‘American Made’ reproduces a truly wild story

“American Made” – Thirty-one years ago, Tom Cruise “owned” the skies and movie theatres everywhere by playing a hotshot U.S. Navy pilot in “Top Gun” (1986).  This flashy, testosterone-filled box office juggernaut cemented Cruise’s big screen appeal after his breakout role in “Risky Business” (1983), just three years prior.  In 2017, Cruise plays a pilot again, another daredevil who takes massive risks, but sports a very, very different career in the wild, true story of Barry Seal, who made an American fortune in “American Made”. Barry’s tale of fortune begins during…

Dench shines in an uneven ‘Victoria and Abdul’

“Victoria and Abdul” – In 1887, Abdul Karim’s (Ali Fazal) life dramatically changed.  A British officer selects him to present a coin to Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) at Buckingham Palace.  Along with another local from Agra, India – Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar) – Abdul sets sail for England for a ceremonial event, which seems like an awfully long journey for just a three-minute role during a royal dinner, but when in Rome….err, London. While on the palace grounds, a few officials specifically instruct the two newcomers to avoid looking into the…

‘The Disaster Artist’ is a triumphant comedic companion to ‘The Room’

“The Disaster Artist” – “I did not hit her.  It’s not true.  It’s b*******.  I did not hit her.  I did not.  Oh, hi Mark.” – Johnny (Tommy Wiseau), “The Room” (2003) For legions of “The Room” (2003) fans, the aforementioned, nonsensical line of dialogue is just one of 99 moments of cult cinema goodness crammed into a 99-minute runtime.  Written, directed, produced, promoted, and starring Tommy Wiseau, “The Room” offers a surreal experience that really cannot be compared to any other, but its popularity – via midnight screenings in…

Four essential Michael Douglas movies from the 1980s on Netflix and/or Amazon

Michael Douglas celebrates his 73rd birthday on Sept. 25.  Happy Birthday, Mr. Douglas! For young fans, Douglas is known as Dr. Hank Pym in “Ant-Man” (2015) and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (2018), but this Hollywood legend has starred in great films for decades. Looking back to the 1980s, here are four essential Michael Douglas films that you can catch on Netflix and/or Amazon right now. “The Star Chamber” (1983) – After years of watching guilty men enter their courtrooms and unfairly walking free, a group of judges form their own…

Allen is likable in ‘Year by the Sea’ despite its familiar tide

“Year by the Sea” – “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” – Dolly Parton In a manicured, pricey reception hall, Joan (Karen Allen) and her husband, Robin (Michael Cristofer), celebrate their son’s wedding, but almost immediately after, he reveals a different life change.  Due to Robin’s job, they need to move from the east coast to Kansas.  Suddenly, the two have emptied their house of furniture, and as they prepare for bed – on an air mattress – Joan’s mood turns somber.  That next…

‘Crown Heights’ royally exposes a flawed justice system

“Crown Heights” – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr. “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”  – Elie Wiesel In 1980, Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield) lives with his mom in Brooklyn, NY and more specifically, in a neighborhood called Crown Heights.  From Trinidad, this 18-year-old has some close friends and is working towards a car mechanic-certification.  He is a good son and friend, but he – unfortunately…