The Year of 1917... #movie_review
During World War 1, two young British soldiers, Blake and Schofield, are tasked with getting an important cease order through no-mans-land and enemy lines to prevent a massacre as British troops and Blake’s brother walk into a trap set by the Germans.
While Schofield (George MacKay) is the more experienced fighter, already earning a medal, Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) has a brother in the group heading into the trap. They set out right away against their best judgement, knowing that crossing no-mans-land during daylight is a suicide mission. In one night they must travel through some of the most dangerous land and somehow convince Colonel Mackenzie of the trap.
With some big hitter stars like Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Mark Strong in small roles, the two main characters carry the story. It’s Blake’s and Schofield’s story as much as the story of the war. We get to know them from Blake’s joking nature to Schofield’s heartache at being sent back to the front.
Written, directed and produced by Sam Mendes. 1917 is loosely based on stories Sam’s grandfather who was a messenger in WW1 told him. Taking those stories, Sam wove a compelling movie. Filmed in one shot, the movie feels incredible intimate. I sat holding my breath for most of the movie waiting for the next surprise to show. The cinematography shows both the harshness and beauty in war.
This is a movie meant to be seen on the big screen. It fills your senses and draws you in. Already the winner of the Golden Globe for Best Picture and Best Director, I anticipate we will be seeing more awards heading toward 1917.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The latest (final) installment of the Star Wars series wraps up the final trilogy that began with the Force Awakens. It all comes down to family—for good or bad, they are a part of the legacy of Rey and Ben.
Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the resistance is hiding out and trying to bring down the evil First Order. Leia (Carrie Fisher) is training Rey in the Jedi order after the death of her brother, Luke, all while leading the resistance. Chewy, Poe and Finn are fighting alongside Rey as they search out pockets of resistance, hoping that more people are out there fighting.
Ben/Kylo Ren is determined to bring Rey to the Dark Side as he strives to create a new Sith order.
With the death of Carrie Fisher before the movie began filming, the writers and director needed to make some changes to their original storyline. Using previous film scraps, they wove together Leia’s final storyline. It was sadly sweet to see her on the screen but there were many more surprises and surprising familiar faces.
With a familiar feel, The Rise of Skywalker brings to mind the original trilogy of Luke and Leia. From the bar scene to the character of Babu Frik, the movie felt like coming home. While there were plot holes and events which confused me, I was pleased with the overall movie. At times, I teared up and reached out toward my husband as I anticipated what would happen. And now that I’ve seen it once, seeing it again will give me the chance to catch all those small things I missed the first time… and there are so many!
JJ Abrams has made a movie which will has all the notes of the original and evokes those feelings of nostalgia. One which you will want to see on the big screen!
In a season of holiday hits and Hallmark stories, Knives Out is a classic who-done-it. When world famous author, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his house after the author's 85th birthday, southern detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) comes to investigate and every person in the dead man's family is suspect.
Directed, written and produced by Rian Johnson, Knives Out features some of his favorite actors and is a refreshing change from the typical mysteries. Featuring a stellar ensemble cast (Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, and Chris Evans), the viewers will be entertained by the outlandish characters they play.
Featuring many twists and red herrings, the plot keeps you guessing, even when you think you know what happened. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for all the references to notable detectives such as Sherlock Holmes and Murder She Wrote. Rian Johnson likes to even give you a sneak peek at what is about to happen. Too bad we don't get the foreshadowing until after it happens!
Looking for a fun movie with intellect rather than a spectacular car chase or super human powers?? Knives Out will have you smiling and debriefing after the film stops playing.
Run JoJo Rabbit #movie_review
Jojo is a young, ten-year-old German boy who is growing up during the final months of World War Two. His best friend is an imaginary Hitler who supports his drive to be the best Nazi, however, it's his mother who reminds him of the important pieces of the world with a joke and a smile. As Jojo comes to grips with the conflict between what his country believes and what he learns to be true, the young man must accept that is idols aren't all they are cracked up to be.
Directed and produced by Taika Waititi. He also wrote the screenplay (adapted from a novel) and acted in the role of Adolf. Busy guy right? I believe he needed to have his hand in all the places in order to tell the story he wanted--and make it relevant to today's issues. And with this subject matter, it would take someone who was willing to put it all on his shoulders to get the movie made.
Jojo Rabbit is more than a light-hearted poke at Hitler. It gives us a chance to examine how our beliefs MUST be challenged. We can't always take what others tell us to be true. In the light of Fake News and corrupt politicians, we must find what is good and right in the world.
With Scarlett Johannson, Rebel Wilson and Sam Rockwell, Jojo Rabbit has acting power but it's the young actors, Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo), Archie Yates (Yorki), and Thomasin McKenzie (Elsa) who steal the show. They have the difficult job of showing how those outrageous beliefs impact their lives.
This is a wonderfully told movie with both funny and equally sad moments. Even better, it's a movie people should be talking about. Through those discussions, will we be able to get a full picture and bring about connections rather than dissension.
After the hit by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, the US Navy was out gunned in the Pacific. The battle of Midway would become the most decisive event during the Pacific campaign during WWII.
The US Navy was an underdog against the better resources of the Japanese Navy but with the help of intelligence, the US found a way to set a trap for their enemies, but the whole plan relied on the guts of the amazing pilots.
Unlike the previous Midway movie (1979), this version relies on true stories and cgi to bring the battle to life. Filled with some amazing actors, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Quaid, Ed Skrein, Luke Evans, and Aaron Eckhart, this movie isn't fluff. Beginning with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, we see how the pilots on board the Enterprise and the US Naval Command make the choices that bring them to MIdway. Along the way, we get a glimpse at the personalities behind the heroes and what they were willing to sacrifice in order to bring the Japanese to their knees.
While the directors and writers did take some liberties with the battle scenes and the flying capabilities of the aircraft, they didn't need to embellish the stories of men who jumped into a plane on the flight deck and shot up a falling Japanese plane in order to save the people on board or the courageous code breakers who took snippets of intel and were able to pinpoint the arrival of the Japanese fleet within minutes.
How fitting to see this movie on Veteran's Day weekend. With a few Korean and Vietnam Vets in attendance, Midway showcases those heroes, some of whom who gave their all with historic images and stories about their valor.
A perfect movie for fans of history but also for viewers who love nail biting action!
History is written by the winners. Edison and Westinghouse are names which people remember, today. But their famous feud wasn't as well known. These two powerhouses believed that electricity would become commonplace in the homes and set out to prove which current--AC or DC was better.
Filled with many well-known celebrities, The Current War takes liberties with the truth but shares a compelling story of the fight for bringing power to the countryside. Benedict Cumberbatch serves as Executive Producer as well as lead actor- Thomas Edison. We see a humanity to the brilliant mind behind Edison, and some flaws. A workaholic and head-strong nature. Martin Scorsese also serves as Executive Producer for this cinematic (no big action) movie.
With Michael Shannon as Westinghouse, Nicolas Hoult as Tesla, and Tom Holland as Edison's personal assistant, Samuel Insull, the acting is first rate. The costumes and settings scream authentic period piece but at times the movie falls flat. This movie is more about the means these two men will go through in order to come out on top. And nothing is sacred, including electrocuting animals or smear campaigns.
While The Current War will give you an opportunity to reflect on history in a new way, just remember that all you see isn't exactly reality. Hollywood likes to take liberties...such as the fact that Edison and Westinghouse never actually met face to face.
A movie for fans of history and one which is sure to have some Oscar buzz.
The Circle of Life means that Every Old Movie is New Again!
This is the summer of sequels and remakes with Disney jumping on the bandwagon with its remake of the cartoon hit- The Lion King. This time around the animals are “real” and the cinematography is outstanding. It will make you want to visit Africa to see the breathtaking area up close and personal.
Featuring an amazing cast with the likes of Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Oliver, James Earl Jones, Alfre Woodard, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogan and Beyonce and many of the original songs by Elton John, The Lion King has star power galore. However, the only returning cast member from the cartoon is James Earl Jones.
Since most of us have seen the original so many times that there’s little surprise or new entertainment value in this movie. Unlike The Jungle Book remake, The Lion King was a recent hit so it’s not really new to audiences. Most of the kids who fell in love with the cartoon don’t have children old enough yet to enjoy this new one. In fact, it’s one of the complaints from critics, this Lion King doesn’t feel fresh and lacks the sparkle of the original. Arguably it is hard to make the animals sing the songs. Their mouths just don’t move that way. Also contrary to what the cartoon showed, lion cubs don’t dance. Many of the songs feature animals walking around the Savannah rather than dancing.
Like with the original movie, the characters of Timon and Pumba steal the movie with their antics but additionally there are some pretty funny moments among a couple of the hyenas. With the real animals, the violence might be too much for young children. There were a few small children who left the movie before the movie was finished. As with any movie, know your children and what they are able to handle. Death is a part of the circle of life and seeing Mufasa die can leave a lasting impression.
Directed and produced by Jon Favreau, the director of Ironman, The Jungle Book remake as well as the actor who played Happy in the Avengers’ and Ironman movies. Jon’s success with The Jungle Book made him seem like the perfect choice for this movie. And it’s been announced that he will direct and produce The Jungle Book 2.
The Lion King is a great family movie and one which will have you wishing you could travel to the Sahara and visit with some real lion cubs!
In a summer of sequels and remakes, Stuber tries a fresh approach.
This buddy comedy pits a grizzled detective, Vic (Dave Batista) against an Uber driver, Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) who is trying to earn extra cash and keep a five star rating. Vic sets out to bring down the drug kingpin who murdered his partner, no matter what. Along the way, mild-mannered Stu must keep his wits and stay alive against international drug dealers.
The comedy is a combination of raunchy slapstick intermixed with violence with Stu often the butt of jokes. Reminiscent of the old buddy comedies of the 80’s and 90’s, we have two very different people put together in a do or die situation, each learning to be a better person because of their team-up.
Featuring Mira Sorvino, Natalie Morales, and Natalie Morales (who starred with Batista in Guardians of the Galaxy), but written and directed by relative unknowns, Stuber relies on the strength of Batista and Nanjiani to draw the viewers in. While it’s nice to see Batista doing comedy, many of the jokes rely on his physical appearance (tough guy, body builder, tats) rather than actual comedy. In some ways it feels a lot like his character from Guardians.
With some laugh out loud moments, the movie is just okay. While we are hollering for Hollywood to come up with some new movies, rather than sequels or reboots, viewers want quality movies as well. If you are looking for a bit of humor with the action, or a chance to escape the heat, Stuber will have you laughing, just don’t spend the big bucks.
Will Spiderman become the next Tony Stark?
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his classmates are navigating a new reality after the snap. There’s a void left by the death of Tony Stark and the absence of the Avengers. However, Peter only wants to tell MJ about his feelings for her. He creates an elaborate plan to make it happen during a Science trip to Europe but things go wrong from the start, when elemental beings destroy Venice. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) enlists Spiderman’s help and hijacks Peter’s trip.
After the sad feelings of Endgame, Spiderman: Far From Home is a fun movie which reminds moviegoers about what’s important—doing the right thing. With the normal teenage angst of your first kiss to spending time with friends, Peter comes off as likeable and viewers will recall their own awkwardness.
The key theme of the movie is that things aren’t what they seem. Surprises galore and two extra credit scenes. So be sure to stay to the VERY end. Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, Quentin Beck/Mysterio is a fan favorite. Without giving anything away, his story arc follows the comics but fits in as well with the larger Avenger storyline. I loved how Happy and Peter connect and hope that the two of them go forward together in future movies.
Spiderman: Far From Home is a movie that fans of all ages will enjoy, but there are a few more adult moments and violence. Just keep that in mind for younger children. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Peter and Marvel!
What if the World changed in an instant?
One moment the world goes black and Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is hit by a bus. When he wakes up some things have changed. There’s no more cigarettes. No Coke. No Harry Potter and No Beatles. They never existed.
As a failure of a singer/songwriter, Jack was about to walk away from music on that fateful day, but now he decides to bring the Beatles songs to a world which had never heard them before, sending him on a journey to stardom at the cost of his best friend and manager, Ellie (Lilly James).
This quirky love story features the Beatles music but isn’t a biopic on the songwriters. It is more about following your dreams, even if you can’t see the dream in front of your face. The music is outstanding but the story misses the mark of a movie like Bohemian Rhapsody. Also most of the songs are snippets played, not the whole song, so just as you get your feet tapping, the song ends. Written by the mind behind Love Actually, Yesterday features a similar message of love and what’s important.
Many of the laugh out loud moments come from Kate McKinnon (as the LA agent) being absurdly blunt. Each time she spoke was like nails on a chalkboard. Yesterday also featured Ed Sheeran as himself in his first acting role. Ed admitted in previous interviews that the Beatles were instrumental in his own songwriting style.
It was one of those just okay movies but is a movie for fans of the music and will be a good date night movie. And better yet, no zombies!
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