Friday, August 31, 2018


Writer/Director Aneesh Chaganty’s Searching is a love it or groan-through-it “thriller,” depending on how much you’re into social media and on-line communication. 

Either way, it comes off as a promising graduate film student opus in which the young daughter (Michelle La) of an overly devoted father (John Cho) disappears and dad uses his computer skills and the help of a police inspector (Debra Messing) to find her.

Initially, all the texting and on-line searching is interesting, even humorous, at times, but it eventually becomes a bit too much for the over-35 audience and, ultimately, becomes somewhat boring and predictable. 

Still, I give Searching a 3.6 out of 5 as an overall average for the two audience groups. 


Co-Writers/Directors Jonathan and Josh Baker’s Kin reminds me of a current Spectrum commercial in which the homeowner is remarking on the installation of a rival company’s roof disc.  “It’s pretty ugly,” she comments and the installer responds, “You’re saying it’s ‘pretty.’”  “I’m saying it’s super ugly,” she retorts.  “Oh, and ‘super’, too,” is his takeaway.” 

Kin is a super stupid story with some pretty ugly characters.  It’s one of those movies that makes one wonder how it ever got made.

A 14-year-old Black boy (Myles Truit), who was adopted by a White family, finds a strange weapon in an abandoned warehouse along with the bodies of strangely-dressed soldiers.  Okay.

Then, the story turns to his adopted brother Jimmy (Jack Reynor), just out of prison, who teams up with gangsters led by (James Franco) to steal money from his father’s business. 

 His father (Dennis Quaid) gets killed and Jimmy runs off with his adopted brother without letting the lad know their father is dead.  Charming.

The film becomes a crime thriller as they escape with the gangsters chasing them and later pick up being chased by some other gangsters, as well.  The strange weapon wielded by the boy becomes their ticket to safety.

Finally, we find out the boy is from another dimension, being hidden in ours, so we’re back to a sci-fi thriller and couldn’t care less.

I give Kin a 2 out of 5; that high only because of the appeal of young Myles Truit, who will hopefully be cast in better fare.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Juliet, Naked

Director Jesse Peretz’ Juliet, Naked is a fun romp about Duncan, an English blogger (Chris O’Dowd), who has been boring his girlfriend Annie (Rose Byrne) for 15 years with his inordinate passion for an American rock star Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke), who’s been missing for the past 25 years.

O’Dowd’s passion puts the audience in a chuckling mood until the fun really starts, when Annie writes an online rebuttal to a recent lauding of Crowe and is contacted by the former star, himself.  Unbeknownst to Duncan, she and Crowe soon become intimate writing buddies and he ends up coming to England for a visit.

Screenwriters Evgenia Peretz, Jim Taylor and Tamara Jenkins have written a humorous and fast-moving script that allows for a very amusing time at the movies.

I give Juliet, Naked a 4.2 out of 5.