My View: Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) PG-13 After years of peace, a familiar threat returns to finish what they previously started with a new weapon. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his family must now decide whether to stay and fight or run and hide. You must see this in a theatre on the biggest screen you can afford, and if you like 3-D films, this is one you will want to see because it uses the 3-D format to dazzle and amaze you. It is a gorgeous film, and the underwater sequences are absolutely outstanding. The brilliant colors and the lush detail of the underwater world are almost overwhelming. This tops the first film, and the visual experience is awe-inspiring. I will warn you that the film was shot at a different frame rate and takes a bit of getting your eyes used to. That being said, the film is very long (3 hours twelve minutes), and you sometimes feel the length. The storyline, unfortunately, is the movie's weak point, with some plot holes that a whale could swim through. The film creates some evil superbad guys, and then they seem to be pretty easily killed (anyone figure out how to stop an arrow going through a windshield? No, I didn’t think so). You will have a sense near the film's end that we have been here before, and you would be right. I hope that for the next Avatar film, James Cameron spends a little more time in the writer's room and less time in the special effects room. That being said, it is worth seeing for the experience of going once more into the world of the Navi and the wonders it has to display. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Avatar: The Way of Water Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
Indiefest: Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (2022) R An legendary Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker, Silverio Game (Daniel Giménez-Cacho), is being courted to receive a prestigious award in the US, where he now makes his home with his family. Silverio will go on a journey to reconcile the past with the present and his identity as a Mexican citizen. There are some films that, when they start, you know you could be in for a long night. This is one of those films. The film opens with a scene where we see the shadow of a man running in the desert, gaining enough speed that he suddenly becomes airborne. This is a beautiful and thrilling shot, but then we see it happen again and again and again. That's what you are in for in this film, an exploration of a man who likes to talk, a lot. Speeches go on for minutes that seem like hours. The film seems to ramble, as does the speeches that Silverio makes, and although the film is filled with mesmerizing images, it feels like a movie that could never find the point it wants to make. Too surreal for my taste and way too long; I wanted this film to end much sooner than it did. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Bardo Website Now playing in select theatres.
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Seen Only in Trailers but Just Looks Like a Bad Idea): Detective Knight: Redemption (2022) R The Christmas Bomber is leading a group of Santa Claus disciples on a terror spree. In walks Detective James Knight (Bruce Willis), who is out to stop them by any means necessary. This is another of the Bruce Willis films he made in the last few years, so don’t expect him to be in many scenes. But hey, just in time for Christmas! Detective Knight Info Now playing in select theatres.
Forgotten Film: Prancer (1989) G Jessica (Rebecca Harrell) is a 9-year-old who is living on a farm with her father (Sam Elliott) and her brother. She misses her late mother, especially around Christmas time. She finds a wounded reindeer and is convinced it’s one of Santa’s, Prancer. Jessica feels it's her mission to save Christmas and get Prancer back into shape for Christmas Eve. Now, if only her family and the rest of the town would believe it. Besides Sam Elliott, the cast includes Cloris Leachman, Abe Vigoda, Johnny Galecki, and Michael Constantine, which helps the film, but it’s the performance of Rebecca Harrell that makes this film work. It’s a stunning performance, and she plays well off of Sam Elliott. This is one of those feel-good Christmas films that works. My Rating: Full Price Prancer Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of Avatar: The Way of Water: Performance Free Diving Coach
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) Our local friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, aka Miles, is asked by Gwen Stacy to join forces and travel across the Multiverse to fight a villain more powerful than anything they have ever encountered. The first film, 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was not only one of the best-animated films of that year (Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film) but was one of the best films of that year. I can’t wait to see what they do next! Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Info Film will be releasing in June of 2023.