Michael Mailer Films, AMPM Enterprises, Tremendous Entertainment (II),

Alec Baldwin, Demi Moore, Dylan McDermott, Viva Bianca, James McCaffrey, Eden Epstein, John Buffalo Mailer, Steven Prescod

Mark Dutchman (Dylan McDermott) is a hot shot businessman who is in big trouble for some shady dealings and is facing quite a stint in prison. His wife Suzanne (Demi Moore) had no idea what was going on, but was pulled in and assigned to perform public service or be thrown into jail like her husband. Bill Oakland (Alec Baldwin) is a top bestselling author who was at the top of his game when a terrible auto accident cost him his wife, and his site. Now blind, he relies on volunteers to read to him so that he can keep up with his work. Suzanne is assigned to him, and she simply cannot stand the guy. But if she refuses him, she will have to go to prison, so she decides to make the best of it. During the time they spend with each other, she is able to look closely into her life and see how empty it is. As spoiled, manipulative, and downright disagreeable as Bill is, though, the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes there is a place in her life that he can fill. But when Mark manipulates the system and gets out of jail, a huge confrontation is on the horizon.

This is a fairly interesting concept, and certainly Alex Baldwin, as much as it hurts me to admit it, did a pretty decent job playing Bill. I think Demi’s part could have been better cast, and there certainly are a lot better choices for Mark than Dylan McDermott, but the basic concept wasn’t bad. I think the thing that hurt this movie the most was the slow pacing. It felt like a stage play, as a lot of it simply took place in the reading room and there were long retrospective monologues without a lot of stuff going on. Another missed opportunity with a pretty decent concept that isn’t executed very well. Though it’s not a horrible movie, a few improvements may have made all the difference. This film was more of a disappointment and is probably not worth the time to invest in it unless seeing Demi Moore in her underwear for no reasonable purpose is your thing. I would suggest giving this one a pass.

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ChubbCo Film, Blackbird, Code Red,

Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, Rebecca Hall, Chloë Sevigny, Adepero Oduye

Former Teacher Paul (Steve Coogan) and his wife Claire (Laura Linney) meet for a very fancy dinner with his older brother, politician Stan Lohman (Richard Gere) and his wife. But there is another reason for the meeting and it’s not social. Their children have committed a horrible crime that has the city in an uproar, as it was caught on a security camera. But the kids have not yet been identified, so the problem is for the parents to decide what to do about it. How far are they willing to go to protect their kids, and what is the truth about the event? Was it a stupid mistake, an evil deed, beyond their control, or something that just got a little out of control. There is a lot to think about and a lot to decide, and the four people have four different opinions on what to do.

This is another example of a great story gone to waste. As this started out, I really expected it to be an interesting movie, but boy was I disappointed. The longer this movie went on, the more boring it went. The story is that the writer of the novel would not even attend the premier because he was so disappointed with the way the film was made. I wish I had skipped this one. The actors are really talented, and I don’t really know why this failed so bad for me. It just never got rolling and it was really dreary. I wanted to smack them all as time went on. I’m not sure if it was the screenplay or the directing, or what, but it simply didn’t work. Worst film I have seen n long, long time. Skip this one.

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De Line Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), New Line Cinema,

Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Joey King, Matt Dillon, Ann-Margret, Christopher Lloyd, Kenan Thompson, Siobhan Fallon, John Ortiz, Peter Serafinowicz, Josh Pais, Maria Dizzia, Anthony Chisholm, Jeremy Bobb

Joe Harding (Michael Caine) has been a hard worker for the same company all his life along with his friends, Willie Davis (Morgan Freeman, and Albert Garner (Alan Arkin). Joe is having financial trouble and his daughter’s debts are going to cause his house to fall into foreclosure, but while he’s in the bank a robbery takes place and the masked bandits take off with the money. Joe is very impressed with how easy it was to pull off. When the last straw falls, and the old friends learn their company has been sold and thew owners are cancelling their pension, they decide to rob the bank themselves, in their own style, and steal enough money to get back what they’re owed so that they can live out their days in style. But this is an extremely dangerous operation for the senior citizens to pull off, and when something goes wrong, it starts snowballing into a huge disaster.

This film is a remake of the 1979 film with George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg which was very, very well done. This one updates the story a bit, but is in many ways the same idea. The concept of growing old and forgotten in the U.S. is something that haunts a lot of older folks. They simply want what was promised to them and the young businessmen just don’t get it. It’s not a really over the top comedy, and it has real friendship and a lot of the kind of morality older folks still maintain today, and so there’s a lot to take in. It’s interesting, and it’s entertaining, and this is a great bunch of actors. The three main characters are stupendous, but the rest of the cast really helps them deliver the best they could with this retread of a movie. I found it interesting, and fun to watch, so I wouldn’t want to discourage you from watching, but don’t expect a side splitting comedy, as it’s much more subtle and gently done than that. If you like really great acting from accomplished actors, give it a try though as it’s a nice rental film that is worthwhile to see.

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Movie Rentals Releasing Tuesday August 15, 2017

  • Alien: Covenant
  • Blind
  • The Case for Christ
  • Chuck
  • Everything, Everything
  • Hickok
  • How to be a Latin Lover
  • The Wall

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Atomic Monster, New Line Cinema,

Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Philippa Coulthard, Grace Fulton, Samara Lee, Tayler Buck, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Lou Lou Safran, Mark Bramhall

Bee Mullins (Samara Lee) is a sweet little girl who lives with toy maker Sam Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife Esther Mullins (Miranda Otto). When Bee is killed in a sudden accident, the little family is devastated, but try to move on, but a really evil doll, Annabelle who we met two movies ago, decidedly did not want any peace in this house. 12 years later, Samuel and Ester (who is now bedridden and unable to walk) decided it was time to make amends, and invite a nun, Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) and six young women and girls who are orphaned, into their home for a kind of penance for the evil that has overtaken their house. They think it is save, but two of the little girls are very curious of what is hidden away, and the evil is free again in this prequel to a prequel to a great horror movie series. But the team that puts together these stories is really good, and even though you wouldn’t expect it, this film is awesome. It is very, very scary in a number of different ways. I mean, there are great jumps and jolts from the awesome camera work mixed with loud noises, that we often decry as cheap scares, but the are mixed in with a really truly creepy story that keeps building and building suspense. The children who play the orphans do a wonderful job, and the two main children have a quite challenging role for each to play, but the do it stunningly. Mr. and Mr. Mullins are also very good, especially

This whole series of movies has been extremely good for the most part. In Conjuring 1 and 2 we met the Warren’s, a husband and wife who ran a paranormal investigation team and had a cellar full of haunted and possessed artifacts, the key one being a very scary looking doll in a glass case named Annabelle. We knew from the very first time that we saw her that this doll must have had a demented history. We found out what the doll could do as a conduit of a demon in the first movie, a prequel to the Conjuring films called Annabelle. The very end of this film is the actual opening of Annabelle, and though Annabelle told the story of the what the doll can do, this prequel to a prequel, Annabelle: Creation tells us the story of how the doll was made, how the demon came to control it, and what happened to the original owners before the last movie. Since this is a while ago, this becomes a period piece of sorts, and even though it’s awesomely presented in the past, the year really doesn’t matter. But even though it shouldn’t be, it is really an awesome movie! This thing is really very scary. There are a nice mix of scares, and though there are some well done jump scares with the excellent camera work combined with loud noises from a great soundtrack, sometimes these are decried as cheap scares because they are overused. But these are excellently done because they are mixed in with some really intense suspense that builds and builds throughout. The team that puts these films together are masters of suspense, and that is why it is doing so good in the box office this week. The girls who play the orphans in the movie are really good, especially the two girls who play the leads. These two girls are the youngest and best friends, a lot because the other 4 girls exclude them from the group as much as possible. These two do an unbelievable job turning in this difficult performance, and it is nearly perfect. Mr and Mrs Mullins are also very well played, both as the happy young couple with a lovely daughter , and as the worn out and nearly destroyed couple that take in these kids as a sort of last attempt at redemption. Anthony LaPaglia is especially good since he is a major part of the film, where as his wife has a much smaller, yet critical role. But I think I was most impressed by Stephanie Sigman who plays Sister Charlotte who also did an excellent job. She is hopeful and cheerful while trying to do her best to keep her girls together even though times are very tough. She gave a wonderful performance. The special effects are really top notch, and the setting and camera work is excellent. All in all, this was a really good horror film and one that any fan of scary movies should see. This film helped save my summer. Well done!

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