I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I enjoyed some time with my family (who I don’t see that often even though we all live in the same town) and ate way too much turkey and pie. Obviously, I took the week off from writing about Five Cool Things, but I did, in fact, consume many cool things over the last few weeks, so let’s talk about them.
Briefly. Truth be told, this post-Thanksgiving week I’ve felt pretty miserable. Change in seasons always mess with my allergies and this week has been a doozy. I’ve not been sick-sick, so I’ve still worked and done things with my family, but my head has ached, my throat has ached and I coughed up about half a dozen lungs.
I did watch a lot of things but the thought of talking about them at length makes me want to crawl back in bed. So this will be short.
My mother would call this a poor man’s The Mummy, you know the goofy Brendan Fraser remake of the classic Universal Horror series. She always called The Mummy series a poor man’s Indiana Jones. So this film is like two steps down from that Harrison Ford franchise.
It was made in the mid-1980s and was clearly meant to grab some of that Indiana Jones cash. But whereas Indiana Jones was inspired by the action/adventure serials George Lucas and Steven Spielberg watched in their youth, Jake Speed lightly satirizes the pulp novels that inspired many of those serials.
It is full of adventure and wisecracks and is fun enough for what it is. It isn’t as well made or artful as the Indiana Jones films (or the Mummy ones for that matter) and Wayne Crawford doesn’t have nearly the charm of Harrison Ford (or Brendan Fraser For that matter) but its a fun little romp. You can read my full review here.
The Dark Knight
I missed seeing Joker on the big screen. It was one of those weird movies where all of my movie-review friends and film critics that I follow on Twitter hated it, and so many of my real-life friends and family members loved it. That split kept me from laying down my hard-earned money to see it in theaters, but I’ll surely catch it once it is out on Blu-ray or streaming.
But all the Joker talk made me want to revisit The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger’s take on the legendary villain. His performance still holds up. It is still brilliant. The screen crackled with energy every time he appears on it. The film is still a mixed bag. I love large parts of it, especially those concerning the Joker, but the whole Harvey Dent/Two-Face business doesn’t quite do it for me. When I first saw it in theaters, I thought they were setting up Two-Face to be the main villain for the next film. There is a big climax with the Joker and I was ready for it to end. Then it keeps going and they finish the Two-Face stuff before the credits roll. I still feel pretty much the same.
The Report (2019)
Based upon the so-called Torture Report about the U.S. Government's abuses of prisoners post-9/11, this film follows Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver), an investigator for the Senate Intelligence Committee, as he digs deeper and deeper into the war crimes we committed by torturing prisoners in order to gain intel against Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
Save for a few scenes that show U.S. troops engaged in torture, the film is documentary in quality. It meticulously follows Jones and Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Benning) as they uncover more information about what the military was doing and try to find the best way to get this information out into the world all the while being blocked by the CIA and the opposition party.
This makes for a movie full of people sitting around in offices talking to each other. Yet I found myself enthralled for every minute of it. The subject matter is difficult to sit through and those scenes of torture are soul-crushing, all of which made me fell quite angry while watching (and afterward while reading up on it). But it is absolutely worth watching. Driver is excellent as Jones and this is absolutely, completely his movie.
Low budget sci-fi flick about a cab driver who picks up a woman in the middle of nowhere only to have her disappear mid-ride. Then when he restarts the counter, he restarts the scene - he’s back on that same desolate road picking up that same woman. At first, he doesn’t remember the reset but after a few of them, he starts to realize he’s in a Groundhog’s Day scenario. The film makes some interesting choices, and some really dumb ones. But it's well made and worth your time, especially if you enjoy finding hidden gems. You can read my full review here.
Animated film about the Cambodia genocide of the late 1970s. It follows one family that are carted away from the city and into a slave labor camp. Along the way, their young son is ripped away from them and taken to another camp. It is beautifully animated and devastatingly sad. You can read my full review here.
No Time to Die
His name is Bond, James Bond, and his new movie trailer has landed.