Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) Rated PG-13

With the help of Captain Jack Sparrow, Henry Turner searches for the trident of Poseidon to save his father from his curse. Starring Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Paul McCartney.

This is an attempt to reboot a series by moving on to the next generation of characters. Henry Turner is the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. The story line is great, but the execution falls short. Namely, Depp fails to deliver as Jack Sparrow. It seemed like he wasn’t interested in the role anymore. Appearing too old and tired to play the role, there was none of the original spunk that made him such an engaging character. Also, the cameos of Bloom and Knightley weren’t enough to garner interest. With the film centering around Will’s rescue, it would have made sense to include them in more of the film. Perhaps there were scheduling or financial conflicts preventing this. The film does well enough to carry on the franchise, but it certainly could have been better. Still, it is worth a watch.

 

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Christmas Miracle (2012) Rated NR

During a road closure a group of strangers take refuge in a church. Starring Allison Hossack, Aaron Pearl, Dan Payne.

This was a thoroughly disappointing film. Mundane and hardly miraculous, it takes a familiar context (people stranded in a snowstorm) and treats it with familiar content (people talking about their problems and evaluating their lives). There are a few enjoyable Christmas stories, but overall the film is slow and somewhat farfetched. There just isn’t anything to make this movie stand out; it is a pass.

Posted in 2012, Christmas Films, family, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated NR, reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wind At My Back (CBC) Rated NR

A recently widowed woman during the Depression is forced by her mother-in-law to give up her children. Starring Shirley Douglas, Kathryn Greenwood, Dylan Provencher, Tyrone Savage.

This is a show I have had on my to watch list for a long time. After finally watching it, I can say that it is a great family show, especially for older children. The one issue I did have is how overbearing the mother-in-law is. Granted, she does soften over time, but I still didn’t like her behavior towards her children and grandchildren. There wasn’t any reason for it, and even her softening seemed out of place and surprising. She seemed to base her behavior on false accusations, like that of her daughter-in-law being responsible for her son’s death. Apart from that, this show is brilliantly written and accurately depicts how difficult life was during the Depression. It’s worth a watch.

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New This Week on DVD, October 10, 2017

 Baby Driver (R)

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail. Starring Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Lily James

 The House (R)

After the town takes away their daughter’s college scholarship, a couple start an illegal casino in their friend’s house to make back the money. Starring Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas

 Wish Upon (PG-13)

A teenage girl discovers a box that carries magic powers and a deadly price for using them. Starring Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Ki Hong Lee

 The Beguiled (R)

The unexpected arrival of a wounded Union soldier at a girls’ school in Virginia during the American Civil War leads to jealousy and betrayal. Starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning

 Maudie (PG-13)

An arthritic Nova Scotia woman works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community. Starring Ethan Hawke, Sally Hawkins, Kari Matchett

 Brave New Jersey (TV-MA)

A comedy about a small New Jersey town on the night of Orson Welles’ legendary 1938 “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast, which led millions of listeners to believe the U.S. was being invaded by Martians. Starring Anna Camp, Sam Jaeger, Raymond J. Barry, Tony Hale

 Within (R)

A thriller centered around a widower who moves into a seemingly perfect new home with his daughter and new wife. Starring Michael Vartan, Erin Moriarty, Nadine Velazquez

 Reign: The Complete Fourth and Final Season (TV-14)

Mary, Queen of Scots, faces political and sexual intrigue in the treacherous world of the French court. Starring Adelaide Kane, Megan Follows, Celina Sinden

 Good Witch: Season 3 (TV-PG)

“Good Witch” will take viewers on a new magical journey with Cassie Nightingale and her daughter Grace. When Dr. Sam Radford moves in next door to Grey House with his son, they are charmed by the ‘magical’ mother-daughter duo. Starring Catherine Bell, Bailee Madison, James Denton, Catherine Disher, Kylee Evans, Rhys Matthew Bond

 The Last Kingdom: Season One (TV-MA)

The year is 872, and many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Danes, leaving the great kingdom of Wessex standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred. Against this turbulent backdrop lives our hero, Uhtred. Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is captured by the Danes and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he? Saxon or Dane? On a quest to reclaim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, recapture his ancestral lands. Starring Alexander Dreymon, Ian Hart, David Dawson, Eliza Butterworth

 Impractical Jokers: The Complete Fifth Season (TV-14)

Q, Sal, Joe and Murr are real-life best friends who love challenging each other to the most outrageous dares and stunts ever caught on hidden camera. Starring Brian Quinn, James Murray, Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto

 The Leftovers: The Complete Third Season (TV-MA)

Three years after the disappearance of 2% of the global population, a group of people from New York struggle to continue their lives, while they cope with the tragedy of the unexplained nature of the event. Starring Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Chris Zylka, Carrie Coon

Synopsis by IMDB.

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Man of Steel (2013) Rated PG-13

Clark Kent must expose himself as Superman when a group of survivors from his past threaten Earth. Starring  Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Christopher Meloni.

Of all the superheroes, Superman has always been my favorite. I fell in love with him back in the 80’s when Christopher Reeves portrayed him. It has been disappointing to see the essence of Superman lost in the last few movies. it seems like all they are concerned about is how much destruction superheroes can create, instead of focusing on who they really are and what they stand for.

This film was better about recognizing who Superman really is and his wish for humanity, but I was still upset to see that humanity is harmed in the action sequences. Superman would have moved the fighting away from where the humans were in the past. In this way, the film continues to disappoint. Still, I love Cavill as Superman. Really, the issue has never been who played him; all the actors have been quite good. I recommend this film as worth a watch with the reservation that is isn’t as good as it could be.

Posted in 2013, action, Adventure, fantasy, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated PG-13, reviews, Sci-fi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wonder Woman (2017) Rated PG-13

Diana, an Amazonian warrior in training, hears of the conflict in the outside world, and she leaves her home to save the world and in the process discovers herself. Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright.

This film is the back story to Wonder Woman. The story is interesting, and the special effects are well done, but there were times that they seemed out of place. The film also has strong feminist leanings, some of which are good, but at times seek to emasculate men. Gadot embodies Wonder Woman with strength, grace, and beauty. She was a perfect choice for the role. Pine, who I love, really just seemed like an unnecessary male prop for Wonder Woman’s self-discovery, which I found unfortunate. (Editor’s note: In this way, the film counteracts its feminism, by relying on a romantic element to propel the female lead forward in her role. There are problems with this film, and yet there is something really special about the story as a whole, which I appreciated more after I had finished watching it and taken the time to think through the intention behind each sequence.)

As a young girl, I loved watching Linda Carter as Wonder Woman; this film does not capture the same essence of her character as the TV series. There really isn’t any comparison for those who expected one. This film succeeded in all the elements that make for a summer blockbuster, but in my opinion, it lacked the emotion that could have made it a great film. It is worth one watch, but no more (especially considering the length of the film).

 

Posted in 2017, action, Adventure, fantasy, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated PG-13, reviews, Sci-fi, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Graceland (USA) Rated NR

 A rookie FBI agent is sent to a house of undercover agents and is trained by a seasoned agent. Starring Daniel Sunjata, Aaron Tveit, Vanessa Ferlito, Manny Montana.

This is one of those shows that grows on you. At first, I wasn’t sure what the point of the show was. I mean, why put undercover agents from different agencies in one house? But, I was surprised to see how many stories there were to tell. Each one gives the characters heart and depth.  And, the show does more than just show the agents working together; they also live together, and their personal and professional lives blend together. This show isn’t perfect, but if you give it a chance, you may find, like I did, that it is worth a watch.

Posted in 2013, action, Crime, Drama, Rated NR, reviews, Tv shows, USA Network | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unlocked (2017) Rated R

 A CIA interrogator unknowingly gets involved with a plot of a biological attack. Starring Noomi Rapace, Orlando Bloom, Toni Collette, John Malkovich, Michael Douglas.

I really enjoyed this film. Although the twists and turns it took were not surprising, they added intrigue to the story. The script is well-written, and the acting is superb. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Rapace as the CIA interrogator who stepped away from her job after some intel went wrong Enhancing her performance were the scenes she shared with Bloom. I haven’t seen such a solid performance from him in a long time. It was fun to watch them banter with each other; I wish there had been more scenes with both of them. This film is worth a watch.

Posted in 2017, action, Czech Films, Drama, films, Movie reviews, movies, Mysteries, reviews, Thrillers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New This Week in Theaters, October 5, 2017

 Blade Runner 2049 (R)
Opens on Friday, October 6, 2017
Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Dave Bautista

A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.

 My Little Pony: The Movie (PG)
Opens on Friday, October 6, 2017
Starring: Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Liev Schreiber, Michael Peña

A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home.

 Generational Sins (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, October 6, 2017
Starring: Daniel MacPherson, Dax Spanogle, Barrett Donner

A dying mother, Sarah, tells her last wish to her eldest son, Drew, that he take his younger brother, Will, to the place they were born. Despite tragic family history, hope gives promise to the future.

 The Stray (PG)
Opens on Friday, October 6, 2017
Starring: Sarah Lancaster, Michael Cassidy, Connor Corum

A young father takes his nine year old son, the family dog, and two of his son’s friends backpacking in the mountains of Colorado only for all five of them to be struck by lightning.

 Walking Out (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, October 6, 2017
Starring: Matt Bomer, Lily Gladstone, Alex Neustaedter, Bill Pullman

An urban teenager journeys to Montana to hunt big game with his estranged father. Father and son struggle to connect, until a brutal encounter in the heart of the wilderness changes everything.

 The Mountain Between Us (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, October 6, 2017
Starring: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Beau Bridges, Dermot Mulroney

Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.

The Florida Project (R)
Opens on Friday, October 6, 2017
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto, Bria Vinaite

Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.

 Una (R)
Opens on Friday, October 6, 2017
Starring: Ruby Stokes, Rooney Mara, David Shields, Ben Mendelsohn

A woman confronts an older man, her former neighbor, to find out why he abandoned her after they had a sexual relationship when she was thirteen.

 Dina (NR)
Opens on Friday, October 6, 2017
Starring: Dina Buno, Scott Levin

An eccentric suburban woman and a Walmart door greeter navigate their evolving relationship in this unconventional love story.

Synopsis by IMDB.

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Django Unchained (2012) Rated R

With help from a bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a plantation owner. Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson.

I’m not usually a Quentin Tarantino fan but there are ones that I enjoy and this is one of them. This is one of his more brutally violent films, but I didn’t feel that it was over much considering the time frame in which the film takes place. Even the prolific use of the “N” word makes sense in terms of the time period. (I’ve never fussed about language being used in the context that is proper.) At times, the film seems slow, as we wait on the action to commence, but it is never so slow that I was left wondering how long it would be until the end. This film is worth the watch.

Posted in 2012, Drama, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated R, reviews, Western | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment