Fruitvale Station

Bill I’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

It’s a pseudo documentary in that it’s based on real life events, but it’s scripted and performed by excellent actors, including an award-worthy performance by Michael B. Jordan as the young protagonist (Oscar) who is  struggling mightily to get on the straight and narrow and raise his young daughter and earn a living so he can marry his long-time girlfriend. Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz are outstanding as well as Oscar’s mom and lover respectively. The ending is shown first, so you know it’s ugly, and gives you a feeling of dread throughout the daily comings and goings of this family. You get to admire and hope for Oscar, knowing all the time that he’s doomed. The incident is reminiscent of many real-life cases of police shootings, and by the closing credits we learn how justice is meted out once again.

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

I also liked this movie a lot although this will be tough to watch for a lot of people.  This is a very timely movie with the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin story in the news recently.  While our society has made a lot of progress we still have a ways to go and this movie definitely makes you think about that.

The scene at the beginning that Bill talks about is actual video from a phone camera leading up to the shooting.  Michael B. Jordan is excellent (he played Wallace on The Wire) as are the others in the supporting cast.

This is a very powerful movie and is worth seeing.

NY Times article about director


Rotten Tomatoes


Bill I’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

I had almost no expectations that this would capture my attention the way it did. It must be due to Hugh Jackman, as the plot is fairly laughable, especially at the end. But it’s an exciting adventure with believable characters (except maybe the Japanese grandpa), and perfect for a summer night’s entertainment.

Bill C’s Review – 3 out of 5

Bill is right on with this one.  It was a decent action movie with a pretty ridiculous (and predictable) plot.  Jackman carries it with more to do than just his action scenes. I found the other Japanese woman more interesting than the granddaughter of the grandpa and they sort of set it up so she could come back in any sequels which would be good.  If this had been animated I would have recommended Mr. Burns from the Simpsons to play the grandpa.

This also seems like the summer with a lot of robots in movies – this one, Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3. Have I missed any?

I saw this in 3D and I didn’t think it added much.  If you see this stay for the closing credits.


Rotten Tomatoes

Pacific Rim

Bill C’s Review – 2.75 out of 5

This is another one of those movies where it doesn’t really matter what  I thought.  If you like movies like the Transformers movies or Japanese B movies from the 50s or 60s like Godzilla or action movies in general  you’ll probably like this.  If you don’t stay home or go see something else.

This is directed by Guillermo Del Toro and the movie is well made.   The special effects and action are high quality but depending on your point of view with these movies will either be great or totally ridiculous.   The same can be said for the plot and dialogue.  Some of the dialogue can also be thought of as superfluous as some of the characters mind melded for the battles.

The movie definitely moves right along (either because you’re totally into it or you’re noticing all the reasons you don’t like it).  If you like this type of movie definitely check it out.


Rotten Tomatoes



The Kings of Summer

Bill C’s Review 3.5 out of 5

The Kings of Summer is is another likable coming of age story.  This one is much quirkier than  The Way, Way Back.

The film focuses on three teenagers who run away from home one summer and build a home in the forest.  Two are best friends, one with a father who doesn’t know how to relate to his son after the death of his wife and the other whose parents are totally overbearing.  The third boy is just a strange hanger on.

The first half of the movie focuses on the three running away and building a place in the woods and settling in which makes for some good laughs.  In the second half conflicts ensue, lives are at risk, friendships + family ties are re-established.

The quirkiness, humor and upbeat/heart warming  ending make this an enjoyable movie.


Rotten Tomatoes


The Way Way Back

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

Unintentionally the last three movies I’ve seen have all been about kids dealing with parenting issues.  This  is one of the two that have been teenage boy coming of age stories. The other was about a 6 year old girl.  I’ve liked them all but this is my favorite.

The Way Way Back is a funny, touching movie about 14 year old Duncan.  He has to spend the summer with his mom (Toni Collette), her boyfriend (Steve, Carell) and his daughter at his summer home by the beach.  Duncan is quiet and sullen as he doesn’t get along with his mom’s boyfriend (or his daughter) and it looks like it will be a long summer.

Luckily he runs into Owen (Sam Rockwell) and a job at the  local water park.  Owen brings Duncan out of his shell and give him the opportunity to get comfortable in his own skin.

The acting is very good.  Sam Rockwell is great in this movie and very funny at the water park. Allison Janney is also very funny as the next door neighbor.  Collette is good as the stressed out mom trying to make the most of a not very good situation and Carrell is good in a rare non comedy role as the cruddy boyfriend/supposed father figure for Duncan.

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash wrote, directed and have small funny supporting roles as water park employees.  They were also 2 of the writers of The Descendatnts.

This is definitely worth seeing

Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5

I agree with my buddy on this, excellent film. One of the best portrayals of adolescent angst/coming of age/frustration I’ve seen. The young actor is seething with being forced to accompany his mom and her slimy new boyfriend (an unlikeable Steve Carrell, a first) to summer cottage by the beach in Cape Cod, where the adults are just drinking and partying and getting frisky while their kids are doing who knows what. Nothing really original in the plot, but the characters are memorable and it’s cool to see how a caring adult (Sam Rockwell is an adult in age but a goofy kid on the surface) can make a huge positive difference in a teenager’s life. Without being creepy! I particularly liked the last scene, which I won’t describe, but it was very nicely done, with zero dialogue. Check it out.


Rotten Tomatoes


The Lone Ranger

Bill C’s Review – 1.5 out of 5

I took one for the team and went to see the Lone Ranger this afternoon even though the reviews were awful.  The best thing I can say about it is that it got me out of the 100 degree heat for almost 3 hours (when you factor in 20 minutes of coming attractions).

At 2.5 hours this would have been too long if it was a good movie, which unfortunately it was not.  I have included a link that Billy I. posted of someone else’s review.  Unfortunately  I hadn’t read the whole thing at the time as it told me I could have saved 5 minutes by not staying for the scene with Tonto during the closing credits that I thought might have a point.  The linked review He provides a lot more detail on the movie than I do and it is an interesting read.

The plot is sort of crazy (as apparently is Tonto).  the movie tells the story of naive (really naive) John Reid being transformed from pacifist lawyer, teaming up with Tonto and becoming the Lone Ranger.  We also get Tonto’s backstory  as a heavily made up, old Tonto recalls the entire story.

The movie tries to throw in some humor some of which is ok but much falls flat.  As an action movie much of the action goes over the top and I am pretty sure that both Tonto and The Lone ranger would have been disabled or dead (although come to think of it (Spoiler Alert) according to Tonto The Lone Ranger can’t die (end spoiler alert)).

Bottom line is I wish I had gone to see Despicable Me II.

Review from someone else that Billy I posted


Rotten Tomatoes