2021, Dir. Jaume Collet-Serra – Disney+ Premier Access and In Theaters Now – Action/Adventure – Common Sense Rating 11+
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt star in this grand adventure based on the Disney Theme Park ride. The two characters are brought together when Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) brings on a skipper (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) to guide her through the Amazon River in search of a mysterious healing tree. I enjoyed the chemistry between the two stars and found the story pretty enthralling. It’s not the best Disney feature that’s been released recently, but it’s a fun escape that the whole family can enjoy.
No Sudden Move
2021, Dir. Steven Soderbergh – HBO Max – Crime Drama – R
Steven Soderbergh’s new thriller is an immersive story about a heist that is much more complicated than it first appears to be. Set in 1954 Detroit, the film follows Curt Goynes (Don Cheadle) and Ronald Russo (Benicio Del Toro) as they are recruited to steal a mysterious document. As the crime begins to fall apart, they soon realize that there is much more to the story than they’ve been told. The film is a fun throwback to classic crime dramas, and its all-star cast (including Ray Liotta, Jon Hamm, and Julia Fox in supporting roles) only makes it more convincing.
Summer of Soul
2021 Dir. Questlove – Hulu – Documentary – PG-13
Summer of Soul is a vibrant and joyful celebration of Black music and art. The movie focuses on the Harlem Cultural Festival, a six week long music festival that brought together acts including Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, and more. The film features truly stellar live performances as well as interviews with guests who attended the festival. These firsthand accounts give the film a visceral human touch. Each guest’s words and reactions to the never-before-seen footage make you see how much of an impact the festival had on them for years to come. Thanks to Questlove’s superb documentary, now we get to see why.
2021, Dir. Michael Sarnoski – Available to Rent for $6.99 on Amazon Prime and In Theaters Now – R
Pig is a uniquely heartwarming story about a lost truffle pig and a man’s unrelenting quest to find him. Nicholas Cage stars in this offbeat drama set in Portland, Oregon. Oregonians are sure to get a thrill watching notable Portland landmarks so beautifully shot on screen. I found the film wonderfully unexpected and bittersweet. As many (including myself sometimes) bemoan the lack of originality in contemporary film’s glut of reboots and sequels, I found Pig to be a strange breath of fresh air.