My View: Scream VI (2023) R It’s been a year since Ghostface killed again in Woodsboro, and some of the survivors have moved to New York City to start a new chapter in their lives. Unfortunately, Ghostface is going to be a part of that too. The Scream films have always been fun because, from the start, they have played with tropes of horror films. The mantle of the steely victim who fights back has been passed from Sidney (Neve Campbell) to Sam (Melissa Barrera). After starring in the first five films, Neve Campbell decided she wanted out after they offered her a salary that she (and frankly, I) felt wasn’t in line with what she was worth to the franchise. Sam is now the target of Ghostface, and Barrera is perfect in the role of the long-lost sister, marked by the internet as a potential killer. Jenna Ortega continues to have fun in the horror genre as Sam’s younger sister, who wants to live her life without Sam constantly keeping a close watch on her. The film is fun, with lots of deaths in the typical fashion of Ghostface calling people on the phone before killing them. There is some controversy early in the film, as Ghostface uses a gun instead of a knife (something Ghostface has never done before), and I wish the filmmakers had addressed it in the movie. Also, I enjoyed the return of Kirby (Hayden Panettiere), a fan favorite from Scream 4. As with all the Scream movies, there are a bunch of clues who Ghostface is this time, and this film revisits all the previous Scream films, making it fun to go down that nightmare lane of past killers. And in the usual Scream fashion, you must ignore that our heroes can miraculously heal to keep fighting or even walk off in the sunset. But don’t fear; Ghostface is sure to return. And there is a small post credit scene after the main credits. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Scream VI Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: Champions (2023) PG-13 The court orders a former minor-league basketball coach, Marcus (Woody Harrelson), to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. Marcus will soon learn that his players have more to teach him than he will ever teach them. This is one of those films that when you see it, you go, ‘well, that was ok but enjoyable.’ Not a great film in any sense, but because of the supporting cast of the players on the team, it will bring a smile or two to your face. It’s not a very funny film, and because of who directed it (Robert Farrelly of the Farrelly brothers fame), there are a couple of times the humor goes a little too far (fart jokes and projectile vomiting for laughs). However, still, I had a good time watching Harrelson interact with the players. There is the typical plot device of Marcus being forced to coach while knowing that he won’t be here for too long, but little does he know he will fall in love with the players on the team and with one of the player’s sisters (Kaitlin Olson). I loved the final scene at the last basketball game and felt it made Champions conclude on a high note. Be sure to stay during the credits for a fun musical number. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Champions Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: 65 (2023) PG-13 An astronaut, Mills (Adam Driver), is piloting a ship when it crashes on a mysterious planet. Along with the only other survivor of the crash, a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), Mills must survive in a hostile world full of giant creatures. You know a movie is in trouble when it feels that it has to explain everything right up front with a lower third. Thanks, I think we figured out that he crashed on Earth back in prehistoric times, before man. And oh, by the way, that meteor that damaged your spaceship might be the cause of the death of the dinosaurs. We get it. The special effects seem almost out of a Godzilla movie, and a plot that is pretty easy to figure out makes for a film that, no matter how hard Adam Driver tries, never gives any thrills or scares. And by the way, one of the worst endings I’ve seen in a long time (I actually laughed out loud at one point). My Rating: Cable 65 Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
Indiefest: The Quiet Girl (2022) PG-13 Cáit (Catherine Clinch) is a young girl who doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere, including in her wildly dysfunctional family. She is sent away to live with foster parents for the summer, and there she discovers a world that will open up for her. It’s a home where affection slowly grows, and there are meant to be no secrets, but Cáit will discover one. Nominated for an Academy Award and to be sure on my top films of the year list, The Quiet Girl is a wonderful and magical film about a young girl who would rather spend time alone in a field than with her family or fellow students. Picked on by both those students and her own family as being strange, she finds a place with her foster family that accepts her the way she is and lets her slowly discover that the world isn’t as scary or mean as she thought it was. Catherine Clinch is brilliant as Cáit, the young girl that walks to the beat of a different drummer. I loved the foster family of the middle-aged relatives (Carrie Crowley and Andrew Bennett) that let Cáit alone to discover that kindness and love do exist. The Quiet Girl is a beautiful and sometimes heart-breaking film about what can happen when a child feels accepted and loved. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again The Quiet Girl Website Now playing in select theatres.
My View: Chang Can Dunk (2023) PG A young Asian-American teen named Chang (Bloom Li) loves basketball but isn’t good enough to make the team. When a school bully makes fun of Chang, and it goes viral, Chang bets the bully that by the end of the football season, he will dunk a basketball. Chang just wants to dunk a ball but ends up learning how to believe in himself. Chang Can Dunk is an enjoyable teen film for the whole family about getting what you want and learning from your mistakes. Bloom Li is fun as the teen who wants to change his image now that he is no longer a freshman in high school, but he soon learns bullies don’t care. When a new girl (Zoe Renee) joins the band and Chang thinks he has lost his chance with her, he challenges the bully (the basketball team’s star player) with a bet that Chang, at 5’8, can dunk a basketball in 10 weeks. What I liked about this film is the event of dunking the basketball is only half the movie, and the consequences of the event make up the second half of the film. Chang Can Dunk is just a fun film with some cool messages along the way for teens and younger kids to learn. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Chang Can Dunk Website Now playing on the Disney+ platform.
Forgotten Film: The Anniversary Party (2001) R Ever wondered what attending one of those exclusive parties at a star’s home is like? Well, that’s what The Anniversary Party is. The party is held by Joe and Sally (Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh) to celebrate their on-again, off-again, on-again relationship. He is a director, and she is an actress, and boy, do they have problems. She has left him many times because he sleeps around. However, this time it was because he didn’t cast her in a movie based on her life because he felt she was too old for the part. The film was written and directed by Cumming and Leigh and shot with an early version of a digital camera, giving us an almost fly-on-the-wall look at a Hollywood party. Many of the cast are playing versions of themselves, including Kevin Kline as a former leading man who is no longer getting those roles, Phoebe Cates as his wife who has quit the business to raise their family, Parker Posey as an up-and-coming actress, and Gwyneth Paltrow as an actress who has grown up in the industry. So, pour out a drink and join the party. It’s going to get a little weird. My Rating: Bargain Matinee The Anniversary Party Info The film is available to rent on Amazon and iTunes.
Weird Credits: From the credits of Scream VI: Body Track Artist
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Beau is Afraid (2023) R I am just going to quote IMBD to describe this movie ‘Following the sudden death of his mother, a mild-mannered but anxiety-ridden man confronts his darkest fears as he embarks on an epic, Kafkaesque odyssey back home.’ This film stars Joaquin Phoenix and is written and directed by Ari Aster, who brought us Hereditary (2018) and Midsommar (2019). That is all you need to know, but watch the mind-blowing trailer to confirm that this will be one trippy movie. Beau is Afraid Website Coming to theatres in late April.