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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Life Animated

What's a good movie to watch happy movie movie suggestion
Dreams come true.

If you believe in Disney magic,this is the documentary for you. Life Animated explores a young autistic man's life and the breakthroughs that came from an unusual source — Disney animated movies. 

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (Music by Prudence, God Loves Uganda) unfolds the story of Owen through his endearing parents, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his wife, Cornelia. One of their first breakthroughs comes when they realize that a young Owen was reciting lines from The Little Mermaid as a way to not only understand the world around him, but also to communicate with them.

The film follows Owen into his twenties as he's finding his own apartment, dating and entering the next chapter of his life. Appropriately, WIlliams interjects (approved) Disney footage and dreamlike, custom animation to help tell this full story.

Simply put: It's the most charming Disney movie that Disney never made.

Award potential: A sure bet for the Best Documentary Oscar. It's that good, and Hollywood loves to see how important their work is.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.  Available on On-Demand, Apple TV and more.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Girl On The Train

Get a ticket.

Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train was not a great novel but a welcome page-turner that arrived just in time for last summer’s beach-read season. Many of its 11 million readers are likely wondering how this film can work given the book’s reliance on rotating first-person voices and lookalike characters.

Director Tate Taylor (The Help, Get On Up) solves that dilemma with tight close-ups and a limited, somewhat claustrophobic, cast of characters that keeps us in the head of Rachel (Emily Blunt), which is a thrilling place to be. 

The Girl on the Train, the film, offers viewers one thing we haven’t had in a while — a satisfying mystery. Once it’s solved, the film derails.

Book lovers who were disappointed by David Fincher’s (stylistic and beautiful) Gone Girl, should give this one a chance.

Simply put: A satisfying murder mystery and a ride worth taking.

Award potential: Emily Blunt is a standout who may be remembered, but this is more of a popcorn thriller than Oscar contender.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


A whistle-blower pot boiler.

The story of Edward Snowden is a good fit for a pot-boiler drama, and it's a good fit for conspiracy theory auteur Oliver Stone (JFK, Wall Street, Platoon).  

The Oscar-winning documentary Citizen Four (2014) fully covered the story, but there was still an opportunity to create a suspenseful film with Hollywood production values, and Stone does not disappoint. 

While the story is a bit clunky, Joseph Gordon-Levitt slides in and out of his accents and every scene with Snowden's girlfriend Lindsay Mills (Shailene Woodley) seems like another movie — a restrained Stone has created a cinematic thrill ride. 

I recommend you see it in the theater, just in case they're watching you at home.

Simply put: A suspenseful take on one of the most interesting stories of our time.

Award potential: Despite the all-star cast and A-list director, there are too many flaws to merit serious Oscar attention, but it's a fun night at the movies.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins

worst singer in the world
Florence strikes a chord.

Meryl Streep is perfectly awful as socialite Florence Foster Jenkins, perhaps the worst singer in American history. Hugh Grant, as her devoted husband St. Clair Bayfield, and Simon Helberg (Big Bang Theory), as her accompanist, are the supporting players of the year.

Stephen Frears is the director of this simple, comedic film that plays more like a Woody Allen flick than his previous gems (The Queen, Philomena, Dangerous Liasons). Frears balances a touching tale of Florence and the people surrounding her with the absurb humor of her operatic voice. It's a hoot.

Simply put: Florence hits all the right notes.

Award potential: Streep hasn't played a role as solid as this since Julie and Julia; expect her to receive her 20th Oscar nomination for Florence. If Bayfield gets a push and some attention at the end of the year, he could get a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor nod. Streep, Grant and Bayfield will all be contenders for the Golden Globe comedy category awards as well.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.