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
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