THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND – Rated R – 2 hrs. 16 mins

THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND – Rated R – 2 hrs. 16 mins.

DIRECTOR/WRITER:  Judd Apatow

WRITERS:  Pete Davidson, Dave Sirrus

STARRING:  Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Maude Apatow, Bel Powley, Bill Burr, Ricky Velez, Lou Wilson, and Moses Arias

Venturing down the path of a semi-biographical tale about SNL Funny man Pete Davidson, we walk the mentally unstable path of Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson), who has been trying to get his life on track, since his father met his untimely death serving as a fireman.  Struggling in the relationships he’s cemented with all the women in his life, including his “friend with benefits” steady Kelsey (Bel Powley), his “smarter than she should be” younger sister Claire (Maude Apatow) and his hard working mother, Nurse Margie (Marisa Tomei), he’s shamefully crapping on all of him, and his future it seems as well.  As Scott focuses all of his energy on being the next great tattoo artist, his handy work manages to bring a new man into his mother’s life, Ray (Bill Burr), which is the last thing he needed or wanted for his life, or for his mother’s life either.

Now, between the new boyfriend, his sister’s excursion off to College, and the constant antics with his buddies, Scott finds himself faced with the harsh realities of life, that he has tried so desperately to avoid, for a really, really long time…

I give THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND a rating of MUST SEE ON ANY DIGITAL FORMAT YOU CAN! 

Apatow has done it again, making another funny, heartfelt, and masterfully orchestrated drama, thus giving Davidson the perfect venue to shine within!  He is perfectly cast in this semi-autobiographical storyline of his own life, as it shares some of Davidson’s own life struggles with mental illness, and the anguish of losing his father ~ who was a real-life firefighter who perished in the World Trade Center on 9/11. 

And as perfect as Davidson is, the rest of the casting throughout this film is absolutely superb too, as Apatow brought along his daughter Maude, Oscar winning actress Marisa Tomei, and the perfect stand-in father figure this time around, played by Bill Burr.  There is even the perfect Fire Captain role written into this script, which is acted out by none other than Steve Buscemi, as he once again shines in this small, but pivotal role within this film.  I really hope that come Awards season, which is going to be extremely difficult to predict this year, that those handing out accolades remember Davidson’s performance, because even though I don’t always give rave reviews for his comedy, or sketches on SNL, I was blown away by his performance this time around, and the way Apatow draws out such a perfect combination of his comedic timing, with his real-life innocence and struggles, allowing for Davidson to give the best performance of his career so far!  Take my word for it, THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND is one of those films that will stay and resonate with you, long after the credits have rolled off the screen, it’s just that good!

MATINEE CHAT PODCAST – Reviews of THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2, BY THE SEA, SECRET IN THEIR EYES, SPOTLIGHT, BROOKLYN, TRUMBO and THE NIGHT BEFORE

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By The Sea – Rated R

By-The-Sea-Movie-Poster

As we embark on a journey that Jolie-Pitt not only Directs, but pens this time too – we are transported to the coast of France in the 1970’s – strewn with epic beauty at every turn, as we meet former Dancer Vanessa (Angelina Jolie-Pitt) and her Writer Husband Roland (Brad Pitt).

Struggling through nothing more than a mere “co-habitation” of a marriage, each day unfolds into a consorted effort to ease the pain of their lives with either alcohol or pills…as they desperately try to find a way to reconnect with one another.

Surrounding themselves with this breathtakingly beautiful countryside, it too can do nothing to ease Vanessa’s pain ~ that is until she finds a peephole in their hotel room, and starts to view from afar Lea (Melanie Laurent) and François (Melvil Poupaud) ~ the newly married couple enjoying their honeymoon next door…

Still trying to find anyway he can to connect with his wife – and enjoy the comfort and love that most married couples do – Roland finds the hole in the wall too, as he comes to terms with what has been filling his wife’s days, as he has been away, attempting to write his next “epic novel”.

When Roland confronts Vanessa about her voyeuristic encounters, the two find that enjoying the views from the next room may be “just what the doctor ordered” to get their own marriage back on track

Still suffering from the debilitating loss that sidelined her months ago, Vanessa finds that getting beyond it, and not destroying her marriage in the process, might be best achieved back at home, devoid of all the distractions that inhabit the room next door…

I give BY THE SEA a rating of WAIT AND CATCH IT ON NETFLIX: Even though this film is filled with fabulously beautiful cinematography ~ and fabulously beautiful stars ~ plus the epic classic movie feel of yesteryear that I SO LOVE, I was hoping to tell you to rush to a theater near you to see it, but sadly, I JUST CAN’T ~ And why you ask??? From the emotionless performances from both Jolie-Pitt and Pitt, to the incredibly drawn out storyline, to the “secret torture” that Vanessa is experiencing, even though the reason for it is exposed in the first 10 minutes of the film, BY THE SEA just didn’t do IT for me. Maybe it was because I was hoping for the same epic chemistry we experienced from them as a married couple in MR. & MRS. SMITH, which doesn’t even remotely materialize this time around. Maybe it was because I have loved so many of both Angelina and Brad’s films in the past. Or maybe it’s because I was rooting for Jolie-Pitt as a Director this time around ~ as I think she was robbed for not getting a Best Director nod for UNBROKEN ~ but, regardless of my positive thoughts going in, even the voyeuristic storyline didn’t get me to excited about what I was watching, as I left the theater feeling blasé and unmoved from what I had just seen…

Kathy Kaiser

Check out UNIVERSAL STUDIOS New Trailer of THE HUNTSMAN : WINTER’S WAR – Hitting Theaters April 22, 2016

The huntsman

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR – In Theaters April 22, 2016

The fantastical world of Snow White and the Huntsman expands to reveal how the fates of The Huntsman Eric and Queen Ravenna are deeply and dangerously intertwined.  Chris Hemsworth and Oscar® winner Charlize Theron return to their roles in The Huntsman Winter’s War, an epic action-adventure in which they are joined by Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain, as well as director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan.  Producer Joe Roth (Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland) once again leads the team in a breathtaking new tale nested in the legendary saga.

Long before the evil Queen Ravenna (Theron) was thought vanquished by Snow White’s blade, she watched silently as her sister, Freya (Blunt), suffered a heartbreaking betrayal and fled their kingdom.  With Freya’s ability to freeze any enemy, the young ice queen has spent decades in a remote wintry palace raising a legion of deadly huntsmen—including Eric (Hemsworth) and warrior Sara (Chastain)—only to find that her prized two defied her one demand: Forever harden your hearts to love.

When Freya learns of her sister’s demise, she summons her remaining soldiers to bring the Magic Mirror home to the only sorceress left who can harness its power.  But once she discovers Ravenna can be resurrected from its golden depths, the wicked sisters threaten this enchanted land with twice the darkest force it’s ever seen.  Now, their amassing army shall prove undefeatable…unless the banished huntsmen who broke their queen’s cardinal rule can fight their way back to one another.

Genre: Epic Action-Adventure

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, Nick Frost

Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Written by: Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin

Based on Characters Created by: Evan Daugherty

Produced by: Joe Roth

Executive Producers: Sarah Bradshaw, Palak Patel

Blunt_Huntsman_WebChastain_Huntsman_WebHemsworth_Huntsman_WebHTM_LoversTsr1Sht_RGB_1116_1_WEBTheron_Huntsman_Web

STEVE JOBS – Rated R

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From Director Danny Boyle comes a look inside the man ~ the LEGEND ~ and the entrepreneur extraordinaire and founder of APPLE ~ STEVE JOBS.

Relying on his team of software engineers to develop and present exactly HIS VISION to the world ~ we meet the genius, self-indulgent mastermind himself, Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender).

With his ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit and drive ~ or what I wager to call ~ extreme forcefulness ~ Jobs manages to make his professional life soar, but at the expense of his ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston) and his unclaimed daughter Lisa (Makenzie Moss / Ripley Sobo / Perla Haney-Jardine).

The only constant in Steve’s life that he seems to enjoy ~ is the presence of his steadfast advisor & confidant Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), being by his side every waking minute of the day…

As the prolific years of APPLE are becoming nothing but a distant memory, CEO John Skully (Jeff Daniels), and his board decide that drastic changes need to be made to get THE APPLE BRAND back on track…

And then there is the small issue of respect and/or admiration for the men who forged Steve’s dreams into REALITY from the beginning, as tragically these don’t seem to be a part of Jobs’ repertoire, as he can’t even muster up these attributes for his best friend, colleague and initial designer Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), no matter how much he begs…

Will THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JOBS be translated effectively and efficiently, and on his terms…or will Steve’s inability to deal with people be his ultimate undoing when it is all said and done?

I give STEVE JOBS a review of: WAIT AND CATCH THIS ONE ON NETFLIX. Having seen the 2013 version of Steve Jobs story, I was anxious to see if Fassbender was going to outshine Kutcher in this iconic role, knowing the previous work of these two actors. Even though Fassbender does give an edge to Jobs that Kutcher only scratched the surface of, in my mind, Kutcher’s film is WAY MORE ENJOYABLE TO VIEW IN SO MANY WAYS!!! If you have read the book, or if you haven’t lived under a rock, you have heard over the years that Jobs wasn’t exactly someone we would all rush out to work for. But, in his defense, many times with genius comes unpredictability and antisocial behavior, I’m just saying… and this was very apparent in this film. But, sadly, not much else was portrayed throughout it’s 122 minutes. I personally couldn’t bring myself to enjoy the constant barrage of NASTINESS that seemed to consume each and every moment of this film either – plus – they managed to leave out a significant amount of information on the other aspects of Steve Jobs life, which were exactly the elements that made 2013’s JOBS so much more enjoyable to view. The only shining moments for me were when Winslet was on screen, as at least her character brought some dimension to this film, in the midst of Fassbender’s constant tirades ~ THANK YOU GOD! ~ and Rogen’s short but sweet encounters did show us an emotional side that we usually don’t get from him ~ and this was great to experience too ~ but his small presence didn’t make for much impact either…leading me to suggest that if you want to experience the REAL VERSIONof STEVE JOB’s Life ~ not just him being an a-hole ~ then go pick up the DVD of JOBS with Kutcher and call it a day….

Kathy Kaiser

 

CRIMSON PEAK ~ Rated R

Crimson Peak

Action, Adventure and Fantasy Master Director Guillermo del Toro, who has brought us such fictional masterpieces as HELL BOY I & II, PAN’s LABYRINTH and PACIFIC RIM, joins forces with Screenwriter Matthew Robbins this time around…bringing to life a ghostly tale, centered in the midst of the Victorian era with all of it’s grandeur and HORROR too ~ welcome to CRIMSON PEAK. 

Loosing her mother many years ago, and now desperate to find a real love of her own, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is torn between the admiration of her childhood friend, Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) and a new man in her life, the mysterious Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston).

Not sure of Sharpe’s intentions with his daughter, Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver) summons a Private Investigator to see what Sharpe is really up to…and what about his sister Lucille’s (Jessica Chastain) sudden appearance in town now too…

When her father is suddenly killed, Edith is whisked away by the charming Sharpe to his large, yet very-drafty estate, CRIMSON PEAK. Taking up residence together, but with sister Lucille apparently around every corner, this isn’t exactly the relationship-building environment Edith was hoping to share with her new husband…

When “visitors” keep invading her space both day and night, Edith must figure out what these spirits at every turn are trying to tell her…before it’s too late…

I give CRIMSON PEAK a rating of: WAIT AND CATCH THIS ONE ON NETFLIX ~ I have to admit, HORROR movies have never been my deal…but I was intrigued to view this period piece of ghostly cinematography just the same, as I have enjoyed Del Toro’s movies in the past.   I did enjoy the storyline at the beginning – which was pretty much conveyed in it’s entirety in the first 30 minutes of the film ~ but between the bad CGI of our ghostly intruders to the “unscariness” of much of the film, I left feeling rather disappointed. I was expecting to be scared out of my wits by the time this film was over, but in actuality, I found myself right there with quite of few of my fellow movie viewers, laughing instead at some crucial parts of the film. Don’t get me wrong…there is some incredible cinematography throughout the film, and the costumes throughout are exquisite as well ~ but as scary ghost stories go ~ this film came across as a complete let down. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t intrigued, I wasn’t fazed at all by any of this film. But, in their defense, Wasikowska, Hiddleston, Hunnam and Chastain were all very good in their respective roles…nothing Oscar worthy, but they were entertaining to view, which is just another sad state of affairs as I review this film. I think that maybe Del Toro is better suited telling the tales of his FANTASY WORLD’S, instead of venturing down the ghostly path he tried to pave with CRIMSON PEAK…and that my friends, is my 2 shillings worth…

Kathy Kaiser

EVEREST – Rated PG-13

Everest Movie

Based on numerous books about this tragic 1996 Disaster a top THE BIG ONE ~ EVEREST takes us into the life of mountain guide Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), who has tamed the beast many times before, and who has decided to leave his pregnant wife Jan (Kiera Knightley) for another excursion, long before their new bundle of joy arrives. Readying his team, comprised of seasoned veterans like Guy Cotter (Sam Worthington) and novices too like Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) to attack the summit, Hall finds that maybe the mountain is getting a bit more crowded than usual too…

Joined by two other teams of climbers, including professional guide and climber Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), who has a large group of climbers in tow too, as apparently lots of people want to experience the thrill of paying $65,000 to meet with almost certain death….

Planned down to the time and hour they will ascend and descend from THE BEAST, our climber’s head for glory, one footstep at a time.

When a huge storm comes out of nowhere, it is up to Hall and Fischer to make sure that their climbers make it back to their base camp, and back home to their loved ones as well. When Hall decides to appease one his multi-time climbers with finally making it to the summit, he may have bit off more than he can chew, as this MOTHER OF A STORM rages on…meanwhile, even the climbers who started descending earlier are beginning to feel the storms effects, as they try desperately to beat the storm, but it seems, ol’ mother nature may just have a different idea entirely…

I give EVEREST a rating of: THIS FILM IS A MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN ~ and in IMAX 3-D TOO!!!

Well, you know going in what is about to take place, and that there is no way that someone isn’t going to perish right before your very eyes. But, with that said, EVEREST is A CINEMATIC MASTERPIECE of EPIC PROPORTIONS! And talk about a high profile cast – how many more actors could have signed on to get the you-know-what beat out of them day, after day, while shooting this film. And surprisingly, even with all these famous actors in one place, at one time, this movie has the depth and enormity to let each one shine in their own right. I must share too, in all fairness, there were a few storylines that I wish they would have finished, as we left way too many people behind that were tragically lost amongst all the breathtaking beauty, but, there is no way that I could suggest you catch this film on DVD, because if you really want the experience that is EVEREST – YOU HAVE TO SEE IT ON THE BIGGEST SCREEN THAT YOU CAN FIND!!!

Kathy Kaiser

TRAINWRECK – Rated R

Trainwreck poster

“You dress him like that so that no one else wants to have sex with him? That’s cool…”

From Writer and Director JUDD APATOW ~ who brought us the 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, KNOCKED UP, and THIS IS 40, comes a comedy written by and starring female comedic sensation AMY SCHUMER ~ Yes, this film is a CREATIVE FIRESTORM in the making, So, get ready to go TOTALLY OFF THE RAILS of relationships as we know them, as you take in ~ TRAINWRECK!

Forced to accept the realization that “Monogamy isn’t realistic” after the divorce of her parents – Men’s Magazine correspondent Amy (Amy Schumer) is living the HIGH LIFE – “sleeping” her way through life at warp speed! When she attempts to form some semblance of a normal relationship with boyfriend Steven (played by WWE Wrestler John Cena), even his super-incredible body and baby blues can’t keep her from her “extra-curricular activities” with other guys.

When Amy is given the job of interviewing one of the BEST SPORTS DOCTORS EVER – Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Aaron Connors (Bill Hader), little does she know that “normalcy” might be just around the corner, of course, after the two of them “hook-up”, and then they are blessed with relationship guidance from Dr. Connors friend and patient LeBron James…

I give TRAINWRECK 4 out of 5 Stars: Amy Schumer is absolutely FABULOUS, playing “herself” in this film~ so if you enjoy Amy’s humorously funny anecdotes on REAL LIFE ~ get ready~ as she has so many hilarious one-liners, material that will have you in stitches the entire time you are viewing this film – NO LIE!!! And the males in the audience during the advanced screening were laughing their “you know what’s” off too, because if Amy isn’t keeping the goods times rolling with her sexual exploits and off-color humor, Hader and James and their “male bonding” make for some fantastic viewing too! Apatow and Schumer have hit a HOME RUN bringing Amy’s writing and comedic genius to the BIG SCREEN with this film. Take my world for it, this is one romantic comedy that you ARE BOTH going to want to see ~ I haven’t enjoyed a film like I enjoyed TRAINWRECK in quite some time!! So, if you ask me, TRAINWRECK is the MUST SEE FILM that everyone will want to check out this weekend! WAY TO GO AMY ;)…and JUDD TOO!!!

Kathy Kaiser

JURASSIC WORLD – Rated PG-13

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“God help us, we’re in the hands of Engineers” – BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERS this time around!”

Writer and Director Colin Trevorrow joins forces with fellow writers Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connelly and Michael Crichton to bring to LIFE a film slightly reminiscent of it’s predecessor 22 years ago ~ but with more incredible CGI, tons of excitement, and maybe newly created dinosaurs too – so buckle in – as we journey into the new – JURASSIC WORLD!

Raising the bar again, and again to entice more attendance into his newly advanced theme park – Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) has had his genetic genius, Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) working overtime to create THE NEXT BIG THING (pun intended) to mesmerize the hundreds of thousands who venture to his amusement park every year.

Tasked with making sure every aspect of JURASSIC WORLD is under control, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) doesn’t really have time to take care of her two nephews – Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson), so she places this “job” on her subordinate Zara (Katie McGrath), who is having trouble keeping track of them, to say the least.

While the boys are running around checking out all that Aunt Claire has helped create – we meet the “raptor trainer” himself – Owen (played by Chris Pratt), who has these carnivorous creatures eating out of the palm of his hand – instead of eating him outright…which seems to be a really positive thing..considering!

But, just like from days gone by, when Dinosaurs were outsmarting humans in Jurassic Park, JURASSIC WORLD is in for a rude awakening, as their latest genetic hybrid creation is turning out to be a lot more than they bargained for….

I give JURASSIC WORLD 4 out of 5 Stars: Leave it to Executive Producer Steven Spielberg to make sure there are enough references back to his original classic, that you don’t forget who originated this storyline! But, to my surprise, there were also enough new and exciting elements throughout that you aren’t saying – been there, done thatthe whole time either. Of course, when you factor in the 22 years of technological advances that are at Trevorrow’s disposal this time around – JURASSIC WORLD – becomes a much bigger and scarier film. I actually found myself jumping quite a few times as the 3D images of those incredible Jurassic creatures seemed to leap off the screen – so for full effect, try to catch this one in 3D!   Howard and Pratt are excellent together as they attempt to save Claire’s nephews and of course, spark a little romance too. And it was great to see Vincent D’Onofrio in a more significant role in this film too, playing Hoskins – the crazy militant, self-described genius, who is going to put Owen’s raptor training to good use. I have loved him in such films as MEN IN BLACK, THE BREAKUP, and THE JUDGE, but these roles were never substantial…until now!! Plus, seeing Lowery, a.k.a. Jake Johnson at the control desk of this incredible place made me happy too, as I love to watch him on the small screen in NEW GIRL each and every week! So, if you loved THE ORIGINAL FILM – Jurassic Park – then this film is a definite MUST SEE for you! And if you have been hoping as I, that this film will be better than THE LOST WORLD (JR 2) or JURASSIC PARK 3, well you are in luck there as well, as this one is SOOOOOO MUCH BETTER than either of those films ever hoped to be. I’m not sure it is the writing, the directing, the CGI or the fact that they spent 150M+ to make this film – All I know is that it will definitely be worth the price of admission to catch this film on THE BIG SCREEN at a theater near you this weekend. Take my world for it – you don’t want to wait to see JURASSIC WORLD on pay-per-view or DVD, because this is one film you absolutely have to view in 3D and on the biggest screen you can find!!

Kathy Kaiser