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Showing posts from January, 2019

Vic’s Flix Movie Review: On The Basis of Sex

As prominently displayed on screen during a recent viewing of  On The Basis of Sex , the year is 1956 when Ruth Ginsberg enters Harvard law school, one of nine women allowed to do so in a class of 500 men. And “allowed” pretty much captures the sentiment of the men in charge in that dark time. It was also the year I turned two, so I find it amazing that I grew up completely immersed in a culture of unenlightened people and archaic laws. I thought the 1960s were pretty cool. Guess not. Flash forward to 1970, and several other dates along the way. I have a problem with stop action cinematic history, especially when filmmakers can only explain a timeline with titles on screen. It results in a film that lacks nuance, desperately seeking anecdotal highlights in a person’s life to develop a story. But this is quite a story. Although women won the right to vote in 1920, the Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in 1971 was never ratified by enough states to become a constitutional

Vic’s Flix Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns

I honestly wasn’t looking forward to seeing  Mary Poppins Returns . But now that I have, I almost feel as if I need to see the original again to review it fairly, given that I haven’t seen it in 55 years. But this is not a remake, after all. It’s the  return  of Mary Poppins, so it needs to stand on its own. And as I watched, I found that somewhat ancient memories leaped to the forefront of my mind like Lin-Manuel Miranda jumping from a ladder onto a cobblestone street. When Disney gets it right, it’s as if they step into a time machine with all of the available current talent and technology and take a trip to the past. First, they made a stop in 1964, capturing the essence of the original film, then they took a trip to depression era London in 1910 to film live action. But of course, they didn’t, and I would love to hear the pitch some visionary made to suggest they make this movie. Is Mary Poppins still relevant in an era like ours, where special effects require that things bl

Vic’s Flix Movie Review: The Mule

Massive spoiler alert: I’m going to reveal most of the content of  The Mule , so you don’t have to sit through it yourself. It’s not horrible, but I turned to my wife half way through the film and whispered, “This movie is stupid!” That said, I really like Clint Eastwood movies. At least, I used to. But imagine if your favorite professional baseball player was allowed to continue running the bases well into his 80s. At 88 years of age, Clint continues to produce, direct and star in movies that draw crowds primarily because of his legendary career and star power. He still has that “Do I feel lucky?” attitude he became famous for in 1971’s  Dirty Harry , his perennial scowl and chiseled good looks, even with wrinkles and thinning white hair. But he’s almost become a parody of himself, and I think he realizes it. It’s a shame, because he’s directed many fine movies, starred in countless classics, and is responsible for several iconic sayings, not the least of which is, “Go ahead, ma

Vic’s Flix Movie Review: Vice

Our viewing of the movie  Vice  left us with a coating of slime on our senses that showering couldn’t resolve. After leaving the theater we vocalized our intent to see an uplifting movie or two to nullify the experience. Fortunately,  The Upside  cleansed our palates for the next disturbing feature, to be determined. When you watch a documentary about events that happened during your lifetime, you find yourself frequently thinking, “Oh yeah, I remember that.” Just not in this kind of detail, or with blanks filled in from multiple perspectives. I can only wonder how younger viewers will respond to this film. For instance, I worked in a hospital lab during the early 1980s, a time that saw the introduction of Ronald Reagan’s DRGs (diagnosis related groups) that broadly impacted the way hospitals billed for services, and how insurance companies coded and approved payments. It was a big change that eventually trickled down to those of us working day to day in health care. It raised a

Vic’s Flix Movie Review: Beautiful Boy

Steve Carell has been a busy guy. We’ve seen three movies in the past several weeks in which he stars or costars, to great effect.  Welcome to MarWen ,  Vice  and  Beautiful Boy , were all released in 2018. His deep dive into dramatic acting since  The Office  proves once again that comedians are often driven by a reservoir of darker, inner resources they call upon when they drop their comedic masks. The first film I recall being impressed by was  Foxcatcher , a 2014 release that chronicled John Du Pont’s descent into madness. Carell has an uncanny ability to capture cringe-invoking behaviors with a broad portfolio of facial gestures and body language. He leveraged this skill to the utmost in  The Office . That outlet provided cringes on steroids, and the show was never the same without him. How many of us have ever said, “That’s what she said” with the enthusiasm, joy and quick-wittedness of Michael Scott? But this is not just a tribute to the leading man in Beautiful Boy. In

Vic's Flix Movie Review: The Upside

I’ll be sensitive to the need for spoiler alerts in this review since  The Upside  made its debut in theaters very recently. I won’t reveal anything that isn’t in the trailer. First, a word about trailers. So many previews of late reveal so much about the plot of the movies being promoted, along with key lines and funniest gags that it isn’t really necessary to see the full length feature. I worried that this trailer might suffer from yet another case of broadcasting the punch lines. Not so with  The Upside . It’s been years since I’ve heard an audience respond to a film so boisterously, heartily laughing out loud to the point at which other lines are so obscured I may need to see the movie a second time. In an era when the acronym LOL is so ubiquitous as to be annoying, you’ll find yourself literally laughing out loud. The odd couple starring in this film – Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart – work surprisingly well as a comic duo. Even Nicole Kidman seems to enjoy subjugating her

Vic’s Flix Movie Review: Aquaman

When a movie is projected to earn over a billions dollars worldwide, your expectations tend to be high, and we couldn’t wait to see this movie. Previews were enticingly played for months ahead of release, promising a winner for DC films at a time when Marvel is cranking out mega-successes faster than can be consumed by mere mortals. And a winner it is, as decided by votes cast in currency. But mere mortals we are. We cannot breathe under water, deflect bullets or battle sea creatures as can Aquaman. Neither can we constantly crack jokes that hit their target. But wait, neither can Aquaman. His best lines were used in the trailer. Many others fall flat. This was a long movie. There is an entire subplot with a character known as the Black Manta that begins early in the film and evolves into a ridiculous and unnecessary diversion from whatever story you choose to follow. I suspect that DC is trying to launch a universe of future hits from a cobbled together amalgam of origin stor

Vic’s Flix Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

Every so often a music genre biopic comes along that leaves you feeling remorseful when you leave the theater. The feeling isn’t one of disappointment in a poor film, but rather the realization that something amazing happened in the world during your lifetime, and you either missed it completely or were only marginally aware of what many others relished in real time. For example, perhaps you also drove by the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco as I did during the "Summer of Love" in 1967, blissfully unaware of the cultural significance of the location, and wondering aloud, “Is that a Hippie, Mom?” Yeah, and I could have gone to Woodstock too if I was a couple of years older. So, I have to consider the era of Queen as portrayed in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody as one of those experiences. I was never much of a Queen fan, but it was hard to miss their stadium rocking, anthem-stomping presence in the 1970s and 80s. My all time favorite Queen song is “39.” I co