Movie Reviews

Posted March 31, 2017 at 12:00 am

Kong: Skull Island

Warner Bros.

Impressive monster movie, set in 1973, in which an ensemble of scientists and soldiers the civilians led by a fringe researcher (John Goodman), the troops by a hard-bitten colonel (Samuel L. Jackson) travel to a previously uncharted island where they encounter an updated version of King Kong. As a World War II-era Air Force officer (John C. Reilly) who bailed out over the isle and has been stranded there ever since eventually explains to them, however, while the outsized ape may be the monarch of this hidden realm, he is far from the most lethal threat its new visitors will have to face there. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ action adventure, which also features Tom Hiddleston as the group’s guide and Brie Larson as a Vietnam War photographer

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    A farewell column

    It has been a great privilege for me to write this column for the past 40 years. During this time, I have received hundreds of letters and emails from readers. One of the sure blessings of writing this column is how many of you engaged with me, offered your own perspectives or brought questions about your lives to me for suggestions.

    Whenever possible, I have offered ideas of who you might contact in your

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    ‘This house is not for sale’

    This House is not for sale

    This house is not for sale

    These four walls have got a story to tell

    The door is off the hinges, there’s no wishing them well

    Outside the sky is coal black, the streets are on fire

    The

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    Movie Reviews

    The Shack

    Summit

    After his young daughter (Amelie Eve) is abducted and murdered, a previously devout man (Sam Worthington) has a crisis of faith until a supernatural encounter with the Trinity (Octavia Spencer, Avraham Aviv Alush and Sumire) alters his perspective. Beautiful settings and a sense of humor help to keep director Stuart Hazeldine’s screen version of William Paul Young’s bestselling novel from bogging down in sentimentality. Patches of dialogue discounting the value of religion, however here implicitly set in opposition to

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    Movie Review

    A Cure for Wellness

    Fox

    Creepy, but otherwise pointless horror exercise in which a Wall Street business executive (Dane DeHaan) is dispatched to a Swiss spa to convince a higher-ranking colleague (Harry Groener) who has mysteriously decided to remain there permanently that he must instead return to headquarters to sign off on a big pending merger. As the young wheeler-dealer eventually discovers, however, despite the soothing manner of the resort’s proprietor (Jason Isaacs), something is profoundly amiss, and his own chances

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    Trusting God in difficult times

    Trust in You

    Letting go of every single dream

    I lay each one down at your feet

    Every moment of my wandering

    Never changes what you see

    I’ve tried to win this war I confess

    My hands are weary, I need your rest

    Mighty warrior, king of the fight

    No matter what I

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    ‘Keeper of the flame’

    Keeper of the Flame

    I’m walking in their footsteps

    I’m singing their old songs

    Somebody blazed this trail

    I’m treadin’ on

    I’m bent but I’m not broken

    I’m stronger than I feel

    I’m made of flesh and bone

    Not made of steel

    Refrain:

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    Movie Reviews

    A Dog’s Purpose

    Universal

    Pet lovers will revel in this slight but charming tale of a clever canine (voice of Josh Gad) and his adventures over a series of lifetimes as he is repeatedly reincarnated. His most significant bond is with a little boy (Bryce Gheisar) who grows into a high school football star (K.J. Apa). Though he finds support in the love of his mother (Juliet Rylance) and, later, that of his girlfriend (Britt Robertson), the athlete’s life is increasingly darkened

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    Movie Reviews

    The Bye Bye Man

    STX

    Overwrought horror flick in which a college student (Douglas Smith), his live-in girlfriend (Cressida Bonas) and his best pal since childhood (Lucien Laviscount) rent a spooky house together where they are plagued by the malevolent specter of the title (Doug Jones). His main trick is to cause hallucinations setting each member of the trio against the others with potentially fatal results. In adapting a chapter from Robert Damon Schneck book, “The President’s Vampire,” director Stacy Title

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    Navigating blended families

    Blended Family (What You Do for Love)

    Hey I might not really be your mother

    That don’t mean that I don’t really love ya

    And even though I married your father

    That’s not the only reason I’m here for ya

    I think you’re beautiful

    I think you’re perfect

    I know how hard it gets

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    Movie Reviews

    Manchester by the Sea

    Roadside

    A man (Casey Affleck) crushed by tragedy returns to his hometown on the coast of Massachusetts to become the guardian of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges) in a gently paced and emotionally wrenching drama from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan (“You Can Count on Me”). Flawless performances, a revelatory flashback structure, and a picturesque natural backdrop buoy the carefully manicured yet naturalistic portrait of a shattered individual who cannot forgive himself for one grave mistake. Eventually, the dramatic urgency

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    Fresh eyes in 2017

    Fresh Eyes

    I got these fresh eyes, never seen you before like this

    My God, you’re beautiful

    It’s like the first time when we open the door

    Before we got used to usual

    It might seem superficial, stereotypical, man

    You dress up just a little and I’m like, “Oh damn”

    Refrain:

    So suddenly

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    Movie Reviews

    Miss Sloane

    Europacorp

    A striking performance from Jessica Chastain as the ruthless Washington lobbyist of the title propels director John Madden’s forceful study of political corruption. The win-at-all-costs wheeler-dealer shocks her colleagues when, driven by personal conviction, she abruptly changes sides in the fight over a pending gun control bill, abandoning her cushy position with a topflight firm (led by Sam Waterston) and signing on with a fledgling outfit (headed by Mark Strong) for what she realizes will be an uphill battle

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    Create seasons of love in 2017

    Seasons of Love

    525,600 minutes

    525,000 moments so dear

    525,600 minutes

    How do you measure, mea sure a year?

    In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee

    In inches, in miles, in laugh- ter, in strife

    In 525,600 minutes

    How do you measure a year in the life?

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    Movie Reviews

    Miss Sloane

    Europacorp

    A striking performance from Jessica Chastain as the ruthless Washington lobbyist of the title propels director John Madden’s forceful study of political corruption. The win-at-all-costs wheeler-dealer shocks her colleagues when, driven by personal conviction, she abruptly changes sides in the fight over a pending gun control bill, abandoning her cushy position with a topflight firm (led by Sam Waterston) and signing on with a fledgling outfit (headed by Mark Strong) for what she realizes will be an uphill

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    When memories refuse to fade

    11 Blocks

    Eleven blocks from my door to your doorstep

    Three years later and it feels too close

    I thought I broke the last of that breakdown

    The morning I sold your winter coat

    It doesn’t feel right when I’m grabbing a coffee

    The same old spot, but I’m on my own

    I

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    Movie Reviews

    Allied

    Paramount

    In this World War II romantic drama from director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Steven Knight, a Canadian wing commander (Brad Pitt) and a French resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard) with a murky past pretend to be husband and wife as part of an espionage operation before falling in love for real and making a hasty marriage. Their union flourishes until the officer is suddenly informed by British intelligence that his spouse may not be the person she appears to be. In

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    Pope meets director Martin Scorsese

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The morning after screening his film, “Silence,” for about 300 Jesuits, the U.S. director Martin Scorsese had a private audience with Pope Francis.

    During the 15-minute audience Nov. 30, Pope Francis told Scorsese that he had read Japanese author Shusaku Endo’s historical novel, “Silence,” which inspired the film. The book and film are a fictionalized account of the persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan; the central figures are Jesuit missionaries.

    Pope Francis spoke to Scorsese,

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    Movie Reviews

    Boo! A Madea Halloween

    Lionsgate

    The language-fracturing violence-threatening moral force in a muumuu (played, of course, by writer-director Tyler Perry) still gives out with the bickering and the lightning-fast asides. But Perry’s script gives her little to do other than mingle with college students and trash-talk with her elderly friends. The hammer-wielding harridan tries, unsuccessfully, to prevent the 17-year-old niece (Diamond White) she’s minding from attending a raucous fraternity party. Once defied, she turns up at the shindig herself, showing

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    Movie Reviews

    Max Steel

    Open Road

    Yet another action figure leaps off the toy store shelves and onto the big screen in this derivative coming-of-age superhero chronicle, directed by Stewart Hendler. A gangly 16-year-old boy (Ben Winchell) is transformed by the universe’s most powerful form of energy and gains a robotic sidekick (voice of Josh Brener) to go along with his smothering but supportive mother (Maria Bello) and fetching sweetheart (Ana Villafane). When he’s not too busy vanquishing baddies or doing his algebra homework,

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    Movie Reviews

    Storks

    Warner Bros.

    Occasionally funny but mostly awkward animated comedy in which the plans of an ambitious stork (voice of Andy Samberg) who’s been tapped by his boss (voice of Kelsey Grammer) to take over the big-box store shipping system his breed now operates in lieu of delivering babies are derailed when a human orphan (voice of Katie Crown) who was long ago stranded among the birds accidentally sets their disused infant manufacturing machinery to work. Together the duo scramble to get

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    ‘Scars to your beautiful’

    Scars to your beautiful

    She just wants to be beautiful

    She goes unnoticed, she knows no limits

    She craves attention, she praises an image

    She prays to be sculpted by the sculptor

    See the light that’s shining

    Deeper than the eyes can find it

    Maybe we have made her blind

    So she tries

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    Movie Reviews

    Deepwater Horizon

    Summit

    Forceful but grim dramatization of events surrounding the 2010 disaster that destroyed the titular drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Drawing on a New York Times article by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul, screenwriters Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand fix their focus on a quartet of principals: the vessel’s chief electronics technician (Mark Wahlberg), his worried wife back on shore (Kate Hudson), the craft’s respected crew commander (Kurt Russell) and the young officer (Gina Rodriguez)

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    How to bring up difficult conversations

    I won’t lie to you

    I know he’s just not right for you

    And you can tell me if I’m off

    But I see it on your face

    When you say that he’s the one that you want

    And you’re spending all your time

    In this wrong situation

    And anytime you want to

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    Movie Reviews

    Mechanic: Resurrection

    Summit

    Jason Statham returns as the hitman protagonist of this action franchise, the current version of which kicked off with the 2011 remake of a 1972 movie starring Charles Bronson. Though retired since the end of the last installment, the assassin is forced to take up his craft again after a mysterious friend from his childhood (Sam Hazeldine) kidnaps his true love (Jessica Alba). To spring her, he’ll have to carry out three kills. Director Dennis Gansel, who thankfully downplays

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    A better place to reveal the love of God

    A plan to feel ‘so alive’

    Feeling like a hero, but I can’t fly

    No, you never crash if you don’t try

    Took it to the edge, now I know why

    Never gonna live if you’re too scared

    to die

    Gonna disconnect from the hard

    wire

    Time to raise a flag

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    Movie Reviews

    Don’t Breathe

    Screen Gems

    Three petty criminals (Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette and Daniel Zovatto) get more than they bargained for when they break into the isolated home of a blind, reclusive veteran (Stephen Lang) hoping to steal the large settlement he was awarded after his daughter was killed by a reckless driver. Director and co-writer Fede Alvarez is fairly restrained in his presentation of the mayhem that follows as the loner turns out to be anything but an easy mark, and the

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