My View: Jurassic World Dominion (2022) PG-13 It’s been four years since dinosaurs escaped the island, and now they live among us. The question is, who will be the dominant species on the planet, humans or dinosaurs? Ever seen a film and wondered why did they spend all that money to make it? This is one of those films. Beginning with a storyline that is so stupid (it involves a chemical corporation taking over the world’s food supply by creating giant locusts), a runtime that seems much longer than 2 hours and 20 minutes (lucky for you that if you need a pee break, you won’t miss anything important) and special effects which look like they were created in the 80s, and you have a film that you will want to miss, even if you stumble upon it later on late-night cable. I have to feel that Laura Dern (who I have loved since one of her first screen appearances in Mask) and Sam Neill did this film just for the paycheck because they had to know this script stunk from the beginning. The movie just throws stuff up on the screen, like cloning or training attack raptors with laser pointers (no cat jokes, please), and expects us not to wonder how or why. At one point, I expected a Star Trek ship to show up because these characters travel across vast pieces of land in a short amount of time that only could be done with a transporter. The film may possibly have the stupidest open and close to a film ever (can’t we all just get along…with dinosaurs?). Add in that I didn’t care what happened to anybody, a main bad guy that makes Mark Rylance’s character in Don’t Look Up seem sane, and a bunch of dinosaurs that seem to want to pose for the camera (there is a shot near the end of the film that the audience laughed at) and you have a disaster of a disaster movie. I really wanted that transporter to get me out of this screening. Beam me up, Scotty; I have dinosaurs to escape from! My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again Jurassic World Dominion Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: Hustle (2022) R Stanley Beren (Adam Sandler), a basketball scout whose goal of being an NBA coach has never been achieved. Stanley sees his ticket back to the big time when he discovers a Spanish amateur basketball player, Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez), in a park in Madrid. Surely under the tutelage of Stanley, he and Bo can make it to the NBA. Sandler is an actor I get mad at every time he takes a role like this because it shows me how good Sandler is as an actor and then he’ll go a do another crappy movie with his buddies like Grown Ups or Jack and Jill. Now, this film isn’t a stretch for Sandler since he gets to wear a ton of tracksuits and hang out with a bunch of pro basketball players, both current and Hall of Famers, and he seems to be playing a version of himself in the film. Still, it’s a good feel-good story about overcoming the odds and believing in yourself. I loved the interaction between Stanley and his wife, played by Queen Latifah. It’s a relationship that feels real in how they support each other through good times and tough ones. Real-life NBA player, Juancho Hernangomez, isn’t asked to do much more than play basketball and throw a few deadpan wisecracks at Sandler’s character, and that’s fine because this is Sandler’s film, and he is able to carry the total weight of the film. So lace up your best Chucks and go on a full-court scrimmage with Stanley and Bo. My Rating: Full Price Hustle Website Now playing on the Netflix platform and in select theatres.
My View: The Janes (2022) The Janes is a documentary about seven brave women who created a clandestine network that provided an underground service for women in the 1960s seeking abortions when they were illegal. These were women who, during the 60s, felt that nobody else was going to do anything to make abortions safe for women. It was a time when even getting together to discuss having an abortion was illegal. The documentary gives you a great background on the women who made up The Janes, showing us through historical footage and interviews with the Janes themselves. This film gives us what a country looks and feels like without the ability for women to decide for themselves if they should remain pregnant. The film provides us with a look into the lives of women at the time and how desperate some were to get an abortion, often having to deal with the mob or incredibly shady individuals to get those abortions. It’s a remarkable story of women who created a network that allowed women to safely and respectfully choose to have an abortion. No matter your feelings on the subject, you must admire the guts and fortitude it took for these women to provide a service that made it safe for women to choose. My Rating: Full Price The Janes Website Now playing on the HBO Max platform.
Indiefest: Dinner in America (2020) A punk-rocker, Simon (Kyle Gallner) on the lam, and a young woman, Patty (Emily Skeggs), is obsessed with his band. Together they team up to go on an adventure through the Midwest as they slowly fall in love. When I was in college (a long time ago), disco was all the rage. I hated disco and turned to something completely different, punk. This film stars two characters that would have been right there with me in Simon and Patty, a couple that gets together and finds romance in the unlikeliest of places. Patty is a misfit, a young woman working a dead-end job with parents who don’t understand her and want to control her life. Simon is a rebel, a man who wants to make music and cause trouble. Having just been let go at another dead-end job, the two meet when Patty volunteers her parent's home as a place he can hide out from the law. I loved the chemistry between the two leads, and Emily Skeggs, as Patty, is a force of nature as she practically explodes on the screen when she listens to punk music or reacts to Simon’s advances. This isn’t your ordinary, sweet love story; in fact, you might say it’s the exact opposite of a Hallmark film. It’s filled with a character that is sometimes hard to root for in Simon, but Patty sees something in Simon she loves, and Simon gets that Patty is more put together than anyone ever gives her credit for. So go on a ride in a borrowed old truck and slam-dance a few tunes with Simon and Patty as their love story develops on the bumpy road of life. My Rating: Full Price Dinner in America Website Now playing in select theatres on On-Demand in digital platforms.
Indiefest: Neptune Frost (2021) Neptune Frost is a sci-fi musical set in Rwanda, where a miner (Bertrand Nintereste) mourns the death of his brother, savagely killed when working in a mine, who teams up with a woman named Neptune (Cheryl Isheja) to change the world through technology. I wish I had seen this in the theatre as it needs to be seen in a setting where you can let the music and visuals overtake you to a strange and mythical world, where technology is being used to fight back against the tyranny of the world. Neptune Frost is a movie that isn’t always easy to follow, but you must just let yourself go and let the film put you under its spell. Full of music and dancing, sometimes joyous, other times sad, or even painful, that cuts to the heart of the film's message. Don’t try too hard to make sense of what is happening; just let it dazzle you with its powerful and emotional messages. My Rating: Full Price Neptune Frost Website Now playing in select theatres.
Forgotten Film: The Year My Voice Broke (1987) PG-13 Set in a small town in the country in 1960s Australia, Danny (Noah Taylor) is a fifteen-year-old boy who is secretly in love with his best friend Freya (Loene Carmen). No matter what he does, Danny can’t get Freya to see him as more than just a friend. And then in walks Trevor (Ben Mendelsohn), a bad boy who instantly gets any girl he wants, and Freya is no different. Trevor is bad news, and Danny knows it, but Danny can’t prevent a series of events that will not end well. What I love about this film is that the characters seem real, even bad boy Trevor, who, for all his faults, really cares about Freya. The casting is perfect, and the storyline is solid and heartbreaking. My Rating; Full Price The Year My Voice Broke Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of Jurassic World Dominion: Puppet Masters
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Three Thousand Year of Longing (2022) R A lonely scholar, Alithea (Tilda Swinton), on holiday in Istanbul, buys a bottle in a bazaar and discovers that she is now in the possession of a Djinn (Idris Elba) who will grant her three wishes. We all know that in every story about genies and wishes, those wishes never come out well, but this Djinn has never met someone like Alithea. The trailer got me when it said it is directed by George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) and starred Swinton and Elba. Three Thousand Years of Longing Info