I've said it before and I'll say it again: Ethan Hawke is a national treasure. Up there too, is Ewan McGregor, who simply has an appeal unlike most other actors of his generation.
Hawke and McGregor are "Raymond & Ray." Well, actually McGregor plays Raymond, and Hawke plays Ray...two half-brothers who are brought together with the news that their estranged father has died. Despite the actors best efforts - and an occasional flash of clever insight - "Raymond & Ray" is all journey with no destination, making the movie a bit of a let-down given the talent and potential involved.
"Cha Cha Real Smooth" was one of the breakout hits from this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it lands on Apple TV+ today (as well as a limited theatrical run). It's not hard to see why: There seems to be some real, polished talent at work here from star, writer and director - 24-year-old Cooper Raiff - but it's a hard movie to love due to the unlikability of one major character.
The real tragedy of "The Tragedy of Macbeth" is that it will be a challenge to get people to see it...the works of William Shakespeare while classic, are not exactly accessible.
But for those willing to let it in, or who are fans of Shakespeare, will find "The Tragedy of Macbeth" to be one of the most effective, spell-binding takes on the famous play ever committed to screen.
There is low-brow science-fiction ("Starship Troopers" and similar) and then there is more intellectually-challenging high-brow science-fiction (the recent "Ex Machina" or "Possessor" comes to mind).
"Swan Song" is a fantastic, thoughtful, emotionally-charged drama dealing with cloning, where it asks a simple question: If you could spare your loved ones from the hurt of ever losing you or experiencing any grief, what would you be willing to sacrifice?
Casting the iconic Tom Hanks as the only human in a film feels like it's been done before...and that's because it has, back in 2000 with the film "Cast Away." That film found Hanks stranded and all alone on a deserted island, with inanimate friend Wilson the Volleyball his only companion.
In "Finch," Hanks finds himself alone again, this time on a deserted planet following some deadly solar flares that he happened to survive, and instead of talking to a volleyball this time around, he has a trusty dog - and an intelligent robot - at his side.
The comparisons to "Cast Away" are inevitable, but "Finch" is far less a complete film. It doesn't really land any of the lofty ideals it raises, and it's so slight that even though we're at world's end, the stakes never seem too high.
One of the most delightful, impressive, heart-warming and optimistic productions you will ever witness comes to Apple TV+ this weekend. "Come From Away" is a Tony-winning musical that was filmed and made into a movie (just like "Hamilton" was for Disney+ in 2020), and it comes just in time for the 20-year anniversary of 9/11.
Yes, the "feel good" movie of the year centers around one of the worst, horrific tragedies in American history, and if there was ever something that this divided nation should be able to agree on, it's that "Come From Away" is an absolute treasure and should be seen by every American...despite it taking place in Newfoundland, Canada.
I've always been a sucker for "coming-of-age" movies, but "Coda" is a fresh and endlessly compelling entry into the genre, made great by the performance of 19-year-old Emilia Jones (Kinsley from Netflix's "Locke & Key").This isn't the first film Jones has appeared in, but it is destined to be a game-changing one for her promising, budding career.
"Coda" killed earlier this year at Sundance, and now we know why: It's simply one of the best films of 2021, living up to all of the hype.
The premise of "Fathom" (coming to Apple TV+ on Friday, June 25th) seems like one that is ripe for exploration in a documentary film. It follows two scientists on opposite ends of the world as they try to understand how humpback whales communicate with one another.
Unfortunately, this film gets too far into the sea-weeds, wrapped up in the analytical minutiae of their quest and never giving casual viewers anything to become excited about. The whales themselves could have carried this movie by themselves, so why does "Fathom" feel so land-locked?
It was inevitable that when you direct the highest-grossing film EVER - "Avengers: Endgame" - that your follow-up film would be destined to pale in comparison. But for Anthony and Joe Russo, who have risen to fame and fandom after directing a slew of beloved Marvel movies ("Captain America: Winter Soldier," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame" among them), "Cherry" is more than a step-down, it is a baffling fall from grace.
Billie Eilish is about the biggest star on the planet at the moment, the singer/songwriter sensation who at age 15, uploaded a song to SoundCloud ("Ocean Eyes") and went on to become one of the most iconic and beloved stars of her generation. Her second album, 2019's "When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" was one of the best-selling album of 2019, with her number-one hit "Bad Guy" going platinum ten-times-over.
She's won two American Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards and five Grammys...becoming the youngest and only the second-ever to sweep the four major Grammy categories - Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year - in a single year (if you're wondering who the first person to do this was, it was Christopher Cross in 1980).
Eilish did all this before turning 19...and the most fascinating part of her deeply-compelling, revealing new documentary, "Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry" (debuting on Apple TV+ on Feb. 26th), is just how glaringly adolescent Eilish still is. Despite being responsible for lyrics and vocals far beyond her years, we see Billie having boy trouble, getting her driver's license, handling the tremendous physical and emotional pressures that come with fame and fortune, and obsessing about Justin Bieber.
In other words, she's just your average teenager, other than the fact that Billie Eilish's talents as an artist are anything but average.
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