Oppenheimer, Theater Camp, Barbie

Movie: Oppenheimer

This film chronicles the brilliant mathematician’s life before, during and after he creates the world’s first atomic bomb. This movie is about as near perfect as a movie can be. All the months of hype is well worth the three hour run time. The acting, direction, screenplay, cinematography, sound are breathtaking. This is the best movie of the past several years and has Oscar written all over it.


Movie 2: Theater Camp

Young kids go to a theater summer camp in upstate New York. We really wanted to like this movie, but it was slow, dumb and missed the mark on several important messages. But we seem to be in the minority though. Critics liked it a lot. And our audience had about a dozen young teens who laughed, applauded and had a good time. Maybe theater folks got the inside jokes, but we didn’t.


Movie 3: Barbie

Barbie goes to the real world to see what it’s like to be human. This movie is visually dazzling. The costumes and sets are stunning. This movie has a lot to say about a lot of current and relevant topics. It hits the mark perfectly. In one weekend it has broken money records worldwide. This is a wonderful summer extravaganza.


Insidious: The Red Door, God’s Crooked Lines, They Cloned Tyrone

Movie 1: Insidious: The Red Door

This is a horror thriller that is the fifth movie in the Insidious franchise. Not our favorite genre of movie, we do not remember seeing any of the first four. A father and son are hypnotized and eight years later find themselves in the identical nightmares. Not great film making, but better than we expected.


Movie 2: God’s Crooked Lines

This is a brilliant thriller with many twists and turns. A detective pretends to be mentally ill so she can be admitted to an asylum to investigate a death. This movie won several Spanish Goya awards. On Netflix. In Spanish, but we watched the dubbed English version.


Movie 3: They Cloned Tyrone

Well, now. We had read nothing about this movie before we saw it. Jamie Foxx plays a pimp who uncovers a murderous conspiracy in the neighborhood. Part thriller, part comedy, part Syfy and more than a little offensive and stereotypical, we found this a very entertaining movie. But know this movie is not for everyone. You will either enjoy it or turn it off. There is very little in between. We saw it in the theatre, but on Netflix starting July 21, 2023.


The Out-Laws, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, The Miracle Club

Movie 1: The Out-Laws

This is a comedy about a dim-witted bank manager who meets his bank robbing in-laws. There are some funny moments and it’s fun to see Ellen Barkin and Pierce Brosnan in comedic roles, but overall the movie is just OK. On Netflix.


Movie 2: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

This is an action packed spy thriller that does not disappoint. The cinematography is stunning. As usual Tom Cruise does most of his own stunts. There is a runaway train scene that is fantastically over the top. Sit back and enjoy the ride. Hope Part Two gets here quickly!


Movie 3: The Miracle Club

This is a charming little movie set in 1967 Ireland. Three friends win a church contest to go to Lourdes, France. It’s wonderfully old fashioned in its outlook, naivetĂ©, clothes and sets. Won’t win any awards, but an enjoyable movie with three A-list actresses.


Close to Vermeer, The Lesson, Joy Ride

Movie 1: Close to Vermeer

This is a wonderfully filmed documentary about the art of the enigmatic Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Only 37 pieces of his art are known to exist. The passion and love these art historians talked about his work was fascinating. For those of us who can’t get to Amsterdam for his current exhibition, this movie is the next best thing. English and Dutch with English subtitles.


Movie 2: The Lesson

This is a psychological thriller that can at times be cumbersome and tedious. A world renown novelist struggles to write one more story following the death of his son. The twists and turns are many. If you are a fan of Richard E. Grant, you will probably want to see this movie. His facial expressions, and acting, are amazing.


Movie 3: Joy Ride

This is a Seth Rogan produced laugh out loud comedy. Two young adopted Asian girls grow up together as best friends in an all white Pacific Northwest suburb. As adults they take a business trip together to China. It very well may be the best Asian themed movie we have seen. It is humorous, poignant and raunchy, sometimes all at the same time. It’s one of the best movies of the year. We hope Oscar has a long memory.


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Every Body, Ruby Gillman Teenage Kraken

Movie 1: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

This is another action-packed adventure in the long and distinguished franchise of Indiana Jones. Indy has one last brush with treasure and Nazi’s as he enters retirement. Not as good as the first several films but a fitting end. It was fun to see many familiar faces one more time. Over the top and farfetched, but a rollicking good time at the movies.


Movie 2: Every Body

This was an interesting and very well done documentary about a topic we knew nothing about: people born intersex with both x and y chromosomes. Less than 1% of the world population is born this way and it makes it very difficult for doctors, parents or the government to identify male or female on their birth certificates. Many are forced into unneeded, and unwanted, surgeries. Fortunately, this movie is shedding light on a very ignored subset of people.


Movie 3: Ruby Gillman Teenage Kraken

This is a computer generated animated comedy about underwater Krakens trying to live a human life on land. The animation is beautifully done. And you will recognize several of the voices, including Jane Fonda. We found the story line a bit slow. But the kids in the audience seemed to really enjoy it.


No Escape, The Last Rider, The Procurator

Movie 1: No Escape

This is a 2015 action thriller that is very, very well done. An expat takes his family to Southeast Asia for a new job. The next day a violent coup erupts. This movie is very intense as the family fights for survival. On Netflix.


Movie 2: The Last Rider

This documentary chronicles the life of American cyclist Greg LeMond. And tells the story of the 1989 Tour De France, arguably the greatest cycling race in history. We knew nothing about the athlete or the sport and found this movie very informative and entertaining.


Movie 3: The Procurator

This is a Chinese crime drama with several twists and turns. The chief prosecutor finds herself in the middle of a shocking national crime and rushes to solve it. The look and feel of this movie are very professional and well done. Our only complaint is that the English subtitles flew by. They were so fast we literally missed a third of the movie. Mandarin with very fast English subtitles.


The Flash, Asteroid City, No Hard Feelings

Movie 1: The Flash

This is another DC comic turned into a wannabe blockbuster movie. A young superhero goes back in time to try and save his mother. But it ultimately ends in chaos. This movie is a total mixed bag. Interesting yet confusing. Excellent special effects and then some of the worst. If you are a fan of The Flash comics you will enjoy this movie. If you are not a fan then you aren’t missing anything.


Movie 2: Asteroid City

Here is another dense, cumbersome, yet visually stunning, film by Wes Anderson. With his usual cast of about 25 A-list actors. We are not exactly sure what this movie is about. Reviews we’ve read said it’s about grief and how we deal with it. Well, ok, maybe. But we found it another Wes Anderson boring mess.


Movie 3: No Hard Feelings

This is a wonderfully raunchy romantic comedy that expertly showcases Jennifer Lawrence’s immense talent. A down on her luck Uber driver is hired by wealthy parents to bring their Princeton bound son “out of his shell”. In addition to the comedy, this film can be very poignant on several levels. A fun time at the movies!


The Blackening, Extraction 2, Elemental

Movie 1: The Blackening

A group of friends rent a house in the woods to celebrate Juneteenth. We thought this was going to be a horror film. Turns out to our surprise it is an excellent horror comedy. This movie mixes humor, horror and race with poignant and relevant messaging. There is definitely a lot here for conversation. We will see it again.


Movie 2: Extraction 2

This action thriller starts off where the first Extraction ended. (Not necessary to see the first film, but it may be helpful). Chris Hemsworth plays a mercenary out to rescue a family entangled with the Georgian mafia. This is a very fast paced, high budget, action packed, violent thriller. Both the original and this sequel are on Netflix.


Movie 3: Elemental

We found this Disney animated film charming with fantastic visual effects. This is wonderful family entertainment while subtly addressing several social topics, i.e., fire and water fall in love. Our theatre was full with many kids under the age of ten.


The Boogeyman, Past Lives, Persian Lessons

Movie 1: The Boogeyman

Based on a 1973 short story by Stephen King, this is a horror movie about the mythical character all kids grow up with. It has some intelligent moments but is not very scary and not particularly well done.


Movie 2: Past Lives

This is a wonderfully scripted and acted movie about two young friends in Seoul, South Korea who find each other 20 years later. One married and living in New York City, the other single and still living in Seoul. There are many layers to this intimate, slow moving and complex love story. In English and Korean with English subtitles.


Movie 3: Persian Lessons

Based on true events, a young Jewish man in a concentration camp persuades the Nazi’s that he is Persian and not Jewish. One of the camp commanders wants to learn Farsi and demands that he teach him. This is a powerfully told story about the human spirit and its will to survive. In German and French with English subtitles.


About My Father, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Daliland

Movie 1: About My Father

This is a comedy which we actually enjoyed more than we thought we would. An Italian immigrant is invited to meet the parents of his son’s fiancĂ© over the 4th of July. There are some very funny and charming moments. This movie won’t win any awards, but it is an entertaining couple of hours.


Movie 2: Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

We found this the most enjoyable, and fully developed, of the Transformers franchise. This is a sci-fi action movie with fantastic and innovative special effects. Critics are giving this movie mixed reviews, but it is making a ton of money worldwide.


Movie 3: Daliland

This movie chronicles the later life of the mustachioed artist Salvador Dali, portrayed wonderfully by Ben Kinsley. The acting and writing are very good. Dali’s eccentric life, odd relationships and various famous friends make this movie very interesting.