“Hacksaw Ridge” a Gut Wrenching Heroic War Movie

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Cinematically brilliant, the movie Hacksaw Ridge grabs you by the collar and slaps you upside your head with a true story of our fearless military and a hero that earned the respect of his country. It’s a reminder why we are free and why all our American soldiers can hold their head high for battles fought in every conflict. Sometimes it takes the insight of a good film like this to bring us back to reality. Read more

Rocky Mountain Express: A Breathtaking Journey into Railroading History

A giant screen experience that re-ignites the magic of Canada’s historic steam age, Rocky Mountain Express centers on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The film shot in IMAX highlights the nation’s emerging steam technology and the humanity of this enormous project.

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To establish a true sense of realism, the documentary was filmed using a helicopter and gyro-stabilized camera. To give viewers a truly intimate experience of steam power, IMAX cameras were also mounted throughout the train. Employing these extraordinary efforts helped capture the journey of Empress (CPR 2816), a steam locomotive built in 1930 and recently restored by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

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The film explores the heroic journey in mapping routes through impossibly difficult terrain, then goes on to document the construction of the railroad track. Viewers are treated to the stunning and diverse Canadian landscape via breathtaking views of mountains, valleys and hills, through 5-mile long tunnels and soaring bridges and trestles.

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The film also explores the personal pain and struggles of railroad workers, their sacrifices and lost lives as they inched their way through mountains of rock and snow. Animated 3D maps and carefully restored archival images provide insights into the building of this massive 3,000-mile transcontinental railway through some of roughest terrain on Earth.

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Filmed with full 15/70 negative, Rocky Mountain Express employs the world’s largest film format. Every bit of this technology is visible on the screen. Breathing life into the steam engines of yesteryear, the film’s sound has been faithfully captured and rendered in six-channel sound. The original musical score by celebrated composer Michel Cusson adds to the emotional ambiance of this era and to the film’s more poignant moments.

 

“The Handmaiden” A Spicy Mystery with a Tryst

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Spicy and exciting the film The Handmaiden enters select theaters this weekend and for adults it’s a powerful mystery drama with romantic overtones. The fine direction, acting, story and cinematography make the film pleasurable. It’s for those who like a titillating movie experience tied in with a sordid plot that takes some unexpected twists. The film, if it had been rated, could have easily received the highest MPAA judgement possible. Read more

“A Man Called Ove”, Tugs at the Heartstrings

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Heartfelt, touching, compassionate and tragic yet romantic, the film A Man Called Ove comes to America from Sweden. The country’s choice for their entry into the Academy Awards best foreign film, the movie should make the top 5 in that category. All around best in direction, acting, cinematography, music and script the film has the potential for a nomination in the top 10 for overall Best Picture. Read more

“Once in a Lifetime” a Challenging Assignment

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The true story Once in a Lifetime offers a sincere look into the lives of a classroom of teens who get to tackle one of the most challenging assignments of their life. The opening scene however, shows a discord between a Muslim student and a faculty member regarding the wearing of a hijab (Muslim head covering). While this incident never gets fleshed out, according to the press notes supplied, producer Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar includes the scene to show freedom of expression and the principle of secularism. The scene has the power to suggest a whole new plot for a different film on the subject yet does not take away from the production that follows. Read more

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”, a Military Crime Thriller

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Where I was not too fond of the first Jack Reacher film that came out in 2012, the sequel “Never Go Back” delivers much more energy. The action sequences are quite good even though they are not on par with Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible series. In addition the storyline has pangs of déjà vu from other action films within the past years. All that said, if you are a big fan of Cruise or just want to escape to a movie where you can forget a bad day, then this military crime thriller should do the trick. Read more

“The Night Of” a Powerful HBO Mini-Series

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Edge of your seat intriguing, the HBO series The Night Of provides excellent drama for crime fans. Not exactly an original storyline giving it a “CSI” vibe, but the point of view makes it different and gripping. With acts of terrorism in the world and growing in America, suspicions have escalated. This mini-series takes you into the world of bias and bigotry as seen by one trapped in a vicious crime. It’s just a story after all, yet if it hadn’t been a Muslim caught up in the crime it may have not been as powerful. Read more

“The Accountant”, Killing by the Numbers

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The most electrifying and suspense-filled film this year, The Accountant has opened nationwide and it’s a thriller. From opening act to the closing credits it keeps you glued to your seat waiting for the exciting scene. Under the keen direction of Gavin O’Connor who brought Miracle and Warrior to the screen, the cast makes The Accountant a winner. If you thought that Ben Affleck was good in movies like Gone Girl, Argo or The Town, witness the actor at his level best. Read more

“American Honey” Looking for Meaning to Life

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Here’s a quirky little film that could sneak in for an Oscar if the wind blows their way. It’s called American Honey and works its magic with a strong appeal to mature teens through 20’s. The film has a radical edge that takes a stab at the wealthy and also preys on the goodness of middle class America. That said, it’s also an eye opener of America’s failure to influence the young toward important social values and the danger of negative ones. Read more

“Shin Godzilla” Gojira is Back

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Get ready for the powerful lizard returning to attack Tokyo in Shin Godzilla or as he’s loving called by the monster’s fans, Gojira. It’s been awhile since the huge prehistoric dinosaur, a cross between a Stegosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus, has starred in a movie. The last one to my knowledge, that was Japanese made like this one, served up Godzilla vs Biollante where the huge reptile fought against a mutated rose bush. Read more

“Silver Skies” Seniors Stand their Ground

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Kind of an off-beat comedy the film Silver Skies brings a little more nostalgia to the screen with a cool blast from the past cast. Much like the recent review on the film Wild Oats, this little movie delivers a warmhearted memory of actors that show their stuff even in their senior years. It’s mainly targeted to the older set, but 35 and up should get a kick out of it. Read more

“The Girl on the Train” a Suspense Filled Mystery

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Captivating and suspenseful the movie The Girl on the Train takes you into the mind of a witness to murder. The intriguing film hooks you from the beginning, tantalizes with possible suspects and then leads you down a path to a deadly finale. Taken from a bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins, the movie gets a Hollywood make over true to the book. Be forewarned the story gets a little contrived, but it doesn’t ruin the overall melodramatic experience. Read more

“Wild Oats” a Ditsy Comedy with Charm

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I enjoyed watching two of my favorite actresses icons Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange in the ditsy comedy Wild Oats. Now on DVD and Digital HD the two were perfect as the twilight of their lives characters and brought back many fond memories of films in the 50’s and 60’s for MacLaine and the 70’s and 80’s for Lange. Still going strong they make the comedy escapade work dishing out a style that filmmakers have left behind, but with Wild Oats, not forgotten. Read more