Category Archives: Movie Reviews

‘The BFG’ movie review

Fun, but lacks the Spielberg magic we all know and love


Steven Spielberg holds a special place in my heart as a lifelong fan of motion pictures. “Jaws” came out the year I was born. As a child of divorce, I totally identified with Elliot’s isolation in “E.T.”. And of course, Dr. Jones was my first taste of adventure. He wasn’t a super hero. He was just a man. I was pretty sure someday I could be Indiana Jones.bfgposter

As an older, jaded film critic — I’ve long given up my dreams of becoming a filmmaker (although I have several bad ass scripts lying around, give me a call…) — I still hold a certain fondness for Spielberg, even if lately it seems like most of his movies have been adaptations. Where’s the originality?

Okay. Let’s skip the “originality is dead in Hollywood” stuff for today. “The BFG” is in theatres. It’s directed by Steven Spielberg. It’s written by Melissa Mathison (pssst…she wrote “E.T.”) — and yes, it’s based on the book by Roald Dahl.

Let’s just get this out of the way. It’s good. Not great, good. Certainly one of the best of the summer. That’s not saying much considering the awful, watered down summer movie season we’ve seen plummet down a steep hill ever since Iron Man and Captain America broke up.

The BFG (Disney)
The BFG (Disney)

From what I could tell, Spielberg stays pretty true to the book, at least as much as I could recognize. It’s been a spell since I’ve read the book, but it absolutely feels like Roald Dahl’s classic brought to life. The BFG, (Big FRIENDLY Giant, as I’m having to constantly remind myself) is played by Mark Rylance, who recently stole Sylvester Stallone’s Academy Award out from under his nose at this year’s Oscars — in all fairness Rylance was amazing in”Bridge of Spies” (also Spielberg).

Rylance brings the character to life through the magic of motion capture. It’s an impressive performance, although not quite the realism we’ve seen in the past from Andy Serkis, but it’s still a solid, humanizing performance that only rarely looks more animated than real. The BFG for the most part blends seamlessly into his live action surroundings.

The BFG (Disney)
The BFG (Disney)

Ruby Barnhill plays Sophie, the human child who is swept into the kindhearted BFG’s life when she catches him rummaging through the streets of London late at night. She’s a cute kid and this is her first big movie. She delivers a fine performance as a precocious orphan who befriends the BFG. But it’s the connection between Barnhill and the motion capture of the BFG that never quite establishes the emotional connection it needs to.

While Spielberg reunites with “E.T.” scribe Mathison, the movie never quite seems to capture the magic and awe he introduced us too back in the early 80s. The movie is fun, interesting and touching, but it just seems to be missing something. Perhaps it’s the humor, which is aimed primarily at younger audiences. Look out for a lot of flatulence jokes. If you’ve read the book, you know what’s up. But the film also pushes 2 hours in running time, which is likely to test the patience of the core audience it’s aiming for.

That being said? It’s a fun movie. It’s Spielberg, so it’s expertly directed and looks gorgeous. Adults may not be struck by the nostalgia of Spielberg the way we are accustomed, but your kids are gonna love it.

The BFG (Disney)
The BFG (Disney)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Written by Melissa Mathison

Based on the book by Roald Dahl

Starring Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Bill Hader, and Jemaine Clement

Disney’s The BFG Official Website

Photos and video property of Walt Disney Films

‘Gravity’ is a jaw dropping masterpiece and maybe the movie experience of the year

Every now and then, a movie comes along that makes you say, “WOW.”

gravityPICIn 2013, that movie — nay — that EXPERIENCE, is Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity”.

Now it’s easy to gush on this movie. If you seen the trailers, it is everything those brief intense sequences promises and more. Cuaron, known for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and the also amazing, “Children of Men”, puts the audience on this space mission with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and his newbie spacewalking partner Dr. Stone (Sandra Bullock).

The results are one of the most intense and visually spectacular movies, not only of this year — but maybe….ever? Continue reading ‘Gravity’ is a jaw dropping masterpiece and maybe the movie experience of the year

Ron Howard celebrates rivalries in sports with brilliant ‘Rush’

Sports movies are awesome, aren’t they? Well, they are if they are done right. Why? Because everyone can relate sports to life in some way. That’s the beauty of Ron Howard’s new film, “Rush”, an exciting and in depth look at the competitive fire that burns in race car drivers.


If you are a race fan, you know how dangerous Formula One Racing is and just how crazy you have to be to do it. The year is 1976. Great Britain’s James Hunt  and Germany’s Niki Lauda are two of the best drivers on the circuit. They hate each other, but they also respect each other. It’s that desire to out-drive the other, and to be the best that sparks the passion that fuels this race season and cements their rivalry as one of the greatest in sports. Continue reading Ron Howard celebrates rivalries in sports with brilliant ‘Rush’