The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)
Starring: Jonathan Pryce, Adam Driver, Jason Watkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Olga Kurylenko, Joana Ribeiro
Director: Terry Gilliam
Synopsis: In the opening, it says that this film took 25 years to complete and I believe that’s correct. Gilliam has been trying to make this movie forever! I’m glad he didn’t give up. I had high hopes for it. When I saw Jonathan Pryce and Adam Driver starring, they rose higher. It’s going to be difficult to keep this brief. There is Terry Gilliam written all over it. Impromptu heroes, strange animations, a hero on a quest, intelligent dialogue, and outlandish-bordering-on- cartoonish costumes. Terry is still Terry, but the technology and pacing of more current films has changed a lot. I do like this film as I like all of Gilliam’s films, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this one is a sleeper; it will grow on me with time. I feel SO SORRY for Adam Driver for everything he has to go through in the movie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a character in a movie go through as many physically punishing scenes as he does. OK, now to the plot (sorry it took a bit): Driver, who made a student film of Don Quixote while in college, is now back in Spain and working on a TV commercial. He decides to go see if any of the old people who were in his student film are still around and finds more than he bargained for. This movie is what I will call a “coherent mindbender.” You know what is going on but it is damned strange.
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Chris Pratt, Byung-Hung Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Saarsgard
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Synopsis: Classic western plot, remake of an old Akira Kurosawa movie (Seven Samurai) and there has been at least one American version made. A rich b*stard with lots of henchmen comes to a mining town to try to force the citizens to sell their property to him and intimidates them by terroristic actions such as burning the church and shooting anyone who even begins to resist. The widow of one of the men killed searches for killer good guys to protect them from the bad guys. There is pretty decent chemistry between the ensemble of 7 killer good guys. Saarsgard plays a unidimensional villain who needs to die. Despite the substantial star power in the cast, it can’t seem to rise above ordinary. Chris Pratt is the standout. If you like Westerns, you’ll enjoy it.
Ready Player One (2018)
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, Simon Pegg
Director: Steven Spielberg
Synopsis: Set in the future, where people spend more time in virtual reality than real life, the creator of the virtual world that everyone pretty much lives in passes away. The question now is who will become the new “king” of the virtual world. A contest is held to find so many clues and the one who solves enough of them wins. Enter rich villain who can pay people to find clues and stop others from finding them. There are a lot of interesting futuristic/sci-fi gadgets in this movie. It is geared for a younger age group – the ones who play all of the games – but this older, non game-playing person enjoyed watching it. The characters are likeable and nothing is too violent or intense in this movie.
Measure of a Man (2018)
Starring: Judy Greer, Liana Liberato, Donald Sutherland, Luke Wilson, Danielle Rose Russell, Luke Benward, Beau Knapp, Blake Cooper, Sam Keeley
Director: Jim Loach
Synopsis: The nuclear family go to their summer cottage every year. This summer dad decides to spend a lot of time in the city, and mom is distracted. Older sister high school age finds romance that keeps her busy. That leaves the teenage boy, who dad threatens get a job or else, so he manages to get a job doing lawn care at the lakeside estate of a crusty oldtimer (Donald Sutherland) who puts him through his paces. The show focuses on how this young teenager goes through some challenges, including being bullied (he’s a little pudgy and he is a bit socially awkward) and trying to manage things without his best (girl) buddy, who got called back to the city for a mysterious reason. It’s funny, it’s got a few disturbing scenes in it with the bullying, but it’s light-hearted through most. It’s not overly mushy but it does have heart.
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Tony Kebbell, Sebastian Stan, Scoot McNairy, Bradley Whitford, Toby Huss, Shamier Anderson
Director: Karyn Kusama
Synopsis: At times things get fuzzy with the plot but it all pulls together at the end. Nicole’s character is a crack detective that is such a husk of a person that her motile force continues almost as if defying physics. You’ve never seen Nicole like this “creature” that she inhabits. She’s a human wreck, and one has to wonder how it happened. Well, the flashbacks, where she was young and full of life tell the story piece by piece. Her genuinely decent ex-husband (Scoot) is out of the picture (it doesn’t say who left who) and her teenage daughter despises her and is starting to get lost to the streets. She’s stumbling along – and then hears word that the big fish that got away in the past is back in her sphere. The old nemesis serves as a spark and a purpose for her. This time she won’t let him get away. Nicole performs her role as ANY classic male star hardened detective on the trail of a bad guy in Destroyer. This includes Clint Eastwood as Detective Harry Callahan or Steve McQueen as Bullitt or Jack Nicholson in Chinatown. The subject matter is seedy and depressing much of the time, and it almost hurts to see the wreck of a person she has become from what she was. Good supporting cast but wooden for the most part, but the rest of the cast isn’t necessary really; she’s a powerhouse!