Blog: Flick Picks

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Flick Picks 6/26/2015: Run All Night, Zero Motivation, The Duff

Poor Liam Neeson  Always having to exact revenge on one villain or another.  Never a moment's rest.  And now he's made to run all night.  The poor man could use a vacation.  In addition to Mr. Neeson's latest travails, we have dispatches from that even more daunting battlefield - high school. This in the form of the likable teen comedy, The Duff.  If this classic summer fare offers less substance than you're looking for, consider a couple of excellent foreign films, Timbuktu and Zero Motivation.     

Feature Films


So, yes.  The big guy is running away this time instead of pursuing the bad guys.  In a plot reminiscent of Road to Perdition, Liam Neeson plays Jimmy Conlong, a.k.a, The Gravedigger, a mob hit-man on the run with his estranged son, trying to outwit an assassin hired by his former boss and friend.  





Flick Picks 6/19/2015: The Newsroom, Wild Tales, Chappie


Conflict, conflict and more conflict this week.  Some dark, some light.  Some funny, other instances...not so much.  If you get a little too worked up, we also have a good bit of music to calm the savage breast.  

Foreign Film
Revenge is a dish best served cold?  If the film Wild Tales is any indication, the preferred manner of serving in Argentina is piping hot.  Wild Tales was a box office sensation in its home country.  Not so surprising, given the difficult decades that have beset the once great nation.  There's all sorts of instant karma to be had for the outraged in this black comedy, even as the tone of the six vignettes ranges from serious to the outlandishly comic, culminating with a wronged bride running absolutely amok at her own wedding.  If your sensibilities aren't too delicate, this is great, smart fun.   



Jeff Daniels has become the grouch laureate of American film and television in the past decade or so.  This applies to any number of film roles in which Daniels plays smart, wisecracking types that do not suffer fools gladly, if at all.  Such is also the case in Aaron Sorkin's HBO series, The Newsroom.  Here Daniels is Will McAvoy, controversial anchor for the fictional Atlantis Cable News.  Like any Aaron Sorkin series, the verbiage comes fast and in great abundance as behind-the-scenes intrigues play out for the McAvoy, his colleagues and the fictional network itself. Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, The Newsroom by most accounts was at its best in season three.  

Feature Films


With District 9 and the subsequent Elysium, South African Neil Blommkamp became the preeminent purveyor of science fiction at the movies, with big ideas to match all the big action on screen.  His latest, Chappie, is about a population fighting back against a mechanized police force, aided by Chappie, a police droid stolen and reprogrammed to think and feel for itself.  We have Chappie in Blu-ray, with a couple of copies in regular DVD on the way.   


Also new:  Johnny Depp adds to his collection of accents, playing an unscrupulous art dealer and swindler working on the right side of the law in the comedy MORTDECAI.



Flick Picks 6/12/2015: Kingsman; The Secret Service, Focus, Justified Final Season

A very quiet week for DVD releases is highlighted by Kingsman:  The Secret Service.

Feature Films


You've seen Colin Firth play the proud Darcy.  Battle for Bridget Jones Love.  Portray the stammering George VI of England.  Even dance and sing in Mamma Mia.  But have you seen him decimate a gang of toughs in an English pub using only his fists and a very special umbrella?  Well, here's your chance.  In "Kingsman," Firth plays veteran Agent Galahad, battling evil-doers and shepherding budding agent Gary "Eggsy" Unwin.  Like Firth, Samuel Jackson plays amusingly against type in "Kingsman," as lisping billionaire philanthropist Richmond Valentine, who has no stomach for blood or violence, despite the fact that he's intent on liquidating a good portion of the Earth's population.  The violence is hard to avoid in "Kingsman."  But much as the body count is very steep, the mayhem grows increasingly cartoonish as the film approaches its mad crescendo.  There's some fun to be had here if you don't think too much.


There's more light, summer fun to be had with Focus.  Will Smith plays an experienced con-man whose relationship with a young female grifter extends rather beyond that of  mentor and student.

Also new...


 Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper combine their talents for a third time (after Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) in SERENA, as a couple running a timber business in Depression-era North Carolina.




Flick Picks 6/5/2015: Black Sea, McFarland, USA, The Last Five Years

This week we take you beneath the Black Sea in a submarine.  Running with a high school cross-country team in arid California.  Singing through the ups and downs of a young couple's relationship.  We hang out a last time with the gang from Parks and Recreation.  And then delve into some very serious and a decidedly lighthearted foreign film.  Around the world.  You'll laugh. You might sing.  Hopefully you won't cry.  But we should have more than enough to keep you entertained.

Feature Films


Jude Law continues an interesting transition from leading man roles to somewhat more character-driven work.  In Black Sea, Law plays an out of work submarine captain, convinced to take on a mission to salvage a Nazi U-boat, thought to be full of gold.  His patchwork crew is half British and half Russian, the tension between the two groups being just one of the problems facing the mission and Captain Robinson (Law).  A well made undersea thriller from director Kevin Macdonald.  We have copies of Black Sea in regular DVD and Blu-ray.


Very much an audience favorite, McFarland, USA is based on the the true story of the McFarland High School cross-country team that won the California state championship in 1987.  Kevin Costner plays the coach who starts a cross-country team at the predominately Mexican-American high school.




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