My View: Expend4ables (2023) R The team has reloaded with new members, and they are armed with every weapon they get their hands on. The Expendables are the world’s last line of defense, and they are out to stop a terrorist group from getting a group of nuclear missiles. It’s time for the new members to show what they can do. With some of the worst green screen CGI I have ever seen combined with a plot that a third grader could do better with and no star power beyond Jason Statham and Sly Stallone, this is a dud of a movie right from the first frame. Action fans will be pissed as there are only two full-out action sequences, one of which takes place on a cargo freighter. There are also two chase sequences, one of which is with motorcycles on said cargo freighter. There is so much talking in this film, full of guys being guys, that I almost applauded when one character takes a vow of silence. Statham does virtually all the heavy lifting in both the plot and the action sequences. There are so many bad guys on the cargo freighter that it reminded me of the old circus clown car, as the bad guys kept popping up just in time for Jason to kill a few more. The first Expendables film was fun, bringing together all the old action stars, but as the series has gone on, they have run out of the old guard and giving us Megan Fox instead. I think the crew, as Stallone might say, is finally expendabled out. My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See It Again Expend4ables Website Now playing in theatres nationwide.
My View: It Lives Inside (2023) PG-13 Sam (Megan Suri), an Indian-American teen, is struggling to fit in, and it’s not helped by her former friend, Tamira, who has started carrying around an empty mason jar with her. In a fit of anger, Sam breaks Tamira’s jar and unleashes an ancient force that feeds on loneliness and shatters reality with terrifying visions. The review will be up Friday night. Unfortunately, It Lives Inside is another run-of-the-mill horror film with only a few scares coming your way. The film is interesting, taking the viewpoint of immigrants and their cultural beliefs as part of the main plot. However, the scares aren’t there, and you can see the ending coming from a mile away. Overall, the film feels like many horror films lately, and that’s too bad; it could have been more with the Indian aspect. My Rating: Bargain Matinee It Lives Inside Website The review will be up Friday night.
My View: No One Will Save You (2023) PG-13 There are over 1.5 million home invasions yearly in the US. Brynn (Kaitlyn Dever) is a homebody about to experience a home invasion. But this invasion is different; the threat is not human but extraterrestrial. This is a highly enjoyable horror film with extraterrestrials that are genuinely frightening and a performance by Kaitlyn Dever that is moving and emotional. What sets this film apart from your ordinary horror film is that Brynn says nothing during the movie. Everything is without dialogue. There is a reason why, and it’s not that she can’t speak but because she is alone and is ostracized by the community because of a past that we see slowly revealed to us during the film. I loved the experience of being swept up into Brynn’s world, which is invaded in the middle of the night, and how she is determined to defend her home against incredible odds. No One Will Save You is a film that may give you a few nightmares, and you will never look at brown spots on your lawn the same ever again. My Rating: Full Price No One Will Save You Info Now playing on Hulu.
My View: Stop Making Sense (1984) PG Considered by critics as one of the greatest concert films of all time, the film was shot over the course of three nights in 1983 as the Talking Heads performed at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. If you can’t have fun watching this film with The Talking Heads rock group giving one of the greatest performances of all time, then I don’t have any hope for you. The music is magical; David Byrne is mesmerizing as the lead vocalist, and the band is as tight as they come. The opening numbers set the stage for the rest of the film as the band members, one by one, join Byrne on stage for each new tune. Stop Making Sense is one of those concert films that is so good you don’t miss not seeing the performance live. See Stop Making Sense in a theatre with a great sound system to get that concert feeling experience. My Rating: I Would Pay to See It Again Stop Making Sense Website The film is in theatres, expanding next week and is in IMAX theatres for a limited time.
Indiefest: Flora and Son (2023) R Flora (Eve Hewson) is a single mom who is at her wits’ end with her son Max (Orén Kinlan), who seems almost at war with his mom. Flora decides that Max needs a hobby and rescues a guitar from a dumpster. Max rejects the gift, so Flora tries to learn how to play it. Music is the one thing they might have in common, and one person’s trash can be a family’s salvation. The film is from John Carney, one of my favorite filmmakers of the last 15 years. He loves music, having been in a band in the early 90s (The Frames), so all his movies involve the love of music and how it can change lives. Flora and Son is a brilliant film about a mother and son who seem always at odds, but there is a connection, and their love of music brings it out. Flora takes up the guitar with the help of an online teacher, Jeff, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Eve Hewson is magnificent as the mom who speaks her mind and has been hurt by love. Her chemistry with Gordon-Levitt feels natural, and you can see the connection they have from their first scene together. I loved Orén Kinlan as Flora’s son Max, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble but has a talent for creating music. The music is terrific, with Hewson and Gordon-Levitt showing off their musical chops. By the way, Eve Hewson has some music in her blood. Her dad is Bono. Be sure to stay through the credits to hear the song that Jeff writes for Flora. Shot entirely in Ireland, Fora and Son is a fun, fantastic journey into discovering how music can connect people, even across the internet. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again Flora and Son Info The film is in theatres and will be on the Apple TV+ platform on Sept. 29th.
Forgotten Film: Marvin’s Room (1996) PG-13 This is the story of two sisters. One sister, Bessie (Diane Keaton), has stayed home to take care of her long-suffering father (Hume Cronyn) and her aunt (Gwen Verdon). Bessie has learned she has cancer, and a bone marrow transplant might save her life. Her only potential donor is her sister Lee (Meryl Streep), whom Bessie hasn’t seen in years. Lee has two sons, and the older son, Hank (Leonardo DiCaprio), has just burned down their house and is constantly in trouble. Will Lee come to her sister’s rescue? This is a film to see because of the star power (Robert De Niro also shows up as Bessie’s doctor), but also to a strong script that depends on the characters that the story has created. Marvin’s Room is a story about relationships, family, and how the past can cloud the future if you aren’t careful. My Rating: Full Price Marvin's Room Info The film is available for rent or buy on Amazon and Apple TV.
Weird Credits: From the credits of No One Will Save You: Audio Description Script Writer
Coming Soon to Screen Near You: Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) R The Osage tribe was given land no one wanted to create their reservation. However, oil was discovered on their land, and the tribe became wealthy. The tribe is being murdered one by one under mysterious circumstances, and the FBI is on the case. Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone, this film has become a frontrunner for the Oscar. Killers of the Flower Moon Info The film will be in theatres on Oct. 20th.