Sunday, April 30, 2017


After a few weeks of disappointing films, finally there’s viewing success with Director Marc Webb’s Gifted.

Based on Writer Tom Flynn’s charming script, Gifted is the story of Mary Adler a 7-year-old child prodigy in mathematics (played by acting prodigy McKenna Grace), who has been living with her uncle (Chris Evans), since her mother, also a math genius, committed suicide, when Mary was only a half-year-old.

When her first-grade teacher (Bonnie Slate) realizes her talent, it sets off their being found by her dominating grandmother (Lindsay Duncan), who sues for custody, so she can put her in a school for gifted children and, thereby, turn her into the one-dimensional person that drove her own mother to suicide.

 The dynamic of Grace, Evans, Slate and Octavia Spencer, as their friendly neighbor, is as fine as anything that has graced the screen in a long time.

I’m only sad for those reviewers, who can’t appreciate such fine work.

If you want to be uplifted, Gifted is must-see viewing, well deserving a 4.6 out of 5.

The Circle

In The Circle, Writer/Director James Ponsoldt and Co-Writer Dave Eggers have created a very interesting drama about privacy, albeit with a confusing resolution.

 First off, any movie starring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, Glenne Headly and Bill Paxton, with Cinematography by Matthew Libatique and music by Danny Elfman is going to be well-produced and worthy of attention.  The Circle is certainly that.

Emma Watson’s character Mae joins a Google/Facebook-like corporation that creates ways of monitoring its members every move, supposedly for altruistic reasons.  She, eventually, drinks the Kool-Aid and supports the creation of even more invasive monitoring on the premise that privacy is not a right and everyone’s life should be an open book.
However, the death of a childhood friend (Ellar Coltrane) and her parents’ (Headly and Paxton) plea for the innate need for privacy has Mae turn the tables on her bosses (Hanks and Patton Oswalt).

Yet, the final shot is of Mae solo kayaking on a pristine lake, waving to a few drones, following her and the screen turning into a mosaic of real-time shots of people and incidents all over the world being broadcast to all.  What!?

I give The Circle a 3.6 out of 5.


Writer/Director J.D. Dillard’s Sleight, conceived with Co-Writer Alex Theurer, is only slightly tolerable, at best.
Blessed with fine actors like Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel and DulĂ© Hill, plus some wonderful magic tricks that are part of Latimore’s character Bo, the story deteriorates into a boring drug caper in which Bo gets to chop off a man’s hand and cause the certain death of a colleague (Cameron Esposito), by stealing the money she’s in charge of protecting.  But it’s okay because he’s the “hero” in Trumpian times.
My adrenaline was pumping only for the second hand on my watch to move faster, so I could leave. 

It’s sad when one has all the elements for a good recipe, but doesn’t know how to blend them.

Sleight deserves only a 2.4 out of 5.