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Keith VansickleKeith the Critic

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Lady Bird

Lady Bird 1 e1504620203498This movie is about a teenaged girl's life and her love/hate relationship with her mother.  Christine McPherson, who is played by Saoirse Ronan, has given herself the name Lady Bird.  She lives with her mom, dad, brother, and brother's girlfriend in a small home in Sacramento.  She dreams of going away to college and leaving home and deals with the usual teenage issues with friends, boys, and school.  Her mother, Marion, who is played by Laurie Metcalf, is a nurse and is always pushing Lady Bird.  Lady Bird in turn goes back and forth between loving and hating her mother. 

This movie is one of the best films I've seen all year.  Greta Gerwig wrote and directed Lady Bird and she did a phenomenal job.  The movie mimics real life as it is for most teenage girls.  It shows real depth into Lady Bird's feelings.  Saoirse Ronan should receive a best actress Oscar nomination, Laurie Metcalf should get a supporting actress nomination, Greta Gerwig should get a best director/writer nomination, and the movie itself should be nominated for best picture.  That's how great this movie is.  You currently have to go outside of Topeka to see it, but it's worth the drive.  I gave this movie 4 out of 4 stars. 

Four out of Four Stars

Roman Israel, Esq.

Denzel Washington plays Roman Israel who is a lawyer.  Roman believes in standing up for what is right and has spent his life developing briefs that he hopes will one day change how the justice system works.  He works tirelessly in a Roman Israel Esqsmall two-man law firm and is happy to be second fiddle and not seen. 

When his partner dies, he is forced to find work elsewhere.  He decides to work in a high class law firm for George Pierce, who is played by Colin Farrell.  He doesn't fit in and when he is forced to represent a murder suspect, he learns the identity of his accomplice.  When his client is killed, he decides to anonymously name the other killer and collect the $100,000 reward.   While some things are now looking better for his life, he struggles with his conscious. 

The only good part of this movie was the two main actors.  Denzel can play any part in any movie and he will be great.  Colin Farrell was pretty good as well.  However, the script and the directing were poor.  There were a lot of loose ends that had me scratching my head.  I can only give this movie 2 out of 4 stars and that's totally due to Denzel Washington and Colin Farrell. 

two out of Four Stars

Justice League

Justice LeagueThis includes Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman,  Ezra Miller as Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.  Superman, who is again played by Henry Cavill, has died and the world is at the mercy of Steppenwolf who is in search of three Mother Boxes on Earth. Dianna's mother warns her of Steppenwolf's intentions.  Dianna joins with Batman to recruit assistance to stop him.  With the help of the others and information from Commissioner Gordon, who is played by J.K. Simmons, they must save Earth without the help of Superman. 

I was excited to see the Justice League and went home horribly disappointed with the script.  I thought Zack Snyder was a terrible director.  Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot tried hard to make this movie enjoyable.   Some of the special effects were great and at other times cheap looking.  I'll be surprised if the movie makes enough money to cover it's cost.  I hope they still decide to make a sequel but they need to choose better writing and directing.  It's no where near as good as the Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan or the recent Wonder Woman.  I'm sad to say that I can only give this movie 2 out of 4 stars. 

two out of Four Stars

Wonder

Wonder

Wonder stars Julia Roberts as Isabel Pullman and Owen Wilson as her husband, Nate.  They have two children:  Olivia, who is played by Izabela Vidovic, and August, who is played by Jacob Tremblay.  Auggie, as he is known , was born with a facial deformity and has been through many surgeries.  Still he likes to wear a helmet in public to avoid the stares. 

Auggie has been home-schooled by his mother who put her career on hold to care for him.  However, she and Nate have decided that it's time for him to be in school with other children now that he's ready for middle school.  The first day of school goes as he expects and he's treated as an outcast.  But soon he meets Jack, who is played by Noah Jupe, and he finally has a best friend.

When Halloween arrives, Auggie overhears Jack making fun of him with the class bully and life returns as it was.  It seems his only friends are his family.

This book is based on the book of the same name written by R.J. Palacio.  It's a very heart-warming movie that has excellent directing and a well-written script.  The acting was really fantastic, especially Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jack Tremblay.  I was very impressed by Julia Roberts.  She gets better and better as an actress as she gets older. 

Take your family as this movie is for all ages.  I gave this movie 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. 

3 and half stars

 

Murder on the Orient Express

murder on the orient express poster headerThis movie is a remake of the original Agatha Christie novel.  It's the fourth time the movie has been made - first in 1974, again in 2001, and previously in 2010.  This version features an all-star cast.  The main character is a detective named Hercule Poirot who is played by Kenneth Branagh.  He is obsessive compulsive and bothered by things that seem out of place.  He catches a ride on the Orient Express on his way to his next case.  The other passengers include Pilar Estravados (Penelope Cruz), Gerhard Hardman (Willem Dafoe), Princess Dragomiroff (Judi Dench), Samuel Ratchett (Johnny Depp), Hector McQueen (Josh Gad), Dr. Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr), and Caroline Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer) to name a few.  When Ratchett is killed one night on the train, Hercule must determine who killed him.

I'm not sure why someone felt the need to make this movie again.  Four times is enough.  Kenneth Branagh directed this movie as well as starred in it.  I think his acting was good but he failed with the directing.  With all the big name stars, the overall impressing of the acting was just OK.  The scenery along the train route was beautiful but the movie was not good.  Hopefully this will be the last attempt at a remake of Murder on the Orient Express.  I gave this movie 2 out of 4 stars. 

two out of Four Stars 

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