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New ‘Pan’ is Really a Revisionist Peter Pan

By Sandra Olmsted

Even though James M. Barrie’s Peter Pan has a timeless quality, transporting the story to the WWII era raises serious questions regarding director Joe Wright’s film, Pan, ability to function as the prequel is it advertised to be. The story opens with a baby named Peter being left on the doorstep of an orphanage. Several years later, the orphans go hungry while Mother Barnabas (Kathy Burke), a frighteningly cruel caregiver, grows fat. During the Blitz, Peter (Levi Miller) and his best friend, Nibs (Lewis MacDougall) decide to explore her office for evidence she is taking their food. Peter is also suspicious of why other boys in their dormitory are disappearing at night. Although told the boys have been evacuated to Canada for safety, Peter rightly doesn’t trust Barnabas.

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No Escape: High Tension, Low Concept, Great Acting from Some Big Name Cast

by Sandra Olmsted

Writer/director John Erick Dowdle’s No Escape delivers plenty of gripping, edge-of-the-seat suspense and action, but lacks character development and depth. Thankfully, the acting is topnotch! After his own business fails, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) takes a job with an American company contracted to build a water purification plant in an unnamed Southeast Asian country which borders Vietnam.

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Ricki and the Flash: Music-laced Dramedy Not a Comedy For Star Meryl Streep

 by Sandra Olmsted

While director Jonathan Demme’s new film, Ricki and the Flash, has some chuckles, for the most part it is an uplifting, family-affirming dramedy, with some great musical performances by Meryl Streep, the star of the film, and her band. Screenwriter Diablo Cody, who won an Academy Award for Juno, never reaches that perfect blend of pathos and wry wit in Ricki and the Flash.

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Cinematic Giggles and Thrills The Last of Summer’s

by Sandra Olmsted

As summer winds down, a few more films still offer summer fun and excitement.

Director Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, a Paramount release, opens on Friday, July 31 and is already getting good buzz. With the IMF disbanded, and Ethan (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents, the Syndicate. These highly trained operatives are hellbent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks. When the group faces their most impossible mission yet, Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), who may or may not be a member of this rogue nation. Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin also star. PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity; 125 Minutes.

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Minions: Musical Yellow Delights

minions pg 11by Sandra Olmsted

Directors Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin head up giving the yellow creatures from Despicable Me (2010) and Despicable Me 2 (2013) a movie of their own. The fast paced opening scene, narrated by Geoffrey Rush, reveals that the immortal, indestructible Minions have been around since the beginning of time and always in need of an evil villain to follow; unfortunately, having the Minions as minions isn’t exactly good luck for all those villains through the ages.

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Sequels, Some Good Original Films in July

Minions, Terminator, Magic Mike, Vacation will be Back

by Sandra Olmsted

The Holiday weekend offers may options for the movie goer. Two films that opened June 26 go beyond the typical coming of age film. Max (Warner Bros.) offers dog lovers a patriotic story for Independence Day (PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements; 111 minutes). The much-touted Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Fox Searchlight) lives up to the buzz and provides an intelligent, meaningful story for adults as well as mature teens. This Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival is rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug material, language and some thematic elements and runs 104 minutes.

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