Movie Mondays ~ Monday, April 1, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, April 1, 2019

Welcome to a special two-week edition of Movie Mondays. I’ve just gotten back from a little trek away from the home base, exploring the beautiful city of Charleston, SC. The following represents films I’ve seen over the course of the past two weeks. I finally got a chance to see a past Best Picture winner I had been wanting to see and a comedy from last year that enticed with hilarious trailers. The question would be — would it live up to the chuckles beyond the jokes already shared with me in the ads? You’ll have to read my review below to find out the answer to that question. As always, thanks for reading. ~ Chris K.

 

FILMS VIEWED WEEKS OF 03/18/2019 – 03/31/2019

 

44. The King’s Speech

Biography, Drama (2010)
Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter

 

I’ve wanted to see this for some time, but it kept escaping my mind that it was still out there. Enter Netflix, which always reminds you of all of the many things you haven’t seen yet. Colin Firth, in an Academy Award-winning performance, portrays King George VI who struggles to cope with a speech impediment and meets a speech therapist played wonderfully by Geoffrey Rush just in time before an unexpected ascension to the British throne. The time is 1936, and all of the players including the consistently memorable Helena Bonham Carter as Firth’s loving and supportive wife Elizabeth, fit the time period well — in look, sound and feel. At times, the film can become slow and sluggish but the actors frequently pull us back into the story and the fate of these likable though imperfect characters.

 

I liked the film primarily for the acting and appreciated the director’s capture of the time and setting.  They make up for the occasional dip in pacing. This is certainly worth a view for a true Firth fan, and speaking of those fans, a photo for you below. And you’re welcome. *sly grin*

 

Score: 84

 

KingsSpeech

 

 

 

45. Game Night

Comedy, Action (2018)
Justin Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler

 

I saw this film advertised so often in preview trailers before other films last year. Every time, I laughed so hard at the trailers but wondered if I was seeing all of the funny jokes in the preview. And the answer is… well, most of them. The premise is intriguing: two game lovers cross paths in a sports bar taking part in pub trivia night and it’s kismet. They fall in love and marry, and years later, as they are taking part in their regularly scheduled game night, things take a strange turn. Are they being played by a loved one whose tossing a fake ‘mystery game’ and characters their way or is this in fact true crime playing out before their eyes? The cast is great, and yes, there are a handful of other funny moments that you didn’t already see in the trailers but not that many more. I found myself laughing out loud uncontrollably on two occasions but beyond that, much of it I felt I had already seen during the coming attractions.

 

Shout out to supporting cast member Jesse Plemons as next door neighbor Gary. This groovy actor keeps popping up in my favorite TV shows like “Black Mirror” and “Fargo.” Bateman and McAdams are cast well in the leads. I think I was just disappointed that I didn’t laugh quite as much as I thought I would based on the sneak peek from trailers.

 

 

Score: 81

 

 

46. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

Documentary (2019)
Elizabeth Holmes, Errol Morris

 

Unfortunately for the folks at HBO, ABC News and specifically 20/20 scooped this thoughtful and interesting documentary with its own 2-hour documentary “The Dropout,” which aired just days before the HBO debut of its own in-depth look at Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, and the rocketing rise of her entrepreneurial effort to offer patients a quick, easy and painless access to a variety of blood tests and valuable medical information with just one little pin prick of the finger. So by the time I watched THE INVENTOR, I already knew all of the background to the scam that Theranos turned out to be and the events that have evolved since its exposure.

 

While I got a lot out of the ABC special, I thought HBO’s documentary did a little bit better job introducing all of the characters, particularly with regard to Tyler Shultz, a young mechanical engineer and the grandson of Theranos board member George Shultz (yes, THAT George Schultz from three previous GOP presidential administrations). I didn’t know a lot about Theranos’ rise and fall or Holmes’ background either and found the documentary did a competent job doling out the information in a fairly easy to follow manner.

 

Score: 84

 

TheInventor

 

 

47. The Front Runner

Biography, Drama (2018)
Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons

 

This one really surprised me, though this time, not in a positive way. I’m a huge Hugh Jackman fan. I liked Gary Hart and am a devoted registered Dem. I usually enjoy biopics when the person is someone of interest to me. And, the film is directed by Jason Reitman, who did such a great job with UP IN THE AIR.  But… I must admit that this one just didn’t keep my interest. I felt Hugh Jackman’s acting this time around. The film moved…really…really…slow…ly. It also felt like the film’s direction was tentative — as if everyone (actors and director) was holding back a bit. Was this a case of not wanting to offend the film’s subject, alive and well, and who had met with the leading man prior to the filming for research purposes? Is it possible that the film was more concerned with not pissing off a gracious host than delivering the story in all its grit of a presidential candidate whose own alleged dalliance as he ran for office may have cost him a bid for the presidency then and in the future?

 

I wanted to like this film and be able to recommend it, but it wouldn’t be my top suggestion for a Jackman picture. If you want to see him at his best, rent LOGAN or THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. Or if you do see this when it arrives on the premium channels, keep your expectations at a minimum.

 

 

Score: 77

 

 

 

 

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Movie Mondays ~ Monday, April 15, 2019 | Chris Kuhn Author - […] Reitman (another 2018 flick, THE FRONT RUNNER, an unexpected exception—what a bore…click here for my recent review of that…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.