Criminal, The Jungle Book, Born to be Blue, The First Monday in May, April and the Extraordinary World

Criminal

criminal

My, my, where to start.  It is an action thriller.  Ryan Reynolds is an undercover CIA agent being tortured for access to missile defense secrets.  Kevin Costner plays a psycho criminal chosen to host Reynold’s memories and that is just the first 5 minutes.

While the premise sounds a bit goofy the story evolves into a fascinating concept.  The Costner character absorbs more and more of the Reynolds memories and slowly transforms into a more normal person.

In the meantime, the bad guys are at work trying to cause mayhem and destruction of the world as we know it.  This film is an action packed throw back to the 90s films with a Frankenstein twist.  Great London locations.  Good cast, Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Gal Gadot, and Alice Eve.

Rating: 4 globes

The Jungle Book

jungle

The latest Disney film production of The Jungle Book is based on Rudyard Kipling’s original book.  This time filmed in a new live-action format that blends live action with computer generated images.  The result is a stunning, near life like viewing experience.

You know the story, little Mowgli is raised by a pack of wolves in the great African wilds.  The fierce tiger, Shere Khan, wants Mogli banished because of a bad encounter with mankind.

Mogli leaves the jungle with the guidance of the panther mentor, Bagheera.  Meets bear friend, Baloo.  Encounters with python, Kaa and ape King Louie.  Some unexpected friends arrive to save the day.

This is sure to be a box office hit with audiences of all ages.  Note for parents: some intense or scary action scenes.  A superb cast of 15 voices.

Rating: 3 globes

Born to be Blue

born

This is the true story of jazz great trumpeter Chet Baker and his life struggle with heroin addiction and stage fright.  His version of jazz trumpet was unique and attracted a loyal following as a popular heartthrob.

Ethan Hawke convincingly becomes Chet Baker.  He is fearless, full of energy and empathy for the character.  The film is written and directed by Canadian Filmmaker Robert Budreau.

You may come away from this movie feeling like you now know this artist and what drives him.  At a minimum, he was another talented person destroyed by drugs.  Mr. Baker died in 1988 at the age of 58.

Rating: 2 globes

The First Monday in May

first monday

This documentary is focused on the powerful world of fashion as art, the cultural power of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the iconic power of Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief of Vogue magazine.

It is also a story about the creation and execution of the enormously successful 2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibit and lavish gala.  The theme: China: Through the looking Glass and the behind the scenes of planning, creating, challenges, barriers, problem solving, politics, complexity and execution made for a fascinating viewer experience.

There is a lot of focus on Ms. Wintour, and some attention to the celebrity aspect of the event, but the real star was the creative genius of so many fashion designers and the incredible imagination and execution in bringing those designs to life.  And then to the exhibit.  I wish we had been there.

Rating: 3 globes

April and the Extraordinary World

april

We must have missed something!?  The nations critics give an overall rating of 8.2 out of 10 for this French animated feature film.  The audio is by a who’s who of the French film elite.  We saw the English version recorded by an equally talented American cast.

That said, the animation was OK, just OK.  Certainly nothing ground breaking.  The storyline was interesting, but not complex.  A fantasy about a talking cat, lost parents, misguided authorities, evil mutant aliens, deadly global pollution and such.  It was not clear what the point was suppose to be.

One critic said it “bestows a sense of otherworldly exhilaration”.  I  saw the same movie but felt it was more “Scooby Doo” than exhilarating.  Much of the animated sets were creative but, frankly, quite juvenile.

We are huge fans of France, French films and French culture.  No doubt we lost something in the translation.

Rating: 2 globes

3 thoughts on “Criminal, The Jungle Book, Born to be Blue, The First Monday in May, April and the Extraordinary World”

  1. Of course I was going to see the Jungle Book. I’m glad you liked it, too. I was NOT going to see the Criminal: not my kind of movie. But now, with your review, it sounds interesting. Costner a psycho bad guy? That is even MORE interesting!
    As much as I love animated films, “April” looks more like a cartoon. And from your review, it looks like my instinct was right. Maybe if I’m stuck on a long flight….

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