The second week in January brought our first big action release as well as a trio of Streaming Films. If you’d like to see more of my scores for films and thoughts, feel free to follow me on Letterboxd here.
Dog Gone (Netflix)
Starring: Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Johnny Berchtold
Synopsis: Based on a true story, the latest from Netflix is about a family brought together by the search for their missing dog. Fielding (Berchtold) is a recent college graduate who has a new dog, Gonker, but is lacking in direction. He moves back home with his parents (Lowe and Williams-Paisley), but his dad worries that he’s lacking direction and motivation. It’s caused a rift between them. When Gonker runs off, father-and-son hit the road to find him. The journey brings them closer and helps them understand one another better. This has a fairly predictable story, whether you read the book or not. It’s a straightforward film that features decent performances, a few heart-warming sequences and the ending we’re all hoping to see. It’s solid family entertainment if nothing else.
The Drop (Hulu)
Starring: Anna Konkle, Jermaine Fowler, Robin Thede, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Joshua Leonard, and Jillian Bell
Synopsis: It’s anyone’s worst nightmare. You’re handed a friend’s baby and then, inexplicably, it slips through your hands and hits the ground. That’s the basic set up for this new comedy on Hulu, which centers on a married couple (Konkle and Fowler) who are trying to have a baby. They hit the road for a destination wedding with several other couple friends. Just after landing, Lex (Konkle) is handed the baby and, in the blink of an eye, drops her. The baby is rushed to the hospital and her husband Mani (Fowler) tries to comfort her. But the incident kicks off a weekend of reflection and introspection as they come to grips with whether they’re ready to be parents, what they want in the relationship and how to move forward. That description probably doesn’t do this film justice. It wants to take this ultra-seriously in order to mine comedy. It is a weird concept, and the rest of the narrative—which seems to include Lex having been intimate with many of the people on the trip in the past (including one half of the lesbian couple getting married) just adds to the weird comedy vibes here. This is the kind of film that will either work for you or run right off the tracks into a ditch. I was in the latter category. It didn’t work for me at all. I didn’t buy into the characters and I didn’t appreciate any of the attempts at humor. This was a disaster, just not the kind the film tries to make light of. I think this can be safely avoided.
Starring: Gerard Butler, Mike Coulter, Daniella Pineda, and Tony Goldwyn
Synopsis: The second weekend of the year brought an action film to theaters for Friday the 13th. This time it is the ubiquitously titled Plane, which centers on a flight gone wrong on New Year’s Day. Captain Brodie Torrance (Butler) is flying a near-empty plane from Singapore to Tokyo, trying to make it eventually to Hawaii to be with his daughter. He was once a top pilot who had an incident that pushed him to more dubious routes. Despite his concerns about a storm in their path, he’s told to push forward. His flight also gets a special guest—Louis Gaspare (Coulter)—an accused murderer being extradited. Predictably, the weather gets the best of the plane and they’re forced to make an emergency landing on a remote island controlled by mercenaries. When the passengers and crew are taken hostage, Brodie and Louis team up to get them back safe. This is a simple set up that makes for a simple action film. Butler is great at these kind of action films, having been the lead in a number of them most notably the Olympus Has Fallen trilogy. This has the same kind of vibe, as an everyman in the wrong place at the right time needs to spring into action. The characters work here, as does the story and the action sequences. If you think about it too hard, there are plot holes. It’s not the deepest or most complicated film, either. But the action works and I enjoyed Butler and Coulter’s chemistry. This is a fun film and the kind of escape you’re looking for in early January.
Rating: Rated R for violence and language.
Starring: Gideon Adlon, Bethlehem Million, Dylan Sprayberry, Jane Adams, and Marc Menchaca
Synopsis: Twenty-seven years ago, Kevin Williamson helped revolutionize horror films with Scream. That’s a franchise that’s spanned five films and more than 25 years. Now, Williamson is back with a new film that borrows liberally from his classic and adds a COVID wrinkle. That film is Sick, which debuted on Peacock Friday. If you watch the opening sequence, you’ll very much feel the Scream vibes. This one, though, also is of the moment—or rather our recent moment. It’s set in 2020, at the height of COVID, focusing on those who should be masking and in quarantine. Instead, they’re bending the rules and being stalked by a killer. This one follows the COVID theme all the way through with a twist ending that had me let out a sigh. The performances are fine and director John Hymas makes the most of what he’s given. The fact it’s as interesting as it is serves as a credit to the way it’s put together. But it feels like someone thought, what about a Scream revival during COVID. Sadly, that person was Williamson. The story is limp and that’s the failure here.
Rating: Rated R for strong violence, terror, language throughout and some drug use.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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