Movie Mondays ~ Monday, June 10, 2019

Movie Mondays ~ Monday, June 10, 2019

Once again, I don’t have a big movie-watching week to tell you about, but I did manage to see two films, both of them with intention behind them — one that was so timely and watched this week in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and the other inspired by my seeing a compelling and entertaining interview with one of the film’s stars. As always, thanks for reading! ~ Chris K.



FILMS VIEWED WEEK OF 06/03/2019 – 06/09/2019

(click on images to enlarge on the screen!)


71. Saving Private Ryan

Drama, War (1998)
Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Jeremy Davies, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Matt Damon


I really enjoyed the film this time around. That may not seem like such a shocker since SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was a huge hit financially and critically but at the time I saw it, I think I went in with expectations that were unrealistically high. One of the best films I’ve ever seen is SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993), and that is probably the last Spielberg film or one of his last films I saw prior to RYAN. For me, it was going to be tough for Spielberg to top that one. And at the time I saw it, I didn’t think he had. I still feel LIST is a better film, but that doesn’t take away from the cinematic achievement of RYAN.


Fast forward 20+ years later and after having seen so many wonderful tributes this past week about storming the beach on Normandy and the struggles the Allied Forces had, and as I watched this time, I held a completely different perspective — for one thing, an older and wiser one that could appreciate the realism of the depiction more but also, as someone who did not enjoy the Oscar winner for that year one bit (the completely overrated SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (1998), I am still bewildered that RYAN did not take home the grand prize. It was certainly deserving of it.


In the film, we follow a group of soldiers trying to rescue a paratrooper in enemy territory to return him home. RYAN is gripping from start to finish, the acting is tremendous (not one person miscast) and the look and feel of the film is unbelievably vivid and transports audiences to a different time so seamlessly.


I am not usually a fan of war pictures — PLATOON (1996) and THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) being two rare exceptions. But this one — this one’s a good one. If you’ve never seen it, make a point of doing so. It is a work of art as a piece of cinema and a beautifully told lesson in history.


Score: 90










72. Night School

Comedy (2018)
Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Rob Riggle, Ben Schwartz, Mary Lynn Rajskub


I don’t believe I’d seen a Kevin Hart film or if I had, I don’t remember it. Similarly, I’ve never seen Tiffany Haddish in action as a comedic actor — only as a stand-up and mostly in interviews. I recently saw Haddish featured on David Letterman’s Netflix Series, season 2, MY NEXT GUEST NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION and I found her absolutely intriguing and delightful. So when I noticed we had NIGHT SCHOOL on our HBO On Demand movie list, I thought, why not? Let’s give it a shot. I went in with no expectations. Good thing, too.


There’s not much of a plot here. Hart’s character always had everything going for him in high school, except academically, and his own struggles led him to quit high school and head straight into the working world. Now, years later, he is trying to impress his lovely girlfriend much further up the career ladder and realizes that getting his GED will provide him more opportunities at higher pay. In a strange twist of fate, he runs into his future night school teacher on the roadways and their initial interaction is just as combative once he arrives in her GED night class. When the overworked and underpaid teacher realizes what lies at the ‘heart’ of her student’s struggles to learn, things change. (Yes, I tossed in a pun. There’s nothing else funny here, so I might as well try SOMEthing!)


Hart can be a funny actor, but the writing is lackluster, the casting while good offers nothing for these talented comedic actors to do — it ranges from no jokes at all to gross bathroom humor. But a comedy that isn’t funny might as well have never been made in the first place.


I wish I could recommend this film for a good laugh, but I wouldn’t know which part of it to tell you to watch because I don’t recall laughing. If you need a chuckle, look elsewhere. This isn’t your film.


Score: 74














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