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.