Archive for 4 Star Rating

Home Away Productions, Civilian Studios,

Lea Salonga, Eva Noblezada, Gustavo Gomez, Princess Punzalan, Kelsey Pribilski, Liam Booth, Dale Watson, Libby Villari

Rose Garcia (Eva Noblezada) is a young Filipina high school girl who lives with her Mother (Princess Punzalan) in a motel in Texas where she helps her mom clean the rooms. Both mother and daughter are illegal residents and in fear of an ICE visit, but despite that, Rose has a love of Country music and wants to be a Country singer. But when Mom is caught and sent away for deportation, Rose decides to stick it out and stay behind to seek her dream. But it’s a very tough life, and a few friends along the way, help her to barely survive in the Texas country dive bar scene. As she struggles to keep her head above water. This film has had a recent release in the theaters because of the lack of new films to be screened during the pandemic, and though it’s a 2019 film, it has a lot to offer.

This was a very well done and deeply touching movie that really has a lot going for it in a little movie! Eva Noblezada is a wonderful singer with a really great voice, and a Broadway and London history of live theater. She played the same role as Lea Salonga, who plays her Auntie in this film, on Broadway in the musical Miss Saigon. Lea played the lead in the original, and Eva in the revision of the play, and she has some great chops, for sure. This is her movie debut, and she is perfect in the role, and plays it extremely well. Dale Watson plays one of her idols in the local Austin, Texas country scene who recognizes her talent and tries to guide her as he can along the way. This is a sleeper film that can’t get much buzz because it is a very little film, but was really enjoyable. Now my personal ties to the Philippines I’m sure colors my viewpoint a lot, but I appreciated that though this film is about three distinct things, the first being the hardships of being an undocumented resident, the second being the struggles between a daughter and her mother, and the third being the difficulty in making it in the music business, this film never gets preachy about any of it. Especially the illegal aspect could become really a morality lesson, but it’s much more realistic and “this is how it is” without taking sides or pushing it down your throat. I appreciate this. In these difficult times, it’s a shame how people grab a viewpoint, and get very combative about how they are right and anyone who thinks differently is an idiot. This film shows how it is without coming down hard on either side. The acting is really special, and the “outside Austin” views (as well as the downtown a time or two) is very refreshing. This is not a made in the back lot kind of movie, it’s really there. Another bonus is that there is a small portion of the film that takes place in Manila, and though it’s small, it’s also very realistic of modern day Manila. All in all, this film was a very enjoyable hour and a half, and quite touching. It’s extremely authentic and very well done. This is a definite hidden gem and one that you’ll likely enjoy until the next Marvel Blockbuster shows up. This is the kind of film that takes you back to the theater gently. See it if you can.

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Burek Films, Ingenious, Solstice Studios,

Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson, Austin P. McKenzie, Juliene Joyner, Stephen Louis Grush, Anne Leighton, Devyn A. Tyler, Sylvia Grace Crim, Vivian Fleming-Alvarez, Samantha Beaulieu, Lucy Faust, Scheryl W Brown. Michael Papajohn

Rachel (Caren Pisorius) is having a tough day. She’s raising two kids on her own, she’s divorced and having trouble keeping her head above water, her car is in bad shape, and she’s late again. So as she’s taking the kids to school, she’s late, and a man (Russell Crowe) stops in front of her at a light, and when it turns green, he’s off in his own little world and doesn’t move. Now if Rachel is having a bad day, this man is having a hundred times worse day, so when she lays on the horn and gives him the finger, he loses it. He tries to explain that she should have been a bit more polite and owes him an apology, but she is not in a good mood, so she takes off. At this point, the man loses it and begins stalking her down to teach her a lesson. To say he is Unhinged is the biggest understatement of the year.

This is my first film back after the theaters closed for Covid-19, and it was so nice to be back inside a theater again, that maybe I’m rating this film a bit higher than I would have if it was normal times, but I really, really enjoyed this film. Everyone is so on edge these days, and though a lot of of these angry violent rage movies as carried on by a big monster in a Mack truck who attacks without any cause or reason. But we get to know Russel Crowe’s motivation very well as we get a close view into his psyche playing the character just known as “Man”. Caren also is very likeable and really plays the role of the frazzled worn out single Mom who is simply fed up as well. This is World War III, and the cast really gives us a breathtaking ride though all levels of insanity. It is extremely well acted, and the suspense is over the top. This is an absolute edge of your seat thriller that really leaves to worn out in the end, but is so right out of the headlines today that we can almost understand the frustration everyone feels. This was the first film released after the theaters reopened and it was well worth the visit to the theater. I enjoyed it immensely, mostly due to Russell Crowe, but also due to the fabulous screen play. If you’ew looking for a great film to head back out to the theater again, this one was really worth it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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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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