Hey everyone! I hope you are doing well. I have a few films to catch you up on. You will have to let me know if you’ve seen these films and what you think of them.
Sound of Freedom
There aren’t that many movies that premiere in Utah but the new film from Angel Studios, Sound of Freedom, did and I had a great time going to the premiere last week.
Fun as it was to walk the red carpet that experience of course wouldn’t impact my view of the film so what did I think? It’s definitely a tough watch and I have my reservations but overall I found it well made and a gripping story.
Now we should always watch these ‘based on a true story’ films with a grain of salt and this is no exception. It paints Operation Underground founder Tim Ballard with a near-superhero brush and it would have been nice to become invested in a more flawed protagonist. It’s like it was written by Ballard and he didn’t want the tiniest doubt of his dedication and machismo to be expressed.
That said, Sound of Freedom is extremely well made and you can feel the money that went into every frame. The acting is also excellent from the whole cast including Jim Caviezel as Ballard. It is a tough watch at times delving into human trafficking, pedophilia and child sex work. I do not know how they got away with a PG-13 rating on this one but I was definitely disgusted and repulsed which made the heroics a bit more palatable even if they leaned to much into propaganda territory for my comfort level. Still, Sound of Freedom will inspire you to take action and do some good yourself like Ballard has tried to do even if it is on a smaller scale in your own community.
6 out of 10
A lot of times I feel like sci-fi films become too much style over substance. They get so caught up in the world building and real world allegories that they forget to tell a compelling story. This is why I enjoyed director April Mullen’s tight little thriller Simulant. In this refreshingly 90 minute film she takes us into a world where we can have androids made with the memories of our past loved ones. In fact, FAYE (Jordana Brewster) has done just that with her husband EVAN (Robbie Amell). This obviously does not solve her grief and things get more complicated as a programmer named Casey (Simu Liu) becomes involved and an investigator played by Sam Worthington.
There are elements of Simulant where you can feel the small budget in the cinematography and action but the overall story is tightly told with a compelling message about love and grief. It’s not a masterpiece by any means but I think worth 90 minutes of your time.
6 out of 10
I must admit I first saw Nimona way back during a press screening this April, so I have been sitting on my thoughts for nearly 4 months. And now after the nearly completely positive reviews online I watched it again to make sure I agreed with my initial response and I did. I’m sorry folks but I found Nimona to be bit of a slog. I’m happy for all involved that it got made but I wish they had given our lead character a more interesting story.
I am also willing to admit that high fantasy is almost never for me, so I’ve struggled with whether I should even write this review. However, on the off chance that others reading were underwhelmed by it perhaps its worth putting my opinion out there…
Nimona is a shapeshifter in this world of knights and heroes. One day she meets a man named Ballister who has gone into hiding after being framed for murdering the Queen Valerin. The two then go on a mission to clear Ballister’s name and get revenge on the duplicitous Director.
Much has been made about the representation in Nimona and I’d agree that is a refreshing aspect. It’s nice to have fully fleshed out queer relationships and not just the token representation we’ve gotten in other animated films like Strange World. I just wish I found the story more compelling. It’s as basic a high fantasy revenge saga as it gets. However, at least it is only 90 minutes (which like with sci-fi in Simulant, most fantasy epics feel so stretched out these days.) The animation is also impressive with the beautiful hybrid style I love so much.
5 out of 10
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