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Showing posts from January, 2020


If Robert Downey Jr. was concerned about being typecast as Tony Stark following eleven appearances in various  Ironman  and  Avengers  roles for Marvel Studios, this film serves as a much needed break, putting a fresh new face on a role Eddie Murphy and Rex Harrison played in 1998 and 1967 respectively. In fact, Downey was Executive Producer for this production, which may speak to his desire for a different creative challenge. It is the most un- Ironman  acting imaginable. The star’s Team Downey production company produced this very expensive film. Take equal parts of Willy Wonka, Captain Nemo and Captain Jack Sparrow, and you have the look and feel of Doctor John Dolittle as he is very reluctantly pried from his animal sanctuary in search of the “Eden Tree” to cure the ailing Victoria, queen of England. Heartbreak over the death of his beloved wife and partner in adventure has forced him into a life of solitude with only his animal associates to converse with, in true Doctor Do

Like a Boss

I laughed a few times during this short, contrived comedy, but mostly at bits I’d already seen in the trailer. And the trailer actually managed to stitch the funny lines together better than the resulting film. Most of the modest hilarity was due to executive producer Tiffany Haddish, whose antics on screen are starting to get old. Still, her overly candid, got-attitude style works more often than not and is still preferable to her serious side, as seen in 2019’s  The Kitchen. Here we have Mia and Mel, played by Haddish and Rose Byrne or is it the other way around? It doesn’t matter. They are lifelong entrepreneurial friends who have started a struggling beauty business with two quirky pals. They are $493,000 in debt by the time they are discovered by the exotic Claire Luna, played to a Jessica Rabbit-esque extreme by Salma Hayek, who proudly proclaims, “My head is not little, it’s just that my breasts are humongous.” She proposes bailing the duo out of debt and investing heavily


If creepiness were condensation, you’d need an umbrella to view  Bombshell , the story of the fall of Fox News’s chief architect Roger Ailes. Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, you’ve been educated on the #MeToo movement during the evening news. This movie portrays one outrageous example of male power used to exploit women in the workplace. Of course, this workplace is known to be a cutthroat environment where integrity can be in sparse supply and good looks get you a seat at the on-air table where we all dine on the latest news and gossip. And in this particular setting you wear shorter skirts or are labeled a man-hater. Or both. “Legs - that’s why the desks are glass.” Nicole Kidman plays Gretchen Ryan, the Stanford and Oxford educated 1989 Miss America who took a seat on  Fox & Friends  between Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, two drunk-uncle-cavemen Fox shills whose banter was frequently inappropriate and often cringe worthy. Carlson seemed to be a willing partic


We have now seen the best movie of the year. It is April 6, 1917. The “War to end all wars” will rage on until the Treaty of Versailles is signed on November 11, 1918. Armistice Day commemorated that event until it was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. This is a uniquely effective, immersive film, due to being filmed in a continuous single camera shot (technically, listed as edited to appear as one shot). Only at one point at about the mid point did the screen go black, allowing for a reset, but then continued on in single camera fashion to the end. The difficulty of doing this, both from a cinematography perspective, performance by the actors, staging, lighting and set construction are hard to conceive, but Sam Mendes pulled it all together in the best war movie since  Saving Private Ryan .  And perhaps this could have been called  Saving Lieutenant Blake . 1917  was filmed in the UK on April 1, 2019. Imagine rehearsing the entire two hour journey of two young British soldiers

Uncut Gems

Sometimes I have to take a step back and differentiate between the quality and effectiveness of a film versus my enjoyment at its showing. If you enjoy being jostled in a noisy crowd at a filthy amusement park, and being thrilled at riding a rickety roller coaster with a history of safety issues and sharing your car with drunken thugs, then  Uncut Gems  may be your ticket. It is well done, but hard to watch. Adam Sandler, the star of this show, is at his Jewish best, but not the lighthearted Saturday Night Live version, singing  The Chanukah Song . This is a portrayal of a gambling-addicted New York Diamond District purveyor of gems and collector of sports memorabilia working to stay ahead of his own tidal wave of self-destruction. The addict’s delusion – just one more big score – propels him through layer upon layer of a money-fueled onion of Ponzi schemes built around the hope of auctioning an uncut 3000 carat stone for over a million dollars. Sandler, playing Howard Ratner,