Don’t wait to see ‘Limbo’, an unconventional immigrant story

“Limbo” – Immigrant feature films frequently land in theatres and streaming services for probably a couple of reasons.  These stories are commonplace threads within societies’ fabrics, and the protagonists face built-in conflicts simply by existing in their newfound environments. In the U.S., we rightfully boast about our immigrant roots, and President John F. Kennedy said, “Everywhere, immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.” While the homeland may become enriched, many times, the aforementioned residents do individually struggle to find their way.  Look to “Minari” (2020) and “Brooklyn”…

‘The Mitchells vs. The Machines’ is a zany and sincere mash-up

“The Mitchells vs. The Machines” – “Mitchells have always been weird, and that’s what makes us great!” – Rick Mitchell (Danny McBride) Directors/writers Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe’s animated feature – about an everyday family taking a cross-country road trip and running into a machine apocalypse – is a weird mash-up of ideas, and it’s pretty great. Yes, you heard correctly:  a machine apocalypse. On the surface, this flick is “The Terminator” (1984) meets “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983).  Just pretend that Skynet becomes self-aware and abruptly disrupts the Griswolds’ Wally…

Celebrate Sally Hawkins’ birthday with ‘Maudie’

Happy Birthday, Sally Hawkins!  Yes, Ms. Hawkins turns 45 years young on April 27, and this talented thespian has several notable performances on her resume.  Sally’s breakout turn in Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” (2008) placed her on the cinematic map, and she garnered Oscar nominations for ‘Blue Jasmine’ (2013) and ‘The Shape of Water’ (2017) too. Although The Academy fawned over work in Guillermo del Toro’s “Shape”, we think that she delivered an even better performance that year as real-life Canadian artist Maud Lewis in ‘Maudie’.   Here is our review.  …

Celebrate Al Pacino’s birthday with this triple feature

On April 25, acting legend Alfredo James “Al” Pacino turns 81 years young, and with dozens of films and nine Oscar nominations (and one win for “Scent of a Woman” (1992)) on his resume, this Manhattan native has plenty of fabulous and celebrated movies to watch on his birthday.  My personal favorite Pacino performance is his masterful turn as Carlito Brigante – a career criminal trying to go straight – in Brian De Palma’s “Carlito’s Way” (1993), but let’s look at three other films.  This cinematic trio might not reside…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Apostle’

With the Oscars arriving in April (Sunday, April 25), we’re looking back at films and performances that the Academy missed. “The Apostle” (1997) – Robert Duvall, with over 140 acting credits, sometimes gets behind the camera, and in 1997, he directed, wrote, produced, and starred in “The Apostle”.  He plays a Pentecostal preacher, Euliss F. “Sonny” Dewey, a passionate, but also flawed man.  He drinks and womanizes, and after a dubious public incident, he’s on the run.  It’s one of 1997’s best films, probably just behind “L.A. Confidential”.  It wasn’t…

Four films to enjoy on 420

Happy Tuesday!  This Tuesday is also April 20, and the date is informally recognized as an international marijuana consumption day, simply known as 420.  So for some, this Monday has an especially happy ring.  If you are legally (and we stress, legally) partaking in celebrating 420, here are four movies that you might enjoy.   Note, we don’t recommend seeing all four in one day, but one or two could be a friendly companion. “All About Eve” (1950) – Margo Channing (Bette Davis) is a big Broadway star, but pay attention to…

‘The Year Earth Changed’ offers a silver lining to our cloudy year

“The Year Earth Changed” – “As we stop, remarkable things happen in the natural world.”  – David Attenborough COVID-19 has taken 3 million lives and disrupted almost 8 billion, and many of us have sheltered in place over the past year-plus.  It’s been a brutal time for the human race, and – countless times – I’ve said to myself and out loud, “Good riddance, 2020.” I assume that I’m not alone. With so much death and disruption, it’s challenging to find pandemic positives within our emotional spaces, especially when a…

Celebrate this Peter Capaldi double-feature on his birthday!

Happy Birthday, Peter Capaldi!  Yes, Mr. Capaldi turns 64 years young on April 14, and he reached pop icon status when he landed the Dr. Who role in 2013, but this Glasgow native has earned over 120 acting credits since 1982. Peter will star in James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad” in Aug. 2021, and he played George Harrison in the TV Movie “John and Yoko: A Love Story” (1985), so we recommend that you check out this charismatic actor’s vast TV and film accomplishments. To celebrate his birthday, we endorse…

‘Thunder Force’ doesn’t push the cinematic needle

“Thunder Force” – Marvel Studios made 20 feature films that eventually led to directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s beyond-massive two-movie epic, “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019) with a combined 5 ½ hours of screen time.  The cosmic storyline needed every single one of those 330 minutes because Thanos (Josh Brolin) – the chief antagonist – wiped out half of the universe’s population, and The Avengers attempted to bring trillions of living creatures back from oblivion. Talk about big stakes! Well, “Thunder Force” is a superhero comedy set…

Seek out ‘The Truffle Hunters’

“The Truffle Hunters” – Have you ever hunted for truffles?  It’s not that difficult.  Over the weekend, I strolled down a Trader Joe’s aisle and reached for a box of 16 Belgian truffles – an assortment of dark, milk, and white chocolates – sitting on an ordinary shelf about five feet off the ground.  The 7.05-ounce package cost about six dollars and was draped in decorative green and white wrapping paper because purchasing and devouring such a delicacy denotes a celebratory event, right?  Finding this particular sugary luxury burned about…