“Four Good Days”

8.1

Get ready to get sad. Then mad. Then worry. Then sad again. Then happy? I think it’s happily ever after, but damn… if it wasn’t a rough path to get there.

Huge Kudos to Mila Kunis and Glenn Close for taking on these roles. For a mainstream film, this story goes down some dark rabbit holes. It’s fairly unafraid to go places that help give the narrative much more weight and impact in the end. Stephen Root is a bit of a sleeper hit, though, serving to provide perfectly timed perspective to the other cast around him. Without him, I don’t think the story lands half of the punches it does.

May have to set your morals aside for the third act, or be ready to process some things. In the end, an incredible story to bring to the big screen.

“Minari”

8.5

A24 made this?!? I mean, there is a fire in the third act that reflects flickering light in the face of the cast that serves as a potent metaphor. But it’s not one of their family members ablaze, and there’s no witch in the woods who steals the children. Very out of character for them.

That said, this was an incredibly heartfelt and impactful family drama about the struggle to find the “American Dream” as an immigrant family. I loved the way that the story wove together so many different perspectives. American Culture, Korean Culture, Midwestern culture. The similarities and differences. What ties us all together as a community and what makes us unique as individuals.

Well worth having to read subtitles. I look forward to the film market becoming more international in the future, because of films like this.

“Separation”

4.5

Take it from the gentleman snoring behind me in the theater two-thirds of the way through… save your time and money. This one is rough. It’s too slow, hard to understand, and never really makes much sense. This is why the feature length tale of “the crooked man” stumbled trying to make its way into the Conjuring universe.

The special effects were well done, but there was nothing tying the scenes together or moving the story forward. Very meh…

“Here Today”

8.3

“It’s the perfect time for jokes!”

The better version of “The Father.” There, I said it! This movie should have been in the running for best picture instead.

I spent at least 2/3 of the runtime misty-eyed. But I also laughed more genuinely than most films are able to achieve. Such a horrific story and situation that forces moments of profound beauty and perspective.

Tiffany Haddish kicks ass in a drama role in this one. Just as unexpected as Billy Crystal. They both toe the line of seriousness and humor with grace not many have. It illustrates the balance between the two we often struggle with within our own lives. This is why I prefer this version of “old man losing his marbles” to “The Father.” The films have very different approaches with a similar intent of bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s/dementia. I just preferred this more human feeling, struggle to be lighthearted in the face of darkness approach. Very well done and worth the time and tears.

“Wrath of Man”

8.2

Divine darkness.

Guy Ritchie works his magic yet again. You want an over-the-top, tightly wound action film that’s a work of art at its core? He’s your man. Very similar to “The Gentlemen,” which was also a favorite of mine from last year. Plenty of twists and turns, gore, and Jason Statham growling at people as he methodically massacres in his hunt for justice. Think “John Wick” with just a few more lines of dialogue and a much different haircut.

God, I wish I could pull off stubble like Statham…

Some of the story points were predictable, which is somewhat a symptom of watching this many movies, but they are so well executed (pun intended) that you won’t care. One thing this crew does better than almost anyone in the biz is action. Strap in, and get ready for a wildly entertaining edge of your seat ride.