Reel Dad: Christopher Robin – Disappointing return to favorite characters

Some movies sound better than they actually turn out. Perhaps something happens between the concept and the screen. Maybe the various elements don’t work as well in production as in a writer’s imagination. Or it could be that too many cooks try to control the cinema kitchen. Whatever the reasons, some films disappoint. Christopher Robin is a major letdown. On paper, the idea sounds promising. Take the beloved characters of the famed stories for children, package them with the polish that computer generation can create, and give them voices from talented vocal actors. Place the cuddly creatures in a simple … Read more

Reel Dad: Once again, Tom Cruise makes it work

Ethan Hunt has come a long way. In the 22 years since this mild-mannered secret agent first saved the world in the big screen reboot of the television series, Ethan has grown from being a restless and rebellious young man determined to right many wrongs to an older and wiser rogue who still tries to save even one life. Of course, time has been kind to this man who, in the form of Tom Cruise, hardly seems to have aged a day. But Ethan does carry the weight of the past on his shoulders. And a $3 billion movie franchise. … Read more

Reel Dad: The new Mamma Mia – More fun than it deserves to be

My Saturday started with sadness and ended with song. In the morning, I went to the funeral of a friend from college; in the afternoon, I said goodbye to the character played by Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the sequel to the popular musical featuring the music of Abba. The connection between real and reel life was a bit surreal. On screen, the makers of the new Mamma Mia treat the death of Donna — the lady Streep portrayed — as seriously as they honor such movie norms as a plausible plot, developed characters and creative … Read more

Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding closed due to storm

The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) reports Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding is closed due to Tuesday’s storm. There is extensive storm damage to a number of Connecticut State Parks and Forests throughout the most affected areas of the state, according to the report. These parks include: Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden Chatfield Hollow State Park in Killingworth Kettletown State Park in Southbury Southford Falls State Park in Oxford Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford These parks will remain closed until an … Read more

Reel Dad: Phantom Thread captivates with its emotional complexity

He designs his clothes with as much understanding of the women who wear what he creates as the materials he reaches for. While this renowned fashion designer thrives with ease in his professional life, he struggles to achieve the same success in his relationships. Only with his sister does he manage to sustain some type of connection. But that bond has its complexities. With Phantom Thread, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson effortlessly glides through the world of high fashion of the 1950s with the same ease as when he invaded the oil fields of California in There Will Be Blood and … Read more

Reel Dad: Predicting the Oscar nominees

A year of turbulence in the world inspired memorable moments on screen, including creatures from other worlds, chills from this world and relationships essential to any world. Which ones will Oscar honor with Academy Award nominations? Here are my choices for the names we will hear on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Best Picture Greta Gerwig’s delightful exploration of the dynamics between mother and daughter make Lady Bird a top contender. Joining it as contenders should be Martin McDonagh’s examination of one mother’s anger in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; the tribute to emerging love in Call Me By Your Name; the … Read more

Reel Dad: The Post is a must-see movie for 2018

The Post

We prepare for tomorrow by studying yesterday. What once happened can clue us to what may occur. The lessons of the past warn us about what will matter as we move forward. At this time in our country, when so many in power challenge the pursuit of truth, Steven Spielberg’s new film The Post offers an essential look at the bravery that truth requires, to find it, share it, learn from it. With the pace of a thriller, and the detail of a documentary, the film recreates a moment in time when people dare to put their lives and reputations … Read more

Reel Dad: Frances McDormand tries to make sense of Three Billboards

This week, Jonathan Schumann — who co-wrote this column with his “Reel Dad,” Mark Schumann, from 1999 to 2006 — returns to Arts & Leisure to take a look at a new film getting a lot of buzz. Early on in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Mildred (Frances McDormand) storms into a room and happens upon someone reading Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find. The storming in and out is something we’ll see, almost exhaustively, throughout the film. The nod to O’Connor, and this short story in particular, is anything but accidental. The rogues’ gallery of small-town … Read more

Reel Dad: I, Tonya celebrates pop celebrity

  Years ago, before social media made it easy for opinion to swell, Tonya Harding was America’s favorite villain. This tough, talented and tormented figure skater dared to challenge the reign of the graceful Nancy Kerrigan as the sport’s leading royalty. And, somehow, she managed to find herself in the middle of the sport’s greatest controversy when Kerrigan’s knee got whacked one day after practice before the U.S. Nationals competition in Detroit. For the weeks that followed, between Nationals and the Olympics, people talked about few other things. Never mind what was happening in the world or with the economy, … Read more

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