‘Snowpiercer’ melts the screen with its brilliance

Chris Evans in 'Snowpiercer'
Chris Evans in ‘Snowpiercer’

Snowpiercer is boldly brutal, but brilliant filmmaking from writer/director Bong Joon-ho.  Unlike many current films taking place on a dystopian Earth, the cause of the death of most of mankind is made clear at the outset.  The progression of global warming caused a desperate attempt in 2014 to cool the planet by seeding a chemical into the atmosphere.  The result was a cataclysmic Ice Age and almost everyone has died.

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‘They Came Together’ does a good job of generating laughs

Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper in 'They Came Together'
Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper in ‘They Came Together’

[rating=3]Starring:  Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Ed Helms, Michael Ian Black, Jason Mantzoukas, Cobie Smulders, Christopher Meloni, Ellie Kemper, Bill Hader, Max Greenfield, Melanie Lynskey and Kenan Thompson
Writer(s):  David Wain and Michael Showalter
Director(s):  David Wain

Anytime I look at the “specs” of a film prior to viewing and see that the running time is less than 90 minutes, unless it is a documentary, I get nervous.  While not always true, usually the shorter running time is an indicator the film will disappoint.  Fortunately for the 83 minute movie They Came Together, that wasn’t the case.

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‘Jersey Boys’ has wonderful music and an interesting tale

An early moment in the history of the 'Jersey Boys'
An early moment in the history of the ‘Jersey Boys’

[rating=3]Starring:  Vincent Piazza, John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Christopher Walken, Mike Doyle, Renee Marino, Kathrine Narducci, Lou Volpe, Erica Piccininni, Joey Russo and Freya Tingley
Writer(s):  Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (songs by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe)
Director(s):  Clint Eastwood

Jersey Boys is a pretty good movie.  Therein lies the problem.  It is only pretty good.  When I enter an auditorium to watch a movie directed by Clint Eastwood, I expect excellence.  He rarely disappoints.  Given that this is an adaptation of a smash-hit Broadway musical, it stood to reason that he would splash that musical across the big screen with his usual panache.  It is a good film and there are many fine aspects to it; and perhaps I’m being unfair by having had such high expectations.

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Meet Shep Gordon, the most powerful man in Hollywood you’d never heard of

Shep Gordon relaxing at his home in Hawaii
Shep Gordon relaxing at his home in Hawaii

[rating=3]Starring:  N/A – Documentary film
Writer(s):  N/A – Documentary film
Director(s):  Beth Aala and Mike Myers

Leo Rosten, author of The Joys of Yiddish, defines the word mensch as meaning “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”  As we see in this strong documentary film from Mike Myers and Beth Aala, Shep Gordon is more than just an ordinary mensch.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon tells the story of a man who knew nothing about the music business, but his first client as a manager was Alice Cooper.  How did he become Cooper’s manager?   By interrupting what he thought was a sexual assault at the hotel he was checking into.  The woman who punched him for coming to her aid was Janis Joplin, the man was Jimi Hendrix and after the three got to be friends, Hendrix suggested that Shep become a manager.

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