Review Round-up: 'A Man Called Otto,' 'The Old Way,' 'The Pale Blue Eye' and 'EO'
Here's a "round-up" of some recent movies I've seen, including a repeat review of "The Pale Blue Eye," which is now available to stream on Netflix.
I missed seeing the #2 movie in the country this past week, the surprise hit, "M3GAN," (which just brought in over 30 million on its opening weekend). Of course, the #1 film in the world is still "Avatar: The Way of Water" (click for my full review) of that film).
But these other movies are now in release as well:
"A Man Called Otto"
Hanks plays an old curmudgeon who is trying to end his life, if he could just stop being interrupted by his pesky new neighbors. This is a remake of the wonderfully dark 2015 Swedish film, "A Man Called Ove," and if you've seen it, you'll notice how "Otto" falls short and fails to capture the same tone.
Still, for those that haven't seen it (which I'll assume is many), this should be a pleasant film to take in. Hanks may be an odd choice to play someone this cold, but his performance is solid as is the supporting cast. A passable, if forgettable movie, that stings like a disappointment only because I know how effective the original film is.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Mariana Trevino, Rachel Keller, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Cameron Britton.
Directed by Marc Forster ("Christopher Robin," "World War Z," "Machine Gun Preacher," "Quantum of Solace," "The Kite Runner," "Stranger Than Fiction").
"The Old Way"
Nic Cage plays a famous killer in the Old West who has been domesticated and now has a wife and a daughter. But his past catches up with him, and a tragedy leads him on the road to revenge.
Cage is one of the most mesmerizing actors of his generation, whose choices in film roles can be described as...interesting, at best. This is definitely another throw-away to add to his film canon, a Western that fails to really exude any beautiful landscapes, heart-pounding action, or memorable characters. It's a simple revenge story with a flimsy father/daughter thread woven into it, that also happens to be shoddily edited and scored.
But hey, for some it's "You had me at Nic Cage!" He does fine work, in his...way. "The Old Way" doesn't offer us anything new. But it shoots straight, and as a 95-minute diversion, it's not quite a bullseye, but at least it aims to please.
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Clint Howard, Abraham Benrubi, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Noah Le Gros, Shiloh Fernandez, Kerry Knuppe, Nick Searcy.
Directed by Brett Donowho ("Acts of Violence," "5 Souls," "No Tell Motel," "The Sacred").
"The Pale Blue Eye"
Read my previous review of "The Pale Blue Eye" here. It's included in this current Review Round-up as it is now available to stream on Netflix.
Jackasses forever! I was delighted by "EO," the official selection of Poland for this year's Best International Feature Film, and on the Oscar short-list for the category.
We all know it's a cruel world, but something about seeing the harshness of humanity through the eyes of an animal feels poignant. EO was a circus donkey who makes his way across parts of Europe, meeting a whole handful of characters good and bad. He experiences joys, pain and sadness, and we somehow empathize with this most unexpected of companions. EO still holds on to memories of a girl who treated him kindly back in his circus days, and he longs for that safety.
"EO," the film walks a fine line between sincerity and manipulation, and much of his experiences are a bit on-the-nose as far as what they are meant to say or represent about us upright-walking creatures. But there is an undeniable charm and warmth to this donkey that sometimes can't be found even in human protagonists. It's a perspective that we don't often get to witness, not for a full "adventure." Roger Ebert once said that the movies are like a machine that generates empathy, with "EO" standing as unique example of how empathy can be discovered in the unlikeliest of places.
("EO" is playing at the Detroit Film Theater).
Starring: Sandra Drzymalska, Isabelle Huppert, Lorenzo Zurzolo, Mateusz Kosciukiewicz.
Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski.
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