written by: Meg LeFauve
produced by: Denise Ream
directed by: Peter Sohn
rated: PG (for peril, action and thematic elements)
runtime: 100 min.
U.S. release date: November 25, 2015
For the first time ever, there are two Pixar animated features released in the same year. With “Inside Out” being one the best movies of the year, I had forgotten all about the studio’s sixteenth movie, “The Good Dinosaur” until recently. That’s odd since at one time I was quite interesting in seeing what Pixar would do if they went prehistoric. It’s a film that has changed creative hands and release dates (it was originally supposed to hit theaters eighteen months ago) many times and while it comes across as a simple and slight entry, I’d rather watch that than another cash-grabbing prequel or sequel. Read more…
written by: Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington
produced by: Robert Chartoff, William Chartoff, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin King-Templeton, Irwin Winkler & David Winkler
directed by: Ryan Coogler
rated: PG-13 (for violence, language and some sensuality)
runtime: 133 min.
U.S. release date: November 25, 2015
“Creed” may be the fitting farewell to the “Rocky” franchise that I thought 2006’s “Rocky Balboa” was. That’s surprising to me, since I thought that sixth film was a fine coda to an iconic character of American cinema. I emphasize “may” because there could be more movies after this for all I know. I never would’ve thought there would be a spinoff movie that would essentially open up a Rocky Universe. Now, there’s really no need for any further expansions, because from start to finish “Creed” is a rousing and touching picture. Read more…
written by: Diablo Cody
produced by: Mason Novick and Marc Platt
directed by: Jonathan Demme
rating: PG – 13 (for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and language)
runtime: 101 min.
U.S. release date: August 7, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray release date: November 24, 2015
“Ricki and the Flash” seems like another example that Meryl Streep can do anything. (Not that we need one). Now in her mid-60s, she plays an aging rock-and-roll singer/guitarist, complete with heavy eye-shadow, piercings and tattoos. She sings great (no surprise, if you’ve been following her career) and legitimately rocks as leader of her band of veterans, The Flash (and you thought this was a DC Superhero Team-Up). So, no surprise that she succeeds as a rocker, but the question going into Jonathan Demme’s “Ricki and the Flash” is whether or not there’s more to what is essentially a family drama with a bar band soundtrack. Read more…
written by: Mark Baker and Neville Astley
directed by: Mark Baker and Neville Astley
runtime: 50 min.
DVD release date: November 3, 2015
Even though my daughter is nine years-old, I can still turn on an episode of “Kipper” – you know, that animated adorable dog with the British accent – and get her to calm down and relax on the couch with me. “Peppa Pig”, the popular animated swine co-created by Neville Astley and Mark Baker, works just as well. Of course, it helps that my daughter loves pigs, but its an added benefit that parents can also get into the light and sweet kid’s fare just the same. Considering all the other entertainment sources vying for your kid’s short attention span, this should be welcome news to parents. Read more…
written by: Danny Strong and Peter Craig
produced by: Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik
directed by: Francis Lawrence
rated: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, and for some thematic material)
rumtime: 137 min.
U.S. release date: November 20, 2015
For some, “Mockingjay Part 2”, the “final battle” in “The Hunger Games” blockbuster series will be a bittersweet swan song to a hero they grew up with. Others will be giving a mockingjay salute to the last new film to include Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I’m not sure where I stand in all this. I’m definitely not emotional about the series ending, but I’d wager Lionsgate and Co. will figure out a way to bring back Katnis Everdeen and her dystopian world in some way or another after this one explodes the box office. Read more…
written by: Michael Glover Smith
produced by: Clare Kosinski
directed by: Michael Glover Smith
runtime: 73 min.
U.S. release date: November 21 and 23, 2015 (limited engagement at Siskel Film Center in Chicago, IL)
Even if you’re far removed from the twentysomething dating scene, you’re bound to conjure up a memory or two of your own ups and downs from back in the day while watching “Cool Apocalypse”, from writer/director Michael Glover Smith. The Chicago-based dramedy found me thinking about those awkward times I mustered up the courage to talk to a girl and reminded me of those moments that build up over time that make you realize the relationship you’re in just isn’t going to work anymore. His feature-length debut is an immersive, character-driven story that follows people we know, some of those people may even be ourselves. Depending on where you’re at in life, watching “Cool Apocalypse” may feel like you’ve opened a time capsule, or maybe even stared in a mirror or found yourself looking into a neighbor’s window. Read more…
written by: Guy Ritchie and Lionel Wigram
produced by: John Davis, Steve Clark-Hall, Lionel Wigram & Guy Ritchie
directed by: Guy Ritchie
rated: PG-13 (for action violence, some suggestive content, and partial nudity)
runtime: 116 min.
U.S. release date: August 14, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray releae date: November 17, 2015
With the Cold War raging in full gear, the 1960’s in pop culture was the decade of the spy, of international intrigue, of espionage. From James Bond, Matt Helm, Harry Palmer and Derek Flint in films to Mission: Impossible and Man from U.N.C.L.E. on television, audiences ate up their spy stories as quickly as possible. Me? I love ’em all, great, good, bad and awful. Naturally I was curious then when I found out a movie was being made about one of those 60’s television series. Read more…