DOWNTON ABBEY was a popular TV series on PBS for six seasons before a hit movie version continued the story in 2019. Now a new version called DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA opened in theaters this weekend. And for anyone who has enjoyed past versions of DOWNTON ABBEY, the new movie will be a real treat. Most of the much loved characters are back along with two new entertaining plot lines, the usual sweeping cinematography, soaring musical score, and lavish costumes. For me, watching DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA was pure pleasure. Nearly all of the characters get chances to grow and change in this film which offers plenty of laughs and a few tear jerking moments. It seems that creator and writer Julian Fellowes loves his characters at least as much as DOWNTON ABBEY fans do.
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg is famous for such hit movies as JAWS, E.T., RAIDERS OF THE LAST ARK, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and 31 more. And now, for the first time, in a movie called THE FABELMANS, he tells a slightly fictionalized story of his own life as a young boy who fell in love with movies. If you like Spielberg’s movies, you’re bound to enjoy THE FABELMANS which takes us from his first experience of seeing a movie in a theater as a little boy to his encounter with a legendary Hollywood director at the age of 19. We see how he made his first movies and what growing up in his loving but dysfunctional family was like. THE FABELMANS is a heart tugging comedy-drama that left me with a smile on my face. On Oahu, it’s showing only at Kahala Mall which doesn’t make sense. This fine movie should be showing everywhere.
THE MENU is advertised as both a comedy and a horror film. It cleverly satirizes pretentious fine dining chefs and their snobbish, wealthy customers. But as its story gradually unfolds, the movie turns into a disturbing horror film.
The ensemble acting is top notch, the directing is crisp, and the script is skillfully written. But because I’m not a fan of horror films, I enjoyed the film’s humor but didn’t appreciate its shocking violence. (only in theaters)
Big budget blockbusters including superhero movies attract big audiences. Their domination at the box office means that creative, original dramas get limited showings in Hawaii and almost no publicity. On Oahu if you want to see compelling original dramas, check the online listings for Consolidated’s Kahala and Koko Marina theaters. No other theaters show these kinds of films consistently. And you have to be quick about it, because many of them are gone after just one or two weeks. I can’t tell you how often a movie I’ve been writing about disappears before my little review can air. That was the case this week for a powerful drama called ARMGAMEDDON TIME, starring Anthony Hopkins, Ann Hathaway, Jeremy Strong and young Banks Repeta. Another strikingly original movie called THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN is still playing at Koko Marina, but it will end this coming Tuesday. It’s an intense comedy/drama, staring Colin Farrell as Padraic a lonely farmer whose best friend, Colm played by Brenden Gleeson, suddenly wants nothing to do with him for no obvious reason. The two are reunited for the first time since 2008’s IN BRUGES. Writer-director Martin McDonagh directed both films as well as THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. (Koko Marina only)