Tag: Woody Harrelson


LBJ

October 26th, 2017 — 3:30am

*****

LBJ

If you are of a certain age or a student of history and can remember Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. this movie should grab you, fascinate you and hold your attention. Johnson (magnificently played by Woody Harrelson) was a seven term United States senator from Texas who was for many years, majority leader of the U.S. Senate and was chosen by JFK to be his vice presidential candidate. He rode to victory with Kennedy in 1960. Rob Reiner, who directed this movie with the use of very realistic flashbacks, builds up the tension leading to those fateful days in Dallas in 1963 when Johnson assumed the presidency.

Much to the surprise of his former southern Democratic colleagues in the Senate, Johnson did not support their views on segregation and discrimination. This movie written by Joey Hartstone deals mainly with how LBJ pushed through JFK’s cutting-edge Civil Rights Legislation.

Harrelson is fantastic in capturing the essence of LBJ, his mannerisms, facial expressions, and speech inflections. Along with the script by Joey Hartstone and direction by Rob Reiner, in our opinion, this is one of the best pictures of the year. There also are some very fine performances by Jennifer Jason Leigh as Lady Bird, Richard Jenkins as Senator Richard Russell and Michael Stahl-David who plays Bobby Kennedy.

Much of Johnson’s presidential legacy is often tainted by his failure to end the Vietnam War which this movie did not focus on. However, the realistic depiction of Johnson’s domestic accomplishments which not only included civil rights legislation but also welfare reform and Medicare and Medicaid is often forgotten. This movie gives him the well deserved accolades and appreciation for his contribution to our country. Likewise we believe this film should receive great accolades for being a very well done and engrossing cinematic accomplishment. (2017)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama, Politics

The Edge of Seventeen

December 5th, 2016 — 8:42am

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-12-40-32-am****

On The Edge Of Seventeen-sp

This film is very effective as it smoothly slides the viewer into the mind of a 17-year-old high school girl. We appreciate her desire for friends, perhaps being sensitized by some childhood experiences of being bullied. Then there were other potential conflictual events that can happen in any teenager’s life in high school. But as much as the audience was getting a feel of this life stage and perhaps being reminded of their own individual experiences, this movie inevitably became the story of this one girl, Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), and how she had to deal growing up with a “perfect” older brother (Blake Jenner) and a far from perfect mother (Kyra Sedgwick) as well as all the events that transpired during her 17 years of life. As any therapist can tell you, there is no truly typical teenage girl. We are all a function of our family dynamics and subsequent conflicts and fantasies. We all emerge from this life stage with varying degrees of subsequent mental stability which will then influence the next generation. Sometimes an experience in therapy will help unravel the painful missteps and unpredictable events that occur as we attempt to navigate this life stage.

Miss Steinfeld, who turned in an outstanding performance, is certainly already a rising star. She received great recognition at age 14 when she was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in True Grit and has made starring appearances in many subsequent films. Woody Harrelson was also excellent in this film as the thoughtful, sensitive high school teacher and Haley Lu Richardson did a great job as Krista, the girlfriend. Screenwriter and director, Kelly Fremon Craig has given us a great story and done a very good job presenting it. The photography in this movie was magnificent. While you might not pay close attention to the music during the film, there was a constant flow of it in the background influencing our unconscious. The overall experience of this movie was a powerful and enjoyable one. (2016)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Now You See Me

June 10th, 2013 — 5:59am

**Now You See Me

Now You See Me- rm – The opening scene is a great magic trick which you in the movie audience can participate if you pick a card, any card from the deck being shown to you. It is the first 40 seconds of this trailer for the movie- after the commercial . What comes next is a thriller caper with lots of magic. The first trick was people at a gigantic Las Vegas show robbing a bank in Paris . Everything seemed to get more grandiose from there. The screenplay by Ed Solomon and Boaz Yakin and directed by Louis Leterer built one preposterous gimmick after another. The key magicians Jesse Eisneberg, Isla Fischer and Woody Harrelson seemed to be one step ahead of the FBI and Interpol led by Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent. What might have been a great car chase through Manhattan’s highways and bridges was known to anyone from New York as unrealistic as the cops never weave in and out of traffic dangerously risking innocent people’s lives – especially just to catch a potential money thief. Michael Caine of course is always great as some rich guy entwined with tricky magicians seemingly getting away with lots of money. Morgan Freeman is intriguing as usual, this time as the ex-magician who exposes other magicians (perhaps based on the real life “ Randy, the Magician ”). Do we have very clever magicians, an inside job, get rich quick artists or a bunch of robin hoods?? In the end there is a good chance you are not going to care that much. Now that we have seen it, you don’t have to. (2013)

Comment » | 2 Stars, Thriller

Transsiberian

September 6th, 2010 — 2:50am

* * * *
Transsiberian
– sp – Shades of the Orient Express. If you like train movies and really good mysteries you will love this film. Woody Harrelson does an excellent job in one of the lead characters. The female leads(Emily Mortimer and Kate Mara) are even better and the story and the director deserves credit for a top notch movie. Ben Kingsley is outstanding as a Russian policeman. No dull moments here. It will hold your interest every minute. 2008

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Thriller

The Messenger

January 16th, 2010 — 2:22am

The Messenger* * * *
The Messenger
– sp – When you have a good script dealing with a storyline of families being informed by two military guys that their loved ones have been killed in action and you bring in top notch actors, you have the formula for a great movie. Co-writer and first time director Oren Moverman who has some background in the Israeli army captured the drama and emotion of death notification of the Iraqi/Afghanistan War. Ben Foster delivers an exquisitely sensitive performance playing Will Montgomery a young battle scarred veteran who is assigned the last 3 months of his military rotation to work stateside with Captain Tony Stone very capably inhabited by Woody Harrelson. The Captain knows the routine for these heart-wrenching visits with family members and has almost insulated himself from his feelings about what he is doing. Pain appears to drip from every pore as we watch them go on their appointed tasks. Samantha Morton is also outstanding in her role as Olivia Pitterson one of the wives who receives the dreaded news. The well-written script allows the story of each character to unfold, as the young sergeant becomes a buddy with the crusty Captain as well as becoming very understanding and close with the young widow. Steve Buscemi is also unforgettable in his role as a dad getting the news about his soldier son. Woody Harrelson was a guest at our screening and revealed that the director did not have the actors rehearse the notifications scenes, which appeared to intensify the spontaneity and rawness of them. This was counterbalanced in our opinion by a few unnecessarily drawn-out scenes where Harrelson and Foster’s characters were establishing their bonding by drinking in a hideaway cabin in the woods with two girls or visiting the sergeant’s old girl friend at her engagement party. Nevertheless we believe this film will stand as one of defining depictions of the war that we are in today. (2009)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, War

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