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Queen & Slim (2019)
Road movie and relationship drama with social undercurrent
As "Queen & Slim" (2019 release; 132 min.) opens, we get to know these two characters, as they are on their first dinner date in Cleveland. Afterwards, they get pulled over by a blatantly racist cop. The tension mounts and when the cop shoots Queen, Slims dives into the cop and in the ensuing struggle, shoots and kills the cop.Terrified by what has happened, they decide to takeoff and drive to New Orleans, where Queen's uncle lives... At this point we are 10 minutes into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you will just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the feature length debut of director Melina Matsoukas, well known for her many music videos (Beyoncé, Jay Z). Here she brings the courtship of Queen and Slim In the form of a road movie, pure and simple. After the initial shock of the opening 10 minutes, the movie takes a decidedly different tone as this is more about the budding relationship between these two then it is about excessive police force against unarmed African Americans. In that sense, the movie's trailer is a bit misleading as that clearly emphasized the racial tensions and related social issues. The other issue I have is that at two hours and a quarter hour, the movie is just too long for its own good. A tighter edit could've trimmed 15 to 20 minutes without the movie losing any of its essence. Daniel Kaluuya as Slim and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith as Queen are terrific in the lead roles. Keep your eye out for a short (less than 5 minutes) appearance by Chloë Savigny and an almost unrecognizable Flea as her husband.
"Queen & Slim" Open wide on Thanksgiving weekend. The Thanksgiving day matinee screening where I saw this at was attended dismally (two people including myself), which quite surprised me. If you have any Interest In seeing a road movie of a very different kind, with strong romantic and social undercurrent, I readily suggest you check this out, be at in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD and Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
Midway (2019) vs. Midway (1976): and the winner is...
"Midway" (2019 release; 138 min.) brings the story of the WWII battle of Midway. As the movie opens, it is "December 4, 1937", and British, US and Japanese dignitaries are exchanging toasts in the name of peace. We then go to "December 7, 1941", as the Japanese are starting to attack Pearl Harbor... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is directed by Roland Emmerich, yes, he of "Independence Day" (and its sequel), "2012", "White House Down", and so on. That is really all you need to know to put this latest version of "Midway" into perspective. Character development is minimal, but who cares anyway, as we all await the battle scenes. Once they come, starting with Pearl Harbor and culminating in the movie's last hour with the actual battle of Midway (on June 4, 1942, amazingly only 6 months after Pearl Harbor), all restraint is thrown overboard, and it's almost an assault on the senses. And yes, quite enjoyable. The thing is that the battle scenes are perfect, frankly too perfect. Think of it like watching video games on steroids. I can't help but think back to the 1976 movie of the same name covering the same events (starring Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda), when CGI was not available and the movie makers used other means (including actual archival footage from the battle). While I enjoyed the Roland Emmerich re-imagination of Midway better than I expected, I nevertheless feel that the 1976 movie is slightly better, or perhaps I should say that it feels more realistic. Please note: Emmerich financed this $100 million production movie independently outside the Hollywood studio system, and he ended up getting a sizable part of the budget financed through Chinese investors. That comes at a cost of course, and hence the script makes a couple of unnecessary, if not questionable, detours into China's role (?) in the battle of Midway. A darn shame.
"Midway" opened wide several weeks ago, and I finally got around to seeing it. The Friday matinee screening where I saw this at the day after Thanksgiving was attended okay (about 20 people in a large theater). If you have an interest in WWII and/or in big budget war movies, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
Cover the same ground as last year's "Wont You Be My Neighbor?" documentary
First of all, let's be clear, "A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood" is a heartwarming look at the extraordinary person that Fred Rogers was, on so many levels. And it is equally clear that Tom Hanks brings us another outstanding acting performance in his illustrious career. I mean, how many top-notch roles has he played over the decades? I am going on record already and predict that Tom Hanks will get a Best Actor Oscar nomination for this.
All that said, is anyone else besides me struck by the fact that this movie in all but the details covers the EXACT SAME territory as last year's outstanding "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" documentary? Except of course that in the documentary you get to see the real Fred Rogers and the actual archive footage and video clips. So what is the added value of "A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood"? I couldn't think of much (except that it is heartwarming, but that was already the case with last year's documentary).
"A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood" was released wide in theaters this weekend, and did quite nicely at the box office, coming in at $13.5 million (just below the studio's own projections). Based on the strong word of mouth this movie is generating, I expect it to show strong legs at the box office in the weeks to come. If you haven't seen "Won't You Be My Neighbor"? yet, I'd suggest you check that out as well (available on VOD and DVD/Blu-ray), and then compare it to "A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood", and draw your own conclusion as to the intrinsic strengths and qualities of these movies.
Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Entertaining if a bit overly long
"Ford v Ferrari" (2019 release; 152 min.) brings the true story of the showdown at the 24 hrs of LeMans in 1966. As the movie opens, we see Carroll Shelby in a flashback win the 1959 LeMans. We then go forward a few years when Henry Ford II address the Ford factory floor asking for some good new ideas. Up-and-coming executive Lee Iacocca suggests buying the struggling Ferrari car manufacturer but the deal fails. In a parallel story, we get to know rebel driver Ken Miles.... At this point we are less than 15 minutes into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest film from director James Mansfield (The Wolverine; Logan). Here he brings to the screen the heated rivalry between two very different giants in the car industry: Ford and Ferrari. The movie starts promisingly, but pretty soon we are bogged down in all kinds of corporate background and infighting that play out for way too long. Honestly, the movie could've been trimmed by 20 to 25 minutes in the movie's first half, and would not have lost any of the movie's essence. Matt Damon en Christian Bale are terrific in the lead roles of Shelby and Miles. The actual racing sequences are entertaining and loud, very loud.
The movie opened wide the previous weekend, too great acclaim and box office success. I saw the movie in its second weekend of play, and the Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended very nicely. Positive word of mouth will likely result in continued strong business in the weeks to come. If you have any interest in car racing, or are simply interested in a well-made and entertaining movie (even if a bit overly long for its own good), I readily suggest you check it out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD or Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
The Report (2019)
When the CIA goes rogue (again): it will anger and enrage you
"The Report" (2019 release; 120 min.) brings the story of what happened to the Senate Intelligence Committee report on what went wrong with the CIA's detention and "enhanced interrogation techniques" (the so-called EITs). As the movie opens, we see congressional staffer Daniel Jones seemingly meeting with his lawyer about the possible removal of documents. We then go back to "2007", when Jones is appointed by Senate Dianne Feinstein to look into what is going on in Iraq. Jones and his small staff are immediately stonewalled from every which direction.... At this point we are 10 minutes into the movie but to tell you more of the plot will spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from director Scott Burns, best known for writing thriller like The Borne Ultimatum. Here he brings a story to the big screen which is likely to enrage as it is to anger you. Bottom line is that the CIA, without telling anyone, started to use "enhanced techniques" (read: TORTURE) on Iraqi prisoners and terrorists, and then the CIA covered it up and lied about it (including to President Bush). A congressional staffer is determined to shed the light on it all. Adam Drive is EXCELLENT as the so(m)ber congressional staffer, and Annette Bening is virtually unrecognizable as Senator Feinstein.
"The Report" opened last weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati for what turned out to be a one week run only (the movie goes wide on Netflix in the next week or so). The Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended dismally (3 people, including myself), and frankly, I can't blame anyone as this movie is a depressing movie. That said, it is also an engrossing and important movie, reminding us why there are legislative check-and-balances on institutions like the CIA, and yet more so with the current state of affairs in DC with an unhinged and megalomaniac POTUS who literally believes he can do ANYTHING he wants regardless of any law. Of course I encourage you to check out "The Report", be it at the theater (unlikely at this point, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
The Good Liar (2019)
Who's fooling whom? You'd be surprised...
"The Good Liar" (2019 release from the UK; 110 min.) brings the story of Roy and Betty. As the movie opens, they both are entering a profile on some sating website, revealing both are widowed. We then go to "London 2009", where Roy and Betty meet up for dinner for the fist time, and they both hit it of, or so it seems. After dinner, Roy speeds off to another meeting, where he and his partners are defrauding some Russians in a fake Bahamas real estate deal... At this point, we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest from director Boll Condon (Twilight Saga - Breaking Down; Dreamgirls; Beauty and the Beast). Here he bring the novel of the same name by Nicolas Searle to the big screen. I have not read the book so I cannot comment how closely the film sticks to the book. Given the movie's title, you know that from the get-go, people are fooling others, the only question being whether you can detect it. At that level, the movie plays out decently, but that said, the movie severely lacks an element of drama or any tension. Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen do the best they can with the material they are given,and that for sure is the bets I can say of this movie. There is a delightful sequence set in today's Berlin and catching all of th3 famous landmarks of that city. There is also a decent score, courtesy of composer Carter Burwell. But in the end, it's sadly not Roy who is fooling Betty (or the other way around), instead it's the film makers who are fooling the audience into paying money to see this very average cat-and-mouse crime drama that isn't a drama at all.
"The Good Liar" opened wide this weekend, and based on the movie's clever trailer, I was looking forward to seeing it. The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati was attended nicely (a good 20 people in a small theater). Alas, as it turned out, this wasn't really worth my time of money. Of course I encourage you to check it out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
The Irishman (2019)
Martin Scorsese's latest mob drama is great but will test your endurance
"The Irishman" (2019 release; 209 min.) brings the story of Frank Sheeran. as the movie opens, the camera scans through a seniors home and eventually finds Frank, who begins to tell his story. We then go back in time to 1975, when Frank and his wife, along with Russ and his wife, are getting ready for a road trip from Phillie to attend a wedding in Detroit. We then go further back in tine how Frank and Russ first met... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest opus from director Martin Scorsese. This movie has been in development hell for YEARS (over a decade, in fact), but when the right elements finally lined up, Scorsese and his team made the most of it. Robert de Niro (as Frank) has been pushing this project from day 1 and is masterful in the role of Frank, whom we follow over a period of 4 decades or so, from his early days getting involved in the Phillie mafia to his time with Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa (played masterfully by Al Pacinco). But the best performance comes from Joe Pesci (as Russ). As we see this mobster/union power struggle play out, it's never clear who has the final say, and Scorsese doesn't attempt to resolve the issue, and we are left to make our own conclusions. Much as been made about the movie's 3 1/2 hr. running time (without an intermission, I might add) , and truth be told, the movie could've easily trimmed a good 20-30 min. without losing any of its essence. But then again, who can argue with Scorsese? or de Niro?
"The Irishman" opened this weekend in a very limited theatrical release (before moving the Netflix by the end of the month), and I couldn't be happier that my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati was one of those theaters. The Saturday matinee screening where I saw this at was PACKED to the rafters, to no one's surprise. I quite liked it, even if the movie is a bit overly long for its own good. If you are in the mood for another serving of Martin Scorsese-Robert de Niro-Al Pacino-Joe Pesci mobster drama, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
The Fourth Estate (2018)
Must-see documentary in the age of "alternative facts"
"The Fourth Estate" (2018 release; 4 episodes; 260 min.) is a documentary about the day-to-day journalism that the New York Times does. As Episode 1 "100 Days" opens, it is January 20, 2017 and Trump is being sworn in. We get to know Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of the Times, about the rapidly changing landscape, both within the newspaper industry and within the political sphere ("We are dealing with a President who is very comfortable not telling the truth"). It's not long before one political bombshell starts falling after another...
Couple of comments: this documentary series is produced and directed by veteran film maker Liz Garbus, one of the premier documentarians of this generation ("Bobby Fisher Against the World", "There' Something Wrong With Aunt Diane", "What Happened, Miss Simone?"). Here she is granted seemingly unlimited access to the New York Times for months on end, and at all times of the day and night. The core team of political and investigative reporters becomes very familiar to us over these 4 episodes. Couple of things that are really striking: (1) the competition, in particular against the Washington Post, is killer. Watch the expression on the NTY reporters' faces when the WaPo breaks a big story (the Flynt story) in early 2017 before they do. (2) these reporters are putting in HUGE amount of hours, and need to basically be available 24/7. "Reporters today are working much harder than when i was a reporter", comments Baquet. (3) it's all about posting a story on-line. The print edition has become an afterthought. (4) did I mention it is HARD WORK? holy cow. Please note that the theme music and some of the score is courtesy of NIN's Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Earlier this week I attended a book event here in CIncinnati featuring the New York Times' Deputy General Counsel David McGraw (discussing his new book "Truth in Our Times"). He mentioned that the NYT must do a better job explaining to the public what (and how) it works, and that this Showtime series was a deliberate effort to make the paper more accessible and transparent. I had not heard of this series until this week, and then promptly bingewatched it. What an engrossing and must-see documentary this turned out to be! Even though it's now 18 months old, it feels still 100% relevant with this crazy age that is the Trump administration. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Back to Life (2019)
British take on readjusting to 'normal' life after an 18 yr. prison sentence
"Back to Life" (2019 release from the UK; 6 episodes of 30 min. each) brings the story of Miri, a woman in her late thirties who tries to adjust "back to life" after serving an 18 yr. prison term. As Episode 1 opens, we shift back and forth between a job interview Miri is doing (and trying to explain--or avoid to explain--the 18 year gap in her resume), and her release from prison, moving back home with her parents in the most awkward of ways (mom hurriedly takes away and hides the kitchen knives, etc.). At this point we are 10 min. into the first episode.
Couple of comments: this TV series is a labor of love from British actress Daisy Haggard (best known in the US for her role in several of the Harry Potter franchise of movies). Haggard created the series and of course stars as Mir. The premise of the series is a simple as can be: a woman tries to reintegrate into society after serving an 18 yr. prison term. It's in the execution of that premise that this series shines: things are far more awkward than we had imagined, even more so as this is set in a small coastal town (think: Bournemouth or Brighton) where everyone knows everyone. And then there is this: WHY did Miri serve such a long prison term? (That is eventually revealed in Episode 3.) Even though this is billed as a "comedy", there really aren't any "laugh out loud" moments. Instead it's a chuckle here and a chuckle there, as we feel empathy for Miri's difficulties on her road "back to life". Please note that "Back to Life" is a British series, and is correlating "Brit-heavy", which for some US viewers may be perplexing or even off-putting. I found it charming (but then again, I grew up in nearby Belgium).
"Back to Life" premiered in the UK this past Spring to critical acclaim, and this is now showing on Showtime (and available on VOD platforms). I have very much enjoyed this mini-series, including for all of its quirkiness and oddities. Haggard shines throughout, and gets great acting support. Here's hoping for a second season of this, as "Back to Life" is a WINNER.
Motherless Brooklyn (2019)
Well intended but overly long and surprisingly flat-footed
"Motherless Brooklyn" (2019 release; 144 min.) brings the story of Lionel, a Brooklyn private investigator suffering from Tourette Syndrome. As the movie opens, Lionel is in a car with a colleague, as they await instructions from their boss Frank Minna regarding a stake-out. The bad guys show up, and before we know it, they drive off with Frank, and Lionel and his colleague are in hot pursuit. They lose track and by the time they catch up, Frank has been shot and left for dead... Why was Frank shot? Who were those bad guys? At this point we are 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is a labor of love from Edward Norton, who directed, produced, wrote the script (based on Jonathan Lethem's book), and stars as Lionel. The movie was in development hell for YEARS and that Norton finally was able to make it, is a tribute to his persistence and patience. I didn't read the underlying book and hence can't comment how closely the film sticks to the book. Now for the not so good: the movie, set in the 1950s, plays out as a film noir-wanna be (with correlating photography and musical score), and should create a lot of tension and drama. Alas, none of that happened and I was surprised how flat-footed the movie was. I never felt emotionally invested in any of the characters. And what it the plot's big picture? It took forever to take shape, and then it took another forever to play out. In other words, the movie runs far too long (2 1/2 hrs, maybe 40-45 min. too long) for its own good. Norton gives a good performance as the Tourette Syndrome suffering PI, but how many times can one apologize for suffering from Tourette? (Lionel apologizes, literally, dozens of times throughout the movie.) Bruce Willis, who gets second billing, has less than 10 min. of screen time in the entire movie. Alec Baldwin, Leslie Mann and Willem Dafoe also have small roles. One of the very best aspects of the movie is the score, courtesy of versatile and rapidly up-and-coming composer Daniel Pemberton. On top of that, Thom Yorke contributes a new song ("Daily Battles", it also plays prominently in the movie's trailer).
"Motherless Brooklyn" premiered at this year's Telluride film festival to positive acclaim. The movie was released wide the weekend before last, with mixed box office results. I finally went to see it this weekend, and the Sunday afternoon screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati was attended okay (about 15 people). The audience applauded when the movie's end credits started rolling. I can't say that I shared the audience's feeling. If you are in the mood to check out a film noir-wanna be that is a bit overly long for its own good (and in my view surprisingly flat-footed), I'd suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Using absurd and black humor to expose Hitler and Nazi Germany
"Jojo Rabbit" (2019 release; 108 min.) brings the story of Jojo. As the movie opens, 10 yr. old Jojo is pledging allegiance to his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, while we also get clips of Hitler-mania in Germany, as the Beatles' Komm Gib Mir Deiner Hand plays along. Jojo joins the Hitler Jugend traning camp in what we learn are the waning months of the Third Reich. Returning from camp, Jojo is startled to learn that a Jewish girl, Elsa, is hiding in the attic, helped by Jojo's mom. At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest work from New Zealander Taika Waititi, who recently directed "Thor: Ragnarok" and before that the excellent "Hunt for the Wilderpeople". Here Waititi not only directs, but also wrote the scrip, produces, AND stars as the wacky Adolf Hitler (as imagined in the mind of a 10 yr. old boy). There is lots of humor, mostly of the absurd if not black kind, but along the way plenty of points are made as well about intolerance and hate and the absurdity of war. British newcomer Roman Griffin Davis is nothing short of sensational as the young boy. His mom is played by Scarlett Johansson. Australian actress Thomasin McKenzie, outstanding in "Leave No Trace" is excellent as the Jewish teenager Else. Surely we have not seen the last of her (or of Davis). There are excellent song placements in the movie, including Love's "Everybody's Gotta Live", Roy Orbinson's "Mama" and David Bowie's "Helden", which plays in the very last scene of the movie and then over the end titles.
"Jojo Rabbit" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September to positive buss. After being released in NY and LA, the movie gradually rolled out to other cities and it made its way to Cincinnati last weekend. I finally got around to seeing it this weekend. The Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended very well, a bit to my surprise as this is NOT a very "mainstream"-like movie. If you are in the mood to check out a new perspective on Hitler and Nazi Germany with a heavy dose of absurd and black humor, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.
The Apollo (2019)
The rich history and significance of the Apollo
"The Apollo" (2019 release; 102 min.) is a documentary about the legendary theater in Harlem. As the movie opens, we are watching a modern performance piece (we later learn it's the live performance of "Between the World and Me"). We then go back to the theater's beginning as the "Apollo" in 1934, located at Harlem's ground zero on 125th Street. Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington performed there that year. "It's a model of black achievement", comments one of the documentary's many talking heads. At this point we are 10 min. into the film.
Couple of comments: this is the latest documentary from the Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams. Here he brings us the rich history and significance of the Apollo. The movie is remarkably split (almost 50-50) between the emphasis on the music/dance/performance (in the first half) and the civil rights and political significance (in the second half). Among the music's highlights is of course the (in)famous Amateur Night. Incredibly, we see footage of Lauryn Hill (yes, THE Lauryn Hill), then age 13, being booed off the stage by the crowd (Hill's singing was indeed completely out of tune). Surreal. In the second half, in addition to the political significance, the film makers also look at how the Apollo stays relevant in today's society and what its role is/should be ("new works from the African-American community"}, which leads us back to "Between the World and Me". Bottom line: this is a delightful and insightful documentary about one of the iconic landmarks in New York.
"The Apollo" premiered this week on HBO and is now available on VOD. If you have any interest in knowing more about the rich history and significance of the Apollo, I'd readily suggest you check this out, and draw your own conclusion.
Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Picking up where Judgment Day left off... better than expected!
"Terminator - Dark Fate" (2019 release; 128 min.) picks up where "Terminator - Judgment Day" left off. As the movie opens, it is "Livingston, Guatemala 1998", and Linda and John Connor are at a beach resort. Then a T-800 appears from the future, and before Linda can react, shoots and kills John. We then go to "Mexico City 22 years Later", and in short order a female appears from the future, followed shortly later by a male from the future. The latter is the latest and greatest Terminator model... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: let me state upfront that I did not like "Terminator -Genisys" all that well, and hence I was skeptical about the viability of any further Terminator movies. Then the word came of a new Terminator movie that would be a direct sequel to Judgment Day, marking the return of James Cameron (as producer), and that Linda Hamilton AND Schwarzenegger would be on board as well. Now if they could only come up with a credible story line... And they did! I'm not going to tell you what that is of course, but by ignoring the previous 4 movies, the franchise has rebooted itself and injected a badly needed bolt of new energy. Director by Tim "Deadpool" Miller, the movie feels credible, and the action scenes are over the top spectacular. Besides ol' timers Schwarzenegger and Hamilton, Canadian actress Mackenzie Davis does well in the role of Grace, the :augmented" female human sent from the future.
"Terminator - Dark Fate" opened wide this weekend, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was not attended well at all, much to my surprise. The theater here in Cincinnati where I saw this at was at most one-third occupied/ That typically spells disaster for a big budget movie like this (reported production budget of Terminator Dark Fate is close to $200 million). If you are a fan of the Terminator franchise, I'd readily suggest you check out "Terminator - Dark Fate", be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
South Korean movie is original, witty and storytelling at its very best
"Parasite" (2019 release from South Korea; 132 min.) brings the story of the Kim family. As the movie opens, we get to know the family: they live in a semi-basement apartment, and mom and dad are out of work, and their teenage son and daughter aren't in much better shape. Then one day, the son's friend Min informs him that he is leaving the country, and that it would be good if the son takes over for him as the private English tutor of a HS sophomore girl, whose family is well-off, if not rich. The son agrees, and before we know it he is now the English tutor... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest film from Korean writer-director Bong Joon-ho, best known for his 2013 "Snowpiercer" film. Here he brings a one-of-a-kind story that is so plot-heavy that I cannot take any risks in spoiling anything, so my comments will be brief. Let me say this: there is a good reason that "Parasite" won the top prize (Palme d'or) at this year's Cannes film festival, and I will already go on record that there is zero chance that this movie isn't getting an Oscar nomination early next year for Best Foreign Language movie. The movie is everything that Hollywood at its worst (with endless sequels, prequels, franchises and "re-imaginations") isn't: It's original, it's witty, and it's storytelling at its very best.
"Parasite" got a limited release in New York and LA in early October, and has gradually been rolling out to more cities. The movie opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. Man, I couldn't wait to see this! The Friday late afternoon screening where I saw this at was attended okay but not great (10 people), but I am quite certain that as word of mouth gets around, this will find its box office legs in the weeks to come. If you are in the mood for a top=notch foreign movie that is original and witty and will have you on the edge of your seat, I'd readily suggest you run, don't walk, to check this out, be it at the theater, on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
Mrs. Fletcher (2019)
Single mom (re)discovers freedom... Kathryn Hahn shines!
"Mrs. Fletcher" (2019 release) is a new comedy series now airing on HBO. As Episode 1 ("Empty Best") opens, we are in a seniors care home where an old guy is watching inappropriate stuff on the computer, all while other seniors are nearby. Eve Fletcher, not a doctor or even a nurse. is handling the fallout from the incident. Afterwards at home, she is getting her son Brandon ready to start college the next day, packing stuff while he sits nearby, uninterested. He can't wait to go out that night and spend the last evening with his friends... At this point we are not even 10 min. into Episode 1...
Couple of comments: from the end credits, I noticed that this series is based on the book of the same name by Tom Perrota (who also created the series and wrote the first episode). I have not read the book, and hence cannot comment on how close the TV series stays to the book. All I can say is that we get to know a single mom who clearly needs to be "in control", while also deeply caring for her son (and only kid). The son is about as unlikable as you will fins, a self-absorbed 18 yr. old who can't wait to get away from home and his mom. It's not clear to me how much of the show will continue to feature this character going forward. Eve's best friend urges her to rediscover newly found freedoms now that Brandon is in college, calling her a "skinny MILF goddess". Let me add right now that Kathryn Hahn, TV and movie veteran of so many things, absolutely shines in the title role (it's not clear to me why everyone keeps calling her "Mrs." Fletcher, as she is divorced). I can't wait to see more episodes of this!
New episodes of "Mrs. Fletcher" air on HBO on Sunday evenings, and of course are then available on various VOD platforms. Based on Episode 1, "Mrs. Fletcher" seemingly has all the ingredients to make this a comedy staple on HBO for a good while.
Entertaining and timely documentary about rabble-rouser political columnist Molly Ivins
As "Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins" (2019 release; 93 min.) opens, we see a bunch of old TV clips with Molly Ivins appearing on various talk shows and political (CSPAN) cable shows, reminding us of the "fire brand" that was Molly Ivins, progressive political columnist in a conservative state (Texas). We then go back to "River Oaks 1958" to her childhood years, where she comes in conflict with her conservative and controlling dad. But Molly does understand the value of a good education (rd generation Smith College), while during the summer shes interns at the Houston Chronicle... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie.
Couple of comments: this is the first theatrical release from long-time TV director and documentarian Janice Engel. In this latest documentary, she lets her subject matter Molly Ivins do most of the talking, and rightfully so. There is a true treasure trove out there of Ivins appearing on various radio and TV shows, and that's not even mentioning her many, many columns that she wrote over the years for The New York Times, The Dallas Morning, the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, and in the end through her own syndicated column. Ivins was a real fire cracker (and a funny one at that), but more importantly, she was an astute observer who was not afraid to tell it like it is. Her comments from 2004, both as to Iraq ("the war in Iraq is a disaster!") and as to wealth inequality were nothing short of eerie and visionary, as we are now 15 years later and things have only gotten so much worse on both those topics. One can only imagine what she would think of the current POTUS and administration... She'd have a field day! I certainly didn't agree with everything Ivins wrote or talked about, but always found her perspective worth knowing about. Meanwhile, this documentary flew by in no time, and bottom line is that I enjoyed this more than I expected.
"Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins" premiered at this year's Sundance film festival. It finally made its way to my art-house theater here in Cincinnati this weekend, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended okay (about 15 people). If you remember Molly Ivins (fondly or not) or have an interest in politics, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater (if you still can), on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
Black and Blue (2019)
Should've been titled "The Body Cam"
"Black and Blue" (2019 release; 108 min.) brings the story of rookie cop (and African-American) Alicia West. As the movie opens, we are in New Orleans, and West, just 3 weeks on the job, is pulled over by white cops for no reason whatsoever while jogging in a nice New Orleans neighborhood. "She's blue" comments one of the white cops after doing an ID check, and they let her go. Later, West is paired up with a new partner while doing a double-shift, and after responding to a distress call, West accidentally enters an industrial warehouse where she witnesses the killing, execution-style, of a drug dealer by an undercover cop. Her body cam has filmed the whole thing... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest film from director Deon Taylor, who just earlier this year also brought us "The Intruder". Here he brings us a tense cop drama where it appears that every single cop is rotten to the core, but for one (Alicia West), and West has to figure out a way to survive being hunted down by the cops AND by the drug dealers. So who can she trust (other than herself)? The movie is tense from the get-go and really doesn't let up. Beware: there are some scenes where West is brutally beaten up by a drug lord, and the audience in the theater where I saw this audibly gasped (as did I). The movie is carried by British actress Naomie Harris, playing the Alicia West character. I have no idea where the title "Black and Blue" comes from, as the central theme is whether West can bring her body cam to a safe place, exposing the rotten cops. In that sense, the movie should've simply be called "The Body Cam". Please note there is an excellent electronic score, courtesy of composer Geoff Zanelli (he also wrote the core for "The Intruder"). Bottom line: "Black and Blue" is certainly not a bad movie, but it does suffer from over-simplification, as it moves around like a bull in a china store (all cops are bad!!).
"Black and Blue" opened wide this weekend, and based on the trailer, I was interested in checking it out. The Saturday matinee screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati was attended well (mostly by African-Americans, I might add). If you are interested in a gritty if over-simplified cop drama with an excellent lead performance from Naomie Harris, I would readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
The Lighthouse (2019)
Stunning film with Dafoe sure to get Oscar nomination
"The Lighthouse" (2019 release; 110 min.) brings the story of two lighthouse keepers. As the movie opens, we see a boat in choppy waters and wrapped in fog, on its way to a small island with a lighthouse. Two men arrive at the lighthouse, settle in, and make a toast: "To 4 weeks!", the scheduled length of their stay on the island. It is clear that the older guy, named Wake, is in charge, and orders the younger guy, Winslow, around and gives him backbreaking work... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the second film from writer-director Robert Eggers, who seemingly came out of nowhere a few years ago with "The Witch". Here he goes one better yet, bringing us a tale of psychological paranoia, set on a mysterious island (location: unknown; time: late 19th/early 20th century). The first striking thing is that the movie is shot in an unusual 1:1 screen ratio, and in B&W on top of that. The second striking thing are the outstanding performances of the two leads, William Dafoe (as the older guy) and Robert Pattinson (as the younger guy). Dafoe is like a good bottle of wine: he simply keeps getting better as he is getting older. On the heels of Oscar-nominated performances in "The Florida Project" in 2017 and "At Eternity's Gate" in 2018, he outdoes them all with this career-defining role as the aging lighthouse keeper who is in control (but is he really?). There are certain scenes that defy even the highest of expectations, in particular in the last 20 min. Pattinson shows us how much he has matured and improved as an actor since the "Twilight" saga days, but in the end he cannot compete against Dafoe's sheer brilliance. The movie's photography and editing is pure eye-candy from start to finish. In the movie's end titles, I noted that this was filmed on location at Cape Forchu, Nova Scotia, and that the film makers used diaries from actual lighthouse keepers back in the day as part of the source for the movie's dialogues, wow. I am going on record right now that this film will accrue tons of nominations in the upcoming awards season, including multiple Oscar nominations.
"The Lighthouse" premiered at this year's Cannes film festival to immediate critical acclaim. It is no accident that this film is currently rated 91% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie finally opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended very nicely (about 20-25 people), and the positive word-of-mouth this movie surely will generate could make it into an art-house theater circuit success, despite the many unusual aspects of this movie. If you are in the mood for truly something different and out there, featuring stunning acting performances, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019)
Worthwhile documentary about a smart sleazeball (but still a sleazeball)
"Where Is My Roy Cohn?" is a documentary about (in)famous lawyer and fixer Roy Cohn. As the movie opens, we get a general introduction to Cohn: "His contempt for the law was clear", and then "I don't car what the law is, I want to know who the judge is". We then go to "1951", when as a 23 yr. lawyer, Cohn becomes Chief Counsel for the (jn)famous McCarthy Committee and its relentless chasing of communists (real or perceived)... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the 'plot' would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest documentary from director Matt Tyrnauer, whi in the last couple of years gave us excellent documentaries like "Citizen Jane" and "Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood". Here the director examines a well-know public figure, Roy Cohn, who became a much feared lawyer (fist in public service, then in private practice). Along the way he becomes a larger than life "fixer" of everything and anyone. "No matter what, always claim victory, and never apologize", was Cohn's favorite mantra. Sounds familiar? A young Donald Trump eagerly learns from Cohn and in fact Trump is featured extensively in the film. This movie is not a flattering or admiring portrait of Cohn (on the contrary, Cohn comes across as a stone cold sleezebag, albeit a very samr one). But I must admit that the documentary is well crafted and the time just flew by. Incidentally, the movie's title is of course a quote from Trump, when the Russia investgation exploded and Trump mutters to no-one in particular but himself "Where is my Roy Cohn?", as apparently Trump wishes he had a fixer of the caliber of Cohn, never mind the ethics or legality of it all. (And Giuliani only wishes he could be a fixer at the level of Cohn.)
The documentary recently opened, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Saturday matinee screening where I saw this at was not attended well (exactly 6 people, including myself). That's a shame. Hopefully this will find a larger audience as it expands onto other platforms. Meaning, if you have any interest in politics, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
Joaquin Phoenix sure to get Best Actor Oscar nomination for this
"Joker" (2019 release; 122 min.) brings the origin story of Joker. As the movie opens, we are in Gotham City in the early 80s (late in the movie we see that "Zorro the Gay Blade" is playing in theaters). A guy named Arthur is working various gigs as a clown (driving foot traffic for stores, visiting children at the hospital). One day he is savagely beaten by a group of young thugs. Arthur is shaking up badly. Meanwhile he pursues his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian, but things aren't going very well with that either... At this point we are 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from director Todd Phillips, best known for "The Hangover" franchise. Here he goes a very different direction, bringing us the origin story of the famed Joker character in the DC Comics universe. Joker has been portrayed many times before (including Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger), but it typically came across like an over-the-top, caricature-like performance. Not so with Joaquin Phoenix. Here we truly get to understand the person that became Joker. Joaquin Phoenix is utterly brilliant, and I have zero doubt that he will pick up a Best Actor Oscar nomination (and many other accolades) for this. The script brilliantly reflects the chaos that existed in New York/Gotham in the late 70s/early 80s (garbage strike, super rats, etc.). Please note that this film is MILES away from your typical "super hero" movie a la Avengers. For one, almost no CGI to speak of. Instead this is a dark, brooding and intense psychological thriller and character study. It is for me one of the best surprises of the year, period.
"Joker" has been playing in theaters for weeks now, and I finally went to see it this weekend. The Sunday matinee screening where I saw this at in a large theater was very well attended, and that tells you about the staying power of this film. If you like your comic super hero movies dark and intense, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
Enjoyable if formulaic sequel lacks the element of surprise
As "Zombieland: Double Tap" (2019 release; 95 min.) opens, Columbus addresses the audience (in voice--over) that a lot has changed since we last heard of "the gang": "Like the Eskimos have many words for snow, we now have many words for different types of zombie: Homer, Hawking, and Ninja." Following the opening titles, "the gang" (Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock) fight an army of zombies and take over (what remains of ) the White House, much to their liking. But it isn't long before Wichita and Little Rock, each for their own reasons, decide to split, and they hit the road... At this point we're not even 10 min. into the movie , but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: it's been 10 years since the first "Zombieland" was unleashed (I think that is an appropriate way of describing it) upon us. The inevitable sequel has languished in development hell for YEARS, but not that it;s finally here, was it worth the wait? The original director (Ruben Fleischer), writers (Rhett Reece, Paul Wernick) and cast (Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) have all reunited for the occasion, and the interplay between Harrelson and Eisenberg is the glue that holds it all together more or less. Newcomers Zoey Deutch (as the beautiful dumb blonde) and Rosario Dawson (as the tough as nails Elvis Presley-themed hotel manager) provide some much needed spice and spark. But other than that, this really is nothing new as compared to the original Zombieland, except that the CGI is better yet, and the body count in in the stratosphere. There are some truly funny moments too: when Little Rock's love interested plays Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" on his guitar and then claims he wrote the song, Little Rock shoots back "Even a Trump girl knows a Dylan song!". (Do you think Trump himself would've recognized the Dylan tine? Are you kidding me?) And along the way we also get some cool references to Portishead, Phil Collins and others...
"Zombieland: Double Tap" opened wide this weekend, and I was really looking forward to seeing it. The Friday early evening where I saw this at in a large theater was surprisingly not well attended at all (about 10 people in total). The movie has drawn decidedly mixed reviews (it's currently certified 66% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). That sounds about right to me. "Zombieland: Double Tap" is not bad but the movie feels very formulaic and of course lacks the element of surprise of the original movie.. If you liked the original "Zombieland", I encourage you to seek out the sequel, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
Putting a human face on the plight of asylum-seeking families
"Torn Apart: Separated At the Border" (2019 release; 40 min.) is a documentary about the Trump administration's decision to separate asylum-seeking families (kids taken away from their parents--usually their mom). As the documentary opens, we are in 2018 and we are introduced to two families: one is from Honduras, fleeing the civil war-like conditions ("where people are left dead in the streets"), and upon arrival at the US border Maria and her 10 yr. old son are separated. Then we get to know a family from Guatemala, fleeing severe domestic abuse. Upon arrival at the US border, mom is separated from her 8 yr. old daughter (who happens to be a US citizen resulting from being born in the US).
Couple of comments: this is the latest from well-established documentarian Ellen Goosenberg Kent, providing a glimpse of what it has been like for asylum-seeking families with children upon arrival at the US border. In commenting on this, it is rather difficult to distinguish between the intrinsic artistic quality of the documentary versus the underlying policy decision of the Trump administration to separate children from their parents when applying for asylum. Let me just offer this: regardless of your feelings or political stance on the latter, this documentary puts a human face on desperate asylum seekers who are fleeing impossible conditions in their country of origin. I myself am of the belief that "applicable US law", whatever that is, should be applied. But how is it that asylum approval rates have dropped by 50 percent in just a few years? Has the law changed all of the sudden? The documentary shows how standards are applied seemingly randomly and differently, depending on which state the asylum application is reviewed (with Georgia's asylum approval rate a stunning and truth-defying low 2 percent).
This eye-opening documentary recently premiered on HBO and is now streaming on various platforms. The only reason that I am rating this "only" 8 stars is that the documentary, as good as it is, is simply too short at a mere 40 min, and cries out for further coverage. But other than that, this is must-see and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Lucy in the Sky (2019)
Better than expected but misleadingly marketed (NOT a space or sci-fi movie)
"Lucy In the Sky" (2019 release; 124 min.) brings the story of Lucy. As the movie opens, Lucy is doing a space walk near the International Space Station, where the Shuttle has brought the astronauts. Lucy is overwhelmed by the experience. Upon returning to earth, we get to know her husband who also works at NASA. It becomes clear very quickly that Lucy is having a hard time readjusting to life on earth, her husband calling it suffering from "rocketlag".Meanwhile Lucy feels a special bond with Mark, who also has flown on the Space Shuttle... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the first feature-length from debut director Noah Hawley, best known for his TV work including "Fargo". Here he brings a story to the screen that is "Inspired by real events", as we are informed at the beginning of the movie. Indeed, the story reminds of the real life story of astronaut Lisa Nowak, who did a space mission with the Shuttle in 2006 (can't tell you more as it would spoil your viewing experience). Let's be clear: "Lucy In the Sky" is NOT a space movie a la the recent "Ad Astra" or "Gravity" a few years ago. In fact, there are only a few scenes set in space, with a total screen time of about 5 minutes. The movie tells us what happens to Lucy AFTER she returns back to earth. In that sense, the movie's marketing campaign and trailer is completely misleading, I'm sorry to say. Natalie Portman as Lucy does the best that she can in what is a challenging script, certainly in the movie's first hour. If you wonder whether the movie contains the Beatles song "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds", it does (covered by Lisa Hannigan). I noticed in the end credits that Reece Witherspoon is one of the producers. One definitive positive is the movie's original score, an orchestral instrumental composed by Jeff Russo, and one I plan on checking out further.
"Lucy In the Sky" premiered to negative criticism at last month's Toronto International Film Festival, and has remained under clouds ever since. After opening in a few cities last weekend, the movie rolled out to more cities this weekend, and opened on 3 screens for all of Greater Cincinnati (population: 2.5 million). The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at here in Cincinnati turned out to be a private screening, as I was literally the only person in the theater. In short: this movie has bombed completely at the box office, and I can't see it getting a much wider (or longer) theater run. I was aware of the negative reviews and criticisms going into the theater today, and hence my expectations were low, very low indeed. Hence I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't a complete disaster, and the 2 hours flew by pretty quickly. If you are interested in a flawed yet worthwhile character study (and then some), I'd suggest you check this out, be it in the theater (doubtful at this point), on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
"All Of Them Witches"
I recently saw "Rosemary's Baby" in the theater (more on that later). As "Rosemary's Baby" (originally released in 1968; 136 min.) opens, we get to know a young wedded couple, Rosemary and Guy. They are apartment shopping, and are delighted to find a place in the Bramford building. Rosemary gets to know Terry, who lives on the same 7th floor with an elderly couple, Roman and Minnie. Then one day when Rosemary and Guy walk home, there is a commotion in front of their building. Turns out Terry threw herself out of the window to her death... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this film marks the US debut of Polish director Roman Polanski, and what a debut it was. Now more than a half century since its release, and viewed as a timeless classic (it is currently rated 97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), the movie provides a classic example where less is more ("Jaws" would follow that very same "less is more" approach 7 years later, with equally superb results). I did not see the movie when it came out (I was only 8 years old at that time), but I have seen it a number of times over the years, although I cannot recall how long ago most recently-meaning, it's been very long ago. Other than the crucial scene where Rosemary sees the baby for the first time, I had very little recollection of the movie (for example: the scene where Rosemary gets the book entitled "All of Them Witches" felt brand new to me). My reaction to seeing it again after so many years is that this is a textbook example of outstanding storytelling, aided by a wonderful cast and made cheaply ($23 million production budget in today's dollars, truly peanuts in today's Hollywood). Mia Farrow was a mere 23 when "Rosemary's Baby" came out, yet she easily dominates the screen. What a shock it is when about an hour into the movie Rosemary changes her hairstyle ('Viddal Sassoon!" she notes) completely, and not for the better, I might add. John Cassavetes (as Guy), Ruth Gordon (as Minnie) and Sydney Blackmer (as Roman) are delightful. Keep an eye out for Charles Grodin (as Dr. Hill)!
I recently saw "Rosemary's Baby" in the theater for the very first time, of course the best way to experience any movie. It played three consecutive days at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati as part of the month-long "Spooktober" festival. The Saturday matinee screening where I saw this at was attended just okay (10 people). I myself am very happy that I got to see this again, and in the theater. If you are interested in seeing one of the all-time classics of psychological thrillers, I'd readily suggest you do so (and in a theater if at all possible), and draw your own conclusion.
Intense hostage drama from Colombia
"Monos" (2019 release from Colombia; 102 min.) brings the story of a squadron of 8 teenage rebels and their American hostage. As the movie opens, we see the 8 teenagers, all aged around 15-16 but armed to the teeth, staying in shape in a remote Colombian mountain area. We find out they are part of "the Organization" and their task is to guard and watch over an American hostage, a woman they call "the doctora". The squadron receive a milk cow from an anonymous contributor but then, in a wild celebration one night, the cow is accidentally shot and killed... At this point we are 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is directed/co-written/co-produced by Alejandro Landes, whom I was previously not familiar with, but for whom I have gained immediate respect with this film. One can't help but think that the otherwise unnamed rebel group called the "Organization" stands for the notorious FARC. But that isn't even the main point of the movie (for me anyway). The movie examines how this life of military rebellion affects the lives of 8 teenagers who are tasked with guarding an American hostage (reminding us vaguely of "Lord of the Flies"). The movie is plot-heavy so you'll have to forgive me that I don't provide further plot details. I will say this: the movie is tense from the get-go, and never lets up. In fact, the movie becomes heavier and weirder (in the best possible way) as it goes on, and I found it to be a great viewing experience that couldn't be further from Hollywood's never-ending stream of comic book super heroes adaptations ("Joker" being the latest) and other such prequels and sequels and "reimaginations". "Monos" on the other hand is fresh and original. The movie features for us American viewers a no-name cast that is just outstanding. And wait until you see the vast landscapes of Colombia's mountainous terrains and dense rain forest!
"Monos" premiered at this year's Sundance film festival to immediate critical acclaim and is now making the rounds in limited theater release. "Monos" finally opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati this weekend, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended so-so (9 people, to be exact), but hopefully this movie will find a larger audience as it gets released on additional platforms. There is a reason this movie is currently certified 91% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! If you are in the mood for a top notch foreign release that is as intense as it is captivating, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater (if you still can), on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.