Getting Really High

I was a kid during the “Golden Age of Disaster Movies” in the 1970s. Airport really launched the all-star disaster epic, but it was The Poseidon Adventure that took disaster movies to the next level. That was followed by The Towering Inferno and Earthquake, but a succession of cheaply-made disaster movies with B-level stars (or badly slumming A-listers, such as Paul Newman and Sean Connery) helped the genre quickly peter out. There wasn’t another really good disaster movie until Daylight in 1996 (a very underrated film with a great cast that captures the spirit of the best of the 70s […]

A Spirited Adventure

Star Wars fans were concerned but eager to see a new movie that picked up where the original trilogy ended and were justly rewarded. The second film in the new trilogy was polarizing to say the least, so the mood going into the third film is tenuous at best. When Lucasfilm and Disney announced they would start producing spin-off movies set in the same universe but not related to the ongoing storyline, fans again were worried that the studios were going to dilute or “ruin” the films they already loved. And then Rogue One: A Star Wars Story came along […]

A Quiet Place Offers Silent Terror

Horror films have gotten a bad rap over the years with the rise of the slasher film in the 1980s, and those that came after following the blueprint that had been set by those films – strand a group of people, mostly unlikable, in an isolated location with a mysterious killer and watch them all get creatively killed off one by one, setting up the killer as the “hero” … so he can have a movie franchise and be a cash cow for the studio. But horror films got back to their roots of actually being scary and constructing a […]

Blockers Has Laughs and Heart

  It’s been a while since we’ve seen a good R-rated sex comedy and Blockers comes along at just the right time to deliver some big laughs and a bit of a message. With prom season looming, parents may – or may not – want to give this movie a look, depending on how liberal you are when it comes to your kids. Blockers begins on the eve of a senior prom with three girls – who we see in a cute montage bonding over the years – preparing for the big event. While they decide who to take and […]

Sweet and Hopeful

Lead character Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) has a “big-ass secret.” And by now we all know what that secret is. But in our current society under an administration that promised to be the “greatest friend” to the LGBTQ community, and has proven to be anything but, Love, Simon is a movie many need to see with some great urgency because there are lessons to be learned, but in a gentle, charming, amusing way. No hammers over the head here to push a “gay agenda.” Simon is an average high school student. He’s got a great set of parents, a sister […]

Nothing to Lose But Their Chains

Disney’s Newsies has come a long way since it first debuted – and flopped – as a movie musical in 1992, which eventually developed a major cult following (thanks in part to the casting of a young Christian Bale in the lead role of Jack Kelly) and became a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical before hitting the road on a national tour. The Broadway and touring version of the show are huge spectacles with quite an amazing set, so one has to wonder how the show will translate to such an intimate space as Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia, Maryland. If […]


Each year, there are more and more movies depicting the lives of real people and historical events. 2017 was no exception. From World War II (Dunkirk and The Darkest Hour) to the 1970s (The Post, All the Money in the World, and Battle of the Sexes) and the near-present day (Molly’s Game), there was no shortage of material to be dramatized onscreen. One such movie, I, Tonya, stands out from the rest for its inventive and memorable approach to storytelling. “Based on irony free, wildly contradictory, totally true interviews with Tonya Harding and Jeff Gilooly,” director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter […]

Game Night Has Winners and Losers Not the greatest comedy ever made, but plenty to like and laugh over

By the look of the calendar on the wall, it’s time for yet another comedy with Jason Bateman as a put-upon schlub. It’s certainly a niche that he’s parlayed into a successful career on the big screen, while he actually goes in quite a different direction on the small screen in Netflix’s Ozark. But this is standard, comedy mode Bateman on display in Game Night … and I didn’t hate it. The story centers on Bateman’s Max and his wife Annie (Rachel McAdams) the perennial hosts of a game night with their friends, the married Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle […]

The Man Behind the Art

You probably don’t know the name Touko Laaksonen, but you’ve probably seen his artwork, what was once very underground that is now pretty mainstream. But when Laaksonen began drawing his highly erotic, hyper-real depictions of strong, handsome, gay men he had to use a pseudonym because such things were illegal at that time (the 1940s), so Touko became Tom, and eventually Tom of Finland. The new movie Tom of Finland tells the life story of Touko Laaksonen starting with his service in the war. Touko (Pekka Strang) is forced to lead a closeted life in the service but he still […]

Amazing Finale

It’s been four years since 20th Century Fox launched the Maze Runner series and over the course of that time, a few other franchises have ended but not without leaving a bad taste in the fans’ mouths due to studio greed resulting in stretching the final chapter out to two movies, with the first of the two usually nothing but padding. The Divergent series isn’t even getting its “Part 2” finale because the first part sucked, hard. So the studio seemed to have learned a lesson and mercifully contained the final Maze Runner film to a single film-going experience. And […]