Friday, April 28, 2023

Are You There God? It's Me Margaret

My View:  Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret (2023) PG-13  Margaret Simon (Abby Ryder Fortson) is 11 going on 12 when her family moves from New York City to the suburbs of New Jersey. Margaret’s mother, Barbara (Rachel McAdams), is ready to become a model suburban housewife. Margaret is determined to survive this move, make friends, and maybe even decide what religion to follow. Hopefully, it will all work out. If not, Margaret can always ask, ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.’ It’s only taken over 50 years to make a movie from the best-selling book, but I am happy that the wait was worth it. Are You There God? is an amazing adaptation of the beloved book. First, the casting is perfect. Rachel McAdams wonderfully portrays Barbara, a mom who wants desperately to fit into the suburban mom mold, but we know almost from the start that it will not work. McAdams is just the right combination of quirkiness and likability, making McAdams Barbara a perfect fit for her daughter. The movie wouldn’t work if Abby Ryder Fortson wasn’t as good in the role as she is. Fortson works the room as Margaret, a kid just like her mom, who is nice and wants to desperately fit in, even when she knows she also isn’t quite a fit for what is expected of her by friends. We get to follow Margaret for an entire year, starting with her coming back from summer camp to get the devastating news, for an 11-year-old, that they are moving to, gasp, New Jersey. We follow Margaret as she makes new friends, gets a crush on a boy, and tries to figure out how she feels about God and religion. Are You There God? is full of teen angst, where problems are magnified, and there seems to be a crisis because of the expectations of both her friends and Margaret herself. So get ready to discover what it is to be an 11-year-old girl who talks to God. And enjoy this incredible ride as a friend of Margaret.My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Now playing in theatres nationwide.  Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret Website   Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Polite Society (2023) PG-13  Ria (Priya Kansara) is a young woman who practices martial arts, often with the help of her older sister Lena (Ritu Arya), in order for Ria to become a stuntwoman. Lena has gotten engaged, but Ria thinks something is fishy about the family that Ria is marrying into. Rita and her friends decide they must find out what is up with the groom’s family, and maybe, just maybe, Rita will have to use all her martial arts skills to save her sister from something evil. This is such a fun film to watch with a cast that is a delight and a plot that kept me guessing what was going to happen next. Priya Kansara is fantastic as Ria, who dreams of being a stuntwoman and is convinced that her sister is making a horrible mistake and must be stopped with any schemes Ria can devise. The film is about believing in yourself and your dreams, no matter what obstacles stand in your way. The last fifteen minutes is a joyful jump into action movies with a flair for cool visuals. Fans of martial arts films will love all the action sequences as Ria fights the good fight, even when even her best friends doubt her. Add in a fun soundtrack, an incredible dance sequence, and a truly evil potential mother-in-law, and you have one action-packed thrill ride. The audience at the Atlanta Film Festival I saw it with had a great time watching Ria fight with the best of them.   My Rating: Full Price  Polite Society Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.  

My View: SISU (2023) R  SISU takes place during the last days of WW II when a prospector (Jorma Tommila) finds a motherlode of gold. When the prospector crosses paths with a group of Nazi soldiers, a legendary death squad, and they steal his gold, the soldiers soon discover that they have messed with the wrong man. No matter what the Nazis throw at him, this one-man death squad is determined to get his gold back, and he doesn’t care if he has to kill every last Nazi to get it back. If you hate Nazis, then this is a film for you because our hero kills a lot of them, often in very creative ways. The prospector is a legend. He is a fighter, so feared that he is called by the very people he was killing, ‘The Immortal’. A group of Nazi soldiers are retreating through Finland, burning down everything in sight, killing civilians, and taking women hostages for the soldiers to enjoy as they try to get back to Germany. They make the mistake of trying to steal the prospector’s gold, and he goes on a killing spree that would make Jason pale in comparison. The action is fast and bloody, with the prospector a superhuman who can’t seemingly be killed. I had a blast (no pun intended) watching this film, as the prospector keeps coming for the Nazis, no matter what they do to him. Yeah, you have to suspend your disbelief a lot when watching SISU, but don’t you do that when watching the last four Fast and Furious films? Hey, I’m all for killing a bunch of Nazis plus, you may never look at another pickaxe the same way.   My Rating: Full Price  SISU Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) PG  On one magical night, Wendy (Ever Anderson) and her two brothers (Joshua Pickering and Jacobi Jupe) meet Peter Pan, a boy who can fly and refuses to grow up. Wendy and her brothers agree to travel to the world of Neverland, where they will meet Peter’s gang, The Lost Boys, Peter’s best friend, the fairy Tinker Bell (Yara Shahidi), and do battle with Captain Hook (Jude Law) and his band of pirates. This is a story that we all know well. Wendy and her brothers are whisked away to Neverland to go on adventures with Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and the Lost Boys, who are constantly fighting with Captain Hook and his pirate gang. The difference between this film and its predecessors is that there is more emphasis on the backstory of Captain Hook, a man who is more human than past Hooks. Captain Hook is hurt by Peter Pan and wants revenge, but it’s based on sadness and how Hook feels left behind by his once friend Peter. I loved the fact that this film has a diverse cast, including girls in the Lost Boys crew. Ever Anderson is terrific as the headstrong and fiery Wendy, who wants to be more than what her parents want her to be. Neverland is shot beautifully, so much so you want to go there and join Peter and his gang. Just remember to think happy thoughts, and you, too, can fly with Peter and defeat Captain Hook and his pirates.   My Rating: Full Price  Peter Pan & Wendy Website  Now playing on the Disney+ website.

My View: Clock (2023)   Ella (Dianna Agron) is constantly asked, ‘When are you having kids?’ However, Ella has never felt the need, want or urge for children in her life. Thinking something is wrong with her, Ella decides to undergo a new and radical medical procedure before it’s too late. Ella will discover that not every woman needs her biological clock started, at least not this way. The idea of couples trying for years to get pregnant is not an unusual story. This is that story. Instead, it’s about a woman who has never felt her biological clock go off. Ella has no desire to have kids and is made to feel by her friends and even her boyfriend that something is wrong with her. She decides to go and try a new medical procedure that will start the ‘clock’ going, making her desire the feeling of wanting to be pregnant and have a child. However, almost from the start, Ella has disturbing reactions to the treatment, with horrible dreams and even scarier incidents of seeing things, including a ghoulish woman in black. Clock is a horror film that centers on the industry of getting pregnant, with some rather graphic and ugly displays of horrific images that Ella starts seeing. More of a psychological thriller than a horror film, the film left me feeling that it never delivered the message that it wanted to convey.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Clock Website  Now playing on the Hulu website.

Indiefest: R.M.N. (2022) Matthias (Marin Grigore) returns home to Romania after losing his job in Germany. He returns to a wife who doesn’t love him anymore, a son who he has trouble connecting with after something the son saw in the forest, a father who is dying, and a village that is in turmoil after a group of Sri Lankan immigrants move in town to take the minimum wage jobs no one wanted at a bread factory. This is a film about a close-knit community where outsiders aren’t welcome, and bigotry rears its ugly head from the start. R.M.N. showcases a world where, although Europe has become smaller through open borders and trade, people are still building walls in their community. Into this world, Matthias returns. No one seems happy to see him, including his own wife or even his mistress. Right from the start, when Matthias assaults a boss because he is called a gypsy, we don’t like him. Matthias is a man who cheated on his wife, who clearly detests him, and has a child who is constantly afraid, so much so he doesn’t talk, and Matthias wants his son to get over it. Matthias’s mistress heads a local bread factory that can’t find local help due to low wages. She reluctantly hires immigrants from Sri Lanka. Even though no one in the town wants the jobs the new workers have taken, the community acts like they are being invaded. R.M.N. is an uncomfortable film where tensions are constantly being raised, culminating with a town meeting that lasts in one remarkable fifteen-minute shot. R.M.N. is a film that examines the psychological reasons why it’s hard to accept outsiders while dissecting the relationships within the community.  My Rating: Full Price    R. M. N. Website  Now playing in select theatres. 

Forgotten Film: Rosewood (1997) R  The story of the community of Rosewood, a small town in 1920s Florida, was destroyed in one night when dozens of its Black residents were shot to death or lynched by a mob fueled by racist rumors. Directed by John Singleton, the film shows how the white residents groomed their children to hate while the Black residents, the majority of the people in the town, were hunted down by a mob. Some were able to escape with their lives because of the heroic actions of a few brave people. The film has some brilliant performances. Michael Rooker plays the local sheriff, who knows that the mob is doing something horrible but is helpless to stop it. Esther Rolle plays a Black midwife who is convinced that the children she helped raise won’t hurt her family. And Don Cheadle is a man who risks everything to help people get out of town before it’s too late. Rosewood is a brilliant film about a little-known event in American history that needed to be told.   My Rating: Full Price  Rosewood Info  Available to rent on most on-line platforms.

Weird Credits: From the credits of Polite Society: Fight Arranger Assistant

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Fool’s Paradise (2023)   A man (Charlie Day) who cannot speak is released from a mental hospital and is picked up off the street because he looks exactly like a big Hollywood star who is on a bender and refuses to leave his trailer. The star’s publicist (Ken Jeong) and a powerful producer (Ray Liotta) help the man become even a bigger star, even marrying his beautiful leading lady (Kate Beckinsale). However, fame and fortune aren’t all they are cracked up to be, especially when you say nothing. I just want to see this for the cast, which includes Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Katherine McNamara, Jillian Bell, Adrien Brody, Edie Falco, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, and John Malkovich.  Fool's Paradise Website  Coming to theatres in Mid-May.    

Until Next Time!

Friday, April 21, 2023


My View: Chevalier (2022) PG-13  Chevalier tells the tale of Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Joseph Bologne (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), who rose to fame as a child musical prodigy and became a favorite of Marie Antoinette. However, Chevalier’s fame and talent soon made him enemies and caused a falling out with the Queen of France. Joseph decides it is time for a change for France and himself. Kelvin Harrison Jr. is a force of nature in this film, full of bravado and charisma, making the wish that the film’s script was stronger. Harrison Jr. gives us a man with so much confidence that he feels he can overcome any obstacle, even though the world sees him as much less than his talent deserves. I wanted to feel more from the story, needing more emotion from the ending, but it left me lacking that pull I should have felt for the man who poured his heart and soul into his music. I loved that a lot of the music features Chevalier de Saint-Georges music, some of which were lost for years. The film seems more of a skimming of his life instead of letting us know the man and why he felt so passionately about his music. After seeing the movie, I kept thinking about how little we saw of his mother, who, after years of being separated from her child, has been freed after Joseph’s father’s death. We get a few scenes between the two, but those interactions seem too short and shallow, missing a chance to get to know the man through his mother. I felt significantly let down by the ending, with a concert the film has been building for the last hour for. Instead of a rousing scene of music filled with defiance, we get a showdown between our hero and the bad guy who fizzles out into almost nothing. And then to learn that Joseph led a brigade of soldiers during the French Revolution and became a victim of politics again in his last years is disappointing. I would have loved to see some of that on the screen. Still, Chevalier is worth the price of admission for Kelvin Harrison Jr.’s portrayal of a man who defied all the odds to become a legend.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Chevalier Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Beau is Afraid (2023) R  Beau (Joaquin Phoenix) is an extremely anxious man who doesn’t have the best relationship with his overbearing mother. When she dies, Beau embarks on a journey home that will confront his greatest fears and test his sanity. This is an insanely long film that is being shown in the IMAX format. Beau is Afraid is a film that will piss off some people because of a plot which goes back and forth between satire/comedy and drama, with some freaky plot lines that sometimes feel way too drawn out. I loved the first third of this film, as we learn about Beau and the world that he lives in. It’s a world where dead bodies are left to rot in the street. Where it’s not unusual for gunfire to ring out in the middle of the night, and a man who is naked and stabbing people in the streets has become a celebrity who’s stabbings have become a running tab on the local news. All this has caused Beau to become afraid of everything and everyone, though, to be honest, just walking through his neighborhood is like walking through a wasteland of druggies, crazies, and death. Beau is controlled by both his therapist and his mother. Things fall apart when Beau is supposed to visit his mother, but his ticket, keys, and suitcase are stolen before he can even get out of the door of his apartment. It gets worse when he finds out his mother, seeming to be his reason for living, is dead and can’t be buried until he goes home. The death puts Beau on a journey like Ulysses going on his Odyssey. Joaquin Phoenix gives us a multi-layered performance that, at times, is a blast to watch. The supporting cast, including Amy Ryan, Patti LuPone, Parker Posey, and Nathan Lane, give us some outstanding portrayals of the strange and quirky people that Beau meets on his journey. I feel the film fell apart for me in the last hour, as it never found the flow or the humor of the first third of the movie displayed. The final third of the film feels like a bad Oedipus complex plot that fizzles out with an ending that can only be described as a huge letdown. Fans of filmmaker Ari Aster, who loved Midsommar and Hereditary, might find this film an adventure in weirdness, but I just found that after three hours, I didn’t care anymore about whether Beau was still afraid.  My Rating: Cable  Beau is Afraid Website  Now playing in theatres, including IMAX

My View: Evil Dead Rise (2023) R  Beth (Lily Sullivan) might be pregnant and is uncertain about what to do. She decides to go to L.A. and visit her sister Ellie (Alyssa Echols), who she hasn’t seen in forever. Ellie and her three children live in an apartment building that is about to be torn down. When the kids discover an old record, it unleashes demons who will soon create a nightmare version of a family imaginable. First, if you get queasy at the sight of blood, stay away from this film. The film is a bloodfest and, as you can imagine, also quite gory. The film is one of the better horror/possession films I’ve seen in the past few years. There are plenty of scares, almost from the film’s start, and it rarely goes for the jump-out-of-the-dark type of scare. The movie is a continuation of the Evil Dead series, but if you haven’t seen any of the films (and that’s a shame), all you need to know is there is a book that unleashes terrible things that go bump in the night. Or should I say, stab in the night. Lily Sullivan makes a great hero that handles battling the demons with the best of them. If you are a fan of the series, there is a fun salute to the early films during the ultimate battle. And yes, there is sure to be more. You can’t keep the evil book down too long.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Evil Dead Rise Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Ghosted (2023)  PG-13  Cole (Chris Evans) has met Sadie (Ana de Armas) and fallen hard for her after just one date. Before they can decide on a second date, Cole finds out that Sadie is a secret agent, and suddenly they are off on an international adventure to save the world. I am a big fan of Ana de Armas. In fact, I have stated that after her performance in No Time to Die (2021), I want her to break some sacred ground and be the next 007. In this, she plays a CIA agent, though when Cole awkwardly flirts with her, he doesn’t know that. They get along so well (one of those dates that last forever, in a good way) that Cole over-texts her in the next few days. He finds out that she is in London and decides to surprise her, but that’s a big mistake, as he becomes involved in an attempt to buy a weapon of destruction on the mass market. Cole soon learns Sadie isn’t who she said she was, and his life is in danger. I had fun with this film as it turns the tables on Chris Evans in that now he is the one who constantly needs rescuing and is kind of a wimp (though, as his father says, he wrestled in high school). There are some fun cameos, and the action sequences prove my point that de Armas can handle the heavy action lifting with cool and grace. Evans and de Armas have good chemistry on the screen, and they play off each other with some great comedic timing. Adrien Brody is a competent bad guy with a little side of sleaze, and the final fight is an excellent take on those impossible action films of the past. So go on a second date with a spy and a guy that used to wrestle in high school.   My Rating: Full Price  Ghosted Website Now playing on the Apple TV+ platform.

My View: Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (2023) R  U.S. Army Sergeant John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal) is alive because his Afghan interpreter, Ahmed (Dar Salim), risked his life to carry John to safety after an ambush during the war in Afghanistan. After returning to the U.S., John finds out that Ahmed and his family have not been given safe passage to America as promised; John must repay his debt and return to the war zone before the Taliban hunts down Ahmed. I’m not a big Guy Ritchie film, who in the past has relied too much on flashy camera work and arty editing to make his movies feel like one long music video. This film is different because Ritchie lets the characters tell the story, holding shots and allowing the action to flow. The film is a good, old-fashioned war story of two men who learn to trust each other, depend on each other, and risk their lives so that both will survive. Gyllenhaal’s John Kinley is a soldier’s soldier who is loved by his men and respected by his commanding officers. Kinley doesn’t let outsiders into his group because getting his soldiers home is his job. Into this mix comes Ahmed, a translator who has a reputation for causing trouble. Soon, John learns Ahmed is one to be trusted, and that trust is paid back when Ahmed risks everything to save John from certain death. The rest of the film is a journey of survival, with Ahmed saving John and then John returning to do the same for Ahmed and his family. The Covenant is a thrilling war film that lets you understand the men fighting the battles and why they are determined to do everything they can to protect each other. It’s a suspenseful journey that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the whole film. All I can say is, Guy Ritchie, I wish you had figured out this method of filmmaking a long time ago.   My Rating: Full Price The Covenant Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: A Tourist’s Guide to Love (2023)   After a nasty breakup with her boyfriend, John (Ben Feldman), Amanda (Rachael Leigh Cook) takes an assignment to go undercover and learn about the tourist industry in Vietnam. Amanda meets her guide Sinh (Scott Ly), who convinces her to throw away her guidebook and become an adventurer. Soon Amanda forgets about John until he expectably shows up. This is your ordinary, run-of-the-mill romance movie, except it’s not because it does something that other films of this type don’t. It goes off the beaten path, taking us on a journey to explore and enjoy a different country and culture. A Tourist’s Guide to Love is a beautiful film about a tourist guide company that makes it their mission to show the people they are giving the tour to more than just the famous sites. Now, this film fits all the tropes of romance films: the breakup of a long-time couple with the woman deciding to take a chance and enjoy life and be open to a new relationship while she hides a secret from the same romantic possibility, and then, of course, the old boyfriend shows up to muddle up the new relationship. Still, we get to see Vietnam from the eyes of people who love the country and want others to explore its beauty and get to know its people for more than a war that happened 40-plus years ago. So, hop onto the tour bus and go on a trip off the beaten path with a bit of romance to spice things up.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  A Tourist's Guide to Love Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

My View: To Catch a Killer (2023) R  A talented but troubled police officer, Eleanor Falco (Shailene Woodley), is recruited by the FBI’s chief investigator, Geoffrey Lammark (Ben Mendelsohn), to join his task force to help catch a murderer who is terrorizing the city. This is a crime thriller to find a mass-murdering killer who doesn’t seem to have a motive or a pattern, making the job of the FBI that much harder to stop the killing. The film works because of Woodley, who plays a cop who wants to become more than just a street cop but has already been passed over by the FBI because of her past. Eleanor is picked up by FBI agent Lammark because of a chance encounter where he sees something in Eleanor that convinces him she will help find the killer. Woodley gives us a woman who is tormented by her past and has had to settle for finding safety and security in the police force, even though she wants more. The film slows down a bit in the final third, making the plot seem weak in the film’s conclusion. I will say this; I would love to see another movie with this lead character moving forward, solving more crimes while still dealing with her past.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  To Catch a Killer Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: Gringa (2023)   Marge (Jess Gabor), who hates her life and, after discovering that her long-lost dad (Steve Zahn) is living in Mexico, runs away to visit the father she has never known. They will learn that a family can be put back together, even if all they have is each other. When tragedy hits Marge, she travels to Mexico and meets the father she never knew. Marge is someone who has never fit in, who uses food and being anti-social to mask her insecurities and feelings of not belonging. Her long-lost father, Jackson, spends his days surfing, doing odd jobs for the local church, and then drinking his nights away. When Marge shows up, Jackson lets her stay as long as she doesn’t get in his way of drinking. Jackson’s only job is to coach a woman’s soccer team, and Marge reluctantly becomes part of the team, all the while also meeting and falling in love with a local surfer. The film lets Zahn showcase what an effortless grace and charm he has on the screen as a lovable but flawed person who made some mistakes in his life and continues to beat himself up for those mistakes. Jess Gabor has a liable presence on the screen, and you instantly root for her to find love and happiness. It will be a bit of a bumpy ride, but this father and daughter will have time to find their place in each other’s lives.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Gringa Website  Now playing in select theatres. 

Indiefest: Somewhere in Queens (2022) R  Leo and Angela (Ray Romano and Laurie Metcalf) have a son named Matthew (Jacob Ward), who everyone calls Sticks. Sticks is a wonderful son but is very shy and reserved. Sticks is the star of his basketball team, and his parents find out that Sticks also has a girlfriend, Dani (Sadie Stanley). Things are looking up when Sticks gets interest from a college when his girlfriend suddenly breaks up with him. Leo will try everything to get Sticks that scholarship, even if it means begging Dani to take Sticks back. This film is about a close-knit Italian family where you know what your future holds; marry a local girl, have kids, and work in the family business. Leo, when he finds out that his son, nicknamed Sticks, has an unexpected chance to get a basketball scholarship to a school, he sees this as a way for his son to get out of his shadow and out from under the control of his family. The performances make this film work, as Romano does a masterful job as Leo, who is tired of being the low man on the family totem pole and wants more for his son. Laurie Metcalf’s performance is both funny and touching, as the glue that holds the family together while having the chance that the cancer she fought so hard to defeat could come back. I loved the relationship between the shy, quiet Sticks, played by Jacob Ward, and the outgoing, full-of-life Dani, played by Sadie Stanley. Dani is a free spirit who falls for Sticks but knows that if Sticks is going to come out of his shell, he has to break away from the comfort and predictability of the life his family has picked for him. Somewhere in Queens, directed by Ray Romano, is one of those small, funny, warm family films that used to be made all the time in Hollywood but doesn’t fit the mold of the now big-budget superhero picture. So see this funny, touching film about a family that cares about each other, even if it means they will have to let someone go.   My Rating: Full Price  Somewhere in Queens Website  Now playing in select theatres. 
Little Richard: I Am Everything (2023)   Documentary about the man, the myth, and the legend, Little Richard. A man who almost single-handedly started the Rock n Roll craze of the 50s. He was a hitmaker in the 50s/60s who quit to become a preacher, then came back to rock, but he never felt he got the credit or awards that he deserved. This is a fascinating film that lets Little Richard tell his own story through interviews and footage. I loved learning about the early days of Little Richard and how his on-stage persona was started and refined through the years. A man who was misunderstood and never quite found the peace that he desired. Much like Little Richard’s career, the last third of the film doesn’t quite live up to the first two-thirds of the film, but what is in that first part is fantastic and brilliant, just like Little Richard himself. You may think you know the man, the rock legend, but I guarantee you don’t. Not until you watch this film.   My Rating: Full Price  Little Richard: I Am Everything Website  Now playing in select theatres and On Demand.
Showing Up (2022)  R  Lizzy (Michelle Williams) is a ceramics sculptor living in Portland, Oregon. Her parents are both artists (Maryann Plunkett and Judd Hirsch) and are separated. Lizzy has a show coming up, and it doesn’t help that her landlord (Hong Chau) also has two shows coming up but seems to handle everything without a care. Life often gets in the way of art, and Lizzy isn’t handling it very well. I saw this film on the first weekend of the Atlanta Film Festival with a packed house. Directed by Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy (2008), Certain Woman (2016), and First Cow (2019)), Showing Up is a dry, slow walk (not run) that delves into the world of art and the people that make that art. Now, this isn’t your fast-paced look at the New York art world and its famous artists. Instead, the film is a look at a world where art is personal, and its world centers around small shows in tiny galleries or public art spaces. Lizzy is a ceramics sculptor who makes small figurines depicting primarily women. Her landlord, Jo (Jong Chau), is a vastly more successful artist, who creates big, flashy art pieces and lords it over Lizzy, constantly talking about her not just one, but two openings that she is busy with. This is what Reichardt does so well, creates complex characters yet also can seem, at first glance, simple. Michelle Williams portrays Lizzy as a person who doesn’t like confrontation, leaving voicemails complaining about her hot water situation, even though Jo lives right next door. Williams is brilliant as Lizzy, a woman who just seems to float from one scene to another, never causing much of a footprint for her character, who seems down all the time, but no one seems to notice or even care. For Lizzy, an act of defiance and frustration is to tear up a flower in Jo’s garden. Williams’ Lizzy is a woman who is right in place in this strange little world of creating art, where her biggest crisis is when a faulty kiln slightly chars an art piece. Lizzy briefly gets upset, but after a quick note of dismay, she goes on to show the work in her opening because that’s what Lizzy does. Showing Up is a film with a low-key performance about a woman who is about as low-key as one can get.   My Rating: Full Price   Showing Up Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Forgotten Film: Party Girl (1995) R  Mary (Parker Posey) is a free spirit who lives for a party. She spends her nights on the dance floor, holding house parties and going to raves. After Mary is arrested for throwing an underground rave, her grandmother bails her out, and in order to pay her back, Mary must work at her grandmother’s library. It’s going to be a wake-up call for this ‘Party Girl.’ Parker Posey is adorable as a modern-day version of Holly Golightly, a party girl who doesn’t seem to care about anybody or anything, except her designer clothes. Shot in 16mm and one of the first films to be released online, this film has been newly restored using the original prints to make the movie look like it did when it was wowing crowds at the 95 Sundance Film Festival. Posey is so much fun to watch as she bops around town, trying to pick up the falafel guy, while trying to find ways to pay the rent. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready to spin a few tunes with Mary, the definitive Party Girl.   My Rating: Full Price  Party Girl is available in a limited edition Blu-Ray from Fun City Editions

Weird Credits: From the credits of Chevalier: Candle Boys

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Hypnotic (2023) R  A detective (Ben Affleck) is investigating a string of high-end heists while trying to find his missing daughter. Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi (1992), Spy Kids (2001), Grindhouse (2007)), there has been buzz about this film since a rough-cut premiered at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.  Hypnotic Info  The film will be released in mid-May 2023.

Until Next Time!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The 47th Annual Atlanta Film Festival & Creative Conference April 20 - April 30, 2023

It’s time for my favorite event in Atlanta, the Atlanta Film Festival! Chosen from over 10,000 submissions, the festival brings both feature and short films to Atlanta, including 17 Marquee screenings, 39 world premieres, and 155 creative works from around the world. The Atlanta Film Festival is an event film lovers won’t want to miss. ATLFF is presenting some of the best upcoming films that Hollywood has to offer, including movies from top studios and films, along with films from over 30 countries.

ATLFF 2023 will be more accessible than ever, offering a mix of in-person and virtual screenings. Screenings will be held at the Plaza Theatre (1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE), Dad’s Garage (569 Ezzard St SE), The Carter Center (453 Freedom Parkway), and The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University (80 Forsyth St NW). All virtual screenings and events will be presented via Eventive.

The long-running festival has always been a distinguished event, recognized as one of the “Ten Best Film Festivals in the U.S.” by USA Today readers and one of the “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” by MovieMaker Magazine.

The Opening Night Presentation of Focus Features’ “Polite Society” will take place at the Plaza Theatre on Friday, April 21. Starring Priya Kansara and Ritu Arya, the film follows a martial artist-in-training who enlists her friends to help save her older sister from her impending marriage in the name of independence and sisterhood.

The Closing Night Presentation on Saturday, April 29th at the Rialto Center for the Arts is “Big Boss". The film is the remarkable true story of Keke Palmer, a young woman from Chicago who faces immense challenges in the male-dominated music industry. Written and directed by Keke herself, the film showcases her perseverance, self-love, unyielding faith, and indomitable spirit. Throughout her journey, Keke discovers that the greatest obstacle she must overcome is learning to trust her instincts. Keke Palmer will be in attendance for a conversation and extended Q&A.

Some highlights of the festival’s programming from celebrated filmmakers and Hollywood studios include narrative features and documentaries that are sure to thrill, entertain and inform. “This World Is Not My Own” is a documentary film that traces the lifespan of artist Nellie Mae Rowe through motion capture technology to replicate human expressions and movement performed by Uzo Aduba, “It’s Only Life After All” is a documentary that follows the lives and careers of one of the most iconic folk-rock bands in America, the Indigo Girls, and “The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster,” starring Laya DeLeon Hayes and Chad Coleman, is a poignant story of grief and hope, in which a teenage anti-hero goes on a desperate quest to cure death. “Still: A Michael J Fox Movie” is a film that incorporates documentary, archival and scripted elements, recounting Michael J. Fox’s extraordinary story in his own words, the improbable tale of an undersized kid from a Canadian army base who rose to the heights of stardom in 1980s Hollywood.

In conjunction with Videodrome, Atlanta’s last video store, is the Atlanta premiere screening of a brand-new restoration of “Party Girl”, director Daisy von Scherler Mayer’s 1995 Manhattan cult comedy starring the sublime Parker Posey. Co-hosted by Fun City Editions, who commissioned and oversaw the restoration, this event will feature a Q&A with Fun City founder Jonathan Hertzberg and Millie De Chirico, local film programmer, writer, historian, and host of the weekly film podcast I Saw What You Did.

The festival is also known for its short film categories and is one of the few festivals in the country that offer Academy Award-qualifying for all three short categories: Narrative, Documentary, and Animated.

The  Atlanta Film Festival IMAGE Film Awards Gala will be held at the Fox Theatre on Sunday, April 23rd. This year’s IMAGE Film Award honorees include President Jimmy Carter, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (2011-2019), Atlanta-based entertainment and technology company Trioscope, and BronzeLens Film Festival. The IMAGE Film Award on behalf of President Jimmy Carter will be accepted by a special guest soon to be announced. 

Additional award recipients include George R. R. Martin, honored with the Originator Award, which recognizes visionaries who are often imitated, never duplicated, and always responsible for setting new industry standards in the film industry. Keke Palmer, honored with the Ossie Davis Award, which recognizes creative excellence and dynamic contributions to the art of cinema, for her achievements across film, television, and music, all while bringing truth, vulnerability, and power to her roles. And Vincent D’Onofrio, honored with the Phoenix Award, which recognizes Vincent for his 20+ years of acting and now his directorial debut with “Night of the Cooters.”

The popular Creative Conference will be ongoing again at the festival, with workshops, panels, talks, and demos that will delve into the world of filmmaking, focusing on topics such as screenwriting, pitching, acting, producing, casting, funding, and distribution, and how they all come together to make a film or television episode. This will be the 13th year for the Creative Conference, offering over 25 in-person panel discussions, eight virtual panels, and in-depth conversations with industry experts from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

The full schedule of films and events is available at and through the ATLFF 2023 app. Festival passes are on sale now on the site. Tickets for individual events will be available online. In-person screening tickets range from $12-15; virtual access is $9.99 per film/panel with an unlimited virtual all-access pass for $85 for both films and Creative Conference.

The Atlanta Film Festival is the chief annual operation of the Atlanta Film Society (ATLFS), one of the oldest and largest organizations dedicated to the promotion and education of film in the United States, which enriches the community through screenings, classes, workshops, and other events year-round.

Friday, April 14, 2023


My View: 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 an everyday life. One problem, his master is Dracula (Nicolas Cage). If you are a fan of Nic Cage like I am, this is a film for you. If you aren’t a fan of Mr. Cage (and his non-subtle acting), stay away because this is a full-tilt Cage performance. I loved the opening of this film, where the movie used scenes from the 1931 black-and-white classic Dracula, subbing Cage and Holt into scenes from the film, giving us background on how Renfield became what he is today, the servant of Dracula. Like many of the films in the Dracula films of the 70s/80s, Renfield is campy and has lots of blood pouring out all over the place. Cage, a fan of horror films, is having a blast playing the ultimate narcissist, Dracula, who thinks that the world is his for taking and expects his lackey, Renfield, to bring him a group of nuns or a bus full of cheerleaders for him to feed on. I liked Hoult as the servant of Dracula, who has grown tired of his demanding lifestyle. Renfield happens on a support group of codependents and sees this as a way out from under Dracula’s mighty claws. Along the way, Renfield meets and saves the life of a police officer (played by the always funny Awkwafina), who sees Renfield as a hero and not a monster. The film is fun, a bloody (lots of horrible deaths, some hilarious) play on the horror movie. The film suffers a bit from a relatively weak third act, but hey, Nic Cage in the Dracula cape is all I need. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Renfield Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: The Pope’s Exorcist (2023) R Father Gabriele Amorth’s (Russell Crowe) title is officially the Chief Exorcist of the Vatican. Unofficially, Father Gabriele is known as ‘The Pope’s Exorcist.’ Father Gabriele is sent to investigate a young boy’s possible possession and ends up uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy that the Vatican has tried to keep hidden for years. Russell Crowe gives it his all but can’t overcome a clunky script along with very few scares that make this film seem longer than its runtime. Crowe, with a weird Italian accent and an even stranger sense of humor, makes this film at least watchable. However, the film never gets the horror going, and it tries to tie in a rather flimsy plot about the past (wait until you hear that bit) with the grounds of an old Abby being renovated. The ending seems to promise a sequel, but we can only pray to God that it doesn’t happen. My Rating: Cable The Pope's Exorcist Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Mafia Mamma (2023) R Kristin (Toni Collette) has a full life dealing with a son leaving for college, a horrible boss, and a husband she has recently discovered is cheating on her. To add to Kristin’s troubles, she is told that her grandfather has died, and she is requested to attend his funeral in Italy. Her friends convince Kristin to attend the funeral because what could go wrong? How about a near assignation because her grandfather has wished for Kristin, his last living descendant, to take over the family business and become a mafia boss? I am a fan of Toni Collette, but I am sad to report that a film that she personally picked and produced is one of the worst of the year. The film is meant to be a comedy, playing on the tropes of mafia movies (I lost count of how many times The Godfather is mentioned), but it sadly misses with horrible jokes hitting on everything Italian, including their love of pasta and affairs. In what must be one of the weirdest attempts of comedy, at one point, a hit-man is aiming a gun at Kristin, about to assassinate her, but first, he wants to rape her, and she kills him in a bloody and horrible fashion that is supposed to be funny. Collette plays Kristin as a dumb American who leaves her cheating husband and literally gets off the plane and starts up an affair with an Italian man she meets in a cab line. It’s like this film is trying to out-bloody the Italian mob films while also trying to hit our funny bones with jokes about sex and meatballs (sometimes in the same sentence). Mafia Mamma is a film directed by Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, where it never figures out what kind of film it is other than it’s not funny. My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again Mafia Mamma Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Suzume (2022) A 17-year-old girl named Suzume lives in a small, quiet town when she meets a mysterious man who tells her he needs her help to stop a series of disasters from happening across Japan. Suzume is about to go on an adventure where the two will try to save the world from an evil force that could devastate the land. Suzume is one of the better Japanese animated films of the past few years. The film is an adventure tale of a young woman who goes on a quest to close a series of doors across Japan with the help of a mysterious stranger and a cat who talks. Along the way, Suzume is helped by strangers who go out of their way to keep her trip moving and lend a helping hand. Suzume is a story about courage, love, making peace with the past, and finding goodness in ordinary people, even when it seems hope is fleeting. The animation is breathtaking, and the storyline keeps moving along. Filled with humor, Suzume tells a tale of courage and determination by a young woman whose past has haunted her for her whole life. My Rating: Full Price Suzume Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
Forgotten Film: Clockwatchers (1997) PG-13 Iris (Toni Collette) is a new temp at an office and is freaked out by office politics and procedures. Iris is shown the ropes by Margaret (Parker Posey), a temp who knows what to do and, better yet, what not to do to survive in this world. Soon, Iris is part of the temp world of workers that includes Jane (Alanna Ubach) and Paula (Lisa Kudrow), a world where no boss knows your name, and if you keep your head down and put everyone who calls on hold, you might survive the day. Things go from bad to weird when someone steals office supplies and personal stuff like pictures. I love this film, and Collette is perfect as the timid Iris, who at the start is so afraid that she waits for hours for someone to get her from reception after being told to wait for a manager. The film was way ahead of its time in pointing out the horrible conditions that people have to work in offices when no one knows your name and, half the time, doesn’t even care if you do anything. Until you didn’t do something, you weren’t told to do. Then it’s your fault, and you’re fired. My Rating: Full Price Clockwatchers info Clockwatchers is available to rent or own on iTunes and Amazon.

Weird Credits: From the credits of Renfield: Drunk Dancers

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Barbie (2023) Living in Barbie Land is the perfect place for a perfect person in a perfect world. That is, until you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you’re a Ken. The film sounded horrible until I found out that it’s from the writing team of Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, and it stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as one of the Ken’s (apparently, there is more than one Ken). The movie has been in development since 2009, with everyone from Diablo Cody, Amy Schumer, Anne Hathaway, and Lady Gaga attached to it at various points. I love the tagline “She everything. He’s just Ken.’ Barbie Info Barbie is expected to be released in theatres in mid-July 2023.

Friday, April 7, 2023


My View: Air (2023) R   The story of shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), who convinced Nike and its chairman Phil Knight (Ben Affleck) to sign and develop a shoe for a new up-and-coming basketball player, Michael Jordan. Before Nike became the force of sneaker-dom, they were a company known for good running shoes, and that was about it. Nike’s weren’t fashionable. That was Adidas, with shoes a part of the rap music scene. Converse made the shoes that your basketball heroes wore. And Nike had a few stars, but the basketball line was doing so poorly that Phil Knight was considering shutting the line down. In walks Sonny, who comes up with a way to save the Nike basketball line. Develop a shoe around Michael Jordan, a college player who wasn’t even the number one draft choice. The big problem was that Jordan hated Nike shoes and wanted to wear Adidas. This is a fun, exciting film about the shoe industry. You heard me right. A movie about the shoe industry and where Nike is the little underdog: that’s what makes this film work so well, as it takes all your expectations and turns them upside down. From the brilliant direction of Ben Affleck to the winning performances of the cast, this is a film that could easily win next year’s Academy Award Best Picture. As Michael Jordan’s mother, Viola Davis alone is worth the admission price. From Sonny’s first meeting with Mrs. Jordan to the make-or-break scene with her on the phone to Sonny, it’s a performance that makes this film go from good to great. The rest of the cast is excellent and makes this enjoyable to watch from start to finish, including Jason Bateman as Sonny’s boss, Chris Tucker as the company closer, and Matt Maher as the shoe designer who came up with the first Air Jordan design. And I couldn’t go on without talking about a soundtrack that is maybe one of my favorites of all time. Whether you are a sneakerhead, a sports fan, or just a movie fan, you will love this film.   My Rating: I Would Pay To See it Again  Air Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Familyfaire: The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) PG  A Brooklyn plumber named Mario (voiced by Chris Pratt) finds himself in the world of the Mushroom Kingdom, where he is searching for his brother Luigi (voiced by Charlie Day). Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Toad (Keegan-Michael Key) will help Mario in his quest. However, an evil force in the world threatens to take over the entire kingdom, a ruthless, fire-breathing Koopa named Bowser (Jack Black). I am not a big gaming fan and have only played Mario Kart, so watching this film was like watching one of those Japanese animated films that are part of a TV series and expects you to know who are all the characters and get all the in-jokes. Some of my fellow film critics that have grown up on Nintendo and the Mario Brothers world had a much better time than I did. That being said, this movie is for kids, and they will love it. The film is one long video game, with the characters constantly having to do tasks taken directly from video games, like riding supped-up go-karts or having to go through elaborate obstacle courses. I found the film boring, the plot almost pointless, and most of the characters are one-dimensional. I enjoyed Jack Black as the evil Bowser, who is doing all his evil things just to get Princess Peach to marry him. Bowser is pretty funny as the love-sick bad guy who likes to serenade anyone while playing the piano. I was a bit disappointed by the voice performance by Chris Pratt, who brought nothing to the role and is only saved by his character’s interaction with tough-as-nails Princess Peach, voiced by the Anya Taylor-Joy. The film is from the Illumination studio, which gives us the very unfunny Minion films (I find them funny for about a minute, then they wear me out), and The Super Mario Bros. Movie feels like just one of their usual let’s throw everything up on the screen and hope some of it’s funny. Fans of Nintendo games and young kids are going to love this movie; the rest of us are searching for the cartridge on our Nintendo 64 to put in our GoldenEye 007 game. There are two bonus scenes in the credits, one at the very end of the final credits.   My Rating: Cable  The Super Mario Bros. Movie Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Praise This (2023)   A group of students at a performing arts school find that their love of music brings them together to compete for the chance to perform at a legendary music festival. The best way to describe this film is its Pitch Perfect for the Hip-Hop crowd, with lots of God and Jesus thrown in. The reason to see this film is Chloe Bailey, who plays Sam, who is sent by her father from LA to her relatives in Atlanta after one too many times acting out and getting into trouble. Sam is taken in by her cousin Jess (Anjelika Washington), who immediately gets her to join the church praise team gearing up for singing competitions. Sam figures out this could be her ticket out of Atlanta to become a singer. Like Pitch Perfect, there is a ton of singing, both in competition and in public, like when a DJ goads Sam in a club to prove she can make up lyrics to popular songs. The film does an excellent job of not pushing the religious angle too much, letting the songs do most of the message. Chloe Bailey dominates the movie with a singing voice that blows you away and a fabulous stage presence. That being said, I found that the film spent a lot of time on the performances (it has three or four competitions; I lost count) and very little time on character development. Still, Praise This a fun ride for the Hip-Hop for Jesus crowd.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Praise This Website   Now playing on the Peacock platform.

My View: On a Wing and a Prayer (2023) PG  Doug White (Dennis Quaid) and his family are flying back home on a small airplane when the pilot dies during the flight. Now Doug must fly and land the plane, with only the help of a fellow pilot on the radio (Jesse Metcalfe). This is a faith-based movie that throws just about everything it can at our hero. Doug is a likable guy who, in the opening scene, can’t come close to landing a single-engine plane, all while his brother is in the backseat egging him on. Doug’s life goes bad when his brother dies, and the family has to fly to the funeral. On the way back, the pilot dies of a heart attack, and now Doug has to fly the plane by himself, with his family on board, no less. I won’t go into what more can go wrong; just know that it does. Doug’s faith is wavering even before the flight, and now he has to put his faith in God to get his family back safe and sound. The film never finds the right tone and no matter that it is based on a true story, it feels fake, with the film never making us scared that Doug won’t be able to land the plane. It’s sad because during the credits, we see the real Doug giving a speech about the flight, and it’s much more entertaining than the film it follows.   My Rating: Cable  On a Wing and a Prayer Website  Now playing on the Amazon Prime platform.

Familyfaire: Chupa (2023) PG  Thirteen-year-old Alex (Evan Whitten) is visiting his grandfather (Demián Bichir) and his cousins in Mexico. There Alex learns of the legendary mythical creature named El Chupacabra. Alex soon discovers that the legend is true as he finds a young chupacabra cub living under his grandfather’s shed. Alex finds out that the family has a secret history with the chupacabras, and some people are hunting the misunderstood creature to harness the power of the chupacabra. I liked this family film mainly because it combined two things I love about Mexico; the legend and lore of the Chupacabra and Mexican wrestling called Lucha Libre. Chupacabras are mythical beasts that are a combination of a mountain lion with a bird, who come out at night and drink the blood of goats. Alex learns about not only the legend of Chupacabras, but also that his grandfather was a legendary wrestler who had to retire because of a ring accident that damaged his brain. Chupa is a film for kids, and they will fall in love with the little adorable ‘Chupa’ hiding in the family barn. They will also enjoy the wrestling antics Alex, his cousin, and his grandfather go through. Adults will have fun with the evil scientist (Christian Slater) who wants to find and capture a Chupacabra due to the legend that their blood has magical healing powers. Slater chews up the scenery in his scenes as he threatens to take Chupa away from Alex and his family. So put on your wrestling tights and get ready to go on an adventure with Alex and Chupa.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Chupa Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform. 

My View: Paint (2023) PG-13  Carl Nargle (Owen Wilson) is Vermont’s number-one public television painter who is adored by his fans. He has it all with a signature perm, a custom van, a rocking studio, and a TV show where everyone watches his every stroke. Then a new painter comes to town, a woman named Ambrosia (Ciara Renée), and it all comes crashing down. If only the film had half as much personality as the PBS painter Bob Ross that Owen Wilson’s character is based on, it might work, but sadly it doesn’t. I was looking forward to this film based on the cast, which includes Stephen Root, Michaela Watkins, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Lusia Strus, Denny Dillon, and Lucy Freyer. Unfortunately, this film is a one-joke pony that goes downhill after the first five minutes and never recovers. The film can never decide if it is a satire or an out-of-the-box comedy, and it fails at both. Paint isn’t funny, flat from the start, and doesn’t like its subject. This painting doesn’t contain any ‘happy little clouds’ and feels more like a paint-by-the-numbers canvas with the numbers all faded out.   My Rating; Cable  Paint Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: One Day as a Lion (2023) R  Jackie Powers (Scott Caan) is a nice guy but a terrible hitman. When Jackie is sent to take out a local rancher (J. K. Simmons), he misses the target, only pissing off the rancher, kills the cook by accident, and takes a bored waitress, Lola (Marianne Rendón), as a hostage. Things then get complicated. This is a fun little film about a guy who gets in way over his head, involving a power play between a local tough guy rancher, played by J. K. Simmons, and a mobster, played by Frank Grillo. Scott Caan is likable as the sad sack wanna-be killer who botches the hit and then tries to figure a way out with the help of the waitress he has kidnapped. It turns out Lola, played by the fantastic Marianne Rendón, has another idea to get Jackie the money he needs to bail his son out of jail and help Lola out, too. It’s fun to watch J. K. Simmons and Frank Grillo try to out bravado each other. The reason to see this film is Marianne Rendón, who gives life to the scenes between her and Caan, as the spunky and sarcastic woman who wants to get out of Oklahoma any way she can. Caan is fine as the everyman Jackie, bringing a bit of humor to his role of a man who can’t get a break. Will Jackie and Lola escape, or will they be part of the battle brewing between the rancher and the mobster? My Rating: Bargain Matinee  One Day as a Lion Info  Now playing in theatres and available On Demand.
My View:  
Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields (2023)   Documentary on actor, model, and icon Brooke Shields who, from a very early age, became a sex symbol appearing at age 12 as the child prostitute in the film Pretty Baby (1978). Living in the spotlight so young was not a simple life, but Shields survived to let the world know the dangers of too much too soon. I was never a big fan of Brooke Shields, the actor, but I have always been a fan of Brooke Shields, the person. This two-part documentary lets you into the life of Shields, who, from her first appearances in ads as a baby, grew up before our eyes and, at one time, was the most famous model/actress in the world. The film does a wonderful job of letting Brooke tell her own story, giving us insight into what she was experiencing and thinking as she went from a young model to the center of controversy, starring as a young 12-year-old prostitute in an award-winning film. We thought we knew her, and how could you not believe it because her every move was documented in the tabloids and on the news? We didn’t realize, or even have a clue, that Brooke was dealing with an alcoholic mother, one with which she had to, at times, become the adult in the relationship. I came away from this fascinating film about the pressures of being constantly in the public eye a bigger fan of Brooke Shields the person. I loved the end of the film, where she sits around the dinner table discussing her movies and seeing the interactions between Brooke and her daughters. Remarkably, she made it out of the media spotlight alive, and against the history of child actors, she became the outstanding person/wife/mother that she is today.   My Rating: Full Price  Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields Info  Now playing on the Hulu platform. 

Forgotten Film: Affliction (1997) R  Wade (Nick Nolte) is a small-town sheriff who doesn’t like himself or his job. He drinks and smokes pot on the job, is despised by his father (James Coburn), hated by his ex-wife (Mary Beth Hurt), and his daughter wants nothing to do with him. He is forced into action when a friend returns from a hunting trip with blood on his clothes and a story that makes little sense. This film is about a murder mystery that gets so complicated that Wade will question his sanity, especially when more dead bodies start showing up. The cast is top-notch, with Sissy Spacek as Wade’s girlfriend and James Coburn as Wade’s horrible, alcoholic father, making this film one to watch. Nick Nolte gives one of his best performances of a man who doubts himself at every point of his life and can’t escape the fact that his life has been wasted until now.   My Rating: Full Price  Affliction Info  Available for rent or buy on Amazon and iTunes.

Weird Credits: From the credits of Air: Floor Coverer Foreman

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Master Gardener (2022) R A horticulturist, Narvel Roth (Joel Edgerton), is devoted to tending the grounds of a beautiful estate owned by a wealthy dowager, Norma (Sigourney Weaver). When Norma’s estranged grandniece Maya (Quintessa Swindell) shows up unexpectantly, Norma decides Narvel should take on Maya as his apprentice, something that Narvel does reluctantly. Maya doesn’t know that Narvel has a past about to rear its ugly head and everyone is in danger. Directed by legendary director Paul Schrader (America Gigolo, Cat People), who of late has been hit (First Reformed, The Card Counter) and miss (Dog Eat Dog). Master Gardener Info  Releasing in Mid-May 2023.

Until Next Time!