Keith the Critic
This film is based on the true story from the 1970's in which the Washington Post is facing a dilemma. The New York Times has published classified reports showing that the U.S., in particular Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, knew that the Viet Nam War was going badly. When the Post receives the same information, Editor-in-Chief Ben Bradlee, who is played by Tom Hanks, works throught the evening with the other journalists to prepare the story. Katherine Graham, who owns the paper and is played by Meryl Streep, must decide whether to publish or not knowing that it may result in criminal charges and the end of her newspaper.
Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and Director Steven Spielberg made a good but not great film. I thought the script was OK but again not great. Steven Spielberg did a good job directing. The set was OK and the acting was superb by Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. Meryl Streep received a Golden Globe nomination, and probably will receive an Oscar nomination, but for some reason Tom Hanks did not. Overall the movie is worth seeing as it tells some truth's about what went on during the Viet Nam War by the U.S. government. I gave it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.
All the Money in the World
This movie is about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, who was the grandson of the richest man in the world during the 1970's. J. Paul Getty, who was played by Christopher Plummer, refuses to pay a ransom to the men who kidnapped his grandson.
Getty's son succumbs to pressure by becoming a drug addict and he and wife Gail, who is played by Michelle Williams, divorce. Gail refuses any money in exchange for full custody of their children. So when a ransom of $17 million is demanded, she cannot pay. Gail turns to her ex-father-in-law who refuses to help. Instead he assigns his head of security, Fletcher Chase, to help with negotiations. Chase, who is played by Mark Wahlberg, is able to reduce the ransom to $4 million. In the meantime, Getty III, who is played by Charlie Plummer, has been sold to the Italian mob.
Christopher Plummer should be nominated for a best actor nomination. He was outstanding, especially considering he had about one month to film after the Kevin Spacey debacle. Director Ridley Scott, who should also be nominated, did the right thing by replacing Spacey with Plummer.
The sets were perfect and as you would expect the directing was superb. Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg also deserve nods towards supporing actress/actor awards. I loved this movie and gave it 4 out of 4 stars. It should also get a best picture nomination.
This animated movie follows young Miguel Rivera, voiced by Anthony Gonzalez, who wants to be a musician. The only problem is that his family does not allow music of any kind in their household. Long ago Miguels's great great grandmother's husband left her for a career in music. After this she opened a shoemaking business to care for herself and daughter Coco. Music was to be forever banned.
On the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday, Miguel plans to secretly enter a talent show. He enters the mausoleum of famed musician Ernesto to borrow his guitar. On this day, families display pictures of the members of their family who have died allowing them to visit the Land of the Living for this one day of the year. Inside the mausoleum Miguel becomes invisible to the living and can only be seen by the dead. After discovering that he has been cursed for his thievery, he is taken to the Land of the Dead where he must receive a blessing from his family in order to lift the curse and return home. However, he must do it before sundown.
I enjoyed Coco which won a Golden Globe for best animated movie. The animation was fantastic as was the story. Other voiced roles were done by Benjamin Bratt and Gael Garcia Bernal who were tremendous. I highly recommend that you take your whole family including the older members to this movie. I gave it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
This award winning movie stars Frances McDormand as Mildred, a mother who is fed up with the efforts of the local law enforcement in Ebbing, Missouri. Mildred's daughter was murdered seven months ago and little progress has been made to find the killer. Mildred decides to rent three billboards to keep the case alive while criticizing Sheriff Willoughby, who is played by Woody Harrelson. The billboards read "Raped While Dying", "And Still no Arrests", followed by "How Come, Chief Willoughby". This upsets the locals including officer Jason Dixon, who is played by Sam Rockwell. Dixon and the town folks snub Mildred any chance they can while Willoughby tries to reason with her even though he is dying from cancer. But Mildred is not to be deterred.
This is one of the best films I saw in 2017 as evidenced by its Golden Globe wins as best drama, best actress in Frances McDormand, best supporting actor in Sam Rockwell, and best screen play. This movie was extremely well acted, directed, and written. It was filmed in a little over 30 days which is a huge tribute to this. Every person involved in this movie did a fantastic job. It's still playing at the theatre but it's not a blockbuster like Star Wars, so it may not last much longer. Go see it. It's well worth the price of admission. I gave this movie 4 out of 4 stars.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
This Star Wars installment takes up where The Force Awakens left off in 2015. The Resistance continues to fight against the First Order. Princess Leia, played by Carrie Fisher, is evacuating as Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac, fights off the First Order. Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, has an opportunity to destroy Leia's ship, but cannot do so knowing that his mother is aboard. Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, continues to seek out Luke Skywalker, again played by Mark Hamill. As the last Jedi, the Resistance needs his help.
Luke resists joining the fight but agrees to train Rey in the use of the force. Rey finds that she is able to communicate with Kylo Ren through telepathy. How long can the Resistance continue to hold off the First Order?
This movie was better than Rogue One that came out in 2016. The directing by Rian Johnson was excellent, the script (also by Rian Johnson) was fantastic, as was the looks of the set and the music. And you can't leave out the great special effects always found in a Star Wars movie. I rewatched the first movie and special effects have come a long way. All the last characters made an appearance including the late great Carrie Fisher, John Boyega as Finn, Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, and Adam Driver. All performed fantastically.
This movie gets 4 out of 4 stars. Stay for the tribute to Carrie Fisher at the end. She will be deeply missed.
This movie is about Winston Churchill during his time in office in World War II. The British Parliament were unhappy with the work of Neville Chamberlain and forced his resignation. In his place comes Winston Churchill who is played by Gary Oldman. Churchill has his quirks as his new secretary, Elizabeth Layton (Lily James) soon learns. She is brought to tears on her first day causing Churchill's wife, Clementine (Kristin Scott Thomas) to chastise him.
Churchill's refusal to negotiate with Germany frustrates the members of his War Cabinet and they plan to resign. Churchill must decide whether to stick with his instincts and fight or follow the wishes of his cabinet and work with the Germans.
I enjoyed this movie and especially the performance of Gary Oldman. He has great career work which should help him win an Oscar for his role in Darkest Hour. Lily James was an excellent supporting actress. The movie was good but not great. Historians will find it entertaining as I did but the story is not new. I gave this movie 3 out of 4 stars. Even though I do believe Gary Oldman will be nominated, he will not win.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Welcome back Jumanji. This is the second move in the series that originally starred Robin Williams. In this movie, four teenagers are serving high school detention. They are required to help clean out the school's basement when they find the Jumanji game and as in the original movie are plunked into the game in the middle of the jungle. Spencer, the smart one, becomes tough guy Dr. Smolder Bravestone, and is played by Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson. "Fridge" who is a football player becomes a short zoologist named Franklin "Mouse" Finbar and is played by Kevin Hart. Martha who refuses to participate in gym class becomes sexy martial art expert , Ruby Roundhouse, and is played by Karen Gillan. Bethany who is pretty, popular, and glued to her phone becomes portly Professor Sheldon Oberon and is played by Jack Black. The four must figure out how to return home and soon realize that they each have only three lives to do so.
After figuring out some of the clues, they meet up with Jefferson McDonough. Jefferson who is played by Nick Jonas, has been in the game for a long time but is afraid to continue because he is down to his last life. The newcomers to the game need his help so must convince him to risk his last life.
I very much enjoyed this Jumanji. It was very entertaining. The acting was good, the script was well written, and the special effects were fabulous. It was shot in Hawaii so the scenery was beautiful. The Rock, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan were an all star cast and didn't disappoint. I gave this movie 3 out of 4 stars.
Taraji P. Henson stars in this movie as Mary, who is a hitwoman. After successfully completing a job, she unhappily discovers that she has now orphaned a young boy named Danny. She follows his life and when she learns he is being mistreated by the mob he his drug running for, she kills the top dog and brings Danny home with her. She immediately realizes her mistake when that group blames her boss, Benny, who is played by Danny Glover. She must keep the history of Danny, played by Jahi Di'Allo Winston, a secret. But when Benny's son, Tom, who is played by Billy Brown, discovers the truth, Mary is forced to defend herself and Danny.
This movie is a check your mind at the door movie. Taraji P. Henson is bad-ass in her role. The action is really good and the sets are very well designed. However the script could have been better. This movie is somewhat short but any longer would have been bad. Just go into this ready to enjoy Taraji P. Henson kicking ass. I give it 3 out of 4 stars.