Movie Review: All the pretty horses

Producer:  Robert Salerno, Billy Bob Thornton
Director:  Billy Bob Thornton
Writer:  Ted Tally
Based On: All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Cast:  Matt Damon, Jesse Plemons, Penélope Cruz, Henry Thomas, Lucas Black, Ruben Blades, Robert Patrick, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Míriam Colón, Bruce Dern, Sam Shepard

Based upon one of the most popular books by Cormac McCarthy ‘All the pretty horses’ tells the story of three young men (Matt Damon, Henry Thomas, and Lucas Black) in the 1940’s who after hearing all the tales of cowboying in Texas leave their home to cross the border and work on a ranch in Mexico.  

The youngest of the three youths, played by Lucas Black, is only 13 years old and is separated from them soon after they enter Mexico.  The two young men hire on with a wealthy rancher ( Ruben Blades), and Matt Damon proves his worth by breaking the wild horses he owns.  He also romances the rancher’s daughter (Penélope Cruz) much to the ire of her father.  He throws them in jail, where they meet up with their thirteen year old companion who has killed a man.  

This is what I would call a ‘New Western’ it has the elements of what a classic western contains but with a more modern feel.  There is a slight distopian feel to this movie a despair at a loss for the way of life that can’t be brought back.  

I do like this movie even if it does evoke a schadenfreude feeling in me and I am giving it three stars out of five.  

Shout out to W W Sorrells for suggesting this movie to me.


Movie Review: Arsenic and Old Lace

Producer:  Frank Capra, Jack L. Warner
Director:  Frank Capra
Writers:  Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein
Cast:  Cary Grant, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre, Priscilla Lane, John Alexander, Jack Carson, John Ridgely, Edward McNamara, James Gleason, Edward Everett Horton, Grant Mitchell, Vaughan Glaser, Chester Clute, Edward McWade, Garry Owen, Charles Lane, Hank Mann, Spencer Charters

Plot:  Poor Mortimer Brewster, (Cary Grant), all he wants to do is marry the love of his life, (Priscilla Lane) and take her to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon when he finds out the secret that his aunts (Josephine Hull, Jean Adair) have been keeping in the basement.  Seems the aunts have taken it upon themselves to reduce the population of older lonely men in town the upshot being there are twelve graves in the basement of their house.  

Throw into this mix the aunt’s brother, who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt, and insists on blowing a bugle as he runs up the stairs yelling “Charge!” And Mortimer’s psychopathic brother, Jonathan, (Raymond Massey) whose brought his own personal plastic surgeon with him. Dr. Einstein, (Peter Lorre) a neurotic quack who can only operate while intoxicated.  How Mortimer survives this menagerie and learns the best news of his life is what makes this film one of my fifty must watch movies.  

Frank Capra’s dark comedy is truly one of the best examples of the genre and rarely matched by similar movies labelled as such.  Cary Grant is perfect as the much put upon Mortimer.  Josephine Hull and Jean Adair play the sweet deadly old ladies to the tee, having that “surprised by all the fuss” look upon themselves most of the time.  Raymond Massey’s performance is on par with Grant’s playing the cold craziness that he does so we’ll.  All in all a great movie with just the right touch of sinister to make this the perfect movie for a Halloween movie night.  

This gets five stars out of five.

Movie Reviews

So I am thinking about doing what I would call my fifty great classic movies.  Many of these are from what is called the golden age of Hollywood.  But it won’t be exclusive to that era.  So I am formulating a list and will take suggestions.  Stay tuned.

Movie Review: Little Shop of Horrors

Producer:  David Geffen
Writer:  Howard Ashman
Director:  Frank Oz
Cast:  Rick Moranis,Ellen Greene,Vincent Gardenia,Steve Martin,James Belushi,John Candy,Christopher Guest,Bill Murray
Based on Little Shop of Horrors
by Alan Menken Howard Ashman
The Little Shop of Horrors
by Roger Corman

Considering this is the day of the solar eclipse it seemed appropriate that this movie should be reviewed.

Little Shop of Horrors a musical based on the infamous Roger Cotman film that was rumored to have been shot in a 24 hour period. (Actually 48 hours) about a shnook named Seymour Krelborn who finds a unique plant after a solar eclipse.  Seymour works in a run down florist shop owned by Mr. Mushnik along with the beautiful Audrey whom Seymour secretly loves.  Mr. Mushnik wants to close the shop but Audrey suggests that a unique plant may draw customers.  Mr. Mushnik puts Seymour’s plant, named Audrey 2, into the window and sure enough the customers come in by the droves.  But Audrey 2 droops at the end of the day and Seymour discovers the awful truth to keep Audrey 2 alive he has to feed her blood.

And as Audrey 2 grows so does the need for more blood until the obvious happens.  But by this time Audrey 2 tells Seymour that all the luck he has been experiencing is because of her.

I won’t give away much more of the movie.  Needless to say it is a fun in a black comedy manner and you might find yourself singing along to some of the songs.  My favorite is the dentist song and I usually hum it as I am getting my bi-yearly check up.  My dental hygienist hates me.

This movie is for fifteen years old and older.  There is some swearing and physical abuse of a woman, as well as the murders.  But it is balanced by some great songs and some great acting by the cast.  

This is a four star movie.  

Movie Review: The Dark Tower

Producers: Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard, Erica Huggins
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Writer:Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel,
Based on The Dark Tower by Stephen King
Cast: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, Jackie Earle Haley

Before I get on with the rest of this review I would like to quote a small bit of lyric from what was arguably one of the funniest shows on TV. 

Just repeat to yourself “It’s just a show, I should really just relax”

Now if you go to this movie thinking that they have through the wonders of Hollywood magic they have been able to condense an eight book series into a ninty minute movie.  Go to another movie!

If instead you go into this movie expecting to see common elements of Stephen King’s themes in his books played out on the screen you might enjoy this movie.  

The plot is very basic. Idris Elba Is the last gunslinger charged with protecting the Black Tower. The Dark Tower which stands in the center of the multiverse preventing darkness from entering the multiverse.  The enemy of all the gunslingers and ultimately the Dark Tower is the man in black played by Matthew McConaughey.  And like I said you get references to King’s work.  The young boy, Jake Chambers played by Tom Taylor, has the shine (The Shining) and it allows him to see visions of both the gunslinger and the man in black as well as the Dark Tower.  This makes him valuable to the man in black because he uses kids with the shine to attack the Dark Tower.  The young boy escapes from the man in black’s minions and meets up with the gunslinger.  The boy then inspires the gunslinger to continue his quest to protect the Dark Tower.

This is a “western” sci-fi movie similar to Serenity and a few others.  And it isn’t the train wreck many have portrayed it to be.  I will say that the best part of the movie is Idris Elba but I haven’t seen anything yet that he didn’t impress me by his acting skills.
I am giving this a three star review see it at a matinee or wait for a second run theater.  

Movie Reviews: GOG2 & Wonder Woman 

I have seen three movies so far in theaters.  This was one of them.  And I will say that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) it is different enough from the super hero ones to be very enjoyable.  And it doesn’t hurt that it has a kicking soundtrack.  And the dancing baby Groot is one of the highlights.  There are adult language and conversations in the film especially one involving Ego and Drax that may want you not to bring too young of children to the movie.  I give it four stars.

This was the second movie that I saw in a theater.  Cast, writing, direction all great.  The only what I would call semi serious criticism I have heard regarding this movie is that’s too Captain America.  But since the original Wonder Woman comic came out during World War 2 just like Captain America’s comic  you would expect some similarities.  And they tried to off set that by having Wonder Woman fight in World War 1.  Now the only other thing I would add to this is that of all the recent DC movies they really got this one right.  It would be great if they could continue this trend.  I give this movie five stars.

Balcony Closed

I have been trying to get a few movie reviews done but I am having trouble putting the thoughts into words.  Plus there has been absolutely nothing that I have wanted to see lately and I am not impressed with what is currently playing at the theater.  So until I get the thoughts into a coherent form the balcony is closed.

Movie Review: Dr. Strange

Producer: Kevin Feige

: Scott Derrickson

: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill

: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton

Plot:  Brilliant but arrogant surgeon Doctor Stephen Strange suffers an accident that robs him of the use of his hands and his livelihood.  Searching for answers he travels to Katmandu and encounters the ancient one a Celtic mystic-sorcerer and gets his mind blown.

Trigger warning:  If you are a fundamentalist who automatically associates any thing that involves “magic” with witchcraft and a violation of Exodus 22:18 don’t even bother just find a another movie to watch. 

I saw this with my son as a Father/Son excursion, and I saw it in 3D.  And if you have a chance I would highly recommend watching it in 3D.  This was an entertaining movie and if I can say this Benedict Cumberpatch was actually rather droll as the character of the materialistic Stephen Strange.  And the only nitpick I have with the movie is making the cloak of levitation into the carpet from Aladdin.

Now other than the cloak, and maybe Cumberpatch slipping out of his American accent every once in awhile, I have no real complaints.  In fact Doctor Strange was actually kind of refreshing as the ending wasn’t a series of fisticuffs between the main protagonists.  

I give this movie three stars out of five.  

Movie Review: Masked Saint

Director: Warren P. Sonoda
Producer: Cliff McDowell
Screenplay by Scott Crowell
Cast: Brett Granstaff,Lara Jean Chorostecki, Diahann Carroll,Patrick McKenna, Roddy Piper

Plot a former wrestler becomes a pastor and then turns to wrestling once again to pay the bills. He then inadvertently becomes a masked vigilante to deal with the crime in the neighborhood around the church.

This is based upon the book “the Masked Saint” by Chris Whaley. I haven’t read that nor have I met the man but he should disassociate himself from this movie. This is has everything I dislike about “Christian Films”. It has wooden acting, a bad plot that has too many clichés, and poor production values. There are far more interesting and worthy Christian Films out there to watch and I suggest you find one an skip this,

I give this no stars.

Movie Review:. The Legend of Tarzan.

Director: David Yates
Producers:  Jerry Weintraub,  David Barron,  Alan Riche,  Tony Ludwig, Mike Richardson
Writers:  Adam Cozad, Craig Brewer
Cast:  Alexander Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou,  Jim Broadbent,  Christoph Waltz

First let me state that nobody has ever gotten Burrough’s story about the English Lord raised by anthropoid apes right. But two films have come close one was Greystoke the other is this film.

The story begins with a group of English peers along with George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) trying to convince Lord Clayton/Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) to return to Africa in specific to examine the Congo Free State as a guest of King Leopold to see all the churches and orphanages that he has built.  However, there is an ulterior motive to the peers of England they see this as an opportunity for King Leopold to become in-debited to them so they too can exploit the natural resources of the area.  However Tarzan is having none of it he wants to stay in England with his beloved Jane (Margot Robbie).  However, George Washington Williams finally persuades Tarzan to return and Jane also comes along because she too was raised in Africa and longs to return there.  However, what none are aware of is that this is all a plot by Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) an agent of King Leopold who plans to deliver Tarzan to the King of Opar for a trunk of uncut diamonds.

Now as someone who has read all the Tarzan books I tend to judge any movies based upon how close to the portrayal that Burroughs describes.  So far none have portrayed Tarzan as the long black haired bronze skinned forest god that Burroughs  wrote of in his books.  But I can forgive this movie for a blond Tarzan as when they portray him as scarred on both face and body that is more accurate for a child raised in the wilds of Africa by apes.  And speaking of  apes finally someone gets it right.  Burrough’s anthropoid apes, Mangani,  were an unknown species that were more hominid in appearance that gorilla.  Also the apes were ferocious not gentle they would hunt down smaller animals and even gorillas for food.  And so the Mangani in film is portrayed as dangerous creatures that you want to avoid if possible.

And that isn’t all Tarzan is portrayed as being master of the jungle not only the beasts but the country so you see him swing through the trees on vines and running along the branches of the trees.  Again like the books.

Now the bad news I am sorry but there is a more than moderate amount of profanity in this movie and because of that you shouldn’t take any one other than teenagers to see this movie.

I give this movie four stars I’d see it again.