A MAN CALLED OTTO – Review by Susan Granger

Tom Hanks stars in A Man Called Otto, a remake of the popular 2015 Swedish film A Man Called Ove which was Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. Forcibly retired from his engineering managerial job, widowed Otto Anderson (Hanks) is bitter and resentful. So now he spends the majority of his time patrolling and enforcing the rules of his gated neighborhood, located somewhere in suburban Pennsylvania.

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ELVIS – Review by Susan Kamyab

You know his songs, but how well do you the man behind the music? Elvis Presley changed the world of rock and roll, and in Baz Luhrman’s new film, Elvis we get a deeper look at what inspired his sound and moves. Visually, Elvis is breathtaking and with bedazzling effects, but story wise, the film drags. the film is way too long, there were many unnecessary scenes that could have easily been cut to pick up the pace.

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A MAN CALLED OTTO – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

The film never hits on anything that Otto is being truly unreasonable about, which deflates the premise of the story: that Otto is allegedly such a preposterous grump that other people have trouble liking him, but that somehow, their persistent and, I guess, unexpectedly cheerful kindness will eventually bust through his irascibility and save him from his life of angry aloneness.

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A MAN CALLED OTTO – Review by T.J. Callahan

Tom Hanks makes every movie better. Okay, okay, not Elvis. But he certainly elevates this remake of an Oscar nominated Swedish film from the New York Times bestselling novel titled A Man Called Ove. A Man Called Otto, without Hanks (and sometimes with Hanks), is simply an old fashioned made for TV movie. Despite its mediocrity, the film conveys heart and good ideas to practice: don’t judge a book by its cover, there’s always something to live for, and treat others as you’d like to be treated. Who can argue with that?!

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PINOCCHIO – Review by Susan Granger

If you have young children, they’ll probably enjoy Robert Zemeckis’ live-action/animation reboot of Pinocchio, starring Tom Hanks and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This timeless tale opens with Jiminy Cricket (Gordon-Levitt) singing “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which was first introduced in the 1940 cartoon. After fashioning a boy marionette made of pine, the lonely, widowed woodcarver Geppetto (Tom Hanks) makes a heartfelt wish for a ‘real’ son.

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ELVIS – Review by Susan Granger

Don’t for a minute think this is a bio-pic. It isn’t. Luhrmann discarded historical accuracy in favor of a grotesque carnival of fictionalized glitz and glamour, tracing how Black singers B.B. King (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), Little Richard (Alton Mason), Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Yola Quartey), Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup (Gary Clark Jr.), Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (Shonka Dukureh) and Mahalia Jackson (Cle Morgan) inspired Elvis.
The deliriously melodramatic story is told by promoter Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), who first spotted Elvis (Austin Butler) in 1954 at the Louisiana Hayride, where the naïve, nervous singer with locomotive hips electrified the audience.

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ELVIS – Review by T.J. Callahan

Elvis is a sensational spectacle meant for the big screen. Even with a runtime of 2 1/2 hours, Luhrmann flashes Presley’s life before our eyes. He keeps things moving as fast as Elvis’ pelvis. Elvis Aaron Presley was unique and irreplaceable and this film shows us why, warts and all. It’s not always good to be The King.

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ELVIS – Review by Diane Carson

We Elvis fans know the story, so the challenge becomes how to avoid merely following this Tupelo native to Memphis and on to iconic status with his early death in 1977 at 42. Wisely, Baz Luhrmann anchors the story in Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ clever, entrepreneurial manager whose voiceover narration guides and comments on their relationship and Elvis’ affect on audiences, telling their story in flashbacks. In opening scenes, Parker asserts, “Without me, there would be no Elvis Presley” and “Some people make me out to be the villain.” Indeed, ample evidence for both claims accumulates.

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FINCH – Review by Susan Granger

Family comes in many forms. In this dystopian world, it’s a man, his beloved dog and the robot he builds to care for his dog after he dies. Afflicted with radiation poisoning, robotics engineer Finch Weinberg (Tom Hanks) is one of the few survivors of a cataclysmic solar flare that destroyed the ozone layer, creating a toxic wasteland where the Earth’s temperature hovers around 150 degrees.

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NEWS OF THE WORLD – Review by Susan Granger

Set five years after the Civil War, Tom Hanks stars in this elegiac Western as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who travels from town-to-town, enthralling often-illiterate audiences with stories about what’s happening in this country and abroad, charging a dime per person. It’s 1870 and the tumultuous 15th Amendment has just been ratified, extending the right to vote to all men without regard to race or previous condition of servitude.

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