BAD BOYS FOR LIFE – Rated R – 2 hrs. 3 mins. 

 

Bad Boys for LIfe

“Entertaining throughout, Bad Boys for Life proves that the Best Cop Duo EVER…is alive and well!” – Kathy Kaiser, Matineechat.com 

BAD BOYS FOR LIFE – Rated R – 2 hrs. 3 mins. 

DIRECTED BY:  Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah 

WRITTEN BY:  Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, Joe Carnahan, and George Gallo 

STARRING:  Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Alexander Ludwig, Joe Pantoliano, Paola Nunez, Vanessa Hudgens, Charles Melton, Kate del Castillo, Jacob Scipio, and DJ Khaled

Well, it’s been 25 years since the “Bad Boys of Summer” popped on the big screen with my favorite cop duo EVER, taking on the bad guys in Miami… and now it seems as both Detective Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and his partner Detective Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are struggling with getting older, Marcus is contemplating retiring from the force, to enjoy what is left of his life, with his family, and new grandbaby.  But for Mike, riding his Detective life into the sunset, is all he ever plans to do.  Well, not so fast here, as it seems someone is hell bent on taking Mike out, and it’s going to not only take Marcus and Mike to find out who it is, but the newly advanced police team known as AMMO (Advanced Metro Miami Operations), full of irritating young cops, to help save Mike from ultimate peril…

I give BAD BOYS FOR LIFE a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON DVD! Of all the cop duos in film, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are my favorite pairing, as they bring the right amount of chemistry and funniness, they bring each time to a Bad Boys production.  And as we embark on the 3rd installment of this franchise, I was actually wondering if it’s been too many years – 17 to be exact since Bad Boys II hit the big screen – for the same chemistry to be there between them?  And I can gladly share that it’s as if no time has passed at all, as they are both back, in all their glory, as out favorite detectives defending the streets of Miami!  But with that said, there is something missing with this latest installment too, as it just doesn’t have the same intensity as a whole, as the original two films did.  It may be as simple as the fact that this film doesn’t have Michael Bay, and his intense movie making at the helm.  Or it may be that this films multi-dimensional storyline, veering off in different directions, is what ends up taking away from the film as a whole for me. All I know is that I was hoping for a little more from this Bad Boys for Life, when it was all said and done.  But, regardless of these minor flaws throughout, Bad Boys For Life is still fun, and very entertaining, leading me to suggest that if you have enjoyed the previous films as much as I have in the past, that you have no choice but to head out to a theater near you to catch Bad Boys for Life this weekend!  But, if you weren’t a fan of the franchise before, you might end up being more discontented than I was by the time this film ends, leaving me to suggest that you might want to wait to catch this latest installment on the small screen in your home, once it hits on DVD…

Review of WHERE’S MY ROY COHN? – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 37 mins. 

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“This is one perfectly-crafted documentary, that you don’t want to miss!”

Kathy Kaiser, Matineechat.com 

 

WHERE’S MY ROY COHN? – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 37 mins. 

DIRECTOR:  Matt Tyrnauer 

STARRING:  Roy M. Cohn, Ken Auletts, Joseph McCarthy, Sam Roberts, Anne Roiphe, Steve Rubell, Roger Stone, Donald Trump and Barbara Walters.

Deeply embedded in fiber of American Politics from the ripe young age of 23, Roy Cohn became one of the master-manipulators of our Justice system, and a mentor to both President Ronald Reagan and our present Commander in Chief too, Donald Trump.

With archival footage from throughout his life, Director Matt Tyrnauer brings Roy Cohn and his influences in politics, the mafia, and avoidance to face the “real facts” of his own life too to the surface, as we experience this powerful man’s professional, and personal life…

I give WHERE’s MY ROY COHN? a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN:  As Documentary’s go ~this one is superb ~ as we learn the inner workings of the mastermind behind McCarthy era politics within this country, and how this ruthless manipulator managed to keep many a politician, mafia figure, or love interest, from heading to “the big house” on his watch.  Tyrnauer manages to tell an in-depth, and very fascinating true story of Cohn’s life, as he builds his life as a lawyer, tax evader, and closeted homosexual, all while surrounding himself a select group of high-profile socialite friends from both the public, and private sectors.  It’s amazing to see how easily this man managed to carve out a place for himself In American Politics, without ever heading to Congress, or occupying the White House.  It is also amazing to watch his hypocritical demeanor throughout, as he strives to persecute gay government employees, all while he lives as a closeted gay man throughout his entire life.  I was also amazed how this film managed to make me feel empathy one minute, and then ultimately contempt, disdain and disgust, as his convictions against homosexuality, and his sincere denial of having contracted the AIDS virus, from his rumored daily sexual escapades, became too much.  And how fitting, with all the hypocrisy happening throughout Cohn’s life, that Tyrnauer would use an exact quote from the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump,  when he references the poor legal representation he was receiving regarding the Russian probe, enquiring to Jeff Sessions “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” as the name of his perfectly crafted film.

ALL IS TRUE – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 41 mins. 

ALl is true

This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser

 

“Branagh’s performance is more mesmerizingly beautiful with each passing frame!”  Kathy Kaiser, matineechat.com

  

ALL IS TRUE – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 41 mins. 

DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh 

WRITTEN BY:  Ben Elton 

STARRING:  Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Kathryn Wilder, Lydia Wilson, Sam Ellis and Ian McKellan

Distraught over the burning of a play house during one of his productions, William Shakespeare (Kenneth Branagh) finds himself returning home, to live out his days with his wife Anne (Judi Dench), and surviving children Judith (Kathryn Wilder) and Susannah (Lydia Wilson).  Having never truly mourned the loss of his only son Hamnet (Sam Ellis), Shakespeare finds his life in complete disarray, as the women in his life are less than amenable to his arrival in their lives, nor his attempt to finally mourn the loss of son, so many years removed.

Shakespeare also soon finds that his decision to no longer write is sucking the life right out of him, just as much his decision to try to place himself back into the lives of those that have longed for his love and affections for far too long…

And when alas it seems that Shakespeare’s days on this earth are numbered, he must come to terms with own shortcomings, while trying to devise a plan that will provide for his family, even when he is no longer here to provide for them…

I give ALL IS TRUE a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN:  Venturing back to the 1600 England may not intrigue many people to rush out to the theater this weekend, but once you see what Kenneth Branagh has created, you will be glad that you took a chance on this beautiful film, based on the final days of the most world renowned Poet, Playwright, and Actor. Branagh’s performance throughout is absolutely superb, as he seems to channel William Shakespeare throughout each passing frame. This performance is definitely one of his best, and most profound, as he draws you into the life and times of this extraordinarily talented, yet extremely tormented individual.  Dench is also perfectly cast as Shakespeare’s older, and somewhat stoic companion, adding another wonderful performance to her repertoire with this film too.  Writer Ben Elton also did a fabulous job, expressing the arrogance, yet sympathetic nature of the greatest playwright of all time.  Extraordinary too along the way, was the incredible cinematography throughout, dropping you deep into the English countryside, and into a world so perfectly crafted, you feel as if you have been transported back to Circa 1600 England, without any effort at all.  And once you add in the fabulous performances by Wilder and Wilson, playing Shakespeare’s surviving daughters throughout the film, you end up with one incredibly moving ~ and profoundly enjoyable movie experience ~ that surprisingly, even my 19-year-old daughter completely enjoyed.  The only negative thing for me within the entire film was it’s slow start…but if you can make it through the first fifteen minutes, and you allow  this film to totally engross all your senses, you will be glad that you gave ALL IS TRUE a glance this weekend, at a theater near you!

Kathy vs. T.K.’s view of THE INTRUDER – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 42 mins.

The INTRUDER

This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser 

 

THE INTRUDER – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 42 mins.

DIRECTOR: Deon Taylor

WRITER:  David Loughery

STARS:  Meagan Good, Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy and Joseph Sikora

When we meet young married couple Annie (Meagan Good) and Scott (Michael Ealy), they have decided that life in the city just isn’t for them, and they decide to look for their forever home out in the country.  When the perfect house comes on the market, it seems that its owner for many years, Charlie (Dennis Quaid), has found the perfect couple to take on his estate, as he needs to move on from this place, to be with his daughter.

As Annie and Scott try to settle in to their new home, it seems that Charlie is still hanging around, just in case they need anything.  When weeks past, and Charlie still hasn’t left, Scott’s friend Mike (Joseph Sikora), alerts his friend, that he thinks something is terribly off with the past owner of their home.

Annie dismisses both Scott, and Mike’s claims that Charlie is becoming a real creeper, popping up all in bizarre places throughout their home, almost daily.  But will Annie ever realize that her new found friend Charlie, may have had ulterior motives, when he sold them “his home” right from the start…

I give THE INTRUDER a rating of WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON NETFLIX or STREAMING:  It just pains me to give this film such a mediocre review, as Meagan Good, and Dennis Quaid’s acting throughout is really good.  But between the slow pace of this film, and its “been there, seen that” vibe throughout every inch of it, THE INTRUDER is just substandard, any way you look at it.  I have to admit, I was excited to see Quaid play a creeper, as he is usually cast in “super nice guy” roles.  And I have definitely loved some of his nice guy, and edgier roles too along the way, as I loved him all the way back in 1993, when he was cast as part of the ensemble team in THE RIGHT STUFF.  I also adored him playing a father opposite Natasha Richardson for the remake of Parent Trap (1998).  I even enjoyed seeing him play a womanizing hubby, opposite Julia Roberts in 1995’s SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT.  Sadly though, even his pretty good creeper vibe in this rather intense role, couldn’t make me warm up to enjoying this film.  I mean it isn’t the worse thing I’ve been subjected to all year, but THE INTRUDER isn’t even close to hitting my top 10 so far, and we are only in May.  I just think that this film could have used more character development, more intenseness, and most importantly, a better written script where all of its characters are a little bit smarter, and a little bit wiser, as the signs are there for everyone involved, every step of the way , but just like in a poorly written horror film, when everyone decides to go into the dark to seek out their ill-fated demise,   THE INTRUDER went right down this rabbit hole too.  This film really did have so much potential along the way, but sadly Director Deon Taylor, just didn’t manage to capitalize on any of it, from any of his actors, when it was all said and done…

 

This humble opinion is brought to by you T. K. Edwards

THE INTRUDER  – Rated PG-13  – 1 hr 42 mins

Director:  Deon Taylor

Cast:  Meagan Good, Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy

A young married couple buy a beautiful house on several acres of land only to find out that the man they bought it from refuses to let go of the property.

Movies about obsession are only as good as the actor that is portraying the person that is obsessed.  If that actor can pull off the character and scare the snot out of the audience then you know you’ve got a story that will follow too.  It doesn’t matter what the story is about, just as long as the “villain” is nuts and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stick up. Here are some examples of movies that were only good because of the actors playing some sort of obsessed psychopath:

  • THE FAN – Robert DeNiro
  • FATAL ATTRACTION – Glenn Close
  • THE RESIDENT – Jeffrey Dean Morgan
  • SINGLE WHITE FEMALE – Jennifer Jason Leigh
  • UNLAWFUL ENTRY – Ray Liotta
  • PLAY MISTY FOR ME – Jessica Walter
  • HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE – Rebecca De Mornay
  • FEAR – Mark Wahlberg
  • SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY – Patrick Bergin
  • GRETA – Isabelle Huppert
  • THE CRUSH – Alicia Silverstone

THE INTRUDER is now added to this list for one reason and one reason only…Dennis Quaid.  I’ve never seen him in a role like this before. He is equal parts crazy and creepy as balls.  It’s funny how I have seen loads of his movies and never placed his signature smile as having the capacity of being so sinister.  Maybe it’s because I’m so used to him playing a good guy that I was so shocked at his performance in THE INTRUDER, but either way…Bravo! Mr. Quaid.  I really do hope his performance in this movie opens up more opportunities for him to play villains because he definitely has the chops to play them.  As for THE INTRUDER, you don’t have to see this one in theaters to enjoy it because watching it on the couch will be just as entertaining as it would be at the cinema.  But if you were to twist my are my suggestion would probably be to wait and watch this one at home. Until next time, thanks for reading.

P.S. – There is no post credit scene.

 

Review of THE FRONT RUNNER – Rated R – 1 hr 53 mins

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THE FRONT RUNNER – Rated R – 1 hr 53 mins

DIRECTOR/WRITER:  Jason Reitman

WRITERS:  Matt Bai, Jay Carson

STARRING:  Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina and Sara Paxton

Based on the Book “All The Truth Is Out” by Matt Bai, which was based on the real-life demise of Gary Hart’s (Hugh Jackman) bid for the Whitehouse…we venture deep into Hart’s campaign…as he seeks to be the Democratic Nominee for the 1988 Presidential Election…

Viewed as the frontrunner in the race, due to his high virtues and outstanding charisma with the general public, itseems that all of Hart’s campaign staff, including Senior Aid Bill Dixon (J. K. Simmons) are flying high at how good everything is looking in the polls…

That is until rumors start surfacing that Hart may not be “Mr. Faithful” after all to his wife Lee (Vera Farmiga), as it seems that being on the campaign trail makes way for way too many “distractions”…

When Reporters from the Miami Herald decide to stake out Hart’s residence, which was not occupied by his wife, but by another beautiful young woman by the name of Donna Rice (Sara Paxton), its seems that this possible extra-marital affair is about to totally derail Hart’s run for the Whitehouse, as the country we live in – Circa 1988 – isn’t going to turn a blind eye to Hart’s indiscretions, forcing him to drop out of the race…

I give THE FRONT RUNNER a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN or WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON DVD! Jason Reitman is a master storyteller – as he brings Hart’s life, campaign, and its ultimate demise to the big screen.  From the exceptional casting of Jackman playing the charismatic Gary Hart, to Vera Farmiga as the  strong, but “willing to look the other way” wife, Lee Hart, this film is perfectly cast, with some exceptional performances throughout by them both.  And even though we know this true-story from beginning to end, Reitman manages to tell this story through the lives of numerous individuals closely involved, giving us a glimpse, and a new understanding of exactly how many people were affected by Hart’s womanizing ways.  As enjoyable as it was to view this film, I was also saddened by some of its content too, as once again I began pondering, as a married women myself, how women can turn a blind’s eye to their husband’s indiscretions.  I guess you never really know how you will handle that situation until you are in those shoes.  All-in-All I thoroughly enjoyed Reitman’s multidimensional take on Hart’s demise, I just wish that the performances throughout, although entertaining, might have been more exceptional, and award worthy, with the film popping at this time of year.

Kathy Kaiser

Review of VENOM – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 52 mins.

Venom

VENOM – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 52 mins.

DIRECTOR:  Ruben Fleischer  

WRITERS:  Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, Kelly Marcel and Will Beall

                    Based on the Marvel Comics by Todd McFarlane and David Michelinie

STARRING:  Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Jenny Slate, Riz Ahmed, Reid Scott and Woody Harrelson

As we venture into the life of investigative reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), he is living the high life with his fiancé, Attorney Anne Weying (Michelle Williams).  When Eddie is asked to interview the Scientific genius Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), Brock can’t help himself but the ask the pressing questions about the experiments that Drake is conducting…and the ties to his pharmaceutical companies too.

Pushing a little too hard in the wrong direction with his questioning of Drake, Brock finds himself in lots of hot water, and now without a job, a luxurious apartment, or a significant other…

When Dr. Dora Skirth (Jenny Slate) decides to enlist the help of Brock to disclose the experiments that Drake is conducting ~ as they have veered way of course~ she ultimately sets Brock up to face the demon organic mass from another universe that Drake has had under wraps…this leaving Brock too find a way to live with, and accept his new internal friend, Venom…

I give VENOM a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS MARVEL FLICK ON DVD!  Hardy is awesome as the investigative reporter fighting with his new internal “parasitic friend” Venom.  Williams is good too, playing the fiancé that is forced to move on from Brock’s craziness, even though she is still madly in love with the guy.  Add in the perfect playing of scientific mad man Drake by Riz Ahmed, and scientist in way over her head Dr. Dora Skirth, played by Slate, plus the good Dr. Dan, played by Scott, and you have one twisted, and darker than normal Marvel flick, that will keep you guessing the whole time to see how this creeper of a film is going to play out!  Is this the best MARVEL FLICK ever?  Not even close ~ but I personally enjoyed it much more than I did last year’s THOR: RAGNAROK, with its forced humor, and less than enthralling storyline.  And of course, you once again have to stay firmly planted in your seat till the credits are done rolling, because what would a Marvel movie be, if we didn’t find out at exactly where our newly formulated Good Guy Brock vs. Villain Venom are going to show up next…

Kathy Kaiser

ALPHA – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 36 mins.

ALPHA

ALPHA – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 36 mins.

DIRECTOR:  Albert Hughes

WRITERS:   Albert Hughes, Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt 

STARRING:  Kodi Smit McPhee, Natassia Malthe, Leonor Valera and Johannes Haukur Johannesson

If you like wildlife, scenery, and closed caption (yes you have to read), this is the movie for you.  If you don’t like any of the three you will pick this movie apart. Alpha is set in Europe 20,000 years ago.  We meet a tribe with a coming of age boy Keda (Kodi-Smit-McPhee), who  is the son of the chief (Johannes Haukur Johannesson).

The chief is proud of his son and has chosen him to go on the hunt with the other men of the tribe.  They go on this hunt every year, where they hunt Bison.  Keda’s Mother is worried because Keda is more of a sensitive soul who leads with his heart, not with his strength like his father.

Alpha is rated PG-13, but this is mainly because of some of the intense hunting scenes, directed by Albert Hughes who in 2010 brought us the Book of Eli.  Hughes has a great eye when it comes to filming the landscapes, and some incredible CGI from the stampeding Bison to the scene where Keda goes under the Ice in a lake.

The one problem I had with Alpha is they try to make an emotional connection throughout the flick, but it never works.  I think if they wouldn’t have tried so hard it would have went smoother with the relationship between Keda and the Grey wolf.

Yes, there is a Wolf that Keda comes in contact with (I won’t explain how this happens, but I will let you know that it is a great scene).  The Wolf and Keda both learn from each other, heal, and keep each other alive throughout the Journey back to Keda’s tribes camp.

I grade Alpha a B- while I loved the story, and it is visually one of the best I have seen this year, there is too many plot points and things you can pick apart.

Brad Watts

Equalizer 2 – Rated R – 2 hrs 1 min.

The-Equalizer-2-Movie-EQ2-Film

Equalizer 2 – Rated R – 2 hrs 1 min.

Director: Antoine Fugua

Cast:  Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders and Melissa Leo

There is No Equal

Four years later and Denzel Washington has his first ever sequel.  In 2014, “The Equalizer” blazed across screens and gave moviegoers a genuine “superhero” who lives by a specific code and looks to get revenge for those who cannot do it themselves.  “The Equalizer 2” picks-up some time after the events of the first film.  Robert McCall (Washington) now lives in a small apartment complex, working as a Lyft driver; taking care of small time issues for strangers.  Ranging from solving international problems to small-time assaults, no crime is too miniscule for righteousness in the eyes of Robert.  This time around, we are given a more in-depth look into his OCD cues and how it affects his daily life; embodied-beautifully, much to the credit of Washington’s performance.  However, he is called to help his friends, Susan (Melissa Leo) and Brian Plummer (Bill Pullman) as tragedy strikes.

Needing help to solve and hunt-down his revenge, Robert must reconnect with some friends from CIA Black Ops-past, including Dave York (Pedro Pascal).  As the stakes are raised, Robert has to dive deeper into his past and confront his own demons in-order to avenge those he loved.  The first film packed an impressive punch; bolstering action, brutal violence, and a tale filled with revenge.  This time around, “The Equalizer 2” focuses more on the intimate lifestyle of Robert McCall.  Here is where we’re met with the overreaching-but-interconnecting storylines that don’t always seem to connect.  While one of the segments is very heartwarming, it is seldom visited throughout the film and seems like an after-thought addition.  I also felt that the action was toned-down this time as well.  There are a few fun action set pieces, but they are few and far between.  As for the characters, the returning characters are charming but the new ones offer little to the film and its story (and are far too stereotypical).  Luckily, watching Robert’s intense skillset and his brutal punishment is still a blast!  While there aren’t nearly as many bad guys to take care of this time around, the ones that do meet their unfortunate demise at his hands certainly are left wishing they never crossed his path.  At 121 minutes, the film is a bit shorter than its predecessor but it takes longer to get the ball rolling as well.  The film builds on some elements of the original film with precision, but bloats it with other various side stories and characters that just don’t add all that much to the story.

“The Equalizer 2” celebrates violence, but much in the same way the original film (and series) did.  Good versus Evil.  Good will always triumph and in impressive fashion; showcased by Robert’s cool, calm demeanor and how he calculates every move he makes.  Robert McCall is a superhero, one with no super powers but an incredible set of skills.  Though it is a small step-back, “The Equalizer 2” still has plenty of charm and wit to entertain both returning and new viewers alike, but hopefully this won’t be the last we see of Robert McCall!

3.5/5  ~ Tony Mosello

Review of JUMANJI – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr 59 mins

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“Adventurous FUN for EVERYONE” – Kathy Kaiser, Matinee Chat

JUMANJI – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr 59 mins

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Bobby Cannavale

Director:  Jake Kasdan

The Game Has Evolved

It’s been 22 years since the 1995 classic Jumanji, starring Robin Williams, thrilled audiences Worldwide and became a cinematic icon.  Now, a new story is ready to be told in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”.  In 1996, after the events of the first film, the cursed game washes ashore and is found by an unfortunate soul.  One night, the game transforms-itself into a video game version and the kid mysteriously disappears, never to be heard from again.  20 years later.  Four high schoolers: a nerd with his focus on schoolwork named Spencer (Alex Wolff), a star athlete struggling through class named Fridge  (Ser’Darius Blain), a young, pretty, oblivious popular girl named Bethany (Madison Iseman), and a quiet introvert named Martha (Morgan Turner) end-up in detention together one day.  While given instructions to clean the old storage area, Spencer stumbles-onto the video game console containing Jumanji.  To escape their boredom, they all grab a controller and select their characters.  Only this is no ordinary game, as they soon find themselves being sucked into the game itself.

As they become aware, they fall from the sky into the jungle of Jumanji, but not as themselves, as the avatar character they selected.  Spencer is now Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Fridge is his trusted companion zoologist Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart), Bethany is a cartographer named Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black), and Martha is a martial arts master named Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan).  Met by a guide named Nigel (Rhys Darby), the group must utilize each other’s strengths and weaknesses to return the legendary “Jaguar’s Eye” to lift the curse and free Jumanji, while avoiding the evil John Van Pelt.  Various obstacles, challenges, and encounters await them in the beautiful jungle of Jumanji, but the visuals certainly paint a beautiful canvas for the game to unfold-upon.

When first announced, I admit I had my doubts.  Not only were they “messing with” a beloved franchise that just lost its leader, but they were handing it off to a group of were sure to make an over-comedic spectacle.  Put your minds at ease my friends, while “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” hardly captures the magic of the original, it doesn’t do any harm to the cinematic classic either.  It’s obvious to see that there were good intentions when filming the movie.  The main cast has an absolute blast with their roles’; with Jack Black absolutely stealing the show acting as a teenage girl (I can’t wait to see the gag reel)!  Johnson and Hart prove once-again that they are at the top of the present comedy duo food chain with endless one-liners and their impeccable chemistry.  “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” features a few other characters as well, such as: Bobby Cannavale’s evil John Van Pelt and Nick Jonas’ avatar Seaplane McDonough that help dive-deeper into the mythology of Jumanji.  And yes, there are a couple well-placed references to the original film as well!  As you can already tell, the story is certainly very thin, but I did enjoy the video game references that make it feel like an actual game (cut scenes, repeated dialog, and characters’ number of lives).  However, the film recognizes that and makes it very clear that all it wants to do it entertain you; and it succeeds!  The jokes, for the most part, are hilarious, there are a few fun action sequences for all of the characters to enjoy, and the cast is an absolute joy to watch as they deal with their inner selves.  At 119 minutes, the film takes a little while to get going, but once it does it keeps-up the fun until the credits roll.  While certainly not groundbreaking, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is a laugh-packed action adventure that is fun for the whole family!

3/5 Stars – TONY MOSELLO

 

ONLY THE BRAVE – Rated PG-13 – 2 hrs. 13 mins. 

Only-the-Brave

“Do you want to talk about it…or do you want to do your John Wayne thing?…”

 

ONLY THE BRAVE – Rated PG-13 – 2 hrs. 13 mins. 

“Grippingly powerful and moving…ONLY THE BRAVE is a true testament to the lives of these exceptional men…” Kathy Kaiser – Matinee Chat  

Starring Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly, James Badge Dale and Andie MacDowell

Director Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy, OBLIVION) takes on the elements and the true-life story of these elite firefighters, the Granite Mountain Hot Shots, showcasing their lives and their commitment to save land and homes from annihilation from the wildfires that take grip of the western part of this nation…THIS IS, ONLY THE BRAVE!

Cocky and bullheaded, but with a heart of gold, we meet Supervisor Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin), leading his training group of firefighters into the wilderness. As his team struggles to become Elite firefighters known as “HOT SHOTS”, Marsh decides to take on a few rookies to complete his team, including “total mess up” Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller).

As they work for years trying to convince the feds that they are the “best of the best”, friend and colleague Duane Steinbrink (Jeff Bridges) calls in a favor, getting these guys the assessment they need to be branded ELITE. And, as luck would have it, even the youngsters of the group pull it together to prove that they are all worthy of this elite distinction they crave.

As the newly founded Granite Mountain Hot Shot team takes on blaze after blaze, they are called up to work a large wildfire taking over mass amounts of land in the ranching community of Yarnell Hill. Now, its up the this team, and the many other elite groups of Hot Shots that have been called in, to try to save this land, and its inhabitants from peril…

As our team settles in on Yarnell Hill to take on this massive blaze, extremely hot conditions, and a massive storm surge changes its direction, turning it into an inferno that now rages out of control…and which has now surrounded these men, leaving 19 of them fighting for their own lives…

I give ONLY THE BRAVE a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN ~ Powerfully moving with each passing frame, ONY THE BRAVE is one of those films that draws you in, and doesn’t let go. From its gripping true-life storyline of the loss of life for this elite team of firefighters, to the incredible cinematography of the beautiful western landscape of our nation, ONLY THE BRAVE is one of those films that highlights the beauty of our world, and the beauty and frailty of humanity, all at the same time! Brolin’s performance is spot on as the brash, and rough and tough leader of this elite group of firefighters. Bridges performance is good too, as the friend and confidant that aids in these men achieving their elite status. Teller’s performance is exceptional, as the young outcast of the group, working his way through his own poor decisions in life, and through no fault of his own, becoming the only survivor of this great tragedy, as the Yarnell Hill Fire claims the lives of the other 19 “brothers” of his team. But, Jennifer Connelly’s performance this time around is the most gripping of all, as she truly brings it to her performance in this film, and leaves it on the screen. Make no mistake about it, ONLY THE BRAVE is a touching, real-life drama that brings to light the commitment and dedication these elite firefighters give to their profession, and their mission, while also shedding light on the how their families pay for their commitment, every step of the way. And the release of this film is very apropos too it seems, as the wild fires in California are slowly being wrangled under control, but only after taking thousands of acres of land, and many peoples homes, their livelihoods, and sadly their lives as well.

If there is only one film you head out to the theater near you this weekend to see, make it ONLY THE BRAVE ~ as this tribute to these 19 brave and courageous men should be viewed by everyone in this country on the big screen at least once!

Kathy Kaiser    

BLADERUNNER 2049 – Rated R – 2 hrs 43 mins.

Bladerunner 2049

BLADERUNNER 2049 – Rated R – 2 hrs 43 mins.

Starring Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, and Ana de Armas 

As we venture into the future of our world, new Blade Runner K (Ryan Gosling), has unearthed a part of the past, that new creator Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), and Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright) would like to keep under wraps…as unleashing what K has found, will lead to absolute destruction of their world…

Following his instructions from Lt. Joshi, and finding more questions than answers as he continues to search for clues, K finds no other alternative, than to seek out previous Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), hoping he can shed some light on what really happened, some 30 years ago…

As the life of replicants vs. humans hangs in the balance, K must find a way to get the truth out of Deckard, before its too late…

I give BLADERUNNER 2049 a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON DVD! Having thoroughly enjoyed the science fiction thriller that Ridley Scott created back in 1982, I knew Director Denis Villeneuve (PRISONERS, SICARIO, ARRIVAL) was going to have to make this film absolutely incredible, if he was going to win me over. Well, he tried really hard, as the twists and turns in the storyline had my attention, along with this film periodically having the same dark and intense feel of its predecessor, but the slow and somewhat stagnating first half of this film, made it really hard to stay engaged. I mean, I’m not complaining that Gosling is in almost every frame of this almost 2.43-hour film. And I loved the dark and sinister character that Leto does once again with sheer perfection. I was even lost in anticipation as to when our original blade runner would appear on screen. But, by the time the action, suspense and storyline finally began to pick up…I was kind of over it already, thus, leading me to suggest ~ If you loved the original film as much as I did, then you owe it to yourself to catch BLADERUNNER 2049 on a BIG SCREEN near you…as you won’t be happy if you don’t experience this film just like you did the original. But, if you weren’t sold on the original, or haven’t had the opportunity to view it, then you may want to make a movie night of it at home and catch the original, and this sequel on your small screen…allowing you to follow along with this storyline…plus allowing for those potty breaks within this films almost 3 hour sequence as well, because take my word for it…there is ample time to take one or two of those at the beginning of this film too…

Kathy Kaiser

SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING – Rated PG-13 – 2 hrs 13 mins.

Spider man HC

SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING – Rated PG-13 – 2 hrs 13 mins.

Starring Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya & Donald Glover

Here Comes Spider-Man!

After our introduction to Spider-Man in “Captain America: Civil War”, fans were left eagerly-anticipating the new look and feel of the character. The film opens as cleanup from the Battle of New York against Loki and the Chitauri is underway. A small construction crew is hired to remove all of the alien items, until they are shut down by Stark Industries. Fast–forward eight years later. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” introduces us to Peter’s normal, everyday life. Struggling for something more after the events in Germany (see “Captain America: Civil War”), Peter spends his nights thwarting small crime in the city. Until one night, he encounters powerful and enhanced weaponry that nearly kills him. With Peter wanting to investigate and contribute, and Tony (aka Happy) keeping a watchful-eye, he must discover who is making all of the weapons. Peter faces the ultimate test in-balancing his public life and his secret one, but he must do so in-order to protect his city, and those he loves.

Tom Holland stars as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. As we witnessed in “Captain America: Civil War”, Holland’s charisma and youthful-nature fit the character perfectly, as it gives us one of, if not, the most true-to-from iterations of the character. Michael Keaton plays Adrien Toomes, the man tasked to clean-up New York and who eventually becomes Vulture. Robert Downey Jr. reprises his phenomenal role of Tony Stark/Iron Man, as he is serving as the “father” figure to Peter. Marisa Tomei returns as Peter’s attractive aunt, May Parker. Jon Favreau is back as Tony’s most-trusted assistant, Happy Hogan. Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role of Pepper Potts. Laura Harrier plays a high school senior who shares her affections for Peter, Liz. Donald Glover has a small role as Aaron Davis. Jacob Batalon plays Peter’s best friend and “the man in the chair”, Ned. Zendaya, Tony Revolori, and Abraham Attah play fellow classmates of Peter: Michelle, Flash, and Abe. Bokeem Woodbine plays one of Toomes’ associates, Herman Schultz/Shocker. Hannibal Buress has a small role as a high school gym teacher, Coach Wilson. Tyne Daly plays the woman in-charge of Stark’s asset containment, Anne Marie Hoag.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” does a marvelous job of establishing Peter Parker in the MCU; it’s filled with humor, storytelling, and plenty of action, which makes it not only one of Marvel’s finest, but the best Spider-Man film yet! First of all, the film relies-heavily on Tom Holland, which is a great thing because he IS Peter Parker. He absolutely nails it, from his moral contemplations to his interactions at school; he is absolutely the most accurate Peter Parker yet! Also making the film such as success is how “young” his character still is. In “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, he’s only 15 years old. Not only do they make plenty of references to the fact, but he is still figuring-out how to use the suit, let alone for what. I love that he isn’t fully-defined or functioning, it makes him seem much more real and it’s a breath of fresh air in the “origin story” canon. It also brings a great father-son dynamic between him and Iron Man, which is clearly what Tony has wanted all along. The supporting cast is great as well: it’s always fun to see Happy, his friends (primarily Batalon) offer plenty of comedic moments, and Keaton is (to the surprise of no one) an excellent villain. Not a villain in the typical sense of the word though. Keaton’s Toomes is the film’s primary antagonist, but I loves how he wasn’t focused on destroying the World or killing innocent civilians; instead, he had his own agenda which I thought was a great change-of-pace for the MCU. While being released under the Sony umbrella, obviously Marvel had their hands-in this as well. This showed that, with compromise and understand, that a joint-studio superhero production is entirely possible; maybe there’s hope for “Fantastic Four” yet! Michael Giacchino’s courageous score is a great addition to the film as well, one that I can’t wait to listen to once it’s released! Sure, the film strongly-benefits from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (with countless references, characters inclusions, etc.), but it is also a great free-standing superhero film that everybody can relate to. Just make sure you go-in knowing as little as possible! “Spider-Man: Homecoming” has a run time of 133 minutes and it slings-by! “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is yet another monstrous hit for Marvel and a badly-needed one for Sony; 2+ hours of pure entertainment, the Spider-Man that we’ve always wanted, and one of the best MCU films yet!

STAY UNTIL AFTER THE CREDITS!!

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” follows Peter Parker after squaring-off against the Avengers, while he is in-search of his true purpose. The film features plenty of humor, a fantastic story, and a ton of awesome action sequences. If you are going to the movies this weekend, go see “Spider-Man: Homecoming”!!

Rating 4.5/5 

Tony Mosello