“Thor Ragnarok”: Can you think of a harder-to- remember-much-less-pronouncable name for a Marvel comic movie ?? But this one’s got style & humor and isn’t afraid to make fun of itself. Chris Hemsworth & Tom Hiddelston return as the battling brothers of the Marvel Univerise...kinda of like the Oasis of Marvel. Music is huge in this one with Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song” perfectly used in not one, but 2 huge scenes. Anthony Hopkins returns very briefly with a very cool look- especially the ‘do. Cate Blanchett joins the cast as the evil sister with appearances by The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Dr. Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch. I’m no fan girl but even I found this one entertaining. It gets a 96% from Rotten Tomatoes.
“LBJ”: There’s one reason to see “LBJ”: Woody Harrelson. This Texan was absolutely BORN to play President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Prosthetic nose all. I did a double take when his wife, Lady Bird, first came on screen. Again, because of the prosthetic nose, it was tough to id Jennifer Jason Leigh. This is a look at a small but most important part of LBJ’s life, starting with his unsuccessful run for the Democratic Presidential nomination, losing to JFK, only to be added to the ticket as his running mate. It takes us through the JFK assassination and the LBJ presidency with quite a bit of humor, believe it or not. This has been the year for Woody Harrelson, with “War for The Planet Of The Apes”- he was spectacular as the uncensored dad on the spectrum in “Wilson”, then playing the alcoholic dad in “The Glass Castle” and soon to be seen in my favorite movie so far this year “3 Billboards in Ebbing Missouri”. Harrelson is pitch perfect in “LBJ”, which also gives a good behind-the-scenes look at how things REALLY get done in Congress- well, at a time when congress actually GOT things done.
Also opening this week: “LBJ” and “Lady Bird” but “Lady Bird” is not about the first lady of President Lyndon Baines Johnson...it’s the name of the main character in Greta Gerwig’s debut as a writer-director. As awesome as she is on film, Greta may actually be even more impressive as a writer/director!!! It’s a very true to life coming-of-ager love story….a love story between a mom and daughter, played by Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, who just might be Oscar-nominated. Set in 2002 in Sacramento, Lady Bird get a very rare 100% (!!!!) on Rotten Tomatoes. It def makes my top ten list. It’s a 100% authentic and fresh comedy!!!
“Gilbert”: Playing right now only at the IFC Center on 6th Avenue in the Village, this is a warts ‘n all look at Gilbert Gottfried’s life. I still can’t believe Gilbert allowed this movie to be made at all. EVERYTHING’S there: his marriage to Dara (which shocked even his closest friends); his parenting (wife Dara calls him the perfect father); the way he took care of his terminally ill sister (seeing her every day and taking her to chemo); his near career-ender with the post-tsunami AFLAC tweet and firing; and his legendary cheapness, or should I say thriftiness. The man is a near hoarder!!! But funny as hell. One of a kind. So is this doc. Surprisingly sweet, touching and both funny & sad.