Friday, December 7, 2018
“Re:Birth” is a return to stand up for British comedian, musician, actor, artist and activist Russell Brand. He is a man of many labels, and that shows through in his standup comedy, as he constantly tackles challenging prospects.
Whether it be what parenthood means, the current state of politics, poverty or the media. Brand is walking on ground that many comedians have walked before, poking fun at the powerful to get laughs out of every man. However, Brand provided something more in this special. There was a genuine passion to his message, that he truly cared for the people he thought were being put down.
He lives by ideals and gets a laugh out of the audience by poking fun at those who poke fun at him. However, never once did I feel like Brand came across as arrogant.
Self-deprecation is used by many comedians, and Brand lathered his entire show with it. He makes sure that the audience knows that while he may seem like a philosopher on his best day, or a provocateur on his worst, he's also an idiot. Whether it be accidentally taking food from the poor or making a fool of himself on live television, Brand spent a good portion of the special lampooning his own impassioned nature.
It wasn't all vitriol and deprecation though. The special had a genuine heart, in which Brand spoke through poetry about his fears in the world and his desire to see it become a better place. The title itself “Re:Birth” is in reference to his daughter, who was just recently born. Brand taps into knew meaning as he comes to understand more about the world through the love he has for his child. That is the true heart to this special. While it can be crass and raunchy one moment, it's genuine and hopeful the next. Brand didn't break new ground with “Re:Birth”, but he certainly has made a stand up set that's polished, funny, and interesting.
Friday, November 30, 2018
By Kaila Mank
For those people who enjoyed the first movie of the series, “Wreck it Ralph”, you are
guaranteed to like the second movie, “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” Disney did it again, creating a comical, and enjoyable film for all ages.
Briefly, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is a 3D computer-animated comedy produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios that features the returning voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, and Ed O'Neill with Alan Tudyk also returning but voicing a new character. There were a few new additions to the cast including Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Bill Hader, and Alfred Molina.
The story goes that six years after saving the game Sugar Rush from Turbo's revenge, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz are still best friends who hang out every night after work in Litwak's Family Fun Center and Arcade. Before long, Vanellope gets bored with the predictability of the game so Ralph tries to give Vanellope something to look forward to by building her a new steering wheel. Unfortunately, the game player accidentally breaks Litwak's game. And the adventures begin as they journey through various spaces of the Internet.
Even though a fun kids movie, directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnson still seemed to incorporate a friendship theme along with a lesson – which is - if a friend moves to a different place, don't hold them back even if you want to let them spread their wings and fly.
Something I really loved about this movie was how the filmmakers brought the internet alive - everything from buildings representing Facebook, Pinterest, and Ebay to the pop up that represented spam.
Overall, this was a really well put together movie and if you haven't seen it yet, I would highly recommend it for everyone, young and old alike.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
If you are a fan of J.K. Rowling, then you will enjoy the fantasy film, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”. This movie, in theaters now, is the second installment in Rowling’s latest series. It is about a younger Albus Dumbedore (Jude Law) trying to stop Gellert Grindelwald's (Johnny Depp) plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings. He does so by recruiting student, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who agrees to help but is not aware of the dangers that await him.
For the non-Harry Potter fans and those who didn’t see the first film in the series, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (2016), the film would have most likely been confusing. Additionally, unlike the Potter series, this movie leaves the viewer a bit in the dark as to which is the human world and which is the “muggle” world, making the distinction confusing at times.
Also, Jude Law and Johnny Depp may have been miscast for their roles. Law looked much younger than the character Depp portrayed – the two were the same age and the look in age difference was a fault I couldn’t overlook. However, overall, the movie was just as the title suggests, “Fantastic!”
“Crimes of Grindelwald” was visually stunning from the moment the movie began. The continuation from the first movie flowed very well, with all the essential characters intact. There was an especially smooth transition with the Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) character. Additionally, Redmayne and his side kick, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) had great comedic rapport and superb interactions throughout the film.
For Hogwarts and fantasy flick lovers alike, I highly recommend this second of Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts” series and I personally look forward to the next film.
Friday, November 16, 2018
By Lorraine Glowczak
I enjoy most every movie I see, but it takes an amazing film before I believe it to be Oscar-worthy. But I can say without a doubt that “Lion” is deserving of such high honors. Available on Netflix, DVD and Blu-ray, “Lion” is an inspiring and true story about a five-year-old boy from India, named Saroo (Sunny Pawar) who gets lost on a train. He ends up thousands of miles away from his home and family, arriving in Kolkata where he doesn’t speak the local Bengali language. There he must learn to survive alone on the streets.
Saroo eventually ends up in an orphanage and is adopted by an Australian couple, John (David Wenham) and Sue Brierley (Nicole Kidman). They provide a warm and loving home in Tanzania.
Twenty-five years later, the older Saroo (Dev Patel) joins friends one evening as they eat Indian food together. It’s there he sees jalebi, a Indian delicacy he remembers from his childhood and the memories come flooding back.
With dogged determination, Saroo spends almost every waking hour in search of his biological family and eventually finds them with the then new technology, Google Earth. With his adoptive parents’ support, Saroo sets out to find his lost family and finally returns to his first home – and reunites with his biological mother and meets his sister.
A fun interesting note about the name of the film. Once Saroo visits his biological family, he discovered that he had been mispronouncing his own name, which was actually Sheru, meaning "lion" in his native language.
“Lion” is definitely a must-see!
Friday, November 9, 2018
By Colby Willis
Originally released in 2015, but recently added to Netflix, John Maclean’s “Slow West” calls back to the golden age of cowboy films with a modern feel.
Nothing is more iconic in westerns than somber soundtracks, beautiful backgrounds, and intense gunfights. “Slow West” brings all that back and more. Jay Cavendish, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, is a young British noble on a foolhardy journey heading west to find his childhood crush. At the start of the film, while musing about stars and philosophy, he wanders into a tense standoff and is saved by a mysterious cowboy played by Micheal Fassbender. What follows is a slow burning journey through the American frontier, as Jay quickly comes to realize that his fantasies of the Wild West may be far more romantic than he originally thought.
While this is an action film, it is not a wholehearted one. The lulls between shootouts are long; the Dollars Trilogy. While he doesn't say much, every word he says and every action he does has an impact, leaving the viewer entranced during the whole film.actual bouts themselves are quick and deadly. This isn't to say they aren't engrossing though, Maclean manages to instill a sense of dread and tension into each time a gun is drawn, leaving the viewer on the edge of their seat. Fassbender's character invoked the “Man with No Name” from the
The style and setting are top notch. Nearly every shot in the film was a feast for the eyes, as Maclean takes full advantage of the natural beauty of America's Mid-West. Lush forests, open plains and of course, the iconic plateaus and mountains were shot in such vivid color that they practically looked like paintings. The visuals were interesting and never felt stale or rigid, using fun perspectives to spice up the slower scenes.
While this is a serious drama, there were plenty of laughs as Jay's naive nature bounced off the mysterious Cowboy's gruff one. Seeing the lead slowly learn just how foolish he was to venture out into the country on his own was amusing at times and terrifying at others. However, he never came off as annoying, just genuine.
Unfortunately this film bombed at the box office, and did not make back its budget. However, if you are a fan of old school western films, Wes Anderson comedies or just the beauty of the American West, you couldn't go wrong with this underappreciated gem of a flick.
Friday, November 2, 2018
By Lorraine Glowczak
Although it took me a while to realize that parenthood wasn’t in the cards for me, there was a time that I longed for and tried to have at least one child. That’s why I couldn’t resist watching the Netflix movie, “Private Life”, that was also in theaters in limited locations.
“Private Life” is about a bohemian and artistic married couple, Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard (Paul Giamatti), who live in New York’s East Village and are desperately wanting to have a child but are having difficulty conceiving.
Rachel is a writer whose new novel is about to be published. Richard used to run an experimental theater but now runs an artisanal pickle company. The couple are educated, sophisticated, witty and fun people who are admired and loved profusely by their step-niece, 25-year-old Sadie (Kalie Carter). Sadie is the step-daughter of Richard’s brother, Charlie (John Carroll Lynch) who is married to Sadie’s mother, Cynthia (Molly Shannon).
In spite of multiple failed attempts at artificial insemination as well as a failure in vitro fertilization, they never give up. They even have signed up to adopt a child. They connect with a pregnant teenager from Little Rock, who was looking to give up her child. They go to meet her, but she doesn’t’ show up at the agreed upon location.
In comes Sadie. She decides to leave her college writing program to finish in absentia and go live with Richard and Rachel. Rachel, who struggled with the idea of an unknown egg donor, decides that she wants to ask Sadie for her eggs. To their surprise, Sadie quickly agrees, both because she loves Richard and Rachel and because she thinks the egg donation will bring meaning to her life.
Sadie is told at a doctor’s appointment that she is not developing eggs quickly enough. Determined not to let Richard and Rachel down, she increases her drug dosage on her own.
Richard and Rachel go through with the implantation, but it is a failure.
Nine months later Richard and Rachel receive a call from another woman looking at them as potential parents to adopt her child. The couple drive to an Applebee's where they wait to meet the woman. Does this woman offer the child that the couple have yearned for? You’ll have to see for yourself.
“Private Life” is definitely a must see for everyone – whether you have had children, or you have struggled to do so. You will enjoy this witty film that contains authenticity and love.
Friday, October 26, 2018
By Lorraine Glowczak
I was only three years and 10 months old when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. Ironically, there is very little I know about these two astronauts and their adventure before, during and after their space exploration. As a result, I couldn’t wait to see the film, “First Man”, directed by Damien Chazelle and produced by Steven Speilberg, when it came out in theaters on October 12. This weekend, I took the time to watch it and I have mixed reviews of this biographical movie.
Briefly, “First Man” is the story about Armstrong (Ryan Goseling) and his life from 1961 to 1969. The film reviews the sacrifices and costs on the Nation as well as on Armstrong, his wife Janet (Claire Foy) and his two sons. The movie also lets the audience take a peak in on Armstrong’s mourning of his two-year old daughter, Karen, who died of brain cancer. He also experiences the death of two fellow astronauts who were also great friends.
Although the viewer is aware of his sadness, Armstrong never breaks down. He remains stoic and often, emotionally distant. Goseling does a fantastic job portraying this famous man in history (but I personally believe, as an actor Goseling can do no wrong, so you might take my opinion with a grain of salt.)
What I liked best about the film is that it includes the family’s perspective of having a husband and father who is going to the moon – and may never return. In one poignant scene, Armstrong sits down with his two sons and discusses the possibility that they may not see him again. The conversation would not have happened, however, if his wife didn’t demand it. It’s for this reason that I enjoyed Foy’s portrayal of Armstrong’s wife.
Although I learned a bit about history and was moved by the life of Armstrong and his family, I found this film a bit too somber for my liking. One reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes stated my perception the best: ‘“First Man" never quite connects at a gut level. For a story that shoots for the moon, it has trouble leaving the ground.”