My View: Bodies, Bodies, Bodies (2022) R In Bodies, Bodies, Bodies Sophie (Amandla Stenberg) and her new girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) have just arrived at a remote mansion to meet a bunch of Sophie’s friends for a hurricane party. While there, the group decides to play the game Bodies Bodies Bodies. Evidently, someone is taking the game too seriously because dead bodies soon start showing up. I may be getting much too old to enjoy films like this, but I think this movie wastes the talents of some up-and-coming actors in Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby) and Maria Baklova (Oscar-nominated performance in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) and instead gives us a slasher film that goes on excessively long and tries way ridiculously hard to be cutting edge. Maybe I didn’t like this film because the characters feel like they are right out of those old MTV Real World houses that used to annoy the crap out of me. Or maybe it’s how the pacing of this film just halts to a stop constantly, as we get one scene after another of someone crawling on the floor with their iPhone flashlights, waiting for the next body to show up. All I can say is that I was happy that a certain cast member was the first to go. Now if the rest of the characters had died that quickly maybe it would have gotten this film over with faster. My Rating: Cable Bodies, Bodies, Bodies Website Now playing in theaters nationwide.
Indiefest: Summering (2022) PG-13 It’s the last days of summer, and four friends decide to spend the weekend doing as much as they can before school starts. Unquestionably, the four are about to go on an adventure that will change how they look at each other and their lives. I am a huge fan of filmmaker James Ponsoldt, with his 2013 film The Spectacular Now, one of my all-time favorites. While better than the 2013 Apple computer-inspired film The Circle, this film still didn’t hit the mark for me. The idea is fun, with four friends not wanting to waste their last days of summer when they discover a secret that changes their plans drastically. I think the filmmaker wrote himself into a corner that he couldn't quite get himself or his characters out of without a bit of a mess. As always, I did enjoy the performance of Lake Bell, who plays a cop who is a mother to one of the kids. Her kind of a bull in a china shop performance is fun to watch and helps move some slow sections along. Summering is a lovely, safe film about coming of age and friendship that doesn’t deliver the goods that we are used to from this filmmaker. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Summering Website Now playing in select theatres.
Indiefest: Laal Singh Chaddha (2022) PG-13 Meet Laal Singh Chaddha (Aamir Khan), a simple man who will change the world through kindness. So this is a remake of Forrest Gump (done with Paramount’s stamp of approval) set in India in more modern times (not the 60s/70s that the original Forest was primarily set in). Does it follow the plot of the original? Sometimes shot for shot, but mostly it retells the story from an Indian point of view, using Indian history as the focal point. Yes, Laal meets a like-minded individual in the Army, but instead of shrimp, it’s underwear, and instead of an act of God, it’s a name change that saves the company. This is still a funny and sweet story of love, understanding, and redemption, but I didn’t connect with this film as I did with the original. I don’t know if it was the changes in the plot or possibly the music. The original used music exceptionally well. I point to the use of Freebird in the suicide scene, which fits the film's mood and helps set the setting. With this film, I never got caught up in the emotional pull of the film, even with all the (sorry, sort of spoiler alert) death scenes. However, it’s still a fun story; it just didn’t have the impact I wanted. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Laal Singh Chaddha Info Now playing in select theatres.
Indiefest: A Love Song (2022) PG At a little used campground in the West, Faye (Dale Dickey) waits for a high school flame from her past to show up. The question is will he show up? Dale Dickey is one of those actors who has been working steadily for years, showing up in TV and movies constantly in roles that are never the star, always the supporting role, usually as the hard-living older woman who causes trouble. So it’s fun to see Dickey in a lead role that lets us see a softer side, a woman who has lived a life but has some regrets, and one of those is never entirely falling through with someone she thought she could love. A Love Song is a slow-moving film, letting us live with Faye, getting to know her. I loved her laying in her trailer, waking up to a bird singing, and instantly knowing what kind of bird was serenading her. This is a beautiful performance by Dickey, a woman with hopes and dreams of love, willing to put herself out there to connect with someone. I loved Dickey's scenes with Wes Studi, in which more is said between them during the bits of silence than when they actually talk. A Love Song is one of those films that moves slowly, but that just makes the scenes when something happens much more impactful and meaningful. It’s a film full of moments to savor, just as Faye does as she sits on the picnic table eating her dinner as the sun goes down once again. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again A Love Song Website Now playing in select theatres.
Indiefest: Emily the Criminal (2022) R Emily (Aubrey Plaza) is drowning in debt and is barely making it working for a catering company. Consequently, through a friend, she becomes involved in a credit card scam and sees it as her ticket out. Instead, Emily may be in way over her head. Right off the bat, this film lets you know that this is Aubrey Plaza’s film, and she doesn’t let us down with a captivating and multi-layered performance, filled with angst and humor, sometimes at the same time. It’s a great role, and Plaza is perfect as the woman who seizes a chance to make some easy money and then gets addicted to the rush of the con and its danger. Emily the Criminal is a film that takes you on a ride with a character you want to root for but know that she is going down a path she may not return from. The film is full of great twists and turns, and it feels like you might need a shower after seeing it because it takes you into a world chock full of grit, grime, and unsavory characters. Luckily for us, Emily fits right in. My Rating: Full Price Emily the Criminal Website Now playing in select theatres.
My View: Fall (2022) PG-13 Becky (Grace Caroline) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner) are all about conquering their fears and pushing their limits. Consequently, when they climb a 2,000-foot abandoned tower, they may have pushed the limits a bit too far. I, unfortunately…wait, on second thought…fortunately saw this film on my computer instead of in a theatre, because if I had, I don’t know if I could have stayed still, or maybe I would have had to watch the film through my hands in front of my face because even though I’m don’t have a big fear of heights, this film will give you one. The film is 90 percent on the tower, and most of it is harrowing and stomach-churning in its selection of shots which keep you saying, “Oh my! NO, NO, NO!’ It’s a film that keeps giving you impossible situations for our two climbers to escape, and once they do, they are still on that damn tower. There are a couple of plot items I could have used without, and the film goes on just a little too long, but it's a thrill ride from almost the first shot of the movie to the last, with a couple of twists that will shock you, that is if you can still see the screen from looking away so much. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Fall Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: Day Shift (2022) R Bud (Jamie Foxx) is a hard-working guy trying to make ends meet so his ex-wife and daughter won’t leave town. Bud has a secret; he works for an organization that hunts and kills vampires. As a fan of vampire books and films, I looked forward to this film, but I was a little letdown. There is a car chase that is supposed to be funny and fun because Bud’s daughter is in the front seat, playing a chase game on her iPad as her dad is driving 90 miles an hour on the streets of LA, trying to outrun some vampires in muscle cars and motorcycles. The fight sequences become too repetitive, and the rapport between Foxx and Dave Franco, who plays a mild-mannered desk jockey forced to go out into the field, is almost non-existent. Franco is meant to be the comic relief, but peeing his pants every time he gets scared gets old fast. I enjoyed Snoop Dogg as the respected veteran vampire killer with a powerful machine gun to blast his way through a group of fang bangers, but he’s not in the film enough to make it as much fun as it should be. I don’t know, maybe it was all the sunlight, but this film didn’t have much of a bite. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Day Shift Website Now playing on the Netflix platform.
Familyfaire: Secret Headquarters (2022) PG Charlie (Walker Scobell) thinks his dad (Owen Wilson) is an IT guy constantly called out of town on jobs. While hanging out after school, Charlie and his friends discover that Charlie’s dad has a secret headquarters and is a superhero. Shortly the headquarters is attacked, with Charlie and his gang having to defend his home and save his dad from evildoers. This is a fun family adventure film with cool gadgets, an Ironman-like superhero, and kids taking on and beating adults at their own game. The film is greatly helped by the performance of Walker Scobell, who is an actor to watch. As in The Adam Project with Ryan Reynolds, Scobell holds his own with the adults in the cast, including Michael Pena and Jesse Williams, the two bad guys who want to take down the hero, The Guard, whose headquarters Charlie has discovered. The kids get to play with all sorts of gadgets, and the action sequences are fun, where the kids use the technology to defeat a group of bad guys out to steal The Guard’s power source. So take the elevator, push the button and enjoy the fun in the Secret Headquarters. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Secret Headquarters Website Now playing on the Paramount+ platform.
Forgotten Film: In the Company of Men (1997) R Two businessmen, Chad (Aaron Eckhart) and Howard (Matt Malloy), are traveling together and will be spending six weeks working at their company's regional office. They decide they are tired of women who break their hearts and want revenge. The two decide to find a woman in this new city who doesn’t have much of a social life, and then both men will date her, then dump her. They find Christine (Stacy Edwards), who fits their profile and is deaf. They began to each date her showering her with attention and gifts. The question: is will they go through with their plan, or will Christine figure out something is wrong? I liked this film because all three performances are well done, and the film takes a few twists along the way, with the storyline going in a different and longer direction than you think it will take. My Rating: Full Price In the Company of Men Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of Bodies, Bodies, Bodies: Intimacy Coordinator
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Don’t Worry Darling (2022) R A young housewife, Alice (Florence Pugh), is living in a community with her husband Jack (Harry Styles) in the 50s that seems to be perfect. But this community is hiding secrets, and the more Alice looks into it, the closer she comes to unveiling secrets that may cost her marriage and maybe, even her life. The film has been getting a lot of buzz and is directed by Olivia Wilde, who gave us the 2019 film Booksmart. Don't Worry Darling Info