‘Chasing Mavericks’ is great for surfers, but not everyone

Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston hit the waves in 'Chasing Mavericks'
Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston hit the waves in ‘Chasing Mavericks’

We’ve had films before with a “Maverick” in them.  One Maverick was an old West quick-draw/card-sharp who the ladies loved.  Another was a Navy fighter pilot with a big chip on his shoulder and a really bad attitude.  Now we have a new Maverick on the big screen, but this time it isn’t a person.  It’s a place in California that has gigantic waves that challenge the best of surfers.  It is known as either Mavericks or Maverick’s, so the title is accurate.

Read more‘Chasing Mavericks’ is great for surfers, but not everyone

‘Sinister’ is a creepy chiller that could have used more fright

Ethan Hawke in 'Sinister'
Ethan Hawke in ‘Sinister’

[rating=2]Starring: Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Juliet Rylance, James Ransone
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill

To clear something up, despite having a villain that targets children, Sinister is not about Jerry Sandusky. It is a requisite Halloween movie that delivers some scares, but hardly anything more.

Read more‘Sinister’ is a creepy chiller that could have used more fright

Tyler Perry is not great as brooding ‘Alex Cross’

Tyler Perry gets into the action genre with 'Alex Cross'
Tyler Perry gets into the action genre with ‘Alex Cross’

[rating=2]Starring:  Tyler Perry, Edward Burns, Matthew Fox, John C. McGinley, Giancarlo Esposito, Jean Reno, Carmen Ejogo, Yara Shahidi, and Cicely Tyson
Director(s):  Rob Cohen
Writer(s):  Screenplay by Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson, from the James Patterson novel.

Rob Cohen is a hit and miss director.  Hits that include The Fast and the Furious and xXx, and misses such as Stealth and The Skulls.  His latest film, Alex Cross, falls somewhere in between.

Read moreTyler Perry is not great as brooding ‘Alex Cross’

‘Smashed’ isn’t a smash hit, but it’s darn close

Mary Elizabeth Winstead drinks too much in 'Smashed'
Mary Elizabeth Winstead drinks too much in ‘Smashed’

Films about someone suffering from alcoholism aren’t new.  Days of Wine and Roses, 28 Days and When a Man Loves a Woman are among those in the genre where at least one drunk finds reason to get sober.  Smashed takes the concept one step further, and while it hews closely to Days of Wine and Roses, it isn’t exactly the same story.

Read more‘Smashed’ isn’t a smash hit, but it’s darn close

Helen Hunt shines in ‘The Sessions,’ a captivating tale of sex and human need

Helen Hunt and John Hawkes in 'The Sessions'
Helen Hunt and John Hawkes in ‘The Sessions’

[rating =4]Starring:  John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Adam Arkin, W. Earl Brown, Annika Marks and Robin Weigart
Director(s):  Ben Lewin
Writer(s):  Ben Lewin

Among living actresses, the list of those who have won two Academy Awards for Best Actress is a short one. It includes Glenda Jackson, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Hillary Swank and now Meryl Streep.

The Sessions may be the film that adds another name to that distinguished list, as Helen Hunt is radiantly brilliant as Cheryl, the sexual surrogate who works to help the late Mark O’Brien, played by John Hawkes (best known for his role as “Bugsy” in The Perfect Storm).

Read moreHelen Hunt shines in ‘The Sessions,’ a captivating tale of sex and human need

‘Pusher’ is a remake that makes one long for the original

 

Richard Coyle in 'Pusher'
Richard Coyle in ‘Pusher’

The trend toward remaking great films from Scandinavia continues with this remake of the 1996 Danish film Pusher, which was so successful it spawned two sequels.  At least I’m told the original was great.  I didn’t see that original film, but I’m told by people whose opinions I value highly that it is a terrific.  It’s on my list of movies to watch.

Read more‘Pusher’ is a remake that makes one long for the original