THYME REVIEWS ◽ TIPS

Midway ***

I didn't really know the story of the battle at Midway, but I did know about the one at Pearl Harbor.  So for that piece of history and getting to hear about the brave men, I quite liked that.  And the focus on on a few of the soldiers made for a good story.  You'll want to stay at the end and read about the real guys and see their photos.  That's always nice.  The story seemed unnecessarily long, but for the piece of history you get to observe and the gutsy actions of the pilots, it's worth a see.  Especially if you like war movies, you'll want to see this one.  See it in the theater...that's the only way for planes and ships and blasts and victories...

Last Christmas **

From the previews, I thought this might be a little sad, but it looked like it might have a happy ending - a wonderful Christmas story.  You see, a young lady that's been rude and selfish encounters a young man that's anything but that.  Sounds great, right?  And there's all of the Christmas visuals here, because she works in a Christmas store, dressed as an elf.  However, as the movie progresses, it's pretty obvious that the guy isn't what he seems, and the movie is not as fun as it could have been.  It's entertaining, Emilia Clarke is delightful (and she sings!) and you'll recognize the other two main characters from Crazy Rich Asians.  Emma Thompson (one of my favorite actresses) wrote and is in it - and she's great . But the story - eh - I didn't care for where it went...  I just wasn't in the mood for that sort of twist.  You're probably curious, so go see it since it's a holiday film. :)

Jojo Rabbit***

Please know going in, there is language and some disturbing images in this rated PG-13 movie.  The story itself is totally unique and bold.  There's a little German boy who discovers that his mom is hiding a Jewish girl in the walls of their house.  This little boy has an imaginary friend - Adolf Hitler - and his mind is full of lies about what Jews look like and why they must be eliminated.  The war is going on outside, he's getting to know this girl and discovering she's actually quite amazing, and meanwhile there's absurdity and chaos all around him.  Scarlet Johannson plays his mom, Sam Rockwell is a crazy guy, Rebel Wilson is also in the cast, and the girl - she's amazing!  We saw her in one other movie and became an immediate fan.  I think moviegoers will all glean something different from this film, but it was very thought-provoking about war, our children, and prejudice and lies...in society.  And also quite sobering.  I laughed, I turned away, I cringed, and I felt sad...pretty strong emotions from watching one film.

The Current War ***

I didn't know that Edison and Westinghouse and Tesla all competed for their inventions and progress in electricity!  This film is all about that, and includes some primes actors playing the parts!  We get a peek into the minds of these genuises and into the history that isn't mentioned in academic learning. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Edison, a workaholic for sure, driven to be the best...at all cost.  Westinghouse is played by Michael Shannon, and Tesla by Nicholas Hoult.  Each has their piece in the story of electricity coming to our world, and I quite thoroughly enjoyed the journey!  It's a feud not to miss, for sure...as we watch these men interact and break away and bend the rules...all to be the winner.

Judy ****

Even if you don't know who Judy Garland is, find out, then go see this movie.  See Meet Me in St. Louis, watch Wizard of Oz, and get to know the actress.  Be aware of her ending, so you won't be shocked. Then see this movie and become mesmerized by the amazing talent of Renee Zellweger, the actress who plays Judy Garland.  She sings, she moves, and she acts like Judy Garland, and even the trailer (before the film was released) caused an emotional reaction in me as I whispered to my husband, "She's going to win an Oscar!" Yes, it's a sad tale, but it's one to see purely for the talent - seriously.  Renee hasn't been in a feature film for a while, and all I can say is, what a comeback!

Abominable**

As I've stated before, animated films are not my thing...but we have to go for the littles, right? We took three little kids and this movie kept them interested from start to finish.  There's  a loose Yeti (big baby)that hides on the rooftop of an Asian family, where a frustrated older teen lives.  She and a couple of friends end up trekking across the globe, while being chased by the Yeti's evil captors, to find his home on Everest.  I didn't quite get why the main characters of this film obviously for young kids were college age...but oh well.  The kids didn't seem to notice.  Lessons are learned along the journey for these three characters, and that's always a good thing.  There are also some funny little pop-ups and phrases that keep the audience giggling.  There is Asian influence in the film, if you care about things like that...a big Buddha and a bit of mysticism.

Gemini Man **

One review I read was unfavorable for this movie, but we four liked it!  Will Smith plays an assassin that's ready to retire, but soon finds out that there's a "new" and younger version of himself ready to take over and kill.  It's a very entertaining film with lots of action and an interesting premise. There is a relationship with a girl, and of course the relationship with this clone, and actually - both are heartwarming and a nice touch to this futuristic stylized film.  Clive Owen plays the sinister "father" to the clone. And I don't know who the young actress is, but I liked her. I think it's a movie worth seeing, with friends...

Downton Abbey ***

We had not watched the TV series, nor had the other couple with us, so I feel we can give a good review of this film as it stands alone.  We weren't sure we could follow who was who, in this big castle full of family and servants, and it was a little difficult.  We did stop a person to ask a couple questions after the movie was over. However, the story line, the acting, the cast, and the visuals were wonderful.  Just the expressions alone that these actors made on their faces to communicate their disdain or other emotions were my favorite!  The king and queen are coming to visit Downton, only they're bringing their own chef and butler. That doesn't set well with the Downton staff!  The eldest in the family (Maggie Smith) has an agenda at the visit, and she's "always right," so it's fun to listen to her comments the most of all!  If you like period dramas, this one is stellar. If you don't, you'll still like the scheming and banter and pomp!  Go see it.  Everyone else in town is...

Dora and the Lost City of Gold ***

I have a lot of trouble reviewing kid movies, but this one wasn't animated, so we went, and I'm reviewing.  Dora is older now, her parents are missing, and she's away at school...  However, she's soon kidnapped and then begins the adventure with Dora and a few of her friends, to find her parents. I don't know a lot about the Dora kids' series on television.  But I think the movie would be delightful for older-younger kids!  There's adventure, lots of animals, color and music.  It's an entertaining story.  And if you're a fan, Eva Longoria plays Dora's mom.  Sure, some parts are cheesy, but kids like cheesy!  

Linda Ronstadt: *****

If you were ever a fan of this singer, you'll fall in love with her all over again in this film...and learn so much more about her!  She actually narrates a lot of the film, as we hear her story and rise to fame.  She's actually quite brilliantly smart, and I think I enjoyed hearing several of her comments as much as many of her familiar songs!  Just like so many singers, she has sadness to share, but it's not because she was into drugs or had abusive parents.  I think everyone in the audience knew it would be good to hear her sing, but had no idea of the depth of her voice, mind and heart.  It's a must-see!

Brittany Runs a Marathon **

There's a lot of language in this film, but the actress that plays the main part is funny, sometimes laugh out loud funny.  She's overweight and she parties a lot, but after a doctor's visit she is determined to lose weight.  That in itself doesn't sound like much of a movie, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.  Honestly, Jillian Bell really carries the film as we watch and cheer for her, feel sorry for her, and laugh and smile as she trains, makes funny comments, and meets all sorts of people along her journey.  And then she completes her goal...or does she?  I'm not telling you that!

Angel Has Fallen **

At the beginning of the film, I was hooked.  It seemed like a great story.  There's an assassination attempt on the president (Morgan Freeman) and an FBI agent is wrongfully accused, because there's someone that's in on the attempt to kill the president that wants the other agent to take the fall. So the mystery begins.  Gerard Butler plays the FBI agent that has to figure out who it is, stop any more attempts, and also keep his family safe.  It's definitely entertaining, but so many scenes are unbelievable that it left me feeling like I had watched an episode of Jag (remember that show?) See the movie, but wait for it to watch it at home...so you can get up and get food...because you'll want to.

Ad Astra *

I read the review in our newspaper and the guy gave this movie an A, so we went in with high hopes.  The first 15 minutes were boring, but the story seemed like it could get interesting.  There's this astronaut (Pitt) whose father was presumed dead (he also was an astronaut) but now it seems he may be alive...in space.  However, Pitt's character "narrates" the story by voicing his thoughts about his poor relationship with his father (and wife), as he journeys out into space to find his dad.  The voice is monotone, the journey is slow and boring, and this movie is ending up in my top 10 worst movies, ever. Sitting through the film was painful, and I've heard from others that they felt the same way.  I'd skip this film altogether.  There are plenty of space movies to watch with a little more action and intrigue...and definitely better stories.

The Art of Racing in the Rain **

Spoiler Alert, but one you need to know: This is sad movie.  There's a dog, a couple, a near "perfect" life, and then...  Milo Ventimiglia and Amanda Seyfried play the couple, and they're great.  The dog is amazing.  And the story is really told well, with so many analogies to racing that bring the message to life.  Life hits hard in the lives of this young couple, and it's almost unbearable to watch.  With the superb acting of Milo and the adorable factor of the dog, the movie is certainly heartwarming to say the least. However, it was more heartbreaking for me than heartwarming.  I don't know what to say here, but take some tissues if you go.  And listen to the story of life and racing.  That's the best take away for sure. 

Brian Banks ***

Even if you don't like football, think you've seen all the courtroom dramas you want to see, and aren't in the mood for another story about injustice, go see this movie anyway.  I wasn't thrilled at the onset, but as I watched this film about a young 16 year old boy in prison for a crime he didn't commit, I became completely taken by the story.  Sherri Shepherd plays his mom, and I hadn't seen her in ages, and she's awesome!  Greg Kinnear is the attorney that reluctantly and finally helps Brian to get free. However, as we watch and learn all the "facts" and become acquainted with this young man and all the hurdles he's faced to jump, we can't help but be a fan and hope for the best.  This true story really is riveting, and the previews don't tell the half... Another winner, and a must-see for you and your teens, on a night before school starts. You might even exit the theater with a whole new perspective on your own life!

Peanut Butter Falcon ***

This movie is a must-see on the big screen, because the story is larger than life.  He's a young man that's been placed in "the system" trying to break free, which he does.  But he finds himself hiding out in the bottom of a boat being steered by a different young man down on his luck and lost in the world, and on the run.  These two make an unlikely pair for sure, and then... a third party joins their adventure.  Shia Lebouf is outstanding in his role, as he navigates their way down the river and into the hearts of his two travel mates, and they into his.  What a great story of love and acceptance for those different from ourselves, to cross those lines we never thought we'd cross only to realize the only way to win is by doing so.  Take the family.  Get some popcorn.  Enjoy and immerse yourselves in this wonderful heartwarming true story.

The Goldfinch ***

Our local newspaper guy didn't think much of this film.  But we actually loved it.  A young man is in a museum with his mom who is then killed in a terrorist attack on the building, and the young man is left with a painting that he guards dearly.  He's taken in by a family (the mom is played by Nicole Kidman) and then all sorts of bad things keep happening... We are often transported to the boy as a man, a man with nightmares and demons from his childhood, but a man with a nice career in restoring old furniture.  There's a lot of mystery about the painting, the people in the young man's life, the family that took him in, and the one friend he made just before his dad disappeared again...   The story is really different, and so is the ending.  Yes, it's a very sad tale wrought with yet more sadness, but the acting is good, and we were both riveted to the screen.  I say, go see it.  

Blinded by the Light ***

This film was so entertaining and such a good story.  They're a Pakistani family trying to make it in a hostile area, with a father/son struggling each in their own way to find their place in the world.  A friend hands the young man a Springsteen cassette and the lyrics speak to him.  What takes place after that is a series of events and relationships that enable the young man to find his voice, while at the same time becoming estranged from his father. I found myself smiling, laughing, moving to the beats, and even tearing up near the end overjoyed and satisfied with the story.  It's a delightful film for teens and parents to see together!

Wild Rose ***

She's a wanna be country singer, but she's also a mom with two kids.  She needs to grow up, because her mom cannot keep covering for her forever.  And her sweet kids want and need a mom.  Sounds like maybe a sappy movie, but it's not.  You will want to slap some sense into this girl at times, and then other times you'll feel a smidgen sorry for her.  Jessie Buckley performs well, both acting and singing. She gets a break, but then breaks free from her past, and has choices to make.  It may be a familiar tune, but the verses in this one play out nicely and new on the big screen as we watch, listen, and learn along with this single mom as she grows up and makes a life worth living.  There's one scene at the beginning that is totally unnecessary (why does Hollywood do that?) but the rest of the film makes you forget it.

The Farewell ***

What a different premise from any other film I've seen, and this intrigued me!  A grandmother has been given a terminal diagnosis, but the family has chosen not to tell her.  That doesn't set well with one granddaughter, who has been living in New York, away from the family back in Japan.  She flies home and the family pretends there's a wedding, which brings all of the relatives back to see Grandmother before the end...  There are some funny moments, endearing scenes, and the story is just interesting.  I found it a bit slow in parts, but all in all we both enjoyed the film.  It's based on a true story, and you'll want to know what happens to the grandmother.  Does she live or does she die?  And does she know or doesn't she?  That kind of guessing game keeps the film alive and well...as well as strong acting by the lead.

Lion King **

Okay, so somehow I thought this was a new story, not the same one as a remake.  I was quite disappointed when I realized that.  There's the same great story and songs, and of course the animals I guess appear more "real." But I honestly felt bored from the first scene.  The Lion King is one of those films that you remember the story, the characters, and it's been visible for years even though not in the theater.  I wanted more upgrades, more different, more new stuff, and just more.  Actually, I'm not an animated film fan, nor a fan of talking animals.  So don't read my review and settle with it, if you're a fan.  My husband loved it.  And so did the rest of my family.  Go figure...

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ***

It's a Quentin Tarantino film, although one of the milder ones, so I'll say that first.  Leonardo Di Caprio and Brad Pitt play actor and stunt double, both getting older and become less "attractive" to Hollywood and the big screen.  The film follows their friendship and we watch them both as they deal with neighbors (Margot Robbie has a part - an odd one), a cult like group that's just plain odd as well, and resolves the story with an ending that is quite a surprise.  Not really a good one, I might add.  However, Di Caprio is worth seeing in this film. He deserves an Oscar nod, in my opinion.  This film was just quirky enough, with a great chemistry between these two guys, that we both exited the theater, glad that we saw the movie.  Also, it's long...  But if you like these actors and Hollywood old-school and a bit of an offbeat storyline, you'll like it as well.

Apollo 11***

I wasn't all that thrilled about seeing this documentary, because I felt as if I'd seen plenty of movies about space launches.  However, this one is different.  We see real footage, new footage, and are right there with the astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they fly to the moon for the first time.  We get to sit in the control rooms and view space on the big screen, in ways that are fascinating.  I will say that the guys in our group thoroughly enjoyed the movie more than the girls.  But that being said, I was pleasantly surprised...and really enjoyed the  musical accompaniment to each scene.  It probably won't be in the theaters much longer, as it's been out a while.  So go see it.  You'll be pleasantly surprised, as well.  I especially enjoyed observing the clothing and hairstyles of that decade, too, as a side enjoyment. :)

Echo in the Canyon ***

Did you know that Bob Dylan has a son, Jakob, and that he's a singer?  I did not.  He is the guy that interviewed all of the singers that lived up on Laurel Canyon and became famous decades ago, like The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas, The Byrds and more.  As he interviews and finds out all of the history and the scoop, Dylan and Nora Jones, Fiona Apple, and more sing some of the old songs from these groups.  This documentary is done very well, and worth seeing.  The music, the stories, and the now "old" artists, mixed with the contemporaries that still play their music, make for a nice evening at the  movies...where you're learning, marveling and listening all at the same time...to tunes you recognize and faces that have aged...but souls that still make music.

Crawl ***

If you're a fan of movies about natural disasters and animals gone wild, you won't be disappointed here.  I loved Jaws and Twister, so when I saw that there was a hurricane involved, as well as loose alligators in the water, I wanted to see Crawl!  There's a storyline too, of a father/daughter relationship which is nice to see.  The girl is an avid swimmer, so that helps when the water starts rising.  And...those alligators!  They do eat a lot of people, so beware of that.  However, I found that the suspense and the thriller part of the movie was just the right combo.  It's a great film to see on a hot sultry summer afternoon, when the waters and the winds are brewing in the Gulf not that far away, and you settle in with a big bag of popcorn for a movie that will definitely keep you awake!  Will she and her dad survive?  It seems like literally everyone is disappearing under the murky rising waters with hungry hunters on the chase...

Pavarotti ***

I knew nothing about this opera singer.  However, the previews made me want to know more.  And we were not disappointed, one bit.  We follow the life of Pavarotti, the singer, and Pavarotti, the man, husband and father.  I love these kinds of films, because we learn so much about a performer that makes them come alive once again, this time with bones and flesh instead of sound and splendor.  There are several moments where he sings and we are astounded and in awe.  But then there's the story of a man with an endearing wife and family that struggled as their husband and father traveled and sang and strayed.  I was especially confused by and yet felt admiration for his wife, and wondered and was saddened at the same story of so many entertainers.  They have this talent like no other, but are destroyed by the industry, their past, and their own shortcomings.  This is well done, an amazing piece of art, one worth seeing.

American Woman **

I like Sienna Miller.  I went to see this movie just because she was the lead, and boy was she good.  The story is one of a single mom with a single mom daughter.  She's also a sleezy, angry mom that is completely self-absorbed and bitter at life.  When her daughter goes missing, she's left again with a young child to raise on her own, now with sorrow and grief attached.  The story is hard to watch, it's heart-wrenching, and has a bit of mystery intertwined as we too wonder what happened to the daughter.  But this story is more about the mom that perseveres through her own demons, to what she thinks is finally a happy marriage, only to find herself alone (with her grandson) once again.  We talked about the title of the movie after we left, and we figured maybe this portrayal is the tale of many American women today - single and heartbroken.  Sad...but a great movie with great acting.

DO YOU AGREE WITH OUR REVIEWS? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MOVIES RIGHT NOW?
 DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR OTHER TIPS STORIES.
Current Sightings
by Marcy Lytle

This column is full of movie reviews from A to Z.  Movies are great fun to watch, but it pays to be informed before we spend two hours ourselves, or send our kids, to be entertained. 

As new movies come out each week we invite you to check back in often to see what movies have been seen and reviewed.  We will try to give a short synopsis, as well as our own opinion, along with a nod or a no, regarding suggestive content.

 

Some will be movies that are currently in the theater, and others will be ones you might want to see in your home, because they’re out on DVD or Netflix. Be sure to drop your own thoughts below in our comment section on movies you have seen.

 

We hope you enjoy!  

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