Apache at the Movies

I love movies--so in 2008 I began giving films just seen a quick review & rating.  After spending awhile below, I'll sort them by grade A-F and move them to one of the following pages.  (Click on any of the following links)

Oh the Drama
Feels like Sci-Fi
Oh the Horror
Keep Me in Suspense
Isn't it Romantic
So-called Comedies
Comic Book Heroes 
Kid Stuff
Fact not Fiction
Cinema Fantastico (Subtitles)


Just Seen

Wind River (2017)  When the dead body of a raped & beaten Native American woman is found in the wintry Wyoming landscape, FBI agent Elizabeth Olsen asks US Game tracker Jeremy Renner for his help.  They'll find the answers they're looking for--and tragically so will we, as we witness what they can only guess at.  Told with violence yet care, this is smart, sad suspense made all the better with this heartfelt pair.  My grade: A
Irreplaceable You (2018)  Sweethearts since childhood, Sam & Abbie make plans to wed when Abbie discovers she has terminal cancer.  Worried that Sam will be alone as he's never dated, her attempts to find him a romantic replacement are thwarted by friends, her support group & finally Sam himself.  Not really sad or sweet or amusing, this was more like sipping a glass of tepid water for 90 minutes.  My grade: C-
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)  A prequel to 2008's "Cloverfield" (where giant monsters invade New York--great film btw)  a space station in orbit attempts to create a new energy source for an Earth depleted of resources--and manages to rip a hole into another universe instead.  Some fleeting sci-fi scenery, but too many characters and a confusing & paranoid storyline do not a good prequel make. My grade: C
The Wizard of Lies (2017)  In December 2008, Bernie Madoff sat his 2 sons down and told them his investment company was a scam, a decades long Ponzi scam he could no longer sustain. How or why it began, we’ll never know; we’re only witness to the fallout. But watching things crumble from the Madoff’s perspective, with flawless performances by Robert DeNiro & Michele Pfeiffer as his shell-shocked wife Ruth make a tragic but damn fine show.  My grade: A
Unforgettable (2017)  After escaping an abusive marriage, Rosario Dawson finds love again—too bad her new, naïve husband comes with a scary, resentful ex white—I mean ex-wife (Katherine Heigl). The critics trampled all over this predictable tenserama, but sometimes you’re just in the mood for pretty faces, pretty houses and a psychotic moment or two, right?  My grade: C Plus
The Polka King (2017)  Jack Black’s European accent is straight out of a Laugh-In skit—but he’s still fun to watch as Jan Lewan, the hammy, manic Pole who crowned himself the King of Pennsylvania Polka in the 1990s, then fleeced his senior citizen fanbase to keep his star high. Jenny Slate as his “look at me too!” wife was inspired casting in this ridiculous romp made all the better by being true. I need more Jack Black in my life.  My grade: B
Voyeur (2017) In 1980, acclaimed writer Gay Talese was invited to visit a peculiar motel, where the owner had installed vents in the rooms ceilings to spy on his guests at night (keeping copious notes). 36 years later, the voyeur is ready to come forward and asks 80 year old Gay to write his story—which Gay does, only to learn not all is as it seems. Not so much a doc on the voyeurism as it is a ponderous look at this elderly pair—joined at the hip whether they like it or not. My grade: B

Bluebeard (2017)  As a favor to his landlord, newly divorced Dr.Seung performs a colonoscopy on his father—sedated, the elderly man claims he's a serial killer.  Could it just be the drug talking?  When the doc’s ex-wife disappears after a visit, he suspects the old man was telling the truth.  Problem is, others are claiming the doc himself is crazy in this twisty-turny thriller that tells us whodunit but still manages to befuddle us more than anything.  (Korean)  My grade: C Plus

The Case for Christ (2017)  After their daughter is saved from choking to death (and his thankful wife converts to Christianity), reporter & atheist Lee Strobel begins researching the resurrection of Christ to prove to his wife the Bible is one big hoohah.  He’ll meet with theologians, Christian scholars… where will the evidence take him?  To salvation of course, in this Christian drama based on a true story.  Yes, we get it; if someone like Lee can be saved, so can we.  My grade: C

Barbra: The Music, the Mem’ries, the Magic! (2017) Barbra Streisand performs a 2 hour concert for an awestruck audience of 15,000 with songs from her No.1 albums, including ‘A Star is Born’ & ‘Funny Girl’ (which brings the house down). She also sings a wonderful duet with Jamie Foxx and shares some funny, personal anecdotes from her early career.  At 74, her talent is colossal as ever—every song received a standing ovation.  She deserved it, too.  My grade: A

Saving Capitalism (2017)  Robert Reich travels the country and explains how our economy has changed for the worse, since allowing big business to influence government.  (Meanwhile, We the People have only a 1% impact on things.)  But this is more a call to action, as he urges us to protest & vote.  A fair watch, but see his 2013 documentary ‘Inequality For All’ too; it’s informative, entertaining and (compared to this) brilliant.  My grade: B-

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)  In 1998 while making the biopic “Man on the Moon”, Jim Carrey was also filmed behind the scenes as he immersed himself in the role of Andy Kaufman.  20 years later as we watch, incredulous that this maniacal diva made life so miserable for a director & crew, a somber, older Carrey tells us how he barely survived his own genius.  There’s no denying his stardom then, but wow what an asshole too.  I suspect he still is.  My grade: B Plus

Kiss and Cry (2017)  Based on a true story, Carley is a bubbly 17 year old Canadian skater & aspiring singer when she’s struck down with a very rare cancer.  Friends, family (and a new boyfriend) will rally to her support in this Hallmarky confection that goes way overboard with the syrup.  (No joke, several times I was gagging.)  Interestingly enough, the lead (Sarah Fisher) was played by Carley Allison’s real-life best friend.  Next!  My grade: C

The Transfiguration (2017)  Milo is an inner-city black youth, quiet, a loner.  He’s obsessed with vampires in pop culture, and believes he’s one too, sometimes sticking a pen-knife into a random stranger’s neck to drink their blood (killing them and vomiting blood later).  He knows what he’s doing is wrong and has no wish to be evil, is there any way he can be stopped?  Yep.  Critics loved this stark and dreary thing, moviegoers didn’t.  I'm with the moviegoers on this one.  My grade: D

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (2017)  In the 1950s she won an essay contest (and a job) with Vogue magazine; she'd go on to write sophisticated pieces for Esquire magazine & the New Yorker, marry writer John Dunne and pursue a career of avant-garde journalism and acclaimed novels.  She’s 83 now, feels and looks older, but still has much to reflect on and write about in Griffin Dunne’s easy, intimate documentary.  My grade: A
Otherlife (2017)  Ren helps design an ‘organic technology’ that allows a person to experience a vacation getaway for a day, a week, even a year—all in their mind while only a minute of real time has passed.  But her backers have more nefarious plans.  “A person could serve a life sentence and not cost the state a thing.”  Ren will stop them--or perhaps she just think she does, in this slick sci-fi spin.  It’s a great premise but darn it, gets muddled as we near the finish.  My grade: B-

Carrie Pilby (2017)  Carrie is very smart, a Harvard graduate at 18 and NYC apartment dweller at 19.  She’s also jobless, lives on her father’s dime and insists she’s satisfied with her single, neurotic life.  Great--but her therapist (Nathan Lane) still wants her to complete a bucket list that includes getting a pet and going on a date.  She’ll comply, kicking and screaming most of the way in this offbeat albeit charming, coming of age story.  My grade: B

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)  After helping Iron Man in ‘Civil War’, 15 year old Peter Parker is rewarded with a very special spidey-suit designed by Tony Stark himself.  While struggling to become a crime fighter (sweet & hilarious) he’ll uncover a dealer (Michael Keaton) crafting & selling alien powered weapons; but when no one takes him seriously, a hero is born.  Easily my favorite Spider-Man, fresh, original, amazing—Marvel wins again!  My grade: A

Realive (2017)  In 2016 at age 33, Marc is diagnosed with brain cancer; chemo & radiation may help him live a little longer, but he has a year at best.  He’ll tell his family & friends he’s being cryogenically frozen, and nearly a century later he’s awakened—in fact, he’s the first successful re-animation.  But it comes with a price, he’ll need constant care.  Well, he’s alive, right?  They’ll have to keep telling him that.  Smart, ponderous & real sci-fi, we need more of this.  My grade: B

1922 (2017)  The two loves of Wilfred’s life is his 15 year old boy Henry, and their farm in Nebraska.  But the land is in his wife’s name and she wants to sell and move to the city.  She warns Wilf if he refuses, she’ll divorce him and take Henry with her anyway.  "Daddy, isn’t there any other way?”  “No son… we have to end her, and I’ll need your help.”  Things soon take a very dark turn for all, in Stephen King's guilt-ridden chiller.  More sad than frightful, but still haunting.  My grade: B

Wonder Woman (2017)  After Steve Trevor’s biplane crashes into the water near a mysterious island of female warriors, Princess Diana will follow him back to the world of men—and help to end a World War.  From the casting of Chris Pine as Trevor & Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, to her origins on Paradise Island, battles on the Front and with Ares, God of War—DC Comics, you did it.  You brought a superheroine to life, and it’s a spine-tingling spectacle.  My grade: A

The Babysitter (2017)  Cole is a timid little guy, 12 years old and gets picked on by everybody; but he’s the envy of the suburbs when his hot babysitter Bee is around! So it’s a sad surprise when Cole sneaks downstairs one night and discovers Bee is the leader of a Satanic cult—who just performed a human sacrifice in his living room. Billed as a horror-comedy, I think it was written for 12 year old boys sleepovers? Guys, don’t let Mom catch you watching this! My grade: C
Lady Macbeth (2017)  I like the outdoor air, sir.  No. Stay indoors with your prayer book.  In 1865 rural England, a bored Katherine trapped in a cruel, loveless marriage is appalled when Sebastian, a stableman makes a pass at her; but once their affair begins, she’ll let no one stand in the way of things—father-in-law, maids, or Sebastian himself.  With a psychotic determination, this woman (Florence Pugh) truly mesmerizes; I’m both afraid and smitten.  My grade: A

The Mummy (2017)  Tom Cruise is a treasure hunter who’s cursed when he uncovers the tomb of a 5000 year old Egyptian princess so evil, she couldn’t die and was mummified alive.  Meanwhile, a secret organization in London (led by Russell Crowe as Dr.Jeckyll and Mr.Hyde, wha??) has been waiting for this very event to occur, in this billion dollar CGI-fest, enjoyable enough but felt made up as they went along—and an obvious setup for a new franchise.  My grade: B-

Veronica (2017)  A retired therapist in seclusion agrees to take on a new patient for 10 times her former fee;  she’ll meet a lovely young woman with a real ‘tude who suffers from bad dreams and seems to have a thing for older women.  A lot of mind games begin, and soon we’ll wonder who’s really the patient in this noir-style production of a woman who’s gone over the edge.  Slick to look at, but it should’ve been better.  (Spanish)  My grade: C

Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (2017)  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  On Christmas Eve 1968, as Apollo 8 orbited the moon, astronauts read from the Bible and 30 men hunched behind now ancient consoles wept, in a haze of cigarette smoke & blinking lights.  This was Mission Control in the 1960s, seen & heard via film clips with remarkable stories from these remaining men.  What a time this was.  My grade: A

Kingdom of Us (2017)  In 2007, Paul Shanks walked into the woods behind his home and committed suicide.  He left behind a wife and 7 children, aged 6-16.  As the years pass, they’ll struggle to grow up in a house filled with clutter, emotions and their dad’s hidden notebook that contained much darker plans for his family.  This explains the deadbolts he installed on our bedroom doors.  They love & miss him still, in this bittersweet documentary of one very brave family.  My grade: B

Dig Two Graves (2017)  After the drowning of her big brother Sean, young Jake (Jacqueline) is approached by 3 backwoods men in her small rural town; they can bring Sean back to life, in return for Jake doing an equally deadly deed.  Okay, let’s stop—the critics got this right, but horror fans and other viewers didn’t.  This isn’t a horror movie!  It’s a thoughtful tale of adolescent loss, love and the lengths ones go in pursuit of vengeance.  It’s a dark, surprising gem.  My grade: B Plus

A Ghost Story (2017)  After his wife identifies his body following an accident, Casey Affleck’s ghost (draped head to toe in a sheet) silently follows her home.  He’ll stand there passively watching her grieve, eat, sleep.  Years pass, she falls in love again, moves out.  Other families will come & go… still he waits for her return.  Will he ever move on too?  In time, in this eerily silent tale of loss.  Gulp… a masterstroke of storytelling.  My grade: A

Wakefield (2017)  When Bryan Cranston notices he can see the going-ons of his wife & daughters from the attic window of his carriage house garage, he decides he’ll stay there.  He’s tired of his marriage, the rat race, everything.  He’ll chuckle as they report him missing, sneak out at night to scavenge for food, and rationalize his behavior.  I didn’t leave my family, I left my life.  In time he’ll appreciate what he had… but I fear some things are lost forever, his mind included.  My grade: B Plus

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)  Chris Pratt returns as Quill, captain of a dysfunctional alien crew who get saved from the Sovereign (love these gold aliens!) by Kurt Russell—a Godlike being who it turns out, is Chris’ dad with his own godly agenda.  With their gizmos & humor, 70’s music and razzle-dazzle color (I saw spots for 2 hours afterwards) these guys are my favorite Marvel Comics team-up—less Avengers, more Guardians please!  My grade: B Plus

Everybody Loves Somebody (2017)  Dr. Clara (a dead ringer for Amanda Knox) doesn’t want to show up alone at her parents wedding, so she asks Asher (a fellow doc) to pose as her boyfriend.  They arrive, but so does Daniel—the love of her life 10 years ago.  He wants her back, and she him, but now she wants Asher too.  She’ll string both along & make everyone miserable until Mama tells her to just love somebody.  Not awful, just forgettable.  (Spanish-English)  My grade: C

The Exception (2017)  After a dashing young Nazi officer (Jai Courtney) is sent to Holland to guard Germany’s exiled emperor (played to perfection by Christopher Plummer), he’ll meet & fall in love with the Kaiser’s Jewish servant—only to discover she’s a British spy.  Will he choose her over Germany?  Perhaps when he learns of German atrocities being the rule (and not the exception as he thought) in this adult WWII tale of love & duty.  My grade: B Plus

Before I Fall (2017)  17 year old Samantha is confused when she’s told to get up for school, isn’t it the weekend?  No, it’s Friday.  And so was yesterday, and it will be tomorrow too, until she understands why she’s re-living the day over & over, in this ‘Groundhog Day’ drama for the teenage mindset.  There’s little humor and much angst, but it’s told well, and the message it imparts is profound and good.  My grade: B

Gerald’s Game (2017)  Attempting to add sparks to their marriage, Jessie (Carla Gugino) allows Gerald to handcuff her to the bedposts at their lakeside cottage; but Gerald suffers a heart attack and dies, and Jessie will too if she can’t figure out a way to free herself.  Those voices in her head have a lot to say, but why is her 12 year old self in there too?  Based on a Stephen King novel, it’s horror alright, but mature and inspiring too.  My grade: B Plus

How to Be a Latin Lover (2017)  At 46, Maximo is kicked to the curb after being kept by a rich older woman for 25 years.  With no money & nowhere to go, he moves in with his sister (Selma Hayek) and her little boy Hugo; and then he meets the rich grandma of the little girl his nephew has a crush on—Raquel Welch!  It’s loco from start to finish, but I still laughed a lot—it was better than expected and surprise, family friendly too!  (Spanish-English) My grade: B-

Our Souls at Night (2017)  Widowed and living on the same street for decades, Jane Fonda has a proposal for Robert Redford.  Would you be interested in coming to my house to sleep with me?  Not for sex… it’s lying in bed together and talking until we fall asleep.  He says yes, in this quiet, lovely story of 2 lonely people who share little in common besides their age.  Here, that’s just enough.  Ms. Fonda, you've never been better.  My grade: A

The Sense of an Ending (2017)  Retired & living alone, Tony is surprised when he receives a solicitor’s letter that he’s been named in a will—by the mother of his girlfriend Veronica from his university days.  Stranger still, Veronica’s mum left him the diary that belonged to his best friend (who killed himself 50 years ago).  Why does she have it?  No real mystery here, more of a tease that flickers softly out in this British soap that’s not without its stodgy charm.  My grade: C Plus

The Lion Woman (2017)  In 1912, a woman dies in childbirth.  Her daughter lives, but with the condition congenital hypertrichosis lanuginosa (her face & body covered with hair).  Her stern but loving father does everything he can to hide her from the world, but little Eva will fight just as hard to become a part of it… even running away to join a sideshow.  What will become of her?  Greatness, in this fiction of courage and the human spirit. (Norwegian)  My grade: B Plus
Berlin Syndrome (2017)  A budding photographer, Clare travels to Berlin to study it’s architecture and meets a German man her age, Andi. They’ll talk buildings & books, go on a date and afterwards he invites her upstairs for tea.  When Clare says yes, Andi jokes he’s never going to let her leave.  It turns out Andi is a man of his word in this moody, psychological thriller.  This was quality stuff, but I still wanted a louder ending!  (German-English)  My grade: A-
The Survivalist (2017)  We don’t know how the world has ended, but he lives in a remote shack in the woods now, some rusty mementos and a tiny garden to keep him alive.  And then a white-haired woman arrives with her teenage daughter, asking for food & shelter.  He’s wary, starving people roam the country now, ready to kill (like these two who plan to kill him)—but his want for company will overcome caution.  Critics loved this; I appreciated it, but it just felt... very spare.  My grade: B-

Alien: Covenant (2017)  In Ridley Scott’s second “Alien” prequel, the sleeper ship Covenant en route to a planet for colonization picks up radio signals from one weeks closer.  This planet looks like paradise, let’s go there instead.  What will they find?  The wrecked spaceship Prometheus (2012) which disappeared 10 years ago, a lone survivor and—you can guess the rest.  It's a blood show alright but it’s still smart, spacey sci-fi & I want more!  My grade: B Plus

The Big Sick (2017)  Aspiring comic Kumail Nanjiani meets and falls in love with Emily, but ends things when his family demand he marry a Pakistani.  But when Emily falls ill and goes into a coma, Kumail can’t leave her side—even when her angry parents (Ray Romano & Holly Hunter) insist he go.  I was surprised at the direction this took, but Ray & Holly lift a so-so story into something funnier & sweeter.  My grade: B-

Beauty and the Beast (2017)  Disney waves its magic wand over their 1991 animated movie and brings it to life, in a lavish spectacle that’s every bit as charming (if not more) than the original.  With Emma Watson as Belle, an equally impressive cast, wonderful songs & dance, this is a magical, first-rate musical.  Jiminy Cricket, I’m becoming a real Disney fan!  My grade: A

Land of Mine (2017)  After WWII, Denmark put 2,000 German POWs to work digging up 1.5 million landmines the Nazis buried along its coastline; sadly, these POWs were boys forced into service at the end of the War by a crazed Hitler.  And now, as a Danish sergeant watches these adolescents lose life & limb, will question his orders and deal with his own paternal feelings.  Take deep breaths, it’s a sad, tense & true watch.  (German-Danish)  My grade: A-

The Last Word (2017)  After reading some kindly written obituaries (for people she thought little of), bitchy perfectionist Shirley MacLaine hires the same writer (Amanda Seyfried) to write hers—and what might’ve been funny or sweet instead becomes a phony bore as these two go on a half-hearted quest to better Shirley's legacy.  Yuck on the chemistry, Shirley you were a bully all your life--you shouldn't expect a pat on the back for it in the end.  My grade: D

Bokeh (2017)  Jenai & Riley travel to Iceland for a romantic vacation, but awaken one morning to discover their hotel is empty.  They venture out, search their street, the city… no one.  Calls home to America go unanswered.  Where is everyone?  At first it’s frightful, but an adventure too—at least we have each other.  But as days stretch into weeks, one will learn to love this life… and the other won’t.  Sad, beautiful, soul searching.  My grade: B

AWOL (2017)  With her mother’s nudging, young Joey decides to enlist in the Army; she’s good at mechanics and there’s no future to be had in her rural Pennsylvania hometown.  And then she meets Rayna, an older honky-tonk woman… the attraction is mutual, but Rayna comes with 2 kids—and an on again, off again husband.  Intimate, bleak & bittersweet, ah Joey… please, please move on.  My grade: B

The Wedding Plan (2017)  Micha is an Orthodox Jew, single and wants only to be married and serve Shabbat; so when her fiancé calls off their wedding, she’s devastated.  I will buy the dress and rent the hall anyway, God will provide.  Oh Micha… this isn’t quirky & romantic,  you’re more ready for your funeral than your wedding.  What will it take for you to take a suitor’s offer seriously?  Endless pleading, apparently. (Hebrew)  My grade: C

Little Evil (2017)  “I’m worried about my 5 year old stepson, I think he’s—“ “Evil incarnate?  The antichrist?”  “Yes!”  “Yeah, so is mine!  Welcome to the club!”  But newly married Adam Scott’s about to discover his stepson really IS the antichrist, so what now?  It’s not “The Omen” but sure is a lot funnier, I chuckled throughout—and Sally Field as the creepy Mrs. Shaylock is the icing on this devil’s food cake!  My grade: B

Frantz (2017)  Anna visits the grave of her fiancé Frantz daily, who lost his life in the first World War.  One day she discovers a man putting flowers on his grave, a Frenchman who says he was a friend.  She introduces him to Frantz parents, and his stories bring light and color to a morose family… but put a heavy burden on Anna, who follows him to Paris.  What will she find?  The will to live again, in this breathtaking work of art.  Magnificent. (French)  My grade: A Plus

Catfight (2017)  Uppity Sandra Oh runs into struggling painter Ann Heche at a party; friends in college, they now view each other with contempt.  A snarky exchange leads to a FULL ON ASSAULT which puts one in a coma—so what happens 2 years later when that person recovers?  Billed as a comedy, you might get a few chuckles... if you have a warped sense of humor or enjoy women beating the shit out of one another!  My grade: C Plus

The Drowning (2017)  Josh Charles & his wife are taking a stroll along the river when they see a young man jump off the pier; Josh rushes in to save him, later to discover he’s “Danny”, the boy his testimony (as a child therapist) helped send to prison for murder 12 years ago.  Now he's back and playing all sorts of mind games, what’s a self doubting doc to do?  The ending (of this awful movie and a certain character) can’t come soon enough.  My grade: F

The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)  Jessica Chastain is Antonina Zabinski, who along with her husband Jan ran the Warsaw Zoo in the 1930s; when Germany invaded Poland, they raided the zoo, taking the best animals to Berlin and slaughtering the rest.  The Zabinskis offered to raise pigs for the Nazis, using this as a front to smuggle 300 Jews out of Poland.  It’s an amazing story but perhaps deserved more, this always felt a little soft around the edges.  My grade: B Plus

What Happened to Monday (2017)  50 years from now, the planet is hugely overpopulated and ‘1 child per couple’ is strictly enforced.  So when a woman dies giving birth to septuplets, her dad takes them into hiding—naming each for a day of the week.  They’ll share one identity to the outside world, but when a ferocious government discovers their secret…  Gory, wild sci-fi and not without its flaws, but man this deserves an A for ambition!  My grade: B

Alone in Berlin (2017)  As Nazi Germany celebrates their victory over France, Berliners Otto & Anna are devastated to learn their son is dead, giving his life to “Der Fuhrer”.  They’ll begin leaving angry postcards in shops and stairways—Hitler is a madman, Stop the Nazi war machine, Hitler killed our son, yours is next.  What will happen if they’re discovered by the Gestapo?  You don’t want to know, in this tragic drama based on a true story.  My grade: B Plus

iBOY (2017)  When young Tom confronts a gang assaulting his friend Lucy, he calls 911 and gets a bullet in the head for it—along with fragments of his smartphone into his brain.  After coming out of a coma, he’ll see the world in a whole new light; his mind is connected to every cellphone, tablet & computer in the city.  I’m coming for you.  Yes!  Love me some dark & gritty British sci-fi—I really liked Tom & Lucy too.  Well done.  My grade: B

3 Generations (2017)  If she likes girls, why can’t she be a normal lesbian like her grandma?  As Naomi Watts grapples with an angry, emotional 16 year old trapped in a girl’s body, a gay mother (Susan Sarandon) who doesn’t get it & an absentee ex who refuses to sign sex-change papers for a child he’s never seen, when will it all end?  No really… when will it all end.  The ending’s a little too neat, but after all this anguish I’ll take it.  My grade: C

Wilson (2017)  Woody Harrelson is an obnoxious oaf who gets the bright idea of hooking up with his estranged wife (a funny Laura Dern) he hasn’t seen in 17 years.   “Honey wouldn’t it have been great if you didn’t abort our baby before you left me?”  “I didn’t—I had her & gave her up for adoption.”  Better late than never to be a dad in this goofy-ass, goofy-funny, goofy-sellout comedy.  My grade: C Plus

A Cure for Wellness (2017)  When Lockhart (an upstart at a NY investment firm) is sent to a froufrou sanitarium in the Swiss Alps to retrieve their CEO, he’ll find himself in a castle populated with glassy eyed patients, a strange staff and even stranger contraptions.  Oh he just knows something sinister is afoot, and so do we in this grand, dark look into madness, perversion & inventive horror.  The ending, that’s no surprise.  It was still worth the wait.  My grade: A-

Gifted (2017)  After his sister’s suicide, Chris Evans takes in her infant daughter to raise; 7 years later, this obnoxious kid turns out to be a math prodigy—just like her mother.  When Chris’ haughty mom from Cambridge University finds out, let the custody battle begin.  An unlikable cast sure doesn’t help this schmaltzy soap, better bring in Octavia Spencer as the goodhearted neighbor who just loves that child... ugh.  My grade: C-
The Lovers (2017)  Debra Winger & her husband have been cheating on each other a long time (but neither knows the other is doing it).  So when their son comes home from college, both plan to announce they’re leaving… well, that was the plan but lately they’ve been rekindling old feelings.  “You’re both pieces of shit!” says their son.  I’m inclined to agree, but you decide in this sloooow but surprising… love story?  It shouldn’t be but it is.  My grade: C

American Anarchist (2017)  In 1969, William Powell was an angry 20 year old political activist who wrote ‘The Anarchist Cookbook’, which explained how to cook napalm, make bombs, etc;  he later married & became a teacher for emotionally challenged children.  50 years later, copies of his book are still found, notably with kids involved in school killings like Columbine.  The irony is not lost on him in this sobering, remorseful documentary.  My grade: B
KONG: Skull Island (2017)   When scientists discover a secret island, they request a military escort there—sure!  It’s 1973, the Vietnam War is ending and a war happy general (Samuel Jackson) is more than ready for another mission.  WELCOME TO SKULL ISLAND: HOME OF GIANT MONSTERS, PRIMITIVE TRIBES & KONG!  Loved the movie’s opening, one of the best I’ve ever seen--also the 70s artillery, monster battles, EVERYTHING.  My grade: ONE ASS-WHUPPIN' A

My Scientology Movie (2017)  BBC filmmaker Louis Theroux travels to LA in an attempt to talk with a Scientologist—if he can find any willing, that is.  Instead he’ll meet with former members (who bristle at being labeled ‘defrocked’) and as they share stories of cult leader David Miscaviage’s beatings, fleeing, harassed by the cult—hey, has anyone noticed that white SUV following us?  Louis, welcome to Scientology.  My grade: B-

Get Out (2017)  Chris is dubious when his girlfriend tells him they’ve been invited to her parent’s house for the weekend.  Did you tell them I’m black?”  They know, Chris… they know.  And they have some big plans for you in this curious, smart horror flick.  (Favorite scene is when Chris best friend goes to the cops, he worries Chris has been kidnapped by whites to be their sex slave.)  I’ll take my terror with some of that dark humor, please!  My grade: B

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)  Keanu Reeves is back in this surprising (it's even better than the original) sequel of a retired assassin sent to kill the female head of a crime syndicate--then is hunted down by her brother, the same man who contracted him.  The bloodshed is staggering, the cinematography stunning in this robust, precise thriller.  Oh, so many killers walk among us.  Bring on Chapter 3!  My grade: A

Life (2017)  Excitement turns to horror on the International Space Station when a soil sample from Mars containing a dormant microbe awakens and begins to grow at an astonishing rate.  Yum, oxygen.. it's in the air, our blood...  dammit this movie moves way too fast given it's first-rate production, but you gotta love that "screw humanity" ending no one saw coming!  My grade: B

Little Boxes (2017)  When the wife of an interracial couple receives a teaching offer, they & their 11 year old son Clark move from Brooklyn to lily-white suburbia in Rome, Washington.  It's a friendly community, and Clark hits it off with a couple little white girls who teach him hip-hop.  There's no tension here, right?  Well maybe a little, in this indie drama of regular people anxious to do the right thing.  My grade: C

Split (2017)  Dennis is a man with 24 toothbrushes.  Why so many?  His doctor (wonderfully played by Betty Buckley) knows--he has multiple personality disorder.  What she doesn't know is that one of Dennis' personas just abducted 3 girls.  There's real terror ahead, but for one it's a nightmare lived already in M.Knight Shayamalan's tale of scars and madness.  My grade: B
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...