Sunday, September 15, 2019

Weekend Movie Guide

Linda Ronstadt stars in Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - 4 Stars. Quentin Tarantino pays hilarious tribute to 1969 Hollywood. Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio at their buddy movie best.

The Farewell - 3½ Stars. Awkwafina returns to China to say goodbye to her terminal grandmother.  Funny, sad, and surprising.

Blinded by the Light - 3½ Stars. A young immigrant finds his creative calling with the help of Bruce Springsteen's music.

Yesterday - 3½ Stars. Himesh Patel as a struggling songwriter in a world where no one remembers The Beatles. Comedy mixes with science fiction and romance, just for fun.

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.

Ready or Not - 3 Stars. Samara Weaving must survive a wedding night game of hide-and-seek with her snooty, new in-laws. Talk about class warfare. "R" rated violent comedy horror delight.

Spider-Man: Far From Home - 3 Stars. Further adventures of the Marvel Universe. Kudos to Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya and Samuel L. Jackson and a creative plot.

Toy Story 4 - 3 Stars. More adventures of the gang we loved, in the almost 25-year-old original.

The Peanut Butter Falcon - 2½ Stars. Down syndrome actor Zack Gottsagen debuts in a "Huck Finn" style adventure.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - 2 Stars. I hear the book's terrific. Skip the movie, read the book.

Aladdin - 2 Stars. Will Smith tries hard to recreate Robin Williams' iconic role in this live-action remake of the animated classic. The cartoon was fun: This remake feels like work.

Hustlers - 2 Stars. Jennifer Lopez hopes to hustle a best actress award as a stripper leading a glamorous gang who drug and rob their Wall Street clients.

The Goldfinch - 1 Star. Overstuffed epic with an all-star cast runs about an hour too long.

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

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

Angel Has Fallen - What, again?

Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw - I saw the first eight.

The Lion King - Back for more cash.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Hustlers Review - 2 Stars

Jennifer Lopez hopes to hustle her way to a best actress award as a stripper/lap dancer who leads a glamorous gang in drugging and robbing their clients. This flashy answer to "The Wolf of Wall Street" avoids moral questions. Rated "R," 2 stars.
Jennifer Lopez kicks off "Hustlers" with an eye popping pole dance, showing off her muscles and athletic ability. Her opening scene warns viewers not to expect much erotism in this crime caper. As Ramona, J-Lo rules the strip club, and knows how to make her clients pay. Wide-eyed newcomer Constance Wu (as Destiny) arrives, asking Ramona for help. A sisterhood develops. After the crash of 2008, Ramona creates a new scheme, drugging and robbing their rich clients. "Hustlers" becomes a feminine version of "The Wolf of Wall Street." It avoids depth, unless you're willing to believe  drugging and robbing a jerk businessman is empowering.  J-Lo and "Hustlers" has a message for America: The world is a strip club. She might hustle an invite to the Oscars with this one, but I'm mixed on it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Goldfinch Review - 1 Star

"The Goldfinch" adapts another phone book-sized novel to the screen. The film looks beautiful and works for a time, until the complicated plot serves up one coincidence too many, and made me check my watch and shift in my seat. An all-star cast led by Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman can't quite pull this off. 1 star.
The trailer for "The Goldfinch" made me want to see this film. A young boy and his mother stroll through the Metropolitan museum. A bomb explodes. The boy's mother dies. An old man hands him a ring. The boy takes a painting out of the rubble. This begins an epic journey from the arms of Nicole Kidman's kind New York City family to his abusive father in the Las Vegas desert,
and returns him to New York to antique restorer Jeffrey Wright. The complicated plots works well enough, until a twist or two feels too contrived. The sets looks posh. The acting is fine. The cast, superb. After a while "the goldfinch" collapses under all of this heavy weight.

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice Review - 3½ Stars

"Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice" revisits the talented singer's career, that seems more poignant, considering age and sickness have taken her voice. 3½ stars.
The documentary is part of the run up to Ronstadt receiving the Kennedy Center honor later this year. Based on her recent memoir, the film includes comments from Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt, as well as Jackson Browne. She grew up outside Tucson, Arizona on the border with Mexico. The film highlights her Mexican roots, and career choices that included operetta and golden age standards. I loved every minute of this.