Thursday, March 12, 2020

New in Theaters March 13, 2020 "I Still Believe, "The Hunt" and "Bloodshot'

I Still Believe
Starring: Britt Robertson and K.J. Apa
Rated PG   

Based on the life story of Christian musician Jeremy Camp and his wife Melissa, “I Still Believe” follows their journey of love, hardship and faith.

Although at its core an average formulaic film, the movie does have heart and a heaping helping of sentimentality.

If you're in the market for a sweet and hopeful story, this might be just the ticket.
It gets a C and is rated PG.

The Hunt
Starring: Hilary Swank and Betty Gilpin
Rated R    

In the film, 12 strangers awaken in a remote area, not knowing how they got there and soon discover they are being hunted as prey.

“The Hunt” is a dark and gory comedy. The story borrows heavily from films like 1965's “Naked Prey,” 1994's “Surviving the Game” and even a 1974 TV movie called “Savages.”

The film is brutal in graphic violence, all the while making a satirical statement on the social and political divisions we are experiencing currently.

In the end, “The Hunt” offers up some heart-pounding moments, gross laughs and a sarcastic running commentary on the American politics.

It gets a B and is rated R.

Starring: Vin Diesel and Guy Pierce
Rated PG-13    

When a solider, who was killed in action, is brought back to life with super human abilities, he goes after the men who killed his wife.

Although based on a comic book series, “Bloodshot” feels like a uninspired remake of “Robocop” or “Universal Soldier.”

Even though there are some good action scenes and special effects, the film is mired down by its lackluster plot.

It gets a C and is rated PG-13.

Monday, March 9, 2020

New on Blu-ray and DVD March 10, 2020 - "Spies in Disguise," "Uncut Gems" and "Bombshell"

Spies in Disguise
Starring: Will Smith and Tom Holland
Rated PG   

When the world's best spy is turned into a pigeon it's up to his nerdy assistant to save the day.

“Spies in Disguise” is simply a fun family film with a lot great humor and even a message or two. The film, at its core, is about discovering your strengths, even if other people think they're a weakness.

The animation is crisp and the script is fast-paced and very funny, brought to life by Will Smith and Tom Holland. And although some of the gags fall short here and there, the result is an enjoyable family film well worth watching.

“Spies in Disguise” deserves a B and is rated PG.

Uncut Gems   
Starring: Adam Sandler and Idina Menzel
Rated R   

Howard Ratner, a high profile New York jeweler makes a series of high stake bets as he goes after the score of a lifetime.

“Uncut Gems” is a manic film, constantly in motion as Ratner (Sandler) frantically crisscrosses the city placing bets and buying and selling precious gems and gold.

Sandler, who has done a few dramatic roles in his career, is absolutely on point as the high pressure, get the deal at any cost business man who becomes addicted to the big payoff.

“Uncut Gems” is an uncomfortable film to watch, but if you are looking for something different and gutsy, this film will not disappoint.

It gets a B and is rated R.

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie
Rated R

The story of how some of the female staff at Fox News brought sexual harassment charges against news anchor Bill O'Reilly and the head of Fox News Roger Ailes.

“Bombshell” is a well-written and acted bio-drama weaving it's tale of how sexual misconduct and pressure in the workplace, was brought into the spotlight.

The cast is superb, with a standout performance by John Lithgow as Roger Ailes.

It gets an A and is rated R.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

New in Theaters March 6, 2020 "Emma," "The Way Back" and "Onward"

Starring: Bill Nighy and Anya Taylor-Joy
Rated PG   

Based on Jane Austen's novel about romance and status, Emma must navigate through all the mistakes and misgivings of relationships before finding her one true love.

Richly filmed and exquisitely costumed, “Emma” is a wonderful adaptation of Austen's satirical novel of privilege and place.

The film is very quirky and funny, but slow-moving which may have some viewers anxious for an explosion, but if you give the film time to unfold it's very rewarding.

“Emma” gets a B and is rated PG.

Starring the Vocal Talents of: ChrisPratt and TomHolland.
Rated PG    

Two teenage brothers go off on a magical quest to reunite with their father.

“Onward” is not the magical, memorable and engaging movie that we are all used to seeing from Disney / Pixar.

And even though the movie boasts some good animation, the story is a flat, lifeless and average 'road trip' as the two brothers embark on their quest to bring their father back.

In the end, “Onward” is a bland and forgettable film with little reward.

It gets a C and is rated PG.

The Way Back
Starring: Ben Affleck and Janina Gavankar
Rated R   

A once great basketball player, who is now an alcoholic, gets a chance to coach his high school basketball team.

Although “The Way Back' may sound like a formula sports film, the movie deals deeply with grief and addiction in a very realistic and unflinching way.

Ben Affleck as Jack Cunningham, offers us a very open, gut wrenching and honest portrayal of a man needing redemption and release from the choices he's made and the guilt he's carrying. This is arguably Ben Affleck's finest performance of his career.

“The Way Back” is not an easy film to watch as it doesn't pull any punches, but it is a film that needs to be seen.

It gets an A and is rated R.

Friday, February 28, 2020

new in Theaters February 28, 2019 "The Invisible Man"

The Invisible Man
Starring: Elisabeth Moss and Aldis Hodge
Rated R    

A young woman's abusive boyfriend commits suicide but she suspects he's still alive.

Based on H.G. Well's classic novel, “The Invisible Man” is about the 20
th version of the story put to film or television.

In this updated version, Elisabeth Moss plays a woman who is at the end of her rope as she is not being believed by anyone about what's happening in her life. The use of invisibility is a metaphor, in this story, for gaslighting, control and victimizing.

But the film isn't just a 'message movie' as it really contains some of the best thrills and anxiety producing moments in recent years. Director Leigh Whannell is an obvious student of Hitchcock and, like Hitchcock, takes her time developing every subtle movement in the film as the action and pace slowly come to a boil.

In the middle of the story is Elisabeth Moss, as Cecilia, who is told everything she is witnessing is not true. As she descends into the madness of the story, her character becomes undaunted in the struggle to survive.

“The Invisible Man” is not about the science of how to become invisible. The focus of the film is on the horror and the monster absolute power creates.

If you or someone you know, who may have been touched by domestic violence, you might want to think twice about seeing this film as it is brutal in depicting its violence.

The film gets a solid B and is rated R.

Monday, February 24, 2020

New on Blu-ray and DVD February 25, 2020 "Knives Out" and "Frozen II"

Frozen II
Starring: Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell
Rated PG    

In the film, Elsa, Anna and the rest are off on a new adventure to save their kingdom by finding an enchanted forest and the origins of Elsa's powers.

Frozen II” is a beautifully animated film with rich colors and artwork. But the story itself is a bit bland and incomplete and overall feels darker thank the first film.

The message in the movie is 'change is inevitable' and letting go of your fears and accepting the changes in your life is a step in becoming a better and more fulfilled person.

Frozen II” captures its audience with as much wonder and awe as the first film and offers another wonderfully performed musical score.

Frozen II” is well worth seeing on Blu-ray or DVD as the bonus features take the film up a notch. It gets a A and is rated PG.

Knives Out
Starring: Daniel Craig and Jamie Lee Curtis
Rated PG-13    

When a world-renown novelist is murdered a detective tries to uncover the truth.

Knives Out” is a brilliantly executed 'who dunnit' replete with red herrings, misdirections, great characters and wonderful twists.

With it's all-star cast including Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Chris Evans and Ana De Armis, “Knives Out” is a delightfully funny and complex puzzle you'll relish figuring out.

It gets an A and is rated PG-13.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

New in Theaters February 21, 2020 "The Call of the Wild"

The Call of the Wild
Starring: Harrison Ford and Karen Gillan
Rated PG   

Based on Jack London's novel, the film follows a sled dog as he tries to survive both nature and humans in the Yukon.

“The Call of the Wild” is a well-crafted adventure story focusing on the relationship between a frontiersman and a dog in late 1800's Alaska. Both rely on each other to survive, but there something much deeper than just survival. It is a balance between need and love.

Harrison Ford puts in a solid performance as the gruff outdoorsman John Thornton, an alcoholic looking for his big break.

The role of the dog. 'Buck,' is played by motion capture performer Terry Notary and is the model for Buck's facial gestures and movement. The blend of live-action and CGI works well in the film, but it is not perfect and a few times the audience will lose the suspension of belief.

In the end, “The Call of the Wild” is a throwback to those big adventure films of the 1950's and will be a family favorite when it hits DVD.

It gets a B and is rated PG.

Friday, February 14, 2020

New in Theaters February 14, 2020 "Fantasy Island," "Sonic the Hedgehog" and "Downhill"

Fantasy Island
Starring: Maggie Q and Lucy Hale
Rated PG-13   

Blumhouse's takes on the iconic '70's TV show adding a darker and malevolent feel.

“Fantasy Island” is a poorly executed throw-away film that will confuse and aggravate audiences. The film offers 4 intersecting stories with plot holes big enough to drive a train through.

By the end of the film the audience is not only under-entertained but their intelligence has been insulted by the barrage of bad storytelling, terrible acting and inferior editing.

Pass this island by. It gets a D and is rated PG-13.

Sonic The Hedgehog
Starring: Jim Carrey, Ben Schwartz and James Marsden
Rated PG   

Based on SEGA's popular video game, an alien who happens to be a very fast blue hedgehog makes his way to earth and is chased by an evil genius.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” is a fast-paced (pardon the pun) comic adventure. The film belongs wholly to Jim Carrey's mad genius 'Dr. Robotnik.' Carrey pulls out all stops and let's his own comic genius loose and the result is a manically fun chase movie that will entertain any age.

In for the ride is James Marsden, as a cop who gets tangled in the chase. Marsden is perfect as the innocent bystander who befriends Sonic and is pulled into the adventure.
Also worth mentioning is Ben Schwartz who was both the voice of Sonic and the motion capture actor for the film. Schwartz's performance breathed life into Sonic, allowing the audience to empathize with the character.

For being an unexpected treat, “Sonic the Hedgehog” gets a solid B and is rated PG.

Starring: Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Rated R    

Barely escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, a married couple is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other.

“Downhill” is a remake of the 2014 Swiss film “Force Majeure.” Simply, this new remake lacks character and direction. And because it stars Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, you might think it's a comedy... think again. It is a droll and lifeless film with a few spotty, uncomfortable laughs, but mostly the movie is dull and tedious.

In the end, you'll want to see it but don't. It gets a D and is rated R.