Current Mini Reviews (Cheaper by the Dozen, The Cow, More Than Robots)

Hey everyone! Before I head off on a little vacation tomorrow I wanted to log a couple of reviews for new films I recently saw. I wish I could write a full review for each of them but sometimes there just isn’t time.

So here goes!

Cheaper by the Dozen: Cast and reviews for the 2022 version of the classic film | Marca

Cheaper by the Dozen

One of my favorite books is the memoir Cheaper by the Dozen written in 1948 by Frank B Gilbreth Jr and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey about their childhood in a family of 12 raised by Frank and Lilian Gilbreth who were motion study experts that had a large family. It’s such a funny, charming book that was made into a wonderful film in 1950 starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy. Unfortunately this part of the story has been largely forgotten with the remake-in-name-only version starring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. Now we have this 2022 version and whatever good was in the story has been diluted into a family sitcom and not even a good one at that.

The casting in this Cheaper by the Dozen is good with Zach Braff and Gabrielle Union and the intentions were good with their blended brood of 12. Unfortunately the script was written without regard to nuance or authenticity. Especially when it tries to be topical it completely falls flat and often screamed of tokenism rather than any kind of diversity to be praised. People, especially within their family, don’t talk in speeches ready for a PSA on Disney Channel (this could have been a DCOM but a weak one at that). I also could have done without the entire plotline of Braff and his breakfast spot being franchised. It was badly done.

Instead I would watch the 1950 film, the original Yours Mine and Ours or if in a pinch the 2003 film before watching this…

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

SXSW 2022 Schedule

The Cow

Going into SXSW the thriller The Cow was actually one of my most anticipated films of the festival. I like a tight thriller and Winona Ryder and Dermot Mulroney are usually strong in their projects. Unfortunately this film proved to be more groan than thrill worthy.

In the film Ryder plays a woman who rents a cabin with her boyfriend only to arrive and find a couple already staying there. After staying the night with the strangers Ryder finds her boyfriend is nowhere to be found with little clues to his whereabouts.

I know the movie The Cow is trying to be but with each reveal it gets more insane and ridiculous by the minute. Let’s just say it involves a cult and the cow of the title isn’t the animal. By the end I was rolling my eyes instead of being intrigued or scared.

There may be some people that will enjoy this insanity but it definitely wasn’t for me. Watch at your own risk.

2 out of 10

Frown Worthy

More Than Robots Trailer Deutsch German (2022) - video Dailymotion

More Than Robots

It’s interesting there is almost an entire genre of ‘smart kids’ documentaries at festivals. With everything from Science Fair to Spellbound I expect to be introduced to geniuses each year at Sundance and the other festivals. This year’s entry appears to be More Than Robots which you can now watch on Disney Plus but was screened at SXSW. I always seem to enjoy these genius kid documentaries and this one is no exception!

More Than Robots tells the story of the child entrants in the FIRST Robotics Competition starting in early 2020. Obviously the teams and competitions were interrupted by COVID but even that was charming to see how the teens learned from the experience and served each other and the younger students coming after them. It can focus too much on the teams in Los Angeles rather than Japan or Mexico but I still enjoyed seeing the young inventors and the robots they create. This documentary should inspire lots of kids to try their hand at engineering and to build their own amazing machines!

(The FIRST Robotics tournament in 2020 and onward is sponsored by Lucasfilm, so the Disney Plus tie-ins with More Than Robots are present throughout which may annoy some viewers).

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

SXSW LOG 2022: DAY 3 (A LOT OF NOTHING, THE THIEF COLLECTOR, SERIOUSLY RED, MILLIE LIES LOW)

Day 3 of SXSW is in the books and I ended up with 4 movies for the day. I haven’t pushed it super hard this festival. Trying to enjoy myself rather than watching movies all day like a machine. Plus, I have other things I have to watch/work on for my podcast.

Anyway, let’s talk about the 4 movies of day 3:

A Lot of Nothing

Film has always been a way for filmmakers and their audience to deal with and discuss hot topics of the day. However sometimes in their zeal to be relevant they will forget to tell a good story. Such is the case with A Lot of Nothing. The film tries to talk about police violence on Black men and women and instead becomes a story about unhinged people who become less realistic with each decision they make.

The film stars Cleopatra Coleman and Y’lan Noel as a married couple who find out a cop who is unpunished for killing a Black teen lives next door. Coleman’s Vanessa decides to release her own brand of justice and abducts the man and things get crazier from there. I get director Mo McRae is going for satire but there still needs to be some believability in the character and his or her choices. Not the case here. The more bizarre especially Vanessa’s choices got the more disengaged I became as the viewer. Perhaps this will work for some but it’s a skip from me.

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

The Thief Collector

I’m not sure why but there is something about the art world that makes for good documentaries. Whether it My Kid Could Paint That or The Price of Everything there’s something voyeuristic about diving into the luxurious world of art. With The Thief Collector we have another great example.

It’s set up like a mystery around the heist of a painting in 1985 by Willem de Kooning from the University of Arizona. The painting was stolen by Jerry and Rita Alter who seem like the ideal All-American couple. It’s only after their death do researchers find the painting but a confessional of many other pieces they stole and perhaps deeds even more sinister.

While this probably would work better as an episode of Dateline (certain parts involving a septic tank go on too long), director Allison Otto keeps things light and fun. I particularly enjoyed the intentionally campy reenactments. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if in a few years we get the narrative movie version of The Thief Collector. Until then we can enjoy this engaging documentary.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Seriously Red

I consider myself a big Dolly Parton fan. She’s a talented writer, singer, actress and I just admire her as a human. Although Seriously Red is about a Dolly Parton impersonator I was hopeful it would tap into the legend’s vivacity and charm. Sadly this wasn’t the case. Seriously Red has some good performances and music but it’s brought down by a lead character missing Dolly’s charm.

In the film Krew Boylan plays a woman named Raylene or Red who begins to work as a Dolly Parton impersonator. Along the way things get messy as she has relationships with an Elvis and Kenny Rogers impersonator. Unfortunately Red is also a jerk to most of the people in her life including her long-suffering friend Francis (Thomas Campbell). She uses people when they are convenient and then spits them out when she’s done with them. In general, Red comes across more insufferable than endearing and as she is the main character of the film that’s a problem.

5 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Millie Lies Low

Millie Lies Low is a film that does a lot of things right but doesn’t quite come together. It tells the story of Millie, a girl from New Zealand, who after missing an important flight because of a panic attack spends the day faking having arrived in New York rather than telling her friends and family she’s still in New Zealand.

Millie is played by Ana Scotney and she does a good job creating a sympathetic character that we worry about more with each scene of the film. The problem is we aren’t given enough context as to why Millie participates in this charade? Her friends and family seem supportive and friendly. Has she had panic attacks before? Also does she not want to go to the school in the US? I felt tension as she made increasingly poor decisions but again I needed more context as to why she was making such choices.

5 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Another day at the festival has come and gone! If you saw any of these films let me know what you think! 

If you enjoy what I do please consider supporting at patreon where you can get tons of fun perks https://www.patreon.com/hallmarkies

 

SXSW LOG 2022: DAY 2 (FACING NOLAN, I LOVE MY DAD, 32 SOUNDS)

After an amazing first day of SXSW day 2 was definitely more of a mixed bag. I again only watched 3 movies because of other responsibilities I have but I hope to be able to catch up with more films on Monday and Tuesday. We will see how it goes!

Let’s talk about some movies:

Facing Nolan

I don’t have tons to say about Facing Nolan. It’s a perfectly serviceable biodoc about pitcher Nolan Ryan. It’s the kind of film you’d see on an average episode of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series and fans of Ryan and baseball will undoubtably enjoy it. I like biodocs. It’s fun to learn about people and what made them the people they are but if you are looking for something that transcends the genre this isn’t it (and it doesn’t have to be it).

I did appreciate the variety of subjects interviewed including former President George W Bush. Like I said, baseball fans will especially enjoy Facing Nolan, so it does its job.

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

I Love My Dad

It’s interesting how we all accept Mrs Doubtfire as a sweet family comedy because we grew up with it and it has such a likable tone and actors. However, when you actually think about it it’s kind of creepy. It’s a similar dynamic with I Love My Dad. It’s a comedy about a man lying to his ex and his son in order to ingratiate himself in his son’s life. It’s just replaced prosthetics and make-up with internet catfishing. Unfortunately, Patton Oswalt’s character takes things so far his character is irredeemable. The more I thought about the film the grosser it became.

Oswalt plays a man who is estranged from his son and decides to start catfishing him as a beautiful young lady in order to boost his confidence (the son is suicidal at the beginning). Like I said, it starts out sweet and innocent enough but then when it gets to sexting and other lewdness it’s weird and I don’t think I could ever forgive a father for doing what Oswalt does.

I Love My Dad ends up feeling like more of a horror movie than a family comedy.

4.5 out of 10

Frown Worthy

32 Sounds

I have no doubt Sam Green’s new documentary 32 Sounds will be used in film school classes for decades to come, and such instructional settings is probably where it belongs. It’s unlike any movie I’ve ever seen with interactivity that feels novel and fresh…for a few minutes and then I was ready to move on.

32 Sounds strives to teach the viewer about sound in film and how it impacts the movie-going experience. They start the film asking the viewer to watch with headphones or at a theater if possible. Then there are various exercises they ask the viewer to participate in. The viewer are asked to respond to different sounds or think about what memories different sounds bring to the surface.

It’s definitely an interesting experiment in film but probably best as an instructional youtube series than a long feature film.

5 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Are you attending the festival? What did you think of these 3 films? Would love to hear your thoughts. 

If you enjoy what I do please consider supporting at patreon where you can get tons of fun perks https://www.patreon.com/hallmarkies

SXSW Log 2022: Day 1 (Your Friend Memphis, Skate Dreams, Crows Are White)

Hey everyone! I hope you are all doing well and having a great weekend! Yesterday marked my first day attending the virtual edition of the SXSW film festival. I thought long and hard about attending the festival but with a New York trip already planned for March I didn’t feel like I could do it. Unfortunately that means I miss out on some of the films being screened but there are still many worthwhile films to watch.

For the first day I watched 3 documentaries and I’d actually recommend all 3. They are each very different from each other but found them all rewarding and worth watching.

Here are my quick thoughts:

Your Friend, Memphis

Like many indie documentaries I do think Your Friend, Memphis would be better as a short. It’s subject Memphis DiAngelis is compelling but the events of his life can drag in spots (as would be the case with most of our lives). Memphis has cerebral palsy but he doesn’t want that to define him. Film is his passion but his struggle to be taken seriously is often met with patronizing speeches if not outright

I appreciate Your Friend, Memphis avoids maudlin or inspirational disability weepie traps but some of the time spent on his crush with a singer named Seneca don’t go anywhere and could have been lessened or removed. Still I overall recommend Your Friend, Memphis and would be a good double-header with The Peanut Butter Falcon from 2019.

6 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Skate Dreams

Anyone who might have been tempted to say ‘skate like a girl’ as a term of derision will want to shut their mouths after seeing the new documentary Skate Dreams. In the film director Jessica Edwards chronicles the history of female skateboarding and it’s engaging interviews and great skating footage make for an entertaining watch.

For some this might be old news but I knew nothing about the start of this sport so I found the stories of early skaters to be very interesting. It was also honest about the challenges and blessings of increasing popularity including the recent addition of the sport to the Olympics.

If you like skateboarding at all Skate Dreams is a winner.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Crows Are White

The final documentary of the day Crows Are White proved to be something special. Ahsen Nadeem’s film starts out as a simple story following the monks of Mt Hiei, Japan but then morphs into a personal story about his own faith journey and the acceptance he years for from his traditional parents.

While I do think the film drags on in sections (although even the slower parts can still be delightful like a whole scene with a monk going gaga over ice cream sundaes), when it works it really works. There is a scene where Nadeem finally is honest with his parents and you want so much for him to be accepted by them, so when he isn’t it’s quite devastating. I loved the dynamic between Nadeem and his wife and the ending is very fulfilling.

There are parts in Crows Are White that feel staged but never so much it took me out of the moment or made the story feel illegitimate.  This is a moving, emotional story that is worth searching out and supporting.

8 out of 10

Smile Worthy

I’d say day 1 was a pretty good start to SXSW. Hopefully in day 2 I will get some narratives to recommend. If you saw any of these films let me know what you think! 

If you enjoy what I do please consider supporting at patreon where you can get tons of fun perks https://www.patreon.com/hallmarkies

SXSW DAY 4 LOG (Lily Topples the World, The Fallout, Swan Song)

Hi everyone! And now I am back for my final update on the SXSW festival. Honestly the festival started out rough but by the end I enjoyed most of the films I saw. There weren’t that many I adored and can see ending up on my top 10 of the year but I am still glad I attended the festival. I hope next year I can go in person but for now I’m grateful to have been able to attend in this virtual environment.

Thank you to all the volunteers and workers who made the festival a success and all the creatives who put their films out for us to judge and enjoy. I am very grateful!

So here are my final movies

Lily Topples the World

Image

Before watching this documentary I had never heard of domino toppling as a thing and these kind of ‘feature an odd hobby/career’ docs are always a lot of fun. Lily Topples the World tells the story of Lily Hevesh and how she creates incredible displays with dominoes that are toppled with the toppling being part of the art.

These installations are stunning and she has found a way to make a career out of it both on youtube and working for corporate clients like the Seattle Lottery.

Lily is also an adoptee from China and it was interesting to hear about her experiences and how she identifies and doesn’t identify as an Asian American. The documentary does feel a little stretched out and would have probably been better as a short but I still enjoyed it and especially loved watching all the artwork on display.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

The Fallout

Image

This outstanding drama is written and directed by actress Megan Park in her debut film! (Megan is a veteran of many Hallmark films so it was so cool to see her have such a successful debut). The Fallout tells the story of a young woman who is dealing with the aftermath of a school shooting at her high school. The scenes of the school shooting are intense and visceral and lead actress Jenna Ortega is fantastic. (She is also in the new comedy Yes Day on Netflix that I also enjoyed. She has huge star potential!)

This film could have felt manipulative and frustrating but I bought what it was selling. It is moving and the various responses to the trauma felt real and authentic. Julie Bowen is excellent as her Mother and Shailene Woodley is her therapist and they all work great.

8.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Swan Song

Image

Swan Song is an endearing film about a man in a nursing home who breaks free for a weekend to do the hair of a beloved past client of his who has passed away. Udo Kier is wonderful in the lead role and he is the reason to see this film. I don’t know if I have ever seen him before but he’s charismatic and charming.

My favorite part about this film is how it captures the sense of longing we feel for those that have passed who we miss so much. They might be in a better place but we miss them just the same.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

SXSW Day 3 LOG (Best Summer Ever, Fruits of Labor, Aliens on Stage, Inbetween Girl, The Drovers Wife)

Hi everyone! So I am days late in my SXSW logs but I am here to play catch up. I just got so busy between watching all the films and all the stuff I have to cover for my podcasts that I missed my daily coverage of the films.

Anyway, let’s get to it and talk about some movies

Best Summer Ever

Image

Anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for a musical. Even cheesy low budget musicals I defend like the DCOMS on Disney Channel I think are sweet and entertaining. As such I was excited for Best Summer Ever. I also love that it features an inclusive cast with disabled actors. I think that is fantastic. Unfortunately everything from the writing, to the acting, to the story felt painfully amateurish. Most importantly there wasn’t a memorable song in the show. I was hopeful this would be this year’s Anna and the Apocalypse but that film had good songs and was well put together.

I don’t want to be too hard on this film because obviously they had the best of intentions but it just didn’t come together for me

3 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Fruits of Labor

Image

This documentary follows several teens working in the strawberry fields with dreams to graduate from high school and improve their lives. I enjoyed following the girls and seeing their lives play out but the director is heavy handed with cheesy metaphors of butterflies coming out of their cocoon. The director needs to trust their audience that we can figure out the meaning behind what is happening.

For the girls alone I will give it a passing recommendation but it could have been a lot better.

5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Alien on Stage

Image

I am a huge lover of local small theater productions and I’ve missed those so much in this pandemic. As such, this documentary about a group of friends who put on a stage production of Ridley Scott’s Alien was good for my soul. I loved seeing them come together to make the clever sets and costumes and then when they get picked to perform at the West End in London it is such a happy moment! I love this group and love their story! I highly recommend checking this film out.

8 out of 10

Smile Worthy

The Inbetween Girl

Image

This has sweet moments and I liked all of the performances. However, I have a hard time relating to young adult, coming of age movies with such intense relationships. It’s so different from my experience. Shouldn’t teens be having fun going on dates and enjoying time together? Shouldn’t it be the exception to the rule that have intense relationships with a boyfriend or girlfriend?  It might not be fair to make my own experience the standard but at certain point I need to connect with melodrama of a coming of age story and I didn’t with this film.

Most of the film is about the lead girl cheating with a friend of hers who is dating a frenemy of hers. Something about it didn’t feel authentic or true but I’m sure others will connect with it. It’s not a terrible movie but not something I became invested in.

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson

Image

Watching this film was a bit of a risk for me because I am normally not the biggest fan of westerns. However, it had buzz around the festival so I decided to give it a shot. I recently enjoyed News of the World so you never know with any genre. Unfortunately, The Drover’s Wife was no News of the World.

I guess it is adapted from a play and I don’t think that would be my kind of play. The whole film is so unceasingly bleak and unpleasant. I didn’t enjoy it at all. It’s well made and the performances are good but it was not for me. I couldn’t wait for it to end.

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

SXSW Day 2 Log (I’m Fine, Twyla Moves, US vs Reality Winner, Here Before, Tom Petty, Recovery)

Hey everyone! After a rough start to the South by Southwest Film Festival Day 2 proved to be much better. In fact, I liked all 6 films I watched today to one degree or another. Hooray!

So let’s get started with the recaps!

I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)

I have to say COVID is proving to be a better setting for storytelling than I might have guessed. In this first entry writer, director and star Kelley Kali gives us a day in the life of a grieving widow trying to get housing for herself and her daughter during the pandemic. She travels around down in roller skates and does various gig work and gets more desperate as the day goes on.

It’s a sobering film but Kali is such a likable presence on screen it keeps us invested. It kind of reminded me of the first act of Moonlight in a lot of ways. Some will find the slice of life concept to be a dull but I enjoyed it.

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Twyla Moves

Twyla Moves is a documentary done by PBS for their American Masters series (it actually airs this weekend on TV). I really enjoy American Masters and this goes right along with what they do. It kind of reminded me of Ailey about Alvin Ailey from Sundance 2020 (which was also for AM).

This one is about choreographer Twyla Tharp who I had never heard of but is absolutely incredible. They listed off her resume and she had major projects every year since the 70s including films like Hair and Amadeus. I kind of wish it had gotten into more of her backstory and personal journey but it stays mostly in the professional realm but still fun to watch.

6.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

United States vs Reality Winner

From the minute I heard federal secrets dropper Reality Winner’s name I wanted to learn more about her and that’s what this documentary does. It’s fairly basic in its presentation but the story is so strange and compelling it doesn’t need much manipulation to work. If you want to learn more about Reality than give this one a watch.

5.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Here Before

If you are looking for an artsy thriller at the festival Here Before may be the movie for you. It stars Andrea Riseborough as a woman who becomes convinced her new neighbor is actually her dead daughter reincarnated. This is a beautifully made film with an excellent performance by Riseborough (who is almost always good even in Birdman which I do not like). The pacing is very slow in this one and there were times my attention drifted away but still enough good to recommend.

6.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free

Obviously this Tom Petty film will be a must watch for fans of him and his music. However, I also think it will be interesting to anyone who has a love of music and is curious to go BTS of the making of an album. In this case it is his ‘Wildflowers’ album and of course everything is touched by the knowledge of his sudden passing in 2017.

If you are looking for Tom’s backstory or how he became a musician that’s not what this is. It’s a showcase of the making of an album and all the people and hours of work that went into it. As a lover of music I enjoyed learning about the process and hearing lots of great Tom Petty songs!

7 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Recovery

My friend Jonathan actually told me this movie was premiering at the festival. It stars Mallory Everton (who also cowrote and directed) and Whitney Call. They are both stars of the comedy skit youtube show Studio C and they bring that zany energy to this hilarious comedy.

Recovery is definitely a hair edgier than what you get on Studio C but it should be fine for adults. It’s about 2 sisters who have to go get their Grandma from a nursing home infected with COVID. A comedy like this comes down to the writing (which is very funny) and the chemistry which these 2 have in spades. I loved i! You may think it’s too soon to laugh at COVID but give it a chance. I bet you will find yourself cracking up just like I did.

It’s definitely the best of the festival so far. I loved it!

8.5 out of 10

Smile Worthy

SXSW Day 1 Log (Kid Candidate, Introducing Selma, Islands,Demi Lovato, Hysterical, The Lost Sons)

Hey everyone! Today begins the first day of the South by Southwest Film Festival of SXSW. This is my first year attending the festival and of course I attended virtually this year. Hopefully next year I can go down to Austin and attend in person (which is something I was planning to do last year before the world went nuts).

I have to say day 1 I am mostly underwhelmed by what I saw. Maybe I just picked poorly but there is only 1 out of 6 I really loved and only 2 I think I will go fresh on. Oh well!

Here are my quick thoughts on the films:

Kid Candidate

The documentary Kid Candidate tells the story of Hayden Pedigo who is the 24 year old who decides to run for city council in Amarillo Texas. Hayden seems like a nice enough kid but his lack of motivation to study the issues and become an educated candidate makes the whole thing feel like a publicity stunt or at best a youtube gimmick.

The director also fails to challenge him on his ideology. He appears at tea party and MAGA events but then doesn’t seem to share their beliefs (or he may and the filmmaker just doesn’t ask him about it). The parts where we get to know the Senegalese population and the way religious dogma is used by the other candidates is interesting but not enough to carry the whole film.

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Introducing Selma

Introducing Selma is only tangentially a celeb biopic. It briefly talks about Blair’s acting career and shows clips from Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde but that’s about it. She could have had any job and the story would be compelling. It profiles her experiences with MS and her stem cell treatments in 2019 (and her time with the pandemic in 2020).

She is an inspiring, authentic person who struggles at times to speak and move. What could be cloying feels true and devastating. This was my favorite of the festival for the day.

8 out of 10

Smile Worthy

Islands

Islands is a story about a 50 year old Filipino man who must start caring for his aging Father after his Mother dies. This film has some sweet moments and if you like slice of life movies it may be worth a watch.

However, the acting feels mostly amateurish and when they have Josh fall in love it is with his cousin, which is a weird choice. It could have been a very sweet little love story if they weren’t related. This one isn’t awful but I can’t recommend it.

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil

If you are a big fan of Demi Lovato you will probably enjoy Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil. As someone who doesn’t know much about her I found the experience frustrating. First, it is a docu-series put into a movie format which I think made the editing kind of weird but I felt like this is a situation of a director wanting a certain narrative that the subject wouldn’t provide.

Particularly off is a section where she tries to argue for moderation instead of sobriety and it’s painted as an inspirational moment until other guests like Elton John strongly disagree with that approach. There’s interesting stuff in there and some shocking reveals of what Demi and her team have been through but it unfortunately wasn’t put together very well. Also there is a cheap tie-in to her new album at the end which adds to feeling of being manipulated.

4 out of 10

Frown Worthy

Hysterical

Hysterical is a documentary about female stand up comics. There are definitely key figures I wish they had interviews with like Amy Schumer and Ali Wong who are seen but not heard from. Also Ellen Degeneres is never even mentioned (Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman?).

Regardless, the ladies they do talk with are funny and I enjoyed hearing their stories and talking about how the comedy scene could do better in including female voices. It wasn’t a piece to complain but to show their obvious talent. Most importantly it was funny.

7 out of 10

The Lost Sons

When I watch a documentary I always ask: ‘would I rather read an article on the topic?’ If so than the film didn’t do it’s job. The Lost Sons is such a film. It does have a compelling story of a man who finds out he was a replacement baby for his parents who had their son kidnapped at the hospital. The problem is so many key players had died or were unwilling to be filmed that there’s not enough meat on the bone for a feature film. This would be great as a short true crime podcast or newspiece but not as a feature.

The man in question Paul Fronczak does about 80% of the interviewing and I wish he had more charisma. A side of me felt like this whole thing was an attempt to buoy his failing acting career (multiple clips are shown). It seems like others enjoyed this more than I did but it’s made by the same people who did Three Identical Strangers, which was far more absorbing and effective with a very similar story.

Feels like a TV spot stretched out to a feature film. Just listen to the podcasts about it instead.

3.5 out of 10

Frown Worthy