SPECTRE || November 6th, 2015

Brooklyn-poster BROOKLYN || Saoirse Ronan is making a run at the Oscars this year, and a mighty good one at that, being right alongside Brie Larson (“Room”) on most people’s predictions. Ronan is much deserving as she has always been a super talented actress. Now holding the reigns as the lead in “Brooklyn,” about a young Irish woman moving to America in the ’50s, she seems poised as ever to have a shot. Obviously this won’t be her last.
THEATER
LostInTheSun-poster LOST IN THE SUN || Josh Duhamel has not quite has his time to shine and unfortunately as promising as it looked, “Lost In The Sun” isn’t going to be the vehicle to let him shine. In it, he plays a mysterious man that offers a young man a ride over taking the bus. Along the way, he robs some convenience stores with the boy running getaway and what finds them at the end of the line is nothing good. Despite some decent looking visuals and some breaking out of his wheelhouse, Duhamel does not quite own this, at least in the trailer.
PASS
MissYouAlready-poster MISS YOU ALREADY || This is the movie that two gal pals go see on a Friday or Saturday night away from their significant others or owning the fact that they don’t have any. Because this is girl power all the way. A lifelong friendship is shaken up by cancer. And then a pregnancy. Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette both feel like actresses that weren’t the best choices for these roles, but I’m sure the female dates won’t care much, they’ll be too busy laughing, smiling, and crying.
PASS
ThePeanutsMovie-poster THE PEANUTS MOVIE || All the nostalgia is there. The characters, the situations, the catchphrases, the relationships. Even the animation is top notch and somewhat unique. But there’s still something flat and uninspiring about the whole foray into the world of Charles Schulz’s animation. Thank you for bringing this to a new generation, but maybe make it your own.

Spectre-poster SPECTRE || This can’t be stressed enough… when films like “The Dark Knight” and “Skyfall” utterly impress the masses, everyone then jumps in line for the next sequel, expecting the same level of expertise. Now, I’m not saying we should not always hold directors, writers, and actors up to the highest standards, because otherwise, what’s the point? But these exceptional films wowed us for a reason and not every film can do that. So when the sequel comes out and it’s not as good, people pan it. This was Daniel Craig’s last foray in the shoes of James Bond and it was an amazing send off in my opinion, highlighting centuries of Bond lore and gimmicks while putting nice new spins on everything. Christoph Waltz and Lea Seydoux give two of my favorite performances of the year.

WhatOurFathersDid-poster WHAT OUR FATHERS DID || A documentary interviewing the sons of some influential Nazis about what it’s like growing under the shadow of that, the film uses narration and archival footage, along with the interviews, to paint a picture of their lives. There’s a man that almost mocks one of the sons, telling him what his father did and that angers me. Because how is it the son’s fault for being raised by such a man, when these father’s probably seemed so normal to their sons?
PASS

Barista-poster BARISTA || I bet walking into a Starbucks, you never assumed that one of the baristas behind the counter actually wanted and chose to do that for a living. But it happens. And “Barista” is a documentary about those lifers that actually go into competition for mixing drinks and creating espresso shots. The funniest thing in the trailer is when one of the baristas spills a small bit of espressos and it’s like everyone’s jaw drops at such a huge mistake. Whatever floats your boat.
PASS
TheHallow-poster THE HALLOW || Stay out of the Hallow apparently, unless you want your newborn baby stolen by evil fairy forest elves with sharp claws and disgusting faces. “The Hallow” is the age-old horror film of, “you shouldn’t have come here,” but they go there anyway and deal with what goes bump in the night until the unthinkable happens. I just saw Bojana Novakovic in “Burning Man” and loved her, so now I feel like I’ll enjoy a lot more with her presence. Plus horror films are easy to throw a bone.
STREAM
HotSugarsColdWorld-poster HOT SUGAR’S COLD WORLD || Musician Nick Koenig aka Hot Sugar goes on the exploration of finding sounds for his music that are completely unique and one-of-a-kind, from caves and heaps of old bones, to drums played in certain locations or mechanic equipment being used in a shop. Executive produced by David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, this is definitely an interesting idea as far as documentaries go.
PASS
TheHouseThatJackBuilt-poster THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT || Although it is nice to see Brooklyn Nine Nine’s Melissa Fumero in something other than the Fox television series, “The House That Jack Built” is so focused on the main character that the trailer does not let anyone else speak throughout the entire thing. About a thug who will do any questionable thing to protect his family seems to be causing more trouble than it’s worth, in all honesty. This looks a little to one track minded.
PASS
InJacksonHeights-poster IN JACKSON HEIGHTS || Already landing on best of the year lists for documentaries, “In Jackson Heights” takes a look at the neighborhood of Jackson Heights in Queens, New York, where 167 different languages are spoken. Highlighting the community and the events that take place, including classes and LGBT marches, this film was one of the many documentaries in contention for the Oscar but did not make the shortlist cut. However, this is director Frederick Wiseman’s 40th documentary.
PASS
InTheBasement-poster IM KELLER || Ever wonder what people do in their basements? Director Ulrich Seidl sure has and now has a documentary highlighting some very dark stuff that people do, including BDSM, Nazi drinking parties, and one man that even has a shooting range in his basement. The style of the film is quite humorous, with a frame style similar to that of Wes Anderson, and a dry humor with moments like a couple staring at the camera as a strange song plays.
PASS
TheNightingale-poster2 THE NIGHTINGALE || An official Oscar entry from China, “The Nightingale” seems like the equivalent to a foreign Lifetime Original Movie, where a young girl is given to her grandfather when her parents have more important things to do. It is with her grandfather that she “becomes the woman she was meant to be” while learning about a bird that has survived three generations in the same family. As breath-taking as the landscape is in the film, the rest does not quite match.
PASS
TheNotoriousMrBout-poster THE NOTORIOUS MR. BOUT || Viktor Bout, now behind bars, was a Russian arms smuggler who flew around the world and was known as the “Merchant Of Death,” but apparently he was an amateur film-maker as well, with countless home videos that have been compiled together along with some DEA sting footage to draw a distinct picture of this man’s life through his criminals day up to his capture and trial.
PASS
OfMenAndWar-poster OF MEN AND WAR || We all know war is messy in multiple regards, but the documentary “Of Men And War,” which had a special screening at Cannes Film Festival, takes a look at some of the returning veterans and their lives and issues that they face now that they are back to regular life. Some can’t forget what they saw and some can’t deal with the fact that they took lives. But most of them have families to face and their own crosses to bear, and rightfully so, because war is not natural.
PASS
Palio-poster PALIO || From the producer of “Senna” and “Amy” comes another documentary that is much lesser known called “Palio” about Italian horse racing. The trailer is simply a tease, displaying images of the races, the people in and around the races, and some of the exciting moments that might draw people in. It even highlights some “master/apprentice” relationship that must have some place in the film.
PASS
PeggyGiggenheim-poster PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT || From the director of “Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel,” Lisa Vreeland returns to the art world for the documentary “Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict,” about one of the most influential art collectors to ever walk the planet. Having inherited her family’s fortune, Peggy not collected art but apparently artists as well, having discovered many big names including Jackson Pollock.
PASS
SandDollars-poster SAND DOLLARS || The official Dominican entry in the Foreign Language category for the Academy Awards, “Sand Dollars” explores everything from an age gap relationship, to inequality and race, to unrequited love. When a woman in her 7o’s takes interest in a much younger woman, she offers her tons of money to go away with her. Accepting, the woman must leave behind her male lover and everything she knows.
PASS
SexDeathBowling-poster SEX, DEATH, AND BOWLING || Several surprises here behind the scenes of “Sex, Death, and Bowling.” The film is written and directed by actress Ally Walker, who you might know from “Sons Of Anarchy.” This is her first fictional directing gig, as she also did a documentary in 2005. Fellow “Sons” co-star Drea de Matteo also stars, alongside Adrian Grenier and Selma Blair. The story deals with everything mentioned in the title, as a father deals with cancer and a young son wants to win a bowling trophy for him.
PASS
Spotlight-poster SPOTLIGHT || You’re looking at the front-runner for taking it all at this year’s Academy Awards. “Spotlight” is an ensemble piece drama about the Boston Globe investigation exposing the Catholic Church’s secret regarding priest’s molesting children. The cast is a who’s who of who is big right now including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, and Billy Crudup from director Tom McCarthy who brought you “The Station Agent” and “Win Win” but also brought you the dismal “The Cobbler” starring Adam Sandler last year. My bet is this is a powerful, great film, but I’m not sure I see it going all the way.
THEATER
Theeb-poster THEEB || The official Jordanian entry in the Best Foreign Language category at the Academy Awards, “Theeb,” a desert epic set in the early 1900’s. Theeb is the title character, a young boy living in a remote part of the desert that is then asked to help some wandering travelers get across the terrain. Secretly following them, Theeb eventually must help them in spite of themselves, as they meet trouble. The graininess of the film definitely helps it feel like the era it is portraying and its great to see an epic film come off so highly from a foreign country for a change.
PASS
Trumbo-poster TRUMBO || Bryan Cranstan takes his first big step away from “Breaking Bad” into the role of 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted at the height of his career. What could offer him the perfect chance to get an Oscar nomination, he acts alongside some of the best including Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, Louis C.K., John Goodman, Elle Fanning, and Michael Stuhlbarg. This is not director Jay Roach’s normal foray (“Meet The Parents” and “The Campaign”) but it is a nice change for sure.
THEATER
Wrecker-poster WRECKER || It’s films like “Joy Ride,” “Breakdown,” and now “Wrecker” that give semi-truck drivers a bad name. Really they are just hard working men and women around the country that move our goods from one city to the next, providing for their families and putting their own lives on the line. Yet they are continuously the subject of horror films as the big baddies that will stalk you and run you off the road for their own enjoyment. That is my rant about that… that is all.
PASS

THEATER

  • “Brooklyn”
  • “The Peanuts Movie”
  • “Spectre”
  • “Spotlight”
  • “Trumbo”

RENT

STREAM

  • “The Hallow”

PASS

  • “Barista”
  • “Hot Sugar’s Cold World”
  • “The House That Jack Built”
  • “In Jackson Heights”
  • “Im Keller”
  • “Lost In The Sun”
  • “Miss You Already”
  • “The Nightingale”
  • “The Notorious Mr. Bout”
  • “Of War And Men”
  • “Palio”
  • “Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict”
  • “Sand Dollars”
  • “Sex, Death, & Bowling”
  • “Theeb”
  • “What Our Fathers Did”
  • “Wrecker”

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