Thursday, October 19, 2017

New in Theaters October 20, 2017 "Only the Brave," "Geostorm" and "The Snowman"

Starring: Gerard Butler and Abbie Cornish
Rated PG-13 

When the network of satellites designed to control the global climate start to attack Earth, it's a race against the clock to uncover the real threat before a worldwide geostorm wipes out everything and everyone.

Geostorm” is a well-paced white knuckle CGI disaster movie with Gerard Butler heading a multi-national team to stop whomever has hijacked the Earth's weather control satellites.

Although the film is somewhat cartoonish and stereotypical, the film does entertain and offers up some surprisingly heartfelt moments.

It gets a B and is rated PG-13.

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The Snowman
Starring: Michael Fassbender
Rated R
When an elite crime squad's lead detective investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter, he fears an elusive serial killer may be active again.

With the help of a brilliant recruit, the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall.

“The Snowman” keeps the audience on the edge of their seats throughout most of the film. The film is purposely paced slow, but as the story twists it begins to come to a boil.

“The Snowman” has a few problems with timing and some character development and the film is extremely graphic with blood and gore.

It gets a B and is rated R.

Only the Brave

Starring: Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin
Rated PG-13 
Based on the true story of the 'Granite Mountain Hotshots,' a group of elite firefighters, who risked everything to protect a town from a historic wildfire.

“Only the Brave” examines the world of 'first responders,' who rush to the front lines of massive fires and provide the means to slow and stop the fire's progress.

The film while paying tribute to these men may go a little overboard in painting their cinematic portrait, but it really does work for this movie.

In the end,“Only the Brave” is a well-acted and touching movie well worth seeing.

It gets an A and is rated PG-13.

Monday, October 16, 2017

New on Blu-ray & DVD for October 16, 2017 "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and "Girl's Trip"

Girl's Trip
Starring: Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall
Rated R 
When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there's enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

“Girl's Night” will go down in the ledger books as one of the worst film of 2017.

The film is replete with crude jokes, offensive images and nasty behavior including a zip-line gag that brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “make it rain.”

Pass this one by at all costs.

It gets an F and is rated R.

Spider-Man Homecoming
Starring: Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr.
Rated PG-13 

Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.

Spider-Man: Homecoming” is not just another 'origin' story rehashing how the web-slinger began his career as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

This a more of a coming of age story about a young man moving from his awkward teenage years into adulthood and taking responsibility for himself and the things most important to him.

Tom Holland is well cast as the boy on the brink of manhood who is coming to terms with his powers. Holland's Peter Parker is a wide-eyed innocent trying to help and stumbling over his own feet all the while longing for the day he will become something greater than the some his parts.

Robert Downey Jr. is on hand as Tony Stark (Ironman), who sees in the young man something familiar and hopeful. Stark allows the newbie superhero to take his first few steps into the bigger world of “The Avengers.”

Spider-Man: Homecoming” is an engaging and action-packed summer blockbuster, but offers more than explosions and special effects. There's a deep insight into the inner workings of a superhero.

It gets an A and is rated PG-13.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Happy Death Day
Starring: Jessica Rothe
Rated PG-13 

A teenage girl, trying to enjoy her birthday, soon realizes that this is her final one. That is, if she can figure out who her killer is. 

She must relive that day, over and over again, dying in a different way each time.

Can she solve her own murder?

The film is at its best when the lead character “Tree,” played by Jessica Rothe, is uncaring and unsympathetic to her fellow students. But when the story turns sentimental, the film loses it's edge.

Earlier this year the film “Before I Fall” used this plot devise but was pretty much humorless in its execution.

“Happy Death Day” finds a balance between thrills and humor, but doesn't maintain its equilibrium for very long.

“Happy Death Day” is a mostly a watchable film but it will not make you forget “Groundhog's Day” nor will it stick in your mind longer than the walk to the parking lot.

It gets a C and is rated PG-13.

Starring: Chadwick Boseman and Josh Gad
Rated PG-13 

About a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.

Although “Marshall” is a formula bio-pic, it's very good one whose cast, which includes Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, James Cromwell and Sterling K. Brown boosts this film to a higher level.

All in all “Marshall” is a solid film. It gets a B and is rated PG-13

The Foreigner
Starring: Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan
Rated R 
A humble businessman with a buried past seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism. A cat-and-mouse conflict ensues with a government official, whose past may hold clues to the killers' identities.

“The Foreigner” is a well-paced action thriller with Jackie Chan using his martial art skills in a dramatic way than he has in the past. Most of Chan's fighting in past films were for comedic effect, in “The Foreigner,” Chan manages to meet the challenge of mixing martial atrs with dramatic effect.

Pierce Brosnan turns in an intensely focused performance as a government official who is trying to keep the status-quo between governments.

“The Foreigner” is well worth your time to see.

It gets a B and is rated R.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

On Blu-ray & DVD for Tuesday October 11, 2017 "Baby Driver" and "The House"

The House
Starring: Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler
Rated R
When they learn their daughter has been accepted into an elite college, two parents, who are low on funds, open an illegal gambling casino in their basement.

Another formula comedy living on one sight gag after another bringing in a few chuckles instead of laughs.

Will Ferrell plays the same wide-eyed innocent that we have seen him play for years with Amy Poehler not stretching her acting muscles much either.

As the film progresses, the couple get deeper and deeper into the seedy side of the gambling business, with less than comic results.

What we're left with is an uninspired and poorly conceived story trying desperately to make you laugh.

It gets a D and is rated R

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Baby Driver
Starring: Ansel Elgort and Kevin Spacey
Rated R 
After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

“Baby Driver” is a high-octane, fast-paced car chase film that goes nowhere.

The film's main characters are two-dimensional at best and offer no connection with the audience at all. In fact the entire film seems to be misfiring as the film progresses from one silly action scene to another.

About the only thing worth while is the film's soundtrack, which offers s great collection of eclectic songs.

In the end “Baby Driver” simply tries to hard to be relevant and end up just another waste of gas and time.

It gets a D and is rated R.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

New in Theaters October 6, 2017 "Blade Runner 2049"

Blade Runner 2049
Starring: Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford
Rated R 

In the sequel to the cult classic, thirty years have passed, and a new blade runner unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. 

The discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

“Blade Runner 2049” is a stunningly shot, cinematic feast. The style of the photography remind the viewer of the original's style and symmetry.

The film, like its predecessor, is slow-paced and deliberate.

But “Blade Runner 2049” falls short as the story simply does not know what to do with its characters. The script meanders and sputters never really coming to the boil fans of the original are expecting.

Instead, the film runs out of gas and coasts to a stop, leaving the audience with the feeling something's left undone.

In the end “Blade Runner 2049” is a wonderful example of cinematic eye-candy with little substance backing it up.

It gets a C and is rated R. 

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Monday, October 2, 2017

New on Blu-ray and DVD for October 3, 2017 "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" and "Book of Henry"

Book of Henry
Starring: Naomi Watts and Jacob Trembly
Rated PG-13

In the film , a single mother discovers a scheme in her son's book to rescue a young girl from the hands of her abusive stepfather and sets out to execute the plan at any cost.

“The Book of Henry” is an overindulgent movie that lightly candy coats child abuse and pediatric terminal illness to the point of the ridiculous. The film is too preachy and weighty to be enjoyable and too maudlin to be forgivable.

The film gets a D and is rated PG-13

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Starring: Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush
Rated PG-13

The 5th film in the 'Pirates' franchise has Jack Sparrow teaming up with Will Turner's son, Henry, to bring back the Trident of Poseidon to break the curse Will Turner is under.

All the while being pursued by a villainous Spanish pirate, played by Javier Bardem.

“Pirates 5” delightfully takes the franchise almost full circle to where it all began. But the ante is upped as new characters are introduced, deals are made and broken, and the special effects are terrific and the script is fresh and fun.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” uses the right blend of action, adventure, lunacy and swashbuckle. It gets a B and is rated PG-13.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

New in Theaters September 29, 2017 "American Made" and "Battle of the Sexes"

Battle of the Sexes
Starring: Emma Stone and Steve Carell
Rated PG-13
In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women's movement, the 1973 tennis match between women's world champion Billie Jean King and ex-men's-champ and media hustler Bobby Riggs was billed as the “Battle of the Sexes” and was one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. 

“Battle of the Sexes” is a wonderful film. Emma Stone offers up a truly deep and heartfelt performance as Bille Jean King, who is discovering herself for the first time in her life.

Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs paints a very real portrait of a man who was once at the top of his game and now has settled on the other side of fame. Riggs, ever the opportunist, sees King as a way to step back into the spotlight.

“Battle of the Sexes” is well worth your time to see. I found it a rewarding film on may levels, placing it on my top 10 films of the year.

It gets and A and is rated PG-13

American Made
Starring: Tom Cruise
Rated R 
In the film, a gifted pilot is offered an opportunity to work for the CIA flying various missions for them.

Tom Cruise has a run of bad to mediocre films over the past few years. “The Mummy,” “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” and “Oblivion,” to name a few.

“American Made” allows Cruise to finally give audiences what they've been wanting to see. Tom Cruise in a fun, stylish and fast-paced action film.

“American Made” gets a solid B and is rated R