Yardeni Research

 
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Latest Movie Review
Kong: Skull Island (- -) is the latest King Kong movie confirming that the original can’t be beat, no matter how hard the Kong wannabes beat their furry chests. The original premiered in 1933 as a remake of the “Beauty and the Beast” tale, and featured Kong climbing the Empire State Building, which was completed in early 1931. In the first version, Beauty killed the Beast. In this one, Beauty saves the Beast. The movie was beautifully filmed, mostly in Vietnam, with the action taking place during 1973. It actually seems more like a remake of “Apocalypse Now,” except the battle scenes are between Kong and big ugly lizards.
2017 Movie Reviews
Bitter Harvest (- -) is a badly executed movie about a very important tragic historical event that has received all too little attention and is particularly relevant today. Millions of Ukrainians died during a 1932-33 famine that was exacerbated by the collectivist policies of Stalin’s Soviet regime. Ukraine has a long history of suffering from imperialist intervention by its Russian neighbor. Ukraine gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Yet Russia under Putin annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and has been using military force in eastern Ukraine. History continues to rhyme.
A Dog’s Purpose (+ +) is a movie for dog lovers. Our family includes a Cocker Spaniel and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. So my wife and I really enjoyed the film very much. It confirms the age-old adage that if you want a true friend for life, get a dog. President Harry Truman reportedly said that about Washington, though there is no proof that he ever did say so. Nevertheless, it applies to Washington more than ever. Maybe if all our red and blue politicians got dogs, they finally would have something in common. After all, there are no red dogs or blue dogs.
Fences (+ +) is about a working-class African-American man struggling to support his family in the 1950s. He missed out on becoming a great baseball star, and works in Pittsburgh’s sanitation department. He talks a good game about how much he loves his wife and provides for her and their son. However, he cuts some corners along the way. Like the rest of us, he is only human. The movie, which features Oscar-nominated performances by Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, is based on a play, and has that feel. It is somewhat reminiscent of "Death of a Salesman" and "A View from the Bridge."
The Founder (+ + +) is a great biopic about Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s. He was a remarkable entrepreneur. One of his more famous quotes was: “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” The only problem was that he lifted it verbatim from Calvin Coolidge. He also bamboozled the McDonald brothers to sell him their rights to the company including their name. His genius was the ability to take other people’s great ideas and turn them into an extremely profitable business.
Hidden Figures (+ +) is a film based on a true story about three remarkable African-American women who worked at NASA at the start of the space program during the early 1960s. One of them was an extraordinary mathematician, who made John Glenn’s orbit around the earth possible. Another supervised the space agency’s use of its first IBM mainframe computer. The third was an accomplished aeronautical engineer. They performed their jobs with amazing tenacity and dignity despite lots of obstacles they faced because of their color. It is truly a great American story.
Kong: Skull Island (- -) is the latest King Kong movie confirming that the original can’t be beat, no matter how hard the Kong wannabes beat their furry chests. The original premiered in 1933 as a remake of the “Beauty and the Beast” tale, and featured Kong climbing the Empire State Building, which was completed in early 1931. In the first version, Beauty killed the Beast. In this one, Beauty saves the Beast. The movie was beautifully filmed, mostly in Vietnam, with the action taking place during 1973. It actually seems more like a remake of “Apocalypse Now,” except the battle scenes are between Kong and big ugly lizards.
Lion (+ + +) is a really wonderful movie about five-year-old Saroo, an Indian boy who falls asleep on an empty train that finally stops in Calcutta, more than a thousand miles from his home. He is lost in this big city and struggles to survive. He is eventually adopted by an Australian couple. However, he continues to feel lost and 25 years later seeks to find his home and family with the help of Google Earth. It is all based on a remarkable true story.
Moonlight (- -) is an Oscar contender for Best Motion Picture. I’m not sure why. It is a very slow-paced movie about a sensitive African-American kid doing the best he can to stay out of trouble while growing up in a poor neighborhood infested with drug dealers. Even his mother is an addict. He finds a safe haven with a very nice fellow and his girlfriend, but leaves when he finds out that his mother has been buying drugs from his new friend. I suppose the movie is about coming of age. However, the characters are totally uninteresting and don’t seem to learn much as they come of age. Much more interesting are the stories of the director and screenwriter, who both grew up and out of that same neighborhood, and had mothers who were crack addicts. Someone should make a movie about their lives.
Rogue One (-) was really dull because it is the seventh movie in the “Star Wars” series of flicks about the never-ending wars between the freedom-loving rebels and their totalitarian adversaries, who rule the Empire. I didn’t give it my worst rating out of respect for the passing away of Carrie Fisher. She was Princess Leia in the original three films. She makes a digitally recreated appearance in this film, as does Peter Cushing, who died in 1994, after playing the nefarious ally of Darth Vadar and the commander of the Death Star. In the future, movie studios will save lots of money by casting digitally recreated dead stars in their movies. My wife, who is a fan of the intergalactic series, also pressured me to raise my rating, observing that fans appreciate how this prequel set the stage for the very first movie.