Fellow Movie Buffs

Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Burn, Burn, Burn"

What a subtle yet powerful movie. It's a story about two women who are charged with spreading the ashes of a recently deceased friend. It's a road movie that is full of self-discovery. They have to scatter the ashes in various locations through ought Great Britain that are meaningful to their dead friend. At each location they play a video where their friend reveals the importance of the place. The acting is wonderful and the cinematography is gorgeous. It's very slow moving but you get caught up in the pace of the movie.
4.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"Bass Ackwards"

Absolutely one of the most twisted, off-the-wall movies I've seen in a long time. I found this movie by doing a search for Linas Phillips, who starred in "Rainbow Time", which I'll review next. This one is about a guy who drives a mini VW bus from Seattle to NYC. At every stop he encounters a crazy situation. And each situation gets stranger. It's a total riot. If you liked "Wayne's World", you'll enjoy this one.
4 stars out of 5.

Couldn't find a trailer. Here's the full movie. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

"Blue Jay"

Another sleeper of a movie that was recommended to me by Netflix. (I love their recs!)  A couple who were sweethearts  in high school reconnect, twenty years later at a grocery store one morning. This movie is about one day they spend together rekindling old memories. The scene where the two of them pretend they're celebrating their 20th anniversary is just wonderful. There are only two actors in the movie, Paul Duplass and Sarah Paulson, and I suspect could have originally been a stage play. The charisma between the two actors is amazing.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Sing Street"

Very cute movie. When a young Irish teen (Conor) falls for an older girl (Raphia), and gets hassled by the school bully, he decides to form a band--even he knows almost nothing about music. The older girl plans on moving to London with her current boyfriend, however she and Conor becomes good friends. Meanwhile, his parents are constantly fighting and are on the verge of splitting up. Add to the mix his older brother, who's a pothead and a sage--he offers him musical advice along the way. It's one of those rare movies where nothing really bad happens, although you sort of expect it to.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Not a happy film. And not a lot happens in this small, indie film. But the acting is so wonderful. The lead actor is a painfully shy cook at his mother's restaurant/bar. He has ambition to attend the Culinary Institute of America, which is located nearby. When a beautiful girl gets a job as a waitress at his mom's restaurant, he comes out his shell, sort of. What an amazing acting job. Just watching his twitching eyes amazed me.

Monday, November 14, 2016


What a wonderful movie. Just about everything about this film is great. tI's based on a best-selling novel by the same name. It's a true story about a young woman who decides to embark on a 1,700 mile trip across the Australian desert, in the early seventies. The acting, photography, and storyline are all incredible. Sure, it's a bit slow moving and "subtle" as my kids would say, but I absolutely loved this movie.
5 stars out of 5.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Riphagen-The Untouchable"

What a dark movie. It's based on a true story set in WWII. A Dutch collaborator with the Nazis makes deals with Jews to help protect their valuables until after the war. Well, let's just say he's not totally honest with them. He's one of the most vile human beings I've ever seen depicted in the movies. Riphagen (Jeroen van Koningsbrugge), gives one of the most amazing performances I've seen recently. You just want this guy to die.
4.5 out of 5 stars

I have to apologize, I could only find a Dutch trailer and I couldn't embed a video. You'll have to do a cut and paste. Sorry, but believe me, it's an incredible movie.

Monday, October 10, 2016


A young couple is separated during a military coup in Chile and the photojournalist is sent to a secret military camp which is disguised as a religious cult facility. His girlfriend( Emma Watson) goes in search of him, and joins the cult to find him and get him out. This movie is based on true events during the Pinochet regime and is spellbinding. All the actors were phenomenal, and I though Michael Nyqvist played the evil protagonists just about as well as you could play it. He was pure evil! What a great story.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

"Scenic Route"

Two old friends decide to take a trip cross country. Instead of taking the usual route, they decide on taking the "Scenic Route"--which is to say, the road that no one takes. So their beater of a truck breaks down and a series of major fights ensue between these guys. They end up out in the middle of nowhere in the desert, on a a lonely, untravelled road. The movie devolves into the two guys examining their existence and their relationships with each other. At the the movie's conclusion you question whether the events actually took place or not.
4 stars out of 5.

Monday, September 26, 2016

'The Call Up"

A bunch of gamers sign up for a competition with a grand prize of $100,000. Little do they know that they signed up for a virtual-reality battle. If you're into offbeat, sci-fi movies that will totally surprise you, this is one for you.  It starts out pretty normal and then unravels into a totally crazy and unpredictable warfare drama. I did not see the ending coming. What a zany movie.
4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"The Finest Hours"

This is a movie about courage and conviction. A young Coast Guard  sailor is in  love with his sweetheart. He's given an impossible assignment to rescue the crew of an oil tanker that's been split in two. He goes out in gale winds to rescue the crew. Amazing photography and acting. A totally gripping story.And it's based on a true story.

Monday, September 19, 2016

"A Royal Night Out"

I saw this movie in London, of all places. It was absolutely wonderful. It's based on a true story of the future queen of England, Elizabeth, who wants a fun night out on the the evening that the Allies celebrate  the end of World War Two. It's such a fun romp and I highly recommend it to anyone who's a fan of the Royal Family.
4 out of five stars.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"Sweet Bean"

What a beautiful film. A young man operates a small dorayaki pastry store in Japan. He's approached by a 75-year old woman to help him run his shop. He ends up hiring her, and because of her amazing ability to make a tasty bean paste, attracts people from all over. But, she's hiding a secret which changes everything. What a sensitive film, with great acting, incredible cinematography, and perfect musical score.
4.5 out of five stars

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


What a powerful movie. Julianne Moore gives one of her typical disturbed woman performances. And what a job she does.  Her son is kidnapped in a carjacking. Enter Samuel L. Jackson--one of the most baddass cops who ever joined the force. If he's on your side, you're okay. This movie keeps you guessing until the very end. What a great cast.
4 stars out of 5

Thursday, July 28, 2016


A very powerful movie based on a true story. It's about an inexperienced sailing crew who leave New Zealand for a pan-Pacific journey. When their boat meets a huge capsizing wave, they have to deal with survival. The crew members have their quirks, fight, but eventually come together to help each other survive. It's a great film. I've seen many comments from people who didn't like the shaky camera work. Huh? It's on a sailboat out in the ocean. Get over it. It totally makes sense. Anyway, I thought the actors and cinematography were great.
4 stars out of 5


Saturday, July 23, 2016

"Margarita, With a Straw"

What a beautiful and touching film. It's about a young Indian woman with cerebral palsy who moves to New York to attend school. There she falls in love with a blind female activist. It's a story of pure love. Brilliantly acted, simple yet well written, and great cinematography. This is one of those movies you'll remember for a long time. I rarely puddle up over a movie, but this one brought tears to my eyes.
5 stars out of 5

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


If you like 'em creepy, you'll love this movie. The hair on the back of my neck stood up several times while watching this. The plot s about a psychiatrist who begins to see ghosts after his daughter is killed. He doesn't know what they have to do with him, but he starts to make a connection with something that happened to him twenty years in his past.  It stars Adrien Brody and, since it's an Austrian movie, has to feature Sam Neill.
4 stars out of 5

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"The Fundamentals of Caring"

If I describe the plot of the movie, you probably won't watch it. It sounds so cliche. But this is quite a decent indie flick. I was especially skeptical because it was a Netflix original. So here's the plot: a thirty something guy who's going through a divorce takes a caregiving course and ends up with a teen who has a rare form of MS. The kid has a wicked sense of humor. They inevitably go on a road trip. The movie has its ups and downs, but mostly ups. The acting, scenery, and dialogue were all exceptional.
4.5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, June 18, 2016

"The Looking Glass"

A young girl is sent to live with her grandma in rural Indiana, after her mother dies and here father remarries. At first she's reclusive and spends most of her days surfing the web on her iPad. But when her grandmother encourages her to try out for a play, she begins to come out of her shell. The story is somewhat predictable, but it's so well done, you really don't mind. And based on her debut performance, Grace Tarnow has quite a promising future. Remember her name!
4 1/2 stars out of 5

Saturday, June 4, 2016


The movie centers around a young girl who's sent to spend the summer with her uncle in Alaska. When he sexually abuses her, she flees into the wilderness and tags along with an older man, who's on a hiking vacation to reminisce about his deceased wife. I know it sounds depressing, but this is a beautiful film. The two actors, Bruce Greenwood and Ella Purnell, turn in riveting performances. The scenery is breathtaking. The editing first rate. And the music perfectly matches each scene. What's not to like? I absolutely loved this movie. It's worth watching more than once, for sure.
5 stars out of 5

Friday, May 27, 2016

"The Girl In The Book"

Interesting movie. It's difficult to describe without giving away too much of the plot. A middle-aged editor is given an assignment to edit and publish a book by an author. It turns out he was an influence on her life in a bad way when she was young. So she decides to write a book about her experiences just as he tries to re-enter her life. It has it's squeamish moments, but in the end, she gets her revenge.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Who's Driving Doug"

If the movie description says, "Road Trip," I'm all over it. I'm a total sucker for road films. This is one that's a bit different. It stars an actor who has a non-progressive form of MS, (RJ Mitte, from "Breaking Bad"), who's smart and sarcastic as hell. He has a control-freak mom who still talks to her deceased husband. Doug's driver quits and he takes on a fun-loving, witty, new driver who convinces him and a female college student to take a road trip to Vegas. This movie is well written, acted, and will leave you thinking about life. There are plenty of laughs and serious moments to this wonderful movie.
4.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Run Boy Run"

The story of a young Jewish boy set during WWII. As the Nazis attack Warsaw, his father helps him escape the Jewish Ghetto and tells him to be brave and never give up. He also tells him to make up a fake identity, however to never forget who he really is. He roams the countryside, just a step ahead of the Nazis, and works for a series of farmers, moving on just as he is about to be captured. He is taken in and nurtured by several families. The young actor gives an amazing performance. What was refreshing about this movie is that although there are many harrowing moments, it has very little physical violence. And the countryside of Poland is quite beautiful.
4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"December Boys"

Four young boys, in 1960s Australia, are faced with the possibility that they'll never get adopted. Then they're sent on a summer holiday to the shore where they vie for the attention of a young couple who are interesting in adopting one of them. It's a sweet movie about their summer adventures. Danial Radcliffe stars along with three other relatively unknown, yet talented young actors. Well worth a watch. A good family movie to boot.
4 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 15, 2016

"Just Like a Woman"

I'm a huge fan of road movies, especially female road movies. So the premise of this film is that two women , who are casual friends, are both in terrible marriages. One is a redneck, married to an unemployed loser, and the other is married to an Egyptian husband with a horrible mother-in-law. The two escape by hitting the road where they discover both themselves and the world. What a wonderful film!
4 1/2 stars out of 5

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"We Need to Talk About Kevin"

Absolutely one of the creepiest movies I've ever seen. It's about a boy, Kevin, who is pure evil. It begins with his arrest, without explaining what he did. The story unfolds, jumping back and forth in time. Kevin is the personification of evil from birth. He cries incessantly as a baby, soils his pants as a toddler who's too old to do so, and, well, he just keeps getting worse and worse as he grows. Watching this movie is sort of like seeing a gruesome accident on the side of the road. You don't want to look, but you just can't help yourself. There isn't a lot of gore or violence in the movie, but it's painful to watch. Tilda Swinton is perfectly cast as the mom, and Jasper Newell who plays the toddler Kevin, and Ezra Miller who plays the teenaged Kevin are both great. There isn't one thing likable about them and you're pretty sure you could strangle either one to death.
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Pee-wee's Big Holiday"

If you're a fan of Pee-wee, you're going to love this movie. It's Pee-wee at his best. He hasn't done anything in a long while, but I think it's been worth the wait. He's not as goofy as he was, and his story actually has a plot. Either you like Pee-wee or you don't. I'm a fan and I thought this movie was a lot of fun.
4 stars out of 5

Friday, March 4, 2016

"Before We Go"

This is not just another "into the night in a big city adventure" movie. This move has an incredible soul to it. The premise of the movie is about two people who are stranded in New York. A guy is afraid to go to a bachelors party because he might run into an ex-girlfriend. He plays trumpet to practice for an audition at Grand Central where he runs into a woman who's had her purse stolen. And she has to get back to Boston before her husband does. Anyway, the two hook up and try to resolve their mutual problems.

Enough about the plot. This is one of the most heartfelt and beautiful indie films I've seen an a long time. The acting was great and the chemistry between the two actors was amazing. And I thought the writing was fantastic as well.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


A middle-school teacher is devastated when he learns that his wife is leaving him. He's already a terrible teacher, but his teaching skills take a deep dive when he gets this news. The school administrator is looking for any excuse to fire him, and since she can't, because he's tenured, punishes him by making him direct the school play. So he turns "The Three Little Pigs" into a play about his failed marriage. It may sound like a painful movie, but it's really quite funny. I laughed out loud several times, and my wife, who's a harsh critic, actually enjoyed it.
4 stars out of 5

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"The Way, Way Back"

A wonderful, coming of age movie that's very real. This is not one of these corny, everything's going to be okay movies. The actors are very believable as is the plot. It's about a young teen who has to spend the summer with his mom and her overbearing boyfriend (a really dicky Steve Corell). He gets a job at the local WaterWorld Park and bonds with the park manager. Sam Rockwell plays one of the funniest characters I've ever seen in a movie. He mentors the young characters in the movie. Highly recommended.
4.5 out of5 stars.

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Leon: The Professional"

All I can say is to witness a 12-year old Natalie Portman and you'll shake your head thinking, "She's going to be a huge star." What talent. However, I have to say, she certainly has starred in some unusual films over the years. Like "Garden State." This one is pretty offbeat as well. She plays a young girl who witnesses her family gunned down in a DEA raid. She's determined to get back at the corrupt officials who murdered her family. She's taken in by a professional hit man who lives next door. And the story unravels from there. The two of them turn in amazing performances. And the last few minutes will have you pumping your fist, for sure.
5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies"

Wow. This movie just blew me away. It's about an oddball, eccentric retired English professor. A murder is committed in his neighborhood, so everyone assumes he did it. The police drag him in and question him for three days without a bit of evidence. Then the press has a field-day, making all kinds of crazy accusations. He's basically guilty before he's had his day in court. I won't tell you the outcome, but it is based on a true story. Jason Watkins gives one of the most remarkable performances I've seen in years. His facial expressions and mannerisms are absolutely priceless.
4.5 out of 5 stars

(There are no previews for this movie, so you just have to trust me on this one.)

Monday, January 18, 2016

"All is Lost"

There are only a few words spoken in this movie. And one of them is the "F" word. You can see why. Robert Redford plays a sailor who's out at sea by himself and encounters a series of setbacks. He does a magnificent job, but like his role in "A Walk in the Woods." it should have been played by a younger actor. I know it's hard to give up, but some times you just have to do it. I have to say, he did a commendable job. To anyone who ever sailed, see this movie.
4 out of 5 stars

Friday, January 15, 2016

"Jack the Bear"

Excellent little film. How could it not be with Danny DeVito in the lead role? He plays a late night horror show movie host, a bit like the Ghoul. He's dealing with depression and heavy drinking, following the death of his wife. He's also raising two young boys on his own. The movie takes place in Oakland in the early 1970s and the score includes a lot of music from the time--which suites to movie perfectly. It's well written and well acted, especially his two kids. Not a lot happens in the movie, but the ending is really sweet. If you don't puddle up during the last scene, check your pulse.
4 out of 5 stars

Friday, January 1, 2016

"A Case of You".

Just a fun movie with a bunch of yuppies having fun. It's about a guy who cyber-stalks a woman on Facebook, and tries to fill her every dream, by doing everything she's into. It's sort of creepy, but in the end, it works out. His roommate is worth the price of admission. He's a total riot and has the best lines in the movie.
3.5 out of 5 stars.