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THE NUTCRACKER and the FOUR REALMS review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on November 2, 2018 at 1:35 PM

Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston

Running time: 99 minutes in 2D and Real D 3D

Release date: November 2, 2018

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Adventure, Animation, and Adaptation

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG


This is a family-friendly holiday film based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker.  The mixture of the two plots are contemporarily merged as the 19th century The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a story in which a young girl's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls.  However, The Nutcracker (ballet), another 19th century production, is about the young heroine (Clara and sometimes Marie, because of various adpatations the name changes between the name of the doll and the young girl), the plot follows the basic outline.


This updated version is focused on motherless young teenaged Clara (Mackenzie Foy), she the middle child of older sister Louise (Ellie Bamber) and younger brother Fritz (Tom Sweet), is a tinker of objects.  She, like her deceased mother, is tutored by master tinker Dosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) who is also known as her godfather.  Her real father (Matthew Macfadyen) is in denial over his wife's death and it shatters the unity of the remaining family members.  As Clara receives a Christmas gift, a jewelry egg that requires a key to open, all she wants is the key - a one of a kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift from her late mother.  A golden thread, presented at her godfather's annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key - which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world.  


It is in this land of mystery when Clara encounters a soldier Philip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), who soon becomes the Nutcracker, along with a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, and Land of Sweets.  Clara and Philip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara's key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world stirred by Sugar plum Fairy (Kiera Knightly).


In this production that was filmed in London, had 32 days of reshoots by Joe Johnston after Lasse Hallstrom's prior direction.  This fantasy takes the audience to netherland places, another dimension, where events are unlikely to occur in real life - they transcend the bounds of human possibility and physical laws.  It is an element of magic, myth, wonder, and the extraordinary.  However, the flaws are evident in the casting of Helen Mirren and Keira Knightly.  These two fantastic actresses have carved their names in some of the most powerful and impeccable roles in their indivual filmography.  Yet, this casting is a misfire, due to them not seeming to throw themselves into thier roles.  The overtone is set as a wild, dramatic, sometimes hilarious ride - it is often exposed as absurdity that is penalized for poor execution.  The thought of whimpsical and frustrating comes to mind while watching Mirren and Knightly - too bad.


As a family-friendly holiday PG film, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, is a satisfying movie that relies too much on an epic production of costumes, medieval romps, covering a large expanse of time set against a vast, panoramic backdrop.  Its elaborate  elements of extravagant settings hits its mark, but its granduer and spectacle does not merit the overall film's delivery as being good.


FILM RATING   (C+)

LONDON FIELDS review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on October 26, 2018 at 1:20 PM

Directed by: Matthew Cullen

Running time: 118 minutes

Release date: October 26, 2018

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Crime, Thriller, and Adaptation

Distributor: GVN Releasing

MPAA Rating: R


Set in 1999 London, this crime noir thriller based on Martin Amin's 1989 novel of the same title features a star-studded cast including Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton, Johnny Depp, Jim Sturgess, and Cara Delevingue.


This film adaption, is a period piece drama, set in Martin Amis' then-futuristic 1999's London Field, painted in a portrait of a world plague by an unknown crisis, and a New York City based mentally blocked writer Samson Young (Billy Bob Thornton), who also narrates the plot, exchanges apartments with successful writer Mark Aspery (Jason Isaacs) - who is vaguely seen then the film.  Once Samson Young settles into his new exclusive London Fields apartment he meets a world-weary beautiful young woman Nicola Six (Amber Heard) who entices him, and manipulates a petty criminal Keith Taylor (Jim Sturgess) and dangerously bored millionnaire Guy Clinch (Theo James).  


In a dystopian future, clairvoyant femme fatale Nicola Six has been living with a dark premonition of her impending death by murder.  Amber Heard portrays this maneater, a stock character of a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers, leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations.  She is an archetype of literature and art.  Her ability to enchant and hypnotise her victims with a spell is described as having a power akin to a seductive enchantress.  In this film, she is considered a 'black hole' of sex and self-loathing intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may be Keith Talent, a violent lowlife whose only passions are pornography and the game of darts - whom he comptetes with Chick Purchase (Johnny Depp),  Is the killer the rich, honorable, and dimly romantic Guy Clinch (Theo James), or the film's narrator, literary author who now writes a novel about her mysterious life Samson Young (Billy Bob Thornton)?


London Fields is a very British tale about a mistress of seduction, having come to the end of men and a belief in the possibility of love, seeks her own murder - and sets about ruining the lives of two very different men in order to bring it about.  The narrator of the film and his novel of this situation is a self-described failure at his discipline - is terminally ill and now rapidly failing at life, too; he's set himself the task of chronicing the rather ignoble efforts of Nicola Six and her pyrhic dual seduction.  The proceedings are set against an ominously looming worldwide crisis climatic proportions.


However, the poor dialogue and its deliery by the characters fail.  Amber Heard lacks enlightment to her part and frustrates the narrative.  Her performance is painfully pathetic and stale.  Her erotic femme fatale tries to achieve her hidden purpose by using feminine wiles such as beauty, charm, and sexual allure is troublesome and whimsical..  Using the traits of promiscuity and her threatening qualities since by denying the males, her immortality leads to the ultimate destruction, falls and is penalized for poor execution in this film.


FILM RATING (C) 

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? review and interview by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on October 18, 2018 at 11:45 AM

Directed by: Marielle Heller

Running time: 106 mins.

Release date: October 19, 2018

Genre: Drama, Biiography, Comedy, Crime, and Adaptation

Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

MPAA Rating: R


Based on the book (memoir) by Lee Israel with the same title, in which she confessed her crimes of literary forgery and theft for profit, comes realistic cinematic account, starring Melissa McCarthy.


The film picks up in Leonore Carol "Lee" Israel's life after her celebrated run as writer who biographically profiled Katherine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Dorothy Kilgallen, and cosmetics tycoon Estee Lauder.  It was Lauder's disclaim and own book that discredited Israel's publication, thus rendering Israel's reputation in the literary world. The viewing audience of this film gets a front row view of Israel's anti-social attitude, as Mellissa McCarthy's dead-on characterization of Lee Israel, is portrayed in a disgruntled manner.  As a lesbian woman who did not have anyone in her life except for a cat, she was a resentful and displeased person as her career went into decline.  This was compounded by alcoholism and adding poverty.


During this era of the 1980-90s in NYC, used book selling was a business of making ends meet with the less economically fortunate, and Lee was part of this world.  This is when she meets a book store owner Anna (Dolly Wells), where Lee peddles an original celebrity letter to her and begins a soft romantic relationship.  It also, begins a friendly relationship with a charismatic gay homeless man named Jack Hock, brilliant played by Richard E. Grant, who later becomes her co-hort in the life of forgery crime.  With the sale of one letter to Anna, Lee decides to make money forging letters by deceased writers and actors.  Later, she begins stealing actual letters and autographed papers of famous persons from archives and libraries, replacing them with forged copies.


The film gives Melissa McCarthy a great platform to exert her dramatic assets, and she hits her mark in fine form.  This plot-driven presentation, portraying realistic characters, setings, life situations, and stories involving intense character development and interaction takes on historic and legendary dramatic scope.  The involvement between Lee and Anna gives an outlook of Lee's personality in a female bonding situation and emotional carthasis told from a female's attitude.  Where as Anna was truthful in an opening of a relationship, Lee only had the mind to connive for profit.  


Others in support cast positions is Jane Curtain, as Marjorie, Lee's long-time agent and friend.  This character solidifies the plot by giving credence to how those who knew Lee could not enable her, even if they wanted, because of her disagreeable behavior.


In an interview session with cast members Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, and Dolly Wells, I was fortunate to ask a few questions about the film and their performances.  Mellissa stated; "This was more verbal sparring for this character.  Working with Marielle Heller (director) was great, she was absolute certainty in the shoot and very collaborative.  I took care of Lee's exterior, then I found the interior Lee to fall into character.  The takeaway for the audience, hopefully, would be that their are people who are poor and homeless who are invisible, but should not be."  She also made comments about her supporting members of the cast, such as; "Richard is a remarkable actor and a tremendous listener.  Each scene was like we were singular.  Getting to do scenes with Jane Curtain, the legendary SNL personality, was amazing."


Richard E. Grant was gracious to tell me, "I found Lee's book had no information about Jack and I did a backgrond check using wikipedia on him.  After reading her (Israel) books and her memior, I came to the conclusion that she was anti-social."


Dolly Wells commented, "In London (her birth home) I worked in a book store.  I felt comfortable in character.  It was a real honor to work with Marielle Heller.  It was a beautiful and brave production - a lovely atmospher.  I found it easy to work with Melissa, the only fear element of the film is that I bring honesty to my part."


Can You Ever Forgive Me?, is a brilliant film depicting an era in NYC's culture, when a criminal career is launched by a controversial woman.  This is a formidable and engaging movie of realism, structured with crisp pacing and outstanding performances.  It's a period piece drama that covers a large expanse of time set against a vast, panoramic backdrop.  


FILM RATING (A)  


  

BIKINI MOON review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on October 12, 2018 at 3:20 PM

Directed by: Milcho Manchevski

Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes

Release date: October 12, 2018

Genre: Drama

Studio: Flix Premiere

MPAA Rating: Not rated


Film director Milcho Manchevski,a 1994 nominee for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 67th Academy Awards for his film Before the Rain, has brought to screen a dramatic and subplotted mockumentary about a female African American military veteran suffering from PTSD, and rendering her homeless.  It is uniquely structured as a narrative of a documentary film crew examining a female's life.


The lead character in this movie is Bikini (Condola Rashad), a homeless Iraqi War veteran on the streets of New York City, who exercises a compelling charm that inspires devotion in others.  This charismatic attitude is hindered by her PTSD condition, but gains interest from a documentary film crew filming at a human resource intake center, while processing and finding her immediate shelter.  Kate and Trevor (Sarah Goldberg and Will Janowitz), are two white liberal minded privilege individuals who head-up the film crew.  Determined to get a honest and engaging documentary, they undertake responsibility for Bikini's plight to find her shelter and restore her in society.


In this first act of the film, the a narrative is established as a filming of a documentary about Bikini's horrific plight as she must resort to giving sexual pleasures to landlord's offering rooms to rent, to a subplot of Kate and Trevor's unstable romantic relationship.  The life journey(s) is a serious, plot-driven presentation(s), portraying realistic characters, settings, human situations, and stories involving intense character development and interaction.  It also, project stories whose central struggle between a problematic injustice in society.


As the documentary film crew led by Kate and Trevor examines Bikini's life and PTSD condition, they accept her well being by enablers to her for the sake of a good documentary.  They exploit her difficult, unpleasant, and embarrassing situation by taking her to their privilege home of particular advantaged people.  Meanwhile, Bikini also suffers from being separated by authorities from her daughter, whom she relentlessly searches for.  


The second and third act of this film becomes less impressive, because it loses the potency of its social subject matter and the resolving of Bikini's PTSD by not sending her to proper medical authorities.  The film's narrative proceeds with false betterment for the documentary's success, and the mockumentary as a subplot of Bikini's reunion with her daughter Ashley (Mykal-Michelle Harris) is added.  Trying to offer an emotional attitude to the plot, the challenging aspects fall stale and whimsical, resulting in a ride of absurdity.


In giving a formidible performance by Condola Rashad as Bikini in this film, she can't be responsible for the lack of continuity and disjointment.  Her accomplishment in portraying and staging her character is innovating.  Yet, the real sense of why these and other characters are introduced and satuated in the later scenes become less authentic in the underlying primary story.  Bikini Moon is highly powerful in its opening format, but loses its impact in its delivery and is penalized for poor execution.


FILM RATING (C+)


NYFF-56 reviews, capsules, editorial coverage by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on September 28, 2018 at 11:00 AM

                                    THE 56th NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL

                                               SEPTEMBER 28TH - OCTOBER 14, 2018


For 50 years, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has been devoted to supporting the arts and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture.


The Film Society believes in the importance of empoering audiences to broaden their knowledge and deepen their passion for movies.  NYFF is just one of the many annual programs of the Film Society, which is open year-round on 65th Street - at the Walter Reade Theater and the three-screen Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, which show first-run films and revivals, as well as special annual series.



OPENING FILM


THE FAVOURITE

Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos

Running time: 2 hours

Release date: November 23, 2018

Genre: Drama, History, and Biography

Distributor: Fox Swarchlight Pictures

MPAA Rating: R


Early 18th century - England is at war with the French.  Never the less, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving with the people of Queen Anne's (Olivia Colman) court.  The frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachek Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Queen Anne's ill health aand mercurial temper.  When a new servant Abigail (Ema Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.  Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigial sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots.


Using a dark comedic and dramatic tone, this epic historical narrative takes on a historical and extravagant setting with lavish costumes, accompanied by grandeur and spectacle.  It is a plot-driven presentation, portraying quasi-realistic characters, settings, life situations, and period-piece stories involving intense character development and interactions as the royal court politics and war with the French consume Sarah.  Agressive and manipulative Abigail steps into a royal breach of confidence to fill in as the Queen's companion.  The dramatic stage reflects the drama of the royal everyday life, but it also concentrates life, focuses it, and holds it up for examination.


Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone give empeccable performances on screen as they engage in formidible battle for the Queen's approval and acceptance.  Their provocative roles is the essence of dark humor accelerating the decentralization of the grand scheme in out doing each other.  As a result, the film enables the audience to realize the conflicts these two woman while simultaneously laughing at some of the absurd situations in can generate.  The situational layered dimensions keeps the viewer off balance with shock effects of betrayal that are visual, and a protruding fact of controversy.  Their burgeoning on and of friendship gives Abigail her chance to fulfil her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics stand her way.


Applying dramatic scope, high production values, crisp pacing, and a surreal panoramic backdrop, filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos creates his best work.  The clash of monarchy acceptance is amusing as well as dramatic. The only flaw is the final scenes that seem to run out of steam and leaves the audience wanting more of an impressive impact as to the wild and often hilarious ride.  Howver, this is a very good evocative costume drama film, that will leave a lasting impression.


FILM RATING (A-)



CENTERPIECE FILM


ROMA

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarin

Running time: 135 minutes

Release date: December 14, 2018

Genre: Drama in Spanish and Mixtec with English subtitles

Distributor: Netflix

MPAA Rating: Not rated


In a semi-biographical take on Cuarin's upbringing in early 1970s Mexico City, and follows the life of a middle class family and its live-in housekeeper for one year, and shot in black and white.  It is a script penned by the filmmaker Cuarin, and is improvised with a natural atmosphere by using Mixtec language - a tongue used by Mexico's indegenous tribes.


The central character in this film is Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), an indegenous woman who works as a housekeeper for a wealthy family in the privilege community, while supporting her own family in the rural ghetto.  The atmosphere is such that of a cast system, whereas the spanish speaking peoples are superior.  Her employer is a doctor, Sr. Antonio (Fernando Grdiaga), his spoiled and pampered wife Sra. Sofia (Marina de Tavira), his elder mother Sra. Teresa (Veronica Garcia), and four children - Tono, Paco, Pepe, Sofi (Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Marco Graf,Daniela Demesa).  


This character and plot-driven pesentation, portraying realistic characters, settings, life situations, and stories involving intense character development and interaction is a film depicting life's daily system in a society separating classes of people and cultural differances of an important historical personage (or group)  from the past.  It also, showcases the governmental violent taking of lower class indegenous peoples property for exploitation, causing rioting and protesting during this era.


However, the continuity of this film has problems in its structure, because it is set up partially in a documentary style in its narrative storytelling.  While it tells of the patriarch doctor's infidelity causing the matriarch wife to getting a divorced from him and learning to find emplyment without any employment experience, housekeeper Cleo closer bonds with the privilege family.  


Perhaps, one can consider this is a mundane tale of a period in the filmmaker's life, but it does give insight of how life was in the 1970s Mexico.  If you are looking for more of a relevant narrative, Roma does not offer more. The film is penalized for poor execution and not a good entry for Mexico's 'Best Foreign Language Category'.


FILM RATING (C) 






 



FIVE FINGERS for MARSEILLES review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on September 3, 2018 at 2:55 PM

Directed by: Michael Matthews

Running time: 2 hours in Xhosa and Sotho with English subtitles, and English language

Release date: September 7, 2018

Genre: Drama, Western, Crime, and Thriller

Distributor: UNCORK'd Entertainment

MPAA Rating: Not rated


Filmmmaker Michael Matthews crafts Sean Drummond's contemporary western to screen with a multi-layered story that determines attitude on crime resonating from Apartheid and neocolonialism in South Africa.  With underlying factors of socio-economics, revenge, and redemption lives change forever when a strong young man returns home to a shanty town after 15 years to correct the wrong he left behind.


The socio-economic setting is an end of railway shanty town called Marseilles under a system of institutional racial segregation in South Africa, formerly known as Apartheid.  Non-White South Africans were removed from their homes and forced into segregated neighborhoods (tribal homelands, also known as bantustans) - such a place is Marseilles, also known as, "Railway End".  Neocolonialism, where as European countries after the so-called liberation in the aftermath of World War II continued economic and cultural relationships with their former colonies in Africa.  The Apartheid ruled militarism extorted and set fear in the inhabitants who attempted to make a living.  And the main setting and tone is set in this narrative, as a group of poverty stricken black youngsters find it impossible to resist their oppressors.  


One such young youngster Tau, part of the known group as, the "Five Fingers", fought for the rural town of Marseilles, against brutal white police oppression.  After an assassination of two police officers, young Tau flees leaving his town to deal with the incident.  Years past as Tau (Vuyo Dabula), a now freedom-fighter turn outlaw, returns to Marseilles, seeking only a peaceful pastorial life.  He searches for a woman he hard very strong feelings for, Lerato (Zethu Dlomo).  Only to find her and her elder father running a little inn.  When Tau finds the town under new threat with corrupt politics and gangland fear, he must relunctantly fight to free the threat and free himself from his past.


Kudos to the cinematographer and director of photography for the breathtaking shots of the South African landscape as a backdrop.  Along with the use of a brilliant ensemble performance, as well as, authenticity in portraying realism - actual local village children studying in local theater perform.  Supporting cast members such as, Kenneth Nkosi, Lizwi Vilakazi, Hamilton Dhlamini, Garth Breytenbach, and Aubrey Poolo solidify a very formidable script.  


The script is structured with crisp pacing and dramatic scope offering stories involving intense character development and interaction.  There is a sense of noir projected in the mysterious night time scenes in the dismill night inn and shadowed streets.  These darkened scenes set primary moods of melancholy, alienation,bleakness, disillusionment, disenchantment, pessimism, moral corruption, evil, guilt, and paranoia.  The riverting crime element is suspensefully set around the sinister actions of criminals and mobsters, portraying ruthlessness, stealing, and murdering their way through life.


The key roles in this feature provides the audience with a better idea of how the film is going to be as they carried the plot flow all the way through the film, as one man must fight and call on partners in crime, both old friends and new, for the rise of The Five Fingers to save Marseilles, the town he once abandoned.


This South African contemporary western is a unique and welcoming narrative.


FILM RATING (A-)  


OPERATION FINALE review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on August 29, 2018 at 3:40 PM

Directed by: Chris Weltz

Running time: 122 minutes

Release date: August 29, 2018

Genre: Drama, Biography, and History

Distributor: MGM

MPAA Rating: PG-13


After World War II, the mission for justice began.  A team of secret agents of Mossad set out to track down the Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann - the man who masterminded the Holocaust.


Fifteen years after the end of World War II in May 1960, a team of top-secret agents much led by Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac), although Mossad agent Rafi Eitan (Nick Kroll) officially led the team, travel to Argentina to capture the hiding SS officer Adolf Eichmann (Sir Ben Kingsley) living comfortably as a factory worker with his wife (Greta Scacchi) and son Klaus (Joe Alwyn).


As much of this biopic is a historical fact as we know it, various source materials, including Eichmann in My Hands, a memoir by Israeli officer Peter Malkin, provides the basis for the story.  What is not in the film is the biography of Peter Malkin (born Zvi Malchin), who in real life was from an observant Jewish family who fled in 1936 fled to Palestine to escape the rising tide of German anti-Semitism; his sister and her three children remained behind with 150 other relatives, died in the Holocaust.  Clip scenes in flashbacks show how he was haunted by the memory, which fueled his aggression as a Nazi hunter.  This is brilliantly portrayed by Oscar Isaac in a mesmerizing manner, as he is recruited as an explosives expert with the Massad.  A particular scene remains with me, when he approaches his prey and says in Spanish to Eichmann (Sir Ben Kingsley), "Momentito, senior (one minute, sir)", then grabs him in a neck-lock, wrestles him to the ground, and bundles him in the car that took them to a safe house outside Buenos Aires.


A lot of them film gave the preparation process in the mission of capturing Adolf Eichmann (born Otto Adof Eicmann), the German Nazi SS Lieutenant Colonel and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust.  He facilitated and managed the logistics involved in the mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe during World War II.


Veteran actor Sir Ben Kingsley, as always, gives a most powerful performance as Adof Eichmann and engages Isaac Oscar's Peter Malkin character, in an outstanding screen chemistry.  The challenge each others roles with fiery and energizing personas that light up the screen.  Those two impeccable performances are very much worth this film's slow-burn pace. 


The other supporting cast members, Melanie Laurent as Dr. Hanna, Haley Lu Richardson, Lior Raz, Peter Strauss, Michael Aronov, Tuorben Liebrecht, and Antonio Desplat solidify this biopic with high production values.  This is a film that covers a large expanse of time set against a vast, panoramic backdrop, and uses fearless cinematic surrealism.


FILM RATING (B)


 

CRAZY RICH ASIANS review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on August 15, 2018 at 7:30 PM

Directed by: Jon M. Chu

Running time: 2 hours

Release date: August 1, 2018

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance, and Adaptation

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG-13


Based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, this film adapation scripted by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim, comes a romantic comedy drama that follows a young Asian-American woman who travels to meet her boyfriend's family and is surprised when she discovers they among the riches in Singapore.


What makes this film such a rarity is the fact that it is the first film by a major Hollywood studio to feature a majority Asian cast in a modern setting since The Joy Luck Club in 1993.  In its pre-production, Kevin Kwan's published comedic novel Crazy Rich Asains on June 2013 was to focus on the plot in the dynamics of first generation Asain-Americans and old country Asain culture.


The story follows Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an American born Chinese economics professor, who travels to her boyfriend Nick Young's (Henry Golding) hometown of Singapore for his best friend's wedding.  Before long, his secret is out:  Nick is from a family that is impossibly wealthy, perhaps the most eligible bachelor in Asia, and every single woman in his ultra-rarefied social class is increasingly jealous of Rachel and wants to bring her down.


The list of characters in this dramatic romcom are many to add a pleasant atmosphere of activity.  Michelle Yeoh as Eleanor Sung-Young  is Nick's domineering mother who rejects his relationship with the Asain-American commoner Rachel.  While Tan Kheng as Kerry Chu is Rachel's mother, who immigrated to America after leaving a very humble life in Asia.  Awkwafina as Goh Peik Lin, whose comedic talent steals the film with several cultural faux pas, is Rachel's Singaporean college best friend (her mother is Kerry's old friend).  These characters play an intricate part in the journey of Rachel and Nick's love that takes them through ups and downs in courtship, while many old country and snobbish foes attempt to shatter their relationship.  It is a classic story of romance whose central struggle is between two people who each want to win and keep the love of the other.


The cinematography is a cultural impact of this film, as it offers magnificent costumes and garb, cruisines, and picturesque Singapore backdrops.  Yet, the story goes further than 'boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and boy gets girl back' - It is a story that will amuse and provoke laughter by exaggerating the situation, the language, action, relationships, and characters.  It's dramatic source is a serious plot-driven presentation, portraying realistic characters, settings, life situations, and stories involvong intense character development and interaction.


This is a great family-sense film that will give everyone a feeling of pleasure.


FILM RATING (B+)

BLACKKKLANSMAN review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on August 10, 2018 at 2:10 PM

Directed by: Spike Lee

Running time: 135 minutes

Release date: August 10, 2018

Genre: Drama, Biography, Comedy, Crime, and Adaptation

Distributor: Focus Features

MPAA Rating: Not rated


Based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth, and from visionary filmmaker Spike Lee, comes the incredible true story of the first African American to serve as a detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department in the 1970s.  John David Washington portrays Detective Ron Stallworth, who is determined to make a name for himself by bravely and dangerously infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan.  The scheme is to recruit a more seasoned colleague, Detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), as his physical alter ego undercover operative in this investigation to expose the local Klan.


From the actual logs of Ron Stallworth, in 1979 he noticed a wanted ad in the local paper seeking members to start a new chapter of the KKK in Colorado Springs.  He called the phone number listed, and posed as a racist white man who hated blacks, Jews, Mexicans, and Asians.  During the converstion, he learned that the man founding the new chapter was a soldier at nearby Fort Carson.  Ron Stallworth arranged to meet the man at a local bar by sending his follow white undercover detective Flip Zimmerman, as a physical stand-in, wired to record any conversations.


The subterfuge was a success, and the Stallworth/Zimmerman team continued to pose as a KKK member for the next nine months.  At one point, Stallworth phoned the infamous David Dukes, who was head of the KKK at the time at his his headquarters in New Orleans to ask about the status of his membership application.  Duke looked through his paperwork, apologized for the delay in getting processed, and promised to see to it personally that Stallworth's (actually Zimmerman) application was processed.


The film adaptation goes a step further in its narrative, by Washington and Driver's brilliant performances, as the two undercover operatives continue to cultivate their relationship with the local Ku Klux Klan chapter.  Yet, the backstory of Ron Stallworth is very interesting, and adds insight to the 1970s Civil Rights Movement.  Police Cadet Stallworth always wanted to be a detective, and on his first assignment he was to observe a Colorado College Stokely Carmichael aka Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins) speech rally.  At the civil rights rally, Stallworth meets Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier), the president of the black student union at Colorado College, who later in this film becomes his love interest and political adversary.  Their first meeting exposes a corrupt racially bigotted police officer Andy Landers (Frederick Weller), who threatens Ture and sexually assaults Patrice.


Spike Lee's first and second act of the film is very well structured to engage the audience, as it covers a large expanse of time set against a vast, panoramic backdrop.  The plot-driven presentation, portraying realistic characters such as David Duke (Topher Grace), settings with opening scenes of this film on the set of the 1939 movie Gone with the Wind and the 1915 The Birth of a Nation while  cutting to scientific explanations of white racial superiority by a fictional academician, Dr. Kennebrew Beauregard (Alec Baldwin), and then to life situations and stories involving intense character development and interaction.


*Spoiler Alert* - The film closes with footage from the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, including footage of the white supremacists, counter-protesters, the car attack, and President Trump's statements after the events.  This ends as a protest film against the present U.S. political administration's views and memorializes Heather Heyer, the car attack victim along with an upside-down American flag, which fades to black and white.


I give high praises for the performances by John David Washighton and Adam Driver, and the timely themes, as well as noting the return to form for Spike Lee.  However, using the explosive final scenes to bring closure to this mix genre biopic, caused me to be challenged in its delivery.  Yet, the riverting, crisp pacing, and stimulating plot is brilliant, and it balances the execution. This controversial narrative offers the viewer(s) a poignant film.



FILM RATING (A-)

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on August 3, 2018 at 5:35 PM

Directed by: Marc Forster

Running time: 104 minutes

Release date: August 3, 2018

Genre: Drama, Comedy, and Fantasy

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG


Inspired by A.A. Miline and E.H. Shepard's book Winnie-the-Pooh, comes a live-action/CGI extension of the Disney franchise.  The film stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin (Milne), Hayley Atwell as his wife Evelyn, Bronte Carmichael as his daughter Madeline, Mark Gatess as Christopher's boss Giles Winslow, and Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Ralph Butterworth.


This is a heartwarming live-action adventure about the young Christopher who shared countless adventures with his stuffed animal friends; Pooh and Tigger (voice by Jim Cunningham), Eeyore (voice by Brad Garrett), Owl (voice by Toby Jones), Piglet (voice by Nick Mohammed), Rabbit (voice by Peter Capaldi), Kanga (voice by Sophie Okonedo), and Roo (voice by Sara Sheen) in the Hundred Acre Woods, is now grown up living in midcentury London and dealing with the stresses of adulthood.  Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher rediscover the joys of family life, the value of friendship and to appreciate the simple pleasure in life once again as he inadvertly introduces the fantasy to his daughter Madeline.


However, this non-fiction film resonates as a fictional recount of the life of Christopher Robin Milne who was the son of author of Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne.  As a child he was the basis of the character Christopher Robin in his father's Winnie-the-Pooh stories and in two books of poems.  The fantasy toy characters of the Hundred Acre Woods in the stories is, Winnie-the-Pooh, also called Pooh Bear, is a honey-loving bear; Tigger is a tiger who loves to bounce on his tail like a spring; Eeyore a donkey who always loses his tail and talks with a deep depressing voice and tone; Owl the wise bird; Piglet a diminutive pig who is always afraid of everything but has a big heart; Rabbit who is a neat freak and a vegetable farmer; Kanga is a angaroo who is the mother of Roo; Roo is the child of Kanga.  


The elements is this story of adult Christopher Robin returning to the Hundred Acre Wood to spend time with Pooh and the gang is magical realism as it tells an emotional journey with an  encouraging and uplifting adventure.  


In real life, in the year of 1925 Christopher's father bought Cotchford Farm in East Sussex.  This place in a wooded area is where young only child Christopher explored the environment and it became the inspiration for fiction.  His stuff toys became his playmates, to the point where his father could write the now legendary stories about them.


Christopher Robin is a wonderful family-friendly film that will touch the hearts and emotions of all ages.


FILM RATING (B+) 


FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL remote coverage & reviews by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on July 12, 2018 at 12:25 AM

                                              FANTASIA INTERNATIONALFILM FESTIVAL 2018


From July 12, 2018 to August 1, 2018, the Fantasia International Film Festival will celebrate its 22nd edition. Located in the heart of beautiful Montreal, Canada, this genre film festival is a cultural and pofessional destination point, and since its first edition, the festival's ever-growing popularity has attracted the attention of the international film industry alongside with a legend of attendees from across the world.  Every facet of the filmmaking chain is increasingly represented with in-person delegates at the festival: directors, actors, producers, studio representatives, distributors and festival programmers, who get to experience the experience the legendarily enthusiastic, taste-making audience of Fantasia.


The festival's full lineup consist of over 130 feature films (international and world premieres along with talent interviews ); opening with Daniel Roby's Just a Breat Away, with centerpiece Bleach from filmmaker Shinsuke Sato, and closing with director's Mandy starring Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough (as Mandy).


For the forthcoming 22nd edition, Fantasia will host the 10th edition of the Frontieres International Co-Production Market. For this event alone, more than 400 members of the film industry will be making their way to Montreal. Overall, the 2018 edition of Fantasia will welcome close to 500 guest from all facets of the film industry.


*** Film reviews to come ***



THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER and THEN THE BIGFOOT

Directed by: Robert D. Krzykowski

Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes

Release date: July 20, 2018 (debut Fantasia Int'l. Film Festival, Canada)

Genre: Drama, Adventure, and Thriller

Distributor: Eagle Films


Sam Elliot plays Calvin Barr, an enigmatic loner living in his older years of life with his dog Ralph.  He has recurring dreams of his earlier life as a military operative during WWII when he was assigned to assassinate Adolph Hitler. 


The film takes the structure of falling into a backstory of Sam's infiltrating the German secret introstructure, and frequently reassigning the story to a contemporary setting of Sam's life of seclusion.  The flashback scenes indicate he is a man of many identities who resolves many issues.  The intense scenes of the Holacaust and the presence if Nazis is haunting.  Perhaps this is a sign of PTSD that only his younger brother Ed (Larry Miller) can attest to as Sam drifts back and forth in his memories.


Strangely, this film takes on another theme, when FBI and Canadian operatives ask Sam to take on another assignment.  Sam ventures into the Canadian wilds to hunt down a virus carrying Bigfoot that attacks humans and animals.  As Sam hunts down Bigfoot, the past constantly takes control of him, but he must find peace from his past.


This is a Sam Elliot vehicle, whereas he delivers a solid character study drama with a peculiar finale twist.



Buffalo Boys

Directed by: Mike Wiluan

Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes

Release date: July 14, 2018 (Montreal, Canada)

Genre: Western, Drama, Action, and Fantasy

Distributor: Screenplay Infinite/XYZ Films


The period piece setting is 19th century Dutch ruled Java, and two brothers named Jamar (Ario Bayu) and Suwo (Yoshi Sudarso) come back to teir homeland to avenge their father death.


Once they arrive they see how the government has terrorized locals into submitting to Dutch rule, which includes cultivating lucrative opium rather than life-sustaining rice.  The habitants are hot iron-branded and female citizens are placed into sexual situations by the soldiers.  Among the hostaged colonialized are daughters of a village leader, expert archer Kiona (Pevita Pearce) and the defenseless Sri (Mikha Tambayong) thoroughly degraded as the sadistic Van Trach's (Reinout Bussemaker) mistress.


The high energy, big-budget physical stunts and chases, wth rescues, martial arts and sword wheeling battles, fights, escapes, destructive crises, non-stop motion, spectacular rhythm and pacing, and adventurous cowboy shoot-out tones makes this movie exciting.  Yet, it incorporates a mixture of Hollywood and Spagetti Western disciplines, while offering artful choreographic martial arts scenes and themes. 


This is a unique Indonesian Western.


******WHAT A FUN FILM FESTIVAL*******



 

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP in 3D review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on July 6, 2018 at 4:25 PM

Directed by: Peyton Reed

Running time: 118 mins.

Release date: July 6, 2018

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Adaptation, and Sequel

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG-13


Normally, superheroes use their powers to police day-to-day crime while also combating threats against humanity by supervillains, criminals of uprecedented powers in same way as superheroes.  One of these supervillains is often the superhero's archenemy, although sometimes the superhero has a rogue gallery of archenemies. Additionally, superheroes sometimes will combat such threats as aliens, and supernatural or mythological entities. The common traits of the superheroes are to have extraordinary powers and abilities, relevant skills and advanced equipment.  A strong moral code, including a willingness to risk one's own safety in the service of good without expectation of reward.  A motivation, such as a sense of responsibility, a personal vendetta against criminals or a strong belief in justice and humanitarian service.  A secret identity that protects the superhero's friend and family from becoming targets or his or her enemies.  Independent wealth along with a headquarter or base, usually hidden from the general public.  All the above is associated with this film based on the Marvel Comics characters Scott Long/ Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Hope van Dyne/ Wasp (Evangeline Lilly).


Intended to be the sequel to 2015's Ant-Man, and the twentieth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this addition to the series is in IMAX and 3D.  The premise is set two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War, and before the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Scott Lang/Ant-Man, now under house arrest after the events of Civl War, tries to balance his home life as a father to Cassie (Abby Ryder) with his responsibilities as Ant-Man.  When Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pyn (Michael Douglas), a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, entomologist, and physicist who became the original Ant-Man in 1963 after discovering the suatomic particles that makes the transformation possible present him with a new mission to bring to light secrets from the past by locating his wife - and Hope's mother, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) in a space prism, Scott  Lang/ Ant-Man teams up with Hope as the new Wasp.


Using a mult-layered plot structure with cast members Michael Pena as Luis, Lang's former cellmate and comedic member of his crew; Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch, a low-level criminal type; Bobby Cannavale as Paxton, a San Francisco Police Department officer who is engaged to Lang's ex-wife Maggie; Judy Greer as Maggie, Lang's ex-wife and mother of Cassie; Tip "T.I." Harris as Dave, a member of Lang's crew; David Dastmalchian as Kurt, another member of Lang's crew; Randall Park as Jimmy Woo, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent; Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster, an old friend of Hank Pyn who was once his assistant on Project Goliath; and Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost, a criminal who gains the ability to phase through objects after stealing Pyn technology, the storyline is a combination of action, adventure , and science fiction.


The action genre is a showing in which one and more heroes are thrust into a series of challenges that typically include physical feats, extended fight scenes, violence, and frantic chases.  It also features a duo of resourceful characters struggling against incredible odds, which include life-threatenting situations, villains, and a pursuit which concludes in victory for the heroic team.  Advancements in CGI have made it cheaper and easier to create action sequences and other visual effects that required the efforts of professional stunt crews in the past. However, reactions to action films contaning significant amount of CGI have been mixed as films that use computer animations to create unrealistic, highly unbelievable events are often met with criticism.  Yet, these same scenes that are closely associated with the thriller and adventure aspects, add to the intended excitement.


The science fiction elements in this movie cleverly deals with imaginative content such as futuristic settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes and extrsterrestrial life. It eschews the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, its imaginary elements are largely plausible within the scientifically established context of the story.  The sci-fi plot explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, and is considered "cinematic literature of ideas".  In addition, the time travel aspect of this film, is part of the central theme of the plot, and is used as a plot device to set the story in motion.


Ant-Man and The Wasp is a family friendly summer film that is epic in nature.and often covers a large expanse of time set against a vast, panoramic backdrop.  It's elaborate and adds an extravagant setting, accompanied by grandeur and spectacle, dramatic scope, high production values, but does not supply a sensational overview of the comic characters.  The film replaces the necessary substance with layers of storylines to engage the audience.  


FILM RATING (B)



BOUNDARIES review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on June 22, 2018 at 2:25 PM

Directed by: Shana Feste

Running time: 104 minutes

Release date: June 22, 2018

Genre: Drama and Comedy

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classic

MPAA Rating: R


In a road trip dramedy film written and directed by Shana Feste stars Vera Farmiga, reknowned Christopher Plummer, Lewis MacDougall, Bobby Cannavale, Kristen Schaal, Christopher Lloyd, and legendary Peter Fonda.


This is a serious and often comedic plot-driven presentation, portraying realistic characters, settings, and peculiar life situations focusing on the estranged relationship of a daughter and father.  Laura Jaconi, brilliantly portrayed Vera Farmiga, along with her rebellious teenaged son Henry, in a breakout performance by Lewis MacDougal, is forced to drive her pot-dealing father Jack, in an equally brilliant performance as Farmiga by Christopher performance, from Portland to her sister JoJo's (Kristen Schaal) house in Los Angeles after he is kicked out of a retirement home.


Laura, is an animal lover, which appears to be an inherited family trait.  She is a single mother of a troubled teenager son Henry who is expelled from his school.  Vera Farmiga's excellent performance as a single mom looking for love in all the wrong places, is a challenging role that comes across very well for setting the early tone in the film.  The premise of her complexed insecured personality concerning the love of her rebellious son and her unreliable pot dealing/trafficking father is the story involving intense character development and interaction on their multi-level road trip story.  


With intertwining humorous light-hearted subplots consistently and deliberately designed to amuse and provoke laughter by exaggerating the road trip pot peddling situations by Jack, with the assistance of impressionable and eager grandson Henry, without Laura's knowledge, the comedic drama brings on an odd-ball domestic tale. The meeting of anti-social characters, such as Bobby Cannavale as Leonard the middle-age slacker ex-husband of Laura, whose inability to reunite with his son Henry, along with Jack's old-time pot dealing buddies Stanley (Christopher Lloyd) and Joey (Peter Fonda), and lastly Laura's quirky disarranged sister JoJo makes the lively narrative a crisp pace wild and hilarious ride of absurdity.  


The sparkling chemistry between the main characters Laura and Jack, portrayed by Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer is emotionally impacting.  The witty dialogue, action, and relationships of the characters is formidably engaging. This is a film that observes the difficulties and frustrations of life, providing merriment and a momentary escape from day-to-day life.  With believable characters to follow, the actors are appropriately cast, and the settings/locales are effective to enhance the theme and mood.  


Boundaries is an odd domestic coming together social movie, where the family characters struggle to find their place between themselves and in the world.  It is a movie that surprises, startles, shock, delights its audience beyond the ordinary, the dull and the familiar.  The manner of this humorous dramatic movie uses a whole range of tactics from absurdity to mockery, to sarcasm to irony, which is the whole impetus of comedy as it is the way to create a distance and a perspective on the world.  Each tactic on the production's structure by the filmmaker Shana Feste is to disturb, disrupt, alter,and change things from what is expected.  While disaster is likely to happen and wreaks havoc, the laughter coincidentally begins.  The clever witticism is a social observation, and is seen as apt and acute.  Yet, irony is often displayed, as the characters say exactly the opposite of what you are actually implying, makes it clear exactly what they mean - it is an attack with a humorous distance.  


This is a great outing for movie-goers!


FILM RATING (B)     

SUPERFLY review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on June 15, 2018 at 3:45 PM

Directed by: Director X

Running time: 1 hour 56 minutes

Release date: June 15, 2018

Genre: Drama, Action, Crime, and Remake

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

MPAA Rating: R


A remake of the director Gordon Parks' 1972 blaxploitation crime drama Super Fly, adapted from Phillip Fenty screenplay, comes a 21st century adaptation.


To make this subgenre understandable, the attitude and premise should be made.  Blaxploitation or Blacksploitation, a morphing of the words "black" and "exploitation", is an ethnic subgenre of the exploitation film that emerged in the United States during the early 1970s.  The films, though receiving backlash for stereotypical characters all the while, were one of the first instances in which black characters and communities were the heroes and subjects of film and television, rather than being porrtrayed as sidekicks or as victims of brutality.  The genre allowed the rethinking of race relations in the 1970s.


Blaxploitation films were originally made specifically for an urban black audience, but the genre's audience appeal soon broadened across racial and ethnic lines once Hollywood realized the potential profit of expanding the audiences of blaxploitation films across those racial lines. 


In this production,  Trevor Jackson brilliantly portrays Youngblood Priest (Super Fly), a young man from the Atlanta, Georgia underworld who operates outside of the law.  He is a suave antagonist, whose criminal actions is justified by the sinister fuel plot.  The tone of the story is determined by the drug dealing and trafficking he categorizes as a way of life.  He is shown in the light as a kingpin among underworld figures and ruthless hoodlums.  He is a spin-off of his mentor Scatter (Michael Kenneth Williams), as he governs his crew consisting of Fat Freddie (Jacob Ming-Trent), Eddie (Jason Mitchell) and Litty (Allen Maldonado).  However, there is a crosstown rival gang that has greed for Priest territory.  With tension building on threats, Priest decides he needs a big supply of drugs to make a big score and retire.


The performances are genuinely good and adds homage to the original 1972 version.  For example, Ron O'Neal who portrayed the original character, was a role of a highly successful drug kingpin.  He was a cool, sophisticated, stylish man who was popular with women, lived in plush comfort, drove the latest-model car, and used cocaine.  This is an insidious film which portrays the black community at its worst.  It glorifies the use of cocaine and casts blacks in roles which glorify dope-pushers, pimps, and raunchy black women, all designed to exploit the igorance of black people, much like films made by Tyler Perry and Spike Lee.


Superfly can be controversially appreciated by all audiences, as it remains true to its inception of this genre that began with Sweetback's Baadassss Song and the less radical Hollywood-finaced film Shaft (both released in 1971 with the inention of the blaxploitation genre).  By partially using the original soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield, the fast pace crime drama is focused on intense character development and interaction by the supporting cast which includesLex Scott Davis, Andrea Londo, Omar Chaparro, Terayle Hill, Rick Rose, and Big Boi.  These actors solidify as stimulating plot.  This emerging narrative is not fitting for all audiences, however I find it to be a verifiable remake of the 1972 classic film.


FILM RATING (B)

INCREDIBLES 2 and BAO short film review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on June 15, 2018 at 3:45 PM

                                                                           INCREDIBLES 2


Directed by: Brad Bird

Running time: 1 hour 58 minutes

Release date: June 15, 2018

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, and Sequel

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG



Cited to media following the success of its predecessor, filmmaker Brad Bird expressed interest in making a sequel to the Incredibles, while he contributed to the production of other Pixar films in subsequent years.  While it was confirmed in March 2014 that a sequel was in the works, Brad Bird faced challenges making the script. One notable challenge involved finding a way to distinquish the superhero genre since the first film's release.


In this 3D and IMAX computer-animated superhero film produced by PIXAR Animation Studios is the sequel to 2004's The Incredibles.  The plot follows the Parr family as they attempt to put superheroes back in the spotlight while dealing with normal life, only to combat a new foe who seeks to turn the general public against all who possess super powers.  Several roles are reprised, including characters voiced by Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell and Samuel L. Jackson.  The sequel also includes new characters voiced by Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, and Sophia Bush among others, as well as a number of characters that returned featuring new voice actors - Jonathan Banks replaced Bud Luckery in the role of Rick Dicker, after the latter's retirement in 2014.


Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), who possesses super strength and limited invulnerability, is left at home to care for the Parr family - Violet (Sarah Vowell), the family's first child daughter who can become invisible and project force fields - Dash (Huck Milner), the family's troublemaker first son who has superhuman speed - and baby Jack Jack who is learning his uncontrollable multipowers.  Meanwhile, wife Helen/Elastigirl who has the ability to stretch her body into many shapes and forms is out saving the world.  As part of the plan, Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), a superhero fan who leads a telecommunications company DEVTECH with his tech genius sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) provides the family with a new home.


Lucius Best/Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), Bob's best friend who has the ability to form ice from humidity, is called in to help defend humanity from the evil brainwashing Screenslaver, along with many other super power beings.  


Using high energy and non-stop motion to do battles and rescues, the spectacular rhythm and pacing is adventurous.  It is all the struggle that plays out mainly through a clash of physical forces and encounters with new "worlds"  This is also a social fantasy drama story whose central struggle is between a champion(s) and a problem or injustice in this fantasy society.  Yet the multi-plot offers a small coming-of-age scenario, stories whose central struggle is about the young heroes finding his and her place in the world.


All and all, Incredibles 2 is a family fun-filled action adventure film!


FILM RATING (B)



                                                                                     BAO


Directed by: Domee Shi

Release date: June 15, 2018

Running time: 8 minutes

Genre: Animation, Short, Fantasy, and Family

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures/PIXAR

MPAA Rating: G


This terrific computer-animated film is about an aging and lonely Chinese mother, suffering from empty nest syndrome, who receives an unexpected second chance at motherhood when her homemade bao comes to life.


A mother whose children have moved out to university finds a dumpling that comes alive.  She has fun with it as if it were a child.  She realizes how fastt the dumpling ages and realizes nothing stays young forever.  It is a modern Chinese retelling of fairytale, The Gingerbread Man.  Only the PIXAR team can illuminate this story!


FILM RATING (A)


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