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CRANKY SEZ:  Medical stuff has overwhelmed my ability to continue this site. Mouthing off about movies is what I've been doing, all the way back to Compuserve Forums in 1993.

For those coming in late . . . The spinal cord damage disabling my leg has also taken its toll on my back and shoulders (nasty muscle spasms). I had hoped that reducing my work load to one film a day would keep the site almost current, even as the Christmas Day glut of all the Oscar wannabe releases approached. A winter storm that hit coincidentally with the opening of Rogue One) knocked me for a loop and, in the middle of Martin Scorsese's Silence, the spasms apparently were so severe as to knock me unconcious -- so I am told by the people who helped me afterwards. That was the middle of December.

I can't promise more reviews until I can sit up to write about what I've seen. I'll do what I can. For the last 25 years . . . Thank You for your support.

Newbies . . . anything below in green font are the highest recommencdations I give. See those. Even the ones shunned by the Big Boy Oscar®. Speaking of which . . .

The complete list of 2017 Oscar® nominees and winners is here. We still insist that Hidden Figures is the best of the year. Never, though, could we have forseen the surprising screw-up when Warren Beatty announced the wrong recipient for Best Picture at the broadcast's end (He was given the wrong envelope).. For those that went to bed early, Moonlight was awarded Best of the Year honors. not La La Land

Chuck Schwartz, the Cranky Critic®

 

LEGO Batman Movie

The LEGO Batman Movie is a delight start to finish. Trying to watch the film aggravated old disabilities and nearly killed me so just take the recommendation.

Fifty Shades Darker

For those that weren't terminally bored by the erotica free first edition comes Fifty Shades Darker. We attempted to rsvp for the press screening but, gosh, just couldn't get on the list

Fences

Fences stars director and Tony Award Winners Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reprising their breathtaking work for a big screen adaptation of the August Wilson's final play. The film is a play on screen and, director Washington's failure to push the play into its own film identity is why it fails. The performances, taken separate from the film, are magnificent. The film as a whole (with props to Jovan Adepo, as the son) fails to differentiate all sorts of important relationships (had we not read the Press Notes, we wouldn't have known.) Fences was disappointing.

AXlion

Lion, in which two orphaned boys make their way in India . . . until big brother fails to come home and the littlest one must survive. As brutal as that sounds, this is a terrific family - friendly film (figure 8 or 9 year olds on up) and, yes, another Best of the Year film . See it

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures features three African American women (Taraji P. Henson, Ostavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe) connected to the Mercury 7 program. That would be the very start of America's space program, which would never have happened if not for the story told in this film. Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons balance the scales racially -- if you are so petty as to insist -- though that element is vital to the overall story and provides the oomph that makes this . . .

The best film of the year.

Seriously. We've said it and we mean it.

5a monster calls

A Monster Calls stars Lewis MacDougal as Conor, a young boy whose mom (Felicity Jones) is fighting end-stage cancer. A divorced dad (Toby Kebbell) makes a passing appearance during time off from his gig in "the biz" in LA and Conor doesn't much care for the grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) who now watches over him. The boy screams to the Heavens for help and, sure enough, a yew tree that stands beside his local church becomes sentient. Liam Neeson is the voice and what comes next is definitely not hand holding or beat you over the head metaphor. The tree will tell three tales and demand the boy tell a fourth as payment. As serious films go, it one of the best of the year.

Silence

Silence, directed by Martin Scorcese, tells the story of a roman catholic missionary (Liam Neeson) gone missing in 17th century Japan. Here's a hint: the Japanese don't care much for missionaries. The Buddhist shoguns are anything but passive in their determination to annihilate the "religious disease" that is christianity.

Watching the film on a big screen nearly killed this nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn. We doubt that anything in Scorsese's film triggered our medical crap, as mentioned above, but it is what it is. And what it is is the end of Cranky for the time being.

loving

Loving, the true story of how interracial marriage became legal in these here United States. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga play the real life couple who moved from Virginia to Washington D.C. to get married, and then spent nine years fighting with their home state to get their union recognized as legit. The battle went all the way to the Supreme Court and the film gives a matter of fact telling -- which is its only flaw (!) We expected something more triumphant . . . which is why we write reviews instead of screenplays. Serious film. Good film. See it.

Manchester by the Sea

Manchester By The Sea is being touted as the greatest film of the year . . .yeah, if you want to be stapled to your seat while this interminable film muddles through to its big surprise ending (which would be a great one, if the rest of the film hadn't bored the utter junk out of us)

la la land

LA LA Land is, by comparison to the film at the left, the far superior sit. Screenwriters will contemplate the one moment in their work where a story can go off in any number of directions. La La Land decides to take that point and follow it three ways . . . and does it so well that we didn't catch on until the film was nearly done. Emma Stone's character wants to be an actor (which means she's a waitress). Ryan Gosling's dude is a jazz musician who hates every bit of success that he gets (because he's a purist). And btw the film is a musical! The concept is brilliant. The execution not quite as much. Still, it isn't a bad couple of hours in the dark.

jackie

If you are of a certain generation, which includes yours Cranky, then Natalie Portman's portrayal of Jackie Kennedy will bring tears to your eyes. The good kind. The kind that gets nominations and awards and stuff like that. The performance is spellbinding. This is a magnificent film.

Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge, from director Mel Gibson details the true story of a U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipient (Andrew Garfield) who never touched a gun throughout his military service and -- as a medic. saved 75 men in the brutal battle on Okinawa in 1945. It's been ten years since Gibson has made a film. He has made three in this one. One romance. One about a perceived coward. One about a hero. If it wasn't true you wouldn't believe it.

american pastoral

American Pastoral is actor Ewan McGregor's move to the director's chair. His character is Jewish. Wife Jennifer Connelly is Catholic and daughter Dakota Fanning joins the radical Black Panthers in a film based on Philip Roth's novel about Jewish assimilation and the destruction of an American family by the 1960s. Unfortunately, the film's story is way too complicated to make sense -- especially when the creators have no understanding of the horrifying concept of assimilation (and you'd have to be Jewish to understand) that drive the story. Cranky says "pass".

rogue one

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story links Episodes 3 and 4 (which means it involves secret plans for something called "the Death Star" if that means anything... <g>) Reviews are pointless. Demand for screenings is such that I wasn't able to even try to see the film until a DGA Screening the day after opening . . . which is when New York got pummelled by a winter rampage that messed up the northern half of the country.

Girl on a Train

The Girl on a Train stars Emily Blunt, Hayley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux and Luke Evan. Think of it as a murder mystery-thriller based on a menage a trois with an extra player or two. The main witness? An alcoholic prone to booze induced blackouts. Blame director Tate Taylor for building his film with so many flashbacks that it becomes almost impossible to follow the story. Cranky says "pass".

Before the Flood

So, y'know how scientists have been babbling about global warming and the End of Days? All the stuff you've been ignoring? Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and director Fisher Stevens team to look at what happens Before the Flood. Adults who don't mind the occasional documentary in their life will either agree with the concepts in the film or find new things to deny. Cranky's movie review

Have we mentioned that politicians are trying to outlaw the painkiller which has kept us alive since 1998? The glut of Oxycodone (aka Percocet) prescriptions is not just because users are getting high from the stuff.-- although we never have. We live in pain 24/7. That's what the pills are for -- It is because all the cokeheads of the 1980s now have careers and families and assets they couldn't afford to lose if they got busted with powder. So, the cokeheads moved to pills. After all, no one thinks twice if an aging person takes a pain pill. We know it is true because we've had to cut off our ex-cokehead friends, all of whom would sidle up to us and say : "You couldn't possibly need all that Percocet; good friend good buddy good pal. My migraine headache is just killing me. You can spare half a dozen pills, right?" We swear on a bible that that junkie-like bit if begging is true. Those friends are no longer friends.

The Cranky Critic . . .           since 1993 . . .           To Be Continued . . .
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