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Movies, Movies, Movies! #47 – August 25, 2020

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Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies!

The Call of the Wild (2020)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Omar Cy, Cara Gee, Dan Stevens, Bradley Whitford, Buck (CGI dog) Director: Chris Sanders
Genres: adventure
Synopsis: Based on the novel of the same name written by Jack London, Harrison Ford plays the widower who moves to the Gold Rush era Alaska and by chance encounters Buck, the dog that was kidnapped from a Southern genteel family and shipped north to be a sled dog.
Impressions: I loved the novel as a kid. I hate Buck being a CGI dog, as convenient as it is for the movie makers. It’s a decent story, and Harrison Ford still knows how to command a screen. Lots of shots of the Great Wilderness of the north. Geared more to be a kids’ movie.
Grade: 7
Etc.: Each sled dog on Buck’s team (besides Spitz) was given the personality of one of the dwarfs from the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937): Dolly is Bashful, Pike is Grumpy, Joe is Happy, Billy is Sleepy, Dave is Dopey, Dub is Sneezy, and Sol-Leks is Doc.
Awards: 1 other win

Calvary (2014)
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankolé, M. Emmet Walsh, Marie-Josée Croze, Domhnall Gleeson, David Wilmot, Pat Shortt, Gary Lydon, Killian Scott, Orla O’Rourke, Owen Sharpe
Director and Writer: John Michael McDonagh
Genres: drama, religious themes
Synopsis: Brendan plays a good priest in a small town who is told in the beginning of the movie in the confession box that he will be given one week to get his affairs in order as the confessor plans on killing him for past wrongs others committed. During the week after the threat is made, the priest runs up on all manner of sins.
Impressions: imdb says this is a comedy along with drama, but I wasn’t feeling much comedy at all in this! Maybe things bordering on the absurd where you shake your head and laugh at it, but no more. I wasn’t taking notes, but I think every sin that’s a cardinal sin gets covered in it. The people are mean and nasty also.  Alone in the wildnerness the priest is the innocent that must die. Definitely parallels between the priest and Jesus here. The cast is superb and they bring this script to life, as dark and depressing as it is. The film borders on surreal in places. Brendan Gleeson is a star among stars in his role.
Grade: 8.5
Etc.: Irish film. The role of Freddie Joyce is played by Brendan Gleeson’s real-life son Domhnall Gleeson.
Awards: 10 other wins and 29 other nominations

Roxy Music: The Thrill of it All Parts 1 and 2 (2007)
Starring: Bryan Ferry (vocals/keyboards,) Graham Simpson (bass,) Andy Mackay (sax and oboe,) Brian Eno (synth and treatments,) Paul Thompson (drums,) and Phil Manzanera (guitar.)
Director: n/a
Genres: musical performances
Synopsis:
from VIVARoxyMusic.com THE website to visit to learn everything you could want to know about Roxy Music:

Roxy Music released a visual retrospective on a double DVD on 26th November 2007. The 2 disc set has been made available as 2 separate discs in some regions. Disc 1 covers 1972-1976 and Disc 2 covers 1979-1982.

Impressions: 38, count ’em, 38 selections here, each disc is about 90 minutes. The performances are from all over the place. Just looking at their different outfits was fun. After seeing and hearing so much more than I’d ever heard before of the band, it’s clear I need to get better acquainted. The music stands in a class by itself. Very difficult to shove it into a genre. Electronica, fusion, ambient, soul-searching, other-worldly. Watching Ferry perform, there is a feeling he is not of this world but is a galactic messenger.
Grade: 10

Luce (2019)
Starring: Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Tim Roth, and Kelvin Harrison, Jr.
Director: Julius Onah
Genres: thriller
Synopsis: Watts and Roth play a well-to-do white suburban couple who decide to adopt a traumatized 7-year old black child from a war-torn country. They focus their energies on helping the child process the massive trauma he’s undergone and to assimilate into a well-to-do white suburban environment. The story begins when Luce (which means light) is in high school. He excels in every area of his high school experience. Where trouble begins is when one of his astute, no-nonsense teachers, played by Spencer, grows concerned about an essay Luce writes that advocates violence as a political tool. Now enter other alleged “cracks in the perfect exterior” of a golden child, complicated of course by race. Paralleling the school drama, the parents’ responses to the issues play themselves out in interesting ways. Is Luce the poor, persecuted victim of circumstance by an unhappy teacher? Or is there something else at work?
Impressions: Very good tension setting. I almost started biting my nails and I don’t bite my nails. The plot is believable. The cast is passionate. The situations are not elevated or exaggerated, which may work against it for the kind of movie it is. There is a scene in it that is supposed to inspire horror, but it made me laugh. Spencer gives a memorable speech.
Grade: 7
Awards: 3 other wins and 3 other nominations

Brian Banks (2018)
Starring: Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear, Sherri Shepherd, Melanie Liburd, Tiffany Dupont, Xosha Roquemore, Mystie Smith, Jose Miguel Vasquez, Dorian Missick, Monique Grant
Director: Tom Shadyac
Genres: legal drama
Synopsis: As a 16-year-old high schooler Brian Banks was tried as an adult for the kidnapping and rape of a 15-year-old female student and imprisoned for 5 years. At the time of his arrest, Banks was a star football player on a trajectory towards the NFL. When he gets out of prison, he’s a registered sex offender on parole whose parole officer micromanages without mercy. Brian’s dreams have shattered but he isn’t one to give up for one important reason: he’s innocent of the crime. The movie focuses on Brian’s search for justice and redemption in the eyes of society. Against all odds he convinces an “innocence projects” nonprofit to take on his case.
Impressions: Hodge as Brian Banks is truly inspirational to watch in this movie. There is a genuine heart in the plot. There are important messages to be found within it about the mechanics of the justice system as well as what can be accomplished by working together with a positive attitude.
Grade: 7.5-8
Etc.: Based on a true story
Awards: 3 other wins and 2 other nominations

The Hunt (2020)
Starring: Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, Wayne Duvall, Ethan Suplee, Emma Roberts, and many more
Director: Craig Zobel
Genres: action
Synopsis: A group of strangers wake up in unfamiliar turf and soon realize they are being hunted. The movie revolves around surviving and figuring out where they are and why they are being hunted.
Impressions: Gilpin (one of the stars of the netflix series, G.L.O.W.) is the reason I borrowed this and she does not disappoint. I love watching her kick butt here. The plot is just plain stupid. The huge mostly-cameo support cast never gets a chance to do much. Swank isn’t in the movie a lot but when she is she’s good. Good soundtrack. Sharp dialogue between Gilpin and Swank.
Grade: 6
Etc.: lots of graphic violence. Body count 23.
Awards: too new for nominations/wins

7 thoughts on “Movies, Movies, Movies! #47 – August 25, 2020

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