Vice

Not on my original “Watch List”, “Vice” became a late entrant.

“Vice” is a depiction of Vice President Dick Cheney’s life starting from college up to and including his time as the Vice President of the United States.

The movie starts in 1963 in Casper, WY where Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) is having a rough time in college. He then ends up working as a Telephone Pole climber who repairs phone lines. In 1968 Dick Cheney gets his act together and enters into Political Life as an intern. During his internship this is where he meets Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell). Cheney’s connection with Donald Rumsfeld wets his appetite for Politics. Moving along the movie touches on the following Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and then in 2001 with President Bush and Obama’s election in 2008.

The main focus is the events and administration’s decisions that occurred after 9/11. The story unfolds from there…

The movie is not bad, but it does not focus in one area too long and that can cause confusion with the viewer. There is a lot of skipping around so you have to pay attention and sort of put the pieces together yourself.

I like Political-based movies when they are done well. “Vice” is just ok. I wanted to view it mainly because of the cast playing the roles. I wanted to see what they would do with what they were given. Needless to say it was interesting and also a bit dry.

This is a 2 1/2 Star Movie!!

Justice League in Real 3D

Out of the gate this is NOT one of the DC Universe’s best outings.

There is a new rising threat to humanity. Batman (Bruce Wayne) works with Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) so that they can find and assemble a team of meta-humans to stand and protect against this new rising threat.
Unfortunately the task is not easy. Even though a league of superheroes (Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash) has formed, it may not be enough to battle the new threat. The story unfolds from there…

Superhero Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is the best element of the film. In this first outing I find the movie a bit lacking. The Justice League members are a bit disassembled in this first installment. The director (Patty Jenkins) for Wonder Woman was definitely missed. The story drags and is missing some foundation and there is too much CGI.

However I did find the cinematography and 3D aspects to be good. There was lots of action, but that too was sort of chaotic.

Hopefully the DC Universe will go back to the drawing board and clean this up before the next installment. I still prefer Christian Bale as Batman, but alas I found out that he does not want to play that role anymore. Earlier this year Wonder Woman set the bar high and it’s still the best film that came from the DC Universe in 2017.

This is a 2½ Star Movie!

Nocturnal Animals

I fully understand why “Nocturnal Animals” opened in limited release a couple of weeks ago. This movie is very graphic in nature. It’s also very well acted.

From the opening credits through the first 35 minutes of the movie was very disturbing in nature. I seriously considered leaving…but there was a turning point which captured my attention, the movie picked up steam and became very intriguing.

“Nocturnal Animals” is a haunting romantic thriller filled with shocking and graphic nudity. It’s not rated X, but probably should be. The nudity is not sexual in nature, it’s just raw.

The movie illustrates revenge, deceit, redemption and the thin lines between love and hate. A divorced couple (Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams) head down a path of rediscovering one another, but also learning some dark truths about each other.

If you need something to compare “Nocturnal Animals” to, think of the 2014 hit “Gone Girl”.

See “Nocturnal Animals” if you dare!

This is a 3 ½ Star Movie!

Arrival

“Arrival” is way more than your usual “Run-of-the-Mill” Alien Disaster movies. If that’s what you are expecting, you will be so disappointed.

“Arrival” is a “Thinking Person’s Sci-Fi Drama”. The movie in and of its self is thought provoking and very cerebral.

Amy Adams is Dr. Louise Banks, an expert linguist whose expertise is called upon when a number of mysterious spacecraft touch down in various places around the globe. Dr. Banks and an elite team investigate the spacecraft that comes to the US. Dr. Banks uses her knowledge and with the help of her team they translate the responses received from the alien beings, but what Dr. Banks does and learns could not only put her life at risk, but all of humanity. The story unfolds from there…

“Arrival” is a bit subdued. It’s an intensely calm movie that will get you thinking.
The movie did engage my brain, but not my heart. While it was executed brilliantly, it will not become one of my favorite all time flicks.

If you are a Sci-Fi fan, “Arrival” is for you.

This is a 4 Star Movie!

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 3D

“Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” would have been a great story had it not had so much confusion and sub-plots that were not complete.

A young Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) continues to be haunted by the death of his parents. He has continued nightmares even as an adult.

Superman (Henry Cavill) saves the metropolis from a space invader, but because there are some unforeseen casualties and injuries to some citizens, Superman is perceived by some as a bad super hero.

Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is forever chasing a story. She has to be saved by Superman from the middle-east when a village she is in is raided and most of its people are killed. This incident turns out to be staged, but it will be some time before this comes to light.

Lex Luther (Jesse Eisenberg) is an insane, crazy entrepreneur who will stop at nothing to take over the Metropolis. Lex tries to lobby with the Senator to get an export license to import an unknown substance into the Metropolis, but the Senator won’t bite. Lex Luther plots his revenge on the Senator and others including Superman and Batman. The story unfolds from there…
Overpowering mini stories destroy the bigger story in “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice”. It’s a scenario of “You can’t see the Forest for the Trees.” The movie is just plain incoherent, over the top and way to long for what was presented.

Ben Affleck makes a horrible Batman. Ben Affleck is brilliant BEHIND the camera and that is where he should stay. The villain (Lex Luther) in this story is not very convincing. Other aspects of the movie are passable, but a bad Batman and not convincing villain destroys the credibility of the movie.
The one and only bright spot in the movie is that you get a glimpse of the “Justice League” who will be appearing in their own story soon.

This movie should have never come to pass. Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy was the best and nothing can diminish that.

This is a 1 Star Movie!!

Big Eyes

Though not on my original “Watch List”, “Big Eyes” is a very intriguing, entertaining and well acted movie.

Based on a true story, “Big Eyes” is about Art Fraud. A husband Walter Keane (Waltz) makes everyone believe he is a celebrated artist who trained in France, passes off his wife Margaret Keane’s (Adams) paintings as his own. The art world turns on its axis over the “Big Eyes” paintings, but when an art critic doesn’t buy into the hype, the storm that has been slowly building between Margaret and Walter Keane over her paintings comes to a head. The story unfolds from there…

“Big Eyes” is very entertaining and a very interesting story. The movie is very well paced. This is definitely a “Sleeper” among all the Holiday Blockbuster movies.

“Big Eyes” is opened in limited-release. It’s worth checking out.

This is a 3 1/2 Star Movie!

American Hustle

“American Hustle” is one of those highly anticipated movies, it doesn’t disappoint. You will be intrigued from the first 20 minutes. My attention never wavered. The cast was excellent. Depending on whom you are rooting for you will either be pleased or pissed off.

“American Hustle” is about cons and swindles going down routinely. A couple of con artists believe they have the perfect money making scheme. They go about executing their plan flawlessly until one day they happen upon the wrong client. An FBI agent happens to meet with the con-artists; of course they do not know they are talking with an FBI agent. Once the scheme goes down, he identifies himself and arrests are made.

The FBI agent isn’t all on the up and up himself, but he forces the con-artists to work with him undercover to bring down a group of shady State Senators and Congressman. The story unfolds from there…

“American Hustle” is very much a Martin Scorsese like film, but he did not direct this. This was directed by David O. Russell. You must pay attention. Things are not always as they seem. There are plenty of surprises that materialize before your eyes. There is a lot of drama, quite a bit of sexuality, but the movie does not contain a lot of brutality.

The male audience will find this movie entertaining from a sensual perspective. Amy Adams never wears a bra and this is obvious throughout the movie. There are several scenes where it’s clear she isn’t wearing any panties either. I also found Jennifer Lawrence’s performance interesting. This movie is definitely not for the teenage set.

“American Hustle” is worth the price of admission.