The Goldfinch and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by John Crowley
So based on the trailers, this has to do with a heist gone wrong to steal a painting? Or maybe the kid knocked it off the wall which triggered a series of Rube Goldberg zaniness that led to the museum exploding? Okay, it’s probably not going to be THAT wacky considering the solemnity with which the trailers show the main character struggling with his guilt for… something, but apparently this is based on a book and I haven’t read it yet. Thankfully BASED ON THE BEST SELLING NOVEL doesn’t send a chill of dread down my spine the same way BASED ON A TRUE STORY does since a book is already supposed to have a beginning, middle, and end unlike someone’s life normally does, but I might be a bit out of my depth here because I hadn’t even HEARD of the freaking thing before the trailers started to come out and it clearly looks to be pure Oscar Bait, but I’ve seen enough of these kind of movies by now to hopefully tell a good one from a bad one. Then again, I was bored senseless in The Phantom Thread, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about in the first place. Is this the kind of awards contender that’ll appeal to all audiences instead of the very few who will be voting on said awards this year, or is all the pretense simply there to prop up a mediocre slog? Let’s find out!!
Theo Decker (Ansel Elgort and Oakes Fegley) hasn’t had the best like in his short thirteen years so far. He got blamed for smoking at school, his dad left his mom several months ago, and oh yeah his mother died in some sort of terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He manages to survive somehow, but with nowhere else to go he ends up living with a school friend’s family which is led by the regal Samantha Barbour (Nicole Kidman) who seems sympathy towards Theo but not much more than that. He eventually finds someone to open up to about the incident when he finds the partner of a man who died in the explosion along with the man’s granddaughter Pippa (Ashleigh Cummings and Aimee Laurence) who DID survive the explosion but suffered some serious trauma because of it. Theo and his new friend Hobie (Jeffrey Wright) do manage to lean on each other somewhat to deal with their grief, but at some point Theo’s crappy dad Larry (Luke Wilson) comes back to take him away to Arizona with his younger girlfriend Xandra (Sarah Paulson) where he meets a kid named Boris (Aneurin Barnard and Finn Wolfhard) who he soon becomes friends with as well. The movie goes between flashbacks to his childhood and the life he has today which seems to be rather miserable and it becomes clearer and clearer why as we learn more about his past; the continued trauma he had to go through even after his mother’s death as well as the brief moments of joy he managed to find despite his lousy circumstances. Oh, and there was this painting that Theo took from the museum for some reason after the explosion, but I’m sure that’s not too important. It had a bird on it I think. Will Theo find peace in his life after having to suffer so much? Is there anything in his fractured past that will hold the answer to him coming to terms with what happened to him and maybe some serendipitous turn of events will finally bring him the closure he needs? Seriously, what does he need that bird picture for in the first place? I mean it’s fine, but it’s no Rembrandt or Jim Davis.
Rock Dog and all the images you see in this review are owned by Huayi Brothers and Summit Premiere
Directed by Ash Brannon
Okay, so maybe saying The Great Wall is some bold new step in Hollywood/China co-productions was overselling it a bit as stuff like this movie, which was animated in the US but made for the Chinese film market, have been happening for quite some time now. Still, The Great Wall is unique in how hard it was pushed to try and make an impact on the US film market instead of just making all its money in China which usually isn’t the case; including with this movie that barely got any promotion leading up to its release. That said there’s still some really solid talent behind this, including an all-star cast of voice actors, the studio that animated The Book of Life, and even the co-director of Toy Story 2! Okay, he’s not the co-director everyone remembers (that would be John Lasseter), but still! Is there enough talent in this internationally minded animated film to be of some appeal on this side of the globe, or was this all just a cynical cash grab from everyone involved. You know, like when celebrities do those insane Japanese commercials and hope no one in the US will see them? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins in the town of Snowville… I mean the Village of Snow Mountain, where the local sheep population is protected from wolves by Tibetan Mastiffs which is a breed of dog. Well okay, it’s just ONE dude named Khampa (JK Simmons) who has mastered the Kamehameha and used it to fend off a wolf raid several years ago. Yes, you read that right. Motherfucking dog shoots energy beams from his hands because reasons. This would be AMAZING if it wasn’t for the fact that he did all that in the past and hasn’t had to for some time now because the wolves know better than to attack while he’s on watch, so he doesn’t have much cause to use it nowadays. Still, he’s kept the sheep safe and even managed to raise a son named Bodi (Luke Wilson) who will one day take his place as the town protector, even if he needs a bit more practice before he can ACTUALY do a Kamehameha of his own. It’s too bad that the writers of this have seen The Gods Must Be Crazy as one day a plane drops civilization right in front of Bodi in the form of a wireless radio that’s fully charged and able to catch a signal. How about that!? On the radio he hears a sick track from the one and only Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard) which inspires him to pursue his dreams, and with just the right amount of buttering up of his old man, he manages to get a bus ticket to the big city which is… actually pretty close by. How has Bodi never been to the city before? WHY IS THERE A BUS STOP NEXT TO SNOW MOUNTAIN IF NO ONE IS USING IT!? Anyway, his leaving manages to catch the attention of the wolves who are gangsters in that big city, and so the big bad one named Linnux (Lewis Black) sends his slapstick prone henchmen to kidnap him and… I guess get information about Snow Mountain so they can finally kill all those sheep. Will Bodi be able to live his dreams of a rock star, or will he ultimately get lost in the cruel and uncaring world of professional music? Will the wolves finally get what they want, or will Body manage to outsmart them… somehow? For a movie called Rock Dog, he’s not much of a rock star… so why aren’t we following Angus Scattergood instead?
Concussion and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Peter Landesman
Mr. Fourth of July is back with his latest attempt to win that Oscar after Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness, and 7 Pounds didn’t do a damn thing for him. Well at least this one is a story that’s still fresh in people’s mind as it explores the events that led up to the NFL being in hot water over the dangers of head injuries and the consequences of not getting these issues treated in their former players. Does William Smith Jr finally have the movie that will get him an Academy Award that he can shove in Leonardo DiCaprio’s face, or does the search continue for Will to find something that will prove once and for all what a great actor he is? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) who happens to be on duty at a Pittsburg morgue the day that a former NFL player is found dead after long bouts of mental illness and medical problems. During the autopsy, Omalu discovers some irregularities that lead to him eventually discovering a hereto unknown disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) that is caused by repeated blows to the head which is something that happens quite frequently to NFL players. Clearly this needs to be explored further as it’s clear that other older players begin to exhibit extreme mental issues, but the NFL instead decides to bury the guys work and deny it incessantly. Omalu though continues to push for more research and for the NFL to acknowledge the diseases existence, but to little avail at least at first. Along his journey to get the truth out there, he starts to pursue a romantic relationship with a fellow churchgoer (Prema Mutiso played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and eventually meets a former NFL doctor (Julian Bailes played by Alec Bladwin) who knows first-hand what it’s like to see former players’ minds deteriorate. With support from the medical community and his girlfriend along with the insider knowledge of Dr. Bailes, will Dr. Omalu get his way and save hundreds of people in the process, or is this a task too herculean for any one man to accomplish?
After the cinematic horror show that was the ill-conceived Pixels, Adam Sandler was banished to the world of streaming and will not be allowed back into theaters until his penance of four movies is paid! Okay, the four movie deal with Netflix was already underway before Pixels (or even Hotel Transylvania 2) was released, but considering how absolutely dreadful his career has been with the movies under the Happy Madison umbrella, it really does feel like he needs to be taken out of the spotlight for a while just to see if the change in scenery will bring some life back to him and his chosen profession. Is The Ridiculous 6 the movie that will finally bring him back to top form, or is this yet another pointless exercise from a man who gave up on being funny a long time ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with, what else, RACISM!! Seriously!? I can’t even get thirty seconds into an Adam Sandler joint before I’m itching to turn the damn thing off!?