Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Napoleon

My View: Napoleon (2023) R Napoleon tells the personal story of Napoleon Bonaparte (Joaquin Phoenix), his origins, and his swift and ruthless climb to emperor viewed through the relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine (Vanessa Kirby). I will tell you right off the bat that this probably isn’t the film you think it is. You will be disappointed if you are expecting huge two-and-a-half hours of sweeping cinema. This is an up-close and personal film about a man who thought he was bigger than life but was also full of doubts, especially about his wife’s love for him. I am going to say something that might shock you. Napoleon is a comedy. Ok, it’s really a comedy/drama, but there is a lot of humor in the film, with director Ridley Scott making the ‘Little General’ the butt of many a joke. It’s a strange mixture of drama, comedy, and glorious battle sequences. It’s a film that doesn’t always work, but when it does, it packs a wallop. I have always enjoyed Joaquin Phoenix on the screen, and his Napoleon is an interesting take. A man who seems destined for greatness, or is he? Napoleon, at times, seems to let things happen to him instead of being the driving force you would expect. I loved Vanessa Kirby as the temptress Josephine, who knows from their first meeting (Napoleon can barely talk) that she has her hooks in him, and he is powerless to deny her anything. Napoleon is a film that seems to be all over the place, and sometimes it fails. Is it worth seeing? Yes, but don’t expect to be swept away by the spectacle. And by the way, spoiler alert, it doesn’t end well.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Napoleon Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Familyfaire: Wish (2023) PG A young girl named Asha (voiced by Ariana DeBose) worries that an evil force will take over her kingdom. When she wishes upon a star, her plea is answered by a boundless ball of energy called Star (Alan Tudyk). Together with her talking goat, Valentino (voiced by Alan Tudyk), Asha and Star will work to save their world and defeat evil. This is a movie that only huge Disney fans will love. Wish contains more easter eggs for fans to look for that sometimes it throws them out to keep people from figuring out that the storyline is incredibly weak. I was disappointed by the animation, as the film feels from the start full of dull and faded animated scenes that never bring any wonder or amazement. There isn’t a song that stands out in the film, even with the talents of Ariana DeBose singing them. This is a film that feels like it needed a few more rewrites, maybe to find more of a heart to move the film along. I did like Ariana DeBose as the wide-eyed young girl who realizes that perhaps the magic she has been led to believe in her whole life isn’t so magical after all. And Chris Pine as the villain is fun and does an admirable job singing his songs. But the film lacks that big number that we all want, and though the Star is adorable, that only goes so far when that creature can’t talk. Overall, Wish was a disappointing movie that kids might enjoy, but I think parents will be bored, and I don’t see anyone going out to buy this soundtrack. Disney needs to quit returning to the past and give us something new. And hopefully, with better songs.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Wish Website   Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Saltburn (2023) R Oliver (Barry Keoghan) has struggled to fit into Oxford University. Oliver is drawn into the world of charming and aristocratic fellow student Felix (Jacob Elordi). Felix invites Oliver to spend the summer on his eccentric family’s sprawling estate. It’s a summer that will change everything. Barry Keoghan is one of the great young actors working today, and Saltburn shows us he can carry the lead. This film is full of twists and turns, and I will warn you, there are some incredibly shocking scenes. So much so that I thought one audience member I saw the film with would throw up. It’s a very clever film about people who think they are far smarter than the rest of us and let us know it. I had a blast watching the cast, including the amazing Rosamund Pike as Felix’s loopy mother, who can easily be misled by killing her with kindness and compliments. Saltburn is a wild film that quickly turns from a fish-out-of-water movie to one of intrigue and one-up-man-ship. It’s a story about a young man who starts as someone who wants to belong. You will have to watch to see just how well he does at doing that. My Rating: Full Price  Saltburn Website  Now playing in theatres.

Familyfaire: Leo (2023) PG  Leo is an animated film about a lizard named Leo (voiced by Adam Sandler) and his best friend, Squirtle the Turtle (voiced by Bill Barr), who live in a terrarium in a Florida elementary school classroom. All Leo wants to do is escape and see the world. The school’s students have a different idea for Leo, for him to be their best friend. I am not a big fan of Adam Sandler because, too many times, he goes for the easy laugh or the feeble attempt at comedy. Unfortunately, that’s this film. It’s a movie with a beautiful message that will be lost because the film has too many nonsense songs that drag the film down. Must every character sing a song? Apparently, in this film, the answer is yes. The film, I think, is meant to be a film for kids to teach them about friendship and how to be nice to each other. However, the message gets lost in all the fart jokes and the extended attempts at humor at the expense of parents. The humor sometimes gets too gross or crude for me to think this is a kids’ movie, but then it turns and gets sweet with a great message. That message is hard to find between a million songs and jokes about a missing lizard tail.   My Rating: Cable  Leo Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (2023) PG  All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt is the decades-long exploration of a woman’s life in Mississippi as she experiences the world through generations of people, places, and the moments that shape us. This is a film to see in the theatre. If you try to see it at home on a computer or even on your TV, the film will be lost on you because it is a film you have to commit to wholly. Otherwise, you will get bored and move on to other things. All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt is a film that jumps back and forth in time as we follow Mack from childhood to motherhood and back again. The film’s characters are constantly immersing themselves (and us) in the world of nature. This is a film full of small gestures, like a touch on a back or hand reaching into a river, and then it lets the camera linger on that movement. Faces in the film are paramount, and we are constantly looking into the face of someone while they are experiencing life. The movie is full of love. Love of life, of family, and nature. It’s about learning about life and trying new things. The film explores how a simple touch can be simple, and it can be everything.   My Rating: Full Price  All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt Website  Now playing in theatres. 

Forgotten Film: The Hidden (1987) R There is a criminal who has committed a series of increasingly violent crimes. The criminal commits these crimes with almost no regard for his own safety. A cop, Tom (Michael Nouri), is assigned to help an FBI agent named Lloyd (Kyle MacLachlan) track this killer down. Tom soon realizes that there is something strange about Lloyd, and as they work together, things get very weird; the killer is taking the shapes and bodies of different people to commit further crimes. The Hidden is a thrilling crime drama with some sci-fi thrown in. MacLachlan is excellent as the strange FBI agent who is hiding something from the rest of the world. While not a great film, The Hidden a lot of fun to watch, and the storyline goes along at a fast pace.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Available to rent or buy online.

Weird Credits: From the credits of Wish: Chicken Ensemble 

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Ferrari (2023) R In 1957, Enzo Ferrari’s (Adam Driver) auto empire is in trouble, and all that he and his wife Laura (Penélope Cruz) built in the last ten years is about to crumble. Enzo decides to bet it all on winning one race, the 1,000-mile trek across Italy, the iconic Mille Miglia. Directed by Michael Mann (Manhunter, The Last of the Mohicans, Heat), who has been trying to make this film for over ten years (both Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman were attached to the movie at one time). Race cars, Italy, and Penélope Cruz! I’m in.  Ferrari Website  Will be released on Christmas Day.

Until Next Time!




Friday, November 17, 2023

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

My View: The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) PG-13   This is the story of Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), whose destiny will be to become President of Panem. But before he becomes an all-powerful man, he must rise from poverty and see his chance when asked to be a mentor for the 10th Hunger Games. His elation is dashed when he is assigned to mentor a girl tribute from the 12 District. A young woman named Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler). The review of the film will be up on Friday night. I was a big fan of both the Hunger Games books and movies, so I was looking forward to this origin story of how President Snow became the man he was when he clashed with Katniss. I was not disappointed in this film. It’s got a great cast, with both Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage playing the bad guys in the movie. Davis looks like she is having a blast as the evil doctor who is the Hunger Games developer. Davis practically eats up the scenery in the film as she makes it known she is out for blood. Dinklage is more of a cerebral villain who enjoys tormenting Coriolanus as his teacher. Now, don’t expect Rachel Zegler to go full-out Katniss, as her character is more of a singer/lover than a fighter. Still, there are the Games, and how Snow will get Lucy Gray to survive them is the mystery. And add in why and how Snow becomes such a villain himself. And yes, the roses are explained. My Rating: Full Price    The Hunger Games Website   Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Next Goal Wins (2023) PG-13  Film about the American Samoa soccer team, who, in 2011, suffered the worst loss in World Cup history, losing to Australia 31-0. With the 2014 World Cup approaching, the team recruits a down-on-his-luck coach (Michael Fassbinder) to get them back to respectability. It’s going to be a long road back, especially when all they want to do is score one goal. Next Goal Wins is a fun movie that may not be a blockbuster or win awards, but it's a crowd-pleasing delight. The supporting cast delivers with humorous and unique performances, notably Kaimana as the first openly non-binary and transgender woman to play in a World Cup game, and Oscar Kightley as an exceptionally positive local soccer official. Kaimana gives us a strong woman who wants to win more than anything, and Kightley is perfect as the soccer official who believes his coach can get the best out of his team if he believes in himself and his players. The film is based on an unbelievable true story and hits all the buttons on the upstart sports movie about winning against the odds. Go see Next Goal Wins and just have fun at the movies again.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Next Goal Wins Website Now playing in theatres.

My View: Thanksgiving (2023) R  Thanksgiving takes place after a Black Friday sale ends in riot and tragedy when a mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired killer terrorizes Plymouth, Massachusetts. The birthplace of Thanksgiving. The review of the film will be up on Saturday night. Thanksgiving is from horror filmmaker Eli Roth, and the film’s origin is that it was a fake trailer that played during the 2007 movie Grindhouse that Robert Rodriquez and Quentin Tarantino did. The trailer was fun, and maybe it should have stayed a trailer. The film, a long hour and forty-five minutes, quickly petters out after the initial shock of the Black Friday riot. We move forward a year, and the community is still recovering from the tragedy when people who were involved in the riot are violently murdered by a figure in a Pilgrim costume. Some of the kills are inventive, but Thanksgiving becomes a run-of-the-mill slasher film with a bad guy who is way too easy to figure out and an ending that feels unsatisfying. Thanksgiving attempts to be a social satire with commentary on greed and the vulgarity of the holiday shopping season. Instead, it feels like another in a long line of gory slasher films with a few funny lines that were better in the fake trailer.   My Rating: Cable    Now playing in theatres.  Thanksgiving Website 

Indiefest: May December (2023) R  In the film May December, it’s been twenty years since their notorious tabloid romance shocked the nation. Elizabeth (played by Natalie Portman), an actress, arrives in town to research for a film about the couple (Julianne Moore and Charles Melton). Sometimes, the past is best left behind. This film explores what happens long after the tabloid headlines have disappeared and people are trying to carry on with their lives. Natalie Portman plays an actress who immerses herself in the lives of a couple who, after a shocking affair and jail time, are still together. Portman plays Elizabeth as a woman driven to find every detail and nuance from her subject, Gracie (Julianne Moore), a woman who had an affair and children with a middle school student. May December is a complicated film where things aren’t always what they seem to be on the surface, and an actress who doesn’t care about anyone or anything but what she can mine for her upcoming performance disturbs that surface. I loved the casting in this film, with Charles Melton as the young man who fell in love with a teacher and had children with her. He now has to be a father to children who aren’t much younger than him. It’s a striking performance, and Melton holds his own with both Portman and Moore. Moore's character is complicated and concerned about how Elizabeth will portray her, trying to exert control over a situation she can't completely control. May December is a film where you have a hard time liking anyone in the movie but, at the same time, want things to work out. They probably never will.   My Rating: Full Price  May December Website  Now playing in theatres and on the Netflix platform on Dec. 1st. 

Indiefest: The Disappearance of Shere Hite (2023) R   The Disappearance of Shere Hite is a documentary about Shere Hite, the woman who rocked the world with her bestselling book The Hite Report, which revealed the most private experiences of sex and the female orgasm. Shere Hite wrote a book, The Hite Report, that shocked a nation and pushed both women’s sexuality and women’s rights to the forefront. Hite had the gall to tell men that women weren’t satisfied with their sex lives and it was a man’s fault. Hite was a strange woman who was flamboyant and, at the same time, mysterious. She knew how to create press for her books and what buttons to push to make headlines. She also felt she and her work were misunderstood and, in her later years, became very defensive about her work. The documentary tells the story of a woman who wrote a book that is one the top sellers of all time but is mostly forgotten today. This documentary brings her and her thoughts on sexuality back into the limelight where they belong. My Rating: Full Price  The Disappearance of Shere Hite Website  Now playing in theatres. 

My View: The Lady Bird Diaries (2023)  The Lady Bird Diaries is a documentary on Lady Bird Johnson, who, as President Lyndon Johnson’s wife, was one of the most influential and least understood First Ladies in history. Lady Bird Johnson has always been a hero of mine, as a strong Texas woman who was her husband’s partner and confidant. She was a remarkable woman who did extraordinary things for the environment and the citizens of the inner cities. This documentary by Dawn Porter uses Lady Bird’s own recordings to narrate her time as First Lady after the assignation of JFK. It’s a look at a woman who was a groundbreaker in the role of First Lady. I love how we get an inside look, warts and all, into the life of the White House. Lady Bird fearlessly expresses her opinions on her husband, race, economics, and the Vietnam War. She also stands by her husband and children, who both got married while she was in the White House. The film uses newsreel footage, home movies, and animation to illustrate what Lady Bird is discussing. We listen to real conversations between her and the President, as well as conversations he has with MLK Jr. and other leaders. This is a fascinating look when the U.S. was not only at war with the Viet Cong, but with it itself. We get to see and hear how it all went down in the most powerful home in the country, The White House.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  The Lady Bird Diaries Website  Now playing on the Hulu platform. 

Forgotten Film: The Wrestler (2008) R  Randy ‘The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke) is a broken man who has burned all his bridges and is doing the only thing he has ever done well: wrestle. Once a star, now Randy wrestles in the small halls for a little money and those few moments of glory in the squared circle. Randy has realized he has made mistakes in his personal life and is trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood). He is also trying to start a relationship with a stripper named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei). This is an incredible and moving performance by Mickey Rourke, who, like his character, was an actor at the top of his game for a while and then was his own worst enemy. If you are not a wrestling fan, you will be sucked into the story and may come away with an appreciation of a sport that is fake, but its performers take as many hits and falls as a boxer or a football player. The Wrestler is a remarkable film directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan (2012), The Whale (2022)) and is a film that will make you sad but for the character of Randy and the performer, Mickey. Both show how good they once were and could be again.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  The Wrestler Info  Available to rent/buy on Amazon and Apple Tv. 


Weird Credits: From the credits of Next Goal Wins: Drone Gimbal Ops


Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: The Iron Claw (2023) R  The story of the professional wrestling family, the Von Erichs, who went from fame and fortune to horrible tragedy in just a few years. This much talked about film stars Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Stanley Simons, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, and Lily James. I grew up watching wrestling, and the Von Erichs were legends in Texas, filling stadiums way before WWF’s Vince McMahon even dreamed it was possible.  The Iron Claw Website In theatres nationwide in late December.




Friday, November 10, 2023

The Marvels

My View: The Marvels (2023) PG-13 Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) is an astronaut working for S.A.B.E.R. and Nick Fury. While investigating a wormhole linked to the Kree, Monica’s powers become entangled with Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), and Ms. Marvel, Kamala Kahn (Iman Vellani). The trio will have to team up to defeat a new enemy while trying to figure out why they are swapping places with each other every time they use their powers. As a film critic, I get upset when films are judged before anyone sees them. Such is the case with The Marvels. I am a huge fan of Brie Larson as she is in two films from 2013 that I love, The Spectacular Now and Short Term 12. While I liked the Ms. Marvel and Wandavision series, I felt both ran out of steam by the end of their respective episodes. However, I had high hopes that the charisma of Larson would meld with the high energy of Iman Vellani and the cool factor of Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau. I was right. First, this works because of the brilliance of Iman Vellani as Kamala Kahn, who breathes a bit of fresh air into every scene she is in. She is so much fun to watch as Ms. Marvel, a superhero who is still figuring out what she can and cannot do but is ready to try. Vellani gives us a character full of adventure and life while still being a fangirl of Captain Marvel. You almost feel that Vellani isn’t acting, but is that excited to be an actor in this film as much as her character is. Now it is known that I am not a fan of cats, but occasionally one shows up that I like, and Moose the alien cat is hilarious as Captain Marvel’s sidekick. The film is fast, funny, and I loved you don’t have to have seen the TV series to figure out each character. My problem with the film is that the bad guy in the movie, Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), is a pretty weak one, and the final battle doesn’t live up to the rest of the film. Still, The Marvels is a lot of fun to watch, Iman Vellani is terrific, and Moose is, well, Moose. And the film is 1 hour and forty-five minutes long, which is a brisk pace for so many recent releases. And there is, as usual, a bonus scene after the first round of final credits. So go have some fun at the movies and see The Marvels. But be sure to watch out for Moose. He tends to spit up a hairball or something bigger occasionally.   My Rating: Full Price The Marvels Website  Now playing in theaters nationwide.

My View: The Holdovers (2023) R  Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti) is a history teacher at a remote prep school known for being demanding and cranky. The last thing he wants to do is babysit a student named Angus (Dominic Sessa), who has no place to go during the holidays, but he has no choice. They are now stuck together along with the school cafeteria manager (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) for the holiday break. It’s going to be a holiday that both won’t forget. This is a funny and touching film about three lost souls who aren’t happy about having to spend the holidays with each other. As you would expect, Paul Giamatti is just about perfect in the role of the teacher who looks down on his students and expects far more than they are willing to give. Da’Vine Joy Randolph is a delight as the cook with an attitude who isn’t going to take any gruff. The surprise of the film is Dominic Sessa, who holds his own with Giamatti, able to act toe to toe and hold his own. The two play off each other wonderfully, and their timing and chemistry is a wonder to behold. I also want to mention Carrie Preston, a favorite of mine, who lights up the scenes she is in as the love interest for the teacher. With its clever twists and turns, The Holdovers is a delightful and entertaining exploration of finding family and understanding in unexpected places. So class, find your places, because Mr. Hunham is about to teach us a thing or two. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  The Holdovers Website  Now playing in theatres.

My View: What Happens Later (2023) R Willa (Meg Ryan) and Bill (David Duchovny) are ex-lovers who were together over twenty years ago. They are now stuck in an airport overnight together. Will they find the spark again, or is it too late? Meg Ryan has been in our hearts since that wondrous appearance as Goose’s wife in Top Gun. A queen of the rom-com in the 90s, she dazzled us on the screen. Now, after quite a few years away, she is back in a film she not only stars in but directs and co-writes. I wish I could say it’s a triumphant return, but it’s not. The film explores the theme of lost love and the regrets that come with it, as two people with a shared past meet at an airport and share their stories. What Happens Later tries to be too cute, with an airport announcer as the third character in the film. I would have enjoyed this film more without the announcer's voice constantly guiding the characters' discoveries at the airport. The film tries to make this a magical thing, but instead, it becomes tiring very quickly as a plot device to get the characters to do something. There is some chemistry between Duchovny and Ryan, but the film doesn’t have a lot of charm to it, and so a lot of the discussions (and there are many) don’t feel fun; they feel like the characters want to revel in the sorrow of the past regrets. I think the film might have had a chance to work without the magic airport and its announcer, but we will never know, just like we won’t know what their lives would have been like if the two characters had stayed together.   My Rating: Cable  What Happens Later Website  Now playing in theatres.

Indiefest: AKA Mr. Chow (2023)  Documentary on the life of Michael Chow, a Chinese immigrant who started a restaurant in 1968 in London that soon became a hangout for the rich and famous, including The Beatles and every fashion model on the cover of Vogue. He soon expanded to Hollywood, where stars went to be seen. I found the first part of this documentary fascinating, as Michael Chow was the son of Zhou Xinfang, the Peking Opera Grand Master performer. Michael was sent to Europe to boarding school, and he followed in his father’s footsteps and became an actor (along with his sister), appearing in films and TV shows in the 60s. The documentary becomes too much of a promo from Mr. Chow as we spend too much time on his present-day ‘job’ as a painter. I felt sorry for his assistants, who kept getting splattered with paint as Michael created his paintings using a mallet to bang paint on his canvas. The film slows down when transitioning between Mr. Chow's marriages, and I wished for more focus on the earlier days of the restaurants. I wanted to know what was happening in the 80s and 90s when there were stories coming out every week from those restaurants. Overall, I would send this dish of a film back to the kitchen; it’s just too lukewarm for my taste.   My Rating: Cable  AKA Mr. Chow website Now playing on the Max platform.

Forgotten Film: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) In a world where forests are poisoned and giant insects move at will, enters Princess Nausicaä, who vows to save her people living in a valley from an invading army. This is one of the first feature films of Hayao Miyazaki, and while the animation feels very 1980s, the storyline is still relevant for today’s audience. The characters are vibrant and stand out, with the Princess determined to save her people. Unlike some of Miyazaki’s other early films, like Castle in the Sky (1986) and Porco Rosso (1992), this film feels a little more adult in its storyline. Still, this is a beautiful film and a great starting point into the world of Miyazaki’s animation.   My Rating: Full Price Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Info  Now available to rent/buy on most online forums.


Weird Credits: From the credits of The Marvels: Blues Standby Rigger


Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: The Boy and the Heron (2023) PG-13  A young boy, Mahito, loses his mother in a fire and is haunted by her memory. His father has remarried and moved to a new house in the countryside. Mahito keeps hearing his mother call his name, and he sets out to find her in an abandoned and magical tower that will take him to a world he never knew existed. Legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Wind Rises) brings us another tale from his inventive mind. The Boy and the Heron could be the last of Miyazaki’s incredible animated film collection and is one of the most anticipated films of the December releases.  The Boy and the Heron Website   The film will be in theatres nationwide on Friday, December 8.





Friday, November 3, 2023

Priscilla

My View: Priscilla (2023) R   Priscilla tells the story of teenage Priscilla Beaulieu (Cailee Spaeny), who meets rock and roll superstar Elvis and begins a romance that the world followed until his death. Priscilla tells the story of the one woman who knew Elvis the best in private moments: a thrilling crush, an alley in loneliness, and a vulnerable best friend. The film is Pricilla’s story, and it is not always a pretty one. I can see why the Elvis estate did not allow any of his music to be put into the film, as the ‘King’ doesn’t come off very well. Cailee Spaeny does the impossible, effectively playing a young girl of 15 to a young mother in her late 20s when she left Elvis. The film gives us an inside look at what it was like to live in Elvis’s shadow, a prisoner of his celebrity and lifestyle. The film makes it clear that Elvis groomed Priscilla to be his wife, almost from their first meeting when she was just a teenager in Germany living on a base. Watching Priscilla can be uncomfortable, especially when Elvis relies on his friends and family to court her. Jacob Elordi does an outstanding job of playing the Elvis we rarely got to see, a man full of insecurities and one who was addicted to pills from the first moments that he met Priscilla. This is a beautiful-looking film, and we get to see what it was like to live inside the halls of Graceland. The opening shots of Cailee walking on the now-famous shag carpet of the home of Elvis is marvelous. The film's visuals and the main cast's performances were enjoyable, but the storyline became boring during Elvis' run in Las Vegas. I am not sure how fans of Elvis will react to this film, but fans of Priscilla will love it. I, on the other hand, just liked it.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Priscilla Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide. 

My View: The Marsh King’s Daughter (2023) R   Helena (Daisy Ridley) has a past that she has tried to forget. Her father, known as the Marsh King, kidnapped Helena’s mother, and two years later, Helena was born. At age ten, the Marsh King was caught and put away. Now, he has escaped and is after Helena and her daughter. Helena will use everything he taught her about surviving in the wilderness to keep her family safe. This is another in a long line of films based on a book where the source material is far better than the film. I wanted to love this film because I read a lot of books like this one, but the film doesn’t deliver the needed suspense and has an ending that we can see coming from a mile away (maybe with a rifle’s scope). I liked Ridley as the woman whose first ten years of life were spent in the wilderness, being shown how to survive using your senses and hunting skills. The film has a series of flashbacks about Helena’s life as a ten-year-old and then shows us her life as a mom and a wife. It’s a contrast that doesn’t always work, as the flashbacks are far more interesting than what is happening in the present day. I wanted more of a cat-and-mouse game between Helena and her dad after he escapes from prison, but most of what should have been thrills are wasted as just slight hints of what could happen.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Marsh King's Daughter Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Quiz Lady (2023) R  Anne’s (Awkwafina) mother owes eighty thousand dollars to the mob because of gambling debts and has run away from the nursing home. Anne and her sister (Sandra Oh) devise a plan to get Anne on a game show to win the money to get their mother off the hit list. Quiz Lady is a film that is perfectly suited for seeing online. This film is light and funny, though it doesn't always hit the mark with its jokes and has a weak middle part. However, it ends on a high note, making it a fun watch. I am a fan of Awkwafina, and she is perfect in the role of a woman who tries to be the sensible one between her mother, the gambler, and her sister, who never can settle on what she wants to do in life. I got a little tired of Sandra Oh’s performance; it was just a little too broad for my taste, but Awkwafina is always able to reel Oh in with a look or a line. Quiz Lady is bolstered by a cast that includes Jason Schwartzman as a smarmy quiz show champ, Holland Taylor as the grumpy next-door neighbor, and, of course, Will Ferrell as the quiz show host who is loved by his audience. So, find a comfy place on the couch and take a trip to a quiz show that isn’t great, but still a fun ride.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Quiz Lady Website  Now playing on the Hulu platform. 

Indiefest: Radical (2023)  Sergio (Eugenio Derbez) is a teacher in a Mexican border town where his students live in a world filled with neglect, crime, and violence. However, Sergio is a different type of teacher who challenges his students’ curiosity and drive to succeed, even when the odds seem against them. I haven’t always been a big fan of Eugenio Derbez, as he tends to overreact in his comedies. However, in this film, Derbez gives us a powerful and moving performance of a man who wants to teach kids but doesn’t want to follow the rules. Sergio, we find out, is a man who has lost his faith in his abilities to teach and reach young children. He takes a job at a school that no one wants to teach at and try something different to inspire his students to think independently and not be force-fed a curriculum that becomes a babysitter for a few years. I loved that what we see on the screen feels real, and Derbez gives off an energy that excites us to the possibilities his character is trying to do might work. Radical is helped by a cast of students that are all believable and touching. So join the class and sit down to be wowed by a teacher who might teach you a thing or two while having fun doing it.   My Rating: Full Price  Radical Website  Now playing in theatres. 

My View: Rustin (2023) PG-13  Rustin tells the story of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (Colman Domingo), who broke barriers everywhere he went, including helping Martin Luther King Jr. and others organize the 1963 March on Washington. Colman Domingo gives a performance that needs to be seen to be believed! It’s a brilliant portrayal of a man who was forgotten for too long because he was Black and gay at a time that either could get you arrested, beaten, or killed. Rustin, the true architect of the March on Washington, was a charismatic force of nature who used his brains and charm to get things done. However, Rustin paid a heavy price, often being put in the background because of his being gay, and never got the credit he deserved. The film drags a bit before Rustin comes up with the idea of a gathering of 100,000 people in Washington, DC, to make the President and Congress act on Civil Rights legislation. Rustin is a film where a performance of the leading actor dominates every scene, and Colman Domingo is nothing short of brilliant in this story that needed to be told.  My Rating: Full Price  Rustin Website  Now playing in theatres and on Netflix on Friday, November 17th. 

My View: Fingernails (2023) R Anna (Jessie Buckley) and Ryan (Jeremy Allen White) are in love, and their love has been proven to be confirmed by a controversial new technology. Anna has doubts and begins working at the company that uses the technology to put people together. Soon, her doubts will become more than just thoughts when she becomes attracted to her co-worker Amir (Riz Ahmed). The reason to see this film is the on-screen chemistry between Riz Ahmed and Jessie Buckley. From their first meeting, we know they will end up being drawn together. We can feel that draw right from the get-go. Unfortunately, the script doesn’t let us enjoy this very much as it revolves around a technology that doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense. The film takes a long time for the two main characters to realize that maybe, despite the odds, they are meant together, no matter what technology says. Fingernails spends a lot of time on how stupid the technology is, but this isn’t a comedy, and it tries too hard to be a black comedy. I still had fun watching Buckley and Ahmed together, but in the end, it wasn’t worth the effort.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Fingernails Info  In select theatres and on Apple TV+.
My View:
The Persian Version (2023) R  The Persian Version takes place when a large Iranian-American family gathers, and a family secret is uncovered that will force an estranged mother, Shireen (Niousha Noor), and her unconventional daughter, Leila (Layla Mohammadi) into a journey of exploration. It turns out that mother and daughter are more alike than ever imagined. Leila is a lesbian who just broke up with her wife and decides one drunken Halloween night to have sex with a guy (though it must be said he was in a Hedwig and the Angry Inch costume). Leila's mother is an unstoppable force, having come from Iran to the U.S. with her husband and now manages a big family and successful real estate business. The two do not get along. Shireen disapproves of her daughter’s lifestyle, and Leila doesn’t feel she fits in with the family. Then things happen. The Persian Version is one of those films you long for as a film critic. It’s a funny, smart, moving film that touches on a ton of subjects, including marriage, single living, religion, politics, and the love of family. The two leads are so much fun to watch. Layla Mohammadi is funny and gives us, through her character’s narration, a look at a family that has roots in Iran and its culture but has found a place in America. Niousha Noor has the tougher part of giving us a mother that we don’t always understand where she comes from, but we soon learn that her past has shaped her present. There are a couple of fantastic dance sequences, including a rousing number done to ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,’ courtesy of a very young Leila smuggling in a Cyndi Lauper cassette tape into Iran. The Persian Version is a film about fighting for your rights as a woman, as an Iranian, and as a family member. The Persian Version is a dazzling look at two women who seem to be miles apart but learn that they share a lot more than just the family bond. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  The Persian Version Website  Now playing in theatres.

Forgotten Film: Miracle of St. Anna (2008) R  Set in Italy during the Allied invasion during WWII, four African-American soldiers (Michael Ealy, Omar Benson Miller, Laz Alonso, and Derek Luke) are behind enemy lines taking refuge in a small village after rescuing a small boy caught in the firefight with German soldiers. Now, its citizens and the four men must unite to protect the town and the boy against impossible odds. Miracle of St. Anna is a Spike Lee film, and with many of his movies, there are some fantastic moments and some that don’t work at all. The battle sequences are brilliant, and there are some beautiful moments between the soldiers and the young boy. However, there are a few scenes that seem out of place, including a dance that takes place in the village as the enemy surrounds them. Still, Miracle of St. Anna has some powerful moments, and the battle sequences are some of the best war scenes of the last 20 years. My Rating: Full Price   The film is available to rent or buy on most online platforms.

Weird Credits: From the credits of Rustin: Background Taylors

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You:  The Fall Guy (2023) PG-13  Colt (Ryan Gosling), a former stuntman, comes out of retirement after discovering his ex (Emily Blunt) is directing a big-budget movie. It’s not a joyful reunion, but Colt is needed when the enormous star of the film has gone missing, and he must find him before the picture is shut down. This looks like it will be fun to watch with Blunt and Gosling. Based loosely on the 1980s Lee Majors TV show, which was loosely based on a real-life stuntman.   The film comes out in March 2024.

Until Next Time!





Friday, October 27, 2023

Five Nights at Freddy's

My View: Five Nights at Freddy’s  (2023)  PG-13   A new security guard (Josh Hutcherson) takes his kid (Piper Rubio) to his new job, the night shift at the old, shutdown Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. Once upon a time, Freddy’s was the place to be with pizza and animatronic bears singing songs. But something happened to cause the business to close, and the guard and his daughter are about to find out. A review of the film will be up Friday night. The film is now in theatres nationwide. Based on a very popular video game series, this film is not scary enough for horror fans and not gruesome enough for splatter fans. I guess this is Blumhouse/Universal’s attempt at getting kids into horror films. The film’s ending is confusing, and I had questions when it ended that only got answered by some spoiler articles on the internet. Never is a good thing when you have to go on the internet to explain who died and why. By the way, there is a bonus scene after the first part of the credits, and at the end of the credits, a strange computer voice spells out “Come Find Me.’ I believe this will all be worked out in a sequel because there is always a sequel with horror films. I wanted this to be a fun, scary ride in a pizza parlor of your nightmares, and all it got was some burned-out animatronics and no pizza.  My Rating: Cable  Five Nights at Freddy's Website   The film is now in theatres nationwide and on Peacock.

My View: The Killer (2023)  R  The Killer is the story of an assassin (Michael Fassbender) who screws up a hit, and someone he cares about has paid the price for his mistake. Now, the assassin is out for revenge but insists it isn’t personal. David Fincher is an interesting director who has given us a wide range of films like Zodiac, The Social Network, Gone Girl, and Mank. I always enjoy his movies, but I had a blast watching this funny black comedy where we follow a hired killer around as he gets revenge on the people who tried to kill him and hurt someone he loves. The killer narrates the film, giving us an insight into how he sees life and death, which he deals with precision and reserve. The killer is a man who is good at his job and takes pride in keeping things under control, even when things don’t always go his way. There will be a great drinking game with this film, and I won’t give it away, but you will be helped by knowing classic TV. Fassbender is perfect as the killer, a man who keeps track of his heart rate, not because of health, but because a slower heart rate means he can shoot his rifle with a better chance of success. The Killer is a film with lots of death, some of which are surprising until you understand the killer’s thoughts. Can you root for a guy that kills people for a living? Maybe, but you can have a fun time finding out.   My Rating:  Full Price  The Killer Website   Now playing in theatres nationwide and on Netflix on November 10th.

My View: Pain Hustlers (2023) R  Liza (Emily Blunt) is a high school dropout with a young daughter (Chloe Coleman). Liza dreams of a better life for herself and her daughter. She gets a job at a failing pharmaceutical start-up in a strip mall. Liza has the smarts and charm to bring success to the company and is living the life she always envisioned. However, success comes at a price, and Liza soon finds herself at the center of a criminal conspiracy with deadly consequences. I had high hopes for this film, and it met expectations for the first thirty minutes. Unfortunately, the film loses its punch and gets lost in its storytelling while trying to hit us over the head with the idea that Pharma companies are, wait for it, evil and greedy. The film wastes performances by Emily Blunt, who portrays a woman who can talk anyone into anything, and Chris Evans, the sleazy sales guy willing to say or do anything to push the legality of the drug world right up to the line. The film runs out of gas, and in the end, we see the company go under because of greed and thinking they would never get caught. Like the drug the characters were pushing, the film worked at first and then failed to deliver what it promised due to pushing it too far.  My Rating: Cable   Pain Hustlers Website   Now playing on Netflix.

My View: The Other Zoey (2023) PG-13  Zoey (Josephine Langford) is a brilliant computer nerd who loves to study and has her sights set on graduating with honors. Her world is turned upside down when Zack (Drew Starkey), a college soccer star, is in an accident and wakes up thinking, because of amnesia, that Zoey, the first person he saw after the accident, is his girlfriend. Told that he must remember on his own terms, Zoey goes along with the lie, and things get really complicated. In this rom-com, the main character goes through the usual storyline of putting herself in a tough spot to win a guy's heart, only to realize she's falling for someone unexpected. This is nothing out of the ordinary from other rom-coms but for the presence of Josephine Langford. She makes watching this film worth our time. Zoey, who dislikes rom-coms, unexpectedly finds herself in one. Langford's excellent performance makes us cheer for Zoey to realize what we knew from the beginning: the unexpected guy is her perfect match.   My Rating Bargain Matinee   The Other Zoey Info  Now in theatres.
Indiefest:
Anatomy of a Fall (2023) R  Anatomy of a Fall tells the story of Sandra (Sandra Hüller) and Samuel (Samuel Theis), a famous literary couple living in the French Alps with their partially sighted 11-year-old son, Daniel (Milo Machado Graner). Out for a walk, Daniel finds Samuel’s dead, bloody body in the snow, having fallen from the house’s attic window. Was it an accident? Did Samuel kill himself? Or was he murdered? It’s always interesting when the main character is someone that you don’t like but wonder if you should root for them anyway. This is the case of Sandra, who, right from the start, you feel that there is something up with her as she flirts with a reporter who is interviewing while her husband is right upstairs. This is a film where you will change your mind a dozen times if Sandra is guilty. The film peels back layer after layer as we learn more about their marriage. Sandra Hüller is brilliant as the complex and self-assured writer and mom. Anatomy of a Fall is a movie that gets you sucked in from the opening credits and keeps you wondering beyond the ending.   My Rating: Full Price  Anatomy of a Fall Website  Now playing in theatres. 

Forgotten Film: Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005) R  Laura Henderson (Judi Dench) is a recent widow who has inherited a lot of money and a rundown London theatre. Bored with life, she decides to reopen the theatre, which goes down in history for one thing: it’s all-nude reviews. This is one of those films that you enjoy from start to finish. Directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, The Grifters) and a cast that includes Bob Hoskins as Vivian Van Damm, the man Mrs. Henderson hires to run the show, Christopher Guest, Kelly Reilly, and Anna Brewster. Dench has a blast as the unpredictable Mrs. Henderson, who wants to put on a show that no one will forget. Bob Hoskins is brilliant as the showman who initially tries to take over the show, but soon relents to Mrs. Henderson and her ideas.   My Rating: Full Price  Mrs. Henderson Info  Available to rent or buy on Amazon and Apple TV.

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Killer: School Trainee

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Maestro (2023) R  The love story chronicling the relationship of conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper) and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein (Carey Mulligan). Leonard was a famous conductor because of his TV appearances and brilliant composing, but he had a secret that threatened his career and his marriage. Bradley Cooper follows up his directorial debut, A Star Is Born (2018), with this film that could be in the thick of the Oscar race.   Maestro Website   In theatres in mid-December and later on Netflix. 

Until Next Time!




Friday, October 20, 2023

Killers of the Flower Moon

My View: Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) R The story of the Osage tribe, who were given land no one wanted to create their reservation. However, oil was discovered on their land, and the tribe became wealthy. Because of this new development, the tribe is being murdered one by one under mysterious circumstances. Into the mix comes Ernest (Leonardo DiCaprio), a WWI vet who has come to work for an uncle named King (Robert De Niro) to work on his ranch. Ernest sees himself as a man who loves women and sets his sights on Mollie (Lily Gladstone), a member of the local Osage tribe. He uses his charm to put Mollie under his spell and eventually marries her with a full blessing from King. But all is not well in the town where the Osage have become rich. They are being murdered, and no one is doing anything about it. The film is from master storyteller Martin Scorsese, and he gives us a world where it might be the 20th century, but the laws of the Wild West still prevail. I loved how Scorsese immerses us into the world of the Osage, showing us their past while also giving us a clue what their future will entail. DiCaprio isn’t in the pretty boy role of his past but portrays a man who loves a woman but maybe loves money even more. It’s a part with a lot of depth to it, and Leo is up for showing us a man who thinks he is smarter than he is. After some horrible comedies, De Niro is back with a role that may get him another Oscar. His portrayal of King is a masterful job of giving us a complex man who is always two moves ahead of everyone else, or at least he thinks he is. De Niro provides us with a man who could be your favorite uncle if you don’t ask too many questions. The film, though, belongs not to the men but to Lily Gladstone, as Mollie, a woman who is smart and deeply devoted to her family and her tribe but falls for a white man, an outsider whom she knows she should be wary of, but she can’t turn off her heart. She dazzles us every time she shows up on the screen as Mollie is slowly captivated by the charms of the man she will marry. I will warn you not to buy that large drink right before the film starts because it’s almost three and a half hours long. And that makes this film not in my top five Scorsese movies. After two and a half hours, the film starts to feel long, but Jessie Plemons' brilliant performance as a federal agent investigating the murders gives it a necessary boost. It’s a film that spends too long giving us the day-to-day workings of Ernest as he does the bidding of his brother Byron (Scott Shepard) and King. And I would have loved an intermission at some point to give us a chance to catch our breath and digest what we had seen. Nevertheless, I encourage you to see this impactful film in a cinema and be captivated by the incredible performances, especially Lily Gladstone's, and the enchanting Osage traditions.   My Rating: Full Price  Killers of the Flower Moon Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: Nyad (2023) PG-13  The story of Diana Nyad (Annette Bening), a retired marathon swimmer turned sports journalist. At 60, she teams up with her best friend and coach (Jodie Foster) to accomplish her lifelong goal. To swim the 100-plus mile open-water trek from Cuba to Florida. I am a big fan of Diana Nyad, both as a swimmer and as a broadcaster, so I looked forward to this biopic. And happily, I can tell you that I was not disappointed. A mark of a great sports film is when you know the outcome and are still on the edge of your seat, wondering if the task will turn out how you remember it. Two incredible performances lead the film and give it depth and feeling. Annette Bening provides us with a woman who is driven to win and doesn’t care who she runs over to get it. Bening is outstanding, making Diana seem real and making us root for her even though she is a hard act to like. I was even more impressed by Jodie Foster’s performance as Diana’s close personal friend who becomes her coach. It’s a brilliant performance that lets Bening dominate the screen while still giving us insight into both characters, especially in times of strife (which there is a lot). I loved this film, and you feel you are in the water with Diana, helping her take that next stroke. So strap on your swim goggles, take a few deep breaths, and join Diana in doing what everyone told her was impossible.   My Rating: Full Price  Nyad Website Now playing in theatres and on the Netflix platform on Nov. 3rd. 

My View: The Devil on Trial (2023)  The Devil on Trial is a documentary that explores the first and only time ‘demonic possession’ has been officially used as a defense in a U.S. murder trial. This is a documentary that, for about an hour, is all promise but never delivers. We go through the possibility that a young man is possessed by a demonic presence, and with the help of legendary demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (yes, the real people the Conjuring film series is based on), they successfully rid the demon out of the child, only for it to go inside his older brother. Later on, the brother was charged with murder, and they wanted to use the defense that he was possessed when he committed the crime. The problem with this film is that you can tell that the movie never takes the possession seriously, and that hampers the film, as you know how it will turn out. There is an interview that the filmmakers don't reveal until almost an hour in that hampers virtually everything they have thrown at us earlier.  The Devil on Trial feels like the news reports of that time about the trial, all-flash and promise with no return.  My Rating: Cable  The Devil on Trial website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: The Pigeon Tunnel (2023) PG-13 Documentary from Academy Award winner Earl Morris on the legendary writer John le Carré, whose writing thrilled readers for over six decades with novels The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and A Perfect Spy. This is more than a documentary; it’s an interrogation of a man who wrote about spies for a living. Men who lied for their country and their lives. Morris interviews le Carre off camera, leading the writer to do what he does best: tell a story. This time, the story revolves around a man's troubled childhood with his father, a slick gambler and conman, constantly fleeing from the law and the mob. Le Carre first became a schoolteacher and then a spy, working for MI5 and then MI6, before writing his first international bestseller, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold. Le Carre is the perfect subject, able to weave a story with the best of them. Le Carre sometimes gets very personal, almost uncomfortably so, but there is always a reason he tells us something; no words are wasted. Using the vast movie and TV shows produced from his work, the film shows us how Le Carre’s life was interwoven with his writing, along with events happening in the world while he was a spy. The Pigeon Tunnel is a fascinating look at a man who shares a few secrets of his life and his writing while keeping a bit of mystery because a great writer always lets us fill out a few things with the imagination of our own.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  The Pigeon Tunnel Info Now playing in select theatres and on Apple TV+.

Indiefest: Dicks: The Musical (2023) R The simple plot of this film is Dicks: The Musical is a story about two business rivals (Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson) who find out they’re twins. They come up with a wild plan to reconcile their parents. This explanation does not even come close to what this movie is about (I wrote it for my Preview This! column). Let’s just say this film is about as wild a musical as I have ever seen. The movie immediately sets the tone with a song where the main characters boast about their sexual prowess in graphic detail. This film is based on a musical that played at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, where Sharp and Jackson played all the parts. Dicks is an outrageous musical where two gay men play straight guys who don’t look at all alike but are supposed to be identical twins. The twins realize their parents separated them at birth, and they want to be part of a ‘real family,’ so they hatch a plan to get their parents to remarry. The problem is that their father, played by Nathan Lane, is gay, and their mother, played by Megan Mullally, is just plain nuts. There are a bunch of musical numbers, with lots of background dancers that seem to follow the cast around, ready to fill in the scenery with dancing at a moment’s notice. There are a lot of short cameos in the film, which is fun to spot, but the film comes (no pun intended) into its own with a rousing, extremely dirty number by Megan Thee Stallion, who plays the twins’ boss. The film gets a little too silly at times and keeps trying to shock us, but you become numb after a while to all the outrageousness. Dicks: The Musical is a movie that isn’t for everybody and will insult many people. However, if you like lots of gay humor and maybe have a taste for John Waters films, you might have a good time. Many of you will ask, how did this film ever get made?   My Rating: Bargain Matinee Dicks: The Musical Website  Now playing in theatres.

Indiefest: Silver Dollar Road (2023) PG  Documentary that tells the story of a Black family in North Carolina who has owned their waterfront property for generations are harassed and tormented for decades by developers who want to take away their property by any means necessary. This is a film that the more you watch it, the more you will get mad. Mad at the system that is rigged against poor landowners. Rigged for developers and the rich. And rigged to keep poor people in jail because they can’t afford lawyers. All this is in play in this documentary that lets you get to know the people living on Silver Dollar Road and the ancestors who proudly started their families on the land no one else wanted. Now, it’s prime land for development, and the documentary follows the struggle through the years to try to keep the land their ancestors rightfully bought. What I loved about this film is you get to meet and learn about the families that call this area home. Let’s hope justice will prevail, though I am not counting on it. But one thing this film taught me is not to give up. My Rating: Full Price Silver Dollar Road Info  Now playing in theatres and on Amazon Prime. 
Indiefest:  Butcher’s Crossing(2023) R  Will (Fred Hechinger) has dropped out of Harvard to explore the American West. He joins a group of buffalo hunters led by Miller (Nicolas Cage), who is out to bring back a record haul. Will’s great adventure will turn into a journey that risks his life and sanity. Butcher’s Crossing is a movie with an admirable message that it never delivers with any punch. Miller’s obsession with killing more buffalo than anyone else shows us man’s ability to put greed above all else, even if it means killing off a species. The problem with this film is that it takes its time getting to the killing of the buffalo, and then when it does, we never feel the impact that the scene should have given us. Butcher’s Crossing is a film that takes place over a year, but through some poorly done montage sequences, we don’t get the full effect of how long and arduous the journey was to get to the buffalo and how long it took to get back. Nicolas Cage gives a restrained performance, and I wanted a little of that madness that only Cage can provide us with, but it is only hinted at and never really comes out. I expected a journey into madness and instead got a travelogue on the majesty of the Montana wilderness.   My Rating: Cable  Butcher's Crossing Website  Now playing in theatres. 

Forgotten Film: To Die For (1995)  Suzanne (Nicole Kidman) is a local weather forecaster for a small station, but she has big plans for her career, and her husband (Matt Dillon) has become a person who she believes will get in her way to fame. She convinces three local idiots, Jimmy (Joaquin Phoenix), Russell (Casey Affleck), and Lydia (Alison Folland), who are just happy to be in the presence of a ‘celebrity,’ to kill her husband. With a script by the legendary Buck Henry and directed by two-time Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant, this is a master class in taking a minor story and turning it into gold. Matt Dillon is brilliant as the young husband who slowly starts failing in the eyes of Suzanne. Nicole Kidman gives us one of the great performances of her career as a woman who knows she is bound for greatness, or at least an anchor role on a network news broadcast.  My Rating: Full Price  To Die For Info The film is available for rent/buy on Apple TV+ and Amazon.


Weird Credits: From the credits of Nyad: Synthetic Voice Artist


Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Napoleon (2023) R Directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator (2001), Black Hawk Down (2002), and The Martian (2016)) and staring Joaquin Phoenix in the starring role, it tells the personal story of Napoleon Bonaparte, his origins, and his swift and ruthless climb to emperor view through the relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine (Vanessa Kirby). Many think this is a sure thing for many Oscar nominations, including Vanessa Kirby. Napoleon Website   In theatres nationwide on Nov. 22, 2o23.

Until Next Time!