Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies! Unbelievable, but today is the 100th episode of this feature. It started before covid, took a brief hiatus during the first crisis of it, and got right back in the saddle. Hoping it continues long after we’ve ground covid to dust.
I’m way behind on reviews for the movies I’ve seen. Hoping to catch up soon. I’m back to re-watching both Dexter and Peaky Blinders in preparation for their new seasons. I also have the final season of Shameless on order from the library. Plus! I’m in the process of watching S3 of The Twilight Zone (Hi Max!) That should slow down the movie watching a little.
Yellow Rose (2019)
Starring: Eva Noblezada, Princess Punzalan, Sylvia Ramos, Liam Booth, Sandy Avila, Beau Smith, Dale Watson, Libby Vallari, Shannon McCormick, Lea Salonga, Sophie Zimny, Thom Hallum, Leslie Lewis, Beth Puorro, Susan Myburgh, Gustavo Gomez, and many more.
Director: Diane Paragas
Genres: drama, music, immigration
Synopsis: Set in Austin, TX, Rose (played by Noblezada) is a Filipina teenager and high schooler who moved with her mother (played by Punzalan) from their homeland to the USA at some point. My understanding is that her mother married a man named Garcia who maybe adopted Rose? In any case, Mr. Garcia has passed on, leaving Rose’s mom and she to live in a hotel where mom works as a housekeeper. Sorry to belabor that part of the story, buy mom has started getting letters from US immigration that she keeps ignoring and never tells Rose about. One night when Rose is out doing something she wasn’t supposed to do she returns home to see immigration raiding the hotel and carting her mom off in handcuffs. Terrified she will be caught and deported and left for all practical purposes homeless, the rest of the story shows her transience, with a parallel story line that she is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist that plays country music. The story gives equal screen time to both plot lines.
Impressions: I simultaneously admired Rose for her dream and her focus on making music and being irritated with her for the choices that so easily could have led to her being harmed. She was blessed/protected to have encountered safe people and places with her best interests in mind. The film was a little bit depressing with mom being kept in a detention center and treated like a criminal. I liked the setting in Austin. It shows a lot of places in the city. The highlight for me was Dale Watson, a real country singer, who in the movie takes Rose on as a mentee and gives her his knowledge and some opportunities to perform her songs in front of other people. I also really enjoyed the gentle friendship-romance going on between Rose and Elliot (played very well by Booth.) Elliot is a template to how teenaged guys need to interact with female peers.
Awards: 14 wins and 2 nominations
Wrath of Man (2021)
Starring: Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Rocci Williams, Josh Hartnett, Jeffrey Donovan, Scott Eastwood, Andy Garcia, Deobia Oparei, Laz Alonso, Raul Castillo, Chris Reilly, Eddie Marsan, Niamh Algar, Tadhg Murphy, Alessandro Babalola, and many more.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Genres: action, crime
Synopsis: Set in Los Angeles, the story begins when H (played by Statham) is hired for a big cash truck company. Warning bells start to go off with some of the employees when they see him in action and how lethal he is and wonder why a guy like him is working as an ordinary cash truck driver. Flashbacks and cutaways reveal that H is on a mission for revenge, as an insider in the company’s actions led to the death of one of H’s loved ones. There’s also a co-plot around who H really is and why he’s such a badass.
Impressions: Director Ritchie knows how to make action movies. Statham is a little more hard-core in this one than I’ve seen him in other action movies. The plot is a little complicated and the flashbacks and cutaways tend towards being irritating in their quantity. There is a decent ensemble but to be honest they all feel a little wooden in their roles. About the only one who doesn’t seem like a caricature is Eddie Marsan, who plays the the boss of the company, but his role is fairly limited. They do a good job of not revealing who the rat is until the very end.
Etc.: from imdb: This is the fourth collaboration between Jason Statham and director Guy Ritchie after previously working together on Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998,) Snatch (2000,) and Revolver.; filmed mostly in California but interior scenes shot in London, UK. Warning: LOTS OF KILLING, some of it graphic.
Awards: too soon
Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten (2021) PBS Special
Starring: Michel Martin, Pastor Robert Turner, DeNeen L. Brown, Betsy Warner, Eric Stover, Joshua Freeman, Hannibal Johnson, Kristi Williams, Gregory Robinson, Regina Goodwin, Veneice Dunn Simms, George Monroe, G.T. Bynum, Floyd Brown, Dreisen Heath, and many more.
Director: Jonathan Silvers
Genres: documentary, history
Synopsis: It is the 100th anniversary of the deadly assault upon the thriving and prosperous black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The documentary interviews many people in Tulsa that had family connections with those murdered and those who survived the racial atrocities visited upon the people, businesses, and homes of the black people. It talks about what ignited it and how law enforcement refused to enforce the laws or to hold any of the guilty who were involved with it all accountable. Lots of photos of the intact community and then photos of the aftermath. The documentary also shows modern times and how the city is and is not working towards healing the wounds that still exist in Tulsa.
Impressions: It was good to learn about what happened there and very disturbing at how nobody was held accountable and no efforts at restorative justice. The mayor talks a good talk, but it seems like very little action is being taken to make things right.
Awards: too soon
Starring: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, James Duval, Nichole Hiltz, Kevin Gage, Merle Kennedy, Chandler Riley Hecht, Rachel David, Nora Zehetner, and many others.
Director and Writer: Lucky McKee
Genres: indie, horror, comedy (?)
Synopsis: The imdb synopsis says it just right:
A socially awkward veterinary assistant with a lazy eye and obsession with perfection descends into depravity after developing a crush on a boy with perfect hands.
Impressions: It’s a quirky “B” movie but is actually much better than its indie appearance would suggest. It’s not a slick production, but the acting is good and the story line is compelling. May herself, although an oddball, has her own style and is a character you genuinely care about by the time all is said and done. I first learned of this many moons ago when I followed some “B” movie producers and directors and watched it when it was first released — then lost track of it. I ended up buying the streaming version through amazon in order to watch it again. Beware, there are some extremely graphic scenes of almost surreal horror.
Etc.: from imdb: Originally the film opened with a lengthy introduction to May as a child. But when the film appeared to be taking too long to get to its point, most of those scenes were cut. The opening with the adult May, specifically the first scene with her and her doll, were shot quickly and only to make the point that May was lonely as quickly as possible.
Awards: 9 wins and 8 nominations
[No good trailer available. The one trailer I did find is very poorly done.]
Dead Poets Society (1989)
Starring: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen, Dylan Kussman, Allelon Ruggiero, James Waterston, Norman Lloyd, Kurtwood Smith, Carla Belver, Leon Pownall, George Martin, Joe Aufiery, Matt Carey, Kevin Cooney, & many more.
Director: Peter Weir
Genres: comedy, drama
Synopsis: Young men at a ritzy and demanding boarding school learn how to fit a certain mold, which is to be like their ritzy and demanding parents. Nobody questions their prescribed lives – until former student of the school who is now turned English teacher, Mr. Keating (played by Williams,) shows up to teach the boys in his class about poetry. The amazing Mr. Keating brings poetry to life for the boys, which gets them thinking in new ways. As you can imagine the uptight teachers at the school are concerned; and when the boys’ parents learn about the unorthodox methods of Mr. Keating, they start to flex their power in ugly ways.
Impressions: I’m glad I went back and watched this one again; it had been too long. With Robin Williams having passed on due to suicide, this film was all the more impactful. The themes explored in it stand the test of time. If there is anyone out there who hasn’t seen “Dead Poets Society” then please find a way to see it.
Etc.: What attracted Robin Williams to the role of John Keating more than anything else was that John Keating was the type of teacher he, in his school days, always wished he had. There is a wealth of trivia on this one at imdb.
Awards: 20 wins and 19 nominations