Monday, June 14, 2021

In The Heights


Director Jon M. Chu’s In The Heights is simply one of the most exciting films in years!  And that’s due to the fact it’s truly a group effort with Writer/Producer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s joyous story and lyrics, Alice Brooks fabulous choreography and an amazing cast of Latino actors of all ages, including Anthony Ramos (Usnavi), Melissa Barrera (Vanessa), Leslie Grace (Nina), Olga Merediz (Abuela Claudia), Jimmy Smits (Kevin) and Gregory Diaz IV (Sonny).

Though the time sequence is not stated, the story is built around Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood during the summer of 1977, when New York suffered an electrical blackout, and is told to a group of children by Usnavi (Ramos) circa 1990…Usnavi being so named by his immigrant father, who had seen it painted on a battleship, when he sailed into New York harbor…US Navy.

While the simple plot concerns members of the Latino culture, growing up in Northern Manhattan, it’s the vibrant music and energy of the dancing that makes this film so exceptional. 

 For me, this film does for Latinos what Cotton Comes To Harlem did for Blacks and Crazy Rich Asians did for Asians…removes the differences of color and culture and lets the characters be seen and embraced simply as people, no matter what the viewer’s color and culture happens to be.

I urge you to treat yourself to this cinematic experience, but PLEASE see it in a theater and not on a TV.  From dancing on the streets to dancing Astair-style on the side of a building, it’s a spectacle to be seen on as large a screen as possible.

I give In The Heights a 4.9 out of 5.



Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway





Writer/Producer/Director Will Gluck’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is a joyful romp for grown-ups and children alike.

A sequel to the 2018 Peter Rabbit, Bea (Rose Byrne) and Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) leave the country for London, where Bea is to meet with a potential publisher (David Oyelowo) for her storybook on Peter (voice of James Corden) and the other animals.

Feeling misunderstood as to how the publisher wants his character to be interpreted, Peter runs away and gets involved with nefarious Benjamin Bunny (voice of Colin Moody), who claims to have been a friend of his father, and gets Peter involved with the theft of candied fruit.

Yes, it’s silly, but charmingly done.

If you saw the initial film, this is a must-see.  If not, it will still be a treat.

I give Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway a 4.1 out of 5.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It


Director Michael Chaves The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is a cheesy horror flick which has to rely on increasing the volume of road noises and other scene connectors to try to keep the audience awake.

None of the characters are worth cheering for, so some of the potentially scary scenes become laughable or just horrible.

I can only give The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It a 2 out of 5.