Our movie critic, Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul’s Trip to the Movies chats with the stars of two new movies, Uncle Frank and SuperIntelligence.
UNCLE FRANK (Amazon Prime Video)
Families are more than the people you are born into. Sometimes it’s the chosen families that make us who we are. They offer the space and environment to make us feel whole. Writer/director Alan Ball explores those identities in his new film Uncle Frank. Paul Bettany takes on the title character, Uncle Frank. He lives in New York, and as a gay man in the early 1970s he never felt quite at home with his biological family. He still remains closeted to all of them except his niece, Beth, played by Sophia Lillis. She’s going to school where her Uncle Frank works which provides a comforting place for them to bond and get to know each other outside the confines of the small town where they grew up. When Frank’s father, Daddy Mac, passes away, a road trip back home conjures up memories of the destructive relationship he had with his father and the first boy he ever loved.
Frank has kept his boyfriend Wally at a distance. Wally explains that “There’s always a layer between him and the rest of the world.” It’s a sad reality that too many people have been in and Alan Ball navigates that through the death of a parent and that long road trip home. It forces those moments of self-realization, growth, and acceptance that we may not otherwise want to embrace.
Being a gay man in 1973 may feel very different than one in 2020, but there are universal truths that many people still work on with that notion of protecting yourself from being hurt time and time again.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
SUPERINTELLIGENCE (HBO Max)
Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone have teamed up multiple times before with movies like Life of the Party and The Boss. Their latest, SuperIntelligence, is now streaming on HBO Max. McCarthy plays Carol Peters who considers herself a fairly average woman. She used to work for a tech company but left her position to do more philanthropic work in her community. One morning a techno superintelligence starts talking to her from every one of her devices. It’s always the voice of James Corden as Carol thinks his voice is soothing. For three days, he studies her everyday life as he wants to either enslave, save, or destroy the world. Carol uses this time to rekindle a friendship with her ex played by Bobby Cannavale.
This movie may seem far-fetched, but I think we’ve gotten used to the high-tech world we live in as cameras always watch us and A.I. voices like Siri and Alexa probably pick up more of our conversations than we think they do. SuperIntelligence plays on this as it probably isn’t too far off from our current reality. So much of our world relies on A.I. and money that we spaz out when we don’t have a wi-fi connection or see various stories of greed and corruption in the news. The only thing money can’t buy is human emotion and connection and that’s what Carol sets out to re-invest in with ex-flame George.
SuperIntelligence is an endearing rom-com thanks to Melissa McCarthy and Bobby Cannavale. Hopefully it will give you pause to remember to be more present with those directly in your life and to not be buried in your devices every moment of the day.
RATING: 3 out of 5 TICKET STUBS.