Friday, November 15, 2019

Weekend Movie Guide

Tom Hanks stars in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood - 4 Stars. Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers befriends cynical journalist Matthew Rhys in a touching "Can you believe this guy?" story.

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's Carroll Shelby & driver Ken Miles pair up to win the Le Mans competition in the 1960s. Matt Damon & Christian Bale, plus great production and an old school script make magic.

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

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.

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 - 2½ Stars. Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen con each other in a creaky, but fun thriller.

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

Scandalous - 2½ Stars. History of the National Enquirer relives the tabloid's "greatest hits."

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-based drama of investigation into American prisoner torture after 9/11. This important investigation makes for a long, talky, often dull movie.

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.

Marriage Story - 1 Star. Actress marries director. They have a child. They grow apart. This is the kind of movie that makes going to the movies a pain in the rear.

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

Charlie's Angels - Do we really need another one of these?

Gemini Man - Saw it the first time.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil - Unnecessary sequel.

Ford v Ferrari Review - 4 Stars

Matt Damon & Christian Bale go full retro as race car designer Carroll Shelby and fearless driver Ken Miles. Hired by Henry Ford II in 1963 to beat Ferrari in the Le Mans endurance test, the team battles nature, mechanics, and company politics. "Ford v Ferrari" offers a wonderful "can-do" fable of hard work and friendship - one of the year's  best. 4 stars, rated PG-13.
"Ford v Ferrari" whips up a standard come-from-behind tale and does it so well, you can't help but enjoy the ride. The story begins as the Ford Motor Corporation accepts Lee Iacocca's hunch that young buyers would respond if Ford competed on the world wide racing stage, specifically the Le Mans endurance race, historically dominated by Ferrari. Matt Damon plays it cool as Carroll Shelby, often caught between his corporate loyalty to Ford, his instincts and his friendship with hotheaded Ken Miles as played by Christian Bale. The two capture a genuine bond on screen. The film gets a boost from Irish actress Caitriona Balfe as Ken Miles' quirky yet supportive wife, and from the unconditional love shown by Noah Jupe as Miles' son Peter. The usual race scenes thrill more than expected, and belongs on your must-see list. "Ford v Ferrari" is one of the years' best.

Marriage Story Review - 1 Star

In "Marriage Story," L.A. actress Scarlett Johansson marries New York theater director Adam Driver. They have a child and grow apart. She likes L.A. and the movie business. He likes New York and theater. Ugh. 1 star, rated "R."
To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca," the problems of two self-centered one percenters don't amount to a hill of beans. Director Noah Baumbach bases this on his own divorce. The result is one of most irritating films... the kind of indie movie that gives movies a bad name.

At the Movies with Arch Campbell & Loo Katz - Podcast #22

At the Movies with Arch Campbell & Loo Katz - Ford v Ferrari & The Good Liar

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Report Review - 1 Star

Charismatic Adam Driver huffs & puffs as U.S. Senate investigator Daniel Jones, who outed the CIA's torture practice after 9/11. "The Report" boils down to a lot of speechifying about these uncomfortable actions. 1 star, rated "R."
Told in the style of "All the President's Men," "The Report" resorts to furrowed eyebrows from Annette Bening as Senator Dianne Feinstein, and passionate speechifying by Adam Driver, as U.S. Senate investigator Daniel Jones. In spite of the importance of Jones' findings and the issues presented, 'The Report" feels long and dull. A fine cast includes Jon Hamm, Ted Levine, Matthew Rhys, Tim Blake Nelson and even Sarah Goldberg (from "Barry.") Unfortunately, they can't save the overly talky script.