Currently browsing posts by Hannah Buchdahl.

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: 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: Onward

I may be slightly out of step with the masses on this one. Time will tell. I liked Onward, but I didn’t love it, and I’m not so sure the majority of kids will either. Onward definitely scores points for sparking the imagination and conjuring up some magical messaging. But will kids grasp the concept of a half-dad depicted by a pair of khakis? I don’t know.

Review: EMMA.

I generally don’t go out of my way to see a period drama (especially one with a period in the title), and I never got around to reading much Jane Austen. But I did rather like the 2016 film adaptation of Austen’s 1790 novella Love and Friendship, and EMMA. appeared to be cut from a similar cloth, so I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did. It’s another solid, well-acted and pleasant romantic dramedy that Austen fans in particular will surely find amusing.

Review: Ordinary Love

Ordinary Love offers a master class in quiet, meaningful, relatable and subtle performances from two veteran actors, Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) and Liam Neeson (Taken, Schindler’s List). They play Joan and Tom, a loving, long-married couple whose comfortable routine is disrupted by an unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer. The film shines a light on the everyday challenges a couple can face while attempting to navigate uncertainty, illness and grueling treatments with a sense of humor, grace and intimacy. There’s also tremendous sadness, anxiety, frustration and fear.

Review: Olympic Dreams

Olympic Dreams is an odd little indie meet-cute that takes elements of a romantic dramedy, sports movie and documentary, puts them in a blender, and spits out an uneven story that is overshadowed by a very cool setting: the 2018 Winter Olympic games in PyeongChang, South Korea. It’s about a relationship that develops between cross-country skier Penelope (Alexi Pappas) and volunteer dentist Ezra (Nick Kroll). They are two lost souls at a crossroads in life.

Snapshot Review: The Photograph

The Photograph is a fairly straightforward romantic drama that is slow to develop and fails to rise above ho-hum despite its very likeable and very attractive leads – Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield. She plays a New York museum curator named Mae; he plays a rising-star journalist named Michael. They are brought together by the mystery of an old photograph of Mae’s recently-deceased mother Christina (Chanté Adams), a renowned photographer whom Michael has been researching for a story. The film intertwines Mae and Michael’s budding romance with flashbacks from a past romance involving Mae’s mother and a young beau in Louisiana.