Friday, April 26, 2024


My View: Challengers (2024) R   Challengers tells the story of Tashi (Zendaya), who was a tennis prodigy about to set the tennis world on fire before she suffered a devastating injury she couldn’t recover from. Now, years later, she is a coach and married to a former champion (Mike Faist) who is on a losing streak, and the question is how far Tashi is willing to go to get him back on his winning streak with her husbands best friend (Josh O’Conner). Challengers is a movie that appears to focus on sexual relationships, but actually revolves around who has the upper hand and how they can maintain it. This is a film that has so many twists and turns that you almost become dizzy as the three leads vie to land that winning serve, only to have someone else return the serve just as hard. If Zendaya wasn’t a lead in a film before this, she is now. Zendaya is breathtaking as a woman who was at the top of her game, only to have it taken away in an instant, and now is playing through her husband (and he’s not dominating as he should be). It’s a powerful performance that gives you chills it’s so good. I hope this film isn’t being released too early for Academy Award members to forget about this performance because it deserves to be nominated. This is a film in which you will not like any of the characters (ok, maybe the daughter), and you will still be enthralled by all the head games that are being played (keep an eye out for a certain t-shirt that makes a few appearances as an example). For a film that is based on sex, there isn’t a lot in it, which surprised me. Instead, this is about three people who act as they are caring but inside they are all out for themselves. How fragile they are when the stakes are so high, and all the participants are there to win. So take a few practice swings with your racquet and be sure to do some stretching because you will need to be warmed up and limber to handle this film.   My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Challengers Website Now playing theaters nationwide

Indiefest: We Grown Now (2023) PG  We Grown Now is set in 1992 Chicago, where a mother named Dolores (Jurnee Smollett) is raising her 12-year-old son Malik (Blake Cameron James) in one of the most crime-infested parts of the city. Malik must grow up fast, but he has help from his best friend Eric (Gian Knight Ramirez) and his grandmother Anita (S. Epatha Merkerson). Dolores will have to make some tough choices if Malik is going to survive in this environment. We Grown Now is a beautiful and moving film about friendship, family, and how children see the world in a different light from adults. First, the performances of the two best friends are magical and, at times, a little breathtaking. We Grown Now is their film as we see what is happening to their neighborhood through their eyes. From the ever presence of violence to the clamping down of the rights of the people who live in the housing community, the world of these kids is filled with danger and the feeling of being almost caged by their surroundings. The two kids try to stay positive and hopeful, even taking a day to skip school and go on an adventure to an art museum because they are bored at school. I can’t tell you how much I loved this film, going on adventures with Malik and Eric while knowing that their parents are dealing with some tough times and hard choices that will affect their children’s future. We Grown Now is a film that is full of kids being kids, but like life itself, it's also about injustice and heartbreak. The kind of heartbreak that won't leave you. So, join the two best friends and maybe join in when they do some shouting from time to time.  My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again We Grown Now Website  Now playing in select theaters. 

Indiefest: Boy Kills World (2023) R  Boy (Bill Skarsgård) saw his family murdered, and he was rendered deaf and mute. Since then, Boy has been training with one mission: to kill the person responsible, Hilda Van Der Koy (Famke Janssen), the evil leader of a televised game of survival called The Culling. They saw Boy coming, but could they stop him? When I saw the trailer for this film, I thought, ‘This will be a fun ride.’ However, sometimes the trailers are better than the actual film; in this case, this is one of them. Fans of tight combat will enjoy the plethora of fights in this film. And Mr. Bill Skarsgård does a fine job as an action hero. But, the film never can find the story it wants to tell, relying too much on lame jokes and over-active camera moves during the fight sequences. The plot twists of the film are excessive, as the script assumes it's more clever than it actually is. Boy Kills World loses steam about halfway through and never quite recovers. Anyway, can we go back to that trailer?   My Rating: Cable  Boy Kills World Website    Now playing in theatres. 

Forgotten Film: Conversations with Other Women (2005)  R   A man (Aaron Eckhart) and a woman (Helena Bonham Carter) start flirting with each other at a wedding reception. They are getting along so well that they decide to carry the conversation to a hotel room. They will soon learn about each other and may have known each other when they were younger. While some reviewers have compared this film to the Before Sunrise/Sunset films, this is very different because the whole movie is shot on a split screen. Sometimes, it’s just to show the two reacting to things simultaneously, but it also gives us the characters’ perspectives on what is being said or what they thought was said. This is a film to watch for the performances, and Carter and Eckhart are brilliant in this film, where the characters go from flirty to serious in a matter of minutes and then back again. Conversations with Other Women is one of those films you will want to talk to someone about after seeing it.   My Rating: Full Price  Conversations with Other Women Info   The film is available on multiple streaming platforms. 

Weird Credits: From the credits of Boy Kills World: Second Unit Sparks

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: IF   (2024)     Bea (Cailey Fleming) has gone through some tough times but has discovered a secret power: She can see everyone’s imaginary friends. With help from Cal (Ryan Reynolds), Bea embarks on a magical journey to reconnect forgotten ‘IFs’ with their long-lost kids. Written and directed by John Krasinski and with a voice cast that includes Steve Carell, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Jon Stewart, Awkwafina, and more, this will surely be a film that people will want to see. The film releases on Friday, May 17th.

Until Next Time!

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