Movies: The Innocents, Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates, The Secret Life of Pets, Hunt for the Wilderpeople

The Innocents


A true story of survival and renewal is set in Warsaw 1945 in the aftermath of post WW2.  A Polish nun seeks help from a French Red Cross doctor who refers the nun to the non-existent Polish Red Cross.  Against orders the French doctor follows the nun back to her convent.

The doctor discovers many of the nuns had be raped and pregnant.  The Mother Superior insists the nuns continue their monastic life of prayer and obedience.

This is a powerful film telling the relatively unheard of story.  It is beautifully filmed and directed by Anne Fontaine.  There are heartbreaking scenes of despair and emotional struggle.

There is also an uplifting moment at the end.  Overall, it is an amazing movie that should be seen.  You’ll need to seek this out as distribution is limited.  Polish and French with English subtitles.  115 Minutes run time.

Rating: 4 globes

Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates

mike dave

Mike (Mike Strangle), and Dave (Zac Efron) are young party animals with a history of causing havoc at family gatherings.  With their sister’s wedding on the horizon, the family demands they bring acceptable girlfriends to the planned Hawaii event.

What you get is a juvenile script, with over acted scenes, predicable slapstick, crude humor, characters you don’t really ever care about and just about every other corny cliche you’ve ever heard.

We didn’t care for the trailers when they first came out but one of the best Bay Area critics “raved” saying EVERY SINGLE SCENE was perfect and hilarious.  Total opposite was true.  It was horrific!  Your time is worthy of so much more.

Rating:  zero

The Secret Life of Pets


The much anticipated Secret Life of Pets was finally released last Friday.  The movie was well made with interesting characteristics incorporated into most of the critters.  And there were a lot of critters.  Good ones and, well, not so good.

It was good solid animated entertainment, often funny, sometimes madcap, sometimes a bit belabored.

It is already a box office sweetheart generating more than a $100 million in revenues during its opening weekend.

We thought it dragged a bit too long too many times to deserve a score any higher.  The preceding Minion short film was a pleasant surprise though.  Overall, good, but not great.

Rating: 2 globes

Hunt for the Wilderpeople


This movie from New Zealand is fresh, unique, family friendly, visually satisfying, and just quirky enough for high marks all around.

The talented director, Taika Waititi, tilts this story line to a child’s point of view.  That is not easy to do considering the depth of adult topics and situations encountered by the welfare child in the lead role and his would be adopted Dad hiding in the wilds for months from Child Services authorities.

Sam Neill plays the Dad character, arguably his best role in years.  His performance alone is worth the time and ticket.  But this story is so well developed, with so many surprises and subtle messages, it is not to be missed.

This is sure to become a classic.

Rating: 4 globes

3 thoughts on “Movies: The Innocents, Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates, The Secret Life of Pets, Hunt for the Wilderpeople”

  1. Hi, J&J, really enjoy your movie comments. I went to see The Innocents after I saw you at “The Hunt”. I enjoyed it very much–even though a painful subject, made even more so by being true. Loved the picture of you guys in Sicily. I haven’t gotten into your travel section yet, but intend to do so. I love your web site and really appreciate having this additional contact with you. P.S. about Mick LaSalle–he hated Swiss Army Man. Did you see his review? The little man wasn’t even in the chair. I thought SAM one of the most inventive and creative movies I’ve seen in a long time. See you soon, I hope. Meredith

  2. I read the same review in the SF Chronicle. Mike and Dave received a great review. Now I’ll think twice before i see it.

    The New Zealand film I never heard about now I want to see it.


  3. Wow, a zero in flames rating! Ha ha! I read one review that said “Mike and Dave need a new script!”

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