Category archive for ‘Reel Time with Tom’ rss

  • Spider-man Homecoming: High school hi-jinks

    The movie screens have been filled all summer with a glut of special effects “blockbusters.” I’ve seen enough in the last several months to last me a lifetime. I will say again, Wonder Woman was worth the trip; the rest range from mediocre to downright bad. This latest Spiderman sequel passes the “mediocre” test, but not much more.

  • Skip the theater and go straight for the DVD rentals

    This week’s column will offer some rental recommendations. These are all excellent films and if you missed any of them the first time around you might consider checking them out. Several of them have appeared on HBO recently, but they are all available through Netflix or any other source you may use.

  • Wonder Woman – we don’t need Superman anymore

    A Chicago Tribune editorial writer said it best, “If you’re ever in trouble, forget Superman – get in touch with Wonder Woman.” After seeing the movie, I know I would.

  • Not much treasure in Pirates 5

    Tough choices (sometimes) abound when trying to pick a movie worth seeing and writing about. You, dear reader, stay home until there is a film you want to see. I don’t have that option, as my column deadline comes every two weeks, like it or not. I worked hard to narrow the choices and ended up with two possible picks.

  • The Guardians of the Galaxy are back

    First things first. Why would an old (very old) codger like me go to a movie like this one, designed exclusively for millennials and younger? The answer is simple: grandchildren, three of them in their teens.

  • Polar opposites

    Two movies this week, one a scary look at California style liberalism spreading like wildfire around the world. The other is an earthy look at the real world.

  • One very good, one very bad

    Interestingly, the very good movie I am writing about never showed up with a TV spot or in a preview. I got lucky finding this one.

  • Zookeeper’s Wife: a worthy exhibit

    Let’s start with the animals. Yes, this is a story about a real zoo and for the first ten minutes or so we are treated to some delightful moments with the various wildlife, and their interactions with the zookeeper’s wife and family. These are peaceful, enjoyable moments, and at times fascinating as the animals relate to their habitat and their various keepers. Unfortunately the zoo is located in Warsaw, Poland, and the year is 1939.

  • Kong: Dull Island

    This time around, I found many of the films playing in the area were “heavily” R rated (language and/ or sexually explicit), which I usually avoid unless it’s a compelling story.

  • Did I see the Oscars?

    The answer is NO. I preferred not to listen to the political rhetoric that would surely surface, and decided that re-runs of Everybody Loves Raymond were a better choice, which proves that every now and then I can make a good decision.

  • Hidden Figures and The Man Who Knew Infinity – two tremendous stories

    As of this writing Hidden Figures is number one in box office receipts over the past several weeks. Deservedly so.

  • La La Land – a musical treat & Passengers – first class adventure

    Our publication schedule precluded writing about these on a timely basis, but nonetheless, it’s rare that I see two films in a row I can actually recommend. It’s possible by now you’ve seen these; if not catch them while you can.

  • Cinematic ‘16: a year in review

    This is the Sun Day News’ third annual review of the past year in movies.

  • Tom’s Top Holiday Movies

    Christmas festivities are well under way for most of us. I thought I would summarize a list of “Holiday” films that, no doubt you have seen already. But if perchance you missed one or two of them, they are all worth viewing, AND they are all four star films, at least by my criteria.

  • ‘Nocturnal Animals’ has you hoping for daylight

    To begin with, there were two movies I was interested in seeing, but only one column to write. The first was Miss Sloan starring Jessica Chastain, the other Nocturnal Animals starring Amy Adams. Both are favorite actresses of mine, so I flipped a coin and it came up tails. I have since thrown the coin away; it made the wrong decision.

  • Try as I might – Rental Recommendations to take you through the holidays

    I thought I would give you some recommendations on movies a few years old; they are all great and worth your time to rent or stream.

  • Arrival – AAA rating, Amy Adams is Awesome & Hacksaw Ridge revealed

    This is science fiction at its best. The movie is adapted from “Story of your Life,” by Ted Chiang. Screenwriter Eric Heisserer should, and probably will be, lauded for his screen adaptation.

  • Inferno – Hanks sizzles, movie fizzles

    Author Dan Brown has written dozens of books, most of them international best sellers. Probably his most famous was The Da Vinci Code, the first in a series of four novels that includes historical themes and Christianity as motifs, some of them generating controversy.

  • The Girl on the Train – needs a new locomotive

    On April 20, 2015 The Girl on the Train became the fastest selling adult novel in history. By December 2015, it had sold 6.5 million copies, selling millions more since then. Several weeks ago this book was still the number one seller in the Chicagoland area.

  • Queen of Katwe – checkmate

    At the risk of being redundant, which I am, I repeat for the umpteenth time: true stories make the best movies.

  • Sully – run, don’t walk

    Director Clint Eastwood had me stymied for a bit as this movie began. The story starts out a little slow; not what I expected. But the man is a genius, give him his due, and just at the right moment, BAM, he launches the sequence of 208 seconds that will live forever in the annals of twenty first century heroics.

  • ALI – ALI – ANO’S

    One Saturday night, Jim and I realized that we had a couple of restaurant reviews in que. This allowed us a rare opportunity to have a leisurely date night at one of our favorite Italian restaurants and be “off the clock” for a change.

  • Acting superb in The Light Between Oceans but movie fails to shine

    To begin, kudos to Casting Directors Nikki Barrett and Francine Maisler for gathering together a superb cast. The movie stars two-time Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender, Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), and Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardner), all of whom lived up to their reputations.

  • Ben Hur – terrible, Pete’s Dragon – ok

    It’s hard to know where to begin, but I can tell you I spent half the time playing solitaire on my smart phone while I suffered through this debacle. Since there was no one within 50 feet of me, it didn’t annoy anybody.

  • Captain Fantastic is, well, fantastic

    I went to see this movie for two reasons. Principally, because I love Viggo Mortenson, one of the best and most underappreciated actors on the big screen. Of the many films he has made, his roles as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Frank Hopkins in the unforgettable movie Hidalgo, are his best works. The second reason is I read a brief summary of the storyline and it sounded like something worth seeing.

  • Star Trek Beyond – at last a sequel that works

    If you like action galore, sensational special and visual effects, and an enduring story line, this movie is for you.

  • The Legend of Tarzan – ok, but not great

    As far as I can tell, no other character, fictional or otherwise, has been the subject of more movies than Tarzan. This is the 53rd film starring Edgar Rice Burroughs epic hero, each story different from the others, but of course with lots of commonalities.

  • Independence Day: Resurgence – a huge disappointment

    Yes, this was not only a huge disappointment, but it was also almost alarming how bad this movie was.

  • Now You See Me 2 – I wish I hadn’t

    This is a sequel to the original “Now You See Me” released in June of 2013. I saw that film and here is a brief summary of the review I wrote at the time, with an entertainment rating of half a star:

  • X-MEN Apocalypse, you got that right

    This is the eighth in a series of films about the X-Men. The original was released in the year 2000, and every twelve to twenty four months another one comes out. The next one is scheduled for 2017. I admit I’d not seen any of them until now, although I’ve seen plenty of trailers and snippets on TV.