Thumbnails May 13
baseball fan who saw Jackie Robinson play,
say enough good things about this film. Brilliantly written and directed
by Brian Helgeland highlighted by wonderful performances by Chadwick
Boseman and Harrison Ford, without being maudlin it captures what Jackie
Robinson went through and the courage it took not to fight back.
Director Philipp Stölzl
gets outstanding performances out of Aaron Eckhart and Liana Liberato,
playing his daughter, as both are targeted for assassination by people
unknown. Aided by award-quality music by Jeff Danna and captivating
cinematography of the Belgium location by Kolja Brandt, Stölzl keeps the
pace up for the entire 104 minutes. Opens May 17.
My Ashes At Bergdorf’s (10/10):
film opens with Joan Rivers meowing, “People who take fashion seriously
are idiots.” Director Matthew Miele, however, follows with a parade of
people who take fashion very seriously. This is a delightful,
informative, educational, and highly entertaining documentary about the
111-year history of the iconic New York department store Bergdorf
Goodman. The title is from one of The New Yorker’s classic
cartoons by Victoria Roberts. Your jaw will drop when you learn how much
money the salespeople make.
All You Need (9/10):
the title, this has nothing to do with The Beatles. It’s a tender,
sensitive, romantic film with terrific shots of Sorrento. But what makes
this film is the spectacular performance by Trine Dryholm, called “the
best actress ever” by Alec Baldwin, and this film shows why. But it also
contains an equally wonderful performance by Pierce Brosnan who
generally hides his talent in junk like the James Bond films and his
dismal part of the horribly miscast “Mamma Mia.” This movie has several
twists and turns, but it proceeds apace. Like most good films it’s best
seen not knowing much about what’s going to happen. 110 minutes might
sound like a long time for a film like this, but the time never dragged
for me. In English, Danish, and Italian.
Although no credit is given, this story is strikingly similar to Robert
Henlein’s 1950 radio script, “Universe.” It’s a well-paced thriller with
fine special effects and good acting by Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough,
Melissa Leo, Morgan Freeman, and Olga Kurylenko.
(2004) started it all and won a Best Picture Oscar® with four separate
vignettes, all of which came together at the end. This is the same
style, with a fine ensemble cast dealing with some hard issues, like
teen-aged cyber bullying. A movie with mounting tension, not an easy one
to watch, I thought it ended with a thud. Maybe that’s the way life is.
Even so, this isn’t life, it’s a movie! Director Henry-Alex Rubin should
have worked to get a better ending after such a fine beginning and
Bahrani, who directed and wrote a terrific script (with Hallie Elizabeth
Newton), has created a devastating indictment of modern agriculture and
genetically modified seeds (GMO), based on an actual incident that he
discovered while doing his research. He gets a first class performance
from Dennis Quaid, who can flash his fantastic smile at a moment’s
notice, regardless of what’s going on inside, expressing a wide range of
emotions. Zac Efron contributes a good performance as Quaid’s
dissatisfied son. Maika Monroe gives a debut performance playing Zac’s
girlfriend that marks her as a real comer.
Joe Retaliation (5/10):
scenes are nothing if not ludicrous. The fights are ridiculous. What’s
really awful about this and others of its ilk is that the scenes and
resolutions defy any explanation. The film is mildly entertaining and
might be worth seeing for the CGI-created stunts and the 3-D. But I wish
they’d stop making frivolous nonsense like this.
director Terence Malick is the master of bore, and this nonsensical
exercise in directorial egotism is his bête noire.