Note to readers: I currently am not willing to risk my health (I’m 63 and an asthmatic) by visiting a theatre. All films that I have seen for review have been screened in my home. I am not going to tell you whether or not to attend a theatre. Just be aware of the risks, do your research, and follow the instructions to the letter.
My View: Little Fish (2020) As a virus that causes severe memory loss runs rampant across the world, one couple (Jack O’Connell, Olivia Cooke) fights to hold onto their relationship before the disease can erase all memory of their love. I will warn you; you will need some tissues to watch this movie as it will continually pull at your heartstrings. O’Connell and Cooke make a charming couple, who we follow through flashbacks on how they met, almost instantly falling in love. The problem is that there is a virus that makes you forget, wipes away your memories. For some, it is almost in an instant; for others, it is a slow drain of those memories, but in both cases, the people you love will soon become strangers. Little Fish is a wonderful film about love and how our relationships are based on our memories, our experiences that become the building blocks of our connections to each other. The film gives us a couple that is deeply in love but is that enough to keep their memories from fading away? My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Little Fish Website The film is currently playing in select theatres and available to rent on participating on-demand services.
Indiefest: Saint Maude (2019) R Maud (Morfydd Clark) is a devout hospice nurse who has a mysterious past and becomes obsessed with saving her dying patient’s (Jennifer Ehle) soul against her belief that sinister forces are threatening to put an end to her holy calling. The film follows Maud, a young woman who is on the verge of going down a slippery slope in madness. From the start, we have doubts about Maud, who seems to devout in her belief that God has picked her to do something great. Maud is thrown into the role as a full-time live-in nurse for a former dancer/choreographer, Amanda, who has had some sort of horrible accident and now does not have use of her legs and is slowly dying. Amanda is homebound and is a handful, drinking and smoking up a storm. Maud sees Amanda has someone she can ‘save’ and makes it her life’s work. The problem is Maud is slowly but surely being taken over by the voices inside her head. Saint Maud is a psychological horror film, and it works because Clark gives us a performance that is intense and scintillating, making Maud a character who is troubled but convinced what she is doing is God’s work. My Rating: Full Price Saint Maud Website The film is currently playing in select theatres and available on Epix on Feb. 12th
Indiefest: A Glitch in the Matrix (2021) Documentary filmmaker Rodney Ascher asks the question, “are we living in a simulation?’, just like the film The Matrix. Sci-fi fans will get excited to see this film because one of the great writers of the genre, Philip K. Dick (his books have been the basis for movies like Blade Runner, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau), is at the core of this film, from a speech he gave about his theories on how we are living in one big simulation. The idea is that the principles that propelled the Matrix films are real; we live in one huge video game. I have enjoyed filmmaker Rodney Ascher’s films in the past, including the funny and sometimes mesmerizing film Room 237, but this film never quite got me to believe, even a little bit, in the theory. The film interviews people who think they're living in a simulation, including a horrifying interview with a young man who believed that The Matrix was real and, because of his belief that this world wasn't real, ended up murdering his parents. I got very tired of listening to the four main interviewees and their views on how our world is like the video games they have devoted their lives to. My Rating: Bargain Matinee A Glitch in the Matrix Website The film is currently playing in select theatres and available to rent on participating on-demand services.
Indiefest: Two of Us (2019) Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier), are two retired women who have a secret that they have been living with for decades; they are in love. To everyone else, the couple are simply neighbors who share a hallway that connects their two apartments. However, their lives are about to be turned upside down, and their long relationship will be tested when the truth comes out. This is a beautiful story about love, secrets, and how life can be so complicated that it can threaten even the strongest relationships. Nina is the long-time lover of Madeleine and is trying to get Madeleine to move away from their apartments to where they first met, Rome. The two have kept separate apartments because Madeleine’s grown children do not know of the relationship, as Madeleine is afraid of what will happen if/when she tells them the truth. This is a film about love, aging, and the secrets that we keep, some that could come back to haunt you. The two leads are marvelous in the roles, with Sukowa standing out as the fiery Nina who will not give up on her love for Madeleine, no matter how many obstacle’s life puts in her way. My Rating: Full Price Two of Us Website The film is currently playing in select theatres and available to rent on participating on-demand services.
Indiefest: Dara of Jasenovac (2020) In the summer of 1942, the family of ten-year-old Dara (Biljana Čekić) was taken and placed in two Nazi-occupied Croatian fascist government-controlled concentration camps. Dara is a witness to the horrors of the camp, and after her brother and mother are killed, she tries to save the lives of others in the camp, including the life of her brother. I had a hard time watching this film, not because the violence was so brutal (which it was) but that the film seemed to enjoy showing these brutal attacks so often in the movie. Some of the movie's villains are so over the top, like the camp’s commanding officer killing inmates during a game of musical chairs while his sister has sex with her husband while watching the killings go on from the back seat of a car. We are supposed to rally around the ten-year-old girl Dara, who tries to keep her younger brother alive, but I never got connected to Dara and couldn’t get invested in her plight. The film can be summed up in the scenes that soon after a character dies at the hands of the monsters that run the camp, they symbolically show up in a snowstorm and climb onto a rail car and join others that have also been killed. The scene is supposed to be touching and meaningful but ends up being just another scene of this poorly done Holocaust movie. My Rating: Cable Dara of Jasenovac Info The film is currently playing in select theatres.
Forgotten Film: Friday Night Lights (2004) PG-13 Because of the much-loved (and rightly so) TV series of the same name, we forget that there was a movie based on the same book a few years before. And yes, Billy Bob Thornton isn’t the dreamy looking man that Kyle Chandler is, but Thornton gives a moving, brilliant performance as the coach trying to do the right thing while putting a whole town on his back trying to win a championship. Derek Luke is fantastic as the player who thinks his talent is ‘God-given,’ but when an injury gets in the way of his glory, he sees only failure in his future. It’s hard to pack this much emotional impact in a movie that is just two hours long, but director Peter Berg has managed to make this a film that, like the players on the team, stands up proud all by itself. My Rating: Full Price Friday Night Lights Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of Little Fish: First Aid Craft Service
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) R The fans demanded it with the hashtag “ReleaseTheSnyderCut, and now they get what they wanted. Zack Snyder has recut and, in the case of a few scenes, re-shot four years after the original release of Justice League (2017). Be sure to pack a lunch when you watch this one (in theatres and on HBO Max on March 18th) because it's four hours long. Zack Snyder's Justice League Website