Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) have been partners for 39 years. They live in Manhattan where George is a music teacher and Ben paints post retirement. When their dreams come true and they are finally married, George is shocked to find out he is being fired from his job at a Catholic school. With the real estate market the way it is in Manhattan, George and Ben are forced to live apart while looking for a place to live. Ben moves in with his nephew and wife where he has to room with their 14 year old son, and George stays with a couple who lives in their apartment building on their couch. If living in these new circumstances isn’t hard enough, the two men have to deal with their unwanted separation for an unknown amount of time.
What I found when watching Love is Strange is that it is strongly dependent on its 2 leads. When these men are on screen together the movie shines. They are happy, charming and funny together. They seem like two people in love and I chalk that up to these 2 veteran actors doing a superb job. However, for most of the movie, Ben and George are forced to live apart, and thus the movie isn’t as charming and funny as we watch these 2 men struggle through days, out of their element. George is unhappy that he was fired for marrying a man who the school knew he was with for almost 40 years! He is forced to sleep on a couch while the couple he lives with throws parties all night and has many guests over which limits the amount of sleep he gets. In Ben’s living arrangement, he feels the opposite of George. No one pays attention to him as their busy lives cause Ben to be more of an inconvenience than welcomed company. Because most of the movie is focused on their new living situation, I felt like the movie was annoying and boring, just as the men do about what happened to their lives. I understand it shows us that sometimes love is worth changing your life for and that you have to make time for love if you want it to work, but as someone watching a movie, it was drab. Sometimes we want the fairy tales to be nicer onscreen than in real life. I’m not knocking the realistic nature, but as you, the person reading my thoughts, I felt that you should be warned that this movie can be dry at times. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many moments that stir emotion and allow you to feel the love these 2 men feel, but their wasn’t enough for me to sing the praises of this movie.
For what it is and wants to be, this movie is very well made and acted. Alfred Molina and John Lithgow shine in these roles and I only wish they could have been on the screen together more often. For now, I say this movie is a decent watch but be prepared for some moments to be slow. Co-starring Marisa Tomei, Darren E. Burrows, Cheyenne Jackson, and Charlie Tahan.
6/10 Stars – Strong chemistry from the 2 leads, but that is only when they are together, otherwise is often dry.
When their father dies the four grown siblings agree to their fathers dying wish that they “sit Shiva” for seven days in honor of his life. Each of their respective personal lives is in some form of shambles so that combined with living together for a week in their childhood home with their over-sharing mother can only lead to chaos. Together they confront their pasts and presents while attempting to deal with the passing of their father. Ultimately it is up to them on whether their forced time together leads to positive change for each of them or just more complexity to further complicate and ruin their lives. Starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, Debra Monk, Abigail Spencer, Ben Schwartz, Aaron Lazar, Cade Lappin.
This Is Where I Leave You demonstrates on-screen what many families experience in real life – a complicated family, filled with griping, complaints and of course fighting. The question is do I want to sit and watch people gripe and complain for two hours without some satisfaction or resolution, which I certainly didn’t receive from This Is Where I Leave You. The answer is a resounding NO!
Harsh I know but it’s just being honest. I can listen and watch people gripe and complain in my life, I don’t need to go to a movie theater for that. So if you are going to make a movie about it give us something bigger, like great comedy or a character to invest ourselves into. I didn’t really garner either of those from This Is Where I Leave You. I honestly expected more given the presence of comic pros Jason Bateman and Tina Fey; and they do bring the film up a notch or two from where it might have been had they not been present but for a film marketed as a comedy there is far more drama than comedy here. Bateman whose story sort of carries the film was the most appealing of the crew but even then that isn’t saying much.
I think the trouble is that while I could tell the writers were aiming for real life accuracy they failed miserably in brining that to the comedy. The comedy is mostly one-liners, some pathetic and some at least drawing minimal laughs. Given that there are many more films out there with similar plots and concepts including last years August: Osage County and the Oscar-winning You Can’t Take it With You, this is a rather hard genre to conquer. Many have tried and many have failed. And while This Is Where I Leave You isn’t a complete fairly it certainly isn’t a success either. I would suggest saving this one for Netfilx if you are so inclined but no need to venture out to the theater for a viewing.
6/10 Stars – If I want to see complaining and griping why do I need to go to the theater for it?
Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) is an ex-NYPD detective who is currently working as an unlicensed private investigator. He does “favors” for people who give him gifts in return. His current favor is to help a Kenny (Dan Stevens) a drug trafficker whose wife was kidnapped and brutally murdered. As Scudder digs he learns this isn’t the first time the men who murdered Kenny’s wife have committed this sort of twisted crime. It’s up to Scudder to find the two men before they kill again. Starring Maurice Compte, David Harbour, Adam David Thompson, Laura Birn, Astro, Danielle Rose Russell, Eric Nelsen, Mark Consuelos, Robert Boyd Holbrook, Ruth Wilson, Sebastian Roche.
A Walk Among the Tombstones has the flair of the classic noir films that benefits from Neeson’s stoic greatness as an actor. The walk through the tombstones for me was suspenseful and thrilling one as you would expect from a walk through a graveyard.
The noir feel about the film is a combination of both good and bad. If you like that sort of movie then you should enjoy the semi-homage to it here. If you don’t then the noir look and feel will come across as stale and over done. Personally I like the noir classics and so for me it works. And really even if the noir feels stale here Neeson and his fellow cast treat it as if its brand new and that comes through clearly.
What surprised me most about the movie was that this is your average Neeson fair with an added punch. There are some subtle twists and subplots that really give his typical character, which is definitely there mind you, some depth that I wasn’t expecting. Neeson’s calm demeanor plays nicely against the chilling and nail-biting moments littered throughout the movie. I have to take a moment to give a nod to Dan Stevens. I have to say I was one of the Downton Abbey fans who hated him for leaving my beloved show. Given what I saw on screen from him here in this movie I can see why he made that decision. The man has some decent acting chops. I didn’t see a hint of Matthew Crawley in him at all. I was impressed and am looking forward to seeing more from him in the future. Now back to your regularly scheduled review…
I think the only real reason for me why A Walk Among the Tombstones doesn’t make the grade at 8 stars is two-fold. First the villains. The actors chosen are good but they revealed way to soon and they lose that creepy edge that I would have liked more of. And along those same lines I was hoping for a little more to the detective side of things. It is all bit too easy, and maybe it is supposed to be but it was disappointing.
7/10 Stars – Expected Liam Neeson fair but with some added twists
When an Army buddy, David (Dan Stevens), of their deceased son unexpectedly shows up at their doorstep, the Peterson family is uncertain of this new stranger, but is kind nonetheless. They allow him to stay at their home for a few days as David calmly and, with a memorizing smile, begins to change each person’s life drastically. However, when their daughter’s friend ends up dead, and her boyfriend is framed for the death, she knows that David was involved. She decides that contacting the Army is the best course of action, and when they find out David is alive, the Army dispatches an entire team just to find David.
Before I saw this movie, I noticed that the director made a horror flick I enjoyed very much last year called You’re Next. The Guest also had a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes so I figured I was in for a treat. Well the egg must have been on my face because I don’t find buff GQ guys with blue eyes a treat, even if he does play the incredibly nice, psycho-killer perfectly.
So for those of you expecting this to be a horror film, forget it. This movie does actually play out like you might expect as the so-called “Guest” does go crazy and start killing everyone, but he does it in an action sorta way rather than a slice and dice sorta way. This is where the disappointment came for me… I was expecting a flashy horror film and what I got was a slow burn creepy nice guy semi-thriller. Don’t get me wrong, the movie isn’t bad, but it has to grow on you. There is nothing remotely interesting about it for the first 30 minutes or so, and by that time we’ve only see a bar fight. Big deal! Another 30 minutes goes by and maybe 1 scene is creepy or thriller-worthy, otherwise we are just watching this GQ centerfold help the Peterson family out with chores and bullies. Maybe it is just me, or the fact that David didn’t freak me out at all, but The Guest just fell flat in my eyes. Maybe my expectations were too high. Either way, I’m not saying avoid this movie, but I’m saying tread lightly because it may bore you like it did for me throughout most of it.
6/10 Stars – Wasn’t horrible, but I wasn’t scared or really all that thrilled. I was mainly bored…
Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes suddenly in an elevator, unsure of where he is or who he is. As he emerges from the elevator shaft he is greeted by a large group of teen boys who unceremoniously dub him “greenie.” The group of boys are much like him. They arrived in the elevator and remember nothing but their name. Some of them have lived in “the glade” for more than two years. Their home as it were is surrounded by a giant maze. Each day they send a few into the maze in the hopes of finding a way out. As time has passed they have been begun to lose hope. Everything changes the moment Thomas arrives. Starring Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Black Cooper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Dexter Darden, Kaya Scodelario, Chris Sheffield, Joe Adler, Alexander Flores, Jacob Latimore, Randall D. Cunningham, Patricia Clarkson, Don McManus.
Having not read the book I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Maze Runner. It is unfortunately another teen fiction sci-fi/drama attempting to capitalize on the Hunger Games phenomena but at least The Maze Runner has enough elements to function some mild interest from its not teen audience.
While my summary above doesn’t quite express it there are quite a few similarities in The Maze Runner to the likes of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Giver. It seems the theme of a disillusioned future with a teen rising above it all and to the rescue is the rage. Everything from theme to character archetypes are remarkable similar. So no originality here I am afraid. That said the movie sets up a nice tension at the start and fuels your curiosity through that of the character Thomas who can’t seem to ignore the reason behind why he was put in this place and how he can escape. The movie has a nice build up with small action scenes and a slow trickle of interesting and enlightening information to keep your interest. It is the end of the movie where everything seems to fall apart. Perhaps this happens because they are setting it up for the sequels to come but that is no excuse. The end is convoluted, awkward and not really that interesting. At least not as interesting as I would have hoped given the build up that came before.
The acting was marginal. The special effects decent – till the end. Nothing however about The Maze Runner stood out for me. I wasn’t wowed. I didn’t feel an emotional attachment to Thomas or any of the others. It was all very flat with no true depth. So I can’t really say that I am looking forward to the sequel although of course I will see it. Now perhaps I am not quite as engaged because I didn’t read the books but the movie doesn’t really encourage me to run out and pick them up. Not like The Hunger Games did.
5/10 Stars – Another teen film series that should do well with its target audience but holds no interest other wise.
For starters, I want to say that I have not read the book and knew nothing about this movie other than what I saw in the previews before I saw it. This is yet another teen sci-fi fiction story set post-modern world like The Hunger Games, The Giver, and Divergent. For most of the movie, I really enjoyed it to the point I could have easily given this an 8. I’m an Eagle scout so the outdoors/natural aspect of the movie really appealed to me. The activities and goals of the glade and the maze itself reminded me some of the summer camps I had as a scout and I was able to relate. However, as we all know, a great setting doesn’t make a great movie without a good story. Basically The Maze Runner is The Lord of the Flies with a giant maze that will kill you, and yes, there are characters to represent Ralph, Jack and even Piggy. This makes the tension, thrills, and the massive amounts of mystery that much more entertaining for us as an audience. I felt like this movie flew by and that is always a good thing in a movie!
However, as I stated above, I wasn’t all that pleased with the film and that is because of the ending. With the amount of mystery in this movie, the ending could have been basically anything the author wanted it to be. It was completely wide open in terms of who did this, why were they there, what was going on etc. but the story that was thrown at us in a matter of 10 minutes was even more confusing and mysterious that I would have rather seen more Greaver fights. I’m sure that once the next movie comes out, and you can watch them back to back, this ending wont seem so rushed, but it does come at you fast. All in all, the premise, the setting and the execution of The Maze Runner is thrilling and fast, I would watch it again.
7/10 Stars – Ending is a bit much as they story takes a major twist, but for the most part, The Maze Runner is fast, thrilling and fun!
His Review: Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) have been partners for 39 years. They live in Manhattan where George is a music teacher and Ben paints post…
Her Review: When their father dies the four grown siblings agree to their fathers dying wish that they “sit Shiva” for seven days in honor of his life….
Her Review: Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) is an ex-NYPD detective who is currently working as an unlicensed private investigator. He does “favors” for people who give him gifts…
His Review: When an Army buddy, David (Dan Stevens), of their deceased son unexpectedly shows up at their doorstep, the Peterson family is uncertain of this new stranger, but…