THE HAND OF GOD (2021)

Written & Directed By: Pablo Sorrentino 
Cinematography: Daria D’Antonio 
Editor: Cristiano Travaglioli 

Cast: Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponagelo, Luisa Ranieli, Marlon Joubert, Renato Carpentier, Massimiliano Gallo, Betty Pedrazzi 

Fabietto Schisa is a boy in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s. The Hand of God is a story full of unexpected joys, such as the arrival of football legend Diego Maradona, and an equally unexpected tragedy. Fate plays its part, joy and tragedy intertwine, and Fabietto’s future is set in motion.


This film is oddly restrained considering it is directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Whose films always lean on beautiful visuals, characters, and landscapes and usually showcase a surreal reality as well as feeling more epic in scope.

This film is autobiographical so that it feels more personal and with more depth. Not so much an ensemble but we do see the world of Neapolitan Italy through the eyes of our teenage protagonist. Though we spend a lot of time with his family and the characters he comes across. Who each affects and shape his life in some way

Some are more obvious and immediate, others we get glimpses of and then learn about them later but never quite forget them. As each has some kind of advice for the main character.

All of this is happening while in the background soccer player Maradona is bright onto Italy’s Team and is helping them win the World Cup. So Much so that the main characters’ activities are scheduled around seeing the games. 

As he interacts with his family we see plenty of domestic drama. Though throughout there is a love story but it is more between the protagonist and his aunt. Who has a mental illness or is treated like she has and wears provocative clothing and has no problem being naked whenever. Not exactly your typical movie romance. 

Though she is shown more as as a muse for him of free-thinking, humor, sex, and beauty and Luisa Ranieri playing aunt Patrica fills out the role beautifully. As the camera manages to make her look gorgeous no matter what the angle or lighting. Throughout the movie, there are female characters of great beauty who are treated as normal or every day.

The movie also managed to be one of the few films about filmmaking or future filmmakers that basically barely has any movies or talk of them in it. There is no film appreciation, though there is talk of Fellini, a filmmaker who Sorrentino can remind one of in telling personal stories in a grand way that always feels colorful.

This film doesn’t really follow a traditional plot or story and is more a collection of anecdotes and events that shape the character and give a vivid history and view of his hometown in the 1980s. Not as quirky as one might expect as there is nothing that truly stands out. 

Though by the end you are glad you watched and experienced the film that plays and feels more like a book by the end. Only here not everything is spelled out. It is more experienced, witnessed, and felt.

This is also a film best viewed in a theater or on the biggest screen you can find. 

Grade: B-

OLD (2021)

Written for the screen & Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Based on the graphic Novel “SANDCASTLE” By Pierre-Oscar Levy & Fredrik Peters
Cinematography: Michael Gioulakis
Editor: Brett M. Reed 

Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krepis, Rufus Sewell, Abbey Lee, Ken Leung, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Eliza Scanlen, Embeth Daviditz, Aaron Pierre 

A vacationing family discovers that the secluded beach where they’re relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day. 


I can admit lately M Night Shyamalan is a filmmaker who has gotten more interesting with age. I loved UNBREAKABLE but was never really hooked by any of his other films until THE VISIT came around and truly left me transfixed.

This is a movie that is good entertainment even though its story night feels far-fetched for some. Keep in mind this is a movie meant to enjoy and keep your interest. As the film goes along it manages to do that with some shocks, twists, and turns. 

The exotic locale is one of His first films set outside of Philadelphia, his hometown even if the main character’s family is from there. Even if filmed during the pandemic this is the perfect film for watching as it seems inspired by it. Even if this film is based on a graphic novel written years before.

The film is an ensemble even though we mainly follow one family: the parents and kids. How they are changing and reacting and we see others change also. Even though the title and trailers give away the major plot. This is a good film to go in and discover.

As yes there are some over-the-top elements and some do unintentional camp which seems to be something of a regular occurrence in his films. 

This film seems inspired as an either overlong TWILIGHT ZONE episode, a less technical BLACK MIRROR or inspired by LOST. The later of which really hits home with a similar cast member Ken Leung 

Abby Lee’s character seems to always have the worst fate in movies she is in. As she has the most memorable scene in this film that is done with special effects and similarly in NEON DEMON. She has scenes of grotesque violence. She is a sight to see here and comes back hard later in the film. In one of the most truly terrifying scenes. 

As an ensemble, you can already pick who is most likely to be the off-centered crazy one eventually. Just as you can usually predict who will be the victims. The only mystery is when and how. Which might be why most of the cast seems to be foreign actors as too many recognizable names and faces would only leave us to guess more. Whereas here the actors mostly come with no baggage. 

The math of aging doesn’t always seem to match up, but the actors’ performances are always believable and heartfelt. 

There are certain aspects that are easy to predict but the film does offer what seem to be what some might expect exclusively from writer/Director Shamalayan: a twist and a certain darkness. Though I must say that as dark as his material can get there is usually an uplifting ending or an element of one for the characters in the long run.

The ending offers a good explanation that could easily have been something that most could see happening. 

This movie is best viewed without any expectations. Shyamalan’s style is very smooth when it comes to framing, Camerawork, and presentation. Over the years he has maintained twists but they seem less forced and expected. They now feel more natural with the rest of the film. Not necessarily hinging on it as in the past. As his films feel more than that these days. They feel more well-rounded.

By the end this feels like a fun guilty pleasure filled with chills.

Grade: C+

THE TRIP (2021)

Directed By: Tommy Wirkola
Written By: Tommy Wirkola, Nick Ball & John Niven
Cinematography: Matthew Weston
Editor: Patrick Larsgaard

Cast: Noomi Rapace, Aksel Hennie, Atle Antonsen, Christian Rubeck, Andre Eriksen, Nils Ole Oftebro, Stig Frode Henriksen

A dysfunctional couple head to a remote cabin to reconnect, but each has intentions to kill the other. Before they can carry out their plans, unexpected visitors arrive and they face a greater danger.


This works as a modern-day spin on the film WAR OF THE ROSES only not as epic and in less time. Not to mention a lot more gruesome. As it takes place generally over a weekend and in one location mainly, a cabin 

As the couple plots, the other’s demise with traps and numerous set-up’s even accomplices. Their plans are put into disarray once intruders make themselves know who has been watching their interactions. 

The film has a dark and violent sense of humor

The film stays inventive and keeps you guessing as loyalties keep changing and make you wonder if it is out of survival or is the hate truly that real.

So the film keeps shifting and you understand each of the main characters point of view. As the escaped criminals are so hateful that you can’t help but root against them.

The film stays creative by taking these tight and cramped spaces and making them seem more luxurious than they should be as they manage to shoot the scenes more vividly than expected not with crazy angles but with camerawork that feels that there is more action involved then there actually is. 

The male character goes through more physical torture throughout and breaks down quite a bit 

Noomi Rapace is perfect at playing cold one minute and caring the next. Even while managing to always have the same look on her face. 

Knowing it is a dark comedy you expect some kind of violence, but the film gets quite gruesome and gory but manages to always stay humorous and at times hilarious. As it manages to keep surprising you as an audience member. Even when scenes seem to be heading to a familiar place. 

The ending could have been a bit stronger as it plays out as some kind of satire that feels a little bit odd with what we have just watched and gone through with the characters 

Grade: C+

BLACK WIDOW (2021)

Directed By: Cate Shortland
Written By: Eric Pearson 
Story By: Jac Schaeffer & Ned Benson
Cinematography: Gabriel Beristain 
Editor: Leigh Folsom Boyd & Matthew Schmidt 

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, Ray Winstone, O-T Fagbenie, William Hurt, Olga Kurylenko, Nanna Blondell

Natasha Romanoff aka Black  Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.


This film is a prequel of sorts that is almost a last hurrah for actress Scarlet Johansson in the role. Though it gives the character her props. It still manages to be a setup for future marvel series and movies. As we know the eventual fate of Johansson’s character in other Marvel movies.

Though in the marvel universe that keeps setting up a multiverse. They have proven the saying “Never say, Never” 

The film has top-notch action sequences. Though you might find yourself hoping for more grittiness in them and throughout the rest of the film. As it seems like it will be going down and dirty, but comes off almost too polished. The film relies heavily on hand-to-hand action scenes.

At least this movie offers more action and fighting than some other Marvel films. So much so that when there are dialogue scenes the film seems to drag. 

As at heart, this is a full-on espionage film, only simplified and without most of the confusion, those films can bring. 

The film’s theme seems to be that we all must pay for past crimes. Even throughout, the Black widow doesn’t bother to change her look or Into too many outfits. So she always seems barely hidden in plain sight.

It’s clear throughout that the cast is having fun and David Harbour in particular is a riot. One only wishes his HELLBOY performance was as much fun. 

The film’s main weakness is the villain. Who feels hollow. A similar problem was felt in ANT-MAN & THE WASP. Where the villain was weak in terms of creation and really only behind a truly bigger one who was using them. So essentially they are more of a weapon than a character or menace. That is the character of the TASKMASTER in this film. 

The main villain is Ray Winstone here he is good as always playing a villain and is believable in villainous roles usually. Especially ones who are made to be hated and despicable. Where do you believe he really would enjoy assaulting females by punching them in the face. 

It might be that the villain here is too simple and pedestrian compared to the ones we have seen in other Marvel films. Which can be a nice change of pace. Though might have helped if the film was made or brought forth earlier. As of now, it feels like a kind of break from world changers. 

That’s what it is good at. Just as ANTMAN & THE WASP was a more comedic adventure with science. It makes you totally forget the lacking villain. In fact hard to remember the villain from the get-go. 

The film goes for diversity as most of the female assassins under the villain’s plan are women of color. Who he considers as early on it’s noticeable and disturbing that the bench people the heroes fought and killed were mostly minorities. Which is kind of explained with the villains’ attitude towards them yet not the films? 

A little shocked when watching these films that respected actors such as Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz are in it, but these days who isn’t in a superhero or big-budget franchise movie?

In the end the film comes across as trying to be more serious than what it is meant to be pure entertainment and fun. 

Grade: B-

COPSHOP (2021)

Directed By: Joe Carnahan
Written By: Kurt McLeod & Joe Carnahan 
Story By: Mark Williams & Kurt McLeod 
Cinematography: Juanmi Azpiroz 
Editor: Kevin Hale

Cast: Frank Grillo, Gerard Butler, Alexis Louder, Toby Huss, Chad L. Coleman, Ryan O’Nan, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Kauai Lyman 

On the run from a lethal assassin, a wily con artist devises a scheme to hide out inside a small-town police station-but when the hitman turns up at the precinct, an unsuspecting rookie cop finds herself caught in the crosshairs.


This film came across as a welcome surprise. At first, I was interested in the cast and director but when I heard that the director was upset at the cut used upon release. I tried to stay away but my curiosity got the better of me.

Though I know director Joe Carnahan is upset with this cut of the movie. If this is the cut that he is disappointed with I would love to see his cut, because this cut constantly breathes life into certain cliches and keeps the action moving and the scenes exciting.

This is why it is upsetting to a degree that Joe Carnahan is one of the best action directors out there. Whose films feel tough, full of life, vital, and still manage to usually be exciting and surprising. Seems to have to try and get by while higher-profile projects he attaches himself to would be great but rarely seem to work out. Even though he does his best with lower budgeted films. There is always that what if. He got bigger budgets. Because he certainly gets the actors and his scripts are always character-driven with the action.

Though you have two action powerhouses on each side by Frank Grillo and a surprisingly likable hardass played by Gerard butler. What really amazes me in the film is the lead played by Alexis Louder, as she is all gusto. She can be rough and tough one minute and funny the next but always in a serious manner. She is no pushover and here she makes a kick-ass action debut that hopefully, we will see her in more of these types of films. As she damn near steals the whole movie. 

It also is nice to see an African American female in an action movie leading a role. She more than holds her own against these two known action movie veterans.

The film has minor weaknesses like it would have been nice to learn a little bit more about Frank Grillo’s character. As both actors are mysterious at first and slowly their true natures come to be shown. It would have been nice if there was still some mystery to them after a bit. As like the main character at first, you don’t know entirely who to trust and it keeps us on our toes.

Eventually, the film becomes a kind of siege movie as it seems everyone wants either into the police station or that certain prison block. Though considering the importance of everything that is on display you would think there would be more involved rather than the few that are eventually shown. 

Although Toby Huss does provide laughs and chills as a rival contract killer who seems to enjoy his job a little too much. Who is as diabolical as he is Goofy. 

While there is plenty of action and double-crosses what works for the film is how much the double-crosses are character-driven and feel more personal overall. Not easily forgettable even as it seems half the characters are at the end of their ropes. 

It manages to be a memorable crime thriller. That is also a lot of fun as it goes along. It never gets boring and uses its one location wisely and to the most extent. As it makes it feel vast rather than secluded. 

Maybe the reason why it is enjoyable is that it has a feel of ’80s and 90’s action. Thrillers with a modern-day flair. So that while not seen it feels like a throwback to those straight to video action films that were little hidden gems because they never tried to be more than what they knew they were. The type that seemed more like B-Movies that would air on HBO on Friday nights as their action offerings of extravaganza. 

This is a film best to go blindly into. Though definitely worth your time. As it doesn’t rewrite anything but works well within its genre and with its time 

Grade: B

PRISONERS OF GHOSTLAND (2021)

Directed By: Sion Sono
Written By: Aaron Hendry & Reza Sixo Safai
Cinematography: Sohei Tanikawa 
Editor: Taylor Levy 

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Nick Cassavettes, Bill Moseley, Tak Sakaguchi, Charles Glover, Young Dais, Tetsu Wantanabe 

Set in the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town where a ruthless bank robber is sprung from jail by wealthy warlord The Governor, whose adopted granddaughter Bernice has gone missing. The Governor offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct within three days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman and his own path to redemption.


Being that Nicolas Cage stars in this film. The audience will already expect a certain level of craziness. Here the film fulfills expectations.

So that while off the wall, violent and colorful. The movie also comes off like a blockbuster that somewhat for all of its eccentricities also comes off unexpectedly conventional for a post-apocalyptic film. 

Especially when you consider that this is Sion Sono’s first English language film and teaming up with an American star known for unconventional choices. That seems like a Genius pair made in Heaven. As Director sono is known for films that are considered out there in mentality and surreal in visions and atmosphere. 

The director’s eye for visuals and over-the-top excess while staying stylish and artistic are on full display. Though the film also seems to lack certain courage of vision. Though Cage certainly easily fits right in. 

As it seems it has reigned In only a little to be less indulgent and think more about the audience. It does come off as more poetic and symbolic at times.

The film oddly lacks as much action as might be expected and that seems to be set-up and building up to. 

While the film is quite an adventure filled with plenty of themes of redemption and a combination of cultural clashes and influence. It certainly comes across as different and hard to exactly define, but still oddly feels a little dispirited and tame. 

By the end, the film is a post-apocalyptic film that is heavily influenced to end a western. Though one thing the film promises is that it is never what you thought you would be watching.

Grade: C+

ANNETTE (2021)

Directed By: Leos Carax  Written by: Ron Mael & Russell Mael (Sparks) Cinematography: Caroline Champetier  Editor: Nelly Quettier 

Cast: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg, Devyn McDowell 

Against all logic, Henry and Ann–he, a struggling stand-up comedian, she, a beloved opera diva. fall madly in love and become inseparable after a chance encounter in bustling, modern Los Angeles. However, all great romances are fraught with pain. Faced with the public’s surprise and the dark side of success, Ann gives birth to gifted Annette: the fruit of their love, a miracle, a child prodigy, and the couple’s damnation.


I didn’t Love it, But I like it, kind of. There is A lot to dissect.

Starts off purely cinematic then the following film has its Moments and looks beautiful but never matches. As it seems more satirical at times and less an intimate story maybe taking on so many subjects and story beats rather than keeping it simple.

It’s special as it is not typical or something you see often. Or is it lazy or subpar filmmaking but didn’t white make the connection or inspire amazement. Though keeps interest throughout but feels overwrought at times.

Amazing how it starts off with so much promise and the belief that anything can happen or at least if what will happen and steadily loses steam, But manages to keep you watching with hope. Interested to hear others’ opinions about this film. I certainly have mine.

Director Leos Carax The French David lynch obviously loves films and cinema. Only he has his own vibe and influence.

Always excited when he makes a new film, never knowing what we are going to get and will it be something to enjoy, study or both.

I believe most of his films Are meant to be seen in theaters as a requirement. Having said that I will admit I have never seen one in a theater but am fascinated and taken away by all of his films.

As they are constantly Alive. Unpredictable, breathing, moving, emotional they have hearts and minds. Where by the end you have an opinion or the both in them as they engage and make you think stylish and able to shock they have their eccentricities and personality.

As they strive to be different yet tell stories that are recognizable and somewhat identifiable in their own way. You can always call them different and yet seem exactly to come out of an individual’s Imagination. Who has made no compromises and told the tale the exact way they wanted to, no matter how it is taken.  Not made necessarily to  entertain or even be understood completely but to share and experience. Which ultimately shows its personality.

This is Definitely a film made by an auteur, not by committee, more like An expression of thoughts that come to a point, A theory 

Movies have usually been driven by romantic notions and definitely influenced by music seeming like they are albums themselves with each scene or section of film being their own song or ballad. 

The film is Stylish above all else. Bringing his passion and interests into the story. That still seems filled with surreal shots that seem straight out of a perfume ad or filmed perfectly for one. 

The Director even cameoed  at the start to show that he is the engineer behind it all before introducing his collaborators in a musical sequence in which they are all together. Keep in mind this was also written by the band sparks. Who has a cult following for their music which is original on its own. So this was going to be far from conventional in the first place. 

Did the advertisement  influence a certain kind of filmmaking or just copy the artistic type  European style and Concepts? 

Maybe as a more American English language production steers it not as homemade and comfortable but as a work that is more foreign common and for him a little more straightforward and normal 

Obviously a musical. It wants to be an opera of its own, a kind of grand tragedy with big feelings and scenery yet personal and between few characters to keep it intimate with a huge Falsetto voice as it is not within the range of normal but gets attention and can be achieved.

Which will Make you notice and hit several notes, Not that easy to do. Yet lying seems to be easier for most than others but then again to maintain a lie you must create others to maintain which takes creativity 

Whereas the truth is easier a s it is natural but hard when wanting to go against or refuse to believe it . 

The film can be Graphic sexually but manages to make it sexy. 

Instead of Driven showstoppers or performances more seems to be little ditties to go with the story or to tell with a few full song show stoppers. 

The Camera always exploring as he creates his own world or a world that is quite different 

Like a true musical the film feels constantly performed but within the confines of a certain reality in all of its absurd ness and artistic design. 

There is a certain sadness that hangs over his films but also a current and electricity that makes the films somewhat exciting. Definitely a journey and excursion that feels like a trip. 

Sacred It feels monotonous and more staged, artificial doesn’t cut straight to the heart. As it usually does not emotionally truthful yet is still emotional.

Adam Driver with long hair can go from heartthrob or ruggedly Handsome. Looking like a grown geek who loves with his parents or worse the guy who still not only has a ponytail. But thinks it is still cool. Of course the stand-up that he performs isn’t funny but more of a one-man show that is theatrical but is most Stand up like that? Confessional with laughs and jokes or a humorous way to look at situations and stories of your life personal and all, opinions. 

Knew it was fake or skewed as his audience drank exclusively wine and cocktails and not one beer in sight.

The fleeting emotions and feelings, care and moods of crowds and fans especially.  if you do any meet their idealism of what they want from

You Don’t give them what they want as they feel if they pay to see you they have made an investment into you and you are supposed to give them what they want out of you. But they never say exactly so you are supposed to guess or do what you supposedly normally do to entertain, only they want the same if what they have seen or updated new material in the same vein but if you evolve some will stay but others will go against. As how some people in your life want you to stay the same and any time you move on or change for the better personally they take it as an insult or against it because it is not the same they remember.

The rejection of the conventional or being dismayed that it is unconventional and challenging that makes one not a fan or that makes one a fan as it is different and outsider art.

The film while being indulgent is also about toxic male masculinity. Having to control and be in control. So much so that as the film goes on Marie Cotillard’s Character seems to shrink not physically but from the film. As we see her less and less and spend more time with him and when they are together he seems to take over. Physically because of his size and his direction.

It doesn’t help that we get many dimensions of him, but for her she forever stays mroe representative and never really get any inner life form her. So much so that she remains a symbol throughout instead of a real character

At the end Playful and silly. It always feels like a full on experiment project rather than a heartfelt and committed one . 

Grade: B 

ARMY OF THIEVES (2021)

Directed By: Matthias Schweighofer
Written By: Shay Hatten 
Story By: Zack Snyder & Shay Hatten
Based On Characters created by: Zack Snyder 
Cinematography: Bernhard Jasper 
Editor: Alexander Berner 

Cast: Matthias Schweighofer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O. Fee, Stuart Martin, Guz Khan, Jonathan Cohen, Noemie Nakai, Christian Steyer 

A prequel, set before the events of Army of the Dead, focuses on German safecracker Ludwig Dieter leading a group of aspiring thieves on a top-secret heist during the early stages of the zombie apocalypse.


A prequel that could have easily worked without being tied to ARMY OF THE DEAD the original movie or even including zombies in the background.

If anything, the ties of being in this franchise leave us knowing the main character’s fate. So we all know the ending, but this gives us an ending on a happier note. The film offers us some history of him. As well as letting us see more of a fan-favorite character. That also allows for world-building purposes in the franchise and the zombies give a kind of ticking time clock and a chance to see how the world deals with what seems like the American zombie outbreak. 

This film comes off as more highbrow and sophisticated. Definitely less violent and feels more creative and fun.

This film is more of a caper comedy and feels like an adventure with Less objectionable material. That feels more energetic and fun.

It definitely has a lot more fluff than anything of substance. Though it is overlong for no particular reason. you generally don’t Feel it

The film has minor stakes so you never can quite take it seriously. Nor does it ever become melodramatic. As the focus here is more sleight of hand and less testosterone-fueled action.

The film offers an interesting look at the typical action hero. Here the protagonist is more nerdish, awkward, and seen as feminine. Whereas though he might not be physically strong he at least is brave. Whereas the more common action hero proves to be emotionally weak and easily jealous which might lead to his downfall.

Nathalie Emmanuel prices to be the perfect femme fatale and general badass. Where you wish she was more of the lead here. Or at least wish there was more to her character than her outfits and vague history of her character. 

The caper sequences are sharp and exciting with the requisite tension. 

The film feels like it would be quite at home in an earlier decade. As it has the exuberance down, but never quite feels authentic or that it has any roots. It feels like an extension made for money and the life of the franchise rather than Actually being needed. It easily could have existed outside of the ARMY OF THE DEAD universe 

In The end One only wishes the film packed a tighter punch. As it more feels like practice jabs or at least felt more meaningful. Thought of looking for something more fluffy and entertaining this is the film for you. 

Grade: C+

WITHOUT REMORSE (2021)

Directed By: Stefano Sellima
Written By: Taylor Sheridan & Will Staples 
Based On The Novel By: Tom Clancy 
Cinematography: Philippe Rousselot
Editor: Matthew Newman 

Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Guy Pearce, Lauren London, Cam Gigandet, Brett Gelman, Colman Domingo, Jacob Scipio, Todd Lasance 

An elite Navy SEAL, goes on a path to avenge his wife’s murder only to find himself inside of a larger conspiracy.


Considering the talent involved. This should have been a much better film. 

The film feels more like a revenge saga that happens to have espionage and the government more on its mind and just adds that revenge to make it more personal for the lead.

The film’s most memorable action sequences are shown in the trailer and seem to be used quickly within the film’s first hour.

This is a totally joyless film with no sense of fun or any real excitement. 

When it comes to most espionage films. I usually find myself confused and having to watch a few times to work out exactly what happened or went down. This film comes off as simplified or maybe as I get older I pay closer attention. This film feels way too simple.

The film runs into the Wonder Woman example of the hero being encouraged and supported. Only to find out by the end. He is the true enemy following the keep your friends close and your enemy closer mentality. The prick character thought out thought to be the villain is actually a red herring and the closest to an ally the main character might have.

Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan is used to writing these types of films but here he is working with previously written material. So he can only do so much.

The film has an epic story that feels more like it is told and is more compact than it should be.

Which considering director Stefano Sollima’s previous work. He seems to always make the focus sharp but seems to limit the action which feels all over the place as it feeds into a vast conspiracy that is international and worldwide, but by the end feels way too simplified and compact. 

Cinematographer Philippe Rousselot manages to make the images sumptuous enough that you can see the richness in the colors making everything vivid while being mysterious. 

The film keeps your interest but by the end doesn’t feel worth it. As there are way too many conveniences. It doesn’t help that star Michael B. Jordan and co-Star Jodie Turner-Smith feel like they are in two different films and most of us would rather be in the one she’s in. As it feels stronger like her performance. Whereas Michael B. Jordan comes off as a one-note. In pure action hero mode and not a charismatic one. Is that supposed to be for him to feel more realistic?

In the end, the film is entertaining enough but never feels like it goes far enough. So that by the end it is one of the few films made from Tom Clancy’s novels that feels small scale 

Grade: C-

SHIVA BABY (2021)

Written & Directed By: Emma Seligman
Cinematography: Maria Rusche
Editor: Hanna Park 

Cast: Rachel Sennot, Polly Draper, Molly Gordon, Fred Melamed, Dianna Agron, Jackie Hoffman, Danny Deferrari, Glynis Bell, 

At a Jewish funeral service with her parents, a college student runs into her sugar daddy.


The film works as a character piece. Even though it takes place mostly in one location and is full of colorful characters who add comedy and point of view to the story. It all centers around the main character played by Rachel Sennot in a subtle and ultimately powerful performance. As she is out under high pressure unknowingly in a continuous situation. She begins to unravel in all sorts of ways.

What makes the film so strong is that while there is comedy it plays almost like a horror film or thriller. As the score seems to help tighten the rope around the character and set in such a crowded space there are fewer and fewer places to turn.

Even as she is struggling to keep her sugar daddy who is far from a Prince Charming and the longer he stays at the party. The more his farm diminishes, but he is the only thing she had control over and loses him. She will feel like she has nothing. So she keeps trying harder and harder to lessen herself to keep and seduce him. 

As it seems scene to scene she is running out of places to hide or things to distract her as she gets more worried and more people to talk about her and the danger of her secrets being revealed. As she tries to make things seem normal.

Even as she tries to seduce a guy who is her sugar daddy back and you begin to wonder is it more about the power and strength as he isn’t all that appealing or beating the competition for him in his successful wife who seems to know more than she lets on. Or did she actually fall for him as something more than just a client?

Is she just desperate to keep the status quo as anything different would force her to grow up? As the man ends up not being all that appealing. Which one can tell early on before any revelations are brought to the table 

The whole cast is eye-opening, they are funny and emotional. Though Polly Draper as the roads mother has the right amount of emotions and judgment to be frustrating and sweet

Rachel Sennot as the lead is a revelation as she plays so many emotions and feelings all at once. Even though it is mostly through facial expressions and actions more than dialogue. Not to mention her natural beauty comes through when being plain but also wants to be looked upon with desire.

The film also offers us a bi-sexual lead where the film does have sex and sexual language the film doesn’t become all about or into about the character’s sexuality as their defining trait 

This film could have easily been more of a simple dramedy that would Feel more staged or at least stage-bound the way it is shown and protested here is short but keeps the audience on their toes as each revelation or emotion feels like a jump scare or is looked upon with dread. 

Though it offers up a few surprises, by the end it leaves the characters uncomfortable but in it’s own way a happy ending. 

Thankfully for all the awkwardness and Cringe-worthy conversations and situations that play like horror the film still has its fair share of laughs and humor.

Grade: B+