Celebrate Ingrid Bergman’s birthday with ‘Anastasia’ on Amazon

On Aug. 29, 1915, Ingrid Bergman was born in Stockholm, and this legendary actress certainly made worldwide impact in the movies during her long, fruitful career.   The Academy nominated her six times for a Best Actress Oscar and once for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar from 1944 to 1979, and she won three times, including Best Actress for “Anastasia” (1956). Set in 1928 Paris, Bergman plays the title role as Anastasia, a mental-shaken woman with bouts of amnesia, but with claims that she is the long lost daughter of the fallen Russian tsar,…

Pattinson stars in a great film that is anything but a ‘Good Time’

“Good Time” – The definition of resourceful is “having the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.” Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) is resourceful. The definition of desperate is “feeling, showing, or involving a hopeless sense that a situation is so bad, that it is impossible to deal with.” Connie Nikas is also desperate. Beware of a resourceful, desperate man, because he is dangerous. Directors Benny and Josh Safdie engineered a wildly stressful film that lurks in the grit and grime of an impossible situation, which features Connie as…

‘Patti Cake$’ cuts and trudges through the New Jersey grit to inspire dreams

“Patti Cake$” –  For Patti (Danielle Macdonald), her dreams are far better than her present state of affairs.  This 23-year-old, lifelong New Jerseyite lives with her mom (Bridget Everett) and grandmother (nicknamed Nana (Cathy Moriarty)) in a crowded house in which the television is always turned on, and her working hours are spent bartending at a depressing local tavern named Lou’s.  Lou (John Sharian) is stingy about granting Patti more hours but freely gives her frank, direct orders like, “The toilet is still clogged, and the karaoke machine isn’t going…

Five sequels that are better than the original films

Twenty-six years ago, director James Cameron’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” dazzled movie audiences, and on Friday, Aug. 25, this film returns to the big screen at AMC Theatres everywhere.  This time, however, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, and Edward Furlong will appear in 3D. With mind-bending special effects and a wild premise, the sequel to the seminal original, “The Terminator” (1984), became 1991’s highest grossing film and influenced science fiction for a generation.  Looking back, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” is one of those rare movies that is better than…

‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ drops the hammer in theatres on Aug. 25

Twenty-six years ago, director James Cameron’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” dazzled movie audiences everywhere, and in the process, granted Arnold Schwarzenegger a chance to redefine himself from an unrelenting cybernetic bad buy to a good guy.  With mind-bending special effects and a wild premise, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” became the highest grossing film of 1991 and influenced science fiction films for a generation. On Aug. 25, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” drops the hammer and returns to the big screen (AMC Theatres), and this time, Arnie, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, and Edward…

Looking back at director Taika Waititi’s wonderful New Zealand film catalog

On Aug. 7, Art House Film Wire looked back at four fantastic four-star Australian thrillers on Netflix and/or Amazon, and the land Down Under has certainly raised the cinematic bar.   Well, Australia’s nearby neighbor, New Zealand, is not new to the movie-making business either.  Like the Aussies, the Kiwis have churned out terrific movies too, and no, New Zealand cinema is not limited to the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” series.   Specifically, let’s look at one director, Taika Waititi.   We’ll, he’s not just a director, because he…

‘Menashe’ effectively voices a familiar struggle in an unfamiliar environment

“Menashe” – “You must find a new wife.  She will run your household.  She’ll keep your home clean.  It will be a fine, pious home.” – Rabbi Yaakov (Meyer Schwartz) Menashe (Menashe Lustig) is a widower who lost his wife, Leah, about a year ago.  He lives alone in his Brooklyn, NY apartment but does not urgently feel the need to remarry.  Unfortunately, his rabbi (Schwartz) says that he must marry again in order to be reunited with his son, Rieven (Ruben Niborski). You see, Menashe is a Hasidic Jewish…

‘Brigsby Bear’ does not hibernate during its light, bizarre trip

“Brigsby Bear” – “We have dreams and imaginations to help us escape, and no one can take that away from you, ever.” – Ted (Mark Hamill) Kyle Mooney and Kevin Costello certainly possess vivid imaginations, because they penned “Brigsby Bear”, a most original and oddball story that follows James Pope’s (Mooney) odyssey in attempting to fit into society, whether he wants to or not. You see – for reasons that I will not disclose in this review – James spent the first 20 plus years of his life obsessed with a…

‘The Glass Castle’ lets us clearly see into a soulful bundle of life

“The Glass Castle” – “This is as real as it gets kids.  You learn from living.” – Rex Walls (Woody Harrelson) Rex Walls proudly exclaims the aforementioned statement to his young children during an impromptu stop in the desert, while he points out the intricacies of the arid – but wondrous – surroundings.  Rex and his wife, Rose Mary (Naomi Watts), are very knowledgeable and talented individuals, and their kids – Jeannette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen – could absolutely learn a couple lifetimes of facts, figures, philosophy, art, and science…

‘Wind River’ hurts throughout its spellbinding murder/mystery

“Wind River” – The cold hurts. In the middle of winter – whether one shovels heavy powder off a lengthy driveway, lifts a car’s hood to jumpstart a dead battery or trudges through an enormous shopping mall parking lot on a freezing day while searching for a lost vehicle – the cold hurts. These, however, are extremely minor inconveniences compared to the fate that the cold inflicted on Natalie (Kelsey Asbille), a young woman who froze to death in the snow after running, stumbling and crawling in the bitter, wintertime…