Starring: Marcello Fonte, Edoardo Pesce, Nunzia Schiano, Adamo Dionisi, Francesco Acquaroli, Alida Baldari Calabria, Laura Pizzirani, Gianluca Gobbi
Director: Matteo Garrone
Synopsis: Marcello (actor/character) operates “Dogman” a small one-stop pet service in a working class seaside town. He is a dog whisperer in some ways. It is unfortunate he’s not so charmed with humans; namely the cokehead/bully/general terror of the neighborhood. Dogman is a riveting and tense character study of a man who isn’t too bright, loves his job and his neighborhood, has a sometimes contradictory code that he lives by, and is a loving father. The takeaway for me is that sometimes, no matter how much one tries the logical approach with a nemesis/bully/and other banes to one’s existence, something other than logic needs to be employed.
Etc. Italian-made; subtitles; occasional, non-gratuitous scenes of violence
Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran, James Corden, Ana de Armas, Lamorne Morris, Joel Fry, Ellise Chappell, Harry Michell, Alexander Arnold, Maryana Spivak, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr
Director: Danny Boyle
Synopsis: The main character, a musician trying to get his big break, has an accident, and when he wakes up, soon realizes that The Beatles never existed. He decides to capitalize on it with his music career. There is also a very sweet and romantic love story in it. The music is good.
Etc. Dry humor for the most part. I don’t remember seeing Paul M and Ringo in there!
The Sensation of Sight (2006)
Starring: David Strathairn, Ian Somerhalder, Daniel Gillies, Jane Adams, Ann Cusack, Joseph Mazzello, Elisabeth Waterston, Scott Wilson
Director: Aaron J. Wiederspahn
Synopsis: David Strathairn is an underappreciated actor. He’s one of the best I’ve seen, and you know how many movies I watch. He plays a teacher who can’t get over the death of one of his students. He feels there should have been something he could have done. Woven between his story are two other stories of people going through other times of change in the small town where the story takes place. Good film for teachers/professors to use on the topic of suicide and bereavement for those left behind.
Etc. Tear-jerker, as you can imagine. “Why?” is the big question that gets asked, and maybe even answered. This is a long movie, at over 2 hours, being as intense as it is. May be better to watch it in two sessions.
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett, Billy MacLellan
Director: Aisling Walsh
Synopsis: Maud has an arthritic condition and was sent to live with an aunt by her brother when their mother dies. There is nothing wrong with Maud’s mind, but try telling her less-than-compassionate relatives that. Maud yearns for independence. Her prayers are answered in a fashion when she sees the gruff handyman that lives on the outskirts of town post a “housekeeper wanted” sign on the general store’s billboard. And so begins the unconventional adventure of two misfits who were made for each other. One of the most endearing love stories ever, performed by two actors at the top of their form (Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins, who also starred in The Shape of Water.) Set in the breathtakingly beautiful province of Nova Scotia, Canada, there is an almost spiritual poignance to the story, which is based on a real life artist, Maud Lewis. Go here for an NPR story on the movie, which also links to information on Maud Lewis.
Etc. Have the kleenex ready. Very good soundtrack. Keep watching through the credits for art by Maud.
Prank Encounters (2019) Netflix Series
Starring: Gaten Matarazzo (host), Peter Giles, David Storrs, Mary Gallagher, Sven Holmberg, Julian Gant, Olivia DeLaurentus, Gabriel Pimentel, Alex Meglei, Cathy Shim, Jeff Lewis, Eddie Perino, Henry Dittman, John Nyrere Frazier, Katrina Kemp, and at least 7 others, besides all of the unsuspecting 16 (2 per episode) targets of the pranks.
Writers: Doug Perkins, David Storrs
Synopsis: The 8-episode series is based on “a premise of playing ‘terrifying and hilarious pranks’ on unsuspecting employees taking on a new job,” per digitalspy.com. I decided to watch one episode to see if it was any good. After being able to overcome the barrier of the knowledge that the two targets in each episode that are not in on the elaborate prank are getting the H*LL scared out of them, I laughed so hard I p’d my pants. I’ve watched 5 of the 8 so far and plan on watching the rest.
Etc. I haven’t seen Stranger Things so host Gaten is new to me. He’s goofy and irritating but he’s not seen much, so he doesn’t detract too much from the show. Prank Encounters is a guilty pleasure, so if you acknowledge that it is you’ll be free to enjoy it.
No clips for this as the previews I see have spoilers in them.