Kristen Stewart is getting Oscar buzz for her performance as Princess Diana in the new film called SPENCER, and she deserves it. Stewart is simply stunning as the unhappy princess in a movie that imagines what might have happened at the royal family gathering during Christmas weekend in 1991. Her marriage to Prince Charles has long ago gone south, and she’s struggling to decide what to do about that. The movie a powerful drama that makes us really feel her pain and desperation as well as her exhilaration at her ultimate decision. The music of the film is sometimes too loud and near the beginning some of the dialog is hard to hear. But overall, SPENCER is one of the strongest, most creative films I’ve seen this year. (only in theaters)
Streaming movie sites have been great for independent filmmakers. Twenty years ago a small, quality film like INBETWEEN GIRL would never have been seen in Hawaii. Now, it’s just a few clicks away. The film is a wise and realistic coming of age comedy/drama about a 16 year old girl who is the only Asian student in a private high school in Galveston Texas. This movie understands the messy complications of adolescence and racism and doesn’t shrink from dealing with them. The main character is Angie Chen, a talented artist and soccer player who is not part of her school’s in crowd. She’s played by newcomer Emma Galbraith. First time feature filmmaker Mei Makino wrote and directed. (Showing for $4.99 on Amazon, You Tube, Apple TV, Google Play) Note: The title really is “INBETWEEN GIRL” with no space between “in” and “between.” If you search for it online and include a space, you come up with nothing, so it’s important to leave the spelling the way it is with no space.
A new British comedy called THE DUKE, starring Oscar winners Jim Broadbent and Hellen Mirren is showing only at Kahala Theaters right now. The movie is a sweet, heart warming, and very enjoyable comedy based on the true story of an eccentric cab driver who in 1961 stole a portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. He didn’t take it for his own financial gain but, as he put it, for the “good of mankind.” Broadbent plays plays Kempton, a bumbling, would-be Robin Hood, whose goal is to give the ransom money he gets for the painting to poor senior citizens so they can pay the license fee required to watch BBC television. But, of course, nothing goes as planned. THE DUKE is evidence that true stories can be every bit as funny as fiction. (On Oahu at Kahala Theaters only)
THE ADAM PROJECT, a Netflix movie, is now the fourth most watched English language film of all time on that platform with well over 200 million views in just one month. The movie is advertised as a Sci Fi action-adventure-comedy, but it’s also a heartfelt family drama starring the charismatic Ryan Reynolds as a time traveler who meets up with himself as a 12 year old, a wisecracking boy who’s struggling to deal with the pain of losing his father. Excellent newcomer Walker Scobell plays Adam, the 12 year old with the always appealing Jennifer Garner is Ellie, his long suffering mom. The preposterous Sci Fi plot and CGI action scenes are well done but routine. What makes the film stand out is its humor and the unique relationship between the two Adam’s and between them and their parents. It’s a coming of age film for both the boy and the man. THE ADAM PROJECT isn’t a great film, but it delivers the kind of entertainment nearly anyone can enjoy.