Fellow Movie Buffs

Monday, February 18, 2019


Although the movie is from 2015, I avoided watching it until recently. I was under the mistaken impression that it focused a woman and her child who were held captive and abused for the entire length of the film. While that is partially true, the abuse is only hinted at, and the story of their captivity is only a part of the movie. The plot is about a young woman named Ma (Brie Larson) and her six-year old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay). She's been held captive since before her son was born, and she does everything in her powers to make their world seem normal. They devise an elaborate escape plan, and it's after they're free that their lives get interesting. The two of them now have to process the real world and Ma has to make sense of the changed family dynamics. This is due to her divorced mother and her new step-dad. The two principal actors give thoroughly convincing performances.  Ms Larson came to my attention in the film "Short Term 12," which I also highly recommend.
4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

"Sour Grapes"

I rarely watch documentaries. And it's even rarer for me to review one. But I thought this doc was well worth reviewing. It's all about the world of wine snobs and how they were duped by a mysterious Asian named Rudy. Some of the scenes where these oenophiles describe the wines they're tasting are almost comical. Christopher Guest would have a field day making a spoof about them, not unlike what he did with dog breeders in "Best in Show". These million/billionaires get caught up in a frenzy, buying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of rare wines. When it's revealed what Rudy does to these folks, you almost root for him--they simply have way too much disposable income and are far too full of themselves. While watching this film I kept saying to myself, you just can't make stuff up this good!

4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Mr. Church

This was hailed as Eddie Murphy's comeback film, and indeed it was. I haven't really paid attention to him in recent years, but I decided to take a chance with this one. And I was pleasantly surprised. The story revolves around a single mom who is dying of breast cancer. Her former and deceased lover hires Mr. Church (Murphy) to come and cook for her and her young daughter, Charlie. Mr. Church makes their meals, (he's an amazing chef), and mysteriously disappears at the end of each day. While there, he introduces Charlie to the world of classic literature. It's a heart-felt movie about love, relationships, and ultimately, what family is all about.
4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"I Am Vengeance"

What do you call a movie featuring one-dimensional characters, a thin plot, and an abundance of bloody action scenes? "Perfect" if you're in the mood for a mindless, revenge movie. And this is one of the better ones I've seen in a while. The story is centered on a retired British Special Forces soldier, played by Stu Bennett, who investigates why an army buddy and his parents were killed in a small English village. As he uncovers the reason behind their demise, he meets resistance from a number of ex-commandos. He warns them that they're all going to meet their maker, and he proceeds to revenge his friend's deaths. Bennett is a total badass you root for all the way. His fighting is a mix of brawn, brains, firepower and martial arts. The only thing that bothered me was the ending. Let me know what you think--feel free to leave a comment below.
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

"The Sea of Trees"

A man (Matthew McConaughey) ventures into The Sea of Trees, a wildlife area in the shadow of Mt. Fuji, known as an international destination to commit suicide. He befriends another lost soul, played by Ken Watanabe, who he's determined to help out of the woods. The backstory is told through a series of flashbacks, focusing on his relationship with his wife (Naomi Watts). To use the old cliche, McConaughey gives a riveting performance. The film is slow moving, but well worth the time it takes to unfold. And the scenery and cinematography are outstanding.
4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


Watch this movie and you'll want to move to Australia and take up surfing. Honestly. The story, based on the best-selling novel by Tim Winton, is about two teenage boys who befriend Sando,  a worldly hippy. He introducing them to surfing and supplies them with their first surfboards. Sando is a former world champion and lives with a gorgeous Olympic skier who's recuperating from a major injury. He takes the two kids to remote and challenging beaches where they develop into accomplished surfers. There's a "Summer of '42" like romance which adds to the story.  The scenery is breathtaking and the surfing cinematography is spectacular--you'll feel like you're right out there surfing with them. I found it refreshing to watch a feel-good movie where nothing horrible happens.
4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

"Mississippi Grind"

Another great performance by Ben Mendelsohn. In this road trip film, Mendelsohn plays the down on his luck Gerry, who teams up with a charismatic poker player (played by Ryan Reynolds) and travels across the South in an effort to turn his luck around. As luck would have it, Gerry loses one pile of cash after another, however the two of them persist on their quest to win a fortune. It's a gritty, slice-of-life "guy flick" that I thoroughly enjoyed. And I especially liked Mendelsohn's performance. What a versatile actor deserving more recognition. When I looked him up on IMDB, I was surprised to see he played King George VI in "Darkest Hour."
4 out of 5 stars