REVIEW: Palmer (2021)

Justin Timberlake and Ryder Allen in “Palmer,” now streaming on Apple TV+. — Photo: Apple Original Films / Apple TV+.

Directed by Fisher Stevens — Screenplay by Cheryl Guerriero.

Fisher Stevens’ Palmer follows Eddie Palmer (the titular character played by Justin Timberlake), a former high school football star, who was just released from prison. Eddie goes to live with his grandmother, Vivian (played by June Squibb), and soon he seeks out a job as a janitor at a local school. Vivian tends to watch over their young neighbor, Sam (played by Ryder Allen). Sam, a flamboyant young boy who likes to play with dolls, is soon left with no guardian in sight when Vivian passes away and his mother, Shelly (played by Juno Temple), leaves town. Though he is initially reluctant, Eddie decides to do the right thing and become the temporary guardian for a young boy who keeps on challenging Palmer’s own prejudices. Continue reading “REVIEW: Palmer (2021)”

REVIEW: The Dig (2021)

Carey Mulligan, Archie Barnes, and Ralph Fiennes in ‘The Dig.’ — Photo: Larry Horricks / Netflix.

Directed by Simon Stone — Screenplay by Moira Buffini.

Back when I was just a very young teenager, my school had arranged for me to receive (what I guess you would call) on-job training for a week with a team of Danish archaeologists. I had had a natural interest in archaeology, and therefore I was thrilled when I got the chance to learn from them. Over the course of that week, I archived a lot of items, I spoke with the archaeologists for quite some time, I got an early look at a history museum’s recreation of a Viking ship (if memory serves), and I even got to take part in an actual excavation. For this reason, I had a particular interest in Simon Stone’s The Dig, a Netflix original film about a historic excavation in England in 1939, and I actually really enjoyed watching it and learning about Basil Brown and Edith Pretty. But I will say that this period drama is probably a little bit too slow for your average Netflix subscriber. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Dig (2021)”

REVIEW: Outside the Wire (2021)

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‘Outside the Wire,’ — Photo: Jonathan Prime / Netflix.

Directed by Mikael Håfström — Screenplay by Rob Yescombe & Rowan Athale.

In 2020, Netflix found some success by placing a Marvel star in a fast-paced action movie with a somewhat forgettable plot with the Chris Hemsworth-led Extraction, which I liked. Now, in 2021, Netflix is hoping that they can do the same thing again with Outside the Wire, a science fiction action film starring Anthony Mackie, from the director of the John Cusack-led 1408, which I actually also like quite a bit. Unfortunately, Outside the Wire is nowhere near as effective of an action film as Extraction was, and they forgot to make it as fast-paced as the aforementioned film. Instead, we’re left with a serviceable but incredibly forgettable and generic science fiction flick. Continue reading “REVIEW: Outside the Wire (2021)”

REVIEW: Soul (2020)

Soul Still Image
‘Soul,’ Still Image — Photo: Disney / Pixar.

Directed by Pete Docter — Screenplay by Pete Docter, Mike Jones, and Kemp Powers.

For years, critics all over the world have praised Pixar for their storytellers’ ability to make animated films that appeal to people of all ages. Often animated films will only reserve a couple of jokes to please parents and other adults, but Pixar tends to go the extra mile and provide us with films that enthrall both children and adults such as Coco, Up, and the Toy Story-films. However, with their latest film, Pete Doctor’s Soul, I think that Pixar has made an animated film that actually appeals more to adults than children. I have even had conversations with friends, who agree that Pixar’s latest great animated film actually feels like a film designed primarily for a grown-up audience. However, even though that could be true, Pete Docter’s Soul is yet another home run from an exceptional animation studio that is as good as it has ever been. Continue reading “REVIEW: Soul (2020)”

REVIEW: The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (2020)

Film Poster - Lego Star Wars
Release Poster – Disney+

Directed by Ken Cunningham — Available on Disney+.

It can be difficult to enjoy Star Wars fully when the fanbase is as fractured as it has been these last few years. A significant part of the fandom has a deep hatred for a film that I like quite a bit, and it has made it so draining to debate Star Wars opinions these days. These last few weeks, I have been watching the second season of The Mandalorian, which I will hopefully be reviewing soon, and it, along with this LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special released on Disney+, truly reminded me why I have always loved Star Wars so much that even online disputes can’t ruin it for me. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is genuinely wonderful and a good time for the whole family. Continue reading “REVIEW: The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (2020)”

REVIEW: Retfærdighedens Ryttere (2020)

Promotional Still Image
‘Retfærdighedens Ryttere / Riders of Justice,’ Promotional Still Image — Photo by Rolf Konow — Nordisk Film.

Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen — Screenplay by Anders Thomas Jensen.

It is quite extraordinary that in a year like 2020, which has seen a global pandemic severely damage the film industry and movie theaters all around the world, somehow the Danish film industry has thrived. This year has produced several event films, so to speak, in my home country. It all began with Mikkel Nørgaard’s Klovn: The Final, which is a continuation of arguably Denmark’s most popular comedy series of the last two decades. Then, not too long ago, Thomas Vinterberg’s near-masterpiece Druk was released to rave reviews, and it has almost single-handedly revived Danish movie theaters. Now, this week, Anders Thomas Jensen’s black comedy Retfærdighedens Ryttere has been released in Denmark. It is strange to say this, but, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been a remarkably strong year for the Danish film industry. Continue reading “REVIEW: Retfærdighedens Ryttere (2020)”

REVIEW: Breeder (2020)

Film Poster
Theatrical Release Poster – Beo Starling

Directed by Jens Dahl — Screenplay by Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen.

I think the Danish film industry has produced several gems and even some masterpieces. I really like to write about Danish films on my blog since it gives me a chance to highlight and talk about films that people outside of Denmark may not have heard of. But while there are very many excellent Danish dramas and great Danish comedies, I think it’s very odd that the Danish film industry has been struggling to keep up with the rest of the world when it comes to the very popular horror genre. Continue reading “REVIEW: Breeder (2020)”

REVIEW: Artemis Fowl (2020)

Film Poster
Character Poster – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Thor) — Written by Conor McPherson & Hamish McColl.

Following several years of development hell, a film adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s young adult fantasy novel Artemis Fowl was finally completed and released by a major film studio this year. Disney seemed like a good home for the film, and Kenneth Branagh seemed like a good fit as the director of the film since he had previously done a good job with fantasy films such as Thor and Cinderella. It was originally intended for a theatrical release in, first, 2019, and, later, 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced Disney to release the film on their new streaming service, Disney+. However, it almost feels like a straight-to-streaming release was the best thing that could’ve happened for the film since it has now been essentially swept under the rug without much fanfare. Continue reading “REVIEW: Artemis Fowl (2020)”

REVIEW: On the Rocks (2020)

Film Poster
Release Poster – Apple TV+ / A24.

Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation) — Available on Apple TV+.

As most people know, Sofia Coppola is Hollywood royalty. She made appearances in many of her father’s films, before a less-than-stellar supporting performance in The Godfather Part III led to scathing reviews and, not long thereafter, her acting career was over. But Sofia Coppola is not just Hollywood royalty, she is also a terrific filmmaker. Over the years, she has managed to reinvent herself as a great director and for her second film as a director, 2003’s Lost in Translation, Coppola was allegedly inspired by her own relationship with her ex-husband and filmmaker Spike Jonze (Her). Since Lost in Translation, which I think is a beautiful film (as well as her best), it has been difficult not to look at her films as being directly inspired by her own experiences. When I watched On the Rocks, which, like Lost In Translation, features Bill Murray, I started to think about her relationship with both her father and middle-age. Continue reading “REVIEW: On the Rocks (2020)”

REVIEW: His House (2020)

Film Poster His House
Release Poster – Netflix

Directed by Remi Weekes — Screenplay by Remi Weekes — Story by Felicity Evans & Toby Venables.

Every once in a while, you find yourself watching a feature-length debut that knocks you sideways and reminds you of just how magical debut films can be. Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow was that kind of film and I think that Remi Weekes’ feature-length debut film, His House, is equally good. Weekes’ film has been released very close to Halloween 2020, and, even though the subject matter is not a classic horror story, the film is designed to fit into a classic horror movie subgenre. This is a brilliant haunted house flick. Continue reading “REVIEW: His House (2020)”