Archive for 4 Star Rating

Calamity Films, Feigco Entertainment, Perfect World Pictures,

Madison Ingoldsby, Emma Thompson, Boris Isakovic, Lucy Miller, Emilia Clarke, Maxim Baldry, Margaret Clunie, John-Luke Roberts, Michelle Yeoh, Bilal Zafar, Patti LuPone, Lydia Leonard, Henry Golding, Michael Addo, Peter Mygind

Last Christmas is a brand new holiday film about a family who moved to London from Yugoslavia and especially the daughter Kate (Emilia Clarke) who is struggling. Kate has a job as an elf in a Christmas all-year-long store run by Santa (Michelle Yeoh) who is very eccentric person for sure. Kate is struggling with life and making lots of bad choices, but when she meets the very handsome Tom, (Henry Golding) he helps her find meaning in her life. But Tom is very quirky as well, and though he is a big help to her, he is not very consistent. This is a lovely Christmas story filled with lots of heart and a great deal of values and good feelings.

This film is hard to categorize, as it is many different things. Most of all, it is very heartwarming, but this is not like a Hallmark Christmas movie, as it is a LOT deeper than that. There is serious drama, and side splitting humor, mixed in with a charming romantic tale as well. Kate’s family is hysterical, and has a wealth of back story to fill in the richness of the story. Emma Thompson is absolutely astounding in her performance and deserves the award for best supporting actress for sure. It is an awesome character she brings to life. Emilia Clark, as well, is absolutely fantastic in her role, and she brings a great deal of professionalism as Kate. She really steals the show. And thought Henry Golding is not in every scene, he certainly carries himself very well in every scene he is in. The casting in this story is exceptional, as each role is played to the hilt by the perfect actor for each role. From Kate’s sister, to her poor father, to those who try to help Kate when she is at rock bottom, everyone helps move this film forward and each role adds a lot of depth to the story. I went to see this film without a lot of expectations, and I was really blown away. Yes, there is a bit of a Shamalayan twist too, but there is also a lot of George Michael music, and all in all this is a movie that I think most everyone could enjoy. Filmed on location in London, the city itself is a star character as well. This filim is firing on all cyylinders and is a MUST SEE for this Christmas season. Go ahead and pass up some of the others if you must, but head out to see this one. I really, really enjoyed it, 100%. I loved this movie.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, thefyzz,

Sophie NĂ©lisse, Corinne Foxx, Brianne Tju, Sistine Rose Stallone, Brec Bassinger, John Corbett, Nia Long, Axel Mansilla, Khylin Rhambo, Davi Santos

Two step-sisters are trying to get along together while Dad who is a deep sea diver, archeologist, tour guide is trying to pull the family together. But one sister has to put up with a lot of guff from the other girls in their island school. Dad sets them up on a “touristy” sightseeing tour to see the sharks from a glass bottomed boat, but the two sisters along with 2 other friends decide to head out to a remote site where an underwater Aztec cave city is located. Knowing they are not supposed to go in there, the girls decide to take a chance and explore just the opening, but an underwater disaster finds them trapped in the labyrinth of underwater caves with no way out and their supplies and air dwindling. It will take a lot of skill and a lot of luck for anyone of them to survive this disaster as it end up filled with man eating great white sharks as well.

This is not a sequel to the original 47 Meters Down from 2017. See Ed’s Review of 47 Meters Down here: The story is very different and unrelated, although similar in a few ways (i.e. Sharks and running out of air!). This film did go a little too far in the end, and could have had a better ending, (not unlike the killer who gets killed, but gets back up and disappears only to kill again), but it was a really suspenseful film, and the scenery was spectacular. The underwater city was breathtaking. The suspense was super, and the girls did a good job of being capable, yet a bit reckless, teen-age girls, which is what they were supposed to be after all. The photography was outstanding and it really kept us on the edge of our seats. I just did a review for the latest Stephen King film which is a major motion picture, and gave it a 3 rating, where I give this bit of fluff a 4 rating, so I had to stop and think of why I did that. I remember a saying from the Bible where (paraphrased) it says “where is much is given, much is expected” and I think that’s the reason. This is not setting out to be a Hollywood Blockbuster major motion picture, but a simple underwater thriller, and it totally nailed that and was highly enjoyable entertainment. On the other hand, I expected a lot from King’s movie and was disappointed. That is the reason why this film deserves a 4 star rating because it does exactly what it sets out to do and is well worth the time spent having your heart racing while we wonder if any of these poor girls are going to make it. Even with the silly ending where they went a bridge too far, it was a well done film and I do recommend it. Perhaps it was not as suspenseful as the first film, but it was a lot more spectacular to look at. Enjoy it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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BRON Studios, Creative Wealth Media Finance, DC Comics,

Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Shea Whigham, Bill Camp, Glenn Fleshler, Leigh Gill, Josh Pais, Rocco Luna, Marc Maron, Sondra James, Murphy Guyer, Douglas Hodge

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a very poor man, living in a run down tenement in Gotham City with his aged mother Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy). He makes a few bucks any way he can, working as a clown trying to sell product or to entertain children. But Arthur’s dream is to be a standup comedian. His idol is Murray Franklin (Robert DeNiro) who is the late night talk show host on Gotham TV. But things are not easy for Arthur, and things keep going from bad to worse. His social worker (Arthur definitely has mental issues) is taken away during budget cuts, and when Arthur loses his job, there is not much left to live for. An odd turn of events makes Arthur take on his alternate ego of “Joker” and things looks very bleak for his future.

This is a stunning film. It is not at all pretty, and is very caustic and violent at every turn. It will turn your stomach as you realize the crap a poor man in Gotham has to go through just to survive, and this is the background story of the arch-enemy of Batman, The Joker. We see what made him turn into the deranged villain he was, and we also learn a lot of what we though was true was actually not what happened at all. This film was extremely coarse, but very, very well done. I was stunned at the performance Joaquin turned in here, and I think he’s looking at a great number of awards this season! This has to be nominated as the best performance by a lead actor. It’s really that good. The film is excellent, and has some excellent performances, but Joaquin steals the show and is extremely outstanding. I was deeply moved by this film, and I personally think it was an amazing experience to see this movie that is simply based on one character out of the batman series. This really helped me to understand Joker, and I will certainly not soon forget it. I didn’t expect much when I went to see this film, but I was really touched. I recommend this to anyone who can handle the extreme violence and the very sad things that happened to this poor fellow. I will never think of Jack Nicholson again when I think of Joker. Joaquin was THAT GOOD!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Roth Films, Walt Disney Pictures,

Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay, David Gyasi, Jenn Murray, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Judith Shekoni

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is the sequel to the 2014 film Maleficent. You can read my review of that film here:. Aurora (Elle Fanning) is now ready to be married to her true love, Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson) and the hope is that with the marriage of the Aurora who was raised by Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Philip who was raised by his mother, the Queen (Michelle Pfeiffer) that the two kingdoms can be united (The human world and the world of the faeries), and that there can finally be peace. But when the king is struck by another curse, it appears that the split between the worlds cannot be healed and all out war is the only option.

This is a very strong follow up to the original film, and it still follows the same story line of the first film which is somewhat different than the fairy tale we thought we knew. As in the first film, there is no pure good or pure evil and life is a lot more complicated that that. Again this story is Angelina’s film, and though both Michelle and Elle turn in fine performances, again Angelina is truly the star and it’s her movie! She is well prepared to carry the film and in this movie she really shines, even more than in the first. There are really great war scenes in this film, and yet there is a lot of laugh out loud humor and it’s bound to be spell binding for both young and old. This is truly and awesome performance and it is very well done. The imagery is spectacular, and the minor characters are outstanding (and very cute) and some tributes to the original film (both the animated and the first Maleficent film) are really good. The special effects and CGI are outstanding, and this is a film well worth watching on the big screen! I am including the extended trailer for your enjoyment:

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Big Beach Films, Depth of Field, Kindred Spirit,

Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Aoi Mizuhara, Shuzhen Zhao, Gil Perez-Abraham, Jim Liu, Han Chen, Diane Dehn, Ines Laimins, Yongbo Jiang, Hong Lu, X Mayo, Becca Khalil

This is a story of a young Chinese lady, Billi (Awkafina) who is struggling to survive in New York City on her own. Billi is close enough to her parents, but trying to survive on her own without their help. She is still close to her Grandmother in China, and keeps in touch with her as her dreams fall by the wayside one by one. When her Grandmother is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, the family uses the excuse of Billi’s cousin’s (who lives in Japan) snap wedding to make a trip home to China for one last visit to her Grandmother. Her parents don’t want Billi to go because of her hard times with the finances, but Billi goes anyway. The family has decided to lie to Grandmother and not tell her about the cancer. The journey brings a lot of pain and joy to the entire family as they all are together for this side celebration while trying to hide the sadness of the fact that this may be last time they ever see Grandmother again.

This film was really wonderfully done. It is a touching story that is very, very Chinese. This is really a Chinese story, and the culture and customs are really interesting for an American guy like me to see. Sometimes life is really different. This film was advertised as a Comedy, but one look at the trailer lets you know that this is going to be a very heart touching dramatic piece for sure. I was right. Although some of it is really funny at times, it still really tugs the heart strings a LOT. I remember the laughs and jokes we had at my own Dad’s funeral a year ago, while feeling the sorrow at losing a parent, but remembering as well the good times and fun we had. This is the same way, as the family is really happy to get together, and see each other, and it’s too bad it’s a such a sad occasion that brings them together. It was also interesting to note that this is a biographical story loosely based on Writer and Director Lulu Wang’s real life story of a visit to China to visit her Grandmother under similar conditions where they used a mostly fake wedding as an excuse to go home to visit her Grandmother who they determined not to tell about her cancer in a similar fashion. Also, it was very, very difficult to get this movie even made, as Lulu found American producers would not touch it because it was too Chinese with all Chinese characters, and a LOT of the dialog is in Chinese and subtitled, while Chinese producers would not make it either because it was too American. I think after the success of “Crazy Rich Asians” it was finally able to be made. (This is merely my opinion, and probably wrong as obviously this movie took a long time to come to fruition, but it is a good thought). At any rate, it was an extremely moving movie, and very much worth the cost of a movie ticket to see this excellent story. I really enjoyed this film, and I would highly recommend it, as likely it is one of those films that is hard to find and is a hidden gem that may be way off your radar. If you can get a chance to see this film, I can really highly recommend it. I want to also mention that this was a great vehicle for Awkwafina. This is really her movie, as it should be, and she and Grandmother really carry the movie without only a little help from the rest of the cast. Not that they were not good, as well, but Awkafina really knocked this one out of the park. She was really funny in “Crazy Rich Asians” and that led to a hosting role on “Saturday Night Live which she also nailed, but his is a very serious and very somber role which shows her amazing acting ability and she really nailed it. I suspected she was a really good actress, but this one really shows she is no shallow actress only capable of playing a silly fool character. The really gave 100% to this role and she was awesome. I hope she is give the recognition she certainly deserves from this movie, as it so well well written, directed, produced, and performed that I consider it a must see. Enjoy it. I really did!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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