When you hear the real-life story of how the game, "Tetris," became one of the most popular and well-known video games worldwide and of all-time, you might say to yourself, "Now that story would make a really good movie!"
Having now seen the "Tetris" movie (streaming on Apple TV+ beginning March 31st), I'm instead convinced that they should have left well enough alone.
It's an incredible story, but only a few ways to spin it (Tetris pun intended)...none of which end up being all that interesting enough to justify stretching it out into a feature-length film.
"If you're going to steal, steal a lot."
That's the under-riding premise of "Sharper," a slow-burning thriller about con artists conning other con artists, where nothing - and no one - is ever quite is it seems.
Despite the movie leaving me with a feeling that it should have been more effective given the talented cast, "Sharper" still was an enjoyable if not infallible mystery.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Ethan Hawke is a national treasure. Up there too, is Ewan McGregor, who simply has an appeal unlike most other actors of his generation.
Hawke and McGregor are "Raymond & Ray." Well, actually McGregor plays Raymond, and Hawke plays Ray...two half-brothers who are brought together with the news that their estranged father has died. Despite the actors best efforts - and an occasional flash of clever insight - "Raymond & Ray" is all journey with no destination, making the movie a bit of a let-down given the talent and potential involved.
"Cha Cha Real Smooth" was one of the breakout hits from this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it lands on Apple TV+ today (as well as a limited theatrical run). It's not hard to see why: There seems to be some real, polished talent at work here from star, writer and director - 24-year-old Cooper Raiff - but it's a hard movie to love due to the unlikability of one major character.
The real tragedy of "The Tragedy of Macbeth" is that it will be a challenge to get people to see it...the works of William Shakespeare while classic, are not exactly accessible.
But for those willing to let it in, or who are fans of Shakespeare, will find "The Tragedy of Macbeth" to be one of the most effective, spell-binding takes on the famous play ever committed to screen.
There is low-brow science-fiction ("Starship Troopers" and similar) and then there is more intellectually-challenging high-brow science-fiction (the recent "Ex Machina" or "Possessor" comes to mind).
"Swan Song" is a fantastic, thoughtful, emotionally-charged drama dealing with cloning, where it asks a simple question: If you could spare your loved ones from the hurt of ever losing you or experiencing any grief, what would you be willing to sacrifice?
Casting the iconic Tom Hanks as the only human in a film feels like it's been done before...and that's because it has, back in 2000 with the film "Cast Away." That film found Hanks stranded and all alone on a deserted island, with inanimate friend Wilson the Volleyball his only companion.
In "Finch," Hanks finds himself alone again, this time on a deserted planet following some deadly solar flares that he happened to survive, and instead of talking to a volleyball this time around, he has a trusty dog - and an intelligent robot - at his side.
The comparisons to "Cast Away" are inevitable, but "Finch" is far less a complete film. It doesn't really land any of the lofty ideals it raises, and it's so slight that even though we're at world's end, the stakes never seem too high.
One of the most delightful, impressive, heart-warming and optimistic productions you will ever witness comes to Apple TV+ this weekend. "Come From Away" is a Tony-winning musical that was filmed and made into a movie (just like "Hamilton" was for Disney+ in 2020), and it comes just in time for the 20-year anniversary of 9/11.
Yes, the "feel good" movie of the year centers around one of the worst, horrific tragedies in American history, and if there was ever something that this divided nation should be able to agree on, it's that "Come From Away" is an absolute treasure and should be seen by every American...despite it taking place in Newfoundland, Canada.
I've always been a sucker for "coming-of-age" movies, but "Coda" is a fresh and endlessly compelling entry into the genre, made great by the performance of 19-year-old Emilia Jones (Kinsley from Netflix's "Locke & Key").This isn't the first film Jones has appeared in, but it is destined to be a game-changing one for her promising, budding career.
"Coda" killed earlier this year at Sundance, and now we know why: It's simply one of the best films of 2021, living up to all of the hype.
The premise of "Fathom" (coming to Apple TV+ on Friday, June 25th) seems like one that is ripe for exploration in a documentary film. It follows two scientists on opposite ends of the world as they try to understand how humpback whales communicate with one another.
Unfortunately, this film gets too far into the sea-weeds, wrapped up in the analytical minutiae of their quest and never giving casual viewers anything to become excited about. The whales themselves could have carried this movie by themselves, so why does "Fathom" feel so land-locked?
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