Wednesday, August 14, 2019

New in Theaters August 15, 2019 "Good Boys," "47 Meters Down: Uncaged," "Blinded by the Light" and "Angry Birds 2"

Good Boys
Starring: Jacob Tremblay and Brady Noon
Rated R 

3 sixth grade boys ditch school and embark on an epic journey on their way to attend an awesome party.

“Good Boys” begins well enough but comes apart at the seams in the first 30 minutes. The film is uneven, erratic and disjointed.

The idea of young kids cussing isn't new and after the 30
th time isn't funny and becomes boring rather quickly.

I was hoping for something smarter and more focused and was disappointed when I received a bland, one-note comedy that was nothing more than a tired, hashed out episode of South Park.

Miss this one.

It gets an F and is rated R.

47 Meters Down: Uncaged
Starring: Sistine Rose Stallone and John Corbett
Rated PG-13 

In the sequel to 2017's “47 Meters Down,” 4 female divers find themselves trapped in an underwater maze of caves surrounded by deadly sharks.

“47 Meters Down: Uncaged” is exactly what you'd expect a sequel to be... a bigger, more expensive remake of the first film. And even though the film is filmed bigger with a more expensive budget, it isn't any better.

The movie offers layers and layers of cliché dialog, action sequences and jump scares but there's nothing original to be found in these waters.

The film gets a C and is rated PG-13.

Blinded by the Light
Starring: Viveik Kalra and Hayley Atwell
Rated PG-13    

A teenager living in 1987 England finds himself and discovers his path with the help of the music of Bruce Springsteen.

“Blinded by the Light” is a full-on audience pleasing film. It resonates with heart, warmth and an intricate deepness. Although there were a few missteps along the way, please take this journey and enjoy one of the best films of the summer and one of the best soundtracks of the year.

“Blinded by the Light” gets an A and is rated PG-13.

Angry Birds 2
Starring: Jason Sudeikis and Rachel Bloom
Rated PG   

The birds and the pigs join forces to fight a new enemy.

“Angry Birds 2” is a surprisingly good sequel with terrific animation and a very funny script that will please old and young.

The characters are engaging, the story moves along briskly and you'll find yourself laughing quite a bit.

All in all “Angry Birds 2” is a 'worth the ticket in' summer movie you can enjoy with the whole family.

It gets a B and is rated PG.

Monday, August 12, 2019

New on Netflix and New Blu-Ray & DVD for August 13, 2019

Avengers: Endgame
Starring: Everyone in Hollywood
Rated PG-13    

After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos' actions and restore order to the universe.

After 10 years and 21 movies, Marvel Studios concludes this part of the Marvel Universe with a grand-slam home run.

“Avengers: Endgame” is masterful storytelling at it's best with its pitch perfect writing and the mix of CGI and acting, the Russo brothers take this finale film to another level, even for the Marvel Universe.

A genuine blockbuster film and a must see, “Endgame” gets a solid A and is rated PG-13.

Starring: Marlon Wayans and Bresha Webb
Rated TV-14    

Just as he's about to become a father, a man discovers he has 5 siblings and goes on a quest to find them.

“Sextuplets” is strictly a 'don't think about it' comedy with Marlon Wayans taking on all of the sibling roles in the film. I know most people are going to compare this film with 1996's “The Nutty Professor,” in which Eddie Murphy played 7 roles in that film. (If you're a real movie buff you'll also think about Jerry Lewis' turn as 7 characters in 1965's “The Family Jewels.”)

“Sextuplets” is more a look at how CGA and performance capture techniques have been upgraded to a new level, which add to the suspension of belief.

The film itself is an enjoyable 'wig' comedy with a few good laughs.

It gets a C and is rated TV-14. It premieres on Friday August 16th.

Check out our exclusive interview with Marlon Wayans and Bresha Webb!


Thursday, August 8, 2019

New in Theaters August 9, 2019 "The Kitchen," "The Art of Racing in the Rain," "Dora and the Lost City of Gold" and "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark"

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Starring: Zoe Margaret Colletti and Michael Garza
Rated PG-13   

Based on the popular young adult novel, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” takes place in 1968 and focuses on a group of teens leaving high school and celebrating one last Halloween when eerie things begin to happen.

“Scary Stories” is a terrific horror film. It is replete with enough jump scares and shocks woven into an intricate and well-told script.

Backed up by a terrific cast and some great camera work, the film gains momentum and ends up an intense and very fun scare ride.

It gets a B and is rated PG-13

Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Starring: Isabela Moner and Eva Longoria
Rated PG   

Dora leads a group of friends through the jungle to uncover the mystery surrounding her parents disappearance.

“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is a non-stop adventure aimed mostly at young viewers. The film is full of action and intrigue making this a terrific family film.

Think Indiana Jones for kids and you get the idea.

For its sense of humor, special effects and action “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” gets a solid B.

It's rated PG

The Art of Racing in the Rain
Rated PG
Starring: Kevin Costner, Milo Ventimigila and Amanda Seyfried

The personal trials and triumphs of a race car driver are seen and explained by his dog.

“The Art of Racing in the Rain” is a touching and well paced story about how we maneuver through life's obstacles and how we overcome them.

The film is not only a sweet and touching testament to the power and the bond people share with their pets, but to each other.

Don't miss this wonderful and warm family film. It gets an A and is rated PG.

The Kitchen
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss
Rated R   

Kathy, Ruby and Claire are 3 mob wives who take over the family business in 1978 New York when their husbands are locked up.

“The Kitchen” is an uneven and sloppy mob movie straining too much to be relevant.

Mostly known for their comedic performances, Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish seem out of place in the film, partly because the audience expects a more light hearted approach to their roles and partly because of the heaviness of the story.

Elisabeth Moss, on the other hand, is well cast and delivers and exceptional performance as 'Claire.'

All in all “The Kitchen” just never heats up. It gets a C and is rated R.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

New in Theaters August 2, 2019 "Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw"

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Starring: Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham
Rated PG-13   

Two highly skilled lawmen team up to catch a cyber criminal, despite the fact they hate each other.

Sometimes you simply want to go to a movie and just have fun. “Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw” is that movie.

The film is an anti-buddy pic where the two leads are constantly at each other's throats, more literally than not, all the while chasing after the bad guy, played by Idris Elba.

Both Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham equally shine in this well-choreographed action / comedy. The film has enough firepower and laughs to make this a true summer treat.

“Hobbs & Shaw” is a great summer surprise loaded with laughs, action and heart.

It gets an A and is rated PG-13.

Monday, July 22, 2019

New on Blu-ray and DVD July 23, 2019 "Alita: Battle Angel" and "Hellboy"

Hellboy 2019
Starring: David Harbour and Milla Jovovich
Rated R   

In this reboot of the film series that began in 2004 and based on the popular graphic novel series, a demon from hell is caught between this world and world of the supernatural as he battles an ancient sorceress to protect the world.

“Hellboy 2019” tries to rekindle a character and a franchise, but the effort falls short of its goal by giving us a character with none of the characteristics that made the original worth seeing.

This version of “Hellboy” is lacking any of the demonic sarcasm, wit and charm fans expect. “Hellboy 2019” is just a bland copy of the original played against an overindulgent backdrop of CGI.

David Harbour, who is a terrific actor, has little to do but mumble out lines of dialogue so unintelligible you really need most of what he says subtitled.

Playing against Harbour's listless “Hellboy” is actress Milla Jovovich as “The Blood Queen.” A one-note performance lacking... well that one-note.

All in all “Hellboy” is laughably bad. It gets a D and is rated R.

Alita: Battle Angel
Starring: Rosa Salazar and Christoph Waltz
Rated PG-13   

When a deactivated female cyborg is revived, she begins a quest to find out who she is.

“Alita: Battle Angel” is about as technically perfect as a CGI film could be. The effects are brilliantly executed and is a feast for the eyes, especially in a large screen format and in 3D.

The plot is a rehash of several sci-fi stories we've seen centering on an artificial life-form trying to find their humanity. Films like “A.I.,” “Chappie,” “Bicentennial Man,” and “I, Robot”, to name only a few, all touch on this subject.

“Alita: Battle Angel” is just wrapped in a much better and newer package.

It gets a B and is rated PG-13.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

New in Theaters July 19, 2019 "The Lion King" and "The Fighting Preacher"

The Fighting Preacher
Starring: David McConnell and Cassidy Hubert
Rated PG    

Based on the true story of Willard Bean who, in the early 1900's, gives up his career as a prize fighter to become a preacher.

Every so often a small budget film breaks through and really goes way above its pay grade, and provides a theater experience you'd expect from a larger budget film.

“The Fighting Preacher” is one of those movies. It offers up the right amount of action, character development and humor to keep an audience watching and even laughing.

Both David McConnell and Cassidy Hubert deliver spot-on performances as the young married couple who travel from Utah to New York and endure hatred and distrust when they arrive to settle in their new home.

“The Fighting Preacher” is a wonderful surprise and deserves to be seen as a human adventure, not just another faith-based movie.

It gets an A and is rated PG.

The Lion King
Starring the vocal talents of: Donald Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Rated PG    

Disney revisits it's 1994 Oscar-winning animated feature with an upgraded animated retelling of “The Lion King” story.

What the 2019 version of “The Lion King” will leave audiences with is that it's an amazing technical achievement in animation and will be hailed as such. But once the eye gets used to the updated computer graphics, there is something missing.

Warmth and heart.

In retelling the story the producers forgot about the subtle nuances the human animators added to the soul of the film. The raising of an eyebrow, the smirk on Scar's face, the powerful presence of Mufasa all are missing and replaced with a cold and detached computer version, using this new “photo-scope” process.

And certainly the process is real-looking but in giving this particular animated film a photo-real look, the producers have also taken something away.

It is that intangible quality that put the original “Lion King” into a brand new level of animation, voice work and soundtrack. This version, although a wonder technically, left me a bit cold and hungry for the original.

Balancing all the pluses and minuses, “The Lion King 2019” gets a C and is rated PG.

Monday, July 15, 2019

New on Blu-ray & DVD July 16, 2019 "Breakthrough" and "Shazam"

Starring: Chrissy Metz and Topher Grace
Rated PG   

Based on a true story of a 14-year old who drowns and his mother's heartfelt prayers to God to save his life.

Chrissy Metz puts in a very strong performance as Joyce, the mother, a deeply religious woman who turns to God in her most desperate hour of need.

“Breakthrough” is very much a faith-based film with a keen sense of what it means to be a faith-based movie. The film offers a better-than-expected well-paced script combined with humor to counterbalance the film's dramatic moments.

All in all “Breakthrough” is a family film worth looking into.

It gets a B and is rated PG.

Starring: Zahary Levi and Asher Angel
Rated PG-13    

14 year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) has been in foster homes most of his life. One day, out of the blue, he's gifted the ability to turn into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi), which he controls by saying the word “SHAZAM.”

“SHAZAM!” is a wonderfully written and acted fantasy film.

The film is intentionally schmaltzy and deliberately childish as Billy, accompanied by his new foster brother Freddy begin to learn how to control his new-found powers. But, like all superheroes, SHAZAM must find his real strength to fight a new super villain gunning for him.

“SHAZAM” works because of Zachary Levi's wide-eyed innocence and his perpetual wonder, which endears him to the audience. Levi is supported by a terrific cast, who also know how to be silly enough, maniacal enough and even endearing enough to add to the film's flow.

The movie is a statement on friendship, family, trust and virtually all the values a superhero embodies. And the audience is witness to Billy / SHAZAM learning about these values as he grows into his role.

SHAZAM” may not be the best of the DC Comic films, but it will be one of your favorites.

It gets an A and is rated PG-13.