Monday, 17 December 2018 17:30

MOVIE REVIEWS - Reviews And Previews

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The theaters are full of big movies right now.  Let's review and preview.

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The Upside

The National Critics are being unkind to this, and I am scratching my head why.  Are there flaws here?  Yes, some.  But I have to ask this.  What do you want from a comedy?  I mean what do you want? 

This is not a rip roaring hilarious comedy, but this is an entertaining, and sometimes funny movie, based on a true story of a very rich man confined to a wheelchair, and the unlikely guy he takes a huge chance on to be his caregiver.  Kevin Hart, Brian Cranston, Nicole Kidman and others star here and all give strong performances.  This has a heart, a soul, and is a pretty darn good story.  This does not mire itself down in raunchy skits and language, and keeps its head above the fray. It  develops characters well, and you feel like you're in the movie with them.

Yes, this is a bit too long, and there are a few moments that may have been rethought or redone. But over all this is quite good, and audiences are going to really like this movie despite that the national media will not.   This could have been a lot of things.  But it dares to be a real movie and not a sell out to easy locker room laughs.   Pay no attention to the critics, go see this.      


Escape Room

This is the first in what will be an ongoing franchise, that will remind many people of the Saw series.  It is not as violent, or bloody, but the premise is essentially the same.  Some person, or entity, trying to off a bunch of heavily researched and chosen young people, and this time the rage of the trendy Escape Room game is used.

This movie does a few things well.  It's short, and has a script that is not leaning on blood and guts to make it's point. There are some intense moments, and this is shot pretty well, in fact better than most movies of this type and budget. 

But it loses points with me for lack of originality, and a formula that has been done to death.  This will find a loyal audience, more will be made and this will do well streaming and DVD.


Sometimes there is a big difference between a good movie, and good movie making.   That is going to be the take away from many I feel with this.  This is the star studded bio-pic of former Vice President Dick Cheney.  This, as you may have guessed is no where near flattering to him, and this clearly has a political agenda that some will have a hard time looking beyond, and some will embrace.

Whether you agree with the message or not, what is undeniable is the sheer skill used to make this movie.  Christian Bale stars as Cheney, and he is incredibly good.  The transformation to become our star character is simply phenomenal.  In fact, the makeup and performances in this movie are insanely good.  Costumes, sets, settings, the entire thing is amazing as we are taken from era to era. The script is slick and keeps you guessing the entire time.

This movie is very polarizing and there will be division in opnions with the coffees grabbed afterwards, but what is not up for debate is the fact this is one of the best made movies of the year.


The Mule

Clint Eastwood has a new movie out, and it is simply fantastic! The Mule stars Eastwood as a very elderly man who somehow finds himself running drugs for the Mexican Drug Cartel to Chicago.  He has failed in about every avenue of his personal life, and this is a final chance to be relevant again, and make easy money.

Eastwood continues to amaze us with his movie making, and in this case his performance.  He is terrific here as is his incredible supporting cast of Bradley Cooper, Michael Pena, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia Dianne Wiest, and various members of his family.  Great script, shot wonderfully, and an amazing musical soundtrack that is used very skillfully.

This is intense at times, fun at times, and very entertaining.  Plus, this movie delivers a very powerful real life message that is really refreshing to see.   This is dramatic movie making at its very best.


Mary Poppins Returns

There was a lot of pressure on Disney to get this right.  Updating an absolute classic in a very different social era.  Everything seemed to be in place.  Time, a new story, great effects, and the perfect person, (Emily Blunt) to play Poppins.   And it worked.

No one is going to confuse the singing ability of Blunt, against the original Julie Andrews, but she does fine.  She, like Andrews was,  is born for this role, and being fair, I would not mind to see her again in this role in times ahead.

This is the kind of movie that Disney does best, by a long shot.  Great performances, great music, big production numbers with a great mix of old school animation mixed in with live action.  This is more than enjoyable in every way.  This pays homage to the original, by not trying to be a slicker, more modern version.  But in many ways this looks a whole lot like the original.

Blunt is great, and so is the time you and your family will have at this new classic.  Go see this.


Bumble Bee

What a great surprise this holiday season.  Up front, I am not a fan of the Transformer franchise, as they are way too long, and full of way too much CG for me.  But, this is the "Wonder Woman" of the Transformers series.  I am not saying it's as good as Wonder Woman because it's not.  But the format and feel are the same.  This was directed by Christina Hodson who seems to understand that story, and characters are far more important than 2 hours of robots fighting.

This is the story of the origins of the Transformers coming to Earth, with B-127, or Bumble Bee being the first.  This takes us back to 1987 in every way there is. Great sets, props, and a very good soundtrack, Hailee Steinfeld is terrific as a young woman who is the first human to encounter a
Transformer, and befriends Bumble Bee.  She makes any movie better, and as cool as the effects can be in these movies, they needed her to make this work.

Great story, well written, and delivered well, so if you've never seen a Transformers movie, you can now, and understand how it all began.  There are wonderful effects and there is plenty of action that doesn't go on too long.  This whole thing checks in at about 2 hours, and that is plenty.

Bumble Bee.  Darn good. 


Russell's Santa is a big different then many, but his mission is the same, to make sure Christmas is saved on Christmas Eve.  With the help of a couple of kids in need of a Christmas miracle as well, this is fun and is a nice diversion from the "normal" Christmas flick, without reworking the spirit of the season.

This is fun, funny, and extremely well done. This is good for all ages, but some of this will lean better to late teens and up. Russell is great, and so is the supporting cast.  This is great, and I wood watch this again.



The much hyped superhero flick will absolutely find an audience, but I am a bit confused about the release timing of this.  Tons of competition at Christmas time, but they must have confidence it will do well. And it will.


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Read 468 times Last modified on Friday, 11 January 2019 16:02