Thursday, January 28, 2016


Photo credit: LA Times
I typically stay away from these conversations. I think it's partially generational (I'm considered a cusper. I'm either an infant Gen X'er ...or ancient Millennial) and partially because I'm originally from the Midwest. It's highly frowned upon in the Midwest to discuss certain things publicly, such as salary, race, politics, or religion. These are private conversations you have with friends or family. Imagine my surprise that not only will I be talking about race, but I will also be discussing gender (in an upcoming post). As I grow older I have come to believe that we can discuss almost anything as long as we do so with respect to others and with a listening heart.  So here goes...breaking the norm, coming out of my comfort zone.

Monday, January 18, 2016


If you can imagine the previous post was even longer. I was originally going to make one large best and worst list, but it was just too long. So I decided to split them up into 4 parts. The first part was the best films of 2015. The movies on this list are typically films that have some redeeming qualities, but just didn't make the cut. These films are in the fair to middling range. Before I changed it to the biggest disappointments, these probably would have been titled, "Most Ok Movies." They weren't good and they weren't necessarily bad. So next week you will see my choices for the absolute worst/trashiest/should-have-never-been-made-films of 2015.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Tis the season for the best and worst of the year. I started my list in January of 2015 and updated it throughout the year. I was going to publish this in December but there were so many good films released in December that I had to wait a few weeks. I always want to have a list longer than 10 films, but it rarely works out that way. Last year I had 11 films on my list. This year I have 10. Alas, I could only think of 10 films for my best list. The worst movie list is plentiful this year at lucky number 17.

My list originally included a huge smattering of all the best and worst of the year, but it became so long that I decided to split it into 4 parts. So next week you will see my choices for the most disappointing films of 2015 (not to be confused with the worst films of the year).

I of course preface all of my lists by saying that these are the films that I HAVE SEEN. I have not seen 'Spotlight,' which I hear is exceptional. Nor have I seen 'Trumbo,' 'Steve Jobs,' 'The Walk,' 'Beasts of No Nation,' 'Hateful Eight,' or 'Creed.' If I haven't previously reviewed a film I added additional details. If I have previously reviewed the film I didn't see the need to review it again. Instead I provided a brief description with a link to the full review.

Please feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comment section. This is my list. I'm sure you have your own. Thanks.

Friday, December 4, 2015


Before I get too far into the review I wanted to say that after seeing the final film in the "quadrilogy," I can now say with confidence that four films were truly unnecessary. The third film was completely pointless and there were even a few fatty scenes in 'Mockingjay II' that could have been cut or trimmed. That said, the best part about this film (and about the book it's based on) is that is action-oriented. It gets down to business very quickly.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Wow, I still can't believe how bad this movie was. No wonder Daniel Craig is lashing out at the press. If I was in this film I'd be lashing out too. I can totally feel Daniel's pain after watching this film. 'Spectre' is a shadow of the modern Bond franchise. Everything the previous Bond films did right, 'Spectre' gets wrong. When Bond was rebooted so to speak with Craig, the filmmakers broke all of the "Bond rules" and got back to the basics. The villain in 'Casino Royale,' Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) tortured Bond with a bar of soap, a piece of rope, and a chair. There were no sharks, laser beams, crocodile farms,venomous spiders, or elaborate setups. Bond's fighting style also changed. Bond's new fighting style was vicious, hard, and inelegant-- similar to Jason Bourne. Bond didn't even care which way he received a martini as long as he got it. The new Bond was updated for the new generation, as is always the case. Unfortunately, 'Spectre' is a failed attempt to go back in time to the Bond films of old. For reasons listed just doesn't work,

I preface my review by saying that the opening scene of 'Spectre' in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead celebration is absolutely spectacular. It's also done in a single take and it's breathtaking. It made me want to dress up in costume and go to a Day of the Dead parade. The only thing this film has going for it are the exotic locations. Similar to other Bond films, the locations are absolutely gorgeous. However, beautiful locations without a developed storyline do not make a good movie. The reason 'Skyfall' was well received was because it had a decent storyline, along with incredible visuals, a great song, and stunning scenery. I wish I could say the same for 'Spectre.'

Thursday, October 29, 2015


I really enjoyed 'Bridge of Spies,' but it wasn't nearly as exciting as I expected it to be. From the first shot one could definitely tell this is a Steven Spielberg film, which is a good thing. Say what you want about Spielberg-- too much melodrama and over sentimentality-- but he's an exceptional director. You don't remain an A-list director in the pit of hell that is Hollywood for 45 years without being good. And make no mistake Spielberg is the best of the best. Is 'Bridge of Spies' well executed? Absolutely? Is it well acted? Yes! Is it intriguing? Of course. But...there's nothing refreshing or thrilling about this tale. Perhaps that's to be expected, as this is based on a true story and must be bound by realism. If you've seen the trailer then you've seen the film. The thing I most remember about 'Bridge of Spies' is how dashing Tom Hanks looks in a nice suit. I don't think that was supposed to be the major "takeaway" but...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


This is the land of wolves.
[Alejandro to Kate]

After watching 'Mad Max: Fury Road' I was convinced that I wouldn't see another five star film this year. I was wrong. Flawlessly directed by Denis Villeneuve ('Enemy' and 'Prisoners'), 'Sicario' draws you in with the very first scene of Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) and her partner Reggie Wayne (Daniel Kaluuya) leading a FBI kidnap recovery team into a den of death right on American soil. Their team uncovers a cartel house in suburban Arizona that has 42 bodies buried in the walls. It's a sickening sight that only gets worse as the film wears on. From the moment the swat team bursts into the hell house until the final scene, there is a palatable tension laced throughout the film. The terror is so tangible that I sat on the edge of my seat as if I were watching a horror movie, because that's what 'Sicario' feels like...a horror movie with real-life monsters.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Oh how I wanted to love this movie! I've been looking forward to this movie for over a year...then it came out. The movie was so disappointing that I wasn't sure I had the heart to review it . To get myself into a romantic mood while writing this review I decided to watch for 'You've Got Mail' with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks for the 20th time. Hopefully, my review will be nicer because of it.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Science fiction and Ridley Scott have always gone together like peanut butter and jelly or Mulder and Scully. Admittedly Scott has had some craptastic failures and has made some very questionable decisions-- the most recent ones being 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' and 'The Counselor,' but when Scott gets back to his roots, magical things happen. Say what you want about Scott (and I have), but he knows how to do science fiction. The proof is in the pudding because 'The Martian' is a fantastic film from start to finish. It manages to remain fresh and innovative throughout thanks to Scott's pacing. But perhaps the biggest kudos should go to Andy Weir, the author or the book, because the material the movie is based on is so exceptional that it would be difficult (albeit not impossible) to mess it up.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


'Apollo 13,' 'Dangerous Liaisons,' and 'Poltergeist.'
Yes I am college educated, but clearly I didn't pay attention in class because most of my education has been through film and television. I have been marinating on this post for a while. I have made this list Part 1 because I could go on and on. So instead of one mammoth post, I will create a series of posts over the next few months. This may be a good idea for a blogathon, so if anyone would like to make their own posts about "things they learned from the movies," please feel free! The more the merrier.
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