Monday, November 11, 2019

Weekend Movie Guide

Joe Pesci & Robert De Niro (r) star in The Irishman

The Irishman - 4 Stars. Martin Scorsese's old school mob epic, (3½ hours) with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. What more do you want?

Ford v Ferrari - 4 Stars.  Ford Motor Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles to win the Le Mans competition in the 1960s.  Matt Damon and Christain Bale plus great production and an old school script make magic.   

Apollo 11 - 3½ Stars. Amazing footage of the amazing feat.

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice - 3½ Stars. Linda Ronstadt's career, revisited with the sad coda of her losing her voice.

Parasite - 3½ Stars. Korean comedy/horror thriller. Lower class family worms their way into a 1% family. Then fun begins, including a couple of off-the-rails twists.

Jojo Rabbit - 3½ Stars. A young German boy conjures Hitler as his imaginary friend during World War II. Great acting. Threads the needle between comedy and tragedy.

Downton Abbey - 3 Stars. Just what fans of the series ordered.

Judy - 3 Stars. RenĂ©e Zellweger's amazing performance of the last, sad year of Judy Garland's life.

Harriet - 3 Stars. A thrilling performance from Cynthia Erivo (as emancipator Harriet Tubman) makes this creative biography live.

Doctor Sleep - 3 Stars. This sequel to "The Shining" will keep you awake nights. A genuine chiller.

Ad Astra - 3 Stars. Brad Pitt as a son searching the universe for his father. Stunningly beautiful, even when it sputters at the end.

The Good Liar - 2 1/2 Stars.  Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen con each other in a creaky but fun thriller.

The Current War - 2½ Stars. Edison versus Westinghouse for electricity supremacy. Tesla, too. History made interesting, almost.

Dolemite Is My Name - 2½ Stars. Eddie Murphy pays tribute to comic Rudy Ray Moore's midnight movies about the outrageous character Dolemite.

Zombieland: Double Tap - 2 Stars. More zombie killing adventures with Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin... Oh! and also Bill Murray.

The Report - 1 Star.  Fact base drama of investigation into American prisoner torture after 9/11.  This important investigation makes for a long talky often dull movie.

Frankie - 1 Star. Family reunion in Portugal includes slow, but familiar romance, divorce, and end-of-life musings.

It Chapter Two - 1 Star. Overlong, overstuffed disappointment, in spite of a good cast.

Motherless Brooklyn - 1 Star. Edward Norton as an underworld character desperately trying to solve the murder of his boss. Long, confusing, derivative, and unsatisfying.

Midway - 1 Star. Cliche-ridden World War II drama includes phony looking computer graphic air and sea fights.

Didn't See it, Don't Wanna See itIn honor of my increasing grumpiness toward the new world of movies...

Terminator: Dark Fate - Enough already.

Gemini Man - Saw it the first time.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil - Unnecessary sequel.

Friday, November 8, 2019

At the Movies with Arch Campbell & Loo Katz - Podcast #21

At the Movies with Arch Campbell & Loo Katz - The Irishman & Doctor Sleep

The Irishman Review - 4 Stars

Martin Scorsese assembles his dream team (Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci) for the ultimate mob epic. De Niro plays Frank Sheeran, a union truck driver, whose friendship with mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) introduces him to organized crime's inner circle and Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino.) 4 stars, R-rated and brilliant.
Scorsese takes his time showcasing the arc of mobster Robert Di Niro's life. A union truck driver, De Niro locks back on the lucky breaks of his life, including his friendship with mob boss Joe Pesci, who's impressed that De Niro mastered fluent Italian during World War II. Even though he's Irish, Pesci accepts De Niro into the inner circle and connects him to Jimmy Hoffa, as played by Al Pacino. "The Irishman" has a theory about Hoffa's disappearance, which it shows to great shock. Pesci and Pacino chew the scenery. De Niro stays quiet, following orders and avoiding guilt to the end of his days. Or does he? "The Irishman" has great acting, wonderful scenes, a marvelous set piece about a road trip in a Lincoln, a compelling story, and an intriguing take. I rate it right up there with "Goodfellas" and "The Godfather."

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Midway Review - 1 Star

"Midway" tries (and fails) to recreate the great war films of the past with cliched dialog and fake computer graphics. 1 star, rated"PG-13."
"Midway" recreates the battle of Midway in 1942, considered one of the turning points of the World War II's Pacific campaign. "Midway" feels like a 1950s John Wayne war movie. The script serves up the cliches of those earlier films. Computer graphics recreate the battles, starting with the Pearl Harbor attack, and moving to the main event. CGI enhances some stories; but in this case, they make the battles look like cartoons. A parade of older actors spout the clunky dialog, including Woody Harrelson as Admiral Nimitz, Dennis Quaid, as Vice Admiral "Bull" Halsey, Aaron Eckhart as Lt. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and Patrick Wilson as Naval Intelligence office Edwin Layton, the little guy who speaks truth to power. "Midway" feels long and disappointing.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Doctor Sleep Review - 3 Stars

Doctor Sleep invites Stephen King fans, as well as lovers of "The Shining" for a greatest hits grown-up return to the Overlook Hotel. The new storylines have the bite of the original "Nightmare on Elm Street." Horror fans delight: This is the real deal. 3 stars, rated "R."
"Doctor Sleep" will disturb your sleep, thanks to a visually chilling sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 1980 classic "The Shining." Ewan McGregor stars as Danny Torrance, the kid traumatized in the Overlook Hotel almost 40 years ago. A struggling adult, he turns to alcohol, drugs, and violence. The move to a small New Hampshire town connects him to A.A. and a mentor played by Cliff Curtis. A job in hospice puts his "Shine" (which I understand as the ability to communicate with the world beyond ours) to good use. The adult Danny's story intersects Rebecca Ferguson as the leader of the cult "True Knot," a group that lives off the pain and suffering of others, including small children. Kyliegh Curran plays Abra, whose shine powerfully connects her to both McGregor and the cult. The finale brings the threads to the Overlook Hotel from Kubrick's classic. I'm not a horror fan, but "Doctor Sleep" drips with mythology and shocking twists. Fans of "The Shining" get a glimpse of a few of the classic's greatest scenes and even a taste of "Here's Johnny!" Steven King fans will love it: They don't sleep much anyway.