Spotlight (2015) Rated R

A specialized group of investigative reporters are handed the story of a lifetime by their new boss.  What they find may be the undoing of everything their community (and much of the world) holds dear. Starring Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schrieber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci.

This film is absolutely brilliant.  Based on the true story of how the Boston Globe exposed the Catholic Church’s cover-up of epidemic  child molestation by its priests, this film focuses on the journalists involved in the investigation.  Assigned to the story by their new managing editor, Marty Baron, this group defies convention to uncover a decades-old scandal reaching all the way to the Vatican.  Although the nature of the scandal is both sordid and horrific, the way the film handles this sensitive subject is both as understated and carefully done as possible.

I was especially impressed with the painstaking, unrelenting process of putting a story like this together: the months of research and interviews, compiling of resources, risking of friendships, relationships, and reputations to get to the truth of the matter at all costs.  I can’t pinpoint just one exceptional performance because they were all truly remarkable in their portrayal of these real characters.  I also loved the way this film represented those staunch supporters of the Catholic faith by respecting the shock and grief they experienced as this story unfolded (ie: Sacha Pfeiffer’s grandmother).

It’s hard to imagine that anyone missed out on the wave of related scandals throughout our country and the rest of the world (I’m sure a similar scandal was uncovered in a city near you), but even if you are familiar with what happened, this film provides great insight into all sides of the story from its initial breaking source.  I highly commend and recommend this film as worth a watch.

Posted in 2015, Based on a true story, Drama, historical, Rated R | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New This Week in Theaters, April 13, 2017

 The Fate of the Furious (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, April 14
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Vin Diesel

When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

 Sandy Wexler (TV-14)
Opens on Friday, April 14
Starring: Adam Sandler, Jane Seymour, Kevin James

Sandy Wexler is a talent manager working in Los Angeles in the 1990s, diligently representing a group of eccentric clients on the fringes of show business. His single minded devotion is put to the test when he falls in love with his newest client, Courtney Clarke, a tremendously talented singer who he discovers at an amusement park. Over the course of a decade, the two of them play out a star-crossed love story.

 Tommy’s Honour (PG)
Opens on Friday, April 14
Starring: Ophelia Lovibond, Sam Neill, Peter Mullan

In every generation, a torch passes from father to son. And that timeless dynamic is the beating heart of Tommy’s Honour – an intimate, powerfully moving tale of the real-life founders of the modern game of golf.

 Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (R)
Opens on Friday, April 14
Starring: Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen

Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman’s life dramatically changes for better and worse.

 Spark: A Space Tail (PG)
Opens on Friday, April 14
Starring: Jessica Biel, Patrick Stewart, Susan Sarandon

Spark, a teenage monkey and his friends, Chunk and Vix, are on a mission to regain Planet Bana – a kingdom overtaken by the evil overlord Zhong.

 The Lost City of Z (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, April 14
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland

A true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.

 Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent (R)
Opens on Friday, April 14
Starring: Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, Francesca De Luca, Rocston Issock

Both a biopic of a complicated man and an exploration of the gathering forces that converged to shape a new American cuisine and create the cult of “celebrity chef”… A consummate hedonist, Jeremiah Tower’s career spans the riotous sexual revolution of the 70’s to the high rolling “greed-is-good” spirit of the ’80s. Key interviews with celebrities & celebrity chefs cement Tower’s influence on today’s food culture and reveal how he transformed the restaurant industry and in the process changed the way we eat.

 A Quiet Passion (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, April 14
Starring: Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle, Duncan Duff, Keith Carradine

The story of American poet Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist.

Synopsis by IMDB.

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

Bates Motel (A&E) Rated TV-MA

A prequel to the film Psycho, showing how Norman Bates’ psyche transforms through his teenage years and how intertwined his relationship with his mother is. Starring Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore,   Max Thieriot.

Even though I love Farmiga- the more I see her, the bigger fan I become-I just couldn’t get into this show.  The first  episode failed to draw me into the story. There was no intrigue that made me curious about Highmore’s portrayal of Norman Bates. I can’t say whether I loved him or hated him. I guess that’s supposed to be part of the draw of the show, but the characters didn’t do anything for me.  This show is a pass.

 

 

Posted in 2013, A & E, Drama, horror, Mysteries, Rated TV-MA, reviews, Thrillers, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rogue One (2016) Rated PG-13

The Rebel Alliance works on a strategy to steal the plans for the Death Star. Starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen.

This film takes places after the Rebel wars but before A New Hope. Although the film doesn’t follow the traditional Star Wars format, it still carries the story along nicely. I’m not totally on board with releasing a new Start Wars movie every year, but I have to say that this film definitely strengthens the Star Wars franchise. It made me fall in love with the characters and want to know more about them. It also has great CGI, visual effects, and excellent acting. This film is worth a watch.

 

Posted in 2016, action, Adventure, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated PG-13, reviews, Sci-fi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trial & Error (NBC) Rated TV-NR

A series that spoofs crime shows. A lawyer from the Northeast has his first case in a murder trial where a poetry professor is accused of killing his wife. Starring Nicholas D’Agosto, Jayma Mays, Steven Boyer, Krysta Rodriguez, Sherri Shepherd, John Lithgow.

This comedy is full of colorful characters and witty dialogue.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but all of the familiar faces made it all the more fun to watch.  Filled with entertaining performances and dark humor, it is really spot-on.  D’Agosto, who plays the straight man to the rest of the outlandish cast, is fantastic.  I found myself laughing out loud as I watched- always a good sign.  This show is worth a watch.

 

Posted in 2017, comedy, NBC, Rated TV-NR, reviews, Tv shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New This Week on DVD, April 11, 2017

 Believe (PG)

A small-town business owner tries to save the local Christmas pageant against all odds. Starring Ryan O’Quinn, Shawnee Smith, Danielle Nicolet, Kevin Sizemore, David DeLuise

 Brimstone (R)

From the moment the new reverend climbs the pulpit, Liz knows she and her family are in great danger. Starring Dakota Fanning, Carice van Houten, Kit Harington, Guy Pearce

 The Bye Bye Man (PG-13)

Three friends stumble upon the horrific origins of a mysterious figure they discover is the root cause of the evil behind unspeakable acts. Starring Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Michael Trucco

 Hidden Figures (PG)

The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali

 Lion (PG-13)

A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family. Starring Sunny Pawar, Abhishek Bharate, Priyanka Bose, Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel, Rooney Mara

 Mars: Season One (TV-PG)

The first manned mission from Earth to Mars in 2033 attempts to colonize the red planet. Starring Jihae, Alberto Ammann, Clémentine Poidatz, Anamaria Marinca, Sammi Rotibi, Olivier Martinez, Nicholas Wittman, Kata Sarbó

 Monster Trucks (PG)

Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp, a high school senior, builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend. Starring Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Thomas Lennon, Barry Pepper, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Amy Ryan

 Tangled Before Ever After Volume 1 (TV-Y7)

As Rapunzel prepares for her coronation as Princess of Corona, one unforgettable night will change her hair again! Starring Zachary Levi, Mandy Moore, Eden Espinosa

 Toni Erdmann (R)

A practical joking father tries to reconnect with his hard working daughter by creating an outrageous alter ego and posing as her CEO’s life coach.  Starring Sandra Hüller, Peter Simonischek, Michael Wittenborn

 Walking with the Enemy (PG-13)

A young man, separated from his family in WWII, disguises himself as a Nazi SS Officer and uncovers more than just his family whereabouts. Starring Jonas Armstrong, Ben Kingsley, Hannah Tointon

 War on Everyone (R)

Two corrupt cops set out to blackmail and frame every criminal unfortunate enough to cross their path. Events, however, are complicated by the arrival of someone who appears to be even more dangerous than they are. Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Peña, Theo James, Paul Reiser

 Worlds Apart (NR)

In modern-day Greece, while socioeconomic turmoil ravages Southern Europe, three distinct stories unfold, each representing a different generation of Greeks in love with a foreigner, each story coming together in the end to form a whole. Starring J.K. Simmons, Christopher Papakaliatis, Andrea Osvárt

 Masterpiece: To Walk Invisible The Bronte Sisters (TV-PG)

A chronicle of the Brontë sisters’ battle to overcome obstacles and publish their novels, which would become some of the greatest in the English language. Starring Finn Atkins, Charlie Murphy, Chloe Pirrie

  Silicon Valley: The Complete Third Season (TV-MA)

Follows the struggle of Richard Hendricks, a silicon valley engineer trying to build his own company called Pied Piper. Starring Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Amanda Crew, Zach Woods, Matt Ross

 The Story of God with Morgan Freeman: Season Two (NR)

Morgan Freeman presents his quest in order to find how most religions perceive life after death, what different civilizations thought about the act of creation and other big questions that mankind has continuously asked. Starring Morgan Freeman

 Veep: The Complete Fifth Season (TV-MA)

Former Senator Selina Meyer finds that being Vice President of the United States is nothing like she hoped and everything that everyone ever warned her about. Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Synopsis by IMDB.

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

New Summer TV Series 2017

 Anne (NETFLIX) Rated NR

The adventures of a young orphaned girl living in the late 19th century. Starring Amybeth McNulty, Aymeric Jett Montaz, Christian Martyn

Premieres May 12

 Downward Dog (ABC) Rated NR

A lonely dog navigates the complexity of 21st century relationships. Starring Allison Tolman, Lucas Neff, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Siovhan Christensen, Ayden Mayeri

Premieres May 17

 Love Connection (FOX) Rated NR

Each hour of LOVE CONNECTION will feature single men and/or women in search of romance. After the singles are sent on three blind dates, they will dish the dirt in front of a live studio audience, as Andy Cohen, the well-known provocateur, brings his personal brand of audacious fun to the series. Starring Andy Cohen

Premieres May 25

Synopsis by FOX

 The F Word with Gordon Ramsay (FOX) Rated NR

On THE F WORD, foodie families from across the U.S. will battle it out in an intense, high-stakes cook-off. In addition to impressing Gordon Ramsay, each team must win over the hearts and taste buds of the diners, celebrities and VIP guests whom they’re serving. Starring Gordon Ramsay

Premieres May 31

Synopsis by FOX

 Candy Crush (CBS) Rated NR

In the series, the game that has become a worldwide phenomenon comes to life as teams of two people use their wits and physical agility to compete on enormous, interactive game boards featuring next generation technology to conquer CANDY CRUSH and be crowned the champions. Starring Mario Lopez

Premieres July 9

Synopsis by CBS

 The Bold Type (Freeform) Rated NR

“The Bold Type” is inspired by the life of “Cosmopolitan” editor in chief, Joanna Coles. The show is a glimpse into the outrageous lives and loves of those responsible for a global women’s magazine. Their struggles are about finding your identity, managing friendships and getting your heart broken, all while wearing the perfect jeans to flatter any body type. Starring Sam Page, Meghann Fahy, Katie Stevens

Premieres July 11

 Midnight, Texas (NBC) Rated NR

Midnight is a safe haven for those who are different, but with the presence of outsiders, the residents band together and form a strong and unlikely family. Starring François Arnaud, Dylan Bruce, Arielle Kebbel, Jason Lewis, Peter Mensah

Premieres July 25

 

 

Synopsis’ by IMDB unless otherwise noted.

 

 

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

Last Ride (2009) Rated NR

A boy travels across Australia with his dad, who is wanted for a violent crime. Based on the novel by Denise Young. Starring Hugo Weaving, Tom Russell, Anita Hegh.

Brilliant acting, gorgeous cinematography, and a compelling story line make this film a must watch. As this father and son share one last ride across Australia, there is so much depth and love flowing from their performances, including exquisitely understated moments between them where no words are spoken. As a viewer, you feel like you are on this journey with them, it is so rich with visual and emotional detail.  I found myself thinking about it long after the movie ended.  This beautiful piece of art is worth a watch.

 

Posted in 2009, Australian Films, Based on a novel, Drama, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated NR, reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Kennedys After Camelot (2017) Rated NR

The miniseries follows Jackie Kennedy after the assassination of her husband as she continues to build her life after Jack. Based on the book, After Camelot: A Personal History of the Kennedy Family 1968 to the Present by J. Randy Taraborrelli. Starring Ted Atherton, Kristin Booth, Ari Cohen, Kristen Hager, Diana Hardcastle, Katie Holmes, Kevin Kirkham, Matthew Perry, Carson Reaume.

I enjoyed this miniseries which follows the Kennedy family after the deaths of John and Bobby Kennedy. We get to see Jackie as she tries to protect her children and hold onto her life. The casting was a little off, but of course it is very difficult to portray real people who were photographed and recorded on nearly a daily basis.

I, for one, have always thought the Kennedy family manipulated the public and the press to get whatever they wanted, but seeing Perry (whom I love) play Ted Kennedy made me consider how dumb Ted Kennedy can really be. I don’t think this was Perry’s fault; it was just my take on the performance based on the reality of what happened. There are no new insights to speak of, just a well-crafted retelling of the facts. This series is worth a watch.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Drama, films, Miniseries, Movie reviews, movies, Rated NR, reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silk Hope (1999) Rated NR

A woman returns home to find her mother has passed and her sister wants to sell the family farm. Starring Farrah Fawcett, Brad Johnson, Ashley Crow.

This film is a feel good film where the heroine starts off like a dumb blonde, but everything still turns out in the end for her.  Fawcett seemed too old for her role, compared to the other actors.  I think the intention was to portray her as self-absorbed, but she just came across like a dumb blonde.  Fawcett is so much better than this film allowed for.  It is a pass.

 

 

 

Posted in 1999, Drama, films, Movie reviews, movies, Rated NR, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment