Movies: War Dogs, Ben-Hur, Sausage Party, Little Men

War Dogs

wardogs

This film is based on true events of 2005.  Unfortunately the true events were ultimately a cheating of the American taxpayers and a horrid example of beaurocracy  run a muck.  But that was real and the film is a separate animal.

The good news is the acting is strong and often powerful.  The on screen chemistry of leading actors Jonah Hill and Miles Teller is compelling and believable.  Director Todd Phillips weaves just the right balance of dark comedy, intrigue and suspense.  Bradley Cooper has an important bit part that ultimately brings everything together.

In the mean time, the Miles Teller character marries and has a child. The wife is played by Ana De Armas and wants nothing to do with the deceit and deception.  It is an important element in anchoring the story.

Run time is 114 minutes.  Rated R for language, drug use and sexual references.

Rating 2 globes

Ben-Hur

benhur

I was a bit surprised with the critics generally dishing this release of Ben-Hur.  I thought is was a good, if not great, recreation of the original.  It was updated to the latest production standards, honoring the original screenplay and presented a believable balance in the subject matter.

I liked the focus of the wealthy Jewish family living a Royal standard but not Roman.  That said, I did not buy for a moment the Morgan Freeman character as the Sheik.  That also said, Jack Huston was a good Ben-Hur and Toby Kebbell was an excellent brooding brother.

It will not replace the 1959 original, but personally, I liked the updated production qualities.  I found it entertaining and worthy of the time and ticket price.

Rating 2 globes

Sausage Party

sausage

I’m not quite sure where to begin…  First let me set the stage.  It is an animated story where every item in the supermarket is a real character.  At times it is quite funny.  Mostly, it is raunchy humor, irreverent, crude and manages to insult just about every type of person in society at one point in the story.

Visually, it is stunning, in more ways than you can imagine.  I am still trying to understand who the target audience is.  I am pretty sure we were the oldest ones in the theater so maybe there is a hint.

On the upside, the animation quality was excellent.  And the cast is virtually a who’s who of Hollywood.  Seth Rogen leads the crowd.  James Franco, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Selma Hayek, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd, Edward Norton round out only half the cast.

The run time is 1 hour, 29 minutes and is billed as an adventure/comedy.  Offensive language and sexual content is off the charts.  It is NOT suitable for youngsters.

Rating 1Globe

Little Men

littlemen

This is a charming story about the friendship of two young teenage boys, their parents and the dynamics that the adults struggle to resolve.  The screenplay is excellent, the acting is spot on, and the plot is loaded with real challenges of modern life.

This film is laser focused on its story line.  Director and co-writer Ira Sachs creates a story where neither too much nor too little of anything occurs.  Each character is just right.  Greg Kinnear delivers one of his best performances.  Paulina Garcia delivers an exceptional performance as the business tenant.  The two teens, Michael Barbieri and Theo Taplitz capture the ackward  times of urban thirteen year olds.  I predict we will see these young actors again.

This movie reminds one what is it like to be a kid again.  It also reminds us how quickly matters can become complicated.  This family drama has a run time of 1 hour 25 minutes.  Rated PG.  See this one soon as it is currently distributed to independent theaters.

Rating 3 globes

One thought on “Movies: War Dogs, Ben-Hur, Sausage Party, Little Men”

  1. I love love love Morgan Freeman. However, when I saw him in the Ben-Hur trailers, he looked out of place. I haven’t seen the movie because of that oddity and that the critics didn’t rate it highly. I wanted to see this epic on a large screen but maybe I’ll wait for it to come out on DVD. There are some movies that are so classic that it would be difficult to do a remake. I was hoping this would be an exception. Thanks for your take on this movie!

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