MAX ROSE - Review

NR | 1h 23min | Comedy, Drama
Review - Matt Mungle

*Now in select theaters, opening Sept 16th at the Inwood Theater*

SynopsisA jazz pianist makes a discovery days before the death of his wife that causes him to believe his sixty-five year marriage was a lie. He embarks on an exploration of his own past that brings him face to face with a menagerie of characters from a bygone era.

ReviewFeaturing the legendary Jerry Lewis in his first starring role in over two decades MAX ROSE is a well intended drama that at times misses a few beats. The story line is intriguing and the character interaction touching but it needed a tad more inspiration. 

When we meet Max (Jerry Lewis) is in the wake of his wife Eva's (Claire Bloom) death. There is no doubt that his world is upside down after losing his partner of over sixty years. He is constantly flashing back to conversations and memories that let you know they were a dedicated couple in deep love. But we soon discover that Max is not so sure anymore. Not only has his wife died but he has recently found an item that shakes the foundation of their long marriage; the possibility she had another lover. The film takes us on the journey with Max to find the truth and the mystery man.

As good as it is to see the incredible Jerry Lewis on the screen again the person to watch is Kerry Bishé who plays Max's granddaughter Annie. Annie is the one stable element in Max's life and she takes responsibility for his well being and care. Theirs is a touching and meaningful relationship and the best part of the movie are the times they are on screen together. 

As mentioned the story is pretty solid but at times it tends to stall out as if waiting for the next swell of intrigue. During those times the actors meander back and forth through the conversations. It is not horrible by any means nor is it something that should keep you from seeing he film. Just know that there are highs and lows to get through. 

The cast is note worthy too. Kevin Pollak plays Annie's dad. There is an obvious riff in his relationship with his dad Max. There are hints dropped as to why but nothing is ever made clear. The writers wanted the tension but weren't willing to totally flesh out the details. Pollak handles the drama effectively with little trouble.  

There are plenty of nods to the olden days of comedy and music. Max finds a few friends to reminisce with and these moments are sweet but very slow and at times distract from the motive of the story. But they are well acted and many may find them less of a distraction than I did. 

Max Rose is not rated and has a little adult language and some mature themes. There is nothing offensive or crude. It is certainly for older audiences and for fans of Lewis it is a must see. I give it 3 out of 5 engravings. No award winner but at least Jerry returned with a sentimental film that in no way tarnishes his legacy. 


Genius [DVD + Digital]

  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: 
     Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2016
  • Run Time: 98 minutes

  • SynopsisColin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Linney star in this stirring drama about the turbulent friendship between world-renowned editor Maxwell Perkins and the larger-than-life “genius” Thomas Wolfe.

Review: With this type of cast it was surprising how quick GENIUS came and went in the theater.  Now with the DVD release it is a perfect opportunity to see high caliber actors in an intriguing and dramatic look into the life of author Thomas Wolfe. 

Pros: The cast. Each of these men and women could do these roles in their sleep. But there are no phoned in performances here. Colin Firth is perfect as the patient, soft spoken editor Max Perkins who is  tasked with the job of reigning in Wolfe. He is dedicated to the point that his personal life suffers. Firth is on screen 98% of the time and has to sell us the character in each frame. Which he does. 

The story too is intriguing and an interesting look in to the early days of book publishing and the stardom that surrounded American authors. 

You are transported back to 1930's NY thanks to the fantastic wardrobe, set design, and cinematography. 

Cons: Jude Law is a fantastic actor but plays Wolfe a tad bit over the top. The eccentric and humble writer may have been chaotic and driven but when played out on screen it becomes exhausting to watch. Law could have toned it down slightly and still delivered the personality convincingly. 

Pros certainly outweigh the cons in this one making it a solid choice for home viewing. 
-Matt Mungle

• “Genesis of Genius” Featurette
• “Painting A Portrait Of The Lost Generation” Featurette
*Subject to change



PG-13  |  132 min  |  Drama, Romance
Review - Matt Mungle

*In theaters September 2nd 2016*

SynopsisA lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat.

Review: Powerhouse acting performances and an emotional script make THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS one of the first all around Oscar contenders of the year. Granted, award worthy does not always translate to perfect film and this one is not without faults. But to forgive and embrace is easier than resenting it for the few mistakes along the way.

Tom (Michael Fassbender) is a quiet war veteran longing for the solitude his new job as Lighthouse Keeper will offer. But when he falls in love with Isabel (Alicia Vikander) it shines an even brighter light on his reason for living. The two yearn for a family of their own but are having a hard time seeing that dream fulfilled. When a stranded row boat washes up on shore it holds what could be an answer to prayer or the one thing that could eventually tear them apart. 

The story is based on the novel by M.L. Stedman and adapted for the screen by director Derek Cianfrance. It is an emotional masterpiece of deep rooted love and the pain of loss. Many of those feelings are captured wonderfully by Cianfrance as his cast deliver heart stirring performances. Each frame perfectly grounds the viewer in the moment. Whether hanging on the soft spoken dialogue or getting lost in the breathtaking scenery; the film masterfully invites the viewer into the life of these two lovers. 

Vikander won the Academy Award for her role in The Danish Girl and could easily repeat with her performance here. There is no doubt that she is the most talented younger actress on the roster today. We have seen her take on lighthearted action, intense Sci-fi, and romantic period roles. In this one she shows that no one is better at emotional drama. As Isabel we watch her transition seamlessly from a bright-eyed young woman smitten by the new man in town to a devoted wife ravaged and broken by horrible circumstances. In each characteristic there is no sign of acting but only pure realism and honorable depiction of the character she is entrusted with. 

Fassbender too is no stranger to accolades and is a perfect onscreen partner for Vikander. Tom is a man of very few words but strong convictions. Traits far easier to convey in a book than on the screen. Fassbender makes it look easy as he emotes through body language and eyes that speak far more than words could. You believe immediately that Tom and Isabel are in love and that helps to elevate the tragedy and strong emotion that follows. 

As mentioned this is not a perfect film and many will find the meandering start and lack of palpable energy concerning. Yes it is beautiful to watch but be aware that it is painted with very slow brush strokes. What makes the pace even more disjointed is how much the film tries to cram in the last 30 minutes. We spend nearly two hours walking with this couple and as soon as we understand their rhythms we are thrown into a quick barrage of clipped, staccato events. Instead of spreading these out over the length of the film to organically evolve the climactic moments are far too abrupt. It is almost as if the filmmakers were lost in their lovers eyes, looked up at a giant clock, panicked at how much time had passed, then tried to tell the rest of the story as fast as possible. That quick exit is an unfair decision after encouraging us to care so deeply for the characters. 

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual content. All adult content is beautifully portrayed in the realm of the marriage bed. Of course the thematic material is intended for older, mature audiences. Though PG-13 those under 16 would find this torturous to view. It is a perfect option for an adult date night and for those who love watching the art of dramatic acting in its finest form.  Beautifully shot and expertly performed I give it 4 out of 5 tear drops.