Screeners

OUT THERE

OUT THERE

By | October 1, 2015 at 12:39 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons PICK OF THE WEEK THE MARTIAN Ridley Scott’s terrific adaptation of Andy Weir’s often tedious hard science book of the same name has Matt Damon as a stranded on Mars astronaut. The movie, also deeply rooted in mostly real science, is a thrilling,...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

Depp Kills iT

Depp Kills iT

By | September 24, 2015 at 1:26 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons PICK OF THE WEEK: BLACK MASS Finally a role for Johnny Depp that reminds of his for formidable powers to pretend and role-play on a grand, visceral scale that sidesteps his recent tendency to embrace essentially white-faced comic characters and foppish...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

RETRO TOUGH GUYS 

RETRO TOUGH GUYS 

By | September 16, 2015 at 11:55 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons There are several boutique home video distributors that license and transfer forgotten, cult, classic and B-movies that have never been on Blu-ray. Twilight Time is my favorite distributor. The only catch is their titles are limited editions of only 3,000...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

GRANNY THE SUPERHERO!

GRANNY THE SUPERHERO!

By | September 9, 2015 at 11:13 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons GRANDMA Lily Tomlin is terrific in the title roll of writer-director Paul Weitz’s dramatic comedy about a woman helping her pregnant  -- and broke -- granddaughter get an abortion. We meet poet Elle (Tomlin) as she’s breaking up with her much...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

MEANDERING ALONG THE BEATEN TRAIL

MEANDERING ALONG THE BEATEN TRAIL

By | September 3, 2015 at 3:10 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons A WALK IN THE WOODS The Appalachian Trail is 2,100 miles long. You’d think that was long enough to extract some great gags as two older but still charismatic stars trek (star trek?), bond and grumble. The cinematic sub-genre of “mature” movie...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

BRANDO ON BRANDO

BRANDO ON BRANDO

By | August 26, 2015 at 11:48 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons PICK OF THE WEEK: LISTEN TO ME MARLON Steven Riley’s clever documentary about Marlon Brando is a riveting experience. Culled from hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of hours of recordings, most of them private. Riley’s film is a deep plunge into the...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

THUGS TO RICHES

THUGS TO RICHES

By | August 19, 2015 at 5:59 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons PICK OF THE WEEK: STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON Director F. Gary Gray’s NWA biopic is old-fashioned story telling disguised as a dangerous, contemporary urban drama with music.  No, it’s not a musical, but it does advocates a street-smart brio with...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

SURRENDER? SAY “UNCLE”

SURRENDER? SAY “UNCLE”

By | August 13, 2015 at 3:03 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. Hard to believe the original NBC series aired 50 years ago! With Guy Ritchie at the helm, the much-anticipated reboot is in good hands. You can be forgiven if at first the movie reminds of the latest MISSION IMPOSSIBLE; i.e., a...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

ON BEING ALIVE

ON BEING ALIVE

By | August 5, 2015 at 8:04 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons PICK OF THE WEEK:  A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE It’s hard to describe the brilliant, life-affirming films of Swedish director Roy Anderson. It’s easy to say his films are comprised of snippets of seemingly unrelated moments...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

CRUISE CONTROL

CRUISE CONTROL

By | July 30, 2015 at 12:29 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION I’m not a big fan of Tom Cruise or his movies because it’s hard for me to separate the actor’s highly publicized private life -- including his outspoken Scientology beliefs -- from the characters he plays on...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

SHERLOCK’S LAST CASE?

SHERLOCK’S LAST CASE?

By | July 22, 2015 at 8:47 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons PICK OF THE WEEK: HOLMES Ian McKellen, at age 77, plays a long retired, 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes in this delightful mystery drama about the man behind the famous detective. It’s 1947. Holmes has just returned from a trip to Japan where he was...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

SMALL IS BIG AGAIN

SMALL IS BIG AGAIN

By | July 16, 2015 at 12:54 am | No comments

PICK OF THE WEEK:  ANT-MAN The Marvel universe just got bigger with this sly, whimsical and unexpectedly cool entry about how much size really matters!  Clearly a franchise starter, Paul Rudd stars as the ever-shrinking but ever-stronger hero in a surprisingly satisfying...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

AN EPITAPH FOR AMY

AN EPITAPH FOR AMY

By | July 9, 2015 at 1:26 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons AMY Asif Kapadia’s extraordinary biopic of singer Amy Winehouse packs a powerful punch to the gut. Experience this unfiltered look at a life that touched millions with her brilliant – sometimes searing -- words and voice but battles pop culture fame...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

HE’S BACK – AND NOT GOING AWAY…  EVER

HE’S BACK – AND NOT GOING AWAY…  EVER

By | July 1, 2015 at 9:25 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons  TERMINATOR GENISYS Whether you want him or not, Schwarzennegger’s back. He’s older -- a lot older -- and looks like he’s suffering from a terminal dose of the Russian flesh-eating drug Krokadil. Schwarzenegger acknowledges his age with the...

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NAUGHTY FAUX FLAUBERT

NAUGHTY FAUX FLAUBERT

By | June 25, 2015 at 3:11 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons GEMMA BOVARY “Madame Bovary,” Flaubert’s literary classic gets a naughty reboot in this delightful film that plays with the notion that life imitates art in the most unexpected ways when delicious, unsophisticated British beauty Gemma Bovary...

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COME FOR FUN, THEN RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

COME FOR FUN, THEN RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

By | June 18, 2015 at 2:11 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons JURRASIC WORLD Our first big screen experience, and the accompanying adrenalin rush encountering larger-than-life, ultra-realistic, pre-historic predators, cannot be duplicated. It’s a one-time feeling. That said, JURRASIC WORLD is a satisfying...

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McCARTHY’S FUNNIEST FILM DELIVERS HUGE LAUGHS

McCARTHY’S FUNNIEST FILM DELIVERS HUGE LAUGHS

By | June 11, 2015 at 2:35 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons SPY The packed audience I saw this with loved this comedy. Big, long, loud belly laughs came in waves from beginning to end. What a great team Melissa McCarthy and writer-director Paul Feig are! The conceit has Susan Cooper (McCarthy), an apparently...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

BANG! BANG! YOU’RE DEAD

BANG! BANG! YOU’RE DEAD

By | June 4, 2015 at 1:04 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons SLOW WEST Scottish writer-director John M. Maclean’s feature film debut is a disturbing but compelling western that embraces the brutality of the genre with post-modern tweaks. The film begins with a voice over from Irish immigrant bounty hunter...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

NEVER TOO OLD

NEVER TOO OLD

By | May 27, 2015 at 7:39 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons THE HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED What’s not to love about the antics of an impish centenarian on the loose? Based on the international best seller by Jonas Jonasson, Felix Herngren’s irreverent Swedish comedy is the...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

ROAD RAGE AS ART

ROAD RAGE AS ART

By | May 21, 2015 at 1:57 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Australian medical doctor George Miller had an idea for a movie 35 years ago, but could only raise about $400,000. So he shot the post-apocalyptic MAD MAX  in rural and desert locations with a young, unknown actor named Mel Gibson....

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

HOT CHICKS ON THE LOOSE

HOT CHICKS ON THE LOOSE

By | May 13, 2015 at 11:10 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons HOT PURSUIT This diverting comedy has met with mixed reviews. Some of the more negative ones have singled out director Anne Fletcher for making a “mysogynistic, shrill and unfunny” movie. In a recent Q&A I hosted at Cinemas Palme d’Or,...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

REFLECTIONS ON A MIRROR IMAGE

REFLECTIONS ON A MIRROR IMAGE

By | May 7, 2015 at 2:51 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA A big hit at this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival, this sly, intelligent and compelling drama from director Olivier Assayas is powered by three terrific performances by Juliette Binoche (from whom the idea for...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE GETS REAL

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE GETS REAL

By | April 30, 2015 at 10:16 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons EX MACHINA Alex Garland writes and directs a visually striking and intellectually stimulating movie about Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a young programmer at the world's largest internet search giant, who “wins” an in-house competition to spend a...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

Q&A With Movie Director George Tillman, Jr.

Q&A With Movie Director George Tillman, Jr.

By | April 22, 2015 at 11:26 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons At a recent screening of “THE LONGEST RIDE” at Cinemas Palme d’Or, I sat down with producer and director George Tillman, Jr.  Here’s an edited excerpt of that conversation. How did you get attached to “THE LONGEST RIDE? The movies I’ve...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

PARALLEL LOVES

PARALLEL LOVES

By | April 15, 2015 at 11:35 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons THE LONGEST RIDE Master storyteller Nicholas Sparks’ books and movies are an acquired taste, except for readers and movie fans of sentimental, romantic stories – and they are legion. So what if it oozes a contrived plot and a mawkish sweetness, it...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

GREAT FILMMAKERS: FRITZ LANG

GREAT FILMMAKERS: FRITZ LANG

By | April 8, 2015 at 2:45 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons Born in Vienna in 1890, Fritz Lang was encouraged to be an architect or engineer by his father, who owned a successful construction company. After a brief stint in a technical school, Fritz ran off to Munich and Paris to study art and be a painter. He...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

GOOSEBUMPS GALORE!

GOOSEBUMPS GALORE!

By | April 1, 2015 at 8:45 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons IT FOLLOWS The art of fear is a delicate and difficult thing to master. For me, the mounting pressure of “nameless dreads” is far more disturbing than a menacing predator with a knife and a ski mask, buckets of blood and severed body parts. So...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

ZOOM! ZOOM! ZOOM!

ZOOM! ZOOM! ZOOM!

By | March 26, 2015 at 1:30 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons  FURIOUS 7 The muscle car gang’s back in fine form. Vin Diesel, the late Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson lead the returning cast of Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Elsa Pataky and Lucas Black. In this...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

MORE COSTNER

MORE COSTNER

By | March 19, 2015 at 1:34 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons BLACK OR WHITE Writer director Mike Binder’s family drama has a lot going on. Grandfather (Kevin Costner) is left to care for his darling granddaughter. But when her dad’s mom (Octavia Spencer) seeks custody, the little girl is torn between two...

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REMEMBERING ALBERT MAYSLES

REMEMBERING ALBERT MAYSLES

By | March 12, 2015 at 2:15 am | No comments

By Robin E. SImmons When award-winning documentarian Albert Maysles (pronounced MAY-zuls) died last week in Manhattan at the age of 88, there was a collective sigh of sadness among film lovers all around the world. Albert, with his younger brother David, created amazing,...

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A FUN NEW MOVIE GENRE: ROM CON

A FUN NEW MOVIE GENRE: ROM CON

By | March 5, 2015 at 2:35 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons FOCUS It’s been nearly ten years since Will Smith has played his charismatic, charming persona on the big screen. You know, the guy we first met on his hit TV show ”Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Smith has taken on a series of serious sci-fi action...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

OSCAR RESIDUE

OSCAR RESIDUE

By | February 26, 2015 at 1:10 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons Were your favorite movies Oscar© winners this year? Did you lose money betting on what you thought was a sure thing? Were you shocked at the choices of the Motion Picture Academy members? I was hoping BOYHOOD would win Best Picture, but glad that BIRDMAN...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

50 SHADES OF MEH

50 SHADES OF MEH

By | February 18, 2015 at 5:10 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons FIFTY SHADES OF GREY In our porn saturated age, it’s amazing that the rather tame movie adaptation of the first volume of E.L. James’ 100 million selling trilogy even made it to the big screen. An erotic book is a far different experience than...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

“JUPITER” SINKS & “SPONGEBOB” SOARS

“JUPITER” SINKS & “SPONGEBOB” SOARS

By | February 11, 2015 at 9:50 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons I was thinking of doing a Valentine’s themed column this week about the best love story on film, but after talking to friends and strangers at a local pub about their favorites, I was overwhelmed with suggestions from WUTHERING HEIGHTS to Disney’s...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

IN DEEP

IN DEEP

By | February 5, 2015 at 3:42 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons BLACK SEA Royal Navy Captain Robinson (Jude Law) puts together a crew of half English/half Russian marine specialists to steal a golden hoard on a sunken WW II era Nazi U-boat at the bottom0of the Black Sea. The treasure already is marked by the greedy...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners