies.
2) Have you ever seen a couple that made you question how/why they ever got together?
3) Is there another woman, besides Julia Roberts, as beautiful to look at in print and film as Charlize Theron?
4) In 2003 I said that if Theron didn’t win the Oscar for “Monster” I was never going to the movies again–WHEW! She did!
Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let’s talk about “Long Shot”. Take away the ‘F’ word, a ‘fluid’ shot and a not quite nude sex scene and you have one of those delightful, romantic comedies of the past. Though there doesn’t seem to be any chemistry between the leads Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, his beard doesn’t help, nor the fact that at the age of 16 she baby sat him at 13, they are both excellent players and Theron adding another genre in her performance here as a comediane.
The comedy lines work better than the romantic scenes but together it makes for a pleasing, charming movie. Supporting performances like those of Seth Rogan’s best friend O’Shea Jackson Jr., or Theron’s assistants Claude O’Doherty and Ravi Patel with Bob Odenkirk as the President of the United States all work well and know their way with the zingers supplied by screenwriters Dan Sterling and Paul Scheer. The direction by Jonathan Levine but could have cut the movie sharper to move it a little faster.
The only one I question in the movie is Alexander Skarsgard who in normal circumstances would have been Theorn’s romantic interest but in this is just charmless, by design(?) or 100% miscast.
“Long Shot” isn’t a classic but it is a lot of fun and you get to look at, admire and, maybe, be jealous of Charlize Theron for 2 hours! :O)


When Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) reunites with his first crush, one of the most influential women in the world, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), he charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte hires Fred as her speechwriter. A fish out of water on Charlotte’s elite team, Fred is unprepared for her glamourous lifestyle in the limelight. Sparks fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance and a series of unexpected and dangerous incidents. 


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“The White Crow”–movie review   1 comment

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Since I saw the preview I had been wondering what the title was about and it opens with the definition:  Someone who is an outsider, unusual, extraordinary, unlike others.   There is no denying Rudolf Nureyev was just that from his dancing and his personality. The former captured the world while the latter turned off and betrayed all those around him. Basically, he was not a nice man.
The film centers around the time Nureyev who at the height of the cold war in 1961 was dancing in Paris and made the decision to defect from Russia. This was before facebook, Instagram, twitter and all the media coverage something like that would draw 24/7 but it did with what was available. Along with the defection he partnered with Margot Foynton– though she has another name in the movie–older than he was, and already a major star in the English ballet, to both their advantages.
Ralph Fiennes directed the movie and stars as Nureyev’s first major teacher. The dance scenes are excellent as is first-time actor Oleg Ivenko doing them and conveying Nureyev’s look but is not quite up to the line readings though the screenwriter, David Hare, doesn’t really help him with some pretty lame lines.
The biggest mistake Fiennes makes is not telling the story in a linear matter but jumps back and forth between the 1940s, 50s and 60s going from Leningrad to Paris back to Leningrad and though Nureyev was 22 when he defected we see him at many different ages which really doesn’t add to the movie. The last 20 minutes, the defection scene is edge of the seat filmmaking even though the ending is well known
The movie is rated R for frontal nudity and for a change it is not female but male full nudity!
“The White Crow” is much better than I expected with an excellent cast, better dancing, and shows an artist gives everything on stage leaving nothing for relations off stage.


Ralph Fiennes’ THE WHITE CROW was inspired by the book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanaugh. The drama charts the iconic dancer’s famed defection from the Soviet Union to the West in 1961, despite KGB efforts to stop him.

Movie trailer


“After”–movie review   1 comment

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I am the first to admit that I am a sucker for a love story and the last couple of years I have gotten hung up on young adult love stories, where one is usually struck with a life-threatening disease such as “5 Feet Apart” and “The Fault in the Stars” so I suggested we go see “After” not knowing anything about it except it was based on a YA book.
There is no medical crisis in the movie but there is Tesa, a very good girl who is smart, has a boyfriend who she has known since she was 5, is pretty, follows the rules and is majoring in economics to make a living, though her real love is literature with a leaning towards Jane Austen. Walking into her dorm room this sheltered girl finds her tattooed, noserings, pierced, multi-colored hair roommate, not that there is anything wrong with that, is more than willing to educate the newbie. Tesa is played by Josephine Langford who does a fine job with what she is given to play.
Now you know a good girl like this with a roommate like Steph, played by KhadijhaRed Thunder, will meet the ‘bad’ boy and he shows up in the hunky body of Hardin, played by Hero Fiennes Tiffin, a nephew of actors Joseph and Ralph Fiennes. He has the looks of the former only more smoldering but not quite the acting talent of the former, though this movie really doesn’t give him a chance to show any talent. Trying to make him a combination of Darcy and Heathcliff, and he quotes them both, the director and screenwriters let his character down.
With actors like Peter Gallagher as Hardin’s son, Selma Blair as Tesa’s mother, Meadow Williams Tesa and Landin’s English professor and Jennifer Beals plus the young actors including Shane Paul McGhie, Inanna Sarkis and others the leads get good support but the director Jenny Gage and the script by Susan McMartin let the cast and the audience down.
The movie is agonizingly slow getting the love story started, goes off in a few directions that either lead nowhere or are dropped when they should have been expanded but the biggest letdown is when what motivates Hardin, one regarding Tesa and the other himself, is revealed which should have but doesn’t move the audience.
(An aside:  Allen and I were the whole audience!)
“After” is not a good movie due to the script and direction.

Movie trailer


Posted April 12, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

“The Mustang”–movie review   Leave a comment

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“The Mustang” is not “Black Stallion”, “Black Beauty” or “National Velvet” but it really tries to be a good movie and there are some very effective scenes but it fails. (There was a movie last year about a horse and trainer that was excellent but as much as I tried to remember and search I couldn’t find it–anyone remember it? A true story with mostly non-actors.)
I thought it was me but I asked a few people if they understood what, if any, they understood what the cell mate was saying and/or the daughter’s voice over but they agreed with me that they didn’t.
Getting to the movie, there is no faulting Matthias Schoenaerts as the 12 year prisoner who gets into a training program involved with training the wild mustangs gathered by helicopters to be auctioned in 4 weeks. He is in prison for almost killing the mother of his daughter with the latter forced to taking care of the former. This is just one instance where the screenwriters Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre, who also directed, Mona Fastvold and Brook Norman Brock. I am willing to suspend logic in movies but Gideon Adlon in no way looks old enough to be left alone to take care of the mother starting 12 years ago and there is no mention of anyone else involved.
The screenwriters also let the audience down in what should have been a powerful scene between father and daughter. There is a group therapy session lead by a favorite of mine, Connie Britton, which is a waste of time and talent while Bruce Den is effective as an old time trainer.
The film feels both rushed and extra scenes put in to expand it to 96 minutes while more time should have been spent with why Ramon (Schoenaerts) is the way he is but the scenes between him and the supposedly crazy mustang make up for the many mistakes made in other aspects of the film.
I question the so fast training of the horse but then this city boy wouldn’t know about such things!
Aside from what could be seen as inhumane treatment of the mustangs there really isn’t any obvious harm or violent scenes against the horses.
“The Mustang” is worth seeing if only to learn about the government p[rogram regarding the prisoners and horses but it leeft me feeling empty.

Summary: Roman (Matthias Schoenaerts), a convict in a rural Nevada prison who struggles to escape his violent past, is required to participate in an “outdoor maintenance” program as part of his state-mandated social rehabilitation. Spotted by a no-nonsense veteran trainer (Bruce Dern) and helped by an outgoing fellow inmate and trick rider (Jason Mitchell), Roman is accepted into the selective wild horse training section of the program, where he finds his own humanity in gentling an especially unbreakable mustang.


Movie trailer

“Hotel Mumbai”–movie review   1 comment

In November 2008 Mumbai, India, was under attack by 10 terrorists and “Hotel Mumbai” concentrates on the one that took place at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. There is no getting away from the violence that took place and which takes up most of the film in graphic showings.

This is Anthony Maras’s directional debut and goes mainly by the numbers. Though he, and his co-screenwriter, John Collee, try to look into the stories of some of the humans involved there really is/was too much in what is/was happening.

We do meet the 10 terrorists at the beginning of the film arriving at the Mumbai shore in a raft and watch as they go off to their assigned deeds constantly in touch with the leader of their Islamic terrorist organization who is called Brother Bull.  He promises them money and Paradise in the name of Allah which gives him complete control of the gullible, vulnerable boys, young men.

Dev Patel, who I saw in a much better, stronger role this week in “The Wedding Guest”, plays a waiter at the hotel, married with 1 child and another on the way, who really needs the job but that’s all we really get to know about him. There is his boss, Anupam Kher, who I really l like in the TV series, “New Amsterdam”, playing the head chef and boss of the restaurant who we really don’t find out much about except he believes the ‘Guest is god’ and won’t accept less from his staff.

There is Armie Hammer, with his young Indian bride, Nazanin Boniadi, their young baby and his nanny, Tilda Cobham-Hervey not to forget the mysterious Russian guy Jason Isaacs, who you wish the terriorist would ‘take out’. Yes, true story or not, there will be those you don’t want to die!

In spite of the high body count, and the violence, the movie moves fast, has some suspenseful moments and, if you didn’t know anything about those attacks, I didn’t, it’s a lesson on what is going on in other parts of the world that will wake you up to the fact that we are not alone.

Movie trailer

Posted March 29, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

“Gloria Bell”–movie review   1 comment

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There are a few actresses that are a delight to see no matter what picture they are in or no matter how bad the movie might be and in the case of “Gloria Bell” it is a delight to watch Julianne Moore sing, dance, act in a good movie.
We have seen many movies–too many–of men in their mid-life crisis but very few women going through their own and, to a certain degree, that is what we are witnessing here. Gloria has been divorced for 12 years, her son and daughter have flown the nest and she has a job as an insurance agent, also recently has been diagnosed with an eye condition that will require her to take drops the rest of her life though we are never told (or I missed it) exactly what condition she has.
She doesn’t seem to have many friends but does enjoy herself singing, slightly off-key, along with old disco and rock songs on the radio while driving and goes to dance at clubs aimed mainly at middl-aged folks. One night she meets Arnold (John Turturro), a divorcee who is tied to his ex and his two grown single daughters and they start an affair.
“Gloria Bell” is again written and directed by Sebastion Lelio who did a 2013 Spanish version of this film and Americanized this version. He tries to tell too many stories and would have served the movie better by eliminating 2 or 3 of them. While the hairless cat, the upstairs suicidal neighbor, her daughter running off to Norway with a professional surfer and her son left at home to raise his baby as his wife takes off to the desert shows a few sides to Gloria and how she reacts in each case I would have rathered he spent more time on Gloria’s current life, her wants and needs. There are a two scenes with her mother played by Holland Taylor were telling and should have been expanded.
The ending is sort of open-ended but if you know the words to Laura Branigan’s disco hit you might have some idea of what will come.
Just an aside/observation, with all that is going on in Hollywood these days I am surprised actresses aren’t insisting that each time they have to show frontal nudity the male in the scene has to also though I admit Julianne Moore is much better to look at nude than any of the males in her scenes would!
“Gloria Bell”, as is Julianne Moore, is easy on the eyes as the songs are on the ears and touches on a subject not often seen on the screen enough for us, the audience, who should want to learn and see more on the subject of a woman’s mid-life crisis except her going crazy as she has been shown in movies of the past.

Posted March 22, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

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