Everything, Everything is the type of movie that gives us a peek into a dark side of life, and the discovery that there is still a path to joy and happiness. Everything, Everything is not as syrupy as one might expect, but it does have some schmaltzy aspects.
Their Finest is based on a novel named, “THEIR FINEST HOUR AND A HALF” written by Lissa Evans.
Gifted is a movie that will satisfy the longing for good family fare, with very good acting, and scripted to keep us engaged and surprised throughout. The ‘gifted’ one is a seven-year old girl, Mary Adler (MacKenna Grace), who is a math genius, matching and surpassing the ability of college math majors.
Going in Style is a film that reminds us why we go to the movies — for entertainment. This may not be the best movie of the year, but it is far from the worst and it delivers entertainment: fun, friendship, getting the most out of life, love with our children and grandchildren and even some suspense. And there are a few surprises in the plot.
Beauty and the Beast is a remake, with live actors, of the classic 1991 Disney animated film. Having said that, I want to stay focused on this production and leave comparisons to those of you who remember the original.
The Shack is a film based on a very popular, best-selling book, about a man whose happy, fulfilled life is suddenly, tragically upended. Mack (Sam Worthington) and Nan Phillips (Radha Mitchel) have a wonderfully happy marriage with three children — teens Kate and Josh, and young Missy. Mack is a loving and attentive father to the threesome, especially to the precocious Missy. It is in contrast to Mack’s own childhood where he and his mother were treated brutally by his alcoholic father.
I loved this movie. I hated this movie. I loved it because it is a powerful exposé of a major problem in America — now and historically — and how slowly that is changing. I hated it because it was so painful to see how a couple, a pair of honest, law abiding, hard-working, kind citizens were persecuted, ‘lawfully,’ because they did not adhere to the racial standards of their state, one of the United States of America.
89TH ACADEMY AWARDS: Look for Fences, La La Land to head to top of class in highly competitive year for Best Picture
My view of the cinema world in 2016 was a bit dismal. There were too many films that were of the same, smash-bang action-oriented, Marvel comics, super-gory horror themes, etc. But in the fall, along came a stream of Golden Globe and Academy Award possibilities. The sun began to shine on movie theaters and their box offices, and on my personal cinematic pleasure.
Lion is the true story of a boy in India who undergoes various episodes that threaten his well-being or even his life. His name is Saroo and he is 5 years old in the 1980s. He lives in a slum area in a hovel for a home, with his mother, a younger sister and an older brother.
20th Century Women is a story that illustrates three historic social times in America. Each era — the mid-20th century, hippie America and the post baby-boomer era is represented by a character in the film. It takes place in Santa Barbara, California in 1979. Annette Bening is Dorothea, a 55-year old divorcee with a 15-year old son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann). Jamie has little memory of his father, who left after he was born.
Moonlight is a film that is mesmerizing in the way it keeps us involved with, and in, the life of a boy as he grows from grade school age to an adult. It is difficult to take your attention away from the screen but there is no humor or entertainment. What we see is how a person struggles to survive in an environment where he is a misfit, and can’t find where he does fit.
A fence refers to the separation between properties, but in this film, it is also a metaphor for mental and emotional barriers that keep people apart. In Fences, Denzel Washington is Troy Maxson, who is the focus of the story and the center of his family and friends we meet.
Hidden Figures is a clever title for this story. ‘Figures’ relates to mathematical issues and to people, while ‘hidden’ tells us these issues and the people have been generally unknown to most of us since they were great heroes in the space race against the Soviet Union. Hidden Figures is an excellent depiction of a critical part of the American space program.
Manchester by the Sea is a film that takes us deep into the pit of emotional despair of people who have suffered unbearable losses and who try to suppress the horror that keeps them from moving forward in life.
With La La Land, we are clearly reminded what pure pleasure can be derived from movies.
Collateral Beauty is a story that digs into and shows the depth of grieving for a lost loved one, and the recovery to appreciate the remaining positive aspects of life — the collateral beauty.
Allied is a film that embodies wartime activities behind the full blown battlefield scenes. Allied is a movie that holds our interest by setting up an unexpected wartime romance and then introduces a major speed bump on the road to eternal bliss.
After an absence from film-making for almost 20 years, Warren Beatty returns with a masterful portrayal of Howard Hughes in this very good, well-mounted production.
Over the years we have seen many films that have the same theme as A Man Called Ove, where a bitter, crabby, unfriendly person is gradually changed into a kind and warmhearted neighbor.
Arrival is a sci-fi film in the same category as Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). My take on that great film was, “A true story that just hasn’t happened yet.” Arrival has the same basic theme, and is equally compelling.
The Dressmaker is a film that encapsulates many aspects of life in a small community that is mostly insulated from the modern world.
Inferno is the third of Dan Brown’s novels about Dr. Robert Langdon, from Cambridge.
The Accountant is a film that seems to have missed the mark of its basic intentions.