Tag: Drama

The Monk and the Gun

The Monk and the Gun was watched early as a screener. It was shortlisted for Best International Film at the Oscars as Bhutan’s submission. And it is released theatrically on February 9th, 2024.

This is pretty obvious from the title, but of course this movie is about…holding free and fair elections!

In 2006, the King of Bhutan was like, hey, you all deserve to have more freedoms. And decided to switch their country to a democracy, so that the citizens could vote. And sure, they would still have their king. You know, like Great Britain. But the citizens had no concept of democracy, or voting, or voicing their opinions on a prime minister. So, what are they to do? Just let democracy fail as everyone ignores it?

No! The local government is going to hold Mock elections, to teach the citizens how to vote, to share opinions, to pick different things to care more about for their government to work on. In a big face of apathy from the local population, who seem to just really like their king and not want the change. Yep, that is the backdrop to the story.

Now, the other main plot is that Tashi (Tandin Wangchuk), a monk, is told by his Lama, in a religious exile for years, to go into the main country and bring him back two guns. For a ceremony, for a mystery. At the same time, Benji (Tandin Sonam) is escorting an American (Harry Einhorn) around the country, looking for a very specific gun as well, for a collection. Guns!

Also starring Pema Zangmo Sherpa, Deki Lhamo, Tandin Phubz, and Choeying Jatsho.

Oh look, a (presumably) monk with a (presumably) gun! The movie delivered its title!

Finally, another Bhutanese film. I know most of you reading this might have seen zero Bhutanese films in your life. At this point, this is only my second one. And that is probably true of a lot of people who have seen any. Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, is a film that was nominated for Best International Film a few years ago, and was a surprise. Similarly, this movie was on the shortlist of nominations for Best International Film, but not nominated. Is this a grand awakening of Bhutan as a film producing country, or, have they been producing movies for awhile and I just have only noticed if it relates to the Oscars? Honestly, I hope its the latter.

Either way, I do like that both of these movies have really simple, yet descriptive titles.

But on to the movie at hand. Did I expect it to be about mock elections for a countries first elections? Obviously not. And I am not a historical scholar of Bhutan, and have no idea how much of this story is actually what happened in the country. I clearly have to take the film’s word on the subject. Of which, I do think it is a very interesting backdrop, and I love that I learned a little bit of recent history from just that knowledge alone.

And, it still maintains the other plot as well, the gun and the monk, of which I assume is the more creatively liberal aspect of this story. And that plotline on its own is fine as well. It meshes well eventually with the societal backdrop of the historical events. It is amusing and worthy of light giggles at points. But at the same time, I still wish there was some more to the story. It being a relatively simple story is fine. I just wish it was more satisfying in its conclusion. It felt like a short story, expended into a larger movie without enough content at points.

Still a great film on its own rights. In a year with so much great international work, it had a tough hill, and it was likely an honor just to be shortlisted. Here is hoping I see another Bhutanese film before a 2-3 year gap.



3 out of 4.

The Coffee Table (La mesita del comedor)

The Coffee Table was watched as part of Fantastic Fest 2023!

Can a piece of furniture ruin a marriage? Ruin a family? Of course it can. But is it really the tables fault? Probably not.

You see, for Jesús (David Pareja) and his wife (Estefanía de los Santos). See, she just had their baby. And they have been redecorating their apartment. But according to Jesús, she has decided everything. All the decorations. When they should have a kid. What to do with their free time. Even their son’s name, is a name that he despises. So they have had their arguments. For whatever reason though, she said in their redecorating, that Jesús can pick a new coffee table for their apartment.

So what does he do? Well, he listens to a salesman about a very exotic and recently on sale table. It is glass on top, unbreakable! And the legs are just two naked ladies, plastered in gold. It is absolutely gaudy, and his wife doesn’t like it, but he takes it anyways due to pride.

Now he just has to put it together. But it is missing a screw. These dang Scandinavian designed furniture, and it doesn’t even have all the parts!

It turns out, the missing screw is just the first and smallest of problems. Literally and metaphorically. Things get bad, and get bad quick. The coffee table was a bad choice.

Also starring Paco Benjumea, Eduardo Antuña, and Claudia Riera.

As you can see, the wife was right to judge her husband. 

The Coffee Table, if I had to say anything, is a hard film to recommend. It classifies itself as a dark comedy. And the DARK element of that is super true. I am used to dark comedies dealing with death, and things spiraling out of control. And usually I can find humor in this as well. But holy shit, this one went really dark, really fast. I wasn’t sure where the comedy part was hiding?

I mean, it is awkward still. There is an uneasy chuckle in a few scenes, and the beginning scene is played out for laughs. I was still downright horrified at the events and stayed horrified for the rest of the film, watching as things continued. The conversations were unbearably uncomfortable. I almost turned it off early on, after a scene. I didn’t think I could handle much more of the film. At the same time, I figured the impacts of the scene would move on and we’d see the spiral. But it actually never really moves on. It lingers and it makes you feel and deal with the events.

The ending is a bit predictable. You can tell where things will end up, and it does not disappoint.

The Coffee Table is not for everybody. Hell, it isn’t for most people. But it is for people who want an experience about why not all relationships can just wash away their problems.

3 out of 4.

Your Lucky Day

Your Lucky Day was watched as part of Fantastic Fest 2023!

Winning the lottery is no joke! Just ask this guy (Spencer Garrett), as he finds out his ticket has some match of the numbers. Not just the numbers. A big chunk of the numbers. ALL OF THE NUMBERS. Oh my goodness. A Christmas eve miracle!

Now, this bodega is bustling. You got the shop worker (Mousa Hussein Kraish), who is surprised, a young pregnant couple (Elliot Knight, Jessica Garza) who are just waiting to get home, and a dude who just doesn’t think this is fair (Angus Cloud). And so what does he do? He decides to rob the old guy. He is already rich anyways. He hasn’t seen struggles! So why not dawn a stupid mask, and threaten to take it at gunpoint.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, a cop (Sterling Beaumon), happens to be in the back and jumps in when things are heightened. And some people die. But this robbery can’t really work well. The store has cameras. The ticket was scanned. What is going to happen to these bodies? There are a lot things that need to be figured out, and fast, with apparently more and more people getting involved. Who knows will happen to the ticket by the end of the night?

Also starring Jason O’Mara.

“Maybe if we take off their clothes people will assume they were just horny?”

First notable and sad fact. The lead(ish) character is played by Angus McCloud, who passed away only last month, from a drug overdose. I saw the reports, about a Euphoria actor, but I did not know him from anything, so was pretty shocked to see his IMDB page say 2023.

Now in terms of a “bottle movie” of sorts, since I would say over 80% takes place in and around the store, this has an interesting scenario. Not that I fully understand and know all the intricacies of what happens when one wins the lottery, and what happens to the store. But what they say seems legit and its easy enough to follow.

One of the stylistic choices for this film is just how rough it all looks. It adds another element of believability to the situation. It isn’t made with the most hi-tech cameras. The characters act realistic, they act scared. Heck, look at our main characters quick mask he made to commit the robbery. That looked so stupid, it had to be realistic.

Your Lucky Day offers up some of my favorite things in films, ethical dilemmas! A lot of money really puts things into perspective. Never know what you will do until you are in a situation. The film is a good thriller when it needs to be at the same time.

However, at the same time, during the more action heavy elements, I get a bit lost about what’s going on. There is a team of individuals who join in the movie later, and honestly, it detracts a lot of the movie from what I was expecting and made me lose a bit of interest in what was the original premise. Your Lucky Day is still more fun than what I normally get when I go to the convenience store.

2 out of 4.

What You Wish For

This film was watched as part of Fantastic Fest 2023!

Check out my interview with the director, Nick Tomnay, here

In every horror movie, if it involves wishes, you know you are going to need to have a lawyer to go over the wish with a fine comb to watch out for loopholes. Hell, even the comedies about wishes usually follow the same rule. The Monkey’s Paw is a fierce and fickle bitch, as it were.

But thankfully, this movie just has Wish in the title, and isn’t about a sarcastic asshole djinn spirit.

What You Wish For is more just part of a saying with the words be careful. I guess the grass isn’t always greener in this thriller mystery. Huh, what a wild concept.

No joke here, I just had to edit the poster to get a second photo for the review.
Ryan (Nick Stahl) has hit a bit of a rock. And that rock is on the bottom. He is a chef, with some excellent cooking abilities, but no great place to work, and he is broke. He also is a gambler! So not only is he broke, but he owes some nasty people some money, and he is on the run for his life.

Lucky for him, one of his old pals in cooking school has a place for him. Jack (Brian Groh), arguably not as good of a cook, is living an extravagant life in Latin America. He has a beautiful house, and he is a chef for some rich rich people. He is living the life anyone could dream, and yet, he is alone. And Jack invites him to a visit, perfect timing for Ryan.

But there is something mysterious and secretive about this arrangement. How can a chef afford such luxuries? How great is Jack’s cooking? Well. Ryan is about to find out, because he is going to be given an opportunity to take over from Jack, without knowing the finer details. And maybe he won’t have the stomach for what happens.

Also starring Tamsin Topolski, Randy Vasquez, Juan Carlos Messier, Penelope Mitchell, Ariel Sierra, and Greg Winter.

Fancy food? Hooray a film on how to cook, finally.
I am trying not to hint too much at this. Because a creepy movie involving food usually means one thing. But hey, if you remember The Menu from last year, then you should know it can mean a lot of different things. Just. Food will be involved. For an expensive meal. And even if you THINK you can guess what happens, you won’t be able to guess the events around these actions still.

Nick Tomnay, the director, has only done one other feature film, and it was 13 years ago. The Perfect Host, with David Hyde Pierce. It was a charming film where people weren’t as they all seemed and there was a dinner! Oh great, similarities in his body of work.

For this film, the mystery was only part of it. Because by the halfway point, the mystery has been give away. It’s what you DO with the mystery that really gives the film its flavor. I am going with a cooking metaphor here, please accept it. I was kept on the edge of my seat, wondering how various characters would cope with the situation, when the stakes seemed to just keep getting higher. And the end is a stark realization that even when it comes to the elite and rich, no one can get by life’s cruel twists of fate.

Now I just gotta hope a similar situation comes my way for my dumb skill set so I can be rich forever. Just kidding. Kind of. Maybe.

What You Wish For is an interesting look at not the most interesting story, but it does its own unique blend of herbs and spices to give it a kick that is quite enjoyable.

3 out of 4.


River was watched as part of Fantastic Fest 2023!

Mikoto (Riko Fujitani) works at an Inn in Kibune, Kyoto during the winter. It seems to be some sort of travel destination, a peaceful oasis for people to get away and get to know themselves. Of the guests we have business men, writers, and more.

But for Mikoto, after she goes and looks out over the river, she finds herself cleaning a room with her superior. And it seems really familiar. Some deja vu. He realizes it too. And as they clean…huh. Back at the river again?

Turns out the people in this Inn seem to be trapped in a time loop. Nothing they do physically stays put after just two minutes. They can break something, break each other, eat food, but in two minutes, they go back to where they were. The weather seems to change, and they remember everything before that, but the world resets them.

Getting out of this loop, with such a short time, is going to take everyone working together, and trying everything, without giving in to panic and sheer terror.

With a big cast of people, starring: Manami Honjô, Gôta Ishida, Yoshimasa Kondô, Shiori Kubo, Masahiro Kuroki, Kohei Morooka, Munenori Nagano, Haruki Nakagawa, Yoshifumi Sakai, Saori, Masashi Suwa, Yûki Torigoe, and Kazunari Tosa.

Infinite time, but you are stuck with these bozos.
Now in case any of this sounds familiar, specifically around time and two minutes. Yes, you have to compare this to Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes. Especially because it was done by the same group and the same actors. However, with Beyond, it was a sci-fi and science tech and mathy, and it all made sense! It was them getting to speak from themselves in the future, through screens, and how they manipulated that through shenanigans. In this film, no future selves or past selves exist, just their current self. In Beyond, it was a one shot take movie with a lot of guts. In this movie, it is a lot more personal, and has a lot of heart.

Speaking of one shot take, this one clearly isn’t done in one shot. But each time iteration is done in one shot. The camera rolls, they get as far as they can, it fades, and the next singular shot takes place in our next time jump. I love it. It adds to the realism of their situation. Everyone also comes to the conclusion about the time looping thing on the third try, thinking rightfully the 2nd one was strange. But fool me three times? That is when plans start going and it gets real exciting.

How many iterations happen in this film? A good 36 if I kept my count correct. And that is a lot of times to start over an event, talk to new people, solve new problems, and try to keep people chill. I was not shocked at how violent it got at times, but I was shocked at how peaceful it also got. It made me personally think what I would try to accomplish with that time. What i would try.

And what’s more exciting about this movie is it has a very satisfactory conclusion. It ends on an expected enough note, and it tells a complete and powerful story. But in a unique and interesting way.

4 out of 4.

A Million Miles Away

The circumference of the earth is less than, but close to, 25,000 miles. That is the biggest circle you can get on our Earth! So if you followed that line, you’d travel a shit ton. But that isn’t a MILLION Miles. Which apparently a large enough number to be impressive.

A Million Miles Away, how far away is that? In this movie, we are talking about someone going to the International Space Station. How far away is that? Well, apparently the giant space station that orbits our planet is only 254 miles away. Heck, outer space is only 62 miles away.

A million is a lot more than that. So maybe the moon is a million miles away? I don’t know, I don’t know space. Another quick google search is telling me the moon is 238,900 miles away. That…that’s is not even 1/4 of a million miles. You could go to the moon and back and the moon and back, and you’d still be rounding up to a million and not surpassing it. What the hell.

Basically, if you want to go a million miles away, you are going to go somewhere past the moon and just in empty space. Venus and Mars are both many many millions of miles away. I guess that is all I am getting at. What the hell is this title? No one in this movie goes that far. No one ever has. Damn metaphors.

I just feel so lied to! And about numbers, the most sacred type of character.
Looks like we have a biographical film here, about José M. Hernández! Who is that? Well, I guess that is one reason for the movie.

Jose (Michael Peña) grew up a kid always on the move. Born in California, his parents were migrant workers, who had to work many farms to pick food that people need to eat. And that included the kids as well. This affected education! Different schools, showing up late, and more. But the good news is, Jose was smart, real smart, and he excelled despite it. He wasn’t ashamed of his life, but the lack of opportunities sure did suck. He wanted to do great things. He wanted to go to outer space.

And sure enough, that is what he did. He got a job as an engineer, he had people assume he was a janitor, and he found issues that could help save lives. And despite not making it the first, second, or third time. He applied over and over again, to get on that NASA astronaut training program, with the help of his wife (Rosa Salazar) who supported his dreams, no matter how stupid everyone else thought they were.

Was that a spoiler? Nah, this is a real dude. I literally linked to his Wikipedia page earlier.

Also starring Julio Cesar Cedillo and Veronica Falcón.

“Taking pride in your work” is one of 2023’s “Best Advice from Boomers” nominations.

I prefer my biographical films to be about people I don’t know anything about, or at least, know little about. But we have two main types now. One that tries to tell the whole story, with some struggles, but rushes through it all. Or the kind that focuses on a pivotal or narrow moment in the life, their greatest achievement.

This is certainly the former. A mostly by the books story, meant to inspire some kids to join NASA or at least join the space program. Honestly, thinking about it. This is a movie coming out on Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime also had Troop Zero a few years ago. A lot of movies meant to inspire people about outer space. Amazon also is of course Blue Origin, and has their own space program thing going on. Sounds like we got some corporate synergy going on here, of very different branches, to get some people who want to join Blue Origin in the future. Sure the movies are pro NASA, but NASA had no competition until recently.

Back to the film, Peña plays this character really straight, with charm, and its not a comedy film. He isn’t sarcastic. He is hopeful and inspirational. (Little did he know he’d get to go to space again after The Martian). This is a really good role for him, the problem is, the movie is just so standard. Reading the Wiki article, I can already see the movie implied different things from the reality, which is disappointing, but doesn’t really affect my rating. I also really liked Salazar in here. It is frustrating when you watch movies about people trying to achieve great things, and then the spouse role is regulated to someone who doesn’t support them, or nags, or doesn’t get it. (That is one of my issues with Miracle, it felt so unnecessary). Just like. Support your loved ones people.

With A Million Miles Away, you are going to get a movie exactly as you expect it from the description. Unless of course you expect someone to actually travel a million miles away, but I already went over that.

2 out of 4.


This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Monica had its Seattle Premier during this festival.

I am thankful that at this point in my life, I haven’t had to ever “return home from a long period of time away because my parent is dying, and also I am very different.” It is a trope. It is often used when either the parent figure is abusive, or the child who left is rambunctious and rude and now finally better. Maybe even DRUGS are the reason for this.

The prodigal son plot line.

But with Monica, it is certainly a big twist on the story. Which I will stop stalling on, and just get forward with why.

Something is potentially sinister in those there woods. 

Monica (Trace Lysette) has been living in California, doing her own thing for some time. She is a massage therapist it seems, and seems to be fine with her life. Although she does have current relationship problems with someone. But then she gets a phone call.

Apparently, her mother (Patricia Clarkson) is close to kicking the bucket. And it has been a long time since she has been home. Over ten years. She didn’t even return when her dad died. And she decides to drive home to see it happen. That is where she meets her brother (Joshua Close) and his wife (Emily Browning).

Now, this is of course important. When Monica left, no one knew her as Monica. In fact, they knew her as a man. And one of the main reasons she left, is because her parents wouldn’t let her stay. So she has changed dramatically in this time. In fact, not just because the mom is older and sick, but just because the changes are so different, the mom doesn’t even recognize her. And she is instead brought in as an extra caregiver, to live in the home and watch the mother, where the mom doesn’t even realize its her child.

The hope is for closure. The realty? Who knows.

Also starring Adriana Barraza.

That is just one of the few changes.
Here is the first note of this film. It is filmed entirely in a 4:3 aspect ratio. We got a square film. And at no point does it go widescreen for effect, or change at all. 100% 4:3. Most of the time when I get to a 4:3 movie, it breaks it at some point, even if just for one scene. But this one, it keeps that feeling. It really makes it so we are looking at one, maybe two characters at a time. It gives that sense of feeling trapped inside a very uncomfortable, situation.

This is not a very standard film. It does tell a story, but it is one that likely wont be satisfying to the average audience. The ending comes a bit at a shocking point, very suddenly, without the closure one would fully expect. Was there some closure? Yes, a little. In times and parts you might not expect fully when they are occurring. This is a film where I needed to reflect after it was over, just what I got to see, what walls were broken, if any. And what the whole thing meant.

Lysette, as the lead role in Monica, does a fabulous job acting this film. So much pain and sadness in her eyes, while not telling their story. We get a lot of the feelings through music, including the delightful and not forgotten Dragostea Din Tei. Clarkson, as well, gives probably the best performance I have seen her give. And I saw a good 80% or more of the Sabrina television show. Now, sure, the acting is unfortunately her being an old feeble woman, who is just waiting to die. And it is a bit of a sadder role for older people to get praise for, being close to death. But I digress, she is fantastic in it.

Monica won’t be a film for a lot of people. But it should be a film for everyone who likes a strongly acted and unique story.

3 out of 4.


This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Year of the Fox has its World Premier on Wednesday, May 17 2023.

One of my goals this festival was definitely to watch as many films with subtitles as possible. I just don’t get enough foreign films throughout the year, unless its a really special occasion big event film, or if it is rushing for awards at the end. Still though, most of the films at least have a title I can pronounce confidently. So that made me excited to see L’immensita, which I have no clue if I am saying it right, and no one will ever be able to correct me. I will have to live with potentially pronouncing it wrong for the rest of my life.

And sure, it does help that it was starring a world famous actress in the lead role too. Sure yeah, of course.

Wow, look how excited she is to be at this dinner. 

In the 1970’s, Italy was the place to be. Well, to be fair, Italy has been the place to be for many different decades. Heck, some of them thousands of years ago. I am sure right now today, 2020’s, Italy is the place to be. (I really want to go to Italy, goddamn it).

Anyways, Clara (Penelope Cruz), a Spaniard who moved to Italy, is married to Felice (Vincenzo Amato), and they have three kids! Clara is a bit of a free spirited individual, who loves her kids more than anything. Including her husband, because he is a rich dick. Speaking of kids, their oldest kid, Adriana (Luana Giuliani), doesn’t actually feel like a girl. She is getting that gender dysphoria real bad, but it is the 1970’s and that isn’t something commonly talked about. So she decides to go by Andrea (a masculine name in Italy), and start using he/him pronouns with his friends, siblings, and mother. And guess what, his mom is totally down with it all.

Because you know, free spirited! But obviously at any point in human history, being trans has not been an easy experience, and it is only small percentage points easier now than it was 50 years ago. Having a small support isn’t a lot, especially when your dad would freak out over the concept, and if your dad is already abusive towards you mom, well. Not a lot to protect you, unfortunately.

This is what it looks like when I take my kids to good movies as well.

There aren’t a lot of “trans” stories set outside of the last twenty years, which is a real big untapped market. I am not an expert on the genre of course, but I do think I only know of one other one off the top of my head, and that is a bit disappointing. So great on them for tackling this subject. And the film itself being beautifully shot, in rich Italian countryside and seas and streets. It is gorgeous to look at in what remains a relatively simple story.

It was a very interesting decision to really tell two stories here.  The obvious one, of the kid here. But also of the mom, in an unhappy place in life, just trying to give spark and joy to those whom she thinks need it most. And how she gets villainized for it. For being accepting and free. It is hard to see. But it is a great character.

And one very other important note here. There are several music/dance numbers in this movie. Sort of out of nowhere. Andrea fancies himself a star in these videos he has seen, so we get to see them reenacting these scenes from the television. Now, when the song Prisencolinensinainciusol came on the television halfway through, I was so excited to see it in such a weird place in the movie, just so casually. Probably my favorite song from Italy in the 1970’s (also the only one I know in this period). So I was so giddy beside myself when our two leads took the two roles of the sings as well, Giulani and Cruz, and it was recreated for our eyes. It was a treat I didn’t know to expect or that I wanted, but certainly one I needed.

Anyways, yes. Representation matters! This story is beautiful and simple and of course, sad. Cruz is always a delight. And I will never know how to say this title.

3 out of 4.

Past Lives

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Past Lives had its Seattle Premier on Thursday, May 11 2023 as the OPENING FILM of the festival.

People seem to really like A24 released movies. I am a people. I really like A24 movies. It fits! Or at least this is mostly true for the films that people have seen. For example, When You Finish Saving The World apparently came out this year, directed by Jesse Eisenberg, with some famous people, and frankly I have never heard of that one. Might not be the best.

But what about Past Lives? This one made by a first time director, with strong international themes? Well, if it is anything like Everything Everywhere All At Once, the people will love it. [Editor’s note: This is a joke, because it is absolutely nothing like Everything Everywhere All At Once, not even the same ethnicity of actors.]

But there is a boat, and in EEAAO there was… oh, no boats.

Inyeon is a Korean word and a Korean philosophy, that seems to run pretty deep down into their culture. Well, at least according to this film. One definition calls it “the ties between two people over the course of their lives.” It can be a sort of love, that describes vary different amounts of love. From spousal love, to the love between parent and child, friendships, or even a small conversation once on a train. According to this film, it also refers to these meetings and connections across past lives of the people, when their soul was in another body. People they interact with they will keep interacting with in future generations, without knowing their long past. And it can grow over time. This is what I got out of the word, at least.

Nora (Greta Lee) moved out of South Korea when she was about 12, to live in the US because it was going to be better for her family. She would have more opportunities. She had a crush on a boy at the time, they were the smartest two in their class, but that didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. They moved on and forgot about each other. Or did they.

12 years later, they reconnect, still on opposite sites of the world. They found each other on social media, and would talk all of the time on Skype. About their lives, their goals, their loves, and their ambitions. Constantly. Until it stopped.

And finally, 12 years later again, Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) is going to visit NYC, to see Nora. And see her husband (John Magaro). And see the sites. And see that maybe they are a hidden love, or maybe destiny had something else in mind for them.

Also starring Moon Seung-ah as Young Nora.

I was only given one real still to use for the review so here is a poster screen grab yay.

Seriously, Past Lives is so unlike EEAAO that if anyone tries to make a comparison, they clearly didn’t see one or both of the movies. Don’t let it happen.

Past Lives is a slower film. One that really wants you to sit with the characters, and get in their mood and in their head. It is an UNCOMFORTABLE film for that same reason. The situation our leads are in IS weird. Is it destiny for them to keep coming back together? Or are they forcing something that just cannot work. Is it nostalgia? Is it unfinished business? Do they even want to be together? And let’s not forget about that husband.

Because this movies forces you to be in these uncomfortable conversations and situations, you really don’t know what you want or expect from the leads. Is this a typical romance film? Is this a sad drama? Neither direction feels like the right direction, and to be honest, the only people who could decide the right direction are two fictional characters. I am feeling anxiety from their dilemma that is not just forced, but is made up and shouldn’t affect me in the slightest.

But the film is powerful in its draw, and one that you cannot escape.

I also need to highlight just how beautiful and well shot this movie is. So many long shots taken, or our actors from a distance so we can see the surroundings better, where direction and flow matter greatly to the story. I think the camera work is better the actual story, which is no slouch. And the acting from our three leads is great. A good amount of uncomfortable never hurt someone. It just made me want to cry.

3 out of 4.

Year of the Fox

This film was watched as a part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Year of the Fox has its World Premier on Saturday, May 13 2023.

One might wonder what the Year of the Fox refers to. I of course naturally assumed this was Chinese Zodiac reference. And no matter how many times I have seen those episodes of Jackie Chan Adventures, where they had the amulets based on the zodiac, I gradually accepted yes, there is probably a year of the fox. But I was wrong! No fox at all!

Pretty wild, but also, not wild in the sense that its a wild animal. Nah, they got a rooster though.

Year of the Fox was a film that stood out to me when looking for movies to watch for the festival. Something about the plot or the name just drew me to it. Hope it was justified!

Dang, those flowers should be put in the grass. They can’t grow on these tiles. 

Ivy (Sarah Jeffery) was adopted at one point. From two straight up white, rich parents. Is it the dream? Well, only if wealth is the dream. Because now she is 17 and her parents are going through a divorce. She doesn’t love her mom as much as her dad. Her dad is fun! He takes her on trips. He shows her the world!

So when given the chance, she decides to go live with him, and she can still hang out with her friends. Now these parties are wild. They are doing coke in the bathrooms. And don’t care about underage drinking. Is this something she wants to be doing with her life?

Unfortunately, it turns out that the social and wealthy elite aren’t always sunshine and lollipops. People get taken advantage of. People get led astray. And these relationships might not be ones that Ivy would like to grow.

Also starring Jane Adams, Arden Myrin, Balthazar Getty, Lexi Simonsen, and Jake Weber.

I have two rules: Don’t touch my Percocet, and do you have any Percocet?

Year of the Fox was one of the first films I was able to see during the festival. And I can certainly say it has very gorgeous scenes and interesting situations for some of the characters. But in all honesty, it doesn’t ramp up until the very end. I would say it takes awhile to get going, but in reality, the main going is just the climax of the film.

Year of the Fox is certainly a good idea for a story. It is just a bit boring along the way. Which is a shame, because I think Jeffery did a fine job in the lead, and so did the actor playing her father. You could tell he was a sleazeball, we just didn’t know his levels of sleaze.

Year of the Fox isn’t a bad film, it is just too long for the effort I believe. Because again, it has some nicely shot areas for a few of the scenes, and I enjoyed the first and final party scene. But I am having a huge problem remembering anything else about the film, and it isn’t just because I watched a lot of movies this festival already. I watch a lot of movies all of the time. It just doesn’t have a lot for me to remember after the fact.

2 out of 4.