Front Runner

ZZZZzzz…wake me up when it becomes a movie.  I suppose it’s mean to mimic some TV counterparts in a documentary type style but it barely catches your attention.  Starting out with you in a campaign meeting, the best it gets is when Hart if confront, about mid way through the movie, by reporters.  Jackman does a great job with what he’s given in that he’s an intelligent yet aloof man who has no real arc in life.  Seems to always be in shock with what life throws him, even when apologizing to his wife.  Good cast, not a fan of the direction/cinematography and odd use of music.  Not sure what the film is mean to do – mark one of our pivot points in history when paparazzi scratched the door or politics or … remind you that all political stories have become the same as “the goodwife”.  Not date night but maybe late night can’t sleep film.

Mary Queen of Scots

maryBeautifully designed, the costumes steal the show!  Saoirse Ronan makes for a brilliant Mary in this iteration which should inspire women, doesn’t show men in the best light.  music, photography all work to further this story about “sisters”, rivalry, tolerance and strength of convictions.  Left me wanting to revisit the history/soap opera of the royals.  Date night worthy.

First Man

You can’t see this film at home, it must be in a theater with a good sound system, if you choose to see it.  It’s really not a standard story as the movie is about the feeling of space.  You won’t see a love story or really feel you know Neil Armstrong that much better but you will feel some of the struggle of space.  Cinematography and sound are the stars of this film, the actors just happen to be in it and move it along.  Not quite sure what the intent of the film was but it succeeded in showing that Armstrong was like space, cold and distant but infinitely smart.  Not even sure it’s worth make-out date night movie night.  Maybe this one is for the gents.

A Star is Born

star

Before I begin, there is no question Bradley Cooper is the real deal.  Not only does he write the screenplay, direct, sing and act but he also wrote some of the songs, not to mention is sexy as heck.  He masters a subtle accent and finds a deep voice.  You believe he’s a rock star but, you don’t see his arc nor really see/ understand his fall from stardom.  Lady Gaga does Madana one better in that she can sing and is a decent but not complete actress.  She has chops and at times shows potential, a step above a scene study class.   Their chemistry is in and out.  Stylistically it’s somewhat interesting as there are a lot of tight shots at an attempt to feel personal and a switch from profile/hiding shots in the beginning to full face shots by the end, as though you have been let into the world.  Overall it feels jumpy, lacks consistency and enough depth to get your really vested in the characters.  In that sense, you can tell it’s an actor driven piece as it needs some guidance in sewing it together.  Sam Rockwell reminds us he’s got talent and the music is of course great.  It’s more of a chick flick than date night worthy but, he’ll probably come along knowing you’ll enjoy it and well…need I say more?!

Murphy Brown

Taking a brief break from movie reviews to write about the TV show Murphy Brown.  I can’t help but speak out about it.  Actors, actors, actors – loosen up!  The magic that made the show work was good writing and actors who followed their instinct and just had fun playing.  In this reboot the writing was sloppy, and thoughtless, relying on obvious gags.  The actors are tried and true but relied on mugging for the camera, forgetting about subtext.  Sometimes when you’re a professional you get lazy or nervous and rely on technique to get you through the work, you loose the character.  I have hope that the first episode was just that, them trying to settle back into familiarity with one another, regaining their chemistry.  And that the writers are reminded that they once had an audience because it was a smart show.  Let’s get back to basics people!

Ready Player One

Brush off those 80’s movies and experiences as there are more references in here than you may remember!  And, if you haven’t seen The Shinning, you might want to before watching.  Special effects are great as you are bolted in and out of a video game and reality.  Avatars are very lifelike. There are a ton of messages and comments about society wrapped up with a fun action adventure and of course, it wouldn’t be Spielberg to let us go without touching our heartstrings, innocent romance.  He tries really hard to have something for every generation from some baby boomers through Gen Z and men/women/boys/girls.  All is great – music, cinematography, actors – just a bit long in some parts and a bit too much of a commercial for the inevitable game to accompany it!  Date night yes, may as well bring the kids as you can also watch it with the fam., but not the grandparents.

Black Panther

black pantherAppropriate it’s part of the Marvel universe as it’s a Marvel.  The opening sequence starts with terrific animation/cgi.  The actors are masterful offering life and culture to this world.  There’s fun play with 007 throughout the film – including the token odd white guy –  and strong women, not just physically!  Well written script I wonder how these characters will mesh with the others in the universe.  The interplay with the characters in Black Panther is a different type of fun, with a sense of importance than those from others in the marvel universe so it will be interesting to see how they plan to mesh them all together for the upcoming film.  Yes to date night!