One of the main reasons to see Allied is the revelation that Brad Pitt is absolutely gorgeous in vintage 1940’s apparel. He is a dream walking in gabardine and bears more than a slight resemblance to Clark Gable. But sadly, without Gable’s charm! For whatever reason, Brad’s character is stiff and humorless. It’s an old-fashioned love story set during WWII, but while Marion Cotillard’s character is radiant and fun, Brad’s spy character almost never smiles. It’s a beautiful to look at tragic love story, but we never shed a tear. Something was missing…
Photo Credit: Pacific Coast News
The holidays always bring out the best of the movies and this season is a bonanza. Our favorite holiday movie so far is Hidden Figures. It’s the true story of three brilliant black female friends and their amazing – and unheralded – contributions to the NASA Space Race. Taraji P Henson plays a mathematics genius turned physicist and space scientist whose calculations helped John Glenn orbit the earth and return safely. Octavia Spencer plays a forward-thinking computer programmer who worked on the IBM original, and Janelle Monae’s character fought prejudice to earn a degree in engineering. Most of all, this film shows what life was like in the business/government world in Virginia in the 60’s. Women were treated badly and black women faced unimaginable situations, the least of which was bathrooms labeled White Only. White male superiority prevailed and shameful treatment of everyone else was tolerated. Despite the subject, this film is funny and sweet and romantic – entertaining AND important.
We told you about this film before and this is a reminder that DANNY SAYS opens in Los Angeles this Friday, September 30th at the Sundance Sunset Cinemas in West Hollywood and will also be available on Amazon Video, and VOD.
This movie, Danny Says, is so much fun we didn’t want it to end. If you are fascinated by the revolution of pop culture in New York in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, (or if you were THERE) you’re gonna LOVE this film! Danny Fields was a Harvard educated wannabe hipster who landed in the Village in the 60′s and started writing for Datebook – a teen music oriented magazine. He hung out at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s and was thrust into the world of The Beatles, Warhol and The Stooges. He developed a crush on Jim Morrison and declared himself press agent to the up-and-coming Doors, thus opening up new career opportunities. Danny is loaded with hilarious anecdotes – many involving drugs – and comments about the celebs he encountered. He landed a job with Electra Records sniffing for new talent and the crazier they were, the more Danny loved them. Interviews with Danny’s acquaintances and musicians (like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed) add to the humor. Eventually Fields discovered and promoted The Ramones, who wrote the song “Danny Says” – hence the title. This film presents an insiders comical view of a great time in history – we can’t say enough good things about it.
Hell or High Water is a classic American movie that we can all be proud of. It’s far better than we could have imagined. And this is coming from a WOMAN sick to death of all-male violent movies! But, good is good. How often do you find a brilliant and sensitive script combined with exquisite photography and perfectly cast actors? Who knew Star Trek robot Chris Pine was such a touching and appealing actor! He finally got the role that will change his career. His relationship with his bat-crazy brother, played skillfully by Ben Foster, is what life is all about. Even if this movie doesn’t appeal to you on paper – give it a chance. You won’t be sorry.
To be honest we get a little tired of seeing movies about BOYS, but this one is special in a lot of ways. Mid-summer is when many movie-goers grow weary of the abundance of mindless action and super-hero movies. So this film, full of tender feelings, is a delight. It’s much like real-life – sometimes happy or problematic, and sometimes sad. The friendship that develops between two awkward boys from opposite upbringings in New York is touching and sweet. Their parents problems are all too real. But life goes on. And this movie is well worth the price of admission.
Through no fault of the actors, Star Trek Beyond is a huge embarrassment to the TV series and films that preceded it. It’s so amateurish from the start that we imagined a couple of 19 years old guys smoking weed and dashing off the script in a weekend – and being proud of it. Along with the awful script was a total lack of decent production values. Much of the movie is dark and blurry and tinted blue. The Entreprise crew is still wearing those polyester shirts that zip in the back, and women in space wore MINISKIRTS AND BOOTS! It takes place hundreds of years in the FUTURE, but there are no delightful new inventions or advancements to marvel at. Apparently the two stoned scriptwriters we imagined writing this plotless nightmare decided that special effects of explosive space battles would thrill viewers. We couldn’t get out of the movie theater fast enough.
If the movie title “Captain Fantastic” repels you, you are not alone. We imagined another one of THOSE superhero movies and almost skipped seeing it. That would have been a HUGE loss. The story summation – about a father raising and teaching his six kids to live off the grid in the remote Pacific Northwest, isn’t all that inviting either, but the film is EXCEPTIONAL. It’s a well-written family drama with humor and abundant life lessons. Inevitably the family clashes with the real world and everyone comes out wiser. Fans of Viggo Mortensen are in for a real treat – he’s never been better as the self-reliant dad. This movie is hard not to like.
Les Cowboys is the kind of epic sweeping drama that Hollywood used to make fifty years ago, but has long since been replaced by special effects action movies. It is ASTONISHING. The opening scene was mind-boggling because it revealed a down-home cowboy get-together with country singing and two-step dancing – you’d think you were in Texas,the but this was actually the French countryside. There ARE French people who love American cowboy customs and music. (News to us!) The story does begin like the movie The Searchers with a missing 16 year old daughter and a father in hot pursuit. But this daughter has run off with her Arabic boyfriend to convert to Islam and start a new life. The search leads the father and his son through Europe and the Middle East with many incredible adventures and lessons in humanity. If you love engrossing stories and experiencing varied cultures- don’t miss this film. It is almost indescribably special – and unforgettable.
The animals in Disney’s latest version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book are as realistic as they are incredibly appealing. Especially the wolf pack. Kids will learn to appreciate and respect the computer generated jungle creatures (including armadillos) who all have their own amusing personalities. (And, of course, there are a few lessons to be learned.) The director, Jon Favreau, had a hard time finding the right boy to play Mowgli – he auditioned thousands of kids before he found New Yorker Neel Sethi and he’s absolutely perfect. The only drawback to this exquisite film is the violence. It’s a shame to see kids get accustomed to and NEED violence to hold their attention. Sensitive children under 10 might get quite upset. Sometimes we long for the old Disney films that relied on stories rather than conflict. But overall, this movie is a delicious experience.
Above, Jon Favreau and Neel Sethi at the Paris premier
Photo Credit: AKM-GSI
If you happen to love smart science fiction thrillers – RUN, DO NOT WALK to the nearest theater to see 10 Cloverfield Lane. And DO NOT read a word about it before you see it! We will not reveal any spoilers here because that would be a crime. The less you know about this movie the more you will enjoy it! What we CAN say is that it is full of surprises and a few real shockeroos. For once, a sci-fi movie that isn’t loaded with clichés. It is a perfectly cast, cleverly written gem. Take our word for it, you are going to LOVE this unexpectedly original movie!