TwiView: The Upside (in theaters now). Kevin Hart (Dell) & Bryan Cranston (Philip) form the unlikeliest of friends in this touching, urbanely funny, and spirit lifting dramedy. After stumbling onto a job as a care companion for Philip, an agitated paraplegic billionaire, Dell discovers hope, challenge and change are in store for them both as each helps the other to recognize ‘the upside’ to their very different but equally difficult lives. For Dell, an estranged father to his son and girlfriend, there are lessons of humility and responsibility. For Philip, it’s learning that he can recover the pieces of his life he’d long thought gone based on his crippling condition. The film is light hearted enough and full of adventures between the two as the curmudgeonly Philip is shown a new way of looking at life by the optimistic and one-liner filled Dell. The true standout in the film is Nicole Kidman (Yvonne), who works for Philip as an Executive household secretary of sorts (even though she’s Harvard educated and capable of so much more). Kidman’s ability to showcase command of Philips home staff, while simultaneously displaying frailty over her own life and choices was mesmerizing. ‘The Upside’ is funny, yes – but at its root is a story of redemption – for both Dell & Philip. See it with a friend or date and see if you can gauge if in fact that is Julianna Margulies (TV’s ER & The Good Wife), portraying Philips long time pen-pal turned blind date. B+
TwittReview: Aquaman delivers a big bucket of FUN! Director James Wan brings us a movie that shows there is light in this tunnel for DC Comics and movie adaptions. The second act, from start to finish, is one of the most fun sequences I’ve seen in a movie in a very long time! Grade: 5 out of 5!!
TwiView: A Star Is Born (2018), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) stars and directs this immersive and beat banging remake. From the start you’re treated to a barrage of original soul, blues, and rock music courtesy of co-star Lady Gaga (Machete) and Cooper, who each co-wrote the bulk of the films tracks. This age old tale (redone for the 4th time?) follows an aging rocker, Jackson Maine (Cooper) who still has the fans and the sound, but is fading in a pop music world. After accidentally discovering Ally (Gaga), they begin developing music and a relationship together. No ‘rock love story’ ends happily ever after, and Jackson’s eventual descent into a booze and pill ridden lifestyle eventually takes its toll with he and Ally, his brother and manager (played so powerfully by the great Sam Elliott), and even on him. If you’re a fan of blues-rock ‘ala’ Santana, Clapton or Page/Plant, the rock track ‘Black Eyes’ will slay you. On the softer side is Cooper’s ‘Maybe It’s Time.’ This film will definitely garner some awards nominations; for Cooper it’ll be Oscar level for gaga it’ll be an MTV award. The film runs a bit long at 138 minutes and you feel it in the 3rd act which seems to drag to its conclusion. In the end, it’s a soulful and rocking good time watching these two blossom and the ultimate downer to see how their relationship falls apart. B+
TwitReview: Ant-Man & the Wasp is a fun ride in the MCU. Lots of action, laughs, and a post-credit sequence that will leave you wanting more! Go see it!! 5 stars
TwitReview- Solo: A Star Wars Movie delivers an origin story of Han Solo, Chewbacca, and an adventure in a galaxy that is far, far, away. Full of action, humor, and a darn good fun time.
Grade: 4 stars
Avengers, Infinity War (in theaters this week!) No spoilers for the MCU faithful. I was pleasantly surprised the film could squeeze that many heroes into a storyline and still manage to give the viewer a sufficient helping of each including backstory. This has to be the most ambitious MCU film to date in terms of effects and sheer firepower on display. Josh Brolin (Thanos) is a great villain who is surprisingly not one-sided. Be prepared for an ‘Empire Strikes Back’ type ending where you are both elated at the possibilities for the storyline while simultaneously being a bit depressed. For the diehards, there is one post-credit sequence and it’s all the way at the end of the credits but it’s worth waiting for as it caps the film off and gives a great teaser to what’s coming next. B+ (Weekend Box office prediction: $265M domestic)
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson stars in the latest movie based on a video game BIG SCREEN BLOCKBUSTER, “Rampage”.
Taking queues from monsters movies of years past and the video game of the same name (and a classic 80’s game at that) you have a movie that delivers lots of destruction, lots of ‘The Rock’, and a thin yet fun to watch plot. Grade: 3 out of 5 stars
Oh, if only Freed had built upon the promise of Fifty Shades Darker. Instead of getting better, it took a step back and mimicked Fifty Shades of Grey in lack of coherent plot. Pity, as Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have developed a sweet chemistry, and the script delights in poking fun at itself. For completists only. Grade: D+
No spoilers here, this was an awesome episode in the series and if you’re a fan of Star Wars, you will not be disappointed. Last Jedi picks up the story line with Rey (Daisy Ridley) recruiting a reluctant Luke Skywalker to rejoin the resistance fight and be the spark that lights the fire of the rebellion. All the while, the First Order led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) & The Supreme Chancellor Snoke, are carrying out a relentless campaign to snuff out the rebellion & Luke. The creature creations, the sets, the story-line, and even some good laughs carry you through this episode with a series of adventures giving you answers to some old questions, but not answering them all to keep you hooked for Episode IX. The 3rd act will have you on baited breath and assuming that every pivotal sequence your witnessing will be abruptly cut-off to rope you in for Episode IX. I could finish that thought, but no spoilers – get your tickets now! A- #starwarslastjediBaltimore #Iwanttobeajedi