Friday, September 8, 2023

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3

My View: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (2023)  PG-13  Toula’s (Nia Vardalos) beloved father has passed away since we saw the Portokalos family, and his last wish was that the family visit Greece. So pack up the Souvlaki, and let’s follow the family as they visit the homeland and have a family reunion to last a lifetime. Look, the first My Big Fat Greek Wedding was fun, with an outstanding performance by Michael Constantine, and Nia Vardalos was charming and sweet as the goofy woman who could only dream of getting a guy like Ian (John Corbett). It’s hard to bottle that magic again, and Wedding 2 was a colossal failure, and I’m sad to say that third time isn’t charming at all. Vardalos wrote all three scripts (the first one was based on a one-woman play that Rita Wilson saw and backed), and this one she also directs the film. To make up for the weak plot, the film has many filler scenes of the characters exploring the countryside or walking around town. This is a movie that was filmed in Greece, but it has some of the most unappealing shots of such a magical place. Too often, the cast is going on and on about how beautiful the scenery is, and I’m thinking, are you looking at something different from what I’m seeing? The jokes (few and far between) are horrible, and what the film sees as conflicts are far too easily rectified. Even Andrea Martin as Aunt Voula can’t save this film from being one long, boring trip to nowhere.  My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again  My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: The Nun II (2023) R   The film opens up when a priest has been murdered, and an evil is spreading. Once again, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) is sent to investigate the murder and comes face-to-face with Valak (Bonnie Aarons), the demon nun. I liked this little horror film, part of the Conjuring Universe. It relies too much of ‘jump out of the dark’ scares, but Valak is pretty darn scary. It goes on a little too long and takes a while to get going, nevertheless, there are plenty of scares, and I like Taissa Farmiga in the role of the demon-killer nun. The film neatly ties in with the first The Nun movie, and we get more of Sister Irene’s backstory, which helps give us insight into why she has the ability to battle demons. The ending could have been a little more dramatic but overall I had a good time. Be sure to stay through the first credits for a bonus scene.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   The Nun II Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View:  
Sitting in Bars with Cake  (2023)  PG-13 Jane (Yara Shahidi) is a great baker, but because she is shy, she sucks at meeting guys. After a successful test run, Jane’s best friend Corinne (Odessa A’zion) convinces Jane to commit to a year of baking cakes and bringing them to bars once a week with the goal of meeting guys. They call it ‘cakebarring’. The two are about to go on a journey together unlike anything they have ever experienced. This is a film that, for the first third of the movie, is your ordinary, funny rom-com, with two kooky roommates who are just starting in their careers. Jane is the sensible one, working to mark time until she can attend law school. Corinne is the free-wheeling one who wants Jane to come out of her shell before becoming a stuffy lawyer. Things are going great, with life looking up for both of our women when something life-changing happens, and they will have to get through it with each other’s help. I will warn you that you will need a tissue or two for this change in their lives. The film works because of the chemistry between Shahidi and A’zion, who look to be having a blast portraying the two best friends. Bette Midler makes a fun appearance as the two’s boss, but this is the two women’s film, and they run with it. Sitting in Bars with Cake is based on a true story (you get to see the real two in the credits), and they had a ton of cakes made for the film, all of which look amazing. Just a warning that you may cry a bit into that slice of cake they are serving, but it’s good.   My Rating: Full Price  Sitting in Bars with Cake Website  Now playing on Amazon Prime.

Indiefest: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (2022) PG-13 Set in El Paso in 1987, Aristotle (Max Pelayo) and Dante (Reese Gonzales) become friends despite how different their families are. The two spend most of their time at the community pool. Soon, the two are separated, but no matter what obstacles come their way, they are determined to stay best friends, or are they about to become something more? I loved this film and will get its brilliant soundtrack that does an incredible job in creating the mood of the film. This is a story of self-discovery, finding out secrets, and learning that the truth is worth finding out, even if it causes a bit of pain. The movie is a great coming-of-age story about teens who discover their self-worth, with two outstanding performances by Pelayo and Gonzales. I loved that this was set in El Paso within the Hispanic community, and it shows how important family is to make young men and women feel loved when discovering their place in the world. So, go on a journey of discovery with Aristotle and Dante as they find out the pain and joys of the Universe.   My Rating: Full Price   Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Website Now playing in theaters.

Indiefest: Joyce Carol Oates: A Body in the Service of Mind (2021) This documentary profiles Joyce Carol Oates, one of the most prolific writers in American literature. Oates’s career has spanned over one hundred novels in a variety of genres. This is the story of a writer who put much of her personal life into her writing. Joyce Carol Oates: A Body in the Service of Mind is a film that I think only big fans of Joyce Carol Oates’s writing will enjoy. The problem is that this film is about a woman who claims she doesn’t enjoy being interviewed (though she has done a ton). It doesn’t help that the person who is doing the documentary/interviewing is a personal friend. I have only read a few of her books (Blonde, Black Water, and them when I was in college) and have never been a big fan of her work. I came away from the film not knowing as much as I wanted to about her. You will enjoy some of the excepts of her books (read by Laura Dern), but I found Oates had a hard time talking about herself, though the talk about her finding out about her late grandmother’s Jewish roots late in Oates’s life was fascinating. I just wish the rest of the film was as fascinating as that section of the film.   Joyce Carol Oates: A Body in the Service of Mind Website  My Rating: Bargain Matinee

Sorry I Missed It (A film that I didn’t see in theatres but have seen recently): Becky (2020) R Becky (Lulu Wilson) is a teen who is still mourning the death of her mother when her father (Joel McHale) announces that he is remarrying. Not only that, but to bond with their new family dynamic, they are going on a weekend getaway to the mountains with his fiancĂ© and her son. This weekend worsens when a gang of neo-Nazis escape from prison and use Becky’s mountain home as their hideout. A word of warning: never piss off an already pissed-off teenager. So from the outside, this looks like a big mess with Joel McHale as the dad and Kevin James as the leader of the neo-Nazis, but it works and works really well. Lulu Wilson plays the character of Becky, who is a tough teenager and takes down the bad guys in a savage way that would make the villain of Saw or Freddy embarrassed.. There is lots of blood, but it’s a fun revenge film that lets things get a little wild. Ok, not a little; it gets really wild. And if you enjoy this film, there is a sequel, The Wrath of Becky, that ties neatly in with this film.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Becky Info   Available to rent or buy on Amazon and Apple TV.

Forgotten Film: Flirting (1991) R  The story of two teenagers, Danny (Noah Taylor) and Thandiwe (Thandie Newton), who go to two separate schools (one for girls, one for boys) and meet at a school dance. They then square off at a debate, and the sparks fly. This is a funny coming-of-age film about two outsiders who find comfort and love in each other. Danny is an award boy who stutters, and Thandiwe is from a mixed marriage. The film is greatly helped by a very young Nicole Kidman, who later trailers made look like she was the star. Kidman plays the popular girl in school who plays the part of advisor to Thandiwe. I loved this film when it came out and wish that it had become a hit because it’s such a cool little film.   My Rating: Full Price  Flirting Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3: Storeman

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Poor Things (2023) R  Bella (Emma Stone) is brought back to life by a brilliant but unorthodox scientist (Willem Dafoe) by putting a baby’s brain inside a grown woman. Bella is eager to learn and is whisked off to discover life by Duncan (Mark Ruffalo), a lawyer who only wants Bella for himself. Free from the prejudices of the times, Bella is about to discover her place in the world and her purpose, to stand for equality and liberation. This film has been the talk of the Venice Film Festival, and many critics who have seen the movie think Stone is bound for an Oscar nomination. The film will be released in December, the prime award-watching season.   Poor Things Website

Until Next Time!

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