Rules Don’t Apply

In 1958, the sweet and innocent Ms. Apple Blossom Queen from Virginia, Marla Mabrey (Collins), with dreams of making it big in Hollywood, steps into the world of Howard Hughes and her life is never the same.  For four-hundred dollars a week, a house to reside and a driver she, along with many other woman, are actresses, singers and dancers, kept under contract and available at all times for screen by Hughes, ready for screen tests at a moments notice and at his whim.  What becomes evident and quickly is he may not have anything for them, but nobody else can have them.  They are what he sees as the best and he, the great and powerful Howard Hughes, has them.  It makes the point of the opening scroll clearer; a quote by Hughes, “Never check an interesting fact.”  Being very paranoid Hughes keeps close check on everyone he employees yet is emotionally close to few.  Of his many drivers, Frank (Ehrenreich), a young and deeply religious Methodist, grabs the attention of the virginal Baptist Blossom, Marla.  Frank is not only religious but engaged, however, he notices her, as well, struck by her ability to stand out in a crowd; to be different, speak as an individual and not try to fit into a mold.

“Perfect holiday release…Give it a watch!” Shari K. Green

Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager, tmc.io

Hughes has strict rules about his drivers having affairs if they’re married, in fact, rule #1 is no employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress.  He doesn’t want them getting too close in any capacity but Frank can’t help himself and breaks the rule.  Frank and Marla, having an almost immediate attraction to one another, get closer and closer and defy the rules of not only Hughes but of their church.  Perhaps this is the only way they find comfort in the abnormal life they cater to each day.

Paranoia grips the eccentric billionaire for which they work.  Frank and Marla become a lifeline to Hughes as he teeters on the edge of madness.  He sees almost no one and he lives in the shadows; in the dark and secrecy.  Once you’re in, you give up your life for his and his desires, his dreams.  His needs are always met and whether fake or fiction in the heart of the person doing it, everyone coddles him and indulges him, laughs at every joke and is at his beckon call.  Frank and Marla change who they are as time moves on, to please their boss but soon it comes clear his interest is only in himself.

The film is quite fascinating.  With rumors of his quizzical personality and the opening quote, “Never check an interesting fact,” the question is what or if any of the film is factual.  Did he really have to have certain ice-cream instantly at any given moment and insist on flying himself across the world at the drop of a hat?  Curiosity of Hughes himself is what makes this movie so riveting but the sweet love story, the old fashion style it’s presented and the music Beatty uses makes it that much more delightful.  Beatty is larger than life and it’s great to see him back with this particular project.  He also wrote and produced it so he chose cinematographer, Caleb Deschanel (The Natural, Hope Floats, The Passion of the Christ) who has everyone in a special glow that befits the time period and the ambience Beatty was going for.  “Rules Don’t Apply” is the perfect holiday release and I suggest you give it a watch this Thanksgiving weekend.

Nocturnal Animals

Tom Ford, a fashion designer turned filmmaker, gives us “Nocturnal Animals”, his second feature film.  Ford clearly knows beauty when he sees it and makes this film a stunning piece of art to gaze upon, to say the least.  “Nocturnal Animals” is unusually artistic, intoxicatingly dark.  It’s a stylistic and clever drama/thriller that contrasts one scene with the other, one feeling with another and doesn’t give its audience an opportunity to feel vindicated in either of them.

 

At the beginning, we’re led into the tale of Susan (Adams) and her ex-husband Tony (Gyllenhaal).  She is now a successful art dealer married to the rich playboy, Hutton Morrow (Hammer), whom she left Tony for; the playboy who is never home and who sleeps around on her.  If she isn’t at an opening, she’s generally alone.  Unexpectedly, she receives the proof of Tony’s new book to read.  Having always encouraged him to write better she’s excited to begin reading it.  As she reads, she is spooked by how good he has become and terrorized by the narration.  As she reads, the tale unfolds before us.  It flashes back to Susan with Tony when they were younger and we after his face is established, we see that she has interjected her ex-husband into the lead character of the book in her hands.  The story is about loss.  Perhaps Tony’s new book is a message to her.  Maybe it’s just a book but all writing is ultimately about the writer in some sense or another and the loss in this frightening novel is clear and quite brutal… maybe how Tony felt when he lost his wife.

“Florence Foster Jenkins” is enchanting!  The cast is delightful. This is an absolute must see! Shari K. Green

Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager, tmc.io

Ford opens the film with a live art exhibit and closes the film the same way.  Though the players are different, it is obvious they are on display.  You’ll be moved by the opening and touched by the end.  The first might incite you to smile and giggle a bit at wiggling pounds of flesh dancing before your eyes and the later will stir you to sadness and despair.  Played beautifully with the music, we see Susan, a living art piece of her own, but I’ll not spoil all of that.

“Nocturnal Animals” is a movie you have to experience.  It’s simply not like all the rest.  It will pull you into the story as Tony’s book does to Susan.  Every background is contrived, locations are perfect, and the performers are good but if you didn’t already believe Michael Shannon is an acting deity, here’s another reason why so many do.

edge-of-seventeen

The Edge of Seventeen Interview with actress Haley Lu Richardson

“The Edge of 17” is not exactly what it’s sold to you as.  By the looks of it, from the title, poster and the trailer, you’d think this was a film for young girls and young girls only.  It’s far from that.  Yes.  It is a tale of teen angst but is so much more in that we see not only Nadine’s (Steinfeld) low opinion of herself from the get go and her fighting or giving up, but we see a story built around that, with characters who are more than willing to indulge her in her self-loathing and the consequences of that decision.  Most affected by her parent’s decision to look the other way as Nadine wallowed in self pity is her slightly older brother, Darian (Jenner).  At the time of their father’s death, he not only became the man of the house, he had to also become his mother’s friend which turned into a job for him.  There are fights between brother and sister which are quite amusing but not what is at the core of issues the family faces.

Being a very difficult person to be around, Nadine has only one true friend and that’s Krista (Richardson).  Since they were little they did everything together.  Nadine loved her like family; trusted her more than anyone.  When her father died, it was with Krista’s help that Nadine survived.  Krista, like Nadine is a young woman now with a likable personality, pretty face and hormones that rage… something that doesn’t go unnoticed by one particular individual.  Nadine gets incensed and feels betrayed when Krista begins to date Darian.  She is no longer her friend and cuts them both out of her life.  Being a spoiled brat and getting her way when she throws a fit has worked so far… why not now?  To Krista she says, ‘It’s him or me.  Pick.’  Nadine the Terrible is surprised at the response.

“It’s a really fun movie…I highly recommend this film”. Shari K. Green

Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager, tmc.io

She does learn some sense.  She bothers her teacher, Mr. Brunner (Harrelson) every chance she gets.  He’s both a father figure and friend but doesn’t want to be either.  In a very Woody Harrelson way he damn near makes this film his own as he listens and responds to her tales of woe.  It’s a really fun movie and it feels as if it’s almost an honor to watch this character grow.

I highly recommend this film.  The writing is inventive, it gives a chance to female actors to play the characters given to males in a setting such as this and they handle their roles like the professionals they are; job well done, ladies!  One other reason to see this that stands out… it’s produced by James L. Brooks, writer of “Terms of Endearment,” “As Good As It Gets” and “The Simpsons”.  It’s hard to see through a keener eye than his when it comes to a hybrid of heart and hilarity.  Be ready for the rollercoaster.  This is heavy on the emotion sprinkled with laughs but then… so is life.

Haley Lu Richardson

Haley Lu Richardson

Plays Nadine’s best friend, Krista

Haley Lu was raised in Phoenix, AZ by right-brained creative parents, Valerie (graphic designer) and Forrest Richardson (golf course architect). She attended Villa Montessori school where she was encouraged to think outside the box and find self-motivation. She then went on to graduate from Arcadia High School in the top 10% of her class.

 

Haley Lu Richardson, who played Nadine’s best friend, Krista, and I had a chance to chat.  She was very bubbly and sweet and talked with her hands, often pounding the table to stress a point.  Here is some of that conversation:

Q.  How much input did you and you have?

A.  We had two weeks of rehearsal time where I literally just spent time with Hailey and we did our scenes and Kelly was super open to improvising in those rehearsals and what happens before the scenes and after not being stuck to the page to really figure out what’s going on in the scene and how people say that.  I didn’t do much improving on the day on set but all the work we did in the rehearsal period kind of changed… you could see the scenes change a little bit to how we would naturally do it.

Q.  Were you at all intimidate working with this group of people.

A.  My character was cast later.  Most of the characters were cast already, by the time they had auditioned me which was cool for me because sometimes when you audition for a movie you have no idea who you’re going to be acting opposite but I got to see who was cast and what producers were working on it and I got to see… so yeah, I was like, yeah… I was very intimidated but also equally or more so excited to just get the opportunity to learn from them.

Q.  How did you work on establishing this great friendship when you barely had a chance to do it on screen?

A.  I think the rehearsal period and Hailey and I got along really well in person.  She’s so cool.  I think the writing was great… just going with it and being there in the moment.  We both know what it’s like going through all that stuff in high school and how important that is and we just wanted to commit and bring it… the justice a friendship like that deserves.

Q.  Do you think a friendship is more important than a potential boyfriend or is all fair in love and war?

A.  We didn’t want to make Krista the stereotypical villain that ruins the protagonist’s life, you know?  We didn’t’ want to make her that.  She had reasons for what she did and also she’s not a bad person and she’s not even doing anything that bad.  She’s been such a selfless friend for so long and she realizes she could possibly have this really great connection with this guy and it’s like, you kinda have to do something for yourself at some point… I don’t even view it and maybe this is just biased because I had to get in this headspace to play Krista but I don’t view it where it had to be a choice between a relationship or a friendship.  I feel like, in the end, it actually could be a great thing if you’re looking at the big picture because if it does end up working out, we could just all be one big happy family.  (laughs)  If it’s not something full on crossing a line and disrespectful of a friend, I don’t think there really has to be a choice.  I think you can make it work.

Q.  When Krista and Nadine have a falling out in the second act, what was Krista thinking?  We saw her story but not yours.

A.  That was interesting.  It sets up a bunch of different challenges when you’re playing a supporting character because you don’t have the pressure of carrying the movie but also you have this different pressure of making your character well rounded even though the audience doesn’t see all of that person’s life… and also I’m kind of bummed, when you do a movie, you film probably about five hours worth of movie and have to cut a bunch of things out and there were a couple scenes with me and Blake who plays Darian that actually show us, cuz he’s not a bad guy either in the movie… you see everything he has to brush aside to take care of the responsibilities he has.  There was a scene where we were in his room and giggling and we hear Nadine coming in downstairs and we both stop and look at each other and there’s this moment that sums up where they were… that they both wished it wasn’t happening but had to follow their hearts and do some things for themselves.  She initially reached out to Nadine and Nadine didn’t answer but she just knew she needed to give her some space before they could ever come together.

Q.  It’s not a teen comedy but this is one of those movies that can define a generation like “Breakfast Club”… what are some of your favorite teen films?

A.  People are asking me a lot and I keep saying “She’s the Man” with Amanda Bynes.  (She laughs)  I know it’s a lame answer but I really love that movie.  I cracked up during that movie more than I have ever.  Whenever I have a bloody nose I use a tampon and sop it all up.  (Laughs)  That’s disgusting.  (Laughs)  Honestly, I love that movie.  Obviously, I love Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off but I feel there’s stupid ones I like even more.  Mean Girls I really like.  So there’s my lame answer.

Q.  You’re a dancer… are we going to see some of that talent soon?

A.  I feel like you’re seeing dance so much on reality shows, the dance mom things, the step it up movies, there’s ballet movies but I feel like the story of like a training contemporary dancer hasn’t been told yet and I’d love to make that happen somehow.

Q:  What about you making it?

A.  I know!  I’d have to make it before I’m thirty-five before I can’t dance anymore.  That’s my goal.  I’m still dancing all the time.  I have a couple of injuries.  I’m twenty-one but my body is like a seventy year old because of all my dance injuries.  (laughs)  I have feet problems, hip problems and knee surgeries.  But that will happen!

She stands up and knocks on wood.  I for one believe this dance film will happen.  

almost-christmas

Almost Christmas

After the death of his wife the family patriarch, Walter, played by “I’m too old for this shit” Danny Glover, attempts to get through his first Christmas.  Writer/Director David E. Talbert gently starts the movie with a clever introduction of Walter and his wife, Grace, a cute young couple happily in love, and moves us through the years.  The clips, in particular, show Grace feeding Walter a piece of sweet potato pie, a Christmas staple, setting up the hole in the hearts and the stomachs of all who will feel abandoned by its absence; by not seeing it waiting for them to eat this year, by not seeing the maker of the pie.  As we meet the present day widower, we feel we know him and for him.

Struggling with whether or not to now sell his house, Walter decides not to tell his family but rather brings them all together for possibly one last Christmas in the family home.  His adult children start to file in, some of whom don’t get along very well, and he finds himself playing referee almost immediately.  All he is asking for from them is five good days, is he asking for too much of them?

Through the film, there are tender moments and comedic moments.  Mo’Nique is responsible for most of the comedy relief.  She plays Aunt May and steps into the role of her sister, trying to make sure this dysfunctional family doesn’t fall apart. She does a great job of making the audience laugh, dealing with the burden of the holiday and the heavy hearts within the house.  Writing slapstick comedy and mixing it with the appropriate amount of drama, plus the perfect chemistry of the actors on screen, makes this film one Talbert can be proud of.

“I’d put it alongside any of the comedy holiday greats”. Shari K. Green

Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager, tmc.io

There are a lot of moving pieces and a lot going on with this cast from Malachi (Malco) venturing into a business deal that would kill his mother’s favorite charity to drug use by Walter and Grace’s youngest son (Usher).  The sisters are about to kill one another, and while that’s going on one of the men, Uncle Lonnie, (Smoove) is doing the unthinkable during this holiday break with a cashier he meets at a store.

How these moments are handled, with fights or teasing, is what you’ll find it hard not to remember.  Hysterical scenes of the family coming together, such as a scene where they dance away the grief over their missing mother for a moment and flashes of discussing their mother and how much she loved them are the points of most significance in a film that almost all are.  The emotion is palatable and at times such as this in life, “Almost Christmas” will be one you’ll be unable to forget this season.  It’s usually a good sign that the director has done his job when at the end of the movie, nobody wants to leave.  Rather than stay for a second showing, you can always purchase this to keep for your very own as I intend to do.  This was almost the perfect Christmas film.  There were a few incidents where the performances went a little over the top but outside of those moments I’d put it alongside any of the comedy holiday greats going as far as to say you’ll feel the same way.  Take my advice and add it to your collection.

doctor strange

Doctor Strange

“Doctor Strange” is filled with fantastic characters that are so magnificently played it’ll be difficult to say this isn’t one of, if not the, best Marvel has conjured up in the casting department.  You are immediately drawn to Cumberbatch and his arrogant and cocksure attitude as neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange.  Dr. Strange is very skilled with his hands and he has become self-centered and shallow, even enough to lose someone who he feels may be beneath him as he gets better and better in the operating room.  Dr. Strange could never admit to needing anyone; they need him.  His ego extends to the love department, as well, and his on-again, off-again relationship with Christine Palmer (McAdams) is strained at best.

Speeding on a winding road during a storm (where he’s on a phone call you need to pay attention to), leads to an unfortunate accident where his hands become one with the dash and are severely injured.  He is rushed to the hospital where the surgeons can save his life but his hands will never be the same.  Of course had he been the surgeon, they would be perfect.  Now in constant pain and unable to be a surgeon, he is lost.  Christine has done all she can to help and comfort him but she realizes ultimately that he must find his own way.  On this journey, he is lead to Karma-Taj where he meets Mordo (Ejiofor) who introduces him to the Ancient One (Swinton).  He begins to train his body by learning to understand that the physical is merely one part of a person.  He is shown that he can heal his physical body through reprogramming his cells and connecting to his spirit.  It is an honor to watch Ejiofor and Swinton work alongside one another.  They’re transformative and their commitment to the roles plays well in this newest Marvel film and as much as they are, the film is visually beautiful.  Streets fold in on themselves as characters move through different dimensions and doorways which conjure feelings of the very optical film “Inception”.

“Doctor Strange” is filled with fantastic characters that are so magnificently played…this Marvel movie will not disappoint. Shari K. Green

Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager, tmc.io

As well as being a visual masterpiece, the fight sequences are brilliant.  Dr. Strange is brought into the fold and taught magic to help fight off dark forces and a rogue student named Kaecilius (Mikkelsen).  Strange isn’t interested at first because he became a doctor to save lives, not take them but is forced into helping when it’s obvious that he was born for the part, much like Cumberbatch was born to play this role in the Marvel Comics Universe.

Stan Lee pops up in a fun scene on a bus while they’re in the mirror dimension so look for that.   I promise, this Marvel movie will not disappoint.  There is a strong theme, you’ll love the comedic elements, the performances are perfect and the script is strong.  There is a good set up for the next movie and, as always, stay through the very, very end credits.  There will be two post credit clips.  Enjoy! 

moonlight-feature

Moonlight

In “Moonlight”, a film presented in three acts, we meet Chiron, a young, poor black boy who knows he’s gay but doesn’t know why or what it means.  Chiron is growing up without a father and barely has a mother.  His mother works all hours and if she isn’t working, she’s doing drugs or turning tricks for drug money and horribly neglecting her son.  He struggles each day to raise himself for he’s alone most of the time and age nine, it’s not easy in his neighborhood to find answers to questions life presents.

He finds a friend, role model and father figure in Juan (Ali), who is not physically in the film very long but whose presence never leaves.  His character is what carries Chiron and the film forward.  Juan welcomes Chiron into his home, feeds him and shows the child warmth and affection for, possibly, the first time in his life.  Outside of Juan and a friend named Kevin, Chiron’s life is empty and it has left him an emotional cripple.

The film deals with a very sensitive subject quite delicately as we see Chiron has grown from boy to teenager; we begin the second act.  Juan has passed away and he has little to no ambition and nowhere to turn.  Chiron still has Kevin in his life, who has tried for years to toughen Chiron but has never left his side.  The cinematography is used to give you the feeling of being Chiron; alone, confused, chaotic and intoxicatingly muddled.  Some cuts are abrupt and there are deliberate projections of the young man disappearing or being swallowed by his surroundings not to mention an obvious use of hand-held camerawork that sets the tone of fear within him.  You’re absorbed into his life of being odd man out.

The movie will move you with unforgettable performances and an exquisite musical score. Shari K. Green

Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager, tmc.io

Little now understands who he is and a very tender sexual moment on the beach with Kevin is nicely and admirably handled.  Chiron is finally touched gently and lovingly and he learns there is more to life than anger and hate and that what people call him and that which he is inside are very different.

“Moonlight” offers a beautifully shot, sweet, yet at times, terrible look into Chiron’s sexual awakening and becoming a man.  In act three we see that he has toughened up but never has not let go of that moment on the beach; has never gotten over Kevin.  It’s slow at times but the movie will move you with unforgettable performances and an exquisite musical score.  The story is very well written and you’ll be affected by the subject and how it’s taken care of. 

hacksaw-ridge-movie-review

Hacksaw Ridge

War is Hell, as it is said, but a movie about War can go many different ways. “Hacksaw Ridge” plays up the unusual angle of a World War II conscientious objector who was the first one to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. He refused to carry a weapon on the battlefield, and instead carried 75 wounded men to safety on Okinawa.

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) grows up in a backwoods area in Virginia. He was raised by his strict alcoholic father (Hugo Weaving) and loving mother (Rachel Griffiths). When his brother goes off to WWII, Desmond also decides to enlist. His new girlfriend Dorothy (Teresa Palmer) is surprised, because Doss is such a gentle soul.

Doss proclaims status as conscientious objector is valid in the Army. But it does not sit well with his superiors, Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn) and Captain Glover (Sam Worthington).  They try every way possible to make Doss uncomfortable so he will leave on his own. The base commander orders Doss to pick up a rifle. When he refuses, Doss is threatened with court marshal.

Doss misses the leave from the base when he was to be married to Dorothy. Desmond’s father pulls some old favors from a World War I buddy. Desmond Doss is set free again to become a medic for the unit.

As the war winds down in Europe, the savage battle rages on in Japanese waters. On Okinawa, the unit is sent to perform an impossible mission: take Hacksaw Ridge. The long climb up rope ladders deposits the troops in a barren field of death. Other units have tried to take the Ridge, and many have died fighting the Japanese.

The fierce battle starts death coming from every direction. There are tunnels and bunkers and heavy weapons that the Japs are bringing down on the troops. Doss and his unit are slogging and fighting on, at the cost of many dead and wounded.  The Japanese retreat into hiding, getting ready to come in full force again.

Doss remains in the field, up on top of the Ridge. He hears a weak cry and goes to help a soldier. And then there is another, and another. He devises a way to lower the wounded down the side of the cliff, so he can stay and care for more wounded. Doss becomes the only one able save some of the solders. He helps Sergeant Howell among others.

Captain Glover is shocked to see so many of his men in the field hospital the next day. He finds out that Desmond Doss treated and carried out each of the 75 men. Doss and the rest of the troops are ordered to take the Ridge again. But this time, all the men are ready to reach the goal, knowing that Doss had the courage to stay up on the Ridge all night and save so many.

Andrew Garfield does a marvelous job with the difficult role of Doss. He plays a man of principles who is put down for his beliefs, but who is so strong in his conviction that he makes up for the fact that he will not fight. In a bloody and gruesome situation, Doss continued to find a way to save his fellow solders.

Every other actor does a really good job with the roles that they portray. But a special nod must go to Vince Vaughn, because in this role he is stretching his acting ability to new level. He plays a drill sergeant with a slight sarcastic streak. He is nowhere as good as R Lee Ermey in “Full Metal Jacket”, who was the real deal.

Mel Gibson is the director, and he is making his way back to place of respectability in Hollywood. Gibson might be criticized for the level of violence and gore in this movie. But it is a War movie, of course, so there will have to be something that will be bloody. The first part of the movie is almost a fantasy of small town and rural life, so the next part with the blood and guts does come as a shock.

The true life story of Desmond Doss is worth telling, and this movie tells the story well. It dips into a section of extreme war time violence that is disturbing. But Doss made the choice not to fight, he made the choice to help save. He was recognized and rewarded for his efforts.

Inferno

Dan Brown as authored three books with a protagonist named Robert Langdon; ‘The Da Vinci Code’, ‘Angels & Demons’ and ‘Inferno’. All have now been made into a movie with Tom Hanks playing Langdon. The most recent ‘Inferno’ uses imagery from Dante’s description of Hell. So now the audience knows what they are in for…

Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is a famous professor at Harvard. Yet he wakes up in a hospital room in Florence, Italy. He has no memory of the last few days. Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) has been helping take care of him, but there is an assassin who comes in and attempts to kill Langdon. Brooks helps Langdon escape.

After much lengthy exposition, they find clues to a super virus designed by a mad biologist-billionaire named Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster). He planted a virus to wipe out 90% of humanity. Zobrist was being chased by international agents of the World Health Organization (WHO), and when cornered, he killed himself rather than reveal the location of the deadly virus.

Zorbist hired a super-secret security firm run by Harry Sims (Irrfan Khan). They were supposed to carry out his final wishes, but Sims finds out that the virus will be fatal to most of the world’s population. So he joins forces with the head of WHO, named Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen). She does not trust him, but she has no choice.

Christoph Bouchard (Omar Sy) finds Langdon and Brooks, and he wants to know the location of the virus. He lied about working for WHO, because he wants the virus to sell it on the black market. Langdon and Brooks go from Florence to Venice, and then to Istanbul. Langdon uses his special knowledge of ancient history and symbols to find the location of the virus.

If this all sounds fascinating and exciting, then you would be mistaken. The characters exist only to spout off overheated rhetoric and exposition. Every conceivable situation feels contrived and over-the-top. People know way too much about ancient languages and historical artifacts. Main characters seem to change in a blink of an eye from a reasonable person to money-hungry would-be arms dealer or even a Zobrist inspired bio-terrorist.

Every person in this movie has difficulty being believable, but mostly that is because the story line makes them say and do things that are absurd. Irrfan Khan comes off the best, because his character is somewhat mysterious and morally ambiguous. Tom Hanks has a lot of dialog, but he appears to ‘sleep talk’ his way through it all. Felicity Jones is weighed down with an improbable switch of her character arc midway in the movie.

There is a lot of talking and running, and going from one museum or city to another. There is much movement, but very little in plot development. The major bad guy has committed suicide at the beginning of the movie, and he is not around to fight against Langdon. There is a supposed prior love interest of Langdon’s that is brought up, and that never is resolved. Many doors are opened, but nothing comes from any of it.

Dante’s Inferno was his representation of Hell, put down in words. The movie ‘Inferno’ is just a reimagining of the same Hell, but as a movie experience.

The Pickle Recipe

We are introduced to Joey Miller (Dore) a broke father working as an MC or deejay in the Detroit area, specializing in weddings and Bar Mitzvah.  His daughter is about to have her Bat Mitzvah, something he’s looking forward to having a hand in deejaying, when an accident occurs; blowing up a wedding celebration.  All of his gear, his lighting and sound equipment, is destroyed beyond repair.  He finds out that it’s going to cost him $20,000 to get things rolling again, a sum a little high for him to handle.  Now entering the fun is our antagonist, the ex-wife’s new horse buying husband, Harris, who Joey now has to compete with for the love of his own flesh and blood.  With all of the money he’s losing, as well as his reputation with his daughter being on the line, Joey finds nowhere to turn for help but to his horrible uncle Morty (Paymer).  Hitting rock bottom, he decides to aid Morty who has been alienated from his eighty-five year old mother Rose’s life for being a weasel.  Rose is played by the talented Lynn Cohen from “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” “Deconstructing Harry,” “Munich” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” to name a few, and her extraordinarily priceless, unique and well guarded pickle recipe so something Mort has been trying to get his hands on for a long time.  Morty wants Joey to steal it for their own personal gain before she takes it to the grave with her as it would do no one any good if she passes without passing it along.  Question is, can Joey “obtain” this recipe for his uncle from his own grandmother?

To get close to her and getting the recipe, Joey starts working in her deli.  Rose is nearly a said and loved by all of her employees who immediately do not trust him, as they never have Morty.  Getting close to procuring the recipe but then she changes her mind, Joey gets frustrated and is about to give up when Morty doubles the reward to $40,000.  Joey digs in and gets help to get his treasure.

The attempt to pull at your heart strings feels contrived and though there are some strong performances, it simply doesn’t work.

Shari K. Green

Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager, tmc.io

Most of the individual actors are good, especially Cohen.  The concept is charming and Rose is sweet… she’s cranky and she’s lovable at the same time, but the story is ridiculous and late night television entertainment at best.  I’m sure what was a small budget didn’t help the production value and without mass appeal and with no real audience this will fall into obscurity.  A scene teaching someone how to be Jewish was the real low point and with Morty suggesting Rose be water boarded to get the recipe, that’s hard to say but it truly was.  There is some appeal found when her recipe is trying to be duplicated but not enough to suggest this is a film you must see.  The attempt to pull at your heart strings feels contrived and though there are some strong performances, it simply doesn’t work.