I’m a big fan of movies that allow an actor to step back into the role of an iconic character he/she played decades earlier. Recently “Creed” and “Blade Runner 2049” gave Sylvester Stallone and Harrison Ford the opportunities to reflect on Rocky Balboa and Rick Deckard, respectively, and provide new depth to those characters.
“Wildlife” marks the directorial debut of actor Paul Dano, best known for his roles in “Little Miss Sunshine”, “Prisoners” and “Love & Mercy”. He also co-wrote this screenplay with longtime partner Zoe Kazan (“Ruby Sparks”) – based on the 1990 novel by Richard Ford.
'First Man' Review
At only 33, director Damien Chazelle already has three great movies on his resume. And they are three very different, distinct films. First was the heart-pounding two-character showdown drama (“Whiplash”). Then came the dynamic, full-blown romantic musical (“La La Land”). His latest is the most “conventional” of the three. Yet, it’s still bold and wildly inventive: a biopic of the central figure of one of the most iconic events in world history.
'22 July' Review
“United 93” and “Captain Phillips” director Paul Greengrass tackles another perilous, true story with the Netflix drama “22 July”. The film centers on the July 22nd, 2011 attacks is Oslo, Norway in which a lone terrorist killed 77 people and wounded more than 200 others. The film is not only being streamed by the online giant but is getting their widest ever theatrical release.
In an interview a few days before “Venom”’s release, star Tom Hardy admitted his favorite 30-40 minutes of footage didn’t make it into the movie. It’s never a good sign when your star thinks the best material was left on the cutting room floor.
'A Star Is Born' Review
The Discovered Superstar. It’s a tale as old as time. And when it comes to the latest version of “A Star Is Born”, it’s re-told beautifully. — For years Clint Eastwood was rumored to be directing this incarnation. But he ended-up choosing other projects. This paved the way for his “American Sniper” leading man, Bradley Cooper, to get behind the camera for the first time. Cooper also stars in this fourth on-screen “A Star is Born” as Jackson Maine (one of the best movie character names of the year). Maine is a country/rock superstar (think scruff Kenny Chesney). Cooper opens the film with Maine in concert at a packed, outdoor venue. The energy is so intense and infectious you feel like you’ve got a front row seat.
Yeti or not, here comes “Smallfoot” – a new animated movie musical from Warner Bros. that gives the Bigfoot legend a complete makeover. — Migo (voiced by Channing Tatum) is a YA yeti who opens “Smallfoot” with a song. He introduces us to his yeti village which is picture perfect. Such an unoriginal beginning (done so many times before, from “Beauty and the Beast” to WB’s own “The LEGO Movie”) doesn’t help get “Smallfoot” off to a promising start.We soon meet Migo’s dad (Danny DeVito), who head-butts the giant golden gong to signal the start of the day. There’s also the wise village leader – The Stonekeeper (Common) and his daughter (Zendaya). In this yeti land high in the Himalayas – everything IS awesome – at least on the surface.
'Bad Reputation' Review
It doesn’t happen often, but I love going into documentaries, especially bio docs, knowing little or nothing about the subject. Aside from a few iconic songs and a couple of other titles, I walked into the theater to see “Bad Reputation” a blank slate. I walked out with an encyclopedic knowledge and appreciation of the life of Joan Jett.