An offbeat buzz ride, The Lobster is one of the strangest movie-going experiences of 2016.
Prevailing through this short of strangeness will lead to greatness. The Lobster is definitely an acquired taste, but it’s one that every viewer should try once. Built on satire and loneliness, The Lobster brings us down to its bizzaro world. Director Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth (Kynodontas) and Alps) sets his vision in contemporary Western society full of real people in strange situations.
Dry humor and absurdity are what make The Lobster so intriguing. Set in a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in 45 days or are transformed into an animal and sent into the woods. Yes, this is the plot and it’s completely crazy, but original. Actors Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw and John C. Reilly all rise to the occasion, excelling The Lobster to even further heights.
As the title hints too, if Mr. Farrell doesn’t find a mate within 45 days then he will be transformed into a lobster. Why a lobster, you ask? “Because lobsters live for over one hundred years, are blue-blooded like aristocrats, and stay fertile all their lives. I also like the sea very much.” This is Mr. Farrell’s reasoning behind that very creature and that’s all you need to know. The Lobster is not everybody’s cup of tea, however, if you manage to get through this absurd trip the rewards are even greater in the end. I guarantee it.
The Lobster is rated R (Restricted) For sexual content including dialogue, and some violence.
Director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman and Valentine's Day) releases another hokey holiday film that’s as flimsy as a Hallmark card.
Mother’s Day, Marshall’s latest film, is not a tribute to mother’s. Instead, it’s an insult to everyone and their time. This star-studded failure (Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Jason Sudeikis, Britt Robertson and Timothy Olyphant) is filled with candy eyed nonsense that sticks with you longer than it should. Garry Marshall has never been a strong director and his track record shows … Pretty Woman, Exit to Eden, Dear God, Runaway Bride, The Princess Diaries, Georgia Rule, Valentine's Day, New Year’s Eve and now Mother’s Day.
With the exception of Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries, every other film Marshall has made has been rather flimsy and shallow. These films don’t deserve a theatrical release, more like a Direct-to-Video and or Lifetime Movies release. Yes, they’re that bad. Mother’s Day is the cinematic equivalent of last-minute gift wrapping, poorly executed. His films lack effort and heart. They always have and always will. Please, Marshall don’t ruin anymore holidays. As masterful Paul McCartney once wrote and sang, “Let It Be.” No three words could be more true with Marshall's career.
Mother's Day is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For language and some suggestive material.
Director John Carney (Once and Begin Again) returns to his musical roots fueling the audience with '80s pop vibes. Sing Street will slap a smile on your face while singing its heart out, it’s one of the best films of 2016.
It's the '80s, The Beatles are history and in Brendan Lalor's own words, "No woman can truly love a man who listens to Phil Collins." Sing Street is a feel-good optimist that sends out musical vibes to this generation and brings them back to Dublin in the ‘80s. Probably one of the best soundtracks you’ll here this year, Sing Street fuels your bones with musical ecstasy. Original music by the band Sing Street was composed by writer/director John Carney, ‘80s veteran composer Gary Clark and Adam Levine. All of them pour passion and tribute to the ‘80s in a very nostalgic way.
Sing Street is also upheld by a fantastic cast consisting of Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice and Ian Kenny. I’m a sucker when it comes to Carney films, he grabs me in with his upbeat musical tunes. Once will always be my favorite of his. It’s a film so captivating you’ll have to watch it over and over again just like listening to a record. Once showed the audience a blend of love and music back in 2007. In 2014, Begin Again was a charming film of music escapism. While it didn’t hit the high notes as Once, nevertheless, Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley’s duo was irresistible.
Now, fast-forward to 2016 where Carney releases his third feature film and again it’s about musical escapism. Sing Street takes us back to 1980s Dublin seen through the eyes of a boy named Conor (a very talented Walsh-Peelo) who is looking for a break from a home strained by his parents' relationship and their money troubles. Conor is also trying to adjust to his new inner-city public school with rough and tough students and teachers. But Conor finds his silver lining in the mysterious and beautiful Raphina (A wonderful Boynton). Trying to win her heart over Conor invites her to star in his band's music videos, but there’s a problem: he's not part of a band … yet.
Raphina agree so Conor must find himself a band fast and begin his teen music career. After Conor finds his lads, he also immerses himself in the vibrant rock music trends of the decade and the group pours their heart into writing lyrics and shooting music videos. Sing Street is hip and cool and his have you dancing down the streets by the end of the film. In a world full of music, Carney grabs you from the chaos and puts you in the spotlight. You’ll laugh, you’ll cheer and most importantly you’ll sing you heart out! The score also features famous bands like The Cure, A-ha, Duran Duran, The Clash, Hall & Oates, Spandau Ballet and The Jam.
This movie is irresistible from beginning until end. It deserves recognition and needs to be seen by music lovers everywhere. Sing Street hits the high notes and shows us Carney’s ability to craft his greatest hits album and I can’t wait to listen too its sweet tune again. Sing Street revives your feelings for the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll and sends tunes throughout the theater. Conor and his lads are futurist living in a dog-eat-dog world and they’re only survival is to continue writing and playing music. At last, “Boy meets girl, girl unimpressed, boy starts band” … fill in the rest.
Sing Street is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) For thematic elements including strong language and some bullying behavior, a suggestive image, drug material and teen smoking.
An unnecessary prequel/sequel to its predecessor slog (Snow White and the Huntsman), Winter’s War is lazy, bloated and buries its promising cast in the snow.
In 2012, Snow White and the Huntsman was a complete misfire. Casting Kristen Stewart as Snow White was a mistake along with its problematic script. Never did I think that out of this slog would come a sequel … well I was wrong. The Huntsman: Winter’s War plays as a prequel/sequel and adds nothing new to the clumsy franchise. Nothing felt complete nor fun throughout this fairy tale adventure yet again.
The screenplay (writers Craig Mazin and Evan Spiliotopoulos) felt like a rehash from Disney’s Frozen without the catchy songs. Freya the Ice Queen (Emily Blunt) and her sister Ravenna (Charlize Theron) hate everyone and want to conquer the Enchanted Forest. It’s only up to the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and his secret lover Sara (Jessica Chastain) who can stop them. Theron who kicked ass in Mad Max: Fury Road is completely wasted for her role along with Blunt, who proved her acting chops in 2015’s Sicario.
Hemsworth also squanders as the Huntsman and needs to go back to just swinging his hammer. While the CGI only distracts and doesn’t add structure to the story. Director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan loses his footing halfway through the blizzard, hurting this fable from succeeding in every way. It’s eye candy visuals isn’t enough to uphold the film as Winter’s War buries its promising cast in the snow. In the end, this film should have just taken the quick way out and eaten the poisonous apple.
The Huntsman: Winter's War is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For fantasy action violence and some sensuality.
The Jungle Book is marvelous as it is engrossing; this rare remake is a feast for the eyes of all ages. The newest Disney Masterpiece has finally arrived.
Behold, a beautiful creation of filmmaking that sets a new standard for CGI. The Jungle Book has finally arrived. The film captivates you with an all-star voice cast consisting of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken and the late Garry Shandling. These diverse actors bring joy to the movie and breath life into their respected characters. Director Jon Favreau (Elf and Iron Man) crafts the film with elegance and skill.
He even gives author Rudyard Kipling’s incredible story justice it deserves. The remake actually improves upon the predecessors (The Jungle Book, 1967), proving that not all Hollywood remakes are for cash grabs. In this reimagining of the classic collection of stories, Favreau uses visually stunning CGI to create the community of animals surrounding Mowgli (a terrific Neel Sethi), a human boy adopted by a pack of wolves. However, not every animal is pleased of Mowgli’s appearance and differences to the animal community.
He is known as the “man cub.” Cue the villainous tiger named Shere Khan (a fierce Elba). Shere Khan forces Mowgli out of the village guided by his guardian, the panther Bagheera (a comforting Kingsley). Bagheera is Mowgli’s shepherd and is trying to guide him to safety to the “man village.” Along the way, the Mowgli meets an affable, lazy bear named Baloo (the comedic Murray), as well as a snake with hypnotic powers (a seductive Johansson) and an orangutan (a downright wonderful Walken) who wants to harness the power of fire. Nyong'o, Esposito, and the late Shandling also help lend their voices to this adventurous tale.
Favreau even pays tribute to the original animated film, as he plays “The Bare Necessities” in a honorable river scene. Families will be thrilled with the new adventure that truly takes your breath away. If you see it, I advise you to go all out and see it on the IMAX in 3D. The Jungle Book is one of the best family outings of 2016, as it grapples with friendship, adventure, diversity and equality for everyone. This digitized world is a complete awe factor and will inspire future CGI films. The Jungle Book won my heart over from the very first shot. The film is dazzling, unforgettable and captures that sense of wonder. Adventure is out there and The Jungle Book is waiting for you to join.
The Jungle Book is rate PG (Parental Guidance). For some sequences of scary action and peril.