La La Land

“La La Land” is about an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and a Jazz Man (Ryan Gosling) who are both trying to catch a break in the entertainment and movie business in modern day Hollywood. They both struggle to make ends meet while auditioning for various roles and gigs. They are both overwhelmed with disappointment, but finally they each catch a small break, the story unfolds from there…

The movie is a lively “Singing and Dancing” extravaganza. It will remind you of the days of Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and Ginger Rogers, only this is modern day Hollywood and a modern day musical.

The movie is executed well, is very entertaining and enjoyable. The cinematography is fabulous. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have good on-screen chemistry. The Jazz music that is played through-out is awesome!

“La La Land” is worth the ticket.

This is a 4 ½ Star Movie!

Florence Foster Jenkins

I absolutely love Meryl Streep! She makes any movie she is in better!
Meryl gives an absolutely awesome performance in “Florence Foster Jenkins”.

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is a dramedy about a woman in 1944 who has a love of music and the arts. In the face of war Florence (Meryl Streep) does everything she can to encourage music all around. Florence cannot really carry a tune, but that hardly keeps her from hiring a pianist, voice coach and then proceeding to practice singing opera. She then gives a small performance, makes a recording and then gets a gig in Carnegie Hall.

Florence is totally unaware of her singing deficiencies and the people around her don’t tell her. They coddle her and this leads to other issues. The story unfolds from there…

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is a delightfully entertaining movie. As I stated earlier, Meryl Streep is awesome. Hugh Grant gives a stellar performance as Florence’s music enabler and companion, St. Clair Bayfield, who happens to be a former Shakespearean actor.

There is another part of Florence’s history that is only broached briefly. Florence is ill and it stems from a problem with her first husband. This should have been expanded a bit more.

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is definitely worth the ticket!

This is a 4 1/2 Star Movie!

Mother’s Day

“Mother’s Day” is a star-studded Dramedy that doesn’t quite meet the mark.

There are five different dramedies going on simultaneously in “Mother’s Day”. Each drama all boils down to the Mother or lack thereof in each person’s life.
The movie definitely has its hilarious moments. At least three of the dramedies are down-right silly, but at the end of the day the movie is unfulfilling.

From a Comedic stand-point Jennifer Aniston holds her own. From a more serious stand-point Julia Roberts holds her own. The script seems flat and everyone else in the movie is running in place.

There have been other star-studded holiday movies such as “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve”. “Mother’s Day” is the worst of the lot.

This is a 1 Star Movie!

Our Brand is Crisis

“Our Brand is Crisis” is in and of its self a “CRISIS”.

“Our Brand is Crisis” is a political satire that doesn’t quite hit its mark. Sandra Bullock plays Jane a political strategist who is enjoying semi-retirement until she is summoned to assist a team that goes down to a war-torn area in South America to help install a new leader. The story unfolds from there…

There are a few intense comedy moments, be hard hitting and have some meat, but unfortunately “Our Brand is Crisis” does not contain any strong elements to endear its self to the movie going public. Sandra Bullock is the best element in the movie.

“Our Brand Crisis” is best viewed on cable. It’s not worth the price of a DVD or Blue Ray.

This is a 1 Star Movie!

Danny Collins

Based loosely on a true story, an aging 70’s rocker Danny Collins (Al Pacino) continues to live the fast life of an entertainer, but when his manager presents him with a Birthday gift that is an undelivered hand-written letter from John Lennon, after reading the letter Danny decides to clean up his act and chart a new course by attempting to mend some fences related to his estranged son and find a new love.
The story unfolds from there…

The story is witty, entertaining and engaging. Al Pacino keeps the story moving. This is probably Al Pacino’s best performance in years.
The only problem is that the movie ends a bit abruptly. You are sort of left hanging.

Only open in limited-release; “Danny Collins” is definitely worth a look.

This is a 3 1/2 Star Movie!

Focus

“Focus” is about a con-artist who takes on an apprentice, they become romantically involved, sensing things were getting too deep he breaks it off and then years later she gets in the way of a his biggest score.

I am sure the concept on paper reads well, but on the big screen this movie was lost to me. There were way too many “twists” and not enough “turns”. The ending was even weird.

There was about 25 minutes of real intrigue and then I was bored.

“Focus” was billed as a Drama/Comedy. I failed to find anything funny about the movie.

It’s been a while since Will Smith has made a movie that I liked. I guess that drought will continue.

This is a 2 Star Movie!!

The Judge

In “The Judge”, big city attorney Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) is summoned back to the Indiana town he grew up in when he is informed that his mother has died. Once he returns to his childhood home Hank attempts to reconnect with his estranged Dad, “The Judge” (Robert Duvall) and re-establish a relationship with the family he walked away from.

Judge Palmer (Robert Duvall) ends up getting arrested for attempted murder when his vintage Cadillac strikes and kills a recently released ex-con that he himself once convicted. The story unfolds from there…

“The Judge” is not a bad movie, but it takes way too long to get to the point. Family dysfunction is the order of the day with the Palmer family. This is played out throughout the movie.

There are at least 5 smaller stories playing out in the movie involving a high school romance rekindled, a mentally challenged younger brother, past transgressions of a father, possible incest and an impending divorce. None of these scenarios have anything to do with the story at hand. This all causes the movie to be disjointed.

There is plenty of star power in “The Judge”, too bad it’s not fully utilized.

This is a 2 1/2 Star Movie!