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Archives for : Heart Warming

Movie Review: News of the World is an Enjoyable Ride

The last time director Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks worked together was for “Captain Phillips”. A solid movie that was strong in its performances, but lacking in its story. Now, the two have teamed up again, and Hanks plays an even better Captain in the film, “News of the World”.

Hanks stars as Captain Kyle Kidd, a war veteran who travels from town to town five years after the Civil War, to read the news across Texas. But this man doesn’t just read the news, he brings life to it with his energy and storytelling; almost like a performance. He entertains the crowds at each stop with his loud, commanding voice.

While on his news tour, Kidd stumbles across a 10-year old girl which he names Johanna (Helena Zengel). She’s found abandoned on the road. She was raised by the Kiowa tribe, and doesn’t speak any English. Once Kidd realizes Johanna has no one to help her, he takes it upon himself to get her to her aunt and uncle’s farm near San Antonio. But this is no easy journey, and Kidd still must complete his work. Johanna tags along and watches in admiration as Kidd reads his “stories” to the towns they visit before their final destination.

“News of the World” does have some action, and there is enough intensity to keep you engaged. But be prepared for a lot of quiet and slow moments. With the exception of one shoot-out, this isn’t a very wild western. The enjoyment of the film comes from Kidd and Johanna. The two have great chemistry, and a very natural father/daughter like relationship. The dialogue between them is never forced or cheesy. The progression of the care and trust they build is incredibly heartwarming. They are both troubled and lost, but they find a home in each other.

The film is beautifully shot with luminous cinematography by Dariusz Wolski, and has a fantastic production design by David Crank. The exteriors of this film are wonderful, but what gives this movie life is the heart behind the two lead characters.

“News of the World” is an unconventional western. But regardless of your genre preference, Hanks and Zengel will win you over.

Rating: 4/5

“News of the World” opens in theaters December 25 and On Demand in January.

Movie Review: “The Lost Husband” Sparks a Glimmer of Light

All is not lost in the new romantic comedy, starring Leslie Bibb and Josh Duhamel.

Based on the novel by Katherine Center, “The Lost Husband” follows Libby (Bibb), an attractive young woman, who has lost her husband in a tragic car accident. Libby and her two children (Callie Hope Haverda & Roxton Garcia) have been living with her difficult mother (Sharon Lawrence); but when they wear out their welcome, they pack up and head to her aunt Jean’s (Nora Dunn) house.

Jean lives in central Texas on a goat farm with no TV, no Wi-Fi, and no dishwasher. However, she does have an espresso maker! In order to make herself useful, Libby is forced to help out around the house and farm. Luckily, she has the conveniently handsome and single ranch hand, James (Duhamel), to guide her through the process of things.

The relationship between Libby and James is about as predictable as you would imagine. It begins with a dislike for each other. James thinks she’s too much of a city girl and can’t possibly get her hands dirty, and Libby thinks James is a jerk. Well, good thing opposites do attract. The transition from hate to love goes quick. Besides a few bickers here and there, the film doesn’t try to fight off the pair’s instant chemistry for too long. Both Bibb and Duhamel do a great job with their roles and are a fun and charming couple to watch.

The film identifies itself as a “romantic comedy”. Though it is a big element to the story, “The Lost Husband” centers more around Libby’s growth and healing over her husband’s death and mother’s mistreatment. This is not a bad thing, and it’s refreshing that the movie went this route instead of trying to make a Nicholas Sparks knock-off.

The entire cast does a solid job and there’s even a little “Popular”(1999 TV Series) reunion between Bibb and her former co-star Carly Pope that will be nice for fans of the show to see.

There’s just no high risk conflict in this movie. Little issues pop up like a child being bullied, an annoying new friend, and even a “shocking” secret. However, these issues are either resolved quickly, glossed over, or feel very anti-climactic. We never earn our resolution.

You can easily sit back, relax, and watch this mildly dramatic story unfold. Which may be exactly what we all need right now. I point out these flaws of the film not to deter you away, but to better prepare you going in. At no point will you question where the story is headed, but you can still enjoy this smooth ride.

“The Lost Husband” is a heart-warming drama about love and the family/people in our lives who truly bring us up when we’re down.

Rating: 3/5

“The Lost Husband is available to rent On Demand April 10.


Movie Review: “Angels Sing” Is A Heart Warming Tearjerker

As if I wasn’t excited enough for the Christmas lights that would be soon be surrounding me this season, Angels Sing has got me ready to plug-in the chord and illuminate my neighborhood.

The holiday spirit isn’t for everyone and for Michael Walker (Harry Connick Jr.) it’s been gone for over 30 years.  A terrible accident on Christmas morning caused him to loose his older brother.  Everyone around Michael has tried to bring out the happiness he once had.  Sadly, nothing has ever seemed to work.  Things only get worse when Michael and his family move into their dream home that is a part of the biggest neighborhood light-show in the country.  Michael refuses to be a part of the festivities, causing conflict with his neighbors.  But when tragedy strikes, and his son starts to follow in daddy’s bitter footsteps.  Michael realizes he must make amends with his past.  With the help from a generous stranger named Nick (Willie Nelson), he is encouraged to find the joy he once felt.

Compared to other holiday films, this is much sadder than most.  I had a constant lump in my throat the entire time I was watching.  The story was good and creative in its own way.  The last thirty minutes of the film drags.  You kind of know how it is going to end at this point, so you are getting anxious to see the outcome.

I particularly enjoyed the performances by Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britton, and Kris Kristofferson.  I liked how Connick didn’t go full “Scrooge.”  His character is still a loving father and husband.  He gives a realistic portrayal of how someone would feel about a specific day that resurfaces the worst memory from your life.  You don’t hate him, you sympathize with him.

I can’t say that this film will stand out among the wave of Christmas movies this year.  But the message of the movie should be one that no one forgets.  “Memories are the best gift a father can give his son.”  To put it in terms relatable to everyone, memories are the best gift you can give anyone.  So make sure you leave great ones for people to remember you by.

Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language.

Angels Sing is now playing or coming soon to select cities.

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