Movies of the Week: Beautiful Boy & First Man

We’ve come to another double feature Friday everyone! This week I will be going a great distance to partake of two features that may be well-celebrated in a few months and I cannot wait any longer to see them both. Our first feature takes a look at the bond between a father and son and how strong and tenuous it can be over time and when substance enters the equation. Based on the highly acclaimed memoirs by father and son David and Nic Sheff, Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet walk in the footsteps of the Sheff family in this chronicle of heartbreak, addiction and reconciliation in Beautiful Boy.

Director: Felix von Groeningen

Written by: Luke Davies and Felix von Groeningen

Starring: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, Amy Ryan, Christian Covenry, Oakley Bull, Kaitlyn Dever, Stephanie Scott, Julian Works, Kue Lawrence, Jack Dylan Grazer and Timothy Hutton

What am I expecting to see?: When I first caught wind of Beautiful Boy, I was riveted by the incredible chemistry between the two leading men (Chalamet and Carell) and I honestly believe that this could be their best performances. I think this movie will be dramatic and emotional as we explore seeing a father trying to save his son from himself and guiding him towards an emotionally stable path. I believe Beautiful Boy will be something to behold, if it is told with the same raw honesty the Sheff family depicted in their books.

The second feature of our double feature also borrows from the pages of history but that history of more widespread and known moreso than personal, but still from a personal perspective. In school, I believe we all learned about the space race; about how the United States was spurred into beating the Soviet Union by putting a man on the moon. We all know the legendary accomplishment N.A.S.A. and Neil Armstrong achieved in 1969 but despite all that we know now, I don’t think we saw the impossible story of the space race from the eyes of the man himself. Damien Chazelle teams up with Ryan Gosling once again in First Man.

Director: Damien Chazelle

Written by: Josh Singer

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll, Ciarán Hinds, Ethan Embry, Shea Whigham, Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbott, Patrick Fugit, Cory Michael Smith and Olivia Hamilton

What am I expecting to see?: There was no way I was going to miss Chazelle’s follow-up to La La Land! After seeing Whiplash and La La Land, no one needs to tell me that Chazelle is definitely one of the best young filmmakers working today and him taking on the story of the moon landing and exploring the perilous dimension of it certainly sounds exciting! I’m curious to see what Gosling can bring to portraying a prolific American figure in Neil Armstrong and I don’t think I’ve seen Claire Foy perform before, so I’m excited to see what she can do. First Man has been a must-see for me for some time and I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

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Movies of the Week: A Star is Born & Venom!

October has finally come, fall is upon us and the time has come for all serious heavyweight features to slowly come out of the woodwork and make their mark! With the new season taking its first steps, we kick off with a highly looked forward to double feature weekend with films that are on different sides of the spectrum but their appeal is undeniable. The first film I will see this weekend is a new take on a classic Hollywood fairy tale that just may be an awards season darling come February. Believe it or not, this is the fourth time this movie has been made; the first was in 1937, the second was in 1954, the third was in 1976 and now in 2018, it’s Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s time to shine in the spotlight and make music together. This weekend, the spotlight shines on A Star is Born!

Director: Bradley Cooper

Written by: Eric Roth, Will Fetters and Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliot, Anthony Ramos, Andrew Dice Clay, Bonnie Sommerville, Michael Harney, Jacob Taylor, Steven Ciceron, Rebecca Field, D.J. “Shangela” Pierce, William Belli, Rafi Gavron and Marlon Williams.

What am I expecting to see?: When I heard this movie got the green light for production-albeit with a different director and a different lead actor and actress-I kept an ear out for updates but when I saw the trailer, I immediately thought “yes”! This will be Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, as well as his name credited as a screenwriter, and there is no way I was going to pass that up, because Cooper has made his mark as one of the best actors in the industry already and A Star Is Born will further etch his name as an elite. I’m also looking forward to an excellent performance by Lady Gaga as well.

The second feature on this weekend’s lineup stars another excellent actor in Tom Hardy. This feature is also a movie based on a comic book property but it’s an interesting take on a property as it’s a movie that features a comic book antagonist who is re-labeled as an anti-hero. Hardy will star as one of the most recognizable characters in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery but with an origin story adapted to exclude Spider-Man. This is the tale of Eddie Brock, the start of Marvel Comics’ most toxic love story, this is they are Venom!

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Written by: Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinker, Kelly Marcell and Will Beall

Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Woody Harrelson, Ron Cephas Jones, Jenny Slate, Marcella Bragio, Michelle Lee, Mark Brandt, Melora Walters, Jared Bankens, Reid Scott and Sope Aluko

What am I expecting to see?: I would like to know how Marvel Studios and Sony plan to pull this movie off without Spider-Man and if they can pull it off successfully. They have an excellent actor and a respectable cast to give Venom some clout but I’m antsy about its outcome. The last time the character Venom was on the big screen, it did not go well but Ruben Fleischer appears ready to give this character some justice and he is using this opportunity to showcase some creative originality. If Venom can do enough to make me believe this is a worthy use of its time, I think the future can be bright for Eddie Brock and his symbiote.

Movie of the Week: White Boy Rick

I’m not back, it’s just I’ve never left considering that there haven’t been any films that have piqued my interest over the past few weeks. This week, we have an “only in America” feature, where we’re introduced to a “remarkable” American youth that rose to prominence and etched his way into history; in this young man’s case, infamy. In the 1980s, Richard Wershe Jr., did something no other 15 year old kid could ever do: became an undercover informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a drug-trafficking hustler and director Yann Demange is moving the details of his story from the pages of history to the big screen in this week’s feature, White Boy Rick.

Director: Yann Demange

Written by: Andy Weiss, Noah Miller and Logan Miller

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Richie Merritt, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bel Powley, Rory Cochrane, R.J. Cyler, Brian Tyree Henry, Bruce Dern, Eddie Marsan, Jonathan Majors, Piper Laurie and Hunter Flannigan

What am I expecting to see?: This movie caught my attention some time ago and I’m game for a movie that promises a solid acting performance from Matthew McConaughey, but going in, I have a feeling that I’m not going to be impressed with the final product. This will be my first time sampling Yann Demange’s work but from what I can tell, he has a solid cast with an intriguing story to tell and I for one am looking forward to going back to the movies with a reasonable set of expectations for White Boy Rick.

Movie of the Week: BlacKkKlansman

From legendary filmmaker Spike Lee and Jordan Peele, who is fresh off a career year from the highly successful Get Out, comes a truly outrageous tale that I can’t wait to see unfold on the big screen. In the 1970s, Colorado opened the door for African-Americans to enroll in the police academy and Ron Stallworth took on an assignment that no black person would ever voluntarily do: infiltrate the sick and morally bankrupt organization known as the Ku Klux Klan to thwart an imminent terrorist attack. That is the subject of Lee’s new joint, titled BlacKkKlansman.

Directed by: Spike Lee

Written by: Spike Lee, Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott and David Rabinowitz

Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Laura Harrier, Robert John Burke, Corey Hawkins, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Alec Baldwin, Frederick Weller, Ato Blankson-Wood, Harry Belafonte, Damaris Lewis and Michael Buscemi.

What am I expecting to see?: It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a good joint from Spike Lee and BlacKkKlansman appears positioned to take a place as one of the best films of 2018. I’m looking forward to seeing if John David Washington has it in him to be as great an actor as his father and more to the point, I want to know more about how this investigation played out because the subject matter is very intriguing. I’ve been looking forward to BlacKkKlansman for a very long time and I think I’m in for a treat!

Movie of the Week: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Has anyone else recovered from Infinity War? No? Me neither. If anything, this week’s feature film will take me and millions back to the blissful time before the….trauma. This Independence Day weekend we roll on with Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we check in on what happened to Scott Lang after most of the Avengers went to a supermax after Civil War. An entity from the Quantum Realm has escaped to Earth and this Ghost plans to unleash chaos unless she is stopped. Ant-Man and the Wasp appear to be the world’s only hope.

Director: Payton Reed

Written by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari and Paul Rudd

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Hannah John-Kamen, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Walton Goggins, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Laurence Fishburne and Michelle Pfeiffer.

What am I expecting to see?: Right now, Phase Three of the MCU has been damn near perfect and I fully expect Ant-Man and the Wasp to carry on the streak of excellence. I remember being satisfied with the first Ant-Man and I think that with Payton Reed coming back, more settled in his role as director compared to the first film, Ant-Man and the Wasp seems destined to be more entertaining than the first one. Fireworks and superheroes this week? What more could a man want in his Fourth of July weekend!

Movie of the Week: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Three years ago, Denis Villenueve and Taylor Sheridan took audiences to the border in a film that took audiences to the edge in one of the best pictures of the year. The drug war along the Mexico-U.S. border is brutal and without rules and to fight that war, soldiers are needed; soldiers who don’t exactly adhere to the same rules and controls that our men and women in combat answer to. This week, we’re going back to the land of wolves in the follow-up to the relentless and brilliant Sicario, in Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

Director: Stefano Sollima

Written by: Taylor Sheridan

Starring: Benecio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jeffery Donovan, Isabella Moner, Catherine Keener, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Matthew Modine, Elijah Rodriguez, Jacqueline Torres and Shea Wigham

What am I expecting to see?: I thought Sicario was the third best film to come out in 2015! That being said, I did NOT expect or want a sequel, let alone one without Denis Villenueve or Emily Blunt, two figures who played a big part in the first film’s success because I felt that the film was strong enough to stand on its own without any future installments. I am going into Sicario: Day of the Soldado with a great degree of skepticism because I have doubts that I will enjoy this sequel as much as I enjoyed the first one. Still, Sheridan is a strong storyteller and I believe he’ll craft a formidable story for director Stefano Sollima to work with.

Movie of the Week: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Can you believe that the original Jurassic Park roared into theaters a quarter of a century ago? If I can take away anything from Steven Spielberg’s classic is the moral that man cannot play God and suffer no consequences; bringing mankind and dinosaurs together? Bad idea with very bad results but still great material to watch as you consume popcorn. Anyway, we’re on the cusp of another feature that explores why mankind should not be allowed to play God. The dinosaurs are back and they are hungry but this time, the park is as extinct as the dinosaurs should be. This week, we’re going to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Directed by: J.A. Bayona

Written by: Derek Connelly and Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Toby Jones, B.D. Wong, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Geraldine Chaplin, Isabella Sermon and Jeff Goldblum

What am I expecting to see?: I recall the last Jurassic World feature and I was a bit indifferent towards it. The big bad dinosaur was menacing but it had the all-too-familiar feel of a sequel of a franchise that was better off extinct. This feature, we have a change in director and from what I see, this appears to have a more amplified level of suspense and fright that may work well in its favor. I’m giving Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom a watch because I’m curious about where Bayona wants to take this franchise.