Bill I’s Review – 3 out of 5
As a public service right here I will provide a short quiz you can take in order to determine whether you should see this film, as follows:
- Are you curious what Adam Driver’s character from Girls would be like after a lobotomy?
- How about watching Adam Driver appear in almost every scene in a movie while not moving any facial muscles?
- Are you tired of movies that are driven by plots, and have dramatic and compelling scenes?
- Do you have heart problems and need a movie to not cause your heart to go above resting state?
- Would you like to see what it’s like for a bus driver to go on his route every day?
- Did you ever wonder what would happen if a city bus stopped working in the middle of the route?
- Do you like to see sets of twins make appearances at unexpected times throughout a movie?
- Do you like poetry, and would you like to see an ordinary person compose poetry on the fly, writing about ordinary objects such as matchsticks?
- Do you live in, or work in, or were you born in, Paterson New Jersey?
- Are you walking outside in the cold and need a warm, quiet place to sit for a couple of hours?
If you answered yes to any of those questions then by all means go see Paterson!
Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5
The first half is somewhat reminiscent of Slumdog Millionaire in that it focuses on the plight of a 5 year old boy from a poor rural family in India. He and his older brother, whom he adores, spend their days jumping freight trains to steal coal, then turn over their booty to their hard working mom. It’s not much of a spoiler to disclose that the boy gets lost, and without cell phones, or even phones, or even a correct town name or name of his mother other than mum, there’s no chance he will be found. Stuck in a child’s prison (aka an “orphanage”), he ends up being adopted by a family in Australia, and the rest I will not tell here. The actor playing the young boy is amazing, and the scenes of beauty (at first, by his home) and then chaos (in Calcutta) and danger at every turn are amazing. It got a little slow for me when 20 years go by and the boy is now living a normal life in Tasmania (more amazing scenery by the coast). It picks up at the end, and what an ending. Dev Patel as the grown up boy, and Rooney Mara as his love interest, are both very good. Nicole Kidman as his adoptive mother I thought was a little overly dramatic. Very cool photos during the credits of the actual boy/man whose story the movie is based on. Highly recommended for ALL ages.
Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5
I liked this as well and for many of the reasons that Bill articulated. While this shows great beauty in India it also shows tremendous poverty and the incredibly tough life the poor have. As Bill states, both actors playing Saroo are excellent (Dev Patel starred in Slumdog Millionaire also). A very moving ending and definitely stay during the closing credits.
Bill C’s Review – 3.5 out of 5
Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story of Desmond Doss. During WWII, serving in the Pacific, he became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor while serving as a medic.
I almost felt I was getting two movies for the price of one. The first hour is Doss growing up, family turmoil, falling in love, enlisting and standing up for his desire to serve in a capacity that does not require him to kill. The second half is the story of his participation in the battle for Okinawa, his incredible bravery while sticking to his principles. The war scenes are extremely well made but also incredibly violent (so if you don’t like disturbing war images skip this film).
This is Mel Gibson’s first directorial effort in 10 years (time flies), It’s a well made film and it does it good job in telling the story of Desmond Doss (stay for the closing credits to see pictures/interviews with Doss and others). My biggest knock was there are parts (in both halfs) that felt formulaic and all the expected caricatures of characters in an army barracks were provided.
Bill I’s Rating – 3 out of 5
I was going to avoid this film due to its relatively low score on Rotten Tomatoes but when I read a positive recommendation from my friend Leslie Waltzer, I decided to give it a shot on a slow weekend. It’s been compared to Gone Girl, and I agree with those comparisons that it’s not as good, but still kept my attention, and watching Emily Blunt’s excellent portrayal of aforementioned train girl, she is captivating, while I tried to figure out what’s going on. Is she nuts, obsessive, schizophrenic, scorned ex-wife, jealous wannabe trophy wife, deluded alcoholic, or a sane person just trying to do the right thing. I won’t tell here. I can recommend a much better film, The Ones Below.
Bill C’s Review – 2.5 out of 5
I’m not sure why I saw this movie either. There was so much hype about this book that I read it before the movie came out. I didn’t really like it because there were no characters in the book that I liked. I guess I watched the movie to see if they made any more characters more likable. Maybe a little but this won’t make my top ten list.
Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5
Weiner is an excellent documentary about Anthony Weiner’s ill-advised run for NYC mayor a couple of years ago. He attempted to resurrect his political career two years after resigning from Congress due to a sexting scandal.
Just following his campaign would have been fascinating enough, but the filmmakers got lucky when new sexting allegations popped up and caused his campaign to implode. There are lots of fascinating things to watch: the political campaign and its workings, the press coverage, his dealing with the scandal, and the increasingly-strained relationship between Weiner and his wife (a top Clinton advisor).
The film is thought-provoking. Parts are funny and others are painful to watch. The question I hoped would be answered is why he would allow this film to be made. Late in the film he was asked that question, but didn’t answer. My view is that, due to his ego, he expected this to be a film about a great political comeback story. This film is never dull and highly recommended.
Bill I’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Why are Iron Man and Captain America fighting each other when there is a real bad guy out loose? I can’t tell you but it strained my suspension of disbelief. You have to sit back and enjoy the action, including a slew of other action heroes, the most fun being a young Spider “Man” and Ant Man. The plot is mega stupid, but the actors are terrific as is the action. A lot of fun, and will be a super huge blockbuster.
Bill I’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Another Montclair Film Festival superb, surprising, film. Similar to another film fest I reviewed, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, this has as its main character a 13 year-old boy (Markees Christmas, in what I assume is his debut, so great) who is in a foreign environment (Heidelberg, Germany in this case), surrounded by unfriendlies (his school mates), and channeling his inner gangster (he’s a wannabee gangster rapper). Craig Robinson is great as his dad, a former soccer player turned coach, who has a unique style of parenting (his wife recently died), and figuring out to deal with his unhappy son. There’s a girl involved, and some embarrassing episodes and an understanding German tutor who gives Morris some motherly attention. This should be a big hit if it gets publicity. See it if you can!
Bill I’s Rating: 4 out of 5
I had a ticket to a different film at the Montclair Film Festival, but went to the wrong theater and ended up seeing this which totally delighted me. Aspects of Home Alone: boy left alone (this boy actually runs away from his foster home), pursued by some mean people (meanest being the Child Welfare lady), and finding an adventure in the local wilderness (instead of Central Park this kid ends up in the New Zealand bush). With some great characters, and spectacular scenery, and what I consider an Oscar worthy performance by the kid, I loved this. Great for kids of all ages, with only a little wild boar violent episode, and some close call rifle shots.
Bill I’s Rating: 3 out of 5
A low budget film at the Montclair Film Festival that has recently been picked up by a distributor, this is a great character study of two old high school friends who reconnect after many years in their hometown of Warwick Rhode Island. Peter is a Wall Street financier, successful and in no way ready to enjoy returning to Warwick to take care of his grandma’s estate and funeral. He loses his wallet on the way and ends up depending on Donald, an unforgettable character played by the director and writer, Kris Avedisian. Over the course of 24 hours the two go through a roller coaster of emotions and experiences, encountering old “friends”, crushes, and haunts along the way. I can’t do justice to the realness, (enhanced by the hand held camera) but I will say that my wife was really upset afterwards due to the Donald character, who is the super clingy friend who literally won’t leave you alone. I really liked it!
Bill I’s Rating: 3 out of 5
Straightforward documentary, played at the Montclair Film Festival, about a great soul singer, Syl Johnson, who never got much acclaim. In fact, I had never even heard of him. He was almost Al Green, and unluckily missed his big shot. He appeared on Soul Train, toured extensively, including today as an 80 something year old, and had a couple of top 100 hit songs. But some key people did find out about him and his songs: Wu Tang Clan, Jay Z, Snoop Dogg and literally hundreds of hip hop artists who sampled him in their songs. Syl is an interesting character, both proud of his accomplishments, resentful he never gained mainstream success, and loving the attention wherever he can get it. The documentary coincided with the release of a $75 boxed set of his catalog, that got a Grammy nomination (for engineering, although Syl perceived it as his). Very cool to hear how his work was sampled, and how good the original songs are. Check him out, and look for this documentary if it gets released.