A half-dozen movies worth renting…
San Andreas (Action) – Relative unknown director Brad Peyton (“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”, 2012), rejoins action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the big screen for this earthquake saga that rocks down on southern California. Johnson portrays a cocksure Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot with over 600 saves under his flight suit, who attempts to come to terms with his pending divorce from his separated wife (Carla Gugino) while trying to save his daughter (Alexandra Daddario). Despite beauty stunners in both Gugino and Daddario, it’s the former 6-time WWF wrestling champion’s 43-year old biceps that will earn the most attention and envy from movie watchers. My full San Andreas Review.
Spy (Comedy) – Is “Spy” the funniest movie I’ve ever seen? No. Not by a longshot. But it does provide hysterical comparisons to the three stealthiest JB’s in the undercover biz: James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer. If you’ve enjoyed the Austin Powers’ trilogy of spy parodies and can handle F-bombs tossed in every direction throughout, you’ll find this film’s physical comedy and witty presentation also agreeable. No one in Hollywood has a better comedic game right now than Melissa McCarthy. “Spy” works because McCarthy can deliver laughs with a simple look, deadpan line or uncomfortable run/walk. The “Bridesmaids” alumnus has effortlessly transformed herself from Emmy winning television comedian into a bona fide motion picture headliner. While her cousin Jenny McCarthy may get the most double-takes from magazine photos, it’s this McCarthy that is sure-fire bet at the box office. Look for Melissa to continue her meteoric rise on the big screen well into 2016. My full Spy Review.
Love & Mercy (Drama, Romance) – In 1961, just as a British band set out from Liverpool to begin their “Beatlemania” ascent into international stardom, across the Atlantic Ocean an American version, albeit from California, was formed. Love & Mercy is the gripping and powerful biopic story of Brian Wilson, the singer, songwriter and leader of The Beach Boys. The duo of Cusack and Dano give viewers the most riveting, chart-topping performances on film since Eddie Redmayne’s Academy Award-winning achievement as Stephen Hawking in last year’s The Theory of Everything. Together they take us back to the 1960s and 80s, educating audiences on the real life mental and physical struggles of abuse, drug addiction and mental illness. Love & Mercy demonstrates how one young man, with a talent only found in music albums once or twice per generation, transformed dance songs into lyrics and harmony for listening. This film will shake viewers to their core. My full Love & Mercy review.
Amour (Drama) – Nominated for 5 Oscars, this 2012 film presents a loving elderly French couple that must cope with deteriorating health while attempting to answer mind numbing caregiver and end-of-life questions. The movie requires special attention from viewers due to the subject matter and shouldn’t be dismissed too early for its sometimes slow and labored pace–coincidently, the same characteristics each of us must deal with as we get older. This is as real as it gets and, together with no music soundtrack and subtitles in English, the film appears even more stark and raw. A difficult and powerful movie to watch, but one that you will not forget. Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Michael Haneke), Best Actress (Emmanuelle Riva), Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film (Winner!). At the age of 85, Emmanuelle Riva was the oldest Academy Award nominee for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Her (Drama) – It’s not fair to Director Spike Jonze (‘Being John Malkovich’) or this Oscar-nominated screenplay to call ‘Her’ just a movie about loneliness or a guy on the rebound from a pending divorce. ‘Her’ takes sexting and on-line dating to a whole new level of long-distance relationships. ‘Her’ had a few slow moments during the film but thankfully continued to push beyond the simple narrative of a man who falls in love with his Siri. It’s the questions raised about society’s reliance on gadgets, technology and the human need for touch that makes this picture worthy of an Oscar nod and sets it apart from most other films. ‘Her’ is a very watchable movie that will create discussions on relationships, both artificial and real. No amount of gigabytes will be able to avoid that, nor should it.
Out of the Furnace (Dark) – Christian Bale superbly portrays a small town steelworker attempting to help his brother avoid trouble while at the same time trying to navigate through his own chaotic blue-collar life of uncertainty. A strong left-right combination of Hollywood heavyweights in the film includes Woody Harrelson and Willem Dafoe. This is an intense, dark film with several violent scenes; all pinpointing our societal ills that most of us would never see. Make no mistake, ‘Out of the Furnace’ is not a feel-good movie, but instead a fascinating windshield tour into neighborhoods we’d normally never contemplate going into nor want to live in. Go ahead and skip grabbing your lunch pale, Remington 30-06 rifle and even this movie if you’d prefer to not sit through violence ripped from today’s headlines. The furnace of troubles this film produces is a constant, high heat of realism smoldering in the back hills that will leave you feeling more knowledgeable about others’ plight but probably less comfortable seeing it up close, sitting shot-gun in a pick-up truck.
© 2015, Patrick. All rights reserved.
"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office". - Judy O.