18.3 C
Wednesday, June 7, 2023
HomeEntertainmentReview: Kiernan Shipka, Reggie Jackson and Stanley Kubrick highlight streaming and VOD...

Review: Kiernan Shipka, Reggie Jackson and Stanley Kubrick highlight streaming and VOD options


‘Wild flower’

The intended-to-be-inspiring film “Wildflower” may be based on a true story, but it struggles against its own artificiality. Kiernan Shipka gives an excellent performance as Bea Johnson, a bright and talented Las Vegas high school student who worries that when she leaves for college, her working-class parents with developmental disabilities, played by Dash Mihok and Samantha Hyde. They won’t be able to take care of themselves. But while director Matt Smukler and screenwriter Jana Savage deliver moments throughout the film that feel vividly real, they too often veer into the maudlin or campy, as if trying to smooth over this material for the widest possible audience.

The film is cleverly structured, beginning with an unconscious Bea in a hospital, narrating her story in voice-over while various members of her family talk to a social worker. The actors playing Bea’s family are powerful: Jean Smart and Brad Garrett as the fussy parents of her mother; Jacki Weaver as the free-spirited mother of her father; and Alexandra Daddario and Reid Scott as her aunt and her uncle smug about her. She also receives a visit from her boyfriend Ethan (Charlie Plummer), a cancer survivor who likes many of the kids at her posh private school and has a hard time understanding what Bea’s most marginalized and precarious childhood has been like. .

The best parts of “Wildflower” involve Bea and Ethan’s romance, which is genuinely sweet and realistically lustful, though complicated by the challenges of their different social classes and Bea’s many anxieties. But the gritty, realistic character interactions are rivaled by scenes in which Bea’s family behave like they just stepped off a sitcom, throwing in catchphrases and acting outlandish. “Wildflower” seems to be aiming for a crowd pleaser like the similarly Oscar-winning “CODA.” But while that movie had its share of compromises for melodrama’s sake, its performances always felt lived-in. The characters in this movie, on the other hand, all too often feel like their dialogue and demeanor have been cut and pasted from other wacky indie dramas.

‘Wild flower.’ R, for some language, teenager drinking and a sexual reference. 1 hour, 45 minutes. Available on VOD


About halfway through Alexandria Stapleton’s documentary “Reggie,” baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson talks about some of the great black players who came before him in the game, like Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson, and Frank Robinson, and He points out that because they tended to have serious expressions on their faces, the press called them “angry” or “bitter”. Jackson, on the other hand, was often seen smiling, for which he was called “arrogant” by the media. According to Jackson, at no time did these reporters try to understand what he understood: that he and his colleagues just wanted to be treated with dignity, like any other human being.

“Reggie” takes a multi-layered approach to Jackson’s story. About two-thirds of the film has Jackson giving a straightforward account of his dramatic baseball journey: starting out as a rookie for the Oakland A’s; helping lead the team to multiple World Series; becoming one of the first faces of the free agency era; achieving superstar status while immersed in the ongoing soap opera that was the late ’70s New York Yankees; and then fought hard after retiring to find a spot on the executive side of the game. The rest of the film directly addresses the racism Jackson and his teammates faced throughout their careers and features Jackson speaking with other black athletes about his common experiences.

All of these themes are carefully explored and given a strong emotional undercurrent by Jackson’s own passion. However, there are times when Stapleton’s disjointed structure is distracting. Also, by focusing much of the narrative on Jackson’s voice rather than the people who worked alongside him over the years, the film’s perspective can seem limited.

Still, Jackson is just as charismatic now as he was when he was a ubiquitous television presence in the ’70s. Back then, skeptics tried to portray him in ways that limited his achievements, dismissing him as selfish or boastful. The truth was much more complicated; and one of Jackson’s great triumphs is that he was big and persistent enough to make that truth undeniable.

“Reggie. PG-13, for strong language including racial slurs. 1 hour, 44 minutes. Available on Prime Video

A photo of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, from the documentary “Kubrick by Kubrick.”

(Level 33 Entertainment)

‘Kubrick for Kubrick’

Director Stanley Kubrick had a reputation during his lifetime for being secretive and aloof, turning down most interviews and not making many public appearances. But in the decades since his death in 1999, many who worked with Kubrick or knew him personally have said that he was surprisingly approachable with a lively sense of humor. He worked hard with his cast and crew, sometimes infamously hard, but he wasn’t some mad genius in a tower.

For those of us who will never get to meet Kubrick, the Gregory Monro documentary “Kubrick by Kubrick” is the closest we’ll get to spending time with him on a one-on-one level. At just over an hour long, the movie is too short to go into much depth. But Kubrick himself was always too resistant to self-analysis. With access to the audiotapes of the interviews that Kubrick gave to the critic Michel Ciment over the years, Monro builds what amounts to an illustrated lecture, with images of Kubrick’s films accompanied by his voice and complemented by some films. homemade and some old interviews with their actors. and crew.

What emerges will not be revealing to anyone who has spent time studying Kubrick’s filmography. But it’s still such a rare treat to hear the man himself say anything, let alone hear him talk about why the ideas in his work and the challenges of bringing them to the screen excited him as much as they did his fans.

‘Kubrick for Kubrick.’ Not Rated. 1 hour, 2 minutes. Available on VOD


For all the talk about how the United States is truly torn apart, one of the lesser told stories about modern American life is that people of different ethnicities, sexual preferences, and political views often live relatively close to each other. others in both our “red” and “blue” regions. In the documentary “Shelter,” one of the main subjects is Kurdish immigrant Dr. Heval Kelli, who works as a cardiologist in Clarkston, Georgia, a small town outside Atlanta that has become a major resettlement area for refugees. . The other main subject is Chris Buckley, a veteran living in a nearby Georgia community blighted by poverty, drug addiction, and racism. Against all odds, these two men have gotten to know each other.

“Refuge” co-directors Erin Bernhardt and Din Blankenship split their film between the stories of these two men, though they spend a little more time with Buckley, who has gone through radical changes, from a crippling meth habit to a position leadership in the KKK. to heed his wife’s demand that she straighten up. Dr. Kelli’s situation is different. She’s living the American dream, but she’s also genuinely committed to understanding why so many of her new neighbors resent him. The best thing about this movie is that it doesn’t reduce any man to a stereotype, not even a redemption story. Bernhardt and Blankenship do what they want the people watching the film to do: they watch, they listen, and they are open to accepting people, no matter who they are.

‘Shelter.’ Not Rated. 1 hour, 17 minutes. Available on VOD

‘Last Sentinel’

Though billed as science fiction, “Last Sentinel” feels more like a filmed version of a stage play, set mostly in one location on a flooded Earth, where climate change has reduced civilization to two warring continents. The minimal action takes place on a military base in the middle of the ocean, where a small bickering team (played by Kate Bosworth, Lucien Laviscount, Thomas Kretschmann and Martin McCann) have had their fill of raging storms, poor fishing and relief. infinitely delayed. These isolated and misinformed soldiers become increasingly paranoid after spotting a potential threat, in the form of a seemingly empty boat, on the horizon.

Screenwriter Malachi Smyth has an ear for dialogue, and director Tanel Toom (who has an Oscar-nominated short and an Oscar-shortlisted Estonian feature on his resume) finds striking ways to shoot this scantily clad little set. But a slow pace and repetition of ideas stalls the momentum of the story. “Last Sentinel” is geared more to conveying a message about humanity’s penchant for paranoia and self-destruction than to produce tension or emotions. It’s a very heavy film, really too heavy to move.

‘Last sentinel’. Not Rated. 1 hour, 57 minutes. Available on VOD

Also on VOD

a man in front with two women in the background

Dave Bautista, from left, Abby Quinn and Nikki Amuka-Bird in the film “Knock at the Cabin.”

(Universal Pictures/Associated Press)

“Call the cabin” is the latest provocative and twisted thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan, adapted from a novel by Paul G. Tremblay. A huge box office hit earlier this year, the film stars Dave Bautista as an apocalyptic prophet who invades the vacation home of a married couple (Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge) and, while holding them captive, calmly explains that someone in your family needs to die to prevent the end of the world. Available in peacock

Available now on DVD and Blu-ray

“inner empire” is one of David Lynch’s most challenging films, starring Laura Dern as an actress who has a hard time distinguishing between her latest role and real life. The new edition of Criterion adds over an hour of additional footage as a special feature, along with additional interviews and short films that attempt to contextualize this elusive, dreamlike and distinctly Lynchian experience. The Criteria Collection

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

Latest stories