My View: Asteroid City (2023) PG-13 It’s 1955, and students and parents from all over the country come to Asteroid City for a Junior Stargazer convention. Their lives will change drastically when something comes out of the sky to make an appearance. I am a huge Wes Anderson fan, and I loved this film with all its weird little quirks. You will probably hate this film if you don’t like his movies (The Royal Tenenbaums, The French Dispatch, Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, Bottle Rocket), however, for fans it’s a real treat. It’s a film that is a little hard to get into because of the format of the film (which I won’t go into so that it’s a surprise for you) and how it jumps a bit back and forth. The cast is significant, and while I missed Bill Murray (who has been in every one of Anderson’s films since Rushmore), I loved the casting. Jason Schwartzman as the widowed dad and his love interest Scarlett Johansson, who plays a Hollywood actress that is more concerned about her upcoming role than if aliens are invading Earth, are both hilarious. It’s a magical world that Anderson has created, and it’s full of interesting and strange characters that all will tell you just how they feel at any time. I had a blast watching this film, though I never want to visit anywhere near Asteroid City. After you see the movie, you will know what I mean. My Rating: Full Price Asteroid City Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: No Hard Feelings (2023) R Maddie (Jennifer Lawrence) has had her car repossessed and is on the brink of losing her home. Maddie finds an intriguing job position: parents (Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti) of a 19-year-old boy (Andrew Barth Feldman) want their shy, introverted son to ‘become a man’ before going to college. There was a time in the 70s and 80s where every summer, a bunch of films would be released to bring in the teen audience. Most of these films were aimed at teen boys and involved a guy who didn’t have a chance but somehow landed the girl out of his league. There were some horrible films but also some that worked. No Hard Feelings is a film that belongs to that time. I enjoyed this comedy, something that Jennifer Lawrence hasn’t explored much in her career. She has nice comedic timing and lets us have a good time following her adventures trying to get a shy and awkward teen to have sex with her. It’s a tribute to how good Lawrence is that her character, who isn’t the nicest individual, is someone you want to succeed. Lawrence does a great job in the physical comedy, even taking a small thing like trying to go upstairs with rollerblades on and milking it for all it’s worth. Andrew Barth Feldman is fun as the kid with no clue how to deal with Maddie, but he is willing to try. I mean, it’s Jennifer Lawrence, for gosh’ sake. The film is a little raunchy (there is a nude scene on a beach that has to be seen to be believed), but at its heart is the story of two damaged people who find friendship out of an extraordinary situation. No Hard Feelings is a film that some critics are going to kill because they will think it’s below an actor in Lawrence’s caliper, but I would say that is just why we need her in a role like this. My Rating: Full Price No Hard Feelings Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: The Perfect Find (2023) Jenna (Gabrielle Union) was fired from a high-profile job and has just gone through a messy breakup that everyone in the world seems to know about. She moves back to New York and goes to work for a hard-as-nails mogul and former rival named Darcy (Gina Torres). Jenna meets a charming co-worker, Eric (Keith Powers), who she dates even though he is much younger. Only one problem, Eric is Darcy’s son. Gabrielle Union shines in The Perfect Find, a fun rom-com that celebrates women taking charge of their lives like successful men have been doing for years.. I loved the chemistry between Union and Keith Powers. They, of course, after a brief encounter at a party, start out as rivals, but that chemistry is too powerful to deny. Plus, they both love classic cinema and love for actress Nina Mae, a legendary Black actor who trail-blazed a career that got her named the ‘Black Greta Garbo.’ The Perfect Find has your typical manufactured breakup and an annoying ending that I’m not totally happy with. However, the flirtatious dialogue and Gabrielle Union creating a character we can all root for make for a film worth seeing with a glass of wine and maybe someone special. My Rating: Bargain Matinee The Perfect Find Website Now playing on the Netflix platform.
Indiefest: The Last Rider (2022) Documentary about one of the greatest cycling races in history, the 1989 Tour De France. While the documentary is about the race, it’s more about how American Greg LeMond overcame betrayal and childhood sexual abuse to complete one of the most inspiring comebacks in the sport’s history. I am a big cycling fan, and I thought I knew the story well, but it turns out I didn’t know even half of this fantastic story. I don’t want to give too much away because this is one of those stories that, if you saw it as a fictional film, you would go that could never happen. The film is told by Greg and his wife, Kathy, along with some of the principal riders and race participants. The Last Rider is part love story, part thriller, with incredible twists and turns and an absolutely thrilling ending. One of the best documentaries I have seen this year, The Last Rider is a film to be seen and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again The Last Rider Website Now playing in select theatres.
Indiefest: Love Gets a Room (2020) Set in the Warsaw ghetto during WW II and cut off from the outside world by the Nazis, Stefcia (Clara Rugaard) and her fellow Jewish theatre actors keep performing plays to give the inhabitants behind the walls something beautiful in a world full of chaos and destruction. Stefcia will have to choose between love and her life. I like this drama that revolves around a theatre troupe performing a play while backstage, a drama of its own is going on. Add in Nazis around every corner, death that can come at any moment, and a love triangle that has Stefcia having to decide to leave for possible freedom or stay, with the result almost certain death. The film revolves around a musical performed by a real theatre group in the ghetto five months before it was torn down and all its inhabitants either killed or sent to camps. The musical is fun and has some beautiful songs that the cast performs as the drama unfolds backstage. Clara Rugaard is perfect as the actress who leads the troupe and has to make a horrible choice by the end of the play. Love Gets a Room is a film that will stay with you long after the final curtain falls. My Rating: Full Price Love Gets a Room Info
Forgotten Film: Derailed (2005) R Two people, Charles and Lucinda (Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston), have a ‘meet cute’ on a commuter train. They exchange information, and that leads to more meetings and then sex. The problem is that both are married, and things get worse when someone breaks into their hotel room and attacks them. Things get worse when the attacker (Vincent Cassel) realizes that the two haven’t gone to the police because of their situation, and he begins to blackmail them. The plot gets complicated from there, including an ending that doesn’t quite work, but there are some good performances worthy of seeing. Jennifer Aniston is excellent as the woman who is looking not for a good time but for someone to connect with. Also, RZA is brilliant as a co-worker of Charles who becomes his tool to help to defeat the bad guy, but at a price. Derailed isn’t a great film, but there is a very cool chemistry going on between Owen and Aniston on the screen that is enjoyable to watch and possibly root for (if you can root for two cheaters). My Rating Bargain Matinee Derailed Info The film is available to rent on most online platforms.
Weird Credits: From the credits of Asteroid City: Roadrunner Puppeteers
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Talk to Me (2022) R A group of friends have come across an embalmed hand with mysterious tattoos. They soon discover that they can use it to conjure spirits, and it becomes their favorite game to play. Until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces. The film is getting great reviews, and the word of mouth is that this is a genuinely frightening film. Can’t wait to see it. Talk to Me Website The film is in theatres on July 28th.