Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
20 Nov, 2015
This second half of the third installment of the popular Hunger Games franchise...meh. Like all these lets-split-the-book-into-multiple-movies, it had terrible pacing. It drags on tedious scenes and details, but then scampers of character development and plot. Despite the good actors, the whole thing is so plodding and wooden than you just don't care. Went not dull, it was so badly over the top that Julianne Moore come of like a bond villain from a high school production of Triumph of the Will.
14 Nov, 2015
Effective and non-too-preachy. A true story that is so over the top, its too crazy to be fiction. Like Bridge of Spies, it reminds that we are not far from a dark place of mob brutality and fear – nearer in the past and in the possible future. It calls to us to be vigilant about what makes America is our ability to have hope and faith in our future and to be the brave when facing the unknown.
The settings, actors, and scripts were all great. It is delicious to watch.
Bridge of Spies
18 Oct, 2015
This is where Spielberg is at his best. He drives tight images that drive emotional responses with clinical precision. Hank plays his guy as an everyman with blend of pathos, humility, and just being that much smarter than everyone else in the room. There were real opportunities for the people to go way overboard, but these veterans kept everything pretty tight. Like "Lincoln," this movie is slice of history made relevant as a warning and a reminder to America about what it means to be an American. It is a patriotic call to duty. When we are most tempted to through away or break the rules because everyone else is; that is when we need to stand even more resolute. We are not a people defined by ethnicity or birth; we are people defined by values that we share. Above all, we must hold true to those values.
03 Oct, 2015
This is a great movie. I am so excited to see a movie that promotes science, rationality, and reason. It isn't through grit, or heroics, or "fiction" that the main character triumphs. It is by "solving his immediate problem, then surviving to solve the next, then the next, until you get to go home."
That said, the movie didn't deliver much of an emotional impact. We leave Damon's tight one man show on Mars too many times to follow along on an Earth that seems dully and silly – maybe that was the point. There is one ham fisted scene that indicates that the people of Earth care, but nothing that makes you feel like we are a planet of people united in rooting for this guy.
Jesus Christ Superstar
28 Sep, 2015
What have I sacrificed?!? This revival or "tour" was at the Aero complete with Ted Neely, Barry Dennen, and Bob Bignham. It made for a serial step back to the 70's. Not to mention all the over enthusiastic fans gasping "Jesus is in the lobby!"
I think the fans and Ted were both convinced that he might have been the genuine article.
19 Sep, 2015
The luke warm reviews touted it as "the Rockey of Chess," which I think still oversold the movie. Bobby Fischer is a hard person to make likable, but he should at least be intreiging.
29 Aug, 2015
A funny, honest, and difficult movie to watch. Lili Tomlin's angry old woman is relatable as she is prickly – fighting to remain free at the cost of never allowing herself to get attached to people. Watching three generations stop the fourth is a tough premise to sell for a movie about healing. All in all, I found it a great movie and an important one.
Anatomy of Murder
22 Aug, 2015
This classic did he or didn't he stands the test of time. I especially enjoyed the grim Upper Peninsula setting.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
02 Aug, 2015
They achieved the impossible, the 4th in a 20 year old franchise; and still enjoyable. Total popcorn fluff that holds up for summer fun.
19 Jul, 2015
Another Marvel, why not? It was hot and the AC wasn't working, so I was desperate for a movie theater. The movie was so'kay with a baddie who looked like a chef from Iron Kitchen.
18 Jul, 2015
Saw this classic film noir on a rainy night. I missed the first part of the double feature, but this one was worth the price of admission.
The script and acting was melodramatic by today's standards, but the main character was convincing in her situation. The ending was abrupt. All this essentially, because she was clepto.
17 Jul, 2015
This turned out to be an original and enjoyable romp into your screwball comedy. Like all such genre films, you know how they end; but this was better than most in getting you there. It was a strange blend of slut shaming and female empowerment – taking a realistic tone that didn't give clear answers.
17 Jul, 2015
Ian and Laura are on an LA Q&A tour to get support for the release of Mr. Holmes. Depending upon how it does this weekend, it will or won't get major release. It's the business behind the movie business. Great tidbits from the Q&A were Laura explaining what makes her choose a project ("I like stories that are actable. So many are written to be green lit, not acted"), Ian saying the character he relates to most ("I like Gandalf the Grey more than Gandalf the White, but Gandalf the Gay is my favorite), and them both talking about stage right and the essential need to fail in order to grow as an actor.
The movie itself was a quite BBC Masterpiece Theater style production. It could have been a stage drama translated to screen. The settings and direction are gorgeous, each scene could be lifted for an art photo. But the script and story always stay quite and you never feel like an adventure, as much as listening to a story from a grandparent.
Magic Mike XXL
12 Jul, 2015
This was the closest thing to a teen angst movie I could find to lure out the ever elusive Shelli. This important documentary explains that "male entertainers" (not strippers), are actually the healers and wise shamans of our time. They are a nomadic people who travel from town to town helping women gain confidence and to feel that they deserve love, all through the power of dirty dancing.
Unlike the first, this was just a big fun guy movie without a lot of pants. The soundtrack will be a huge seller.
04 Jul, 2015
Everyone's favorite is starting to become a 4th of July Tradition in Santa Monica....especially since no one is allowed to have fireworks. So again, I got to see Jaws, which I still have only seen on the big screen. So Much Fish!
28 Jun, 2015
A loose string of jokes around a thin premise that leads to a lot of laugh out loud moments. Not too slapstick, and not too raunchy; it was a crowd pleasing moment of silly escapism. Plus, watching Melissa McCarthy work her way through a bunch of "Alias" outfits was worth it alone.
24 May, 2015
It sold itself as a mind bending exploration into the implications of AI. It was really a slick retelling of Bluebeard (almost literally at times). It is definably effective at leaving you in a creeped out mood. But i didn't love it.
Mad Max: Fury Road
16 May, 2015
Wow! Whoa! What! This movie is a SPECTACLE, and a GOOD one! It was so far beyond the normal world, that you just have to roll in the insanity of it all, and the movie provided plenty. I loved the characters. I loved the acting. From the moment it opens to the final scene, you are on a thrill ride.
Pitch Perfect 2
15 May, 2015
The pitches ARE back, and in a crowd pleasing reprise. I fully expected this to be the monstrosity that was Legally Blond 2, where all the fun and low expectations of the first were ruined by bland formulaic attempts to recapture the first movie. The movie isn't deep. It floats by like pop-movie cotton candy...quickly dissolving from your mind as you leave the theater. But you leave feeling fun and happy.
10 May, 2015
I love Luc Besson. I love Scarlett Johansson. I did not love this movie. It was a good sunday rental for some silly sci-fi. I loved the idea behind the story, just not the execution. It comes off like it is a cliff notes of a real movie that was never made.
02 May, 2015
This classic holds up...with a vengeance. Caught this David gem at the local art house theater.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
01 May, 2015
It was a'ight. I'll be honest, it did a better job exploring AI than Ex Machina, but it didn't move the Avenger's needle forward or back. It was a crowd pleasing chapter in the series. There were places it dragged on, side stories I didn't care about, and some continuity between this and other Marvel franchises that grated. But it was a solid start to the summer blockbuster season.
Star Trek: II, III, and IV
18 Apr, 2015
It was a triple feature, but I was really just there for KAAAAAHN!
It is amazing how badly III hold up...even though it is essentially just II all over again :/
Woman In Gold
11 Apr, 2015
The movie came off "budget" feeling in a way that it seemed like something from PBS masterpiece theater. It was small, tightly done, and didn't go anywhere too unexpected. It was pointed out that the last scene was essentially the last seen from Titanic.
It is a great real story, so part of the challenge is to take something real and make it "hollywood." It demonstrates how much great talent can help.
It doesn't pull any punches about the Austrian people, so i wonder how this played there?
The Wrecking Crew
14 Mar, 2015
This was a long-time-int-the-making documentary. It was a very interesting look into a work that I never knew about: the small group of virtually unknown LA musicians who were behind some of the most iconic music of their generation. It was made by the son of the of the musicians, so you could sense the pride and love. However, the documentary meanders and peters out, running longer than needed. It could have been good to great with some editing.
14 Mar, 2015
The movie was total confection; beautiful, sweet, and delicious – with absolutely no nutritional value. I was pleased how Cinderella was left as the classic sweet girl story. They didn't try to modernize her into an action hero or willful tween. It remains the classic story of a girl who endures and who remains good despite bad things and people around her. The whole thing is elevated by amazing actors and set/costume design that makes me want to print all the shots and hang them on my wall.
01 Mar, 2015
Well, it wasn't one of those cliche spy movies, except when it was.
It was slick, stylish, and intelligent...except when it wasn't. Then it was graphic and crass. It was trying to appeal to 13 year old boys and the classic James Bond set. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. There is a great moment in the movie that harkens to Dr. Strangelove, but I didn't loose my head for it
22 Feb, 2015
Ah, it is Teen-Angst-With-Shelli season again. Grab your combat boots and plaid skirt, we are gonna be obnoxious!
This is a solid grade B movie. There were no real laugh out loud moments, and it come off like a also-ran mean girls.
It is cute and thoughtful. It is better than most teen movies in that it avoids the obvious "misunderstanding" or contrived drama. But it is also filled with eloquent soliloquies that come more from tales-from-reddit than real life.
A fun watch for a Sunday afternoon.
Shadow of a Doubt
07 Feb, 2015
Not a favorite, but certainly not bad. It is a classic suspense where the idyllic becomes the sinister. It is a great slice of time from a golden California of the 40's in a post-war haze of boundless possibility still small town charm.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
03 Jan, 2015
This was like reporting to jail to start your sentence. I literally dreaded going to see this movie and did so only out of some weird sense of obligation to the franchise.
It was terrible. I mean it was just so bad on so many levels. I felt relief that the whole Hobbit is finally behind me – it can't hurt me anymore.
I recently read that Peter Jackson turned down the Avenger's movie because he felt like Hollywood had lost its way – after he was done turing this thing into a trilogy just because he could squeeze an extra set of tickets from the fans. Vomit.