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Think: “Love Story” – for those who can remember.    

     This is one of those movies where you need a box of tissues, particularly as the film evolves into the latter stages. 

     Stella, a victim of Cystic Fibrosis (Haley Lu Richardson) is a beautiful teenager that spends most of her time in the hospital as a patient. Her life is full of mundane routines and she has got everything figured out until she meets Will (Cole Sprouse), another teen with the same chronic and terminal illness. Because they are both afflicted with the same condition, it is imperative that that hold their conversations at least 5 foot apart from each other, lest one or the other can be contagious from airborne issues that could lead to rapid decline.

     Flirtation quickly turns into broken rules with potentially deadly consequences for the two teens. As the movie fades into its second half, the tension rises as both lovers-from-a-distance are drawn closer to each other with death looming over their relationships.

     Outside of a few implausible scenes, the movie captures the attention of an audience because of the dire nature of these two kids falling madly in love, yet

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GRETA  8.0

In a word:  Gripping

Greta exceeded our expectations, partly because the array of movie releases in these last few months have been pathetic. Never have we walked out on so many junk movies. Because the quality of the film was unexpected, Greta earns a high rating. This was definitely a well-crafted suspense film, rife with great acting and plenty of scenes that would have the audience on the edge of their seats. The story is told by Academy Award winning director, Neil Jordan.

     Actress, Chloe Grace Moretz, who I never heard of before, plays in the starring role as Frances, a sweet, naïve young woman trying to make it on her own in New York City, Frances discovers a handbag left in a subway train then goes about tracking the owner down to give it back. Not everything is as simple as it looks.

     The owner of the purse is a middle-aged widow named Greta (Isabelle Huppert), an eccentric French piano teacher with a love for classical music and an aching loneliness. Frances gives her back the purse and quickly grows closer as a friend to Greta as the two become fast friends. But there’s more

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THE WIFE  – 9.0

In a word:  Compelling

     If you prefer movies with a lot of action, sex, violence, Sci-Fi or political correctness, do not see this movie. This is pure drama with superb acting on the part of the prime stars, Jonathan Pryce and Glenn Close, who already has landed a Golden Globe for her masterful performance, not to mention a number of other awards. And, yes, she’s up for an Oscar as well.

     Set in 1992, Connecticut, the story begins where John Castleman, a famed literary giant, receives a call from Sweden telling him he is being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. He and wife Joan (Close) are elated and make their way to Stockholm for the grand awards.

     Meanwhile, the director brings us into flashbacks when these two lovebirds first met, wedded and established a harmonious relationship in which the wife helps and guides him through everyday living, more so than we could have imagined. The story expands to the young adult son who has issues with his careless father, and a few dalliances which The Wife is expected to ignore.

     The main plot surrounds a surprising revelation which sends all the

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COLD PURSUIT  –  4   (Out of 10)

In a wordAmateurish

     This was supposed to be thriller/revenge story with Liam Neeson at the head of the cast, followed by nothing other than amateurs, poor writing and dumb directing. I’d like to have a dollar for every time I’d groan with a pair rolling eyes. Oh give me a break.

     The setting is in the areas around Denver during the cold winter. Neeson’s grown son, had been abducted and killed by drug cartel people. This incensed Neeson to the point of embarking on a retribution campaign, but not until he was caught trying to blow his own brains out with a shotgun…which was never explained. Never mind that his marriage was over, apparently because the obsessed Neeson could no long communicate on a normal level.

     The story brings in a myriad of characters, including tribal chieftains, organized crime tough guys, oriental women, and a pair of investigative cops that must have come from Keystone. Kidding aside, two local police officers working in a small town outside Denver become the top investigators of things they don’t know what they are investigating. For diversity, they include one young

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“VICE”  –  8 OUT OF 10

In a word:  Propaganda

     This is a political film scripted and performed in such a manner as to stir hatred, bias and animosity toward the right wing, particularly during the Bush II administration which, according to the movie, was run by the strong man behind the president, the Vice-President, Dick Cheney. If you are a hard core conservative, you will hate the movie. If you are a hard core liberal, you will love it.

     Bear in mind, “propaganda” is not always false. Defined, according to Webster, it means:  “Ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause.”

     To be fair, some of the implied and/or direct criticism of the Bush administration is deserved, particularly the invasion of Iraq and the resulting death and destruction to the Iraqi people, not to mention 4424 Americans killed and over 30,000 more injured. That doesn’t include another 120,000 estimated dead among Iraqis.

     I usually consider myself moderately conservative in most political issues, but I was definitely unconvinced back in 2003 when the Iraq war was initiated by the U.S. using the suspicion of mass destruction weaponry as a

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The Mule” –  7.0


In a word:  Disappointing.

     Clint Eastwood is one of the all-time great directors in Hollywood, especially with movies like Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven. But this was no Unforgiven.

     It could be that attending any Eastwood movie is much like going to see Spielberg or Scorsece’s work, we have high expectations. Eastwood creates those same expectations, which is why this film does not rise to those usual common Eastwood standards.  Then again, what should we expect from a movie great who is approaching ninety years old.

     In the movie, Clint Eastwood plays Earl Stone, a man in his 80s who is broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job by some swarthy young drug dealers that simply requires him to drive and haul shipments and do nothing else. Unbeknownst to Earl, he’s just signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. He does so well that his cargo increases with each journey. Meanwhile, the mysterious new drug mule has also hit the radar of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates (played by Bradley Cooper). As his money problems become a thing of the past, Earl’s

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Green Book – 9.5

In a word: Captivating

This is the best movie I’ve seen this year, by far. It has already garnered a dozen or more cinematic awards in North America. No doubt, big guns like Oscar and Golden Globe are awaiting their turns.

It’s a rarity these days to walk out of a movie feeling all the emotions encompassed within the human persona; love, hate, class struggles, heartbreak, racial divide, musical excellence, gangsterism, New York culture, historical culture, (1962) and much more.

Story line is set in 1962: When tough guy Tony Lip (portayed by Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive high-class Dr. Don Shirley (portrayed by Mahershala Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from New York City into the Deep South for two months, they must rely on “The Green Book” that guides them to the few establishments safe for lodging for African-American travelers in southern states. Confronted with racism and danger, as well as plenty of humanity and humor, they are forced to set aside differences to survive on the journey of a lifetime.


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