What to see with Val: August 2021

 

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Hey my movie loving friends!

You all know that I absolutely love movies. Check out my weekly reviews on movies and TV shows. I grade all movies on an A, B, C,D and F grading system.

I would love to hear your feedback at valerie.cameron@cumulus.com

Reviews by Val Cameron

 

August Movies

 

Paw Patrol: The Movie 

Rated G
This is the first Paw Patrol movie. I did not screen this movie, because to me it’s a no brainer. If you kids love Paw Patrol, they will love this movie. If they have never seen Paw Patrol but are ages 2-8, I am sure they will love it and you will have fun watching them watch the movie. The PAW Patrol is on a roll! When their biggest rival, Humdinger, becomes Mayor of nearby Adventure City and starts wreaking havoc, Ryder and everyone’s favorite heroic pups kick into high gear to face the challenge head on. While one pup must face his past in Adventure City, the team finds help from a new ally, the savvy dachshund Liberty. Together, armed with exciting new gadgets and gear, the PAW Patrol fights to save the citizens of Adventure City!

 

The Night House
Rated R
Murder Mystery/Thriller
After Beth, played by Rebecca Hall, finds her dead husband in a boat outside of their home she starts wondering what really happened. She starts experiencing really weird events in her house and mostly at night. was her husband who she thought he was? Rebecca Hall does a great job in this movie, but the movie was slow moving and kind of forgettable. We have seen this movie so many times. I do like that the story does deal with how people deal with grief and depression. There are some jump moments and dark corners but for the most part it an ok movie. If you want the full effect, you should probably see it in the theatres. I screened it at home and got bored often.
Grade: C 
In Theaters August 20Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as …
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The Protégé
Rated R
Maggie Q did an amazing job as the female assassin Anna. She was rescued as a child and trained by Moody, played by Samuel L Jackson. This movie had a lot of promise, from the cast that also includes Michael Keaton, to the fact that they put a female assassin character front and center and some great action scenes. This movie is a fine movie. There really isn’t anything overwhelming about it. I also feel like Maggie Q and her character deserved better. I feel like we have moves on from this type of female character in a movie. A few little tweaks to the story and some of the dialogue and this movie could have been more interesting and more 2021. So A lot of this movie was recycled storylines and feeling from most movies from the late 1990’s like entrapment, The Saint and the Thomas Crown Affair. All movies with totally capable women who have to be saved by women for the story to move forward.
Grade: C+
THE PROTÉGÉ Official Trailer (2021) Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Action Movie HD© 2021 – Lionsgate
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Reminiscence

Rated PG-13

Ok, this one is a little weird. I also love when I director challenges the audience to go to a new place in a movie instead of the same stuff we get fed all the time. this is that movie. It stars Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson  and Thandie Newton. From one of the creators of West World we are taken to a place where the temperature has moved up a few degrees and world is flooded. the story takes place in Florida. the cities are surrounded by water and boats are the main source of transportation. Because of the heat now the world exists at night, work, school and play. This is a really intriguing and not too far fetch story line. the cinematography is gorgeous. The movie style itself is film noir mystery thriller. Hugh Jackman is narrating the film as he also acts in the film. The style is interesting but also a little hard to get used to because it is so different from what we are used to but keep giving it a chance. Hugh Jackman plays a veteran who now runs his own Reminiscence business. People come to him to revisit past memories because the current world really has nothing to look forward to. His functioning alcoholic business partner and partner while in the war is played by Thandie Newton. She has always been there for him and saves his butt many times during the movie. I think her character could have had more moments. Thandie is so talented, and I don’t think they really utilized her. their business was going ok till Mea, Rebecca Ferguson shows up. A romance starts and stops in record time and then the movie moves back and forth between past memories, current memories and leads us guessing on what has happened and what is going on. It’s a windy road of stories, mystery and heartbreak. sometimes the movie feels really long and slow and other times you want to see so much more. This is one of those movies that you will have a conversation with your friends afterwards and will like even more the next day.

Grade: B-
From writer/director/producer Lisa Joy comes Warner Bros. Pictures’ action thriller “Reminiscence,” starring Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson and Thandiwe Newt…
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The Suicide Squad
R

Don’t let the “The” in the title confuse you, this is a sequel to Suicide Squad. In James Gunn fashion (the director) The title is simple, but the movie is anything but. The original Suicide Squad movie from 2016 was one that DC fans were really looking forward to. There was so much hype leading into the released we were seething for the Dark DC ensemble movie that we, as fans, felt we deserved. However, it was surrounded by many underwhelming other DC movies like Batman Vs Superman and Justice League. It fell victim to a script that got off track by studio heads changing the direction of the movie, many needed scenes with character development left on the cutting room floor and Warner Brothers running around with their heads cut off trying to compete with Deadpool instead of making the movie David Ayer set out to make. Needless to say, I was not a fan of the first Suicide Squad and the thought of another was not very enticing. 

Now here we are in 2021 with James Gunn directing a no holds barred Suicide Squad movie with no interference. He was given full reign to make this movie as successful as The Guardians of The Galaxy movies, which Directed; Avengers End Game and Infinity war,  of which he was an executive producer. No pressure.

Walking into the screening I had absolutely no expectations. Yes, I liked Gunns past films for the most part, but lately DC seems to fall short no matter what cast they are given and who is at the head of the ship. In this version of the film, we have Idris Elba as Bloodsport. He plays a similar character to Will Smith’s character in the original. A criminal father who is estranged from his daughter and flung into the Suicide Squad against his wishes. Luckily Elba got a better script and better director and no one at the studio second guessing the dress they picked out for prom night. Elba does a great job as this reluctant leader of some of the strangest villains from the DC universe. I could watch him as Bloodsport in many other movies to come. 

One of the highlights of the film is Margot Robbie back as Harley Quinn. She had prominent parts in the original movie and her own movie Birds of Prey, but it is her performance in this movie that really shines. She is strong, independent, full of Harley surprises and carries her own. I could not look away when she was on screen and I never got the cringey feeling in my stomach as a female, watching another female on screen, hoping that she would stop because she was embarrassing us. This film gave her the chance to show why Harley should be kept around in the franchise and maybe even leading her own Suicide Squad at some point. 

Similar to the first film, the second film has a great cast of people. Similar to the first, but times 100, don’t get attached to some of the cast; most of them are gone before you get too attached to them. Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Viola Davis, Sylvester Stallone, Peter Capaldi, David Dashmalchain,  Daniela Melchior, Michael Rooker, Pete Davidson and Nathan Fillion are just a few of the highlights. 

The crew that ends up being the final suicide squad in the movie have great rhythm and chemistry with each other. You get attached to them and as the movie moves forward so does the characters relationships with each other. Viola Davis is even more cruel and powerful in this movie and Daniela Melchior is a shining light on screen. Oh, and John Cena was funny, not outstanding but he held his own. 

Now let’s get the unfettered action, violence and mayhem that Gunn sets before us. This is a very very rated R movie. From the language to killing, Gunn just does not hold back. There are thinks in this movie, when it comes to killing someone, that I have not seen in any other movie. Some things are creative and super funny, and some are just downright gross. I do have to give Gunn points for not holding back, after all DC is a dark place to play and these villains are as dark and sometimes as stupid as they come. 

Lastly the cinematography blew me away. As much as I was grossed out, I was also in awe of the creative vantage points we got to experience as an audience. Just like Guardians and Avengers, Gunn knows how to create excitement and how to shoot action while still staying in a “Comicbook” style of storytelling.

So, to my surprise this movie did not suck. I do think some of the shock and awe violence and language was too much for me and the movie could have been tighter in the middle.  Was it Gunns best work, no. Was it his most gutsy superhero/villain movie, yes, I think so. He may have gone a little too far in some places. You will be entertained; you will be shocked and if you are a bird lover you will also be pissed. So much better than the original, his will be an experience that has you go through every emotion and come out of the movie a little out of sorts. 

Grade: B- 

Even In My dreams
PG
A family film with Utah ties. If you are looking for a family film and girls’ night out film this weekend this may be what you should see. Made right here in Utah, you will have fun recognizing locations and people in this movie that you see here in Utah. It is an inspirational movie about a young girl, Sam Bradshaw, who loses her sister and then heads to Nashville to follower her dreams to become a singer. This is as all American family film as you can get. Apple pie and Hallmark channel. You will also recognize Debra, Sam’s manager played by Little House on The Prairie Star Alison Arngrim and she is just as spunky as Nellie was. The movie is a low budget local film, and you can tell. It is endearing and for those that love the inspirational Hallmark feel, it hits the spot. For me it is for a younger, female audience that watches made for tv movies. Not really an across-the-board audience film. It’s a little too clean cut and predictable and at times it’s a little slow and cheesy.
Grade: C+

 

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