Early Review: ‘Green Book’ is destined for golden nominations

“Green Book” – “When growing up, I saw segregation.  I saw racial discrimination.  I saw those signs that said white men, colored men, white women, colored women…and I didn’t like it.” – U.S. Congressman John Lewis – GA (D), during a Nov. 16, 2016 interview with NPR’s Terry Gross During the same interview, Lewis reflected on his childhood during the 40’s and 50’s, when segregation was everywhere, and he asked his parents, “Why?” Lewis said that they just responded, “That’s the way it is.” Set in 1962, Dr. Don Shirley…

31 Scary Movies: ‘Audition’

“Audition” (1999) – The dating world isn’t easy in 2018.  Just ask anyone who has tried to meet their significant other on Match.com.  Hey, it may work out for a few lucky souls, but more often than not, it is a minefield. Well, back in 1999, dating apps were not invented yet, and Shigehiko Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a widower for seven years, cannot seem to connect anyone.  His friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) suggests an unusual and fraudulent approach to meet plenty of young women and perhaps his soulmate.  Well, it…

31 Scary Movies: ‘Ringu’

“Ringu” (1998) – “The Ring” (2002) starring Naomi Watts terrified audiences, but it was a remake of the Japanese original.  Whether or not one has seen the American version, director Hideo Nakata’s picture is a must-see. As the film begins, teenage girls Tomoko (Yuko Takeuchi) and Masami (Hitomi Sato) joke around and gossip about boys while Tomoko’s parents are out watching a baseball game.  It’s late at night, so, of course, trading ghost stories seems completely appropriate, but the two get deadly serious when they realize the premise of a particular…

31 Scary Movies: ‘Event Horizon’

“Event Horizon” (1997) – Director W.S. Anderson’s film is set near the planet Neptune in the year 2047.  Capt. Miller (Laurence Fishburne) leads his team to recover the deep space research ship Event Horizon which disappeared without a trace seven years earlier. For Capt. Miller and his team, rescue missions are nothing new. “(When) someone drops the ball, we get the call,” he says. This particular job, however, is most unique, due to the whereabouts (for reasons that this critic will not reveal) of the Event Horizon over the last seven…

31 Scary Movies: ‘The Vanishing’

“The Vanishing” (1988) – An attractive Dutch couple Rex (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia (Johanna ter Steege) are taking a holiday and traveling to France.  With a pair of bikes on the roof and plenty of snacks in the back seat, this loving pair seem to have plenty of bright years ahead of them.  Their trip and lives, however, become ripped apart, when Saskia suddenly vanishes into thin air during a random gas station stop. This is the ghastly premise for director George Sluizer’s thriller “The Vanishing”, and he weaves his camera…

31 Scary Movies: ‘Demons’

“Demons” (1985) – Ever want to walk out of a movie?   Well, in director/co-writer Lamberto Bava’s “Demons”, Cheryl (Natasha Hovey), Kathy (Paola Cozzo) and other moviegoers want to run from one!  Actually they want run out of the Metropol theatre, because while they watch a scary movie, some of the patrons transform into mindless demons and look to claw and bite their victims to death. To make matters worse, all the exits are blocked, and the demons seem to pop up from anywhere and everywhere.  They climb over chairs, jump…

31 Scary Movies: ‘The Dead Zone’

“The Dead Zone” (1983) – Director David Cronenberg and writer Jeffrey Boam bring Stephen King’s 1979 novel “The Dead Zone” to life on the big screen in a gripping supernatural tale that spawned a six-season television series as well.  Here, Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) was enjoying a happy life as a schoolteacher and a relationship with Sarah (Brooke Adams), but gets into a car accident and falls into a coma for five years. Sarah has moved on and Johnny laments the time and relationship that he lost, but he gains…

Four essential Jamie Lee Curtis performances

In 2018, Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her landmark role as Laurie Strode in a sequel to “Halloween” (1978), and director David Gordon Green’s “Halloween” (2018) (3/4 stars) assumes that none of the other sequels – “Halloween II” (1981), “Halloween: H2O” (1998), etc. – ever happened, in a scary and very worthy 40-year follow-up to the original. With Curtis celebrating her first staring role again, let’s look back at four essential movies by the legendary actress.  Of course, one could pick from a list of horror films, like “The Fog” (1980),…

The political comedy ‘The Oath’ purposely pledges uncomfortable laughs

“The Oath” – Election Day 2018 is right around corner, and with political tensions at arguably an all-time high, friendships are strained or broken, and families members are not speaking to one another. For Chris (Ike Barinholtz) and his family, they ARE speaking to each other, but that is a horrendous problem. A comedian by trade, Barinholtz takes aim at the current sludge of political discourse by writing and directing a picture built in an alternative, modern universe where the presidential administration asks voting-age Americans to sign “The Patriot’s Oath”, to…

31 Scary Movies: ‘The Thing’

“The Thing” (1982) – In the ferociously cold, barren landscape of Antarctica, a small group of men run the United States National Science Institute Station 4, and although they currently live in isolation from the outside world, life seems pleasant. They play ping-pong and computer chess, watch VHS tapes of “Let’s Make a Deal” and listen to music. Actually, what work is really getting accomplished? Alas, when a Norwegian helicopter pilot – who desperately tries to shoot and kill a lone dog – enters their camp, tranquility changes to immediate…