Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jason Bourne

By George Thomas
Matt Damon is Jason Bourne.
If the character of Jason Bourne ever runs out of personal issues with the United States government, the franchise will actually run out of steam.

As it was star Matt Damon took a one movie break from the franchise, his last appearance coming in 2007’s THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM.

Life, Animated (opens in Cleveland 7/22 at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[LIFE, ANIMATED opens in Cleveland on Friday July 22nd exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Joseph Anthony

A good documentary can often feel more rewarding than a scripted film. There’s a sense of voyeurism when looking in on a life or subject you’d never get to see otherwise. Where every moment of a major motion picture is scripted and edited to perfection, a powerful documentary is spontaneous, real, and informative. LIFE, ANIMATED is all of those things and more. It is a celebration of film and those who love film. It is the celebration of autism and those incredible people who overcome the limitations of a disability.  

Captain Fantastic

Review by Pamela Zoslov

Matt Ross, the 46-year-old writer and director of CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, is a memorable character actor with a flair for eccentric roles.

On HBO's "Big Love," he played Alby Grant, the murderous, closeted gay son of a Mormon cult patriarch. Ross's childhood gave him a natural affinity for stories about nontraditional sects. He lived with his "hippie mom" in nature communes in California, sleeping in a teepee.

Yet in interviews, Ross insists that CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, which stars Viggo Mortensen as Ben Cash, a father of six raising his brood "off the grid" in the forests of the Pacific Northwest — is not autobiographical. In fact all writing, and all art, is to some extent autobiographical, especially that which rhymes so musically with the artist's life.

Cafe Society

Review by Pamela Zoslov

The narrator's voice is familiar, if a bit thin, because the man, Woody Allen, is now 80. CAFE SOCIETY is his forty-seventh feature film, and as usual with this director, it recapitulates settings and themes of his earlier works. But as with the aging voice of the narrator, echoes of more vigorous days are faint.

The setting for the film is Hollywood of the 1930s, which gave production designer Santo Loquasto an opportunity to re-create glamorous movie-star mansions, clubs and restaurants, and famed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro a chance to set it all aglow in golden, nostalgic light. A soundtrack of '30s standards (Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Richard Rodgers, Johnny Mercer) identifies this as a Woody Allen film as reliably as the Windsor Light Condensed title font.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


By George M. Thomas
By now anyone who claims to be a fan of superhero films have at least heard of the Alan Moore and Brian Bolland classic graphic novel, BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE.  

Being more into movies, I’ve rarely peaked at the source material of any film – primarily because I don’t want to taint my review with comparisons.

However, being a fan of Warner Bros. Animation’s direct-to-disc films (owning them all), I am very familiar with them.  Despite a few misses, they generally include high quality storytelling in a 90-minute package.  With the film version of BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE high expectations come.   From judging the final production, they were too high.

Cinema on the Square (or is it now called Trump Cinema on the Square?) returns, July 28 to August 14

Event preview by Charles Cassady, Jr.

The Republican National Convention has finished in downtown Cleveland. The blood-drenched streets have been cleared of the bodies, but those public officials who survived must now debate on what to do with the smoldering ruins of what was once a major city – bulldoze them into the ground and rebuild, perhaps a gigantic white-marble memorial to the slain? Or just let what’s left of Cleveland stand forevermore, as a mute testimony to humanity that what happened here must NEVER AGAIN be permitted in a civilized and humane society, just as what was done with selected still-standing structures in Hiroshima and Stalingrad.

The psychological scars will remain for a long, long time to come, even as FEMA trailers relocated the last residents of what was once downtown to trauma-rehabilitation centers and experimental open-air asylums in cordoned-off parkland. How will Cleveland ever recover?

Well, there’s that Paul McCartney concert. But for those of you without that kind of money, Cinema on the Square is back again, to spirit us away from awful reality and help us overcome memories of carnage that we can never unsee.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Shouldn’t Trump have accepted the nomination here as well? MonsterFestMania, July 29 and 30 in Akron

Event preview by Charles Cassady, Jr.

San Diego Comic-con is in full swing right now. But if you are reading this, you're probably not there. You're probably still stuck in the Cleveland area, with your own lonely action-figure collection and Hollywood fantasy/sci-fi/horror discs, and VHS tapes. Airfare to San Diego Comic-Con is quite outside your budget - not to mention admission at the door. You probably can barely afford to leave your parents' basement where you've been living for the last 30 years, like a forgotten Ariel Castro hostage in a state of Rust Belt permanent-recession squalor and minimum-wage poverty. A life in which the louche thrills of scary movies and canonical Bela Lugosi/Boris Karloff B-programmers emceed by Big Chuck were the only reliable escape.

No, even if you did sell a kidney or something to get money, San Diego Comic-Con would probably turn you away at the door anyway, just for being a homely Ohioan, not worthy of entry in a southern California public event. That Wonder Woman cosplay outfit is not fooling anybody.

But wait! There is a ray of hope for lonely genre fans here in flyover-land, and it resides in Akron.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

By George M. Thomas

Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine), center, Ensign Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Lt. Sulu 
fight a mysterious alien in STAR TREK BEYOND.
STAR TREK BEYOND is a straight forward, thrilling action adventure featuring gorgeous visuals and very little of what made original fans of the TREK series geek out.

Directed by Justin Lin, who helmed several of the FAST AND FURIOUS films, from a script by Simon Pegg (who also plays engineer Montgomery Scott) and Don Jung, it possesses its own charms that those who hold a blasé attitude about this iconic franchise that is currently celebrating year 50 will find attractive.

First of all it gushes with action, with few moments bogging it down and it deftly balances it with humor. It’s by far the most balanced Star Trek film since STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME in that every character is given something substantive to do.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Win tickets to see 'Batman: The Killing Joke' on the big screen at Cinemark Mansfield

Fathom Events, Warner Bros. and DC Comics invite you to a special event, BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE! For your chance to win a pair of Cinemark Mansfield Theatre tickets valid July 25, enter here -
Based on the acclaimed DC Comics graphic novel, take a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime.

To purchase tickets, please visit or participating theater box offices. #TheKillingJoke

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lucha Mexico (opens in Cleveland July 22nd at the Capitol Theatre and on VOD)

[LUCHA MEXICO opens in Cleveland on Friday July 22nd exclusively at the Capitol Theatre. Also available on VOD.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

It's always fascinating to me when a documentary takes an unexpected turn. That's certainly the case in filmmakers Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz' LUCHA MEXICO. In this case, the turn proved tragic for two of the film's subjects who died during filming. Another two subjects given less screen time evidently passed away before the film was edited and released, as well. To preserve the film's impact, that's all the details I'll give. Regardless, it goes to underscore that wrestling, whether in Mexico or the U.S.A., may be scripted and choreographed, but it's still an extremely dangerous profession. And not all of the danger is in the ring.