“The Current War” tells the story of how electric lights came to the United States. Thomas Edison, played by Benjamin Cumberbatch, was the premier inventor of his time. He was also the premier ego. George Westinghouse, played by Michael Shannon, was an industrialist and businessman. Edison wouldn’t team with Westinghouse, because he wanted all of the fame. Money did not matter to him. So Westinghouse beat him at his own game. Thrown into the mix was Nicolai Tesla, who was brilliant but scattered. This movie was a bit slow, but a good history lesson. The acting is good, but the pace is not. It’s the kind of film to watch at home. An interesting side note: “The Current War” was supposed to come out in 2017, but it was distributed by the Weinstein Company at the time that all of the allegations about Harvey Weinstein came out. So it was shelved until now. Not a bad movie, but not a great one,.
“The Addams Family” is a new computer animated film based on Charles Addams’ comic characters. I always loved the macabre humor and play on words. This version is more geared to the younger set. The live action versions from the early 1990’s were a little more adult in their humor (aka: darker), but this one still has some funny moments. Especially funny were the children, Wednesday and Pugsley. And of course Fester was a riot. Die hard fans may think this film is too tame, but it is not bad.
“Good Boys” is a middle schooler’s version of “Super Bad”. It’s about three 12 year olds who are kind of nerdy. They get invited to a boy/girl party and make it their business to learn how to kiss a girl. Jacob Tremblay, who was so wonderful in “Room” and “Wonder”, plays his first normal role. The film is cute, the kids are believable and there are plenty of plot twist. Mildly entertaining. If you are looking for a comedy, this one is decent.
“All is True” is the story of William Shakespeare’s retirement years. Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench are Mr. & Mrs. Shakespeare and are almost strangers since Mr. S has lived in London for the past twenty years. Neither of their daughters are happy and Will still has not gotten over the death of his son, Hamnet. Branagh is unrecognizable in the role. However, the story is depressing and a bit slow. His films usually have a certain humor and are seldom slow moving. This film is an exception. Interesting but not exceptional.
“If Beale Street Could Talk” is the follow-up film from Barry Jenkins who made “Moonlight”. This film is more mainstream than the one from a few years ago. Based on a novel by James Baldwin, It tells the story of an African American family and their struggles. The two leads are wonderful, but Regina King, as one of the mothers, is very good. She is winning most of the supporting actress awards. My problem with this film is that it was too long. Once again, a talented film maker should have had someone else edit it down. It could have done with twenty minutes less.
I was disappointed in Adam McKay’s latest film, “Vice”, which tells the story of Dick Cheney. The acting is very good, especially Christian Bale as Cheney, Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, and Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush. However the way that the story is told is choppy. Whether you admire the man or not, it just isn’t compelling. The narration is done with an interesting twist and is quite clever. The film is an interesting piece of recent history.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is the second in a proposed series of films that sort of serve as a prequel to the Harry Potter films. Eddie Redmayne is a warlock who has a talent with interesting creatures from their world. He is enlisted by a young Albus Dumbledore to help bring down a dark lord. The first movie was more magical, especially with the creatures it introduced. This one is more chasing and standard fare. The special effects are good as is the acting. Not a bad entry, just not great.