Hey everyone! I’ve got a few films to update you with (I’m woefully behind on current releases because of my D23 trip but doing the best I can). Here goes!
This is a very sweet and endearing documentary about a dance studio outside of LA that teaches dance to all kids (the name is literally Ballet for ALL Kids). This includes children with both physical and mental disabilities. The director Dan Watt does a good job balancing the stories of the kids with the philosophy behind the studio ran by director Bonnie Schlachte. I appreciate the program and film don’t patronize the special needs kids but teach them dance just like any other children but with reasonable adaptations of course.
Everything all leads to the big recital and by then we have gotten to know a bunch of the kids and their families and feel triumphant with them at a successful recital. In a world where the arts and dance are often removed from students curriculum this film makes a good case for how important and vital they are for both able-bodied and special needs children. In that sense Everybody Dance has a beautiful and important message.
7 out of 10
See How They Run
One of my recent discoveries in my support of local theater this year is the play See How They Run which I saw in April at the Pleasant Grove Players and found it to be absolutely hilarious. The play is a classic of English theatre having been written by Philip King in 1944 and it is still performed today (there have actually been 3 local theaters putting it on this year).
With this experience fresh in my mind I was so excited when I heard a movie with the title See How They Run was coming out and just assumed it would be some kind of adaptation. Unfortunately that was not the case. I guess that was an unfair assumption for me to make as they didn’t claim it was an adaptation. It just had the same title.
Anyway, maybe my disappointment played a factor in my overall underwhelming response but if it had been charming I could have put that aside. While the cast and style of this film is impressive the story never grabbed me. It felt bland and the mystery wasn’t intriguing. To be frank I found it rather dull which this kind of mystery should never be!
4.5 out of 10
You all know I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to horror but I’m also trying to stretch myself and see films outside of my comfort zone. Such is the case with the latest horror movie Barbarian directed and written by Zach Cregger and starring Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgard and Justin Long.
The casting goes a long way to make this film work. Especially the male casting because Skarsgard and Long carry expectations with their performances. We expect Skarsgard to be scary. We expect Long to be kind. This makes their choices in the film extra surprising.
Campbell plays Tess a woman who rents an Airbnb in a shady neighborhood in Detroit only to find Skarsgard’s Keith is already staying at the house and there are all kinds of suspect things going on there.
I enjoyed Barbarian. It is surprising and let the audience figure out what it’s trying to say rather than preachier horrors of late like Black Christmas 2019. It uses jump scares effectively and is the right amount of weird/gory. If you are a horror wimp like I am you might actually have fun with it.
7 out of 10
Don’t Worry Darling
Don’t Worry Darling is definitely one of those films that has gotten a lot of attention during its festival run and mostly not in a good way. Whatever drama there was on set has dominated the conversation as well as lots of shenanigans at press conferences and various tiffs between the cast.
With all of that how’s the movie? I’d say it’s ok, worthy of a mild recommendation. Olivia Wilde directs this sci-fi thriller that dusts off the well-used premise of the seemingly perfect yet actually toxic suburban life. One can’t help when watching this movie think of other films like The Stepford Wives, Edward Scissorhands and American Beauty.
That said, there was enough style and panache to the production I didn’t mind the derivative nature. Florence Pugh is terrific as housewife Alice and she has great chemistry with Harry Styles’ Jack (who is very charismatic in the role). Chris Pine and Gemma Chan are also good as the leaders of the perfect world (made me think of Wrinkle in Time and The Giver among many other dystopians).
The ending has some holes and it’s not perfect but my friend and I had a fun discussion about each reveal after the movie was over so I left having had a good time. If you are taking it super seriously you probably will be frustrated. See it for the cracking performances and the great style and you’ll have a blast. (Also the soundtrack is smashing good!)
6 out of 10
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