Friday, November 6, 2015

Spotlight - Best Movie of 2015 (So far)

Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d'Arcy James and Stanley Tucci, SPOTLIGHT tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world's oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper's tenacious "Spotlight" team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston's religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world. Directed by Academy Award-nominee Tom McCarthy, SPOTLIGHT is a tense investigative dramatic-thriller, tracing the steps to one of the biggest cover-ups in modern times. Written by Open Road

My heart rate picked up at a steady pace all the way through Spotlight.  By Minute 128, my heart was pounding so loudly in my chest, I had to remind myself to breathe.

Such respect for Director Tom McCarthy.  His characters loved their Catholic faith & those lines were so important.  Because this isn’t a movie about faith.  It’s a movie about corruption of power.  

He told the story in a voice we could all understand, and he did so without graphic flashback scenes or repulsive language. 

Bravo to him.  Bravo to the cast.  And congratulations on your Oscar nomination that is sure to come, Mark Ruffalo.

Best movie of 2015 so far.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Truth Is a Fun Conversation Starter

Truth is a newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush's military service, and the subsequent firestorm of criticism that cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers.

Cate Blanchett is getting Oscar buzz again this year  - more for her role in the upcoming “carol”, - but her portrayal of Mary Mapes is being mentioned as well.  Robert Redford, playing Dan Rather also gives us one of his best screen performances in recent years  – he nailed the mannerisms of the iconic news anchor, without coming off as an impersonator.

The supporting cast is also quite solid, including Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss and Topher Grace.  Stacy Keach also scores high marks as a key witness.

But it’s Cate Blanchett and Topher Grace who steal the show for me – both actors gave brilliant performances and kept this movie interesting. 

If you are a history buff, you will love this movie.  It also stirs up quite a bit of controversy – so if you like a good debate among friends, definitely check this one out. 

I give Truth 3 stars.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Rock the Kasbah did NOT rock

A down-on-his-luck music manager discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.

Watch our full review here:

Seems like I spend less time blogging and more time chatting about movies on social media.  To keep you all in the loop, I will post my weekly television reviews here but please follow me on instagram, twitter and facebook @take2review.

See you online!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Brave Heart - The Lizzie Velasquez Story

A BRAVE HEART: The Lizzie Velasquez Story is a documentary following the inspiring journey of 26 year old, 58 pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist. Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Velasquez was first bullied as a child in school for looking different and, later online, as a teenager when she discovered a YouTube video labeling her "The World's Ugliest Woman." The film chronicles unheard stories and details of Lizzie's physical and emotional journey up to her multi-million viewed TEDx talk, and follows her pursuit from a motivational speaker to Capitol Hill as she lobbies for the first federal anti-bullying bill. Written by Sara Hirsh Bordo

This young woman is the most beautiful, most amazing young woman I have listened to in quite some time.  Her family is the perfect example of how important it is that we not only protect our children, but empower them.  Stand beside them - not behind them.  Listen. Be aware. Be brave.

Lizzie took her situation and decided to use it for good.  And she rocked it.

We should all be so beautiful.  We should all be so brave. 

My daughter has always marched to her own drummer, so she met plenty of bullies growing up. Once I heard about Lizzie, I knew I wanted to be one of her soldiers.   So here I am - shouting from the rooftop - stream this movie now (it's available online - I used Google Movies).

It would be difficult to review this as a "film".  This is Lizzie's story - shared with her stamp of approval and that is all I am going to say about that.

Rated PG - 13 (but any child over the age of 7 can & should see this - in my opinion.)

Friday, September 25, 2015

You're Never Too Old To Be The Intern

"70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin." ~ IMDB

Rated PG-13

 Nancy Meyers makes movies just for me.  At least that's what I choose to believe.  I loved "Something's Got To Give" & "It's Complicated", so I was pretty sure I would like this movie.  What I didn't expect was to laugh hysterically - along with the entire audience - multiple times!

 I have to admit I wasn't blown away by Anne Hathaway. I kept feeling she wasn't that believable.  Give Reese Witherspoon or Jennifer Aniston this role, and now you have something. 

I was also bored with the character of Matt (Jules husband).  He was a real jerk & in real life - any strong woman would have kicked him to the curb.  

It was the interaction between Ben Whittaker (played by Robert De Niro) and the other three interns who stole the show IMO.  Adam Devine and Zack Pearlman – both were hilarious!

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie!  It was nice to see a film the whole family could enjoy. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Johnny Depp is Pure Evil in Black Mass

"While his brother Bill (Benedict Cumberbatch) remains a powerful leader in the Massachusetts Senate, Irish hoodlum James "Whitey" Bulger (Johnny Depp) continues to pursue a life of crime in 1970s Boston. Approached by FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), the lawman convinces Whitey to help the agency fight the Italian mob. As their unholy alliance spirals out of control, Bulger increases his power and evades capture to become one of the most dangerous gangsters in U.S. history."  

Rated R (for brutal violence, language, sexual references & brief drug use)

Goodbye Edward Scissorhands - this is a whole new Johnny Depp.  His dark, honest portrayal of Whitey Bulger, one of the most notorious criminals in US History will come up in every Oscar conversation this season.  His icy blue stare is still haunting me.

Depp wasn't the only performance that blew my mind with this movie.  Joel Edgerton played "Good Cop Gone Bad" brilliantly.  His face seemed to slowly melt as he got sucked further and further into the dark world of Whitey Bulger & the Winter Hill Gang.

Dakota Johnson?  Turns out she is so much more than a silly young girl into S&M - her performance as Bulger's mistress was perfect.  She earned my respect as an actor with this performance and I can't wait to see more of her.

One of the scariest scenes of the movie is between Marianne Connolly (played by Julianne Nicholson) & Bulger.  While the men talk over dinner, she has locked herself upstairs pretending to be sick to avoid being around Bulger, of whom she is terrified.  Sensing something is off, Bulger goes to check on her.  I won't spoil the scene, but I will tell you it isn't one you will soon forget.  

While the movie seemed a bit slow paced at times, Director Scott Hooper keeps us mesmerized by the authenticity of the set, the costuming, & the makeup.  We were in a time machine and it was flawless.

Hooper knows how important it is to sell the level of sociopath Whitey Bulger really was. Because of that,   I admit to spending 1/2 of the movie looking directly at the floor because I couldn't stomach the violence.

Overall, I really liked this movie.  Even if I couldn't watch half of it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Amy Schumer Shoots & Scores in "Trainwreck" - Movie Review

"Since she was a little girl, it's been drilled into Amy's head by her rascal of a dad that monogamy isn't realistic. Now a magazine writer, Amy lives by that credo - enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment - but in actuality, she's kind of in a rut. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she's writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners, Amy starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something." Written by Universal Pictures (IMDB)
Rated - R

Schumer has a huge following, thanks to her Comedy Central Show “Inside Amy Schumer” .  In Trainwreck, it’s hard to tell where the real Amy ends, and this fictional character begins.

This movie takes less than a minute to get it's first 
laugh, and never slows down.  In the opening scene, 
two young girl listen as their Dad uses doll analogies 
to explain why he is leaving their mom, and why 
monogamy isn't real.  Fast forward 20 years and we 
see just how much Amy listened to her Dad.  
Spending her weekends getting drunk, smoking pot 
and hooking up with one night stands she is a "hot mess". 

The entire cast has great chemistry -  and they all deliver the laughs.  John Cena has several "sexy?" scenes and of course we all fall in love with Aaron, played by the brilliant Bill Hader.  It took me a solid hour to figure out the actress playing her boss was none other than Tilda Swinton.  But it was LeBron James who stole the show for me.  James plays himself in the film, a patient and over-protective friend to lovable Aaron.  He was quite charming.

While Trainwreck was as funny as it gets, there is a serious undertone to the movie that sets Amy Schumer apart as an actress.  She handled drama like a pro.  My prediction?  We will be seeing a lot more of Amy Schumer, and that makes me a happy girl.