You can always tell when Oscar season has arrived. Films grow maudlin and tackle subjects like racism, genocide and human dysfunction. The Judge is early out of the gate for Academy consideration and packs a cast of lauded actors, a couple of whom have already made the trip to the dais. The film isn't perfect, but if you want to see some spectacular acting, this is your movie.
Story: At a carnival shooting gallery, the proprietor encourages a motley group of misfits to purchase guns and take aim on their frustrations by assassinating an American president. Historical eras overlap as disgruntled actor John Wilkes Booth commences the violence with the murder of President Abraham Lincoln to avenge the South’s loss in the Civil War.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) leaves his rural Missouri cul de sac one sunny July day and heads to visit his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon), at a neighborhood bar they co-own. There, Nick receives a call from a neighbor letting him know—we assume—that his front door is open and his cat has gotten out. When Nick returns to retrieve the animal, something is not right.
Supporters, and state and local officials recently attended the grand opening of SouthSide Early Childhood Center. The new building is twice the size of the previous facility, and includes 10 classrooms, a multipurpose room, resource library, kids’ ‘kitchen’ and preschool garden, state-of-the-art meeting and conference rooms, and a natural playground.
Story: Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were two kids chafing to escape the cross-hairs of the Great Depression. Clyde’s father was an itinerant farmer, always beholden to someone else for the meager wages that fed his wife and two sons, while Bonnie was raised by her God-fearing widowed mother to work hard and respect the system.
It seems that lately, a slew of former Saturday Night Live cast-members are branching out, with varying degrees of success. One need only glance at a Rob Schneider comedy to know the downside of these attempts. Will Forte turned in a solid performance in Nebraska, Tina Fey has had spotty success, and Will Ferrell is a superstar. And while Kristen Wiig had a monster hit with Bridesmaids, this is her first foray into an actor-driven independent film, and she and her SNL castmate Bill Hader deliver.
When you think of the hybrid genre of family dramedy, a lot of poignant, funny movies come to mind like Terms of Endearment (poignant) and The Royal Tennenbaums (funny); but either way, it's clear the awkward family reunion is rife with potential. Here, sadly, most of that potential remains untapped.
I have to say I almost skipped this movie because the title sounds so much like a Western. I just kept picturing Clint Eastwood at a cemetery at high noon for the shootout, a low whistling music in the background...you see my point. This movie, however, is most definitely not a Western. Here, action mainstay Liam Neeson helps a man find out what happened when his wife is abducted. Sound familiar? Rest assured, it's not Taken; this film is something much darker, and much less satisfying.
It's officially fall: School is in full swing, sweaters are coming out and thoughts turn to pumpkin-carving and apple-picking. I know it's fall for another reason: At the cineplex, the film previews have turned to all things sinister. You know what I mean. The trailer starts off with a girl entering a long, abandoned attic, and pulling drop cloths off Victorian furniture. Then she comes across an old charm/mirror/clock/masque and the violent montage begins. After a few lines of dialogue explaining the premise--the man murdered a dozen girls then disappeared/they thought she was a witch and burned her home with her in it/he walked into the old mine one day and never emerged—the credits pop up. Brace yourself. Then, there's one final scary shot of a face with yellow eyes (or a dead body sitting up). Yeah, yeah.
When I see a movie released in 2014 that stars the late James Gandolfini, I worry. The cynic in me assumes the film was shelved after it was shot, and only released after Gandolfini's death in hopes of sympathy ticket sales. I don't know if that's what actually happened, regardless, this film is certainly worthy.
Steve Coogan is an interesting actor. While his film, Philomena, was not my favorite, it did catch the eye of critics and brought him to the forefront as an Indie mainstay. He has a unique ability to find humor in serious material, and reveals a surprising vulnerability when playing a thick-skinned grouch--in this case, himself. Combine that with a relatively lighthearted jaunt through the European countryside and you have an enjoyable, if protracted couple of hours.
Frankly, I don't understand how this thing got produced. The film spans the final two years in the short but memorable life of screen legend Errol Flynn. And while the film seems to be merely allegation and conjecture, if we are to believe what is being portrayed, it has to be one of the more nauseating tales from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
I'll give you the good news first: If you are a special-effects fan, there are plenty of choices for movie rentals. If you're not...well, the new fall TV season starts soon. Here's what's new on DVD. Oh, and if you can only handle one big superhero movie, I've ranked them in order of preference.
Summer is over—maybe not according to the calendar; but according to the cineplex, it is.
People go to the movies for many different reasons. We go to be entertained, provoked, intrigued. Some people go to be shocked, challenged or even scared. This film is intense, well-acted and certainly thought-provoking. It is an awkward look into evil and forgiveness and the role of religion in both. It is not, however, why I go to the movies.
Life-size sculptures. Historic paintings. Artwork in bloom. Get a taste of the eclectic array of exhibits hitting St. Louis’ art scene this fall.
Story: Fresh out of prison, Percy Talbott arrives in the middle of winter in the town of Gilead, Wisconsin in the 1990s, a place she selected based on a photo she saved from a travel book. Sheriff Joe Sutter meets her and, though puzzled why anyone would want to settle in the depressed hamlet, arranges for her to work at the Spitfire Grill, the only restaurant in town.
If you decide to skip the cineplex, these are the top rental options:
Movies that revolve around food and cooking make me nervous. It’s almost as if the director thinks he can sacrifice a plot for a lingering shot of a bell pepper--or a magical moment of whisking an egg. And while food is an incredible thing to look at, assembling a salad does not a movie make. This film, I’m delighted to say, was more than a pleasant surprise. Yes, the food is mouth-watering, but the story is even better.
So, The Hundred-Foot Journey came out last week to much critical acclaim. The movie is vibrant and sumptuous; and the director, Lasse Hallström, films food like it is the sexiest, most beautiful thing on the planet. Movies about food range from the exotic and sensual to the dark—and even disturbing. I have to admit, it was fun coming up with a list of the best films about food. To clarify, these films are actually about food. Diner is one of the funniest movies ever. Its title implies it is about food; however, it is not, and thus doesn't make the cut. So, here is my top 10 list of the best food films I've seen:
Woody Allen evokes a strong reaction from movie-goers—sometimes for the right reasons; sometimes, not. And I will admit, despite being a fan, his films can miss the mark. That usually occurs when he sacrifices story for agenda—or self indulgence. However, when he writes a compelling script and lets his love of filmmaking show, it’s captivating.
13700 Clayton Road
13700 Clayton Road
13700 Clayton Road
13700 Clayton Road