Welcome to my website!
Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
Enjoy my reviews and please comment and come back frequently! Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

First Reformed

Not everyone will want to watch this serious drama. It was written by Paul Schrader, screenwriter of several Martin Scorsese films, including Taxi Driver. First Reformed was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards, Schrader’s first nomination. It is rated R for some disturbing violent images.

Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is the minister at the historical First Reformed Church in upstate New York. Unlike the nearby mega church, shepherded by Reverend Jeffers (Cedric Kyles), Toller’s services are sparsely attended and the building itself, as a historic landmark, mainly attracts sightseers.

Mary (Amanda Seyfried), a young parishioner, asks Toller to speak with her husband Michael (Philip Ettinger). He is a depressed young man, and a committed environmental activist. Once Toller meets Mary and Michael, his life changes in unforeseen ways.

I read that Paul Schrader considers First Reformed his masterpiece. It grapples with questions of faith, forgiveness, and morality, especially in the area of environmental care versus degradation. Do we choose despair or hope in these times? The story contrasts the two congregations and how different they are quite effectively; the one outdated and traditional, the other hip and trendy. The mega church seems overly fixated on expansion with wealthy donors of questionable financial dealings funding the bill. Reverend Toller on the other extreme, is a thoughtful religious man, with his own personal pain, and physical concerns that worsen over time.

I thought the actors all did a good job with their roles. The screenplay was thoughtful, up until the ending that was confusing and very strange. Did you see First Reformed? What did you make of that ending?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Bohemian Rhapsody

I’ve been a fan of Queen ever since I first heard the opening voices of Bohemian Rhapsody. In 2005, I was fortunate to spend a week in Las Vegas, and attended the musical We Will Rock You. Entirely based on the music of Queen, it was a stage extravaganza complete with stomping to the iconic title song. I loved it.

As I did the film Bohemian Rhapsody, chronicling the genesis of the British band Queen, and most notably, the life and times of their lead singer, Freddie Mercury. It is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language.

The film won Best Motion Picture - Drama (why not best musical, go figure?), and Best Actor (Drama) for Rami Malek at the Golden Globes. As Freddie Mercury, Rami’s performance was outstanding, and I felt myself being pulled into the story so deeply, I forgot I was watching an actor play the charismatic and self-destructive star.

There is a Bohemian Rhapsody Sing-A-Long at a local theater, which I assume means no one in the theater should care if you choose to sing along to the stellar lyrics of the songs being belted out as background, or during the Live Aid concert. Personally, I liked the quiet in the theater, other than the occasional laughter at a funny moment, or the sniffling with tissues during the deeper scenes. The film shows the creative spirit in all four of the band members, and paints a compassionate portrait of the gifted Freddie Mercury.

Academy Award nominations for the film include Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Film Editing, Best Actor Rami Malek, and Best Picture. Don't let this film pass you by without seeing it in the theater.

Have you seen Bohemian Rhapsody? How did you like it?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Green Book

The film Green Book won three Golden Globe awards this year in the Motion Picture category: Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali, and Best Musical or Comedy. That last category is a strange one. Although this film had comedic elements, it is first and foremost a truthful look at race relations in America in 1962. It is rated PG-13 for thematic content, language including racial epithets, smoking, some violence and suggestive material.

Based on a true story, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), an Italian-American from the Bronx, accepts a position as a driver for Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) an African-American pianist who heads a musical trio that will be touring in the Deep South. What Dr. Shirley really needs is a bodyguard, as there remains a great deal of prejudice and danger in the South for him. Tony turns out to be the right person to see that he is safe. As they drive across the U. S. in a beautiful new Cadillac and get to know each other, their developing relationship shows how even people of widely different upbringings and social environments can find commonalities in just being human, each deserving of respect and compassion.

I never give a spoiler, and to tell you what the Green Book is would give away something. So you go see it and discover it for yourself. The performances are spot on, and the settings of the early 1960’s brilliantly staged and filmed.

Green Book is likely to be nominated for several Academy Awards, and it is still in theaters. This is one film you shouldn’t miss. Octavia Spencer, Academy Award winning actress, produced the film, and I’m glad she saw fit to help bring this important story to life for us.

Have you seen Green Book yet? Please comment below on how you liked it.