Sunday, October 25, 2015

I'M NOT A LOSER. I'M A QUITTER: a review of "Rock The Kasbah"

Screenplay Written by Mitch Glazer
Directed by Barry Levinson
** (two stars)

How is it possible that a film with a title as anarchistic as this one be as dry as an Afghanistan desert?

I am not sure precisely what it is about Bill Murray, but he, perhaps more than any other of his comedic contemporaries, has ingratiated himself so deeply within the public consciousness and pop culture, has built an affection from his audience that only seems to continue to grow and has also continued to surprise with the depths of his acting abilities and yet, so very often, the films he makes fall short. "Rock The Kasbah" is yet another effort that possesses quite the potential to become a Bill Murray classic yet never reaches the brass ring, let alone contains enough juice to even jump for it in the first place.

Under the surprisingly laconic direction of legendary Director Barry Levinson, "Rock The Kasbah" is an intermittently entertaining yet ultimately underwhelming film that merges the Murray persona of his early and current career with a political satire and even an earnest feminist drama that unfortunately settles and sludges along when it otherwise should be as explosive and as dangerous as a firecracker left to explode inside of your hands.

"Rock The Kasbah" stars Bill Murray as Richie Lanz, a down and just-this-close to being out of business rock music manager, who takes his final singing client (yet employed as his secretary), Ronnie (a funny Zooey Deschanel) on a USO tour of Afghanistan, yet finds himself abandoned in war torn Kabul without funds or his passport.

As he attempts to figure out a way to return to Van Nuys, California, Richie runs afoul of two hard partying war profiteers (Danny McBride and Scott Caan), a gruff mercenary (Bruce Willis), the worldly wise and weary hooker (Kate Hudson), the Afghani disco music loving cab driver (Arian Moayed) among others including dangerous war lords. Yet, on one deep, dark night in the desert, Richie  stumbles upon the sight and sound of Salima Khan (Leem Lubany), a Pashtun teenage girl with a golden voice and enormous dreams of becoming the first woman to sing and compete on Afghanistan television's version of "American Idol."

It is here where Richie Lanz discovers his meal ticket, and ultimately his purpose, as he knows in his bones that he is the only one able to make Salima's dreams come true, life threatening cultural objections be damned.

With "Rock The Kasbah," I can confidently express that Bill Murray has absolutely nothing to do with any of the film's failures. On the contrary, whatever successes the film does achieve rest almost solely with him as Murray truly carries the film and he delivers yet another strong performance to add to his expanding collection. Yes, and as previously stated, Richie Lanz is cut from the same cloth as the characters from Bill Murray's earliest films. Like the gently anarchistic heroes he portrayed in Director Ivan Reitman's "Stripes" (1981) and "Ghostbusters" (1984), for instance, Richie Lanz is another cantankerous, wayward layabout on an existential downward slide who finds himself placed within an extraordinary situation or series of circumstances armed mostly with his brilliantly wicked wit and restless ingenuity.

Yet, as Murray also demonstrated in Director Harold Ramis' "Groundhog Day" (1993), Director Sofia Coppola's "Lost In Translation" (2003), Director Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" (2004), Director Jim Jarmusch's "Broken  Flowers" (2005) and Director Theodore Melfi's "St. Vincent" (2014) among others, he unearthed a powerfully effective level of dramatic pathos to give his characters a newfound gravity, helping us to see the pain housed inside the laughter and how the laughter is indeed the essential fuel to keep him placing one footstep in front of the other.

Richie Lanz is no exception as we can study all of those wonderful lines in Murray's aged face, detailing all of the deep miles this character has undertaken in his long and not-so-illustrious career. Lanz is a charlatan, more than a bit of a cheat, a schemer and a scoundrel and even shades of Nick the Lounge Singer, Murray's iconic character from "Saturday Night Live," make an appearance. And still, Lanz carries a certain moral code and sense of  honor that is indeed unshakable, and as the film continues onwards and situations grow more dire for Salima, he becomes quite endearing. Bill Murray's peerless turn of a phrase and Wile E. Coyote-like persona goes a tremendous way within the entirety of "Rock The Kasbah." You are unable to take your eyes away from him and you never want to for even with the smallest raise of an eyebrow or the slightest shrug of a shoulder, Bill Murray remains in a class by himself.

So, it is a shame that like the very good yet terribly predictable "St. Vincent," we are given a terrific Bill Murray performance in a movie that never matches his inventiveness. The faults of this film for me do lie directly at the feet of Screenwriter Mitch Glazer and definitely Barry Levinson, who showed little of the comedic and directorial gifts he has displayed in the past time and again.

For Glazer, I can certainly express to you that "Rock The Kasbah" is not remotely short on ideas but that was the problem for me; it felt as if the film never really advanced beyond the idea stage. Character development, aside from Richie Lanz, exists at a bare minimum. Kate Hudson's character, especially arriving in 2015 is just thankless as well as a sad reminder that her finest work remains in Director Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous" (2000). Honestly, can we please just place a moratorium over impossibly gorgeous hookers with hearts of gold once and for all?

Beyond that, the characters of the mercenary, the war profiteers, and frankly, all of the Afghanistan people are paper thin at best, even though they all feel as if there is much story to tell, especially as they all exist within a very real and dangerous world. Yes, "Rock The Kasbah" is a comedy, but I did feel frustrated that Glazer's screenplay would have the audacity to enter into a world of deep moral, political, social, sexual, theological complications that the inevitable culture clash would be one worth exploring and therefore, satirizing, and Glazer just did not go for it. These characters all exist solely as ideas and never transcend the idea to become three-dimensional human beings, which would then give the proper gravity to the film to add essential weight and tension to the comedy.

The entire film truly hinges upon Salima Khan and it is a shame that "Rock The Kasbah" only seems to give brief lip service to the harsh reality implicit in a young woman daring to go on television, with fully exposed hair and face (with makeup to boot)and singing the songs of Cat Stevens in English. That concept by itself shows what a movie "Rock The Kasbah" could have been if Glazer fully committed to--once again with feeling--the ideas he set to paper in the first place. But all we have is a very pretty young woman looking hopeful and offering plastic platitudes and I firmly believe that a character like this deserved so much more than what was given to her.

But Barry Levinson certainly did Glazer's screenplay and the film overall no favors with his dry as the desert direction which had no energy, no snap, and no bite--all of which were on superior display in his brilliant "Wag The Dog" (1997) and most certainly, "Good Morning, Vietnam" (1987), two films of which "Rock The Kasbah" certainly could have existed as a companion piece. This was more than confounding to me as "Rock The Kasbah" is not only screaming for a go-for-broke teeth baring satire like John Cusack's wildly brutal passion project "War, Inc" (2008), but I was stunned that Levinson carried the same banal, dispassionate tonal quality throughout, even as the film slides from comedy to tragedy and back to comedy.

At one point late in the film, as situations are looking particularly grim, one character expresses to Richie Lanz and he is about to cut his losses and head for the hills, that he is a loser and a quitter, to which he replies, "I'm not a loser. I'm a quitter." "Rock The Kasbah" feels like that. While it is by no means a disaster, and does indeed find Bill Murray completely committed to his part of the proceedings, the film as a whole just kind of gives up...even before it ever really gets itself revved up.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

'SCUSE ME WHILE I KISS THE SKY: a review of "The Walk"

Based upon the memoir To Reach The Clouds by Philippe Petit
Screenplay Written by Robert Zemeckis & Christopher Browne
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
**** (four stars)

"I won an Academy Award when I was 44 years old but I paid for it with my 20s. That decade of my life from film school til 30 was nothing but work, nothing but absolute, driving work. I had no money. I had no life...The goal from here on is to balance my passion, because I do love it so much. It's kind of like the old saying about climbing a ladder and then realizing that it's up against the wrong wall. When you make one of the biggest movies of all time and you win an Academy Award, it forces you to look into the void, because it doesn't ultimately fulfill anything."
-Robert Zemeckis
Interview with Academy Of Achievement: A Museum Of Living History 1996

For nearly 40 years, filmmaker Robert Zemeckis has long established himself as one of our greatest cinematic magicians. Time and again, Zemeckis has delivered one eye popping sight after another and always filtered through his ever inventive directorial vision, providing generations with films that are truly for the ages.

Just think, within his very first film "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (1978), he gave us a front row seat to wide-swept Beatlemania and somehow made us feel that we were witnessing The Beatles even though they never appeared upon screen. Or how about the deliriously awesome spectacle of witnessing human beings interacting seamlessly with cartoon characters in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" (1988). What of regarding Goldie Hawn parading through scenes with a shotgun blast hole blown completely through her middle in the wicked satire "Death Becomes Her" (1992). Or the life odyssey of a bumpkin, played beautifully by Tom Hanks, rubbing shoulders with all manner of historical dignitaries and iconic celebrities as if he were actually, truly present in "Forrest Gump" (1994). Zemeckis has allowed us to travel with Jodie Foster through the universe and back in "Contact" (1997) as well as through harrowing existential crises as presented in both "Cast Away" (2000) and "Flight" (2012). And of course, we cannot even begin to ignore the collection of air-tight time travel conundrums, paradoxes and near catastrophes experienced and endured by Marty McFly and Doc Brown in the...well...timeless "Back To The Future" trilogy (1985/1989/1990).

With the arrival of "The Walk," I feel that Robert Zemeckis has made one of his most magical films. It is exquisitely filmed and the ultimate effect is nothing short of exhilarating (even in 2D!). But beyond the sheer spectacle of the high wire escapade, Zemeckis has also presented a film that is not only multi-layered but one that just might possibly be his most personal, in regards to his artistic drive and determination and the successes and potential failings that accompany a relentless attention to his specialized brand of imagination and ingenuity. Yes, everyone is heading out to see Ridley Scott's "The Martian" and with a new film from no less than Steven Spielberg, as well as the rapturously well reviewed "Steve Jobs" waiting in the wings, there is the possibility that "The Walk" just might find itself lost in the cracks. But trust me, dear readers, Robert Zemeckis has delivered the goods once again, triumphantly so, and I would just hate for you to miss this glorious film upon the BIG SCREEN that is was purely designed to be seen.

"The Walk" stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a thrilling, fully engaging performance as real life French high-wire artist Philippe Petit as he prepares and performs his historical (and illegal) tightrope walk between the two, as yet unfinished twin towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974.

Over the course of just a hair over two hours, Zemeckis, utilizing the direct to the camera/audience narration by Petit, takes us through Petit's childhood, origins as a French street performer and fascination with becoming a wire-walker, his romance with street musician Annie (Charlotte Le Bon), his teachings from legendary tightrope performer Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) and his voyage to New York as he builds a covert crew to assist him with his covert quest to nearly reach the clouds.

The film's dazzling, nearly 20 minute, climax features Philippe Petit's historic walk to the awed eyes of the citizens of New York plus his crew and the arsenal of police officers hoping to reel Petit back to safety.

Robert Zemeckis' "The Walk" is unquestionably a feast for the eyes from the 1970's period details to the almost vertigo inducing sequences miles high above the ground. For those of you who just may see this film in 3D, I firmly believe that Zemeckis has pulled out all of the stops and you just may find yourselves hanging onto your theater seats so as not to feel as if you are falling off of the world. Awards season had better to be most generous to Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, who in collaboration with Zemeckis, has fashioned a visual palate from beginning to end that is completely immersive and stunning, making the special effects entirely seamless with the real world surroundings and actors.

It is a film that sits beautifully with the remainder of Zemeckis' filmography, especially his friskier features like the aforementioned "Back To The Future" series and even the raunchy satire "Used Cars" (1980), as those films each featured a collective of characters hatching all manner of plots and schemes to which we in the audience would fall into sheer delight viewing how their plans would inevitably go awry and how they wriggle themselves out of the jaws of failure over and again. Essentially, Zemeckis has even outdone Director Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean Eleven" (2001) as he has made almost the ultimate caper film, as Philippe Petit, the consummate showman, wishes to deliver an unexpected experience, the likes of which could never be performed again and one that crucially has to be kept secret from the public in order to make its intended impact of jaw dropping awe.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is absolutely wonderful as Petit. While his French accent may not be perfect, he more than makes up for any discrepancies through the energy, intensity, balletic physicality and existential pathos he pours into his full performance. His magnetism is as infectious as it is exciting, fully making us understand how Annie, French photographer Jean-Louis (Clement Sibomy), French speaking New Yorker J.P. (James Badge Dale), life insurance salesman Barry Greenhouse (Steve Valentine) and even a genteel Frenchman named Jeff (Cesar Domboy), who incidentally houses a fear of heights, would follow him entirely during such a foolhardy scheme, and eve remain with him as they endure Petit's arrogance, anger, and moments where he seems to be slipping away into madness. But Petit remains fully steadfast, either with his crew or addressing the audience from atop his perch at the peak of the Statue Of Liberty, fully serving his muse, his inspiration, his reason for being as well as the city of New York itself, making him a figure we want to believe in as well as follow.

Even so "The Walk," just like "The Martian" is a testament to what we as human beings are able to achieve and accomplish just by working together and believing in one another. With that, Zecmekis has crafted a film that works as a metaphor to the life experience itself, for what is the unpredictable nature of life but a veritable tightrope walk each and every day. What of the changes and curve balls life throws at each and every one of us at one time or another. From changes that are either self-induced or forced, to be thrown from one's perceived path into another requires unquestionable strength and agility and may also house tremendous doubts of one abilities and fears of absolute failure. Every step we take each day is yet another step into the void, the unknown and Petit's walk across the twin towers serves as a powerful image to all lives lived but also as a stirring testament to the people of New York City and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  

And still, there is the matter of the quotation with which I opened this review. With Philippe Petit and his crew, I could not help but to think that "The Walk" may also serve as an allegory to the filmmaking career of Robert Zemeckis himself as Petit could easily be viewed as the Zemeckis stand-in, a feverishly creative figure surrounded by a team of individuals, all working to serve his artistic vision no matter where it takes him. I can only imagine what it would have been like to have worked alongside this man for many years and on the projects he has released to the world as well as what role his brand of dogged determination and dedication may have played within his personal life. A final scene between Petit and Annie certainly does present an interpersonal tension that can arise when both people are attached to one person's dreams and I do believe that we just may be asked to wonder how Zemeckis, and therefore, how all of us, are able to achieve that sense of balance in life--itself another tightrope walk that is often precarious yet not impossible.

I am so very thankful as a film-goer that Robert Zemeckis has indeed dedicated himself so thoroughly to his art, repeatedly providing me with glorious times at the movies. But he is indeed a human being first, and I would hate to think that he may have sacrificed a certain sense of personal happiness for artistic glory. Hopefully, he has indeed found that balance and furthermore, with a circle of individuals to offer him support and encouragement in turn.

That is indeed the beauty of a film like "The Walk" as it successfully merges the thrill ride with the profound, one that transcends its primary subject matter, making for an experience that is specific to the life experience of Philippe Petit, personal for Robert Zemeckis and universal for all of us watching, gasping in awe as we regard one risk filled step after another into the unknown.

Monday, October 5, 2015

LIFE ON MARS: a review of "The Martian"

Based upon the novel by Andy Weir
Screenplay Written by Drew Goddard
Directed by Ridley Scott
***1/2 (three and a half stars) 

Is it really amazing to me that a movie that is actually quite traditional can now exist as something astoundingly audacious.

2015. When I think of the year, especially now that I am living comfortably inside of it, I look back to the images that originally conjured within my brain as I conceptualized what 2015 could possibly look, feel and be like. I don't necessarily mean flying cars and such (although those did pass through my imagination), but I had wondered if we, as a human society, would have advanced far beyond anything that I could conceive. Maybe it was all so naive of me, my head filled with such daydreams. But even so, the concept of 2015, and even the 21st century in and of itself,  just seemed to be unfathomable to me.

And yet, here we are and life in the 21st century is indeed unfathomable to my perceptions as to how regressive we have become in some ways, especially regarding the nature of facts, Science, Math, the pursuit of intelligence and even the nature of reality itself. With a sea of political leaders and Presidential candidates all turning their backs against all that is real, plus the defunding of NASA and a cultural dialogue that has grown destructively vitriolic and divisive, the world where I thought we would be striving for new discoveries has been seemingly replaced by a world that finds the pursuit of knowledge more of a burden than a virtue. It sometimes makes me feel like I would want to fly off into the skies, the stars and points unknown just to rid myself of all that is so obviously holding humanity backwards.

Director Ridley Scott's "The Martian," a terrific adaptation of the best selling Andy Weir novel, is a richly rendered experience that serves as a cultural antidote as well as a simultaneous celebration and lament for all we are capable of as well as for how much we are losing and have already lost. Even so, it is a film which possesses a surprisingly heartfelt overflow of the best of humanity, especially coming from a filmmaker who has been traditionally prickly, cynical and clinical. "The Martian," existing as a film that contains so much isolation, is a wonderfully inclusive motion picture that finds Ridley Scott exhibiting tremendous focus and energy, therefore making one of the most entertaining and involving films of his long career.

"The Martian" stars Matt Damon as Astro-Botanist Mark Watney, crew member of the Ares III and stationed upon Mars. When an intense sandstorm arises, forcing the crew to depart the planet, an accident separates Watney from the remainder of the crew, leaving him lost and presumed dead.

Yet, on the morning after the storm, Watney awakens to find that he has not only survived, he is now alone and stranded upon the red planet without means of communication to NASA. Realizing that he now has to "science the shit" out of his new surroundings, he utilizes his skills as a botanist to grow crops within an artificial habitat, refurbishes the rover to make it capable for long journeys and he also keeps himself a video diary to help maintain his morale as well as his sanity as he calculates that he has possibly three years to survive, that is, all going well.

Meanwhile at NASA, engineer Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Mission Control satellite planner Mindy Park (Mackenzie Davis) receive satellite photos from Mars revealing that Mark Watney is indeed still alive. Enlisting the combined aid of NASA Director Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels), NASA spokesperson Annie Montrose (Kristen Wiig), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Director Brce Ng (Benedict Wong), astrophysicist Rich Purnell (Donald Glover), NASA Mission Director Mitch Henderson (Sean Bean), the Chinese National Space Agency and finally, the crew of the Ares III now aboard the Hermes (featuring Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Sebastian Stan, Kata Mara and Askel Hennie), a plan is formulated to try and rescue Watley and return him to Earth.

As you would expect, Ridley Scott's "The Martian" is a visually resplendent film, filled from beginning to end with A list production values, seamless special effects and armed with a cast that is uniformly excellent. Matt Damon once again provides a completely compelling performance that firmly illustrates that he is indeed one of our rare actors who is superbly able to hold the screen all alone for long stretches of time during this survivalist epic with strength, ease, remarkable depths of pathos and equally surprising sections of self-deprecating humor (just imagine being marooned on Mars with only disco music to listen to), making this an experience that works very well as a companion piece to films like Director Robert Zemeckis' "Cast Away" (2000), Director Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" (2010) and Director Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" (2013).

Additionally, "The Martian" is a film that sits most comfortably alongside past interstellar epics like Writer/Director Philip Kaufman's "The Right Stuff" (1983), Director Ron Howard's "Apollo 13" (1995), Director Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" (2014) and of course, Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), as Ridley Scott presents an outer space excursion based not in fantasy, but one filled with ideas and tangible concepts as the reality of Science and Math are placed center stage in Mark Watley's survivalist and existential crisis.

That being said, the familiarity of "The Martian" to all of those aforementioned films did lend itself to a certain predictable nature that, at least for me, downplayed some of the film's more visceral qualities as I have seen this sort of thing many times before. But truth be told, Ridley Scott has not fashioned "The Martian" to function as a white knuckle thrill ride like "Gravity,"although both films share similar themes, most notably attempting to survive within the unpredictable, unforgiving nature of space. But even so, and as engrossing as the film is, I wasn't as swept away as I had hoped that I would be, possibly due to Scott's more clinical directorial hand.

Regardless, where"The Martian" does indeed find its considerable thrills, and therefore, its conceptual fuel, is completely within the inherent drama that is housed inside of problem solving and collaboration in order to achieve a common goal. No small feat and Scott achieves several sequences of riveting drama that solely focuses on individuals confronting a situation, and being forced to conceptualize another angle, another avenue, another plan of attack.

Dear readers, there truly is something to be said about watching a collective of individuals utilizing their intellects and not weapons in order to achieve success. And while some have celebrated the film by facetiously utilizing the terms "nerds," I actually have to discredit that very description because honestly, why is one dismissively considered to be less than another just because one happens to be intelligent? In contrast, I found the characters of "The Martian" to be nothing less than heroic, knowing that sheer brain power combined with empathy and humanity is an awesome tool to behold and within the realm of Science, Math, Physics and the like, it is not a tool so easily discovered, and one that provides the film with a sense of honest uplift.

But let's get back to where we are in 2015 within the real world and where "The Martian" fits inside of it. As I have previously stated, Ridley Scott has created a film that while being very much of the present, is indeed quite old-fashioned and familiar. Even so, and considering the destructive nature of our current socio-political landscape, I truly felt it to be an act of sheer audacity to create a big budget motion picture (which has already become a box office hit), a two and a half hour epic that is essentially proclaiming from start to finish: "SCIENCE IS REAL!!!!!"

Just think about it for a moment. We currently have a candidate running for President who actually is a scientist yet somehow does not believe in the reality of climate change and has even openly questioned the origin of gravity and he's one of the front runners for the Republican party! That reality says as much, if not more, about our populace as it does about the candidate himself and furthermore illustrates the danger to all of us if we allow those who would adhere to ideology rather than reality to have their hands upon the wheels. "The Martian," at its best, is a showcase for a specialized brand of ingenuity, discovery, and imagination, all of which arrives completely through the knowledge of Science and Math, something I feel that should be celebrated and not twisted to be seen as tools for the elite.

And therefore, it is the communal aspect of "The Martian" that provides the film with its honest and earned uplift, by showing how Science, Math and intelligence itself can bring individuals together, not for commerce or for profit but for a cause that is humane. Considering the dark filmography of Ridley Scott, which includes the iconic outer space haunted house thrills of "Alien" (19179), the dystopian futuristic detective masterpiece "Blade Runner" (1982), plus the likes of the grim feminist road movie "Thelma And Louise" (1991), and even, the downright nihilistic "Prometheus" (2012), it is truly a wonderment that Scott has created a film that depicts the possibilities rather than the pitfalls and consequences, and it is, just as surprisingly, a good look for him.

That said, I would offer a word of caution towards his casting choices in regards to diversity, especially after all of the heat he deservedly shouldered for his lily-white casting of his Egypt set biblical epic "Exodus: Gods And Kings" (2014). While it was indeed a pleasure to see all of the different faces of color within "The Martian," and all functioning within a variety of careers to boot, it was solely among the men. Honestly, Ridley Scott, are there no female Scientists???? Yes, we have Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara as our astronauts but out of such a large cast and the collective of Scientists running all around the film, could none of them be women? Just think of the girls who could have been deeply inspired just by having a visual. No, this doesn't derail the film as a whole but it is a sore spot nonetheless.

But please do not allow those small dings to deter you from heading out to this film for Ridley Scott's "The Martian" is a crowd pleasing, visually stunning ode to the gifts of logic, reasoning and critical thinking, the kind of which can be utilized for the betterment of all.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Well, September was a much quieter movie month than I had anticipated.

Due to the lack of releases that I was interested in seeing plus having to deal with those initial illnesses of the new school year, I just didn't see very much of anything last month. But, I believe that it is all about to change as I head into October and this weekend specifically, as I will try my best to get out and see Director Ridley Scott's "The Martian" and even then, there's still Director Robert Zemeckis' "The Walk" which also opened just a few short days ago.

Beyond that...

1. Two words: "Steve Jobs." There is nothing that is going to keep me away from Director Danny Boyle and Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's bio-pic drama starring Michael Fassbender, which has already earned some rave reviews from some recent festival screenings.

2. Then, we also have the Cold War drama "Bridge Of Spies," starring Tom Hanks and directed by none other than my man, Steven Spielberg. 'Nuff said.

3. And even then, there's my main man, Mr. Bill Murray who returns with the political satire "Rock The Kasbah" from director Barry Levinson.

4. Finally, I am not certain if this film will reach my fair city this month but I am very curious about Writer/Director Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts Of No Nation," also earning high buzz.

That's more than enough on my cinematic plate to try and get myself to. So, as always, wish me luck and good health...

...and I'll see you when the house lights go down!