Friday, April 15, 2016

Everybody Wants Some

Okay- first of all, you must LOVE (and I mean LOVE, not like sort of) Richard Linklater's style.  Secondly, you must LOVE (not sort of like) guy bonding movies.  Now, I loved Dazed and Confused. Being relatively tribal as a reviewer, let me say that those were, indeed, my people. But I don't really know these guys in this movie- and when it is almost nothing but talking and interacting with one another as guys, it can be a little boring for someone who "wasn't there" in that time frame. My husband really liked it because a) he's a guy and b)he was into sports and c) he was young in the 80s.  The story goes a little all over the map. But there are genuinely some moments where I laughed out loud. The biggest problem is that this guy bonding/college experience movie crawls its way up to almost TWO HOURS. You heard me.  It isn't a bad movie- and in fact, it is probably pretty good for a certain segment of the population. But no chatty, guy bonding movie needs to ramp up to 2 hours. Even guys who GET this movie probably don't want it to go on that long. Edit, Richard, EDIT.
Still, I don't want to discourage anyone who thinks this is a good idea from going. So it'll get 2 stars.  But I have the feeling your sofa at home will be more comfy.

My Name is Doris

How this movie was liked by 88% of the audience just mystifies me. This is a terrible movie. Sally Field mugs and preens and, in general. acts like a late middle-aged idiot who believes her very young new boss is going to be her boyfriend. Since he is also portrayed as a numbskull, I guess she figures she has a chance. She is given so many contrivances and bizarre affectations that you feel very uncomfortable watching this mess. She dresses like a senile Cyndi Lauper, and talks like Kristin Wiig in those short-arm skits on SNL. This entire thing was an embarrassing mess. Field is so over the top quirky that you just wonder if she was missing a house payment and had to take this role and follow this ridiculous direction. Want to see a bad movie? Here it is.  You want a charmingly quirky movie just rent Ruby Sparks.

Eye in the Sky

This is basically about the moral dilemma that exists in any war- is killing civilians (albeit one little girl) as collateral damage  in order to prevent more loss of life (in this case from suicide vest terrorists)  morally wrong.  I have no idea how real the chain of command is that is portrayed in this storyline. Helen Mirren is the British colonel in charge of the decision of whether or not to allow a drone to bomb a house where terrorists are suiting up. Keep in mind, it takes 1 hour and 45 minutes of back and forthing before you get to get up and leave. And despite its exhausting "yes or no" and contacting other countries, etc, it is at least thought provoking.  If you have wondered how civilians get caught up in things, go see it. I personally felt that any parents who let their little girl venture out into a Jihadist neighborhood to sell bread are pretty bad parents. What would it take you to keep your child safe? And another point was that the little girl was not allowed to play- she is in a community where she will have no future and possibly be stoned to death, or mutilated for some crummy infraction of the male rules. The potential death of a child - one with little or no future- is deliberately done by the writers of this. It makes the entire premise a conundrum.  I'll give it 3 stars because it really does make you think. People say war is impersonal now because of drones- I'd argue it is far more personal when the person sending the drone has to watch it hit a human target.

Monday, March 14, 2016


One of my biggest pet peeves is preachy animated movies for children. But Zootopia is truly  very funny, clever and so gently preachy that only adults get that part. What confused us was how many times we laughed out loud and no one else did. Were the parents just tired? Ginnifer (or however she spells it) Goodwin does a lovely job voicing the bunny lead, Judy Hopps.  Jason Bateman is her foil as the clever fox, Nick Wilde. The basic premise is that predators have been tamed and all animals get along. Don't get too involved in the details, because if predators didn't eat their prey, they'd starve and don't even THINK of how many bunnies would be all over the earth. So, let it go, let it go. Then sit tight and have fun. This is a very witty script. I did have the feeling that the younger children in the audience had absolutely NO idea what the action was about. It is a mystery story- and Judy and Nick have a bit of an interspecies attraction by the end. Look- it is just fantastic. I promise you. A little long- maybe that is why the littlest viewers were getting crabby pants. But even my husband loved it. It is 100 times better than UP. And don't miss the fact that Judy the bunny carries a carrot phone, not an apple.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ex Machina

Okay- I know I'm way past the time to review this- but this movie was so much fun. Honestly, don't miss it. By now, everyone and his Aunt Sue knows what this is about. But to watch the special effects is creepy and fascinating. I can't tell you the plot because I will ruin it for you just in case you actually don't know what it is about. Just get a little snack and watch it on demand. OOOOOOO. Btw, the dance scene is fantastic and you then need to read about how hard it was for them to do it.


The 2001 investigation of Boston ex-priest, John Geoghan, who assaulted over 80 children, is the focus of this story. (And yet, he still lived without one parent killing him). I digress. If you liked this one, you should then watch Mea Maxima Culpa- a documentary about a group of men who were boys in a Catholic school for the deaf. Their documentary  got a higher rating on rotten tomatoes than Spotlight, and because they are REAL people, the movie chills you to your core. Of course, Spotlight is a successful film. Most people haven't seen Mea Maxima Culpa. But here's the deal- you should. Find that one and see it. Because it isn't Hollywood- it is real.  So I'll give this one 2 stars because it is what it is- no one had to stand in their own spotlight to tell their story like the now grown men of the documentary did. BTW, the Vatican still has over 15 billion dollars. How's that!

The Big Short

This is about the housing bubble caused by the promotion of subprime mortgages. If you REALLY want to understand that, go online and search for "PBS Money power and wall street" and park yourself in front of your laptop and watch it. It lasts a lot longer than the movie, but it is VERY clear about how it happened. Not a snippet like this. Steve Carrell just doesn't do it for me in the acting department. He always seem to look like he is acting- Master Thespian- but pulled back a bit. And on the upside, Christian Bale is doing better with that lisp, Brad Pitt shows up, and Ryan Gosling does a good job. Is this really "Oscar worthy"? I'm not sure about that, but it was worth going to see. Again, go watch the PBS frontline on it.

Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies takes my favorite basset hound, Tom Hanks (tell me you don't think he looks like that- just try to tell me), and makes him the guy who will get Frances Gary Powers out of prison.  Ms Flickerchick would like to tell you that she was indeed alive during the shooting down of the U2 spy plane containing Mr Powers-  until he jumped out of it.  And the cold war was awful back then- I know because I had to learn to hide under my desk at elementary school. (it was fine because I fit easily- not the case for some of my classmates). I loved this movie. Since many of the attendees really had no idea how it was going to end, I tried to imagine that I didn't. When that didn't work, I just went with it and began to really appreciate the great performances. To put this movie in the same category as Mad Max (sweet cheesus- wth is up with THAT nomination?) is ridiculous. See what I mean about the Coen brothers??? This great movie is written by them- and then we go see Hail Caesar and can't figure out how those guys stay employed.  It is inexplicable.  Spielberg directs. It is definitely one of the best of 2015.


Disclaimer- I have learned through the magic of DNA analysis that I have actual ANCIENT Irish DNA. Faith and begorrah!! That means Ireland is a mystical land in which my very distant ancestors wore various animal hides and crooned an ancient version of Danny Boy while worshipping banshees. I'm that Irish. Except for the boozing.  So, any movie where the people want to LEAVE Ireland makes me curious, since the ones who are my Irish Quaker, more modern ancestors, literally said "screw this potato and Catholic infested land" and marched over here around 1608 or something. And if America in 1608 was a BETTER place for them, then it must have been awful in Ireland.  And so, here, in Brooklyn,  the very lovely, and newly arrived, Saiorse (Sayre-sha) Ronin becomes interested in an Italian plumber (Emory Cohen-not Irish).
He's rough and tumble and she's enamored. But then she goes back to Ireland thinking home will be the same- but she opens her eyes and sees the truth. It is lovely and ends the way it should. It isn't sappy like The Notebook. It isn't violent. It is just a great script with some great acting and there is no reason not to give it 3.5 stars.  

The Martian

Did you read the book? If you did, don't bother because this is exactly (well, close enough) what the book says. You know this will be a success, so you can relax. They wouldn't tell this story then kill Matt Damon now, would they? That's no spoiler- that's just the truth. It's fun to watch, and it is now on demand- so if you get tired of watching him eat potatoes and dirt (kidding about the dirt) while waiting for the inevitable rescue, you can fast forward it.  I've walked on Mars, thanks to Hololens- and I think the Mars in the story also looks forbidding, and we are all really stupid to fund any more stuff that takes us there. It is an okay movie that came from a really great book. But if you are into special effects, and a rather spectacular bundling of improbability at the end, go see it.

The Revenant

OH, yeah, I am back just in time for the Academy Awards. Now, we all know Leo will win for this. I've never seen a bleaker movie in which a handsome man looked more like frozen crap. This movie is a good half hour too long. We get it- the role of villain is really played by the cold. I do have to say there is a special irony watching Leo freeze- I wanted to send him some global warming. His face is really frozen- even his runny nose freezes to his face. In order for Leo to win an award, he figured he would have to NOT be so handsome. Okay, Leo- whatever makes you happy. But for the sake of Minerva, be smart and don't let them freeze your boogers. That is just wrong. WRONG. I realize we are supposed to feel as exhausted, cold, hungry and sick as the character- but trust me, after about an hour of it, it just doesn't matter. You just want it over. So it is up to you- I'll give it 2.5 stars for effort- it succeeded in making me sort of miserable for a couple of hours.  That was their goal.

Hail Caesar!

Could this be worse? Well, maybe. But it would be tough. This is yet another pretentious Cohen Brothers fiasco- following on the trail of Inside Llewyn Davis- or whatever the hell that was. I am not sure why some filmmakers fall in love with themselves and then drag half of Hollywood with them. It was a great premise, and a great cast and a really bad script. Now don't go asking yourself how it could be a great premise but translate so poorly to the written and acted word. Here's what you do- you don't go. And you tell other people not to be misled by the advertising. Remember- Clooney did that awful movie Monuments Men (okay that script was MUCH worse), and the deathly boring movie The American. You'd think that you could trust Clooney now- he's done the best and the worst and he should be able to see the difference. Just don't go- punish those people for wasteful spending. Tsk Tsk.