Papa Hemingway in Cuba, Intimate and Daring

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A bold time capsule of Ernest Hemingway’s life in Cuba gets revealed through the eyes of a reporter who lived it in the film Papa Hemingway in Cuba. Richly shot in the estranged county, the movie delves into the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning writer’s intimate lifestyle on the island in the 1950’s. Taught, daring and an eye opener the fine cast does a terrific job of character portrayal under the able direction of Bob Yari from an autobiographical script written by Denne Bart Petitclerc.

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The American Side, a Snappy Mystery Filled with Intrigue

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This mystery sets out as a routine blackmail, but turns into a thriller involving the government and those that want to get rich quick. And then there’s a suicide at Niagara Falls that all leads to The American Side. Much like the gumshoe J.J. Gittes in Chinatown with the same kind of pace and impression, The American Side becomes compelling and intriguing. Read more

The Huntsman: Winter’s War, An Icy Tale of Two Kingdoms

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While the special effects are very good in The Huntsman: Winter’s War, the story, direction and the acting leave a lot to be desired. CGI plays a big part in the film and for the most part it carries its own weight, so much so that it gets wasted. The romantic plot gets a lot of the screen time and tends to make the film drag with its repetitive drivel. And most of the film can be described as The Hobbit meets Frozen. That said, let’s take one objection at a time. Read more

The Lady in the Van, a Heartwarming True Story

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Being a fan of good acting, plot and direction, especially connected to an indie, it’s enjoyable to watch a heartfelt film like The Lady in the Van. For those who admire Maggie Smith they’ll have double delight with this true story. Originally a play on a London stage starring the consummate actress and now on Blu-ray and DVD, the comedy drama’s wonderful to watch even your home video screen. Read more

The Jungle Book, A Cool Bolder Version of a Classic Story

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I’m not sure if this is exactly what Rudyard Kipling would have wanted his children’s book to be like on the big screen, but Director/producer Jon Favreau turns family viewing up a notch with a darker version of the 1997 animated The Jungle Book. Using live action with a copious amounts of computer generated images, Favreau takes the classic into the 21st century with realism beyond belief. Adding a lot of scary to his film, the movie becomes more of a jungle battle than an innocent romp in the trees and vegetation while coming in contact with some comical characters. Read more

Marguerite, a Gorgeous Film with Heart

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There’s a very good film opening this weekend and it’s pretentious in a very loving way. Partly based on a true story, Marguerite takes you to a time when Paris was in flower and Barons ruled provincial areas of France. And it’s drenched in the opulence of the rich and ravenous with the shysters looking to take advantage of the vain and ostentatious. Elegantly filmed, richly acted and well directed, if you like a good farce, you’ll fall in love with Marguerite. Read more

“Turn: Washington’s Spies” Season 2, Secrets and Treachery

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Things are really starting to heat up in season two of AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies” in both the colonies and in London. The weekly series now on DVD continues the secrecy, concealment, spying, trickery, lying and deceit. You would think it was just another episode of “The Americans”. But, “Turn” takes place a couple centuries earlier and the characters here are vying for control of the United States. In some cases its spy versus spy while delivering some major information that could change the tide of the war. Read more

Hello, My Name is Doris, a Butterfly has Exited the Cocoon

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After a long absence from the leading role, Sally Field returns to the big screen and it’s her film from opening line one to the logical ending. And what a performance by Field. Never losing her sweet cool, she shines in Hello, My Name is Doris, a romantic comedy with a little drama thrown in for good measure. It may get a little superficial, maudlin and bizarre, but that’s what makes the film the perfect couple’s night out. Ladies, it’s only a one tissue movie, but bring another for back-up. Read more

Game of Thrones 5, a Season of Sinister Surprise

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The fifth season of Game of Thrones ups the excitement with a nice amount of treachery and war. By far the best production in this incredible saga that has attracted a wide audience and garnered a remarkable number of awards. The acting has retained the brilliance that began five years ago and in this season over shadows anything they have done in the past. Brilliant sets, costumes and make-up keeps the series fresh with locations fit for a kingdom in peril. If you haven’t yet seen season five or just want to relive it, put this season of treachery and sinister surprise on yes list. Read more

10 Cloverfield Lane, An Eerie Addictive Sequel

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Being that 10 Cloverfield Lane has been touted as a sequel to the 2008 release of Cloverfield, I thought we would find ourselves where the action thriller left off. Well I was pleasantly surprised that this chapter surrounds a mystery that had me spellbound from the creative opening to the Cloverfield tie-in. It’s an eerie addictive sequel that captivates and compels as it moves along from one strange scene to the next. Read more

The North Star, Escape to Freedom

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Although the true story of The North Star has wide reaching meaning and intentions behind it, the acting, direction and cinematic expertise fails miserably. Because of the very pedestrian production, instead of a compelling drama we get a historical vignette that has been used in films way beyond the scope of the script that gets presented here. That said, for an after school special directed at older teens, The North Star gets an average grade. Informational, yes, but captivating, marginal. Read more

Eddie the Eagle, Delivers High Flying Courage

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A fun little film called  Eddie the Eagle opens today in theaters across the country and it’s a true story. Steeped with energy, determination and a will to succeed, the movie features very good performances, fine direction and wow cinematography. Touching and heartwarming, the audience will find themselves inspired by this dynamo of man who is determined to participate in the Olympics. The film gets comical showing the ambitious man becoming a dare devil even in the face of the impossible odds. The movie gives the feel much like the Jamaican bobsled team in Cool Runnings that competed the same year in Calgary. Read more

Frankenstein, Modernizing the Monster

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As if Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” needs another adapted storyline, then the release of the movie Frankenstein pops up. This past year even saw Victor Frankenstein with a story that shows the monster from the point of view of Igor. But, I guess it’s never to late to modernize the creature that has had a good run at the box office for many years. Well in this new edition we are treated to a present day view. Now on Blu-ray/DVD the film shows promise throughout the first two acts, but unfortunately has a lackluster ending. Read more

Touched With Fire, Coping with the Flames

“Bipolar Disorder: any of several psychological disorders of mood characterized usually by alternating episodes of depression and mania —called also manic depression, manic-depressive illness” Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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It’s an odd way to start out a film review with a dictionary definition, but apropos with the movie Touched With Fire, a drama dealing with the psychological problem that alters the life of two poets.  Written and director by Paul Dalio and taken from true experiences, gives this production a keener perspective of the lives he portrays on the screen.  Heartfelt and heartbreaking the movie provides the audience with the realism of the troubles that go with bipolar disorder.
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