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Mommy-Movie-Review: Is “La La Land” OK for Kids?

I hear the same thing from my friends-with-kids all the time:

“We just can’t go to movies anymore, unless they’re animated.”

I know the feeling, and wouldn’t see about 99% of the films I DO if it weren’t for this whole Film Critic thing. There are plenty of movies out there that families can watch together though, even ones not marketed as “Kid Flicks.” If you don’t mind sparse profanity or a few hints of sexuality, the doors will open wide to great films you’d never expect, like La La Land. Continue reading →

Michelle Williams in Certain Women
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FREE MOVIE PASSES: See “Certain Women” EARLY & FOR FREE

All the talk about GENDER in Politics recently has bummed me out immeasurably. It’s even caused me to question long-held beliefs I’ve had about women and where we stand in society. This was compounded by the release of The Girl on the Train, where every female character was either drunk, insane, or various combinations of both.

That’s why I’m so relieved to see a film like Certain Women hit the scene.

This one stars Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart as three very different women whose lives intersect in a small Montana town. Certain Women has been blazing through the film-festival circuit and has even garnered a little Oscar Buzz for all of the women involved, especially newcomer Lily Gladstone. I don’t have a ton of these passes, so put your name and email address in the Comments below if you’d like to see Certain Women Tuesday, October 18th. I’ll give a pair to the first 50 people who respond, and email you directly if you win. Now, let’s take a minute to watch the Certain Women trailer below. Ahhh, not or drunk or crazy chick to be found!

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MOVIE REVIEW: “Anomalisa”- I Wasn’t Expecting Doll-Sex

No one walks into a Charlie Kaufman movie expecting the ordinary. He’s made it clear with films like Adaptation, Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that he has no interest in making a blockbuster. Kaufman wants to challenge his audience and show them something completely out of the ordinary, even if it means infuriating them along with way.

Such is the case with Anomalisa, the tale of a man who has lost his ability to connect with other people. Michael Stone is a successful author as well as a husband and father, but his detachment from the world has left him numb to the point of worry. Even Michael can tell that his disinterest is abnormal but he doesn’t know how to fix it, and probably doesn’t care enough to try. Instead, he stumbles through life, hoping to find the one person who will make a difference. Then he meets Lisa. Continue reading →

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MOVIE REVIEW: “Brooklyn” Is Like An Old Photo You Find In Your Grandmother’s Dresser

Sometimes a movie doesn’t have to jump up and scream in your face to get your attention. There are rare occasions when a simple but well told story will reach in and grab your heart, without you even noticing it. This is the case for Brooklyn, which is based on the popular novel by Colm Toibin.

Saoirse Ronan stars as Ellis, a young Irish girl who moves to America when her hopes for a better life dry up at home. She ships off with the financial and emotional support of her sister but once at sea, Ellis realizes for the first time in her life, just how completely alone she is.

Brooklyn is proof that I’ve seen way too many movies because as I watched it, I kept waiting for something awful to happen. Continue reading →

Spotlight-Movie
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MOVIE REVIEW: Could “Spotlight” Be The Best Movie of 2015?

Have you ever been so excited about a movie that you wanted to grab everyone you saw as you left the theater and scream, “GO SEE THAT MOVIE?!!!”

Well, that’s exactly how I felt as I left Spotlight.

It stars Michael Keaton as Walter “Robby” Robinson, who was in charge of the special projects “Spotlight” division of The Boston Globe. Robinson and his team of reporters (played by Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian d’Arcy James) launched an investigation into predatory Catholic priests and how they were being protected by the church. We all know what this eventually leads to but watching it unfold is incredible, especially when you see how many times it almost wasn’t reported. It’s also shocking how many high-level people insisted that the problem of abuse in the church wasn’t even worth talking about. Continue reading →

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FREE MOVIE PASSES: See the Oscar-Buzzy “Brooklyn” On Me!

I have a friend who likes to say, “They don’t make movies with GOOD STORIES these days. No one makes Seabiscuit anymore!” While I don’t totally agree with him, I know he’s not the only person who feels that way. That’s why everyone’s going to be super excited about Brooklyn, which opens nationwide on Friday, November 20th. That’s the same weekend that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 comes out so it would be easy to overlook Brooklyn. DON’T DO THAT because it’s already one of highest reviewed films of the year. Some critics are even saying that it’s impossible to NOT like Brooklyn, which almost sounds like a challenge, doesn’t it?

Brooklyn tells the story of a young, Irish immigrant who lands in 1950’s New York. She finds happiness and love but soon has important, life-altering choices to make. Saoirse Ronan plays Ellis, the young immigrant and the rumor mill says she’s guaranteed an Oscar nomination for this role. Guess I’ll have to learn how to pronounce her name after all.

The best part of all of this is that I have free passes to see Brooklyn so you can STILL save your ticket money for Katniss! Just click HERE for those, then take a minute to watch the trailer. Dammit, I’m already weepy!

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FREE MOVIE PASSES: See “Spotlight” Early & For Free!!!

I saw the movie Spotlight a few months ago and have been talking about it ever since. You think I’m kidding? Ask a friend of mine, ANY FRIEND OF MINE and they will tell you that I can’t shut up about Spotlight. Why? Because it’s awesome…a damn near PERFECT movie, that’s why. One you will definitely hear mentioned on Oscar night, as well. Yeah, THAT’S how good it is.

Spotlight is about the Boston Globe reporters who discovered a massive Catholic Church cover-up. They were the ones who told the world about predatory priests and how they were being protected by their churches. It’s based on actual events (isn’t every good movie right now?) and yes, you will probably be angry all over again when you walk out of the theater. You’ll also be happy though, because you paid nothing to see one of the best movies of 2015!

All you have to do is click HERE to grab your free movie passes. I actually begged for these because I figured it was a nice way to pay back everyone who had to listen to me blab on and on about Spotlight. Take a minute to watch the trailer too because damn…even IT is phenomenal!

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FREE MOVIE PASSES: See Oscar Contender “Room” With It’s Author!

Room stars Brie Larson as a woman who is held captive in a 10-by-10 foot space with her young son. She does everything she can to help him lead a normal life, until the day they try to escape. This brings mother and son to the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced: the outside world.

Room is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, written by Emma Donoghue. It’s a work of fiction, but Donoghue based her book on the harrowing true stories of Jaycee Dugard and Elisabeth Fritzi. Both of these women were kidnapped and held in hidden rooms for years. They were also repeatedly raped and eventually gave birth while still in captivity.

The big screen version of Room is already getting Oscar buzz, specifically for Brie Larson’s performance. It also won the Toronto International Film Festival this year, which has a history of picking Academy Award Best Picture contenders. There’s even a fair amount of Oscar chatter for young Jacob Tremblay, who plays the movie’s 5-year-old boy.

Best of all, I have free passes to see Room and guess who’ll be sitting in the audience with you? Author Emma Donoghue will be at the screening too, so make sure you stick around for the Q&A after the movie. Take a minute to watch the trailer, then print out your pass to get in. You should probably bring some tissues too because this one looks like a weeper!
Click HERE for your passes!

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MOVIE REVIEW: “Beasts of No Nation” Shows How Monsters Are Made

Beasts of No Nation tells the story of Agu, a boy who is separated from his family in an unnamed, war-torn African country. He struggles for survival in the jungle until a nearby rebel militia takes him in. This is when young Agu begins his life as a violent soldier. It’s also when Beasts of No Nation becomes almost unbearable to watch, but you need to. Continue reading →

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MOVIE REVIEW: Why I Compare “Bridge of Spies” to a Chicken Dinner

James Donovan was the New York attorney who defended Soviet Spy, Rudolf Abel in 1957. He did so after multiple lawyers refused to and while under much public scrutiny. Donovan lost the case but argued against the death penalty for Abel and won. He was later asked to help American pilot, Francis Gary Powers, after he was shot down over Russia. Donovan successfully negotiated the exchange of Rudolf Abel, who was still imprisoned in the U.S., for Powers. Bridge of Spies is based on this historic event, with Steven Spielberg directing and Tom Hanks portraying James Donovan. Ethan and Joel Coen (who collaborated with Spielberg on True Grit) were also brought in to write with Matt Donovan.

This is why Bridge of Spies reminds me of a chicken dinner that you would order at a fancy restaurant. The waiter might tell you about a delicious plate of cage-free, butter-braised Heaven, but you really just end up with a plate of chicken. Sure it tastes good and might even be a little better than KFC, but it never quite lives up to its promise. Continue reading →