Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a film that I would surely endorse watching if and when there’s talk again of overturning Roe v. Wade or further eroding abortion rights. But right now, when our focus is squarely on the Coronavirus and escaping the dread of the Coronavirus, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a film that even ardent supporters may want to relegate to the back burner. Unless, that is, you’re psychologically inclined to indulge in some at-home viewing that is reserved and grim and poignant and raw, providing an authentic take on one teen’s intensely personal journey to abort an unintended and unwanted pregnancy.

Review: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

Wait, how did Tiger King get on here? It’s a documentary series, not a film! Too bad. I’m giving myself permission to write up (or not write up) whatever the heck I feel like until we’re through the Covid-19 pandemic. I didn’t want to watch Tiger King. It’s seven episodes! About a bunch of odd ducks who own Big Cats! So not my bag. But my curiosity got the better of me, especially as my social media feeds exploded with references to this “crazy” “wait – it gets crazier” “trainwreck of a show” featuring a mulleted, gun-toting, polygamist country-music singer who presides over a roadside zoo in Oklahoma. Tiger King – and its bizarre cast of characters – has obviously captured the cultural zeitgeist. So I devoted my rainy Saturday in social isolation to gorge on this ‘stranger than fiction’ true-crime saga best described (or reasoned away) as comfort food for the twisted soul.

Review: The Whistlers (La Gomera)

A beautiful woman. 30 million euros. A detective who’s tired of his job. All the elements of a classic thriller are present in this Romanian film noir. Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) is a cop in Bucharest. Gilda (Catrinel Marlon) is the femme fatale whose boyfriend Zsolt (Sabin Tambrea) is behind bars and knows where the money is hidden.  To that end she enlists the not so honest cop in a scheme that involves traveling to the Canary Islands to learn a whistling language called El Silbo Gomero that was invented by the locals and is used by the mobsters to communicate without the cops being able to understand. The plan is to use it to get the boyfriend out and make off with the dough. But of course, Cristi falls for the dame, and things don’t go exactly as planned.

Review: Bacurau (Nighthawk)

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Brazil is a village called Bacurau. It’s cut off from the world. They have to truck in water and supplies. But the people live their everyday lives pretty normally. Then strange things start to happen. The town disappears from maps. Their cell signal is gone. Their water supply truck arrives with bullet holes in it. And then a couple on motorcycles appear. Turns out they’re part of a gang of blood-thirsty tourists who aim to use the town for target practice. They chose the wrong town.

Review: Extra Ordinary

This seems like the perfect time for a horror romcom and this light little film from Ireland will surely transport you away from the world of campaigns and viruses for 93 minutes. The plot revolves around sweet Rose (Maeve Higgins) who’s a driving instructor trying her best to ignore her supernatural ability to see ghosts. But when she’s asked to help a family exorcize the wife/mother who’s making them crazy, she meets handsome widower Martin Martin (Barry Ward). Unfortunately, his daughter is kidnapped shortly afterwards by a satanist who needs a virgin sacrifice, and so Rose and Martin team up to save her from the evil clutches of one-hit-wonder and Satan’s disciple Christian Winter (SNL’s Will Forte) who’s only doing the evil deed because he wants another number one hit. It’s all very silly and a fun ride.

COVID-19 Streaming List

Just in case you’re caught at home wondering what you can do to pass the time, here’s a list of films that, if you haven’t seen, you should, and if you have you might want to watch again. There’s something for everyone. All of these are streaming right now and we’ll post more later, if need be.

Review: I Still Believe

I Still Believe is squarely aimed at the faith-based crowd and fans of popular Christian music singer Jeremy Camp. So if you fall into that particular demographic, then I do believe that I Still Believe will strike a chord. It tells the true-life story of Camp’s meet-cute and instant attraction to Melissa, a fellow student at Calvary Chapel Bible College in California. They married in 2000, and she died four months later of ovarian cancer at the age of 21. The personal tragedy inspired Camp to write what would become a hit worship song called – you guessed it – “I Still Believe.”

Review: Spenser Confidential (Netflix)

This Netflix title caught my eye because I was a fan of the TV series “Spenser for Hire” (starring the late Robert Urich) in the mid-1980s and was curious how a new movie version of the crime drama might play out with Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. The film is directed by Peter Berg who’s worked with Wahlberg several times in the past decade, in big-screen features like Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, Mile 22 and Lone Survivor. Spenser Confidential would be weak for a theatrical release, but it’s entertaining enough for Netflix streaming – for nostalgia’s sake and/or if you just like watching Wahlberg do his thing. Check, check.

Review: The Way Back

Ben Affleck was fresh out of rehab when filming began for The Way Back, and that had to make the process extra challenging, awkward, even painful – for the actor, his costars and the filmmakers. Affleck, an alcoholic who acknowledges that his addiction contributed heavily to the implosion of his marriage plays an alcoholic whose addiction (compounded by personal tragedy) contributed to the implosion of his marriage. Now both are on the path to redemption. Hopefully.

Review: Corpus Christi (Boze Cialo)

Based on a true story, Corpus Christi is the tale of 20-year-old Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia) who, just sprung from a violent juvenile detention center and heading for a new job, decides to visit the local church and stumbles into becoming the new priest for the small Polish town. It’s the story of his redemption, but also that of his new flock, a community healing from a tragedy that has divided them against themselves. Once he’s committed to the ruse as the impostor Father Tomasz, Daniel slips into the cassock and wings it well enough to fool the whole town. It’s not a con, so much as a calling. And you’re just wondering how long he can get away with it.