My View: The Good Nurse (2022) R Amy (Jessica Chastain) is a single mom who juggles caring for her daughter and working the overnight shift as a nurse in a hospital. She befriends a new nurse, Charlie (Eddie Redmayne), and they are soon fast friends. Amy is hiding a secret, and soon she finds out that Charlie is too. Which secret will come out in the open first? Jessica Chastain plays the nurse you want in your service when you end up in a hospital. Amy is a warm, loving person who tries to learn about her patients' lives and make them as comfortable as possible, even if it means breaking a rule or two. Amy is on the overnight shift, and she soon finds a fellow worker who feels the same way that she does in Charlie, who, in a time of need, offers to help Amy. Charlie seems too good to be true, and then we learn that maybe he is. This film is based on a true story, which makes it much more horrific when we learn about what is going on in this hospital and others in the area. Redmayne is perfect as the soft-spoken Charlie, who seems like a nice guy, but you, as the viewer, feel a bit wary about him, especially how quickly he becomes important in Amy’s life. As usual, Jessica Chastain is remarkable as a woman with a secret that could destroy her life. The Good Nurse is a film that will keep you guessing until the end if our Amy will come out of this story with her life still in one piece. My Rating: Full Price The Good Nurse Website Now available on the Netflix platform.
My View: Run Sweetheart Run (2020) R Cherie (Ella Balinksa) is excited to go on a blind date set up by her boss. However, her date Ethan (Pilou Asbaek), who seemed perfect at the start, has become a monster and has told Cherie that if she can survive the night, he will forever leave her alone. It’s a night Cherie will never forget if she lives. This is a fun, scary romp of someone trying to escape from the bogeyman from the viewpoint of a woman who isn’t afraid to kick a bit of butt. Ella Balinksa is terrific in the role of Cherie, a single mom who has an idea of what she sees for herself and her daughter. But we get almost from the start that Cherie is dealing with a man’s world, where ride-share drivers can be openly creepy, and bosses can demand that you figure out how to get them out of overbooked situations. Along comes Ethan, who seems like a guy Cherie could enjoy dating until things turn quickly wrong. We get to try, along with Cherie, to learn the rules of this deadly game and how she can escape what seems to be an escapable scenario. While the ending feels a little too easy, I enjoyed this horror/run-for-your-life film with a definite female twist. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Run Sweetheart Run Website Now available on the Amazon Prime platform.
My View: Call Jane (2022) R In the 1960s. Joy (Elizabeth Banks) is a married woman with an unwanted pregnancy that endangers her life at a time in America when abortion is illegal. Joy meets a group of suburban women who have created a safe but underground network to give women the help they need. Joy gets the help she needs and then decides to join the other women to help people in need. The problem is this story is based (loosely) on true events, and the film’s story is better told in the HBO documentary The Janes that came out earlier this year. The film decides to center the movie around Joy, an upper-middle-class woman who, before her pregnancy, biggest decision was to have a second drink with her next-door neighbor or if she should start cooking now for her husband and teenage daughter. Joy becomes involved with the Jane organization when she is in need of an abortion. She is told she has a 50/50 chance of surviving the pregnancy due to a heart condition but is turned down by the medical staff (all men) of a hospital for the abortion because it might cause problems for the hospital (sound familiar right about now?). I would have loved for the film to be more focused on the woman who formed this amazing underground group of women who wanted to give women a way to make a decision about a life-altering choice. I wanted more scenes between Banks and Sigourney Weaver, who runs the Jane group. Their interactions are the best part of the film, but instead, we get a lot of Joy’s home life, with a husband who is more concerned about his own job and that his wife has his dinner ready, and a daughter who feels that her mother is spending too much time away from home. The film takes a turn that I did not like (I won’t go into what that turn is) and makes the film more about Joy and less about the amazing group of women who risked everything to keep women safe and given a choice. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Call Jane Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
Familyfaire: Wendell & Wild (2022) PG-13 Kat (Lyric Ross) is a 13-year-old orphan living at a boarding school. Little does Kat know that she has a connection to two scheming demon brothers, Wendell (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) and Wild (Jordan Peele). The two brothers hatch a plan to get Kat to summon them to the land of the living, but they have never met someone like Kat. This is a film that I wanted to love because I so enjoy stop-motion animation, and I admire the filmmaking that Jordan Peele is creating. Unfortunately, even with a standout voice cast and stunning animation, the film is packed with too much storyline, too many characters, and a plot that sometimes comes off the rails. Kids will enjoy the antics of Kat and the two demons but may get a bit bored by the plot. Still, it’s a fun film to watch, especially around Halloween time. I just wish the story had been a little simpler. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Wendell & Wild Website Now playing on the Netflix platform.
Indiefest: Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues (2022) R Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues is a documentary on the life and legacy of the man, the myth, and the legend Louis Armstrong. Armstrong was not only a ground-breaking jazz artist but was America’s first pop star and a cultural ambassador to the world. Most people today know Armstrong from his singing songs like Hello Dolly or What a Wonderful World. That is a shame because Armstrong was one of the greatest jazz trumpet players of all time. To hear other jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Wynton Marsalis not only sing his praise but are out and out astounded by his ability to hit high notes or capture phrases of music that they could only dream of achieving is mind-blowing. An incredibly popular artist who became an icon, his musical talent shines most in this documentary. The film does a magnificent job of giving us insight into the man behind the myth, letting us in behind the curtain through his own recordings of conversations he had in his home and around the world with friends and loved ones. I loved that Louis Armstrong created picture books and decorated his home walls with cutouts of quotes and pictures of his life and the film uses this technique throughout the film to highlight what Louis is saying in his interviews/talks. There is a decisive moment where the legendary actor Ozzie Davis talks about what he thought about Armstrong when Davis was younger and how that changed when he made a film with Louis and saw the man behind the mask that he usually held up to the world. We could all use more of Louis Armstrong, both in his music and his outlook on life and this film helps us discover the joys of his music and life. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues Website Now playing in theatres and on the Apple TV+ platform.
My View: Prey for the Devil (2022) PG-13 Sister Ann (Jacqueline Byers) is a nun who has been allowed to attend the School of Exorcism at St. Michael The Archangel as an observer. She becomes involved with an exorcism that has her come face to face with a demonic force from her past. This is a pretty ordinary exorcism film with a few ‘jump out of the dark’ moments but overall is rather bland in the scares department. The plot is relatively easy to figure out, and other than seeing a couple of favorite actors of mine in Virginia Madsen and Ben Cross, there wasn’t much to this film. I enjoyed that the church has a high-tech headquarters in Boston to combat the devil. I kind of was hoping Q would pop up and give us a demo of a cross that can shoot holy water over distances. But no, just a nun who wants to be an exorcist and a little girl who has to be a demon. My Rating: Cable Prey for the Devil Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
Forgotten Film: Pascali’s Island (1988) PG-13 Basil Pascali (Ben Kingsley) is a spy on a small island in 1908. Basil has been on this island writing reports for over 20 years that no one probably reads. He is secretly, or so he thinks, in love with an artist, Lydia (Helen Mirren), who sees men as a way to spice up her life. Basil’s life is turned upside down when an archeologist named Anthony Bowles (Charles Dance) is instantly interested in Lydia. This is one of those films in which you don’t know who to root for, for all the characters in the film have secrets and flaws that make them almost unlikable. Still, we want to stick around and see what happens, especially when an archaeological find could change everyone's lives. This is a masterful performance by Kingsley, who is much happier being behind the scenes, looking on as others lead their lives. He is a man who would rather dream about life than live it. My Rating: Full Price Pascali's Island Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues: Detroit Filed Producer
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Empire of Light (2022) R Hilary (Olivia Colman) is a troubled woman who is having an affair with the married boss (Colin Firth), who owns the movie theatre she manages. Hilary’s life is changed when a new worker is hired, Stephen (Michael Ward), and they quickly form a bond that will change their lives forever. Written and directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, 1917), cinematography by two-time Oscar winner Roger Deakins and a cast composed of Oscar winners in a movie about the power of film. Yeah, I think I would watch this. Empire of Light Website In theatres in early December.