Rough Night

Rough Night Movie PosterThis is a bachelorette party gone horribly wrong. The movie has some high points, such as the juxtaposition of the raucous bachelorette party with booze, drugs, and strippers against the sophisticated wine-tasting of the bachelor party, where the most wild the groom and his groomsmen get is drinking red wine – chilled (gasp!). However, you could rename this film “Rough Middle”. The film sets up hilariously and ends delightfully, but the middle is quite cringe-worthy with the occasional witty zinger. I was glad I stuck it out to the end and sat through all the credits, because the final vignette really ties the move up wonderfully.

Box Office Bottom Line: This is a feminist comedy, and I appreciated the humor from the female point of view. I just wish the middle didn’t get so morbidly uncomfortable. I recommend with caution.

Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman is a romping good time! This film provides her origin story – where she’s from, what motivates her, who she is, and how she becomes Wonder Woman. Not overly violent, with just a hint of romance, this is a surprisingly character-driven action movie. We understand why she chooses to save humanity, and we thank her for it!!

Box Office Bottom Line: One of the best comic book hero movie adaptions. See this entertaining film!

20th Century Women

20th_century_womanIt’s 1979, and Annette Bening (who should have been nominated for an Oscar for the depth & emotional complexity she brings to this character) plays a single mom to a teenage boy. She enlists her son’s best friend, exquisitely and heart-breakingly played by Elle Fanning, and her quirky boarder (played by quirky Greta Gerwig) to help teach her son how to be a man. Beautiful, poignant, funny drama ensues. Writer-Director Mike Mills is as successful here (telling a story inspired by his mother) as he was with Beginners (a story inspired by his father).

Box Office Bottom Line: I loved this film. Its quirky drama is entertaining and affecting. Highly recommended!

Hidden Figures

Movie posterHidden Figures tells the story of 3 remarkable NASA mathematicians in the 1960s, who, despite experiencing the crushing racism & sexism of the time, persevered. Each played a crucial role in keeping NASA ahead in the space race. This film lays bare our unforgivable racist past, but also shows how one supportive person can make a big difference in another’s life. America has come a long way since then, but we still have a ways to go to achieve true equality for all, especially in the sciences.

Box Office Bottom Line: This is an important film. We shouldn’t have to learn history from Hollywood, but I’m glad for this excellent film. See it!!!

Arrival

arrivalWhat does the world do when several identical spaceships land around the world simultaneously? You try to figure out what they want. Amy Adams plays a linguist, whom the military calls in to figure out how to communicate with the aliens and understand why they are here.

Box Office Bottom Line: I liked this take on alien arrivals – not to assume it’s war (even if some characters do). While I did find it a bit confusing at the end, overall, I enjoyed it and its message.

Lion

lion-movie-poster-dev-patelThis remarkable film is based on a true story. An impoverished 5 year old Indian boy falls asleep on a decommissioned train that takes him thousands of miles away from his family & home. He survives on the dangerous streets of Calcutta for months before being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, using Google Earth and scant memories, he figures out where he is from and goes back to find his family.

Box Office Bottom Line: I was riveted by this film. It’s a story of tragedy and luck,  devastating and heartwarming. Beautifully acted and well-balanced. Highly recommended!

La La Land

La La Land posterA mostly charming Hollywood musical about a struggling actress and struggling jazz musician and their struggling relationship. I wished there was more dancing and that Ryan Gosling’s singing was better.

Box Office Bottom Line: It was entertaining, although it fell apart at the end for me. I think it’s getting award season notice because Hollywood loves movies about itself.