Oct 12 2018

First Man

Examining the life and times of astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and the families involved in the 1960’s space race, the events that would eventually lead up to the first men to walk on the moon is thrust into the spotlight almost fifty years since it happened on July 20th, 1969. This is their story. Written by Josh Singer based on the book written by James R. Hansen and Directed by Damien Chazelle, this cinematic work of beauty turns its thrusters on full to create some of the more stunning passages visually, sonically, and spatially for 2018, Houston we will have a problem if Cinematographer Linus Sandgren doesn’t get a nod for his work and the Sound Department goes unheard come awards season, both are working overtime to produce true movie magic. In the acting department, the ensemble as a whole rings solid on all counts with particular applause for Claire Foy’s performance of Janet Armstrong, the wife of Neil Armstrong, outstanding to the point that perhaps the film’s title should be something different. In as much that while the overall film is about the space race, and Neil’s personal journey, his demons and his struggles, it’s also a film about family, humanity, and the people that hold the framework of our social cosmos together, in this case, Janet is that to Neil, let’s note that. Bottom line the complexities and artistry’s worked into this story mark another giant leap for Chazelle as Director, I smell awards around here somewhere, again. First Man is rated PG-13.

Oct 12 2018

The Old Man & the Gun

Over the course of his entire life Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) managed to escape from over 16 prisons and conduct an unprecedented string of bank robberies. Caught up in the pursuit are detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck), Jewel (Sissy Spacek), the woman who loved Forrest regardless, and his trusty sidekicks Teddy and Waller (Danny Glover and Tom Waits). This is his story. Based on the New Yorker article Written by David Grann, this true story adapted for screen and directed by David Lowery is another fine proponent to the idea that truth can sometimes be stranger (or at least more interesting) than fiction. Shot and edited to appear period appropriate, Lowery’s art of storytelling has a comfortable in its bones feel, adding just the right amount of suspense and whimsy to entertain and induce a chuckle at just the right moment. With a hugely talented and perfectly cast ensemble, all of the players are playing to their strengths with a particular nod to Redford for his inimitable charm and gentlemanly joi de vivre. This is an easygoing 93 minute ride and a fitting way for one of America’s favorite leading men to take a bow as he moves his career off screen. The Old Man & the Gun is rated PG-13.

Oct 5 2018

A Star Is Born

Country music sensation Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is a much loved force of nature. But, raised by his much older brother, Bobby (Same Elliot), Jackson is also a very troubled and tortured artist. Regardless, when a chance encounter with Ally (Lady Gaga), a bar room singer and waitress catches Jackson’s ear and eye, it could be just the break the two were looking for; for Ally, musical fame, for Jackson, love and a place to call home. But, trouble in paradise seems afoot, especially when Ally’s producer, Ramon (Anthony Ramos) gets in the mix, will their story be like so many other tinsel town romances, a flash in the pan, or will they have the power to endure as a star is born? With Screenplay by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters based on the story by William A. Wellman and Robert Carson and Directed by Bradley Cooper, this tried and true story strikes a chord once again landing as a solid drama with a carefully crafted script backed with several quality songs. And, proving her talents as a triple threat, Lady Gaga’s performance nails a compelling ark whilst Cooper’s sunset appears to be fading in perfect concert. Additional performances from Andrew Dice Clay and Dave Chappelle add extra flavor in unlikely ways. Interesting cinematography choices work further to carry the story forward, although some questionable editing of the “concert footage” does seem a bit forced. Still for Cooper, as a Directorial debut, this engine is clearly firing on all eight cylinders. Bottom line, audiences are in store for a rockin’ two hours and fifteen minutes and an inspiration to pick up that dusty guitar sitting in the back corner of their closet. Worth your time, A Star is Born is rated R.