Good Kill (2015) starring Ethan Hawke, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Kravitz & January Jones


NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE review. 

This is a small (as in intimate) movie w/ a VERY serious message- distancing and dehumanizing your enemy is ALSO a way of dehumanizing yourself.  I went to see this film back in May w/ my ladies’ movie Meetup; there was a brief Q&A w/ Ethan Hawke (VERY pleasant/thoughtful guy) and the director (Andrew Niccol, a Brit).  Aside from my group, there were press folks, and many associated w/ MSNBC’s news show, Hardball (Chris Matthews was the moderator).  A few members of the armed forces were also present; they seemed to relate to a LOT the film from comments I heard.  

Good_Kill_cockpitFighter pilot Major Tom Egan (Hawke) is STILL fighting The War on Terror, though he now works from a pod in the Nevada desert, not too far from the suburban Las Vegas home he shares w/ his wife, Molly (January Jones), and their two young kids.  Tom and his team conduct drone strikes; it looks a LOT like playing a video game (disturbing, yet darkly humorous to a layperson).  We see that Tom is dissatisfied w/ his work; his supervisor Lt. Col. Johns (Bruce Greenwood- provides wry humor and some of the best lines) knows that it’s NOT an ideal situation, but they are still “doing good.”


This is a one man’s journey (Hawke is VERY well-suited) type of film, which uses tight close-ups on Hawke and his team, which later includes a young newbie, Airman Suarez (Zoe Kravitz, who does a decent job).  The people in Afghanistan (locals, baddies, etc.) are seen in grainy video- no closeups there.  Check out this film (recently available on Redbox) to see what happens! 

Inside Out (NOW PLAYING) starring the voices of Amy Poehler, Lewis Black & Mindy Kaling


NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE review.

I saw “Inside Out” at a free pre-screening w/ my movie Meetup (all ladies) and a large group of press folks (who were pretty quiet during the film, which is common).  Before the main attraction, we saw a short film (“Lava”) about a lonely volcano that wants to have someone to love.  I’m NOT sure if this story was based on a Hawaiian folk tale.  There was a song all through the short, which was cute and catchy.


I went in NOT knowing much about the film, BUT I liked it!  Some critics say it’s the best thing since “Toy Story,” which was a big hit for Pixar.  I suggest it for kids 10 and up, especially, as it deals w/ themes that MAY go over the heads of the younger crowd.  There is also a LOT for grown-ups to enjoy.


Riley, an 11 y.o. girl, goes through a period of displacement and sadness after moving from her suburban home in Minnesota to an apartment in San Francisco.  Aside from Riley, the main characters are the emotions inside her head: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Fear (Bill Hader).  I wanted to see this mainly b/c I’m a fan of Black and Kaling. 

In the beginning, everyone was bummed out by how Sadness (who is blue, wears a turtleneck) was acting, BUT we know that people can’t always be happy.  Riley has to get used to her new room, new school and classmates, and missing her best friend.  She finds it VERY difficult to be her usual positive self, even though she knows that’s what her parents (voiced by Diane Lane and Kyle McLachlan) want.  Joy tries hard to get Sadness out of the way, BUT an accident pulls these two main emotions away from the control room.