“Blade Runner 2049”.. it took 35 years for this sequel to be made. And it’s set 35 years later in a snow Los Angeles. The original starred Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah and Rutger Hauer. Harrison returns with Ryan Gosling as the new blade runner- who’s hunting old school replicants- which are bio-engineered human slaves. The real star: the special effects. The best of the year. This is a visual masterpiece with lots of coolness. Among the highlights: Gosling’s live-in girlfriend. She’s a hologram which he can summon or dispose of whenever he wants. He has her doing whatever he wants- wearing whatever he wants. And she’s convinced she’s in love- tho she’s not real. The biggest problem with “Blade Runner 2049”: the movie is close to 3 hours long!!!!! At least an hour too long. It’s a little confusing…and a little slow. Jared Leto is even freakier than he was as the Joker in “Suicide Squad”. Robin Wright is Gosling police-boss. The director is Denis Villeneuve- the guy who gave us “Arrival” last year.
“The Florida Project”.. this feels like we’re dropping in on a real-life situation. In the shadows of Disneyworld, we enter the world of transient motels- motels so close to the theme park- they can watch the Disney fireworks each night and watch the private planes land. While the adults are struggling with their daily hell trying to pay the 38 dollar per night fee, the kids are in their own little world- playing like kids do. This one’s really about the kids- how they can find joy and wonder in everything when they let their imaginations take over. Most of the stars are unknown. Six year old Brooklyn Prince is nothing short of astounding. Her barley-out-of-her-teens mom is also a newcomer, Bria Vinaitre, who was discovered on Instagram promoting weed. The only known star is Willem Dafoe as the motel manager. Sean Baker- an NYU grad from Summit co-wrote & directed. Many were impressed by his earlier made-on-an-IPhone “Tangerine”. “The Florida Project” is at times, a joyful but ultimately heartbreaking look at the youngest victims of homelessness. You won’t ever forget it- it’s one of the standouts of the year.
“Dina”- This is a documentary unlike any I’ve ever see and believe me, I see a lot!!! I can’t even call it a documentary. It’s more reality movie-making. Dina is a 46 year old on the autism spectrum who is about to marry her fiancé, who is also on the spectrum. The filmmakers shoot EVERYTHING & EVERWHERE, save the bathroom, Yes- they are in the bedroom with Dina and her fiancé. She’s been married before but her fiancé is a virgin. You think YOU have problems negotiating a relationship?? The beauty is these 2 are completely unedited in their conversations. Sundance award winning Filmmakers Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini join me this week on “Sonstein Sunday” and on the iHeartRadio app “Sonstein Sessions”. I begged them for a sequel.