Movie Review: MOLLY’S GAME

MOLLYS GAME movie poster | ©2017 STX

Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Chris O’Dowd, Graham Greene Writer: Aaron Sorkin, based on the book by Molly Bloom Director: Aaron Sorkin Distributor: STX Release Date: December 28, 2017  MOLLY’S GAME is the theatrical film directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote the screenplay, based on Molly Bloom’s autobiographical book. Sorkin created THE WEST WING and THE NEWSROOM, won an Oscar for his screenplay for THE SOCIAL NETWORK and is widely considered one of the best screenwriters working today. While it’s not all that he does, Sorkin has written a number of fact-based, somewhat biographical […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US movie poster| ©2017 20th Century Fox

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet Writers: Chris Weitz and J. Miles Goodloe, based on the novel by Charles Martin Director: Hany Abu-Assad Distributor: 20th Century Fox Release Date: October 6, 2017 The following observation is totally sincere: one thing THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US has going for it is that it does not lose track of the dog that is essentially the third lead character. Most movies with a similar set-up wrongly assume that much of the audience isn’t invested in animal companions, and make us worry that the characters, the filmmakers or both have simply left the poor […]Read On »

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GUERRILLA: Writer/producer John Ridley talks 1970s activism – interview

GUERRILLA | © 2017 Showtime

Writer/executive producer John Ridley, an Oscar winner for his screenplay for 12 YEARS A SLAVE, currently has two series on Sunday nights. The third season of his anthology AMERICAN CRIME, this season dealing with migrant farm workers and victims of sex trafficking in North Carolina, is on ABC. Ridley’s new miniseries GUERRILLA, a fact-based story starring Frieda Pinto, Babou Ceesay and Idris Elba, concerns black anti-government activists and undercover police in 1970s England and begins April 16 on Showtime. ASSIGNMENT X: Obviously, you approach storytelling very differently depending on whether you’re doing feature films, AMERICAN CRIME or GUERRILLA. Can you […]Read On »

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Movie Review: STAR TREK BEYOND

STAR TREK BEYOND | © 2016 Paramount

Stars: John Cho, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella, Idris Elba Writers: Simon Pegg & Doug Jung, based on STAR TREK created by Gene Roddenberry Director: Justin Lin Distributor: Paramount Release Date: July 22, 2016 STAR TREK BEYOND is one of those franchise movies that is so completely bound to its specific film universe that it feels kind of like a big, long episode of a TV series. Except it doesn’t feel like a big, long episode of any of the TV iterations of STAR TREK, originally created by Gene Roddenberry, that […]Read On »

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Movie Review: FINDING DORY

FINDING DORY poster | ©2016 Pixar / Walt Disney Pictures

Stars (voices): Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Sigourney Weaver Writer: Andrew Stanton, story by Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse & Bob Peterson, based on characters created by Andrew Stanton Director: Andrew Stanton; co-director, Angus MacLane Distributor: Walt Disney/Pixar Release Date: June 17, 2016 FINDING DORY is a sequel faithful in both form and content to 2003’s FINDING NEMO. In the earlier film, little clownfish Nemo is scooped out of the ocean and put in an aquarium, leaving his distraught father Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE JUNGLE BOOK

THE JUNGLE BOOK (2016) movie poster | ©2016 Walt Disney Pictures

Stars: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray (voice), Ben Kingsley (voice), Idris Elba (voice), Christopher Walken (voice), Scarlett Johansson (voice), Lupita N’yong’o (voice), Giancarlo Esposito (voice) Writer: Justin Marks, based on the books by Rudyard Kipling Director: Jon Favreau Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures Release Date: April 15, 2016 For those familiar with THE JUNGLE BOOK, via the animated 1967 Disney version, any of the other multiple film adaptations, the original Rudyard Kipling books, or some combination thereof, there is something indelible about the story. Mowgli, a little boy raised by wolves in a jungle in India, is completely at home in the […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE GUNMAN

THE GUNMAN | © 2015 Open Road

Rating: R Stars: Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Mark Rylance, Ray Winstone, Idris Elba Writers: Don MacPherson and Peter Travis, based on the novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette Director: Pierre Morel Distributor: Open Road Release Date: March 20, 2015 It may well be that the Jean-Patrick Manchette novel that is the basis for THE GUNMAN is a masterpiece of suspense. The movie version, scripted by Don MacPherson and Peter Travis and directed by Pierre Morel, is not. This would be less of a problem if THE GUNMAN wasn’t trying to be, among other things, a mystery, when the only real […]Read On »

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Movie Review: MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM

MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM movie poster | ©2013 The Weinstein Company

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Jamie Bartlett, Lindiwe Matshikiza, Terry Pheto, Deon Lotz Writer: William Nicholson, based on the autobiography by Nelson Mandela Director: Justin Chadwick Distributor: The Weinstein Co. Release Date: November 29, 2013 Nelson Mandela, who spent twenty-seven years in prison and emerged to become the first president of post-apartheid South Africa, is a man who has earned not only respect but study. His story is epic, complex, full of turns and an illustration of what can be accomplished with the right combination of will, wit, charisma, conviction and patience. What Mandela’s […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THOR: THE DARK WORLD

THOR: THE DARK WORLD poster | ©2013 Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Adewale Akinnoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, Chris O’Dowd Writers: Christopher L. Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, story by Don Payne and Robert Rodat Director: Alan Taylor Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel Studios Release Date: November 8, 2013 THOR: THE DARK WORLD begins with Anthony Hopkins as Odin, King of Asgard, providing a voiceover preface with enough exposition to make us worry that the story has stopped in its tracks before it has even begun. […]Read On »

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Toronto International Film Festival Wrap Up: Part 2 – The Warm

Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl in RUSH | ©2013 Imagine Entertainment

It’s time to re-evaluate what happened at the Toronto International Film Festival by dividing up the films into three categories. So here are the winners, losers and something in-between so just for fun I’ve broken them down into buzz terms, HOT, WARM and COLD. Part 2: THE WARM (BUZZ+CRITICAL REACTION+AUDIENCE COMMENTS) THE FIFTH ESTATE Warts and all Julian Assange / WikiLeaks story starring Benedict Cumberbatch. CONSENSUS: While it’s nice to see Bill Condon (GODS AND MONSTERS) not directing another TWILIGHT movie this was a mixed bag. Most applauded that he asked more question than he answered and praised Cumberbatch’s layered […]Read On »

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