Archive for the ‘MOVIES’ Category

“Three Identical Strangers”–film review   Leave a comment

 The less you know about “Three Identical Strangers” the more times you will find yourself with your mouth agape asking yourself if you just heard what you thought you heard!

This is a film definitely ‘stranger than fiction’ and starts with the fact that boy triplets were separated at birth and each given to a different ‘class’ family, none of the adoptive parents knowing their son had 2 brothers. The story opens with how, just by chance, the 3 brothers meet 19 years later.

The “Why?” they were separated, the outcome of that separation and their reunion along with the results ranges from laughs to tears to truly tragic emotions. Much is made of whether nurture or nature is more important in raising a child and though that question is not answered examples of both are shown.

We do hear from and learn about the adoptive parents but though, by design, the boys are given to families that already have children we do not hear from the siblings. We, also, hear a bit about the birth mother though I don’t recall anything about the father.

The film leaves you with some questions but it certainly shows that, yes, it can happen here!



Movie trailer


Posted July 20, 2018 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS, MOVIES, Uncategorized

“Whitney”–documentary film review   Leave a comment

It looks like 2018 is a documentary summer with one about Supreme court Justice Ginsberg, another about children’s host Fred Rogers, this past week one telling the story of Whitney Houston and this coming Friday the story of triplets separated at birth that discover each other 19 years later.

I, generally, don’t go to see a documentary film in the theatre but due to ‘improvements’ being made to my apartment I’ve had to get out a few hours and what better way, whether hot and humid or raining, than going to a a/c movie theatre!?!

I admired Whitney Houston’s voice, though at times I felt she was screaming too much and after hearing “I Will Always Love You” for the 4th million time (you couldn’t escape it!) I sort of tuned her out.

In “Whitney” we hear from/about her brothers, mother, father, relatives plus several from the music and movie industry as the documentary director Kevin Macdonald sort of tilts the story to get the audience to feel sorry for this woman who had everything and lost it all, an old entertainment story. On one side it is said, and shown, to have had an idyllic childhood while on the other hand

At one point Houston signed a $100 million contract only a few years later having to make a movie because she was broke. How much her marriage to Bobby Brown was related to her drugs problems, though it seems she started to go grass and cocaine at 16, is sort of dismissed because he was jealous of her and though not proven it seems one of her aunts sexually abused her when she was a child plus she had a long affair with her best friend and assistant Robyn Crawford.

Whitney Houston is seen hitting bottom and she does just as we see her at the height of her success and she shows what made her a major talent.
“Whitney” is a must see for her true fans and a wait until it is on television for others.



“Boundaries”–movie review   Leave a comment

“Boundaries” is one of those movies that have a super cast with each individually enjoyable to watch and when they have interaction your eyes and ears will be glued to the screen. It is also a movie that has an equal amount of good and boring moments.

It is a road trip with Grandfather Jack (Christopher Plummer), his adult divorced daughter Laura (Vera Farmiga) and his grandson Henry (Lewis MacDougall) going to see his other daughter Jojo (Kristen Schaal). Both daughters are emotional wrecks because of their upbringing while the grandson is being expelled from school for drawing nude pictures of his teachers with the males all having extremely small penis’s. Oh yes, Grandfather Jack is being thrown out of the old folks home where he has been living and, unknown to them, growing marijuana and wants to sell. Oh yes Laura hasn’t met a stray dog that she didn’t love and take in whether at home or while driving in a car.

From all this a road trip takes place so the grandfather can make stops, sell the post and give money to Laura to send Henry to an expensive private school and in return be able to live with Laura in her big enough house while his other daughter lives in a studio apartment.

We meet Jack’s friends, hippie art forger Christopher Lloyd, wealthy friend Peter Fonda (looking good!) plus Leonard, (Bobby Cannavale) Henry’s father who left him and his mother years ago.

It takes an hour and 44 minutes to get everyone’s problems straightened out and have a ‘Hollywood’ ending.

Plummer is a joy to watch, more so then when he was young and I have yet to see Farmiga give a bad performance. Lewis MacDougal’s Henry seems natural though he certainly isn’t a ‘normal’ kid.

“Boundaries” is a good enough picture to watch in an air-conditioned theatre when it is 92 degrees out with high humidity.

Movie trailer

“Ocean’s 8”–movie review   1 comment

In 1979 Cindi Lauper sang “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and in “Ocean’s 8” they do and, as an added benefit, so does the audience. The first “Ocean’s 11” took place in 1960 and the remake in 2001 so it only took 58 years for the females to have their own caper. As the other Ocean films, this revolves around a heist, in this case of a diamond necklace worth over $150 million and, as in those films you really don’t have to follow all the ins and outs of the heist. Sit back, relax, enjoy watching the women, leave your logic at the door and don’t nick-pick at the holes in the story or wonder at some scenes that never would have been in the male versions.

All 8 women have a particular job to do regarding the heist though one who has not been recruited figures what is going on and joins in. The heist takes place at the Metropolitan  Museum of Art yearly Gala to raise funds where the stage, movie and social stars attend dressed to the nines and costumer Sarah Edwards does a great job of putting the stars in outstanding, mostly hug fitting, evening gowns. Aside from filming at the Metropolitan, we get to go into the Plaza Hotel, Bergdorf Goodman’s department store along with Cartier’s jewelry store including their underground vault. Also, there are famous people making cameos throughout the movie.

Regarding the stars, Cate Blanchett makes the biggest impression followed by a funny turn by Awkwafina and I wish she had loaned some of her playfulness to Sandra Bullock who gives a straight and unplayful performance which doesn’t belong in an “Ocean’s” movie. On the other hand, Helena Bonham Carter goes too far with her character. Anne Hathaway plays a vain movie star to the nth degree while Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson and Rihanna all come through with just the right attitudes and performances.

Along with the women, there are two major roles by men one being Richard Armitage and the other James Corden The latter offers a few laughs as an insurance adjuster and the former as ‘eye candy’. The problem is that Armitage’s role/story in the movie is one that never would have been allowed in any of the other Ocean films with a woman being the eye candy and the aim of revenge.

Oh, one spoiler, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is dead but you find that out at the beginning.

“Ocean’s 8” is the second movie within 2 weeks, the other being “Book Club”, that focused on women being the stars and delivering the goods. In both, you know what to expect walking in and you aren’t disappointed but now it is time to give us a movie, or movies, starring casts of women where men are the followers or eye candy or are ‘just’ the husbands, boyfriends, etc.

Movie trailer

“Anything”–movie review   Leave a comment

The best, if not most original, line in “Anything” is said by the nephew Jack (Tanner Buchanan) of Early (John Carroll Lynch) when he says, “Love is Love” and that is what this movie is about.

There is the first love of a teenager, Jack, for a girl at school, the love between Early and his sister Laurette (Maura Tierney) and her love for her husband Ted (Christopher Thornton), the love between the drug addicts David (Micah Hauptman) and Brianna (Margot Binham) not to mention what might be the pivotal love story of Freda (Matt Bomer) and Early.

Early has just lost the love of his life, his wife, of 26 years, and is having difficulty dealing with the loss. His sister flies in from Los Angeles to their small hometown in Mississippi where he is an insurance salesman and talks him into coming to California and living with her, her husband and son, which he does. It doesn’t take very long to find out that Laurette is a controlling woman who, though she loves her brother, doesn’t seem to be able to stop herself from trying to control him.

Early has received a good settlement from the insurance when he wife died and he decides to sell his home back in Mississippi and to stay in Los Angeles but not live with his sister and instead gets an apartment in Hollywood much to her disdain because she would rather he live in a better neighborhood. She explains that she is worried about him living there alone but at the same time there is a sort of snobbishness that she has acquired since moving out west.

Early soon meets his next-door neighbor Freda and though they are very different in many ways both are lonely. Early stays in his apartment reading, drinking and reading old letters from his wife while Freda, being a transgender sex worker, having a life of being hurt both emotionally and physically, people leaving her, is not open to deep relationships. He is the soft-spoken quiet Southern gentleman while she is the sassy, wisecracking one who has seen it all. Slowly but surely she is won over by his kindness, the true love he had for his wife and his reaching out to help her while he, at first, while he doesn’t know what to make of this woman who has lead a life he can’t understand but sees her pain.

“Anything” is one of the first films that offer lessons to those who may be uncomfortable with the idea of transgender people or know little about it and there are one too many clichés but as Jack says, “Love is love” and that is what this movie is about.

Without spoiling the scene there is an interlude when Early invites his sister, brother-in-law and nephew over for dinner to meet Freda that is a roller coaster of emotions that offers a dazzling performance by Maura Tierney.

John Carroll Lynch gives a quietly understated performance that works perfectly opposite Matt Bomer who projects being a woman without overdoing it, holding back on the gestures but showing her warmth, delicacy and tenderness but also her strength. They both give stellar performances.

This is the second movie I have seen within a week where the leads have the chemistry that is rare in films and, like “Beast” I fear it will be gone and forgotten before people have a chance to see it as being an independent film it has sort of ‘snuck’ into town but “Anything” should be seen. It is, also, as “Beast” is, the debut of a new director, Timothy McNeil, who wrote the screenplay based on his produced play and he makes a few mistakes as most new film directors do, those ‘art’ shots, but it is an impressive debut.

(An observation: Matt Bomer has the ‘best actor’s eyes’ since Paul Newman!)



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May 2018 Photo Diary Part 3 The Arts   Leave a comment




“Beast”–movioe review   Leave a comment

During and after watching the movie “Beast” I had many thoughts and questions going through my mind such as am I getting weirder as I get old or are movies getting weirder? Why do first time directors, like Michael Pearce who also wrote the screenplay, feel that they have to show every ‘art’ shot whether it adds to the movie or not? Did he deliberately want those few bars of music so loud every now and then? Was I missing something with that music?

I feel anything I say will be a spoiler which I don’t like to give but I can say the main relationship in “Beast” is between Moll (Jessie Buckley) who was punished (I still don’t know how!) for stabbing a fellow student when she was younger with scissors and Pascal (Johnny Flynn) who may or may not be a serial killer of young women.

I was mesmerized by Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn’s acting and the chemistry between them. The closest I can equate them with is the pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in “To Have and Have Not” for the first time. The romance between Moll and Pascal is a mix of tenderness, tension, exposed nerves, suspicions and certainly dangerous. There is no way they won’t hold your attention when they are together or even in the scenes where they are apart doing things alone or with other people.

I will say that her mother, played by Geraldine James, is the mother of all mothers and there is a policewoman, whose name I didn’t catch in the credits, who will have the hairs on your arms standing up.

There are scenes of animal cruelty, mainly towards rabbits, that turned me off but the scenes of the island of Jersey off the south coast of England will make you want to catch the next plane there.

If nothing else the performances of Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn should make “Beast” a big hit but I fear it will disappear far too quickly in the USA but you should make a point of seeing it before then.


Movie trailer

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