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.



As a Patriot I could not get home fast enough to recommend 12 Strong to you! If you are going to watch this film see it on the big screen. As you probably know it is based on the true story of Army Captain Mitch Nelson and his Special Forces Team that spearheaded America’s first Military response after 9/11. The Cinematography is outstanding. 12 Strong is the most dramatic Military Action film I have seen since American Sniper.

Having served I realize it is dramatized and the action condensed relative to actual combat but I could feel myself along with these men and I was drawn in and completely captured by this film. The cinematography and sound track are outstanding in the sense that it all seemed so real. The attention to detail was excellent. The intensity and violence are over the top. 12 Strong is not for impressionable minds or the squeamish.

While Chris Hemsworth is playing “to type” this is the best and most acting I have seen from him. His leadership and relationships with his men and the Afghan General were well played. The role of the horses was an added plus.

The pace of the film started out slow as they developed the characters as “people” – not killing machines – and the intensity built and built into a very strong and dramatic finish. I won’t spoil anything for you but if you are not moved by its ending I really do not want to know.

Marty and I give 12 Strong our highest possible recommendation – with the warning that it is definitely not for children or anyone who is sensitive about seeing and hearing men die in combat.

Molly’s Game – An Enjoyable Human Interest Story

Marty and I just returned from seeing Molly’s Game – starring the very attractive and talented Jessica Chastain and we really liked it! It was a little longer than some films but I was never bored or tempted to take a potty break.

Molly’s Game is a Human Interest Story! Question? Can a human interest story be a successful selling movie or does everything have to be either “Green Screen” computer generated special effects and or colorful computer animation with famous actors doing voice overs? The answer to that question can be seen in the wonderful work that Adam Sorkin did in creating a terrific screenplay out of the Book of the same name by Molly Bloom herself.

Another Question? Can the central character in a Human Interest Story have both drive and ambition yet flaws and failures that lead to what might be considered a less than happy ending? Once again Molly’s Game answers this question by showing you the ups and downs of an attractive, smart, driven woman who like us all makes some mis-steps along the way.

Final Question? Can a commercially successful film be centered on one woman and can a female actor carry the entire body of work? In my view absolutely! I can not remember a film that was so centered on the lead actress. Molly – AKA Jessica Chastain – was in virtually every scene and she brought home the bacon. Additionally from a man’s perspective she is very easy to look at.

When you are in the mood for a more or less real life story with excellent dialogue and interaction between the actors shot on real locations and sets we think you will really enjoy Molly’s Game.

Uncle Larry

Thor Ragnarok – One Comic Too Far!

How can 93% of the critics who write for Rotten Tomatoes be wrong? Doesn’t the $500 Million they say its made world wide mean its a great film?

Marty and I went to see “Thor Ragnarok” tonight and I still can’t figure it out. It’s not the plot or the characters I am having trouble with. Its the concept. Is it a spoof on the Avengers films that have gone before? Is it a spoof on the leading characters – especially Thor? What do you say about a friend that started out making some witty comments about his neighbors at a cocktail party and after one too many went more than one comment too far? Is he ready for Comedy Central or should he have packed it in and headed home?

If you saw this film on the blue screen without the computerized special effects you would not last ten minutes in your seat. I know computer graphics are used in most all films and especially in these type of block buster comic book recreations. But is that all there is? What happened to movies that were just good movies? This certainly is not one of them. Every scene – 100% of them take place in a special effects world. Enough already.

Marty gave “Thor Ragnarok” a D. I gave it a C. But would I tell you to spend $12 or more per person to see it in the theater? NO!


American Made – Tom Cruise – Wait for Home Viewing

When you go in a theater on a rainy and windy day in FL and there are only five – yes, make that 5 people total in the theater your instincts should tell you something – other than can I get my money back?

I describe American Made as an interesting and funny “semi documentary.” If you really like Tom Cruise you will like this film because I believe he is in every scene. He worked for his money on this one.

For me I’m not a fan of Scientology’s Poster Boy but I lived through all of the Central America and Iran Contra affairs and thought Marty and I should see it. Marty is a big fan of Tom and she liked the film buy agrees that it is not a “must see” on the big screen.

There were 10 or more times that I laughed out loud so I think I would enjoy this film at home. Note to self when someone laughs in a theater and no one is there does it make a sound? There were half as many times when I thought this is a really long film only to find out its only 115 minutes.

Towards the end of the film they tied President Reagan to the whole mess and I loved Reagan and still do. That said – watching the Vietnam Documentary on PBS I was also disappointed to hear that JFK said he would have pulled out of the War in Vietnam but if he did he would never get re-elected so he pressed on in a bad cause. I like to think that Reagan meant well and spent his time hating and fighting communism where ever he found it and allowed the establishment to take what ever means necessary.

Well enough political commentary. American Made was interesting and had some funny moments but I think you should wait for home viewing.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle – A TON OF FUN

If you liked the first Kingsman back in 2014 you will love this one – as did Marty, Tony and I. For pure entertainment – realistic or not – we give Kingsman: The Golden Circle a SOLID A.

There will be no nominations for acting “Awards” but there were some really funny roles with actors playing against type. The “bad guy” in this film is in fact one of my favorite red headed women – Juliane Moore. She may not be convincing as the “world’s largest and only drug dealer making $250 Billion last year” who yearns for attention befitting her status as an entrepreneur. That said she has some clever and funny lines and a unique plan to legalize drugs world wide.

The best performance in a smaller role is given by Elton John – a complete spoof – but not so subtly very funny!

The Kingsman – a British Spy Agency – are joined in The Golden Circle by “The Statesman” – an All American Spy Agency from Louisville, KY. While the “front” for the Kingsman continues to be a Tailor Shop the Statesman base their agency out of “Statesman” Whiskey – which is a brand of Kentucky Whiskey that was in fact bottled prior to the movies release. I can’t say what it taste like but you can buy and let me know what you think!

The Action sequences – which come fast and furious are well done. The comedy and one liners – which are ever present and for the most part funny and well timed. I did feel personally that as the movie reached it’s natural ending point the director include one or two too many comedic scenes which for me seemed to drag out the last 20 minutes of the film. However, do no despair Elton saves the day! One note of caution this is a violent film – made easier to watch because of the comedy buy violent nonetheless.

American Assassins – Finally A Movie We All Really Liked

American Assassins hits almost all my buttons: Action, Adventure, Suspense, Travel, Violence, Hand to Hand Fighting, a very well written and fast paced screen play. I never thought once about taking a potty break.

If Daniel Craig was the lead actor you would think it was the next James Bond Film. If Tom Cruise was the lead you would swear it was the latest Mission Impossible – and the good news is the cult of Scientology didn’t get a dime from this flick.

That said it stars someone I don’t know named Dylan O’Brian but my Research Director Tony tells me he has a long resume of film work. He was in great shape and very convincing as a young man whose “love of his life” was killed by terrorists and his passion is to kill as many of them as he can – be it with weapons or hand to hand or with his stolen Alpha Romeo – and kill them he does. Nothing cheers me up after going through Hurricane Irma like watching terrorists being killed left and right.

I suppose every aspiring American Assassin who wants to kill terrorists needs a mentor who is as tough as nails and of course used to be a Navy Seal and bleeds my way or the highway. This role was played perfectly by Michael Keaton. And what would a movie with two good guys be without a really bad guy appropriately named “The Ghost” who was trained by – yes you got it – Michael Keaton.

With this much testosterone you figure their “Boss” has to be a woman and the writer throws in an attractive young colleague for our “hero” who you are never sure if she is a “good-gal” or a “bad-gal.”

If you are opposed to Violence do not go see this film. With a name like American Assassin that’s what we do – we rain violence into terrorists lives. If you are looking for romance don’t go either. Our hero is a one woman man – even if she is dead. If you like action, adventure, suspense, travel and a fast paced film don’t miss American Assassin on the big screen.

PS Be in your seat for the opening and stay until the very good close!