Friday, September 29, 2023

The Creator

My View: The Creator (2023) PG-13 The Creator depicts an ongoing conflict between humanity and artificial intelligence. Joshua (John David Washington) is recruited to hunt down and kill The Creator, the architect of the advanced AI. The Creator has made a mysterious weapon with the power to end the human race, and it might be the little girl that Joshua has just rescued. I liked this film, but I can’t say I loved it. It’s a big, sprawling film meant to be seen on the big screen. This is a film that covers a lot of ground, and that is why I didn’t connect with it as much as I wanted to. The film deals with AI and how we will treat the robots we create once they start thinking for themselves. With overtones of the Vietnam War, big government gone wrong, and immigration, the film tries to bring all this together in one story told over two hours, and it seems to lose its focus along the way. The film is also about love lost, the guilt of not being truthful, and the actions of the present to make up for the mistakes of the past. I think that sci-fi fans will enjoy the film, but if you aren’t a fan, this film and its complicated plot may be too much to overcome. For this fan, I liked it, but I don’t know if I will ever revisit it.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Creator Website  Now playing in theaters nationwide.

My View: Dumb Money (2023) R   Keith Gill (Paul Dano) has a Reddit channel about stocks. He tells his followers to buy GameStop, and it goes viral, taking the stock into the stratosphere and making Keith a millionaire almost overnight. However, Keith has made a lot of big-time hedge fund investors mad, and they are out for revenge. This is a film about the little guy who tries to make some money honestly and has the guts to back it up. Dumb Money is a fun film that takes a complex story and makes it enjoyable to follow along. What I love about this film is that it lets us see the stories of other small investors, like the guy working at GameStop and the couple of college students who fall in love while on this investing journey. Paul Dano is perfect as the guy who spoke to a small group of people on his webpage and, somehow, became a crusader who battled the big investors and beat them at their own game. I am not a Pete Davidson fan, but he is perfectly cast as Keith’s brother, who keeps everything real, even much to the annoyance of Keith himself. And I love America Ferrera’s performance as a nurse who invests her money in GameStop and lets it ride on the roller coaster that is the stock market. Dumb Money is a film that is a blast to watch, especially when the big boys start squirming.   My Rating: Full Price  Dumb Money Website  Now playing in theatres.

My View: Saw X (2023) R  Saw X occurs in the past when John Kramer (Tobin Bell) had cancer and was desperate for a cure. He travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure for a miracle cure, only to discover that the entire operation is a scam. They have tricked the wrong person, and it’s time for John to get revenge. A review of the film will be up tomorrow night. The Saw franchise has always been interesting, with a character torturing people while having a strange sense of morality. This is the tenth film, but it occurs between the first and second Saw films. We know who John Kramer is and what he does. And we also know that he doesn’t work alone. This film is a bit different, first with an outstanding performance from Tobin Bell, as our mad torture designer. This film has bloody and gruesome deaths, as you would expect. Interestingly, in this film, John is the hero, not the villain. Oh sure, he still puts people in horrible situations where they have to maim and torture themselves to live, but John is dealing with some very bad people. The latest Saw movie is great for Saw lovers and horror enthusiasts. However, if you didn't enjoy the previous Saw films, this one may not be for you. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Saw X Website  Now playing in theatres nationwide.

My View: Reptile (2023) R Reptile is a story of a real estate agent’s murder. Detective Tom Nichols (Benicio del Toro) tries to find the truth, but everyone he meets is a suspect, and nothing is what it seems. I liked this detective movie about a man who can’t let things go. Everyone thinks Tom is a hero, but he still feels that there is something more to the story, and he keeps digging. I loved the chemistry between del Toro and Alicia Silverstone, who plays his wife. The two have a great rapport going, and it’s fun when his wife keeps giving him facts she has learned from true crime stories. The mystery is a little too easy to solve, and the ending is too tidy, but it is the journey to get there that is the fun part, and del Toro, who co-wrote the script, brings us along on his way to solve a crime that is more complicated than anyone would guess.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Reptile Website Now playing on the Netflix platform. 

Indiefest: Radical Wolfe (2023)   Documentary on the life and writing of Tom Wolfe, the bestselling author of groundbreaking books The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities. I am a big fan of Tom Wolfe, and I was pleased with how much of Wolfe’s personality and writing style came across in the film. Tom's life and the impact of his writing are well depicted in the movie, starting from his articles in magazines and newspapers to his successful books. Wolfe was a man whose public bought his books in droves even before the reviews came out, making him a household name and favorite of late-night talk shows. He was a writer with his own style, which captured a nation for almost as long as he wrote his stories. I hope that people who see this film will discover the beauty of his writing and how he expertly captured the people and time he wrote about.   My Rating: Full Price  Radical Wolfe Website  Now playing in theatres. 

My View: Fair Play (2023) An unexpected promotion at a hedge fund is given to Emily (Phoebe Dynevor), who is in a relationship with another employee, Luke (Alden Ehrenreich). The couple is newly engaged, but this job will test their relationship to the brink and may threaten to unravel far more than their love for each other. I admit that sometimes I have trouble with films where I don’t like any of the characters. This is the case with Fair Play, where I was not too fond of either character from the start of the film. That being said, that’s not my problem with this film. It’s that the character of Luke, who starts as, at least in Emily’s eyes, the perfect boyfriend, quickly goes from that to the rails guy who can’t handle that he isn’t the golden boy he thought he was. I will not give away too much, but I hated two scenes in the film: one that takes place in a bathroom, where Emily succumbs to, I guess, lust or loss, and then the ending, which I found almost comical. The characters are flat and shallow, and the plot becomes ludicrous (how a couple living together can hide that fact from their employer is beyond me). Fair Play wasn’t a film that ever connected to me, and I felt the running time of almost 2 hours was too long to spend with two people I couldn’t care less about.   My Rating: Cable  Fair Play Website  Now playing in theatres and premiering on the Netflix platform on Friday, Oct. 6th.
Sorry I Missed It (A film that I didn’t see in theatres but have seen recently):
Honor Society (2022)   Honor (Angourie Rice) is determined to survive her senior year at high school and get accepted in Harvard, and nothing is going to stop her. When Honor discovers she has three rivals for that Harvard spot, she plans to take all three of them down. Honor might be her name, but she isn’t about to be honest, fair, or have integrity when getting her way. I loved this film from the first frame, where Honor talks directly to us, giving us the layout of her life, including her parents, friends, and teachers. If Ferris Buller and Tracy Flick had a kid, it would be Honor. Honor will let nothing or anyone get in her way, and she is a master of concocting schemes to accomplish her goals. Angourie Rice (The Nice Guys, The Last Thing He Told Me) is perfect in the role of Honor, a teen who plays everyone like a master puppeteer, getting them to do exactly what she wants while acting like she is their best friend. Honor Society is if John Hughes had written a film for the TikTok/YouTube gang. It’s full of fun and unique characters, from jocks to nerds, with a dash of not-quite-so-mean girls, making the film a blast.  My Rating: Full Price   Honor Society Info Available on Amazon or Apple TV. 

Forgotten Film: King Creole (1958) PG  Danny (Elvis Presley) has flunked graduation for a second time and needs money to support his father (Dean Jagger). Danny finds a job as a singer at the King Creole nightclub, the only club in the city not run by mobster Maxie Fields (Walter Matthau). How long will Danny and the club’s success be ruined by the mobster who can’t stand anyone making money other than himself? Though I enjoy Viva Las Vegas more (because of the chemistry between Elvis and Ann-Margret), this is the film that shows that Elvis could act if given the right material and a director who knew what to do with him. Legendary director Michael Curtiz, whose career included Casablanca and The Adventures of Robin Hood, directed the film. Elvis was in brilliant company with actors including Walter Matthau, Dean Jagger, Vic Morrow, Paul Stewart, and Carolyn Jones, who plays the woman Maxie sends to seduce Danny over to the wrong side and falls in love instead. I have a feeling the setting reminded Elvis of the small clubs that he used to hang out in Memphis, and that setting meant that he was comfortable in the role, something that wasn’t always the case (i.e., most of the late ‘60s Elvis films). With last year’s Elvis, this year’s documentary Reinventing Elvis, and the upcoming bio-pic Priscilla, now would be the time to see some Elvis magic.   My Rating: Full Price   King Creole Info   The film is available to rent/buy on Amazon and Apple TV.

Weird Credits: From the credits of Dumb Money: Standby Prop

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: Priscilla (2023) R Teenage Priscilla Beaulieu (Cailee Spaeny) meets rock and roll superstar Elvis and begins a romance that the world followed until his death. Priscilla tells the one woman who knew Elvis the best in private moments: a thrilling crush, an alley in loneliness, and a vulnerable best friend. Directed by Sofia Coppola, the film won Cailee Spaeny the Best Actress Award at the 2023 Venice Film Festival.   Priscilla Website  In theatres on Nov. 3rd. 

Until Next Time!

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