Cinema Clash Podcast: The Climb, Come Away
Cinema Clash Podcast Reviews: Holidate, Come Play, The True Adventures of Wolfboy

Quickie Review: Fatman

Mel, what were you thinking? I know you’re looking for that flick to make the big comeback from bad guy jail, but this ain’t it. I can kinda sorta see why you might have thought this was a fun idea, but jeez! Mel plays Santa, known in this one as Chris Cringle, whose business model isn’t working any more and decides to partner with the US military on the off season so he can make ends meet. Meanwhile, a spoiled rich kid who deservedly got a lump of coal for Christmas has hired an assassin (Walton Goggins, John Bronco, “Justified”) to take revenge on him for the slight. What this setup promises is a dark action-comedy. What the audience gets is something much more muddled and decidedly not funny.

Review: Come Away

I’m conflicted about Come Away. It presents an intriguing concept and has some visual appeal and a solid cast, but I just don’t think we need another spin on one classic, let alone two, that  has already been imagined and reimagined a gazillion times over the years. Plus, it’s tinged with such sadness throughout that I simply felt bummed out watching. Magical escapism as a survival mechanism failed to lift my spirits. 

Review: Operation Christmas Drop

Operation Christmas Drop had me rethinking my somewhat harsh rebuke of Holidate which seems to be doing just fine on Netflix without my endorsement. At least Holidate evoked a reaction. Operation Christmas Drop just… is what it is. A “feel good” holiday romcom devoid of “feels.” There’s nothing particularly terrible about it; it’s simply flat and unaffecting, and the two leads lack the kind of chemistry or cheesy sap that ropes millions into marathon viewings of Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies this time of year. There are literally dozens of new offerings coming down the pike, so you may want to wait for those.

Quickie Review: Recon

Another World War II film based on true events, Recon is an adaptation of the book “Peace” by Richard Bausch. It’s the story of four soldiers in the waning days of the war who are sent out for reconnaissance in the mountains of central Italy. Early on their Sergeant kills a civilian, and that act colors everything that follows. All of them are tired of war. And they believe they’re on a suicide mission. They’re supposed to find the Nazis and report back on their positions, which could be impossible if they are found out. Along the way they enlist an old Italian man to guide them through the snowy territory, but the question of his sympathies keeps them constantly on edge. And there is an enemy sniper out there. This is no Band of Brothers though. The men don’t seem to have any affinity for one another. They just want to get home alive.

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 2

Week two of listing favorite films that may not be on your radar because they’re not new. A few of these were made before I was born, and they’re still resonant. This week’s seven run the gamut of genres and styles.

I give you a Chinese Kung-Fu comedy, a French rom-com, a Frank Capra classic, a Hong Kong gangster vs cop drama, a brilliant gothic horror tale, a women’s lib girl power comedy, and the funniest rom-com ever made.

There’s something for everyone here.

 

Review: The True Adventures of Wolfboy

In this oddball coming of age tale, Paul (Jaeden Martell, Knives Out, IT) is a kid just turning 13. He lives in rural New York with his dad, but has more than the usual teenage problems. He suffers from congenital hypertrichosis, a condition that has him covered in hair, and makes him the target of every bully in town. All he wants is to be normal and be left alone, but that’s impossible given his wolf-boy appearance, so most of the time he wears a ski mask to hide his face. But on his birthday, he receives a letter from his estranged mother, runs away to find her, and instead finds the courage to be himself.

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 1

What are you streaming this week? When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I started a list on my Facebook page, posting a film I love every day. That list has grown, and is still growing, edging up past 150 films. It is getting a little harder to choose a new film. But I’ve remembered a lot of great movies that I’ve watched over the years and they span all genres and eras. And sometimes one film will remind me of another or an actor that I’d forgotten. I’ve stayed away from the last decade because there are a million “best of” lists that included them. These are films that have stayed with me. Some are obscure, and some no doubt skew to my more “arty” taste. But I am sure you’ll find something to watch that will fill that pandemic hole.  I’ll be posting them in batches of 7 each week, until I have nothing more to say. That could take a while.

 

Review: Koko-di Koko-da

Just in time for the holidays comes a truly creepy flick from Sweden about a couple grieving the loss of their young daughter and their crumbling marriage who go on a camping trip and get caught in a Groundhog Day loop of a murderous fairy tale. Every night Elin (Ylva Gallon) wakes Tobias (Leif Edlund Johansson) to say she needs to go outside the tent and pee, and every night a trio of monsters is outside just waiting to prey on her and him. But night after night Tobias awakens with a bit more information and a plan to get away from the horrors inflicted on them the nights before. It’s all allegory of their grief and their broken relationship and as the violent cycle continues they’re ultimately able to find their way back to each other. It’s a very odd film, definitely not for mainstream moviegoers, and frustratingly slow.

Review: Let Him Go

Let Him Go is a slow burn. That takes a turn. That’ll make you squirm. Perhaps if you’ve read the 2013 novel “Let Him Go” by Larry Watson, the shocking moments won’t be quite as shocking. But for the rest of us, it’s enough to go… YIKES. Forewarned is forearmed, so brace yourself for a rough ride, especially toward the end.

The film’s lead actors Kevin Costner and Diane Lane have worked together before – in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, playing Superman’s adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent. In Let Him Go, they are, once again, a loving long-married couple living on a ranch (Montana, not Kansas) with a son who is the apple of their eye. But Let Him Go is no PG-13 superhero flick. It’s a character-based adult thriller set in the American West in the early 1960s. The landscape is beautiful and Costner and Lane share an easy on-screen chemistry, which could lull you into a false sense of cinematic security as the story begins to unfold.

Cinema Clash Podcast Reviews: Holidate, Come Play, The True Adventures of Wolfboy

Happy Halloween and Pre-Election Day Weekend! On this quaranstream edition of the Cinema Clash, I chat about Holidate, the bawdy holiday romcom now on Netflix, Charlie talks about the horror movie Come Play (which I opted to skip ’cause it’s really not my genre of choice), and we both weigh in on a quirky coming of age indie called The True Adventures of Wolfboy.  Tune in!