casey allen

The Kitchen movie

The Kitchen is centered on 3 women who's husbands are in the Irish mafia in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of 1970s New York City. When the husbands are arrested and sent to prison, these 3 women start managing parts of the family business at first to put food on the table for themselves and their children. But it doesn't take long for them to usurp the entire (or mostly entire) male-dominated leadership to control the whole operation of gangsters, debt collecting, intimidation, and murder.

Oscar-winner Hilary Swank (The Homesman, 2014) leads an all-star cast of wonderful performances as she plays a woman returning home to chilly Chicago to help take care of her mother battling dementia (played by a terrifically fragile Blythe Danner, Hearts Beat Loud, 2018). Swank's character also has to convince her staunch, bullheaded father (Robert Forster, London Has Fallen, 2016) to place her ailing mother in a special care facility. What They Had was first released in November 2018 and is now available on a personal movie viewing platform of your choice.

Despite the fatigued title, director Quentin Tarantino's (The Hateful Eight, 2015) 9th, full-length, mainstream film is an interesting and fond revisiting of 1960s California and a strange interpretation on a historical tragedy. 

The Lion King movie

Can you feel the love tonight? I mostly felt a fondness for vividly rendered African landscapes mixed with a teaspoon of nostalgia. Simba the lion is back in this live-action remake of the 1994 smash animated Disney film about growing up, death, destiny, and avenging your family. 

The Guilty movie

First of all, let me just say I saw the latest Marvel superhero movie Spiderman: Far From Home. It was fun, but the formula is getting painfully familiar and predictable. Thankfully, I watched another film this week: The Guilty which offers a story that is absorbing, inventive, and unpredictable. 

Midsommar movie

Up and coming director Ari Aster did a somewhat satisfactory job with his first full-length film, Hereditary, from 2018. So his second film Midsommar had promise to be a more succinct and less jumbled horror film about grief, family skeletons, and desperate measures. But instead of getting a delicious compact slice of cake, Midsommar turned out to be a 3-day-old, half-eaten Twinkie plucked out of the garbage and served on a scrap of cardboard. 

Yesterday movie

After an unexplained blackout sweeps the entire planet for 12 seconds, a belabored singer/songwriter in England (an awkward but relaxed Himesh Patel, Eastenders, 2007-2016) slowly discovers he's the only person alive who remembers The Beatles. 

Late Night movie

You know that feeling you get when you take your first bite of a delicious slice of pizza or your first gulp of an invigorating cocktail and you think, "I'm going to remember this"? That's how I felt after watching this film. 

Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix is a prequel in the series of X-Men superhero films that started in 2000 with the first movie titled X-Men. With this being the 10th film in the series, it's a strong reminder that not all chapters are good ones and not all entries in a saga are winners (much like my sex life). 

Rocketman movie

I'm happy to say this film is more than a concert from the past or a frivolous musical review. British director Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle, 2015) nicely blends reality and fantasy in this story of Elton John's formative years. 

Booksmart

I have seen the funniest film of 2019 so far. Actress Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy, 2010) makes her full-length feature directorial debut with a teen comedy that is a loud, irreverent, zippy whirlwind of friendship, alcohol, condom water balloons, and the elusive goal of having fun.

Poms


Diane Keaton (Morning Glory, 2010) plays a single retiree who begrudgingly moves out of her New York City apartment and into a retirement community in Georgia for active seniors. To capture some of her lost youth, and to annoy some of the established leaders of the well-groomed retirement community, she starts a cheerleading squad with some of her fellow female retirees. After enduring awkward rehearsals, riding in fancy golf carts, and bonding with unlikely sensitive teenagers, the cheerleaders learn to love themselves, their bodies, and their lives.

Journey's End is set almost entirely in a muddy, candle-lit trench in chilly northern France during World War I, and it explores the relationships and responsibilities of the British soldiers living in it. Based on a 1928 play by English playwright R.C. Sherriff, Journey's End was first adapted into a film in 1930 and has been adapted a few other times into films with different titles.

Long Shot movie

Comedy film director Jonathan Levine (50/50, 2011) manages to nicely mix raunchy humor, awkward attraction, and watered-down political ambition. Established comedic actor Seth Rogen (The Disaster Artist, 2017) plays an over-zealous political journalist who quits his job and finds himself recruited by the U.S. Secretary of State (a noble Charlize Theron, Atomic Blonde, 2017) as a speechwriter. But the Secretary of State happens to be the journalist's childhood babysitter he was in love with.

With a running time of over 3 hours, I thought I might need a colostomy bag to get through this film. But like many Marvel superhero films, it's a long ride but an entertaining one. 

The Curse of La Llorona movie

While watching this movie I started to get hungry since I hadn't yet eaten dinner. And my thoughts about what I might eat after this movie were more interesting to me than the movie I was watching.   

Pet Sematary

While watching this movie, I was not enveloped in the story as much as I was wondering why the producers of this film thought it was a good idea. 

Dumbo

As part of Disney Film Studios' path to taking over the world this year, with numerous films scheduled for release in the coming months, Dumbo is the studio's first mediocre step in this path for 2019. 

Us movie

When an ordinary family of 4 takes a summer vacation together at a peaceful lake house, their sun-filled fun is disrupted when another identical family of 4 starts terrorizing them. How can this ordinary family fight against real people who look exactly like them, move like them, and think like them? This tale of bloody survival takes viewers to a dark hall of mirrors, an eerily empty beach, and a strange, sterile underworld covered in white tiles. 

Captive State takes us to a Chicago far into the future when Earth is under the occupation of a mysterious, and dominant, alien race. But instead of a future that is sexy, fast, or technologically advanced with lots of smooth glass and polished steel, this Chicago is dreary, dirty, dilapidated, and under constant surveillance. 

greta

Twenty-two-year-old actress Chloe Grace Moretz (Hugo, 2011) plays a timid waitress in New York City who finds a forgotten purse on the subway. How convenient to find a woman's ID right inside the purse too! 

Fighting with My Family

Comedic actor and writer Stephen Merchant (Logan, 2017) has given us an unlikely story of family, courage, and wrestling. 

What Men Want

Flipping the script on a light-hearted romantic comedy has never felt so dismal or uninspired (much like my own personal love life). What Men Want is a remake of the 2000 comedy What Women Want when Mel Gibson (Daddy's Home Two, 2017) magically earns the power to hear all women's thoughts and even more magically becomes less of a misogynist in the process.

Miss Bala

Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin TV series) plays a Mexican-American woman living in current-day Los Angeles whose innocence transforms into determined survival. After escaping an attack of bullets in a Tijuana nightclub, she's abducted by members of the Mexican drug cartel and forced to carry out their plans of drug trafficking and murder. 

Vice

 

Vice is a biographical film that chronicles the life and career of Dick Cheney, who has often been named by historians as the most powerful Vice President in U.S. history. 

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