Friday, July 29, 2016

In Theaters Now - 7/29/16



(new releases in green)
  • Captain Fantastic      Grade: A
  • Swiss Army Man      Grade: A
  • Maggie's Plan      Grade: A
  • The Infiltrator      Grade: A-
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople      Grade: A-
  • The Lobster      Grade: B+
  • Ghostbusters      Grade: B+
  • Love and Friendship      Grade: B+
  • Star Trek Beyond      Grade: B+
  • Café Society      Grade: B
  • The Conjuring 2      Grade: B
  • Finding Dory      Grade: B-
  • Lights Out      Grade: C
  • Independence Day: Resurgence Grade: C-

Additional Films Not Reviewed:

  • Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
  • Bad Moms
  • The BFG
  • Central Intelligence
  • Equals
  • Free State of Jones
  • Ice Age: Collision Course
  • Jason Bourne
  • The Legend of Tarzan
  • Me Before You
  • Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
  • Nerve
  • Our Kind of Traitor
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • The Shallows

Friday, July 22, 2016

In Theaters Now - 7/22/16



(new releases in green)
  • Captain Fantastic      Grade: A
  • Swiss Army Man      Grade: A
  • Maggie's Plan      Grade: A
  • The Infiltrator      Grade: A-
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople      Grade: A-
  • The Lobster      Grade: B+
  • Ghostbusters      Grade: B+
  • Love and Friendship      Grade: B+
  • Star Trek Beyond      Grade: B+
  • Café Society      Grade: B
  • The Conjuring 2      Grade: B
  • Finding Dory      Grade: B-
  • Lights Out      Grade: C
  • Independence Day: Resurgence Grade: C-

Additional Films Not Reviewed:

  • Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
  • The BFG
  • Central Intelligence
  • Equals
  • Free State of Jones
  • Ice Age: Collision Course
  • The Legend of Tarzan
  • Me Before You
  • Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
  • Our Kind of Traitor
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • The Shallows



Cafe Society


Anyone who knows me well, knows I'm a huge Woody Allen fan.  He releases a movie every year, and seeing his latest is always a day I look forward to.  Of course, even Allen agrees, some are better than others.  Some are masterful (e.g. Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine, most recently).  And most of the rest are enjoyable in some way, if fairly forgettable.  His last one, Irrational Man, certainly falls in the latter category.  So we were all hoping this would be a good Woody year.  Alas, while Café Society has some redeeming qualities, it is no Woody Allen classic.  It's likeable for sure, but pretty much just status quo, and feels more than a bit phoned in. 

Grade: B

Who is this movie for?  Woody Allen fans will get their fix and enjoy it sufficiently.  But don't expect to be wowed

Captain Fantastic


Trying to figure out what movie is worth your time this weekend?  It's easy.  Captain Fantastic.  It's not only the best movie in theaters now, but it may be the best movie of the year so far.  (Swiss Army Man is pretty amazing too.  And The Fundamentals of Caring on Netflix is definitely up there.)  

Viggo Mortensen plays a man raising his family off the grid.  But now with his wife recently deceased, they're forced to try and integrate back with her family and the rest of "normal" society.  Seriously, this movie is terrific.  It's got just the right balance of comedy and drama.  And it's one of the only real contenders for awards season thus far.  I'll be on team Viggo come year end.

Grade: A

Who is this movie for?  Anyone with great taste in indie films.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

In Theaters Now - 7/15/16



(new releases in green)

Additional Films Not Reviewed:

  • The BFG
  • Central Intelligence
  • Free State of Jones
  • The Legend of Tarzan
  • Me Before You
  • Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
  • Our Kind of Traitor
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • The Shallows


Life, Animated


A documentary about an autistic kid who becomes able to communicate thanks to his obsession with animated Disney films isn't really something that would be on my must see list.  But that brief description doesn't do this terrific movie justice.  I've been fortunate enough to see it twice already, once at Sundance and once in Nantucket, and both times it surprised me at just how great it is.  It's a total crowd pleaser, and both audiences really went nuts for it.  Owen, the autistic young man who's the focus of the film, is so undeniably likeable, you can't help but be won over.  And the same goes for his entire family.  I loved it even more the second time, and every time I think about it, it gets better.  It's sure to be a front-runner for Best Documentary at the Oscars this year.

Grade: A

Who is this movie for?  Everyone.  It's impossible not to like.

Ghostbusters


It seems like it's been an eternity we've been hearing about this reboot of the 1985 beloved classic.  And most of what we've been hearing is from internet trolls throwing a tantrum that it's heresy to remake this film with four women!  I never understood the outrage.  If you're going to dig up a classic you might as well make one that's different than the original.  So, as always, I opted to see the final product before I critique it.  And the final product is pretty good.  It's a decent reboot that's different enough from the original, but has all the homages you could want.  They clearly spared no expense.  The special effects, action scenes, and ghosts are great.  And as far as the four women (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones) go?  They're good.  Not spectacular, but good enough.  I think the camaraderie from the original team was better, for sure.  But these are four talented and likeable comedians.  If I had to choose, I'd say Kate McKinnon was the clear MVP, just as she is on SNL.  She simply has the least amount of vanity, and always totally commits to her comedy.  The rest of them were fine, but perhaps a bit understated.

Grade: B+

Who is this movie for?  As wide release, mainstream films go, this one's pretty decent.  And as supernatural comedies go, I think it's stronger on the supernatural and lacking a bit on the comedy.  But it's a pretty enjoyable watch overall.  You'll probably enjoy it, despite what the internet trolls want you to believe.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Infiltrator



I know what you're thinking, because I was thinking the same thing.  Haven't there been enough movies and TV shows lately about Pablo Escobar?  And do we really want to see Bryan Cranston in yet another drug role (albeit on the other side of the law)?  Plus, prestige films like this (at least the good ones) aren't generally released in the dog days of summer.  So that's suspect.  These were the mental hurdles I had to get over to get in the right state of mind for The Infiltrator.  But the good news is, a good movie does that work for you and puts you in the mood.  And The Infiltrator is most certainly a good movie.  Cranston is great, as always, playing an undercover agent trying to take down a group of money launderers working for Pablo Escobar.  You can't help but wax nostalgic, at least a little, about Breaking Bad, but it doesn't really get in the way of enjoying this film.  And thankfully, it's significantly different than Narcos, or the underseen gem, Escobar: Paradise Lost, starring Benicio Del Toro.  It seems Hollywood is big enough for more than one good story about an 80's drug lord.  I'm just surprised this one came out in July.  It's certainly worthy of being a year end release for awards consideration, as we all know voters (other than yours truly) have short memories.

Grade: A-

Who is this movie for?  There's an embarrassment of riches out this month if you dig the specialty titles.  This is one of them and you should see it, if you like gritty dramas.  Wish I could say the same for the wide release popcorn films.  They've all been pretty underwhelming.

Friday, July 8, 2016

In Theaters Now - 7/8/16



(new releases in green)
  • Swiss Army Man      Grade: A
  • Maggie's Plan      Grade: A
  • Wiener-Dog      Grade: A
  • Sing Street     Grade: A
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity    Grade: A-
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople      Grade: A-
  • The Lobster      Grade: B+
  • X-Men: Apocalypse      Grade: B+
  • Love and Friendship      Grade: B+
  • Tickled      Grade: B+
  • Captain America: Civil War     Grade: B
  • Now You See Me 2      Grade: B
  • The Conjuring 2      Grade: B
  • Finding Dory      Grade: B-
  • Independence Day: Resurgence Grade: C-

Additional Films Not Reviewed:

  • The BFG
  • Central Intelligence
  • Free State of Jones
  • The Legend of Tarzan
  • Me Before You
  • Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
  • Our Kind of Traitor
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • The Shallows



Friday, July 1, 2016

In Theaters Now - 7/1/16



(new releases in green)
  • Swiss Army Man      Grade: A
  • Weiner      Grade: A
  • Maggie's Plan      Grade: A
  • Wiener-Dog      Grade: A
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity    Grade: A-
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople      Grade: A-
  • The Lobster      Grade: B+
  • X-Men: Apocalypse      Grade: B+
  • Love and Friendship      Grade: B+
  • Tickled      Grade: B+
  • Captain America: Civil War     Grade: B
  • Now You See Me 2      Grade: B
  • The Conjuring 2      Grade: B
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass Grade: B
  • Finding Dory      Grade: B-
  • A Bigger Splash      Grade: C
  • Independence Day: Resurgence Grade: C-

Additional Films Not Reviewed:

  • The Angry Birds Movie
  • The BFG
  • Central Intelligence
  • Free State of Jones
  • Genius
  • The Legend of Tarzan
  • Me Before You
  • Our Kind of Traitor
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • The Shallows
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
  • Warcraft


Wiener-Dog


If you're as tired as I am of all the mainstream blah that is all too pervasive in theaters, then this weird little movie might be just what the doctor ordered.  Anyone who has seen even one entry in director Todd Solondz' filmography (Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness, Storytelling, Palindromes, Life During Wartime, Dark Horse) should know exactly what to expect.  But for those of you that haven't, this is dark, quirky, uncomfortable comedy at its best.  This one's an anthology of stories connected by a wiener-dog, and featuring an amazing and eclectic ensemble including Julie Delpy, Tracy Letts, Greta Gerwig, Kieran Culkin, Danny Devito, Ellen Burstyn, and Zosia Mamet.  I've seen it twice now, and enjoyed it even more on my second viewing.  Maybe the environment was just right but I laughed so hard I cried. 

Grade: A

Who is this movie for?  Honestly, I know lots of people who hated it.  But if you have a warped sense of humor like I do, and you'd rather try laughing at tragedy than yawning at typical, stupid comedy then give it a chance.  Often times despair is just funnier.