Weathering with You

     The second he turns 16, Hodaka (Brandon Engman: The Oath) runs away from his small island home, with dreams of making it big in Tokyo. Though he has hopes of an exciting city life he finds himself homeless and hungry within a week. 

      To make matters worse, Tokyo is having one of its worst summers on record. The rain is constant, it’s unseasonably cold and the city is flooding. Hodaka gets a job working for a sleazy freelance writer who sells outlandish stories to tabloids. Now, Hodaka has a place to stay and a new task: Find a Sunshine Girl, who according to legend has the power to stop the rain. 

     Hodaka doesn’t believe in the myth, but money is money, so he sets off in search of something to write about. He’s shocked when he runs into Hina (Ashley Boettcher: Twelve Forever), who can bring out the sun in small areas of Tokyo. But instead of writing about her, Hodaka convinces Hina to start a business bringing the sun out for anyone willing to pay. 

      Is Hina’s gift something that should be monetized—what’s the price of sunshine to the people of Tokyo? 

     Beautifully animated but shallowly written, Weathering with You is a movie that’s worth the trip. Director Makoto Shinkai follows up his acclaimed anime blockbuster Your Name. with another story of star-crossed lovers. While Your Name. broke records in Japan, this follow-up is a disappointment. Hina’s manic pixie dream girl exists just to literally bring sunshine to the protagonist’s life. Her only purpose is motivating Hodaka, making her journey seem hollow. 

      Hodaka is also a bit of a cipher. He doesn’t grow or change and the reasons he’s so desperate to escape his island town are never fully explained. Sleazy writers with tragic pasts, feisty women who race mopeds and flout the law, even a grandmother mourning her husband – small fascinating stories fill in the gaps left by the main plot—a wise strategy to keep the audience interested. 

      The real reason to see Weathering with You is the animation. Shinkai has found absolutely stunning ways to animate water. As Hina manipulates the rain, translucent droplets dance around her in a beautiful ballet. It’s a wonder watching Shinkai play with many water forms and demonstrate how beautiful each can be. 

      Heartfelt with impressive visuals, Weathering with You is a movie worth seeking out. You’ll have to travel to Baltimore or DC to find a screening, though. But seeing something unique and beautiful is worth a bit of a road trip. 

Good Anime * PG-13 * 114 mins.  





     Prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) has spent a lifetime believing she’s done right in the world. She treats her prisoners with respect, and follows the letter of the law, including executions. With a new prisoner scheduled to be executed, Bernadine is beginning to wonder if she is really doing the right thing. 

     As protestors swarm the prison and legal challenges threaten to stop the execution, Bernadine must decide if she can reconcile her demons while fulfilling her duties. 

     Clemency is an astonishing showcase for Woodard. The film takes a look at the psychological damage death penalty cases can inflict on everyone – from the families to the prisoners to those just doing their job. 

     If you’re in the market for a movie to spark debate, Clemency is an excellent choice. 

Prospects: Bright * R * 113 mins. 


The Gentlemen 

     Mickey (Matthew McConaughey) has long been one of the top drug kingpins of London. Though his weed business is booming Mickey’s looking to retire. Hoping to sell his business to the highest bidder and settle down in the country, Mickey inadvertently sets off a gang war. 

      When rival gangs threaten to take his business, Mickey must decide if he’s ready to give up the proper gangster life. 

      The Gentlemen certainly has all the components of a classic Guy Ritchie caper: A star-studded cast, lots of interlinking plots and plenty of dumb criminals making violent, funny mistakes. Though the parts are all there, it’s been quite some time since Ritchie has been able to match style with substance. The Gentlemen should be a fast-paced action caper with plenty of quick cuts, shaky running shots and blasting pop music. 

Prospects: Flickering * R * 113 mins. 


The Last Full Measure

     During one of the bloodiest battles in the Vietnam War, Air Force Pararescueman William Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine) saved over 60 men while under heavy fire. Given a chance to with those he rescued, Pitsenbarger refuses, deciding to stay and fight. It was a tremendous sacrifice that should have guaranteed Pitsenbarger’s family a Medal of Honor. 

     But for three decades, the men who Pitsenbarger saved were told he wasn’t worthy of the Medal of Honor. Pentagon investigator Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan) must unravel the red tape when he is assigned Pitsenbarger’s case. Can Huffman finally give Pitsenbarger’s family the honor they so richly deserve? 

      A star-studded cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Plummer, Peter Fonda, Ed Harris and William Hurt should be enough to sell most war movie fans on this amazing true story. The film chronicles the surviving soldiers Pitsenbarger saved, and how they fought to make sure the man who gave his life for theirs was honored. It’s a touching tribute to the loyalty and honor of soldiers, as well as a condemnation of a government too concerned with embarrassment to honor its heroes. 

Prospects: Bright * R * 115 mins. 


The Turning

     Kate (Mackenzie Davis) takes a job in Maine as governess to two orphans. Filled with dreams of nurturing two sweet children, Kate is disturbed when she meets her charges. The kids are odd, combative and weirdly connected to the dark abandoned mansion they call home. 

      As Kate tries to engage the children, she uncovers terrifying secrets about the house and the children. 

      Based on the classic Henry James novel, The Turning is a twisted tale of paranoia and fear. If you like dark gothic manors and creepy kids, this is the movie for you. 

Prospects: Flickering * PG-13 * 94 mins.