The Conjuring 2, Finding Dory, Genius, Now See Me 2, De Palma

We have not seen a movie worthy of our 4 globe rating since early April.  Finally, the log jam broke this week with the release of several award worthy films.

piper

Finding Dory and the preceding Pixar’s Animated Short film Piper will clearly be early Oscar contenders in their respective categories.

The Conjuring 2

conjuring2

As was the case in the first Conjuring film, The Conjuring 2 is based on real events in 1977, in the Enfield borough North of London.  The Hodgson family, mother and four children, struggle when the family encounter demonic and malicious spirits.

Real life paranormal investigators , Ed and Lorraine Warren are summoned by the church to journey to Britain to help the family.

This movie is well crafted, well acted and is certain to make audience squirm.  While it was often quite tense, it is sure to become another classic.  Do not miss the final revelation just before the credits!

Rating: 4 globes

Finding Dory

dory

The much anticipated Finding Dory opened this weekend topping the box office charts over $136 million.

Our theater was filled with parents children in tow.  The best surprise, the children were absolutely quiet.  Not a peep until the very end when a toddler announced, “Wow, that was good!” to thunderous laughter.

The youngster was right.  It was not only good, it was exceptional.  The right balance of Dory’s confusion, discovery, and acceptance.  It introduced a bunch of new supporting characters, many will undoubtedly become regulars to the already enormous Pixar/Disney stable.  You can expect to see more of a  new octopus superstar very soon.

Rating: 4 globes

Genius

genius

I was surprised to discover so many mixed reviews about Genius, a film about the famed Editor Maxwell Perkins (brilliantly played by Colin Firth) and his friendship/guidance with author Thomas Wolfe (portrayed for Jude Law).

The screenwriter, John Logan, shines.  I have a new admiration for Editor’s of the period, and their staff.  Imagine those poor typists with manual typewriters hammering away on thousands of pages of text, most of which would never see print.

It is the amazing cast that really brings this story about complex lives and conflicted relationships to fruition.  Add to Firth and Law; Nicole Kidman as the needy Author’s wife and Laura Linney as the Editor’s spouse.  Guy Pearce as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dominic West as Ernest Hemingway and Vanessa Kirby as Zelda Fitzgerald.

Ultimately, it stimulated my imagination.  What a fascinating time in history.  What interesting people.  What extraordinary perspectives and personalities.

Rating: 4 globes

Now You See Me 2

NYSM2

Here is another release with mixed reviews.  I’m not sure why.  It was more of what the first release offered, clever concepts, mostly likable characters, an original presentation, and enough twists and turns to compete with a rollercoaster.

Yes, there are scenes that are less than perfect.  Others stretch plausibility to the extreme.  And some scenes make no sense at all, did anybody really believe Daniel Radcliffe as the thug?!

Okay, so less than perfect, but I will say, the 129 minutes run time flew by.

Rating: 3 globes

De Palma

depalma

OH MY!  We were intrigued when we saw the previews and immediately hooked to see this documentary on the opening weekend.  First and foremost, this is a must for all cinephiles.

It is virtually a chronology of Hollywood filmmaking from Hitchcock forward.  At 75, De Palma delivers a ‘no holds barred’ explanation of his life’s work, behind the scenes perspective of how the industry really works and a wild romp through some unforgettable footage you won’t soon forget.

To be fair, at times it seemed like narcissistic rambling but there was so much information flowing out of him one is challenged to keep up and process the data.  What a goofy, crazy, amazing, creative creature.

Rating: 3 globes

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