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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

NEWS OF THE WORLD – Review by Diane Carson

News of the World travels in 1870 to return a kidnapped girl. The most identifiable American genre, the western, is fully realized in co-writer/director Paul Greengrass’ News of the World. But as welcome as the 1870 setting and the beautiful widescreen compositions are, the film lacks Greengrass’ usual dynamic energy. That’s surprising since News of the World reunites Greengrass with Tom Hanks who partnered to make Captain Phillips thrillingly suspenseful.

Read more

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD – Review by Martha K Baker

Take one jaded reporter, add one children’s pastor, and stir. That’s the formula for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” The title for the film comes from one of the Rev. Fred Rogers’ own little songs. The formula works, in part, because it retains strands of the original story, pounded out by writer Tom Junod.

Read more

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD – Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers? Yep, it works—it works so well you’ll start shaking your head in utter wonderment as Tom Hanks has channeled Fred Rogers—his mannerisms, his quiet demeanor, his uncanny listening abilities, his deep curiosity into people’s lives, and his perceptive insight into a person’s soul.

Read more

TOY STORY 4 – Review by Susan Granger

It’s been almost 25 years since the first Toy Story, and Pixar keeps coming up with lovable characters inhabiting relatable stories, culminating in a bittersweet conclusion. Now that Andy’s off to college, little Bonnie (Madeline McGraw) has inherited his beloved toys: Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Trixie (Kristen Schaal), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), et al.

Read more