Review: BOUNDARIES

“Boundaries” Shines with stars Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer

 

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B

Writer-director Shana Feste (“Country Strong,” “Endless Love”) has created a father-daughter road movie that has both the drama and comedy that is found in most families, but with the characters in this family, what may be a pretty standard story is made very engaging by the actor’s performances as to how they handle the past and the present day challenges. Laura (Vera Farmiga) is a single mother of a shy teenage son, Henry (Lewis McDougall), who is having a hard time navigating his life at school as well as home with his Mom in therapy. As if they did not already have enough everyday problems they are dealing with, Laura’s father, Jack Jaconi (Christopher Plummer) is repeatedly calling her to tell her he is in need of a home, but not readily “fessing up” that he was booted from the senior-citizen apartment he had. Without spelling out the full story here, there is no lack of dysfunction among them, and yet, their trip from Portland to Los Angeles to visit Laura’s sister, JoJo (Kriste Schaal), is quite engaging. Maybe not everyone will identify with each of the characters, but it is always great to see how someone else may handle (or avoid) issues among the multi- generation family members. Read more »

Review: SKYSCRAPER

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B-/C+

As I spoke to a friend recently, I mentioned the upcoming film “Skyscraper” staring Dwayne Johnson and her first reaction was a comparison to the 1974 film “The Towering Inferno,” as well as asking if it is a remake. I find this question to be expected, as many “baby boomers” saw this film starring Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and many other stars, but writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber (“Central Intelligence,” “We’re the Millers”) has created a slightly different story also set in a very tall building with many technological upgrades over the last few decades. Don’t expect “Die Hard” or similar films since then that are set in or around high-rise buildings, but there is plenty of action and stunts. If a film fan selects this film for this reason, then they will be satisfied with the story no matter how implausible and over-the-top some of the sequences are. For viewers who are looking for a more solid story, well be aware that there is a bit of a stretch as to how Johnson’s character defies the laws of gravity in multiple scenes. The credibility in Thurber’s script is strained to the max, so this film is one to watch as a good escape from the summer heat and watching this super Dad jump into action for his family.   Read more »

SXSW 2018 Review/Interview: BOUNDARIES

By Mark Saldana 

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

There is no such thing as a perfect family.  Though some families suffer from greater dysfunctions than others,  every family has its share of problems and troubled relationships.  This delightful headliner by writer/director Shana Feste tells a fictionalized version of her problematic relationship with her father and does so in a very heartfelt, charming, and often hilarious way.  Starring Vera Farmiga, Christopher Plummer, and Lewis McDougal, Boundaries handles familial dysfunction with a sly sense of humor, but never forgets that the essential element in any family is love. Read more »

Review: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

Much like the previous entries in this animated film franchise, Hotel Transylvania 3 offers its audiences delightful humor without any heavy or deep messages, and that’s fine.  These films are mostly geared toward the younger members of the family, but there is still enough material for the adults to enjoy as well.  There really isn’t much to say about this film or any other installment of this series.  Genndy Tartakovski’s world of lovable monsters delivers amiable and benign fun, and that’s enough to keep families entertained at a matinee trip to the cinema. Read more »

Review: SKYSCRAPER

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

The new Dwayne Johnson vehicle is certainly an homage to action films like Die Hard and disaster movies like The Towering Inferno, and the filmmakers are not ashamed about this at all.  In fact, they embrace this whole-heartedly.  Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber celebrates and honors his inspirations. but utilizes a style of his own and keeps the entire affair fun, thrilling, and modern.  The film obviously employs all the advances in modern filmmaking mostly well, and even has fun with otherwise overused story elements.  Skyscraper is definitely not original, nor is it exceptional, but is a guaranteed good time at the theater. Read more »