Friday, March 26, 2021


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:  Nobody (2021) R   Hutch (Bob Odenkirk) is a family man with a boring life. One night his home is invaded by two thieves who threaten his family. After the attack, Hutch is on a bus when a gang of thugs threaten a woman. Hutch is about to awaken something that he has long denied; he loves to get into a fight. OK, when I heard about this film about a seemingly ordinary guy, looking like Bob Odenkirk, could play a tough, kick your ass hero, I had my doubts. However, that’s kind of the point of the character, that Hutch is a guy that looks and acts normal; in fact, he is leading a very dull life full of routine, so much so when he fails to act in a home invasion, his neighbors and his own family knew that Hutch wouldn’t do anything…he’s just not that type of guy. Soon, very soon, we find out that Hutch is a lot more complicated than he shows on the surface. Nobody is in the same vein as the Taken or John Wick films, a man who, when pushed, can react and react very violently. I had fun with this film, and Odenkirk does come off pretty convincing in the fight sequences. Yes, like the Wick films, you have to let yourself enjoy the action and not think about how no one could do all that Hutch does, but that’s part of the fun. The final battle sequence is worth watching the film for, and there are a few surprises along the way that I hope other critics don’t give away too much on. If you are an action fan and don’t mind a bloody body count, then have fun as Hutch ruins a few bad guy's day.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Nobody Website   Now playing in select theatres.

My View: A Week Away (2021)   Troubled teen Will Hawkins (Kevin Quinn) finds himself at a Christian summer camp. He thinks about running away, but then he meets Avery (Bailee Madison), and suddenly Will has a reason to stay. This camp is for a week, but it may change Will’s life forever. Just a warning upfront; while not preachy, this film is a very Christian musical with songs sung by the cast from King & Country, Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Michael W. Smith. Amy Grant even makes a quick appearance as a camp counselor. The film centers on Keven Quinn, who has a great singing voice to match his on-screen charisma, and the movie knows it, as it lets Quinn do most of the heavy lifting of the songs. Bailee Madison is enjoyable as the squeaky-clean love interest with some spark showing between her and Quinn. The songs are fun in a ‘High School Musical’ way, and it helps that the supporting cast is rounded out by David Koechner and Sherri Shepherd's performances. I enjoyed A Week Away a lot more than I thought I would, and while the plot is pretty thin, it’s an enjoyable watch.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee     A Week Away Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

My View: Bad Trip (2020) R   Chris (Eric André) and Bud (Lil Rel Howery) decide to go on a road trip to New York City to see an old flame or Chris’s (Michaela Conlin). Unfortunately, they borrow Bud’s sister’s car (Tiffany Haddish), who finds out and breaks out of prison to get her car back from the guys. I’m not a big fan of practical joke shows/films like Jackass or Impractical Jokers, and that what this film is mostly about. The plot is a thinly disused ploy to play practical jokes on people not aware that Lil Rel, Tiffany Haddish, or Eric André are acting. If you like watching someone react to a person falling off a wall or an outdoor toilet falling over, then this film is for you. Be warned; this film pushes the gross factor with a lot of practical jokes involving throwing up, crap being flung, and lots of bare butts. I enjoyed Tiffany Haddish playing the tough prisoner on the lam, but even her energy couldn’t bring me to laugh at anything in this film.   My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again     Bad Trip Website   Now playing on the Netflix platform. 

Indiefest:   Six Minutes to Midnight (2021) PG-13 In the summer of 1939, school teacher Thomas Miller (Eddie Izzard) takes a last-minute role teaching English at a finishing school on the South coast of England. Even though war is brewing across Europe, the daughters of influential families in Nazi Germany are the school's only students. This kind of reminded me of the old B films of the thirties and forties, films that had serviceable plots, that tried really hard with limited budgets and that didn’t do a whole lot to keep the action and suspense going. The story is pretty weak, and most of the twists can be seen before they happen, but I did enjoy the performances of Judi Dench as the matriarch of the school and Jim Broadbent as a funny local bus driver who knows more than he seems. Izzard is fine as the schoolteacher, and you can see why the class falls in love with his character so quickly. I just wish the plot had a few more twists to make the suspense of the film bigger and more powerful.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Six Minutes to Midnight Website      Now playing in select theatres and is available to rent on participating on-demand services.

Indiefest:   Miracle Fishing: Kidnapped Abroad (2020)   In 1994, Miles Hargrove’s father, while working for a non—profit organization in Cali, Columbia, was taken hostage and held for ransom by a group of guerrilla radicals. Using footage that Miles took during the hostage situation, this documentary explores the story of a group of people who work to overcome impossible odds to get Miles's father home. I loved this documentary about a family who, under incredible odds and pressure, try to get their loved one back. The film is comprised almost totally of footage that a young Miles took while the kidnapping negotiations went on (and on). You feel like you are a part of the family, as you get to know everyone involved with trying to get the father released from a group of radicals that are used to kidnappings and getting what they want. One of the family members says during a rather tense time, ‘It’s like a movie unrolling in front of your eyes’ and in fact, due to the unbelievable footage and the expert editing, it is as good as anything fictional that Hollywood could come up with.   My Rating: Full Price     Miracle Fishing Website  Now available on the Discovery+ platform.

My View:    Tina (2021)   Documentary on the legendary performer Tina Turner. From her early days as the front-woman of Ike & Tina Turner to her solo career that had her given the name of ‘The Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll.’ What sticks with you after watching this film is what a fighter and a survivor Tina Turner is. A driven woman, for sure, but one who had the guts to believe in herself and make a comeback, but not as Tina Turner, formerly of Ike & Tina but Tina herself. The film gives us this and more as an insightful look into the life, warts, and all of Tina Turner, from the early years to her retirement. The film is full of amazing clips of Tina and her brilliant performances both as front-woman for the Ike & Tina band and as a solo artist who conquered what few women have done, become a headliner in rock n roll, filling up stadiums and winning awards at an age that most would consider over the hill. Using both an interview done for the film and past interviews, the story of her life is told mainly through her, with a few key people like her biographer, Kurt Loder, and her close personal friends. Tina Turner, because she has been in the public eye for so long, is someone that you think you know, but until you see this film, you don’t really know her at all.    My Rating: Full Price    Tina Website  Available now on HBO and the HBO Max platform. 

Forgotten Film: Blume in Love (1973)  R   Stephen Blume (George Segal) is a divorce lawyer who was just caught by his wife, Nina (Susan Anspach), in bed with his secretary. Blume doesn’t want to get a divorce because he still loves his wife, but Nina has other plans, as she takes up with a musician (Kris Kristofferson). Blume is determined, no matter what, to get Nina back. I love this film because of George Segal's performance, who is the perfect sad-sack man who has made a big mistake and must pay for it. He knows he screwed up, but Blume is determined to get Nina back, even if he likes her new boyfriend. Anspach is spectacular as the woman Blume loves, and Kris Kristofferson steals every scene he is in as the man who is everything Blume isn’t, except possibly in love with Nina. Blume in Love is a little dated but worth seeing for Segal in his prime.   My Rating: Full Price    Blume in Love Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Six Minutes to Midnight: Base Runner

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Mainstream (2020) R    A young woman (Maya Hawke) starts making YouTube videos with a stranger (Andrew Garfield), and the videos become a sensation. Things seem great until the dark side of viral celebrity threatens to bring them down. The film is written and directed by Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola.    Mainstream Info

Until Next Time!

Friday, March 19, 2021

Zack Snyder's Justice League

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: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2017) PG-13   Batman (Ben Affleck) is inspired by Superman’s (Henry Cavill) selfless act in Batman vs. Superman and decides to enlist Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to form a team of superheroes to face an enemy that threatens humanity. Having once, when in film school, thought about making a career as an editor, I have always held the editor’s job in the filmmaking process a key role. I have usually do not like ‘Director’s Cuts’ of films because usually the film gets added footage that can make the film feel bloated or drag the film down. Well, not this time. Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League is a far better film than the one that Josh Wheadon took over control of five years ago. Yes, the film is a little over four hours old, but it doesn’t feel like it (and by the way, it is made up of sections, so you can pause it if you like to take a break or two). Now in no way, shape or form is it a great film but is it an improvement? Yes, yes, it is. I think the difference is the time we get with each superhero, getting to understand why they do what they do and also, more importantly, why they are willing to become a team when each hero is used to being their own one-man or woman army. I’m still not convinced that Snyder fully understands the Superman character and what he stands for, but I came away enjoying this film, and it’s been enough time since the first version came out that the film felt almost new to me.   My Rating: Full Price (up from the Bargain Matinee that I gave the first version on Nov. 17th, 2017).   Zack Snyder's Justice League Website    Now playing on the HBO Max platform.

Indiefest: Last Call (2021) R    Mick (Jeremy Piven) comes back to his old Philly neighborhood and must decide to help raze the area for a new casino or kiss the big opportunity good-bye and resurrect his family’s bar. This is obviously a passion project for director/co-writer Paolo Pilladi. You can see that he cares about this neighborhood and the characters that inhabit it. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a story in the plot. The film follows Mick as he goes from one drinking session to another with a bunch of pals from his neighborhood that he left behind to make it good. Mick works for a real estate boss who wants Mick’s help in bringing a casino to the neighborhood. Mick has come back to bury his mother and possibly put his father (Jack McGee) in a home. While back in the neighborhood, Mick rekindles an old romance with the girl next door, Ali (Taryn Manning). There is absolutely no chemistry between Piven and Manning, with their scenes feeling like the two actors who didn’t really want to be in the same scene with each other. The plot is razor-thin, and the ending is so quick and sloppy that you almost get whiplash from it. If you want to watch a film about a bunch of guys ripping on each other and drinking a lot, this is your film; otherwise, you will have a better time going down to the corner bar yourself and having a drink or two.     My Rating: Cable     Last Call Website     The film is currently playing in select theatres and is available to rent on participating on-demand services

Indiefest: Quo Vadis, Adia? (2020)   Aida (Jasna Djuricic) is a translator for the UN in a small town in Bosnia. When the Serbian army takes over the town, Aida and her two sons take shelter in a UN refugee camp. Soon Aida must decide to use her inside information to stay or try an escape with her two sons before it is too late. It is just a heartbreaking story about the love of a mother and wife who tries as hard as she can to save her family against the odds and the bureaucracy of war. Jasna Djuricic is a force on the screen, and her performance is why this film has an Academy Award nomination. The film is filled with sadness and a feeling of lost hope, but Aida never gives up, never stops pleading for the lives of her loved ones to be saved as the clock ticks down to a precious few. Quo Vadis, Adia? is one of the best films of the year and deserves to be seen by everyone.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  The film is available to rent on participating on-demand services.

My View: Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (2021) R   This is a documentary that uses reenactments to investigate the mastermind behind the scam to sneak kids of the rich and famous into top U.S. universities. Interesting concept on how to do a documentary, with Mathew Modine playing Rick Singer, the man who set up the scam, using the actual wiretaps to provide Rick’s dialogue. I enjoyed this documentary because it shows how Singer started up this idea to beat the system and just how far the privileged were willing to go, to make sure that their kids could get into the most prestigious schools. This is a strange but fascinating film, giving us a look at an almost fatally flawed system. What is sad is like their parents at a fancy restaurant, the kids in this film could have sat at a table and been just fine; they had to sit at the best table money could buy.   My Rating: Full Price   Now playing on the Netflix platform.

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Hot Water (2021)   A young kid thinks he has what it takes to compete on the pro jet ski tour. With a cast straight out of Baywatch comes a movie with a horrible tag line: ‘The Funniest Ride of the Summer.’ I’ve watched the trailer, and the only thing funny about this film is that it got made.    Hot Water Website

Forgotten Film: Love Jones (1997) R Darius (Larenz Tate) is a young poet in Chicago that meets the love of his life, Nina (Nia Long), a talented photographer, and they have to figure out if their relationships is real and just how deep. What I love about this film is that the couple have real conversations about what they want in life and in other people. They have ups and downs, but you have to trust that someday, someway, they will end up together. Anchored by a great cast, a very cool city, and incredible chemistry between the two leads, and you have one of the better romantic films of the 90s.   My Rating: Full Price    Love Jones Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Drapes Master

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Shoplifters of the World (2021)   In the summer of 1987, four friends get together to party and mourn the break-up of the iconic British band The Smiths. Simultaneously, a Smiths fan takes a radio DJ hostage and makes him play nothing but Smiths songs all night. Hey, The Smiths were a great band, and the casting of Joe Manganiello, Nick Krause, Elena Kampouris, James Bloor, and Helena Howard is pretty cool, so I have hope for this one.     Shoplifters of the World Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Yes Day

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:  Yes Day (2021) PG  Allison (Jennifer Garner) and Carlos ( Edgar Ramirez) are parents who decide to give their kids a ‘yes day’ where for 24 hours they have to say yes to everything their kids suggest they do. This is exactly what you think it is, an inoffensive, silly film that kids will love and parents will be bored by. The film starts out with some good ideas, but once the action starts, it just becomes bland. Garner and Ramirez make a good couple, and the kids are cute, but the storyline is dragged down by unexciting events, and the big, teachable, heart-tugging moment that the film needs at the end just kind of sits there. My guess is that the cast had more fun making the film than we have watching it. It would be easy to say Yes Day is a No, but instead, I’ll just say Blah.    My Rating: Cable    Yes Day Website    Now playing on the Netflix platform.

My View:  The Father (2020) PG-13  Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) is set in his ways and does not want help living in his home. His daughter (Olivia Colman) struggles to find someone who will get along with her father, who is starting to lose his grip on reality. I will let you know that this is a tough film to watch, especially if you have ever dealt with the process of parents who are slowly losing their abilities to take care of themselves. Here is the thing, it’s a gut-wrenching watch, but because of the brilliant and beyond moving performances of Hopkins and Coleman, it is worth it. Hopkins is perfect as a man who one moment is charming and lovely, and the next moment is unhappy and angry at the world. Coleman is right there with Hopkins, like a well-rehearsed dance partner who moves and bends with every action that Hopkins's character makes. It is an amazing and brilliant performance by both actors, and they are magical to watch. I don’t want to say too much about the plot in order for the film to play out correctly in front of you as you watch it. I have a feeling that when film historians pull out a performance to show just how great an actor Anthony Hopkins was, this will be the one they show. The Father is a master class in acting and one I won’t ever forget.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    The Father Website   The film is currently playing in select theatres.

Indiefest:  Kid 90 (2021)   Soleil Moon Frye, at age eight, became a big star on her hit TV show, Punky Brewster. Frye always had a video camera in her hand and shot hundreds of hours of footage of her youth. Now Soleil Moon Frye explores those years of being a kid in Hollywood and its effect on her and other child star lives. This is a film about Frye’s personal journey through her teenage years, growing up in front of us on TV and film, and how that affects a person so young. Using footage that she hasn’t seen in twenty years, Frye looks back at that time and wonders how she and others survived when so many of her friends didn’t, having lost their lives to drugs or suicide. She bravely shows us her life, both the glamorous or funny side, but also the wild side, where we watch as she and her friends drink and take drugs. There are a lot of real and tough moments in the film, but sometimes it feels a bit like a vanity project for Frye, as the spotlight is almost always on her, even when she interviews people like Mark-Paul Gosselaar or Brian Austin Green. Overall, fans of Frye will be happy to go down memory lane with her; others may be a little bored as the shaky home movies continue to roll by.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Kid 90 Website   Now playing on the Hulu platform.

Indiefest:  Come True (2020)   Sarah (Julia Sarah Stone) is struggling at school and cannot go home when she finds shelter at a university sleep study. Hoping to cure her nightmares, instead, Sarah unwittingly becomes the channel to a horrifying discovery. Would you want to see your nightmares replayed before your eyes? This horror/sci-fi film asks that question, and like Sarah in the film, you might not want to say yes. I wish I had watched the film in a theatre because the dream sequences need to be seen on the big screen to let the horror creep up on you. I loved Julia Sarah Stone in the role of a young woman who is having trouble at home and can’t find a place to sleep without her dreams/nightmares invading her life. There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep you interested. The film slows a bit down near the end of the film, and there is a relationship turn that I didn’t like, but there is a lot more to this film than just a night or two of restless sleep to explore; there are nightmares that might come true.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee     Come True Website   The film is currently playing in select theatres and  is available to rent on participating on-demand services.

Forgotten Film: The Amateurs (2005) R  Andy (Jeff Bridges) is having a mid-life crisis and is tired of not having money, so he decides that he and his small town's pals should make a full-length porn movie. First off, the cast is amazing: Ted Danson, Joe Pantoliano, William Fichtner, Patrick Fugit, John Hawkes, Glenne Headly, Lauren Graham, and Jeanne Tripplehorn. I love that most of the characters are named after characters from the old Andy Griffith Show. Jeff Bridges is the star of the film, but Ted Danson is the standout of a gay guy named Moose that goes around the town and tries to convince the women of the town to be in the film. The Amateurs is just a fun film with a lot of heart and is filled with a lot of laughs.   My Rating: Full Price     The Amateurs Info    

Weird Credits: From the credits of Come True: Sleep-caps designed and created by

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You:  Happily  (2021) R   Tom (Joel McHale) and Janet (Kerry Bishe) are one of those couples that, after years of marriage, still enjoy each other’s company so much, they kind of make their friends jealous. Then one day, a mysterious man (Stephen Root) shows up at their door, offering the couple a way to make their relationship like everyone else’s; miserable. Just the cast alone makes me want to see this ‘dark romantic comedy’ which includes Natalie Morales, Charlyne Yi, Breckin Meyer, Brea Grant, Jon Daly, and Paul Scheer.     Happily Info

Until Next Time!

Friday, March 5, 2021

Coming 2 America

 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: Coming 2 America (2021) PG-13   Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary, and he learns that he has a long-lost son (Jermaine Fowler) and has returned to the United States to meet him and possibly bring him back to Akeem’s homeland. What made the first film work so well was the ‘fish out of water' story of the sweet, innocent Akeem learning to live and love in America. This film tries to rekindle the magic, but it fizzles almost from the start. Murphy seems bored by the role and the plot, and the film tries to pull us back to the first film, overloading us with characters from the first film, including the whole gang from the barbershop. It’s kind of like seeing a reunion show on TV. It’s great to see the whole gang back together, but after a few minutes, you realize that it's hard to recapture that magic a second time. The film is also hurt by adding Tracy Jordan, Wesley Snipes, and Leslie Jones, all overplaying their roles, with Snipes chewing up so much scenery it becomes boring. The plot is flimsy, and Jermaine Fowler doesn’t have even close to Eddie Murphy's charisma from the first film. The first film was magic in a bottle that hit a sweet spot at the time and is one of those films where a sequel should have never even been attempted.    My Rating: Cable   Coming 2 America Website  Now playing on the Amazon Prime platform and in select theatres.

Family Faire: Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) PG  In a world inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) is determined to find the last dragon and rescue her father. I love Disney animation, and this film does not disappoint. Beautifully done that begs to be seen on the big screen, the film is full of wondrous world-building and characters with imaginative and robust storylines. Raya is a strong character with a great sense of pride in both her parents and her heritage. Raya encounters Sisu (voiced by Awkwafina), and they go on a journey to save the world. Awkwafina is brilliantly cast and is hilarious as the adventurous Dragon who sees the good in everyone. This is a film that is perfect for the time like now when we all need to come together, and both adults and kids will find a storyline full of joy and surprises.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Raya and the Last Dragon Website   The film is currently playing in select theatres and is available on the Disney+ platform.

Indiefest: Boogie (2021)  Alfred ‘Boogie’ Chin (Taylor Takahashi) is a basketball star in the making in Queens, New York, who dreams of playing in the NBA. Boogie has battle prejudices while navigating high school, on-court rivals, and his parent's expectations. Boogie is the type of movie I would expect to see at a small-town film festival, a movie with a lot of heart but tries too hard to cover too many bases, making the film feel a bit amateurish and weak. The film never quite can find its tone, and it doesn’t has the emotional punch that you want from the end of the film. It’s a story with its heart in the right place but never quite finds its footing to bring the storyline together. There is a quick ending that attempts to make all the pieces fit, but I was left wondering by the end exactly what happened and where the characters were going next. I liked Taylor Takahashi in the role, giving us a complex character that was being pulled by so many forces. The script never could quite figure out what type of film it wanted to be.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Boogie Website    The film is currently playing in select theatres.

Indiefest: My Salinger Year (2020) R   Joanna (Margaret Qualiey) is a young woman who plans to be a writer and moves to New York to follow that dream. She takes a clerical job working for the literary agent (Sigourney Weaver) of the renowned, reclusive writer of Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger. This is a sweet, funny coming of age story that follows a character as she grows into a strong, independent woman, something that she may not have done if she hadn’t taken the chances that life put out there for her to take. Margaret Qualiey does a remarkable job as Joanna, giving us a character that is full of hope and promise and is so charming to watch in the role. As the set in her way’s boss, Weaver is wonderful in the role of a woman who soon becomes a guiding force for Joanna. The film slows down a bit when Joanna gets involved with a new boyfriend (Douglas Booth) that, from the start, we know is wrong for her. Luckily, most of the film takes place in the office, and that is where the film shines, as Joanna finds her path to become the person she was meant to be.   My Rating: Full Price    My Salinger Year Website    The film is currently playing in select theatres.

My View: Chaos Walking (2021) PG-13   In a world where a virus killed all the women, and living creatures have the ability to read each other’s minds; Todd (Tom Holland) encounters Viola (Daisy Ridley), a strange woman who others on the planet want to hunt her down. Todd vows to protect Viola and help her contact her people. I am guessing from the choppy, muddied plot that there were a lot of problems with the script. Knowing that the source material is three books makes me believe that originally, this film was to be much longer than its one hour and fifty minutes run time. There are some plot points that at the start seem very important and then are almost thrown away. The idea that all men's thoughts can be heard out loud by others becomes old very quickly, as we get tired of our hero Todd always thinking about how much he wants to kiss Viola and her hearing it. The film wastes a stellar cast of Mads Mikkelsen as the main bad guy, David Oyelowo as a religious fanatic, Nick Jonas as Mikkelsen’s stupid son, and Demian Bichir and Kurt Sutter as Todd’s family. We never really understand why Viola is so important for Mads Mikkelsen’s character to track down. The film is also hurt by the total lack of chemistry between Holland and Ridley. The chase sequences are clumsy and end almost as suddenly as they start, and the finale that seems sudden and predictable. I had some thoughts about this movie while watching it, and I am glad nobody could hear them.    My Rating: Cable Chaos Walking Website   The film is currently playing in select theatres.

My View: Moxie (2021) PG-13   Inspired by her mother’s (Amy Poehler) rebellious past and an outspoken friend (Alycia Pascual-Pena), Vivian (Hadley Robinson) decides to anonymously publish a zine name Moxie that takes on the sexist and toxic culture of her high-school, and it sparks a school-wide, ‘coming-of-rage’ revolution. This is an enjoyable film that has a lot of fun with high school angst and the awaking of young women and their power to contest how fellow students treat and see them. Hadley Robinson is perfect in the role of the mild, meek student who decides to use a zine as a protest tool and becomes empowered because of it. I liked this film until the end when the film took a bit of a turn that the film has a hard time dealing with. I did enjoy Nico Hiraga, as Vivian’s love interest and their chemistry from the start is fun and playful. However, despite a few missteps in the third act, the film is a delight to watch and probably inspire a few zines of its own.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee     Moxie Website   Now playing on the Netflix platform.

My View: Boss Level (2020)  Roy (Frank Grillo), a special forces veteran, is stuck in a time loop, destined to repeat the same day over and over again while being hunted by dozens of deadly assassins. Each time he is killed, he returns to relive the same day as he struggles to climb out of his predicament. I had a blast watching this film. Is it a great film? No, but it is a fun ride, and Frank Grillo does a masterful job of making us care about his character. How many times can we see a guy die? A lot, and most of it is done with a sense of humor, though that humor can be a little dark. The storyline is fun and sure, has a few holes in it, but it moves so fast, and the action is so incredibly fun that who cares, as long as we keep coming back for the ride. It has a few stars like Mel Gibson, Naomi Watts, and Ken Jeong to spice up the non-action scenes, and I loved the score of the film, including the use of the great Boston song ‘Long Time’ and some really hilarious characters that are out to kill Roy. Like Roy, just accept what is going to happen and try to stay alive long enough to see how it turns out in the end.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Boss Level Info    Now playing on the Hulu platform.

Indiefest: Stray (2020)   This documentary follows three dogs, Zeytin, Nazar, and Kartal, as they struggle for survival on the streets of Istanbul. I love dogs, and I was hesitant to see this film, worried that the dogs in the film would be living lives too tough to watch. Instead, we see just how resilient dogs are, how they find friendship and happiness in the streets as life goes on around them. Shot almost from the dog's point of view, we follow three dogs that are vastly different in their approaches to living on the streets. Zeytin is a strong, independent soul that loves to explore the city at night. Nazar is a friendly dog that finds friends (both dogs and humans) at almost every turn, and Kartal is a puppy who is looked after by security guards. All three dogs have incredible, expressive faces, and yes, you do get attached to each of them, but Istanbul is a different culture and seems to treat these street dogs as just part of living in the city. Watching this film, as we hear conversations the humans carry on around the dogs, you will come away feeling that the dogs live their lives the right way.   My Rating: Full Price    Stray Website    The film is currently playing in select theatres and  is available to rent on participating on-demand services.

Forgotten Film: Real Women Have Curves (2002) PG-13   In East L.A., Ana (America Ferrera) wants more for her life than just settling for what everyone else in her neighborhood has. Ana wants to go to college, but her mother (Lupe Ontiveros) insists that she work in the dress factory until she can find a man and get married. In her first role, America Ferrera is magical as the headstrong Ana who knows who she is and is going to break out of her neighborhood and her family's rule. I love this film, and it is full of real characters, with actual emotions and feelings. It is a film filled with love, laughs, and a young woman who knows what she wants and is sure she knows how to get it. Ana may be going on a different path, but she knows that her family will come around and support her in the end.    My Rating: Full Price    Real Women Have Curves Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Coming 2 America: First Hands

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Last Call (2021) R    Mick (Jeremy Piven) comes back to his old Philly neighborhood and must decide to help raze the area for a new casino or kiss the big opportunity goodbye and resurrect his family’s bar. The cast includes Taryn Manning, Zach McGowan, Jamie Kennedy, and Bruce Dern. I am a big fan of Dern, so I’m in.    Last Call Website

Until Next Time!