DENIAL – Rated PG-13

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DENIAL – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 50 mins.

 Starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall and Andrew Scott

 Based on the Real-life story of American Historian and Educator Deborah Lipstadt) and the libel suit brought against her by former historian and English Holocaust denier David Irving… this is DENIAL!

Educating at the collegiate level, we meet Historian and Professor Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz), sharing her profound knowledge of the Holocaust with her students.

When a conference about this subject is most abruptly interrupted by one David Irving (Timothy Stall), it seems that he questions Ms. Lipstadt’s portrayal of him in her latest book, as a Holocaust denier, unfounded and unjust.

Taking these matters into his own hands, Irving decides to sue Lipstadt for libel in an English court of law, stating that she cannot prove that his rendition of what did or did not happen at Auschwitz, during WWI, is false.

Securing the services of the best lawyer she can find in England, Deborah brings on the highly educated, and very charming Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott) to lead her defense team. When Penguin Books also brings their own BIG GUN to these proceedings, Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson), Mr. Irving better get ready to get his touchy kicked, as these boys are about to go through everything Irving has ever read or written with a fine tooth comb, proving that his denial of the Holocaust may just be his own undoing in the end…

I give DENIAL a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS ONE ON DVD: Weisz is wonderful as always, Stall and Scott are too, but Wilkinson absolutely steals the show! We will have to wait and see if he gets another Oscar nod by years end for his performance, as the one of the best litigators I’ve seen up on the big screen in quite some time. This film is filled with a mass of intrigue in both directions, as I sat there pondering what would make someone want to support Hitler, and defy the mass murders of thousands of Jews during WWII, but as I followed along in this real life story, I started to truly understand both sides of this equation. If you enjoy real-life stories filled with lots of history, and legal sparing, then definitely catch DENIAL this weekend at a theater near you. But if like your films filled with lots of action and/or suspense, you might want to wait to catch this very good film in about 6 weeks, when the DVD is released, as you relax upon your comfy couch at home.

Kathy Kaiser

ANTHROPOID – Rated R

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ANTHROPOID – Rated R – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Starring Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Anna Geislerová, and Charlotte Le Bon

From Writer and Director Sean Ellis comes the incredible real-life story of documented WWII Mission OPERATION ANTHROPOID ~ and it’s plan to remove the Nazi’s 3rd in command – SS General Reinhard Heydrich from this earth…THIS IS ANTRHOPOID!!!

As General Heydrich. a.k.a. “The Butcher of Prague” follows Hitler’s orders to continue his reign of terror in order to fully occupy Czechoslovakia during the 2nd World War, the Czech people are grasping at straws for a way to stop this invasion.

When Czech Soldier Josef Gabcik (Cillian Murphy) and Slovakian Soldier Jan Kubris (Jamie Dornan) parachute in behind enemy lines, little do they know that their contact that was to aid them in completion of their mission, has been killed.

Forced to blend in with the assistance of a secured host family – the Moravecs – Gabcik and Kubris do their best to gain information about the whereabouts of Gen. Heydrich, so they can complete their mission. As the days turn into weeks, Gabcik and Kubris begin to fall for their beautiful and trustworthy accomplices, Lena Fafkova (Anna Geislerová) and Marie Kovárníková (Charlotte LeBon).

When Gabrik and Kubris fail to execute their mission as planned, they are forced to seek refuge in a secure location, alas with additional soldiers, that they didn’t know were held up, till that moment …but now, as the German’s know of their plot, and their location too, these brave and courageous men are about to enter the battle of their lives…

I give ANTHROPOID a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN ~ As historical films go, this one seems to be better than most in the accuracy of what went on during the dark hours these soldiers endured at the hands of the Nazi’s. It was also amazing that I became so enthralled in this storyline, and throughout the entire film, as I usually don’t prefer to view war films if I can avoid it. Murphy’s performance was exceptional, Le Bon and Geislerova’s were too, and Dornan literally blew me away with his incredible, Oscar worthy performance as Kubris, as apparently, given the right material, he can act way beyond what we have seen from him before. This film is so intense, so gritty, so emotionally draining, that I found myself wanting it end, yet wanting to see more from all these men, as they never gave in to the fate they knew lay before them.

Kathy Kaiser

FREE STATE OF JONES – Rated R

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FREE STATE OF JONES – Rated R – 2 hrs. 19 min

Starring Matthew McConaughey, GuGu Mabatha-Raw, and Keri Russell

Torn from the pages of our countries history during the Civil War, we meet real-life nurse and surgical assistant Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey), aiding to the wounded on the Confederate side of this war…

Choosing to aid in this manner, rather than fight in a war he doesn’t believe in, Knight is forever changed when a young man from his own family is slain during battle.

Taking this youngster back to his mama, Newt reunites with his wife Serena (Keri Russell) and young son, only to realize that this war we are fighting amongst ourselves is absolutely pointless and he’s not going back…

Now being branded a deserter, Newt follows nursemaid Rachel (GuGu Mabatha-Raw) into the swamplands to lie low for a while, where he meets a few ex-slaves who have sought refuge themselves within the swamps of Mississippi.

As the war rages on, Newt and his black followers join forces with a group of white farmers, who are tired of fighting this war on behalf of all “the rich and powerful Southerners”, who seem to be way too good to go to war themselves…

And as Newt’s company grows stronger and more volatile as they stand their ground against their own Confederate Army, it seems the tides they are a changing, as Jones County is now considered a FREE STATE OF JONES…

I give FREE STATE OF JONES a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS ONE ON DVD ~ McConaughey’s definitely went into this role vying for another gold statue ~ why yes he did ~ playing the scruffy deserter ~ turned visionary ~ seeking to change the course of his own life, and the course of our countries history as well. Mabatha-Raw is good too, as the ex-slave and eventual love interest for Knight, even though they were never allowed to marry. And Russell’s role this time around as Newt’s wife is significantly smaller than I expected, but her character’s role in this real-life story, turns out to be quite a significant one. So why am I not sending you running to a theater near you to catch this HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT FILM? First, this one plays out WAY TOO SLOW for my liking. I realize we don’t want to miss out on any important parts of this storyline, but I found myself wanting it to move along already more than once throughout this films over 2 hour timeframe. Secondly, I wasn’t too fond of the graphic nature of this film – I realize that the Civil War was a very gruesome time in our country’s history ~ both socially ~ and in the way we fought one another too, but this films graphic scenes became way to graphic, and way too many for my liking. I also felt that the side story which emerges, is totally unnecessary too, as all the bouncing back and forth between storylines ~ and decades ~just started to become annoying…which leads me to share…If you are a history buff and you love McConaughey, then of course you have to head out the theater this weekend to catch this one ON THE BIG SCREEN, but if history mixed with graphic violence isn’t really your deal, then you might want to wait and catch this one DVD, at least until we see if McConaughey’s performance yields him any big nods during awards season this year…

Kathy Kaiser

ELVIS & NIXON – Rated R

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Starring Kevin Spacey, Michael Shannon, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks, Evan Peters and Tate Donovan

 “Sometimes TRUTH is stranger than FICTION” ~

The date is December 20th, 1970 – and occupying the same space and time is the KING of Rock and Roll~ Elvis Presley and the 37th President of the United States, Richard Milhous Nixon ~ setting the stage fro one of the most outlandish meetings EVER and garnering the most requested photo in U.S. History ~THIS IS ELVIS and NIXON!!

Tired of the anti-establishment groups and their views, Elvis Presley (Michael Shannon) reaches out to Commander-in-Chief Richard Nixon (Kevin Spacey) to share his thoughts on what is going to be the downfall of our society in this great nation of ours…

Bound and determined for the President to hear him, and to propose aiding in our countries plight to push forward his conservative views, Presley arrives at the White House to convey this message in person, and to request becoming an Agent at Large to help the FBI in their efforts too…

When this request leads to the most unconventional meeting ever, these two GREAT POWERS seem to form a rather strange bond… and only the walls of the oval office know for sure, exactly what happened when it ALL WENT DOWN…

I give ELVIS & NIXON a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN ~ Spacey is at his finest playing Nixon, and why wouldn’t he be with all the practice he gets playing a President in House of Cards. Shannon is good too, as he has the mannerisms and annunciation down perfectly to play THE KING, although I think with all the Elvis impersonators in the world, we could have secured someone who was a tad bit better looking. The casting of Alex Pettyfer as Elvis’s right-hand man Jerry Schilling and Colin Hanks, Evan Peters and Tate Donovan as All the Presidents men…played into some perfectly played out and funny moments as well. From the first frame to the last, I was mesmerized following these two men through a time and moment that seemed to be so hilarious, so ridiculous, so UNBELIEVABLE…that in the end, it has to TRUE…and from all accounts it was, even though there really is no proof of what ACTUALLY OCCURRED, as Nixon didn’t take up recording meetings until many months later 😉

Kathy Kaiser

Matinee Chat Podcast Vol #31 – Reviews of TOUCHED WITH FIRE and RACE

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And ENTER TO WIN FREE PASSES TO THE LINCOLN and EDGE 5 THEATERS by answering the NAME THAT MOVIE TUNE and SAY WHAT TRIVIA GAMES throughout the podcast.

Just leave your answers in the reply section below!!!

 

 

 

Catch the ACADEMY AWARD WINNER FOR BEST PICTURE ~ SPOTLIGHT – Rated R~ at a theater near you this weekend ~OPEN ROAD FILMS showing film in 14 local theaters this weekend

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Open Road Films plans victory lap for Tom McCarthy’s look at Boston Globe’s coverage of Catholic Church sex scandal

Best Picture Oscar winner “Spotlight” will expand to about 1,000 theaters this weekend, Open Road Films said Monday.

Its’s a victory lap for “Spotlight,” the R-rated drama detailing the Boston Globe’s uncovering of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal. It also won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, which was written by director Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer.

“Spotlight” opened in limited release on Nov. 6 and has gone on to take in $39.1 million domestically, about 30 percent of which has come after its Jan. 14 Best Picture nomination. It has also grossed $22.6 million overseas for a worldwide total of $61.8 million, against a budget of $20 million.

SPOTLIGHT is now playing locally at:  AMC CREVE COEUR 12, AMC SHOWPLACE EDWARDSVILLE 12, AMC CHESTERFIELD 14,  HIGH POINTE THEATER, LANDMARK PLAZA FRONTENAC THEATER, REGAL GRAVOIS BLUFFS STADIUM 12, REGAL O’FALLON STADIUM 14, WEHRENBERG ST. CLAIR 10, WEHRENBERG RONNIES 20, WEHRENBERG DES PERES 14, WEHRENBERG ARNOLD 14, WEHRENBERG CHESTERFIELD GALAXY 14, WEHRENBERG MID RIVERS 14 AND WEHRENBERG TOWN SQUARE 12 CINE

“This is bigger than Boston…this is the whole system!”

From Writer & Director Tom McCarthy, comes the real-life story of how the Boston Globes SPOTLIGHT division uncovered an immense child molestation cover-up, rooted in the Catholic Archdiocese in Boston, and which ignited further investigation into the Catholic Church all across our country…THIS IS SPOTLIGHT.

When investigative reporter Mike Rezendez (Mark Ruffalo) happens upon a story or two that priests in the Diocese of Boston have been molesting children for years, he tries to convince his boss, Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), Editor of SPOTLIGHT, to investigate further into these allegations. When Robinson convinces Boston Globe’s new Publisher, Marty Baron (Live Schreiber) to allow his team to pursue the truth ~ and he agrees ~ it seems that what they know so far, may only be the tip of the iceberg…

Rezendez focuses on reaching out to lawyer Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), in order to gain additional access to pertinent information regarding these child molestation cases, and the resulting “pay offs” from the Diocese, while fellow SPOTLIGHT investigative reporter Sasha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), reaches out to some of the victims…

While Rezendez and Pfeiffer are working tirelessly for months, Robinson sets out to get a closer look into how many of his “childhood friends” have been involved with this “cover-up” all over Boston ~ as it seems that no one can be trusted to give a truthful answer, or divulge what they actually know

Bound and determined to find “the truth” ~ as the investigation into the clergy, the Diocese and the lawyers around Boston is getting more nauseating by the second ~ the SPOTLIGHT team continues their year-long investigation, proving not only the massive nature in the number of priests that are “under suspicion” in Boston, but that apparently this problem has manifested itself all over our country as well…

I give SPOTLIGHT a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN ~ having been rocked to the core of my own Catholic faith when these allegations against the clergy began to surface in 2001 ~ and as I still struggle with these facts still today ~ I must share that each and every frame of this film is ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING. McCarthy saw fit to tell this true-story as poignant and eloquently as possible – considering its content – and there should be a few Golden Globe or Academy Award nods coming in its direction too ~ from the perfect performances by Ruffalo and Keaton, to the superb performances by Schreiber, Slattery, Tucci and Adams ~ this film is not only going to rock the Catholic Faith once again, but it is going to leave a mark on each and every viewer that sees it too.   Even though I am sure that this storyline is going to be uncomfortable for some viewers, please keep in mind that this TRUE STORY needed to be told, not only in 2002, but in 2015 too, as we can never go back to a place where so much deceit and betrayal can live under the cloud and cover of our religious faith, or at the hands of our legal system…

Kathy Kaiser

THE 33 – Rated PG-13

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“You are my Brothers, and we will pull together to get out of here…”

 Brought to the big screen by Director Patricia Riggen and based on the book “Deep Down Dark” By Hector Tobar ~ we embark on the tale of 33 Chilian Miners who are forced to learn to survive on little more than hope, as they must endure their entombment underground for 69 days…THIS IS THE 33!

Living the same life as many of his fellow countryman do – Miner by day~ loving family man by night ~ we meet Mario Sepulveda (Antonio Banderas) as he rallies the troops for another exhibition underground.

When foreman Don Lucho (Lou Diamond Phillips) realizes that it appears their mine is shifting, he brings this pertinent information to his boss, it seems that it is falling on deaf ears.

As the men journey deeper and deeper into the mine, it becomes apparent very quickly that something is wrong…as the men scramble to find solace in the large open area within the cavern ~ it seems that they are all alive, but trapped deep within the center of the mine. But, lucky for them, the mine owners have provided safety features within the mine so they were prepared for such an incident ~ like story enough food and water to sustain these men till they are rescued ~ or maybe not!!!

When the news of the collapse reaches the miners families, they hold vigil outside the mine, asking for answers on how this could have happened, and what is the mine owner, and the President of Chili going to do, to free their loved ones…

Directed to secure what ever means possible to get these 33 miners out ~no matter what the cost ~ Presidential advisor Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro) has reached out to his countryman for answers, and to other countries too ~ as it seems it is going to take the assistance of many countries on Chili’s behalf to get to these men, and to hopefully, bring them all back to the surface ALIVE…

I give THE 33 a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN & WAIT AND CATCH IT ON DVD – I love real life stories, and once again this year, the studios are going for the REAL FACTOR in producing THE 33. Banderas is as fantastic as he always is, and seeing Phillips on back in action was enjoyable to view too. Binoche was also enjoyable to watch, as the sister on a mission to retrieve her little brother, and not excepting the governments lame ass excuses for why things aren’t happening faster, and it was good too to see Josh Brolin’s Daddy James back on the big screen as well ~ as it’s been quite a long time ~ as he, plays the American that finally GETS THE JOB DONE. But, even though the acting was good across the board, and the cinematography throughout was very realistic and heart-wrenching too, parts of this film seemed to drag on, and on, and on for me~ maybe it was done that way so that we felt like we were actually STUCK with them for their 69 days in captivity ~ but I think that moving the storyline along would have made for a more enjoyable viewing experience when it was all said and done. If you love courageous true stories with frame after frame of acceptable acting, then head out to a theater near you this weekend to catch this film…but, if your not feeling like it’s a MUST SEE IN THEATERS after reading this review, you’ll be just as happy if you wait to catch it when it comes out on DVD then too!

Kathy Kaiser

SUFFRAGETTE – Rated PG-13

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“We break windows, we burn things, because war is the only language men listen to…”

From master storyteller Abi Morgan ~ the woman who has brought to life such poetic films as THE IRON LADY and THE INVISIBLE WOMAN, comes the tale of the plight of working class women in England, struggling to have their voices heard by the men that would rather destroy them ~ and their lives ~ than to give them the opportunity to VOTE…– THIS IS SUFFRAGETTE.

Having worked in the laundry her whole life, young wife and mother Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) goes about her daily work, trying to ignore the advances of her “pig” boss Norman Taylor (Geoff Bell).

When a fellow co-worker invites Maud to join her for a secret meeting of the SUFFRAGETTES, Maud is awakened to these women, and their cause, striving to secure the right to vote for all women in England.

Torn by the longing to follow her comrades Edith Ellyn (Helena Bonham Carter), Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff) and the leader of their organization Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep) into their fight for women’s rights, while not defying her husband Sonny (Ben Winshaw) in the process ~Maud finds out very quickly that these two worlds may not coincide…

When Maud is jailed for nothing more than being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, Sonny finds that her disobedience to him has strained their marriage to the breaking point, while affecting her rights to see her son George (Adam Michael Dodd) too!

As this “fight for rights” rages on, will the woman of England finally get to vote, just like their male counterparts ~ or will their blood, sweat and sacrifice mean nothing, when it is all said and done…

I give SUFFRAGETTE a rating of WAIT AND CATCH IT ON DVD ~ Not to dispel the woman’s plight for justice, freedom and having the same rights as men ~ I’M TOTALLY IN FAVOR OF ALL OF IT – and would have marched right along side of these women, I just don’t think this film warrants a trip to the theater to see it. Mulligans performance is good, even though she takes on the same type of role that we have witnessed many times from her before. Bonham Carter’s role is good too, as we get an opportunity to experience her without her “scary Face” on. And Streep once again gives a better-than-average performance, even though she does nothing more than make a cameo appearance when it is all said and done. I think that every woman, young or old, should take the opportunity to experience this film, as it brings to light the suffering and pain that those before us had experienced, so that we could enjoy the same values and rights as the men in our country, but, I still feel that a film so filled with the angst, pain and depression that this one has, is best suited being viewed in the comfort of your very own home…rather than on the big screen.

Kathy Kaiser