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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Keith the Critic Movie Reviews - The Lost Reviews


Hey folks, Eric here.  As editor in chief, and the man behind Notes and Nerds, it is my responsibility to ensure content is up and out for your consumption.  However, I dropped the ball!  We lost some reviews from the previous weeks from Keith the Critic.  However, I was able to recover them, and we will post them all in one big article right here for you.  This, as you can tell is NOT our usual style when posting reviews.  I just felt that it was important to get these out to you, our audience.  So, albeit late, enjoy these great reviews from Keith the Critic!



I, Tonya


I, Tonya reviews the life of Tonya Harding before and after her now famous attack on Nancy Kerrigan. Margot Robbie plays Tonya Harding who grew up in a poor family ruled by her mother, LaVona, who is played by Allison Janney. Tonya's whole world revolves around skating, but she meets obstacles and challenges each and every time she skates. 

Nothing ever makes her mother happy including her relationship with Jeff Gillooly, who is played by Sebastian Stan. The two marry and Jeff soon becomes physically abusive. Tonya leaves Jeff but after coming in fourth at the Olympics, she goes back to him. While Tonya is training for the next Olympics, Jeff concocts a plan to have Tonya's bodyguard, Shawn, who is played by Paul Walter, send a death threat to Nancy Kerrigan. Shawn instead hires two thugs to attack her and the rest is history. Tonya's career as a skater is over.

This is another great movie. Allison Janney is absolutely spot on as LaVona, Tonya's mother. She has already won a Golden Globe and has a good shot for an Oscar. Margot Robbie is also spectacular in her performance. She proves what a solid actress she is in this role revealing the troubled life that Tonya Harding led. She was the only one who could perform two triple axels but did not receive the credit she deserved. They had to use special effects to make it appear that Margot Robbie was the skater. We also now know that Tonya had no idea of the planned attack yet she was given a lot of the blame. 

This movie is well directed, written, and acted. I gave it 4 out of 4 stars. The film is very entertaining as well as eye opening for those of use who remember the original news story. 



Forever My Girl


This movie is based on the romantic novel by Heidi McLaughlin. It stars Alex Roe as country music star Liam Page. Liam is to marry his high school sweetheart, Josie, played by Jessica Rothe. When the opportunity to further his career comes, Liam chooses to leave Josie at the altar. 

Eight years later, Liam hears of the death of one of his friends from back home. He returns to learn that he is a dad to 7 year old daughter, Billy, who is played by Abby Ryder Fortson. Josie had tried to call to tell him but Liam had not returned her call. As Liam gets to know his daughter, he discovers a life very different from the big lights of stardom. But which life will he choose? 

I enjoyed this movie very much. It was well directed and acted by Alex Roe, Jessica Rothe, and Abby Ryder Fortson. It's entertaining and relatively clean for a PG movie. This is one to take your wife or girlfriend to and you'll all be happy. The music is good and the story is well-written. 
The movie gets 3 out of 4 stars from me. 



Fifty Shades Freed


This final movie in the Fifty Shades saga features now married couple Christian and Anastasia Grey again played by Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. The movie begins with the two on their honeymoon. Before their return home, Christian learns that someone has set fire to a server room at his business. Upon their arrival in Seattle, they are followed as well. Christian ups the security but Ana doesn't like being told what she can and can't do. When Christian is out of town, she defies his wishes and goes out with her friend Kate for drinks. Upon her return home, Jack Hyde has managed to get into her apartment and attacks her. Her bodyguard, Sawyer, saves her but Christian is mad. 

Not long after, Ana discovers she has forgotten to keep up with her birth control shots. When she finds she is pregnant, Christian's control is lost. 

I've always been a fan of Dakota Johnson. She and Jamie Dornan had great chemistry. Of course there is a lot of sex in this movie but it's tastefully filmed. In fact it was hot. I loved the scenery from the different countries at the beginning but just didn't think it was quite as good as the first two.

 I gave this movie 3 out of 4 stars. Leave the kids behind and check your mind at the door and you'll enjoy it.



Peter Rabbit


This film is based off of the children's stories written by Beatrix Potter. It's a mix of animation and people. As usual Peter Rabbit, who is voiced by James Corden, continues to be an irritant to Mr. McGregor by invading his garden and stealing food. One day Mr. McGregor catches Peter but has a heart attack and dies with Peter in his hands. Peter, his family, and all the other animals now have the home and garden to themselves. But soon they discover that Mr. McGregor has left his home to his nephew Thomas, who is played by Domhnall Gleeson. 

Peter's protector, Bea, who is played by Rose Byrne, lives next door to the McGregor house. When Peter finds that Bea is attracted to Thomas, the war between animal and man is on.

All the animal characters in this movie were brilliantly done resulting in great special effects. Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson were fantastic as well. The movie had the perfect blending of animation and live action. It fit well with the original story that we all remember from our childhood.   

I gave this movie 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. You'll love it as much as your young kids. 



Gringo


This film stars David Oyelowo playing the part of Harold Soyinko who works for the pharmaceutical company Cannabax Technologies. His boss, Richard, who is played by Joel Edgerton, is also his best friend. Harold's accountant warns him of a planned merger of his company that would likely end his job. When Harold asks Richard about the possibility, he denies it. 

Harold is to travel to Mexico on a routine trip to visit their plant there. When Richard insists on accompanying him along with his other boss, Elaine, who is played by Charlize Theron, his suspicions grow. While in Mexico, Harold's wife informs him that she is leaving him. Feeling that his life is over, Harold hides out as Richard and Elaine return home. He then fakes a kidnapping in order to get Richard to pay up. But Richard instead enlists his brother Mitch, played by Sharlto Copley, who is an ex-mercenary to kill Harold. Not only is Mitch after him but so is the cartel who had been buying drugs from Cannabax Technologies and are now being cut off due to the merger. Harold is in way over his head.

I don't typically enjoy any movie starring Charlize Theron, but I did enjoy this one. I thought she was really good as a bitchy villain. I think at some point I'll change my mind about her because she continues to play this type of character and aces it. Joel Edgerton was also good. His and Charlize's character had a bit of sexual chemistry that was all about the sex. David Oyelowo stepped out from his normal roles and did quite well. Nash Edgerton, Joel's brother, directed and produced. He only did a mediocre job however. There were some parts that were unnecessary and the script needed tightening up causing the movie to be too long. This film was OK but not great.

 I can only give this movie 2 1/2 out of 4 stars. 



Red Sparrow


This movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as Russian ballerina Dominika Egorova. She is the darling of ballet and given a home and help to care for her invalid mother. All is well until a supposed accident ends her career. Faced with losing the care for her mother, her Uncle Ivan convinces her to participate in a covert operation against a Russian politician. But before she can complete her task, the politician is killed and she is a witness. She is now owned by the Russian Intelligence. This will save her from facing execution. She must train to become a sparrow, a spy who seduces her targets. 

Nate Nash, who is played by Joel Edgerton, is a CIA agent. When an operation that he is involved in goes horribly wrong, he is sent out of Moscow. But his contact within the Russian government will not meet with anyone else. Dominika's next assignment is to get Nate to fall for her and discover the mole's identity. 

I love Jennifer Lawrence in any role she plays even in the horrible movie, Mother. She is always fantastic. In Red Sparrow her performance didn't deviate. She had to speak with an accent and has said it was one of the more difficult things she has done. I thought she did quite well. She did have to pose for some nudity but it fit with the storyline. Joel Edgerton was great too and he and Jennifer Lawrence made a great couple. The action was well scripted and added to the entertainment. The strength of this movie, however, was the actors. The movie itself was good but not great.

 I gave it 3 out of 4 stars earned by Jennifer Lawrence's performance. 



The Commuter


Liam Neeson stars in this action film as Michael MacCauley, a life insurance salesman with a wife and son. Michael commutes every day on the train. When he is fired from his job as a cost cutting measure, he takes comfort at a bar where he meets up with his old police partner. He commiserates with him on how he is going to be able to pay for his son's college. 

On the way home on the train, a stranger approaches him and introduces herself as Joanna. She tells him of an envelope containing $25,000 that is hidden in the train's bathroom. The money is his if he will do "one little thing". If he does, another $75,000 is his. That one little thing is to find the person on the train who doesn't belong. That person will be travelling with a bag and Michael is to put a tracking device in it. 

Michael takes the money and then decides to leave the train, but he is being watched and is given an envelope holding his wife's wedding ring. He must finish the job to protect his wife.

Liam Neeson generally plays a role that is involved with a lot of action as he does here. He can perform fight scenes that appear to be very realistic. The storyline is very similar to other movies so again the strength of this movie was the actors. This includes Patrick Wilson who played Michael's ex-partner and Vera Farmiga as Joanna. I enjoyed this movie but it needed something to make it stand out from other films.

 I gave this movie 2 1/2 out of 4 stars. 



The Greatest Showman


This musical stars Hugh Jackman as circus man P.T. Barnum. The movie begins with P.T. as a young boy helping his father in his tailoring business. P.T.'s family was quite poor but worked for the very rich. In their visits P.T. meets Charity who is the daughter of one of their clients. P.T. is forbidden to see Charity but still they manage to get together and share their dreams. 

Later in life P.T. and Charity, who is played by Michelle Williams, marry and have two daughters. When P.T. loses his job, he comes up with a plan to showcase people whose bodies are oddities or who can do odd things. To the world these people are freaks but they will pay money to see them. Soon P.T. is raking in the dough and partners with Phillip Carlyle who is a respectable playwright and played by Zac Efron. But even still P.T. gets no respect from the people. Much to his shame, he will never be accepted by the wealthy or be considered as one of them. 

The cast in this movie is fantastic including Zendaya who plays a trapeze artist and Keala Settle who plays a bearded lady. And of course Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams were tremendous as husband and wife. I loved the scenes where they sang and danced together. The music in this movie is truly amazing. It would be great if they showed this movie as a sing-a-long. The words to the songs stick in your head. I was disappointed that this composition did not win an Oscar. Michael Gracey did an excellent job in directing especially since it was his first.

I loved every second of this movie. I saw it twice and would see it again. I gave this movie 4 out of 4 stars. I can't wait to purchase it for adding to my movie collection.

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