Saturday, February 29, 2020

Deal: 29% off at FandangoNOW including 1917 in 4K for $14 Today (2/29) Only

FandangoNOW has a leap day sale featuring 29% off rentals and purchases.  Use the code LEAP29 at checkout for the discount.  Some of these movies are MoviesAnywhere compatible, so they will port to Google Play, iTunes, VUDU, Amazon, and Microsoft if you have them linked.  Some highlights inlclude:

MoviesAnywhere Movies:

NOT MoviesAnywhere (Will Only Play In FandangoNOW) Movies:

Don't forget to enter code LEAP29!

Thanks to Slickdeals for the original deal info!

Deal: Downton Abbey 4K for $7 at FandangoNOW today (2/29/20) only

The Downton Abbey movie was a welcome surprise earlier this year, and garner strong critical and user ratings (84% critic, 94% user on Rottentomatoes).  Today, February 29 only, you can own the movie in 4K for $7.  FandangoNOW has it on sale for $9.99, and using the code LEAP29 brings the price down to $7.10.  Keep in mind that Downton Abbey is MoviesAnywhere compatible, so it will port to Google Play, iTunes, VUDU, Amazon, and Microsoft if you have them linked.

Link to FandangoNOW.  Don't forget to enter code LEAP29!

Thanks to Slickdeals for the original deal info!

Friday, February 28, 2020

What to Watch This Weekend: February 28, 2020

In Theaters: Emma.
Emma brings the Jane Austin classic to life with a colorful style, a stellar cast, and an absolute charm that will capture you from the first scene.  For more information, check out our review!

In Theaters: The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man is a new take on the classic concept, with great, minimalist effects, wonderful tension, and an amazing performance by Elisabeth Moss..  For more information, check out our review!

At Redbox: Knives Out
Knives Out assembles a killer cast of characters and pairs it with Rian Johnson's amazing style and wonderful, witty writing to create a very entertaining whodunit.  For more information, check out our review!

Streaming (Showtime): On The Basis Of Sex
The RBG biopic--helped by fantastic performances by Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer does a great job of highlighting the challenges that she encountered trying to practice law and fight against inequality in a male dominated profession and culture.

Streaming (Netflix): The Angry Birds Movie 2
The Angry Birds Movie 2 takes the unenviable task of following on to the unlikely movie based on the mobile game.  It is a fun adventure that is at times laugh out loud funny, but also a little too disjointed.  For more information, check out our review!

Streaming (Amazon): Good Newwz
Good Newwz delivers some enjoyable characters, laugh out loud comedy, and tackles some important issues with surprisingly heartfelt dramatic moments in a film that will entertain you right from conception.  For more information, check out our review!

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising

Release date: February 26, 2020
Running time: 104 minutes
Starring: Felecia Angelle, Christopher Bevins, Johnny Yong Bosch

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is a new side story movie in the MHA series.  It appears to be set after the events of the current season, as all the young heroes have their provisional licenses and Deku uses a skill that he has just learned on the TV show.  In the movie, class 1A gets sent to Nabu Island, a small island with no heroes.  The class is sent to help the townspeople out during the school's summer break.  However, after they arrive, something happens that will put the young heroes to the ultimate test.

If you are a fan of MHA, then you will know what to expect from this film.  Starting with the animation, it has the same look and feel of the TV show, for better or for worse.  I personally love the look of the TV series, but was hoping for some more detailed or refined animation due to the fact that this is going to cinemas.  There wasn't anything wrong with it, and the island provides some very beautiful views, but initially it just felt like I was watching the TV show on a larger screen.  However, when the action started picking up towards the second half, there were some really nice animated effects.  Fires, lightning, rain, and other combat effects did look more impressive than in the television series and were enjoyable to see.  It is just a shame that it took so long to get there, but it does lead to an impressive finale.   

As with the animation, the story feels very much like it would be from the TV series.  It starts off normal enough and the first third to half is mostly tame summer antics.  It isn't until the actual fighting happens that you get something more exciting.  It is fun to see the heroes interacting on the island, but nothing really stands out from the island antics.  And sticking with this theme, the sounds are what you would expect from MHA but with some added effects--not a bad thing, just would have been nice to have something stand out.  There is a pretty stellar musical choice during the final fight; again I go back to the final fight being the highlight of this movie.  

The major critique I have with this film is that the story really feels like it could have been an arc of the TV series rather than being a standalone movie.  The effects do go plus ultra during the last third, but the first part of the story really doesn't feel much different than the show.  And although the ending is exciting, there are reasons why it ultimately feels unfulfilling, both for some of the choices that are made and the fact that it still leaves you with questions.  If you are a fan of this franchise, you are going to watch this anyways.  I ultimately feel like it is more of a rental and is not as good as the first MHA movie, but fans of the series (myself included) will find plenty to like here.    

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising goes plus ultra, with a fun and exciting side story, great battle animations and effects, and the same characters and quirks we know and love from the series. 

Rent it.

Review: Greed

Release date: February 28, 2019
Running time: 104 minutes
Starring: Steve Coogan, Isla Fisher, Asa Butterfield

Greed is a new dark comedy / satire about a ruthless billionaire planning a birthday bash for the ages.  The movie follows Sir Richard McReadie (Coogan), also known as McGreedy, as he plans a Greek-style birthday bash including togas, fireworks, and a live lion.  Although much of the movie follows this planning and the actual event, the movie is interspersed with flashback scenes from Richie's past, a hearing before British Parliament, and some reality TV style interviews from his biographer. 

For the most part, the acting and characters in the movie are very entertaining.  Coogan as Sir Richie is a joy to watch; his character is a ruthless businessman and general a-hole and Coogan plays him perfectly.  David Mitchell as Richie's biographer Nick is another refreshing character.  He plays a literary nerd with a very dry sense of humor that is wonderful to cut (or create) tension in several scenes.  Isla Fisher as Richie's ex-wife is another wonderful addition to the cast, with her subtle strength and control of the situations she is placed in.  The rest of the characters are good, but just not on screen long enough.  As a dark comedy, there are many laugh out loud moments if you are in the mood for that kind of biting humor; if you are, you will get plenty of enjoyment.  Additionally, the overall message of the film is ultimately a good one, and the film highlights some very disturbing facts about the world we live in.

However, the story of the movie and pacing could be better.  The film starts with the party, and then fills in the characters as the planning happens.  However, this makes the first part of the film very disjointed.  Some additional editing would have been useful as the film jumps back and forth between times quickly, and sometimes doesn't return back to where you started.  Additionally, much of the story is told from the point of view of Richie's biographer attempting to write the book, but this gives an odd reality TV type of vibe to these scenes.  It feels like Greed can't decide what type of film it wants to be, so it mashes together many different types.  This is equally so as the movie starts off as more of a comedy, then moves into a drama towards the end of the film.  All in all, it leaves a little to be desired for the story telling in this film and it makes the story tough to follow.  Additionally, the scattershot nature at the start caused so much to be thrown at the viewer, that it later felt like the film was dragging. 

Greed has some fantastic performances, coupled with an important social message and a biting, dry humor that will entertain while highlighting important inequalities in society.  

Rent It

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Screening: First Cow & More

Opening on March 13 in DC

Directed by: Kelly Reichardt
Written by: Kelly Reichardt & Jon Raymond
Produced by: Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, & Anish Savjani
Starring: John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, & Ewen Bremner

Kelly Reichardt once again trains her perceptive and patient eye on the Pacific Northwest, this time evoking an authentically hardscrabble early nineteenth century way of life. A taciturn loner and skilled cook (John Magaro) has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) also seeking his fortune; soon the two collaborate on a successful business, although its longevity is reliant upon the clandestine participation of a nearby wealthy landowner’s prized milking cow. From this simple premise Reichardt constructs an interrogation of foundational Americana that recalls her earlier triumph Old Joy in its sensitive depiction of male friendship, yet is driven by a mounting suspense all its own. Reichardt again shows her distinct talent for depicting the peculiar rhythms of daily living and ability to capture the immense, unsettling quietude of rural America.

Kelly Reichardt – Writer/Director:
A retrospective of Reichardt’s work took place at the Museum of Modern Art in the fall of 2017. Her feature films include: River of Grass (1994), Old Joy (2006), Wendy and Lucy (2008), Meek’s Cutoff (2010), Night Moves (2013), Certain Women (2016), and First Cow (2019). Grants: United States Artists Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Anonymous Was a Woman Award, Renew Media Fellowship. Special Screenings: Whitney Biennial (2012), Film Forum, Cannes Film Festival in “Un Certain Regard,” Venice International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Viennale Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, BFI London Film Festival. Retrospectives: Anthology Film Archives, Pacific Film Archive, Museum of the Moving Image, Walker Art Center, American Cinematheque Los Angeles, European Touring Retrospective (The American Landscape: The Films of Kelly Reichardt). Teaching: currently an Artist-in-Residence at Bard College. Publications: ReFocus: The Films of Kelly Reichardt, E. Dawn Hall, Edinburgh University Press.

Screening Details:

  Kelly Reichardt Retrospective Film Series hosted by A24 and The Kennedy Center’s Social Impact initiative. All screenings will take place at The Reach at The Kennedy Center.

The film series includes screenings of Kelly’s past films on Sunday and Tuesday, ending with the FIRST COW screening followed by a Q&A with Writer/Director Kelly Reichardt on Wednesday evening. 

Film Series Schedule:

The Reach at the Kennedy Center
The Justice Forum
2700 F St NW
Washington, DC 20566

Sunday, March 1, 2020
11:00 AM

1:30 PM

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
7:00 PM

9:00 PM

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
7:00 PM
*Q&A to follow with Writer/Director Kelly Reichardt

Be sure to Like and Follow Watch or Pass on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and share with your friends!

As always, screenings are first-come, first-served so please arrive early to ensure you get a seat.

Review: Brahms: The Boy II

Release date: February 21, 2020
Running time: 96 minutes
Starring: Katie Holmes, Owain Yeoman, Christopher Convery

The Boy was a creepy and surprisingly enjoyable 2016 movie about a porcelain doll who was taken care of by a grieving family.  The movie was self-contained, had a good amount of tension throughout, and concluded with a satisfying, if ridiculous ending.  Brahms: The Boy II continues this story when a family finds the porcelain doll after moving near the house of the first movie.  As soon as they bring Brahms home, their young son changes and strange occurrences happen around the house.  

Brahms: The Boy II keeps many of the things that made the first movie an enjoyable thriller.  The doll Brahms is back and he seemingly is alive despite him being an inanimate doll.  There is plenty of tension as things happen around the house that appear to be caused by this doll, and several unexplained noises and events occur.  And the film has some solid performances.  It was good to see Katie Holmes back on the big screen, and young Christopher Convery does an admirable job as Jude.  Convery is especially convincing when the movie calls for some more unsettling scenes, and he effortlessly switches from innocent to sinister when needed.  

However, in this film the filmmakers tried to give Brahms more of a supernatural origin.  They use effects to manipulate the doll's expressions to give it subtle changes, for example making it appear to smile.  This Brahms is also more overt in its movement, with several scenes showing the doll actually moving.  This is a stark departure from the first move, which took great lengths to ensure that the porcelain star never overtly did anything, only suggested that it might.  This unfortunately puts a different take on the events of the first movie.  On top of movement, the filmmakers also added sound effects that sound like Brahms is talking, another change from the first movie.  And the story of this film just doesn't make a lot of sense.  There are too many convenient tragedies or plot devices that cause Brahms to enter the family's lives.  And then, with the aforementioned supernatural aspects, the film has a ridiculous plot twist towards the end that again, goes against the spirit of the first movie and some of the characters.  It really is a shame because I genuinely enjoyed the first movie and was curious to see how a sequel would be handled.  Sadly, I doubt we will be getting a third film in this franchise.  

Brahms: The Boy II has many similarities to the original film, especially the creepy doll Brahms and some solid performances, but is ultimately a sequel to a film that did not need one.

Pass on it.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

News: Celebrate Ash Wednesday with a New SAINT MAUD Trailer!

Ash Wednesday saw the release of a new trailer for Saint Maud, a new horror tale from filmmaker Rose Glass.  The debut film from writer-director Rose Glass, Saint Maud is a chilling and boldly original vision of faith, madness, and salvation in a fallen world. Maud, a newly devout hospice nurse, becomes obsessed with saving her dying patient’s soul — but sinister forces, and her own sinful past, threaten to put an end to her holy calling.

Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lilly Frazer, Lily Knight,
Marcus Hutton, Turlough Convery, and Rosie Sansom
Rose Glass 

Deal: Rent Crawl for 99 cents on Amazon and iTunes

Crawl was an enjoyable creature feature that despite being a little over the top, still had plenty of suspense and good effects.  It got very good reviews, with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 83%.  If you missed it in theaters, you can rent it for 99 cents in HD at Amazon or in 4K at iTunes.

Thanks to Slickdeals for the original information.

Review: The Invisible Man

Release date: February 28, 2020
Running time: 124 minutes
Starring:  Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer

Blumhouse continues its trend of remaking classic films / franchises with The Invisible Man, whose concept appears to be loosely based on the 1933 film.  In this one,  Cecilia Kass (Moss), escapes from an abusive relationship with brilliant but controlling optics specialist Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).  However, almost immediately after she escapes him, she starts to feel like she is not quite alone: she feels a presence in the room, hears a sound that doesn't seem right, or something disappears or moves without her doing.  Cecilia's friendships and sanity are put to the ultimate test as she tracks down something that she cannot see and no one believes is there.

The Invisible Man is first and foremost a suspenseful thriller.  Having a movie about someone you can't see causes even the most mundane scenes to feel tense.  The camera scrolling to an empty room imparts a sense of dread as you never know if something is going to happen.  This stays true even after you know that there is an invisible being, and it really shows how far this simple concept can go.  And a lot of this is helped along by Moss's feature performance.  She has to carry a lot of the movie on her own, especially with an invisible co-star, and carries that burden easily.  Moss is emotional, believable, and deals with her character's ups and downs perfectly.  The rest of the cast are good in their roles, but Moss is the headliner and star of the film. 

Due to the relatively simple concept, it appears Blumhouse took a minimalist approach to this film, including in the effects department.  A sci-fi / horror film can live and die by its effects, and thankfully The Invisible Man does a great job with what it has.  The film is not heavy on CG and that is a great thing.  It makes the film all the more tense because it doesn't go overboard with the effects.  Even the scenes with the invisible co-star are well done and don't break your suspension of disbelief.  Additionally, the sounds are minimal and made to keep you guessing.  Little sounds you hear behind you keep you on edge; was that something behind you or is it normal creak of an old house.  The sound helps to keep you on edge and is another testament to seeing this film in theaters (or with a good home sound setup).  If there is one downside, it is the story.  It is not bad, but it makes some leaps that are not believable and the characters make some decisions that are questionable.  However, if you can put aside these minor issues, you get a very enjoyable thriller. 

The Invisible Man is a new take on the classic film, with great, minimalist effects, wonderful tension, and an amazing performance by Elisabeth Moss.

Watch It

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Review: The Lodge

Release date: February 21, 2020
Running time: 108 minutes
Starring: Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone, Riley Keough 

The Lodge is a suspenseful psychological horror film that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Richard (Armitage) drops off his girlfriend Grace (Keough) and his two children at a mountain house during the winter before heading back to the city to finish some work.  Richard hopes that this will be a good opportunity for his girlfriend and kids to experience some forced bonding time.  However, almost as soon as they are dropped off, mysterious things begin to happen at the lodge.  As Grace and the children try to figure out what is going on, Grace's past comes back to haunt her in a very real way. 

The Lodge is one of the most suspenseful movies I have seen.  The movie is built to keep you on the edge of your seat.  The cinematography is amazing with great shots and use of light to keep you guessing what happens next.  This keeps you in suspense by constantly making the audience feel a sense of impending dread.  Even the initial drive up to the lodge, where the camera only shows snow illuminated by the car's headlights and surrounded by overwhelming darkness gives you a feeling of suspense.  The cinematography is complemented by a foreboding soundtrack that escalates your anxiety.  And pretty much every sound in the film is meant to keep you on edge.  From the creepy sounds to the more mundane bangs and creeks of an old house, this movie will keep you wondering what will happen next.  This all works together to create one of the most stressful and deliciously unpredictable films I have seen. 

However, the Lodge is not for everyone.  The story is heavy and scary, with very little explained until the very end.  The characters confront aspects of their past and the trials of their present, causing the perspective to shift quickly.  Sometimes you will wonder if the characters are dreaming or in reality, and this again contributes to the sense of dread this movie promotes.  And the story does go off the rails at the end, but that is part of the overall film.  It didn't feel like the story went in a direction that wasn't predicted, it just went much farther than I anticipated it to go.  For those that like their movies dark and heavy, this is the perfect film for you.  

The Lodge is a suspenseful masterpiece, whose visuals, sounds, and story will keep you on edge from start to finish. 

Rent It

News: A QUIET PLACE PART II - New Poster and Survival Room



This multi-sensory experience entails an intense 5-7 minute progression—filled with physical and mental obstacles—for groups of three. This immersive, in-world recreation of A QUIET PLACE PART II tasks guests with keeping their decibel levels down and mitigating any sound in their surroundings . . . at all costs. Reservations may be made online at and walk-ups are also welcome. This event kicks off in New York as part of the Dolby Experience, before opening in Los Angeles in the week leading up to the film’s release. The Dolby SoHo experience in New York will also include a limited time, immersive experience with tons of Instagram-worthy A QUIET PLACE PART II moments, powered by Dolby.

WHERE: New York and Los Angeles
New York: Dolby SoHo, 477 Broadway Street, New York, NY

Tuesday, March 3rd-Wednesday, March 4th
Open to the Public: 1:00PM-8:00PM

Thursday, March 5th
Open to the public: 1:00PM-4:00PM

Saturday, March 7th
Open to the public: 5:00PM-8:00PM

Monday, March 16th
Open to the Public: 6:00PM-10:00PM

Tuesday, March 17th-Thursday, March 19th
Open to the Public: 3:00PM-10:00PM