Friday, April 5, 2024

Monkey Man

My View: Monkey Man (2024) R   Monkey Man is about a man (Dev Patel) who wears a gorilla mask when he enters the ring as he fights for money. This man has a plan, and it involves violence and getting revenge for the murder of his mother by corrupt leaders. Dev Patel makes a thrilling introduction to movie making with this film. The film tries to cover a bit too much, with commentary on poverty, class, the rich getting richer, and religious leaders becoming political. Still, the film moves at a quick and fun pace, with plenty of fights that would make a confident Mr. Reeves a bit jealous. Monkey Man is a film about finding your destiny while seeking revenge that has consumed you since you were young. The movie starts with our hero getting his butt kicked every time he goes in the ring. We soon learn that he has a plan, a way to get close to the man who killed his mother and burned down his community. Along the way, we learn more and more about our hero and his past as he learns about himself and how to channel his power and will. I have no idea the body count, but it’s high, with lots of blood and people dying in all sorts of ways, most in close action. Monkey Man is about a man fighting the good fight, trying to beat the odds as he takes on a cause that isn’t just about himself and his need for revenge but for the people who have been stepped on for so long.   My Rating: Full Price  Monkey Man Website  Now playing in theaters nationwide.

My View: The First Omen (2024) R   In The First Omen, a young American woman (Nell Tiger Free) is sent to Rome to start her life of service in the church. However, she soon discovers a darkness hidden deep inside the church that questions her faith and leads her to uncover a conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate. At my screening, we had an ad on the theatre screen with the statement “The Most Terrifying Movie of the Year.’ Well, don’t believe everything you read. The film tries and fails to scare you, mostly with homages to the 1976 film The Omen, which this is a prequel to. And because it’s a prequel, we know what will happen and who will survive. The film fails to find any balance between its anti-religion viewpoint and the attempt to gross us out at every turn. There is one scene in the middle of the film that is so outlandish that several of my fellow critics laughed out loud. The script is horribly written with an ending that makes no sense other than an attempt to end the film where the original film starts. Skip this one and watch the original because that kid in that one was creepy as heck.   My Rating: Cable  The First Omen Website  Now playing in theatres. 

My View: Música (2024)   Música is about Rudy (Rudy Mancuso), a young man filled by music from the sounds he hears around him. Rudy has synesthesia, which turns ordinary sounds into rhythm. Besides not knowing what he wants to do in life, he is torn between his former girlfriend, Haley (Francesca Reale), who wants him back, and a new girl working in a fish market, Isabella (Camila Mendes). Música is a fun musical where the story is told from the viewpoint of Rudy, so often, the world he hears turns into scenes of ordinary people making music with things such as trash cans, brooms, and books. Rudy is a character that you want to root for, but he is too nice of a guy, one who doesn’t like to let people down. That makes Rudy a character who continually frustrates you by making taking the easy way out. The musical sequences are well done, and there is a brilliant sequence in the film where, in the span of about 5 minutes, Rudy walks through several dates with both women while the scenery keeps changing right before our eyes. Música is a musical with romance and humor, a tremendous first directorial job by the star himself. Since this film is based somewhat on Rudy Mancuso’s own life, it will be interesting to see what he does next. Let’s hope there is more singing and dancing. My Rating: Full Price  Musica Info  Now playing on Prime Video.

Indiefest: Wicked Little Letters (2023) R  The film is set in the 1920s in a small English seaside town where deeply conservative local Edith (Olivia Colman) and others in the community have received scandalous letters containing profanity. All the evidence points to a rowdy Irish migrant, Rose (Jessie Buckley), known for her colorful use of language. It all comes to a head when Rose is charged with the crime, and Police Officer Gladys (Anjana Vasan) must solve the mystery. A bit of warning: the film has a ton of foul language and I do mean a lot, though it’s all in fun, as we learn this film is based on a real story. Jessie Buckley is fantastic as the foul-mouthed mother who speaks her mind while spouting a few profanities. Olivia Colman is the spinster who believes in God’s will but cannot forgive Rose, who she suspects is the writer of the letters. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and loved the gang of busybody sleuths, led by scrappy police officer Gladys, who attempt to figure out who is behind the letters. So be prepared to be shocked by some language, but it’s all in good fun as we discover who wrote those naughty letters.   My Rating: Full Price  Wicked Little Letters Website  Now playing in theatres. 

Indiefest: Housekeeping for Beginners (2023)   Dita (Anamaria Marinca) lives in a big house with her partner, Suada (Alina Serban), Suada’s two daughters, Dita’s longtime friend Toni, and her new younger boyfriend, Ali. The house always has new friends living in it, coming and going as they please. When Suada dies of cancer, Dita is forced to become the mother she never thought she would be. The movie is about finding family in circumstances that are not always conventional. It’s about finding support and love from people who have found each other by chance and fate. Dita has to do something she never thought she could do: become a mother. Anamaria Marinca gives a powerful and moving performance of a woman who loses the love of her life and now must try and hold this group of people together while dealing with the sorrow and pain. The film is stolen by Dzada Selim, who plays the young, always moving and talking Mia. Selim is hilarious, with lines that will make you laugh or break your heart. Housekeeping for Beginners is a beautiful tale about love and finding a way to stay together, regardless of odds. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Housekeeping for Beginners Website  Now playing in theatres. 

Familyfaire: Chicken for Linda! (2023)   Linda has been unfairly punished by her mother, Paulette. To make up for it, Paulette asks how she can make it up to Linda. Linda wants chicken with peppers, and the two are now off on an adventure to find a chicken in a town that has shut down because of a strike. This is a charming, lovely animated film about what we will do for our loved ones. This film is a fun adventure with some very colorful and inventive animation. I was a little let down by some of the musical interludes, but the film has plenty of comedic moments and a remarkable final third of the film, where all the elements come together to make a savory dish. Chicken for Linda! is a film that kids and their parents will enjoy.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Chicken for Linda! Website  Now playing in select theatres. 
My View: Scoop (2024) TV-MA   Scoop is the story of the  women who, through hard work and guts, got one of the biggest interviews of all time when Prince Andrew (Rufus Sewell) told about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. Scoop is the compelling and sometimes nerve-wracking story of a group of journalists who work behind the scenes to get one of the biggest stories of the last ten years, a story that rocked the monarchy. The narrative concentrates on Billie Piper’s Sam McAllister, who is not well-liked in the newsroom but is adept at persuading people to tell their story on the air. Sam is a single working mom who doesn’t feel or have the respect of the rest of the newsroom, but she is able to get things done. Gillian Anderson plays the nightly BBC news show anchor, Emily Maitlis. Anderson is perfect as the nerves-of-steel interviewer who stares down a member of the royal family, Prince Andrew (played impeccably well by Rufus Sewell), and gets him to make things worse for himself by being himself. Scoop is a well-told tale that happens to be true, and even though you know the outcome, you still have to wonder if the interview will ever come about or, better yet, broadcast. My Rating: Full Price  Scoop Website  Now playing on Netflix. 

Forgotten Film: Two Hands (1999) R  A young man, Jimmy (Heath Ledger), finds himself in trouble with a local mobster (Brian Brown) when some money is missing and Jimmy looks like he is the culprit. Jimmy goes on the run and meets Alex (Rose Byrne), who takes a liking to Jimmy and decides to go with him on the run. Meanwhile, a couple of kids find the missing money and go on a shopping spree. Two Hands is a fun caper film with a lot of star power in Ledger and Byrne heating up the screen. And anytime you have Brian Brown as the bad guy, you know you will have fun. The film tries a bit too hard to be a little off the wall. Nevertheless, it’s a fun ride with Heath Ledger giving us a hero to root for.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Two Hands Info  Available for rent/buy on Amazon.

Weird Credits: From the credits of The First Omen: Baby Model

Coming Soon to a Screen Near You: The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024) PG-13 Many years after Caesar's reign, a young ape goes on a journey that will make him question everything he’s been taught about the past, especially the history of humans. The film is set many years after the 2017 film War for the Planet of the Apes.  It releases on Friday, May 10, 2024.    The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Website

Until Next Time!

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