Crazy Rich Asians – Crazy Good Fun and Romance

If you have a beating heart – have ever been young and in love and enjoy comedy you should sprint to take in Crazy Rich Asians (CRA).

CRA is the best “Rom-Com” we can remember since “Sleepless in Seattle.” Who will ever forget Meg Ryan dramatically faking an orgasm at lunch in a restaurant – seeing this the elderly lady at the next table over tells her server “I’ll have what she’s having.”
CRA will probably be the biggest selling Rom-Com ever because it is really a good flick – and it stars, was co-produced by really rich Asians and filmed in Malaysia and Singapore. It we win the lottery and can afford First Class Tickets this movie makes we want to see Singapore. It looks like NYC fused with Las Vegas to the 3rd power. I mention the City because it is the back drop that makes the concept of crazy rich Asians/Chinese seem so natural.
Back to why we liked this film: It has all the elements necessary for a Rom-Com to be successful: Romance – Some really funny dialogue – And a Happy Ending. In addition it’s like the Asian’s/Chinese are opening the window to a part of their world to show the rest of the us that not only are their population numbers big – they also have some really, really rich people and they are willing to put them in spectacular estates – parties – vacations – shopping trips and ultra expensive cars to let you know some of them have arrived.
My favorite line comes early in the film when a meager “multi millionaire” Asian family is having dinner at home and the kids don’t want to finish their food. The mother looks at them with scorn and says you finish your food and be thankful you are not like the millions of people who are going hungry in America. OK – there are some American’s going hungry but when I was a kid the standard line at dinner was be thankful you are not like all those starving Chinese. I still laugh as I remember my mother laying that one on me. Speaking of laughing – we laughed out loud more times than I can count. One or or two occasions I caught myself clapping and on several more tearing up during the “romantic” parts of CRA.
CRA is PG-13 but it is far tamer than what we see on TV in the “family hour.” There was no sex, nudity, cursing or violence. How could this kind of movie ever make it? As the equally old cereal ad says “try it – Larry and Marty like it.”

Mile 22 – This film is extremely violent, suspenseful and has an ending I never saw coming!

If the Motion Picture Association rated movies for violence they way they do for sex, Mile 22 is as close to X as I have seen. This film is not meant for most of you who read this review. That said, if you are of a certain mindset – an attraction and affinity for extremely realistic and graphic violence that comes at you so fast you can hardly keep up you can can not miss Mile 22. If you see this film you will never forget it.

Mark Walburg won’t win an award but he brought this hopefully fictional character to life. Iko Uwazs – who plays “the asset” Li Nor is the second coming of Bruce Lee on steroids. Jon Malkovich has a minor but authoritative role and fills the bill.

The movie started out at a good clip for about 10 minutes and then pumped the breaks for almost a half hour. I know they have to set the scene and flesh out the characters but it was just slow for a bit. Then almost without notice buckle up you seat belt for 40 minutes of frenetic action, sound effects, violence, suspense and boom – just like that the surprise ending.

I asked Marty how she liked the last half hour and she said “I got bored with the speed of how things were happening and the violence.” Many of you may feel that way. I, on the other hand allowed myself to be drawn in – and doing my best to keep up with each scene, who went down, what happens next, how will they escape and I found it very suspenseful – almost tension filled.

As I said this movie is violent, filled with suspense and not for everyone. If you like this kind of film – and you know who you are – you will be filled with the kinds of emotions that exhilarate you. Regarding the issue of paying ten bucks and seeing it now or waiting for home viewing I can take both sides of that argument.

Abhor the man – Respect the Actor – Love the Mission Impossible Films

Mission Impossible-Fallout. People who have High Anxiety, Nervous Disorders and or a Heart Condition should not see this film. There was no issue with going to sleep, losing interest or going to the bathroom. My only problem was on occasion I had to work on my deep breathing techniques to calm my nerves.

Here’s what we loved about this two plus hours of riveting entertainment: Suspense – Action – Adventure – Fabulous World Wide Cinematography – Unparalleled Realistic/Dangerous Stunts -Great Car Chases – a strong Female Cast – a good plot that left us trying to figure out who the real bad guy was – a surprise character addition towards the end and a little drama or is there a category called “Suspense/Drama?”

This may sound crazy but there were times in the film where I had to stop myself and think – Larry, this is just a movie, it ain’t real life. At one point the lady sitting next to us let out a gasp and threw her legs up in the air and I just ignored her because I was glued to what was going on. If there is a Motion Picture Category Titled “Suspense, Action and Adventure” Mission Impossible-Fallout raises the bar for the next big film to come.

Two of my least favorite people in real life – Tom Cruise and Alex Baldwin – are great in this film and play to “type.” I started to mention the women in the film by name but they were all good. There were five strong women in IMF Fallout and all did a great job in their roles.

At the end of the day the entire IMF Film series comes down to one thing: Tom Cruise and the almost unbelievable stunts and action adventure scenes he plays. Meaning no offense to my Jewish Friends – Tom really brings home the bacon in this one.

If you like Suspense, Action and Adventure you must see this film. If you are ever going to see “Fallout” make every effort to see it on the big screen. The scenes of Paris and London brought back so many memories for Marty and I. The long shots of the Mountains in Asia or where ever they were filmed were better than watching Nat Geo on Cable.

Marty and I both give Mission Impossible-Fallout an A and it would be an A+ except the crescendos of Suspense always seemed to lead to another crescendo greater than the last. Finally, I don’t read the “scab sheets” but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last Mission Impossible film. I can’t say why really but it had that air of closure about it that we almost never see in a big budget film where the ending sets you up for the sequel. In a positive way I really liked the ending because all the pieces came together – the bad guys were all killed and there were no “loose ends” left dangling.

Mama Mia Two – See It Again and Smile!

Marty and I saw Mama Mia Two today and we loved it. In fact we may see it a second time – but! For us this film was just the break from the reality of our every day lives that we needed. It was so much fun and so easy to relate to and get involved with the characters that we found it very entertaining, uplifting and surprisingly I got involved with them on an emotional level. Every actor brought a bit of joy to the film including Cher. I’m not a fan of hers at all but even she was enjoyable.

None of these actors will be nominated for any awards – possibly because they were so transparent and also because this movie has no depth – no deeper meaning – it doesn’t make any statements about the down cast or oppressed. It is simply FUN! And who doesn’t like to hear the Music of Abba? It’s like us being in our thirties all over again!

I was concerned the film was going to be a clumsy remake of the original. The screen writer did a great job of going back and forth in time – giving us more details about the life of Donna (Merrill Streep) – her daughter- her friends and the three possible “fathers.” Other than the last twenty minutes of the film I thought the flash backs were my favorite parts and they were very easy to follow.

Then why the “but?” We saw Mama Mia on Broadway and loved it. We saw the first film and loved it so we were primed for version “Two.” If I were going to suppress the joy I walked away with I  could say that the first 15 minutes or so were a little slow. Also, if you wait for home viewing you won’t miss hardly anything except the case of delayed gratification from the kind of film I wish there were more of today.

Finally, if you go you absolutely have to stay in your seats when it seems the film is over. At our showing not one person moved and the last five minutes or so of extra footage was the second most enjoyable part of the film for me. My personal favorite was the armada of fishing vehicles coming to the party with the whole cast joining in for a rousing rendition of “Dancing Queen.” Now if you don’t remember or like Abba’s “Dancing Queen” this movie is not for you. It was all I could do not to sing along. When it was over the audience clapped!

Take a moment from the drama of life, politics and the markets and go see Mama Mia Two. I hope you enjoy it half as much as Marty and I did.


Solo – Is Synonymous With Fantastic Entertainment

“Solo” gets Five Stars from Tony, Jenna, Marty and The Supreme Leader. I usually don’t let their household name for Uncle Larry slip out like this but considering how pumped I am right now about the latest release in the Star Wars Saga I am feeling it.

Please let me tell you what else I am feeling – like I just saw 95 Minutes of sharply written, directed, acted and most important – fast paced entertainment. Yes my friends real good old fashioned fun and entertainment from the first minute to the very last. I can’t tell you when I remember seeing a film that never once lost it’s pace and rhythm. I never thought about my missing prostate until the last shots rolled and I hit the back of the line in the Men’s room.

If you like Star Wars you will totally love this film. It brings back so many “future” memories and does it with style, humor, action and excitement it may be our favorite Star Wars film of all time. If you are modestly familiar with Star Wars and saw a few of them you will enjoy the show and appreciate the plot twists and turns, dialogue, humor and multiple crescendos of adventure.

If you are among those who just hate Star Wars my heart goes out to you and much of what you see and hear will be lost as the next sub plot begins and you’re trying to figure out who is who. Speaking of who is who – How far into the film will it be before you figure out which central character was played by “The Mother of Dragons?” I can tell you it wasn’t Woody Harrelson – but this role fit him perfectly and its the most I’ve enjoyed his work in years.

Solo is the most enjoyable film our family has seen in a long time. It is better than the most recent Star Wars and the Marvel Series, even the really good ones. Unless you are a Star Wars Hater don’t miss this movie on the big screen. The costumes, Droids, weapons, background scenery, fight scenes and flying through space will not be as impressive in home viewing. Speaking of the Droids and other “non human” characters to borrow a phrase from Obi-Wan Kenobi L3-37 “is the Droid you are looking for!” Some of the best lines and clever themes were offered by L3-37 and an invigorated Chewbacca.

We loved “Solo” and we think you will too!

The Supreme Leader

Avengers – Infinity War: Good but not as great as we had hoped!

Marty, Tony and I all enjoyed seeing Avengers – Infinity War today. We are happy we went to see it on the big screen but given all the hype and the ticket sales revenue we were expecting a little more. A little more “Pop!” Relatively speaking, we liked Black Panther and the latest Star Wars a little better.

Infinity is a BIG MOVIE! Several of the characters are very big! Even the “Dwarf” is BIG! The scenes of the Universe and the various battles are all BIG! I hate to say it but if you are going to see this film you really should see it on the BIG SCREEN to appreciate it as a production. To state it differently if you even remotely think you want to see this film you need to see it in the theater. It will lose a lot, even on a 60″ Ultra HD TV.

I read comic books when I was a kid but money was not sufficient to have a bunch of them so I am “not in the know” on several of the “Marvel Super Heroes.” I don’t know how many Super Heroes there were in the film but it had to be close to twenty and I only knew about 50% of them and only about 25% of the Female Heroes. Speaking of the Female Heroes they were all excellent. There was this one Red Headed gal who was literally “on fire” and all of them were very easy to look at!

The leading men all contended for the leading role but it was a shared process. If I had to pick a favorite it would once again be Rocket the Racoon. Not that his “pecs” were on display like Thor but he had the best of the “one liners.” Speaking of a cast of thousands – or more like twenty Super Heroes – I was amazed at how the Director or Writers or both managed to fit them all in quite seamlessly. In fact the “Bad Guy” (Josh Brolin) was even hard to hate.

No actor in this film is going to be nominated for any awards. That said the Writing, Direction, Cinematography, Visual Effects, Sound Track and Music were all very good and will most likely be nominated.

I hate to say it but 156 minutes – two hours and 36 minutes was a little bit too long. In particular from around minute 120 to minute 146 tested the strength of my bladder. The opening was strong and the finish was strong so plan on being in your seat from beginning to end. If you posses the patience of Job stick around for all the credits and see the final, final ending.

All that said if you like movies and Marvel Heroes in particular you should see this film in the theater.


Game Night – Did I say we liked this movie?

Did you ever go out on a date – or with your spouse to the home of some friends and find they were delightful, innocent, transparent and you could read them like the back of a match book cover? This disjointed sentence may not have anything to do with this movie – Game Night – or maybe it does!

Game Night attempted to be a clever double or triple twist and for the very simple minded pulled it off. That would not include you of course. Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams and friends gave us some good laughs and we can tell you we enjoyed it. We can also tell you we would have liked it more as home viewing – no matter how long our budget mandated we wait.

How To Bake A Red Sparrow Pie

How do you bake a Red Sparrow Pie? Throw in:

One pretty good script from a well conceived plot with several surprise twists;

Slowly stir in and bring to a low boil a large portion of SEXUALITY;

As the first two parts begin to simmer add in two heaping table spoons of graphic violence for an extra bit of flavor!

Set your timer for two hours and twenty minutes and ask yourself these questions:
1. How much do I want to see almost all of Jennifer Lawrence?
2. How much do I want to see Jennifer Lawrence pretend to have sex in positions we could never manage?
3. Does the thought of the epidermis of the “good guy” being stripped from his shoulder sound appealing?
4. Are you a really big fan of the old fashioned spy thrillers where the Russians were really bad?

If you answer yes to three or more of these questions then go to the theater and see this movie soon on the big screen. In answer yes to only question four and have some interest in Jennifer Lawrence’s sexuality then you still should see this on the big screen.

Otherwise you can wait for home viewing where you can fast forward the nudity shot of MS. Lawrence and the Epidermis peeling. Bet you can’t do it!


The Black Panther – Good “Marvel” Entertainment

Marty and I are glad we went to see The Black Panther. We both give it a B+ for entertainment – better than average computer graphics – realistic fighting and action scenes and some well played humor – especially by The Black Panther’s younger sister and technology guru. The lead was definitely “The King” but four women combined to have more screen time and significant contributions to the film. I particularly enjoyed the role of “Women” as the Leaders and Warriors in the King’s Army. Their spear fighting scenes were well choreographed and enjoyable.

If you like the previous iterations of Marvel Comic movies then we recommend you see this one on the big screen.

Just as having a Black Action Super Hero in the lead is groundbreaking so is the Black Action Super Hero killing the almost bad Black Villain. In addition to the “color” difference the movie worked very hard to present several underlying themes – some of which you will like – some which you may not and some that are real issues in our world today.

Like Thor and really all the Marvel movies they do not present the actors with an opportunity to “act.” Rather, in my view they respond to the scene they attempt to visualize in their minds as they stand in front of a “green screen” and portray their role in the moment. My perception, therefore my reality, is this Genre of Film does not allow for significant character development. That said I liked the presentation of previous Super Hero characters and I liked the King – his mother – daughter – love interest and female warriors. The bad guy was not meant to be convincing as a “bad guy” in my view but rather the victim of his youth and circumstances. The women in the audience seem to respond well to the physique of the King and especially the bad guy. I, on the other hand related to the iron clad rhinoceros in the battle scenes. Sort of clumsy but very effective and distracted in the moment by a woman’s gaze!

In closing I share this thought. We sat next to a Black Couple from Riviera Beach. I noted with interest that he and I reacted verbally to the film in all the same places. Entertainment, Action, Fighting and Humor seems to transcend race. Additionally I walked off and left my hat and sweater and they picked it up and brought it to me.

Hostiles – An excellent Western – A film we are so glad I saw but some of you should put at the top of your list for Home Viewing.

Hostiles – this may be the hardest movie for me to review in some time. I was torn between given it an A and suggesting you see it now. That said I don’t think it will lose much if you have a really big screen TV and wait for home viewing.

It’s easy to say that Marty and I are pleased we went to see it – in some ways for different reasons. Marty loved the Cinematography of America’s West and the natural gritty feel of a classic Western. She thought Christian Bale carried this film and was strong throughout. She liked the female lead – Rosamund Pike – who we never heard of but did a really good job with her role as a wife and mother living in the later 1900’s that suffered yet survived her travails physically and emotionally. We both feel that not enough time and attention has been given to the strong, supportive women who “went west” and kept the family ranch or farm together. Kudos to a forgotten century of American Women!

Tony reminded me that there are similar themes in what I recall as one of – if not the best Western of the 21st Century – “The Unforgiven” – Clint Eastowood’s Masterpiece. Both were excellent but slowly paced in the development of their characters. Personally I was never bored and “Hostiles” kept my attention throughout. Not meaning to be crude but I believe this film may set a personal record for bladder discipline.

The theme of this film to me is the reality of battle hardened soldiers – from as far back as at least the 19th Century – who have taken life and seen life taken – as they near the end of their “expendable” life as soldiers. I hesitate to say that what we now call “PTSD” was the primary emotion of these men in America’s Western Cavalry. I suppose that since Cain slew Abel men who have taken life have wrestled with the consequences. A struggle that is immensely personal and complicated by the concept that “the enemy” was defined by the “powers that be” and the taking of life was “just following orders.” It may be easy for our liberal citizens and movie critics to minimize the depth of the personal emotion being felt and I thought expressed by Christian Bale and several of the supporting male actors in “Hostile.” My very strong personal feelings – and ones that I am now in Counseling for – are that you just can’t comprehend how it permeates your life having taken the lives of people that someone in Politics defined as your enemy.

All that said Marty and I recommend you see “Hostiles!” If you like Westerns and character development see it in the theater and pretend the popcorn was fresh and hot. If not, wait for home viewing but don’t miss it.