Friday, June 22, 2018

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening June 29, 2018



Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun  
by Kam Williams

OPENING THIS WEEK

WIDE RELEASES

Sicario: Day of the Soldado ( R for profanity, graphic violence and bloody images) High-body count, border war sequel finds CIA Agent Graver (Josh Brolin) and undercover operative Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro) re-teaming to take on drug cartels smuggling terrorists and undocumented aliens into the U.S. With Isabela Moner, Catherine Keener and Jeffrey Donovan. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)

Uncle Drew (PG-13 for profanity, suggestive material and brief nudity) NBA star Kyrie Irving handles the title role in this hoops comedy about an elderly street legend who coaxes a bunch of his elderly buddies out of retirement to form a basketball team to compete in Harlem's Rucker Park Tournament. Cast includes Shaq, Tiffany Haddish, LilRel Howery, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, Lisa Leslie, Mike Epss and J.B. Smoove.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN

The Cakemaker (Unrated) Romance drama about a gay baker (Tim Kalkhof) who travels from Germany to Jerusalem after his married Israeli lover (Roy Miller) perishes in a car crash. There, he takes a job at his late boyfriend's wife's (Sarah Adler) cafe without letting her know about their secret relationship. With Zohar Shtrauss, Sandra Sade and Stephanie Stremler. (In Hebrew, German and English with subtitles)

Dark River (Unrated) Sibling rivalry drama, set in Yorkshire, England, about a young sheep shearer (Ruth Wilson) who finds herself at odds with her estranged big brother (Mark Stanley) upon returning to their childhood home for their abusive father's (Sean Bean) funeral. Support cast includes Esme Creed-Miles, Aiden McCullough and Steve Garti.

Leave No Trace (PG for mature themes) Dysfunctional family drama about a father (Ben Foster) and teen daughter (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) who live off the grid in a forest outside Porland, Oregon until they're discovered by the authorities and placed under the care of social services. With Jeff Kober, Dale Dickey and Dana Millican.

Love, Cecil (Unrated) Reverential biopic about three-time Oscar-winning costume and set designer Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) who worked on such classic films as Gigi, My Fair Lady and Anna Karenina. Featuring commentary by Rupert Everett, David Hockney and Isaac Mizrahi.

Sanju (Unrated) Warts and all biopic chronicling the rise and fall from grace of Sanjay Dutt (Ranbir Kapoor), the star of hundreds of Bollywood films who served time in prison after becoming implicated in Mumbai terrorist attacks. With Sonam Kapoor, Paresh Rawal and Dia Mirza. (In Hindi with subtitles)

This Is Congo (unrated) Political documentary offering an unvarnished look at the lives of three survivors of the most recent cycle of civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Three Identical Strangers (PG-13 for mature themes) Skeleton-in-the closet documentary about the deep secret revealing reunion at the age of 19 of triplets separated at birth and adopted by different families.

Woman Walks Ahead (R for profanity and brief violence) Jessica Chastain plays Catherine Weldon in this biopic, set in the 1890s, recounting how the artist became embroiled in the Lakota tribe's struggle to retain their lands when she traveled from Brooklyn to the Dakotas to paint a portrait of Chief Sitting Bull (Michael Greyeyes). Supporting cast includes Sam Rockwell, Ciaran Hinds and David Midthunder. (In English and Sioux with subtitles)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Incredibles 2


Film Review by Kam Williams


Parr Family Back to Battle Diabolical Villain Hypnotizing Humanity

It's hard to fathom why it has taken Disney and Pixar 14 years to release a follow-up to The Incredibles. After all, it not only won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but it grossed over $600 million at the box office. During the interim, creator Brad Bird instead made Ratatouille (2007), Mission: Impossible (2011) and Tomorrowland (2015) before turning his attention to writing and directing Incredibles 2. 
 
The great news is that this thoroughly entertaining sequel is well worth the wait. And most of the actors playing members of the crime-fighting Parr family are back. Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter reprise their roles as parents Bob (Mr. Incredible) and Helen (Elastigirl), as do Eli Fucile and Sarah Vowell as baby Jack Jack and 14 year-old Violet. 10 year-old Dash is now portrayed by Huck Milner, since the original kid's voice deepened.

Samuel L. Jackson has also returned as family friend and fellow superhero Lucius Best/Frozone. Noteworthy additions to the ensemble include Catherine Keener, Isabella Rossellini and Bob Odenkirk.

The picture picks up precisely where the first left off. Jack Jack is still a toddler, but learning to harness the superpowers that had just started to manifest towards the end of the previous episode. At the point of departure, we find the Parrs being forced into retirement by a government agent (Jonathan Banks) because of the costly collateral damage of their last operation. 
 
Of course, that doesn't last long. Helen is soon coaxed back into her stretchy superhero suit by a rich fan (Odenkirk) for a photo op designed to resurrect her disgraced clan's image. The impromptu sex role reversal has Bob staying home to assume the child-rearing and domestic duties.

Next thing you know, Helen is further recruited to subdue Screenslaver (Bill Wise), a pizza delivery guy-turned-hacker who has started hijacking people's computer screens. Might someone else be behind a wider diabolical plot to hypnotize all of humanity? If so, that might call for the rest of the Parrs to morph into their superhero alter egos and join the fight.

What ensues is another visually-captivating, dizzying delight for young and old alike. Pixar and Disney have done it again!


Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG for action and brief mild epithets
Running time: 118 minutes
Production Studios: Pixar Animation Studios / Walt Disney Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


To see a trailer for Incredibles 2, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5qOzqD9Rms

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for April 10, 2018

 
by Kam Williams


This Week's DVD Releases

In Syria

The Death of Stalin

Midnight Sun

Unsane

Paul, Apostle of Christ

The Best of Agatha Christie, Volume 3

The Best of Agatha Christie, Volume 4

Merlin: 3 Film Collection

5 Family Favorites

Action: 9 Movie Collection


Honorable Mention

Pacific Rim: Uprising



Furious

Masterpiece: Man in an Orange Shirt

Secrets of the Dead: Hannibal in the Alps

Gridiron Gang: Special Edition

Kid West

The Awesomes: The Complete Series

5 Family Favorites

Crime Time TV: Miami Vice & Knight Rider Bundle

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening June 22, 2018

 
 Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun  
by Kam Williams


OPENING THIS WEEK

WIDE RELEASES

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (PG-13 for scenes of peril and intense violence) Fifth installment in the horror franchise finds Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) leading a rescue team back to the abandoned dino theme park to save the prehistoric creatures from extinction when a dormant volcano on the island threatens to erupt. Cast includes Jeff Goldblum, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, BD Wong, James Cromwell and Daniella Pineda.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN

Boundaries (R for profanity, sexual references, drug use and nude sketches) Intergenerational dramedy about a single-mom (Vera Farmiga) who has to drive cross-country to relocate her estranged father (Christopher Plummer) with the help of her son (Lewis MacDougall) after the rebellious geezer is kicked out of his retirement home for dealing marijuana. Support cast includes Christopher Lloyd, Peter Fonda and Bobby Cannavale.

Brain on Fire (PG-13 for mature themes, brief profanity and partial nudity) Adaptation of New York Times reporter Susannah Cahalan's (Chloe Grace Moretz) best-selling memoir of the same name about her month-long battle with an undiagnosed case of encephalitis. With Tyler Perry, Carrie-Anne Moss and Janet Kidder (Margot's niece).

The Catcher Was a Spy (R for sexuality, violence and profanity) Paul Rudd plays Major League baseball player Moe Berg (1902-1972) in this biopic about his double life during World War II. Cast includes Paul Giamatti, Jeff Daniels, Connie Nielsen and Sienna Miller.

Damsel (R for violence, profanity, sexuality and brief frontal nudity) Mia Wasikowska plays the title character in this comic Western, circa 1870, revolving around a wealthy pioneer's (Robert Pattinson) perilous trek across the frontier to marry the love of his life. With Robert Forster, and David and Nathan Zellner.

Izzy Gets the F*ck across Town (Unrated) Mackenzie Davis handles the title role in this romantic dramedy as a jilted girlfriend who makes her way across L.A. in order to crash her ex's (Alex Russell) engagement party. Cast includes Haley Joel Osment, Annie Potts, Lakeith Stanfield, Brandon T. Jackson, Jr. and Alia Shawkat.
The King (R for profanity) Politically-tinged musical retrospective chronicling Elvis Presley's rise from humble roots to the King of Rock & Roll at the same time America devolved from a democracy into an empire. Featuring commentary by James Carville, Alec Baldwin and Chuck D.

Never Steady, Never Still (Unrated) Poignant character study, set along the shores of British Columbia's Stuart Lake, where we find a widow with Parkinson's disease (Shirley Henderson) caring for a troubled teenage son (Theodorin Pellerin) struggling with his sexual identity. With Mary Galloway, Nicholas Campbell and Hugo Ateo.

Phenom (Unrated) Soccer documentary, narrated by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, chronicling the efforts of over five dozen players' quest to represent their country in the 2018 World Cup competition.

Spiral (Unrated) An eye-opening documentary chronicling the recent rise of anti-Semitism and assaults against Jews in France.




Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tag

Film Review by Kam Williams



BFFs Play Cutthroat Version of Kids Game in Fact-Based Cat-and-Mouse Comedy


As kids, five BFFs from Spokane, Washington began playing Tag with no idea that, over the intervening years, an innocuous children's game might gradually morph into a cutthroat version where each would go to extraordinary lengths to pass on or avoid becoming "It." Several decades later, despite bearing all the responsibilities associated with adulthood, the guys remain ever vigilant for another tap on the shoulder. 
 
The competitive quintet came to the attention of Wall St. Journal reporter Mark Steilen who wrote an article about their imaginative antics entitled, "It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It." Soon thereafter, Hollywood came-a-callin' seeking to retain the rights to their story.

The upshot is Tag, the least like likely of sports flicks since Dodge Ball (2004). The movie marks the feature film directorial debut of Jeff Tomsic, who had previously only been at the helm of assorted TV show productions. Tomsic assembled a big-name cast, with Jon Hamm, Ed Helms Jeremy Renner, Hannibal Buress and Jake Johnson portraying the protagonists of the bawdy buddy comedy. 
 
At the point of departure, we find Hoagie (Helms), a veterinarian by profession, taking a job as a janitor at an insurance company just to be able to shock a rival, Callahan (Hamm), the firm's CEO. That gives you an idea of the elaborate ruses involved.
 
While this novel adventure gets an A for creativity, its characters frequent resort to unnecessary cursing proves to be a self-sabotaging distraction. After all, Tag is still a little kids' game, even if it's big kids playing it. So, in this critic's opinion, the film would've worked better with a squeaky clean script. 
 
Nevertheless, the series of screwball stunts held my interest for the duration, despite the profusion of profanities. Best of all, were the priceless clips which ran during the closing credits of the real-life pals pulling off their pranks. 
 
A nostalgic walk down Memory Lane courtesy of the ultimate game of Tag. You're it!



Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated R for pervasive profanity, crude humor, sexuality, drug use and brief nudity
Running time: 100 minutes
Production Studios: Broken Road Productions / New Line Cinema
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

To see the trailer for Tag, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rQu77pgnpg


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Superfly

Film Review by Kam Williams


Trevor Jackson Plays Iconic Title Character in Stylized Remake of Blaxploitation Era Classic 
 
Super Fly (1972) was one of the most profitable of the Blaxploitation Era flicks. Released during the genre's heyday, the picture revolved around its iconic title character, Youngblood Priest, a flamboyant cocaine dealer who dressed like a pimp, drove flashy cars and sampled his wares from a spoon shaped like a cross draped around his neck. 
 
Overcoming a modest budget of just a half-million dollars, the film's phenomenal box-office success led to a couple of sequels, (Super Fly T.N.T. (1973) and The Return of Superfly (1990). Nevertheless, the franchise is probably best remembered for the original's soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield which enjoyed a long run at #1 atop Billboard's Top 100 chart. 
 
Given its woeful production values, Super Fly is a movie almost begging to be remade. And 2.0 represents an upgrade which does not disappoint in that regard. As overhauled by Julien Christian Lutz (aka Director X), the highly-stylized production bears a greater resemblance to McG's frenetically-paced Charlie's Angels (2000) and Baz Luhrmann's decidedly-decadent interpretation of The Great Gatsby (2013) than to any blaxploits made back in the Seventies.

The setting has been shifted to Atlanta, but the basic plotline is otherwise faithful to the source material. The blow-by-blow is narrated by the picture's protagonist, played with perfect aplomb by Trevor Jackson (of TV's Grown-ish). 
 
At the point of departure, a beleaguered Priest informs us via voice-over that he's been selling drugs on the street since the age of 11. He now sits atop a gang caught up in an escalating bloody turf war marked by drive-by shootings with a flashy posse called the Snow Patrol.

Understandably, Priest wants out of the game, but first he has to do a bigger deal than he's ever attempted before. That involves going over the head of his supplier Scatter (Michael Kenneth Williams) and securing a huge shipment of narcotics directly from the South American cartel kingpin, Adalberto Gonzales (Esai Morales). 
 
Somehow Lutz, a veteran director of music videos, manages to manipulate the audience into rooting for the sort of unsavory characters you'd cross the street to avoid in real life. Listen, the cinema has a long history of championing ruthless lawbreakers like Bonnie and Clyde, the Godfather and more recently, the Ocean's 8 crew.

The upshot: this incarnation of Superfly proves to be a riveting, slick and pulse-pounding reboot that easily blows away the original!


Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for pervasive profanity, graphic sexuality, violence, ethnic slurs, nudity and drug use
Running time:108 minutes
Production Studios: Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Entertainment / Silver Pictures
Distributor: Columbia Pictures


To see a trailer for Superfly, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQIvV800Atk



Monday, June 11, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for June 12, 2018




by Kam Williams


This Week's DVD Releases

Forrest Gump [4K Ultra HD]

Trading Places: 35th Anniversary Edition

Love, Simon

Power: The Complete Fourth Season

Jerry Lewis: 10 Films

Tomb Raider

Coming to America: 30th Anniversary Edition

Menace and Murder: A Lynda La Plante Collection

Terminator Genisys [4K Ultra HD]

Will & Grace: The Revival [Season One]


Honorable Mention

The Mimic

Nickelodeon Favorites: Great Summer Campout!

First Civilizations

Spinning Man

A Star Spangled Story: Battle for America
The Strangers: Prey at Night [Unrated]

Nature: Natural Born Rebels
https://www.amazon.com/NATURE-Natural-Born-Rebels-DVD/dp/B07BF2RP9L/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1528719693&sr=1-1&keywords=Nature%3A+Natural+Born+Rebels

Splash and Bubbles: One Big Ocean

Dinosaur Train: Meeting New Friends