See it at the movies

Posted 12/27/23


WONKA * * *  (Family Prequel Movie)

How did Roald Dahl’s famous fictional character get his start?

This pleasant little musical will tell you.

It …

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See it at the movies



* * * 
(Family Prequel Movie)

How did Roald Dahl’s famous fictional character get his start?

This pleasant little musical will tell you.

It seems that young Willie Wonka, after seven years at sea, arrives in an English town with his suitcase filled with chocolate-making ingredients and a dream.

In a plot that could have been written by Dickens, poor people, and especially young poor people were taken advantage of by rich businessmen and nasty lady innkeepers (Olivia Spenser).

Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) is immediately thrown into debt by the innkeeper and sent to the basement laundry, where he joins four other poor folks and Noodle, a delightful young girl (Calah Lane).

Together, they make some of the finest chocolate in the world, sharing it with the locals. Three greedy businessmen have the market on chocolate and stop them at every turn with the help of the local police.

Enter a tiny chocolate thief, so tiny he can fit in a bottle (Hugh Grant), who eventually joins forces with Wonka and friends to stop the bad guys.

There’s lots of adventure to satisfy the children and a wonderful candy store and factory filled with colorful treats.

There is one great song, “A World of Your Own.” (I often wonder if young folks like their movie interrupted by songs).

There’s a happy ending, and now we know how the famous Willy Wonka got started.

* * * (Children) * * (Adults)
(Animated Adventure)

You can duck this animated cartoon about a family of Mallard ducks who convince their dad to leave the north and migrate to Jamaica.

Send the kids who will enjoy their narrow escapes from a family of herons, the dangers of New York City and a duck farm where they are about to be cooked.

I found the voices and the constant chattering to be irritating, while the kids seemed to enjoy the frantic activity.

The movie is short, so it is enhanced with a Minion short about an astronaut trying to get back to earth from the moon but being interrupted by a Minion. It is of poor quality and dumb, but the kids will enjoy the Minion.

* *
(“inspired by” real life wrestling family)

“The Iron Claw” is one of the most depressing, disjointed, poor editing, overlong movie I have seen in years.

Based on the lives of the Von Erich family, it tells the story of a father who holds an iron claw over his sons. He also has invented a killer iron claw hold to force his opponents into submission.

It is Texas in the ‘80’s. Pro wrestling is the rage. Son Kevin (Zac Efron) is the heir apparent to winning the World Wrestling Championship. Brothers Kevin, Terry and David also have their shot and meet terrible fates.

The movie plods along for over two and a half hours as we watch the controlling father maneuver his sons into the ring. There is a period when all three are wrestling at once.

The problem with the movie is that they approach professional wrestling like it was for real, and the championship is something that is earned because of your ability.


* * * *
(Fantastical, bizarre, R rated adventure)

You have never seen Emma Stone like this! Nor Willem Defoe!

Stone stars as Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by scientist/surgeon Dr. Godwin Baxter (Defoe).

Dr. Baxter replaces Bella’s brain and proceeds to teach her. Bella has a thirst for knowledge and strives to learn and reason, questioning everything. She also has a violent temper and is destructive, awkward and suicidal.

Bella runs off with Duncan Washburn (Mark Ruffalo to exotic locations like Lisbon and Paris, where she ends up working in a brothel.

The two hour and 20-minute movie is filled with fascinating dialogue and philosophical gems, as Bella discovers the world and herself, leading to a most interesting ending.

We must warn you that there is full frontal nudity and steamy sex scenes, plus bizarre anatomical procedures that may be a bit much for some.

After a season of bland movies, “Poor Things” jarred our senses and brought us into another universe.

The backgrounds are done in black and white and pastels, creating an esoteric atmosphere, and the acting is award-winning. We especially enjoyed Stone and Ruffalo as they travelled the world meeting fascinating people.

And wait until you see the makeup job on Defoe.

Not for everyone, but for those who enjoy movies that offer a different perspective.


* * * * *
(Leonard Bernstein BioPic)

Bradley Cooper wrote, directed and starred as composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein in this compelling look at his professional and personal life.

Cooper not only looks like Bernstein, but he also has all his moves, both on stage and socially.

We follow his love affair and marriage to actress Felicia Montealegre and their up and down relationship, as she tolerates his bisexual activities.

The movie opens as the unknown musician is called upon at the last minute to fill in for the ill conductor of the New York Philharmonic and the immediate recognition and success he experiences.

Bernstein’s bisexuality and Jewish background play heavily on his life, influencing many of his decisions.

He is constantly seen with a cigarette drooping from his lips.

We follow him through his creation of classics from “West Side Story” to “Mass,” feeling his agony and ecstasy as he seeks love, acceptance, and recognition.

Bernstein admits to Felicia that it is hard for him to be alone, but finds it necessary to create his great music, while also having difficulty dealing with people.

The movie is shot in black and white in the earlier stages of his life, shifting into color as he becomes an international figure.

Bradley Cooper gives a star performance as Bernstein in one of the best movies of the year.

Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in 'Maestro.'
Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in 'Maestro.'


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