Movie Reviews

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Captain America: Civil War Becomes a Belabored Dispute

By Sandra Olmsted

The latest installment in the Marvel Studio’s Avenger franchise toys with the theme of acting within the law vs. behaving in an ethically manner, and directors Anthony and Joe Russo beat the audience over the head with the theme as often the characters engage in fisticuffs. Predictability also plagues the film; however, a few surprises pop up as the two sides recruit new team members.

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Mother’s Day: A Little Fun, Not Much More

By Sandra Olmstead

 

Director Gerry Marshall continues his exploration of holidays with Mother’s Day, which celebrates moms and at the same time reduces them and those they mother, marry, divorce, or abandon   to stereotypes played by a large ensemble cast of good actors. Unfortunately, despite some laughs, the trite dialogue and predictable, soap-operaish plots make Mother’s Day a pleasant but less than memorable diversion.

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Criminal: Kevin Costner Takes a Turn as a Bad Guy

By Mary J. Schirmer

Criminal, a sci-fi action thriller with seriously talented A-list star power, is the movie for people who like special effects — explosions, chases, gunplay, and suspense—and who don’t care if characters are underdeveloped or if a plot makes any sense at all. One could say the film’s a no-brainer, but that would go counter to the plot.

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The Jungle Book: Studded with Stars, Including the Digital Technology

by Sandra Olmsted

Director Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book is a digital marvel and an edge-of-the-seat exciting film. Adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s classic stories, this new Disney film varies significantly from the 1967 version because of an environmental theme and a more exciting, realistic, and violent plot.

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Born to be Blue: Is it Chet Baker Horn-player or is it the Heroin?

by Sandra Olmsted

Writer/director Robert Budreau’s Bio-Pic Born to be Blue about the creative life of Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke), a pioneer of West Coast cool-and-quite jazz movement, certainly sends messages that could be misinterpreted by some in the audience. While the story of a great talent being destroyed or hampered by drug addiction is all too commonplace, Budreau’s take on Baker’s struggle with chaos of creative genius complicated by heroin addiction might lead some to see heroin as a tool for creativity. Others will see the destruction that heroin had on Baker’s life and mourn with him in some scene such as when Baker first attempts to play his trumpet after his front teeth were knocked out by angry drug dealers.

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A Bouquet of Spring Films Popping Up

by Sandra Olmsted

While not every film that pops up in the movie theaters this Spring will smell lovely, at least the list below provides some guidance to avoid some of the weeds by focusing on the most beautiful blooms anticipated. April 1 brings two bio-pics based on the lives of famous musicians. It seems a cruel April Fools joke that these are not getting better buzz. I Saw the Light (Sony Pictures Classics), with Hank Williams played by Tom Hiddleston, and Born to be Blue (IFC Films), with Chet Baker played by Ethan Hawke, are, however, getting good buzz for the performances by the lead actors, including Elizabeth Olsen as one of Williams’ wives.

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