Trailer – ‘Jurassic World’

Spielberg.  Guardian of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt.  Takes place 22 years after “Jurassic Park”.  You know the rest.

Roll the trailer…

The Pilot’s Watch

What’s up with pilots and our watches?  We love them.  There’s no denying that in order to look into a pilot’s soul, one must focus first on the wrist of the aviator.  Multiple time zones, dual alarms, countdowns, stop watch, analog and digital readouts, all nestled below a bi-directional Bezel compass and used for that fundamental “clock to map to ground” navigation technique.

And now we can add another pilot feature to our watches…the emergency locator transmitter (at the 25:11 mark in the video).

A good video on Breitling’s background and long history as “the pilot’s watch”.  They’ve been right there with aviators, taking risks along the way.  Film tells the interesting story of how Breitling was able to continue supplying Allied pilots during World War II, despite Switzerland being surrounded by Germans.

B50Breitling Cockpit B50

News – “The Price of Beauty” Short Film

Ever wish you could help make a film that conveys not only an important message but also helps to save lives?  Well, here you go.

In the United States alone, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men will be affected by it in their lifetime. Each year, more than 3 million children will witness domestic violence in their home, and of all murders in the United States every year, 1 in 3 female murder victims are murdered by their significant other. Every day in this country, 500 women will be raped or sexually assaulted. It cannot be stressed enough that this is a problem that needs to be resolved.

“The Price of Beauty” short film will highlight domestic violence in the hope that education sparks discussion and further talk–so victims can find their voice and be heard while receiving help.  For friends and families affected by domestic violence, to learn coping mechanisms, gain strength with information and resources available for assistance.  But, more importantly, to help people understand that they don’t need to subject themselves to domestic violence partners–and can move forward in life without that abuser.

The film’s plot will focus on one family, the McGee’s, that seem to have it all together;

There’s Aiden (Adam Shoaf), your cocky high-school jock who has an answer for everything, and his fraternal twin brother, Braeden (Zac Lamothe), who is the polar opposite in personality despite their similarities in looks. Their father, Oliver (to be announced), is a successful fashion photographer who has gained respect through his involvement with the church and community. Last, but not least, you have their mother, Evangeline (to be announced), a former model who opted for the life of a stay-at-home mother after they were born. For the most part, they seem to be a fairly normal, relatable American family. However, behind closed doors, things aren’t what they seem. Oliver’s enduring his own mid-life crisis, sneaking around with a mistress who could be his daughter (Samantha Comer) and getting aggressive whenever Evangeline starts asking questions. 

This worthy short film is now at the point where the creative idea meets the camera lens. In pre-production since last Fall, it just recently had its script registered with the Writer’s Guild of America. In order to move forward, “The Price of Beauty” is attempting to raise $30,000 by June 1st.  Each dollar will go towards equipment, marketing and everything else you can think of to get a small movie into the discussion with bigger films.

Check out the movie’s effective teaser…

If you’re interested in supporting this short story–to educate, help, protect and save victims of domestic violence–please check out these two webpages;

DONATE HERE (gofundme.com)

  “The Price of Beauty” Facebook page

Good luck to “The Price of Beauty” team on the film and getting this important message out there for public consumption.  To my readers, I’ll keep you posted on the movie’s status moving forward.

Trailer – ‘Southpaw’

Q:  Ever wonder what doing 2,000 sit-ups per day and spending 42 hours a week in the gym would do for you?

A:  Jake Gyllenhaal in “Southpaw” shows us.

Here’s the proof…

TV’s Sons of Anarchy director/writer Kurt Sutter wrote this film’s script.  “Southpaw” hits theaters on July 24th.

New Rental – ‘Cake’

In her most challenging and inspiring role since 2002’s “The Good Girl”, Jennifer Aniston triumphs in this heartfelt story about grief and moving on. Aniston plays Claire, a chronic pain sufferer dealing with the sudden death of a fellow support group member (Anna Kendrick) in Southern California. The former star of the hit TV series “Friends” from 1994-2004, delivers an impressive, raw performance in this film that’s both emotional and sad, but never depressing for the audience. Several twists and relationships in the storyline make “Cake” vastly enjoyable to watch and deeply moving to understand.Cake1

The back story of “Cake” points to a disheveled Aniston, absent her famous Rachel Haircut and stunning looks we’ve become so accustomed to seeing from the 45-year old actress. Trying to manage her personal grief and sadness, Claire searches for isolation from society and pain meds to stop the tears. All the while, Aniston’s broken down character looks to find answers to the unfair hand that she’s been dealt in the game of life. The exceptional cast in “Cake” perfectly complements and offsets Aniston’s antagonistic part, doubling as the film’s real support group for Claire. Together, everyone attempts to help Claire find strength and perspective in the hope that it brings an end to her chronic pain.

No one plays a bigger part in supporting Aniston, or helping to put things in perspective for Claire, than Adriana Barraza. An Academy Award nominee for 2006’s “Babel”, Barraza portrays Claire’s warmhearted Mexican housekeeper, Nina. With humor, humility and steadfast loyalty, Nina provides Claire—and the film—an earnest feeling and strong presence. The relationship between the two of them, and how their lives weave together, marks the film’s most poignant and satisfying moments.

“Cake” offers an honest and realistic look at grief as it hits someone unexpectedly in the heart and mind. The movie imparts the cruel difficulties that life can throw at us and the challenges it poses moving forward. Convincingly, it also takes viewers down the path towards resiliency and relationships. It deftly illustrates through personal perseverance how one woman is not only able to survive a tragic loss, but also capable of getting back on her feet to face, and live, another day.

Jennifer Aniston gives us the most compelling, emotional performance of her television and film career—one that makes it impossible to take your eyes off of her character, Claire. The extraordinary cast shines brightly to spotlight Aniston’s fine work. Combined, they elevate “Cake” from a movie about loss to a film about life.

Grade: A-

“Cake” is available now to buy or rent at Amazon.com, iTunes, Netflix and Vudu. The movie is rated R for language, substance abuse and brief sexuality. The running time is 1 hour and 38 minutes.

New Trailer – ‘Ant Man’

Coming in July….

The more I hear about this film, the better I like it.  Sorta like LifeStraw for hikers.  But that’s just me.  What do you think of “Ant Man”?

Movie Review – ‘True Story’

True Story

This film, depicting the real life murder of an Oregon family, attempts to cast doubt on a killer and his motive for taking the lives of his wife and children. It advances the notion that the suspect arrested for the homicides, is actually someone else—dropping the early impression that this true story is really a matter of mistaken identity. Unfortunately, like the rest of the movie, that mystery is tossed aside too quickly and without proper explanation. Despite every attempt to create doubt and instill tension towards a dramatic, unpredictable ending, “True Story” culminates in a lackluster and nuanced finish.

An exceptional ensemble of Hollywood’s brightest stars can’t overcome a bland, and often times stale, storyline. Led by two-time Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill (from 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street”), playing a New York Times reporter caught fabricating a story and subsequently fired, the movie launches viewers quickly into the murder mystery and whodunit. James Franco (Oscar nominated for “127 Hours” in 2010) plays the suspect captured for killing his spouse and kids, but now claiming to be Hill’s washed up reporter identity to authorities.true_story2

The biggest disappointment in “True Story” is the story itself. Viewers are expected to emotionally care for Hill’s unethical and deceptive reporter. Today, that’s a difficult and unappealing bridge to cross for those suspect of some in the media to stay impartial and factual in their reporting. Therefore, minus any loyalty to Hill’s character, it’s Franco’s role as the murder suspect that viewers are left to invest in–questioning of his guilt or innocence in the horrendous crime.

As evidenced in 2013’s “Homefront” opposite good guy Jason Statham, Franco portrays evil exceptionally well on film. In “True Story”, Franco once again carries every scene he’s in with the look and sound of a man that’s left death tolls in his wake. The film’s strongest performance, though, is reserved for Felicity Jones, the shining costar in last year’s Academy Award nominated “The Theory of Everything”. While her role in this film is vastly more limited, Jones provides a much-needed spark, delivering the movie’s hardest hitting, emotional lines.

Although “True Story” attempts to squeeze every possible ounce of suspense from these real events, there just aren’t enough twists and turns to grab the audience’s attention or invoke surprise in a weak plot. Believable characters from an exceptional cast isn’t enough to save this murder drama from sinking.  It seems appropriate and just that the New York Times journalist who lost his job for embellishing stories, led to a boring film that lacks excitement and interest. Previous actions causing influence on his later fate—or karma for short.

Grade: C+

“True Story” is rated R for language and some disturbing material.  It’s running time is 1 hour and 40 minutes.

My Rental Recommendations

A few of the newest available DVD rentals that are worth your time:

1.  The Imitation Game – My ‘Movie of the Year’ for 2014.  Behind the mathematical statistics, complicated decipher computations, and spy games rests a compelling story of a young boy struggling to be accepted in life.  As fate would have it and after being spurned by so many growing up, Alan Turing found himself in the extraordinary position to help save and affect millions of lives. “The Imitation Game” splendidly illustrates how Turing met his appointment with destiny–a time and place requiring his extraordinary mind and talents. It’s that unlikely connection of Alan Turing to the outcome of World War II, which makes this film so remarkable, intriguing and a “must-see” winner.

2.  Wild – Reese Witherspoon dominates the screen as best-selling author Cheryl Strayed. “Wild” is the movie adaptation of Strayed’s 2012 true story novel titled “Wild: Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”. Her memoir about the real-life challenges she faced along that 1,100-mile trek, in fact, reached #1 on the New York Times’ Best Seller list and made Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club selection.  Director Jean-Marc Vallee (“Dallas Buyers Club”) meticulously takes viewers along Strayed’s arduous path towards self-discovery. Her winding trails from California’s high desert to Oregon’s pristine forest, is marked by Witherspoon’s constant thoughts of anger and guilt. While director Vallee skillfully captures the dangers along the Pacific Crest Trail, its Witherspoon’s extraordinary screen presence that forcefully gains strength and momentum with every mile she hikes.

3.  Interstellar – This Christopher Nolan film challenges audiences to keep up with the director’s cerebral vision and fast-paced storytelling. “Interstellar” moves at a speed and distance that doesn’t afford us, the moviegoers, the time to get complete answers along this fascinating journey. With such vast space to cover in the film, Nolan must play loose with the math and science equations, staying focused instead on the many threats facing the talented cast. After all, the stakes are high; Earth is becoming uninhabitable and another planet must be found…right now. Like a rock skipped across the smooth waters of a lake, Nolan couldn’t slow down to fully explain the mathematics of gravity, Einstein’s theory of relativity, or how space travel was possible from a Midwestern farm to deep inside a wormhole. That deceleration would’ve halted the 3-time Oscar nominated director’s story and sank this movie. Cleverly, Nolan decided to toss one life and death challenge after another at the cast and audience, keeping both groups entertained while the rock (the main story) skips along at a high velocity.

4.  Unbroken – To start the film, director Jolie wisely takes a page straight out of Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” playbook, throwing moviegoers immediately into the opening scene of hostile fire from enemy forces in World War II. From here, we learn that this movie’s an impressive story about an uncommon man named Louis Zamperini. As a young boy who grew up in Southern California, we find Zamperini a bombardier aboard a U.S. Army Air Forces’ B-24 Liberator dropping bombs on Japanese targets in the Pacific. The strong-willed Zamperini falls back on his exceptional athleticism and mental fortitude—instilled during his old high school track days—throughout the movie as he fights for his life.

There you have it.  Four movies worth renting and your time.  Enjoy!

Trailer – ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Much water-cooler talk yesterday as this latest “Star Wars” tease went viral.  I watched all the Twitter hyperventilation and grown men soil themselves over it.  But, to be honest, I give this sneak peek a C+ overall–and they can thank Hans Solo and Chewbacca for the passing grade, with their token cameos at the end.  A lot of hype for this Christmas release.  We just had Tax Day.  We’re still two weeks from Derby.  This film is over 8 months away.  It feels like Target running Christmas commercials in April.  I’m concerned when movies pitch this much hype, this far out, that the studio is overcompensating for something.  But, I’ll let you decide if this is the greatest thing since the remote control was invented….

Movie Review – ‘Noble’

noble

I had the opportunity to screen the movie “Noble” earlier this week, ahead of its May 8th release in several U.S. cities (see list below). Here are a few of my notes that I jotted down shortly afterwards:

“Noble” triumphs! Powerful! Christina Noble’s angelic spirit shines bright!

Deirdre O’Kane’s remarkable performance is mesmerizing. O’Kane is riveting!

A victory for the human spirit and one’s faith!

“Noble” is a glass full, overflowing with emotion. The film brings hope to the homeless, answers to the faithful. An uplifting, heartfelt true story!

**

“Noble” is the true story of Christina Noble, a strong, spirited and determined woman who overcomes adversity and poverty on the streets of Ireland growing up. During her youth, she experiences dreams of Vietnam and understands that her life’s calling is in that country. However, in order to fulfill her desire, she must first survive impossible odds and struggles no person should ever endure–particularly a child.

The young, determined Christina Noble fights starvation, the early death of her Mother, and an absent and deadbeat father. Facing fears at nearly every turn, Noble goes to her good place—singing her favorite Doris Day songs to cope. Smartly, she also begins a conversation with God, asking Him why she’s been dealt so much, so early in her life. The answer to that question can only be found in Vietnam.

NOBLEArriving in Vietnam near the age of 40, Christina faces opposition from the local authorities as she attempts to improve the plight of the street children in Ho Chi Minh City. Here, the film transforms into a powerful example of how one person can make a difference in the world. An intriguing and provocative story of hope materializes from Noble’s steadfast commitment to her faith in God and the children of Vietnam.

The results of Christina Noble’s faith, determination and refusal to give up when facing adversity, are staggering on paper and live-on even today. Now, go see this film when the movie hits selected theaters on May 8th.

Grade: A

“Noble” is rated PG-13 with a running time of 1 hour and 40 minutes.

On May 8th, “Noble” opens in the following cities:

Atlanta
Chicago
Dallas
Denver
Houston
Las Vegas
Lexington
Los Angeles
Orange County
Midland
Minneapolis
Nashville
New York City
Phoenix
San Diego
San Jose
Washington, DC

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