Friday, February 5, 2016

In Theaters Now - 2/5/16

(new releases in green)
  • Room       Grade: A+
  • The Revenant       Grade: A+
  • Brooklyn       Grade: A
  • Spotlight       Grade: A
  • The Big Short       Grade: A
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens      Grade: A
  • Creed       Grade: A
  • Bridge of Spies       Grade: A-
  • Trumbo       Grade: A-
  • The Hateful Eight       Grade: A-
  • Anomalisa       Grade: B+
  • Daddy's Home       Grade: B+
  • Hail, Caesar!       Grade: B+
  • Joy       Grade: B+
  • Dirty Grandpa       Grade: B
  • The 5th Wave       Grade: B
  • 45 Years       Grade: B
  • Son of Saul       Grade: B
  • The Boy       Grade: B-
  • Jane Got a Gun       Grade: B-
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi     Grade: B-
  • Carol       Grade: C+
  • Lady in the Van      Grade: C+
  • The Finest Hours      Grade: C
  • The Danish Girl       Grade: C-
  • Ride Along 2       Grade: D

Additional Films Not Reviewed:

  • The Choice
  • Fifty Shades of Black
  • Kung Fu Panda 3
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Hail, Caesar!

If you're a movie buff then chances are you're a fan of the Coen brothers.  I certainly am, though I'm particularly fond of their 90's works: Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The Hudsucker Proxy, Miller's Crossing, and my personal favorite, Barton Fink.  Back then, they unquestionably and consistently brought a unique vision and style to film that I had never seen before.  Though, since the 90's their work has been less consistent in quality, and Coen copycats have been aplenty.  Of course some are still gems, like the ultra dark No Country for Old Men and the ultra fun Burn After Reading.  But some just make me antsy and leave me cold (e.g. A Serious Man and Inside Llewyn Davis.)  I still look forward to each and every one, but I now go in with tempered expectations. 

Those tempered expectations served me well with their latest film, Hail, Caesar!,an homage to classic Hollywood cinema.  Josh Brolin plays a studio fixer, handling the films in production and the various challenges of those involved, including George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, and Scarlett Johansson.  Similiar to Wes Anderson films like The Grand Budapest Hotel, it's silly, heavy on style, and light on substance.  Personally I prefer their films that have a bit more gravitas, but this one has enough enjoyable scenes to make it worth your while, even if it is lesser Coen. 

Grade: B+

Who is this movie for?  Coen brothers fans will be satisfied but not blown away.  Some of the cast, particularly Clooney and Johansson, weren't given enough to do to really shine, but if you're a fan of old Hollywood, you'll get a kick out of it.  One spectacular dance scene with Channing Tatum alone was enough to make it well worth my time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sundance Film Festival 2016

If you're at all into movies you've probably at least heard about a few that just premiered at Sundance.  I caught 28 while I was there, most of which were great or at least very good.  I missed a few I really wanted to see (e.g. Manchester by the Sea, The Birth of a Nation, Frank & Lola, Complete Unknown, and Yoga Hosers) but below are my grades for what I did see.
  • The Fundamentals of Caring     Grade: A
  • Tallulah      Grade: A
  • The Hollars      Grade: A
  • Captain Fantastic      Grade: A
  • Swiss Army Man      Grade: A
  • Goat      Grade: A
  • Maggie's Plan      Grade: A
  • Sing Street      Grade: A
  • Indignation      Grade: A-
  • The Free World      Grade: A-
  • The Intervention      Grade: A-
  • Other People      Grade: B+
  • Gleason      Grade: B+
  • Life, Animated      Grade: B+
  • Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You    Grade: B+
  • Joshy     Grade: B+
  • Mr. Pig      Grade: B+
  • Wiener-Dog      Grade: B+
  • Love & Friendship      Grade: B+
  • Lovesong      Grade: B
  • Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper Grade: B-
  • Certain Women      Grade: B-
  • Little Men      Grade: B-
  • Southside with You      Grade: C
  • Carnage Park      Grade: C
  • Miles Ahead      Grade: C
  • Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall     Grade: C-
  • Kate Plays Christine      Grade: D