Movies: 20th Century Women, Sleepless, The Founder

20th Century Women

The much anticipated release of this movie has been enjoying very favorable reviews from audiences and critics alike.  The story is set in 1979 Santa Barbara where a single Mom is raising her only son with the help of three boarders:  two young women and a carpenter/mechanic.

It is an interesting story, intelligently written and well acted, but ultimately fails to deliver any punch or powerful emotional conclusion.  Annette Bening delivers an often exceptional, and yet somewhat inconsistent, performance as the Mom. Elle Fanning, Gretta Gerwig, and Billy Crudup are the boarders.  Lucas Jade Zumann shines as the teenage son.   There are a dozen other cast members as well.

It is listed as a Drama/Comedy with an R rating for adult themes.  The movie was written and Directed by Mike Mills and runs just short of two hours.

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Sleepless

This is an unflattering story about the undercover Las Vegas Police, the Department’s Internal Affairs, and drug gangsters.  It is a remake of the 2011 French thriller Sleepless.  Critics and audiences have not been kind to this film. We saw it because it was one of the only new releases in theaters early this January.

Jamie Foxx was the leading man.  Gabrielle Union was well cast as the wife. Michelle Monagan, David Harbour, Dermot Mulroney, and Scoot McNairy rounded out most of the rest of the main actors.

There was plenty of action and twists but the production itself was weak.  Shaky camerawork, story blunders, i.e. Foxx gets stabbed in the abdomen on the left side and the wound for the rest of the film appears on the right side, puts this movie on the B list.

It is rated R for violence and strong language.  It is listed as a Crime/Thriller running 1 hour, 35 minutes.

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The Founder

Based on true events, this film chronicles the roots of the creation of the McDonald’s restaurant empire.

Michael Keaton is excellent as Ray Kroc, the struggling traveling salesman turned founder.  Mac, played by John Carroll Lynch and Dick McDonald, played by Nick Offerman are equally good.  The latter two created the brand and mapped the business model in 1950’s San Bernardino, California.

While much of the world sees Kroc as the genius “Founder”, the reality is deception, double crossing, manipulation and legal maneuvering played a major role in how this enterprise evolved.

The film is well made, acted and produced.  Ultimately, the commentary on the underbelly of Corporate steamrolling is what many viewers will recall when digesting this story.

Rated PG13 as a Drama/History.  1 Hour, 55 minutes.

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