12 Angry Men (1957) Rated NR

A jury holdout forces his colleagues to reexamine the evidence against the defendant. Based on the play by Reginald Rose. Starring Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, Henry Fonda, Ed Begley

This film is simple but what makes it stand out is the characters. Here we have a group of twelve  men who are different in age and backgrounds that bring their own perspectives to the decision. The film gives us one of the best inside look at what a deliberation should look like as they examine evidence while trying to come to a verdict without prejudice. We go through the emotional deliberation with the jury. Although, This is a great film I do think that if you contemplate things too much you can lose site of what is important. The film is excellent in writing and acting and is definitely worth a watch.

 

 

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Genius (NatGeo) Rated TV-14

This series follows the life of Albert Einstein, who couldn’t hold down a job when he was younger, but had the brainpower to unlock the universe. Based on the book, Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. Starring Johnny Flynn, Nicholas Rowe, Geoffrey Rush.

If you thought you knew who Einstein was before you watch this show, think again. The show does a brilliant job at bringing the iconic Einstein to life while also giving us a glimpse into his private life. The show flashes between Einstein going through his chaotic college years and when he is older and revered for his mental prowess. I can’t say for sure that I would have actually liked Einstein had I met him in person based on what this show reveals about him. Flynn transforms himself in his portrayal of Einstein as the man who is so lost in the world of his mind that the people around him get pushed aside. This show is worth a watch.

 

 

 

Posted in 2017, Based on a novel, Biography, Drama, historical, National Geographic (NatGeo), Rated TV-14, reviews, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New This Week in Theaters, May 25, 2017

 Baywatch (R)
Opens on Thursday, May 25
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Priyanka Chopra

Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchanan butts heads with a brash new recruit. Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay.

 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, May 26
Starring: Johnny Depp, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario

Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.

 Berlin Syndrome (R)
Opens on Friday, May 26
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt, Lucie Aron

A passionate holiday romance leads to an obsessive relationship, when an Australian photojournalist wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave.

 Long Strange Trip (R)
Opens on Friday, May 26
Starring: Tom Constanten, Jerry Garcia, Donna Godchaux

The tale of the Grateful Dead is inspiring, complicated, and downright messy. A tribe of contrarians, they made art out of open-ended chaos and inadvertently achieved success on their own terms. Never-before-seen footage and interviews offer this unprecedented and unvarnished look at the life of the Dead.

 Buena Vista Social Club: Adios (PG)
Opens on Friday, May 26
Starring: Manuel ‘Guajiro’ Mirabal, Guajirito Mirabal, Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo

Revisit with the remaining original members of the Buena Vista Social Club and explore their contribution to the unknown history of Cuba.

 Drone (NR)
Opens on Friday, May 26
Starring: Mary McCormack, Sean Bean, Joel David Moore, Sharon Taylor

Ideologies collide with fatal results when a military drone contractor meets an enigmatic Pakistani businessman.

Synopsis by IMDB.

 

Posted in 2017, films, Lists, movies, New in Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zoe Saldana

 Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Rated PG-13

A group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe.

 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999– ) Rated TV-14

This show introduces the Special Victims Unit, a specially trained squad of detectives in the NYPD who investigate sexually related crimes.

 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) Rated PG-13

Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate “Captain” Jack Sparrow to save his love, the governor’s daughter, from Jack’s former pirate allies, who are now undead.

 Star Trek (2009) Rated PG-13

The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father’s legacy with Mr. Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful Romulan from the future creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time.

  Avatar (2009) Rated PG-13

A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.

 Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Rated PG-13

After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.

 The Book of Life (2014) Rated PG

Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.

 The Words (2012) Rated PG-13

A writer at the peak of his literary success discovers the steep price he must pay for stealing another man’s work.

 Center Stage (2000) Rated PG-13

A group of 12 teenagers from various backgrounds enroll at the American Ballet Academy in New York to make it as ballet dancers and each one deals with the problems and stress of training and getting ahead in the world of dance.

 Vantage Point (2008) Rated PG-13

The attempted assassination of the American President is told and re-told from several different perspectives.

 Colombiana (2011) Rated PG-13

A young woman, after witnessing her parents’ murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.

Synopsis by IMDB.

Posted in 2017, Actresses, films, Lists, movies, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silence (2016) Rated R

Two Portugese Jesuit priests go to Japan in search of their missing mentor during the mid 1600’s. Starring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Issei Ogata, Yosuke Kubozuka.

With hauntingly beautiful cinematography and a deliberate pace, director Martin Scorcese crafts a compelling picture of Catholicism and the struggle to spread the gospel in 17th century Japan. Neeson plays Father Ferreira, who was last heard of in a letter dated 15 years prior, during a particularly severe time of persecution for the Catholic countrymen and missionaries of Japan. Rumor has it that he apostatized and is living as a Buddhist with a Japanese wife and children. His two proteges, Father Rodrigues and Father Garupe, cannot accept this as true and feel called by God to go in search of their mentor.

The exquisite beauty of Japan is captured throughout the film, as is the horrific means of torture (very similar to that of current-day ISIS) and abject poverty the Japanese Christians faced during this time. We hear most of the story through the inner thoughts of Father Rodriguez, whose faith is energized by his encounters with the devoted peasants.  However, he also faces periods of doubt and confusion and even brief bouts of near insanity as he comes to terms with the reality of the persecution inflicted by the Inquisitor. His experience is designed to mirror that of Christ Himself (right down to the loose, wavy brown hair), especially in regard to his relationship with one of the more troubling peasants, Kichijiro.

At first, I wasn’t too sure about Garfield and Driver; I worried they would come off as too young, too trite in their portrayal.  But Garfield was exceptional, embodying every nuance of his character in both joy and compassion, personal anguish and stoicism, contentment and hysteria. Driver had a more limited role, but filled it capably. Only Neeson lacked the essence of his character. All the more stellar, though, were Ogata as the Inquisitor and Kubozuka as Kichijiro.

There is much to be learned about true faith and sacrifice and about grace and forgiveness in this film. It is a heavy, honest, and thought-provoking film which causes one to ponder the depth of one’s own belief and to grow in compassion for the persecuted believers around the world.  An all-around excellent film, although not for the faint of heart, I highly recommend Silence.

Posted in 2016, Drama, Rated R | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toys in the Attic (2009) Rated PG

A teddy bear, a mechanical mouse, and a marionette  join together to rescue Buttercup the doll from the Land of Evil. Starring Forest Whitaker, Joan Cusack, Vivian Schilling, Cary Elwes.

A group of discarded toys left in the attic of a home during the Cold War search for one of their own. Using stop motion animation, they take on the daring task of saving Buttercup from the Land of Evil. The film plays as more of a thriller, which makes it inappropriate for younger children. Although intriguing, the stop motion animation and occasional use of digital compositing of multiple stop motion plates makes the film look unsophisticated. The story doesn’t really hold any new insights either. As much as I would like to recommend it, this film is a pass.

 

Posted in 2009, Animation, Czech Films, family, fantasy, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated PG, reviews, Thrillers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New This Week on DVD, May 23, 2017

 Get Out (R)

A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford

 The Great Wall (PG-13)

European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures. Starring Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe

 Logan (R)

In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces. Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Stephen Merchant, Eriq La Salle

 My Life as a Zucchini (PG-13)

After losing his mother, a young boy is sent to a foster home with other orphans his age where he begins to learn the meaning of trust and true love. Starring Erick Abbate, Romy Beckman, Susanne Blakeslee, Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Ellen Page

 Rock Dog (PG)

When a radio falls from the sky into the hands of a wide-eyed Tibetan Mastiff, he leaves home to fulfill his dream of becoming a musician, setting into motion a series of completely unexpected events. Starring Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, Sam Elliott

 XX (R)

Four short horror films that are directed and written by women. Starring Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey, Casey Adams, Christina Kirk

 Call the Midwife: Season Six (TV-PG)

Chronicles the lives of a group of midwives living in East London in the late 1950s to early 1960s. Starring Vanessa Redgrave, Jenny Agutter, Laura Main

 Masterpiece: Dark Angel (NR)

A two-part drama about the Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton. Starring Joanne Froggatt, Alun Armstrong, Isla McMonigle

 Outsiders: Season Two (TV-MA)

A struggle for power and control set in the rugged and mysterious hills of Appalachia, “Outsiders” tells the story of the Farrell clan, a family of outsiders who’ve been in these parts since before anyone can remember. Living off the grid and above the law on their mountaintop homestead, they’ll protect their world and defend their way of life using any means necessary. Starring David Morse, Ryan Hurst, Kyle Gallner, Christina Jackson, Thomas M. Wright, Gillian Alexy, Johanna McGinley 

Synopsis by IMDB.

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Unprotected (Oxygen) Rated NR

Former Italian mobster Richard Cantarella used to live in the Witness Protection Program, now he owns a car wash in Scottsdale Arizona. Starring Richard Snr Cantarella.

This reality show focuses on a mobster who is trying to live on the straight and narrow way by running a legitimate business. What I want to know is how he can afford the house he lives in by running a car wash? I know all reality shows are staged to highlight conflicts, but this ones seems especially so. There is really nothing new to make this show worth watching.  If the family was still in the witness protection program, that would be interesting (although implausible). As it is, this show is a pass.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Oxygen, Rated NR, reality tv, reviews, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doctor Zhivago (2002) Rated NR

Lara is loved by three men: a revolutionary, a mogul, and a doctor. Their lives intertwine during the Russian Revolution. Based on the novel by Boris Pasternak. Starring Sam Neill, Alexandra Maria Lara, Sam MacLintock, Anne-Marie Duff, Hugh Bonneville, Keira Knightley, Hans Matheson.

This miniseries, which is longer than the 1965 version of the novel, does a wonderful job of staying true to the novel. I have never really been a fan of the 1965 film, although it is an excellent film. This version was more captivating than the original because it focused more on the Russian Revolution than the romance, which always seemed problematic to me due to the various affairs the characters had. By concentrating on the revolution, we get a better insight into the the choices the characters make. This film is worth a watch.

Posted in 2002, Based on a novel, British Films, Drama, films, Miniseries, Movie reviews, movies, Rated NR, reviews, Romance, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Dog’s Purpose (2017) Rated PG

A dog looks for his purpose in life through many lifetimes. Based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron. Starring Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson

This film takes you on the emotional roller coaster of this one dog’s reincarnated lives. Each time an owner has to say goodbye it’ll bring tears to your eyes. The film tries to tell us that in each life the dog gave meaning to each other, although we get only snippets of each life and the only life that really seems to matter to the dog was the one he had with Ethan. Now, if a dog could reincarnate into multiple lives you would think that each time he came back he would remember from the dawn of time and all the owners he’s had. Which in the film after the second time he does recognize that he remembers things from his earlier life.  You would think the dog would get cynical about life after a while. I was going along with this story even suspending my disbelief until the end of the movie where the dog is wandering around and finds one of his owners. How on earth did that happen? That was too far fetched for me. I felt the filmmakers just had to wrap it up and so they just thought it’ll just be a miracle for that to happen. Even with all the faults this film has, it has heart and for that I’m saying it’s worth a watch.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Adventure, Based on a novel, comedy, Drama, family, fantasy, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated PG, reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment