A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “QUEEN BEES” – 7

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: 

“QUEEN BEES” – 7 out of 10

 

In a word: Entertaining

 

Is there a potential Oscar here? Not really, but this is truly a delightful story about aging and social interaction between men and women having reached the eventual decision about living in an assisted living facility among other “old” people.

The cast is a wonderful make-up major-league stars of years past, including Ellen Burstyn, an elderly widow, playing the central character (Helen) who had to stubbornly move out of her damaged house temporarily after it had been seriously damaged in a fire. Friends and family all encouraged Helen to stay in an Assisted Living facility for a month or to until the home was repaired. Though reluctant, she agreed.

Ellen finds herself surrounded by new and caring friends trying to convince her to become a resident. Though she rejected them all at first, she eventually meets another aging male resident (Dan) with whom she warms up and develops into an interesting relationship. That character is deftly played by James Caan (remember him in Godfather and Misery?)

As the audience immerses into the pangs of love, we found ourselves in the heart of a genuine “tearjerker” feeling what the characters felt, and realizing fun, love and deep emotions are not an old-folks occurrence reserved only for the young and middle-aged. Besides sentiments, we see a lot of spunk, of various descriptions, from these marvelous actors, including: Ann-Margaret (80), Jane Curtin (73), Christopher Lloyd (82) and Loretta Devine (71). Burstyn and Caan are 88 and 81 respectively.

This is not a movie to be compared to the listings of Academy Awards. But it is hugely entertaining, if not a bit silly in spots, while it sends out wonderful messages, that love and devotion can be found anywhere, anytime, if you’re up for it. One never knows.

 

I give this movie a 7 out of 10.

Queen Bees (2021) – IMDb

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW – “Those Who Wish Me Dead”  –   8.0

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW

     “Those Who Wish Me Dead”  –   8.0

 

In a word: Captivating

 

If you are a nitpicker about correctness and accuracy, don’t see this movie. There are plenty of opportunities to think “Gotcha” in scenes that were a bit over-the-top for plausibility.

But if you go to movies to be entertained and impressed with spectacular edge-of-your seat visual effects, and some pretty good acting, then this was worth the ten bucks paid at the big screen theater. Actually, it’s worth seeing at the big theater as the 50” home TV screen won’t provide the same spectacular effects.

The first half plods along with scenes that stimulate curiosity. The second half is one death defying action after another. There are many aspects to the story, here’s one synopsis from an on-line viewer:

“Still reeling from the loss of three lives, Hannah (Angelina Jolie) is a smoke jumper who’s perched in a watchtower high above the Montana wilderness. She encounters 13 year-old Connor (played by Australian actor, Finn Little), a skittish boy who’s bloodied, traumatized and on the run all alone in the remote forest after watching a horrible, spectacular murder. As Hannah tries to bring him to safety, she’s unaware of the real dangers to follow: two relentless killers hunting Connor, and a fiery blaze consuming everything in its path.”

The special effects are outstanding. The killers, who are actually dirty cops, are relentless in their goals to kill and kill more, to save their corrupt butts. How the director (Taylor Sheridan) and his staff managed to shoot scenes that are virtually in the heart of massive raging forest fires, is a mystery.

If the “F” word bothers you, don’t see this picture. And yes, there is rampant violence. While Angelina Jolie remains one of Hollywood’s prime beauties, this film shows us she is a seasoned actress as well. But the real surprise is Finn Little, the little boy who faces horrors and challenges one could not conceive of. A great young actor indeed. We’ll see more of him.

Minus over-the-top implausibilities, this was a captivating picture. I would give it an 8.0 out of 10.

Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021) – IMDb

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “Here Today” – 10.0

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW

     “Here Today” –  10.0

 

In a word:  Mah-velous

(as a Billy Crystal might say)

 

     There have been a number of movies of late which address the plight of those who suffer from the onset of dementia. While the undertones of such stories are naturally sad and gut wrenching, Here Today offers a welcome slate of belly-laugh humor that only someone with the gift of comedy like Billy Crystal could offer.

     Crystal plays the role of an aging comedy writer over many years, successful and admired in motion pictures and theater. Events in his early life left him struggling with feelings of guilt and remorse, yet he always managed to have audiences rolling in the aisles (so-to-speak) from his natural gift of humor, even in the worst of times.

     Living alone, a long time widower, he gradually finds himself perplexed by forgetting the right words to say, recalling details about important matters, remembering why he walked into a room, or frequently repeating himself. Finally, he agrees to seek professional attention.

     While Billy Crystal’s character is the primary role, he meets a black songstress who becomes fascinated with his humorous nature, as they eventually evolve into the closest of friends. Played by journeyman performer, Tiffany Haddish, she almost steals the show from Crystal with a powerful, gregarious performance borne of love and compassion. It would not be surprising if she is nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

     Crystal is certainly the focus of this film, but there are also several sub-stories that add to the setting that directly and indirectly affects his spirit. But even in the most depressing of moments, this comic genius still keeps the audience undecided whether to laugh or cry. The movie is not meant to be a comedy, but it is anyway…sorta.

     While the acting is excellent among by all the performers, so is the director which happens to be Billy Crystal as well.

     Seniors in the movie theater may likely ponder the possibilities that some of us might one day be in the same situation as Crystal’s character. Yet, we can still continue to enjoy life, if we have our loved ones as part of the package.  

     I give this movie a 10.0 rating. There was nothing to criticize.

      
Here Today (2021) – IMDb

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “Four Good Days” – 9.0

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW

 

     “FOUR GOOD DAYS” – 9.0

 

In a word:  Depressing

     But, not in a bad way, because the messages are clear and powerful, worth a viewing for millions of people in this country whose lives are in constant upheaval burdened with the stark realities of drug addiction. The story not only unveils the pervasive, path of the addict, but moms, dads, sisters, brothers, lovers, employers, doctors, friends, cops and fellow street dwellers. It touches everyone in the addict’s world, and beyond.

     Riveting as it may be, this is also a simple story that will touch the hearts of so many who are seemingly helpless despite the flood of love and assistance that is offered. Glenn Close, eight times a nominee for an Oscar, deftly plays the role of Mom, whose life had its own set of whirlwind struggles, while trying to finally put her 31 year-old daughter’s (Molly) path toward self-destruction behind her as a hopeless endeavor. Regardless, the depth of love and pain is never abandoned.

     Not surprisingly, the movie is based on a true story and deeply motivated by the air of realism  

     The acting, which must have been the toughest of roles, is superb. Molly, the addict, is performed by journeyman actress, Mila Kunis, no newcomer to television and movies, and winner of numerous awards minus the best known: Oscar. This is a wonderful, realistic performance surely worth a nomination for an Academy Award. Movie lovers may remember her as ballet dancer in 2010’s Black Swan, for which she earned a Best Supporting Oscar nomination.

     The film’s title “Four Good Days” pertains to a special recovery and treatment program from which users had benefitted.

     Warning. This movie can stir deep emotions for parents, spouses, kids, etc. many of whom have lived and lost the battles of addiction. But it is also a learning experience worth viewing, not just by the users, but those who also love them.

     I know. I happen to be one of those.

     I give this movie 9.0 out of 10.

     
Four Good Days (2020) – IMDb

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “THE FATHER” – 9.5

A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW

 “The Father”  –   9.5

 In a word:  Emotional

 

This is a movie that will pull heartstrings. If you dislike stories that can make you cry, however well-made, do not see this picture.

     If you have a loved one who has long suffered from severe memory loss, you will either cherish this film for all the value and understanding it conveys. For some, it could be upsetting.

     To start, we must acknowledge the superb acting talent of Anthony Hopkins, playing the main character whose fictional name is (ironically), Anthony. His performance is not only worthy of an Oscar, it stands out among the most powerful, and difficult performances by any Hollywood actor ever.

     The story is based in modern-day London, about an 80 year-old man who is losing touch with reality, and is left to be cared for by a middle-aged daughter, Anne, wonderfully played by Olivia Colman. The dilemma becomes more crucial for them both as time passes and Hopkins’ character is upsetting everyone who comes into the fold, while Anne must seek professional assistance not only for Hopkins, but herself as well.

     As we experience the ebb and flow of his memory, Anne copes with great difficulty as she grieves the gradual loss of her father while he still lives and breathes before her. “The Father” embraces real life from which people are suffering around the world. 

     While the director, Florian Zeller, give us various perspectives of each character, he cleverly blends make-believe people with reality and the confusion it brings upon Anthony and Anne, in particular. While some of the characters are true, and some are not, we’re drawn into the distorted mind of Anthony. My only criticism in the making of the movie, is wishing I had a rewind button somewhere to replay bits and pieces of the dialogue which, in the big theater, cannot be recaptured.

     Make sure you bring a hanky.

     I would give this film a 9.5 out of 10.

The Father (2020) – IMDb