Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, gives us his reviews on new movies out in theaters or available onDemand.
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (Video OnDemand rental, in theaters)
Carey Mulligan gives one of the sharpest performances of the year in Promising Young Woman. It may just be her best performance to date as well. She stars as Cassie, a promising young woman who knows exactly how to play the men who try to take advantage of her. I debated if the opening scene needed a trigger warning as it involves a date rape involving Cassie. Just when you think the movie is going too far, writer/director Emerald Fennell throws in a curveball showing Cassie to be in complete charge of any situation. Her latest victim is another line item in a little notebook of crossed out names and tallies of Cassie’s victims. As the film evolves, we learn Cassie suffers PTSD from a college incident. Her trust in men and relationships changes when she meets Ryan, a goofy pediatric doctor played by Bo Burnham.
Promising Young Woman is no easy watch. Its final act is an explosive nail biter that sticks its landing. I immediately wanted to watch it all over again once it was over. It will now doubt spark conversation which is always the testament to a strong film.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI (Amazon Prime)
Regina King went from a child star on 227 to a 4-time Emmy winner and Oscar winner. She’s now making her feature film directorial debut with One Night in Miami. The film is adapted from the stage play by Kemp Powers who also wrote the film’s screenplay. He’s having a strong 2020 after co-writing and co-directing Pixar’s Soul. Powers imagines a meeting between four legendary figures: football player Jim Brown, activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke, and boxer Mohammad Ali. It’s February 25, 1964 and they’ve all gathered for one of Ali’s matches. Malcom X is providing spiritual guidance to Ali hoping to convert him to the Church of Islam.
The dialogue between the four men circles around the racial inequities at hand during the Civil Rights era. They each have different struggles being black, but the commonalities come with being happy for what they have, the desire to reach for more, and how they use their voice and platform to effectively incite change. It’s a fascinating dialogue with Malcolm X being the most vocal one of the group. His belief is that “A line in the sand must be drawn” but his tactics come to head with Sam Cooke, played by Leslie Odom Jr. Odom’s silky voice is still on display as Sam Cooke while showing off a softer side to him.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS.
NEWS OF THE WORLD (Video OnDemand rental, in theaters)
Director Paul Greengrass first teamed up with Oscar winner Tom Hanks for the true story Captain Phillips in 2013. It’s 1870, five years after the Civil War and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, played by Tom Hanks, travels town to town delivering news headlines and stories to anyone who gathers around his podium. The effects of the war are still being felt with the divide and racism still at play. Captain Kidd comes across a young girl, named Johanna, lost and abandoned in the plains of Texas. He takes her with him hoping to return her back home. He learns she is of German descent but raised by the Kiowa tribe and doesn’t speak English.
News of the World may be set in 1870, yet I couldn’t help but realize that Greengrass was making this film for the current times. He co-wrote the film with Luke Davies based on the bestselling novel by Paulette Jiles. Hanks’ character Captain Kidd is a man of unity and a call to duty hoping to reunite this young girl with her relatives and bring these townspeople together with his messages and stories.
There’s a sense of loss and a communication breakdown between Kidd and Johanna, but its how they come to understand each other that poses as the reminder we need to hear. The western genre may not be your style, but Tom Hanks has a way of making every character or story compelling regardless of genre. He’s an actor who is always present finding the honesty and drive with each character.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS