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Movies Cigars and a Brew



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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

Director: James Gunn Writers: James Gunn, Dan Abnett (and 9 other creators of the characters and the comic series) Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell Rated PG Runtime 136 MIN In 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise hit and a major feather in the cap of Marvel, who somehow knocked it out of the proverbial park with an offbeat space opera starring a talking raccoon...


The Hero (2017) #MontclairFilmFestival

Director: Brett Haley Writers: Marc Basch, Brett Haley Stars: Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Nick Offerman Rated R 1HR 33MIN US release June 9th, 2017 The Hero boasts a fantastic cast and a striking story that delves into the life of an aging actor, Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott). Lee lives alone and though he lives comfortably, he does so without the active career of his youth. His agent’s only offer is the acceptance of a lifetime achievement award by the Western Appreciation...


Love After Love ( #Tribeca2017 )

Director: Russell Harbaugh Writer: Russell Harbaugh, Eric Mendelsohn Stars: James Adomian, Andie MacDowell, Juliet Rylance, Francesca Faridany, Dree Hemmingway, Gareth Williams This movie had its world premier at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival with Russell Harbaugh and Andie MacDowell on hand, among others, for a post-screening Q&A. Love after Love is Russell Harbaugh’s directorial début and, in comments before the screening, he notes his intention for the movie to have an emotional effect...


Super Dark Times ( #Tribeca2017 )

Director: Kevin Phillips Writers: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski Stars: Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Sawyer Barth, Max Talisman Rated R Runtime 100 min Super Dark Times played at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival with the director and most of the cast in attendance at my screening. It is a dark feature that commits to its premise with considerable zeal. The development of the characters and the situation they face resonates and makes the viewer squirm in his/her seat as...


Dog Years ( #Tribeca2017 )

Director/Writer: Adam Rifkin Stars: Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke, Ellar Coltrane, Chevy Chase, Nikki Blonsky 1 HR 54 MIN Dog years premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Most of the cast and the director/writer, Adam Rifkin, were in attendance for the début (I actually sat directly behind Chevy Chase and his family). The story centers around an aging actor, Vic Edwards (Burt Reynolds), adored in his youth by throngs of fans, who nows lives alone eating Hungry Man tv...


Thumper ( #Tribeca2017 )

Director: Jordan Ross Stars: Eliza Taylor, Lena Heady, Pablo Schreiber, Grant Harvey, Ben Feldman, Daniel Weber Rated R 1HR 33MIN So I got a chance to view the second showing of the worldwide premiere of Thumper at Tribeca 2017. Director, Jordan Ross, was on hand and introduced the film as well as had a Q&A post-screening. He noted after the film viewing that his work on documentaries was a principal source of material for the story. With the success of this film, I’d like to see more doc...


Free Fire (2017)

Director: Ben Wheatley Stars: Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Noah Taylor, Cillian Murphy Rated R 1HR 30MIN Wide release April 21 (US) If you have ever wondered what a shootout would look like if BOTH sides had stormtrooper marksmanship, this might be the movie of the millennium for you. This skin deep 1978 Boston warehouse gangster flick, has a lot of humor for the duration of the 90 minutes, even if plot development doesn’t move past the setup. And let’s be honest here, the...


Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Director: Rupert Sanders Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Carmen Pitt Rated PG-13 Runtime: 105min Okay, before I begin this review, I need to confess…I knew nothing about Ghost in the Shell in its anime incarnation prior to this movie (the original manga written by Masamune Shirow with the anime showing up in 1995). My review, therefore, can only assess the movie at face value. And since we are talking about faces, let’s start with the lovely Scarlett...


Gifted (2017)

Director: Marc Webb Star: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Roberta Taylor Rated PG-13 101 minutes This is Marc Webb’s most recent effort since his big screen Amazing Spiderman days. And like those two movies, I am left with conflicted feelings over what was brought to screen. Don’t get me wrong, the casting and portrayals are excellent, but, I have some questions about the message and the framing of the dialogue in question. Chris Evans has become the on-screen...


Going in Style (2017)

Director: Zach Braff Stars: Joey King, Ann-Margret, Michael Cain, Alan Arkin, Christopher Lloyd, Matt Dillon Rated PG-13 Runtime 96 min Though we often think of Zach Braff for his role in Scrubs, one of his most notable roles was a writer, director, and star of 2004’s Garden State. This time he helms the action comedy, Going in Style, written by Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures), a re-imagining of Martin Brest’s 1979 film of the same name. The 1979 version was a darker version, starring...


The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

Director: Niko Caro Stars: Jessica Chastain, John Heldenbergh, Daniel Bruhl US Release 3-31-17 Rated PG-13 124 min Endless tales of heroic deeds can be told about World War II and the atrocities associated with the holocaust. The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the courageous story of Antonina Zabinski, adapted from a novel (written by Diane Ackerman) based on Antonina’s diaries. The movie, however, is disappointing in several aspects, despite a wealth of riveting material to draw from. Antonina...


The Discovery (2017)

Directed by: Charlie McDowell Stars: Rooney Mara, Robert Redford, Jason Segel, Riley Keough, Ron Canada, Jesse Plemons A Netflix Original Available to stream March 31st Charlie McDowell directs his second feature film with a stellar cast and poses an answer to the ultimate question of life…what comes next? The potency of the question possesses a riveting character that offers a myriad of potential treatments. McDowell and cowriter Justin Lader choose to sidestep the trappings of a...


Wilson (2017)

Director: Craig Johnson Stars: Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Cheryl Hines, Isabella Amara This graphic novel adaption, directed by Craig Johnson, will not supplant the volleyball of the same name (from the movie Castaway) with household recognition of the name Wilson. The considerable potential of this movie lies in the source material and most notably the inclusion of Woody Harrelson as the lead. Unfortunately, the limitations of dialogue and script diminish the result. Wilson can be...


Top Movies of 2016 – Countdown

Every year I intend to give the rundown of my top movies of the year. This year, I am finally bringing this to fruition. Below you will find my top movies of 2016. So Without further ado… #12 The Accountant I know it seems self-serving that I put a movie about an accountant on my list of top movies for the year. The truth is, I went in expecting not to like this one. I adore Anna Kendrick, but, I haven’t loved her in everything I have seen, and the premise of this one seemed bad out of the...


John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Director: Chad Stahelski Stars: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburn, John Leguizamo, Bridget Moynahan Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller Runtime 2HR 2MIN Rated R Chad Stahelski helms the telling of the second chapter of John Wick’s unlikely rise to prominence in the action anti-hero world. This should come as no real surprise given Chad’s history in film, which is mostly made up of stunt coordination in notable films like 300, The Matrix,...


Lego Batman (2017)

Director: Chris McKay Stars: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Zach Galifianakis, Jenny Slate Runtime: 1 HR 44MIN Rated PG Warner Brothers throw everything but the kitchen sink at you in this frenetic tongue in cheek take on Batman set in the Lego universe. Batman is arguably the most successful superhero franchise of all time, having inspired generations from its comic book franchise to early TV and movie incarnation with Adam West, to its turn in the late 80’s and...


Gold (2017)

Director: Stephen Gaghan Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Stacey Keach Genre: Drama, Adventure, Thriller Rated: R Wide Release USA 1-27-2017 Runtime: 2Hr 1Min Insert punny line indicating the ironic title in relation to the less than “gold” result of the film. Or maybe, use it as an opposite to Matthew McConaughey’s appearance. Either way, Gold falls short of its aim, despite a top-shelf cast. Stephen Gaghan directs the film, which is one part heist thriller...


La La Land (2016)

Directed and Written by Damien Chazelle Stars: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, JK Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt Genre: Musical, Comedy, Drama Rated: PG Runtime: 2 hr 8 min La La Land is Damien Chazelle’s third directorial effort and comes only a year after he wrote and directed my top movie of 2015, Whiplash. Again, we are treated to a musically charged affair, that is not only about the craft of music (along with budding film aspirations), but is a full-fledged old style musical itself. It is clear...


Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Director: Travis Knight Stars: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Rooney Mara, Matthew McConaughey Kubo and the Two Strings is the second movie by stop-motion animation heavy-hitter Laika, the first being Coraline 2009. This movie is another win for the young animation studio. It tells an original tale of an imagined Japanese mythic fantasy, with somber almost horror-like elements intermixed with a plucky youth in the protagonist, Kubo. Kubo’s mother ran away from...


Patriot’s Day (2017)

Director: Peter Berg Starring: Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Bacon, Michelle Monaghan, Micheal Beach, Alex Wolf, Themo Melikidze Rated R Runtime 2 Hr 13 Min Depicting the terrible events that surrounded the terrorist bombing of the 2013 Boston marathon, Patriot’s Day taps into the fear of a generation. Mark Wahlberg plays a fictional police detective, Tommy Saunders, who is serving the end of a disciplinary action as a beat cop at the finish line of the Boston Marathon....