Friday, October 29, 2021

Last Night In Soho

My View:  Last Night in Soho (2021) R   Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) is a fashion student in London, living a good life, but she has always dreamed of being alive in the 1960s. Eloise begins dreaming at night about being a glamorous wannabe singer named Sandie (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), living the nightlife in 60s Soho. Be careful what you wish for because Eloise’s dreams are about to become dangerous as she uncovers something ugly. This isn’t your typical Edgar Wright film like fan favorites Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, or Baby Driver. Yes, there is some humor in the film, but this is a horror story full of ghosts, killings, and a young woman who is slowly going insane due to her dreams. I loved the look of this film, and the first portion of this film is fun and magical as Eloise begins to dream about Sandie, who wants to become a pop singer in the swinging section of clubs in Soho. Eloise is captivated by Sandie’s life, as it is everything that Eloise has wanted for herself; to be free and alive in the 60s. Soon, though, that life turns bad as Sandie finds out that the man who has promised her a life of fun and glamor, Jack (Matt Smith), isn’t the man she thought he was. Eloise, through her dreams, life becomes a nightmare as she can’t escape the dreams or the life that Sandie is now trapped in. I loved the first half of this film and the world that Wright has created, giving us what it was like in Soho at that time. There is an incredible sequence when Sandie goes into a club for the first time, with Eloise looking on (and sometimes taking her place). Sandie is made to feel as if the world revolves around her, dancing the night away with a handsome man who promises her he will give her what she desires, as the camera follows both Sandie and Eloise, caught up in the ecstasy of the moment. The film, for me, starts to fall apart as Eloise begins to be haunted by ghosts of the past and starts a quick decline into what may be madness. I had a hard time with every appearance of the ghosts, which seemed to be a weak attempt at horror, and we are given an ending that is easy to figure out with a twist that doesn’t surprise us at all. I wish that Wright had just stayed with the story of Sandie, where the true horror of the story is the evil world that Sandie and Eloise get caught up in. Last Night in Soho is a film is worth seeing for the production values alone and the fact that this is the last role of the late, great Diana Rigg, who plays Eloise’s cranky apartment owner.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Last Night in Soho Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: The French Dispatch (2021) R   Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray) has created an English-language newspaper and assembled a talented group of writers in a French city. From the pages of the paper are told three stories that will amaze and astound you. Not everyone loves filmmaker Wes Anderson, even though he has been nominated seven times for four different films over the years. Anderson’s films are a bit quirky, as seen from one of the first shots of this film, as a narrator (voiced by Anjelica Huston) gives us background on Arthur, we see a waiter prepare a collection of drinks, which keep being added to on a lazy susan, to take up to the offices of Arthur. A long shot of the building from the outside is shown as we see the waiter make his way up many flights, as he keeps popping up in windows or openings as he slowly ascends the building. It’s an amazing shot full of the Anderson humor and whimsy, setting us up for what the film will be like. The film centers around Arthur as the stories told are from his magazine, but Bill Murray fans will be disappointed that he is but an instrument to paste three stories together for us. Surrounding the story of Arthur and his magazine are three stories: a painter (Benicio del Toro) whose muse is his jailer (Lea Seydoux) and his paintings become the hottest things in the art world, a writer (Frances McDormand) who falls for a student (Timothee Chalamet) who lazily leads a student revolution, and food columnist (Jeffery Wright) who turns a story on a prominent chef into a rousing tale of kidnapping and rescue. The film is sometimes light and funny, but at other times, it meanders too much into stories that seem to have too much content for the story they are trying to tell. It’s a mixture of storytelling as we travel back and forth between Arthur trying to get these stories out of his writers and his staff dealing with the aftermath of Arthur’s death. The cast is vast, with big stars such as Edward Norton, Christoph Waltz, and Saoirse Ronan showing up in small parts. The best of the three stories is the first one, with a captivating story of the troubled artist, played by a sometimes growling del Toro, being smitten by his guard, Lea Seydoux, whose deadpan expression throughout the section is terrific to watch. If you love or even just like Wes Anderson’s films, you will want to see this fun film that is so packed with stories and things to look at, it just might get better on a second or third look. If you haven’t liked Anderson’s films in the past, especially his live-action ones, you might want to skip this one.    My Rating: Full Price   The French Dispatch Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Familyfaire: My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission (2021) Japan’s greatest heroes spread out around the world in an attempt to track down an evil mastermind and stop his plan to take over the world with a series of bombs that threaten life on Earth. Before seeing this film, I had never seen any of the My Hero Academia films or series, but I had heard good things about both. I was slightly disappointed by this film, which centers around two characters, Deku, a young, inexperienced hero who wants desperately to become the hero he knows he can be, and Rody, a reckless kid who runs deliveries for a crime organization. The two become partners when they cross paths in a mixup of sorts, and both go on the run together, wrongly accused of killing many people. I liked the animation, especially the action sequences, which are fun and full of super-hero antics. Because I haven’t seen past films, I felt a little lost in the storyline and never connected to Deku or other characters who make up the story's heroes. Young kids, who aren’t invested in the past films, will find the film a bit boring, but fans may enjoy this film about two characters who discover that they have that certain something to become heroes themselves.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   My Hero Academia: World Heroes' Mission Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Army of Thieves (2021)   A small-town bank teller and amateur safecracker, Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer) gets recruited to join a team of thieves on Interpol’s most-wanted list, to heist a sequence of legendary, ‘impossible to crack’ safes owned by a billionaire during the start of a zombie apocalypse. One of the standout characters of Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead film was Dieter, the safecracker that Dave Bautista’s character recruits to break into the vault in the casino in Vegas that is surrounded by zombies. This film is how Dieter came to be, and it’s just as much fun as the original film is. Dieter, called by his real name, Sebastian, is a wannabe safe cracker who toils at a dreary job as a teller at a bank. This film tells us how Dieter evolved into who he is in Army of the Dead, as he becomes involved in a gang put together by master thief Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel). The team consists of hacker Korina (Ruby O.Fee), getaway driver Rolph (Guz Khan), and the ‘action man’ Brad (Stuart Martin). The film follows the gang as they attempt to break into three legendary safes created by a master locks man, who created the safes based on the four 'The Ring of Nibelung’ operas by Richard Wagner. The film gives us great background into what happens in Army of the Dead, as Dieter becomes more confident in his abilities as a safecracker and falls deeper into love with Gwendoline from afar, convinced that someone like her could never fall for a nerd like him. The film has some nice twists and turns, some incredible action sequences, and Matthias Schweighöfer has a blast playing the nerdy safecracker. The film is fast-paced and fun to watch as we root for Dieter to become the master safecracker that we know he will be. Now, if those nasty zombies would just quit showing up in his dreams.   My Rating: Full Price     Army of Thieves Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: The Crickets Dance (2020)   Southern lawyer Angie Lawrence (Kristen Renton) inherits a historic antebellum home. There she discovers a journal written by a girl who lived in the house over 150 years ago. Reading the journal, Angie will find a mystery full of murder and intrigue about the brutal history of the home that she now calls home. This is one of those films whose heart is in the right place but never quite pulls at the heartstrings enough for you to care about the two different stories that are intertwined in the story. The film goes back and forth between the slow-developing love story between Angie and a fellow lawyer, Andrew (Maurice Johnson), and the tale of Emmaline (KateLynn E. Newberry), the wife of an evil plantation owner, whose best friend, is her slave, Ophelia (Jamie Butler). As Angie reads the journals, she becomes more and more involved in the story of Emmaline and what happens to her and the children that she gives birth to. The film slowly provides us with a mystery that comes to a head near the end of the film, with the story giving the two lawyers a shared past. I liked Kristen Renton in the lead role, but she is let down a script that becomes so complex that I had trouble keeping up with what was happening in the past to care what was happening in the present.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    The Crickets Dance Info  Now playing in select theatres and On Demand.

Indiefest: Minyan (2020)   David (Samuel H. Levine) is a 17-year-old Russian Jewish teenager struggling with his faith and sexuality while living with an overbearing mother and an abusive father. Stifled by the constraints of his conservative religious community, David finds solace in his grandfather’s senior housing complex, where he makes friends with two closeted men who open his eyes to all the possibilities that the world has to offer. David is a young man who is more comfortable in the midst of his grandfather and the men who make up his neighbors in his senior living center than David’s classmates or his parents. David is trying to come to terms with being gay in a time of Aids and when gay men still had to meet other men in library restrooms and dark parks. The film follows David as he figures out his place in the world, which is scary and full of heartbreak for someone hiding his sexual preference, desperate for love and acceptance. The film is centered around a masterful performance of Samuel H. Levine, who makes David someone to root for, even when he makes mistakes or picks the wrong men to fall in love with. Minyan is a slow story about a teenager searching for answers and getting more questions in response.    My Rating: Full Price     Minyan Website  Now playing in select theatres and available On Demand.

My View:  Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin  (2021) R  Margot (Emily Bader) goes to Amish country to shoot a documentary about meeting her long-lost relatives in Amish country. Margot wants to know what happened with her mother, who disappeared years ago. Finding out the truth and learning about her mother’s past may cost Margot her life. This film has little to do with the past Paranormal Activity films, and fans of that series will be disappointed in this one, which is being promoted as a reboot. While I would agree, the Amish are just naturally a little creepy, with no electricity and weird hairstyles and clothes; this film has few scares and takes forever to get to anything that resembles horror or suspense. Besides a strange kid sleepwalking and a weird little girl playing with a doll, along with a few bumps in the night, nothing really happens until the last 20 minutes of the film. I couldn’t decide if this was a found footage film (like Blair Witch or the original Paranormal Activity) or it is just a documentary gone wrong (which the plot suggests but never explains how we are looking at the footage now). Not that it matters because this film never delivers the scares or builds any tension that is sorely needed. Instead of watching this film, go back and watch the first Paranormal Activity, a genuinely scary movie, and forget this ripoff in name only.   My Rating: Cable   Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin Info  Now playing on the Paramount+ platform.

Indiefest:  Heart of Champions (2021) PG-13    After finishing last in the national championship, an Ivy-League college rowing team has descended into turmoil. In walks Coach Murphy (Michael Shannon), an Army vet who uses his experience and unconventional coaching methods to transform the rowers by learning what it takes to be a team before they can become champions. This is a likable sports film that is helped by the always brilliant Michael Shannon and a cast of young actors who make the characters seem real and complex. The story isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, as an unlikely group of athletes comes together despite the odds and a troubled young man at the center of it all who learns about life and how to become part of a team from a coach who has a tortured past. Yeah, is the storytelling a bit overblown with some stock characters and an ending that you can see coming from a mile away? You bet, but Michael Shannon can make any story work, and he is believable as a coach that demands attention and will inspire a group of young men to do what they think is impossible.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Heart of Champions Website   Now playing in select theatres.

Forgotten Film: Mysteries of Lisbon (2010)   Joao is the illegitimate child of two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry. Joao goes on a quest to discover who his mother is and why she abandoned him. This is one of those films that critics and film festivals showered awards and praise on, but no one in America saw it because it’s a foreign film and incredibly long (over 4 hours). It’s a fantastic film, full of rich characters, cinematography as lush as the French countryside it takes place in, and a story that takes a while to develop but keeps revealing more and more, with stories within stories. Mysteries of Lisson is a film that you could watch at home and stop a few times (there are a few places that are natural stopping points). Think of Mysteries of Lisbon as more of a miniseries than a long film, and you will be amazed at the storyline and the complexity of life that it delves into.   My Rating: Full Price    Mysteries of Lisbon Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Last Night in Soho: Blood and Body Colorist

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Belfast (2021) PG-13   Buddy (Jude Hill) is a kid growing up in Belfast in the 1960s. He has a loving family and a school that he adores. All that starts falling apart when unrest hits Northern Ireland, pitting neighbors against each other in what becomes an all-out war for control of the area. Buddy’s father (Jamie Dornan) decides that his family is in danger and wants to move his family to Australia, but Buddy’s mother (Caitriona Balfe) wants to stay where her family has roots. This film, directed by Kenneth Branagh, is an early leader for the Academy Award Best Picture and has won 4 awards at film festivals worldwide, including the People’s Choice Award at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.    Belfast Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, October 22, 2021


My View:  Dune  (2021) PG-13   A son of a noble family, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), is destined to become the leader of a planet that contains the most vital element in the galaxy, spice. Paul will face untold horrors, challenges, and sadness as he battles forces for control of a world and a people that have been waiting for their hero for centuries. Frank Herbert’s novel Dune was a life-changing book for me, as it was the first ‘adult’ sci-fi book that I read as a kid, and it blew me away with its story of a young man who is destined to be the savior of a people on a distant planet. I was greatly disappointed in the 1984 David Lynch attempt at putting an over 500-page book into a 2-hour film. I can say that this is a much better attempt at adapting such a sprawling and dense book into a watchable movie. First, go into this film knowing that Dune is part one of a two-part film series and that the film is two hours and thirty-five minutes long (so pack a lunch and go to the bathroom before seeing it). Also, please don’t watch this film at home; watch it, like I did, on the big screen, where the glorious cinematography and the wondrous score by Hans Zimmer can surround and overwhelm you. Timothee Chalamet is an excellent choice for Paul, the man destined to lead, as he is young enough that Paul’s enemies will underestimate him and charismatic enough on the screen to believe that a nation of people suppressed for centuries will rise up and follow him. The cast is impressive, with Oscar Isaac, as the steadfast father of Paul and Josh Brolin as his loyal right-hand man, stand out in their performances. I loved Jason Momoa, as the brash pilot (shades of Hans Solo) who is a hero to the young, impressionable Paul. Momoa has some great action sequences, and his chemistry with Chalamet is warm and genuine. Fans of Dave Bautista and Zendaya may be a little disappointed in this film, as their parts as mostly hinted at on what they will be in the next movie. Overall, the film feels slightly lacking, only because the world that Frank Herbert created in Dune is so complex, and most of the action will take place in the second film. Still, that being said, this is a film spectacle that is one not to be missed on as big a screen as you can find.   My Rating: Full Price    Dune Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide and on the HBO Max platform. 

Indiefest:  The Electrical Life of Louis Wain  (2021)  PG-13  British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch) becomes famous for his paintings of cats, which transform the public’s perception of how we see and deal with our house pets. But Louis, an eccentric man responsible for the care of his five sisters, has bigger ideas brewing; unlocking the ‘electrical’ mysteries of the world. I loved the first half of the film as we get pulled into the world of Louis and his large, strange family. Into the madness of Louis and his five sisters walks Emily (Claire Foy), who is given the task of teaching the younger of Louis’s sisters, much to the unhappiness of Louis’s older sister, Caroline (Andrea Riseborough), who has taken over the role of both mother and father to her sisters and Louis himself. Emily brings life to both the family and Louis himself, and they fall in love, creating a great scandal, where a nobleman like Louis would love and marry a spinster, governess, who is of a lower class. However their happiness is short-lived, as Caroline becomes sick, though Louis discovers his love of cats when on a walk, the couple finds a kitten abandoned in the rain. The second half of the film begins to fail as Louis, having lost Caroline, starts to lose his sanity and slowly delves into madness. The film takes such a dark tone from its first half that it feels like it is two different films, and the pace becomes so slow that it is almost painful to watch Louis slowly descent into a shell of what he once was. The film is based on a real man, who almost single-handedly, through his drawings, made cats more than just something to keep around to catch vermin. Louis captivated his audience with whimsical depictions of cats that inspired a nation to see them as companions, something to love and cherish. I wish I felt the same way about this film, but it left me wanting more.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Electrical Life of Louis Wain Website  Now playing in select theatres and available on the Amazon Prime platform on Nov. 5th.

Indiefest: Becoming Cousteau  (2021) PG-13  Documentary looking at the life of Jacques Cousteau, the explorer and environmentalist who because famous for his sailing vessel, Calypso, his invention of the diving apparatus, the Aqua-Lung, and for his documentaries and TV specials on marine conservation. Cousteau is someone who has been somewhat forgotten. Still, for someone like me, who grew up in the 60s/70s, he was a part of our family, showing up for TV specials that not only entertained but also astonished with its beauty but always with a warning that the beauty of the sea was fragile. The film does a wonderful job of giving us a look at a man who became a symbol of the attempt to save the world from poisoning itself with pollution and the reckless abuse of the sea. The film has a ton of behind-the-scenes footage, some of which has just recently been discovered. The film explores how Cousteau, whose early explorations were funded by oil companies, became aware of how we were destroying the planet and how he became someone who preached about global warming as early as the 80s. The underwater footage alone is worth the price of admission, but Becoming Cousteau's message about a man who made it his mission to save the seas is worth more.    My Rating: Full Price   Becoming Cousteau Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Indiefest:  Mass (2021)  PG-13  Years after an unspeakable tragedy has occurred, two sets of parents (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney, and Ann Dowd) agree to meet to talk privately in an attempt to deal with what happened. The meeting will be a journey of grief, anger, denial, and finally, acceptance by those left behind. I will warn you that if you are a parent, this will be a hard film to watch, as the story is one of a parent’s nightmare; your child has been killed by another in a senseless act of violence. The film mainly takes place in one room with the two couples as they slowly go over what happened to their children and try to understand why. From the start, you feel the rage and hurt from Martha Plimpton, who is bubbling over with her feelings, wanting to point fingers at the other couple, especially at Ann Dowd, who plays the mother of the kid who pulled the trigger. The contrast between the two couples is stark and makes for some of the tension in the film, as the parents of the kid who died in the shooting are looking for answers, and the parents of the kid who did the shooting, really don’t have them. The tension in the film ebbs and flows between the two couples as the film goes along, and we see that both sides have been hurt to the core. This is a film that is hard to watch due to the subject matter, but the performances are so real, raw, and emotional that you can’t look away. As the mother of the kid who pulled the trigger, Ann Dowd is exceptional in the role of a woman who loved her child and is as shocked and guilty as a person can be, all the while looking for some way to find forgiveness. Mass is a powerful film with four outstanding performances that will shake you to the core.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Mass Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Indiefest: Found (2021) PG   Three American teenage girls, each adopted from China, discover that they are blood-related cousins through the 23andMe website. Their meeting inspires them to confront the burning questions of their shared past and lost history. Found is a fascinating and lovely story of three young women who are looking for answers. All three girls were adopted from China, probably abandoned by the parents due to the ‘one child’ rule that China had for many years that heavily punished families for having more than one child. The three girls were adopted by Americans, and all three have grown up in loving homes and are doing well. But there is that lingering wonderment that the girls have; why were they given up, and who are their natural parents. All the girls wonder; do their birth parents regret what they did, and do they ever think of them. This is a touching film about trying to find out these questions and how much the girls want to know. The film follows the girls as they discover that they aren’t alone in being adopted and finding solace in the fact that they have cousins of roughly the same age and from simular circumstances. Found is a film that is filled with not only hurt feelings, regret and guilt but also love. The love of family, of not just the ones that are related to you but also the family that chooses you.    My Rating: Full Price    Found Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest:  Ouija Japan  (2021)   Karen (Ariel Sekiya) is an American housewife living in Japan and desperate to fit in with her Japanese community. She joins other homemakers to play the Kokkuri-san (the Japanese Ouija board), and they unwittingly disrespect a local deity, which starts a game that will pit each housewife against each other in a battle that can only have one winner. This is one of those films that deserves to be seen at a small film festival as a midnight horror showing. There, an audience could have fun with it and enjoy it for what it is, a fun, somewhat amateurish version of a horror film. The film, while unlike a lot of small movies, does have some good qualities, with excellent sound and cinematography. But, it’s hard to overlook the somewhat clumsy dialogue, a plot that seems to forget how many people are in the group, and acting that is sometimes painful to watch. The film does combine two aspects that show up in a lot of Japanese horror films; the love of Ouija boards and the battle royal and I had fun watching this film move along, but it needed a stronger cast and a few re-writes of the script to make it more than just a nice film to see at a midnight screening.   My Rating: Cable    Ouija Japan Info  Now playing On Demand.

Indiefest: Bergman Island (2021) Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth) are an American filmmaking couple who move to Swedish island to each write screenplays. They hope to be inspired by the landscape where famed filmmaker Ingmar Bergman created some of his best works. The couple soon finds out that the lines between reality and fiction have become blurred. This is an interesting film that doesn’t always work. More of a slice of life film combined with a bit of mystery (is the film within the film real or a figment of Chris’s imagination?) than a full-fledged narrative, the film explores the dynamics of a couple whose writing process is exposed to us, while the couple explores the life and meaning of a famous filmmaker. I have never been a fan of Bergman’s films, but I know that his films mean a great deal to his fans and critics worldwide. The film explores what goes into the creative writing process, as the two writers talk about their work, though Chris is more forthcoming about her work than her husband is. The film is a bit frustrating, much like some of Bergman’s films, in that we never get a resolution; we are left with the couple continuing to work and live on the island, and what tensions that have been created, aren’t truly resolved.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Bergman Island Website  Now playing in select theatres and On Demand.

Familyfaire:  Ron’s Gone Wrong (2021) PG   Barney (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer) is an awkward middle-schooler who just wants to fit in. He is given a Bot, a new walking, talking, digitally connected device meant to be your best friend. The problem is right from the start, Barney’s Bot, named Ron (voiced Zack Galifianakis), is defective. Can Ron and Barney still be friends? This is a fun film that tries too hard to carry the message of self-worth via the internet is bad. I liked the relationship between Barney, a kid who doesn’t fit in with anyone at school and just want’s to be a part of the crowd. He sees his salvation in a Bot, but it turns out the Bot he is given has a lot of problems, making it and Barney not fit into the rest of the kids. Barney learns that friendship is imperfect that not fitting in isn’t a bad thing. I don’t know if there is enough action for really small kids to get into, but I think most kids will enjoy the story and the silly antics of Ron.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee      Ron's Gone Wrong Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Forgotten Film: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains (1982) R   Corrine Burns (Diane Lane) is still recovering from her mother's death when she is fired from her job on live TV. Using the publicity from that event, she and her band, The Fabulous Stains, get hired to open for a tour of a washed-up glam-rock group and an up-and-coming British punk band. Soon, through outlandish outfits and attitude, the Fabulous Stains become the headliner, but fame can be hard to handle, and Corrine learns that love and fame can be fleeting. Seeing both Diane Lane and Laura Dern as teenagers is worth watching this film alone, but it’s the performance of Ray Winstone, as the leader of the punk band who falls for Corrine, that makes this film worth watching. Plus, the song that his band plays is a darn good punk song, and the best of all the songs are in this film. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains isn’t a great film, but it’s fun watching Lane as the lead singer of a band that shouldn’t be out on the road, much less headlining.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Dune: Sandwalk coordinator

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Last Night in Soho (2021) R  Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) is a fashion student in London, living a good life, but she has always dreamed of being alive in the 1960s. Eloise begins dreaming at night about a glamorous wannabe singer named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), living the nightlife in 60s Soho. Be careful what you wish for because Eloise’s dreams are about to become dangerous as she uncovers something ugly. I am a big fan of Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead), so I can’t wait to see this film. Add in the fact that Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit), Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit), and Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones, The Avengers), and it makes it one not to miss.   Last Night in Soho Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, October 15, 2021

Halloween Kills

My View:   Halloween Kills  (2021) R  Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) thought she had finally killed Michael Myers, but she soon discovers that Michael is back and heading home. What I loved about the 2018 Halloween film was that while the body count was much higher and the death’s much bloodier, the film captured the essence of the first film, and we had our hero in Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis), who had been waiting for the day when Michael returned. I can’t say the same for this film. This is schlocky horror porn at its worst, with each killing giving us a close-up of the blood and gore. The film contains a horrible storyline that is patched together to showcase one gruesome death after another with no point or meaning to add to the story. The film tries to piece a patchwork tale of mob violence (maybe pointing back to the Jan. 6th takeover of the capital?) and attempts at redemption, but the film is so poorly made with what seems to be almost no effort to tie this film in with the Halloween storyline other than having a bunch of the original cast make appearances in this film to die one at a time. Fans of the series will be greatly disappointed, and Laurie is merely window dressing for this film, adding nothing to the story, just giving us a bridge from the 2018 film to this mess. With an ending that promises a sequel in the worst way, this film is a horrible excuse for a horror film, much less for a classic series that had a fantastic comeback in 2018. Go back and watch the first two Halloween films and the 2018 film and forget that this was ever a movie.    My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again     Halloween Kills Website  The film is playing in theaters nationwide and on the Peacock platform.

My View:  The Last Duel     (2021)  R  In 1386, Marguerite di Carrouges (Jodie Comer) claims that she has been raped by her husband’s best friend, squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver). King Charles VI (Alex Lawther) declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) can settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a trial by combat, a duel that would be the last legally sanctioned duel in France’s history. The story is told from three different perspectives; Jean de Carrouge's, Jacques Le Gris’s, and from the subject of the rape, the Lady Marguerite. When watching this film, I kept thinking about a similar plot device that the great Japanese filmmaker used in the classic film Rashomon (1950), on how a story can change from one person telling it to another. Your feelings about the characters change as the story, and the perspectives change. It helps that you have a contrast between the two knights involved. Driver’s character, Jacques Le Gris, is good-looking, intelligent, and charismatic, all of which make his character seems like the hero of the story early on. In contrast, is Jean de Carrouges, Matt Damon’s character, a man who is bull-headed, rough, slightly dull-witted, and someone who we see is not quite the love match would we would make for the fetching Marguerite. All this makes for a film that has quite to say about how we see our heroes and how quickly we judge people from appearances. Add in the fact that this is a story about the rape of a woman who is seen as not an equal of the men in the tale but is considered property of the male who marries her. I thought the two male leads were perfect in their roles, with Damon adding on the pounds and the scars (along with a horrible mullet haircut) to make his character unappealing. Driver uses all his flair and charisma to make his character seem too good to be true and the envy of other knights. Jodie Comer is what makes this film work, giving us a character that keeps us guessing on just who she is or how she feels until we see her story from her perspective. It’s a magical performance that gives this film life and one where even with Damon and Driver on the screen, you still focus on her. I did have a bit of trouble with the casting of Ben Affleck as Count Piere d’Alencon, a flashy noble who, from the start of the film, despises Jean de Carrouges and adores Jacques Le Gris and his winning ways. With his bright blonde dye job and his almost mugging for the camera, I was very aware that this was Ben Affleck playing a part in a film and not being able to see him as the character himself. I think the film would have been better served with someone not as notable or commanding in the role. Nevertheless, I still believe this is a film worthy of praise, telling a story in a way that made it compelling until its end.    My Rating: Full Price    The Last Duel Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide. 

Indiefest:  Needle in the Timestack    (2021)  R   Nick and Janine (Leslie Odom, Jr. and Cynthia Erivo) are married and in love, a love that will always last. That is until Janine’s ex-husband (Orlando Bloom) uses a time warp to try to tear them apart. Nick's memories of his wife will soon disappear, and he must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice to hold on to or let go of the one he loves. This is a film that creates a premise that if you have only one true love during your lifetime, will you find that true love even if everything, including time, has set up roadblocks to keep you from it. Unfortunately, I was let down by the film, which never did give me the emotional connection that I needed to the characters to care if the two lovers ever found their way back to each other. The film spends quite a bit of time setting up the premise of that in the near future (we know this because of the cool, slightly futuristic phones that everyone uses), time travel is possible, but at a cost, it creates a ripple where pieces of the past, memories, can vanish in an instant. The film wants us to believe that the love between Nick and Janine is so strong, even if their memories of each other have been erased, the two will still, somehow, and someway find each other. The film spends too much time and effort on Nick, a man that I ended up not liking very much, and that’s a problem when the film want’s you to root for him. I would have liked the film to have given us more of both sides of the story, but instead, we only get Nick’s journey and not Janine’s, much to the detriment of a storyline that takes too long to move along and doesn’t give us enough to care if the lovers ever get back together.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Needle in a Timestack Website  Now playing in select theatres and available On Demand.

Indiefest:  The Velvet Underground   (2021)  R  Documentary about the legendary rock band The Velvet Underground. The band, founded in 1964, was led by singer/guitarist Lou Reed and comprised of John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker, and film star Nico. They were a part of the Andy Warhol scene in NYC until it all started to fall apart. While not a huge commercial success during their existence, they are now recognized as one of the most influential bands in the rock scene and groundbreaking muscians that had a lasting effect on the music world. I have never been a fan of The Velvet Underground, finding their music a little too out there for my tastes, but I do understand how much they influenced other musicians, especially those in the punk and new wave scenes of the 70s and 80s. The film gives us a very detailed history of the band, focusing mainly on the two leaders of the band, Lou Reed and John Cale. Intertwined with the band was Andy Warhol, an artist who became the center of the modern art world in New York City and was able to hold onto the world’s attention until his death in the late 80s. The film uses that Warhol influence in its storytelling of the band, taking film that Warhol shot of the band to make up a central part of the film’s story about the band. It’s a visually stunning film using the techniques of the Warhol bag of tricks to make us understand and experience the music scene of the band. The film creatively uses both past interviews and current ones to create a tale of a band that was ever-changing, just as was the music scene of the 60s was. The Velvet Underground is one of the most creative documentaries that I have ever seen, perfectly capturing a time and place which created a band and its music, a music which is still influencing long after most of its creators have gone.   My Rating: Full Price    The Velvet Underground Info  Now playing in select theatres and streaming on the Apple TV+ platform.

Indiefest:   Hard Luck Love Song  (2020)  R  Jessie (Michael Dorman) is a down-and-out Troubadour who now makes his living hustling pool in dive bars and living in seedy motels. He has a chance encounter with an old flame, Carla (Sophia Bush), but before long, their shared past and current troubles catch up with them. This is one of those films that could have used a 2nd or third re-write, as there is too much filler (lots of time spent with Jessie singing to himself or to/with Carla) and not enough character building to make this film drag, sometimes for what seems like forever. We soon discover that Jessie, while at times is a good guy (we know this because he shares his good fortune with a homeless guy) but is also a hustler, a master at getting people to fall for his bait and switch pool hallways. In walks Carla, a flame from Jessie’s past, a past that Jessie blew up due to his hustler way of life. The scenes between Carla and Jessie are almost painful to watch, as their flirting takes forever to move the story along, and their eventual blowup takes such a quick turn that I got whiplash from the abrupt storyline change. By the end of Hard Luck Love Song, I was tired of Jessie and his songs,  much like a song on the radio that has been played one too many times.   My Rating: Cable   Hard Luck Love Song Website  Now playing in select theatres

My View:  The Rescue  (2021)  PG   Documentary on an incredible story that transfixed the world: the attempted rescue of a group of twelve boys and their coach stuck deep inside a cave in Northern Thailand, a recovery that would defy the odds. This is one of those true stories that if you saw it as a fictional film, you wouldn’t have believed it, that it was too unbelievable and not based in reality to be real, but this happened, and the story is told by the people who carried out this remarkable rescue. The incident became one of those stories that captivated a world, a group of boys, out on a fun outing, get trapped in a cave due to fast-rising water filling a cave system due to torrential rains that came earlier than expected. The film does a fantastic job of building the story, as there seems to be little hope that the boys and their coach will survive such a long time in the cave, and that’s even if the rescue teams can even find them through the miles of caverns which make of the cave system they are stuck in. In come two of the most unlikely heroes of any story ever told, two English mid-fifties amateur cave divers that, through incredible guts, courage, and a little luck, pull off a rescue that you will not believe is true. I will warn you that some of the footage is reconstructed (primarily due to the incredibly rough conditions that the divers had to travel in, camera equipment was the least of their worries), but that reconstruction was done with all the participates in the rescue. The Rescue is an outstanding documentary that has as many twists and turns in its story as the best Hollywood film, but it’s all real, which makes it one taut and remarkable story that will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end and keep the tissues handy. You will need them more than once.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    The Rescue Website  Now playing in select theatres and soon on the National Geographic channel.

Indiefest:  Wife of a Spy  (2020)  Yusaku (Issey Takahashi) and Satoko (Yû Aoi) are a happily married couple living in 1940 Japan. Yusaku, a local merchant and amateur filmmaker, takes a trip to Manchuria, where he witnesses something horrible and comes back a changed man, determined to right the wrong he saw. Now his wife is being torn between the love of her husband and her country. Filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa is best known for his work in thrillers, crime films, and horror. Kurosawa uses his skills as a filmmaker to make suspense out of both big and small moments. This film about a silk merchant's wife slowly masterfully builds the film's suspense, making those small moments feel significant incredibly important. The cinematography of this film is lush and creates the right feel for a country on the brink of a world war. Yusaku, played with a calm reserve by Issey Takahashi, is a gifted amateur filmmaker, making short films staring his wife to the delight of his friends and employees. His wife is happily married and loves the life they lead. All comes crashing down when Satoko discovers that her husband is involved with something that will endanger not only their life together but the lives of others. The film does a masterful job of building the suspense as it pits Satoko in the horrible choice of choosing between the love of her country and the love of her husband. Wife of a Spy takes a while to develop, but it’s worth the wait.    My Rating; Full Price   Wife of a Spy Website  Now playing in select theatres and on virtual cinemas.

Indiefest:  Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini   (2019)   Documentary about one of the greatest special effects technician who worked in a time when effects were done without CGI. While in college, a magazine started up called Fangoria, a magazine about horror and sci-fi films and the people who made them. At that same time, a master of special effects was making a name for himself, Tom Savini, whose work on films such as Dawn of the Dead and Friday the 13th started the rise of horror films that astounded and delighted fans with their special effects and makeup. I have always loved horror films and thoroughly enjoyed the masters of makeup like Dick Smith (The Exorcist, Altered States) and Savini, who took gruesome deaths on the screen to a new art form. This documentary is best seen as a fan film, as it is a little rough around the edges (some of the production pieces are a little amateurish) and is a little slow to start up as we get a lot of Savini’s childhood and younger life before films. For horror fans of cinema of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, the film's second half is a treasure trove of information and stories from a time when special effects meant physical work with pulleys, lots of makeup, and even more fake blood. If you ever wanted to know how special effects were done on those great, blood-soaked horror films of the 70s and 80s, this is a good primer, much like the glory days of Fangoria magazine.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Smoke and Mirrors Info  Now in select theaters and available On Demand

Forgotten Film:  Nixon  (1995)  R   The story of former U.S. President Richard Nixon (Anthony Hopkins), from his days as a young congressman struggling to find a voice (and finding it as an anti-communist), his turbulent rise to power as a Vice-President overshadowed by a legend and then his rise and fall as President of the United States, the one thing he wanted most and had to leave in scandal and shame. I am not a huge fan of Oliver Stone. I just never have quite connected with Stone’s heavy-handed filmmaking. Stone isn’t the reason to see this film, nor is it Hopkins as the iconic Nixon. No, it's Joan Allen’s portrayal as Pat Nixon, the long-suffering wife of Richard. Allen gives a complex, moving performance of a woman that few knew much about, as Pat was always seen as the supporting, loving wife in the background. Allen gives us such an incredible I wish the film had been centered around Pat instead of Richard Nixon.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Nixon Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Last Duel: Castle Cleaning Service

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: The Harder They Fall   (2021) R  When outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) finds out that his mortal enemy Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) has been broken out of a jail transport by Trudy Smith (Regina King), Nat rounds up his gang to track Rufus down and seek revenge for a killing that Rufus did long ago. Written and directed by Jaymes Samuel (They Die by Dawn) and includes a cast with Zazie Beetz, LaKeith Stanfield, Edi Gathegi, and Delroy Lindo, this will be a different kind of western, and I am down for that.    The Harder They Fall Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, October 8, 2021

No Time to Die

My View:  No Time To Die  (2021)  PG-13   The impossible has happened. James Bond (Daniel Craig) has retired and is living the good life until his friend, CIA agent Felix (Jeffrey Wright), shows up and tells Bond that there is a new enemy out there, and he has a dangerous new technology that could assassinate anyone without a bullet or killing anyone else. When Daniel Craig first came out of the ocean in Casino Royale, we knew we had a different style of James Bond to enjoy. It’s been a fun ride with only Quantum of Solace being somewhat of a letdown (though, unlike most Bond films, this one gets points as being a straight-on sequel to the first Craig film). This will be the last Craig Bond film. Sorry, Daniel Craig fans, but I just don’t see him doing a cash grab as Mr. Connery did with Never Say Never Again, but know this, this is an excellent sendoff of Craig’s Bond, and it’s worthy of the actor who played him. This is a bit of a different Bond, as he sets off to help his old friend Felix, making Bond a rogue agent since he is no longer designated 007 in the British system of spies. The film is somewhat long (pack a lunch for its two hours and forty-three minutes long), and some of the plot is a bit bewildering, but it’s still lots of fun, with some great chase sequences (one of which took my breath away), lots of great Bond quips, and I really enjoyed the ending. Also, Ana de Armas, who plays a new agent who helps Bond in Cuba, hits it out of the park again (just like she did in Knives Out), giving the film a much-needed bit of fun and energy. I would love to see a spin-off of her character doing Bond-like things with her own special magic applied. Rami Malek’s bad guy is pretty creepy though his timeline is a bit sketchy. I’m guessing they had the script written, and then Malek’s agent called up and said, ‘Rami has always dreamed of being a Bond villain.’ and the producers said, ‘We’ll make it work.’ There is a new British agent in town, Nomi, played by Lashana Lynch, who is just as cool and graceful in killing as Bond is, and the rest of the gang (Q, M, Moneypenny) are back, along with Bond’s love from the Spectre film, Madeleine (Lea Seydoux). Do you need to see this in a theatre-like I did? Yeah, I think you do because the car chases are fantastic, needing to be seen on the big screen for the full impact, and yes, Mr. Craig takes his shirt off a few times. Plus, do you want to say your good-byes to Craig’s Bond anywhere else?   My Rating: Full Price     No Time to Die Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide and On Demand.

Indiefest:  Lamb  (2021)  R   A childless couple, Maria and Ingvar (Noomi Rapace, Hilmir Snær Guðnason) discover a mysterious newborn on their farm in Iceland. This new edition brings them happiness, but then things start going horribly wrong. First, if you haven’t seen the trailer, then stay far from it before seeing this film as it gives too much away (note to trailer makers: quit giving away major plot points in your trailer, let the movie do that). I am a huge fan of Swedish actress Noomi Rapace since she played Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo film series (watch this series instead of the horrible American version of the first film that starred Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig). This is a strange and weird film about a childless couple who are just going through the motions of being a couple until a miracle appears at their farm. Now, this is not a film for everyone. Think of it as an old-fashioned fairy tale of a movie, which is perfect for the setting of a remote farm in the harsh world of Iceland. This film is filled with a lot of moral tales; jealousy, betrayal, and what people will do to find happiness. I didn’t have a problem with suspending my concept of reality, but some of you will find this tale a bit too silly to enjoy the film. I did not see this film in a theatre and therefore, I can only imagine that some people will react differently to this film. I enjoyed the film, with its sense of gloom and doom that keeps building throughout the film, and the two leads of Rapace and Guðnason give us incredible performances to keep the story interesting. Just keep in mind from the beginning of the film, this is a fairy tale, and you will be fine.   My Rating: Full Price    Lamb Website  Now playing in select theatres.

My View: Madres  (2021)   Anita and Beto (Ariana Guerra, Tenoch Huerta) are expecting their first child and have relocated to a migrant farming community in 70s California. Soon, Anita begins to have strange symptoms and terrifying visions that may be related to a legendary curse. Part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse series of films on Amazon Prime, this film is more of a suspense film than a horror film. There are a few scary parts in the movie, but most of the film builds on the suspense of Anita, who is being visited by a being that is trying to communicate with her. Combined with a community that Anita soon realizes has almost no children and a creepy local woman who just might be a curandero (played by Elpidia Carrillo), Anita starts to realize that something is not right. There is a legend whispered about that the women in the area are cursed, and Anita soon starts to believe that something evil is going on. Buoyed by solid performances by newcomer Ariana Guerra and Tenoch Huerta, as the married couple, the film creates an interesting and complex storyline of LA born and raised Anita (who though Hispanic, speaks very little Spanish), a former journalist fired because she got pregnant (happened more than you would think in the 60s and 70s) and her husband, Beto, a Mexican native who has his big chance to run a farm after only five years in this country. The film's tension is not only created by the creepy things going on in the community but between Beto and Anita, as she keeps digging on a story that might prove that farmers in the area may be using dangerous pesticides. Overall, Madres is enjoyable, though horror fans will be a little disappointed by the limited amount of scares that the film supplies, but tension abounds in this film that makes it a great part of the Blumhouse series.   My Rating: Full Price    Madres Website  Now playing on the Amazon Prime platform.

My View:   The Manor   (2021)   After suffering a stroke, Judith (Barbara Hershey) decides that she doesn’t want to be a burden for her family and moves into a historic nursing-home. At first, things seem lovely, but then Judith starts to experience horrible visions at night. Is it the start of dementia, or is this nursing home housing something horrific that Judith will only escape from if she dies? The Manor is the most disappointing of the Welcome to the Blumhouse films released on the Amazon Prime format. I had high hopes for this film because of Barbara Hershey, an Academy-Award nominee (The Portrait of a Lady) who is in one of my favorite films of all time, the 1980 film The Stunt Man, starring Peter O’Toole. Hershey has fun in this role, as a former ballerina who has given up teaching due to being diagnosed with not only the after-effects of a stroke but also possible dementia. Hershey’s Judith isn’t your ordinary nursing-home resident, having a foul mouth and a fiery spirit; she is a woman that doesn’t give up her freedom easily and very quickly realizes that not everything is well in this home. Unfortunately, the scares are few, badly undertaken, and the plot is right out of a bad 70s TV movie. The ending is laughable and so quick to happen that you are left going ‘wait, what just happened?’, leaving me disappointed and wanting a do-over worth seeing what Hersey could do with a real, solid role.    My Rating; Cable    The Manor Website  Now playing on the Amazon Prime platform.

My View:  Justin Bieber: Our World   (2021) PG   Documentary that follows Justin Bieber as he prepares for his first full concert in three years, a New Year’s Eve show in 2020 on the rooftop of the Beverly Hills Hilton. Justin Bieber is one of the world's biggest pop stars with a ton of number one hits and record-breaking concert tours. He is also someone whose life has been followed by the media since his first hit many years ago. Now 27 and a husband, with this film, he hopes to give us a new Justin, one who has learned from his past mistakes and wants to show the world that after three years, he still has the chops to put on a great concert. The film is interesting in the fact that it was made during the height of the COVID crisis in LA, and the filmmakers make it one of the big points of the film, with constant referrals to COVID testing and how the concert is set up so that the audience will only be on the balconies of the hotel and not up close. I found troubling that even when Justin’s right-hand man, Nick Demoura, is diagnosed with coronavirus (and quarantined for two weeks), Justin rarely wears a mask, even when dealing closely with the dancers and band. It’s as if Justin’s ego told him he is too important to get COVID or maybe he just can’t stand to be seen with a mask on his face. The film does a countdown to the concert, showing us the preparation to put on the concert by constructing a stage on top of a building in the hotel's courtyard, one of the main focuses of the behind-the-scenes parts of the film. Are you going to learn anything about Justin with his up close and personal videos that he films as he and his new wife walk around the hills of Hollywood? No, as everything seems very controlled and part of a pr push to make Justin a new man who, due to his marriage, is committed to making his life about something (we never really know what). The fact that Justin and his wife walk around without the paparazzi taking pictures tells you a lot of just how isolated Justin is from the world. The concert footage may disappoint major fans of Justin as it is a re-editing of a live concert that he did that was broadcast over the internet (T-Mobile ads are part of the scenery of the concert, including their distinctive fuchsia color scheme that T-Mobile has lit of the hotel itself). The concert is full of his hits, and the stage show is fantastic, with pyrotechnics, lasers, and a beautiful drone light show. It shows you why Justin is such a draw as a performer, but like many concert films of late, this one will only let you see Justin as they want you to see Justin, a man changed due to marriage. We may never get the real Justin but will have to enjoy the performance on the stage as a substitute.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee     Justin Bieber: Our World Website  Now playing exclusively on the Amazon Prime platform.

Indiefest: Knocking (2021)   After suffering a traumatic incident, Molly (Cecilia Milocco) moves into a new apartment, ready to start on her path to recovery. Soon after her arrival, Molly begins to hear knocking and then screams that keep waking her up at night. As they start to intensify, she realizes that no one else in the building hears these horrible sounds and that she is on her own. I thought this was a well-done film that you question throughout the movie if Molly really hears the sounds, or if they are a part of her mental breakdown. The film builds the tension as we winch every time Molly tries to investigate the noises, as we put ourselves in the place of the apartment dwellers that have to deal with her and her wild accusations. The film keeps building the suspense as we see Molly lose sleep and possibly quit taking her medications as the knocking get more intense and finally goes into someone moaning and muttering that they are going to be killed. Knocking is a film where you constantly question the heroine's sanity in the movie, never knowing if our rooting for this woman is based on fact or fiction.   My Rating: Full Price   Knocking Website  Now playing in select theatres and On Demand.

Indiefest: Jacinta   (2020)   This documentary follows the life of Jacinta, who at the start of the film is incarcerated in a prison that also houses her mother, Rosemary, both of which are recovering from drug addiction. The film follows Jacinta as she tries to break the cycle of addiction and become the mother of her child, Caylynn, that she desperately needed but didn’t get when she was growing up. To say this is not an easy film to watch is an understatement. Given incredible access to Jacinta’s life, we follow her from her time in prison, where she is incarcerated with her mother (who is there on a much serious and longer sentence). Right from the start, we see the hold that her mother has on Jacinta, one that Jacinta knows is wrong, as her mother is her role model for her, to share their addiction to drugs together and the consequences that follow that addition. Jacinta has a daughter, who she has given up custody of. Her daughter is someone that Jacinta rarely sees, but we see that the hold Jacinta’s mother has on her is the same bond that Jacinta has on her daughter. Soon, shockingly so, Jacinta is back to doing drugs (we see her shoot up many times, including in a car with a friend just after she has shoplifted a computer) and getting into trouble. Jacinta is a tough film to watch, as Jacinta is a troubled soul, one who was damaged early on by her mother, and Jacinta doesn’t see a future for herself, other than the one that her mother has lived, going from drugs to prison and back again to drugs. There is a slight glitter of hope in Jacinta’s life, her daughter, who knows her mother is a flawed person that she can only be around in small bits. This is a film that has very little hope, but there are glimpses of that hope in Jacinta’s daughter and her father, both of which hope against hope that Jacinta will pull her life together. Jacinta is a film about addiction and family and how one follows the other through a rabbit hole that is hard to climb out of.   My Rating: Full Price    Jacinta Website  Now playing in select theatres and on the Hulu platform.

Forgotten Film: The Man in the Moon  (1991)  PG-13  Dani (Reese Witherspoon) is a young girl growing up in the 50s with an older sister (Emily Warfield) going off to college, a mother (Tess Harper) who is pregnant, and a father (Sam Watterston) who is strict. Dani’s life changes when Court (Jason London) moves in next door, and Dani develops a huge crush on him. After spending some time together, Dani gets her first kiss from Court, and she thinks the world is a beautiful place until Court sees Dani’s sister and sets his sights on her instead. This is a marvelous performance by Witherspoon, full of life and wonder, who gives us a Dani we can all get behind and root for. The cast is outstanding, and the storyline is sweet and fulfilling. You can see why Reese went on to become the star that she is today in this film.   My Rating: Full Price       The Man in the Moon Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of No Time to Die:  Bike Ramp Team

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You:   Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time (2021) Documentary about writer Kurt Vonnegut, made by Robert B. Weide, who documented their friendship over 25 years. Vonnegut is one of my favorite writers, and a fascinating character that I hope this film does justice to.     Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time Website

Until Next Time!