Category: Drama

“Don’t Bother to Knock”

7.2

Be careful who you flirt with at the hotel bar… Or from across the courtyard. Or who you hire as your babysitter.

This was far closer to “Psycho” than I expected. Marilyn Monroe had quite the acting chops to pull off this premise. At first, I thought I was watching a romance novel projected onto the silver screen but ended up engulfed in an enigma. Despite the short run time, there is an unexpected depth to this classic, and it alone justified my purchase of a 10-film Marilyn Monroe film bundle.

“Nightmare Alley”

6.5

Beautiful film. Meh story.

I was hellaciously intrigued by the trailer and what I thought was the film’s premise. Sometimes that intrigue hits; sometimes it misses. Unfortunately, this one ended up being a trapeze act of a narrative, swinging wildly all over the place for far too long and with no rhyme or reason. All to, I think, come full circle. I’m still not quite sure what I was supposed to take away from this one. There are some great premises and possibilities, but the story opts for the path of least resistance and goes for tricking the audience into thinking that misdirection and the resulting confusion is evidence of its cleverness, instead of just a cheap Christopher Nolan rip-off. Honestly, I think the overall lesson here was a “don’t stick your dick in crazy” cautionary tale dressed in a noir disguise.

“Death on the Nile”

7.9

At first, I honestly thought I had walked into and sat in the wrong movie theater. First, we start out in World War 1, then move on to Dirty Dancing… Heavy on the dirty. I mean, I know it’s Armie Hammer, but damn.

I’ll watch anything that has Gal Gadot in it, so of course, my butt was in a seat for this whodunnit. The gist of it is if you like “Murder on the Orient Express,” you’ll like this. There are many of the same tropes, but just enough differentiation to keep you intrigued as each new clue is uncovered and suspect eliminated, either figuratively or literally. We get the origin story of Poirot’s mustache that no one asked for but gives his character an incredible boost of depth and complexity that helps him become someone you actually root for by the end of the film. I called the ending as the movie was getting started, but I thoroughly enjoyed the wild ride to the climactic conclusion. Well done “Clue” spin-off in yet another exotic locale.

“Sundown”

5.4

Well, the trailer had me sold. By the time the credits rolled, I felt like I, too, wanted to fake losing my passport and spend some time with a mistress in an exotic beach town contemplating what it is that I’m doing with my life.

Honestly, the movie’s best scene, coincidentally bringing the most excitement and momentum to the film, was a fellow tourist being gunned down by jet ski hitmen. If that sentence has you confused, welcome to the mindset this one leaves you in. I’ll save you the hour and a half runtime – the best aspect of this movie.

“The Matrix: Resurrection”

6.8

If you liked the original, you’ll like this one.

I opted to catch this on HBO Max, and don’t feel like I missed much story-wise. Ideally, the spectacle would have been nice on an IMAX screen, but the overall impact would have been about the same. I felt like the runtime moved in bullet time, and the story was a fairly lazy rehash of the original, with updated special effects to distract you from this fact. Unfortunately for the movie, it doesn’t keep the narrative movement consistent enough to distract the viewer from this fact for very long. In a year full of rebooting franchises, this one seemed the least needed, and most lazily done I’ve seen in a long while.