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Tommy’s Honour Movie Review

Director Jason Connery, son of actor Sean Connery, is usually in front of the camera. Appearing in over seventy films, he now has five directing credits to his name. Tommy’s Honour, a piece about the birth of the golf pro of today, is his latest achievement. Appearing in Film Festivals across the globe, the Phoenix Film Festival being one of them where it had the honour of closing the fest, it’s getting great buzz and as it’s now at a theatre near you, I must recommend you see it. It’s an engaging movie with history about the evolution of the professional golfer and in my opinion; you don’t have to be a fan of the game to enjoy the spirit within the movie. Interestingly enough, the players went from being paid employees, hired to play the game for rich men who bet on the winners, to then playing on their own terms… and it would not have been possible if not for Young Tommy Morris (Jack Lowden) who made it happen.

At the time Tommy was the best player, one that the members of the club St. Andrews for whom he played, could always count on. He, well aware of his skills and knowledge of the game, refused to continue to play and only take home a small percentage of his own winnings. Not appreciating how the men of St. Andrews have always treated his father Old Tom, (Peter Mullan), he rejects the idea of ending up like his dad, crawling around on the ground setting up Tees for men who only looked down at him. Tommy decides it’s time to redesign how players are seen and how the game is played and with one game he does just that. Shocking every man in the club, especially Alexander Boothby (Sam Neil), he makes some requests that the members deny, fearing that next Tommy will expect to be called a Gentleman and demand entrance through the sacred door.

Tom, greenskeeper at St. Andrews, who’s responsible for establishing many of the game’s rules as well as making their balls and clubs, is fine with his station in life. When Tommy suggests rising above it, he gets a little nervous. Being a much better course designer these days than player, Tom is no longer asked to play; therefore he can no longer bring home the extra money his family needs. Having his son around to help run things and support the family has always been the plan. What starts concerning Tom, even more, is that at the time Tommy decides to carve his own path in golf, he also meets a woman, Meg (Ophelia Lovibond), who he falls instantly in love. Now his parents worry that he, along with this woman they do not trust, will destroy his future… and theirs.

What accent heavy dialogue you can make out in Tommy’s Honour, (you’re likely to miss a few words here and there so it’s worth mentioning), will affect you. It’s a thought-provoking and compelling story. With the characters being set up so well, you root for Young Tommy right away and want him to achieve his goals and prosper. You also feel for his family but when Meg enters the scene that may start to turn. As previously mentioned, Tommy has never been encouraged to dream or to love but he does now. With what he has achieved and where he sees his future heading, he insists on being his own man, no matter who likes it or who doesn’t. Suddenly, a sports movie about Tommy planning to tour different courses collecting his winnings and forever changing the face of the game turns into a heavy drama. Be prepared when it does… that’s all I’ll say about that.
Ophelia Lovibond is fabulous as she faces Tommy’s unforgiving mother and Peter Mullan expresses Old Tom impressively through not only dialogue but his face, especially when he sees his actions has cost him so much. This is an incredible cast in a wonderful story. See it playing in Phoenix at the theatres listed below or at a theatre near you, today.

Harkins Fashion Center 20

Superstition Springs 25

Harkins Arrowhead Fountains 18

AMC Desert Ridge 18

Shea 14 Theater

My Cousin Rachel – Trailer

A dark romance, MY COUSIN RACHEL tells the story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

Cast: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Iain Glen, and Pierfrancesco Favino

Directed by: Roger Michell

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In Theaters June 9th

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The Ottoman Lieutenant Movie Review

At the onset of World War I, it was a dangerous time to be in Europe. Even more dangerous was to be in Turkey, and greater still was the border between Turkey and Russia. The Ottoman rulers of knew that war was coming. The people in the wrong place at the wrong time were American medical staff at a volunteer hospital in Turkey.

Lillie Rowe (Hera Hilmar) is a young woman training to be a nurse. She comes from a very wealthy family, and since her older bother died, she is listless. She hears a plea from a young idealist doctor named Jude (Josh Hartnett) who needs funds for the far-off hospital. Lillie is strong-willed, and takes her brother’s truck and fills it with medical supplies to be shipped to Istanbul.

Lillie cannot trust anyone else to deliver the supplies, so she takes it there herself. In Turkey, there are wild bandits out on the border. So she gets a Turkish military man, Lieutenant Ismail Vitaly (Michiel Huisman) to escort her to the hospital. They are attacked and lose everything, and they barely escape with their lives. They make it to the hospital in one piece.

The hospital founder is Dr. Woodruff (Ben Kingsley) who is an older disillusioned grumpy man. His advice is to leave and go home. Lillie stays to tend to the sick, and her nurse training finally pays off. But there is too much tension in the air. The Turks are fighting with the Armenians, and the Muslims do not trust the Christians. The Great War will be on their doorstep soon.

Lillie ignores the puppy-dog longing from Dr. Jude, and she instead has an inner longing for the Lieutenant. They are different religions, and they follow different customs and both come from cultures. But the love between them is too great. It is not forbidden, but is not at all encouraged. They sneak away when they can to take a sailboat out on lake. Or they ride their horses through the wild wheat fields. It is so romantic and poetic that nothing could come between them. Nothing except War, of course…

This movie wants to be an ‘Epic’. It does come close, but there are some issues. The storyline is not all that believable. A young woman alone in the hinterlands of Turkey just before the Big War would have a nightmare experience. Instead, you are shown that she is having a grand old time, with love just around every corner. The American flag above a remote hospital in a hostile area would draw bombs and machine gun attacks, not the praise of the local military.

Michiel Huisman does a believable job as the Ottoman, but Hera Hilmar is a weak leading lady. Her occasional voice-over work during the move is flat and monotone. There is not much of a spark between the two of them as ‘star-crossed’ lovers. Josh Hartnett does a reasonable job, but looks like John Denver with round wire-rimmed glasses. Ben Kingsley classes up the movie, but he does not have enough of a part to make it soar like it should.

So if you want a real Ottoman Lieutenant, then take a trusted military officer to a home furniture store to find the right piece. Then you can put your feet up on the ottoman and watch “Lawrence of Arabia’ or ‘Gone with the Wind’. Any true War Epic will do…

Song To Song Advance Movie Screening

In this modern love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene, two entangled couples—struggling songwriters Faye (Rooney Mara) and BV (Ryan Gosling), and music mogul Cook (Michael Fassbender) and the waitress whom he ensnares (Natalie Portman)—chase success through a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal. Director: Terrence Malick Writer: Terrence Malick Stars: Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara Song To Son Opens Friday, March 24th in Phoenix and other select markets See more advance movie screenings from tmc

Advance Movie Screening For Song To Song

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Phoenix, Arizona

Advance Movie Screening Details

Movie Screening Date: Monday, March 20
Location: Harkins Tempe Marketplace
Movie Screening Time: 7:00pm
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Advance Movie Screening Information

To redeem a pass, simply click the Get Passes button. You will taken to our movie screening partner site (where you can sign up for a free account). Once you’ve done so, you’ll be able to print out your pass and bring it with you to your screening or event. Admittance into a screening or event is not guaranteed with your pass. Events and advance screenings are filled on a ” first come, first served ” basis. To ensure that you stand a good chance of being admitted, we recommend that you show up 30 minutes to one hour early. The number of admissions that are permissible for each pass are printed clearly on the ticket that you print out. You are allowed to bring as many guests as is indicated on your pass. For example, if your pass is for ” Admit Two, ” you can bring yourself and one guest. If you have an ” Admit One ” pass, you can bring only yourself. If you have any other questions or comments, please contact us.

A United Kingdom

Your first thought upon walking out of A United Kingdom very well may be one of bewilderment at the story itself.  Not that it could happen, of course, (look at today’s headlines, this type of forbidden love is still happening) but that a King was questioned and almost denied his wish.  Anyway, you might next have the inclination to Google this to learn more about these individuals.  It could also be, as it was mine, to gather all of the performances of David Oyelowo to date and, find out what he’s up to next so that you can see all of this man’s work. 

Not to disparage the other performances in the production but he delivered the story of a man choosing love over country beautifully.  He never waivered in his ability to sell us on the saga that deep within him, he believed the people of his county would, in due time, not require him to make that sacrifice and did so with the strength and compassion you rarely see with such balance.

It would be impossible not to be impressed with this entire cast and it would be nearly pointless to try and look beyond director Amma Asante’s (Belle) achievements with the film.  She does an exceptional job with this labored piece and with only five directing credits under her belt, quite a feat, she handles the very difficult true life events like a master. 

A United Kingdom was a hefty project to take on.  It’s about Seretse Khama (Oyelowo) and Ruth Williams (Pike) and the political climate of their countries at the time they met in the 1940’s.  He’s heir to the kingdom of Botswana and she’s a white woman from London and despite what their families feel about their union, they insist on being together and will be, even though they’ll be under great scrutiny.  Her father has disowned her for being with a black man and his people, especially members of his own family, would prefer their leader be with his own kind.  Not considering others feelings and only listening to their hearts, they marry and move to South Africa where, unfortunately for all, apartheid is starting to grow.  Their union becomes widely known and a topic of great discussion.  Ruth is a likable person and does her best to be friendly, learn the language and fit in as his family members do their best to make her want to leave.  Oyelowo is outstanding when he addresses his tribe with a moving speech and speaks of Ruth with tears in his eyes, asking to see who would truly deny him his love.  It’s a stirring confrontation and a memorable scene. 

What ultimately doesn’t really work, but may have been better with a seasoned director, is the setup.  This story is a pure and true love so strong that this couple defies all rules, family and country to be with one another should have had you cheering their achievements.  However, as it’s told, you don’t really care.  The reason for this is that we meet Ruth and Khama when they first meet and almost immediately they’re in love and getting married.  There isn’t time for you to feel for these people or for the plight in which they find themselves.  Asante does a wonderful job of keeping the rest of the story flowing, especially the focus on the British government wanting the diamonds and minerals on his land, but sadly, missing this crucial step of giving the audience time to identifying with what the couple is going through or to feel compassion for them, hurts her very efforts.  It’s the single most important goal before telling the rest of the narrative for it to have worked as a well-structured and cohesive piece.  It is a good drama about pressures put on them both and his overcoming his uncle asking him to renounce his birthright to the throne for marrying a white woman, but it isn’t as romantic as it claims to be.  Keep in mind it is a true story… life doesn’t always come out as we plan. 

I do recommend A United Kingdom but I’d say wait for VOD or DVD instead of paying to see this at the theatre.

A United Kingdom Advance Screening

Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s.

Find your chance to receive special advance movie screening passes below. 

Phoenix, Arizona

Date: Wednesday, February 15
Location: Harkins Scottsdale 101
Time: 7:00pm
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Fifty Shades Darker

In the beginning, there was the “Twilight” series of novels. And thus was begotten the “Twilight” movies, and verily so, there was created “Twilight” fan fiction. And thus is was that “Twilight” fan fiction hath created a series of “Fifty Shades” novels, and from that loin was born the “Fifty Shades” movie series. And some people say that fine literature and art is dead…

“Fifty Shades of Grey” brought you the plain little virgin of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) who meets high-powered and filthy rich Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Their relationship was a bit troubled, to say the least. Grey is into sadistic bondage and domination, and he needed Steele as a willing partner, a submissive. But there was stupid contract negotiations getting in the way of the soft-core booty calls. Steele got disgusted and left Grey, so now on to “Fifty Shades Darker”.

Steele has a job at a place called Seattle Independent Press, where she works for Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson). Grey promptly buys up the SIP, with no thought of irony in the name. In fact, Grey spends so much time pursuing and attempting to win back Steele, it is amazing that his company can run at all. Jack Hyde and Grey do not see eye-to-eye, even though they both treat Steele basically like garbage. Jack makes an aggressive pass on Steele, and he soon is looking for a job.

Steele and Grey get back together, but she thinks that it must be at a mutual, common level – out of respect and love. Grey has been weird for so long that this might be difficult for him, so he gets Steele to draw lines on his chest with lipstick. What? Oh, yeah, he still has problems. There is a prior ‘sub’ from Grey’s past named Leila (Bella Heathcote). She was once submissive to Grey, but she left. But now she is unhinged and gunning for Steele.

Grace (Marcia Gay Harden) is Grey’s adoptive mother, and she feels that Steele has made a positive change. Elena (Kim Basinger) is Grey’s very early lover and got him into the freaky stuff. But now she owns a salon and they are business partners. Damn good thing that Grey Conglomerated United Holdings, Ltd can just about run itself! Grey is the wealthiest man who never seems to do any work.

So Steele moves in, and Grey and Steele get several kinky booty calls. Grey says he has changed and asks Steele to marry him.  There is the Leila stalker situation, and the Jack Hyde is planning revenge situation, and the Grey flies a corporate helicopter and maybe it goes down in the forest event. Along with the costume ball shindig, and the tool around the Seattle bay in a huge yacht affair, and the Steele gets mad and walks around by herself for hours sequence.

Could this movie be any more boring and inconsequential? Doubt it. Are there any redeeming factors? Yes, the scenery is beautiful and locations look amazing and the production values are top notch. But there is no actual story to tell and no character development. It is more like 15 or 20 minutes of insipid dialog and waiting around for the next “make sexy times”. It is not possible to fault the actors for failing in the roles and having no chemistry. The story gives them nothing to work with.

However, there is no doubt that middle-aged women who loved the “Twilight” series are also gonna eat this up. It will make a yacht-load of money, but not like the previous movie. The rest of the people seeing this might think they are in for an exotic, romantic and erotic adventure. But more than likely they will feel as if they are the ones getting screwed…

The Space Between Us

The movie “The Space Between Us” seems to be on odd mash-up. It is about a boy who grew up on Mars, and gets a chance to visit Earth and fall in love. It takes parts from a science fiction movie, a young-adult romance, a story of person with a severe medical condition who wants to hit his bucket list, a cross-country journey film genre and puts it all together. Kind of a cross between “The Martian” and “The Fault in out Stars”, maybe call it: “The Fault in our Mars”…

Nathaniel Shepherd (Gary Oldman) is a billionaire who personally sponsors the NASA space program to live on Mars. The flight crew gets there, and on the way Astronaut Elliot discovers she is pregnant. She gives birth on Mars and promptly dies. Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) is her son whose very existence is kept a total secret. But when he is 16, he finds a way to contact a high-school age girl named Tulsa (Britt Robertson). She has been in a series of unhappy foster homes, but she is resourceful and finds a way to have chat sessions with Gardner.

Kendra Wyndham (Carla Gugino) is a fellow Astronaut on Mars, Gardner ‘s mehtor and mother figure. But she knows that Gardner needs to get away. NASA Director Tom Chen (B. D. Wong) decides to bring Gardner and Kendra back to Earth. Gardner must undergo some physical training and special medical treatment to reinforce his undersized bones. Living with Mars gravity is tough, when you leave and go to Earth. He explains to Tulsa that he will go on a trip and vows to here that they will meet up soon.

 

Once on Earth, Gardner finds a way to conveniently escape the NASA medical facility and work his way to meet Tulsa. She is upset that he did not communicate for the past few months, but he says he was on a long trip. Nathaniel, Tom Chen and Kendra go after Gardner, with the help of the authorities. Tulsa sees that Gardner could be in trouble. She uses her near-criminal skills to keep ahead of the group chasing them. Gardner really wants to find his father, and he has a couple of clues.

They ‘borrow’ a biplane, a BMW and a truck to get far away. They travel to New Mexico, the Grand Canyon (lovely), Sedona (beautiful), and they finally end up at a beach house on the California coast. Gardner is expecting to find his dad, but he finds out something different. Tulsa has a solidly cynical view of the world, yet she starts to believe that there is something unusual about Gardner. The time that they spend together makes both of them happy. Yet, the past is not far behind, and the group finally discovers where Gardner and Tulsa are located.

 

So to break this movie down, I think it came about by somebody listing to the lyrics of Elton John’s song “Rocket Man”:

Mars ain’t the kind of place

To raise your kids

In fact, it’s cold as hell

And there’s no one there to raise them

If you did

And from that, this movie was born. Perhaps not on Mars, but the lyrics might explain it a bit more. So this movie was right for the intended audience: teenage girls. The acting was just OK, but Britt Robertson does a more convincing role. Asa Butterfield is very tall and lean and lanky, so he might have been born on Mars. The script was ham-fisted at times, and made some very clunky character transitions.

So if you want real sci-fi adventure, look elsewhere. If you want an honest young adult style romance, look elsewhere. If you want a somewhat jammed together version of both, “The Space Between Us” is your launching pad…

Paterson

“Paterson” is an absolute pleasure to witness.  One feels honored to be on this… ride.  I say this because it is about a bus driver whose story is delicate, even delectable.  It’s fascinating.  Jim Jarmusch turns a seemingly banal and simple life into a complex, contemplative introspective.  Paterson (Driver) drives a bus for the city of Paterson, N.J. but he’s also a poet.  His hero is William Carlos Williams and deep within he holds a dream to be as good as Williams yet never calls himself a poet, therefore stopping any disappointment that may come from negative criticism.

Paterson sees poetry in all things and one of the factors that has you treasure experiencing this life that Jarmusch has displayed for you is how you absorb Paterson’s poetry.  It’s not only spoken by him, whether in his thoughts as he cruises through traffic, or as he walks his dog Marvin (played charmingly by Nellie), but we also see it scrolling across the screen as he speaks in a composed and knowing tone.  It becomes visually embedded in our minds and we crave more.

His poems are perceptive, analytical at times, logical and illogical.  They’re both abstract and they’re ordinary but they’re sublime.  He writes these poems in a notebook, one he keeps to himself, careful they can never be seen.

We are with Paterson for a week of his life.  He has a girlfriend, has a dog and is methodized, unlike girlfriend Laura (Farahani), who is all over the place.  A painter obsessed with the color black one minute, a baker the next; him a structured poet, her a musician… this week, anyway.  The relationship is sound as they balance each other, or so it would seem… perhaps not?  Do they love each other or are they just putting up with one another for convenience sake?  Upon reflection, you realize there’s much more going on than you first thought.  It can be slow in moments but the movie consumes you, more or less.  It is, simply put, poetic.  Once you’ve seen “Paterson” it will stick with you for quite some time.  The alpha male battle he has with Marvin, also the conflict within himself over what or who he is, is gripping to observe.  Driver does such a remarkable job of bringing levels to this character without nearly uttering a word that he seduces you.  I highly recommend you see this film.  You’ll never see Driver as Kylo Ren again.

Fifty Shades Darker – Extended Trailer

FIFTY SHADES DARKER 

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Darker, the second chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon.  Expanding upon events set in motion in 2015’s blockbuster film that grossed more than $560 million globally, the new installment arrives for Valentine’s Day and invites you to slip into something a shade darker.

 When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance.  As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.

 Also returning from Fifty Shades of Grey are Academy Award® winner Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Ehle, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford and Max Martini, who are joined for the first time by Oscar® winner Kim Basinger, Bella Heathcote and Eric Johnson.

 Fifty Shades Darker is directed by James Foley (Fear, House of Cards) and once again produced by Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Marcus Viscidi, alongside E L James, the creator of the culture-spanning blockbuster series.  The screenplay is by Niall Leonard, based on the novel by James.

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Jennifer Ehle, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini, Bella Heathcote with Kim Basinger and Marcia Gay Harden

Directed by: James Foley

In Theaters February 10th

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