I tried to resist it. But you know what, I kind of low-key believe in visualizing what you want, so I succumbed and watched Andy Tennant’s ‘The Secret: Dare to Dream.’ I mean, what can you lose? The film, for what it is, is perfect weekday viewing after a tiring day and you just want to watch something you don’t have to comprehend much. And this has solid performances from Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas. Look, it’s not the most intricate story and I get serious eeks from the religious undertones, but for what it is, it’s ok.
In Claude Lalonde’s ‘Coda,’ Patrick Stewart plays Henry, a famous pianist who, late in his career, suffers stage fright. This probably stems from a traumatic experience he had in his personal life. He meets a female music critic, Helen, played by Katie Holmes who helps him not only snap out of that, but also assists him in sorting out his personal life. The film is a rumination of things we experience as we age, and it is one of those small films that is just…well, small. I thought it started well, but stalled after the first hour. After the two meet, the audience gets lost in where they (and the film wants to go. Stewart is quite strong here, as he is able to flesh out a real character we can relate with – someone who is at a loss later in his life, and struggles to find meaning in all of it. Holmes’ Helen is a bit underwritten, as she only serves as a conduit to where Henry wants to go. But she is fine with whatever she is given, as she is able to make a mark in the film. I was eventually unsatisfied with the film – it dragged towards the end and even though the film had some beautiful music and fantastic locations (I rediscovered my love for Beethoven Sonatas) those weren’t enough to keep me fully vested,
I didn’t know anything about ‘What Separates Us’ before seeing it but, honestly, I liked the title. Sometimes it’s the little things. This film is written, directed and stars Bryan Ferriter and perhaps he did a little too much heavy lifting here. The result is a bit of everything hitting the wall, and I do agree with some idea similarities to ‘Good Will Hunting.’ The film is not entirely the worst thing in the world – Ferriter is not a bad actor at all, treading a worn role, and has good chemistry with Shannon Mary Dixon who plays his love interest. It’s not the worst thing in the world. but does it need to exist?
‘Dear Dictator,’ fares slightly better. Written and Directed by both Joe Syracuse and Lisa Addario, the premise is at least very interesting. A teenager (Odeya Rush) befriends a dictator of a Latin American country (played deliciously by Michael Caine) and after his country goes through a revolution, he starts to secretly )at first) lives with her and her mother (Katie Holmes) and well…hilarity ensues? There’s a lot of ideas going on in the film, and I wish they were trimmed, but there’s enough charm in the film to make you overcome them. Plus, there are great performances all around, starting with Caine’s Castroesque dictator-with-a-heart.
I was just talking about Katie Holmes, and it just so happens that I just watched her movie, ‘All We Had,’ and found out that this is her directorial debut. Based on a book by Annie Weatherwall’s 2015 novel, the film is one of those ‘women-in-peril’ movies, although in this case, Holmes’ character Rita’s perils are caused by herself by making all these bad decisions for her and her daughter, Ruthie (a luminous Stefania Owen) and the she runs away from these said problems. She gets into ruts and bottoms, and Holmes, in poor girl grub, is deglamourized and acts like the martyr. This film seems to be not broad enough for a major movie, and is more akin to one of those Lifetime movies – although if I have to confess, I have not seen any of those Lifetime movies in years. I do like Holmes as an actress, and she is effective her, and their mother-daughter relationship is appealingly complex at times. There is even a sub storyline about a trans woman that is very positive, and I also appreciated Luke Wilson as one of her love interests. This is not the worst thing in the world, but it is truly forgettable.