My View: Where the Crawdads Sing (2022) PG-13 Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) is an outsider in her community. Kya is called the ‘Marsh Girl’ by the locals since she was abandoned in the marshlands of North Carolina and raised herself to adulthood. Kya begins exploring outside her marsh's world when a young man she befriended is found dead and is immediately cast by the community as the main suspect. Kya’s life will be under the microscope, and many secrets of the marsh are about to be revealed. I have a feeling that this is one of those movies where the book is much better than the film. I liked this film, primarily due to the performance of Daisy Edgar-Jones, but the film feels very slow in its storytelling and the core of the story, one of mystery and romance, feels a little forced, with a love story that feels too much like a bad Young Adult novel. I had trouble liking either of the two men whom Kya becomes romantically involved with, and that’s a problem with a film that is part romance. The film also tries hard to bring in feelings from past movies such as Nell and To Kill a Mockingbird, especially with the nice Southern lawyer, played by David Strathairn. So much so that I kept waiting for Scout to show up in any scene Strathairn is in. Still, I enjoyed the film, I just wish there had been more to it than a lot of scenes where Kya looks longingly at the marsh, thinking thoughts about a past love. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Where the Crawdads Sing Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
Familyfaire: Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank (2022) PG Ever since Hank (voiced by Micael Cera), as a young pup, was saved from bullies by a mysterious samurai, he has wanted to become a samurai himself. Hank is hired to become the samurai of a small town being threatened by an evil overload. The only problem, Hank is a dog, and the townspeople are cats. You know this is a bad film when the audience I saw the movie with, filled with kids, only laughed when there was a farting scene. The film is a takeoff of samurai films and the Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles (hence the fart scene). In fact, Mel Brooks (who wrote some of his own lines) voices one of the characters, The Shogun, reminiscent of his performance as Governor Lepetomane in Blazing Saddles (‘work, work, work’). The film is a bore (kids at my screening were more interested in the whoopee cushions that were handed out before the film), the animation is flat and lifeless, and the storyline quickly becomes old. I had high hopes when I found out that Samuel L. Jackson was doing a voice, but unfortunately, he isn’t given much to work with a character that gets drunk on catnip (once again, think Blazing Saddles). Skip this one and let the older kids watch Spaceballs instead. My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again Paws of Fury Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022) PG A widowed cleaning lady (Lesley Manville) in 1950s London inherits a pile big of money, falls madly in love with the dresses of Dior, and decides to fly to Paris and buy one for herself. It’s a tale of adventure that will change her life and possibly the very future of the House of Dior itself. We all need a bit of Mrs. Harris in our life. Lesley Manville is a positive force for good in this film about a woman who follows her dream and won’t let anyone put her down on her way. You will fall in love with Mrs. Harris as she strives to put together the money to not only go to Paris but buy a Dior dress. This is a feel-good film that is funny, sweet, and has a bit of romance thrown in. The film gives us a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most fabulous couture houses in the world, seen through the eyes of someone who wouldn’t usually be welcomed to a place that relies on the rich and the privileged. It seems that everywhere Mrs. Harris goes, she spreads her love for life and adventure, even in a stuffy and class-oriented climate. I love that Mrs. Harris visits Paris during a strike where the garbage collectors are protesting low wages by not collecting the refuse of the city, making one of the most beautiful and iconic cities of the world a little dirty and smelly, one that only someone like Mrs. Harris could turn into a lesson of learning and acceptance. And by the way, even a guy like me knows that the classic Dior dresses look fantastic. So, pinch a few pennies and save up to take a journey to Paris with Mrs. Harris, and you are guaranteed a smashing good time. My Rating: Full Price Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
Indiefest: Gone in the Night (2022) R Kath (Winona Ryder) and her boyfriend Max (John Gallagher, Jr.) are going on a weekend trip to a remote cabin in the wilderness. However, when they arrive, they find that the cabin has been double-booked, and a young couple (Brianne Tju, Owen Teague) has already moved in. The two couples decide to share the cabin, and after a night of partying, Kath wakes up to discover that both her boyfriend and the other woman have disappeared. When Max doesn’t show up, Kath goes on the hunt to find him with the help of the owner of the cabin (Dermot Mulroney) and discovers that the truth is stranger than she could have ever imagined. I enjoyed the first part of this film, but by the 2nd half of the film, I got tired of how the plot was being revealed in a series of flashbacks that gave away too much information, and I figured out the mystery way too early in the film. I always enjoy Winona Ryder’s performances, but she isn’t asked to do much in this film other than being bewildered and scared. I wasn’t shocked at the ending (the film wants us to be), and I wish it had lived up to the promise that the first 20 minutes had, but it doesn’t. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Gone in the Night Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: Persuasion (2022) PG Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson) has never gotten over the man she was persuaded not to marry eight years ago due to his humble origins. Now that man, Captain Wentworth (Cosmo Jarvis), is back in her life. However, there is a new suitor for Anne’s heart, the dashing Mr. Elliot (Henry Golding), and Anne is torn between an old love who got away and a new one who promises to give her the world. I liked this film a lot, but I wonder if my judgment has become a bit murky because I have become such a fan of Dakota Johnson. She is delightful in this adaptation of a Jane Austin novel. Throughout the film, Anne narrates the film, giving us direct asides, like letting us see her reaction to something she told us would happen. This is a story of a love lost and the regrets of both parties. In typical Austin fashion, there is a lot of dancing around the two lovers' true feelings, miscommunications, and of course, another suitor who causes a bit of a problem or two. Does this have the biting wit of a film like Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility? No, not even close but Johnson and Jarvis gives us a couple that we can root for and a heroine who has a wicked sense of humor. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Persuasion Website Now playing on the Netflix platform.
My View: The Deer King (2021) R Van is the last of a group of soldiers fighting for their lands against an evil empire. After becoming the lone survivor of a slave camp, Van meets a young girl, and they go on an adventure that may save the universe. This fantasy epic gets lost in its attempt to build a world that is too complex to be told in one film. This is not a film for young kids as there is quite a bit of violence and bloodshed, though anime and fantasy teens may enjoy the epic tale of revenge and finding a purpose. Besides a highly complex storyline (that gets confusing at times), the film has an animated look that is bland and doesn’t deliver the wonder and beauty it needs. There are sub-plots among other sub-plots, and I never quite got which side was the good guys and which were the bad ones. The ending feels weak and almost too quick, making it seem as though the story isn’t finished, and maybe it's not, but I don’t think I will care. My Rating: Bargain Matinee The Deer King Website Now playing in theaters nationwide.
Indiefest: Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down (2022) PG-13 Documentary about the former congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her battle to overcome the effects of an assassination attempt in 2011 that left her partially paralyzed and with a language impairment. This is a film where you are going to experience a range of emotions as you watch it. You will cry, get angry, but also laugh as you follow the life of Gabby Giffords, a woman whose spirit and love of life wasn't shut down by an assassin's bullet. The film gives us an intimate look at Giffords and her journey to get not only her ability to walk but also to talk. Due to her husband, Mark, we see the highs and many lows of her recovery, as Mark was determined to let his wife and us see just how far she had to come back from death’s door. It’s a fantastic film about a remarkable woman and the man who believed in her recovery. This is not a film about outlawing guns but does have a message of how we can make gun ownership safer and keep them out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Gabby was and is a gun owner; there is even a scene of her recently firing a handgun at a gun range. My favorite scene of the film is during the closing credits as we follow Gabby as she peddles a recumbent bike around her neighborhood while joyfully singing a John Denver song. By the film's end, you won’t feel sorry for Gabby but will be happy that she is still around to make us smile. My Rating: Full Price Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down Website Now playing in select theatres.
Forgotten FIlm: Shoot the Moon (1982) R This is a film about a long-time marriage falling apart. George (Albert Finney) is unhappy and wants out of his marriage to live with his new love, Sandy (Karen Allen). Faith (Diane Keaton) feels abandoned by her husband, having left her and their four children for another woman. Faith finds a way to get back at George by having an affair with a young man (Peter Weller), and the fireworks begin. This movie is about unhappy people who don’t care who gets hurt, as long as their spouse gets hurt the most. Keaton and Finney play people you won’t like, and we never quite know why the marriage fell apart after so many years. Shoot the Moon isn’t about why they fell in or out of love; it’s about the pain and destruction a failed marriage can cause. My Rating: Full Price Shoot the Moon Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris: Toad in the Hole Prepared By
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: The Invitation (2022) R Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel) knows nothing about her family’s past, so she sends off her DNA to find out more. Through the test, she meets a cousin (Hugh Skinner) who invites her to a family wedding in England. Evie goes but soon learns that her newfound family has a secret, one that may cost Evie her life. The Invitation looks like it could be a fun watch. The Invitation Info The movies is scheduled to be released in late August, 2022.