Movie Review – The Great McGinty

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The Great McGinty (1940)
Written & Directed by Preston Sturges

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We begin at a bar in a banana republic where a forlorn and suicidal American banker is stopped from ending things by the bartender. The bartender is also an American, Dan McGinty, who tells his patron that he was once governor of a state in the U.S. From there we flashback to the story of McGinty’s rise and fall to power. During the Great Depression, he’s another jobless schmoe who is coerced into a voting fraud scheme for two bucks. He ends up showing an impressive level of moxie, and a local mob boss decides to use McGinty in his plans. He starts out as an alderman before moving to mayor and eventually governor of an unnamed state. But, as the film’s opening prologue tells us, one moment of good will topple McGinty back to the bottom.

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Movie Review – The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water (2017)
Written by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor
Directed by Guillermo del Toro

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Elisa Esposito lives in Baltimore circa the early 1960s. She is mute since birth and works as a cleaning woman at a government laboratory. Her only friends are Zelda, a fellow cleaner, and Giles, her neighbor who is a closeted gay man. One night while working, a new specimen is brought into the lab by Colonel Strickland. The creature was discovered in the South American rainforest and is a humanoid fish person. Elisa feels a connection to this poor animal and worries as Strickland oversees his torture. A plan begins to develop, and Elisa becomes determined to help her new friend escape this nightmare existence.

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Movie Review – The Battle of the Sexes

The Battle of the Sexes (2017)
Written by Simon Beaufoy
Directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

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It’s 1973 and Billie Jean King is the first female athlete to make $100,000. She is right in the midst of her reign as the queen of the court. On the flipside is Bobby Briggs, 55, a former tennis champion for a brief moment in the late 1930s/early 1940s. He is also a gambling addict but one who wins more often than loses. Briggs gets the idea to play into the women’s lib movement of the time and hype himself as the ultimate male chauvinist, all in a bid to put on the Battle of the Sexes. This match would pit Briggs against King and help fill his pockets with endorsement money as well as build attention for U.S. Tennis. Meanwhile, King is dealing a personal revelation that will shake her life and her career.

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Movie Review – A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

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A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (2013)
Written & Directed by Roman Coppola

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Charles Swan III (Charlie Sheen) is a successful graphic designer who has just been dumped by his girlfriend, Ivana. The aftermath has him ending up in the hospital being told to watch his stress. His sister, best friend, and business manager (played by Patricia Arquette, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray respectively) come to his aid, assuaging his ego while he loses himself in flights of fancy. Charles finds his emotions ping-ponging between loving and hating Ivana, unable to make a clean break with her. He begins to suspect she is seeing someone else and gets into a series of unfunny predicaments to discover the truth.

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My Most Anticipated Films of 2018 Part 2

Today, I finish up the look at my most anticipated films of the years, this time with the movies that are in production but with no release dates yet. Tomorrow, I will be looking at my most anticipated television programs of 2018. Let me know what films sound good to you and why.

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Alien Nation (TBD) – Directed by Jeff Nichols

Alien Nation is probably remembered better for the Fox television series, and sadly I have never seen the 1988 feature film (will be remedying that this year). The premise is that an alien race in desperate need of a home assimilates into Los Angeles. The film follows a human cop and his new alien partner as they uncover a noir-ish conspiracy involving both their species. Jeff Nichols, the man behind great films like Take Shelter and Midnight Special, feels like he has the right muted realism to make something like this have a profound impact. In our current political climate, done right, Alien Nation could be a considerable achievement.

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My Most Anticipated Films of 2018 – Part 1

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There are a lot of films announced for 2018 that have my attention, some more than others. The likelihood I will end up loving all these films is very low, but I’m sure some will live up to the hype. Today’s list is the movies who have official release dates or are debuting at Sundance this year. Tomorrow will be the films that are announced for 2018 but whose release is to be determined.

Eighth Grade (January 19th, Sundance) – Directed by Bo Burnham

I wouldn’t say I am a huge fan of comedian Bo Burnham but is a very unique voice in a field that can be very repetitive. His directorial debut is this film which was shot without much fanfare and has little talk surrounding it until the press release for Sundance. The movie is about a 13-year-old girl who develops a strong online persona dishing out advice via her YouTube channel while being paralyzed with fear in real life situations. The film sounds like a good mix of comedy and drama, looking forward to seeing Burnham’s first outing.

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Favorites of 2017 – Top 25 Films I Saw

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My 25 Favorite Films of 2017

As I have posted online for about ten years now, these are the best films I saw in 2017. They are not just films that were released in 2017, but anything I saw that this year that was one my favorites. The list is in ascending order so we’ll countdown starting with number 25. Click on the title or picture to read my review.

The Levelling

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