drama


Raw Movie Review

  RAW   Directed by: Julia Ducournau Starring: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf and Rabah Nait Oufella   Rated: R Run Time: 1h 39min Genre: Drama, Horror 4 Frames out of 5 By: Shari K. Green Subtitled   In a word, Raw is… raw.  A movie about cannibalism might frighten you away but keep reading before […]


Car Dogs Movie Review   Recently updated !

Car Dogs   Directed by: Adam Collis Starring: Octavia Spencer, George Lopez, Patrick J. Adams, Nia Vardalos, Chris Mulkey, Alessandra Torresani, Josh Hopkins and Wendy Crawford   Rated: R Run Time: 1H, 44mins Genre: Comedy, Drama 3 Frames out of 5 By Shari K. Green   Most of us have been through buying a car, […]


Personal Shopper Movie Review

 

Personal Shopper

 

Directed by: Olivier Assayas

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz and Nora von Waldstätten

 

Rated: R

Run Time: 1h 45min

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

4 Frames out of 5

By: Shari K. Green

 

With the roles she’s choosing, Kristen Steward has been redefining herself, and this part was a wise decision made by both she and director Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria.)  Having worked with her in the past he knew that when he needed an actress to pull off the look of someone pained and tormented and to also be engaging that Stewart was the best choice.  She was his supporting character is Clouds but this time she carries the entire film as Maureen.  The film is a bit hard to follow at first but give it time.

You’re in the hands of a filmmaker who doesn’t want to reveal anything too soon.  Pacing and all things becoming revealed in due time are critically important.

At first, it’s hard to distinguish what exactly is going on with Maureen.  She’s dark and distant but at the twenty-eight-minute mark, you learn that her twin brother had died of the heart defect they both have.  Not only is she sad, she’s lonely and fears for her own health.  When this comes to light it explains the very beginning of the film where she quietly walks through a dark house looking to make contact with a spirit.

She’s a young American woman working in Paris as a personal shopper for a celebrity during the day but at night she’s a brooding sister waiting for her brother who, before he passed away, promised he’d make contact with her after his death.  They had a pact that whoever died first, the other would reach out from the other side and give them a sign.  She goes to the house she once shared with her brother and hopes to see a manifestation or feel something encouraging so that maybe she can move on with the rest of her life but it doesn’t happen so fast.

 

The audience is on a psychological journey with someone who may very well be better off in treatment but the way the film is rolled out; you don’t pick up on that too soon.  There’s a certain strain put on you to understand Maureen because she seems so fragile but at the same time you’re getting frustrated at some of the decisions she’s making.  Like when she receives text messages from a stranger and she begins to engage.  What so good about this, outside of the overall tone, is it keeps you wondering, is it her brother or is it no one?  Is this happening or is it in her head?  With precision, Assayas does an incredible job of leading you into the trap you don’t see coming.  He uses sound and music as he takes you on this trip where you’re on the edge of your seat for the entire ride, but he doesn’t really end up showing you much of anything.  It’s a refreshing take on the subject and it’s a beautiful piece of art.

Personal Shopper can be creepy at times and those moments are done with a special technique.  She becomes more upset, desperate and even frantic.  The more she does, the more engaged with her character you become.  Maureen, the personal shopper and the girl looking for a spirit, seem to be in two different movies.  Kristen Stewart is so good that these two different entities become one in the end.  She makes what Personal Shopper is, so special.  She keeps you vested with slight changes to her character and Assayas uses everything in his power to keep from exposing the tortured young soul too soon without losing you in the meantime.  Personal Shopper is gripping and intense and a movie I’d have to recommend you see as soon as you can.


Table 19 – Movie Review

“Table 19”

 

Directed by: Jeffrey Blitz

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, Tony Revolori, Wyatt Russell and Amanda Crew

2 Frames out of 5

By: Shari K. Green

 

 

If you’ve ever found yourself as the party guest who has been invited to the party but can’t be super involved due to the placement of your table, then you’ll understand why this movie was made.  It was made for all the odd men out who have watched all of the festivities from afar.  So far away in some cases that you can barely even say you were there!  You were practically scuttled off into another room or the hallway, at least this is how you begin to feel.  If you have ever sat and scanned the table in which you’re seated and noticed you’re at a table full of strangers rather than with those who invited you, and your tablemates seem not to fit in with the other guests, you need to do one thing… examine why you’re at that table, too.  Consider this movie a wake-up call if you’ve ignored this happening to you, especially if it has happened more than once.

 

Writers Mark and Jay Duplass have either been there or have put people there; waaay back there at Table 19 because they certainly hit the nail on the head as to how a guest would feel when realizing they’ve been relegated to the outskirts of a given gala or celebration.  They did a good job writing a script that empowers anyone who has felt shunned in this manner.  At a lost, distant table, one can find hope, friendship and maybe love, if they just open their minds to it.  I liked how it championed for those who should have checked no on their RSVP, but the movie goes out of its way to make a few characters likable that just aren’t.

 

It starts off well, revealing Eloise’s’ (Kendrick) reason for being at the bad table.  She’s the ex-girlfriend of the bride’s brother, Teddy (Russell), and now ex-maid of honor.  One by one, explanations for the other characters at the table are established.  They’re even accompanied by flashbacks.  We have some witty banter which at times, especially when dispatched by Walter (Stephen Merchant), have you laughing and at other times has you feeling sorry for this group of misfits, which isn’t good when you made your way to the theatre, promised a comedy, and are having a hard time finding a reason to chuckle.  It is labeled on IMDB as a comedy, drama but who are we kidding?!  Duplass writing for this cast?!  I’ll not highlight that too soon.  Back to the characters.

Jo (Squibb) is a sweet old woman who all but raised the bride and is being treated horribly by her today.  Rezno (Revolori) is an incredibly obnoxious and extremely unfunny virgin who figures, along with his mother, this is where he can land a drunken, foolish young woman to be his first.  Drunk and foolish is what she’d have to be because no one in their right mind would be into this awkward nightmare of a character.  Rezno was simply too far out to be believable and I thought the film would have been so much better had he not been a part of the story.  Kudrow and Robinson are Bina and Jerry, a couple who has been married for years and are falling out of love.  Though at a wedding, they don’t find it an issue at all to air their differences in front of everyone.

 

I liked some of what was going on.  I can’t say that if you enjoy a character driven story that you shouldn’t watch this one but there is a lot wrong with Table 19.  It, at times, shows real promise.  The characters grow and you’re genuinely happy about that.  I was having fun watching these flakes get to know each other and also wanting to help one another through the vexing situation they realize they’re all in but at times I actually found myself looking around the theatre to make sure I knew the location of the emergency exit.  It was all over the place with what kind of movie it wanted to be.

 

I think had the writers focused on one genre, director Jeffrey Blitz (The Office and Parks and Recreation) would have had a much better script to work with.  Choosing drama over comedy then switching back and… my head is spinning!!  It got a little frustrating.  Sure there’s comedy in misery but it was anguishing watching how miserable some of these poor things are.  For Squibb, Robinson and Merchant, I’d say watch this when it hits cable.  It isn’t a terrible waste of your time.  But be sure you’re in the mood for a comedy, I mean, be sure you’re in the mood for a drama… well, you get the drift.  When you don’t know what you want to see, seat yourself at Table 19.  Sometimes that’s where you just find yourself being put but maybe you won’t mind being there.


Before I Fall – Movie Review

“Before I Fall”

 

Directed by: Ry Russo-Young

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley, Elena Kampouris, Cynthy Wu, Medalion Rahimi, Diego Boneta and Jennifer Beals

 

Rated: PG-13

Run Time: 1h 39min

Genre: Drama, Mystery

3 Frames out of 5

By: Shari K. Green

 

 

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth).  He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it come back to hit him, repeating this action for eternity.  Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean.  Why is this English lesson pertinent to this review?  It’s not but it’ll help you better understand why it’s used in the movie and will help you grasp the intent behind the yarn.

 

Before I Fall starts with a voice of a young woman, Sam (Deutch), explaining that, ‘people may have a lifetime of days to waste but…’ and then throws some wisdom out that anyone only truly has today and warns that wasting time isn’t how one should see any moment they’re in.  I try not watching the trailers of, or read too much about, movies before I screen them for review so that I don’t have any preconceived notions of what I’m about to see but it was obvious very quickly that I was in for the teenage dramatic version of Ground Hogs Day with this one.  That being the case and not minding the idea, I got comfy and watched the story unfold.

 

Alarm clock belonging to Sam goes off and we meet Sam.  Sam loves her friends Lindsay (Sage), Ally (Wu) and Elody (Rahimi).  She is always with them and them her.  They’re rich, spoiled and have no respect for anyone, including one another, but outside of sleeping, they’re pretty inseparable.  Like any group, there is a pecking order and though rather high in position, Sam isn’t at the top.  That honor goes to Lindsay who is anything but a likable person.  She’s mean-spirited, loves to watch people squirm as she puts them in their place and enjoys gossiping behind their backs the moment they turn around.  Unaware it happens to them, the pack ignores yet allows Lindsay to say and do as she pleases, as long as she’s nice to them.  As she does every morning, Lindsay picks Sam and the others up one by one and off to school they go.  However, this day is special; it’s different.  It’s Cupid’s Day and they can’t wait to see who receives the most roses throughout the day as this determines who is the most popular.

 

They go through their day as they usually do, being petty to parents and being mean to students.  Sam gets an invite to a party being thrown by her old friend, and the films nice guy, Kent (Miller) and the girls decide to attend.  At the party, Sam plans to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, Rob.  While there, however, she watches Rob get horribly drunk and act like a fool and decides not to go through with it.  Before leaving, the foursome drinks, do their usual teasing of a favorite victim named Juliet (Kampouris) and get in the car and go home.  An accident occurs and then; cut to alarm clock… and the day starts over.  Knowing the things that had happened throughout the day, you see where this is leading.  Sam isn’t Lindsay.  She isn’t mean at her core.  She’s more of an obliging witness where she may play a hand on occasion but would rather not.  If she isn’t dreaming, can she change things about her life?

 

The movie continues in this fashion for the rest of it.  Sam learns a little each time she wakes up to the same ugly day that awaits her.  Is she in hell?  Can she do the right thing and be redeemed?  Eventually, you notice one situation that she hasn’t necessarily made a big effort at correcting.  A slight attempt at a stand but not the true attack it needs.  Why?  Could be because she’d see where she was at fault for having created it in the first place.  Well, why is she on this day to begin with?  By the end of the film, she gets it but is it too late?  Are the answers in the actions she herself has made or in those of other people?  Will she now pay a price for not being a virtuous soul?  Will she have to sacrifice something herself to correct the course she’s now on?

 

I like that you don’t know these answers and that’s why I enjoyed the movie.  I would hate to categorize it as a chick flick but I think I have to.  The length of time spent with the teenage girls in the car, listening to music, hating on people and talking about boys makes it abundantly clear that the film wasn’t made for adult males.  The audience it was made for, the teenagers will absolutely love it.  Zoey Deutch is a good choice to play the sweet-faced martyr and Halston Sage does a good job of reminding us what we hated about high school more than even the homework.  If you’re a fan of dramas packed with mystery and wouldn’t mind the Mean Girls vibe, check out Before I Fall and look for all of the answers to the questions above.  Is she dead?  You tell me.

 


T2 TRAINSPOTTING – Official “Legacy” Trailer

 

First there was an opportunity……then there was a betrayal.  Twenty years have gone by.

Much has changed but just as much remains the same.  Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to the only place he can ever call home.

They are waiting for him: Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle).

Other old friends are waiting too: sorrow, loss, joy, vengeance, hatred, friendship, love, longing, fear, regret, diamorphine, self-destruction and mortal danger, they are all lined up to welcome him, ready to join the dance.

 

Directed by:

Danny Boyle

Written by: 

John Hodge

 

Cast:

Ewan McGregor

Ewen Bremner

Jonny Lee Miller

and Robert Carlyle


The Promise – Trailer

SYNOPSIS: Empires fall, love survives. When Michael (Oscar Isaac), a brilliant medical student, meets Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between Michael and Ana’s boyfriend Chris (Christian Bale), a famous American photojournalist dedicated to exposing political truth. As the Ottoman Empire crumbles into war-torn […]


Ghost In The Shell – Costume Tour and Footage Presentation

  WHAT:                 GHOST IN THE SHELL: AN IMAX FIRST LOOK FAN EVENT In anticipation of the upcoming film “GHOST IN THE SHELL,” Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks Pictures and IMAX present a one-night-only event featuring an exclusive first look at stunning film footage exclusively in IMAX® theatres across 14 North American cities with select international markets and […]


A United Kingdom – Movie Review

A United Kingdom the true story of the forbidden love of King Seretse Khama of Botswana (David Oyelowo) and Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a white woman from London, which caused an international uproar when they decided to marry in the late 1940s just as apartheid was being introduced into South Africa.  It was a decision that altered the course of African history.

Directed by: Amma Asante

Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Terry Pheto, Abena Ayivor and Tom Felton

Rated: PG-13

Run Time: 1h 51min

Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance

3 Frames out of 5

By: Shari K. Green

Your first thought upon walking out of A United Kingdom very well may be one of bewilderment at the story itself.  Not that it could happen, of course, (look at today’s headlines, this type of forbidden love is still happening) but that a King was questioned and almost denied his wish.  Anyway, you might next have the inclination to Google this to learn more about these individuals.  It could also be, as it was mine, to gather all of the performances of David Oyelowo to date and, find out what he’s up to next so that you can see all of this man’s work.

Not to disparage the other performances in the production but he delivered the story of a man choosing love over country beautifully.  He never waivered in his ability to sell us on the saga that deep within him, he believed the people of his county would, in due time, not require him to make that sacrifice and did so with the strength and compassion you rarely see with such balance.

It would be impossible not to be impressed with this entire cast and it would be nearly pointless to try and look beyond director Amma Asante’s (Belle) achievements with the film.  She does an exceptional job with this labored piece and with only five directing credits under her belt, quite a feat, she handles the very difficult true life events like a master.

A United Kingdom was a hefty project to take on.  It’s about Seretse Khama (Oyelowo) and Ruth Williams (Pike) and the political climate of their countries at the time they met in the 1940’s.  He’s heir to the kingdom of Botswana and she’s a white woman from London and despite what their families feel about their union, they insist on being together and will be, even though they’ll be under great scrutiny.  Her father has disowned her for being with a black man and his people, especially members of his own family, would prefer their leader be with his own kind.  Not considering others feelings and only listening to their hearts, they marry and move to South Africa where, unfortunately for all, apartheid is starting to grow.  Their union becomes widely known and a topic of great discussion.  Ruth is a likable person and does her best to be friendly, learn the language and fit in as his family members do their best to make her want to leave.  Oyelowo is outstanding when he addresses his tribe with a moving speech and speaks of Ruth with tears in his eyes, asking to see who would truly deny him his love.  It’s a stirring confrontation and a memorable scene.

What ultimately doesn’t really work, but may have been better with a seasoned director, is the setup.  This story is a pure and true love so strong that this couple defies all rules, family and country to be with one another should have had you cheering their achievements.  However, as it’s told, you don’t really care.  The reason for this is that we meet Ruth and Khama when they first meet and almost immediately they’re in love and getting married.  There isn’t time for you to feel for these people or for the plight in which they find themselves.  Asante does a wonderful job of keeping the rest of the story flowing, especially the focus on the British government wanting the diamonds and minerals on his land, but sadly, missing this crucial step of giving the audience time to identifying with what the couple is going through or to feel compassion for them, hurts her very efforts.  It’s the single most important goal before telling the rest of the narrative for it to have worked as a well-structured and cohesive piece.  It is a good drama about pressures put on them both and his overcoming his uncle asking him to renounce his birthright to the throne for marrying a white woman, but it isn’t as romantic as it claims to be.  Keep in mind it is a true story… life doesn’t always come out as we plan.

I do recommend A United Kingdom but I’d say wait for VOD or DVD instead of paying to see this at the theatre.


Dean – Trailer

DEAN In Select Theaters June 2, 2017 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, The Founders Award For Best Narrative Feature Written & Directed By: Demetri Martin Cast: Demetri Martin, Kevin Kline, Gillian Jacobs, Mary Steenburgen, Reid Scott, Rory Scovel, Christine Woods, Ginger Gonzaga, Peter Scolari, Briga Heelan Producers: Giles Andrew, Demetri Martin, Elliot Watson, Jessica Latham, Charles […]


The Shack – Trailer

  *Papa (Octavia Spencer) and Mack Phillips (Sam Worthington) in THE SHACK.   Based on the New York Times best-selling novel, The Shack takes us on a father’s uplifting spiritual journey. After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips [Sam Worthington] spirals into a deep depression causing him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, […]


Ghost In The Shell – Trailer

See GHOST IN THE SHELL in theaters nationwide on March 31, 2017 in REALD 3D and IMAX 3D Directed by: Rupert Sanders Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt & Juliette Binoche Follow Director Rupert Sanders on Instagram for a behind the scenes look at the film #GhostInTheShell Instagram:@GhostInTheShell Twitter: @GhostInShell Facebook: /GhostInTheShellMovie […]


Paterson – Movie Review

“Paterson”

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani and “Nellie”

Rated: R
Run Time: 1h 58mins

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance

4 ½ out of 5 Frames

By: Shari K. Green

“Paterson” is an absolute pleasure to witness.  One feels honored to be on this… ride.  I say this because it is about a bus driver whose story is delicate, even delectable.  It’s fascinating.  Jim Jarmusch turns a seemingly banal and simple life into a complex, contemplative introspective.  Paterson (Driver) drives a bus for the city of Paterson, N.J. but he’s also a poet.  His hero is William Carlos Williams and deep within he holds a dream to be as good as Williams yet never calls himself a poet, therefore stopping any disappointment that may come from negative criticism.

Paterson sees poetry in all things and one of the factors that has you treasure experiencing this life that Jarmusch has displayed for you is how you absorb Paterson’s poetry.  It’s not only spoken by him, whether in his thoughts as he cruises through traffic, or as he walks his dog Marvin (played charmingly by Nellie), but we also see it scrolling across the screen as he speaks in a composed and knowing tone.  It becomes visually embedded in our minds and we crave more.  His poems are perceptive, analytical at times, logical and illogical.  They’re both abstract and they’re ordinary but they’re sublime.  He writes these poems in a notebook, one he keeps to himself, careful they can never be seen.

We are with Paterson for a week of his life.  He has a girlfriend, has a dog and is methodized, unlike girlfriend Laura (Farahani), who is all over the place.  A painter obsessed with the color black one minute, a baker the next; him a structured poet, her a musician… this week, anyway.  The relationship is sound as they balance each other, or so it would seem… perhaps not?  Do they love each other or are they just putting up with one another for convenience sake?  Upon reflection, you realize there’s much more going on than you first thought.  It can be slow in moments but the movie consumes you, more or less.  It is, simply put, poetic.  Once you’ve seen “Paterson” it will stick with you for quite some time.  The alpha male battle he has with Marvin, also the conflict within himself over what or who he is, is gripping to observe.  Driver does such a remarkable job of bringing levels to this character without nearly uttering a word that he seduces you.  I highly recommend you see this film.  You’ll never see Driver as Kylo Ren again.


Live By Night – Movie Review

 

“Live By Night”

Directed by: Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Robert Glenister and Chris Cooper

Rated: R

Genre: Crime, Drama

Run Time: 2h 9mins

2 Frames out of 5

By: Shari K. Green

I love a lot of Affleck’s work.  In fact, it’s safe to say I like most of his work.  This one… not so much.  This confounds me because it’s Affleck!  He’s responsible in one way or another for “Good Will Hunting”, “Gone Baby Gone”, “Argo” and “The Town”.  Great films.  He usually has a firm grasp of story but that’s not the case here.  “Live By Night” is more or less all over the place.  To be completely honest, it doesn’t feel like his voice at all.  It can’t sit still so neither can you.  So I wonder… just went wrong?  I can indicate to you a few culprits.  It’s too slow and there are too many plot lines and both are working in concert to single handedly ruin this film.  It feels as if you’re watching a series of different films in one yet starring the same characters.  It’s a mobster/gangster picture but not.  There are moments when it is but, well, not to confuse you, these moments are few and far between.  It’s hard to even categorize this film.

I’ll try and explain the premise.  To start, in voice over, Affleck introduces his character, Joe Coughlin.  He’s a soldier.  He was miserable as a soldier.  The spoiled boy, yes it feels that way, was being told to do terrible things on the battle field and decides that being told what to do wasn’t for him.  He will forever be his own boss so he gathers two friends and they become bank robbers.  We learn that when it comes to Boston, there are two gangs it’s run by; the Irish and the Italians.  Not wanting to become involved with either, for some reason he doesn’t consider himself gangster material but is a criminal… okay, Coughlin, thinks it a good idea to become involved with the girlfriend of the head of the Irish gang, Albert White.  They even appear in public together.  Immediately, you can see that Affleck didn’t think this through.  You know what’s going to happen and it does.  Along with a butt kicking, he gets set up and spends a few years in prison.  Now hating White, we have a revenge film where he’ll do anything to work against Albert White.  The man who said he’d never work for anyone again is working for the Italians to take over White’s rum distribution… in Florida.  We change again.  Coughlin enlists the help of the Cubans who were once stealing and instead turns them into assets, who now are happy working with him instead of against.

There are several people trying to take him down but obstacles are easily overcome and Coughlin is the king of Tampa.  He also has a new woman, Graciela (Saldana), for whom he has absolutely no chemistry.

It becomes, eventually, a gangster picture again when a double-cross or two are shed and the movie gets exciting.  This is what the film had promised to be and it’s nice that it gets back to its roots but it’s not enough and it’s too little too late.  However, what’s also good about “Live By Night”, and I’d say what makes it a worthwhile watch for anyone who wants to study good character actors are some of the performances.  Matthew Maher as a member of the KKK is outstanding.  Elle Fanning is memorable as a victim of circumstance.  Also worth mentioning is Robert Glenister as Albert White and Remo Girone as Italian leader Maso Pescatore.  When they’re on screen, you are lost in their performances.  They evoke “The Godfather” when they’re present and are quite impressive.  More of them would have improved the movie but for some reason we’re spread thinly over a few storylines and you become disinterested in everyone entirely.  So, check this out on DVD or wait for VOD, however you get your entertainment these days, but going to the theatre, my preferred outlet, is not my recommendation.