Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Fabelmans

My View: The Fabelmans    (2022) PG-13   Growing up in post-World War II Arizona, Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) begins making home movies and learns how the power of film can help us see the truth about each other and ourselves. Steven Spielberg brings us his most personal film that he has ever made. A movie that is a love story of both film/filmmaking and his family, especially his mother. We get to witness how it all started, a trip to the movies with his parents to see a spectacle of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth. Having trouble dealing with a traumatic car crash detected in the film, Sammy’s mother suggests that he film with his father’s home movie camera, a recreation of the scene using his toy train. This sparks the filmmaker in Sammy, and we see through his childhood and into his teenage years just how making movies became a passion for Sammy. This passion is beautifully expressed when Sammy’s Uncle Boris, played by the fabulous Judd Hirsch, tells Sammy how he is different from most people. That Sammy loves his family, but his love and passion for art supersedes everything else. It’s a small but moving scene that lets us know making movies is the thing that drives Sammy. The film is filled with brilliant performances, but it’s the role of Michelle Williams as Sammy’s fiery, funny, and sometimes slightly insane mother that drives this film and creates all the drama in the movie. Williams, channeling a bit of Judy Garland, is absolutely breathtaking as Mitzi, a woman who, like Sammy, has a fire for art. In her case, it’s music, but she sees that same love of creating in Sammy, encourages him to explore it, and becomes his biggest fan. It’s a role that dominates the scenes Williams is in and is sure to bring her another Oscar nomination (her 5th) for her role as this madcap, emotional woman who thinks nothing of taking her children in the car to follow a tornado that has suddenly appeared in their town. This film is filled with incredible performances throughout the film, including Gabriel LaBelle, who portrays Sammy in his teen years, giving us a moving and funny look at a boy turning into a man who loves his mother but is torn by a secret he discovers about her. Paul Dano gives us a father in Burt who loves science and loves his wife but can’t quite connect and understand both his wife’s and his son’s obsession with something that isn’t practical or, in his eyes, useful. I think by reading my reviews over the years, you know I share this same passion for film, and I love that Steven Spielberg has given us a film that so wonderfully and beautifully expresses that love. Please go see The Fabelmans in a movie theatre where it deserves to be seen so you can immerse yourself into the magical world of Sammy and his madcap, funny and loving family. And maybe, discover that you also share that love of movies.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  The Fabelman's Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Familyfaire: Strange World (2022) PG   Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the son of legendary explorer and all-around hero Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid). Ever since his dad died when he was young, Searcher has been trying to leave that life behind. However, the world needs saving, and now Searcher must lead his family of explorers on a mission to find the source of what threatens their way of life. I loved the animation full of wild colors and even wilder animals as the explorers encounter a strange new world full of magical creatures. I wish the story matched the magic of the animation, but I found the tale a bit boring and most of the characters dull. I found the story a bit hard to follow, and I was a bit bored. Kids may love all the beautiful creatures, especially a blue sort of talking blob named Splat that takes a liking to Searcher’s teenage son. I wish the writing had matched the brilliant animation, but alas, this is one story that the explorers couldn’t find.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Strange World Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: Bones and All (2022) R  Maren (Taylor Russell) is a young woman who has been abandoned by her father and is on the run. Maren meets Lee (Timothee Chalamet), and Maren finds out quickly that they share a deep, dark secret. A secret that Maren thought she was the only one to have. Okay, I’m going to give away a bit of the plot. Maren and Lee are both cannibals. They belong to a sort of secret society of people who like to eat people and will do about anything, including killing, to satisfy their desires. In the middle of this madness is the love story between the two odd souls that have, by chance, found each other and, no pun intended, can’t live without each other. The film is way too long and asks us to forgive the two’s killing spree because they are in love and in weighed down by the way too over-the-top performance by Mark Rylance, a fellow cannibal lover who takes Maren under his wing but gets too attached to her, and she tries to run from him. I will say that I did enjoy Taylor Russell's performance, as she lights up the screen in every scene. However, I think this is a film that will surely disappoint a lot of Chalamet fans who aren’t getting the sweet romance that they may want.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Bones and All Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Devotion  (2022) PG-13  Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) is doing something many people in the Navy thought impossible, becoming the first Black aviator to earn his wings through the Naval basic training program. Now he must team with his new wingman, Tom Hudner (Glen Powell), and fight a war in Korea, a war that will test their skill and friendship. I like this film about friendship and the experience of being the only Black aviator in the Navy, but I wanted it to be grittier and more down to earth. The film is bolstered by the outstanding performance of Jonathan Majors, playing a man who is determined to make it on his own without the help or pity from his fellow aviators. The film also has exciting flying sequences that are thrilling to watch before and during the Korean War. I guess I just wanted a tougher edge to this film, and it seems to set its sight on appealing to as broad an audience as possible, one that wants a good buddy picture about being in war. Devotion is a fine film, but I think it could have been more.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Devotion Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams (2020) PG   Documentary that tells the extraordinary story of Salvatore Ferragamo, who came to America as a teen and became the shoemaker to the stars in Hollywood. He then left Hollywood, went back to Italy, and founded the namesake luxury brand the world adores. I never understood the fascination of how some people just go nuts over shoes until after seeing this film. The artistry and skill that Ferragamo put into his shoemaking is simply amazing. It’s a remarkable story about a man who, at a very young age, started his career and, through skill and determination, became one of the most in-demand shoemakers in the world. I will admit that the first half of the film is the part I enjoyed, showcasing Salvatore’s travels from Italy to America and then his work in Hollywood during the height of the silent film days. The film lags when Salvatore decides to move back to Italy and leans far too heavily on interviews with family members, who tell long-winded stories that rarely pay off. Still, there are the shoes that Ferragamo made shown throughout the film that anyone who loves the art of the shoes will love.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams website  Now playing in select theatres 

Forgotten Film: Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (2002) R  Wilbur (Jamie Sives) is a man who has spent most of his life in and out of mental institutions. Wilbur also keeps trying to commit suicide but keeps failing. He has been left his dad’s bookstore in Glasgow and lives above the store with his brother, Harbour (Adrian Rawlins). They have a consistent customer in Alice (Shirley Henderson), secretly in love with Harbour. Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself is a sweet, strange film about people trying to find their place in the world and maybe also find love. Wilbur is kind of a weird guy that you can’t help but like, and you want everything to work out for this trio. I won’t go into detail about what happens, but it's a fun, screwy film filled with quirky relationships and even stranger people.   My Rating; Bargain Matinee   Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Fabelmans: Snow Effects Technician

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Violent Night (2022) R   When a group of mercenaries attack the estate of a wealthy family, a little girl asks for help on Christmas Eve. Santa Claus (David Harbour) is about to answer the little girl's wish and finds out who has been naughty. In fact, its not going to be such a silent night after all and Santa isn't Ho Ho Hoing around.  Full of violence and Santa magic, the trailer makes this look like this could be a lot of fun.  Violent Night Website  Coming to theaters in early December.

Until Next Time!

Friday, November 18, 2022


My View: Disenchanted (2022) PG  Ten years after her happily ever after, Giselle (Amy Adams) and her family have moved to the suburb of Monroeville. However, the community isn’t as ideal as it seems, and soon Giselle wishes that their lives were the perfect fairy tale. Be careful what you wish for. Can it really be since 2007 that we all fell in love with Amy Adams playing Giselle, the young maiden from the fairy tale land of Andalasia, who an evil queen sends to New York City, where she falls in love with a lawyer? The film was like a breath of fresh air as Adams dazzled us with her charm and singing. Now we revisit Giselle, ten years after her happily ever after happened, and it’s not everything she thought it would be. Her husband (Patrick Dempsey) isn’t happy commuting from the suburbs to the city, they have a daughter who is now a surly teen in Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino), and Giselle is finding that it’s hard to figure out how to get along with the suburban homemakers, led by Malvina (Maya Rudolph). What made Enchanted such fun was it took the Disney fairy tale story and turned it on its ear, with a character in Giselle, who was used to talking to animals and breaking out in song. It’s hard to capture the magic twice, and Disenchanted tries very hard to, with a few memorable songs, one thanks to Idina Menzel, who has married the prince (James Marsden). One of the problems with this movie is that in the first film, the wicked queen was played by Susan Sarandon, and now the villain of the story is played by Maya Rudolph, who can’t give us that dripping with evil regality we need. Adams is once again the star of the film, and she delivers, but the film overall doesn’t have that same charm and whimsy that the original movie had. The magic has died a bit in this tale, though it's not the star's fault.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Disenchanted Website Now playing on the Disney+ platform.

My View: She Said (2022) R  Two reporters at The New York Times, Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan), break the story of Harvey Weinstein and his years of sexual assault in Hollywood. She Said is told through the eyes of two reporters, both women, who can’t believe the stories they hear about a man who for decades terrorized women who worked for him, using his power to cover up his crimes by using lawyers and intimidation. The film does a brilliant job of letting us see how the story unfolds slowly as the two reporters start peeling back the facts and learn that this wasn't something that happened once or twice but continually happened over decades. She Said is a powerful story of two women who kept after the story, even when it seemed that no one would come forward. I loved the dynamic of Kazan and Mulligan, two very different reporters in their style. The two have incredible chemistry on the screen and work off each other to make us understand how deeply they felt about the story and how much they wanted to bring Harvey Weinstein down.   My Rating: Full Price  She Said Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Familyfaire: Slumberland (2022) PG  A young girl named Nemo (Marlow Barkley) is missing her late dad. Nemo discovers in her dreams the land of Slumberland, and with the help of a magical man named Flip (Jason Momoa), Nemo hopes to see her late father again. I am a massive fan of Windsor McCay, who was a cartoonist and ground-breaking animator who created some of the earliest animation for motion pictures and drew a magical comic strip called Little Nemo in Slumberland. So I was excited to see this attempt to bring that magical world of McCay to life. Unfortunately, other than a breathtaking scene very early in the film (where Nemo is atop her bed as it grows very long legs and travels through the city), the film disappoints on almost every level. One of the great things about McCay’s Little Nemo was the sense of danger that always seemed to be present. A dream could become a nightmare at a moment's notice, but this film never gives us that sensation. Instead, we get a lot of comedy, which Jason Momoa carries off with broad strokes that are fun to watch, but the problem is the storyline never seems to get going and becomes predictable, something that a film that takes place mostly in dreams should never be. I never felt a connection to Nemo, and the film takes too long to get fully into the Slumberland world. Kids in the audience were sometimes bored because the film jumped back and forth from Slumberland to the real world. Someday, someone will figure out a way to make McCay’s Nemo come to life, but unfortunately, this isn’t it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Slumberland Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

My View: The Menu (2022) R  An obsessed foodie (Nicholas Hoult) and his girlfriend (Anya Taylor-Joy) are a last-minute addition to a trip to a secluded island, where a world-famous chef (Ralph Fiennes) is to serve them the meal of a lifetime. Unfortunately, it just might be their last. This black comedy sendup of the food-obsessed culture is a delight. Ralph Fiennes is perfect as the ‘Chef’ who considers his artistically crafted food a work of art and thinks of himself as a storyteller. The patrons of this dining experience are people you would never want to dine with, except Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), who isn’t impressed by the food or the ‘Chef.’ Anya Taylor-Joy again shows why she commands your attention when she is on the screen. Her timing is perfect, and she gives us a person we can root for in this horrible group of wealthy, pompous diners. The film takes a while to get going, but once you figure out what is going on and why it’s fun to see how far this film will go. And I thought the ending was picture-perfect or maybe i should say it deserves a ‘Chef’s Kiss.’    My Rating: Full Price    The Menu Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: Bad Axe (2022)  Documentary about an Asian-American family smack dab in the middle of Trump’s rural America as they fight to keep their restaurant in the face of a pandemic, Neo-Nazis, and generational scars for the “Killing Fields.’ This is a brilliant look at a close-knit family who, like the rest of us, was dealt with the blow of the pandemic, threatening their livelihood and, at times, their lives. It would be hard to find another documentary that covers so much ground, showing us an inside look at a fantastic group of people who love, fight and try to survive in a community that isn’t always welcoming. Not only that, but the group's father is a survivor of the Killing Fields of Cambodia, which still haunts him in the present. This is an unflinching look at a family that survives through tough times by not only hard work and strong convictions but the support of each other. The film is from David Siev, the son of Chun and Rachel. This allows us access that an ordinary filmmaker wouldn’t get, and we see that even David, behind the camera, is sometimes the story's focus. The main focus, though, is on Chun, who came to this country with his mother and his fellow brothers and sisters, escaping the horrors of Cambodia, and on the oldest daughter, Jaclyn, who has come back to help her family survive the pandemic. Bad Axe is a beautiful and touching story about a family that will inspire you and, at times, makes you angry. But wasn’t that life in 2020 when the world came to a stop? My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Bad Axe Website Now playing in select theatres and On Demand.

My View: The Wonder (2022) R  Lib (Florence Pugh) is a nurse who has been brought to the countryside to watch over a young girl named Anna (Kila Lord Cassidy). Lib has been given strict instructions not to interfere with Anna’s life, only to observe because Anna hasn’t eaten anything in four months. Is this the work of God, the Devil, or a trick? Florence Pugh gives a spellbinding performance as a nurse who is asked to confirm that a young woman is surviving without food but is flourishing on just her faith in God. Pugh’s Lib is a determined woman who is given a thankless job but will do her best to ensure that what Anna claims is the truth. This is a slow-developing story that lets you try and figure out if Anna is a fake or really is a miracle. We get to know Anna and Lib as they interact with each other and start to bond as a nurse and a patient. The mystery is secondary to our understanding of Liv, getting to know her as we watch her interact with both Anna and the townspeople. Is Anna’s condition a miracle or a sham? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure. Lib will never be the same after her experience.  My Rating: Full Price  The Wonder Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Forgotten Film: A Small Circle of Friends (1980) R   Set in the late 1960s, three students start college with their futures bright and set. Leo (Brad Davis) is determined to accomplish big things, including being the editor of the Harvard student newspaper. Jessica (Karen Allen) is just as relentless and becomes Leo’s girlfriend. Nick (Jameson Parker) is a premed student who becomes the two’s best friend, though Nick is secretly in love with Jessica. As they go through their college years, they learn the world is very different than what they thought it was, and it is changing before their eyes. I love Karen Allen in this film, full of fire and passion, as Jessica becomes aware that her sheltered world wasn’t real life. A Small Circle of Friends is an excellent look at the late 60s and what it was like to go through an America that seemingly was coming apart.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  A Small Circle of Friends Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Slumberland: Swamper

Coming Soon to Screen Near You: Spoiler Alert (2022) PG-13  Michael Ausiello (Jim Parsons) is a famous and successful media critic but has never had success with love. He meets Kit (Ben Aldridge), a man who falls for Michael, even his rather large Smurf collection. Then Kit comes down with cancer, and everything changes. Michael Ausiello (Ausiello to his fans) is one of my favorite TV critics, and I can’t wait to see this movie.    Spoiler Alert Website  In theatres in mid-December.

Until Next Time!

Friday, November 11, 2022

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

My View: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) PG-13  The nation is in mourning after the death of King T’Challa. Queen Ramonda must guide her country to continue to strive to uphold their way of life and defend it from all enemies, even without their beloved leader. One thing that Marvel is good at doing is a tribute to someone who has died. They did it with Stan Lee, and now they have done it with the great Chadwick Boseman. While the film might not be quite as brilliant as the original, Wakanda Forever still is a good, if not great action picture about a nation and a family that is lost without their leader. The film centers on Shuri (Letitia Wright), who is trying to recover from the loss of her brother and King. The film brings back the gang, including Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia and Martin Freeman as our favorite CIA agent, Everett Ross. Along comes Namor (Tenoch Huerta), a ruler of an underwater nation threatening Wakanda and the rest of the world. Queen Ramonda is dealing with a world that wants Wakanda's technology while also dealing with this new threat in Namor and his nation of seemingly indestructible warriors. The film does a magnificent job of letting us mourn the death of T’Challa while still reveling in the wonders and heroics of the Wakandans. It helps that we fell in love with Wakanda and now must move on to the new regime while still remembering the magnificence of King T’Challa and the gifts he left behind. And be sure to stay through the closing credits for a mid-credits scene you don’t want to miss.   My Rating: Full Price  Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Website  Now in theatres nationwide.

My View: Spirited (2022) PG-13  Spirited is a modern-day musical retelling of Dickens's legendary Christmas story, with a miserable, miserly man (Ryan Reynolds) being visited on Christmas Eve by three ghosts to show his past, present, and future. You may never say ‘Good Afternoon’ the same again, but you will love this new Christmas musical addition to your Holiday tradition. This is a joyous retelling of the Dickens tale with a whole bunch of twists, including one amusing cameo. The musical numbers from Benji Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land) are bright and catchy, with both Reynolds and Will Ferrell showing some range in their voices and dance moves. I loved Octavia Spencer as Reynold’s character’s right-hand woman with a gold heart. Only critics with a bit of Scrooge will find this film not a joy to watch.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Spirited Info  Now in select theatres and on Apple TV+ Friday, November 18, 2022

Indiefest: Sam & Kate (2022) R  Sam (Jake Hoffman) has returned to his small hometown to care for his ailing but larger-than-life father, Bill (Dustin Hoffman). While home, Sam falls for a local woman named Kate (Schuyler Fisk). Just when things seem to be going great, Bill starts dating Kate’s mom, Tina (Sissy Spacek), and things will never be the same again. I enjoyed this film about two people that find love and then don’t let it go. First, it’s just fun to watch Dustin Hoffman as a crotchety old man who needs help from his adult son. Bill, as he makes his son call him, loves his son but feels that Sam has never achieved his potential. Sam loves his father but struggles to understand his father. Along comes Kate and her mother, Tina, into their lives. Both Kate and Tina are hiding secrets. Secrets that they don’t want to let other people into their lives to learn. However, Sam is a good guy, charming and warm, who slowly wins Kate over to go out with him. We then wonder if these two people can survive not only dating each other but that their parents are also dating. It’s fun seeing Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spacek on the screen together, but the real draw is the chemistry between Schuyler Fisk and Jake Hoffman that makes this film work so well. Sam & Kate is one of those small films you fall in love with, containing strong characters, winning performances, and a storyline that lets you think that maybe, just maybe, these characters can find happiness after all.   My Rating: Full Price  Sam & Kate Info  Now playing in select theatres.

My View: Falling For Christmas (2022)   It’s a few days before Christmas, and a spoiled hotel heiress (Lindsay Lohan) has a skiing accident and is diagnosed with amnesia. She finds herself in the care of a handsome owner (Chord Overstreet) of a small skiing lodge and his daughter. Love might just catch our heiress, but what happens when she gets her memory back? Hey, you get Lindsay, Christmas, a handsome widower with a young daughter whose business is failing, and add a bit of It’s A Wonderful Life, and you have a delightful holiday movie that will get you in the mood for Christmas. Now the film follows a formula that has been used for years, but it’s helped by the comedic talent of Lohan, who shows she still has the charm and the timing to pull off the physical comedy of a young pampered woman who doesn’t know how to do anything, even make the bed. So get into the Christmas spirit and join Lindsay on a magical romantic holiday film.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Falling for Christmas Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: Terrifier 2 (2022)  Years after he was thought dead and gone, Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton has returned to Miles County to get revenge on Halloween night. The only thing standing in his way is a teenage girl (Lauren LaVera) and her young brother (Elliott Fullam). I am late to the party on this one, but this is the little horror film that could become a bit of a box office draw. Now I will warn you people have thrown up or have left due to the horrific killings that Art does in this film. However, if you have the stomach for it, this is a horror fan’s nightmare of a good time. Art is a unique character, a clown that doesn’t talk and delights in killing his victims in the most gruesome ways. Lauren LaVera is a force of nature in this film, as her character, Sienna, decides to take on Art and try to bring him down. Terrifier 2 is a horror film that has a bit of a sense of humor but with lots of blood to go with that humor. Not for everyone, but I had a blast watching this film in a somewhat packed theatre on Halloween night. Just as Art intended.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Terrifier 2 Info  Now playing in select theatres.

Forgotten Film: The Exploding Girl (2009)   Ivy (Zoe Kazan) is back from college on a break and meets up with her friend Al (Mark Rendall), who has nowhere to stay because his parents have rented his room. Ivy and her mom let Al sleep on the couch for the week. Ivy has had a tough year, full of stress, that has brought on her epilepsy to the forefront. It doesn’t help that her mother seems more interested in her job than Ivy, and Ivy can’t get ahold of her boyfriend at all. Not a lot happens in this film (part of what was called the ‘mumblecore’ sub-genre of filmmaking that came out at this time, where characters said a lot but didn’t make lots of points, and films seemed to be just slices of life. The reason to see this film is Zoe Kazan, who director Bradley Rust Gray lets dominate the camera and the scenes with just a look. Kazan shows the flashes of brilliance that we later saw in films like The Big Sick (2017), Ruby Sparks (2012), and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), and while the film falters a bit, Kazan never falters in the role.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Exploding Girl Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: Fixtures Best Boy

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: She Said (2022) R  Two reporters at The New York Times, Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan), break the story of Harvey Weinstein and his years of sexual assault in Hollywood. She Said is one of the most talked about films of the year, and if it lives up to the hype, it could be a frontrunner for the Oscars.   She Said Website  In theatres nationwide mid-November. 

Until Next Time!

Friday, November 4, 2022


My View: Causeway (2022) R  Lynsey (Jennifer Lawrence) has done something she said she would never do: return to her hometown of New Orleans. After being injured while fighting in Afghanistan, Lynsey has moved back home to rehabilitate a traumatic brain injury, living with her mother, Gloria (Linda Emond), and finding a job as a pool cleaner. With the help of a new friend in James (Brian Tyree Henry), Lynsey is determined to get back into the army and heck out of New Orleans. There is a reason why Jennifer Lawrence has been nominated four times for an Oscar and has won it once. She is truly one of our finest actors on the silver screen today. This is a beautiful, moving, and powerful performance of a woman haunted by a horrible war incident and also her life before the army. We first meet Lynsey, she is almost an invalid, not able to speak or do much on her own, but we soon learn that Lynsey is a determined person whose goal is to go back to a world that accepted her, where she felt safe, the army, even if it was Afghanistan. Lynsey has her mind set on returning to the army and getting the heck out of New Orleans. Along the way, she meets James (Brian Tyree Henry), a car repair shop owner. Brian Tyree Henry gives us a man who is just as tortured by his past as Lynsey is. James sees someone who needs his help and is more than willing to extend his hand in friendship, but Lynsey isn’t a person who lets people into her life easily. Brian Tyree Henry works off of Lawrence with such an easy, carefree persona. It is a beautiful experience to see this friendship between two hurt people develop before our eyes. I am guessing that Lawrence will get another Oscar nomination for this role, and she will deserve it, but it will be hollow if Brian Tyree Henry doesn’t get a nomination also.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Causeway Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Enola Holmes 2 (2022) PG-13   After solving her first case, Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) has decided to be like her famous brother, Sherlock (Henry Cavill), and become a detective-for-hire. After no work, Enola chooses to take a case of a poor match-girl and find the match-girls sister. Little did Enola know that the mystery would involve a deadly conspiracy, and Enola may need help from her brother to get her out of what could be a deadly jam. I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, and I am glad that this series has continued. In fact, I think this is a much better film than the first Enola Holmes feature. Millie Bobby Brown is delightful as the spunky and a little bit stuck-up Enola, who desperately wants to be seen as an equal to her famous brother, Sherlock. I loved the mugging that Enola does to the camera, making this a fun romp as Enola runs, climbs, and fights to solve a mystery that gets more complicated and involved the more Enola starts digging. Cavill holds his own as the pompous Sherlock, who sees his younger sister almost as an annoyance. Along for the ride are two characters from the first film, Helena Bonham Carter as Enola’s trouble-making mother and Louis Partridge as Lord Tewkesbury, Enola’s love interest. Added to the cast as the villain is David Thewlis, who plays a police investigator who is convinced that Enola is a murderer and must be caught. Brown looks to be having a blast in the part and puts a ton of energy and whimsy into a character that is just fun to watch on the screen. Oh, and by the way, the mystery is much better than the first one, and just maybe, someone else from the world of Sherlock shows up to stir the mystery up a bit.   My Rating: Full Price   Enola Holmes 2 Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

My View: Armageddon Time (2022) R   It’s 1980, and Paul (Banks Repeta) is starting sixth grade at a public school. Paul’s best friend is Johnny (Jaylin Webb), a Black student who always gets into more trouble, even when the two are caught doing the same thing. When the two get into trouble again, Paul’s parents ((Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong) decide to send Paul to a private school, and Paul must choose whether or not to disobey his parents and stay friends with Johnny. This is a movie about adolescence and learning that life isn’t always fair or doesn’t go our way just because it should. Paul is a character that you may not like at first. He acts up and always seems to get his way. He is the center of his family, with a mother, played by Anne Hathaway, and a grandfather, played by Anthony Hopkins, who is the apple of their eye. Paul meets a fellow troublemaker at school, Johnny, and they delight in seeing the world as ‘us vs. them. However, Paul soon learns that Johnny’s world is very different from his own. Paul is convinced that his family is rich and powerful and that whatever trouble he gets into, his family will get him out of it. Johnny knows that in the world he lives in, because he is Black, Johnny can only depend on himself to get out of any trouble and that he will always be the first to be blamed. This is a film where Paul learns that the world is a very messy place and that what we say and do can hurt others. I liked this film and the cast, including brilliant performances by both Hathaway and Hopkins, make this a movie to watch. Life is not easy, and we are asked to make tough choices. The film explores those choices and how the characters must live and deal with the results.   My Rating: Full Price    Armageddon Time Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: Good Night Oppy (2022) PG  Documentary about Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rover, known as Oppy by the scientists at NASA. Oppy was supposed to explore Mars for only 90 days but lasted almost 15 years. Is it too weird for a group of scientists to fall in love with a little robot in outer space? Movies have long figured out that we can fall in love with robots. I mean, look at Star Wars, older sci-fi, and a bunch of Pixar films. But can you fall in love with real robots that are on another planet? Yes, you can. You will fall for the scrappy 5 foot 2-inch twin robots named Opportunity and Spirit. This is an absolutely charming film about a group of scientists who dreamed of exploring Mars to find out if water ever existed on Mars, meaning life could have been present. I was struck by how both the scientists and I got attached to these remarkable little machines and how much I enjoyed their sometimes mundane and, other times, heroic adventures. If surviving an incredible journey, storms that seemed to pop up at the wrong times, exploring an unknown world with temperatures unbearably hot and cold is not heroic, then I don’t know my classic tales. The film does a brilliant job of letting us get to know the scientists and engineers behind the robots and how they dreamed as kids to one day get to work on something so incredible and awe-inspiring. But it's the film’s credit that also lets us think of these two robots as something more than a bunch of gears and computer parts but an almost living thing with a heart and a will to explore. I hope this film inspires more young people to become engineers and scientists. We could sure use the help.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Goodnight Oppy Website Now playing in select theatres and on the Amazon Prime platform.

Indiefest: The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile (2022) R  Decades after Tanya Tucker seemed to disappear from the spotlight, singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile decides to write an entire album with her hero based on Tanya’s extraordinary and sometimes controversial life. Could this be the most incredible comeback in country music history? Tanya Tucker is one of those artist whose career was overshadowed by a rocky personal life. That she hadn’t done an album in 17 years was wrong, and super-fan Brandi Carlile was determined to bring Tanya back into the studio and get the singer back to where she needed to be. The best parts of this film are the interactions between Carlile and Tanya, showing the collaboration that goes on during the album-making. Carlile is the perfect person to bring Tanya back into the studio. Someone who knows what it's like to put your heart and soul into your music. The film goes on a little too long, trying a bit too hard to tug on the heartstrings, but it's worth it for those moments of magic in the studio where you see what a talent Tucker is.   My Rating: Full Price  The Return of Tanya Tucker Website Now playing in select theatres.

Indiefest: Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me (2022) R Selena Gomez wanted to be a star from age four. Just when she reached unimaginable stardom, Selena was sent down a dark journey that took her nearly six years to come back from. However, back she is, and she is here to stay. I have been a fan of Selena Gomez, both the actor and the singer. Still, after seeing this beautiful and powerful documentary, I am an even bigger fan of Selena Gomez, the person. It’s a sometimes raw and moving look at life in the fishbowl of being a celebrity and dealing with not only a disease like Lupus that attacks your body but also mental health problems, all the while being such a focus of the celebrity life. Much like the recent docs on Billie Eilish and Amy Winehouse, this is an intimate look at what it’s like to be a celebrity while also dealing with mental health issues. I applaud Selena for allowing Alek Keshishian into her life and showcasing Selena and her passion for trying to help everyone with mental health issues. In what I am sure started out as a behind-the-scenes look at a tour back in 2016 when it took a turn after Selena had broken up with Justin Bieber and quit her tour midway to get help. The film looks at how one person decides to take control of her life and health while using her influence to help others. I can’t tell you how much I loved this film and admire Selena Gomez for letting us see her struggles and the joys in her life.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me Info  Now playing on the Apple TV+ platform.

Forgotten Film:  Piranha(1978) R  A government research facility accidentally releases a school of flesh-eating and very hungry piranhas into a summer resort’s river. What happens next is not pretty and really bloody. Directed by Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins) and co-written by, wait for it, John Sayles (Eight Men Out, Lone Star), this is a blatant rip-off of Jaws. So much so that Universal was going to sue legendary producer Roger Corman until Steven Spielberg saw the film, fell in love with it, and had them call off the lawyers. Shot at a small water-based amusement park outside of San Antonio called Aquarena Springs (look up Ralph the Swimming Pig), this schlocky horror film is a blast to watch. The film was a big hit and had a sequel (which was really bad). It’s got teenagers, 70’s nudity (not much but enough to get teens to go to the theatre), and lots of fake blood in the water. It’s got a holdover ‘mad scientist’ from the Vietnam War, a government coverup, and, did I mention, lots of blood. The poster is a direct rip-off of Jaws, which you can see why Universal thought about suing. Oh, and one of the film stars is Barbara Steele, one of the great horror film stars of the 60s and 70s.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Piranha Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Causeway: Weather Service

Coming Soon To a Screen Near You: Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)  Sequel to the 2009 film (the biggest box office winner of all-time), Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his family are living on Pandora. When his family and way of life are threatened again, Jake must work with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and the army of the Na’vi to protect their planet. It seems like we have been hearing about this film for ten years, and we have. James Cameron is returning us to a world we fell in love with. With a cast that now includes Kate Winslet (who did all her own underwater stunts) and Michelle Yeoh, shot with a camera invented just for the film(s), the first of who knows how many sequels (at least one more) and a budget over a billion dollars, this is a film that is expected to break all box office records. The question will be, how many of the screens at your local theatres will be showing this film?    Avatar: The Way of Water Website Coming to theatres in mid-December.

Until Next Time!