Marriage Story is a drama written, directed and produced by Noah Baumbach. The film follows a married couple going through a coast-to-coast divorce. Marriage Story is probably an unlikely scenario for divorce but not impossible. I was annoyed by their situation because I was hoping for better but didn’t get it.
Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) is a successful theater director in New York City. His theater company is currently producing a play that stars his wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), a former teen film actress. The film delves into happier days when the couple only had good analogies to define each other. They have a son Henry Barber (Azhy Robertson) that they both adore. Suddenly things begin to go sour initiated by Nicole. The couple begins to experience marital troubles, which sends them to see a mediator, who suggests that they each write down what they like about one another. Charlie writes his feelings but Nicole refuses to read hers aloud so they decide to forgo the counseling.
Meanwhile, Nicole is offered a starring role in a television pilot in Los Angeles, and she decides to leave the theater company and temporarily live with her mother Sandra (Julie Hagerty) in West Hollywood, taking the couple’s young son, Henry with her. Charlie decides to stay in New York, as the play is in the process of moving to Broadway. Despite the couple agreeing to split amicably and forgo lawyers, Nicole hires the family lawyer Nora (Laura Dern). Nicole tells Nora the full story of her relationship with Charlie and how she gradually felt neglected by him and how he rejects her ideas and desires.
Because I’m a happy ending kind of gal, I’m always looking for one. I truly dislike endings that leave me in tears or unknowing what happened or “make it up yourself”, resulting in open-ended closures. Marriage Story gave me semi-quasi closure but not the one I was hoping for. Driver and Johanssen are two of the best actors around and played Nicole and Charlie excellently. In some parts, the movie was a tad bit boring but was interesting for the most part. I didn’t really care for their son’s attitude but I think it’s a cultural thing. I’m not sure what message Marriage Story sends but it was well-acted. An awful lot of people really liked it and that’s what counts. Since Marriage Story is airing on Netflix, it’s easy to see it at your leisure, just remember the Oscars are presented on February 9th this year, so you don’t have that much time if you follow the award shows. Check It Out!
[MARRIAGE STORY is Oscar-nominated for BEST: Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Original Score and Original Screenplay — TOTALLING 6 OSCAR NOMINATIONS]
Posted in STREAMING
Tagged adam driver, alan alda, Azhy Robertson, Becca Blackwell, Bert Spitz, Beth, Brooke Bloom, Carter, cassie, Charlie Barber, frank, Henry Barber, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Jay Marotta, Judge Neil Tilden, Julie Hagerty, Kyle Bornheimer, laura dern, Lucas Neff, mark o'brien, MARRIAGE STORY, Martha Kelly, Mary Ann, Mary Wiseman, Matthew Maher, Matthew Shear, Mediator, merritt wever, Mickey Sumner, Nancy Katz, Nicole, Nicole Barber, Nora Fanshaw, Pablo, ray liotta, Rich Fulcher, Robert Smigel, sam, Sandra, scarlett johansson, ted, terry, Tunde Adebimpe, Wallace Shawn
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (also known as Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker) is a space-opera and is produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and the final episode of the nine-part “Skywalker saga”. This movie was produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams’s production company Bad Robot Productions and was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The Rise of Skywalker follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron as they lead the Resistance’s final stand against Kylo Ren and the First Order, who are now aided by the return of the deceased galactic emperor, Palpatine. I think I’m a little tired of Star Wars — this one was just ok.
Following a threat of revenge by the revived Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) obtains a Sith Wayfinder, leading him to the uncharted planet Exegol. There, he finds Palpatine, who reveals that he created Snoke (Andy Serkisas) a puppet to control the First Order and lure Kylo to the dark side. Palpatine unveils a secret armada of Star Destroyers and tells Kylo to find and kill Rey (Daisy Ridley), who is continuing her Jedi training under Resistance leader Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) deliver intel from a spy that Palpatine is on Exegol; Rey has learned from Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) notes that a Sith Wayfinder can lead them there. Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), BB-8, and C-3PO depart in the Millennium Falcon to Pasaana, where Luke’s search for Exegol ended.
While on Pasaana, the group encounters Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), who points them to the Wayfinder’s last suspected location. Kylo learns where Rey is through their Force bond and travels there with his warrior subordinates, the Knights of Ren. Rey and the others discover the remains of a Jedi hunter named Ochi, his ship, and a dagger inscribed with Sith text, which C-3PO’s programming forbids him from interpreting. Sensing that Kylo is nearby, Rey goes to confront him. The First Order captures the Falcon, Chewbacca, and the dagger; attempting to save Chewbacca, Rey accidentally destroys a First Order transport with Force lightning. Presuming that Chewbacca has been killed, the group escapes on Ochi’s ship.
I’m stopping here to reserve some semblance of integrity and of course, the element of surprise. This supposedly last Star War film was not as good as some of its predecessors. I found the story rather robotic and cursory, it was all over the place. There were numerous scenes of fighting and often, without merit. The story jumped from subject to subject leaving me desperate for an explanation. Some parts were even a little boring. I think there was too much action to say very little. Despite the uneven flow, the acting was very good and the special effects were absolutely brilliant. Carrie Fisher lives through the age of repurposed unreleased footage from The Force Awakens. I also think I’ve had enough Star Wars, the whole battle between The Force and Emperor Palpatine and his stormtroopers after 43 years is a lovely adventure but is screaming for closure and “The End”. The movie received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the cast performances and visual effects but criticized the story, pacing, and perceived departures from the themes and story of The Last Jedi. It has grossed over $840 million worldwide against a production budget of $275 million, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 2019. You Star War fans, Check It Out!
[STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is Oscar-Nominated for Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects — Totaling 3 Oscar nominations]
Posted in CURRENT MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adam driver, Allegiant General Pryde, Amanda Lawrence, Amir El-Masry, anthony daniels, Anton Simpson-Tidy, Ashley Beck, Babu Frik, bb-8, Beaumont Kin, Ben Solo / Kylo Ren, Billie Lourd, Billy Dee Williams, Billy Howle, Brian Herring, c-3po, Cailey Fleming, carrie fisher, chewbacca, Commander Larma D’Acy, Commander Trach, D-O, daisy ridley, Dave Chapman, domhnall gleeson, Dominic Monaghan, finn, FN-2187, general hux, greg grunberg, han solo, harrison ford, Hassan Taj, Ian McDiarmid, J. J. Abrams, Jannah, Jodie Comer, Joe Kennard, john boyega, joonas suotamo, Josefine Irrera Jackson, kelly marie tran, Keri Russell, Klaud, Knights of Ren, lando calrissian, Lee Towersey, Leia Organa, Lieutenant Kaydel Ko Connix, Lukaz Leong, luke skywalker, lupita nyong'o, mark hamill, Martin Wilde, maz kanata, Naomi Ackie, Nick Kellington, oscar isaac, Palpatine / Darth Sidious, poe dameron, R2-D2, Richard E. Grant, Rose Tico, Shirley Henderson, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Temmin "Snap" Wexley, Tom Rodgers, Vinette Robinson, Wrobie Tyce, Zorii Bliss
BlacKkKlansman is a biographical crime film co-written and directed by Spike Lee, based on the memoir, Black Klansman (2014) by Ron Stallworth. The film is produced by Lee, Raymond Mansfield, Shaun Redick, Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, and Jordan Peele. I didn’t know quite what to expect from this movie — I went to see it without much information going in. To my surprise, based on a true story, BlacKkKlansman has turned out to be Spike Lee’s best, complete with a “scientific explanation” of white racial superiority by Dr. Kennebrew Beaureguard (Alec Baldwin), and my personal favorite.
Set in 1972 Colorado Springs, the plot follows the first African-American detective in the police department, who sets out to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. In order to achieve this goal, Detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) will need the permission from the police department, Chief Bridges (Robert John Burke) as well as a White counter part, who turns out to be David “Flip” Zimmerman (Adam Driver) to make actual appearances to the KKK.
Ron’s first encounter was with national civil rights leader, Kwame Ture (Cory Hawkins), who has taken the name of African leaders. At the rally, Ron meets Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier), the president of the black student union at Colorado College. Now a member of the intelligence division, Ron calls the president of the Colorado Springs chapter, Walter Breachway (Ryan Eggold) pretending to be a White man.
Not to be a comedy, there were several scenes that had me laughing my head off. I found BlacKKKlansman to be an inspiration to all humans and a very well acted and well written movie. Note: John David Washington is the real life son of Denzel Washington. There are a host of brilliant actors in the movie with a plot you have to see to believe. BlacKkKlansman sends a powerful message, which couldn’t have come at a better time. Hate is so ugly and unnecessary. What a waste of your mind when all you do is focus on race. I urge everyone to see this movie, which by the way, is not for kids. See it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy every second of BlacKkKlansman. Check it Out!
[BlackKkKlansman is Oscar nominated for BEST: Picture, Supporting Actor, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score and Best Film Editing]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adam driver, alan gary, alec baldwin, ashlie atkinson, blackkklansman, chief bridges, connie kendrickson, corey hawkins, craig muMs grant, damaris lewis, david duke, detective flip zimmerman, detective ron stallworth, dr. kennebrew beaureguard, felix kendrickson, frederick weller, harry belafonte, isiah whitlock jr, ivanhoe, jabbo, jasper Pääkkönen, jerome turner, jimmy creek, john david washington, ken garito, klansman, kwame ture, laura harrier, michael buscemi, mr turrentine, nicholas turturro, odetta, patrice dumas, patrolman andy landers, paul walter hauser, robert john burke, ryan eggold, sergeant trapp, topher grace, walker, walter breachway
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an American epic space opera written and directed by Rian Johnson. It is the second installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and the eighth main installment of the Star Wars franchise, following Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The Last Jedi is produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and includes an all star cast, including the late Carrie Fisher who past in December of 2016. Star Wars never gets old. I still find the series to be just as refreshed and interesting as the first. The battle for the reign of the Empire is just as existing and just as much of a struggle as any two countries fighting for control of territory, Star Wars is just more modern and more futuristic. May the Force be with them!
Many folks are still a little fuzzy about Rough One. Some questioning why it even existed. It almost seemed as if it was an after though or a fill in because of the disconnection from the rest of the Star Wars story and crew. Questions like where did Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) come from and where are all the other familiar characters we have all grown to know and love? When all was said and done, we were no closer to the answers than we were before Rough One began. Finally, Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrived. But as we take a long hard look, all the old characters have died, except one. I’m not so sure this was the way to go but this is the way it went so now we are faced with a whole new era of Star War characters leaving the likes of Mr. Yoda (Frank Oz), Luke Ski Walker and Darth Vader only briefly able to appear when needed. There’s now only 1 hint of a female Jedi and a limited amount of the Resistance left with nowhere to live. In the Last Jedi, the Resistance fighters are led by General Leia Organa, who I figure will take her leave as well or be replaced by someone new to play her part since the beloved actress is no longer with us. The characters from Star Wars: Rogue One are not a part of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and it’s still not clear why that whole story was presented or why they were brought into the fold.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi focuses on Rey (Daisy Ridley) traveling to the Planet Ahch0-To in order to confront Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and convince him to return to the Resistance, which is in dire need of help to survive and fight the First Order. Rey must also complete her Jedi training to help the Resistance. Of course Luke is resistant, stubborn and uncooperative, refusing to even talk to Rey who is equally as stubborn, camping out at his door everyday. Eventually, after several incidents, the two come to an understanding. Rey receives Jedi training from Luke Skywalker in hopes of turning the tide for the Resistance in the fight against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. Kylo is also the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke’s (Andy Serkis) disciple, who is strong with the dark side of the Force and leader to the Knights of Ren. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and Rey have a telepathic meeting of the minds where Kylo tries to sway Rey over to the dark side while capturing her mind even though they are in separate locations.
Later, in a memorable battle, the Resistance fighters are forced to evacuate their base upon arrival of a First Order fleet. Following an effective but costly counterattack led by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), a high-ranking X-wing Resistance fighter pilot introduced in The Force Awakens. Resistance fighters manage to destroy a First Order dreadnought, before the Resistance vessels jump into hyperspace to escape, but the First Order pursues them using a tracking device. Kylo Ren who has already killed his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and is also General Leia Organa’s (Carrie Fisher) son, destroys the Resistance support fighters, but hesitates to fire at the lead Resistance ship, after sensing his mother’s presence on board. However, TIE fighters destroy the bridge of the ship, killing several Resistance leaders and incapacitating Leia, who only survives by using the Force. Command falls to Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern. Disapproving of Holdo’s passive strategy, Poe, Finn (John Boyega), the former Stormtrooper of the First Order who defected to the Resistance, BB-8 (controlled by puppeteers, Dave Chapman and Brian Herring), and mechanic Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), works in maintenance but ends up becoming much more, saving many lives and appears as a possible love interest for Finn — embark on a secret plan to disable the tracking device. In the meanwhile, Kylo invites Rey to rule the galaxy with him, but Rey refuses. Using the Force, they struggle for possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber, which splits in two.
As you can see, The Last Jedi is long and complex. I’ve told much of the story but not nearly a quarter of what makes up this great story. I suggest you check it out as soon as you can.
[Star Wars: The Last Jedi is Oscar nominated for Best Visual Effects]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adam driver, and Gwendoline Christie, andy serkis, anthony daniels, bb-8, benicio del toro, carrie fisher, chewbacca, daisy ridley, Dobbu Scay, domhnall gleeson, general hux, gwendoline christie, john boyega, kelly marie tran, laura dern, luke skywalker, lupita nyong'o, mark hamill, oscar isaac, Padme Amidala, Peter May, planet Ahch-To, Planet Jakku, star wars: the last jedi, supreme leader snoke
Logan Lucky is another summer fill-in. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad one but I wouldn’t say it’s a good one either. It’s a comedy, which may be its saving grace, about a heist with a twist. Hollywood is making these fill-ins a little better than they use to so kudos to Steven Soderbergh for a half way descent movie to end the summer.
Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), once had a promising football career that was ruined by an injury. To top things off, he was just laid off from his job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and while picking up his daughter, Farrah Logan (Sadie Mackenzie) for a beauty pageant, he learns that his x-wife, Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes) and her new husband Moody Chapman (David Denman), a wealthy car dealership owner, intend to move out of state to Lynchburg, making it harder for him to visit.
Angry, down and out, Jimmy visits his brother Clyde, (Adam Driver) an Iraq War veteran who, on account of losing part of his left arm, wears a prosthetic hand, at the bar where he works. He convinces Clyde to team up with him to rob the Charlotte Speedway after revealing a plan that will include Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) a convicted safecracker, as well as Joe’s dimwitted brothers Sam Bang (Brian Gleeson), Fish Bang (Jack Quaid), as well as their own sister, Mellie Logan (Riley Keough). Jimmy’s plan includes a jail break, gummy bears, an electrical grid outage, a stolen sports car, home made explosives, the loss of Clyde’s prosthetic hand and much more. It all takes place during the Coca-Cola 600 race on Memorial Day weekend. FBI agent Sarah Grayson (Hilary Swank) is assigned to investigate the heist but is sidewined via an insurance settlement.
Logan Lucky has a somewhat crazy plot with a plan that is so out there, I doubt it would or could ever happen. Despite it’s craziness, it’s entertaining but unbelievable. It is amazing someone could write a plot with so many unworkable parts yet pull it all together. Logan Lucky is truly a summer fill-in. Channing Tatum also gained some noticeable weight. I recommend waiting for the DVD on this one.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adam driver, bobbie jo, brian gleeson, channing tatum, charlotte motor speedway, clyde, daniel craig, david denman, farrah logan, fish bang, hilary swank, jack quiad, jeff gordon, jimmy logan, joe bang, katie homes, leann Rimms, logan lucky, lynchburg, mellie logan, moody chapman, riley keough, sadie mackenzie, sam bang, sarah grayson
Silence is not for everyone. It is a heartbreaking story about Jesuit priest whose job was to spread the Gospel (Good News). In 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Imperial Regent of Japan and Unifier of the country banned Catholicism. Japan, who chooses Buddhism as their nation’s religion. Hideyoshi proclaimed Christianity as dangerous and executed 26 Christians in Nagasaki as a warning to those who went against Japanese customs.
After an Italian Jesuit priest, Father Alessandro Valignano (Ciarán Hinds) receives news that Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson), a Portuguese Jesuit in Japan, renounced his faith after being tortured. Ferreira’s two young pupils, also Portuguese, Fathers Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), set off in disbelief to find him. Kichijiro (Yōsuke Kubozuka), an alcoholic fisherman who fled Japan (later revealed to be a Christian who renounced his faith to save himself), agrees to guide them. At the Japanese village of Tomogi, the priests are surprised to find the local Christian population driven underground. They eagerly welcome the priests, who administer long-awaited sacraments and confessions to the people. A samurai searching for suspected Christians, whom the villagers refer to as “the inquisitor” (Issey Ogata), straps some of the villagers to wooden crosses on the beach and places them in the ocean, where the tide eventually kills them. The bodies are then cremated on a funeral pyre so that they cannot be given a Christian burial.
Garupe leaves for Hirado Island, believing that their presence forces the shogunate to terrorize the village. Rodrigues goes to Gotō Island, the last place Ferreira lived, only to find it destroyed. Wandering around Gotō, he struggles over whether it is self-centered and unmerciful to refuse to recant when doing so will end others’ suffering. He eventually reunites with Kichijiro, who betrays him into the hands of the samurai. An old samurai, who had earlier accompanied the inquisitor to Tomogi, tells Rodrigues that other captured Christians will suffer unless he commits apostasy.
Rodrigues is taken to Nagasaki, where he is imprisoned with the captured Christians from Gotō. At a tribunal, he is told Catholic doctrine is anathema to Japan. Rodrigues demands to see governor Inoue Masashige (Issey Ogata), who he learns to his dismay is the old samurai. Rodrigues is returned to prison, and Kichijiro arrives. He explains that court officials threatened him to give up Rodrigues, then says he is a Christian and asks to be imprisoned to be absolved of his betrayal through a confession, which Rodrigues reluctantly grants him. He later is released after agreeing again to step on a fumi-e (a crudely carved image of Christ), an act symbolizing rejection of the faith. Rodrigues is brought to witness a famished Garupe, and three other prisoners (who have apostatized) about to be drowned. Garupe refuses to apostasize, and the prisoners are drowned.
While Silence is not based on a true story it is based on true events. Japan used the above mentioned methods to get Christians to renounce their religion and did in fact, kill 26 of them as a warning. 55 more were killed in 1632 through out the missionary period on Mount Unzen and approximately 1000 were killed overall. The ban was lifted in 1873. There are roughly 500,000 openly practicing Christians in Japan today. Silence was directed by Martin Scorsese and is a historical drama worth your attention. It’s an incredible film with incredible acting and an incredible story to tell.
[SILENCE is nominated for Cinematography]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adam driver, andrew garfield, catholic, christian, father cristovao ferreira, francisco garupe, fumi-ekichijiro, inoue masashige, inquisitor, issey ogata, japan, liam neeson, martin scorsese, mount unzen, nagasaki, samurai, sebastiao rodrigues, silence, tomogi, yosuke kubozuka
This Star Wars is a good one. I loved seeing some of the old gang and I loved that there will be more Star Wars on the horizon, scheduled for 2017. As much as I liked The Force Awakens, I didn’t like it as much as some of the past Star Wars episodes. About 30 years after the second Death Star was destroyed in Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) who didn’t make an appearance until the very end of this movie and is also the last Jedi, has disappeared. The “First Order” is looking to eliminate Luke and the Republic but Luke’s twin sister, Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is opposing the First Order while searching for Luke to get his help before they are destroyed. Resistance’s X-wing fighter pilot Poe Damerson (Oscar Isaac) has a partial map of Luke’s location stored in his Droid BB-8. Poe is captured by Stormtroopers but his Droid gets away where it meets a scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) who helps to conceal BB-8. In the meanwhile, the Stormtroopers torture Poe for information leading to the map, finding out the map is hidden in the Droid. Poe tries to escape when he gets help from a First Order Stormtrooper called FN-2187 who later renames himself Finn (John Boyega). Unable to continue to kill or function as a Stormtropper for the First Order, Finn joins the Resistance and escapes with Poe. Finn and Poe find BB-8 on planet Jakku where they meet Scavenger Rey. The planet is attacked by Stormtroopers, and Poe disappears, presumed dead, while Rey, Finn and BB-8 meet Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). Together they team up to continue this worthy Star Wars adventure that has more twist and turns than any other production I’ve recently seen. There are many villains leading the First Order. The dark warrior, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is the son of Hans Solo and Leia Organa and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), plus the ruthless commander of the First Order, General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Lupita Nyong’o plays Maz Kanata, a wise and perceptive operator of a shady cantina on a planet called Takodana. Maz tries to help Han and his new team, giving the lightsaber that belonged to Luke and his father to Finn for safekeeping.
I opened this review stating it didn’t quite stand up to some of the former Star Wars episodes. The reason is too many scenes reminded me of too many movies I’ve recently seen. I actually found myself making a comparison right there on the spot between the scene I was watching and Maze Runners: The Scorch Trials, District 9 and Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 & 2. As most of you know, Disney has taken possession of the Star Wars series buying out the entire franchise from George Lucas for $4.05 billion dollars. Not bad — So Far, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has taken in $540,058,914 in 2 weeks. Perhaps Disney isn’t as unique in their story telling as George but there seems to be 540+ million reasons to keep trying.
[STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS is nominated for Film Editing, Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adam driver, andy serkis, bb-8, carrie fisher, chewbacca, daisy ridley, domhnall gleeson, droid, finn, general hux, general leia organa, han solo, harrison ford, john boyega, kylo ren, luke skywalker, lupita nyong'o, mark hamill, maz kanata, oscar isaac, peter maychew, poe dameron, r2d2, rey, star wars: the force awakens, stormtrooper, supreme leader snoke, the last jedi, the resistance, x-wing fighter pilot