Category Archives: Drama

American Pastoral

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Release Date: October 28, 2016
Runtime: 126 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Lionsgate
Director: Ewan McGregor
Cast: Ewan McGregor; Jennifer Connelly; Dakota Fanning; David Straithairn; Peter Riegert; Molly Parker; Uzo Aduba; Rupert Evans

An “A” for effort for Ewan McGregor in his directorial debut. Boasting an impressive cast including McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, David Straithairn and Peter Riegert, “American Pastoral” wants to be a heartbreaking story of a family torn apart by the social and political upheaval of the ‘60s. After a strong start, however, the film settles into clichéd melodrama that grows sillier the longer it goes on. Continue reading

Elle

Screened at the New York Film Festival – October 15, 2016

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Release Date: November 11, 2016 (US)
Runtime: 130 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Cast: Isabelle Huppert; Laurent Lafitte; Anne Consigny; Charles Berling; Virginie Efira; Judith Magre; Christian Berkel; Jonas Bloquet

Paul Verhoeven’s first feature in 10 years is a complex work. The director of “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls” is in fine form stylistically, yet provides much more depth of meaning into this piece than we’ve seen in his previous films as he examines the aftermath of a brutal assault. “Elle” is definitely not for everyone (like most of Verhoeven’s films) and will likely not sit well with those moviegoers who lean more towards the politically correct. However, for those of us who have admired the director’s work in the past and understand his general approach to cinema, there is much to recommend here. Continue reading

Sully

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Release Date: September 9, 2016
Runtime: 96 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Tom Hanks; Aaron Eckhart; Laura Linney; Mike O’Malley; Anna Gunn; Jamey Sheridan

Hero worship doesn’t get much more blatant, or for that matter, more entertaining than “Sully,” Clint Eastwood’s dramatization of the Miracle on the Hudson from a few years back. Tom Hanks easily inhabits Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s wings in an effectively understated (and remarkably physically realized) performance that ranks among one of the actor’s best. Continue reading

King Cobra

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Release Date: Screened April 18, 2016 – Tribeca Film Festival
Runtime: 91 minutes
Rating: Not Yet Rated (but let’s be real..it’ll be R)
Studio: Yale Productions/SSS Entertainment/Digital Ignition Entertainment/RabbitBandini Productions
Director: Justin Kelly
Cast: James Franco; Garrett Clayton; Christian Slater; Molly Ringwald; Keegan Allen; Alicia Silverstone

A movie as salacious and lurid as the story it’s telling, “King Cobra” has its flaws, but is generally an effective, lean, and very mean piece of “ripped-from-the-headlines” cinema. Boasting a cast including James Franco, Molly Ringwald, Alicia Silverstone, Keegan Allen, a hasn’t-been-this-good-in-years Christian Slater, and former teenybopper Garrett Clayton, ejecting himself from tweendom straight into the tighty-whities of grown-up films, “King Cobra” offers a stylish though straightforward, yet not uncompelling, dramatization of this tawdry tale of murder and sex. Continue reading

Steve Jobs

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Release Date: October 23, 2015
Runtime: 122 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Michael Fassbender; Kate Winslet; Jeff Daniels; Seth Rogen; Michael Stuhlbarg; Katherine Waterston

I came away from this movie with a great big ‘eh.’ It’s typical Aaron Sorkin. By this, I mean lots of people shouting pithy one-liners at each other in rapid cadence. I can’t exactly put my finger on it but the movie just wasn’t very interesting. Steve Jobs, computer visionary, quasi-deadbeat dad, general asshole, was undoubtedly a fascinating man, but you don’t really get a sense of just how fascinating from the film. This is one of those movies where everyone is trying so hard to act importantly because they know they are in a big important event movie. Stop. Just stop. Continue reading

Black Mass

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Release Date: September 18, 2015
Runtime: 122 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Scott Cooper
Cast: Johnny Depp; Joel Edgerton; Benedict Cumberbatch; Dakota Johnson; Julianne Nicholson; Kevin Bacon; Peter Sarsgaard; Rory Cochrane; David Harbour; Adam Scott; Corey Stoll; Jesse Plemons

Johnny Depp is a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination in what is arguably the best performance of his career as James “Whitey” Bulger, a small-time Boston hood who grew to become one of the FBI’s most wanted. Scott Cooper’s riveting “Black Mass,” based on the book of the same name by Boston Globe journalists Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, is a brutal and uncompromising piece, right in line with the life of its subject. Continue reading

No Escape

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Release Date: August 26, 2015
Runtime: 103 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Cast: Owen Wilson; Lake Bell; Pierce Brosnan; Claire Geare; Sterling Jerins; Sahajak Boonthanakit

This is the kind of movie I feel like they don’t quite make anymore. “No Escape” is something that Charles Bronson or even Sylvester Stallone might have starred in back in their 70s/80s glory days. Basically, it’s a standard “family in peril” movie, albeit a lot (and I do mean a LOT) more violent than others of similar ilk. Continue reading

The Blubber Files – Movie Endings Guaranteed to Turn You Into A Blubberin’ Mess

Herein lie my top seven movie selections that are guaranteed to grease the ol’ tear ducts (at least they greased MY tear ducts and this is MY blog, so….). Unless you are made of stone, there’s a pretty darn good chance that whether you are old or young, male or female, emotion will take over and the blubbering will begin. Of course, if you’re anything like me, blubbering will turn to downright water works in no time.

DISCLAIMER: This post contains pretty explicit spoilers (we are talking about movie endings here, duh!). As much as I would love to link to the videos of these particular scenes themselves, alas, I am not the copyright owner to any of these movies. Do you think if I held the copyright to ‘Titanic’ I’d be sitting in a coffee shop writing a blog post and not livin’ large in Ibiza?!?! The good news is a cursory search online will turn up these scenes with little to no difficulty.

Mike’s Murder

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Release Date: March 9, 1984 (screened June 22, 2014 – 16th Annual Provincetown Film Festival)
Runtime: 109 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: James Bridges
Cast: Debra Winger; Mark Keyloun; Darrell Larson; Paul Winfield; Brooke Alderson

This is an often overlooked, unseen 1984 film from director James Bridges (“The China Syndrome,” “Urban Cowboy”). While not entirely successful, it’s still an interesting curio and a helluva time capsule for 1980s enthusiasts. Continue reading