By Bob Grimm
on Wed, Jun 22, 2016 at 10:00 AM
Whether or not you agree in principle with the notion of racehorses, this is a moving documentary about a group of people in Wales who decide to finance one. They eventually succeed with the birth of their horse, Dream Alliance, a gangly youngster who grows up to be a solid jumper.
Through interviews and archive footage, we see the horse from birth straight through to many of his races, where he proved to be an unlikely champion. Of course, tragedy strikes during one of the races, and then the movie becomes the story of an amazing comeback. Or, depending on your point of view, it becomes the story of a bunch of strange folks in Wales pushing a beautiful animal well beyond the point of reason so it can keep jumping for their amusement and wallets.
There’s no denying that Dream Alliance is a beautiful animal, and his story is inspiring. The story of the horse is far more compelling than the story of the folks who owned him. There’s a turning point in this story where the owners probably should’ve put the horse in a field and let him enjoy life, but they keep pushing him. That’s a little bothersome. The end results are uplifting and happy, but they came perilously close to being extremely sad.
The documentary is entertaining, but it will definitely have you thinking about the treatment of animals for sport.
By Bob Grimm
on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 10:00 AM
This sequel to Finding Nemo goes a little darker than its predecessor, with Ellen DeGeneres returning as the voice of Dory, the lovable fish with short-term memory loss issues.
An event triggers a memory of family in her little brain, and she sets off on a journey to find her mom and dad (voiced by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy). Pals Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) join Dory on her quest, which culminates in an aquarium amusement park graced with voice announcements by the actual Sigourney Weaver. Dory winds up in a touch pond, in a bucket of dead fish, and swimming around in a lot of dark pipe work. In some ways, this is to Finding Nemo what The Empire Strikes Back was to Star Wars. It’s a darker, slightly scarier chapter, but it still delivers on the heartwarming elements, and contains some good laughs, many of them provided by Ed O’Neil voicing a conniving octopus. We also find out the origins of Dory’s ability to speak whale as she reconvenes with an old friend, Destiny the Whale Shark (Kaitlin Olson).
Overall, it’s not as good as the first one, but it’s still good, and DeGeneres still rules as the voice of Dory. Her voicing of this character definitely goes into the Animation Voices Hall of Fame. MAKE SURE TO STAY ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE CREDITS FOR A RATHER LENGTHY FINAL SCENE.
By Bob Grimm
on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 10:00 AM
Remember when a Stephen King movie was an event? Remember when a John Cusack movie was an event? Heck, the John Cusack/Stephen King movie 1408 (2007) was actually pretty badass.
Here in 2016, the latest Cusack/King vehicle gets an On Demand release shortly before a limited theatrical run. Produced three years ago, this one was better off staying on the shelf, and is easily one of the worst King adaptations. Cusack, reteamed with his 1408 costar Samuel L. Jackson, plays Mike, a graphic artist estranged from his wife and son. Shortly after placing a call to them on an airport payphone, Mike witnesses cell phone users spazzing out and going into a zombie state as the result of some sort of pulse.
Director Tod Williams is utterly lost with this opportunity, making a humorless piece of horror satire wrought with lethargic performances, shoddy camerawork and terrible special effects. The origin of the “pulse” that sets off the zombie apocalypse is never fully explained, and no real villain is ever established. The ending is a confusing mishmash of three finales as if the director couldn’t make up his mind.
Cusack seems pissed to be in this thing, while Jackson is clearly bored and resigned to the fact that he signed up for a stinker. Eli Roth was the original director on this, and he left due to creative differences. Maybe he was arguing that a film like this should be crazy and even funny.
This one takes itself a little too seriously, and boasts some of the worst movie editing you are likely to see this year. The career of Cusack continues to spiral out of control, Nicholas Cage style (Available for rent on iTunes and On Demand before and during a limited theatrical release).
By Bob Grimm
on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 11:00 AM
Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner was a hardworking, impassioned spitfire with a promising future. He seemingly threw that all away when he tweeted out pictures of his surprisingly hot bod to virtual strangers, in addition to all out sexting with them. Word got out, and the man was dethroned.
This documentary from directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Stenberg shows the humiliated politician seemingly on the comeback trail, making a serious run for NYC mayor with renewed public support and wife Huma Abedin still at his side despite the naked pics sent to ladies other than herself.
Even the press seemed to be lightening up on the dude, although fellow politicians still shot arrows. Weiner was actually in the lead when word got out he had continued the whole sexting thing well after his resignation, even doing phone sex with one particular, insane fan. The doc then becomes an examination of a fairly sick guy losing it all once again, a man unable to control his stranger impulses. During it all, Weiner remained defiant, committed and steadfast in his beliefs that he would make a good mayor. The public didn’t see it that way, and he went from holding the lead to finishing dead last with less than five percent of the vote.
No doubt, the man is entertaining and certainly anything other than uninteresting, making this documentary a fascinating and entertaining one. It’s also an undeniable testament to the negative powers of the selfie, especially the partially naked selfie.
It's too hot to go outside between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., so you may as well prepare to lock yourself inside for the majority of the weekend. Get some snacks, close the blinds and get ready for a movie marathon.
Here's your weekly list of the 10 most rented DVDs from Casa Video last week:
By Bob Grimm
on Wed, Jun 8, 2016 at 10:38 AM
This is the true story of Palestinian Mohammed Asaf, who overcame many obstacles to win Arab Idol in 2013.
The film starts with Asaf as a kid, playing music for weddings for his little sister. She dies from kidney failure, giving Asaf the motivation to leave Palestine and audition for the show when he grows up (he’s played by Tawfeek Barhorn as an adult).
I’ll say this; the movie is much better than the American Idol movie, From Justin to Kelly. That said, it still isn’t very good. It has a disease-of-the-week movie feel in the first half, and feels like a movie we’ve seen many times before in it’s second half. The kids are cute enough, but the movie definitely loses its way before credits roll, and Barhorn isn’t a very engaging performer.
The final moments flip to the actual Asaf winning Idol, which got me to thinking that the filmmakers would’ve been better off had they just gone the documentary route. Watching footage of Asaf triumph is enough.