Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Secret Life of Pets (2016) Louis CK – Movie Reviews



Max is dog living a life of relative bliss in a New York City apartment who gets all of the love and attention he needs when his owner Katie’s home, but now finds himself having to compete when bleeding-heart Katie brings home a shelter pooch in the form of the big, dopey, shaggy-haired Duke, who steals that attention, as well as a good deal of the food and pet bed. Squabbles result on who is going to be ‘alpha dog’ before both find themselves having to ally when they end up out in the streets of the city without an easy means of returning home in one piece. Out to the rescue are a few of their pet animal friends, who’ve made it their mission to bring Max back, and they have to do it fast, as the mutts have made enemies with a psychopathic bunny rabbit named Snowball, the gang leader of a rag-tag group of vicious street rejects who hate pampered, domesticated pets and their human owners.


The Purge: Election Year (2016) Frank Grillo – Movie Review



The “Purge” of the title, for those who are still unaware, is an annual “celebration” in which, for a twelve-hour period, any crime you can think of is declared legal, as the police, fire fighters, and medical services take a break and let the U.S. citizens run amok without fear of prosecution for any misdeeds committed. The “patriotic” day now faces the biggest challenge since its inception, as independent senator Charlene ‘Charlie’ Roan, whose family was killed in front of her eyes on Purge Night eighteen years prior, is running in a hotly contested battle for the presidency with a platform on abolishing the practice because it is being used by the wealthy elite in business and government as a means to eradicate the poor and sick because they feel they are an economic burden on the rest of society.
Her opposition for the seat is a representative of the status quo that has the backing of the NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America), which is a group of those mega-Christian right-wing elites (all older, white and rich), who desperately need to thwart the senator’s momentum before they lose their stranglehold on the direction of American society to their favor. They market a “fair & balanced” change in the Purge Night law that protected government officials from harm during Purge Night as making things right to the downtrodden, because now no one is safe. However, it is all a ruse to get Senator Roan, who has decided she must hide in her home like everyone else so that it doesn’t look like she’s privileged, out of the way during the Purge. With big guns out to get her, it’s up to chief security agent Barnes, as well as a kind and resourceful store owner named Joe and his cohorts, who all believe in the senator and what she stands for, to protect the vulnerable senator from being killed along with the plight of the nation’s victimized poor through the acts of the Purge. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to hide when just about everyone out in the Washington DC streets is out to bask in the blood of the weak.


Eat That Question Frank Zappa in His Own Words (2016) Review



Eat That Question offers plenty of archival footage of various interview sessions Frank Zappa did for television, combining this with clips from some of his own personal movies, as well as a number of his stage performances in front of crowds both welcoming and skeptical. Some of the delights include a clean-cut younger Frank Zappa improvising music to an audience who clearly don’t get it on “The Steve Allen Show” in 1963, where the witty host praised Zappa for his far-sighted courage to push the boundaries of his artistic expression, while also quipping to not ever perform that music around him again. We also get some insightful footage of Zappa’s testimony to congress in the 1980s, taking on Tipper Gore’s proposal to put warning labels on music of objectionable content to protect younger ears, while he fought back on trying to clamp down on artistic freedoms, feeling that there is no such thing as a bad word.


The Legend of Tarzan (2016) Movie Review



Based on characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Alexander Skarsgard stars as John Clayton III of Greystoke Manor, an earl living comfortably in London during the Victorian Era, whose past has made him something of a legend, where he was orphaned and raised by apes until adulthood. Margot Robbie plays his wife Jane, who was once saved by Tarzan while she was exploring the jungles of the Congo, soon entering into a steamy relationship with the feral man who would soon come to learn the customs and laguage of a proper Engish gentleman, abandoning his former life.
Christoph Waltz emerges as the main nemesis, playing Captain Leon Rom, an emissary from the floundering Belgian regime who has been sent to the Congo in the late 19th Century in order to propogate, by any means necessary, the extraction of valuable diamonds from the mostly tribal lands, which they’ve also sought to colonize for further exploitation. Chief Mbonga, one of the powerful heads of those tribes, agrees to give Rom the riches he’s seeking if the Belgian is able to secure Tarzan to him. To fulfill his part of the bargain, Rom entices Clayton to return to his former stomping grounds, ostensibly for humanitarian purposes. In tow are Jane and a U.S. envoy to the region named George Washington Williams out to thwart what he feels is the continued enslavement of Africans of the region. When Rom kidnaps Jane in order to bring Clayton out to the open, the latter finds himself having to use his old skills of the jungle to bring down powerful forces seeking to upend all that he has come to hold dear in this world.


The BFG (2016) Steven Spielberg – Movie Reviews



Set in London, a clever but unhappy,insomnia-afflicted orphan named Sophie wakes up in the middle of the evening and sees something outside the orphanage window. Investigating, she discovers a giant man skulking around in the neighborhood outside, causing her to go into a panic. He grabs her and steals her away to protect his further discovery from others, taking the girl to his home in a nearby realm, Giant Country, an uncharted land mostly undiscovered by humans. Soon Sophie discovers the giant to be a much more gentle being than his size and demeanor would initially lend you to believe, especially compared to the nine much larger, bullying brutes that also inhabit the lands, who live to feast on “beans” (human beings), unlike her vegetarian protector. She dubs him, “BFG” (“Big Friendly Giant”), learning all about this curious realm and his eccentric ways, which includes his amazing ability to capture and control dreams, which he uses to try to bring joy to the children of the human town Sophie hails from.