Friday, February 18, 2022


My View: Dog  (2022) PG-13  Briggs (Channing Tatum) is a grieving former Army Ranger who wants to get back into the Army. Surprisingly, Briggs is given a chance to prove himself when he is assigned to take Lulu, a retired military working dog, on a road trip to go to the dog’s late handler’s funeral. It’s a trip that will change everything. Everyone who knows me knows that I love dogs. And you can’t go wrong when the dog is the co-star of the film. Ok, there are a few clunkers (Marmaduke (2010) and Look Who’s Talking Now! (1993) comes to mind), but generally, dogs can make a movie better just because we love them, no matter how unruly or damaged they are. We know that love and understanding can make a dog heal (except for rabid dogs like Cujo). That’s the case with Dog, as Channing Tatum goes on a road trip with a dog that is suffering from a case of PTSD and who misses his handler. The film milks the charm of Channing Tatum and the fact that we love dogs, even ones that act up. I wish the adventures that two have were a little more fun and creative. There is an uncomfortable sequence between Brigs, Lulu, and two hippie pot farmers (Kevin Nash, Jane Adams) that just doesn’t work. Still, there are some fun scenes with Lulu acting up in Briggs’ beloved truck, and Tatum makes for a lovable big oaf with a heart that slowly melts for a dog that is as damaged as he is. Overall, this is a sweet story of a man and a dog who find healing in each other.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Dog Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Uncharted (2022) PG-13  Nathan (Tom Holland) meets up with legendary treasure hunter Sully (Mark Wahlberg) to go on an adventure to find the lost fortune of explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Straightaway, a simple heist becomes a race to find the 5 billion dollars in gold before the ruthless Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) can. Every played a video game and thought, ‘hey, this would make for a fun movie.’ Well, that’s what Hollywood has been trying to do for quite a while with the Uncharted video game series, and after what seems like a hundred years and many, many rumors of casting, we finally have a movie. Unfortunately, this film never delivers the goods in this treasure hunting trip around the world. Tom Holland tries to bring his charm and action-adventure charisma to this film, but he is saddled with a horrible miscasting of Mark Wahlberg as his screen mate. In this film, Wahlberg never gives us much, making his Sully character seem charmless and dull. The film tries to spice things up by bringing a third treasure hunter into the picture, with Sophia Ali’s Chloe Frazer, and for a while, she sparks up the film for a bit, with Chloe making the boys keep on their toes for a while. But sadly, she is left out of the fun in the finale, letting Holland do all the heavy lifting of the action sequences while Wahlberg gets to spout a lame wisecrack or two. I was never caught up in the magic that the film wanted to create about finding the pot of gold at the end of the Magellan rainbow. Instead, we kind of got tricked, and a leprechaun wasn’t responsible, just Mark Wahlberg. If you make it to the end there is a post-credit scene to set up the next film (please, no).  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Uncharted Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: The Cursed (2021) R  In rural 19th-century France, a gypsy has cursed a small village and the nearby landowners. Consequently, a pathologist, John McBride (Boyd Holbrook), has come to town to investigate the attacks happening to the town folk. This supernatural menace is something that McBride has seen before with deadly results. I liked this horror film as it tells the tale of a werewolf terrorizing a local village. It reminded me in its plot and style of the old British Hammer films for the 60s and 70s, giving us lots of setup to understand the characters involved and building up the tension slowly, letting us imagine what could happen, then making the attacks more horrifying than our wildest nightmares. I loved the look and feel of this film as we only get glimpses of the werewolf, but we see just how scared the townspeople are, knowing fully what the gypsy curse means to their village. The Cursed builds to a satisfying and horrific conclusion, full of terror and fright. Remember to never cross a gypsy, or you could be next.   My Rating: Full Price  The Cursed Website  Now playing in select theatres.

My View: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) R   A group of young friends visit a small, remote town in Texas with the thought that they will buy the town and return it to its former robust glory. Little do they know, inside the town is a building home to a family who has hidden their existence for almost 50 years, the home of a monster: Leatherface. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974 is one of my favorite horror films of all time. Made for a tiny amount of money, the Tobe Hooper classic changed the way horror films were presented, with a killing spree that happens so early in the movie, that you are shocked when it happens. I can’t say the same thing about this film. I was excited when I heard of the plot, with the character of Sally, the only survivor of the original film, coming back to wreak vengeance on Leatherface after 50 years of waiting. Unfortunately, we instead get another run-of-the-mill horror gorefest with Leatherface killing people right and left with either a sledgehammer or his trusty chainsaw (that remarkably fires right up after 50 years). The showdown between Sally (played by Olwen Fouere, taking the place of the late actress from the original film, the late Marilyn Burns) and Leatherface is disappointing, as is the film playing up the gore in its kill-fest, trying to top different ways people can die via chainsaw. Unfortunately, Sarah Yarkin (Happy Death Day 2) and indie fave Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), playing sisters trying to survive the Leatherface onslaught, can’t save this film from being anything but another boring, bloody mess of a bad horror film.   My Rating: Cable   Texas Chainsaw Massacre Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: The Worst Person in the World (2021) R  We follow the life of Julie (Renate Reinsve), a young woman who for four years navigates the troubled waters of her love life and her struggle to find a career. This is a film about a woman who can never find the footing that she needs to live the life she wants to lead. Julie is not your typical heroine as she is going to disappoint you continually with the choices she makes in life, but you will keep hoping and rooting for her to succeed. Julie is a person who thinks that the grass is always greener on the other side and is in a constant look for that side, even if it means heartbreak and burning bridges behind her. Renate Reinsve is remarkable as Julie, giving us a woman who can be in love one minute and then regret that she ever got into the relationship in the first place the next moment. There is a truly magical sequence in the film when Julie runs through town as the world slows down around her. It’s a scene that makes this film worth watching for it alone. But The Worst Person in the World is more than just that scene, with a performance that makes the film watchable from start to finish. My Rating: Full Price   The Worst Person in the World Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Indiefest: Breaking Bread (2020)   This documentary is about a food festival in Israel that pairs Arab and Jewish chefs to collaborate on exotic dishes, changing the world one plate at a time. If you love food and the chefs' passion for making people happy with the meals they have created, then this film is for you. Created by the first Muslim Arab to win the popular Israeli TV cooking show Master Chef, Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, the A-Sham Arabic Food Festival is an attempt to bring the food and cultures of the Arab and Israeli world together to celebrate how the love of food can unite and create friendship and understanding. The film highlights several chefs that bring their stories and recipes of family to be blended to create magic. The film celebrates all the different cultures that make up the region through the food that they are known for. We get mouth-watering behind-the-scenes looks on how the dishes are created and the exchange of recipes and ideas between the chefs as they collaborate for the food festival. I guarantee that you will want to make some homemade humus as soon as you finish this delightful and entertaining look at the chefs trying to change the world one plate at a time.   My Rating: Full Price   Breaking Bread Website  Now playing in select theatres.

My View: Pursuit (2022) R  A hacker, Rick Calloway (Emile Hirsch), has crossed the line with the people he works for, and now his wife is being held until he can complete a mission. Meanwhile, a cop (Jake Manley) is hot on his trail and will do anything to find him. The question is if Rick’s mobster father (John Cusack) is behind the whole thing. If you are watching this film for John Cusack, then don’t bother as most of Cusack’s scenes are either flashbacks to a birthday party for his grandson or his cooking steaks on a grill on the back porch of his mansion. I got lost in the plot, never quite figuring out who was doing what to whom, as Rick goes around killing everyone he can while looking for his wife who has been kidnapped. There are lots of firefights where Hirsch fires a gun in slow motion as he jumps sideways across a room, and he gets captured a lot but always figures some way on how to escape. The film's ending is as mystifying as the rest of the plot, but if you want to watch Hirsch fire a gun and look like a crazy guy in front of a computer, then take this film on. Otherwise, go watch something else from the Cusack catalog of movies.   My Rating: Cable   Pursuit Website  Now On-Demand and on Digital platforms.

Indiefest: Beans (2020)   Beans is about the 78-day standoff between the Mohawk community and the federal government when a golf course wants to expand into a tribal burial ground. Beans (Kiawentiio) is a young Mohawk girl who fights with her family for their right to keep a part of their history from being destroyed. A delightful film about a teen trying to find her way in a world that gets turned upside down when a battle ensues between the Mohawk community and the local government, quickly turning into a national struggle. The actress, Kiawentiio, who plays Beans, is fantastic in the role of a girl trying to grow up too fast, too soon, and getting into trouble because of it. Kiawentiio is perfect, playing Beans as an innocent girl whose promising future is being derailed by something much bigger than she can deal with. The film is based on filmmaker Tracy Deer’s own experiences as a young 12-year-old during the standoff and that makes it even more touching and enjoyable to watch.   My Rating: Full Price   Beans Website  Now playing on digital platforms including Amazon Prime.

Forgotten Film: The Hustler (1961) Fast Eddie (Paul Newman) is an up-and-coming pool player who, too early in his career, takes on a legend in the game, Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason), and loses everything in a high-stakes game. Now at rock bottom, Eddie is trying to resurrect his career with the help of the slick and smarmy manager, Bert (George C. Scott). Eddie realizes, possibly too late, that to get back to the top, he will have to risk everything he loves to hit the big time. The Hustler is one of those films that you see why Newman was one of the top actors of all time. He takes an unlikable, ego-driven person and makes you fall in love with him despite yourself, much like Piper Laurie's character in the film. The cast is outstanding, and Newman is a powerhouse on the screen. Newman played Fast Eddie again in the Tom Cruise film The Color of Money (1986).   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   The Hustler Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Dog: COVID Captains

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You:  X (2022) R   In 1979, a group of young, ambitious filmmakers go to an isolated set of homes in rural Texas to make an adult-rated film. Their stay will be cut short when things start going wrong when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, and the cast finds themselves fighting for their lives. After the disappointment of the sequel horror film Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I hope this Ti West (The Innkeepers, The Sacrament) will be better at the scares. Add in the fact that Jenna Ortega is one of the film's stars, just off her appearance in Scream and The Fallout and I hope this one will something to watch.    X Website

Until Next Time!

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