“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”

7.8

Oh… megachurches. Doing the Lord’s work.

Also, what is the lead singer of Midland doing here?!

This movie was much hornier than I anticipated… You’ll see what I mean if you brave this one. Unfortunately, you’ll need to go to church after the credits roll.

The story itself is biopic gold and cements Jessica Chastain as one of the best in the Biz for these roles, after also knocking “Molly’s Game” out of the park. Girl meets boy, falls in love, amass an immense fortune based on fraud, fights the law, and the law wins. But, unfortunately, in a shocking twist, Jerry Falwell turns out to not be holier than thou.

Overall, this film was incredibly entertaining, engaging, and enlightening. It was a fun roller coaster ride through one of American history’s great rise and fall stories. Poor Tammy just wanted to play with her puppets and sing…

“Nine Days”

7.9

Serene Simplicity

This film accomplishes so much with so little on the screen. The meaning of every frame, every action, every word is magnified by the framing of this journey to enlightenment we find these characters on. It’s definitely one you have to focus on to catch the details in order to fully enjoy. The meaning of life, the meaning of the connection between beings, purpose, societal constructs… all tackled with a breathtaking balance by the time the credits roll. Definitely not a popcorn flick. Don’t watch when you want to mush-mind. When you want a thinker, this is it for 2021. It’s just as strange as the trailer would lead you to believe, but much more profound and fulfilling than one would expect walking in.

“The French Dispatch”

6.8

As with most Wes Anderson films, I was fascinated by what I saw but cannot explain what it was that I saw.

There was love, there was war, there was nudity. Young love. Old love. A guy with an incredible memory. A “revolution.” And the death of a legend in journalism.

Don’t cry in the theater.

I tried to make this sound like I wrote it this way.

“A Mouthful of Air”

7.3

A mouthful of air, a heart full of sadness, and eyes full of tears.

Holy crap, this movie is sad. But, it does a phenomenal job of shaping a narrative and framing things so that, as a viewer, you feel deeply connected to the actors’ emotions on the screen. You can feel the tension of some scenes in your soul.

Some of the dialogue was a bit shallow for such a deep, rich story, but it didn’t distract too much from the incredible impact of the overall picture.

Content Warning: If you are sensitive to the subject of suicide, beware.

If you are reading this and could use a listening ear and assistance, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ is a phenomenal resource.

“Last Night in Soho”

8.7

Beauty fades, but terror lasts forever.

This is the film Edgar Wright was born to make. The soundtrack was pure ear candy, the setpieces breathtaking steps into an idyllic past long ago stained by the sins of those who survived it. The choreography of the action on the screen and the story’s pace combine in perfect concert with each other as this terrifying tale of the gore behind the glamour comes to fruition. Ana Taylor-Joy and Thomasin Mackenzie steal the spotlight and hold it for nearly every frame of this masterpiece.

This film is the antidote to the current Hollywood wave of nostalgia. As we clamor for a taste of “what it was like” to live in a bygone era or location whose darkness has been painted over in gold by each passing generation, this film reminds us that the shine often hides the sinister. The human cost is front and center in this story, as our protagonists wrestle with how much of their soul their willing to exchange for fame and success and how they choose to find redemption once they’ve gone past the point of no return.

There is a lot to unpack after leaving the theater for this one and a lot to ponder and rearrange on the floor of one’s mind. Luckily, the soundtrack is enough of an exquisitely curated collection of audio experience that you can lose yourself in that as you search your psyche for the ultimate meaning.

If you can’t tell, I loved this one. I may be a tad biased in my excitement that this lived up to and exceeded the hype.