And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Quickie Review: Werewolves Within

Searching for the right flick to give you those Halloween chills? This horror/comedy based on a video game is your ticket! In it Forest Ranger Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson, “Veep”, “Ted Lasso”) arrives in the remote town of Beaverfield in the middle of winter just in time for a series of gruesome attacks. It begins with a dog but escalates quickly and, as the title gives away, it turns out there’s a werewolf among the dwindling population of quirky townsfolk, and soon everyone is trying to figure out who it is before they’re all supper. Then the power is cut off, and there’s a blizzard.

Review: Bergman Island

You don’t have to be a fan of the legendary director Ingmar Bergman to enjoy this film, but it certainly does help. In it a couple of American filmmakers, Chris (Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread) and Tony (Tim Roth, Selma, The Hateful Eight), take a summer trip to Fårö island in Sweden where Bergman lived and shot some of his best known movies. Both of them are hoping for some inspiration for the films they’re working on. One of Tony’s films is showing in the annual Bergman Week there, and he and Chris are in residence at the house where Bergman shot his award winning series Scenes from a Marriage, about the disintegration of a marriage. And while theirs doesn’t, it’s clearly seen better days.

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. 

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.

Review: Cinderella

This latest take on the fairytale classic is actually quite entertaining and refreshingly different while still retaining a comfortable air of familiarity. Just don’t expect to hear the enduring, trademark songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein. 2021’s Cinderella features a modern twist, with modern music that includes some original songs and a bunch of covers, from Madonna to Queen and stuff in-between. The contemporary live-action film opens with a toe-tapping production number showcasing a hip array of subjects in the Kingdom of Rhythm Nation, where Ella (Camila Cabello) resides in the basement of a home with her stepmother (Idina Menzel) and step-sisters (Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer). The ‘steps’ aren’t exactly evil in the tradition of most “Cinderella” tales, but they aren’t a loving, supportive bunch either.  Jealous much? 

Quickie Review: Free Guy

Free Guy is goofy, sincere and fun, probably even more so if you’re into gaming. Personally, I didn’t know an “NPC” from a “Player One,” so it took me a bit longer to embrace the virtual videogame world on display in Free Guy. But in fairly short order, the story and the characters grew on me, and by the end, I was all in – rooting for characters of both the real and the programmed variety, especially our ‘every guy’ hero, Guy, aka “Blue Shirt Guy”, played by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool).

Review: The Suicide Squad

What a difference a ‘The’ makes?! I was not a fan of 2016’s Suicide Squad and had my doubts about watching another group of warped DC Comic Universe villains being forced into another suicidal superheroic mission. So I approached the film with extreme caution, low expectations, and no idea if it was supposed to be a sequel, a reboot, or something else entirely. I’m still not sure about that last one. But The Suicide Squad does generally work as a standalone–even though some characters are back, some are not, and many don’t survive past the first 15 minutes.

Review: Stealing Chaplin

This dark comedy is based on a true incident. In 1978, a couple of thieves dug up Charlie Chaplin’s body in Switzerland and unsuccessfully tried to extort ransom from his family. In this modern version, the story is transported to Las Vegas a distinctly a more gritty milieu.  The grave robbers this time are a couple of British brothers, deeply in debt to the mob who need some quick cash.  Cal (Simon Phillips) and Terry (Doug Phillips, not related) are small time conmen, but when Terry loses big on a stupid bet, they’re given one week to come up with the dough or it’s curtains! Cal is the brains of the outfit, but he’s at a loss, so when Terry tosses out the Chaplin idea, he figures they have nothing to lose.

Review: The Boss Baby: Family Business

“What happens on the playground stays on the playground.” Lines like this are what made the first Boss Baby a cute little hit in 2017, and what makes its sequel, The Boss Baby: Family Business easily watchable now for kids and adults. There is a caveat however. While Boss Baby 2 is entertaining enough for a family film night, it’s no Boss Baby 1. The magic is gone – largely because we already know the drill. And, there’s simply not enough (for my taste) of the bitterly sarcastic talking wizard alarm clock “Wizzy”!

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 14

This week I chose films from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 90s, and 00s. Two are from the same director. They take place in Rome and Paris and Berlin and Tokyo and Washington. Several of them are considered to be the greatest films of their genres. There’s comedy, political satire, civil unrest, a hitman double-cross, and what we do for those we love is a recurring theme.

This week’s films are:

 Bicycle Thieves,  Dr. Strangelove,  Lost in Translation,  Run Lola Run,  La Haine,  Le Samourai, and  Umberto D.