Saturday, February 25, 2017

Get Out

Writer/Producer/Director Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a creepy, but fun horror/mystery that I think even those, who are not normally fans of the genre, will enjoy.
The plot centers around a mixed-racial couple (Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya), driving to the country home of the woman’s parents (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford).
On the way, their car hits and kills a deer.  That’s the least of what happens.  And, it’s all I will mention because this is a film of spooky surprises.

Peele’s writing and directing are excellent and Cinematographer Toby Oliver and Editor Gregory Plotkin support his work, admirably.

The moral of this story is that it pays big-time to have a best friend, who in this case is wonderfully played by LilRel Howery.

I give Get Out a 4.2 out of 5.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A United Kingdom

Director Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom is a wonderful film on the virtues of persistence and acceptance based on the true-life story of Prince Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), heir to the throne of what later became Botswana.

Studying in England in 1947 as preparation for taking over his kingship, the Prince fell in love with and married Londoner Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a white woman. 
This caused a rift between Khama and the country’s Regent (Vusi Kunene), plus the ire of the British government, who, together, tried to break up the marriage by banishing the Prince.

Writer Guy Hibbert’s script is compelling and Director Asante moves the action along at a brisk pace. 

 Pike and Oyelowo are superbly cast and play their roles admirably, as does Jack Davenport, who portrays the snide British official in charge of the Protectorate.   

A United Kingdom is well worth your viewing.  I give it a 4.2 out of 5.

The Great Wall

Director Yimou Zhang’s The Great Wall is a bold spectacle that evokes the feel of past Hollywood blockbusters.
That’s not to put it down.  It is actually refreshing to witness the simple story of European adventurers (Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal), who brave the Asian continent to find the mysterious “black powder” that explodes in fire and find themselves involved in an apocalyptic war between the Chinese and giant lizard-like beasts that are trying to destroy their kingdom.

Production Designer John Myhre and Costume Designer Mayes C. Rubeo along with Cinematographers Stuart Dryburgh and Xiaoding Zhao, have created scenes of the Chinese army and the battles with the beasts that are not only thrilling, but absolutely breathtaking.  These alone are well worth the price of admission.

Tian Jing as the army’s female Commander, Hanyu Zhang as the General and Andy Lau as the Strategist are perfectly cast and Damon and Pascal play off each other, admirably.

 The Great Wall is fun to watch and I hope it survives the critical wags, who can’t appreciate an old-fashioned adventure film.

I believe everyone involved should be proud of their work and give it a 4 out of 5.