Review: The Last Duel

Historical epics are not my cup of tea, but I was drawn to The Last Duel by the all-star cast of Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Ben Affleck. They do not disappoint, nor does the female lead Jodie Comer whose character propels the 14th Century #MeToo narrative. The action is still too brutal and bloody for my taste, and the structure dictates we live through some uncomfortable scenes multiple times, but the fact that it is based on true events makes this centuries-old story a bit more accessible. It’s impossible not to view it through a modern lens and wonder how a similar scenario would play out today — you know, when duels to the death aren’t really a sanctioned thing.

Quickie Review: American Night

This neo-noir crime flick set in the art world has a good cast, looks fabulous, and even has some decent music. But at just over two hours in length, it never really finds its mojo. The story revolves around a stolen Andy Warhol Marilyn print. Michael, a young mafioso with the soul of an artist (Emile Hirsh) wants it back because his dead father promised it to him, but then sold it. And he’ll go to any length to find it. Murder, torture, whatever. 

Review: Lamb

Strange doesn’t even come close to describing this folk horror flick.  Set in a remote valley somewhere in Iceland, Maria (Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Prometheus) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) go about their lives in relative silence running their sheep farm. But one day as the sheep are lambing, it all changes. Maria brings one super adorable lamb into their house and treats it as you would an infant. Soon Ingvar is moving a crib into their room and they’re both parenting the little one. And lest you think they’re total weirdos, it turns out that little Ada is in fact half-human. And suddenly their sad existence turns sunny.

Nashville Film Festival Rundown

This was my first time (virtually) attending the Nashville Film Festival.  It is close enough for me to drive over, but that was not possible this time around. They had a great slate of films spread over a week. But sadly a lot of the films I’d have loved to see were only available in person, mostly the big prestige flicks. Nevertheless, I did get to see quite a few worthy films from the comfort of my couch. Below is my rundown.

The films are: Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road; Fanny: The Right to Rock; Everybody is Looking for some Light; Poser; Leftover Feelings: A Studio B Revival; 7 Days; Window Boy Would Also Like To Have A Submarine; Potato Dreams; Porcupine; The Good Traitor; Huda’s Salon; Green Sea; Ayar; Luzzu.

Quickie Review: Justin Bieber: Our World

Calling all true Beliebers, this one’s for you! There’s not much more to say other than Justin Bieber: Our World will reaffirm his fans’ love for Justin– the man (when did that happen!?) and the artist– and it may impress those on the fence about the Grammy-winning pop star. The Biebs comes off quite sincere in this concert film that chronicles the run-up to, and the songs performed at a groundbreaking show that took place on New Year’s Eve 2020 on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton hotel while adhering to a slew of strict COVID-19 protocols.

Review: Venom: Let There Be Carnage

I was having one of those days… the kind that sorta deserves to be capped off with a screening of a film called Venom: Let There Be Carnage. So off I went– to a masked, limited-capacity screening of a sequel to a movie that I found pleasantly surprising in 2018. Does Venom 2 live up to its predecessor? No. Is it worth venturing into a theater to see? Probably not. Is it worth seeing if you simply must catch every movie featuring a Marvel comic book character as soon as it hits the big screen? Sure. You know who you are.

Review: The Guilty

This American remake of a Danish thriller of the same name stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a cop who’s been put on desk duty awaiting a trial that could have serious repercussions on his career. He’s answering 911 calls and isn’t happy about it a bit. But when a call comes in from a woman that he quickly realizes is in trouble, everything changes.  Back in 2018 when the original came out, it landed at the top of my and Mainstream Chick’s lists for the best foreign films that year. Sadly, this new iteration doesn’t rise to that level. Sure Jake’s good, but Jakob Cedergren was amazing and a lot of the power of the first film came from his restrained performance. Gyllenhaal and director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Magnificent Seven) chose to go for more bombast. Perhaps if I hadn’t seen the first film, I’d be less critical.

Cinema Clash Podcast: Dear Evan Hansen; I’m Your Man; The Eyes of Tammy Faye; The Guilty and more!

Since I’m seeing more films than I have time to formally review in writing, I’m sharing out the latest edition of the Cinema Clash podcast featuring yours truly – and Charlie. This way, you can hear my thoughts on a bunch of flicks and know before you go – or don’t go. This week, we’re chatting about: the film adaptation of Broadway’s award-winning musical drama Dear Evan Hansen; the German romantic psychological drama I’m Your Man (Ich Bin Dein Mensch); the televangelist biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye; the American remake of the intense Danish crime thriller The Guilty. Plus, Charlie’s take on the family-friendly mystery horror film Nightbooks and the new sci-fi drama series “Foundation.” And we reveal the earworm that dominates episode 10 of season two of the Emmy-winning dramedy “Ted Lasso.” Tune in — and subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your favorite podcasts!

Broadway Movie Roundup: Dear Evan Hansen; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; Come From Away; On Broadway

Broadway is back in business, but you don’t have to brave a trip to NYC to get your musical fix. Broadway is coming to a movie theater– or streaming service– near you.

Trying to decide what, if anything, to see? Here’s a brief roundup, with my two cents on why each of these offerings has merit – the  caveat being that I am a very easy sell when it comes to movie and broadway musicals! First up: the latest Broadway musical adaptation to arrive in theaters — Dear Evan Hansen.

Review: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

If Oscar History is any judge, it doesn’t matter that The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a pretty dull film. Jessica Chastain is brilliant in it. And I suspect she will be rewarded with an Oscar nomination for best actress—and quite possibly, the award itself. The Academy loves to reward biopic ‘transformations’ and Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Molly’s Game) certainly disappears into the role–and makeup–of the late celebrity televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker Messner. She even does her own singing, belting out some of Tammy Faye’s signature gospel tunes.