Movies With Migs: On The Road Special Edition

7 movies. 3 different states. Sit back and relax. It’s going to be a fun read!

I travel on a somewhat regular basis so I make it a point to visit theaters in the areas that I am traveling to. I enjoy the experience of going to a theater for the first time, and being able to compare layouts and how the inside of the theaters look. I love going to a theater and seeing those ultra huge movie posters and cardboard cutouts! Those are always good for photo opportunities. Being part of AMC’s A List program works out well when I travel, and I also collect reward points at Regal and Cinemark theaters, so I have options depending on the location. I’ve been on the road in November and December, and I watched seven films in three different states so please keep reading to see my reviews and recommendations. First stop….Ohio!

I visited AMC’s Lennox Town Center and the Dine-In at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio. Both were really nice theaters. They both were spacious and had bar service. I thought it was weird how Lennox Town Center was pretty empty both times I visited. That theater is right next to Ohio State University, so I was expecting to see more people there the times I went. I won’t complain about empty theaters though. The Dine-In at Easton had a lot of cool posters around the hallways. Check my Facebook page and look at the video reviews for the movies I’m posting. You can see some of the decor and just how big these theaters were. While in Ohio, I watched The Lighthouse, Harriet, and Parasite. I enjoyed all three films, with varying degrees. I really liked the classic Universal Monster movie film vibe of The Lighthouse. The black and white really popped on screen, and those shots of the lighthouse gave the film an ominous vibe. Two lighthouse keepers, aka “wickies” get stuck on an island after a dangerous storm leaves them stranded, so you get to see what goes down as cabin fever sets in. I think Willem Dafoe’s character was out of his mind from the start, but watching Robert Pattinson’s character lose his mind was weird and interesting. Their on screen dynamic gets wild! I was laughing at a few scenes. At other times my eyes were peeled. If you like bugged out movies, then The Lighthouse is for you. Might be hard to find in the theaters at this point, but I think it’s worth checking out. Its production company, A24, has been dropping some gems this year.

Harriet is a decent film, but I wanted more from the story. It felt very surface level and by the numbers. Despite that, Cynthia Erivo shines bright as Harriet Tubman. She does a great job in her portrayal, honoring the hero that Tubman was. I was impressed with the production as well. It was bright, bold, and Tubman’s triumph over the evils of slavery was shown in an inspiring fashion. Her courageous efforts as one of the leaders of the Underground Railroad has stood throughout time. In cinema liberties are taken with historical films but this movie made me want to learn more historical information about Harriet and her dealings. Some facts presented wowed me. There has been some controversy over this film due to a so called white savior moment. I’ve watched Harriet twice, and I didn’t see that during said scene. The character Gideon Brodess was never presented as a white savior. He was the embodiment of evil. Brodess was a slaver who wanted to control Harriet, and when he realized he couldn’t he wanted to kill her. Check it out if you haven’t done so. Harriet isn’t about slavery. It’s about a strong black woman that stood against it because it was wrong.

Parasite was an interesting flick, but I did get a bit bored midway through the film. It was dragging me along but thankfully it picks up. Director and writer Bong Joon-ho give us an interesting look at a family who lives in the slums and their interaction with a family who is very wealthy. I can’t tell you much about this film without giving things away. You have to see everything that goes down for yourself. The title is suggestive, based on the definition of the word, so there’s that. The “haves meets the have nots” is presented uniquely, and when things start to clash the movie deviates from what you are originally presented with. I appreciated that aspect although I didn’t find this film to be slam bang hooray. It’s good for a view. The social commentary was harrowing although I like Bong’s film Snowpiercer more when it comes to social issues. That’s it for Ohio. Next stop….New York City!

I went to see Knives Out at the AMC on 34th and 8th, right up the block from the famous Madison Square Garden! I frequent this theater a lot. Been going to it for years. I love the long escalator rides, and their big movie posters. There is a giant poster of Doctor Sleep there, which I love! I’ll briefly review that film later. So back to Knives Out. I liked it, but I wasn’t overly thrilled. After a rich patriarch is found dead his suicide-ruled death turns into a murder investigation, so whodunit! I found Knives Out to be fun yet predictable. I was wrong about some stuff I had swirling around in my head but if you pay attention, then yeah. I shall say no more though. The casting was great as all the actors and actresses meshed well to create a highly rich, highly dysfunctional family. Large amounts of money tends to do that to people. Good spots of humor with a standout performance from Daniel Craig, who spoke with a horrid southern accent. Hilariously worse than that accent he had in Logan Lucky. I liked Michael Shannon in this too. He was a trip. What I really want to know is how did Christopher Plummer look younger in this than he did in Inside Man?? Last stop….Arizona!

I just got back from Phoenix and while I was there I hit 3 different AMCs! The Dine-In Esplanade was nice on the inside. Huge lobby, and the dine in seats were comfy. I had a tasty margarita there. AMC Arizona Center 24 is part of Arizona Center, which is a nice area to walk around in. There are other shops and places to eat at the strip mall sections. The AMC there has an arcade. I wasted two bucks trying to get a Jason plush doll from a crane machine. Not far from Phoenix is Tempe, where I hit AMC Centerpoint 11. That theater has 3 outside bars around it. It was pretty live there when I visited this past Thursday. Pro tip if you are ever in downtown Phoenix…..You have to pay to park everywhere! Regency Garage…nuff said! A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood was a nice heart warmer. Tom Hanks knocks it out the park as Fred Rogers. I like how the movie was filmed as an episode of the show, and how it didn’t focus on Mr. Rogers per se. It was more about how his compassion and good nature helped other people. How far reaching kindness really is, and can be. It’s a nice film that’s good for everyone to enjoy. I highly recommend giving it a view.

I liked Ford v Ferrari. I watched that in an empty theater but I’m a tad bit sad that I missed seeing this in Dolby Cinema. The sound from the racing scenes would have been fantastic. This was showing in Dolby at my local AMC, but I didn’t get a chance to see it in that format before Frozen II knocked it out the Dolby theater. Darn you Elsa! I went into Ford v Ferrari blind to most of the situation and the players. I know Ford and I know who Carroll Shelby is because of the Mustang, but that was about it. The way the rivalry happened was humorous. Rich men and their egos! The duo of Matt Damon as Shelby and Christian Bale as driver Ken Miles was a nice touch. They worked well together on screen. I learned some new information about the companies, and what went into making the Ford GT40. Pretty neat stuff, even if you aren’t huge on racing. If you have a chance to see this one in a premium format, I recommend doing so. The racing cinematography was put together nicely.

Last, but certainly not least is Doctor Sleep! One of my favorite films of the year, and this past Thursday was my third viewing. I really like this follow up. It’s a well written thriller. The cat and mouse suspense is on point. If you haven’t done so, check out my full review here:  Support it in the theater if you can. It’s really not getting the box office love it deserves. I’m hoping it becomes a cult classic.

I’ve had some great cinematic times these past weeks, so I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read. I won’t be surprised to see Erivo, Hanks, and Bale get nominated for awards. Next week I’ll be in Spokane, so I’ve already scouted a few theaters in the area. Stay tuned for my next review!

Migs Rodriguez







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