Saturday, March 28, 2015

While We're Young

Writer/Director Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young starts out great with the story of a 40-something couple (Naomi Watts and Ben Stiller), who meets a 20-something couple (Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver), and develops a friendship that rejuvenates them.

The interesting thing is that the young couple is living a retro (pre-computer) existence and the older couple is swept up in the digital life.  It’s both refreshing and fun to watch the changes that occur.
However, half way through the film, Baumbach’s script takes a hard left turn and gives us a new story of how the younger couple is conning their elders in order to get an intro to the Stiller character’s father, an aging documentarian admirably played by Charles Grodin.
The Stiller character becomes a totally unlikeable jerk.  Of course, it’s what’s written, but, unfortunately, Stiller is to drama what Stallone is to comedy.  It doesn't work and we feel, somehow, violated.   If it weren’t for Watts, Seyfried and Grodin, this could have been a complete disaster. 

As it is, While We’re Young is reduced to a 3 out of 5.


Let me start off by saying Director Tim Johnson’s Home is strictly for parents with pre-school children.

As for me…  Though I’m a big fan of animation, I almost walked out within the first 15 minutes.  But, I forced myself to endure what the under-6 set was giggling about to see if it would spread its wings and embrace a wider audience.

However, it wasn’t until the last half hour that I, finally, had some reward with a half dozen adult laughs and a sweet ending.
But, the kiddies had a good time, so, for the fan-base, I give Home a 3 out of 5.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

It Follows

Writer/Director David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows is an STD movie…Stupid Teenage Dummies.  But, it, also, is the ultimate STD movie, since, having sex, passes on mysterious forces/creatures/visions that torment and try to kill the Stupid Teenage Dummies.

The only saving grace for this piece of cinematic junk is Rich Vreeland’s thumping soundtrack that makes some of the action scary even when it’s not. Without it, you’d only laugh, when you’re not dozing.
I give It Follows a 1+ out of 5.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Last year, when I saw Divergent, I compared it to The Hunger Games, saying it was a darker, bleaker version of that film. 
The sequel, Insurgent, also, must be compared to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.  But, this time, Insurgent wins out. 

While The Hunger Games sequel was a disappointingly lifeless trailer for the upcoming Mockingjay Part 2, Insurgent is a thrilling action film that stands on its own.

Action Director Robert Schwentke was supported by a great team of writers, including Mark Bombard and Akiva Goldsman along with the fabulous Cinematographer Florian Ballhaus.  All were up to their best.

Fans of the Veronica Roth novels should be overjoyed with this production.  I give Insurgent a 4+ out of 5.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Director Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella is simply wonderful and the splendid Lily James was absolutely perfect casting for the title role.

The accolades don’t stop there.  Writer Chris Weitz has scripted a story that seems new even to those of us who’ve grown up with it and Cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos has captured Dante Ferretti’s beautiful sets with unforgettable imagery.
Cate Blanchett and Stallan SkarsgÄrd add the right amount of naughtiness and Helena Bonham Carter is at her very best.
Whether you’re wearing flip flops or glass slippers, run to your nearest theater and enjoy this fabulous production.
I give Cinderella a 4+ out of 5.
PS: As a bonus, you'll, also, enjoy the Frozen birthday short that accompanies the screening.