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.

Monday, January 15, 2018

New on Blu-ray & DVD for January 16, 2018 "The Snowman," "Happy Death Day" and "Blade Runner 2049"

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.

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.

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. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

New on Blu-ray and DVD for January 9, 2018 "It" and "The Foreigner"

Starring: Bill Skarsgard and Finn Wolfhard
Rated R
In the film, based on the Steven King novel, seven kids are united by their terrifying and strange encounters with an evil clown and the history of brutal murders plaguing their small town.

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this new cinematic version of Steven King's “It” with real anticipation. I am a fan of King's writing and I do know that King does not translate well to the big screen. In fact, I will go out on a limb and say the best adaptation of a King novel to film is “The Shawshank Redemption.”

That being said, the latest adaptation of Steven King's “It” is not a scary film as much at it just creepy. The main antagonist, 'Pennywise the Clown,' isn't foreboding enough and although the film offers up some moments that will make you jump, it isn't enough.

Add that to the identity crisis “It” suffers from, as the film seems to not know if its a scary film, a comedy, a coming-of-age story or a kid's adventure movie, and you have a bit of a diluted mess.

“It” just doesn't have 'IT.'

It gets a C and is rated R.

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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 arts 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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