Friday, December 31, 2021

The Tragedy of Macbeth

My View:  The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)   A Scottish lord (Denzel Washington) is convinced that he will be King after being visited by a trio of witches. His ambitious wife (Frances McDormand) eggs him on, and Macbeth’s act of seizing power will lead to madness and death. As a kid growing up in the theatre, I have seen a lot of Shakespeare both on the stage and on the screen, and I can say that this is one of the most beautiful and thrilling productions I have ever seen. At times the film feels like you are front row of a stage production, with its minimalist sets and stark lighting, but then Denzel and Frances fill your screen with performances that jump out at you and grab you by the throat, and you realize you are witnessing brilliance and unmatched artistry. Directed by Joel Cohen, the film is shot in beautiful black and white, making the film feel like an instant classic while using all the tricks of current cinema to make the film flow effortlessly. One of the things I loved about this film is the interpretations of the Lord and Lady Macbeth. Washington’s Macbeth is a man who is weary of living in the shadows, and his lust for power drives him into madness, a madness that he seems to have no control over. McDormand’s Lady Macbeth is different altogether, a woman who plots and schemes, knowing full what she is asking her husband to do and damn the consequences. The supporting cast is flawless, with Brendan Gleeson playing King Duncan, a man loved by his men, making his murder that much more powerful, and Kathryn Hunter playing all three of the ‘weird sisters,’ the witches that foretell what will come. Add in a much-needed bit of comic relief by Steven Root, and the film is filled with performances that will thrill and marvel you. So sit back and watch with wonder and amazement a story that still has the power to thrill you to the core.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    The Tragedy of Macbeth Website  Now playing in select theatres and available on the Apple TV+ platform on Jan. 14th.

My View:  Passing  (2021) PG-13   Irene (Tessa Thompson) seems to have everything she has wanted. She lives in a nice house in a prosperous section of Harlem, with her two sons and her husband, Brian (Andre Holland), a successful doctor. But Irene isn’t happy, and this is brought out by a chance meeting with Clare (Ruth Negga), someone she was once friends with in high school. Clare is living a secret life; she is living as a white person, married to a racist (Alexander Skarsgard) who is clueless to Clare’s real identity. When we first meet Irene, she travels around shopping in New York due to her light skin, but the difference is Irene does it as a necessary way to go to shops that wouldn’t let her in if they knew her race. Passing is a story of two women who are not comfortable in the lives that they have created for themselves. Beautifully shot in black and white, we follow the two women as they become close, but there is always a barrier between the two, with Irene wanting what Clare has and Clare wanting to disappear into the life of Harlem. The film centers on Irene’s life, as she deals with a husband who wants to move to a foreign country, where he feels he can be free of living in a society that allows blacks to be hung for looking at a white person the wrong way. While the film centers on Irene, it's the performance of Ruth Negga that makes this film worth watching. Negga gives a mesmerizing performance of a woman who lives a life full of lies but is willing to lose everything for a friendship that she desperately wants and needs.   My Rating: Full Price Passing Website   Now playing in select theatres and on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest:  Storm Lake (2021)   Documentary about Art Cullen, who with his family and friends put out a twice-weekly paper, the Storm Lake Times, in a small town in Iowa. Shot during a time when small-town newspapers are dying at an incredible pace, this tiny newspaper tries to continue to serve its community and be a voice for the farmer and for democracy. I grew up with a father who, on a typical day, would read three or four newspapers in a day, so I have always loved local newspapers, the smaller, the better. I often would ask friends traveling the country to bring me back a newspaper from their hometown, loving to read about the latest news about store openings, bar-b-cues, and the always happening beauty pageant or talent show. We follow Art, who writes an opinion piece for each issue, his wife, who is in charge of local events, things she calls the ‘happy news,’ and Art’s son, who covers local politics. It’s a fascinating world of a paper that is holding on by a thread to keep going, even when the paper wins the Pulitzer Prize (which, by the way, hurt the paper locally). I loved this look at everyday life in a small town, where a store owner agonizes over running two ads or one, pondering if the extra 50 dollars will pay off in sales. The film is helped by the Democratic Iowa caucus, which meant that a lot of important politicians visited Storm Lake to try and propel their campaigns (Pete Buttigieg comes off the best of the parade of wannabe presidents). So pull up a chair and sit down to watch a small staff work their butts off to put out the best paper they possibly can while still covering that baby pig in a diaper visiting an elementary school.    My Rating: Full Price  Storm Lake Website  Now available on demand including for rent/purchase on the Amazon Prime platform.

My View:  Mother/Android (2021)   Georgia (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Sam (Algee Smith) should be happy as they are about to have a baby. The problem is the world has changed overnight as the androids built to serve mankind have turned on the human population. Now Georgian and Sam must go on a treacherous journey through the No-Man’s Land, a stronghold of the android uprising, in order for their baby to be born in safety. I liked the beginning of the story on how the android revolt started, but the film takes forever to get to any action sequences, and we spend a lot of time with Georgia and Sam talking to each other about baby names and how to get to Boston. The twist is something that you see from a mile away, and the film never delivers the punch to the gut that it desperately wants you to feel. Except for some nice chemistry between the two leads, this is a pretty bland attempt of an end of the world plot.   My Rating: Cable    Mother/Android Website  Now available on the Hulu platform.

Forgotten Film: Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold  (2017)   Joan Didion was a fantastic writer, someone who could go from writing a screenplay to a novel to a series of essays without breaking a sweat, and all were interesting and sometimes brilliant. All the while, she was married to another brilliant writer. John Gregory Dunne, as they edited each other’s work. This documentary is directed by the actor Griffin Dunne, who happens to be Didion’s nephew. He uses his connection and affection for Joan to get her to open up, sometimes shockingly frank, about her life. Didion was destined to be a writer, given a journal by her mother at age five, and she never stopped writing, giving us some of the most moving and amazing work, mainly dealing with what she experienced in her life. This is a fascinating documentary about a woman who just recently passed, a woman who wrote like her life depended on it. The documentary gives us a glimpse into a life filled with glamour, Hollywood stars coming in and out of her life like the parties that she used to have. Her life was also filled with sadness, in a marriage to a man who was often angry at her and the world, and in quick succession, she lost her husband and her adopted daughter in the span of a couple of years, only to write about it in the award-winning book The Year of Magical Thinking. Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold is a beautiful and fascinating look at a complex woman who would touch the world with her writing.   My Rating: Full Price   Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Tragedy of Macbeth: Shakespeare Consultant

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: I Want You Back (2022) R   Peter (Charlie Day) and Emma (Jenny Slate) meet by chance on a day that both of them got dumped. They decide to become a team to get back the ‘loves of their lives by breaking up their old partner's new relationships. What could go wrong? I can’t wait to see this rom-com because I have been a huge fan of Jenny Slate since her breakthrough starring role in Obvious Child (2014).   I Want You Back Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, December 24, 2021

The Matrix Resurrections

My View:  The Matrix Resurrections (2021)  R   Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a successful, award-winning programmer of video games. However, Thomas is dealing with feelings and thoughts that his world isn’t real and that a great love has been lost. Soon, Thomas will have to make that choice again; to take the red or blue pill. I have seen the other three Matrix films, and always I have only been able to understand or follow about half of what is said or going on. This movie is no different. At times, I had no clue what the heck was going on, but I had fun trying. This is a celebration of the series, with lots of flashbacks for people that haven’t seen the movies in a while. I mean, it’s been over twenty years since the first one, so we do need a bit of refresher course, and this film does that. If you have never seen a Matrix film (first, where have you been?), this isn’t a film to start as it is about love lost. I enjoyed this film because its central theme is love and what we will do to find it. The Matrix Resurrections has its usual fights, gun battles, and car chases to make the action fans happy, but it’s really Thomas/Neo dealing with feelings that he is missing something. He is a man lost and is searching for something he feels he once had. So take the red pill and go on another journey with Neo and the gang, this time for love.   My Rating: Full Price   The Matrix Resurrections Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide and on the HBO Max platform

Familyfaire: Sing 2 (2021)  PG  Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) and his friends are convinced that they are ready for the big time, but first, they must convince a mean and ruthless promoter, Mr. Crystal (Bobby Cannavale), that they have the star to headline their latest show, Clay Calloway (Bono). Now, all Buster and his gang must do is convince Clay to come out of retirement and seclusion to headline their new act. I did not like the first Sing film, feeling it was just an excuse to repackage a bunch of songs to be sung by stars who don’t usually sing in films. This time I had a much better time. There is a purpose to these songs as the gang tries to put on a show that will wow the audience and brings back a singer that they all love, someone who, due to a tragedy, hasn’t sung in a long time. They have added to the cast, and then, somehow, someway, they got Bono to be in this film. His entrance as Clay Calloway to his song is worth watching the movie for. I enjoyed this film much more than the first one, and some of the songs are quite good. There are a couple of characters that are crazy enough to keep the kids interested, and the songs should make the adults in the crowd at least tap their feet.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Sing 2 Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide

My View: The King’s Man (2021) R   In the early 20th century, the Kingsman agency is formed to stand against a cabal, led by Rasputin (Rhys Ifans), who want to start a war that will wipe out millions. Now it's up to Orlando, Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) and his fellow Kingsmen to stop the cabal. I have not been a fan of this series, and after seeing this film, I hope that it goes away. Now, if watching a weird monk sword fight while dancing is your thing, then this movie is for you. For the rest of us, it will be a bore. Hey, did you know World War I was started by an evil guy to destroy England? Yeah, I didn’t either, but that’s the plot of this silly and boring film. The film gets more ridiculous as it goes along, including a Mata Hari moment that is incredibly laughable. Rasputin has to be one of the worst villains ever created (yes, I know he was a real, bizarre guy), and I found the use of curse words in this film to be such an over-the-top attempt at being cool that it made me mad watching it. Look, I like Ralph Fiennes and have a special place in my heart for Gemma Arterton, who is plays Orlando’s servant/love interest/partner?, but this film wastes them in roles that aren’t fun or heroic. And don’t get me started on the goats in the film. Yes, goats play an essential part of the plot. There is a short bonus scene after the first portion of the credits.   My Rating: Cable    The King's Man Website  Now playing in theatres

My View: The Tender Bar  (2021) R    JR (Daniel Ranieri) and his mother (Lily Rabe) must move back into JR’s grandfather’s house (Christopher Lloyd). Under the tutelage of his uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck), the manager of a bar called Dickens, JR will learn everything he needs to become a man. But JR will always be haunted by his missing father, a man he only knows as The Voice, a DJ on the radio. This is one of those films where I bet the book is far better than the film. The Tender Bar isn’t a bad film, but it's one that kind of never gets going anywhere, much like JR’s life. The film centers on JR, which we first follow as he, as a young kid, moves back in with his single mother to his grandfather’s home. JR only knows his dad as a voice on the radio (his dad is a journeyman radio DJ) and looks for guidance from his uncle Charlie, a book-loving bar manager that loves to give JR advice on how to be a man. We also get to know JR during his college years, a great student who wants to be a writer but sometimes lets his obsession with a girl named Sidney (Briana Middleton) override his life. I wanted to love this film (the kid playing JR, Daniel Ranieri, is adorable and the best thing about this movie), but it’s a story that never gets going as Charlie keeps spouting off and JR keeps pining away for a girl who will never love him.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    The Tender Bar Website  Now playing in select theatres and available on the Amazon Prime platform on Jan. 7th.

My View:  A Journal For Jordan  (2021) PG-13   When Dana (Chanté Adams) first meets Charles (Michael B. Jordan), she doesn’t think he is her type. However, after a few dates, she realizes that there is more to Charles than meets the eye. They fall in love, get married, and are about to have their first child when Charles is deployed to Afghanistan. Before he leaves, Dana gives Charles a journal to fill with his thoughts for his son to read after he is born. It will be how Charles's son will get to know his father. This is not quite the tearjerker that you want it to be. It’s more of a love story between a man who is earnest and good and a woman who falls for him, even though he seems not to be her type. Look, I am a big fan of Michael B. Jordan, and he could probably make reading the phone book interesting, but it seems to me that the film is solely aimed at the female audience. There are countless scenes where Jordan is shirtless or pantless, doing pushups while being a stand-up guy that any woman would fall for. The love story isn’t engaging and though based on a real-life story, seems too lackluster keep us interested in the storyline for a payoff that takes way too long to come.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    A Journal for Jordan Website  Playing in select theatres starting on Christmas Day

My View: American Underdog  (2021) PG  The story of Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), a man who had a dream of playing in the NFL and went from stocking shelves of a supermarket to becoming an NFL quarterback who won a Super Bowl and a member of the Hall of Fame. Is this a corny, rags to riches story of a guy who, through determination and belief in himself (and God) because one of the best quarterbacks to play in the game? Yeah, but it’s well made, has a great cast, and has two leads that make you want to root for them and their unusual family. Warner’s story seems too unbelievable to be true but is. This is a faith-based film, but unlike many films of this type, it doesn’t go overboard with the religious factor, but it is an integral part of Warner’s make up and faith in himself. American Underdog is a fun film that I think the whole family will enjoy, rooting for a guy who is as good as his character on the screen in real life. Stay through the credits to see about Warner’s real life and his charity work involving his adopted son Zack. It just might bring another tear to your eye.   My Rating: Full Price    American Underdog Website  Playing in theatres nationwide starting on Christmas Day.

Indiefest: Licorice Pizza (2021) R   It’s 1973, and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) is a fifteen-year-old high school kid who thinks he has the world by its tail because he is a famous working actor. Then he meets Alana (Alana Haim), an older woman who is about to change his life. I loved this film from the very first scene where we meet Gary and Alana. That first meeting sums up what their relationship will be like for the rest of the film; a guy who has an abundance of confidence and a young woman who is intrigued by this brash young man. I had so much fun watching this film and seeing where it was going to go. The film is just an adventure that two people go on, as they figure out their places in the world while enjoying each other’s company and friendship. Gary wants more, but Alana, being older, is hesitant to get close to Gary, though she is intrigued by him. I loved the two leads in this film. Cooper Hoffman, who you see so much of his father, Philip Seymour Hoffman, in his performance, is brilliant as the almost too smart and brash for his own good kid who seems to do everything to get Alana’s attention. It’s Alana Haim, in her first starring role, as the headstrong Alana, who makes this film work. Haim is a force on the screen, as she plays a woman who, against her best intentions, is attracted to Gary and wants to be in his life and involved with all his crazy adventures. Bradley Cooper makes a very memorable and possibly Oscar-bound performance as the legendary Jon Peters, a man who took his ability to promote himself from hairdresser to the stars to running a major studio. Cooper is not in a lot of scenes, but boy, he makes his mark as the nutty Peters who wanted everyone to know he was the boyfriend of Barbara Streisand. Licorice Pizza is a film that made me laugh and smile throughout my viewing. It’s one of those films that I wanted to see again as soon as I saw it. I hope it's that kind of experience for you too.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Licorice PIzza Website   Playing in select theatres starting on Christmas Day

Indiefest: Red Rocket (2021) R   Mikey (Simon Rex) is a porn star who has hit hard times. With nowhere else to go, he goes back to his hometown to try and live with his ex, Lexi (Bree Elrod). While doing odd jobs, he meets a young woman working at a donut shop named Strawberry (Suzanna Son), who just might be his ticket back into the big time. Like his previous films, Tangerine and The Florida Project, filmmaker Sean Baker has filled this world full of characters that have lived a hard life, constantly scraping by, sometimes by luck and sometimes by their charm or wit, but just getting by. In walks (literally) Mikey, back into his ex-wife’s world, a man who is down on his luck but is still proud to be known as a porn star. Mikey is always looking for an angle, a way he can get back on top, and he uses his good looks and charm to try and convince anyone that he meets that the good times are just around the corner, even if that corner is miles away. Mikey is a character that Simon Rex knows well as Rex is a former porn star in real life, whose acting career has not always gone well, but this is a role of a lifetime, and Rex plays Mikey to the hilt, giving him a bit of substance behind that facade of a brash man who thinks he can charm his way out of any situation. I also loved the performance of Suzanna Son, the donut shop counter girl named Strawberry, who is charmed by Mikey and becomes his new conquest. Strawberry is someone that Mikey thinks is his ticket out and back into the world of porn, and she seems to be willing to go on that road with him. Red Rocket is a film filled with characters that you would never want to meet but wouldn’t mind watching up on the screen for a couple of hours, though you might feel the need for a shower or disinfectant afterward.   My Rating: Full Price    Red Rocket Website  Now playing in select theatres

Forgotten Film: A Gift From Bob (2020)   Based on the books by James Bowen, this series is about James, a drug addict who gets clean with the help of friends and a street cat that adopts him. Bob is a smart, street-savvy cat that found James (not the other way around) and, through his love, helped James kick drugs and start to turn his life around. In this Christmas film, James struggles to keep his head above water, barely making enough to keep the electricity on in his apartment and keep Bob fed. Things start looking bad when the local authorities investigate James to make sure that Bob is well cared for. I loved the first film, and though I am not a cat person, I fell in love with the cat named Bob, who loves to place himself across Jame’s shoulders as he walks or plays for money on the street. A Gift from Bob is a sweet and sometimes funny Christmas tale starring a cat named Bob. What more could you want?   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    A Gift from Bob Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Matrix Resurrections: Cast Physical Trainers

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: The 355 (2022) PG-13  A top-secret weapon has fallen into the wrong hands, so CIA agent Mace (Jessica Chastain) gathers a group of international spies to help her find and defeat the mercenary that stole the weapon, while a mysterious woman tracks their every movement. Just the cast alone of Bingbing Fan, Penelope Cruz, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, and Jessica Chastain is enough to make me want to see this film.     The 355 Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Spider-Man: No Way Home

My View:  Spider-Man: No Way Home  (2021) PG-13   Spider-Man (Tom Holland) has been unmasked, and now everyone knows who he is, making it hard to separate his private life from being a superhero. He turns to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell that everyone will forget who he is, only that spell has lasting consequences, including bringing back an old enemy. First, if you have never seen a Spider-man film before, this is not where you should start. In fact, even for fans, it might be wise to go back and watch a few of the films from the past (just skip the Toby Maguire Spider-Man 3 film with Spidey tap-dancing away, I will never be able to get that scene out of my brain). 2nd, pack a lunch to take with you because it’s two and a half hours long. The bad: it tries to make every fan out there in the MCU happy, bringing back villains from the past packing way too much into the film. The problem is if anyone out there is really asking for the Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church) to come back (besides Church’s agent)? Or the Lizard-man from what every Spider-Man movie that was from? Probably not. Now the good. The film has a lot of heart, and it’s because of the winning performance of Tom Holland. Holland is allowed to give depth and meaning to a character that always has had a side of pathos to his makeup. From the comics on down to the movies, Spider-Man is a character that has felt the pain of loss and the heavy burden of responsibility, trying to live up to a code that few can live by. This is a Spider-Man character trying to live in a world where his father-figure is gone (Ironman), and half the population has turned on Spider-Man, blaming him for a death of a person that some people feel was a hero. And now Peter can’t hide behind the mask, as he has been outed. Peter not only has to deal with how this impacts him but also that his actions have had an impact on his friends and loved ones. The film’s core message is one that has been preached to Spider-Man by his family, and his mentor’s “With great power comes great responsibility.’ That underlying theme of this Spider-Man film makes it stand out from the past films and makes it work seeing. There are two post credit scenes; one after the first section of credits that may set up the next Spider-Man film and a trailer at the end of all the credits.    My Rating: Full Price   Spider-Man: No Way Home Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest:  The Lost Daughter (2021) R   Leda (Olivia Colman) is on a beach vacation where she wants to be left alone to write. But her past keeps coming back to haunt her as she becomes involved with a local (Ed Harris) and a young, troubled mother (Dakota Johnson) who is part of a loud and large family that is also on vacation. Maggie Gyllenhaal has brought us a story about a woman whose past rears its ugly head when she interacts with a family that constantly interacts with Leda, even when it’s evident that she wants to be left alone. Colman gives a fantastic and impressive performance of a woman who you probably won’t like and possibly won’t understand. Leda is a woman who has made choices in her life, about her life as a wife and mother, that most people would see as selfish, and she makes decisions while on this vacation which seem reckless and almost ugly, even when you understand that most of what she does is deeply seeded from her past. One of the best films of the year and certainly one of the great performances of 2021, The Lost Daughter is a journey into the mind of a woman who, as her vacation goes on, gives us insight into her psyche and why Leda acts the way she does. Her actions may make you uncomfortable and not like her, but Leda is not regretful; it’s something that she feels she had to do.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    The Lost Daughter Website  Now playing in select theatres and will be available on the Netflix platform on Dec. 31st.

Indiefest:  Swan Song (2021) R   Cameron’s (Mahershala Ali) life is filled with love as a father and as a husband, married to a wonderful woman (Naomie Harris). All that is about to end because Cameron has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. At his lowest point, Cameron is presented with an alternate solution by his doctor (Glenn Close), which could change his and his family’s fate. Cameron must confront just how much he is willing to sacrifice for love. If you were given a death sentence but were told there was a way that you could go on living your life, with your loved ones never finding out about that death sentence, you would take that offer, wouldn’t you? What if I told you that you will still die, but a clone, enhanced with not only your likeness but all your feelings and memories, will replace you, would you still do it? That is the dilemma that Cameron is faced in Swan Song. Mahershala Ali gives another one of his nuance and brilliant performances as a man who loves his life but must give it over to someone else so that his family doesn’t suffer. Swan Song is a film about death and how much pain we can take as people. The film is a slow burn as we go on this journey with Cameron, but the last thirty minutes has quite an impact as Cameron decides which path he will take.    My Rating: Full Price    Swan Song Website  Now playing in select theatres and is available on the Apple TV+ platform.

My View:  Fortress  (2021) R   Robert (Bruce Willis) is a retired CIA agent living at a secret resort in the woods. Robert’s estranged son, Paul (Jesse Metcalfe), has tracked down his father but little does either one of the men know that Paul has been followed by a criminal named Balzary (Chad Michael Murray), who is hell-bent on revenge. Now father and son must band together to defeat Balzary’s band of mercenaries as they defend Robert’s high-tech bunker called The Fortress. The premise is interesting, but the film makes too many easy choices, most of which can be seen from a mile away, to make the film worth watching. I will say this; Bruce Willis is in this film a lot more than I thought he would be, though it’s pretty evident that he shot all his scenes in just a few days. The script is lazy with a bad guy that Chad Michael Murray can’t quite get a handle on, as he chews up the scenery to the very last shot. The action sequences are pretty bland, and the ending seems too quick and easy. Fans of Willis will be disappointed in that most of his scenes are him either getting beat up or sitting in a comfortable chair, spouting dialogue that no one cares about. Fortress is the type of movie that used to be on the shelves of a Blockbuster in the 80s, waiting to be rented when all the current movies were gone on a Friday night.     My Rating: Cable    Fortress Info  Now playing in select theatres and available On Demand.

Indiefest:  The Novice (2021) R  Alex (Isabelle Fuhrman) has succeeded in everything on which she has set her mind. Now, as a college freshman, Alex is ready for a new challenge, something she has never tried before, rowing. She decides to join her university’s rowing team as a ‘novice,’ but she is determined to make it to the varsity boat, no matter the cost. To say that Alex is obsessive would be an understatement. Alex is a character who, at the start, we root for because she is an underdog, someone who is willing to put in the hard work to succeed. But, soon, very soon in the film, you realize that Alex is taking this want to succeed beyond what people would see as normal. She pushes herself to go beyond what anyone else is willing to do or even should do. Fuhrman gives us a performance of a woman who is wound so tightly that Alex sees the littlest offense as an attack on herself and her goals. It’s scary how Fuhrman lets us see just how intense Alex is and how much she is willing to risk to succeed. It’s a performance that will stay with you for a long time, and don't be surprised if never again go near that rowing machine at the gym.   My Rating: Full Price    The Novice Website  Now playing in select theatres and for rent online.

Familyfaire:  Rumble  (2021) PG   In a world where monster wrestling is a huge global sport, and its monsters are massive stars, a teenager named Winnie (voiced by Geraldine Viswanathan) decides to follow in her father’s footsteps and turn a lazy, mild-mannered oaf named Steve (voiced by Will Arnett), who loves sleeping and dancing, into a champion. Kids who love monsters (the fun kind) or wrestling will enjoy this film because it is filled with both. Arnett is hilarious as the monster who doesn’t want to become a star; he would rather take the easy road and be comfortable with losing all the time. Winnie sees that Steve has the potential to be a good wrestler and believes in him, now if only she can get Steve to believe in himself. Rumble is a fun ride, helped by Arnett’s humor and wild wrestling monsters that kids will fall in love with. So go and get in the ring with Steve, Winnie, and a few fellow monster wrestlers.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Rumble Website  Now playing on the Paramount+ platform.

My View:  Nightmare Alley  (2021) R    Stanton (Bradley Cooper) is a grifter, a man trying to hide from his past. After working at a traveling carnival and learning the tricks of the trade, Stanton and a fellow sideshow performer (Rooney Mara) run away and start a successful mentalist act. Using the skills he developed as a grifter, Stanton becomes involved with a psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) and sees her as a way to con some of the most powerful men in the city. It's a dangerous game that Stanton is playing, and it may be his last. This is a stylized film noir filled with interesting characters that don’t often show their true feelings or motives, as everyone in this movie seems to be out for themselves. It’s a cruel world, a world controlled by greed and by crook. We meet a few honest people along the way, but they are few and far between in this film filled with carnival people and the suckers that they will hustle for their few dimes and quarters. Into this world comes Stanton, a man with a troubled past but someone who quickly learns how to play the game. He has a talent for reading people and getting to know their weaknesses in a short amount of time. Cooper is perfect in the role of a guy who gets by on his looks and his brains. The film perfectly reflects the film noir films of the forties with its editing style, lighting, and set design. The film tells a story of greed, want, and a need to get one up on someone else. Rooney Mara plays the love interest of Stanton, a woman who doesn’t give in to men easily but is seduced by Stanton, the woman who has a heart of gold, only to be corrupted by the man she loves. Blanchett plays the woman who seduces Stanton, someone he thinks he can use to get money and information. As the cool, calculating blonde, Blanchett fits the bill of the film noir temptress who corrupts a man and takes him away from someone who truly loves him. A masterwork at storytelling, Guillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley is a tale of horror, greed, and fate. Stanton learns early on not to tempt fate, but he can’t help himself, it's in the cards. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Nightmare Alley Website  Now playing in select theatres. 

Forgotten Film:  Mad Love (1995)  PG-13  The story of two young people (Drew Barrymore, Chris O’Donnell), both living in broken homes, who find each other and fall in love. Matt is a young man whose mother left, and his family is in disarray. Casey is a young woman who, on the outside, seems funny and carefree, but she is hiding a problem. When threatened with being separated, the two go on the run to escape and leave their lives behind. The reason I like this film is Barrymore gives one of the best performances of her career. Yes, at first, she is the usual Barrymore cute girl, but as the film goes along, we see a depth from her character that Barrymore rarely was let to explore with most of her characters. Some of the characters are a little too broadly portrayed in the film, but I love the relationship between Barrymore and O’Donnell and how it treats someone with a problem with not an easy fix, but one that takes work and love.    My Rating; Bargain Matinee   Mad Love Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Spider-Man: No Way Home: Special Thanks: Mack Trucks

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You:  Scream  (2022) R   Twenty-five years have passed since Woodsboro was torn apart by a series of gruesome murders. Now a new killer has emerged, and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has returned to stop the murderer again. Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette are back in this film and have played the same characters in four separate decades; 90s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s.    Scream Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, December 10, 2021

West Side Story

My View:  West Side Story   (2021) PG-13   The classic love story between two young people (Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler) who fall for each other during a turf war in 1957 NYC between the Jets and the Sharks. I am an admitted lover of musicals, a theatre brat who performed in a few during my childhood. I consider the 1961 film to be one of the greatest films of the 20th century, though it has always bothered me that the two leads of the film, Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer, as the two star-crossed lovers, vocals were recorded by two others (Marni Nixon and Jimmy Bryant). Still, the dancing in that film is extraordinary, and Rita Moreno just dazzles on the screen as Anita. I am happy to say that this new rendition of the legendary musical by Steven Spielberg lives up to the 1961 film. Led by a magnificent and glowing performance of Rachel Zegler as Maria and an exciting and beautiful take on the choreography, this film stands up with the classic movie in every way. I absolutely loved Ariana DeBose’s performance as Anita, bringing as much passion and forcefulness to the role as Moreno did in the original. DeBose gives us an Anita who is proud to be from Porto Rico and is willing to stand up to anyone who gets in her way. Ansel Elgort's singing impressed me with his range, though I didn’t get as much turmoil and passion from his performance as I wanted. I love that they gave Rita Moreno a beautiful song to sing, in a role that a man has always played, and it could garner another Academy Award nomination for her for that song alone. West Side Story wowed and thrilled me from the start and gave us a performance by Rachel Zegler that will be long remembered. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   West Side Story Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View:  The Unforgivable  (2021) R   After serving time for a horrible crime, Ruth (Sandra Bullock) just wants to put her life back together, one day at a time, but society won’t forgive her for her past. Her only hope for redemption is finding the young sister she was forced to leave behind. It wastes a good cast and a gutsy, real performance by Sandra Bullock with a plot that feels like it’s from a 1970s TV crime drama. Bullock’s Ruth is a woman who has spent a good part of her life in prison, and it has made her hard and almost unlikable. Ruth has only one thing to live for, to see her sister again, but society won’t allow her to contact her and puts up obstacles along the way to make it hard for Ruth to just make a living, much less start her life over again. There are a lot of great actors in this film, including Vincent D’Onofrio, Viola Davis, and Jon Bernthal, and most feel wasted in roles that don’t allow them to be much more than be a part of the storyline that Ruth must overcome. The Unforgivable's ending is so underwhelming that any drama that the film had is gone by the start of the credits.   My Rating: Cable    The Unforgivable Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

My View: Being the Ricardos  (2021)  R   Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) are at the height of their success, with 60 million people watching their weekly TV comedy series, I Love Lucy, and their marriage seems stronger than ever. Their world may be crashing down around them as two stories are about to hit the newsstands that could wreck both their careers and their marriage. It’s hard making biopics about famous people, especially someone so iconic as Lucy and Desi. I loved the writing of this film, feeling that it gives us a great look at what made Lucy, Desi, and the show they created so groundbreaking, funny, and dynamic. It’s an interesting story at a critical and trying time in their lives as both a couple and as performers on a show that was more popular than anything either had done before. The problem is that the two leads for the film are terribly miscast. I thought Nicole Kidman did a fantastic job of portraying the Lucy behind the scenes but did a horrible job of portraying Lucy as the character on the show. The attempt to make Kidman look like Lucy is a bit distracting and takes away from her performance. The real problem is the miscasting of Bardem as Desi. I just never got the feeling for Desi, who he was, and for some reason, Bardem doesn’t process the magnetism that Desi had both on the screen and in person. I did love the performances of J.K Simmons and Nina Arianda, playing William Frawley and Vivian Vance. They are the best thing in the film, with their continuous bickering and their want for both of their characters to have more control over their careers than Lucy and Desi will let them. My guess is that J.K. will get another Academy Award nomination out of this role. Overall, I enjoyed the film because it gives us a behind-the-scenes look at making a classic, but the film doesn’t feel that it will be a classic itself.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Being the Ricardos Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide and will be available on the Amazon Prime platform on Dec. 21st.

My View: Don’t Look Up (2021) R   Two low-level astronomers (Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio) discover that a comet is heading for earth, and if we don’t do anything, it will destroy life as we know it on this planet. The problem is the President (Meryl Streep) is more concerned about being reelected and her son (Jonah Hill), her Chief of Staff, only cares about his followers on Instagram. The first fifteen or twenty minutes of this film are funny and full of laughs, but then the storyline becomes predictable, the jokes get old, and the film becomes almost obnoxious in its message that the world and our leaders are screwed up. The film wastes a lot of actors in roles that they aren’t meant for. Streep, surprisingly, is the weak point of the film, playing a character that is a cross between Donald Trump and Sarah Palin with absolutely no comedic feel or timing. Jennifer Lawrence also seems a bit miscast as a grad student who appears to be the only sensible one of the characters until she strikes up a romance with a teen skater punk played by Timothée Chalamet. There is zero chemistry between the two, and it brings that storyline down a peg or two because of it. The film feels as it goes along, it loses its way. Is it a farce, a straight-out comedy, or its it a tragedy? I could never figure that out, and by the end, I didn’t really care what happened to any of the characters. If you make it to the end, there is a bonus scene at the end of the credits that one of my fellow critics predicted as they started to roll. That probably tells you all you need to know about this film.   My Rating: Cable    Don't Look Up Website  Now playing in select theatres and available on the Netflix platform on Dec. 24th.

My View: National Champions   (2021) R  Three days before the college football national championship game, Heisman trophy quarterback LeMarcus James (Stephan James) calls for a boycott of the game in support of his teammate Emmet Sunday (Alexander Ludwig) and all the other student-athletes that play the game without compensation or health insurance. Now, LeMarcus’s legendary coach (J.K. Simmons), on the cusp of winning his first national championship and NCAA, are coming down on LeMarcus to protect the prevailing collegiate athletic system. This is a film with its heart in the right place but never quite figures out how to effectively tell its story. It's a subject that needs to be talked about, and the film does an excellent job of giving us reasons why the system needs to be changed, but unfortunately, it has too many scenes where characters preach to us (sometimes literally), and that makes the film feel slow and clumsy. There is a whole sub-plot between Kristen Chenoweth (playing the coach’s wife) and Timothy Olyphant (playing a college professor having an affair with the coach’s wife) that is pointless and seems to only be there to give a bit of sex to the film. The film never delivers the impact that the film needs while just adding to the confusing plot that seems to write itself into a corner that it can’t get itself out of. The film has an ending that I have no idea why it happened the way it did and does nothing to contribute to the issues brought up in the film. National Champions is a film that feels that once done, it is like a tie in football, which always feels like a loss for each side. In this case, no one wins, including the filmgoer.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee    National Champions Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: The Hating Game  (2021) R  Lucy (Lucy Hale) loves her job except for one thing, Joshua (Austin Stowell), a man that she hates working with and has become her biggest rival for promotion and success. Lucy decides to embark on a ruthless game of one-upmanship with Joshua, but there is one problem. Lucy is beginning to become attracted to him. This film far exceeded my expectations, as I found the film highly enjoyable and loved the chemistry between the two leads. There are sparks between Hale and Stowell right from the start, as you find that they seem to hate each other, but there seems to be an underlying attraction that they will soon not be able to resist. There is a level of attraction and even sexiness to their constant bickering and fighting, as they seem to be on opposite sides in a job that they both love but take very different views on how to do that job. What surprised me was that the film gets a little steamy, as the two realize that their attraction to each other is mutual, and that attraction comes out on the screen. It helps that the two characters seem to be so different. Lucy is warm and cares about her job and the people she works with, while Joshua seems a bit cold and calculated in dealing with people and the job. We soon learn that both have a passion for their jobs and each other. The film does the usual rom-com plot of bringing up an issue that could cause their breakup, but like any good romance, love will overcome all, even a bad boss or two.   My Rating: Full Price    The Hating Game Website  Now playing in select theatres and On Demand.

Indiefest: To What Remains (2021)   Documentary about Project Recovery, comprised of a team of scientists and researchers who have dedicated their lives to searching the world over to find, recover and repatriate the remains of American servicemen and women who have been missing in actions since WWII. In just one area, around the island of Peleliu, over 200 Allied planes were shot down during World War II. Many of the airmen that died in those battles were never recovered, leaving their families to grieve and wonder what happened to their husbands and fathers. A group of dedicated men and women have taken on the task of trying to locate the wreckage of those downed airplanes and find the remains so that their families can give their loved ones a final resting place. The documentary follows a group of searchers as they look for a known downed plane in an area around the island of Peleliu, where the fierce fighting for control of the tiny island went on for three months. The film shows us how hard it is to locate the wreckage, even with the latest technology, such as underwater drones. This ‘needle in a haystack search makes it all the more remarkable when the searchers find a plane and then even better when they find the remains of the airmen who flew those planes. We see the extraordinary efforts that this search takes and their impact when those remains are brought home. To What Remains is a touching film about a group of remarkable men and women who have dedicated their lives to bringing home the fallen heroes of the past.   My Rating: Full Price    To What Remains Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Indiefest: The Real Charlie Chaplin (2021)   Documentary on the life and work of one of the greatest filmmakers of any generation, the legendary Charlie Chaplin. I am a huge silent film fan, though I am a bigger Harold Loyd fan (Safety Last, The Freshman), but it’s no argument that Chaplin took silent films from its infancy of just pure entertainment into the realm of art. This is a film that gives us the behind-the-scenes story of Chaplin, an incredibly complicated man, who hid behind his creation, ‘The Little Tramp.’ Using interviews with people that knew him, including his children, and a legendary interview with Life magazine in the mid-60s, the film gives us a glimpse into the private life of Charlie and his journey from a young teen performer on the stage to the biggest film star, who became more famous than anyone in the world. I loved the behind-the-scenes footage and photos of some of his legendary works, including scenes of Chaplin shooting one of his masterworks, City Lights. The film does deal with some of the dark sides of Chaplin’s life, his many wives, his tendency to woo his co-stars, many who were way too young for him, and his troubles with the blacklist times of the 40s. The Real Charlie Chaplin is a fascinating look at a man who gave us great films but seemed never to find the happiness or satisfaction he seemed always to be looking for.   My Rating: Full Price    The Real Charlie Chaplin Website  Playing on the Showtime platform starting Dec. 11th and On Demand.

Indiefest:   White on White (Blanco en Blanco)   (2020)   At the turn of the century in Chile, Pedro (Alfredo Castro) has been hired to photograph the wedding of a wealthy landowner on an isolated ranch. While waiting for the wedding to happen, Pedro becomes increasingly fascinated with the land owner’s soon-to-be wife and the people the landowner has taken the land from. The cinematography of this film is breathtaking and adds to the overall doom and misery that Pedro becomes involved with. Pedro is an artistic man who becomes trapped in a world where misery and killing are an everyday occurrences. He has been hired by a man he will never meet and becomes more and more entwined in the harsh, daily life of living on the ranch, where outsiders take the land from an indigenous people that they hunt down and kill, taking their ears as proof of their death. From the long shots that seem to go on forever to the white-out conditions, the country appears to be fighting back against these interlopers, with Pedro trying to survive in a world that doesn’t care about him and his pictures. Pedro has become a lost soul among other lost souls.    My Rating: Full Price   White on White Website  Now playing in select theatres and On Demand.

Forgotten Film: Cry Freedom (1987) PG   The story of the friendship of South African journalist Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) who becomes friends with Steve Bilko (Denzil Washington), a black activist fighting the South African government during Apartheid. When Donald begins an investigation into the death of Steve, he and his family are forced to flee the country that they love. Unfortunately, the emphasis of the storyline is on Donald Woods and his family and not on Bilko because, at the time, Kevin Kline was a much bigger star than Denzil. Still, it’s an important story that is well done by an Oscar-winning director (Richard Attenborough); I just wish that Washington had been more at the forefront of the film.   My Rating: Full Price    Cry Freedom Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of National Champions: Hygiene Production Assistants

Coming Soon to Screen Near You: A Journal for Jordan (2021) PG-13   When Dana (Chanté Adams) first meets Charles (Michael B. Jordan), she doesn’t think he is her type. However, after a few dates, she realizes that there is more to Charles than meets the eye. They fall in love, get married, and are about to have their first child when Charles is deployed to Afghanistan. Before he leaves, Dana gives Charles a journal to fill with his thoughts for his son to read after he is born. It will be how Charles's son will get to know his father. You had me at ‘directed by Denzel Washington and starring Michael B. Jordan.      A Journal For Jordan Website

Until Next Time!

Friday, December 3, 2021


My View:  Encounter (2021) R   A decorated Marine, Malik (Riz Ahmed), takes his two boys (Lucian-River Chauhan, Aditya Geddada) on a journey to escape from an inhuman threat as he believes that an alien invasion is happening. Along the way, they will encounter dangers that will test their faith and their love for each other as they leave their childhood behind. I found the film at first an entertaining escape film, but as soon as I figured out where the film was headed, I soon lost interest in the characters and the storyline. You can’t fault Riz Ahmed, who once again shows us what an interesting and compelling actor he is in this role, but he can’t overcome a script that has a plot that becomes predictable and dull. Ultimately, Encounter can’t live up to its compelling and exciting start, slowing down to a crawl at the end, wasting another fine performance by Riz Ahmed.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Encounter Website  Now playing in select theatres and available on the Amazon Prime platform on Dec. 10th.

My View:  Mixtape  (2021)    It’s right before the year 2000, and Beverly (Gemma Brooke Allen) is having to grow up with her grandmother (Julie Bowen), who picks her up from school in her post office mail truck. Beverly finds a mixtape that her late parents made and decides to live her life through those songs. Along the way, she will make new friends, find a way to connect with her grandmother, and find her own identity. I loved this small, coming-of-age film about a teen who goes on a quest to understand her mother better through her love of songs and music. Gemma Brooke Allen is so much fun to watch in this film as she goes from a quiet, shy, alone little girl to a confident young woman who has friends and has found a place for herself in a world. I loved the friends Beverly makes; from the grumpy owner (Nick Thune) of a record shop to the scary classmate (Olga Petsa) to the next-door homeschooled girl (Audrey Hsieh), all of which join in on Beverly’s quest to find the songs on her mom’s mixtape. So please sit down and enjoy the rather eclectic selection of songs that Beverly is about to discover and explore as she finds out more about herself along the way to understanding her mother.   My Rating: Full Price    Mixtape Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: Flee (2021)  PG-13   This animated documentary tells the true story of Amin, who is on the verge of marriage when he reveals his hidden story of fleeing his home country of Afghanistan to Denmark as a refugee. Sure to be at the top of the end of the year critic’s lists and a certain bet to be an Academy Award nominee, Flee is a masterful telling of an unbelievable story of perseverance, hardship, and guilt. Filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen interviews Amin on camera, letting Amin tells his remarkable tale but lets Amin tell it in his own way, in his own time, as the two friends slowly let us get to know Amin and the circumstances that started his long journey. I love this film because we get to see Amin’s world through his eyes, both through the animation and through old TV footage, which gives us an up-close and personal look at a life that has had incredible ups and downs. The film has so many twists and turns that at times you can’t believe one person had to go through all this, and that person kept both their sanity and sense of humor. Go on this unbelievable journey with Amin, where you will cry, laugh, and have hope when you finish this film made through love and friendship.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    Flee Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Indiefest: Wolf    (2021) R    Jacob (George MacKay) is a teenager who has been taken to a psychiatric hospital by his parents. Jacob believes that he is a wolf, and he has been put into a place where the rest of the patients also think that they are animals. He finds love with a young woman (Lily-Rose Depp) who has lived her whole life in the hospital, and she believes in Jacob because she believes she is a cat. Wolf is a film that wants to put you into this world like someone teaching someone how to swim by throwing them into the deep end without any warning. We meet Jacob as he is being put into a psychiatric hospital by his parents because he thinks he is a wolf. Instantly we are asked to believe it's normal for patients to be led around by leashes attached to dog collars around the patient's necks as a doctor attempts to get a patient to climb a tree like a squirrel the patient thinks he is. It's hard to connect to this world that I could never figure out. I did enjoy the performance of Lily-Rose Depp as a young woman who goes by the name Wildcat, who falls in love with Jacob and accepts him for what he believes is his true self. Unfortunately, I didn’t believed in Jacob as strongly as Wildcat does, and that’s why this film never truly connected for me.    My Rating: Cable   Wolf Website  Now playing in select theatres.

My View: The Hand of God (2021) R   Fabietto is an awkward Italian teen growing up in an eccentric family. His life is upended when soccer legend Diego Maradona visits Fabietto’s town and inadvertently saves Fabietto's life. The Hand of God is a tale of family and fate, loss and love of sports and family. This is about a strange and wonderful family full of characters that are real but also could be right out of the Felinni films that the family talks about all the time. From the aunt who looks like Sophia Loren and likes to sunbathe in the nude to the parents who deeply love each other, to the Baroness who lives above the family and gets the family to respond to her by pounding on the floor above them, the film is filled with colorful characters that make up Fabietto’s world. Fabietto is a melancholy teen who doesn’t have friends, is in love with the crazy aunt from afar, and is trying to figure out what he wants to become. The Hand of God is a beautiful film, filled with scenes full of wonder and beauty, as Fabietto’s eyes are opened to the possibilities that are slowly revealed to him about a world that awaits him. It’s a magical world out there to explore, but it’s also a magical world when your family is full of life, happiness, and love.    My Rating: Full Price   The Hand of God Website   Now playing in select theatres and available on the Netflix platform on Dec. 15th.

My View: Adrienne (2021)    Adrienne Shelly was a beloved actress who starred in the Hal Hartley-directed Indie classics The Unbelievable Truth (1989) and Trust (1990). She had just written and directed the 2007 film Waitress when she was found dead, hanging in the shower of her West Village apartment. Her husband did not believe the conclusion of the police that she had committed suicide, believing Adrienne had everything to live for with a beautiful daughter and a career that was about to take off and insisted that the police investigate further. Adrienne is a documentary celebrating a life that touched so many people and continues to do so with the Broadway production of Waitress, based on Adrienne’s film. The documentary is a loving tribute to a woman who was just coming into her own as both a mother and a filmmaker. Adrienne was an actress who you would instantly fall in love with as soon as she appeared on the screen, no matter what character she was playing. Adrienne is a documentary about a woman who was determined to make movies on her terms, the daughter of that woman determined to learn more about her, and a husband who wants to explore the life of the woman he loved. Adrienne was an actress who filled a room or a movie screen with life and love, full of adventure and endless possibilities, much like the characters she created for her film Waitress. I hope this film will give people a reason to go back and discover her movies and celebrate a life that was cut way too short.   My Rating: Full Price   Adrienne Website  Now playing on the HBO Max platform.

Indiefest: The Summit of the Gods (2021) PG   In 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine attempted to climb Mount Everest and were never seen again. Seventy years later, Makoto, a young reporter, encounters a climber named Habu, who may have a camera that Mallory and Irvine used in their attempt to be the first to climb Everest. Now Makoto finds himself intertwined with Habu and goes on a quest to record Habu’s own attempt to climb the legendary mountain. Part mystery, part adventure film, The Summit of the Gods is an intriguing story about two men; one on a quest to find a camera that could prove Everest was prevailed over long before Sir Edmund Hillary did and another on a quest to conquer the demons of his past and fulfill his dreams. This film is sure to not only make my list of one of the best-animated films of the year but also one of the best narrative films too. Based on a Manga series, the film follows Makoto, who at first is just about finding the camera, until he finds out more and more about the legendary climber behind the lost camera, whose story is far more interesting and intriguing. The animation perfectly captures the world of high-risk mountain climbing and the people that inhabit that world. The Summit of the Gods is a truly magical tale about what drives men to climb the impossible, even when the odds are stacked against them.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again    The Summit of the Gods Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: The End of Us (2021)  Leah (Ali Vingiano), and Nick (Ben Coleman) have just had a nasty breakup, but just as they are about to separate, California issues its stay-at-home order for COVID-19, and the two exes must live together. They think it will be just a couple of weeks, but those weeks turn into months, and the two ex-lovers soon learn that it’s hard to move on without moving out. This is another Indie film made during the pandemic about the pandemic. What saves this film from some of the other pandemic relationship films is the chemistry that the two leads have. Ali Vigiano and Ben Coleman are brilliant in their performance as two lovers at the end of their relationship, tired of each other and the drama they create. Then, just as the two realize their relationship is done, they encounter a nightmare that they can't wake up from; they are stuck with each other with no escape. The film is filled with fun moments that anyone who has tired of a relationship can relate to, as the two continue to get on each other’s nerves and question what they saw in each other. It helps that the two characters are very different, with Nick as the needy, annoying actor who talks a big game about a script he may never write and Leah, who has a steady job and is the more sensible of the two, that is until she begins exploring life outside of her relationship with Nick. I loved the ending of this film, letting us see how this experience has led the two characters to find their own way out of this mess that COVID created. My Rating: Full Price    End of Us Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Forgotten Film: The Unbelievable Truth (1989) R   Audry (Adrienne Shelly) is a young woman who is living an ordinary life in a small, ordinary town. She has a boyfriend who treats her well, and a father, though strict, is a loving and doting parent. Audry’s world changes when a strange man (Robert Burke) dressed in black comes to town and starts working in Audry’s father's repair shop. Audry soon becomes enamored with the mysterious man, but soon his past will catch up to him and change how people see him. Adrienne Shelly is the reason to see this film as she gives an unbelievable performance of a young woman who wants more than what her small town can offer her. There is also a great sense of humor that simmers under the plot that filmmaker Hal Hartley lets come to the surface at unexpected times. The Unbelievable Truth is a film filled with interesting characters that make this a film to savor.   My Rating: Full Price    The Unbelievable Truth Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Flee: Orchestrator

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: American Underdog (2021)  PG  The story of Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), a man who had a dream of playing in the NFL and went from stocking shelves of a supermarket to becoming an NFL quarterback who won a Super Bowl and a member of the Hall of Fame. The cast includes Anna Paquin, Dennis Quaid, Adam Baldwin, and Bruce McGill. Baldwin and Levi starred in the wonderful TV series Chuck about another unlikely hero.    American Underdog Website

Until Next Time!