Updated: 01/13/2017 4:34 PM | Print Story |  Email

1/13 Movie Trip

Our TCL movie guy, Paul McGuire Grimes, reviews two movies that hit theaters today.  And Elizabeth has a home release you may want to check out. For more reviews visit Paul’s website


PATRIOTS DAY (theatrical release)

There are three things that you can do on Patriots Day. You can watch the marathon, run in the marathon, or go cheer on the Boston Red Sox. It’s practically a holy day of observation for Bostonians to honor their city and community. That was all tested on April 15, 2013 when two brothers set off bombs near the finish line. The film shares the stories of many involved including a Boston officer, the Watertown sheriff, a young MIT security guard, the Tsarnaev brothers, and the young Chinese app developer who they took hostage that night. It becomes a race against the clock for members of the FBI and the Boston P.D. to track down the perpetrators of such a heinous crime.

-Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Michelle Monaghan

-Third collaboration between Wahlberg and director Peter Berg following their other true stories Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon

-Strong ensemble film and gives thorough introductions to many of the people involved. Knowing the lives and backgrounds they had before the attack offers an opportunity to grow hatred for the Tsarnaev brothers and gain sympathy for the victims and police officers involved.

-Successfully captures the culture of the city and the importance that the marathon and the Red Sox have on the community.

-Peter Berg is great at capturing the high intensity of the situation. Even if you don’t recall specific details of the event, he builds tension as you wait for the bomb to go off and keeps it a high-octane ride as the FBI and officers desperately try to track down the Tsarnaev brothers.

-Easy to get emotionally connected to the victims’ stories even if you aren’t a Bostonian or have never been to the area.

-Includes testimonials from the real life subjects the film portrays as to how the bombing has affected their life and how they’ve overcome tragedy.

-Extremely moving film about the strength of community and the power of resilience

Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? An exceptionally crafted film that pays tribute to the cops, victims, and survivors of the Boston marathon tragedy



LIVE BY NIGHT (theatrical release)

Ben Affleck reteams with author Dennis Lehane for a gangster story set in the Prohibition Era. He stars as Joe Coughlin who lived the bank robber life for ten years until it catches up with him. Two different sides, the Italians and the Irish, run the gangster scene in Boston, and Joe finds himself in a passionate affair with the girlfriend of Albert White, the leader of the Irish mob. Maso Pescatore, the leader of the Italian crew finds out about the affair and blackmails Joe with this knowledge into working for their side. Joe’s life gets shaken up when a bank robbery goes awry sending him to jail when three cops are killed. White also happens to find out about the affair, and sure enough, the girlfriend winds up dead. Upon his release from prison, Joe turns to Maso again to get info on Albert’s current location in order to seek his revenge. From Boston he heads to Tampa to get in on the rum business to drive out Albert’s business there. Joe’s a determined kind of guy and with his new business partner they successfully launch a rum company selling it to the local speakeasies. His new venture puts him in negotiations with some local Cubans, including Graciela Corrales. This brings in another romantic subplot to this film. Joe continues to find himself caught in web of trouble in his personal and professional life as he finds himself face to face with the local chapter of the KKK and the sheriff and his religious zealot daughter.

-Starring: Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Chris Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller

-Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River, Shutter Island, and Gone Baby Gone

-Affleck pulls triple duty as he wrote and directed it. He has proven himself a strong director before with The Town and Argo as well as Gone Baby Gone. Live By Night offers Affleck familiar territory given the issues with bank robberies, Lehane characters, and his Boston roots. Unfortunately, this was his first misstep as a director.

-With the copious side plots, supporting characters, and conflicts, there’s far too much going on to give the appropriate attention and time when it’s needed. It’s like Affleck’s racing through each moment trying to stay too faithful to the book.

-In general, character development was a struggle as names and backstories are barely given making it all the more difficult to piece together.

-Affleck seems to have miscast himself as the lead. He does not make Joe a compelling character. He’s full of lies and deceit to get ahead, but Affleck can’t muster the oompf that’s needed.

-The only positive aspect is that Affleck knows how to make it a stylish film. He knows how to bring out the look and feel of the Prohibition era and the various climates that come with the Boston, Tampa, and Cuba settings.

Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? A movie’s good looks can only carry it so far if the rest of it pales in comparison.



THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS (home release)

Do you ever wonder what your pets are up to during the middle of the day when you are at work? Do you ever try to get into the mind of your fur baby and debate what they’re thinking as they stare out the window? The Secret Life of Pets tries to tackle this by setting our love bugs off on a wild adventure throughout New York City. Max is a cute terrier who loves and adores his owner Katie. He is very protective of her and eagerly awaits her to come back home every day. One day she comes home with a surprise when a new dog comes barreling through the door at the same time. Duke is a mutt and triple the size of Max and takes over his space. Max is not too pleased and instantly wants to remain the alpha dog of their apartment. Their relationship remains rocky and Duke leads Max astray while they are unleashed at a dog park. After a tussle with feral cats in an alley, the two of them are picked up by animal control. Max’s secret admirer Gidget, a fluffy Pomeranian, notices them missing when the neighborhood dogs come back without them and sets out to find and save her one true love.

-Features voice work of: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Bobby Moynihan

-For the most part, the cast is pretty funny especially Jenny Slate, Bobby Moynihan, and Lake Bell.

-from Illumination Studios, the creators of Minions, Sing, and Despicable Me franchise.

-Any pet owner will relate to “stereotypes” played up in the movie with cats thinking they’re better than dogs, dogs chasing tennis balls around, cats playing with laser pointers.

-Humans also stereotyped with the old lady cat hoarder, owners that look like their pets. Animal Control used as a villain in the movie with their treatment of animals.

-Will definitely appeal to little kids. Utilizes a lot of cheap laughs, multiple chase scenes with them running around the city. Has a very playful sensibility without having a deep meaning or subtext behind it.

-Could have had a lot of potential, but ultimately went the easy and safe way out.

-Nothing all that groundbreaking or original, but it is at its sweetest when the pets are interacting with the humans, which are the scenes that bookend the movie.

Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Little kids will enjoy it, and adults will have a few chuckles with it.