Current Mini Reviews (Aristotle & Dante…, A Haunting in Venice, Golda, The Hill, MBFGW3)

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Time has been flying by as I am busy trying to keep my podcasting/critic career afloat while looking for a new full-time gig (If you ever thought about joining the patreon now would be an amazing time to do so here.) Nevertheless, I have a few films to catch you up on. Make sure you are following me on social media because I post on instagram and youtube shorts my out of theater reactions to every film and theatrical production I see.

But here we go!

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe-

This is the kind of film that inspires me to read the book. I have no doubt the book is much better because so much of the content seemed tailor-made for a novel (particularly lots of time with the 2 leads corresponding via letters.) There were also elements of this indie film that felt a little sloppy with noticeable ADR flubs and some weak acting performances.

All that said, the core emotion of the story really works and the 2 lead performers have a lovely repartee together. I also really enjoyed Eugenio Derbez as Aristotle’s father (you can barely recognize it is him under a large bushy beard!) Some are saying this is a teen Call Me By Your Name and that may be a bit generous (also that was about a teen…) but it is a very sweet teen love story with a big heart. I’d definitely recommend it and I can tell you I will be reading the book right away!

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

A Haunting in Venice

The Hercule Poirot films from director Kenneth Branagh are an interesting trilogy because nobody I know loves them (some have varying degrees of fun but they aren’t favorites to most) but they keep getting made with huge all-star casts in them. The latest gives a horror take on Agatha Chritie’s Halloween Party novel and sets in the most popular place for movies in 2023- Venice. The result is probably the best out of the 3 films but still has some of the same problems the other 3 have.

First of all Branagh has made a great looking film that makes good use of the spooky atmosphere the old house in Venice provides. The performances are also good with Michelle Yeoh stealing the show as a medium hired to communicate with the spirits of the house. Jamie Dornan also does a lot with a small role as a struggling father trying to help his son.

The problem these Poirot films have all had is instead of building clues organically we get random scenes followed by a long exposition dump at the end that is supposed to clear everything up but feels unsatisfying and dull. I guess this is the way the books are but if that’s the case Branagh’s job as the director is to make the stories more cinematic. Still, if you like mysteries you’ll probably have an ok time with this and it makes for a fun Halloween-time release.

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy


I hope all of you have the chance to participate in National Cinema Day on August 27th. I normally don’t go to films on Sunday but I wanted to participate in the national support of cinemas and with it being an educational film it seemed harmless. My choice for the event was the new bio-pic Golda. Going into it I knew nothing about Israeli prime minister Golda Meir and as an instructional tool it was insightful on that level.

It’s interesting seeing Golda so soon after Oppenheimer because they both have commanding lead performances portraying enigmatic real-life leaders but they also both left me a little cold, keeping their subjects at an emotional distance from me. Even though Golda is a lot shorter than Oppenheimer the pacing still dragged and the editing between personal scenes and supposedly tense war-room negotiations was off. Still, I did learn a lot about Golda and it was interesting enough for a mild recommendation. I tell you one thing Helen Mirren set a record for number of cigarettes smoked in a movie for this film! So many!

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

The Hill

I have to admit I knew almost nothing going into The Hill. I knew it was a baseball movie but I wasn’t even aware it is a faith-based film so I’m not sure if the experience will be different for those with proper expectations. I am not a traditional Christian but am open to faith-based films. I have particularly enjoyed films from the Erwin Brothers (I Can Only Imagine, I Still Believe, Woodlawn, American Underdog all got positive reviews from me.) Unfortunately other directors in the genre have struggled to find the same nuance in their scripts and The Hill is in that camp. A lot of the baseball elements in this true story worked well enough but the religious elements felt so heavy-handed and clunkily written it hurt my enjoyment of the film.

I also felt the acting, even from Dennis Quaid, was uniformly weak and seemed like it was more out of a low budget Sunday School video than a feature film. And it’s all a real shame because in Rickey Hill’s story you have a story of someone who beat incredible odds to barely make it as professional baseball player. It’s always interesting when the hero in the sports story doesn’t win the big game and that’s basically what you have here in Hill’s very brief professional career. Sadly the script isn’t interested in such a complicated legacy but is content with cliched scenes of the preacher father who doesn’t understand his talented son despite everyone else believing in him. A number of my Christian friends seem to be enjoying this one but the script let me down and I would recommend any of the movies I mentioned above far above The Hill.

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3

Anyone who has followed my content knows I am normally not a big fan of wedding movies when it comes to rom-coms. They tend to bring out the petty and annoying side of characters and the conflict is frustrating. That’s why it is a miracle I enjoyed the first My Big Fat Greek Wedding as much as I did. In fact, it is one of my favorite comedies because it is a rom-com that doesn’t forget the com. It’s genuinely funny and the couple rises above the wedding chaos with great chemistry and heart.

Unfortunately the sequel I did not enjoy so I wasn’t super excited for a third entry in the series. Now that I’ve seen it it’s…ok. I do think it is better than the 2nd film because the dynamic of going to Greece for a reunion is funnier than bothering daughter Paris at career day. Unlike the first one, most of the comedy in this film comes right out of a sitcom and is generic at best. However, I laughed just enough to give it a mild recommendation. If you are from a big family you’ll probably chuckle at some of the silly antics and the family dynamics are still a lot of fun.

5.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

So there you have it. Have you gotten to see any of these films? If you enjoy what I do please support me at my patreon here.


3 thoughts on “Current Mini Reviews (Aristotle & Dante…, A Haunting in Venice, Golda, The Hill, MBFGW3)

Leave a Reply