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In two words:  Classic drama

If you are looking for a movie that has lots of action, guns, chases, and car crashes, skip this film. As well, if you’re interested in comedy, violence, foul language, sexual inferences, war, peace, blaring music, sci-fi, horror, or mega-stars, don’t see this  However, if you get hooked on deep drama, human struggles, the love between a deeply trouble father and his loyal teenage daughter, who share a life of total independence and isolation…and all the difficulties and emotions that derive from there, don’t miss this movie.

The story focuses on two characters. Will is a soft-spoken, deeply troubled former veteran who struggles with a form of PTSD that compels him to live a life of isolation. He also is the widowed dad of a teen girl called Tom to whom he is devoted but flawed by his inability to cope with society in general. So, they live off nature, in the parks and forests of Oregon until, one day, they are discovered by park officials, separated and brought into the concrete jungle of “civilization” to be subjected to “civilizing.”  

After days of tests and interviews, satisfied

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In a word:  Intense

Finally, a good riveting action-packed movie in July, amidst a muddle of mediocre releases.

     This is a good film for these times, because it highlights stark realities collectively involved in the world of illegal immigration at the Mexican border, particularly all the off-shoots of drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, corruption and violence associated with it.

     The early scenes show us suicide bombings inside a retail store set off by radical Islamic extremists. This leads to the focus of the movie which is the CIA operative played by Josh Brolin who is secretly assigned by the government to penetrate the cartels in order to bring criminals to justice, including the use of violence and murder if needed. Brolin’s character teams up with Alejandro Gillick, deftly played by Benicio Del Toro, who has his own tragic history connected to the deaths of loved ones. These two fine actors drive the movie, which is deep in emotion and awash with violence, particularly with the use of modern technology.

     In addition to the two fine actors names above, the story also involves two teen kids, each within separate plots. Played by Elijah

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For movie buffs and lovers, here’s a few of my ratings for the “Best” all-time movies,  (broken down into genre),  plus actors and directors. Tell me your opinions.

Best movie of all time, Drama:

  1. Godfather
  2. Schindler’s List
  3. Titanic
  4. Dances With Wolves
  5. Shawshank Redemption

Best movie all-time; Comedy

  1. Some Like it Hot
  2. My Cousin Vinnie
  3. Young Frankenstein
  4. Blazing Saddles
  5. Liar Liar

Best Movie all-time: Musical

  1. Grease
  2. Yankee Doodle Dandy
  3. My Fair Lady
  4. Chicago
  5. Phantom of the Opera

Best actor, all-time:

  1. Daniel Day Lewis
  2. Robert DeNiro
  3. Jack Nicholson
  4. James Earl Jones
  5. Al Pacino

Best Actress, All-time

  1. Meryl Streep
  2. Bette Davis
  3. Ingrid Bergman
  4. Halle Berry
  5. Jody Foster

  Best Director, All-time  

  1. Steven Spielberg
  2. Clint Eastwood
  3. Cecil B. DeMille
  4. Alfred Hitchcock
  5. Francis Ford Coppola



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“Gotti”  – 7


In a word:  Violent

This is a good movie if you like stories, true or false, about racketeering and gangsterism. In this violence-ridden biopic film, John Travolta portrays John Gotti as a true-to-life character who rose to head the New York-based Mafia, until he died in federal prison at the age of 61.

The movie chronicles Gotti’s rise to fame, equal to that of a Hollywood idol, his devout loyalty to family, and his penchant for notoriety which came at a cost to many lives, not to mention millions of taxpayer dollars spent on prosecutions and law enforcement efforts trying to nail the charismatic hoodlum.

John Travolta gives us a noble performance, deftly immersing himself in the manner and swarthiness of Gotti, both as a handsome killer and later, a dying jailbird. The concern I have as a movie buff, and as an American is the love and admiration festooned upon such a violent criminal, both in real life and in the minds and hearts of fans. Gotti was handsome, Gotti was a boss of bosses, Gotti was vicious and he was a hero of sorts. But he was a really bad guy and we shouldn’t

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“OCEAN’S 8” –   7


In a word:  Entertaining

     Good (not great) action movie involving eight beautiful ladies. Can’t lose with that formula.

    Sandra Bullock is the spearhead actress, playing the role of the now deceased, Danny Ocean’s sister. She has pulled over five years in prison for a major theft, then – to secure her parole – promises to go straight forever more. Naturally, she’s lying. Not only is she a cocky kleptomaniac, she has formulated what would become the greatest jewelry heist in world history. The target; a fabulous diamond necklace worth over $150 million currently stored under heavy guard in an underground vault,  scheduled to be worn by a major celeb at New York City’s star-studded annual Met Gala.

     Bullock’s character, Debbie Ocean, knows such a robbery must be coordinated and executed with perfect timing, so she secures, one by one, the skills of seven other lady crooks with varied offerings of expertise, including Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Laura Dern.  One is a digital security systems expert, another a jewelry maker, a fashion designer, art dealer, actress and so on. Cate Blanchett plays Bullocks’s best friend. Hathaway is the beautiful

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“TULLY”  – 8


In a word: Deep

     This movie is pure drama, no guns, no car chases, no rampant sex, no heroes, no monsters. It’s all about domestic misery and stress and pure unadulterated unhappiness that many of us may have experienced, one time or another.

     Playing the role of Marlo, Charlize Theron gives an Oscar-worthy performance as a frazzled 40-year-old housewife and mother of two kids, with a baby in the oven ready to birth. Her husband is a decent provider, often traveling, but contributes little to allay her despair while he plays video games in most of his spare time. Meanwhile, she must give special attention to a special-needs (perhaps autistic), six-year-old boy who is being expelled from his school because of constant class disruptions.

     Along comes her wealthy brother who provides the money for a temporary rescue in the person of “Tully” a 26 year-old self-described nanny whose takes over night time care duties for the new baby thus giving Theron’s character a chance to gather herself from going insane. Deftly played by Mackenzie Davis, Tully proves out to be a personable and caring figure who appears to have intelligence and compassion far beyond her years.

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“Chappaquiddick”  –  8.5


In a word:  CYA

     I know that’s not really one word, but it’s all in the definition, because that’s what the movie was all about: Covering Your Ass.

     What’s good about this docudrama is the authenticity injected by writers and the director. There were many opportunities to suggest or infer sensationalism, sexual activity, or even corruption at the highest levels of government, but the movie makers stuck to the facts as they were known without adding sugar and spice for effect.

     This is a true story about a car accident, the death of a young woman, and a powerful senator who, with the help of his top aides, did all they could to cover the truth. What came across stronger than any other emotion for the viewer, was then reality that the only thing that the self-absorbed senator cared about was himself and his political future.

     Most of us older folks will remember the tragic accident on July 18 of 1969 in which young Mary Jo Kopechne, age 28, died by drowning in a car driven by Senator Ted Kennedy around 11:30 p.m.  Kennedy got out, and swam to shore. Mary Jo perished. In the script,

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