Father of the Bride (2022)

How many times can this movie be remade? Father of the Bride has been made three times, 1950 and 1991 and now in 2022. The 1950 version had a sequel while the 1991 film had two sequels as well. So why do we need yet another version of this film?

The reason we need another remake is because they were able to come up with a undeniably entertaining and robust take on the formula that is funny, totally engaging story with some of the most likeable characters you would find.

Billy (Andy Garcia) and Ingrid (Gloria Estefan) are having major problems with their marriage and even therapy was not working. They finally decided that they were going to get a divorce. With their daughter Sofia (Adeia Arjona) coming back to Miami, they planned on telling her and their other daughter Cora (Isabela Merced) about their divorce.

However, Sofia beat them to the announcement drop when she told them that she was engaged to be married to a young man named Adan (Diego Boneta) and they were looking to get married within a month.

There are so many great moments that really work in the movie. Plenty of them are your typical issues that pop up, but the cast is so strong that any cliché melts away. Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan have great chemistry and you feel everything that Andy Garcia throw out there. You get mad at him when he is being stubborn and your heart melts when he is in pain.

Other cast members that I have not yet mentioned include Ruben Rabasa, Chloe Fineman, Pedro Damián, Ana Fabrega, Sean Patrick Dawson, Enrique Murciano, Ho-Kwan Tse, Macarena Achaga, Laura Harring, and Casey Thomas Brown.

Father of the Bride is streaming on HBO Max and it may be somewhat predictable, but it is engaging and fun and worth the watch.

3.9 stars

Watcher

Watcher is a new film that just arrived on Vudu recently and I rented to give it a watch. The topic of the film intrigued me and I had seen it in the theaters for a few weeks before coming on Vudu.

The film is a psychological thriller directed by Chloe Okuno based on an original screenplay by Zack Ford.

Julia (Maika Monroe) and her husband Francis (Karl Glusman) moved to Bucharest for his job. They seemed to have a happy marriage and their apartment was very nice. However, it was not long after they moved in that Julia began to suspect that a neighbor at the building across form theirs had been watching her from his window. When a murder happened in the neighborhood, Julia’s suspicions became all the more intense, bordering on paranoid.

Francis started off as supportive, but he was not seeing the same problems that Julia was. Julia’s next door neighbor Irina (Madalina Anea) gave her some support and comfort, but she did not see any changes in the man watching her. She continued to be afraid of the man and worried about what he might do.

The film has some really strong atmosphere, filled with tension and an uncertainty of what truly was happening. It was nicely shot and set a mood for the film.

I do have to say that the old horror trope of the person who no one believes is overused. Why can’t the husband have just believed Julia about the situation? I mean, he was somewhat supportive, but he still had that aura of thinking that there was another answer to what was happening. There seemed to be better things happen when you just believe your spouse. The film did not give us any real reason to why he wouldn’t have believed what she was saying.

This was a decent horror/thriller that was engaging on a rainy Saturday morning. It may not be the best horror film of the year, but it was solid.

3.5 stars

Elvis

That’s all right, Mama.

The biopic of Elvis is is the most Baz Luhrmann-film that I have seen in years, probably since Moulin Rouge. The film has so much style and such great music that you almost get swept away by that.

However, there are at least two brilliant performances at the center of this movie as well. Austin Butler as the King of Rock ‘N Roll, Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as the slimy Col. Tom Parker.

Anyone who says that Tom Hanks is just to much of an American beloved figure to ever play a bad guy has no leg to stand on any longer. Tom Hanks made this character so slimy, so unlikable that I wanted him to get his comeuppance the entire time.

But I do not want to blow past Austin Butler because this young man gave us a performance of a lifetime as Elvis. He was absolutely stunning in every minute that he was on screen. He was not doing an imitation of Elvis, he was tapping in the essence of the character. I believe that Butler is destined to be nominated for an Oscar for this role.

There was a lot about Elvis Presley and his relationships (especially with Col. Parker) that I did not know, and it was fascinating to watch things develop. How much Colonel Parker took advantage of “his kid” Elvis was just obnoxious.

Now, I do think that the movie is too long. It could have done with being 20 minutes or so shorter. There were a couple of moments that I would have liked to have had more depth, but the middle of the film could have been tightened up some.

However, that is a small issue because I enjoyed so much of the film. I enjoyed the stylish version of the story, the great performances and the music. It is a long film, but it is worth the time.

4.3 stars

The Black Phone

Scott Derrickson, director of Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Doctor Strange, returned to Blumhouse with a new horror/thriller film called The Black Phone, based on a short story pf the same name by Joe Hill.

It is 1978 in a suburban town near Denver, Colorado and the town was being terrorized by a child kidnapper that had been dubbed “The Grabber” (Ethan Hawke). After five kids had been taken, Finney (Mason Thames), a soft-spoken, timid teen with a sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw), became the next kid abducted.

Gwen had been having some dreams that, at times, came true, but this was something that her abusive father (Jeremy Davies, Faraday from LOST) was very angry about. However, the police were interested in how Gwen knew some details from the case that had not been released to the public. Gwen was not the soft-spoken member of the family and she showed off her serious spunk.

Finney wound up in a basement with the Grabber, who wore a changing devil mask, not knowing what was going to happen. There was a disconnected black phone on the wall that kept ringing and Finney eventually discovered that the phone was a way to communicate with the Grabber’s previous victims. The other kids tried to give Finney ways to escape before it was too late.

This movie was just full of tension and thrilling moments. Scott Derrickson did an outstanding job of creating such an atmosphere of anxiety that you were desperate to have Finney survive his encounter or for Gwen to be able to make sense out of her visions. The scene between Madeleine McGaw and Jeremy Davies early in the film was so uncomfortable it made you just feel it.

The first act of this movie truly was mostly character situations as we saw a couple of other kids get taken before Finney was and this section of the film helped us understand our protagonist and the people in his orbit.

Speaking of our protagonist, this film is almost completely placed on the backs of Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw, and these two young actors absolutely dominated their roles. They provided us with distinct personalities that were easy to root for and showed us the strength of both of them. Gwen may have stolen every scene she was in in the first half of the movie when she exhibited the passion inside the young lady.

We got a great character arc for Finney too as he has to develop from a punching bag into someone who would not take it any more.

I have gone this far without talking about Ethan Hawke and that is wrong, because he is brilliant as the antagonist of the movie. The Grabber shows several sides to his personality as he is interacting with Finney and he wears different masks with different facial expressions depending on his emotional states. It is an amazing character detail, and helps the character out since we do not see Ethan Hawks real face until right at the end of the film.

The film is shot beautifully, especially since the bulk of the movie takes place in a small basement with nondescript walls. So much is done with this setting that the production design is fantastic.

This was an exceptional film with great performances and a huge level of suspense.

4.5 stars

Hustle

If you know me, then you know that I have hated most of the films made by Adam Sandler. I can’t say all of them because he had Uncut Gems a few years ago that was really great. It seemed that when Sandler wants to make a movie for an adult instead of for a 13-year old child, he can do good work.

I was still fairly uncertain about Hustle on Netflix. It was released a few weeks ago and I have looked at it several times. I had it on my Netflix queue. I heard some positive word of mouth and yet I was not in a rush to watch it. I just had that sinking feeling.

So when I watched it today on Netflix, I was ready for anything. I am pleased to say that I didn’t just like Hustle, but I found it to be an excellent film.

Stanley Sugarman (Adam Sandler) was a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA, on the road constantly looking for that “next big thing” in players while he desperately wanted to be a coach. Team owner Rex Merrick (Robert Duvall) had a special spot in his heart for Stan and gave him an assistant coach position. Unfortunately, Rex died and his obnoxious son Vince (Ben Foster) took over the running of the team.

Vince wanted Stanley to head back out on the road to find the Sixers the final piece for a championship. Not leaving Stanley much of a choice, Stanley headed back out on the road, heading to Spain to scout a specific player. That player was injured and not playing that night, leaving Stan to float around the city on his own. On his travel, he came across an outdoor basketball game where a tall and noticeably skilled player named Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez) who was hustling other players for money. Stan saw that Bo had amazing abilities and he followed him to his home for a chance to sign him.

Stan had to go through plenty of adversity to try and get someone to notice the talent that Bo had.

The film is a lot of fun. Adam Sandler gives a extremely mature performance in a role that kept tossing challenges in his way. He had some great chemistry with, not only Juancho Hernangomez, but also with his on-screen wife, Queen Latifah.

Then, as if I wasn’t already enjoying the film, they trotted out “Dr. J” Julius Erving, one of my all-time favorite athletes and the man from where my own nickname came from, in the film a couple of times (Sorry Chris, no Larry Bird).

The film was produced by Sandler and LeBron James and featured a plethora of NBA stars and legends including Charles Barkley, Dirk Nowitzki, Doc Rivers, Mo Cheeks, Anthony Edwards, Seth Curry, Trae Young, Jordan Clarkson, Boban Marjanovic, Luka Doncic, Aaron Gordon, Shaq O’Neal, Tobias Harris, among many others.

If you are an NBA fan, this film is going to be a potpourri of highlights for you. However, you do not have to love the NBA to have this story of the underdog strike you. The film is about redemption. It is about family and how important they are to your life. It is about sticking to it and never giving up something that you love.

My opinion of Adam Sandler would change if he continued making quality entertainment like this.

4.2 stars

Spiderhead

Chris Hemsworth and Netflix has had success in the past with the movie Extraction from a few years ago. This weekend, the streaming service dropped the next Hemsworth film where Chris played a different type of character than we have seen from him before.

Spiderhead finds Chris Hemsworth playing Dr. Steve Abnesti, a scientist at a experimental facility that takes volunteer prisoners and run drug trials on them trying to find a way to manage their emotions to allow for their redemption. Jeff (Miles Teller) was one of the prisoners who allowed the experiments to be done on him. However, Jeff begins to learn details about what was going on in the prison that started to have him questioning the morality of the experiments.

I found this movie to be okay. Are there some areas that are difficult to believe? Sure, but the suspension of disbelief never took me out of the film. In fact, I found myself more engaged with the characters because of the unlikeliness of everything. As we find out more about Jeff’s past and see how he was making connections to fellow convict Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett), I found my personal feelings deepen with him. Miles Teller does a decent job with his portrayal of Jeff and you believe the anguish that the guy has been putting himself through.

I found Chris Hemsworth to be pretty decent as Abnesti. He had the charm that you would expect someone like this would have to have and he played his own troubled background well.

The story was not as deep as it could have been and did not take the risks that it could have, but it was solid enough to make Spiderhead a decent watch. It is certainly better than many of the films released on Netflix. Tat may not be the best complement in the world, but it is ana ccurate one.

Spiderhead was based on the short story “Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders, and was directed by Joseph Kosinski.

3.2 stars

Lightyear

The Toy Story franchise takes a turn with a new movie that takes a character from the classic four-film franchise of Toy Story and turned it on its head.

Lightyear caused some confusion online for how this movie was existing. So much so that it started with apiece of text to explain it to the audience. It said that in 1995, this was the movie that Andy went to see in the theaters that made him want to get the action figure of Buzz Lightyear. So it is kind of a movie within a movie.

There has also been some controversy about Disney/Pixar replacing Tim Allen as the voice of Buzz with Chris Evans. This whole movie idea cleared that up as well as the voice of Tim Allen is now the voice that the toy company chose to sound like the original voice from the movie. All of us geeks who had talking action figures understand this concept.

The movie featured Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) on a mission with his fellow Ranger Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) investigating the suitability of a certain planet for colonization. However, the planet was shown to be dangerous and not worth the time. Unfortunately, Buzz gets the whole crew and people on the ship stranded on the planet.

Buzz refused to give up until the mission was complete so he kept experimenting with a new power source. Every time he would do so, trying to reach hyperspeed, would lead to him losing around four years on the planet, though it only seemed like four minutes to him.

I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. It is a Pixar film so, of course, it was beautiful to look at and the animation was masterful. I will say that I did not find this as emotional as a typical Pixar film would be. There was only one point where I felt my emotions being tugged at and certainly nothing like Inside out, Coco or Up.

That does not make this a bad movie. By contrast, this is a fantastic science fiction film that felt like a big budget popcorn summer flick.

I love Chris Evans and I think he was remarkably good at making this character his own while still providing enough familiarity to be able to see the toy version of Buzz in his performance. Uzo Aduba was excellent as was Keke Palmer, who voiced Alisha’s granddaughter Izzy. Taika Waititi and Dale Soules voiced two of Izzy’s oddball crew, Mo and Darby prespectfully.

However, the standout of the film was easily Peter Sohn as Sox the cat. Sox was a robotic cat that was there to help Buzz after his first return from space and Sox got all of the great lines and is easily the breakout side character of the film. Sox was so great that I did wonder why Andy (in Toy Story) wouldn’t have also wanted a Sox toy along with his Buzz Lightyear because there was no way that Sox was not a huge toy seller from this movie. Sox will sell a ton of real life merchandise too, count on it.

I enjoyed the way that they incorporated Buzz’s classic villain, Zurg into this story. Zurg was voiced by Josh Brolin and the twist was one that I thought was well done.

I have to say that I never thought about Toy Story at all through the run of the film. I hope people do not come to this movie expecting some kind of sequel to the Toy Story franchise, because Lightyear is something else. It may lack some of the emotional heft that the best Pixar movies have, Lightyear is entertaining, funny, full of drama and exceptional voice acting and animation.

4.1 stars

Emergency

A new movie arrived on Amazon Prime at the end of May called Emergency, a coming-of-age comedy/drama that included plenty of topical situations.

Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and Sean (RJ Cyler) are best friends in college and Kunle was very successful and hoped to be accepted to Princeton. Sean had gotten tickets to the “Legendary Tour,” a practice of visiting seven frat parties in one night, and he wanted Kunle and him to be the first black students to complete it.

On the night of the Legendary Tour, a white girl showed up drunk and unconscious on the floor of their house, thanks to their housemate, Carlos (Sebastian Chacon), leaving the door to the house open. Kunle and Sean debated about what to do. Kunle wanted to call the police, but Sean said that if the police showed up, they would blame the two black guys and the brown one for doing something to the white girl.

Kunle convinced Sean and Carlos into taking the white girl to the hospital, but things started going wrong almost immediately.

These three men wanted to help this girl, who we discover later was named Emma (Maddie Nichols), but the underlying worries, especially for Sean, that, despite that they have done nothing wrong, if the police get involved, they would be blamed for everything.

Meanwhile, Emma’s sister Maddie (Sabrina Carpenter) was looking for her high school sister, whom she took with her to a college party and left her alone to be with her friends. When she realized that Emma was missing, Maddie really begins to panic.

Emergency does a really good job of switching between the comedic situations that it has tossed its main characters into and the more serious, downright life and death discussions and situations that these characters are faced with. The tonal switch in the third act was very well done and took a film that had some wild coincidences mined for humor and turned it into a commentary on the state of racial divide in the country, how perceptions can be different depending on who is looking.

The performances were all really great. The interactions between Donald Elise Watkins and RJ Cyler were very funny and also brutally honest. I really liked Sebastian Chacon as the third wheel in this relationship and someone who was vital in what they are able to do.

I was really scared that this might end up tragic at the end, because it did feel as if the film was moving in that direction. I enjoyed the resolution to the film, a resolution that was filled with intensity and suspense.

3.85 stars

Jurassic World: Dominion

Jurassic World: Dominion is supposedly the final of the Jurassic Park franchise, as this movie brought together characters and actors from across the franchise in the finale. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Dominion started with the dinosaurs found across the country, free and wild.

I had heard plenty of negative comments about the movie online, so I had entered the theater with low expectations. As it normally happened, low expectations makes it easier to enjoy what I am watching. There is no doubt that Jurassic World: Dominion was not a good movie, but I have seen way worse. Heck, I found this much better than 2018 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

While the dinosaurs roamed the earth, a mysterious group of large locusts began destroying the food supply of the country. The company Biosyn has been creating these locusts and working with the dinosaurs as well. Agents of Biosyn kidnapped Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) away from Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), who had been raising her as their own. The raptor Blue had also given birth to a little raptor and that raptor was taken by Biosyn’s hired henchmen.

Owen and Claire pursued the Biosyn henchmen in an attempt to recover Maisie and the raptor. Meanwhile, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) went to recruit Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to help her infiltrate Biosyn and get evidence about the company being behind the locusts. She was invited in by Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) who was inside the company already.

Seeing the mixing of these characters from Jurassic Park/World was the best part of the movie. Jeff Goldblum is always great and there is still wonderful chemistry with Laura Dern and Sam Neill. This is all nostalgia and it was great. I enjoyed the addition of two new characters too: Head of Communications of Biosyn Ramsay Cole (Mamoudou Athie) and pilot Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise).

The CGI/special effects were good, but there were a few times when it was not up to the standards set prior to this film.

Part of the issue I had with the film was there were several times, in particular during chase scenes, it was difficult to see what was going on. The shaky camera work here is meant to cover up some of the CGI that was just not good. This was a huge chunk of the first hour to an hour and a half of the film.

Which, by the way, Jurassic World: Dominion was two and a half hours and it felt like it. Many big action films with long run times seem to fly by but this one felt its length.

I thought the last hour or so was better, once the group came together and arrived in the base of Biosyn. However, there were also plenty of dumb choices and moves that make little sense. Things that are done simply because the plot needs it to be done.

While there are sections of Jurassic World: Dominion that I liked, it does not pull together in a sensible thriller and it has apparently lost the wonder of the first film.

2.6 stars

The Bob’s Burgers Movie

I have never seen even one episode of the animated TV series Bob’s Burgers before seeing this movie in the theater today so I was not a fan. I had nothing against it either. It was a blank slate. I have a feeling that fans of Bob’s Burgers animated series would love this movie. For me, it was okay at times and dull at others.

According to IMDB: “The story begins when a ruptured water main creates an enormous sinkhole right in front of Bob’s Burgers, blocking the entrance indefinitely and ruining the Belchers’ plans for a successful summer. While Bob and Linda struggle to keep the business afloat, the kids try to solve a mystery that could save their family’s restaurant. As the dangers mount, these underdogs help each other find hope and fight to get back behind the counter, where they belong.

I admit that I was not expecting this animated film would also have musical components to it, and the first song surprised me. I will say that the songs were pretty decent and catchy.

The movie was fine, but there was little that stood out to me. I can see this as being just a longer version of the TV show.

The original voice cast from the TV show returned for the movie including  H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal, David Wain, Zach Galifianakis, and Kevin Kline.

The story of the film was simplistic and typical for a situation comedy show like Bob’s Burgers. Bob’s Burgers restaurant was in trouble with paying bills, Louise is feeling down and unhappy about the fact that she wore a hat with rabbit ears and she had a ton of doubt about her person and Tina wanted to ask Jimmy to be her summertime boyfriend.

There was also a larger piece of the story involving an attempt to replace Wonder Wharf with a mega-park. Who was behind this (including a murder of Cotton Candy Dan, a worker at the Wharf six years ago) was one of the central mysteries of the film. However, it was pretty obvious who was behind the crime because the red herrings were clearly set.

I did not hate this, but I did not find it engaging either. There were some clever use of the language/dialogue and the animation looked much like the typical TV show animation. It was silly but I was bored at times. I am sure that if I had been a fan of Bob’s Burgers this would have hit differently for me.

2.5 stars

Top Gun: Maverick

Just a few years ago, I watched, for the first time, Tom Cruise’s iconic film Top Gun, and I did not like it at all. I know it is a beloved film by many, but it was just not my thing. So I approached the sequel Top Gun: Maverick with less excitement than many people may have.

Still, there was a ton of positive word of mouth floating around about this movie, so my interest level had improved.

After seeing the IMAX version of Top Gun: Maverick, I can say without any doubt that this movie is worlds better than the original, in my opinion.

After years, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) gets called back to train a group of young fighter pilots, the best fighter pilots in the world, in an attempt to carry out an improbable mission to bomb an uranium enrichment facility of an unnamed enemy country. Maverick was not wanted by Admiral “Cyclone” Simpson (Jon Hamm), but Maverick’s old friend Iceman (Val Kilmer), another admiral, overrules him. Maverick’s brand of rebellious behavior conflicts with everyone.

There is a great cast. The new pilots included Miles Teller (who played the son of Goose), Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Glen Powell, Greg Tarzan Davis, Jay Ellis and Danny Ramirez. Yes, most of these were fairly typical type characters, but you do grow to like them. Miles Teller is the character that really gets some time as his relationship with Maverick came to the front.

Top Gun: Maverick has much more depth and more emotional moments that connect with me than the first film. Tom Cruise is excellent throughout the film, carrying a lot of powerful angst on his shoulders, dealing with loss and his own doubts about his past. The scene between Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer was just outstanding.

The action scenes with the jets were totally compelling and put you on the edge of your seat the entire movie. There were so many stakes involved because you were never 100% sure who might be killed. The stunt work was amazing and the choreography is gorgeous. Some times it was hard to follow with who was who, but it never looked anything but spectacular.

It was not a perfect movie. The third act had not one, but two Deus ex Machinas involved, and both were pretty predictable. The events in the third act were really hard to believe as well. The thing is, by the third act, you are so into the movie that you cannot help but be swept up by what happened and the weakness of the story/plot does not jump out at you.

This was a lot of fun and was a complete exciting joy of a film that, if you look too close at the story, it may not hold up. However, if you just engage with the spectacular, you will have all kinds of fun. If you can see it in IMAX, do it. You will appreciate it all the more.

4.5 stars

Memory

The latest Liam Neeson film arrived on Vudu recently and I gave it a watch. Memory did not last long in the theaters, but there have been decent films starring Liam Neeson over the years. Sure, several of them were interchangeable and forgettable, but not all of them.

Unfortunately, Memory is one that will not stick in my own memory for long either.

Alex Lewis (Liam Neeson) was an assassin-for-hire whose reputation for precision was well known. He was hired to carry out a contract on two people, a lowlife and a little girl. Alex refused to kill the girl, thus breaking the contract. He tried to get the contract revoked in his special brand of violence, but the girl still wound up dead. This sent Alex in a path of vengeance for those involved in the case.

Meanwhile, FBI agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pierce) had been involved with an investigation toward the little girl and her sex trafficking father and her death brought him into the case and crossing paths with Alex Lewis.

Oh, there is one more issue going on here. Alex Lewis was hoping to retire because his own memory was beginning to fail with Alzheimer’s Disease starting to develop, much like his brother, whom we saw for a moment.

Liam Neeson was fine here and he was different than in many of his other roles because he looked really old and shaky. That is, until he wasn’t and was a killing machine.

There were so many times during the film that I stopped and wondered who these people were. The villains were so underdeveloped and were nothing more than a person for Alex to kill. Alex was placed as our protagonist but then so was Vincent. There was a Mexican FBI agent Marquez (Harold Torres) who was constantly being, at best, treated as an outsider and, at worse, treated in a totally racist manner. There was meant to be a twist at the end but it was so poorly foreshadowed that it was painfully obvious what was going to happen.

The film was a mess with a poorly written story with weak characters. Liam Neeson deserves better than this.

2 stars

The Sadness

I’m feeling a little queasy and shaken after watching The Sadness, the Taiwanese film from director Rob Jabbaz in his feature film debut arriving on Shudder last weekend. There were some scenes, especially in the first 15-20 minutes when things were starting to ramp up that really stuck with me in that “kicked-me-in-the-gut” way.

The Sadness started out with our two main protagonists, Jim (Berant Zhu) and Katie (Regina Lei) waking up, happily in bed. They seemed happy, despite Jim lacking drive in his life. While Katie prepared for work, Jim saw a TV broadcast talking about a pandemic sweeping the land called the Alvin virus. A doctor (a very Dr. Fauci type individual) argued with the news program about the dangers of the Alvin virus and how people should take it seriously.

As Jim took Katie to the train station, they passed by the police dealing with a man who had brutally murdered another person.

After dropping off Katie, Jim went for a coffee, where he and others in the shop were exposed to an older lady who viciously attacked other customers, that triggered a full out bloodbath. Jim ran from the suddenly bloodthirsty crowd, getting back to his place.

Meanwhile, Katie was being hit on by a weird businessman (Tzu-Chiang Wang) on the train just before someone else started to stab victims in the train.

The film was kind of like a zombie movie, but different because the zombies were not brainless, but, in actuality, vicious and horny. They were not only looking to eat their victims, but also sexually gratify themselves before consuming them. This twist in the zombie tale really made for some disturbing imagery in The Sadness and kept everybody tense and on their guard.

This is one of the goriest and, frankly, unnerving films I have seen in awhile, probably since the DailyView when I watched The Bay. I found myself, especially early in the film, crying out in shock and, perhaps, disgust as the shocks came quick and hard.

It may be a little too close to home with the Alvin virus being the cause of all of the death, and being debated and refuted by governments and the media until it is too late.

This is not a film for the faint-at-heart or someone who does not do well with the sight of blood. There is a lot of it here. However, it is an absolutely tense thriller with plenty of real frights as you follow the two main characters in their efforts to get back to one another. The Sadness is a creative adjustment to the zombie sub-genre of horror films and creates a mood of fear and lack of safety.

4 stars

Senior Year

Rebel Wilson goes into a coma for twenty years and then awakes in the latest original movie from Netflix this weekend. I was in a coma for what felt like twenty years watching this.

In an attempt to become prom queen and grab her perfect life, Stephanie (Angourie Rice) went out of her way to become popular. She became the cheer captain, got her perfect boyfriend, and campaigned for prom queen. Unfortunately, Stephanie was injured during a cheerleader performance and spent 20 years in a coma.

When Stephanie (Rebel Wilson) awoke from the come, she found herself still mentally a 17 year old girl in the body of a nearly forty year old woman. She was somehow able to get up and walk around after being in a coma and not moving for 20 years, but why sweat the little details.

Stephanie decided to go back to high school to get her diploma and win that prom queen she was robbed of.

All of the high schoolers from Stephanie’s original class seemed to be stuck in their high school personas too, including Stephanie’s rival Tiffany (Zoe Chao), her old flame Blaine (Justin Hartley), her friend Seth (Sam Richardson), her old friend who was now principal Martha (Mary Holland) and her father Jim (Chris Parnell).

This was such a bad movie. I was ready for it to be over fifteen minutes into it. It was almost two hours, which was way too long. This should never have been more than 90 minutes. The plot itself was not developed enough to support that run time.

I guess I was supposed to be rooting for Stephanie during this entire film, but she was a horrible person. There was no one that wasn’t rotten. And it too long for Stephanie to start learning her lessons. By the time she did, I couldn’t care less.

There a ton of dance numbers in the film too. Most of those are fine. Some of the music is catchy.

This was meant to be some kind of fairy tale, but it just did not work on any level. Rebel Wilson looked great and brings a lot of energy to the role, but the character is so unlikable that I couldn’t care less what happened to her. None of the supporting characters are worth anything, with the possible exception of Sam Richardson, who has been great over the last few years. Nothing here makes sense and is so unrealistic. Had the film totally embraced the fantasy elements, it may have been better, but I found this so dumb and a waste of time.

1.3 stars

Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022)

I was never a fan of Disney’s Rescue Rangers when it was on TV, and when I heard talk about this 2022 reboot (if you want to call it that), I was anything but enthusiastic.

However, a couple trailers were entertaining and I started hearing some good word of mouth and so, with a specifically weaker movie weekend, Chip and Dale shot to the top.

And you know what? It was very entertaining.

Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers was very funny, more clever than it had any right to be, and had a wonderful story of friendship and forgiveness.

Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samburg) were riding high as the stars of their own Disney animated show, falling right into their typical patterns of humor. However, Dale was always feeling as if he were the second banana, far behind that of his more popular pal. So when he had a chance to get a solo show, he took it, not expecting it to be the end of Rescue Rangers.

So with the Rescue Rangers cancelled and the new project a no go, Chip and Dale went their separate ways.

Years later, animated characters are disappearing, being changed and forced to play knock off versions of themselves in bootleg films. When Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) disappeared, Chip and Dale had to come back together to try and help their old friend. Unfortunately, Chip and Dale found that they still had some issues to iron out between them before they could discover the truth.

I loved how the movie had such a potpourri of animation styles. One of the best jokes in the film is how Dale had a 3D surgery to change his animation style to 3D. It was a clever and cool idea. Then there were all kinds of animation styles from hand drawn to sock puppets to claymation in the film. There is also live action involved in the film.

There are some great voice actors involved here including J.K. Simmons, Seth Rogan, Will Arnett, Keegan-Michael Key, Dennis Haysbert, Tim Robinson, and Rachel Bloom.

There was a ton of special cameos of other animated characters including characters NOT owned by Disney, big characters not own by Disney. It brings back memories of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (including Roger Rabbit himself).

This is a great movie that was a lot of fun. There is something here for the whole family. It is on Disney + streaming service.

4.5 stars