My View: Creed III (2023) PG-13 Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), over the past seven years, has gotten everything he ever dreamed of, with both a career and a family life thriving. However, when a childhood friend (Jonathan Majors) shows up unexpectantly, the past rears its ugly head, and Adonis will have to fight for not only his career but for his life. I loved the first Creed film and feel it is one of the best boxing movies of the genre, right up there with the first Rocky film. The second Creed film was a disappointment that had Sylvester Stallone’s fingerprints all over it. While not on the level of the first Creed, I am happy to say that this third film is still a fine boxing film with an outstanding performance by Jonathan Majors as the bad guy back from Adonis’s past to create a problem that Adonis can’t avoid or deny. Michael B. Jordan directs this film, and I love his emphasis on the relationship between Adonis and his daughter, Amara (Mila Davis-Kent), and how Adonis wants to be the father that he never got. Tessa Thompson is back as Adonis’s wife, Bianca, who, much like Adrian was for Rocky, is Adonis’s sounding board and lets him know when Adonis is going off on the wrong path. Majors is the best thing about this film, a man who, no matter how much he tells you, you know, is a dangerous man with a chip on his shoulder that wants what he thinks has been taken away from him. Every time Majors shows up on the screen, there is a quiet feeling of evil, which explodes into fury when his plan is revealed. The fight sequences are well done, but the scenes between Majors and Jordan before the film’s final fight spark the film and make it work. While not on par with Creed or Rocky, this is still a film to see. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Creed III Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.My View: Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (2023) R Special agent Orson Fortune (Jason Statham) and his team blackmail one of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars, Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett), into helping them take down an evil arms dealer (Hugh Grant) who has his hands on a deal new weapon that could disrupt the world’s balance of power. If you are a Jason Statham fan, you will enjoy this film, though most of his fighting sequences are done in close quarters and over pretty quickly. Statham isn’t the reason to see this spy romp; It’s the work of Hugh Grant and josh Hartnett that makes this film so enjoyable to watch. Hartnett is hilarious as the dim and ego-driven actor who gets blackmailed into the scheme to infiltrate the inner circle of an international arms dealer who is too slick to be caught. Hartnett milks every scene with an awkward grace that shows some natural comedic timing. However, the film’s real star is Hugh Grant, doing his best Michael Caine impression as an arms dealer who thinks he is the smartest man in the room (and he just might be). Grant’s arms dealer has one chink in his armor. He is a huge Danny Francesco fan, so much so that as soon as Danny shows up, he can not help but invite the star to his private getaway, even though a major deal is about to go down. Grant is slimy while also being a bit of a charmer, making it a blast to watch him chew up scenery in every scene he is in. Operation Fortune is a Guy Ritchie action film with plenty of flash, with little thought to details, but Grant and Hartnett will make you forget that pesky plot and just have some fun. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Operation Fortune Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.Indiefest: Hunt Her, Kill Her (2022) Karen (Natalie Terrazzino) is a lone night janitor in a warehouse on the first night of an overnight cleaning job. She finds herself in an unexpected fight for her life when a group of masked intruders break into the warehouse. Can she survive the night, and why are they determined to kill her? This is a film that won a bunch of horror film festival awards, and it deserves it. Unlike many films of this nature, Karen isn’t some former army ranger with a very particular set of skills. Instead, Karen is an ordinary mom stuck in a dangerous situation and is trying to stay alive from a gang of masked men who want her dead. Hunt Her, Kill Her is a thrill ride with some cool moments, including a bad guy death that you won’t soon forget. This is a film that keeps you on the edge of your seat as you hope and pray that Karen can somehow get out of the warehouse alive. While the film doesn’t quite finish what it starts, Hunt Her, Kill Her is a fun ride with a hero that we can all root for. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Hunt Her, Kill Her Website Now playing in select theatres.
Indiefest: A Little White Lie (2023) R Shriver (Michael Shannon) is a down-on-his-luck handyman who has never read a book in his life. One day, he is mistaken for a famous reclusive writer who has been in hiding for 20 years. Invited to attend a college literacy festival, Shriver decides to show up and is soon surrounded by fans, including an English professor (Kate Hudson), who shows more than just a passing interest in him. How long can he keep the lie going? This is one of those films you want to love or even like, but it never finds its footing. I love Michael Shannon, and he tries to bring us to understand why this guy would attempt to fool everyone at a book festival, but the film is lost almost from the start. There isn’t any chemistry between Shannon and Hudson, making the reason for Shriver to continue the ruse seem pointless. The film has a twist that is easy to figure out and an ending that seems too much like a full-out comedy, which this isn’t. I have a feeling that the book this is based on is much better than this disappointing rom-com. Or maybe it’s supposed to be a satire. Either way, it doesn’t work. My Rating; Cable A Little White Lie Info Now playing in select theatres.
Forgotten Film: Paradise Road (1997) R A group of women trying to escape the Japanese invasion of Singapore in 1942 are caught by the Japanese after their transport ship is sunk. Stuck in a POW camp for the duration of the war, the women turn to one thing that can bring hope to their lives: music. The film is based on a true story, and with the cast of Glenn Close, Frances McDormand, Pauline Collins, Cate Blanchett, Julianna Margulies, and Jennifer Ehle, this should have been a magnificent film. Instead, it’s only worth watching for the performances of Glenn Close, as a British musician who starts the choir, and Cate Blanchett as a nurse who tries to keep the women going. Close is brilliant as the fiery Adrienne, who sees music as a way to escape the horrors of war. In one of her first feature film roles, Blanchett shows us a glimpse into what she will become as an actor, giving a moving performance that brings the horror of war to the front. I just wish the script had given this cast more to work with. Paradise Road isn’t a bad film and is worth watching for the performances; it just should have been better. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Paradise Road Info Available for rent on Amazon or iTunes.
Weird Credits: From the credits of Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre: Supervising Colorist
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Renfield (2023) R Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) has spent centuries doing the bidding of his master and would love to find a way out. After a chance meeting where he saves a feisty, perennially angry traffic cop (Awkwafina), he decides to find a way to escape and live a normal life. One problem, his master is Dracula (Nicolas Cage). I can’t wait to see what Cage will do with this role. Renfield Website Coming to theatres in Mid-April.