Currently browsing posts by Jill Boniske.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the heartbreaking history of the rise and fall of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. I saw this earlier this year at a festival and it was without a doubt one of the best films I saw there. An incredibly important and fascinating story, extremely well told and sadly, so much of it feels decidedly déjà vu. It really is a must see documentary.

The Gift

This film seemed to fly under the radar for me. But it really shouldn’t have. It is a very creepy and very well-done psychological thriller. Written and directed by and starring Australian actor Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom, The Great Gatsby), it is the story of a young couple, Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall), who move to Los Angeles, and run into a former schoolmate of Simon’s who knows him better than his wife. And who isn’t afraid to use that knowledge against him.

Ricki and the Flash

I had to see this flick, cause you know — Meryl. And there was also Dr. Noah Drake, I mean Rick Springfield of “Jessie’s Girl” fame. How bad could it be? The good news is that it isn’t as bad as I’d heard. But it really isn’t what it could have been. Meryl plays the title character Ricki Rendazzo, formerly Linda Brummel of Indianapolis, now a long-in-the-tooth rock and roll singer with her own band called The Flash playing nightly at a locals bar in Tarzana, California. By day she is a cashier at a health food supermarket, and she can barely make ends meet, but she is content with her life. Then she gets a call from her ex. Her daughter is in trouble and she needs to come back to help. She hasn’t been there for her kids in years, so what could go wrong?

The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour is not a biopic so much as an homage to a great writer who killed himself relatively young. In the film David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel of How I Met Your Mother) is the biggest writer of 1996, and David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) is a new reporter at Rolling Stone who talks his editor into sending him on a book tour with him. It is the first time Rolling Stone has done an author piece, but Wallace’s latest book, Infinite Jest, is earning him comparisons to Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Lipsky, a novelist himself, is jealously in awe of Wallace. What transpires is mostly a road trip interview. Yes, it is an interesting conversation, particularly so for other writers, and it is pretty much all talk and nearly no drama, but as Lipsky notes at the end of the film, “It was the best conversation I ever had.” And it surely is one of the better ones I have listened to in a while.

Infinitely Polar Bear

Quite possibly the worst title for a movie lately, Infinitely Polar Bear is nonetheless a decent little flick. The unfortunate title comes from a child misnaming her father’s bi-polar disorder, the problem at the heart of this fractured family tale, which is based on the true story of writer/director Maya Forbes’s upbringing. Mark Ruffalo plays the father, Cameron, and his performance is the reason to see the film.

Mr. Holmes

Just how many Sherlock Holmeses can the world sustain at once? We’ve got the Robert Downey Jr. action hero version and the Benedict Cumberbatch Aspberger’s take. And now we have a senior and somewhat senile interpretation of the perennial sleuth portrayed perfectly by the classically trained yet suddenly everywhere Ian McKellen (X-men, Lord of the Rings.) Personally, I think we should all be grateful for this embarrassment of riches. Three very different Sherlocks and all such fun to watch! This time around, the mystery dear Holmes must solve involves his final case, decades prior, before he moved to the Sussex seaside to raise bees all by his lonesome. It is the case that drove him to retire.

Steak (R)evolution

Vegetarians need not bother with this one. This gustatory documentary is lovingly prepared for steak lovers around the world. French writer-director Franck Ribière travels the globe in search of the best steak, since according to him they don’t do it well in France. (Who knew?) He flits from France to Scotland, to Argentina and Brazil, to the US and Sweden and many other out of the way spots. Along the way he talks with ranchers, butchers, food writers, and chefs. He meets their cattle and sees how and what they are fed. And he tastes all manner of great steaks, ranking the top 10 steak restaurants in the world. It is truly drool worthy!

Amy

A star is born and then she self-destructs. Amy is the utterly tragic tale of singer Amy Winehouse, who was so full of talent and entirely unprepared or more likely incapable of dealing with the fame that came with her gifts. It is yet another story of addiction and greed and media frenzy killing a young performer. This devastating documentary is like the proverbial train wreck. You know what is going to happen, and you can’t stop it, but you can’t look away.

Terminator Genisys

He’s back! In this Terminator reboot, Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his iconic T-800 cyborg, only this time he gets to age. Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones) steps easily into the role of Sarah Connor and Jason Clarke (no relation) plays a grown up John Connor. Jai Courtney (Insurgent & Divergent) is the hero Kyle Reese sent back from the dystopian future to save humanity and fall in love with Sarah. A lot of the original elements are the same, but thankfully, the writers liked playing with the concept of time travel and they serve up a new story with a lot of familiar beats. It works as a stand alone, though probably is more fun if you’ve seen the original.

Inside Out

What were the Pixar folks thinking, making a film about the conflicting emotions in a little girl’s head? It might seem like a pretty cerebral premise for a kids’ flick, but from this very unlikely subject matter comes a fun for the whole family film. I went with my nephews (ages 6, 8, and 17), my sister in law (40ish), and my mother (age 89), and we all appreciated it for different reasons depending on our ages. There are funny and thoughtful bits that only an adult will get, but the kids and the teenager were thoroughly entertained.