Thursday, August 23, 2018

Support the Girls



Film Review by Kam Williams



A Day in the Life of Gutsy "Den Mother" In Charge of Beleaguered Sports Bar

Double Whammies is an unremarkable watering hole located along a desolate strip of highway outside Austin, Texas where truckers and regulars can slip in and out quietly without drawing much attention to themselves. The seedy sports bar, a la your typical Hooters, is known for its booze and finger food served by scantily-clad waitresses in cut-off jeans and low-cut tops. 
 
The place is run with an iron fist by Lisa Conroy (Regina Hall), a very-protective den mother who takes seriously her mission to shield her employees from perverts inclined to cross a line to fraternize improperly. Though she shows her tough side to the clientele, the tenderhearted manager handles her staff with big kids' gloves. 
 
Lisa's motley crew ranges from naive newcomers to hardened pros, and she's blessed with a knack for knowing precisely what sort of support each needs. Unfortunately, she's not appreciated by Double Whammies' owner, Cubby (James Le Gros), probably because the club always seems to have a host of unresolved woes. 
 
For example, at the moment, there's a burglary in progress thanks to a hapless perp who got himself stuck in a ceiling vent. Lisa knows the show must go on, so instead of summoning the police, she has her own way of dealing with such a distraction which keeps the wheels turning but frustrates her skeptical boss. That's just the way it goes at this quirky haunt. 
 
Written and directed by Andrew Bujalski (Beeswax), the film features many of the hallmarks of the low-budget genre on which the Mumblecore maven built his career. The picture effectively paints a poignant portrait of a day in the life of a humble, dedicated, working-class heroine just trying to make a buck. 
 
Remember how the indie-flick Paterson (2016) managed to elevate a lowly New Jersey poet/bus driver? Well, this tale of female empowerment pulls off a similar feat. Raw-edged cinema verite' cut to the bone, if that's your taste.


Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity, sexual references and brief nudity
Running time: 90 minutes
Production Studios: Burn Later Productions / Houston King Productions
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures



To see a trailer for Support the Girls, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp-8oB53P7k



Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening August 31, 2018


Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun  
by Kam Williams


OPENING THIS WEEK

WIDE RELEASES

Kin (PG-13 for violence, intense action, suggestive material, alcohol abuse, profanity and mature themes) Sci-fi thriller about a recently-paroled ex-con (Jack Reynor) who ends up on the run with his adopted teenage brother (Myles Truitt) from the feds, a vengeful criminal (James Franco) and a horde of otherworldly soldiers. Cast includes Carrie Coon, Zoe Kravitz and Dennis Quaid.

Operation Finale (PG-13 for mature themes, disturbing images and some profanity) Historical drama recreating the top secret Israeli mission led by Mossad agent Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) to Argentina to capture Nazi fugitive Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), the architect of the Holocaust. With Melanie Laurent, Nick Kroll and Joe Alwyn. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)

Ya Veremos (PG-13 for suggestive content and some profanity) Coming-of-age drama, set in Mexico, about an adolescent (Emiliano Aramayo) already upset about his parents' (Mauricio Ochmann and Fernanda Castillo) impending divorce who suddenly has to undergo an operation to save his eyesight. Supporting cast includes Erik Hayser, Paco Rueda and Ariel Levy. (In Spanish with subtitles)


INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN

Active Measures (PG-13 for violence, war images, crude sexual references and mature themes) Investigative documentary chronicling Vladimir Putin's covert efforts to influence political campaigns all around the world via bribes, propaganda and cyber attacks, including the U.S.' 2016 presidential election,. Featuring commentary by Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse.

Big Brother (Unrated) Martial arts drama, set in Hong Kong, about a schoolteacher (Don Yen) with rusty academic skills but fists of steel whose unconventional approach to education comes in handy when his class is invaded by a motley gang of fighters. With Joe Chen, Kang Yu and Ye Fan. (In Cantonese and English with subtitles)

Blood Fest (Unrated) Horror comedy about fright fans who flock to a scary movie festival only to discover that the show's charismatic promoter (Owen Egerton) is a psycho with a grisly, hidden agenda. Co-starring Seychelle Gabriel, Robbie Kay and Jacob Batalon.

Destination Wedding (R for sexuality and pervasive profanity) Romantic comedy revolving around a couple of miserable wedding guests (Keanu Reeves and Winoa Ryder) who fall for each other at the reception. Cast includes Greg Lucey, Ted Dubost and D. Rosh Wright.

The Little Stranger (R for disturbing bloody images) Suspense thriller, set during the summer of 1948, about a country doctor (Domnhall Gleason) who encounters more than he bargained for when he makes a house call to a haunted Gothic mansion where his mother once worked as a maid. With Will Poulter, Charlotte Rampling and Ruth Wilson.

A Paris Education (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama about an aspiring, young filmmaker (Andranic Manet) who moves from Lyon to Paris to study cinema only to fall under the spell of a charismatic classmate (Corentin Fila). Featuring Diane Rouxel, Jenna Thiam and Sophie Verbeeck. (In French with subtitles)

Reprisal (R for profanity and violence) Cat-and-mouse thriller about a bank manager (Frank Grillo) who teams up with an ex-cop (Bruce Willis) to apprehend the robber (Johnathon Schaech) who murdered his co-worker. Cast includes Olivia Culpo, Jesse Pruett and Natali Yura.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Citizen (Az állampolgár)



 
Film Review by Kam Williams



Love Blossoms in Budapest Between Teacher and African Refugee 
 

Wilson (Cake-Baly Marcelo) escaped to Hungary a number of years ago after his wife and daughters were slaughtered during civil unrest in his African homeland. The 50-something widower opted to seek political asylum in Budapest rather than continue on to Western Europe like most of his fellow refugees.

After all, he'd taken a liking to the town, and found a nice apartment and steady work as a supermarket security guard. Now, the only thing standing in the way of his staying in Hungary permanently is his repeatedly flunking the country's tough citizenship test. 
 
Not wanting to lose her reliable "Employee of the Year," his boss Eva (Tunde Szalontay) innocently suggests that he take history and language lessons from her sister, a teacher, never expecting it might cause any trouble. But sparks fly between Wilson and miserably-married Mari (Agnes Mahr), and it's not long before their tutorial sessions morph into a taboo whirlwind romance which includes dancing, swimming and dining together.

She finally abandons her husband (Peter Barbinek) and son (Peter Sandor) and moves into Wilson's flat. The plot thickens further, however, when she discovers that he already has a much younger woman living with him. Might he be a bigamist?

He explains that his relationship with Shirin (Arghavan Shekari), an Iranian refugee, is purely Platonic, and that her newborn baby isn't his. Nevertheless, that doesn't sit well with Mari, who obviously isn't comfortable with such an unorthodox arrangement.

Thus unfolds The Citizen, a poignant, cross-cultural love story directed by Roland Vranik (Transmission). What makes the film unique is the advanced age of the protagonists, since most romance dramas revolve around considerably younger couples.

A touching, timely and zany soap opera ostensibly reflecting the sensibilities of the modern Immigration Era.



Excellent (4 stars)
Unrated
In Hungarian with subtitles
Running time: 109 minutes
Production Studio: Popfilm
Distributor: ArtMattan Productions


To see a trailer for The Citizen, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sVckmo3B10






Saturday, August 18, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for August 21, 2018

Image result for Deadpool 2 blu-ray
by Kam Williams


This Week's DVD Releases

Deadpool 2

Bluebloods: Season Eight

First Reformed

God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

Action Point

The Walking Dead: Season 8

Sir Edmund Hillary: Everest and Beyond

Bleeding Steel

Show Dogs

The Terror: Season One

Friday, August 17, 2018

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening August 24, 2018

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun  
by Kam Williams  


OPENING THIS WEEK

WIDE RELEASES

A.X.L (PG for action, peril, suggestive material, mild epithets and mature themes) Epic sci-fi adventure about the unlikely friendship forged between a kindhearted loner (Alex Neustaedter) and the top secret, robotic dog he finds hiding in the desert. With Becky G, Ted McGinley and Thomas Jane.

The Happytime Murders (R for crude humor, graphic sexuality, drug use and pervasive profanity) Crime comedy about two private eyes, one human (Melissa McCarthy), one puppet (Bill Barretta), who grudgingly join forces to find the serial killer targeting cast members of a popular puppet show from the 1980s. Cast includes Maya Rudolph, Elizabeth Banks and Joel McHale.

Searching (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, drug references and mature themes) Hi-tech whodunit revolving around a desperate father (John Cho) who looks on his missing 16 year-old daughter's (Michelle La) laptop computer for clues to her sudden disappearance without a trace. With Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, Alex Jayne Go, Megan Liu and Sarah Sohn.


INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN

Blue Iquana (Unrated) Crime comedy about a couple of ex-cons (Sam Rockwell and Ben Schwartz) working in dead end jobs at a NYC diner when a British lawyer (Phoebe Fox) walks in and makes an offer they can't refuse. With Simon Callow, Amanda Donohoe and Frances Barber

The Bookshop (PG for mild epithets, mature themes and smoking) Romance drama, set in England in 1959, about a free-spirited widow (Emily Mortimer) who opens a bookstore in a conservative coastal town where she meets resistance from a local grand dame (Patricia Clarkson) but also finds an ardent admirer in reclusive widower (Bill Nighy). With James Lance, Harvey Bennett and Frances Barber.

John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (Unrated) Tennis retrospective revisiting the final match of the 1984 French open between McEnroe and Ivan Lendl. Narrated by Mathieu Amalric. (In French and English with subtitles)

An L.A. Minute (R for sexuality and profanity) Hollywood spoof taking a satirical look at fame and fortune in Tinseltown while revolving around a love affair between a best-selling author (Gabriel Byrne) and an avant garde performance artist (Kiersey Clemons). Supporting cast includes Ned Bellamy, Ed Marinaro and Bob Balaban.

Papillon (R for profanity, nudity, violence, bloody images and some sexuality) Charlie Hunnam plays the title character in this remake of the 1973 classic based on unjustly-convicted Henri "Papillon" Charriere's memoir recounting his and a fellow inmate's (Rami Malek) daring escape from an infamous penal colony on Devil's Island. With Tommy Flanagan, Eve Hewson and Roland Moller. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)

Replicas (PG-13 for violence, nudity, sexual references, disturbing images and mature themes) Sci-fi thriller about a grieving biologist (Keanu Reeves) who becomes obsessed with bringing his family members back to life after they perish in a tragic car accident. Featuring Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch and John Ortiz.

Support the Girls (R for profanity, sexual references and brief nudity) Ensemble comedy chronicling a day-in-the-life of the nurturing manager (Regina Hall) of a sports bar with scantily-clad waitresses. Cast includes Haley Lu Richardson, Zoe Graham and Dylan Gelula.



Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for August 14, 2018

 
by Kam Williams
 


This Week's DVD Releases

Avengers: Infinity War

Porcupine Lake

10 That Changed America: Season 2

Strike Back: Season Five

WWI: The War to End All Wars

To Auschwitz & Back: The Joe Engel Story

Suffering of Ninko

The Unborn

Return of the Living Dead: Part II

Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Brithday



 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians

 
Film Review by Kam Williams



Heir Takes Fiancee' Home to Meet Picky Mom in Delightful Romantic Dramedy


Even though Nick (Henry Golding) and Rachel (Constance Wu) have been dating for a few years, they don't know much about each other's background. That's because they live in New York City where he's never bothered to reveal that he's from one the wealthiest families in Singapore, and she's never talked about her humble roots, having been raised by a single-mom immigrant (Kheng Hua Tan) to the U.S. from China. 
 
The difference in social status never affected their relationship, since Nick's so unassuming, and ambitious Rachel beat the odds by getting a great education en route to becoming an economics professor at NYU. In fact, they've gotten along so well that he's seriously considering proposing. He's even picked out a diamond ring. 
 
However, he'd first like to take her home to meet the folks, especially his domineering mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh). An opportunity arises when Nick is invited to Singapore for the impending wedding of his best friend, Colin (Chris Pang). 
 
Rachel agrees to go and upon arriving finally learns that her beau is one of the island's most eligible bachelors. However, not only does she soon find herself unfairly accused of being a gold digger, but she's warned "You will never be enough!" by his disapproving mom.

Will class differences doom this fairy tale romance? Or will Rachel win over Nick's relatives and friends during her brief stay? That is the burning question fueling the fires of Crazy Rich Asians, a delightful dramedy directed by Jon M. Chu (Now You See Me 2). 
 
Based on Kevin Kwan's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, the film features a colorful cast of characters played by a talented ensemble of Asian actors. Besides the love story at the heart of the tale, the picture features enough comic relief and intriguing subplots to hold you in its thrall from beginning to end. 
 
It's hard to fathom why it has taken Hollywood a quarter-century to mount another Asian-centric, big budget production like this, given the success of The Joy Luck Club in 1993. And don't let the title fool you. This engaging, cross-cultural saga is a surefire hit with universal appeal!



Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity and suggestive content
In English and Mandarin with subtitles
Running time: 121 minutes
Production Studios: Warner Brothers Pictures / Ivanhoe Pictures / Starlight Culture Entertainment / SK Global Entertainment / Electric Somewhere / Color Force
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

To see the trailer for Crazy Rich Asians, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ-YX-5bAs0