Movie theatres are closed for the foreseeable future, so here are some movies you can watch at home:
The following are this week’s new releases available on digital platforms:
The Bygone (2019)
A young rancher, Kip (Graham Phillips), falls for a Lakota woman, named Waniya (Sydney Schafer) from a nearby reservation. When the young woman goes mysteriously disappearing, Kip goes on a search that uncovers a harrowing past and a possibly deadly future.
What to Watch For: The film is written and directed by brothers Graham (who stars as Kip) and Parker Phillips.
Word on the Street: The film played at the Austin Film Festival.
My Take: I am always in the mood for a modern-day western.
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020)
Documentary on Camp Jened, a camp in the Catskills ‘for the handicapped.’ The camp was an attempt to create a place for teenagers with disabilities in the early 70s that shaped lives and celebrated a group of teens that had faced discrimination and institutionalization.
What to Watch For: The film won the Documentary Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Word on the Street: The film is co-directed by Emmy-award winner Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht, a former camper at Camp Jened.
My Take: I can’t wait to see this film as film critics are raving about this movie. Currently, the film is at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Here are my reviews of movies just released on DVD/BluRay:
1917 (first reviewed January 10, 2020) R
Two young British privates (Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay) during the First World War are given what most likely is an impossible task: to deliver a message deep behind enemy lines that will stop a massacre of 1,600 British soldiers. One of the best films of just 2019 but one of the best films of the decade. Shot and edited as if the film is one long take, the film is a masterpiece in film editing. It’s a roller-coaster ride as we follow the two young soldiers on what very quickly looks to become either an hopeless task to complete at the least and, more than likely, a suicide mission where both men will die in vain. You are immersed rapidly into a deadly and rotten war as our two heroes are given almost impossible hurdles to overcome, all the while the clock is ticking. The film is breathtaking in its scope as we see up close the horrors of WWI and the effect it had on the men who had to fight it. The film will keep you on the edge of your seat, and it’s almost two-hour length will fly by. Please go see this in a theatre, as both the score and the cinematography are breathtaking. The two lead actors, Chapman and MacKay, are outstanding, giving us an everyman feel to their portrayals of two British boys trying to save their fellow soldiers from a horrible death. I gave 1917 my top vote in all three of my critic groups end of the year voting over some other incredible films of 2019. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again
The Grudge (first reviewed January 3, 2020) R
A house is cursed by a ghost hell-bent on getting vengeance by dooming anyone who enters will die a violent death. The first The Grudge (2004) was a surprise hit, mostly riding on the coattails of Buffy’s Sarah Michelle Gellar. After two lesser successful sequels, they have decided to reboot the series with this film. While the original movie wasn’t a slam dunk, it did have its scary moments and was worth the watch. I can’t say the same thing about this film. The film does a very clumsy tie-in to the first film and then proceeds to jump back in forth between three or is it four stories (I was too bored to keep track). The film has a bunch of jump out of the dark scares that don’t ever work, and the movie never builds any suspense. I now have a grudge against the writer/director of this film for making sit through ninety-three minutes of boring. My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
Studios are releasing on the VOD platform films that were playing in movie theatres when the shutdown occurred. Here are my reviews of films releasing this week:
Bloodshot (first reviewed March 13, 2020) PG-13
Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) was an elite soldier who was killed in battle and is brought back to life by an advanced technology that gives Ray the ability of superhuman strength and almost immediate healing. Ray soon learns that what he thinks is real or knows may not be what is happening to him. I am guessing that Vin Diesel had a lot to do with the script since, at least three times, his character’s sexual prowess is brought up. You can also tell by how much Diesel is on the screen (try in almost every shot). I didn’t care about any of the characters in the film, the action sequences are some of the worst I’ve seen in quite a while, and the plot is just plain silly. Elza Gonzalez, as a fellow recipient of the technology (she can breathe air that has been poisoned), gives a woefully acted performance in a cast full of bad acting. The film seemed long, and it is for this type of action film, almost 1 hour and 50 minutes of dull. My Rating: You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
The Way Back (first reviewed March 6, 2020) R
A former high school basketball star, Jack (Ben Affleck), is struggling to overcome his alcoholism and is offered a job to coach at his alma mater. When his team starts on a winning stream, his old demons resurface to try to stop his road to redemption. While technically a ‘sports’ film, the movie focuses more on the struggles of Jack, who is dealing with demons from his past through alcohol, and the relationships he develops with the members of the team he takes over. Affleck gives one of his best performances as a man who reluctantly takes over a team that barely has enough players to fill out a team. Jack deals with coming back to the place of his glory days and tries to inspire his team to play for each other and believe in themselves. The beauty of this film is the emphasis on the people in the story and not the outcome of the games themselves. My guess is that this might get Ben Affleck the two-time Oscar winner the Academy Award nomination for acting that he has long deserved. My Rating; I Would Pay to See it Again
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again