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Showing posts from September, 2019

The Goldfinch

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky... Oh, wait, I have to save that for the upcoming  Adam’s Family  movie. Ok, they’re rich and sadly boring, they live in New York, intellectually walled off from each other, and this doesn’t rhyme. Once again, I was led to believe a movie is about something entirely different than how it’s portrayed in a trailer.  The Goldfinch  looked to be an exciting whodunit about a terrorist event and a stolen masterpiece. While there was an unexplained explosion, and a 1654 painting goes missing, the entire middle of the movie drags on about a grieving boy coming of age among seriously broken people. For the record, I looked up the painting. The Goldfinch is a 1654 work by Carel Fabritius of a chained goldfinch. It is a 13 by 9 inch oil painting that belongs to a collection in The Hague, Netherlands. I did not read the Pulitzer Prize winning book from which this movie originated, but have read that this interpretation is a disap

Ad Astra

A personal disclaimer: I liked  Star Trek The Motion Picture ,  Dune ,  2001: A Space Odyssey  and  Alien . I did not like  Star Wars  the first time I saw it, mostly because I expected something more cerebral. The bar scene full of goofy aliens, which most people LOVE, seemed silly to me. I was looking forward to  Ad Astra , based solely on the trailers we’ve seen for a couple of months. It looked thoughtful, exciting and spectacularly imagined. And in fact, it was very thoughtful and visually stunning. So why did I come away somewhat disappointed? The film is set “in the near future” according to opening titles. How near is subject to speculation, since a vast metropolis exists on the Moon, commercial space transportation has become routine, and a subterranean government base is established on Mars. Visitors on the Moon move via escalators past a DHL shipping outlet and Subway sandwich store. It looks much like a large airport does today. This is the stuff of 100 to 300 years

Brittany Runs a Marathon

If you’ve ever needed to lose a few pounds, wanted to get in shape or had friends who let you down,  Brittany Runs a Marathon  will be a relatable, possibly cringe-worthy two hours that either makes you want to go work out or visit the concession stand so you can eat your feelings. If you’ve ever successfully reinvented yourself, you’ve recognized the changes that happen all around you, and realize that the things most worth changing aren’t on the outside. The person you need to be and love is, well, you. Jillian Bell plays Brittany, a fun-loving underachiever whose roommate and best friend is at her best when Brittany is at her worst. Success for Brittany is a direct threat to Gretchen’s (Alice Lee) drug-pushing, alcohol bingeing, outer physical perfection. When she engages in physical activity she "loses too much weight." Really? She’s not much of a friend at all, which becomes apparent when Brittany begins to pay attention to herself instead of Gretchen. Most doct

Overcomer

My first thought when we considered going to see this movie was, “What a dumb title,” and I still think they could have come up with something more grammatically clever. With a cast full of unknowns and a budget of only five millions dollars, I longed for a sports-related movie similar to 1979’s  Breaking Away , a feel good sleeper that inspired and excited with half the budget. What isn’t apparent, either in the trailer or until about half way through this film is that the production company, Affirm Films, makes movies that appeal to Evangelical Christians. The religious tone of the film was kept under wraps until the plot needed the help of a higher power to succeed. At that point, the spiritual message becomes very heavy handed and I felt that the movie could be used in a confirmation class or Sunday school. They say that God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. So, I guess when a local employer shuts their doors, resulting in the school basketball team being depleted

It Chapter 2

"How long IS this movie?" my wife whispered in my ear. “Eight hours,” I replied, having reached a point where I wondered similarly. If you’ve read much Steven King, you know he can write long stories. 1990’s  The Stand  was 1152 pages in hardcover. 2017’s  It tops that slightly at 1168. So, what do you cut out of ponderous tomes like these to fit them into a two-hour movie? Apparently, not much. Even Steven King himself appeared in a speaking part during  It Chapter 2 . It was lengthy for a cameo, not like Alfred Hitchcock silently lurking in the background. But King is creepy enough looking to do a spot-on job of playing a creepy storeowner. We watched  It Chapter 1  the night before seeing the sequel. We felt it was important to understand what was going on 27 years earlier, which is the setup for this encounter with Pennywise, the insane clown monster and title character. And as expected, they shot a lot of extra footage during the filming of the first movie in

Bennett’s War

We are clearly scraping the bottom of the available movie barrel thanks to our Regal Unlimited Movie Pass. This is not a film we ever would have paid to see, nor is it one that I’ll recommend. Not being awful is not the same as being good. You know you’re on the margins of the film industry when Trace Adkins has the longest acting portfolio among the cast members. Here he plays a tough guy (of course) farmer named Cal Bennett, father of the main character Marshall. He has a ponytail and a failing farm. He needs money to keep things going. Marshall Bennett (Michael Roark) is a motorcycle commando, blown up in the Mideast and recovering from leg injuries that threaten to end his Motocross career. His wife Sophie (Allison Paige) is going to make sure of that. After all, she almost lost him once and they have a new baby. A series of scenes show friends and family hovering over Marshall out of concern for his recovery, but effectively preventing him from reclaiming his dignity. And

Toy Story 4

It’s hard to believe that Andy headed off to college in  Toy Story 3  nine years ago. By now he might have completed his Doctorate. Harder yet is realizing that the  Toy Story  franchise has been with us for twenty-four years. Many of us have children who grew up with this cast of characters, headed off to college, and perhaps had children with their own favorite toys. If you’ve been to Orlando’s Disney World since June of 2018, you’ve most likely been caught up in the maddening crush known as Toy Story Land. Created to the usual irresistibly colorful and immersive standards we’ve come to expect, you’ll want to ride the Slinky-Dog Coaster, pose alongside Buzz Lightyear with the kids and then run screaming in another direction after the giant Tinker-Toys and crowds of families with kids become too much. But at the movies it’s like a trip back in time. After all, while we’ve been relentlessly aging, our extended family of characters have remained frozen in 1995, when the original