Reel Reviews

REEL REVIEWS

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By Jake Erickson San Andreas This movie is by far one of the best disaster movies to come out in years with a creative plot, great actors and awesome animation techniques. The complexity of the events are complimented with an undeniable sense of suspense despite the security felt with some of the main characters. The biggest reason this movie really ... Read More »

“American Sniper” — Must See

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net If you’ve read “American Sniper” don’t avoid the movie; it’s much different in several ways. The book concentrates on the elements of war in Iraq. The movie emphasizes the character and travails of Navy Seal Chris Kyle, who served four tours in Iraq protecting Marines in savage fighting. It’s anything but a “war movie”; ... Read More »

A Chef to Savor

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net If you’ve had your fill of super-heroes, super-villains, zombies, Godzilla’s and other zillas plus assorted other freaks, treat yourself to “Chef.” It’s a delightful take on the food world, family bonding and multiculturalism with a great soundtrack and a bit of a travelogue to boot. After a disastrous experience with “Cowboys and Aliens” and ... Read More »

What Happens In Vegas…

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net If you suspend your disbelief, sit back and relax and you just might enjoy “Last Vegas.” It’s virtually mindless frothy comedy with a predictable script, saved only by the acting of four old pros and a decent director. Yes, there are some reminders of the vicissitudes of aging that draw some guffaws from the ... Read More »

Piracy and Heroism

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net “Captain Phillips” starts quietly enough. Captain Rich Phillips (Tom Hanks) and his wife (Catherine Keener) leave their Vermont home one morning. The Captain is off to Oman where he will take charge of a freighter, the Maersk Alabama, destination Kenya. The ship carries various goods, including relief supplies for those suffering in Africa. Phillips ... Read More »

RUSH

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net The setting is Europe. The critical year is 1976, although it’s mingled with a number of flashbacks. The movie centers about the rivalry of two Formula One race car drivers, one handsome, dashing and British; the other Austrian, not so handsome, not so dashing – indeed dour, arrogant – and Austrian. This fascinating thriller ... Read More »

ENOUGH SAID

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a divorced masseuse with a daughter, Ellen, about to enter college (impeccably played by Tracey Fairaway). Albert (the late, great James Gandolfini) is a divorced father of a girl also bound for college. Thus begins “Enough Said,” a charming little comedy that gets into the foibles of middle class, middle ... Read More »

Prisoners

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net As the first scene begins a father is repeating a prayer as his son prepares to shoot a deer for their Thanksgiving dinner.  This is the fitting prelude for almost three hours of tension and superb performances in a far-from-ordinary “crime thriller. The setting is a wintry, somber, dank Western Pennsylvania town.  It appears ... Read More »

The Butler

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net By trying to do too much, “the Butler” ends up doing too little. It intersperses the life of White House butler named Cecil Gaines (modeled on real life butler Eugene Allen) with episodes of the Civil Rights Movement. In a huge cast, including Robin Williams (who is supposed to be Dwight Eisenhower, but looks ... Read More »

Woody’s Best Blue Jasmine

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net From the moment we first see Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) we’re entranced, even though she’s talking to herself and her neighbor on a flight from New York to San Francisco. Jasmine is dressed to the nines in Chanel and a huge Hermes purse. That’s all accompanied by monogrammed Louis Vuitton luggage awaiting her on the ... Read More »

Red 2 – Sit Back And Escape

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net No Zombies. No Vampires. Not even an Alien. RED2 is all about good old earthly mayhem with enough one-liners and visual gags to make for excellent escapism. The old gang of semi-retired (and retarded) not so secret assassins is back again. Bruce Willis (Frank), John Malkovich (Marvin) and Helen Mirren (Victoria) reprise their identities ... Read More »

Reel Review: ‘42’

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By Monte Lazarus – Bengoshi@comcast.net You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate, enjoy and possibly choke up a bit, when you see “42.” It’s the story of 18 months in the life and career of Jackie Robinson. As with the few outstanding “baseball movies,” e.g., “Bull Durham,” “Bang The Drum Slowly,” “42” is not simply about baseball. ... Read More »

Zero Dark Thirty

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By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net The beginning of “Zero Dark Thirty” is controversial and unsettling. Shortly after the first scene at the World Trade Center, the site changes. A CIA operative has an Al-Qaeda member in a dank dungeon – a “black site” – somewhere in Pakistan. It’s 2003. What makes the scene disturbing is the sequence of torture that takes ... Read More »

“Anna Karenina”

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” is generally considered one of the greatest novels ever written. It’s been made into movies 13 times, and the Greta Garbo/Fredric March version of 1935 is widely recognized at the best. This latest edition is a balletic show-within-a-show that dances back and forth from footlights to backstage to “reality”. Despite ... Read More »

“LINCOLN”

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net In 1865, the Civil War was draining the blood of North and South. Mr. Lincoln was personally ravaged by the war and was also determined to abolish slavery by passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. This piece of history and Mr. Lincoln’s remarkable life is the focal point of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, ... Read More »

BOND AT 50

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REEL REVIEWS  By Monte Lazarus  Bengoshi@comcast.net For the fiftieth anniversary of the James Bond movies, “Skyfall” is a perfect fit. Daniel Craig ranks one or two with Sean Connery as the best Bond of all. This Bond is very different. He’s not the suave, sophisticated James of yore, although he manages to handle a tuxedo fairly well. This is a ... Read More »

FLIGHT

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REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net Don’t be fooled by the title. “Flight” has very little to do with aviation; it has a lot to do about character, lies and deception, and morality. And, it’s beautifully done. The superb Denzel Washington plays “Whip” Whitaker, a first-rate airline pilot who is also an alcoholic, drug user and carouser. In the opening ... Read More »

REEL REVIEWS: DOUBLE FEATURE

By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net “ARBITRAGE” Richard Gere moves through “Arbitrage” like a sleek panther. Everything about him oozes wealth: not the Trump type of display, but the understated Gramercy Park Mansion type of polished dark wood and quiet elegance. Gere plays Robert Miller. As Miller, Gere is no longer the much younger playboy type of millionaire he played in “Pretty ... Read More »

BOURNE CHANGES IDENTITY

REEL REVIEWS By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net From the opening majestic shots of Alaska this is a different take on the Bourne series of films. Gone, regrettably, is Matt Damon. In “The Bourne Legacy” Jeremy Renner is Aaron Cross, ostensibly a Bourne-type successor. Renner is different; not as subtle an actor as Damon, but good enough as an action oriented, genetically ... Read More »

AH ROMA!

REEL REVIEWS  By Monte Lazarus  Bengoshi@comcast.net   Woody Allen’s latest, “To Rome With Love”, is feel good fun. The movie is a pastiche of unrelated plots, while paying tribute to the Eternal City, with spectacular photography of Rome’s treasures. The plot? There isn’t one. Rather, the film begins with one of Rome’s elegant traffic cops introducing some of the characters ... Read More »