Movie Review: Ticket to Paradise

With all the scripts that are written within any given year and with so many hard-working producers looking for the best screenplays, especially when it comes to coming up with a great movie idea that would pair George Clooney and Julia Roberts – it’s very hard to believe that “Ticket to Paradise” was the one chosen.

Fundamentally this entire idea about a young woman Lily, played by Kaitlyn Dever “traveling in Bali and is about to marry a young man who lives there”, is not strong enough to support a two-hour movie. Lily’s parents Georgia and David are divorced for many years and then plot (using subtle ideas) to try and sabotage her wedding. The reason for this is – they were married far too young and they want to stop their only child from making the same mistake.

These are a very boring 1 hour and 44 minutes of tedium, dead and dry dialogue, culminating in disbelief that a movie this lame was ever made. It was hard enough to stay awake during this film and even harder to understand why Roberts and Clooney were able to stay awake when they read this script.

The only real bright spot is the continuing emergence of actress Kaitlyn Dever, a rapidly rising new star, starting with her appearance for years on the “Last Man Standing” sitcom and most recently her outstanding performance in the Hulu series “Dopesick”, about the opioid crisis in this country – a great series reviewed within this website.

Unfortunately, this movie is so slow and boring it is impossible to recommend and I do agree with the Rotten Tomatoes critics who are giving this movie a mostly correct 56% rating.

Movie Review: The Tender Bar

There will probably never be a lower budget movie that both Ben Affleck stars in and George Clooney directs than the new film “The Tender Bar”. This story is very simple, and very often the simpler the story, the better the movie. Tender Bar stars a young newcomer Daniel Ranieri, who plays the young version of the main character J.R, played by Tye Sheridan. Daniel is one of those very rare young actors who just can walk in and be a very strong presence and never appears to be acting. He was found by accident by George Clooney supposedly in a funny Youtube video where he was cursing constantly – leading to an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel show, and a starring role in this movie. An amazing and very unlikely path to fame.

The simple story here is about a young J.R., who loves to read and one day just wants to be a writer. His family is very poor, and he and his mother have to move back in with her father played by Christopher Lloyd. Ben Affleck plays his uncle, who owns a local bar and takes the place of his father – an abusive alcoholic who proves a blessing that he does not live or stay in contact with this gifted and likeable young boy.

The central and best part of this movie is the story when J.R. goes to Yale and meets a very attractive young woman named Sydney in one of his classes; who then proceeds to torture him for years, leading him on, time after time. From one of J.R. friend’s account, “She dumped you 9 times”. The irony is, J.R. being so in love and never giving up, is the reason for Sydney’s not respecting him leading to his endless torture. At times it was almost as if she enjoyed torturing this young man, who was so desperate to impress her and break out of his average life to become someone she could respect. J.R.’s life is never easy but he eventually gets a job at the NY Times that goes both very well, and then not so great. Proving what we all know – what we imagine what our life should be – is very often not how things turn out. I did think that the ending of this film was too abrupt, almost as if they ran out of ideas, and I thought of one great revenge ending for J.R. that was in my head, but once again – not how real life happens. This film is about real life, and that is the most important point.

Once again I am stunned by the stupid and low ratings on Rotten Tomatoes of only 49% – once again the critics missed the point, missed the boat, and are completely wrong about this very good movie. I rate The Tender Bar a solid 85% and highly recommend it.

Movie Review: Midnight Sky

The new George Clooney movie “Midnight Sky” is about a worst case scenario for the world in the year 2049 – due to Global warming. This entire story depicts a very depressing possible end to the world, within a mostly barren and cold story, with Clooney, playing scientist Augustine Lofthouse stuck in Antarctica and a group of Astronauts, including Sully Rembshire, played by Felicity Jones on their way back from one of Jupiter’s moons, in search for a new home for humanity.

The problem with this film is that it is surprisingly boring and too long, with no real or interesting story. In one part of this film, Clooney finds a 7 year old girl who was mistakenly left behind at a science laboratory and he decides they have to get to a better communication antenna and trek across the extreme cold of Antarctica. Nobody in their right mind would do this – most especially with a young 7 year old mute girl. The long and dangerous trek is another major flaw in this movie because it was way too long and way too boring.

I was surprised that someone with the clout the movie industry like Clooney would decide to make this movie, consider the weather hardships of filming in Iceland and the weak script. Considering the subject matter of Global Warming, there had to be a better script about this important problem facing humanity than this one.

On a positive note, I thought the special effects of space travel and a spacewalk with three Astronauts was well done, but unfortunately there is not enough good moments to recomend this movie.

I agree with the weak ratings on Rotten Tomatoes of 59% and rate this movie a pass.