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This Week's Film Reviews (Aug 28, 2020)

24 Aug 2020

The big fims are opening now in cinemas as the Covid-19 restrictions are easing.  TENET, THE NEW MUTANTS and the new BILL AND TED film make their debut this week.

 

FILM REVIEWS:

BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC (USA 2020) **

Directed by Dean Parisot

Besides Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, the only important thing common among the new Bill and Ted sequel, the second after BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE in 1989 and BILL & TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY are the script’s two writers Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon.  To their credit, it is obvious that they have tried very hard to put lots of sci-fi (Physics) details into the plot but the result is a dismal failure that looks at two overgrown teens trying to relive their old days.  It has been 30 years since the original BILL & TED.  Both Winter and Reeves were 24 when they made the original and now they are both the age of 55.  So when they cry: “Party on, dude!” or “Be excellent to every one!”, these words don’t really work any more.

Now enduring the monotony of middle-aged life, Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) are warned by a visitor, Kelly (Kristen Schaal) from the future of the need for them to create a song in 78 minutes that will save all life on Earth and the entire universe. The name Kelly comes from the name Kelly Carlin, the daughter of late comedian George Carlin who appeared in the original movie.) The pair work with their families, old friends, famous musicians, and each other to complete the formidable task.  Bill and Ted do not think they are able to write the song.  So, they decide to travel through time to steal the song, supposedly already written by themselves.  Bill’s logic is that if they take the song from themselves, then it is not really stealing.  This is the kind of the logic the audience can predict the characters to be saying.  This excuse lets the duo meet different forms of themselves, most of them nasty.  One version has Ted sport a really big gut, which is probably the funniest part of the movie.  The middle-aged Bill and Ted sport the same shirts throughout the entire movie.  The film’s climax also requires the performance of the song that will save the Universe across time - which implies a good song.  No such luck.  The excuse given is that as long as the people across time sing the song, that would be ok.  Bill andTed’s antics get tiresome pretty fast and so does the lame plot that tries too hard to be original. 

There are segments that do not work any comedy at all.  One is the family therapy session with Dr. Wood (Jillian Bell) where the two couples try to save their marriages.  The other parts involving Bill and Ted’s two daughters are predictable and fail to register any laughs either.

BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE had excellent reviews and made $40 million on a $6 million budget as did the first sequel on a higher $20 million budget while getting mixed reviews.  This new one has a slightly bigger budget at $25 million and one wonders if this new film can earn its production costs given the fact that many theatres still remain closed during these current times of Covid-19.

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/video/vi611761689?playlistId=tt1086064&ref_=tt_pr_ov_vi

 

CENTIGRADE (USA 2020) ***1/2

Directed by Brendan Walsh

CENTIGRADE is based on actual events.

In 2002, a young American couple, Matthew (Vincent Piazza, THE JERSEY BOYS) and Naomi (Genesis Rodriguez), travel to the arctic mountains of Norway.  After pulling over during a snowstorm, they wake up trapped in their SUV, buried underneath layers of snow and Ice. As if the stakes aren’t high enough, it is revealed that Naomi is eight months pregnant in their frozen prison.  

Why anyone would defy reason to travel to the arctic mountains in Norway during winter is the question.  Obviously, there are some people who will as the film is actually based on such a couple trapped in such situation as the end credits reveal.

Director Walsh who co-write the script means business.  When the film opens, the couple is already trapped in the car.  Before the first 30 minutes of film running time, 6 days have past with the couple trapped in the car.

There is superb use of interior production design showing the claustrophobic conditions inside the SUV.  The couple clamber from front to back and back to front several times, also arguing whether they should break the windows and try to escape out to find help in the open stretch of nowhere. The camera reveals from the exterior shots that there are lots and lots of blinding white with the highway hardly visible.

This is a horrific scenario similar to being trapped in an iced coffin.  Director Walsh reveals all there is to the situation.  With few resources, a dwindling food supply, and nothing but time, tension, blame, and personal secrets bubble to the surface.  Matthew and Naomi initially quarrel a lot.  A neat observation is the way the male and female instincts take over.  “I will get us out of this,” the husband says, assuming control which the wife obviously expects.  The wife starts blaming the husband that they should have driven on and not stopped.  Naomi at her worst when she enters into hysterical mode.   How annoying can a person be if one is trapped for days with little hope of survival?  Naomi proves it to be just plain awful.  Besides blaming her husband and the book tour, she forgets to put the cap on the bottle of water resulting in spillage of precious water.  When she got her cell phone working for a few minutes, she goes hysterical on the call to her father, screaming incoherently missing the one chance of rescue.   Matthew gives in to her many times.  The script takes the easy out when the arguments reach a nasty peak.  ‘“Is the baby all right?” are Matthew’s words that dispel all anger accumulated from the previous moments.  They eventually realize they must work together to survive in a crippling battle against the elements, hypothermia, disturbing hallucinations, and plunging temperatures reaching as low as -30C. 

Will they all make it out of this alive?  Revealing the outcome in the review will surely spoil the appreciation of this effective horror thriller.  CENTIGRADE is good to see a horror film based on actual events that does not rely on the supernatural mumbo-jumbo.

Opening August 28th on VOD, Digital Platforms and Drive-In Theaters

Trailer: undefined

 

ENTWINED (Greece 2019) **

Directed by Minos Nikolakakis

ENTWINED directed and co-written by Minos Nikolakakis is a rare Greek that got commercial release.  It has the theme of remote isolation which makes it somewhat relevant in these Covid-19 times.

The word ENTWINED in the dictionary is defined as ‘to twist together’ the three words that can best be used to describe the toxic sexual/love relationship between the film’s two principals who are as different in personalities as their cultures where they come from.  Pavos is a well-meaning doctor who arrives in the remote village of Alyti (I checked the place in Wikipedia.  The place does not exist, so it an be assumed that it is a fictional village.) as the first doctor ever to be stationed there.  Pavos is treated wth curiosity and superstition by the villagers.  It is clear that Pavos needs to gain the respect of the villagers.

Panos (Prometheus Aleifer) quickly falls for Danae (Anastasia Rafaella Konidi), with a mysterious skin condition who lives in isolation in the woods.  He discovers her sexually abused by her father.  After ridding him, he moves in with her.  Actually, he is trapped and cannot find his way back to the village.  As the weeks pass, their relationship grows more obsessive and weirder.  Panos grows uglier and uglier sporting an awful beard to match.  Panos learns of her dark secret and that all is not what it seems.  They get married in a woods in a tree-like ceremony.

The film is a slow burn fantasy horror, with the feel of an adult Grimm’s fairy tale.  One can likely guess how the story unfolds, so there are no surprises safe for one twist in the story (which will be revealed in this review) at the end, which makes no logical sense whatsoever.   The climax is a letdown.  As for predictability,  even the director warns of what is to come.  For example, Doctor Panos is warned right at the start of the film: “Science does not have all the answer as much as you want it to.”  The film resets back to modern civility with the introduction of Panos’ step-brother, who tries to reach Panos be mobile but to no avail.  There is no electricity in the isolated woods and the phone battery dies out as well.

ENTWINED starts off well with excellent built up atmosphere and mood but ends up a frustrating piece work with a satisfactory open ending, making the journey totally worthless.

The film is shot in English (when Panos communicates with his stepbrother) and in Greek (when Panos talks to Danae and the villages).

How to view this film:

ENTWINED opens in Virtual Theatres FRIDAY, August 28 with a North American VOD release to follow September 8 on all major platforms.  Vi rtual Theartes(August 28)-Including: Los Angeles (Laemmle), New York and major cities (Alamo On Demand), Philadelphia (Philadelphia Film Society).

 VOD (US & Canada) (September 8): Including: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu,  Direct TV, Dish Network and all major cable providers.

Trailer: Embed: undefined

EPICENTRO (Austria/France 2020) ***
Directed by Hubert Sauper

Cuba, a place many Canadians have traveled to, to bathe in the sun in all-inclusive resorts is like a time capsule where time stood still for a hundred years.  Vintage cars are driven in the streets and the locals live a life of leisure.

Another Cuba is depicted in this artistically style documentary of Cuba -  a mystical Cuba in which many truths are revealed. 

EPICENTRO is an immersive and metaphorical portrait of post-colonial, “utopian” Cuba, where the 1898 explosion of the USS Maine still resonates.  This Big Bang ended Spanish colonial dominance in the Americas and ushered in the era of the American Empire.  At the same time and place, a powerful tool of conquest was born: cinema as propaganda. In his latest film, Hubert Sauper explores a century of interventionism and myth-making together with the extraordinary people of Havana—who he calls “young prophets"—to interrogate time, imperialism and cinema itself.

The history of Cuba should be known to better appreciate EPICENTRO.  The territory that is now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people from the 4th millennium BC until Spanish colonization in the 15th century. From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States (and when the film begins) and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902. As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952.  Open corruption and oppression under Batista's rule led to his ousting in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro.  Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba. The country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Cuba is one of a few extant Marxist–Leninist socialist states, where the role of the vanguard Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution.

Director Sauper appears himself in a few segments of the film.  He offers his views on the decollate situation in Cuba.  He is fond of using children to express their views.  During a classroom showing of America taking over Cuba, the children show disbelief that the Americans are the good guys and fighters for freedom.

Sauper’s film is not without humour.  He illustrates how propaganda films were made in a bathtub with toy ships, firecrackers and people blowing cigar smoke to simulate explosions.  It is easier to fool people than to tell people that they are being fooled.

Trump and the United States are once again a target in the film.  The kids have their say about Trump, which makes him look even worse.

EPICENTRO is Cuba - as seen by the people of Cuba.

The film launches inVirtual Cinemas through Kino Marquee starting August 28.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2ycVtJ8leM

MR. SOUL! (USA 2018) ***
Directed by Melissa Haizlip

MR. SOUL with the exclamation mark is the title of the multiple award winning documentary that is especially timely in these times of ‘Black Lives Matter’ and the ‘I Can’t Breathe’ movements.   The doc features the subject Mr. Soul (Mr. Ellis Haizlip) who is the first black show host (and also openly gay) on television, way before Oprah Winfrey and Arsenio Hall.   Ellis was America’s first Black nighttime talk show host during the Civil Rights Movement/Black Power Movement from 1968 - 1973.  I have personally no knowledge of this man as I did not grow up in North America, thus the doc is both inspirational for me as well as an eye-opener which I am sure will also be for many other non-African  North Americans.   The doc begins with archive clips on television showing all the popular white shows on TV like ‘Here’s Lucy’, ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’, ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ but nothing that portrayed blacks.  When they do appear, it is not in a good light but in the news of riots, crime and such.  Not until a novel program on soul music first appeared that things came to a needed change.  Ellis Haizlip is the pioneering producer/host of the groundbreaking PBS Black Arts television series SOUL! known as the first "black Tonight Show.".

MR.SOUL! is an entertaining, informative and insightful documentary made even more watchable for its arousing music.  It is now available across North America on various platforms so that the whole family can be entertained and informed.

Part of the film diverts to the life of Ellis Haizlip, giving the film a personal element. His talent as a child, organizing shows at a young age for his friends as producer, director and actor follows this same path as the Disney+ documentary of Howard Ashman.  (HOWARD can currently be seen on Disney+).  The biography is done with voiceover over old family photographs.

The best and funniest segment is with Rashan Roland Kirk who was on the show with Ellis.  When asked why Ellis had him on,Ellis replied that because he was crazy.  The segment shows Rashan playing 3 instrument sat one time and then ripping up a chair.  The audience loved it.  The highlight of the doc are the clips of musical performances.  Another highlight are the outrageous afro-hairdos supposed by both sexes.

In case one wonders about the director’s identical last name with Ellis, Ellis is Melissa’s uncle.

This film premiered at Tribeca Film Festival to standing ovations and critical acclaim, and went on to screen in over 30+ film festivals around the world wowing audiences and taking home over 17 Best Documentary/Audience Award prizes and was awarded the International Documentary Association Best Music Documentary Award!

There will be a hosting a special live talkback on opening weekend with the filmmakers and some of the artists featured in the film on Sunday August 30 with other special events coming through the run.  More information will be added as an addendum to this review once available.  Keep checking this site and this review, if interested.

Trailer: undefined

THE NEW MUTANTS (USA 2020) **

Directed by Josh Boone

In the Marvel comic series, the new mutants become the X-Force or rather X-Men.  It really does not matter what these super-power mutants are called except that their name mean big bucks.  In the new movie THE NEW MUTANTS, there is only one reference made to he X-MEN in the movie when the group realize that there are not actually in the Xavier Institute but in a prison-like hospital.  The script does not really explain who owns the hospital and little details are given for the reason of the group’s abduction or how the authorities discover their powers.  The group spend half the time trying to escape the facility and save their lives.  The script only calls for one keeper of the facility.  There are no guards, wardens or other doctors.  Just one Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga).  Apparently, Dr. Reyes is herself a mutant with the power of generating force fields, which she uses to control the new mutants.

For a $100 million production, Boone’s film is pretty lean on actors.  Besides the 6 actors, one other Adam Beach has a 10-second cameo as Moonstar’s father.  Most of the money goes into he film’s special effects.

With this prison atmosphere and with all the demons released by the new mutants, the film plays and feels more like a horror movie than an early X-MEN movie.

The five mutant teenagers are – Danielle Moonstar (Blu Hunt),  who can create illusions; Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy), who can open portals to an alternative dimension known as the Limbo; Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams), who can transform into a wolf; Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton), who can fly at supersonic speeds; and Roberto Da Costa (Henry Zaga), who can absorb and manipulate solar energy.  The film is told from the point of view of Dani, who first appears at the start of the film, imprisoned in the facility.  She meets Dr. Reyes and is introduced to the other 4 mutants.  She has yet to discover her superpower.  The rest of the film plays like a high school movie, think THE BREAKFAST CLUB or MEAN GIRLS.  After director Boone is done with the interaction of the teens, they naturally team up to escape from the facility. 

As far as the interaction of characters, there is nothing that has not been see before.  There is the bullying, first romance, discovery of powers etc.  Even the same sex relationship between the two girls does not surprise audiences any longer.  The story lacks the existence of a real villain.  There is no saving of the world or Universe that typically comes with the plot of a super-hero movie.  In fact, THE NEW MUTANTS does not really feel like a super-hero film as the mutants only use their power towards the end of the movie.

The young actors playing the new mutants are charismatic enough, all sporting terribly good looks, especially the two boys.  One would think that this movie is made primarily for the females, especially since the doctor and the main protagonist are both females.

The best line to describe THE NEW MUTANTS movie is: ‘it is what it is.’

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_vJhUAOFpI

 

THE PHINEAS AND FERB MOVIE: CANDACE AGAINST THE UNIVERSE 

(USA 2020) *** Directed by Bob Bowen

Phineas and Ferb started as an American animated musical comedy television series produced by Disney Television Animation.  Originally broadcast as a one-episode preview on August 17, 2007, and again previewed on September 28, 2007, the series officially premiered on February 1, 2008, on Disney Channel, running until June 12, 2015.   There is also an original soundtrack and video game to boot.  And this is their second movie after PHINEAS AND FERB THE MOVIE: ACROSS THE 2ND DIMENSION

The program and also the film follow the adventures of Phineas Flynn and his stepbrother Ferb Fletcher with their jealous sister Candace who is always trying to catch them at their shenanigans.

The film also has, as in the TV series, the recurring plot where the brothers annoy the hell out of the sister Candace who try to expose their mischief to their mother, but repeatedly fail to do so.  Phineas and Ferb's pet platypus Perry the Platypus is also present in the film, working as a spy (named "Agent P") for OWCA (the Organization Without a Cool Acronym), to defeat the latest scheme of Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, a mad scientist driven largely by a need to assert his evilness.

Phineas and Ferb travel across the galaxy to rescue their older sister Candace, who has been abducted by aliens and taken to a utopia in a far-off planet, free of her pesky little brothers.  Candace has been sleeted to be The Chosen One but there is an evil purpose.  Their adventures include the meeting of an alien race called The Cowards, so called because they are cowards.  They run away from everything and have an inexhaustible list of things they are afraid of.  If all this sounds goofy, it is but funny goofy.  The film works best when it is in goofy funny mode, as adults can laugh alongside their kids. And laugh-out laughs too!

The film’s best and funniest part is when the characters travel twice the speed of light.  Reality is shaken and the segment is priceless funny.  Also as in many animation features, the recurring theme is saving the world or universe, which in this case falls into Candace’s responsibility.

The animation feature does come with a message, delivered in an inventive hilarious way that only the creators,  Dan Povenmire and Jeff 'Swampy' Marsh who also did the script know best.

The film is also punctuated with humorous songs like “It’s a Beautiful Day” which Candace sings in the morning when she gets up, like the song “Everything is Awesome” in the LEGO MOVIE.

I have never watched an episode of PHINEAS AND FERB before this movie, as I do not own Disney+.  I am now a new convert.  I used to enjoy Hanna-Barbara’s THE JETSONS on TV as a kid, and Phones and Feb follow the same futuristic look.  Less well known than THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN but infinitely more fun!

THE PHINEAS AND FERB MOVIE: CANDACE AGAINST THE UNIVERSE is now playing on Disney+.

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/video/vi3144334873?playlistId=tt1817232&ref_=tt_ov_vi

TENET (UK/USA 2020) ****

Directed by Christopher Nolan

TENET is the new sci-fi adult spy fantasy by British director Christopher Nolan that is finally released - first in the U.K. and Canada on 26th August and a week later for the U.S.  It would be good to know that Nolan spent a whopping 5 years iterating his script, ideas developed as far as 20 years back and it is one that is as intricate, difficult and in a way fun to try to follow, if it is possible to.  There are very many twists and turns in the plot with new angles thrown at the audience throughout its 150 minute running time.  The theme involves reverse entropy.  If one does not have the Chemistry background to know what entropy is, then that is it.  Nolan does not bother to explain the term.

The film’s protagonist is also called the protagonist (played by Denzel’s son, John David Washington).in the film  The film has an amazing start (looking even more stupendous in IMAX) with a takedown at the Royal Opera House in the Ukraine.  The Protagonist assists in a Central Intelligence Agency operation to foil an opera siege and retrieve a stolen cache of plutonium in Kiev.  During the operation, the plutonium is found to be fake, (be extremely  alert or you will miss this part), but the Protagonist is saved by a masked gunman with a red string on his back.  The Protagonist is then abducted and threatened with torture, but he bites on an apparent suicide pill before revealing any information. Upon waking, the Protagonist learns the pill was a test of his loyalty.   He is recruited into a secret organization, given only the information that the word "tenet" and a cross-fingered gesture will "open many doors" for him. The Protagonist infiltrates a facility where he learns that in the future, technology has been developed that allows objects to have their entropy reversed and move backwards through time. The protagonist is shown a bullet that returns to the gun it is fired from.  If your think the plot is so far confusing, there is much more to come. 

The film uses logic like the Grandfather Paradox.  For example, if you go back in time to kill your grandfather, would you still be born?  Or would you have killed yourself?  If there are two timelines, then you are your grandfather.  The film plays with scientific teases like these, in fact it goes to the extreme in adopting the concept with the conclusion that the protagonist actually hired himself to do the job.

It should be noted that the word TENET (which is used here as a code word that will open doors for the protagonist) is a palindrome spelt the same way forwards and backwards just as objects in the film move forward and backward when their entropy are reversed.

Nolan’s film plays like a super spy film with Washington in the James Bond role.  There is no less elaborate plan than a cargo plane that has to be crashed into the freeport (Nolan spends 10 seconds in the film explaining what a freeport is) in Oslo in order to steal a painting.  With all the explosions, TENET has the occasional feel of his DUNKIRK film.  To his credit, all the departments appear in synch with his vision of his sci-fo opus.

Nolan elicits superior performances from his actors particularly Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh who shows how evil a villain can be.  In the story, his villain, Sator is already set to die, having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Elizabeth Debicki is marvellous as his estranged wife with Robert Pattinson also delivering a stellar performance as Tenet’s handler.  Martin Donovan and Michael Caine make cameo appearances.

It is best to see the film on IMAX.  The press screening was in IMAX and it pays off.  One has to hand it to Nolan that he can glue the audience to his entire film though they might not have the foggiest what is happening.  A fellow critic mentioned at the end of the film that he needs to see the film again.  I replied that even if he sees it five times, it would still not be understandable.  The fact is that there is too much going on in the complex film for one to absorb - not that the film is incomprehensible.  Best to forget trying to follow the plot and just enjoy Nolan's super spy movie.  Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who worked with Nolan on INTERSTELLAR (2014), was consulted on the subjects of time and quantum physics.  After theatres closed due to Covid-19, TENET is the best first film to be seen in re-opened theatres.  Give yourself a treat and see it in iMAX.

Trailer: undefined

UNCLE PECKERHEAD (USA 2020) **
Directed by Matthew John Lawrence

This musical band/horror flick is as weird as its title UNCLE PECKERHEAD.  The titles announce at the start of the film that it is based on a true story.  More about that later!

The story follows a band called DUH (well, that is not so strange knowing that there are artists that go by weird names as The The, The Who and The Beatles) led by 27-year old Judy (Chet Siegel).  The band is comprised of three members, Judy another girl, Mel (Ruby McCollister) and a guy named Max (Jeff Riddle).  They snag a little tour of their band but have no van, after it becomes re-possessed since they have no money (they are also roommate) to pay their bills.  Then into the scene enters an old guy called Peckerhead (David Littleton) with a van.  He drives them to their gigs.  There is only one problem.  At midnight he turns into a human flesh eating monster.  Fortunately, he eats only those who does him or the band harm.  Apparently, Peck can control his demise to a certain extent.  How is this a true story?  Go figure.  Probably some weirdo did drive a band for their tour is the true part of the story taken for this movie.

Life on the road is difficult enough, but made worse if their roadie is a flesh eating Uncle Peckerhead.   This seems like the theme and mood of Lawrence’s occasionally sportful horror comedy.

Lawrence tries to make his film more interesting by introducing characters with weird personalities.  Max himself is a sort of man-child with possible a gay orientation.  Another character is one of the band’s hosts, Nick (Greg Maness) who is so good-looking the he wins over the entire band.  This includes a sexual fling with Judy.

A story like this, with large segments of flesh eating with lots of blood spurting all over the place is necessarily cheesy.  Director Lawrence’s film gets his audience engrossed in the tour - to his success, but unfortunately is unable to hold interest to the very end.  The incident are repeated only with a different sort of victims eaten.

The band DUH gets to perform a few songs.  It is not everyone’s kind of music - but if you are into the screaming, shouting, found language and hair swinging kind of rock punk, then the band’s music might be for you.  It is not my thing, but they look pretty good if I think one is into that and of music.

UNCLE PECKERHEAD has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing.  I did not think that much of the film, but this film critic can admit that many might disagree with me.

This little indie hits VOD/EST in Canada on August 25th.  The film would definitely have appeal to horror fans, the sort who attend the BLOOD IN THE SNOW and AFTER DARK horror film festivals.

Trailer: undefined

YOU CANNOT KILL DAVID ARQUETTE (USA 2020) *

Directed by David Darg and Price James

There have been weird subjects for documentaries but this one takes the cake.  YOU CANNOT KILL DAVID ARQUETTE is a documentary about the actor and his obsession with pro-wrestling.

David Arquette is an actor best known for the SCREAM movies.  For those who follow entertainment news, one knows that Arquette has an obsession with professional wrestling.  He even got himself to win the World Wrestling champion, much to the anger of pro-wrestling fans.  This doc follows Arquette’s obsession and the psychology that goes with it.  If one cannot stand pro-wrestling or Arquette, best to give this film a miss.  And even if you like either, this doc is pretty much all over the place, a complete mess and a total boring watch.

The interviewees on view include a choice of his siblings, brother and sister (Patricia Arquette) who have pretty nothing insightful to say, his current and ex-wife Courteney Cox as well as Rick Flair, the Godfather of wrestling.

20 minutes into the documentary, it becomes clear that the film is about the man child’s ego.  Sitting through 90 minutes is more a torture than anything else.

The film takes a breather when Arquette travels to Mexico (Cancun and Tijuana) to train.  The sites of Mexico are a sight for sore eyes especially during these lockdown times when one cannot travel.  Arquette travels there for the primary purpose to improve his wrestling skills.  Still, one cannot fathom his undying desire for the sport.  Even when his doctor advises him against it.  Arquette has wrestling injuries and has been warned of internal bleeding that could kill him.  Yet he continues.  This man has no thought of his wife and children.

“I am quite sick of being the joke,” Arquette says.  A lot of people, he says, have not seen me in the ring.  The audience may have seen Arquette in the ring in the doc and will still be sick of watching any more of the man.  One must give the directors credit for completion of the movie.

Women will even have a harder time being entertained by this piece.  Who would like to see generally out of shape men beating each other up (in play)?  There will be some but not many.  I do not know any women who enjoy THE THREE STOOGES and they were, at least funny.  This one isn’t.  His sister, Patricia Arquette herself says it:”What is it about wrestling?  I don’t get it.  Is it showing your strength?  I don’t get it.”  One surprising segment reveals David fit, muscled and tanned (artificially) after a lot of training.  He also quit smoking and drinking while losing 50 pounds in the process.

As much as pro-wrestling is staged with all the action pre-arranged, one also wonders how much of this doc is real - or really shot in real time or re-enactments.   The segment where   Arquette gets his neck cut or vomits tons into a card box box would most likely be re-enactments.  All this for the sake of entertainment.

The doc has its premieres at Montreal’s FANTASIA International Film Festival August 20th.  Digital and On Demand - August 28th.

Trailer: undefined

 

 

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