Saturday movie review: First Man

Saturday movie review: First Man

Stargazers and moon enthusiasts will have their eyes on the skies this weekend, seeking prime views of the Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse set to reach its peak—and glow red—the night of January 20/21, 2019. Which is tomorrow night.

The spectacular lunar event makes this prime time for my review of FIRST MAN, the breathtaking biopic of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on that far-off, endlessly intriguing moon.

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Saturday movie review: The Rider

Saturday movie review: The Rider

What can I do now? Who am I? What am I worth? Is my past the best I'll ever be?

Many folks ask themselves such questions when circumstances or age put an end to beloved careers, the pursuit of dreams and goals not yet realized. The existential quandary usually rears its head around retirement age or perhaps amidst some midlife questioning.

Lakota Indian cowboy Brady Jandreau was far from retirement, not yet even near midlife, when he was forced to weather such weighty wondering. In 2016, Jandreau was riding higher and higher as a professional bronc rider on the rodeo circuit. Then a tumble from a bronc and a foot snarled in the stirrup resulted in his skull being crushed by the animal. Brady’s professional riding career ended in an instant—at the age of 20.

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Saturday movie review: A QUIET PLACE

Saturday movie review: A QUIET PLACE

My husband and I saw A QUIET PLACE last weekend, opening weekend for the drama/horror flick directed by John Krasinski and starring him and wife Emily Blunt. The nerve wracking film was, of course, the feature of our theater-going experience, yet it was the audience that delivered the most interesting performance. Because they were quiet. Silent, in fact. Each and every viewer.

That never happens at the theater. Ever. People talk, laugh, question what's on screen, peek at phone screens that light up, ruffle wrappers, slurp sodas, and loudly gobble handfuls of popcorn.*

Not so during A QUIET PLACE. The entire place was quiet as can be. Which I found crazy... and compelling... and a huge compliment to Krasinski, Blunt, and all involved in making the movie.

A QUIET PLACE is so very...

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Saturday movie review: Absolutely Anything

Saturday movie review: Absolutely Anything

The 2015 British comedy ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING is absolutely ridiculous, absolutely odd, and absolutely unbelievable.

Which is what makes it an absolutely perfect escape film. The spoof on science fiction films features an amusing and uplifting alternate reality sure to appeal to anyone seeking a break from our real-world reality that's neither amusing or uplifting of late. Especially appealing for fans of Simon Pegg, the Monty Python crew, and Robin Williams, all who have

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Saturday movie review: A United Kingdom

Many of us common folk — those of us who have no royal blood running through our veins — consider the lives of kings and queens, princes and their princesses charmed existences. Perhaps most especially when it comes to love, romance, and fulfilling one's heart's desire with a special someone.

The reality, though, as we have learned from Princess Diana's unforgettable (and often sensationalized) story, The Crown series on Netflix, and other dramatic depictions based on true tales of royal romances make it clear such stations in life may be more of a royal pain — particularly when it comes to love and romance.

A United Kingdom film

A UNITED KINGDOM is the most recent film I've seen on the plight of one's allegiance to a crown...

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Saturday movie review: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

As I sat down to write my movie review on the HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, a New Zealand adventure/comedy/drama starring Sam Neill and Julian Dennison that premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, a few choice words came to mind. Rather than attempt to deftly weave those words throughout my review, I'll just lay them on the line right here, right up front.

Choice words for HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE:

offbeat • poignant • outrageous • hilarious • sweet • silly • memorable • coming of age • wacky • well done • charming • delightfully deadpan • madcap • touching • must-see

hunt for the wilderpeople

HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE ("wilderpeople" being a twist on "wildebeest") is one of those films that flew so below the radar that finding it — after seeing Sam Neill interviewed on...

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Saturday movie review: Gifted

The storyline of GIFTED — about a bachelor raising his young and astonishingly brilliant young niece after his sister's suicide — had me braced for a sweet and sappy affair when I was invited to a free screening of the film a few weeks ago. You know, a predictable tale typical of television movies most often run and rerun on basic cable channels.

gifted movie

GIFTED surprised me by its lack of sappiness and degree to which it rose above and beyond my expectations. What made it so much better than I braced for? Could be the feisty and frank gifted girl of the title. Perhaps it's the handsome bachelor who proves himself far more than eye candy as well as the blunt and beautiful teacher enamored by the fella. Could also be the the one-eyed cat named Fred, the bitchy grandmother, the outspoken and overly...

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Saturday movie review: Captain Fantastic

For the record, I'm a big fan of Viggo Mortensen. I think he's one of the more subtly amazing yet underrated and too often overlooked actors out there. So when I read that he received a Best Actor nomination for his role in CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, I thought, Well good for him! It's about time.

I then immediately thought, But that's certainly not a film I'll be watching. Because I don't care much for super hero movies and having seen no trailers or such, that's what I figured it was.

Captain Fantastic movie

I'm here to confess I'm an idiot. Not because I don't like super hero movies, but because CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is so very not a super hero story despite the super hero sound of the title. CAPTAIN FANTASTIC is a super dad story. A story about a good dad with good intentions. A brilliant dad with grandiose ideas when it comes to life in general and raising his kids in particular. Lofty ideas. So lofty, in fact, they border on lunacy.

And Viggo Mortensen does an insanely fantastic job portraying that extraordinary...

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Saturday movie review: Brothers... Plus, a one-month free Sundance Now freebie

Documenting the daily doings of beloved children is nothing unusual. Thousands (hundreds of thousands?) mommy — and grandma — bloggers across the globe do exactly that, day in and day out, sharing stories and such on their little sweeties.

Documenting the very same on film day in and day out — for decades — is unusual. Is unique. Is exactly what Norwegian director and cinematographer Aslaug Holm did in her documentary BROTHERS. In doing so, she confirmed that a (moving) picture is indeed worth 1,000 words. And then some.

brothers documentary 

Holm set out making the ultimate home movie of her two young sons, Markus and Lukas, more than a decade ago. She kept the camera rolling for eight years. Day in, day out Holm...

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Saturday movie review: Dough

The movie DOUGH is about Muslims. And Jews. And immigrants. And marijuana-infused baked goods. All hot topics in our current volatile (and often downright vile) political climate.

Unlike political discussions on such hot-button immigration, race and religion matters, though, DOUGH leaves no sour taste for viewers.

DOUGH movie

While DOUGH touches on — embraces even — serious issues, the British comedy drama turned out to be quite sweet and digestible. Because of the story and honest performances more so than the bakery goodies featured throughout.

The bare bones of the humorous and heartwarming plot: Nat Dayan (Jonathan Pryce), an aging Jewish bakery owner struggling to keep afloat his family business in London's East End reluctantly hires the troubled son of his Muslim cleaning woman, Safa (Natasha Gordon), an immigrant from Darfur. Ayyash ...

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Saturday movie review: Demolition

Losing a beloved spouse must be one of the most painful experiences of a lifetime. Bewildering, too, especially if the surviving spouse didn't really love the one who passed. Or at least feels that may be the case once a partner is gone.

Such is the challenge Jake Gyllenhaal as Davis wrestles with in the drama (with a believable dose of humor) DEMOLITION.

demolition film

Davis is a successful investment banker with a lovely wife, a high-end home, a fancy-schmancy car, and good looks to boot. Then his wife dies tragically — which isn't a spoiler, I assure you, as the film is about...

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Saturday movie review: A Hologram for the King

Tom Hanks in a black comedy? Yes!

Tom Hanks playing a frustrated, sometimes bitter man who has lost his home, his wife and is pretty darn close to losing his job, too? Yes!

Tom Hanks portraying a middle-aged businessman trying to find himself... in Saudi Arabia? A man struggling to function in a foreign culture with foreign customs then falling for a woman borne into — and committed to — said culture and customs? Yes!

a hologram for the king movie

Hanks masterfully (could he do it any other way?) covers all of the above and more in the offbeat — and far from typical Hanks — A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING, a dramedy based on Dave Eggers' 2012...

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