Marshall Lewy talks ‘California Solo’, and working with Robert Carlyle

'California Solo' writer/director Marshall Lewy
‘California Solo’ writer/director Marshall Lewy

California Solo is a simple, quiet tale about a musician who escapes his troubled past by disappearing in the farm lands of Northern California. But you never really move forward unless you face the decisions you’ve made in the past.

It is the sophomore effort from writer/director Marshall Lewy. The New York-born filmmaker discusses with Tail Slate his latest film and what it was like working with its star, Robert Carlyle, the Once Upon a Time star for whom he wrote the part.

Read moreMarshall Lewy talks ‘California Solo’, and working with Robert Carlyle

‘Price Check’ is well worth the price of admission

Parker Posey and Eric Mabius star in 'Price Check'
Parker Posey and Eric Mabius star in ‘Price Check’

[rating=3]Starring:  Parker Posey, Eric Mabius, Annie Parisse, Amy Schumer, Xocha Roquemore, Edward Hermann, Remy Auberjonois and Josh Pais
Director(s):  Michael Walker
Writer(s):  Michael Walker

Price Check is interesting, thought-provoking and contains a third act plot twist that might just make you sit straight up in your seat, wondering “where did that come from”.

Read more‘Price Check’ is well worth the price of admission

‘Silver Linings Playbook’ falls short of the goal

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper co-star in David O. Russell's weak adaptation of 'Silver Linings Playbook'
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper co-star in David O. Russell’s weak adaptation of ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

In Matthew Quick’s sensitive novel Silver Linings Playbook, the Solitano family – moody paterfamilias Pat Sr., peacekeeping mother Dolores, and son Pat Jr., recently released from a mental institution for reasons yet to be discovered – live in an Eagles-obsessed Philly suburb in South Jersey. David O. Russell has both adapted and directed the movie version of Quick’s book, which results in a scattershot translation lacking in many of the details that grounded the original story. That the Solitano household now exists in an unspecified Pennsylvania town is just the tip of the iceberg in how Silver, a piercing look into the mind of the mentally ill, has morphed into a neutered, loosy-goosey comedy without claws.

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‘Life of Pi’ more than just a 3D treat – it’s complex, profound and highly intelligent

The all-CGI Bengal tiger, Richard Parker, will have you believing in movie magic in 'Life of Pi'
The all-CGI Bengal tiger, Richard Parker, will have you believing in movie magic in ‘Life of Pi’

[rating=4]Starring:  Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Shravanthi Sainath
Director(s):  Ang Lee
Writer(s):  Screenplay by David Magee, based upon the novel by Yann Martel

I’m a big proponent of reading the book before seeing the movie so I felt a bit hypocritical when I plunked down the $15 for my ticket to Life of Pi having no knowledge of the plot except for the snippets I caught in the trailers and the little I knew from my feeble attempt at reading it a few years ago. The novel, by Yann Martel, had won the Man Booker Prize and the movie, directed by Ang Lee, was getting rave review everywhere I looked, so I figured I couldn’t lose.

Read more‘Life of Pi’ more than just a 3D treat – it’s complex, profound and highly intelligent

Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’ is magical and best seen in 3D

Pi (Suraj Sharma) and a Bengal tiger known as Richard Parker are stranded together on lifeboats in 'Life of Pi'
Pi (Suraj Sharma) and a Bengal tiger known as Richard Parker are stranded together on lifeboats in ‘Life of Pi’

[rating=4]Starring:  Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Shravanthi Sainath
Director(s):  Ang Lee
Writer(s):  David Magee (screenplay), Yann Martel (novel)

Life of Pi is a fascinating tale of faith and survival told in flashback.  Rafe Spall plays the writer who goes to visit “Pi Patel” (Irrfan Khan) whose full name is Piscine Molitor Patel.  The story behind his name and how he manages to get others to refer to him as Pi are best experienced by viewing the film.

Read moreAng Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’ is magical and best seen in 3D

Larry Hagman, star of TV’s ‘Dallas’ and ‘I Dream of Jeannie’, dead at 81

Larry Hagman starred as J.R. Ewing in 'Dallas', which started in 1978 and ran for more than a decade, because returning in several TV movies and a new series on TNT
Larry Hagman starred as J.R. Ewing in ‘Dallas’, which started in 1978 and ran for more than a decade, because returning in several TV movies and a new series on TNT

Actor Larry Hagman lost his long battle with cancer and passed away on Friday. He was 81 years old. His Dallas co-star Linda Gray was reportedly at his bedside in a Dallas hospital at the time of his death.

Read moreLarry Hagman, star of TV’s ‘Dallas’ and ‘I Dream of Jeannie’, dead at 81

‘Red Dawn’ is proof most films should not be remade

Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson and Chris Hemsworth battle North Korean invaders in 'Red Dawn'
Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson and Chris Hemsworth battle North Korean invaders in ‘Red Dawn’

[rating=2]Starring:  Chris Hemsworth, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise, Edwin Hodge, Brett Cullen, Alyssa Diaz, Julian Alcaraz, Will Yun Lee, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Michael Beach
Director(s):  Dan Bradley
Writer(s):  Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmore, from the original screenplay by Kevin Reynolds and John Milius

It is nearly impossible to evaluate the remake of a film without comparing it to the original.  In the case of Red Dawn, the original was a better than average film that was perfectly cast and told a topical tale of the times.

The same cannot be said in any measure about the 2012 remake directed by Dan Bradley.

Read more‘Red Dawn’ is proof most films should not be remade