Movie reviews

Tag (2018)

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Tag is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Jeff Tomsic, starring Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Isla Fisher, Hannibal Buress, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner. The film is based on a true story that published in The New York Times about a group of men that have been playing tag together since they were kids. They spend one month a year playing it.

After watching an interview with the real men of this story on Megyn Kelly, I knew I had to this movie. This film is very likely exaggerated, since there is a lot of violence and foul language. The characters in the film look different from the real guys as well.

Every actor in this film does a great job as their character.  The violence and adult language could have been toned done a bit and Renner’s character much less of a selfish jerk and Johnson’s character less of a dope head.

This film is still very funny, yet offensive at times, like when Jerry’s fiancé Susan fakes being pregnant and having a miscarriage. Despite the offensive scenes, it still manages to make you laugh out loud. Some scenes are drawn out, some are too short and some the film could’ve done without. Most of the actors are normally in humorous roles, except Jon Hamm, Leslie Bibb and Jeremy Renner, but it was great to see them in serious and comedic roles.

The story itself is clever, fun, funny and not just about having fun, but bringing friends together, since they all live long distances from each other. The game brings out the kid every friend, while allowing them to be with their best friends.

This is definitely not fir kids, but still a pretty fun film overall. It’s not outstanding, but horrible either. 18+ 3/5

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Movie reviews

Classic of the Week: Harvey (1950)

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Harvey is a 1950 American comedy drama film based on Mary Chase’s play of the same name, directed by Henry Koster. It starred James Stewart and Josephine Hull. The story follows a man and his best friend, a pooka named Harvey- a six foot three and a half inch tall invisible rabbit.

This is a rather clever film in the ways that it is about a man with a mental illness (possibly schizophrenia), that is portrayed both humorously and seriously. It is funny, but also makes you really think about the main character’s mental state and how a person, even then, coped with it. James Stewart is perfect as Elwood P. Dowd the protagonist. He mixes the character’s issues with both seriousness and humor. Elwood knows he sounds downright silly, but at the same time, wants people to believe him. This role was made for Stewart.

Elwood spends time in and out of a sanitarium at his sister, Veta Louise Simmons’s force. This brings viewers into showing how people (even then) with mental illness in their family. This is all done with love, stress, concern and being at one’s “end of their rope.” Josephine Hull is equally perfect as Veta.

This is not much of a children’s film, because the psychiatric disorder of Elwood would have to be explained and would just confuse young children, along with the sanitarium. Also there is drinking, talk about a man’s drinking problem and Elwood is almost given a strong injection. Overall, this film is thought provoking and hilarious and absolutely wonderful from beginning to end. 11+ 5/5

Movie reviews

100 Greates Musical Films Part II

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51. Easter Parade

52. Gypsy

53. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

54. Bye Bye Birdie

55. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

56. Damn Yankees

57. Annie Get Your Gun

58. Porgy and Bess

59. Anything Goes

60. Sweet Charity

61. Fame

62. Sing Street

63. Hair

64. Girl Crazy (1943)

65. South Pacific

66. Tommy

67. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

68. 1776

69. Bells Are Ringing

70. Silk Stockings

71. Carousel

72. Holiday Inn

73. Help!

74. Bedknobs and Broomsticks

75. Going My Way

76. Broadway Melody of 1936

77. Broadway Melody of 1938

78. Broadway Melody of 1940

79. Shall We Dance (1937)

80. The Gay Divorcee

81. The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

82. Yankee Doodle Dandy

83. Footlight Parade

84. The Merry Widow

85. One Hour With You

86. The Smiling Lieutenant

87. You Were Never Lovelier

88. Till the Clouds Roll By

89. For Me and My Gal

90. The Great Ziegfeld

91. Thank Your Lucky Stars

92. The Bandwagon

93. Applause (1929)

94. The Jazz Singer (1927)

95.  Take Me Out to the Ballgame

96. Brigadoon

97. Frozen

98. Babes in Arms

99. By the Light of the Silvery Moon

100. Cinderella

Movie reviews

100 Greatest Musical Films of All Time Part I

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  1. West Side Story
  2. The Sound of Music
  3. Singin’ in the Rain
  4. Grease
  5. La La Land
  6. Top Hat
  7. Caberet
  8. The Wizard of Oz
  9. Funny Girl
  10. Mary Poppins
  11. Swing Time
  12. A Star is Born (1954)
  13. Chicago
  14.  An American in Paris
  15. 42nd Street
  16. My Fair Lady
  17. Meet Me in St. Louis
  18. All That Jazz
  19. The King and I
  20. On the Town
  21. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  22. Showboat
  23. Guys And Dolls
  24. Beauty and the Beast
  25. Fiddler on the Roof
  26. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  27. Funny Face
  28. Oklahoma!
  29. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  30. Stormy Weather
  31. Oliver!
  32. Gigi
  33. A Hard Day’s Night
  34. The Music Man
  35. Hello, Dolly!
  36. Bugsy Malone
  37. Everyone Says I Love You
  38. Bullets Over Broadway
  39. The Producers (1967)
  40. High Society
  41. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  42. Enchanted
  43. The Blues Brothers
  44. Annie (1982)
  45. White Christmas
  46. Thoroughly Modern Millie
  47. Victor Victoria
  48. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  49. A Chorus Line
  50. Kiss Me Kate
Movie reviews

Classic of the Week: The Purple Rose of Cario (1985)

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The Purple Rose of Cairo is a 1985 American romantic  fantasy comedy film directed by Woody Allen. It stars Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels and Danny Aiello. The story is about a film character named Tom Baxter that leaves a fictional film of the same name, to go to the real world.

The film is set in New Jersey during the Great Depression in 1935 and tells the story of Cecilia (Farrow), a klutzy waitress who goes to the movies to escape her hopeless life and abusive and loveless husband Monk (Aiello). She goes to the movies to see the RKO Radio Pictures fictional film The Purple Rose of Cairo. 

After seeing the film multiple times Tom Baxter (Daniels) the lead character, notices her and breaks the fourth wall by emerging from the black and white screen to the real world filled with color.

I am a huge Woody Allen fan, but let’s not get into his controversy. This is definitely one of his best films. It angers you, saddens you, makes you laugh and at times, it warms your heart. A very clever film from a very clever man. Allen knows how to blend seriousness, humor and romance. Not many directors today come even close to his smart writing and directing. Truly a one of a kind filmmaker.

I was hoping this film would be as good as Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters and it was not good, but great. Everything is so smartly done and the characters and actors are fantastic. This a film that can be watched over and over without getting old. This is Mia Farrow’s best acting since Rosemary’s Baby. She plays a woman that is being abused, that is trying to escape her husband (who always comes back) and seeks peace by going to the movies.

A horrible marriage, with a sweet movie loving woman that only wants happiness and peace, makes this film even more better. It pulls out every single emotion, making the story truly powerful. Everything from the scenery, the plot and acting is outstanding. This is a film that will be loved for generations. Not many films today come even close to being as unique and great as this one.

No, this is not a kid’s movie, despite the PG rating. It has violence, drinking and some foul language. But all of these things are needed, because without them, this film would not be the same. This film deserves to be in the National Film Registry, it is that special, that wonderful, a true work of art that has stood the test time. Never once is it boring, or unoriginal. There are too many words that mean this film is spectacular from beginning to end. 13+ 5/5

Movie reviews

Criterion Collection Announces “Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema” Blu-Ray Box Set

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This is basically for cinephiles only, but later this year on November 20th people will have access to getting the premiere collection of one of the greatest directors of all time, Ingmar Bergman. Today, the Criterion Collection has just announced plans for “Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema,” a 39-film Blu-ray collection that serves as the most comprehensive collection of Bergman’s work ever released. It’s priced at about $300 (Although you can get it for $240 right now if you pre-order). The price is steep, but like I said this is for diehard fans of the director. And it’s not like the collection doesn’t come with a lot of extras. Even the official home media promotion picture shows just how massive this set is:

Within the over 30 hours of supplemental features, there are introductions for eleven of the films, six audio commentaries, documentaries about the making of six of the films, five hours…

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Movie reviews

Classic of the Week: Network (1976)

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Network is a 1976 American satirical film directed by Sidney Lumet, about a fictional television network, UBS, and their troubles with poor ratings. It stars Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, William Holden and Robert Duvall.

This film is insane to the max at times, but also quite funny as well. The lead character Howard Beale (Finch), almost pulls a Christine Chubbuck, by committing suicide on national television, but backs down and still goes mad by yelling the famous line, “I am as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” As a result, it shows several viewers opening their windows and yelling the same thing.

Unlike other films about television networks like Broadcast News and Morning Glory, this one is A LOT more serious. It shows the life of a struggling television network, stress and insanity and how to they manage to bring their ratings up.

Every lead actor is fantastic in their roles. Sure this film could’ve used less violence, including yelling, but it is still outstanding. It is an important film on the subject of television network ratings and what goes on behind the cameras and screens. Sure, Broadcast News is about struggling in the live television world too, but it is far too comical and romantic unlike Network. This film portrays news anchors as crazy and maybe some were and still are, but the insanity is done so well, particularly the character Howard Beale. No one could be him, but Peter Finch.

Though this film does go overboard with Beale, he is still an important character and it wouldn’t be the same without him. This is an inspirational film, even if for controversial reasons, like controversial conservative political commentator and radio show host Glenn Beck borrowed his entire paranoid identity from Beale. It also predicted the rise of tabloid TV. These are just a couple of reasons why this film is just as relevant today as was then.

This film proves that sensationalized TV can make network ratings boom. Though fictional, the radical shows and their hosts are just as realistic today as they were then, proving that many people will watch and believe anything. It also predicted reality TV. Who knew that a 70’s fictional film could be so relevant and spot on then and today. Not many films come even close to being as spot on this one. It is truly special and one of a kind. One that, if tried to be remade, wouldn’t stand the test of time.

We need more films like this, especially this day in age. Outstanding! Outstanding! Outstanding as hell! 18+ 5/5

Movie reviews

Tully (2018)

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Tully is a 2018 American comedy drama film directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody. The film stars Charlize Theron, Ron Livingston, Mackenzie Davis and Mark Duplass.

The film follows Marlo, a struggling mother of two, that is pregnant with her third unplanned child. Her son Jonah has a developmental disorder that doctors are unable to diagnose. Marlo and her husband Drew visit her rich brother for dinner and he offers to pay for a night nanny as a baby shower gift, but Marlo doesn’t accept it.

Marlo gives birth to a daughter she names Mia. She becomes quickly exhausted and overwhelmed. After the principal at Jonah’s school recommends that he be placed in a different school, one for delayed children, Marlo breaks down and retrieves the information for the night nanny.

That night, Marlo is visited by Tully, the night nanny. Marlo and Tully form a close relationship and she eventually learns that Tully is not what she seems.

This film is filled with relatable mother situations from having a mentally delayed child, to pregnancy issues, to postpartum depression, to having a newborn baby. Though I have no children of my own, I have worked with them in the pass and several of cousins now have small children, so I can relate a little. But mothers will relate in ways more.

Charlize Theron was absolutely perfect for this role and she did wonderfully as Marlo. Ron Livingston as her husband Drew was great as well. Mackenzie Davis was also great as Tully. I just wish Mark Duplass, who played Marlo’s brother Craig, had had a bigger role, so I can’t say whether he did good or not, too tiny of a character.

This film has lots of heartwarming scenes, as well as angry, sad, and intense scenes. Even though Marlo has a tough time in the beginning of the film, and even for a time after Mia is born, she learns that her family is the most important thing in her life and to always put them first and show them how much she loves them. Her husband Drew learns to help his wife and stand by her their children.

Tully, at first seems like a great night nanny, but then you learn she isn’t what she seems, she is hiding a lot of things from Marlo too. You love Tully at first, then she changes into a completely different person and tries to turn Marlo into that same kind of person. Luckily, with the help of her husband, brother and her brother’s wife, she realizes that she never needed Tully to begin with. She also realizes that she is a strong, independent, hardworking and loving mother, wife and sister. She finds her place in life.

This film teaches us to put our family first and to stand by them through thick and thin. It also teaches us that no parent or child is perfect and that it is okay to make mistakes, but to always learn from them as well. Tully is truly a terrific film. 18+ 4.5/5

Movie reviews

Classic of the Week: A Clockwork Orange (1971)

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A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess’s novel of the same name. The film is filled with disturbing, violent images to tell about psychiatry, juvenile delinquency, youth gangs and other controversial topics, in a dystopian near-future Great Britain. It stars Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke and James Marcus.

The film follows Alex, a classical music lover and antisocial delinquent and his gang that call themselves droogs, the Russian word for “buddy” or “friend.” They go on crime spree , Alex gets captured and is forced into a psychological experiment technique. The acts of these lads in this film, are extremely violent, disturbing, narcissistic and illegal.

At the time of this film’s original release in the UK, it was received badly, Kubrick had to pull it from UK theaters because of death threats. He then cut out parts of the film and made a theatrical version that received mixed reviews. The film did well in American box offices, with the cut and uncut versions, but still it was extremely controversial too. It received an X rating (now just R). Despite all the mess with the film, it managed to still get nominated For Picture at The Oscars. It is now considered a cult classic and is on many Greatest Films of All Time lists including the American Film Institute, Time Out New York, Time Magazine and The Guardian.

I have a love-hate relationship with this film. It is disturbing and offensive to the max, definitely one of the most violent films I’ve seen. But Kubrick films are known for causing controversy just like Lolita and Full Metal Jacket. Despite all of that, it is extremely well done. No one could play Alex but Malcolm McDowell (or Evan Peters). It is an acquired taste, definitely not a date film or one to watch with your parents.

Sure the film could use somde major toning down, but would it be the same? Nope. A lot of the scenes are over the top violent, lots of beatings and who can forget that famous rape scene after watching this? It is tattooed in my brain. This is clearly not a movie you’ll want to watch over and over. Being brutal and unsettling, just like the book, it is still a classic.

Truly bizarre is this film, quite uncomfortable and sickening, but I believe that’s what Kubrick was going for, just like Anthony Burgess and his book. Bringing the already discomforting story to life, Kubrick did outstandingly. The reason for my love-hate relationship with this film, is that it is just over the top sickening, but the acting and cinematography are great. Do I think it deserved a Best Picture nod? No.

If you can’t handle this film, go for it, but even the director’s cut can make a person feel completely disquieting and physically ill. This is not for the faint of heart, so watch at your own risk. 18+ 3.5/5

Movie reviews

Isle of Dogs (2018)

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Isle of Dogs is a 2018 stop-motion animated film directed by Wes Anderson. The film’ cast includes Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig, Courtney B. Vance, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand, Liev Schreiber, Scarlett Johansson, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton and Yoko Ono.

The film is set in a dystopian near future Japan about a boy searching for his dog after the species has been sent to an island after the outbreak of canine flu. Much of the film is in Japanese (of course), with English subtitles, the dogs speak English.

Unlike Wes Anderson’s other stop-motion film Fantastic Mr. Fox, this one is geared towards an older audience. Although this film is filled with dictatorship and authoritarian characters, it also has clever jokes, compassion and a completely original story. Although I did get rather bored in the beginning of this film, it does pick up and become only a little more intriguing.

Being a big Wes Anderson fan, I was excited to see this one, but I was sadly disappointed that it wasn’t as entertaining as I had expected. It was very slow for the first part of the film and focused too much on the leaders and the other dogs, but not enough on the boy looking for his dog, or even just the dog. I did however love the animation, the clever humor and the story itself. Knowing the plot of this film, I was expecting something exciting and I was going to love and that’s not the case.

Wes Anderson is a one of a kind director, there’s no one like him. With all the big name stars in this film, one would envision something wildly entertaining, not something lacking in that department. You’d think it was going to be a spectacular film, not one that a person to tears at times. I found myself struggling to get through this movie. I really wanted to say it was outstanding, but I only feel it is just okay. I have thought, “Did Wes Anderson lose his touch?”

Storywise, this film is so creative and has some Wes bits thrown in here and there. The main characters are great, so is the voicing of them. The animation is equally great. Why couldn’t the actual film be great as well? Maybe to some it is, but I didn’t get that vibe. The film seems a lot shorter for a Wes film and seemed to end in almost a snap. I can’t see this being nominated for Best Animated Film at The Oscars, But you never know.

Overall, I was wanted more from this film, not to be so bored and only laugh a few times, but to be engaged in something I could give two thumbs up. My thumbs are sideways, for just an okay film. I never suspected a Wes Anderson production, to be subpar. I hope he gets touch back and continues to make his entertaining films. 13+ 3/5