Thursday, February 22, 2018

New in Theaters February 23, 2018 "Game Night" and "Annihilation"

Starring: Natalie Portman and
Rated R

A team of expert women are assigned to go on a dangerous and top secret expedition to a location on Earth, called “Area X,” where the laws of nature don't apply.

Every so often a film with capture your attention by being so wonderfully unique and immersive that it takes your breath away.

“Annihilation” is not that movie.

What “Annihilation” is is a rehash of several sci-fi plots where a team of explorers are trapped by “something” unearthly. One by one they are eliminated as the feeling of claustrophobia sets in.

Nothing about this film seems to work, including star, Natalie Portman, trying very hard to put on her best 'hard-as-nails' face. Over all, Portman is oddly out of place and uninteresting.

By the film's end, the story has lost all cohesion, energy and worst of all, the audience's attention.

Annihilation” gets a D and is rated R. 

Game Night
Starring: Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams
Rated R 

A group of friends, who meet regularly for game nights, find themselves trying to solve a real murder mystery.

Game Night” is a wonderfully thrilling comedy with hilarious dialogue and an intricately woven and comically escalating plot. The blending together of a thriller and comedy isn't new, but we have not seen it work this well since “The Man Who Knew to Little.”

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are the best thing about “Game Night,” with their terrific banter, spot on comic timing and perfect chemistry. Bateman and McAdams make it all look so easy.

Although the film has some plot holes, “Game Night” is a laugh-out-loud, edge of your seat movie. It gets a B and is rated R.  

Monday, February 19, 2018

New on Blu-ray & DVD for February 20, 2018 "Daddy's Home 2" and "Same Kind of Different as Me"

Daddy's Home 2
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, John Lithgow and Mel Gibson
Rated PG-13 

In the sequel to “Daddy's Home,” both Brad and Dusty's father's come home for Christmas.

At the center of “Daddy's Home 2” is the different ways of raising children represented by the two visiting dads, played by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow.
Gibson is the tough as nails kind of dad, who believes in letting kids make mistakes and allowing them to become self sufficient and self reliant.

Lithgow is the opposite kind of dad, who over involves himself in every aspect of his kid's life.

“Daddy's Home 2” is a comedy about extremes and actually offers up a few good laughs and some sweet moments.

It gets a B and is rated PG-13

Same Kind of Different as Me
Starring: Greg Kinnear and Renee Zellweger
Rated PG  

International art dealer Ron Hall must befriend a dangerous homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife, a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the journey of their lives.

"Same Kind of Different as Me" is a faith-based film trying much too hard to pull at your heartstrings. The story is a bit too contrived and too preachy to really be enjoyed fully. 

That's not to say its not watchable or unenjoyable, but the film never let's you forget you're watching it and uses every chance it has to make some kind of moralistic point.

If your tastes run to the saccharine and schmaltzy, this is your film. Otherwise it gets a C and is rated PG-13.  

Thursday, February 15, 2018

New in Theaters for February 16, 2018 "Black Panther" and "Early Man"

Early Man
Starring the Voice talents of: Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston
Rated PG 

Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, “Early Man” tells the story of Dug, who must unite his tribe against a mighty enemy to save their home.

Aardman Animation, who gave us “Wallace & Gromit” and “Chicken Run,” falls short of the bar the stop-motion animation company set for itself with “Shaun the Sheep Movie” in 2015. Still, “Early Man” is solid family fare, with plenty of fun, clever jokes and even a prehistoric soccer game teaching kids to never give up at any cost.

In the end, “Early Man” is well worth seeing. It gets a B and is rated PG.

Black Panther
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Andy Serkis and Michael B. Jordan
Rated PG-13 

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T'Challa returns home to his reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country's new leader and as its protector known as Black Panther.

Despite all the hype surrounding the film, “Black Panther” is excessively slow moving, with too many subplots that make the film too confusing to follow.

Chadwick Boseman turns in a solid and heartfelt performance as Marvel's newest superhero to hit the screen. Boesman is extremely watchable in the new role, but it is a leaky and under-written script that ultimately brings “Black Panther” to a crawl.

In the end, “Black Panther” just doesn't have the fierce teeth and strength it needed to become the leader of the Marvel pack.

It gets a C and is rated PG-13.

Monday, February 12, 2018

New on Blu-ray and DVD February 13, 2018 - "Wonder"

Starring: Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson
Rated PG 

New this week on Blu-ray and DVD, “Wonder” tells the incredible true story of August Pullman, a boy with a facial deformity who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.
What could have been an over indulgent and over-the-top family film, turns out to be a very warm and heartfelt compassionate journey that everyone should take.

“Wonder” is a film about overcoming obstacles and finding its what's inside that counts without the usual lecture that many of these films make you sit through.

With it's behind-the-scenes featurettes and other extras, “Wonder” on DVD gets an A and is rated PG.

Monday, February 5, 2018

New on Blu-ray and DVD January 6, 2018 "Bad Mom's Christmas," "Suburbicon" and "Only the Brave"

A Bad Mom's Christmas
Starring: Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell
Rated R 

“A Bad Mom's Christmas” follows our three under-appreciated and overburdened women as they rebel against the challenges and expectations of Christmas. And as if creating a more perfect holiday for their families wasn't hard enough, they must do all of that while hosting and entertaining their own mothers.

“A Bad Mom's Christmas” is not a sappy love letter to the Christmas spirit. What it is, is a tired raunchy comedy that fires the F-word like a Gatling gun and rushes from one poorly set up joke to another.

The film underperforms even when compared to it's original, “Bad Moms” which, when it was released in 2016, I gave it C for trying.

“Bad Mom's Christmas” isn't even trying. For the one or two laughs in the movie I gave it a D.  It's 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.

Starring: Matt Damon and Julianne Moore
Rated R

As a 1950s suburban community self-destructs, a home invasion has sinister consequences for one seemingly normal family.

One of the worst films of 2017.

Confusing, irritating and completely without meaning, "Suburbicon" is a complete waste of time.

It got an F when it opened in theaters and gets an F on DVD and Blu-ray.

Monday, January 22, 2018

New on Blu-ray and DVD for January 23, 2018 "Thank You for Your Service" and "Geostorm"

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 "Geostorm" 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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Thank You for Your Service
Starring: Amy Schumer and Miles Teller
Rated R  

A group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they've left the battlefield.

"Thank You for Your Service" is a look at how war affects our modern soldiers who have returned home and are 
struggling with physical and emotional injuries as well as survivor guilt.

The film focuses on the difficulty of our men and women cutting through the red tape getting treatment and support from the government and family.

The film makes no apologies in conveying the hopelessness of the men and women who on one had we cheer and thank for their time protecting us, and then are abandoned by a system that is hugely inadequate to handle them.

"Thank You for Your Service" deserves a B and is rated R.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

New in Theaters for January 19, 2018 "Forever My Girl" and "12 Strong"

Forever My Girl
Starring: Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe
Rated PG 
After 10 years, a country music star returns to his hometown and the girl he left at the alter.

Although “Forever My Girl” tries to pull at your heartstrings, the ruth is the film just never does much to connect with its audience in a real way. The story along with the acting feel like tired plots from the Lifetime Network or Hallmark Channel.

Nothing in this film is original or riviting.

Pass it by.

“Forever My Girl” gets a D and is rated PG.

12 Strong
Starring: Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon
Rated R 

12 Strong” tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban.

“12 Strong” is a fast-paced action film showcasing the bravery and dedication that is the American Soldier. The story pits our modern fighting men against a ruthless enemy and ups the ante by putting our heroes on horseback to fight a modern war.

However “12 Strong” falls short of its goal by never fully explaining the odds our special forces team were facing, nor did the film build the empathy needed for the audience to fully realize what was at stake.

In essence, although the film gave us tremendously well filmed battle and action scenes, the movie felt dry and detached from the subject matter, leaving the audience in a kind of lukewarm involvement with the plot.

All in all “12 Strong” was entertaining but, unlike the book on which its based, missed the opportunity to really tell this story in a deeper and more moving way.

It gets a C and is rated R.