Friday, August 25, 2023

Gran Turismo

My View: Gran Turismo (2023) PG-13 Jann (Archie Madekwe) is a gamer who excels at the Gran Turismo video game. Jann beats 90,000 other participants in a tourney and is rewarded with an opportunity to drive a race car for real. It’s up to a failed former race car driver (David Harbour) and an idealistic motorsport executive (Orlando Bloom) to turn Jann from a gamer to a genuine sports car driver. At times, this feels like a giant ad for the game, making the film seem more like a video game and not an actual story (which it is). I liked the racing sequences, but never got the thrill of feeling like I was in the driver’s seat with Jann. The film is greatly helped by David Harbour, who plays a troubled former driver who slowly starts to believe that Jann can be a driver in the big time. Orlando Bloom is wasted as a promotion guy whose idea is all on the hands and head of Jann and his ability to turn video game experience into a real-world one. I think fans of the game will enjoy this more than racing fans, as it always puts us in Jann’s head that this is just a game to him. The problem is, a lot of us have never played the game.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Gran Turismo Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: The Hill (2023) R  When Ricky (Colin Ford) was a boy, he was told he would never walk without braces because of a degenerative spinal disease. Ricky loved baseball and was determined to play the game. In his teens, he became a baseball sensation and had the chance to try out for the big leagues. Despite what his father (Dennis Quaid) thinks, Ricky is determined to follow his dreams, no matter the cost. The Hill is one of those films whose heart is in the right place but never gives you the big moment you want from the film. I am a huge fan of Dennis Quaid, but he’s not given much to work with as the father who values the word of God over baseball and wants his son to follow in his footsteps instead of the baseball shoes of Mickey Mantle. The film wants to be an inspirational film, but while Ricky’s story of overcoming a huge obstacle of spinal problems to become a baseball player is impressive, the film never finds its way and tends to stay too long in the church and not enough on the baseball field. The film is somewhat saved by the performance of Bonnie Bedelia as Ricky’s grandmother, the one person in the family willing to stand up to Ricky’s father and speak her mind. Unfortunately, it’s too little and too late to make this film tug at any heartstrings.  My Rating: Cable  The Hill Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

Indiefest: Golda (2023) PG-13  Golda Meir (Helen Mirren) is known as the ‘Iron Lady of Israel’ during her time as the Prime Minister of a country struggling to stay alive. She will need that iron will to lead her country during the Yom Kippur War. If I showed you a picture of Helen Mirren in her Golda makeup, you would not be able to tell me who she is. It’s a fantastic piece of makeup and, as expected, a stellar performance. Unfortunately, Mirren is let down by a script that makes the war where Israel was on the brink of disaster seem boring and dull. Golda is a film where an aspect of a character becomes almost too much of a crutch for the filmmaker. In this case, it’s Golda’s constant smoking, and it becomes a distraction to the point that during one scene in the film, the smoke fills the screen. Golda is a film that just feels lacking something from almost the start and never finds a way to make us interested in what happens.   My Rating: Cable   Golda Website  Now playing in select theatres.

My View: You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah (2023) PG-13  Stacey (Sunny Sandler) is trying to survive her teens and her parents (Idina Menzel and Adam Sandler) until it's her Bat Mitzvah. Her best friend, Lydia (Samantha Lorraine), has her back, or at least Stacey thought she did. Things change when Stacy catches Lydia kissing Stacey’s crush, and things go from bad to worse from there. This is a fun film with which everyone in the family will have fun. I’m not a big fan of Adam Sandler’s Netflix comedy films, but this one has very little about Sandler and everything about his younger daughter, played by his actual daughter. Sunny Sandler is delightful as Stacey, a young woman who feels her Bat Mitzvah should be life-changing, while she gets the dreamy boy with her best friend by her side. However, Stacey’s plans get turned upside down when she finds out that her best friend, Lydia, has stolen the boy she wanted for herself. You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah is a film that you will have fun with from start to finish, and maybe, just maybe, want to have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah of your very own.  My Rating: Full Price  You Are So Not Invited to by Bat Mitzvah Website  Now playing on the Netflix platform.

Indiefest: Scrapper (2023)   Georgie (Lola Campbell) is a young girl who lives on her own, spending her time pilfering bikes with a friend and evading family services. Georgie’s mom died, and she is barely surviving. Suddenly, the father she never knew, Jason (Harris Dickinson), appears at her doorstep and wants to start a relationship. This is going to be an interesting pair. I loved this story of Georgie, a young girl determined to live her life on her terms. Unfortunately, Georgie is not an adult, so she is fighting a system she can’t win. In walks her father (actually, he climbs over her fence), and Georgie is dealing with someone she has never known. Jason is in the same boat, dealing with a daughter he has never had the guts to deal with before, but he feels an obligation to Georgie’s late mother to try. Scrapper is a story of two people who learn to trust each other and slowly build that trust through just spending time with each other. Lola Campbell is a delight as the independent and fiery Georgie, who misses her mother terribly and tries to keep her mother’s legacy intact while hoping that no one will take her memories of her mother away. So, go on a few adventures with Georgie and Jason as they try to figure out how their relationship will work out.   My Rating: Full Price  Scrapper Website  Now playing in select theatres.

Forgotten Film: The Green Ray (1986) R Delphine (Marie Riviere) is a woman who doesn’t like crowds or people she doesn’t know but is on a vacation where she can’t relax. Possibly getting over a romance that went bad, Delphine is bored by the guys who try too hard to pick her up. She wants to belong to someone but doesn’t want to make the effort to start something. And then she meets Jacques (Vincent Gauthier), who seems to know what she is looking for, or does he? The Green Ray is a strange film that works because of Marie Riviere, who fills up the screen and makes you root for someone who seems to be constantly unhappy. Will Delphine find happiness?   My Rating: Full Price The film is available on Disc.   The Green Ray Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of The Hill: Hair Interns

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: She Came to Me (2023) A composer, Steven (Peter Dinklage), is having writer's block, and his new opera is due in two weeks. His wife (Anne Hathaway) suggests he take the dog for a walk. Steven finds himself in a bar and meets a tugboat captain (Marisa Tomei), who invites him on her boat. There, he has a one-night stand with the captain and is inspired to write his new opera. The problem is the tugboat captain loves being Steven’s newfound muse. You had me at Marisa Tomei, Anne Hathaway, and Peter Dinklage. I didn’t need to know more.   It is scheduled to be released in late September.   She Came to Me Info

Until Next Time!

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