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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mother!


best horror movies 2017
Allegory? Or just gory? 

I’ve heard that 2017 will be remembered as the year of the highbrow horror movie. Both Get Out and Stephen King’s It have been both critical and commercial successes this year, and a new fall film, Mother!, boasts an all Oscar-caliber, past-nominated cast (Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfieffer and Ed Woods). 

Nah. 

While director Darren Aronosfsky’s film is superbly crafted and thought provoking, it doesn’t provide enough meat for quality movie lovers nor enough roller coaster excitement for the horror audience. It falls somewhere between. 


Our theater appeared to be divided into those that got the allegory story and were not surprised by, er, revelations — and those that did not. That second group was likely full of the folks leaving the theater in the final arc. It was close to a quarter of the room that left my showing.
 

Simply put: At the end of the day, neither film intellectuals nor horror fans will be satisfied enough to spend two hours with this.

Award potential: It will spur a mother load of discussion, but no Oscar talk.

The Ten Buck Review: Not worth ten bucks.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return


 The Peak TV event of the year.

I’ve been mad at David Lynch for over 25 years. That’s how long it’s been since the 1991 finale of Twin Peaks ended abruptly, with a cruel twist to fans. The final minutes closed with central character Agent Cooper becoming possessed by the spirit of Bob, Laura Palmer’s supernatural killer. Cooper laughed through the screen with an evil grin, and I felt like Lynch was doing the same to all of us who invested in the world of Twin Peaks.
 

There were no answers in the 1992 movie either. The log lady might have warned me, but I was flattened with a prequel that raised even more questions. Whenever I have been asked about my “least favorite” movie in polls, social list and at parties, I’ve had an easy go-to answer prepared: The theater-clearing Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
 

That frustration has always been a shame, because Twin Peaks was damn good TV. It challenged what TV could become and it launched the next-level movement that led to The X-Files, The Sopranos, Mad Men and eventually, and ironically, the standouts of “Peak TV” today: Fargo, Breaking Bad, True Detective, Mr. Robot and more.

Twenty-five years later, I forgive you David Lynch and Mark Frost.
 

The Return has given that infamous cliffhanger a bookend. And it has given its viewers the most dazzling television of the year. It’s possible that Lynch and Frost (Hill Street Blues) weren’t ever taunting us with unfinished plot lines on purpose, as this 18-part series has a full story to tell. Truly, the owls are not what they seem.
 

Showtime billed this as “Cooper’s return to Twin Peaks” and it has delivered very specifically to that quote. Lynch, who directed all 18 parts, is in top form as he milks every stalled scene for those who are patient enough to travel along.
 

The Return is bizarre, brilliant, sometimes funny, sometimes frightening and always entertaining. It begs you to turn out the lights, put down your phone and see what unfolds.
 

This is the (twisted stem) cherry on top of the brilliant season one. In terms of pure satisfaction and elevation of the form, Twin Peaks is an unexpected triumph.

Simply put: Diane, take note: this is damn good TV.


Award potential: An Golden Globe Emmy contender in all categories. Episode 8 should claim multiple trophies and will become an entry in film study. Director Lynch and actors Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern and Naomi Watts are clear front runners in their categories.


The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks (or a Showtime description this month). Showtime will run all 18 parts on Sunday, September 3.

 


How to watch Twin Peaks Parts 1-3
 

Showtime has released each rich “part” in standard weekly format, allowing viewers to absorb as well as truly anticipate the full return of a favorite character or two or three. I feel sorry for anyone who chooses to binge later.
 

1. Watch the first season, from 1990 (Showtime). There are 8 episodes.
2. Watch just the first seven episodes from season two (Laura’s killer is revealed), and then skip to the final two episodes (21 and 22). You can go back later, but you’ll lose interest in Twin Peaks if you try to watch the flawed second season.
3. Watch Twin Peaks: The Return (season three), do not binge
4. Halfway through season three, you may find that  theTwin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me movie will provide some info. Addicts only; it won't be entertaining.

5. Watch the final episodes of The Return















Friday, August 25, 2017

Home Again


Best comedy of 2017
Meyers-Shyer brings it home.

2017 has been a polarizing year, so it was no surprise to me that when the James Beard Foundation released its list of 2017 food trends it was topped by nostalgic, comfortable items. Comfy is in. As far as movies, it also makes sense we have need for some feel good flicks. 


Who better to deliver comfy rom-com on a platter than Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, The Intern, It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give)

It turns out the answer is her daughter, writer director Hallie Meyers-Shyer. Meyers-Shyer brings us the story of a single mom (Reese Witherspoon) who moves her family to her parents home in Los Angeles and rents out a room to three young guys. As you may have guessed, a May-December romance follows — except that it’s a December-May romance. Witherspoon’s character’s fling with the aspiring film student is fun twist to the usual onscreen story. 

While Meyers-Shyer brings us that flip, she unfortunately brings us another flop on a common problem. This time, the male characters are all underwritten stereotypes that don’t act or speak like men do. That miss threatens to take this comedy, already filled with conveniences, too far down the eye-rolling road. 

However, that Meyers family touch wins out anyway. This is a film that leaves you smiling too many times, and that’s a pretty fabulous feat halfway through 2017. 

And yes, the kitchens are perfect. 

Simply put: If you think you’d like this feel-good chick flick, you will. It’s not a home run like The Holiday, but it's about as good as The Intern.
 

Award potential: Not a contender, nor does it try.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks. Opens September 8, 2017.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Big Sick

best comedy of 2017

Real. Sick.

The story of The Big Sick centers on Kumail’s (Kumail Nanjian from Silicon Valley and Mike and Dave Need Dates) courtship of Emily (Zoe Kazan from It’s Complicated). When Emily suddenly comes down with an illness that leaves her in a coma, the relationship between the Pakistani comic and American graduate student is exposed to both of their families.

One other thing I should mention — it’s a romantic comedy. It’s a funny one with more depth than most rom-coms from this decade. Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as Emily’s parents add to the strong ensemble and Kumail’s family culture of arranged marriage is a refreshing subtext hardly seen in comedic film. Working against the film is a convenient resolution in the third act.

One other thing I should mention — that too-good-to-be true plot twist and this whole story is based on the true story of Nanjian’s real-life courtship of co-author Emily V. Gordon.

Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer, Hello, My Name Is Doris) directed this film, which is produced by Judd Apatow (Trainwreck, Girls, Knocked Up, 40-Year Old Virgin) who has a knack for introducing comic talent to bigger stages. This is one of his best.

Simply put: Although the final act goes on about a bit too long to be perfect, The Big Sick is this year’s crowd-pleasing comedy.

Award potential: Should do very well with Golden Globe nominations across all comedy catagories.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dunkirk

Just enough.

Before I walked into the theater, I had already heard the word “masterpiece” used by reviewers at Time magazine, The Atlantic and other sources that gave similar praise for Dunkirk. To me, using that word is somewhat accurate. 

As far as bringing the ground, sea and air of WWII to life, it is indeed a stunning masterpiece and the score, sound and FX should have those respective 2018 Oscars locked. However, despite being a grand spectacle, I did find that Dunkirk lacked something I needed from a full movie experience. 

The film’s famously sparse dialogue is likely the source. Likely some key actors as well. Despite the powerful story, I needed to connect to the central characters more. Newcomers Fionn Whitehead (land) and Jack Lowden (air) played characters so silent and soulless that I can’t even remember their character’s names. I’m sure director Christopher Nolan was going for realism versus scripted Hollywood fare, but I needed more.


That balance was perfectly executed by some seasoned pros. Commander Bolton (Kenneth Branaugh) and seaman Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) utilized their lines to sell and propel the story. They provided some heart to it as well.

The story, an important rescue mission, also lacks some of the resolution we’re used to seeing in a big WWII film but Nolan crafted a finale that ultimately sold me on Dunkirk.

This exchange, at one point during the story that I won't reveal, sums up my feelings for the full film:

Blind man: Well done.
Alex (Harry Styles): All we did was survive.
Blind man: That’s enough

Simply put: Well crafted. Well done. That’s enough to recommend this film. 


Award potential: A lock for nominations and likely wins in technical categories. There will be nominations for Best Picture, Best Cinematographer and maybe Best Supporting Actor (Rylance) too, but by next February this film will not be on the radar for those top honors. Even Saving Private Ryan, another summer release, couldn’t take home a win. 

Ten buck review: Worth ten bucks. Worth IMAX and 70mm pricing too.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

This Spidey is so McFly.

The last two Amazing Spider-Man films were anything but. Each of those films, as well as the original trilogy, has retold the origin story in every single stinkin’ film, so I’m thrilled to tell you that Homecoming provides only this line, “So you got bit by a spider,” as an origin. Non-spoiler alert: you don’t have to watch Uncle Ben die again either.
   
Homecoming picks up after Spidey’s comedic appearance in Captain America: Civil War (2016), with a teenage Tom Holland working his way through, well, John Hughs High. In a fresh move for Marvel, half of this movie feels like an 80’s high school comedy ­with winks and nods to Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) and Breakfast Club (1985). 

Mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and villain Vulture (Michael Keaton) turn in seasoned, adult performances to make sure we know this is a legit Marvel endeavor, but each threaten to clash with this fresh approach. 

Credit some restraint by Marvel and a zippy, awkward hero performance by Tom Holland that recalls Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly. High praise indeed. 

Spider Man's nemesis was not the Green Goblin; It was teen angst, melodrama and hyperbolic action sequences. This friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man flies by seat of his spandex pants and it’s a modern marvel. 

Simply put: My spider sense says we’ll be seeing more of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, and I’m fine with that. 

Award potential: Not much Oscar-worthy here. 

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Beguiled

Like a Virginian.

In January, I listed my New Year’s Wishes for 2017 at the movies. I wished that Wonder Woman would be wonderful, Logan would be the Wolverine movie we’ve been waiting for and that the clearly uninspired remakes and sequels, specifically Baywatch, Mummy, Alien and Fifty Shades, would tank at the box office. I wished that the Oscars would move beyond #oscarssowhite. And I wished that Sofia Coppola would make our day with The Beguiled. 

Most of my wishes have come true, but while The Beguiled entertained me for a bit, it certainly did not make my day, and it won’t make my Best of the Year list. 

Director Sofia Coppola took best director prize at Cannes for The Beguiled. I can understand some of that. It is craftfully created, and each visual drips with the mossy visuals of a Civil-war era Virginia holding on to what beauty is left — but it’s not the film I hoped for. 

The story, a remake of the Clint Eastwood film from 1971, is a slight one. Colin Farrell, who I really want to like in a movie one day, is no Clint Eastwood. 

What does work, other than the Southern gothic scenery, is Nicole Kidman. Her politely suppressed character, like the best British and Southern movies, is sublime. I can tell you now without a spoiler, one static look in the final act will make her career montage.

Kidman is having one heck of a year from Lion to Big Little Lies to this. I should have wished for more Nicole Kidman in 2017.

Simply put: Not the film I hoped for, but a fine and pleasantly short film as counterpoint to the lengthy summer blockbusters at the cinema now.


Award potential: Nicole Kidman has a shot at Best Supporting Actress nominations on this one, but summer films are famously ignored. Kirsten Dunst was fine, but forgettable.
 

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Baby Driver


Baby Driver
This summer’s joyride.
 

Sorry super friends, guardians, monsters and transformers, Baby Driver is the coolest movie of the summer. 

Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) directs this baby with style and swagger and unlike anything he’s done before. Watching this film is as breezy as listening to the soundtrack that fuels it. 

The script gives us iPod-adorned Ansel Elgort (Baby) as the getaway driver for crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey) and an assortment of bank robbers (Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Eliza Gonzalez). It’s a cleverly written heist movie, but on speed. 

Get ready for brilliantly-shot car chases, stylish crime capers and a twee-rific love story featuring Lily James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey). Each scene rolls in seamlessly, like a perfect mix tape, until it all boils up to the final act. It’s a drive worth taking. 

Simply put: Rev up. It’s Fast and Furious for the cool kids.
 

Award potential: Not an Oscar-type film, but expect to see Baby Driver on plenty of 2017 top ten lists and perhaps on some short lists for Golden Globe nominations. I'll give it the "coolest pic' of the year" award right now.

The Ten Buck Review:
Worth ten bucks.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Wonder Woman

It's super.

I’ve heard a lot of people who are surprised at how long it took Wonder Woman to get to the big screen. After all, “What could go wrong?”

For starters, she’s an Amazon princess, who is related to the Greek god Zeus. She wears a red, white and blue bustier, and fights crime with a shield, sword, magic bracelets and a golden lasso that makes people tell the truth. To make things more difficult, she is lovingly remembered by her 70’s TV incarnation that had a theme song with the lyrics “In your satin tights, fighting for your rights, and the old red, white and blue.” She is all that and a feminist icon as well. One more thing; it’s a DC movie (Green Lantern, Batman V. Superman). Yikes! 


In other words, about a million things could have gone wrong — but didn’t. Wonder Woman is everything we want it to be, and it's here to save the summer. Gal Gadot has big-screen star power and you just can’t look away from her. 

You can’t look away from this film either. Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) has set a new standard for balancing comedy, myth and action. She's Warner Brother's new hero.

Somehow Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg flipped all the things that could go wrong, such as her famous tights. By the time we see Diana Prince (Wonder Woman's secret identity) stretch a bit in restrictive 20th Century garments, any viewer can kinda understand why she pops into her skimpy, and otherwise absurd, attire to go to battle. The lasso of truth? It’s a beauty onscreen. The typical comic book final 20-minutes where the enemy gets big and the hero has to blow the big thing up amidst twirling VFX madness? Well, OK, they didn’t solve that. Next time. 

Like Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, but unlike most superhero films, I want to see more stories about Gal Gadot’s blazzingly heroic Wonder Woman. It’s not just super, it’s superb.
 

Simply put: Wonder no more, Wonder Woman beaks the mold.
 

Award potential: In the mix for Best FX and Best Original Score and Best Sound and Sound Mixing Oscar categories. Look for Gal Gadot to be mentioned in early Golden Globe shortlists.

The Ten Buck Review:
Worth ten bucks.




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Snatched

Schumer’s next Trainwreck.

Amy Schumer’s infectious Trainwreck was one of the more laugh-filled theater gifts to

audiences in years. Goldie Hawn’s Private Benjamin and Overboard are comic staples. A pairing of these two blondes having fun should be at least half as funny as their best work, right?

The talents of Schumer and Hawn elevate this comedy for sure, but I’m sad to say that this project should have been cast overboard. The script is an ‘80s comedy throwback, complete with South American stereotypes, punched up with the expected gross out gags of modern rom-coms and bro-coms. I think they picked the two worst parts of those decades; it’s a long hour and a half.

Turns out, casting this duo, who we love individually as irreverent free spirits, means that someone has to play it straight. As a result, Hawn's uptight mom character doesn’t give her a chance to shine.

I did laugh a lot, but there was a lot of eye-rolling in between. Amy Schumer falling on her face gets some cheap laughs, but it’s not so funny for ticket buyers that this film also falls on its face.

Simply put: It should be one mother of a comedy. It isn’t.

Award potential: None.

The Ten Buck Review: Not worth ten bucks, but if you want to see these two together and need some cheap laughs on a Mother’s Day outing, I’ll understand.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Song at the beginning of Guaridans 2 ELO
The Misfits Strike Back. 

When Guardians of the Galaxy blasted into theaters in the summer of 2014, it had little to no expectations and it wowed us with its formula-breaking spirit and the movie-star arrival of Chris Pratt. Volume 2 arrives with out-of-this-world expectations, and it suffers from trying to accomplish all of them. Luckily for us, it’s still more fun than everything else at the cinema. 

There are still a lot of laughs this time around from Star Lord (Pratt), Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper), Baby Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) and the gang, but while the original centered on Star Lord’s centered rise to leading the motley crew, Pratt is given a sobering family drama with Kurt Russell that sucks out any carefree momentum he generates. Separating the characters from Pratt is surely a calculated move for a franchise that also wants us to get invested in other characters such as Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zeo Saldana) and her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), but the film drags while Pratt is separated from the narrative. 

The overly digital effects, the meandering story and the new misfits all try too hard, but when you see the team form and hear ELO or Fleetwood Mac on the soundtrack, all is right with the galaxy. 

Simply put: Fun, but forgettable. 

Award potential: Not that kind of film. Potential for Best Makeup.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks, just for the opening scene.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wonder when the summer movies are? The Summer 2017 Movie List


Ready, set, action movies! Summer movie season kicks off in May with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and continues with laborious sequels (and a few enticing diversions) until Labor Day. Plan your summer outings now with this quick guide to what's coming each weekend of summer:


May 5 
The blockbuster sequel: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The boxing movie: Chuck (Limited), Liv Schreiber, Naomi Watts 
The family movie: 3 Generations (Limited), Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon
 The family issues movie: The Dinner (Limited), Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney

May 12 
The Lord of all things epic movie: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Director Guy Richie, Charlie Hunnan 
The 80’s comedy: Snatched, Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn
 The boomer pic: Paris Can Wait (Limited), Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin



May 19 
The sequel we didn't ask for: Alien: Covenant
The older kidflick: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
The teen weepie: Everything, Everything






May 26 
The Arrrr–rated sequel: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 
The TV-rehash comedy: Baywatch, The Rock  (May 25)

 

June 2 
The superhero wonder: Wonder Woman
The kidflick: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
The dramedy: Dean (Limited), Demetri Martin, Kevin Kline



June 9 
The Tom Cruise film: The Mummy
The Trump-era film: Beatriz at Dinner (Limited), John Lithgow
The Brit Lit film: My Cousin Rachel (Limited), Rachel Weisz

June 16
The rap bioflick: All Eyez on Me
The Pixar film: Cars 3
The future shark week film: 47 Meters Down, Mandy Moore, Matthew Modine The Chick Flick event night pic: Rough Night, Scar-Jo, Kate McKinnon
The indie A-list film: Maudie (Limited), Ethan Hawke, Sally Hawkins


June 23 
The toy franchise film: Transformers: The Last Knight
The Mad Max in Tex film: The Bad Batch (Limited), Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Suki Waterhouse
The Coppola Civil War pic (Sofia): The Beguiled (Limited), Colin Farrell
The Pakistani comedy: The Big Sick (Limited), Kumail Nanjinani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter
The curveball action flick: Baby Driver, Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, June 28 (Wednesday)






June 30 
The big yellow sequel: Despicable Me 3
The rehash: Amityville: The Awakening
The SNL Film: House, Will Ferrel, Amy Poehler




July 7 
The relaunch: Spider-Man: Homecoming


July 14 
The one with those apes: War for the Planet of the Apes, Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson
The Brit Lit Chick Flick: Lady Macbeth (Limited),
Florence Pugh
The thriller: City of Ghosts (Limited), Matt Dillion, Gerard Depardieu




July 21 

The WWII film: Dunkirk: Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh…and Harry Styles
The Girls Night Out flick: Girls Trip: Queen Latifah, Reginal Hall

July 28 
The sci-fi spy pick: Atomic Blonde, Charlize Theron, James McAvoy
The kid, hopeful- franchise film: The Emoji Movie, voices of T.J. Miller, James Corden, LLana Glazer, Steven Wright, Patrick Stewart
The pop doc: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore

August 4 
The gunslinger movie: The Dark Tower, Iris Elba, Matthew Mcconaughey
The civil riot film: Detroit, John Boyega
The youth novel film: Midnight Sun, Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzeneger
The early contender for a Raspberry award: Ingrid Goes West (Limited), Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen
The Jeremy Renner FBI film of the month: Wind River (Limited), Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen



August 11 
Oh, the horror: Annabelle: Creation
The drama: The Only Living Boy in New York (Limited), Kate Beckinsale, Jeff Bridges




August 18 
The Ryan Reynolds, Samuel Jackson non-super hero film: The Hitman's Bodyguard
The end-of-summer kid’s movie: The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature


August 25 
The thriller, Polaroid
The re-release: Terminator 2 in 3D
Boomer’s night out: Villa Capri, Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, Rene Russo
17th Century alternative: Tulip Fever (Limited), Alicia Vikander, Judi Dench




September 1 
The war film: Renegades, J.K. SImmons
The animated musical: Leap!, Elle Fanning, Carly Rae Jepsen, Mel Brooks, August 30 (Wednesday)





September 8 
The comedy: Home Again, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Sheen
The Stephen King thriller: It, Bill Skarsgard






The ten buck review: TBD. At least one of these will be worth ten bucks.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mr. Roosevelt

Austin Films comedy
A mess visits Texas.

Emily (Noel Wells), a struggling actress who moved to La La Land to pursue a career in comedy, returns to her college town when a loved one falls sick. That’s the premise for Mr. Roosevelt, a comedy set in Austin, Texas.

After a few minutes of watching this lighthearted comedy, I realized that not only is this film set in Austin, but also every vibe, visual and detail is so Austin-y Austin that it could have been set at a food truck serving tacos. The next scene I saw? It was at a food truck serving tacos.  
Wells (Master of None) is both actor and director for Mr. Roosevelt, and she’s a standout for comedy timing with both roles. She plays a character that is an equal blend of Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex & The City, Lena Dunham in Girls and Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids so there’s a lot of familiar stuff here, but the comedy is ripe and the Austin vibe has a distinct personality.

Before this film goes wide, the producers would be wise to cut an opening scene with unfortunate similarity to an Oscar-nominated musical released earlier this year. The comparisons are unfavorable and it's a bumpy start. 


The film definitely finds its groove soon after. Like Jon Favreau's Chef (2014), Mr. Roosevelt is a familiar tale set in colorful place that is pure joy to watch. (Yeh, they both have food trucks.)

Simply put: Grab a Shiner and a taco and get ready to watch this girl and her mess visit Texas.

Award potential: Not a contender for awards season, but should please most audiences on the festival circuit and in theaters.
 

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Logan

Wolverine finally has his The Dark Knight.

Hugh Jackman's Wolverine has carved out many iconic scenes on film (six X-Men movies and two Wolverine ones) and he may be the single most iconic onscreen superhero, but the flicks have always come up short. Wolverine has never had a great movie—until now.

For starters, Logan is unburdened of comic book trappings. There is no doomsday villain nemesis nor aliens invading our planet. This down-to-earth film fulfills the promise of those first scenes in the original X-Men (2000) where we were first introduced to the Eastwood-gruff character. The R-rated Logan is gritty, raw, original and before the film is over, we finally get to see Wolverine let loose. And it's about bloody time.

It's 2029 and mutants are a thing of the past. Logan is graying, tired and worse of all—driving for an Uber-like service when trouble comes his way. That trouble sets up a road trip film that is part Road Warrior, T2, High Noon and Shane, a western noir which is utilized within the film. 


There's a lot to love about Logan. Jackman and the esquisite Patrick Stewart share some powerfully-written scenes that rise above the format. Fans will be pleased and first-timers will have a stand-alone film to love. Cue the sunset.

Simply put: Logan is the Wolverine movie we've waited 17 years for.

Award potential: If this were a different time of year, I could entertain some Golden Globe discussion about Jackman and Stewart even though it's a comic-based movie, but these super performances won't be remembered as award-worthy a year from now.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Watch out! What to watch for during Sunday's Oscars® telecast


While there will surely be some political pulpit moments in a year where we’re kinda exhausted with that, there are a dozen reasons why the show looks to transcend and entertain. Here are some things to watch for (some facts, some predictions):



John Legend, Sting and Lin-Manuel Miranda will delight. 
John Legend will perform 'City of Stars' and 'Audition (The Fools Who Dream)' from La La Land. Sting will sing 'The Empty Chair' from Jim: The James Foley Story. And young 
Auli'i Cravalho will join Miranda to perform 'How Far I'll Go' from Moana.

Justin Timberlake will perform too, with trolls. Ugh.
Justin Timberlake should solidify his career low point Sunday with a (surely) colorful musical confection of 'Can't Stop The Feeling'—from Trolls. May be more tolerable if watched while eating cotton candy. 

There will be no musical tribute to Best Hair and Makeup.
Show producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd have promised there won’t be any extraneous musical numbers, except those pegged to the nominated Best Song and the In Memorium segment.

Viola Davis will set the tone.
The Best Supporting Actress award will likely be presented in the first third of the show. Whether she is political or focused on film or a mix of both, I don’t think the high-profile winners that follow will stray too far from the tone she sets.

Emma Stone will wear green.
Not my expertise, but it would be too costume-y to do a yellow dress like the La La Land one. And blue might inspire her to do this (above). Vegas has odds on gold, but redheads love green for events that matter. 

Jimmy Kimmel will pass out food.
The segments that saw peak social activity in past years were when Ellen Degeneres delivered pizzas and Chris Rock had girl scouts deliver cookies, so they are sure to repeat this stunt. When Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Emmys, he asked the Stranger Things kids to pass out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’m hangry for a new bit, but I doubt they’ll pass on another social buzz opportunity.

Little Saroo will steal the show.
If Mumbai native Sunny Pawar, who plays the young version of Saroo in Lion, appears, no one will notice who else is on stage.

Kate McKinnon (SNL) will make a surprise appearance.
She’s not listed as a presenter, but she slayed at the Nominees Luncheon so I wouldn’t be shocked to hear her to read the rules or introduce Price Waterhouse for some laughs.

The In Memorium segment will be a doozy.
Expect clips from movies and a simple nod to the double tragedy of Carrie Fisher and her mom Debbie Reynolds. Waitress the Musical’s Sara Bareilles (“Love Song”) will perform.

Halle Berry will get an unexpected standing ovation
I’m just guessing here, but Halle Berry may get a moment. It won’t be for her work in Kidnap or Catwoman, but this night will applaud both diversity and maybe presenter Berry, the first African American to win Best Actress, fifteen years ago for Monster's Ball (2002).

We will get tired of the Matt Damon/Jimmy Kimmel stunt
It’s no accident that Kimmel has resurrected the ongoing Matt Damon faux feud on his late night show; he’s reminding everyone so we’ll remember it and laugh at some future bit on Sunday. Ben Affleck has one more Oscar than Damon, for producing Argo, so he’s likely to play a role. 

I expect it will be Kimmel’s low point in the show — unless Casey Affleck wins Best Actor, for the role that Damon was set to play, setting up some actual humor for the end of the show. 

The Salesman will upset the highly-decorated Toni Erdmann.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Salesman) and Shahab Hosseini, the star of Best Foreign Language film nominee The Salesman have said they will not attend the ceremony in protest of Trump’s travel ban —nudging their movie to statement-vote status.

If White Helmets wins, tears will flow.
The White Helmets are a group also known as the Syrian Civil Defense who work tirelessly to rescue civilians affected by the country's devastating civil war. The film, The White Helmets, focused on three of them — all who are attending and will be a site on stage if this film wins Best Documentary Short.


History will be made.
It was a great year for diversity in film (and a year after #oscarssowhite), so it should not be surprising if history is made Sunday. Expect three actors of color towalk away with three of four acting Oscars. Denzel, Viola and either Mahershala Ali (or Dev Patel) are all front runners.





This land is La La Land, from California to Oscars podium. 
Expect ten trips to the podium from one big film. Oscars loves films about themselves and it doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the most daring films of most any year. Expect 10 wins for La La Land, tying West Side Story for second most wins.

Three hours and 31 minutes of Oscar.  
The producers promise a "swift" show with “some real candy in the middle.” 
I can’t wait.