Tag Archives: Two and a Half Reels

Jackie

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Release Date: December 2, 2016
Runtime: 100 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Director: Pablo Larraín
Cast: Natalie Portman; Peter Sarsgaard; Greta Gerwig; Billy Crudup; John Hurt; John Carroll Lynch; Max Casella

Natalie Portman disappears into Camelot with her astonishing portrayal of Jacqueline Kennedy in “Jackie.” Portman, director Pablo Larraín and screenwriter Noah Oppenheim provide an unusual glimpse into what life must have been like for Jackie in the week following the assassination of her husband, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as she juggled two small grieving children, her own melancholy and the mourning of a nation. 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

Bedtime Stories

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Release Date: December 25, 2008
Runtime: 99 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: Disney
Director: Adam Shankman
Cast: Adam Sandler; Keri Russell; Courteney Cox; Russell Brand; Guy Pearce; Teresa Palmer; Richard Griffiths; Lucy Lawless

A frothy, family-friendly entertainment that is lively enough for the kids and easy-to-swallow for the adults. Continue reading

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

Stakeout

Stakeout

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Release Date: August 5, 1987
Runtime: 117 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Touchstone Pictures (Disney)
Director: John Badham
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss; Emilio Estevez; Madeleine Stowe; Aidan Quinn; Forest Whitaker; Dan Lauria

This is a harmless, rather insignificant movie. No belly laughs, but some chuckles, as Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez keep an eye on Madeleine Stowe hoping her thug ex-boyfriend will show up and they can nab him. Continue reading

Side Effects

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Release Date: February 8, 2013
Runtime: 106 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Open Road Films
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Jude Law; Rooney Mara; Catherine Zeta-Jones; Channing Tatum

Instead of going out with a bang, Steven Soderbergh decided to go out with more of a tremble. While his latest, and purportedly last movie, is an entertaining enough social thriller, it is not the big, shiny, mass-market type of movie that has characterized his output in recent years (“Ocean’s Eleven,” “Ocean’s Twelve,” “Ocean’s Thirteen”). While it’s never a bad thing for a director, especially one as talented as Soderbergh, to flex his or her creative muscle and produce an eclectic mix of films, in my opinion, if this is going to be your last movie, why not go out with a grand, splashy piece of entertainment as a send-off?? Critics be damned! Continue reading

The Master*: A Reel Podcast

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Release Date: September 21, 2012
Runtime: 144 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman; Joaquin Phoenix; Amy Adams

*2013 Academy Award Nominations
Best Actor…..Joaquin Phoenix
Best Supporting Actor…..Philip Seymour Hoffman
Best Supporting Actress…..Amy Adams

[tell-a-friend id=”1″ title=”Tell a friend”]

Hitchcock*

Hitchcock

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Release Date: December 14, 2012
Runtime: 98 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Cast: Anthony Hopkins; Helen Mirren; Danny Huston; Scarlett Johansson; Jessica Biel

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Psycho,” set against the backdrop of Hitch’s relationship with wife Alma…..and therein lays the problem.

This movie, I proffer, wants to be a study of a relationship between a high-profile movie director and his collaborator-wife, who mainly stays in the background.  The problem is the execution is backwards. Continue reading

Mama

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Mama

 

 

Release Date: January 18, 2013
Runtime: 100 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Studio: Universal
Director: Andres Muschietti
Cast: Jessica Chastain; Nikolaj Coster-Waldau; Megan Charpentier; Isabelle Nelisse; Daniel Kash

This is a creepy little movie.

Mama tells the tale of two little girls who are brought to a cabin in the woods by their suicidal father.  The father intends on killing the girls (very uplifting), but something gets to him first.  The girls are discovered years later, living in said cabin in a feral and animal state.  They are brought to a psychiatric clinic where Dr. Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash) intends to study their assimilation back into society.  Coming to the girl’s rescue is their uncle, Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and his rock-chic girlfriend, Annabel (Jessica Chastain), who will assume parental roles for the girls, much to the chagrin of their maternal aunt (Jane Moffat).  The older of the two girls, Victoria (Megan Charpentier), has retained some language skills, while the younger, Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse), was barely a toddler when her father died.  After the uncle falls down a flight of stairs and lands in a coma, it is left to Annabel to become a surrogate, single mom and care for the girls, who keep mentioning a seemingly imaginary friend named Mama.

Who or what is Mama?  What happened to Victoria and Lilly in that cabin?  Who or what killed their father?  All questions are answered in due time. Continue reading

Where The Truth Lies

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Release Date: October 7, 2005
Runtime: 107 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: THINKFilm
Director: Atom Egoyan
Cast: Colin Firth; Kevin Bacon; Alison Lohman; Rachel Blanchard; David Hayman

This is an interesting little noir.  Not as tight as it could probably be, but still a twisty diversion.

Vince Collins (Colin Firth) and Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) are a Martin and Lewis style nightclub act in the late 1950s.  Telethons, hotel openings, and the like.  They are rock star famous and live their lives as such, with hookers, pills, booze…you know the drill.  One day in their New Jersey hotel suite, a chambermaid is found dead in a bathtub.  How did she get there?  How and why did she die?  Who is responsible?  Both Collins and Morris have airtight alibis, yet she was found in the bathtub in their hotel room.  Not long afterwards, their winning relationship falters and the duo breaks up. Continue reading