My View: The Kissing Booth 2 (2020) Everybody’s favorite high schooler, Elle (Joey King), is about to start her senior year. It will be an interesting one with her boyfriend Noah (Jacob Elordi) off to college at Harvard and her bestie, Lee (Joel Courtney), dating his girlfriend, Rachel (Meganne Young). Just to spice things up, there is a new hunk at school, Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez), and Elle has to keep her long-distance relationship with Noah going. This is a sequel to the smash Netflix hit The Kissing Booth. That film had quite a bit of charm, mostly due to fish out of water Elle, played by the sparkling Joey King, and Elle having to choose between her best friend and the boy she always dreamed about. This film tries to re-capture that magic, but the film bloated, where the filmmakers decided to squeeze Elle’s whole senior year into a rather long two hours and ten minutes. King is dazzling again, but she can’t get past the clunky script that revolves around a dance contest on an arcade game, and the will she/won’t she cheat on her hunky boyfriend with the new hunk in town. I got bored with the plot pretty quick, but then again, I’m not the target audience, and I feel a lot of young viewers are going to fall in love with Elle and her kissing booth all over again. My Rating: Bargain Matinee The Kissing Booth 2 Website The film is currently available on the Netflix website.
Indiefest: Radioactive (2019) PG-13 The incredible story of Marie Sklodowska Curie (Rosamund Pike), who, because of her ground-breaking scientific achievements, was the first female to win the Noble Prize and the first person ever to win it twice. Pike is always an interesting actor to watch, but she can’t overcome a script that inserts Madame Curie’s impact on the world in the future, showing us a child in the 50s being cured of cancer by radiation treatments, witnessing the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and being an observer of a nuclear bomb test in Nevada. Oh, and for good measure, we witness a firefighter heading into the heart of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The story of Madame Curie moves slowly, as we see her fight the good fight to claim her rightful place in history, both alone and alongside her husband, Pierre (Sam Riley), who may have died due to his continual exposure to radiation poisoning. The dialogue feels forced and too often, Pike is left having to give speeches on the technical aspects that the impact of the moments get lost. Madame Curie and Rosamund Pike both deserve a better film. My Rating: Cable Radioactive Website Available for rent on participating on-demand services.
My View: The Rental (2020) R Two couple (Dan Steven, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand, and Jeremy Allen White) rent an oceanside getaway that seems perfect. That is until they discover that their host (Toby Huss) is spying on them. The ideal getaway weekend becomes filled with something sinister, and the four old friends expose secrets that have been long kept. Just a word of warning; if you are on vacation or about to, and are going to stay at a rental property, you probably want to avoid this scary horror film until you get back. Director and co-writer Dave Franco has brought us a well done and thrilling movie that starts building the tension about 10 minutes into the film and doesn’t let up until the end. It’s a fun ride that doesn’t resort to too many jump out of the dark moments and has plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. Be sure to keep watching through the first portion of the final credits to see a bonus scene. My Rating: Full Price The Rental Website Available for rent on participating on-demand services and in drive-ins around the country.
Indiefest: Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful (2020) Documentary on the trailblazing photographer whose impact on the world of fashion and art is still ongoing. In the 70s through the 90s, you couldn’t avoid Newton’s bold and sexy photography for magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair. Newton was known for his photography of strong, most of the time naked, women. Newton was also known for his sense of humor and his love of life. This documentary does a great job of giving us an inside look at Newton's life and how much fun he had at his work. The film interviews some of his most famous models, including Charlotte Rampling, Isabella Rossellini, Grace Jones, and Claudia Schiffer, providing us insight on what it was to be the subject of Newton’s camera. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Newton and his beautiful, awe-inspiring photos. My Rating: Full Price Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful Website Available for rent on participating on-demand services.
Indiefest: Carmilla (2019) Fifteen-year-old Lara (Hannah Rae) lives in seclusion from the outside world on a vast country estate with her father and her governess Miss Fontaine (Jessica Raine). One evening, a carriage crashes near the estate, and a young girl, Carmilla (Devrim Lingnau), is brought into the home to recuperate. Lara’s world will never be the same. This is a beautiful looking film, stylish and dark but I never really connected with the movie as it couldn’t decide if it was a gothic romance or a horror film. The movie, throughout hints that Carmilla may be a vampire, but we never know for sure, instead, we get a film which teases us with lots of scenes that never quite capture the dramatic moments. I think I would have been happier if the film had picked one genre or the other, instead we get a weak movie that doesn’t deliver either one. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Carmilla Info Available for rent on participating on-demand services.
My View: In the Cold Dark Night (2020) In 2018, authorities reopened the investigation into the 1983 murder of a young African-American man Timothy Coggins in a small Georgia town. Fascinating documentary of a cold case that probably should have been solved back in 1983, but as the film shows, the long arm of bigotry and white privilege was king. The film shows how a determined team of a local sheriff, a GBI agent and a prosecutor were able to piece together what happened to Timothy Coggins and who did it. The film is a fascinating look at the wheels of justice, which took a long time to get turning, but due to the dedication of local law enforcement, finally found the momentum to find justice. My Rating; Bargain Matinee In the Cold Dark Night Website The film is currently available on the Hulu website.
Forgotten Film: The Wild Life (1984) R Bill (Eric Stoltz) is a guy who has just broken up with his longtime girlfriend, Anita (Lea Thompson), and has gotten his first apartment. Anita is working at a donut shop and starts having an affair with an older man who just happens to be a cop. Anita’s pal, Eileen (Jenny Wright), is working at a clothing store managed by the lecherous Harry (Rick Moranis) and is dating a wrestler. I could go on but know that this film was the second movie written by Cameron Crowe (the first was a little film called Fast Times at Ridgemont High) and is filled with a cast that includes Chris Penn (in an excellent performance), Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Hart Bochner and Randy Quaid, plus there are a couple of bonus rock star appearances. The Wild Life is not a great movie, but it’s fun visiting the 80s and those outfits/hairstyles. My Rating: Bargain Matinee The Wild Life Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of The Kissing Booth 2: Skydive Stunt Double
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: The Beatles: Get Back (2020) Peter Jackson brings us a documentary on the making of the legendary Let it Be and the rooftop concert that the Beatles performed in 1969. The film features extensive, never-before-seen footage of the recording sessions. I can’t wait. The Beatles: Get Back Info
Until Next Time!
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