Ocean’s 8 (2018)

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Ocean’s 8 is an American heist comedy film directed by Gary Ross. The film is both a continuation and a spin off from Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy. It stars Mindy Kaling, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Awkwafina. The movie follows a group of women lead by Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny Ocean, who plan a complex heist of the Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

This film with its A-List cast, all of whom have either been nominated for or won awards, or both, you’d think this film would be great, but it’s only good, not great, yet fairly entertaining. It is no where near as good as Soderbergh’s trilogy, but combined with the 2001 Ocean’s 11, it is better than the 1960 original O’s 11. 8 is pretty funny at times and every actress is really good, except Rihanna, who to me, should just stick to music and dancing because she’s better (great) at that.

Although this film does have many laugh out loud and some cheesy moments, it also has lots of  vulgar ones too, that make it tasteless at those times. This could really do without all the vulgarity. This film takes adult humor a bit too far. There is also a good bit viloence and after several of those scenes, there is comedy, which is offensive, because violence is not funny. The violent humor isn’t slapstick like The Three Stooges, but that’s usually what you get from a comedy heist movie.

The acting isn’t outstanding from any of the leading ladies, but that is because of their characters and the way the film is written and directed, so this most likely won’t be receiving any Golden Globes or Oscars. Overall, this film is pretty entertaining and funny, but nothing spectacular, not that I was expecting it to be, but I did expect it to be at least a little better. This was a bit of a let down for the most part. Not great, not awful, just okay. 13+ 3/5

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Classic of the Week: Paper Moon (1973)

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Paper Moon is a 1973 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and stars Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal, Madeline Kahn and John Hillerman. It is shot in black and white and is set in Kansas and Missouri during the Great Depression and is about a con man named Moses (Moze) Pray meeting 9 year old Addie Loggins at her mother’s funeral, where the neighbors believe he is Addie’s father.

This is a very unique film. It is entirely without color, making it seem a lot older than 1973. This isn’t completely exciting film, but it’s not completely boring either. A lot of this movie takes place on the road with Addie (Tatum) and Moze (Ryan) selling bibles door to door and with Trixie Delight, an exotic dancer and her destitute African American maid Imogen. The relationship between Moze and Addie is mostly harsh, both are demanding, hardheaded and enjoy bossing each other around.

Addie is not a typical 9 year old girl living in the Great Depression. She is clamorous, a tomboy, foul mouthed, picky, sneaky and a smoker. She would rather dress in overalls or jeans, than dresses and bows, even though Moze and Trixie force her into them. She does learn to appreciate girly clothes towards the end of the film.

The father and daughter duo Ryan and Tatum O’Neal and Madeline Kahn are all three equally outstanding in their roles. They portray their characters perfectly. The film is well directed and well written, taking you back to poor small town south during the GD. You learn how people struggled to make money and live.

This film has lots of anger, sadness and struggles, but also some humor. Most of the film is outdoors, traveling in southern small towns, mostly farming towns and that scenery, though black and white, is still beautiful.

This one of a kind film is a true work of art, a masterpiece in cinema that will still be cherished (like it was then) for decades more. Not many films come even close to being as original and artistic as this one. This is not a family film, it involves fighting, sex and a spoiled, smart mouthed girl that smokes and steals. Older kids may appreciate this movie better and it is better suited for them. Overall, this a wonderful film, one that needs to be on every movie bucket or must see list. 11+ 5/5

Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

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Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald is a 2018 fantasy film directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling. It is the second installment in the Fantastic Beasts film series and is the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016). The film stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Allison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Jude Law and Johnny Depp. The story is about Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledore attempting to take down the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in a divided wizarding world.

This film has its good and bad. Though it has a great plot, it is still very slow at times, some scenes are too dark and some are too long. The acting of all the main characters is great. Yes, the Fantastic Beasts series is part of Harry Potter, before the HP Series, so of course anything related is going to be dark, but this film seemed to stay dark for the majority of the film. There were only a few “sunny” scenes and I would have liked to have seen more. This film seemed darker than the first FB film and most of the Harry Potter movies.

There were several scenes that made me jump and scream and there was some subtle humor in this film. Being a huge Harry Potter and Eddie Redmayne fan, I was expecting more. This is not outstanding film, except for the acting and the effects, but the great plot, could have been directed better, made more light, less scary and less humorous. This wasn’t a terrible movie, but I can’t see it win any awards, except for the effects. It isn’t nearly as good as the first FB or any of the HPs. It is also far too long, I found myself wondering if it was ever going to end and it was a relief when it finally did.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this film as much I’d hope to. It is good, but not great, but if you’re a HP fan, then watch it. This isn’t a children’s film, it is filled with violence, scary creatures, dark scenes and adult humor. 13+ 3/5

Classic of the Week: Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)



“Kramer vs. Kramer” is a 1979 American family legal drama written and directed by Robert Benton, based on Avery Corman’s novel. It stars Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander and Justin Henry. The film tells the story of a couple’s divorce and its impact on everyone involved including the couple’s son. 

You might think people go through this kind of stuff all the time, but this film goes into detail of divorce, the reasoning behind it and how it affects family and friends. No, the plot isn’t shocking, but it hits home for many divorced people with small a child(ren). It is well written and well acted. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep are both equally outstanding as Ted and Joanna Kramer. Justin Henry does a fine job as their son Billy Kramer. 

This is not one of the most exciting movies I’ve ever seen, but it is truly a heartbreaking and heartwarming film. It is a wonderful piece of cinema that never seizes to not make you cry or warm your heart. This is not one that I could watch over and over without getting bored, because it is a tad boring and slow at times, but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. 

Sure the plot may seem typical or unoriginal, but it is still a moving film in many ways, despite being dull at times. It is filled with heart, anger, troubles and love. This is a great film, one that should be watched by all parents. 11+ 4/5 

Classic of the Week: Sid and Nancy (1986)

Sid and Nancy is a 1986 British biopic directed by Alex Cox. The film portrays the life of Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman), bassist of the British punk rock band The Sex Pistols and his relationship with his girlfriend Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb). 

The film starts off on October 12, 1978 with police officers dragging Sid Vicious away from the Hotel Chelsea following the death of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Sid is driven to a police station and is asked to describe what happened. The police get angry when Sid is unable to talk. 

A year earlier Sid and band members Johnny Rotten (Andrew Schofield) meet Nancy, a heroin addicted groupie that had traveled to London to try to sleep with the band. Sid rejects her at first, but begins dating her, after rejections from other punk musicians and after she sells him heroin. The two fall in love, but their drug ridden and violent relationship ruins Sid’s relationship with the band, which end up breaking up in January 1978 in the middle of an American tour. 

Sid moves to New York and attempts a solo career with Nancy as his manager. Both are now extremely addicted to heroin and Nancy has become deeply depressed. Sid becomes uninterested sexually in Nancy and wants out of a suicide pact he mad with her. Their relationship ends when Sid tells Nancy during an argument that he’s going to stop using heroin and move back to England to restart his life. Nancy begs him to kill her.  She attacks him, leading him to stab her. They fall asleep and Nancy awakes, stumbles into the bathroom and falls and dies. 

This film, like most biopics, may not be the most accurate telling of this story, but it is still an extremely well done film. The acting is superb, the costuming is fantastic and the music fits perfectly. This one of the most famous tragedies in music history and this film tells it, maybe not exactly true, but very closely. The characters are realistic. Sid and Nancy look like almost identical to the real people.

Gary Oldman does an outstanding job as Sid Vicious and Chloe Webb is great as Nancy Spungen. They have the voices, looks and mannerisms down nearly perfectly. This is definitely one of the best biographical films ever. Not one moment in this film is boring, because you learn so much about this infamouse story. This film says it all: two drug addicted people, one a punk rocker, the other a schizophrenic groupie, whose horribly tragic lives are cut far too short. One of the most disturbing and depressing movies I’ve ever seen, but that it how it is supposed to be. This is an outstanding pic that is sure to shock and disturb anyone watching it from beginning to end. Adults only. 4/5 

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

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Bohemian Rhapsody is 2018 biographical film directed by Bryan Singer and is about the British rock band Queen. It follows Freddy’s life leading to their Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium. It stars Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Tom Hollander, Aiden Gillen and Adam Leech.

The film starts out in 1970 with Farrokh Bulsara an Indian-British Parsi college student working as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport. That night he goes to watch a local band called Smile perform at a nightclub. After the show he meets the drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May and offers to replace their singer Tim Staffell, who had just quit the band to join Humpy Bong. They add John Deacon as their bassist and change their name to Queen and play gigs across Britain until they sell their van to produce their first album. They land a contract with EMI Records and Farrokh legally changes his name to Freddy Mercury and gets engaged to Biba store clerk Mary Austin. During the band’s US tour, Freddy starts to question his sexuality.

In 1975, after recording their fourth album, A Night at the Opera, they leave EMI when executive Ray Foster refuses to have the six minute song “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the album’s first single. Freddy has the song played on Capital Radio, where it becomes a huge hit, after mixed reviews. He begins an affair with his personal manager Paul Prenter and comes out to Mary as bisexual and she breaks up with him and assures him that he is gay and that she has known for quite a while.

The film goes on to tell about the band’s success through the 80’s and Freddy’s relationship with Jim Hutton, a waiter at a lavish party he throws at his house in Munich. The press pressure Freddy and the bandmates about his sexuality after the release of their 1982 album Hot Space. After learning about the worldwide AIDS epidemic, Freddy has himself tested and learns he has it. But the band still performs at Live Aid. Mary and Mercury remained close friends until his death.

Although this film has several inaccuracies, it is still outstandingly done from beginning to end. But what biographical film is 100% accurate? The performing and acting is fantastic, everyone perfect for their roles, especially Malek as Mercury. At first, I couldn’t see him as Freddy, but now I do. This is his best performance to date. He has the look, the costumes, expressions, and mannerisms down, the voice needed just a little polishing and it would have been dead on as well.

Lucy Boynton was great as Mary Austin. Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello were equally great as Queen band members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. This film takes you through the life of Freddy’s relationship with both Mary and the band. You learn so much about the early days of Queen up until Freddy’s death, from the most accurate. You learn how Freddy struggled with drugs, alcohol, partying, his sexuality, his chain smoking his relationship with Jim Hutton and longtime affection for Mary Austin.

Although I was too young when Freddy died and wasn’t alive in the yearly days of Queen, I have learned about them and learned to appreciate their music and the impact they still continue to have on the music world (and gay community). Freddy has become an icon and inspiration, one that will live on like many, many others.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I found it extremely entertaining and wonderfully produced, despite the inaccuracies. I hope Rami Malek wins awards for his fantastic work. He is one of the best actors I’ve seen in a long time. I’m glad the director didn’t go with Sacha Baron Cohen, because this is far too serious of a film for him. I find this film too be far too adult for a PG-13 rating. 18+ 4/5

Classic of the Week: Sabrina (1954)

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Sabrina is a 1954 American romantic comedy drama film directed by Billy Wilder and stars Audrey Hepburn, Humphey Bogart and William Holden.

The story is about Sabrina Fairchild (Hepburn), the young daughter of the Larrabee’s family chauffeur, who has been in love with David Larrabee (Holden) all her life. David is a frequently married, indolent playboy, crazy for women, who has never noticed Sabrina because she is still a child to him. Sabrina notices David with a woman and becomes sad and jealous. She leaves her father a suicide note, turns on every car in the car in the garage, and tries to kill herself by carbon monoxide poisoning. She is unsuccessful when David’s career obsessed brother Linus (Bogart) steps in and turns off the cars. She doesn’t tell him what she was trying to do. She takes back the suicide note from her father’s room.

After being sent to culinary school in Paris, she returns home an elegant and attractive lady. At a formal party, David notices her, not recognizing it’s Sabrina. He is drawn to her.

Linus fears that David’s marriage is in trouble. Linus tries to trick Sabrina into falling for him. In the process he ends up falling in love with her, knowing she is still in love with David. Knowing this, he buys tickets for a ship to Paris for her and David. But who really shows up?

This is a funny, cute and heartwarming film. Both men fall head over heels for Sabrina after she becomes a lovely sophisticated woman. She has a fondness for both of them, but especially David. She is forced to follow her heart in choosing which one she really and truly loves. Both men are also forced to decide with their hearts who is better for her and loves her more.

Hepburn, Holden and Bogart are fabulous in this film, perfect for their roles. This film will bring smiles, tears and anger, but never is there a dull moment. Unlike other romantic comedies that features two characters in love with the same one, this one isn’t cheesy, no bad acting, corny lines, or sex. It is one that can be watched over and over, always producing sad, angry and happy feelings. Not many romantic films today, can do this, make you feel all those emotions. This is a truly wonderful motion picture, perfect for a date.

This is not a complete family film, because there is some smoking, drinking, mild violence and trying to commit suicide. This is harsh for young children, although they may not understand unless explained. Overall this film is a masterpiece. Wonderful! Just wonderful! 11+ 5/5

100 Best Biographical Films

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  1. The Pianist – 2002
  2. Raging Bull – 1980
  3. Schindler’s List – 1993
  4. Serpico – 1973
  5. Downfall – 2004
  6. Catch Me If You Can – 2002
  7. Braveheart – 1995
  8. A Beautiful Mind – 2001
  9. Lawrence of Arabia – 1962
  10. Goodfellas – 1990
  11. The Social Network – 2010
  12. Dog Day Afternoon – 1975
  13. The Wolf of Wall Street – 2013
  14. Lincoln – 2012
  15. Spotlight – 2015
  16. Gandhi – 1982
  17. The Pursuit of Happyness – 2006
  18. The King’s Speech – 2010
  19. The Message – 1976
  20. Monster – 2003
  21. Cinderella Man – 2005
  22. The Danish Girl – 2015
  23. The Sound of Music – 1965
  24. Hunger – 2008
  25. Milk – 2008
  26. Donnie Brasco – 1997
  27. Sully – 2016
  28. Casino – 1995
  29. Invictus – 2009
  30. Hacksaw Ridge – 2016
  31. Rush – 2013
  32. Moneyball – 2011
  33. Chaplin – 1992
  34. The Imitation Game – 2014
  35. The Hurricane – 1999
  36. The Fighter – 2010
  37. Finding Neverland – 2004
  38. The Insider – 1999
  39. Ed Wood – 1994
  40. The World’s Fastest Indian – 2005
  41. Close-Up – 1990
  42. Into the Wild – 2007
  43. Black Mass – 2015
  44. Saving Mr. Banks – 2013
  45. Ray – 2004
  46. Dallas Buyers Club – 2013
  47. The Lion in Winter – 1968
  48. Trumbo – 2015
  49. Ip Man – 2008
  50. Changeling – 2008
  51. Amadeus – 1984
  52. In Cold Blood – 1967
  53. The Last Emperor – 1987
  54. Awakenings – 1990
  55. Patton – 1970
  56. The Theory of Everything – 2014
  57. Public Enemies – 2009
  58. Capote – 2005
  59. Walk the Line – 2005
  60. La Vie en Rose – 2007
  61. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – 2007
  62. Lenny – 1974
  63. Escape from Alcatraz – 1979
  64. The Great Escape – 1963
  65. Shine – 1996
  66. Birdman of Alcatraz – 1962
  67. Out of Africa – 1985
  68. Elizabeth – 1995
  69. Foxcatcher – 2014
  70. Viva Zapata! – 1952
  71. My Left Foot – 1989
  72. Lion – 2016
  73. Bonnie and Clyde – 1967
  74. In the Name of the Father – 1993
  75. Captain Phillips – 2013
  76. 12 Years a Slave – 2013
  77. The Aviator – 2004
  78. The Straight Story – 1999
  79. 127 Hours – 2010
  80. American Sniper – 2014
  81. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – 2007
  82. The General – 1998
  83. American Gangster – 2007
  84. I, Tonya – 2017
  85. The Disaster Artist – 2017
  86. Darkest Hour – 2017
  87. Man on the Moon – 1999
  88. Rembetiko – 1983
  89. Blow – 2001
  90. Hotel Rwanda – 2004
  91. The People vs. Larry Flint – 1996
  92. Fearless – 2006
  93. The U.S. vs. John Lennon – 2006
  94. The Last King of Scotland – 2006
  95. The Queen – 2006
  96. Malcolm X – 1992
  97. Antwone Fisher – 2002
  98. Beuna Vista Social Club – 1999
  99. The Pride of the Yankees – 1942
  100. Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser -1989

Classic of the Week: Psycho (1960)

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Psycho is a 1960 psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles and Martin Balsam. It is based off the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The story is about an encounter between secretary that ends up at a lonely motel after stealing money from her boss and the motel’s owner and manager and its aftermath.

A true classic, this film has stood the test of time and still manages to scare people today, just like it did then. This film is scary, twisted, evil and disturbing, but also outstanding. Anthony Perkins makes Norman Bates the motel owner, one of the most famous and most frightening characters in film history and he is the best Norman. Vince Vaughn has nothing on him and Freddie Highmore was good, but not Perkins good.

The famous shower scene is done excellently, causing viewers to feel uneasy. It seems so realistic, that it’s hard to believe it’s not real. Although this scene helped to make this a very controversial film, it is still an eerie work of art. It scares you every time, which is what makes it special.

Everything about this film is extraordinary, light years ahead of its time. It came out when horror films seemed to be mostly murder mysteries and monsters, although Bates himself is a monster. Just the book alone is a bit disturbing, but the film is even more so.

From a fairly crazy woman, to a psychotic guy, to her death and the mystery of who killed her, this film takes you on a crazy ride. It can leave you wanting to leave all your lights on, closing your curtains, locking your doors and sleeping with one eye open. This is a film that you probably shouldn’t watch at night alone. Even after nearly sixty years, this film has never failed to frighten. 18+ 5/5

Book Club (2018)

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Book Club is a 2018 American romantic comedy film directed by Bill Holderman in his directorial debut. It stars Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen and Andy Garcia. The story follows four women that have attended a monthly book club for over thirty years, where they share their love of books and choose what to read next. One of the women suggests that they read Fifty Shades of Grey. The women shocked and awed by the content of the book.

This is a cute and fun film that mostly women will enjoy. It has four of the very best actresses that always know how to you laugh. Each character is unique, but also alike in their love for literature, wine and friendship. This film shows that friends are important and love is possible at any age. It is filled with wine, friends, romance, sex and Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Every actress is fabulous in their roles and Andy Garcia does fine in his role as well. This film will make you laugh out loud, cry and just want to say aloud, “awkward!” at times, which makes it even better. This is not one of the best rom-coms I’ve ever seen, but it’s not plain awful either. It is very entertaining, never boring and is something that you can watch when you’re down in the dumps.

Yes, this is pretty much a woman’s film, although directed by a man. It has the feel of both a Nora Ephron and Garry Marshall picture, who are known for chick flicks like these. If you’re a lady needing a good laugh or cry, or both, then this is the perfect film. It’s not outstanding, but will make you feel better after watching it. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, although it is more targeted at older women.

Next time you’re with your girlfriends or sister(s), choose this film and you won’t regret it. 13+ 3.5/5