Heavy Cherry (Film Thoughts: Cherry)

With a one hunde and forty minute running time, ‘Cherry’ is certainly heavy. Directed Joe and Anthony Russo (of those superhero movies) the film tries to tackle a lot and lobs them all at you. It’s from the memoirs of Nico Walker, who served in Afghanistan, and came back with PTSD. But that only is a fraction of Walker’s story – it also tackles his addiction. and the vices he acquires trying to sustain that drug addiction. It really is a lot, and yes, too much.

And The Russos tell the story vividly, with too much imagination and not enough originality. Everything they do here we have seen before. Everything feels familair, and not special.

So the question is: can Tom Holland make us believe. And can Tom Holland sustain your attention? for the most part, the answer to that question is yes. he gives his all here, and you can sense the total commitment he gives to the film in any and all of his scenes. Is it enough to save the film? Your mileage may vary. I could watch Holland eat vegetables and I would be fine. Others need a little more substance.

As Video Times Go By (Movie Thoughts: The Last Blockbuster)

Once upon a time there were video rental stores…that’s basically the premise and point of ‘The Last Blockbuster,’ which is a film about…the last remaining Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon. Gen Xers like me will look at teh film fondly, more for nostalgia purposes. My generation grew up with watching movies on video – from Betamax to VHS to DVDs and Blu-Ray – and this film will jog our memory to. different time when renting films was a vital part of our lives. I personally was drawn more to mom-and-pop video places – blockbuster movies never interested me – so I wasn’t really a Blockbuster store kind of guy, but I couldn’t help but relate to most of the talking heads here reminiscing. It’s kind of ironic that I saw this film on Netflix, which is the thing that most people say killed Blockbuster (that wasn’t really the case, as the documentary explained) but I guess we’ll just charge that to the evolution of life.

When A Rose Isn’t (Perfume Thoughts: Lil Fleur, Byredo)

I went to the Byredo counter specific ally to sniff their new release, and because of COVID, now the sales associate personally spray the perfume on you (if you want to try it on skin, which I always do) and after she did she said, “oh my, my mistake, that was ‘Lil Fleur; I accidentally sprayed.’ But to me it was a good mistake, since I don’t think IU have sampled Lil Feur yet.

I knew that this was going to be a rose scent, and I had been craving rose scents lately anyway so I thought this was a sign from the heavens above. But this isn’t a jammy or juicy rise (the kind I was craving) This is a dry rose miuxed with leather…and a lot of vanilla and benzoin.

It was a warm-ish day when I tried this so the perfume bloomed. The vanilla stepped front and center – and it was a tad jarring. It smelled a lot on the synthetic side, kind of medicinal, kind of band-aid ish. But wonder of all wonders, I couldn’t stop sniffing my arm. It felt like a hypnotic energy that kept on calling me. So does this mean I liked it?

A Whole New World (Film Thoughts: The World To Come)

Mona Fastold’s ‘The World To Come’ is a pleasant surprise for me. It is set in rural New York circa 1856, and has a feel of a western, but it’s a love story between two women, Tallie and Abigail (played by Waterstone and Vanessa Kirby) It’s a story that slowly burned, and just like most same-sex romance of the time, mostly unspoken. Filmed as if with an Instagram filter, everything is dulled but beautiful, the emotions raw. The females have respective husbands, but from each other’s unhappiness and discomfort you see their attractions blossom. Kirby is fantastic here, and after this and ‘Pieces of a Woman,’ we see a major movie star emerge.

Oh Becky! (Television Thoughts: The Real World Homecoming Episode 2, Paramount Plus)

After watching the second episode of The Real World: Homecoming, the first thing I can say is: Oh Becky, you should know better than to fall into the trap. You came into the first season not knowing the effects of being in a reality show, but now, really, you should know better. Of course, someone will try to create drama when you guys are back in the loft. Did you really think that they would leave you all there, all good vibes and kum ba yah? Of course not, even Jose Feliciano could see it coming, when they started to play that old clip of you and Kevin arguing from 1992. For sure, nothing much has changed, but surely you are older and wiser, right?

But then again, maybe I should be glad you fell into this trap, because it just made watching the show a hundred times better. The ‘nostalgia’ of seeing you all together would surely wear off, and we needed this to spice things up! And really, you guys ar3e still watchable thirty years later.

Teen Rebels (Movie Thoughts: Moxie)

Amy Poehler stars and directs ‘Moxie’ so I was excited for it, and had high hopes. I guess Netflix released this right after she and Tina Fey has just finished their stint hosting The Golden Globe Awards. And it is a very earnest effort from her – she has assembled a nice appealing young cast about a high school faced with racial inequality. I have heard some people compare this to ‘Mean Girls,’ and I kind of get that it has a similar vibe. This has a more rocker girl punk feel, wherein a teen, Vivian starts a fanzine addressing the inequalities in the high school system. The result? It’s a mostly funny affair, with some social relevance thrown in. It succeeds more as a teen comedy, also because it is more believable there. When it tries to cover more ‘serious’ issues, it kind of falls flat.

But you believe a lot of it, though. Hadley Robinson, who plays Vivian is appealing even though the villains are cardboard characters. You will feel a lot of the heart, though, and will probably feel that more. ‘Moxie’ is imperfect, but it passes time perfectly.

The Real Teal (Music Thoughts: They Say It’s Swing, Clare Teal)

I first discovered Clare Teal in the mid 90s. I remember being in Tower Records in London perusing through their jazz vocals section and saw her disc prominently displayed. And at that time, it was an ‘import,’ and not available in the US locally. I grabbed the album and quickly became a fan, grabbing everything I could get from her. But to be honest, I haven’t listened to her for a while, until I discovered she had a new album, ‘They Say It’s Swing.’

First of all, I love the title. It’z a play from the lyric from ‘They Say It’s Spring,’ one of my favorites which I know from Blossom Dearie. Teal has a nice formidable voice, and is very at home with the jazz setting. She sings all these songs masterfully, most with light swing arrangements that showcase her strengths. She is a jazz singer, but is not too ‘out there,’ respecting these songs and their wonderful melodies.

And she has a nice repertoire as well, with some of my cherished songs, like ‘I Walk A Little Faster’ (She must really like Blossom) ‘Something Happens To Me.’ And she even is effective in ballads like ‘I Can Dream Can’t I’. This is a much pleasant listen, with depth to sink your teeth into.

Prisoner (Film Thoughts: The Mauritanian)

Jodie Foster winning Best Supporting Actress on The Golden Globes made me want to check out Kevin MacDonald’s ‘The Mauritianian’ right away. I mean, I probably would have eventually seen the film anyway. And I knew nothing about it going into the film. I realized then it was based on a book, a memoir by the main character of the film, Mohamedou Ould Salahi, here played by Tahar Rahim, while he was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. Foster plays Nancy Hollander, the lawyer who defended her against the US government.

The film is a good addition to the ‘United States sucks’ genre, and I found the story quite compelling. The film about it, is a mixed bag. The focus is all over the place, leaving the performances to ground and land it. Rahim is sensational, and Foster giving her icy-warm brand of acting (I personally think she should be in lead, not supporting) But I felt drawn in by most of it, and found the time spent worthwhile.

If A Girl Isn’t Pretty (Perfume Thoughts: Gorgeous, Michael Kors)

I never pay attention to any of Michael Kors’ scents. I think, just like his designs, everything he produces is generic and boring (For the life of me, I cannot understand the appeal of his handbags) But periodically, Macy’s sends me samples of their releases, and they sent me ‘Gorgeous, his latest release.

At first spray, I get white floral. I know it’s supposed to be tuberose, but this is a department store generic version of it. Maybe because I wasn’t expecting much from this (and thought it would be a dreaded fruity floral) but I thought it was pleasant enough. Then some tobacco comes in to edge things out, resulting in. a woodsy floral. I kinda like it, in a synthetic, office scent kind of way. I thought the vibe was very similar to YSL Libre, and come to think of it, the bottle is a little bit similar to it, too.

So, I would wear this. I am thinking this would be a great office scent – not too young and a little more sophisticated than your typical department store fragrance. But to be honest, I don’t know if I would ever ‘seek’ this.

Oh Father (Film Thoughts: The Father)

Anthony Hopkins gives another masterful performance in ‘The Father,’ and it is one of his bests. In Florian Zeller’s film, he plays the titular character, a character who is suffering from dementia, and Zeller not only tells us a story, he puts right smack and center inside the mind of Hophins’ character. The film is set in London, and in n the beginning of the film he is speaking to his daughter, Anne, who tells him he will have a new caregiver. She has met someone, and is moving to Paris to be with her new beau. But the next scene sees Anthony with another man, who is supposed to be Anne’s husband of ten years, and it seems Anthony is living with her Ann and her husband at their home, only now Anne is another woman.

The film is part mystery, part drama, and all affecting. It is based on Zeller’s play and I could now imagine the production. As an audience, we experience the confusion, the shock of this disease. As I said Hopkins is so effective that we see, and more importantly, we feel what someone like him is going through, making the film an unforgettable watch. I am still thinking about it. I bet you will be as haunted.