HAPPY NEW YEAR to all! These are the last four films we viewed in 2016. We wish everyone a healthy and happy 2017. Enjoy! J&J
This film is based on the August Wilson Tony Award winning play by the same name. While some critics claim the movie does not stand up to the stage production, the film captures the essence of the story and it translates well to the big screen.
Viola Davis and Denzel Washington deliver stunning performances. Russell Hornsby and Jovan Adepo play the sons, and Stephen Henderson plays the coworker and friend. The story is set in 1950’s Pittsburgh. Troy, the Denzel character who cannot read, was a talented baseball player who after a long prison sentence became too old to play professionally. The film is intense, exhausting and riveting.
Rated PG-13. The subject matter may be too intense for young children. This Drama runs a hefty two hours and 19 minutes. It is worth the investment. We think this film will garner several Oscar nominations and possibly win best actor/actress categories.
This film looks back to the space race of the 60’s to tell the story of a group of well educated African-American women whose contribution to the successful launch of the NASA space program went largely unrecognized until recent years.
The lead performances by Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae and Taraji P. Henson have exceptional on screen chemistry. Ample use of humor and perserverance help tell the story when racial segregation and workplace sexism was the norm in much of the country.
Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons also give good supporting roles. Director Theodore Melfi smartly lets the story’s honesty, and the performers acting skills, evoke an emotional sting for the audience to process.
Rated PG, this film is appropriate for younger children. Run time is 2 hours, 7 minutes.
Note: We found it interesting the SAG and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress went to Octavia Spencer but not to Taraji P. Henson whose performance was center to the story. We are hoping the Academy does not make the same oversight.
From the prolific Disney Studios comes another instant classic. This time chronicling the Polynesian history and culture. There is no shortage of catchy songs and characters along with exceptional animation.
The story is supported by an excellent vocal cast: Auli’i Cravalho as Moana, Dwayne Johnson as Maui, Nicole Scherzinger as Sina, Jemaine Clement as Tamatoa, Alan Tudyk as Hei Hei (the rooster), Rachel House as Gramma, Temuera Morrison as the Chief and Phillip Soo as a villager.
The movie is rated PG and listed as an Action/Fantasy running 1 hour, 53 minutes. This is sure to be Oscar nominated. This will be a tough category filled with many superb front runners. It will not be an easy call for our upcoming Oscar picks.
Things to Come
The latest film by the talented young French director Mia Hanson-Love tells the story of a successful philosophy teacher whose world is rattled by the news her husband of 25 years is leaving her for another woman.
The lead is played by the amazing Isabelle Huppert, Roman Kolinka supports as her student, Andre Marcon is the husband, Edith Scob is the mother and Sarah Lepicard rounds out the core cast as the daughter.
It is an insightful look at how a life crisis can quickly change and challenge adaptability and resilience.
Rated PG-13, listed as a Drama, running 1 hour, 42 minutes. Ultimately it was intriguing and interesting but light on the wow factor. French with English subtitles.