Friday, September 30, 2022


My View: Bros (2022) R  Bobby (Billy Eichner) is doing well professionally but has always had commitment issues. Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) is a lawyer who likes to go to clubs shirtless and also has commitment issues. The two meet up at a club and start to date. Can these two men make a go of it? I enjoyed this film as a fan of rom-coms, and of course, this isn’t your average heterosexual rom-com, so it pushes the boundaries a bit on the genre. Still, it has the two people who are very different start dating, then there is the breakup, and then the will they or won’t they get back together in the end story. Eichner sometimes goes a bit overboard with the comedy, with a few too many over-the-top jokes, but once the romance starts, the film settles down and becomes enjoyable because of the outstanding chemistry between Eichner and Macfarlane. There is a funny, running gag about Hallmark movies and a few digs at some Apatow films (he produced this film) that are fun. Overall, this rom-com fan had a good time with Bobby and Aaron and their take on a modern-day rom-com with a bit of a throwback or two to ones in the past.   My Rating: Full Price   Bros Website  Now playing in theaters nationwide.

My View: Hocus Pocus 2 (2022) PG   Three young women accidentally bring back the Sanderson Sisters, and boy, are they sorry they did. Basically, they must now figure out a way to get the sisters to return where they belong before the witches wreak havoc upon the world. I am not a fan of the original film, so it’s no surprise I didn’t enjoy this return to seeing the three sisters terrorize kids. Now, you will enjoy this film if you fondly remember the first film or are a big fan who demanded they bring it back for another one. I felt like everyone was trying too hard, especially because there are three songs in the film (one is in the credits, so if you are having a good time, keep watching), all seem incredibly out of place. The storyline pulls the first film in with some guest appearances, but it’s a plot that is about as weak as the idea that two of the witches, after a trip to Walgreens, have to use a Swiffer or a pair of robot floor vacuums to fly over the town. If you think that’s funny, then have at it. I didn’t.   My Rating: Cable  Hocus Pocus 2 Website  Now playing on the Disney+ platform.

My View: Smile (2022) R   After a patient, who claimed she was seeing something that no one else could see, killed herself in front of Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon), Rose begins to experience frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. Rose must confront her troubled past to survive this new horrifying reality. Creepy is the best word to describe this scary horror movie. It’s a film that does have quite a few 'jump out of the dark' bits, but it also does a brilliant job of taking us down a rabbit hole that we don’t want to explore, and as Rose and we get more and more involved in the mystery, the tension is ramped up. I don’t know if Smile will be a favorite horror film down the line for me, as the plot is razor thin (no pun intended), but it’s still a fun experience if you like to be scared. You might avoid people that smile a lot for a few days after seeing this film.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Smile Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022) R   One man (Zac Efron) had a crazy idea in 1967 to leave New York and bring beer to his buddies in the Army while they were fighting in Vietnam. It’s hard to make light of a war that tore a country apart, but that's what this film does. It’s an incredible true story about a guy named Chickie, who was egged on by his bar buddies (and a wise bar owner played by Bill Murray) to take a bunch of ‘American’ beer to the young men from the neighborhood that were in Vietnam. Efron is good as Chickie, who has always gotten by his ability to charm his way out of anything, even if it’s not the smartest thing. The fact that this was a true story is amazing, but the film never finds a footing on if it should be a comedy or a drama and never gets the emotional peak that it needs to be genuinely moving or make it more than just a story an ordinary guy who tries to do a foolish thing and learns that war is ugly, horrific and not what you see in the movies.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Greatest Beer Run Ever Info  Now playing in select theatres and on the Apple TV+ platform.

My View: Nothing Compares (2022)   This is a documentary on Sinead O’Connor, who rose to worldwide fame, and how her iconoclastic personality resulted in her exile from the pop mainstream. I still remember that Saturday Night Live performance of O’Connor, singing a song that I had no clue the history of and then seeing her rip up the picture of the Pope live on air. The film does a great job of giving us background into both O’Connor’s life before that moment and the underlying aspects of her native Ireland and how it treated women during that time. It's an interesting and sad tale of someone who clearly had issues she hadn’t dealt with at the time. It gives you a full appreciation of not just the artist but also the person behind the voice that we all fell in love with. As the film continued, I kept thinking back to the footage of Sinead in an early rehearsal, where she was happy and at home, finding joy in expressing herself through her voice and writing. It’s too bad that we and the press were too quick to judge a woman for speaking her mind. Maybe through watching this film, we can learn to try to understand where artists are coming from before too quickly judging them. By the way, the Prince Foundation owns the rights to the song Nothing Compares 2 U, Prince wrote it, so we never hear the song in the film. But don't worry, we get to see Sinead sing many more.   My Rating: Full Price  Nothing Compares Website  Now playing on Showtime.

Indiefest: The Good House (2021) R  Hildy (Sigourney Weaver) is a New England realtor whose husband left her for another man, her kids sent her to rehab, and she needs a good year in real estate to keep her business from going under. In walks an old flame (Kevin Kline) of hers, and things are about to change. Boy, are things going to change. First, the trailer made it look like this is a rom-com, but it’s definitely a drama dealing with many issues, mainly alcoholism and depression. The film gets a little too dependent on letting Weaver talk directly to the audience to let us know how Hildy is feeling at the time. That being said, it is still a movie with two moving and brilliant performances by Weaver and Kline. They fit together on screen incredibly well, like a well-worn flannel shirt (something that Hildy might never wear). Weaner plays the hard-drinking, quick to put people down while keeping too many balls in the air to keep them all from staying up in the air. The film takes a little too long to get to where Hildy has her moment of clarity, but it's fun to see Weaver take the character with us along for the bumpy ride. My Take: Bargain Matinee   The Good House Website  Now playing in select theatres. 

Indiefest: God’s Creatures (2022) R  Aileen (Emily Watson) is surprised when her son, Brian (Paul Mescal), has returned to their small fishing village. However, things go wrong almost immediately when Brian is accused of a crime, and Aileen lies to keep him safe. It’s a lie that could tear the family apart. Emily Watson gives us a performance that we can once again point to and tell the world that she is one of the best actors on the planet today. It's a powerful and moving role of a woman who loves her son and wants him to succeed but also knows that he isn’t the man she wishes him to be. Aileen is willing to do anything to keep her son safe, even when she knows she is hurting other people. God's Creatures is a film that, right from the start, you feel as though the family you meet is cursed, and you are about to find out just how cursed they are. The performances throughout the cast are just so real, raw, and, at times, hard to watch, as Aileen’s world goes from bad to worse, all because she thought she was doing the right thing for her son. Little did Aileen know how big a cost that would be.   My Rating: Full Price  God's Creatures Website  Now playing in select theatres. 

Forgotten Film: Phone Booth (2002) R Stuart Shepard (Colin Farrell) is a publicist who is used to telling people what they want to hear. Stuart stops to use one of the last phone booths in NYC instead of his cell phone. Why? To call his mistress (Katie Holmes) so his wife won’t see the call on his cell. The phone rings and Stuart finds himself trapped in the booth, pinned down by an extortionist’s sniper rifle. Now Stuart must use the skills he learned over the years to stop the sniper from killing him. Phone Booth is an excellent film by filmmaker Joel Schumacher, who gave us St. Elmos’s Fire (1985), The Lost Boys (1987), and Falling Down (1993). Farrell is great in the role, and the film is a master class on building suspense in its short 88-minute run time. My Rating: Full Price  Phone Booth Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Smile: Lead Fire Rigger 

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) R Two lifelong friends, Padraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson), have been meeting for years every afternoon to walk down to their local pub and have a conversation. Until one day, Colm refuses to answer the door, claiming he has no more time to have stupid conversations with Padraic. Things go downhill from there. There is a lot of talk from film festivals that this is the performance that finally gets Colin Farrell an Oscar nomination. The film is by Martin McDonagh, the Oscar-winning filmmaker (Six Shooter (2004) of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), and In Bruges (2008).   The Banshees of Inisherin Website  The film will be in theatres in mid-October. 

Until Next Time!

Friday, September 23, 2022


My View: Blonde (2022) NC-17   The story of Norma Jeane (Ana de Armas), who became the most famous movie star of the 50s and 60s, Marilyn Monroe. From her traumatic childhood through her rise to stardom, exploited by almost every man she knew, Norma Jeane tried to remain herself, which cost Norma Jeane her life. First, a warning. This is the first big Hollywood film to be released with a rating of NC-17 (meaning no one under 17 is admitted). It’s due to some alarming scenes, some involving sex, but mostly, I think, due to some very hard-to-watch scenes of abortions that Norma Jeane had during her career in Hollywood. Ana de Armas is almost a sure thing to get an Academy Award nomination for her performance as Norma Jeane/Marilyn. It’s a brilliant and moving performance by someone who went deep into the role. But the film is tough to watch, as we watch a woman get taken advantage of by everyone, from the ones she loved to the Hollywood/political system. As brilliant as Ana de Armas is, she can’t overcome a stylized filmmaker in Andrew Dominik, who keeps going back to scenes I begin to resent being put through repeatedly. Keep in mind that this is a film based on a work of fiction, a novel by Joyce Carol Oates and not everything that happens to Marilyn in the movie happened to her in real life. The film is overly long (over two and half hours), and you feel that you have been in a boxing match, being pummeled over and over how badly everyone in her life treated her. There is one and possibly only one scene that releases us from the overall film's despair. In a beautiful scene on the beach between Marylin and her new husband, Arthur Miller (Adrien Brody), you see how happy (for a brief time) they were together, away from the spotlight. It's a beautiful scene, and de Armas, wrapped in the famous black and white sweater, is magical. Unfortunately, that scene is fleeting, and very soon, we go back to tragedy. Blonde is a movie that I will never watch again, no matter how great de Armas is in the role.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Blonde Website  Now playing in theatres and on the Netflix platform on Sept. 28th.

My View: Don’t Worry Darling (2022) R  A young housewife, Alice (Florence Pugh), is living in a community with her husband, Jack (Harry Styles), that seems to be perfect. However, this community is hiding something, and the more Alice looks into it, the closer she comes to unveiling secrets that may cost her marriage and maybe, even her life. It will be interesting how this film will do at the box office after all the controversies/publicity it has gotten over the past month or so. Florence Pugh shows us again that she is someone who can carry a film but only so far, with such a weak script. The film starts strong with a look and feel of a movie from the 50s, with the men going off to work and the women staying behind to clean and shop. However, all is not well with this idealistic dream, and the cracks start showing up to Alice, slowly revealing to her that her world isn’t what it claims to be. The film begins to fall apart about midway through and by the end, with the last third that makes no sense and reveals very little. It’s one of those films that makes you work hard to figure stuff out and never gives you the answers you want. Olivia Wilde, whose first film, Booksmart, I liked a lot, is to blame as this film falls apart in front of our eyes. I keep thinking about a scene where Jack, played by an overmatched Harry Styles, has just been given a big promotion by the community leader, Frank, played by Chris Pine. Frank then asks Jack to do a dance, which Frank reluctantly starts to do. This dance goes on and on, so much so that I wanted to call out ‘cut.’ That sums up this film that looked so promising but ended up such a dud.   My Rating: Cable  Don't Worry Darling Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Catherine Called Birdy (2022) PG-13  Lady Catherine (Bella Ramsey) likes to be called Birdy, and the last thing Birdy wants is to be married off to someone she doesn’t love because her father, Sir Rollo (Andrew Scott), needs the money. Conversely, Birdy will lie, cheat, and do anything else she can think of to defeat her father’s wishes. I enjoyed this film while not always enjoying the main character. Birdy is a bit of a brat, constantly pushing boundaries, especially when dealing with her dad, Sir Rollo, who doesn’t take anything seriously until he is told he is about to lose everything because he has run out of money. Bella Ramsey is delightful as Birdy, as she plays the game of figuring out what will get rid of each suitor that comes calling for her hand in marriage. Written and directed by Lena Dunham, the film brings a modern twist to the medieval world, with pop songs filling the film's score and Birdy pushing women's rights to the forefront of a society that saw women as something that could be traded for like livestock. Ramsey gives out one-liners right and left and looks like she is just having more fun than anyone else on the screen. That kind of lightheartedness is what we need more in this world, with a film full of fun while also having a heart.   My Rating; Full Price   Catherine Called Birdy Website  Now playing in select theatres and on the Amazon Prime platform on Oct. 7th.

Indiefest: Carmen (2022) Carmen (Natascha McElhone) has spent almost her entire life looking after her brother, the local priest of a small Mediterranean village. When he dies, Carmen must find a new path to follow, one that just might surprise her village and Carmen herself. This is a sweet tale of a woman finding herself and putting herself first after years of serving her brother and the lord. The film slips a bit from time to time, but Natascha McElhone’s performance is so heartwarming and full of life that it makes up for the sometimes weak storyline. This is a movie about someone finding love and forgiveness and spreading that idea to everyone she comes in contact with. Carmen is one of those stories that you feel better having seen it.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Carmen Website  Now playing in select theatres and On Demand.

My View: Lou (2022) R  When her daughter is kidnapped in the middle of a storm, the mother (Jurnee Smollett) turns to the only person that she knows can find her, a mysterious woman who lives next door named Lou (Allison Janney). The two are about to go on a journey that will test their limits and expose shocking secrets from their pasts. What makes this film work is Allison Janney, who we first meet as she goes about her day, pissing people off right and left with an attitude that she doesn’t care what you think of her, just get out of her way. From the start, we get clues that Lou is more than just a pissed-off older woman; there is something about her that shouldn’t be messed with. The film is an action film with a plot that is pretty easy to figure out (you're given a lot of clues very early), but still, Janney makes this film work as well as it does, giving us a believable performance that probably ten or twenty years ago would have gone to a man like Eastwood. Lou is a fun ride for what it is, and Janney makes it one worth going on the adventure with.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Lou Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

My View: Sidney (2022)   The life story of Sidney Poitier, Oscar winner, activist, and one of the greatest actors of the 20th century. This is one of the best documentaries of the year. The film is told through Sidney Poitier, as he sits and talks to us about his life and career. Produced by Oprah Winfrey, the film is a perfect look at a man who not only is one of the greatest film actors of any generation but also one of the great men of his time. The documentary gives us insight into what made him, how a man became an actor because he saw an ad in a local Harlem newspaper. It’s a remarkable life that Poitier lived, and the film does a fantastic job of giving us scenes from his movies and the context of how and when those films were made. It’s a fantastic look at a remarkable career that I hope gives people, especially ones that don’t know his filmography, to go and watch some of his legendary performances. Sidney Poitier was a great actor, but an even better man, and this documentary lets us explore and praise the man.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Sidney Info  Now playing on the Apple+ platform.
My View:
Confess, Fletch (2022) R   Fletch (Jon Hamm) is in hot water as someone has committed multiple murders, and Fletch becomes the prime suspect. Consequently, Fletch must prove his innocence while simultaneously searching for his fianc├ę’s stolen art collection. When Chevy Chase was a big movie star, he made a film called Fletch (1985), which was a big hit and was quite funny, letting Chase do what he did best, charm while also making fun of people. I was such a fan of the film I read quite a few of the books by Gregory McDonald that the character came from. Now thirty-some years later, Jon Hamm revives the role of Fletch, the wise-cracking, now ex-newspaper reporter, who likes to charm while making fun of people, all while solving crimes. While I enjoyed the Chase film, having read many books, I think Hamm is more what McDonald had in mind. A guy, still good-looking but showing his age a bit and using his charm rather than disguises (like Chevy) did, to fool people into thinking he is something he isn’t. The film is a fun who done it, that has a few nice twists and turns to keep us interested. I wouldn’t mind a few more turns with Hamm playing Fletch, solving a crime or two down the road. My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Confess, Fletch Website  Now playing in theatres.

Forgotten Film: Paris Blues (1961)  Two American jazz musicians (Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman) are living in Paris when they meet and fall in love with two American tourists (Joanne Woodward, Diahann Carroll). The film has an incredible cast, with two leads that dominate the screen, but I recommend this film due to an amazing musical number with Louis Armstrong that has to be seen and heard. And the film was shot on location in Paris.   My Rating: Full Price  Pairs Blues Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Blonde: Deliverables Producer

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Call Jane (2022) R A married woman, Joy (Elizabeth Banks), with an unwanted pregnancy, lives in a time in America when she can’t get a legal abortion. She turns to a group of suburban women who have started a grassroots organization to help women like Joy. Having recently seen the doc about this amazing organization, I can’t wait to see this film.   Call Jane Info  Playing in theatres in late Oct.

Until Next Time!

Friday, September 16, 2022

The Woman King

My View:  The Woman King   (2022) PG-13   The story of Nanisca (Viola Davis), a general of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors trained to take on an enemy determined to steal their people and destroy their way of life. What an action movie this is! Incredible action sequences combined with a powerful tale of courage, redemption, and the need to feel a part of something bigger than you are. This is an uplifting story of a strong leader and the women she guides in battle and life. Besides an out-of-this-world performance by Viola Davis, the film's score by Terence Blanchard is just riveting. I loved the storyline, and the battle sequences are incredible. The film is buoyed by a gutsy performance by Thuso Mbedu, who plays Nawi, a defiant teenager who wants to become a warrior but on her own terms. The Woman King is a film that anyone can be excited by, and you, too, will root for these fearless women warriors who work together to defeat anyone who stands in their way.   My Rating: Full Price The Woman King Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: See How They Run (2022) PG-13   Set in 1950s London, See How They Run is about a Hollywood film producer who sets out to turn a popular play into a film, but one problem, members of the production are being murdered, one by one. The world-weary Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and his over-enthusiastic rookie Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) are sent in to solve the mystery and catch the killer. I was looking forward to this film, and Saoirse Ronan doesn’t disappoint in her portrayal of the rookie cop who wants desperately to convince everyone that she has the good to become a detective. Ronan is the bright spot in this film that never quite is as much fun as it thinks it is. It’s a clever premise, using the Agatha Christie play The Mousetrap as the play that the film is set around. Christie wrote it into the contract that a movie could not be made of the play until the play had stopped its run for six months (something it has never done since its premiere in the 50s on the West End). The cast, including Rockwell, give it their all, but the film misses its mark, trying to be primarily a comedy, with a mystery and a bit of a satire on the backstabbing that goes on in the theatrical world thrown in. The film sometimes tries to be too cute and never figures out the right tone, letting us jump around too much to make it the romp it should have been.   My Rating: Cable  See How They Run Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Pearl (2022) R  Trapped on her family’s isolated farm, Pearl (Mia Goth) must tend to her invalid father while being tormented by her bitter and overbearing mother. Pearl wants to lead the glamorous life she has seen in the movies. Consequently, Pearl will do anything to make that happen. This is a prequel to Ti West’s horror film X that came out earlier this year. That film was about a group of people coming to an isolated farm to film a porn film in the 70s. In this film, we get to see how the killer became who and why they were in X. Mia Goth is why you would want to see this film, as she gives us a compelling and sometimes funny look at a young woman who wants to leave her drab life behind. This is a slasher horror film with a bit of humor thrown in. Lots of blood and gore with some surprising kills along the way. While I didn’t enjoy Pearl as much as X, it is still fun to watch Goth run rampant throughout the film, and I loved the ending.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Pearl Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: Goodnight Mommy (2022) R When twin brothers (Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti) arrive at their mother’s (Naomi Watts) country home, they discover their mother’s face is covered with bandages from recent cosmetic surgery. However, their mother is acting strangely, and the boys begin to suspect it isn’t their mother behind those bandages. This is a remake of an award-winning Austrian film from 2015. I liked this version, but maybe because I had already seen the original movie (and knew what would happen), I felt that even with Naomi Watts, this wasn’t up to the original version. This is a creepy story that sometimes tries to become a horror film (it’s not) and has trouble building the tension it needs to work fully. Still, I enjoyed the performances of the main three, with the twin Crovetti boys making a convincing performance as the loving sons who begin to feel that the woman behind the bandages isn’t their mom.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Goodnight Mommy Website  Now playing on the Amazon Prime platform. 

Indiefest: Moonage Daydream (2022) PG-13 Documentary about the life and artistry of singer/actor David Bowie. If you are a Bowie fan, see this in the theatre, on a big screen, surrounded by a great sound system, and watch an artist who had us in the palm of his hand every time he hit the concert stage. The film does not have a narrator and jumps a bit back and forth in its timeline, but man, oh man, the concert footage is just magnificent, and Bowie was always an interesting interview (he basically narrates the film using the numerous interviews that he did throughout his life). It’s a blast seeing Bowie’s progression from the Ziggy character to the Let’s Dance character and then onto the polished performer of his last period. The film uses lots of multimedia clips, something that Bowie continually experimented with, and you get the feeling that he would have loved this film. I also enjoyed the progression of the man, someone whose idea of love was very selfish until he met his match in his wife, Iman. The film touches a bit on his stage work (when he did The Elephant Man on Broadway) but doesn’t go much into his film career, which is a bit surprising, but the concert footage is fantastic, and I loved that we didn’t just get snippets of his concerts but almost full songs. Moonage Daydream is a must for any fan of Bowie or anyone wanting to know why he was so reserved and loved. My Rating: Full Price  Moonage Daydream Website The film is now showing in the IMAX theatres before going wide into other theatres on September 30th.

Indiefest: God’s Country (2022) R A college professor, Sandra (Thandiwe Newton), confronts two hunters trespassing on her property out in the wilderness. Soon Sandra is drawn into an escalating battle of wills, but these hunters have messed with the wrong woman. Thandiwe Newton gives a mesmerizing performance as a woman who is being pushed to the edge both in her professional and private life. She is a woman who is not used to the backdoor politics of college academia and also is not used to letting people on her property to hunt, seeing it as a personal attack on her home. She is destined to lose these battles, and no matter who tries to tell her differently, she is determined to fight to the end. I loved Newton in this film, but the bad guys (both in academia and the hunters) are just a little too cliche, bringing the movie down a bit. Still, it’s fun to watch Newton work on screen, making us want to reach through the screen and tell Sandra to quit before things get out of control. But Sandra wouldn’t hear us anyway, and we watch as she struggles to keep her life righted.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  God's Country Website  Now playing in select theatres.

My View: Do Revenge (2022) Drea (Camila Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke) are tired of being picked on and made fun of at school. They decide to team up, take down their bullies, and get revenge on each other’s enemies. I enjoyed the first half of this film, where two unlikely people, two young women who typically wouldn't give each other the time of day, decide to join forces and take down people that have wronged them in the past. It’s a fun ride with Drea giving Eleanor a makeover to fit in with the cool crowd and Eleanor giving tips on how to get inside the non-cool kid's group. Then the film takes a turn I wasn’t expecting and starts to slide into situations that seem too contrived and ridiculous (even for a movie about privileged high school kids at a private school). It was fun seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar in an adult bad guy (sort of) role, paying homage to her roles in her youth. Still, I just didn’t have as much fun over the two hours run length to justify the constant plot changes that didn’t work.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Do Revenge Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Forgotten Film: Princess Mononoke (1997)  PG-13   On a journey to find a cure for a curse slowly killing him, Ashitaka becomes involved in a war between the forest gods, led by Princess Mononoke, and a mining colony that is destroying the forest. Ashitaka tries to see both sides of this conflict, but both sides see him as the enemy. This Studio Ghibli film was a massive hit in Japan, but because of its length (2 hours 15 minutes) was little seen in the states. Princess Mononoke is a stunning film (animated by hand on cells) by the Studio Ghibli master Hayao Miyazaki, and the film is a powerful piece of filmmaking (Neil Gaiman did the writing of the English dubbed dialogue). When Harvey Weinstein wanted a shorter version of the film to distribute to the states, Miyazaki and his producer sent a katana sword to Weinstein with the words “NO CUTS’ drawn on the blade. As with most Studio Ghibli movies, Princess Mononoke is worth seeing more than once. One of the great animated films and one of the last animated films done on cells. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Princess Mononoke Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Pearl: Burn Master

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022) R One man (Zac Efron) has a crazy idea in 1967 to leave New York and bring beer to his buddies in the Army while they are fighting in Vietnam. The cast includes Bill Murray, Russell Crowe, and is from filmmaker Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary (1998), Dumb and Dummer (1994)). You had me at Bill Murray.   The Greatest Beer Run Ever  The film is scheduled to be released at the end of September.

Until Next Time!

Friday, September 9, 2022


Familyfaire: Pinocchio (2022) PG   The beloved tale of the wooden puppet who goes on an adventure to become a real boy. Why does this story keep being made by studios? I probably put Pinocchio near the bottom of the list of all the classic Disney animated films. Other than the signature song “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “An Actor’s Life for Me” (hey, I was a kid actor’), nothing else really stands out for me. Well, now you have a combination of CGI animation and live action that doesn’t feel magical. Tom Hanks is horribly miscast as the puppet builder Geppetto, with an accent that comes and goes, along with one horrible song about his dead son. And who thought it would be funny to have Pinocchio have a lengthy encounter with a pile of horse manure on his first day in the real world? I think small kids will enjoy the antics of Pinocchio, and Wish Upon is wonderfully sung by Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy, plus Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a certain charm as Jiminy Cricket (though Cliff Edwards will always be the standard). However, I felt the whole 1-hour forty-five-minute length as the story drags on and on. My suggestion is to watch the first 15 minutes of the film, look for all the Easter eggs in Geppetto’s workshop and pick out a movie to see from one of those.   My Rating: Cable  Pinocchio Website  Now playing on the Disney+ platform.

My View: Barbarian (2022) R  A woman (Georgian Campbell) rents an Airbnb to find that someone else is already renting it. Subsequently, she reluctantly stays the night, only to find that the home has hidden secrets that could cost her more than the rent. First, if you can, avoid the trailer. The less you know coming into this film, the better. It is scary as heck, with a great setup and an even better 2nd half (though I have a few minor problems with the ending that I won’t go into here). I love the casting of Bill Skarsgard as Keith, the guy who has rented the home also, and agrees to let Tess (Georgian Campbell) spend the night, with him taking the couch. I won’t ruin how Justin Long’s character AJ is involved in the plot, but he is perfect in the role as the vain actor whose life is about to go downhill. There are plenty of scares, and the tension building starts almost from the start of Tess showing up in the middle of a dark, rainy night and goes from there. Once you think you have it figured out, this is one of those films that comes out of left field and knocks you on your butt. If you like terrifying movies that keep you guessing, then Barbarian is one for you. One of the best horror films of the year!   My Rating: Full Price  Barbarian Website  Now playing in select theatres.

My View: End of the Road (2022) R   Brenda (Queen Latifah), her brother Reggie (Ludacris), and Brenda’s two kids are on a cross-country trip. In an isolated motel, they witness a murder. Thereafter, they become the killer's target, and Brenda will have to fight to keep her family alive. Watching this film reminded me of the old movie of the week TV films that used to be a staple on ABC and other networks in the 70s. A film that doesn’t promise a lot, led by a TV star (which is what Queen Latifah has become with her CBS Equalizer show), and gives a simple story of a family in the wrong place at the wrong time that goes from bad to worse for them. The plot is pretty easy to figure out, and there are a few fights (nothing much to see), plus a rather run-of-the-mill car chase. If you are a fan of The Equalizer, you might enjoy this, but for the rest of us, it’s like it's 1977 all over again, and I'm watching TV with my parents. My Rating: Bargain Matinee  End of the Road Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: About Fate (2022) R  A tale of two people (Emma Roberts, Thomas Mann) who have always believed in love but have never been able to find its true meaning. A chance encounter puts them together, and the two go on an adventure that will change their lives. Finally, they just might find out what love truly is. This is a fun, sweet rom-com with your usual kooky situations where two people meant for each other find themselves together due to fate. Roberts and Mann make a cute couple and have great chemistry together. The two get into some fun situations, and I liked the understated ending. It helps that the supporting cast is full of people you are comfortable with, like Wendie Malick, Cheryl Hines, and Britt Robertson. About Fate probably won’t be a staple in your rom-com lineup, but for a fun and enjoyable time, it will do. My Rating: Bargain Matinee    About Fate Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: Private Desert (2021)  Daniel is a policeman suspended after a violent incident, and his world is crashing down around him. Daniel holds onto the one good thing in his life, his online girlfriend, Sara. When Sara disappears, Daniel travels 2000 miles to find a woman he has never met. Daniel, played by Antonio Saboia, is a man whose world is coming apart. He has done something so horrible to get suspended that news stories keep popping up on the Internet. Daniel takes care of his elderly dad, who is barely coherent and has a rocky relationship with his sister, who he depends on to help take care of his dad. Daniel’s one shining hope is his relationship with Sara, but when she ghosts him, he can’t take it and leaves to find her. Private Desert is a tale about a man who thinks he is in love with a woman he barely knows but is convinced that everything will be better if he finds her. Sometimes what we think will fix things makes things only more complicated.   My Rating: Full Price   Private Desert Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Forgotten Film: Walking and Talking (1996) R  Amelia (Catherine Keener) is a single woman with a history of picking the wrong guy. Amelia has a best friend in Laura (Anne Heche), who has always been there for her, in person or any time Amelia calls. However, recently, Laura has been head over heels in love with her boyfriend (Todd Field), and now, Amelia feels she is losing Laura when Laura gets engaged. I love this film, primarily due to the performance of Catherine Keener, who plays Amelia as a likable but incredibly needy, flaky person that you somehow still like. The dialogue is perfect in this film, and it’s helped by the believable relationship between the two best friends. I will always love Anne Heche, but Keener overshadows her and shines in this one.   My Rating: Full Price   Walking and Talking Info  

Weird Credits: From the credits of Barbarian: Cleaner

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Moonage Daydream (2022) PG-13  Documentary about the life and artistry of David Bowie. The film has been sanctioned by the Bowie estate and is by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen (Jane (2017), Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015), and The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002)). I can’t wait to see this film. I never saw Bowie doing his own songs, but I did see him play keyboard/backing vocals for Iggy Pop a million years ago in my youth.   Moonage Daydream Info  Film will be releasing in theatres in mid-September.

Until Next Time!

Friday, September 2, 2022

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.

My View: Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul (2022) R  Trinitie (Regina Hall) and her husband, pastor Lee-Curtis (Sterling K. Brown), used to be the king and queen of a prominent Southern Baptist Mega Church. However, that was before a major scandal, and now they must rally and put the pieces back before it all goes away. I loved the performances of the two leads, especially Regina Hall, who dominates every scene she is in. Hall can do more with a look to the camera than most actors can do with a whole speech. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t know what it is. Is it a mockumentary? Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Most of the film is shot as if it is for a documentary, but there are times when the film isn’t part of the documentary, as in a bedroom scene where the couple attempts to have sex, which makes for a very confusing mess of a film. I will say that there is a hilarious scene during a car ride where the two get into a rather profane rap song, but that’s the film's highlight as far as humor goes. The problem is that the film is a one-trick pony on how a Christian couple is more concerned about their wealth than their souls, and it pounds us over the head with that notion throughout the film.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. Website   Now playing in theatres nationwide and is currently on the Peacock platform.

My View: Love in the Villa (2022)   Julie (Kat Graham) is a woman who always has a plan. After a long-term boyfriend breaks up with her, she takes the ‘romantic trip’ to Verona, Italy, that the two had planned together. Once there, she discovers that the villa she reserved has been double-booked, and she’ll have to share her vacation with a cynical British man (Tom Hopper). Come on, what more do you want in a rom-com than a trip to Italy with two mismatched, great-looking soon to be in love people. Predictable, but with the beautiful scenery, who cares? The first third of the film is a bit rough (a little too much of a grab for humor), but Graham and Hopper give the movie a bit of a spark, and you get an ending that you want. And there are all those shots of Italy.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Love in the Villa Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: Gigi & Nate (2022) PG-13   Six weeks away from his first year at college, Nate (Charlie Rowe) suffered a horrible accident, leaving him a quadriplegic. His world seems small and cold in that wheelchair until a unique service animal entered Nate’s life. A tiny capuchin monkey named Gigi. This is a film that is in two parts. The first part is an enjoyable film about a young man who finds hope and solace in a service animal. The film is enjoyable as Gigi and Nate slowly bond, and both Nate and his family begin to heal. The second half of the film takes a hard turn to try to give us a message that seems very heavy-handed, making a statement that it doesn’t know how to deliver without hitting us over the head with it. The film takes a big swing and misses. It's too bad because the first half is winning look at overcoming a horrible thing with the help of love and family.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Gigi & Nate Website  Now playing in select theatres. 

My View: Wire Room (2022)   New recruit Justin Rosa (Kevin Dillon) is working in ‘the Wire Room,’ where federal agents monitor in a remote facility the most dangerous criminals in the world. Rosa is watching a cartel member, Eddie (Oliver Trevena), who he has been told to keep alive at all costs. Things go wrong when Justin sees that a team of assassins has descended on Eddie’s house, and Justin warns the man of the danger. It’s a move that could cost both of their lives. It is tragic this is the last film that Bruce Willis will be in, and it is evident that he was having trouble with lines, with all the one-shots he is involved with, speaking one sentence at a time. Most of the film is horribly put together, with a plot line that stretches any sort of reason. It’s sad that your two leads only have action sequences near the film's conclusion, and then it’s mostly a shoot-out that ends with a whimper. Sad end to what was a great career.   My Rating: Cable    Wire Room Website  Now playing in theatres.

Indiefest: The Good Boss (2021)   With his company up for an award that could save it, Blanco (Javier Bardem) is willing to do just about anything to ensure it happens. First, I went into this film thinking it would be a comedy, but it’s more a drama with humorous undertones. Blanco is a man who is used to things going his way. He is all bluff and bravado, thinking he can talk his way out of anything. However,from the start, we see cracks in Blanco’s life and work. A worker he has let go of is causing a scene right at the film's beginning, and things get worse as Blanco tries to control an out-of-control situation. Blanco's world is slowly crumbling around him, from his right-hand man having a breakdown to a fling that turns horribly wrong. Javier Bardem is brilliant in a role that is very different from most that he has done in the past. This is a performance for the ages, as the more that Blanco tries to put out the fire, the more the flames rise up to bite him. It’s a character that, at first, we like, but as we get to know him, the more we detest his ability to charm. But is Blanco as slick as he thinks he is, or will everything come tumbling down? You will have to watch to find out.   My Rating: Full Price   The Good Boss Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Forgotten Film: Silvia Prieto (1999) R  Silvia (Rosario Blefari) is a woman in her late twenties who is perfectly happy going from job to job, moving around when she feels like it. It all changes when she finds out a second person is also called Silvia Prieto, and her life changes. Unfortunately, these changes are not what she hoped for. This delightful film from Argentina works because of the performance of Rosario Blefari, who is marvelous in the role of the strange and flighty Silvia. The film is full of wit and an excellent supporting cast. Truly a gem of a film and well worth watching.   My Rating: Full Price   Silvia Prieto Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul: Child Labor Coordinator

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Barbarian (2022) R  A woman (Georgian Campbell) rents an Airbnb to find that someone else is already renting it. She reluctantly stays the night, only to find that the home has hidden secrets that could cost her more than the rent. The film is getting great word of mouth. The film is in theatres nationwide on Sept. 9, 2022.  Barbarian Info

Until Next Time!