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“Megan Leavey”  – 8 out of 10


In a word:  Emotional

If you’re prone to jerking tears, bring a tissue box.

     The only thing wrong with this movie was that it was mostly predictable. Young woman from a dysfunctional family looks for a place to be worth something. She joins the Marines and ends up drawn to working with explosive sniffing dogs and develops a strong attachment to “Rex,” a beautiful German shepherd with whom she develops a loving relationship. So, the plot is set, the outcome is expected to be heartbreaking. 

     The setting is Iraq’s war in 2007. The IEDs explode and the young female Marine is injured along with “Rex.”  She is devastated when the Corps orders a separation of the two.

     Megan then spends all her energy, love, money and resources to recover “Rex” so she can adopt him for the remainder of his years.

     Based on a true story, the audience knows they’re being set up for a tear jerk, but it’s all okay because it’s about unconditional love and all the right reasons.

    Acting is good, particularly from the main character, “Megan” played by Kate Mara.  Rex also plays a magnificent role. (Woof Woof)

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“BAYWATCH”  –   Rating:  1


In a word: Junk

     This is among the worst of first-run movies I’ve seen, at least the first excruciating hour before walking out.

     Some might say — being among the senior set — we should have expected that.  We expected silliness, we expected light comedy and sexual references. We knew this was going to be a movie aimed toward young people. But we didn’t expect garbage.

     The movie is nothing more than an expose’ in skin and muscle ad nauseum, with Dwayne Johnson’s monstrous body consuming most of the screen, and then the little people along the beaches. If you like stupid dialogue, stupid plots and horrible acting, you’ll like this movie.

     Hardly a scene went by that the characters were not referring to or featuring some personal body parts, male and female. The “action” scenes were pathetically contrived.

     All things considered, the movie will probably be a big hit at the box office because of the target audiences who think the plethora of foul language and sex-based body appendages are a great source of humor.

     I wasn’t going to waste my time writing a review, but then I figured the bad deserves ratings as

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In a word:  Sleeper.

     This was a surprise. Based on other reviews and limited showings after release, we assumed this would be, at best, a fair movie, but worth taking a chance. The longer the film went on, the more engaging it became.

     Basically, it’s a story centered in England circa 1940, when the populous was subject to air raids by Nazi Germany. The central characters are writers hired on by movie producers to create a story that would convince the U.S. to get involved as an ally. 

     I’m amazed at some of the sets, how authentic they appeared and the horror of bombings of innocent people for doing virtually nothing to hurt or threaten anyone. Meanwhile, the main character, Catrin Cole (played by Gemma Arteton) is a woman who manages to get hired as one of the screenwriters for the new picture. This is one good actress who drives the story through various windows and plots earning the respect and sympathy of the viewer.

     Interesting, how we see the making of a movie in 1940, the sets, the props, actors, writers, director, as the subplot brings us to Dunkirk where one of

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THE DINNER” – 4 out of 10


In a word:  Annoying

     Our theater was about half full, perhaps 50-plus people. About 30 minutes into the film, I noticed the first couple get up and leave. Well, perhaps someone wasn’t feeling well. The notion of leaving occurred to us as well but we’d stay a while to see where it goes. Then, about one hour – the halfway mark – another couple left, followed by another two a few minutes later. By the time it hit the 1:20 mark, we’d had it.  So, that’s 8 walk-outs, and I have no idea how many followed us.

     We had read the 3 out of 4-star rating by AP writer, Lindsey Bahr, who had glowing comments to offer, and a bit of criticism. Advice: Don’t pay any attention to Ms. Bahr’s ratings of movies. She should find another genre to write within.

     The problem with the movie wasn’t the acting, the players performed their roles well. The problem was with the direction by Oren Moverman, who also wrote the screenplay adaptation from a novel by Herman Koch. The movie constantly splinters off into flashbacks, short-range and long-range, some of which seem unrelated

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“GIFTED” – 8 ½

     In a word:  Astounding.

     Remember the name, McKenna Grace.  She’s among the most “gifted” child actresses in motion picture history (in my humble opinion). So, it was only natural, for her to play the lead role in Gifted.

     In real life she is age 10, but she skillfully plays the role of a 6-7 year-old first grader (only 4’ tall) whose single mother had committed suicide when she was a baby.  While being raised by her uncle (played by Chris Evans), a boat mechanic in St. Petersburg, it becomes clear that the young child far excels her first-grade counterparts in mathematics, able to amazingly calculate college level problems.

     While the school faculty pleads with her doting uncle to place her in a school for “gifted” kids, he assigns more emphasis on his niece living a normal child’s life, not to be set apart from other kids. But that causes major conflicts.

     Enter, the child’s maternal grandmother who is at odds with the uncle insisting that the child be placed in special surroundings. Thus, the scenario sets the stage for a series of emotional outbursts and conflicts which draws the viewer even closer into the

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“The Zookeepers Wife”  –  9

In a word:  Intense

     First thing potential viewers need to know, this is a WWII story based on true events based in Warsaw, Poland, at the beginning of the war. It’s theme is much like Schindler’s List, which spiraled Oscar Schindler into a hero of sorts for saving the lives of hundreds of people from Nazi bullets, torture and ovens.  The characters of Antonina and Jan Zabinski, zookeepers at the Warsaw Zoo, are deftly played by Jessica Chastain and Johan Heldenbergh who also had saved hundreds of lives by hiding Jews in zoo basements over a five year period. Because it’s a true story, we are even more engrossed.

     Complete with Polish accent, Jessica Chastain plays the role of her life, worthy of an Oscar if only this movie was released in November, not April. Before the Nazi invasion on September 1st, 1939, life was good for the zookeepers. Chastain is portrayed with a number of otherwise wild animals that are her extended family, loving and caressing elephants, lions, camels and so much more. Then came the invasion of Hitler’s army which changed lives of millions.

     Scenes portrayed in the Warsaw ghetto were

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Are you a big fan of gratuitous gore and violence?

     Are you among those who think that the ubiquitous “F” word is essential in every scene, by every actor, in every sentence (almost), even when it has no relevance?

     Do you rate actors by how realistic they play out dying, killing, death and destruction?

     Do you enjoy watching vast pools of blood forming on floors and carpets strewn with dozens of dead bodies?

     Do you like dumb plots?

     If you said “Yes” to these questions, then do not miss seeing The Belko Experiment.

     In summary, the movie tells the story of a twisted social experiment where a group of 80 Americans are employed in a high-rise corporate office building in the middle of nowhere, Bogota, Colombia when, suddenly, all windows and doors are sealed locked on every floor.  A male voice from an intercom orders everyone to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed. Essentially, people are required to kill a number of innocent people in order to save their own lives. Naturally, it all gets out of control and the murder mentality takes over, resulting in senseless carnage.

     By the end of the movie, the origins

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