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Showing posts with the label Drama

LET HIM GO

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A few years after the tragic death of their son, retired sheriff George Blackledge (Kevin Costner) and his wife Margaret (Diane Lane) face another change in life. Daughter-in-law Lorna (Kayli Carter) remarries and takes their only grandson away from them. The Blackledges leave their Montana ranch and head for the Dakotas to find their grandchild, who now resides with controlling matriarch Blanche Weboy (Lesley Manville) and her vicious clan. After the Weboys refuse to let mother and child go, George and Margaret prepare for a deadly confrontation. Striking emotional drama and a powerful cast highlight this intense modern western. Based on Larry Watson's novel of the same name, director/screenwriter Thomas Bezucha ("The Family Stone") has created an imposing portrayal of family, loss and determination. It follows the structure of "High Noon": character-driven, with the bulk of action at the end. The deliberate slow-pacing allows the main characters to develop whi

ON THE ROCKS

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Author Laura (Rashida Jones), struggling with writer's block on the next promised book, begins to suspect there's trouble in her marriage. While she stays home taking care of two young daughters, husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) is off on many trips with employee Fiona (Jessica Henwick) trying to make his business succeed. Little things, like late nights at the office, lead Laura to fear infidelity. She turns to her retired art dealer father, the debonair playboy Felix (Bill Murray), for advice and help. Together, they set out to find clues and end up bonding. Director/writer Sofia Coppola ("Lost in Translation") takes us on an enjoyable lightweight romp. Rashida Jones (TV's "Angie Tribeca") carries the lead well as a distraught woman, but it's Bill Murray who runs away with this film. At age 70, the iconic star is still charismatic in his own familiar way. The scenes he's not in are less satisfying. This is not the fault of the cast surrounding him.

THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD

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On stage, David Copperfield (Dev Patel) recounts his life from birth to aspirations of becoming a writer. His carefree countryside youth with his widowed mother Clara (Morfydd Clark) changes after she marries the cruel Mr. Murdstone (Darren Boyd). The new stepfather beats him and eventually sends the boy to work in his London bottle factory. Bad working conditions and news of his mother's death send the young Copperfield escaping back to the country. Living with his wealthy Aunt Betsey (Tilda Swinton) and eccentric distant relative Mr. Dick (Hugh Laurie), life improves. But there are many ups and downs before his dream can be realized. Charles Dickens' novel gets a refreshing cinematic revamp in this lively period piece. Director/writer Armando Iannucci ("The Death of Stalin" and TV documentary "Armando's Tale of Charles Dickens"), with screenplay help from Simon Blackwell, manages to satisfyingly condense the lengthy book. The essence of Copperfield rem

THE SECRET: DARE TO DREAM

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Raising three children in Louisiana, widow Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes) struggles to make ends meet while dating her boss/boyfriend Tucker (Jerry O'Connell). A destructive storm brings new problems and helpful stranger Bray (Josh Lucas) into her life. Things begin to change for the better, but the new arrival with his positive attitude has a secret that could change everything. This inspirational family drama is engaging - even without action and violence. Based on, or more inspired by, Rhonda Byrne's 2006 bestselling self-help book "The Secret", the feel-good film is

THE OUTPOST (2020)

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During the Afghan War in 2009, a small group of U.S. soldiers defended an outpost in a valley surrounded by three mountains in Afghanistan. As the Army neared closing the military post, a large force of Taliban fighters made a final attack. First Lt. Benjamin Keating (Orlando Bloom), Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha (Scott Eastwood) and the rest of Bravo Troop 3-61 CAV gallantly battled the enemy in the deadly confrontation - becoming one of the 19-year conflict's most decorated units. This powerful war film is an emotional and gripping experience. Based on the 2012 book "The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor" by CNN's Jake Tapper, the true story of the Battle of Kamdesh gets a

THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND

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In his mid-20s, Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson) is still having trouble coming to grips with the tragic death of his firefighter father when he was seven. He's living with his ER nurse mother Margie (Marisa Tomei) and younger sister Claire (Maude Apatow), who's about to leave home for college. Scott has aspirations of becoming a tattoo artist and opening the first tattoo restaurant, but is content with taking drugs with buddies Oscar (Ricky Velez), Igor (Moises Arias), Richie (Lou Wilson) and a relationship with childhood friend Kelsey (Bel Powley). When his mother gets a boyfriend, firefighter Ray (Bill Burr), trouble ensues. Scott can't stand mom's new love interest. Told to move out, he is forced to re-evaluate his life. SNL's Pete Davidson is a commanding presence in this appealing comedy/drama. He may be playing himself, but

THE HIGH NOTE

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Maggie (Dakota Johnson) is kept busy as personal assistant to superstar Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross), but she desperately wants to become a music producer. After a chance meeting with talented musician David Cliff (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.), Maggie has hopes of fulfilling her dreams while finding romance. Obstacles get in the way, including her steady job and Grace's manager Jack Robertson (Ice Cube). Solid performances and great music give this appealing diversion a big lift. While the story may seem familiar, director Nisha Ganatra ("Late Night") and writer Flora Greeson have fashioned a

1917

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During WWI, young British soldiers Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) are tasked with going behind enemy lines to deliver a message to advancing troops that a German trap awaits them. If the messengers don't arrive in time, there will be a massacre that includes Blake's brother (Richard Madden). This sensational war drama presents the familiar deadly mission scenario in a unique way. Director Sam Mendes ("Skyfall"), who co-wrote the script with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, draws

COLD PURSUIT

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As a snowplow driver and recently named Citizen of the Year in a Rocky Mountains resort town, Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) leads a good life with wife Grace (Laura Dern). But when their son is found dead, he becomes distant from his spouse and is obsessed with eliminating those responsible. The body count begins to rise as Nels works his way up the chain - leading to violent drug kingpin Viking (Tom Bateman) and a final confrontation that includes a rival gang. This grisly revenge drama is laced with dark-edged humor. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film "In Order of Disappearance" (original title "Kraftidioten") starring Stellan Skarsgård, the loose remake feels

GLASS

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David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a security guard with super powers, seeks to put an end to the killing spree of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a murderer with multiple personalities controlled by The Beast. A deadly encounter between the two gets them captured and sent to an asylum under the care of psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson). Another patient, Elijah Price/Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), has a connection to the new residents that could have devastating results. Director/writer M. Night Shyamalan's latest big screen effort is

FIRST MAN

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After losing his young daughter to a malignant brain tumor, test pilot and aeronautical engineer Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) decides to try out for NASA's space program as a civilian astronaut. When the ultimate challenge arises, he leaves wife Janet (Claire Foy) and family behind to join the flight to his fated destination: the Moon. Ryan Gosling and director Damien Chazelle strike movie gold again as they depart La La Land for

A SIMPLE FAVOR

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Widowed single mom Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger with a growing audience, finds a new best friend in Emily (Blake Lively) - the mother of her young son Miles' (Joshua Satine) schoolmate Nicky (Ian Ho). When Emily suddenly disappears, Stephanie is determined to find out what happened. She teams up with the missing housewife's distraught husband Sean (Henry Golding) and seeks help from her online viewers. As the puzzle unfolds, complications arise. Pitch perfect performances from Anna Kendrick and

ALPHA

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20,000 years ago in Europe's harsh terrain, teen Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) accompanies his father Tau (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson) and tribal members on the annual bison hunt for the first time. When he becomes injured and presumed dead, Keda must learn to survive in the unforgiving wilderness. In an attack by a wolf pack, the teen seriously injures the leader. Rather than killing the abandoned animal, Keda nurses the canine he names Alpha back to health. Together, they slowly

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT

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After a failed assignment, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his Impossible Missions Force must stop a nuclear disaster from occurring. Joining the group is CIA operative August Walker (Henry Cavill), tasked with making sure all goes well. But Hunt is being framed and it becomes a race against the clock to clear himself and prevent a catastrophic event. Realistic edge-of-your-seat stunts and an intricate plot worthy of the classic television series make for another accomplished mission. Action superman Tom Cruise, doing