Bold Films, Brothers Dowdle Productions, Living Films,

Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Sterling Jerins, Claire Geare

Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) has lost his company, but found a lucky opportunity to work for a large American Water Company in an Asian developing nation to upgrade their water system. He takes his wife Annie (Lake Bell) and their two young daughters to an upscale hotel to begin his new job. But they’ve landed right in the middle of a local uprising and Jack has to use all his skills and wits to stay a few steps ahead of the coup that is killing loyalists and foreigners on sight. With the help of an unusual character Hammond (Pierce Brosnan) who knows his way around pretty well, they are trying to find a way to get to a safe place to ride out all the violence.

This is a rapid fire suspense thriller. Owen Wilson was really a good casting decision as he really got to sink his chops into this one. The script is good, and the level of confusion they feel come across to us on screen as the terror builds. This is a situation that feels really accurate as the situation can get out of hand in a few minutes. There we are trapped with them in a foreign country with no idea what anyone is saying and no way to read any of the signs. Finding someone who can speak English is a real help in a horrible situation like this. The script is full of suspense and they literally are never out of grave danger. The audiences are seemingly enjoying this as the theaters are crowded, and I felt it was a really good roller coaster ride through the jungle.

I have to share an epiphany that I had while watching this film. It hit very close to home. In the year 1972 I was serving on a mission in Manila in the Philippines. One morning we had planned an exhibit right in the heart of Quiapo, the main area of the government buildings. Surprisingly no one came to see us, and as Americans we were often mobbed by people, mostly kids, who wanted to see us because we were different with the hairy arms and blue eyes and such. But no one came around and everyone walked with their eyes down without looking left or right. As we gave up and packed it in, we noticed that there were no newspapers anywhere on the street. The driver of the taxi turned on the radio and moved the tuner up and down the dial but there were no stations on.
At 7PM, the TV and Radios came back on, but only on the channels Ferdinand Marcos owned personally. It started with a military style march about Filipino pride, and Marcos came on to explain why he had declared martial law. The situation was very grim, and he had been planning this for many months. In order to pull it off, he had planned a vote on a new form of government using the Parliamentary System and was going to release all the Senators and Congressmen. But unfortunately a man, Ninoy Aquino had released a leaked plan of President Marcos’ plan to stay in power after the end of his term. Like the US, the President is only allowed to run for two terms and his time was ending. Aquino had spilled the beans and forced his hand, so he declared martial law, locked up Aquino and hundreds of other politicians who were against him, and took control for 10 years. Fortunately the population (kind of to my surprise) turned a blind eye, rolled over, and walked quietly around without a whimper. I could have been caught up in the middle of a coup, just like this little family in the movie. It could have been very frightening, but being 20 years old and feeling like nobody would ever mess with an American, we we on day after day as usual. But we learned a lot about how something like this can happen, and how it can change in temperament in a few minutes. It was a weird experience to think of this while watching this film. There is, of course, much much more to my story, probably enough to fill a book, but as to the film, I think I am not the only one who really enjoyed this movie. It’s kicking it in the box office, and rightly so. It’s rated R because of the graphic violence, but if you are not squeamish of that, this is a film you ought to see. I highly recommend this one as one powerful thriller.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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CG Cinéma, Pallas Film, CAB Productions,

Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloë Grace Moretz, Lars Eidinger, Johnny Flynn, Brady Corbet, Hanns Zischler, Angela Winkler, Nora von Waldstätten

Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is at the peak of her career. She’s a famous actress who’s been asked to act in the revival of the play she starred in twenty years before. Then she was the young assistant whose allure eventually drove the star to suicide. Now Maria is playing the role of her mentor and has to look at things from the other side. Her former role is now being played by the upcoming young star Jo-Ann (Chloe Grace Moretz) who seems very uninterested in what the older woman learned from playing the role 20 years ago. She wants to do it her own way. Meanwhile, Maria’s personal assistant is Valentine (Kristen Stewart) who is always challenging her and art and life seem to mimic each other.

This is an artsy film. I have to admit that I really hated this movie. Now I am sure that there must be some people out there who must think this is fantastic art, and like abstract paintings of splotches on a canvas, or statues made out of trash with no meaningful shape is great art to a few, the masses don’t get it at all. This was supposed to have some deep meaning and I felt like I was expected to come out of it with some fantastic epiphany, but actually I thought it was an awful waste of time. It was not only boring as hell, but served no purpose that I can see. Kristen Stewart was simply horrid, spouting lines and pretending to act, but not saying anything. I could find no value in this movie, and I’m afraid this may be the worst piece of film I’ve ever watched. Unless you are fond of being bored to tears, stay far away from this one. Seriously, it was BAD.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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DisneyToon Studios, Prana Animation Studios, Prana Studios,

Ginnifer Goodwin, Mae Whitman, Rosario Dawson, Raven-Symoné, Megan Hilty, Lucy Liu, Pamela Adlon, Tom Hiddleston

Fawn (Ginnifer Goodwin) believes that you can’t automatically judge someone just because of rumors and whispers, so she makes friend with the NeverBeast. The Scout fairies find out about this and think she is wrong and try to drive off the NeverBeast, but Fawn’s faith cannot be snuffed out, and she and the NeverBeast show the others that everyone has some value.

This is a Disney Toon Studios release to video (streaming) that is certainly not the quality of classic Disney Animation nor the magic that is Pixar, but though it’s TV cartoon quality, it’s still a great story with lots of color, music, charm, and values for the little ones. It is really a good film for kids, truly G rated and with the Disney values. The studios attempts to bring the Fairy/Pixie line into the mix along with all the other Disney Princesses is a good idea and it gives them a lot of directions to go into for new stories. The voices are really good too, and they are all good actors so voicing of the different characters is great. I sometimes have an issue when all the voices are so recognizable, but in this case, for a children’s film they won’t recognize them anyway, and their skill adds a lot of the experience. The story is very simple and predictable, and isn’t groundbreaking in any way, but it certainly is a nice babysitter for you, and if you sit and watch and enjoy WITH the kids, kudos to you as it could be a great bonding experience. This is highly recommended for the younger set and the adults who care for them.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Opinion – Movie Credits

What is the worst part of going to the theater?

Back in 1971 and 1972 I was in the Philippines. The Philippines has some of the most beautiful movie palaces I have ever seen. When I was a kid we had a theater back home called “The Oriental” which was a showcase. Occasionally they would open the balcony and I spent quite a few Saturdays watching double features. But in Manila, there were huge decorated buildings. One theater had a dancing waters fountain in front of the screen, and in between films they would close the curtains and run the water show. There were theaters with stars tCasino3hat twinkled in the sky and clouds that would fly overhead. There was gold trim and velvet seats and curtains. It was amazingly beautiful. Now this wasn’t 1940 or anything, this was 1972. In the US in those years they were tearing down the theaters and building the mall based cinder block megaplexes. But in the Philippines it was still prime time for theaters. Now when I was a kid, even, we would look up the starting time for the movie in the paper, and show up 10 or 15 minutesmalls before to have time for popcorn and soda and to find a good seat. But, though I’ve heard it used to be this way here, in the Philippines nobody paid any attention to the time a movie started. They would walk in at any time in the middle of the movie, and then when it was over, after a brief intermission to sell Jujubees, the movie would start again, and you’d stay till the point where you caught up to where you came in, and then we’d leave. The phrase “This is where I came in” came from this practice. But in the Philippines a visit to the theater was a big deal, and it was comfortable and air conditioned, and because you could come in any time and leave anytime, you could stay and watch the whole movie again and again and again. For one price you could watch the film many times.

In the middle between the movies they would play the Philippine national anthem, a trailer or two and a newsreel and a cartoon. Then they started throwing in commercials. Not trailers for coming attractions, but real honest commercials. Now I understood commercials on TV because TV was free and somebody had to pay the bill. But when I paid for a movie ticket, I felt it was a really dirty trick to make you watch commercials while you are a captive audience. That sucked. That isn’t my choice for the worst part though.

 Now, a movie starts at 7:10 PM. For a half hour before we watch ads. But at 7:10 we get a reminder to buy refreshments and to turn off our cell phone. Then 12, 13, 14, 15 movie trailers run. That takes 20 minutes or more. There are so many damn trailers that by the time they are done, you can’t remember anything you saw. Try to remember that film that you said, “I want to see that” when 13 more trailers run, and you cannot remember it. It goes on and on and on. Why do they overdo that so much? Is it $$$? Or is it just to let the stragglers come in? Well, perhaps, but people now depend on the fact that 7:10 means 7:35 and they don’t show up till 7:30.

But that’s not what I hate the most about the movie experience.

I can remember when great classic moves STARTED with a Logo for the studio. Leo growls, or the word Universal spins around the world. Then there’s a title. “Gone With the Wind” followed by “Starring” and about 2 or 3 names at the most. Maybe (but probably not) there’s a “Featuring”, or “With”, or “Introducing” and one more name. But do you know what comes up at the end of the movie? Two words. “The End”.

Watch TMC or AMC and catch the ending of one of those great old films like Casablanca or The Ten Commandments and at the end, there are only 2 words.

At some point they got the cute idea of saving the “Starring” till the end of the movie and having “Closing Credits”

Then they got longer and longer and longer? Does anyone know who started this and when, but it comes to the point where if you’re watching a film on DVD, and the counter tells you there’s 30 minutes left, the movie’s over man. There is up to a half hour of listings of the “people” involved in making the picture. We have the entire crew including the carpenters, the set painters, the security guards. There’s the people who arrange the flowers on the catering table as well as the person who folds creditsthe napkins and the drivers of the limos that bring the cast members to the site. On and on and on and on and on it goes with the most minuscule jobs being listed page after page after page. How about the one who made copies of the script on a copier, and the guy who made the copier, and the one who delivered it to the studio. Nobody can pay any attention to that, so the moment they start, people start leaving. So then they started bribing us by showing a secret scene at the end so you’ll sit through all the nonsense. Then they started putting bloopers in during the credits. Anything to make you stay and watch it. Sometimes there are 2 or 3 surprise scenes tacked in. But all you can think about is how much you need a restroom at this point, and if you stay and stand in the exit aisle till the movie ends and everyone buy you is gone and there is no “Easter Egg” at the end, but just a blank screen.

This is what I hate the most. The movie is the little bit tucked in between the 15 previews and the 30 minutes of names you can’t pronounce. Why do they do this, and why do we stand for it? Is it vanity for the folks whose names appear up there? I’m not sure, but I wish they would go back to the old day.

Meanwhile, before you go to the film, go to imdb.com to look up whether there is any “crazy credits” at the end that you “HAVE” to see. Then when you get out of the theater and you want to know who that guy is who played the painter, or where the beach scenes were filmed, head to IMDB.com on your cell phone while you’re waiting for the Valet to bring your car around.

What do you do? I used to try to read the credits out of respect, but many years ago I got fed up and quit. Now, though I feel it’s disrespectful to the actor, director, and producers to walk out, the moment the music starts, I walk out. What do you think?

That’s my opinion anyway.

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            === Ed  ===


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Lunch Box Entertainment,

Brian Wilson, Cher, Dick Clark, Glen Campbell, Lou Adler, Nancy Sinatra

Back in 2008 Denny Tedesco (son of legendary musician Tommy Tedesco) put together a top notch documentary, but it could never be released on DVD. Why? For one reason, the royalties for all the great songs that in this documentary. Back in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s the primary recording industry was based in California. Groups were being formed right and left from the legendary Beach Boys and Mama’s and the Papa’s to lesser knows bands like Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Phil Spector had invented the “Wall of Sound” and records were sounding terrific. But with the huge number of groups and recording sessions, a group of studio musicians grew more and more popular by the record companies. When they needed a drummer or a bass guitar or a keyboard player, they would find themselves calling on the same guys over and over. Pretty soon they were well known to each other and making a lot of money, but nobody outside the record business knew anything about these. Before they knew it, they were making mountains of money, and almost every song coming out of California’s music industry featured the same band. They would record for three or four different bands in a day. This fascinating documentary if filled with interviews and songs with many of the greatest musicians you every heard of, and many of the greatest session players that you never heard of.

This is a stunningly well done documentary. Now it helps me a lot because I was born in 1951 and grew up with this music and had no idea this was going on. Denny also grew up with these fabulous musicians and a lot of the film is about the lives of the families of the busiest musicians on the planet and how they survived. But the most wonderful part of this document is the part that nearly became it’s undoing, the fabulous music. This sounds like one of those PBS pledge breaks with the fabulous music of the 60’s, without the begging for money as hit after hit after hit is played filled in with reminiscing of those who still survived in 2008. Many of those on the DVD are gone now, and it’s wonderful to see and hear them again. There are hundreds of stories, and this DVD is so well done that you feel like you’re at a recording session when these folks all take a break to share stories and gags. The most fabulous this is that is now available on DVD to own, and you can purchase your own copy, if you’re a fan of the great music of this time period. It was a time for great songs, great lyrics, and great music from this secret band of highly talented people who came up on they fly the licks and phrases, and the great introductions and arrangements that we remember. This is a MUST NOT MISS for children of the 50’s and 60’s, and certainly worth watching by anyone who loves the oldies or appreciates the time when music was produced naturally and not electronically like it is today.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 


 

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