May 12, 2023

Greetings again from the darkness. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is in its 18th year, having aired 165 episodes, not counting endless reruns in syndication. A huge part of the series’ success is the comedic talent and writing ability of Charlie Day. That success has put him in a position to direct his first feature film, and how does he proceed? By attempting to skewer and mock the same Hollywood system that has made him rich and famous. Fortunately for Day, many of his friends have joined in, and most of the mocking falls pretty flat. So, he hasn’t jeopardized the likelihood that he will, in fact, work in this town again.

Our first glimpse of Day’s character is in a mental hospital where he has been diagnosed as non-verbal with “the mind of a Labrador retriever.” With no means to pay and no government plan to compensate the hospital, he is unceremoniously dumped on the street. Before trouble strikes, he is picked up by a Hollywood Producer (the late Ray Liotta) due to his striking resemblance to a temperamental and troubled movie star (also played by Day). Despite having no comprehension of what’s being asked of him, he ends up with a whirlwind acting career and a new name … Latte Pronto.

It doesn’t take long for us to realize Day has attempted to blend the comic (and silent) genius of Charlie Chaplin with the ‘oddity’ of Chauncey Gardiner in the Hal Ashby classic BEING THERE (1979).  Those friends of Day who make appearances include Jason Sudekis as a big-time director, Common as an action hero, John Malkovich as a backroom power broker, Jason Bateman, Glenn Howerton, Edie Falco as a super-agent, Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Day’s real life wife), and Dean Norris. In more substantive roles we find Adrien Brody as an alcoholic actor prone to wild times behind the wheel, Kate Beckinsale as a movie star attracted to Day’s overnight fame, and Ken Jeong as Lenny, the struggling publicist who latches onto Latte Pronto as his only client.

Day certainly has a knack for physical comedy and it’s on full display during his “Wipeout” dance, however, without the use of his trademark scratchy, whiny voice, he lacks the charm of Chaplin (who doesn’t?). More significantly, the script lacks the sharpness needed to effectively poke fun at the lure of celebrity, and the greed, self-interest, and insecurities tied to the fluff of Hollywood. There is an attempt to make this about friendship and human connection, but maybe what it does best is remind us how most people would rather talk, and are therefore attracted to a listener … even if he doesn’t understand the words coming out of their mouth.

In theaters beginning May 12, 2023



May 12, 2023

Greetings again from the darkness. There aren’t too many companies who have reached the pinnacle of their industry, only to later flop due to lack of innovation or a stubborn insistence on holding on to the past. Tremendous success and absolute failure are not typically associated with the same company. Blockbuster Video and Pan Am Airlines come to mind as examples of industry leaders whose refusal to adapt, culminated with closure, and it’s likely that Blackberry belongs in the category, at least as presented here by writer-director Matt Johnson and co-writer Matthew Miller, adapting the book by Jacquie McNish.

Socially awkward pals, Mike Lazaridis (played by Jay Baruchel) and Doug Fregin (played by the film’s director Matt Johnson), co-founded Research in Motion (RIM). The film picks up in 1996 when Mike and Doug are making their first presentation of their breakthrough handheld data delivery-email machine, which they have named Pocket Link. These are two genius nerds with no concept of how the outside business worlds functions, and the executive to whom they are pitching is so distracted that his only feedback is, “You need a new name.” In a fascinating twist, that same executive, Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) ends up saving not just the new product, but also the company.

Balsillie presents himself as a fireball, take charge, full-steam-ahead kind of guy. It’s quite a contrast to nerdy Mike and easy-going Doug. Mike is a quiet guy committed to perfection in his work, while Doug wrangles the tech developers with a culture of video games, movie night, and an overall fraternity environment. Balsillie’s arrival as a vocal outrage expert and brash businessman changes everything, and he and Mike drive the newly named BlackBerry to levels not previously seen. We do get a humorous anecdote from a shirt stain (even though it’s not a true story), and in fact, there is quite a bit of humor throughout.

We are informed that the film was “inspired by real people and real events”, so some dramatic license is expected. Perhaps the best comparison is THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010), and while that film was more polished, I personally found this one more entertaining and accurate from a business sense. An excellent supporting cast includes Cary Elwes, Saul Rubinek, Michael Ironside, Martin Donovan, Rich Sommer, and SungWon Cho, and the film’s real draw is the contrast between Jay Baruchel’s mousy but brilliant Mike, and Glenn Howard’s powerhouse portrayal of the egotistical Balsillie. Baruchel’s scene where he reacts to the new iPhone is alone worth the price of admission.

At its peak, BlackBerry had 45% market share and had earned it’s “CrackBerry” label in the business world. Apple’s 2007 introduction of the iPhone not only rocked the BlackBerry company, it shook up the world. The Canada perspective is noted (RIM was based in Waterloo, Ontario), as is Mike’s aversion to ‘made in China’, perhaps the ultimate reason for the fall. It’s likely that BlackBerry has become a Case Study in Business Schools, although the fast-paced and pressure-packed world of tech continues to require a balance of decisions focused on current markets and never-ending innovation for the future.

Opens on May 12, 2023



April 27, 2023

Greetings again from the darkness. If you have ever wondered what it might look like if Quentin Tarantino consulted on a modernized Pakistani version of Jane Austen … well, writer-director Nida Manzoor shows us (with no actual assistance from QT), including stylized martial arts, class warfare, and an obsession with a stuntwoman career. It’s Ms. Manzoor’s first feature film (she created the TV series “We are Lady Parts”) and she presents an extremely creative film with a balance of silly and dark themes that proves immensely entertaining.

Relative newcomer Priya Kansara stars as Ria, a private school student highly determined to achieve her goal of becoming a working stuntwoman. She remains laser-focused on this despite her teacher and parents laughing off such nonsense and re-directing her towards becoming a doctor. Ria also adores her older sister Lena (Rita Arya), although worried about her since she recently dropped out of art school and seems to be rudderless in life.

Things change quickly for everyone once rich mama’s boy/doctor Salim (Akshay Khanna) begins courting Lena. Ria senses things aren’t right with the relationship and is also convinced that Lena should resume her dreams of being artist, rather than being pursued by the handsome, rich, too-good-to-be-true suitor. Ria and her best friends Clara (Seraphina Beh) and Alba (Ella Bruccoleri) scheme to undercut the relationship, but they are no match for Salim’s mother (a terrific Nimra Bucha), who sports the best evil Grinch grin you’ve ever seen.

Director Manzoor divides the film into five chapters: A tale of two sisters, EID Soiree, Operation Wife Hunter, Assault on Shah mansion, and The Wedding. Each chapter offers comedy and action, and a matching of Ria’s wits and instincts against the plans and beliefs of others. Ms. Kansara impresses as an upstart female Jackie Chan with superior acting chops. She executes the physical martial arts sequences beautifully, yet also shows promise in the quieter, more intimate moments when emoting and dialogue matter. She is certainly one to watch … as is filmmaker Nida Manzoor. Anyone who can entertain at this level deserves the opportunity to do so as frequently as possible.

Opening in theaters on April 28, 2023


GHOSTED (2023)

April 21, 2023

Greetings again from the darkness. I am often accused of taking movies too seriously rather than just sitting back and enjoying the entertainment value. Well, this latest from director Dexter Fletcher (ROCKETMAN 2019, EDDIE THE EAGLE 2015) is textbook ‘popcorn entertainment’ made for those who prefer to sit back and enjoy. There is plenty to like here and it did generate a few laughs, yet it’s still a movie that doesn’t hold up to much thought or post-viewing discussion. SPIDER-MAN collaborators Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and DEADPOOL collaborators Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have joined forces on a script that somehow doesn’t have the dialogue zings that can keep pace with the action sequences.

An early meet-cute occurs as organic family farmer Cole Turner (Chris Evans bucking his Captain America persona) unknowingly flirts with market shopper Sadie Rhodes (Ana de Armas, fresh off her Oscar nomination for BLONDE, 2022), recommending she purchase a cactus rather than a Begonia once she discloses her work travel schedule. An all-day and all-night date ends with Cole telling his family that “she may be the one.” His caustic sister (Lizzie Broadway) skewers him with the funniest one-liners in the film while informing that his smothering texts and emojis have likely caused Sadie to ghost him.

It’s at this point where the clumsy organic farmer turns into an extreme stalker and heads to London … don’t ask what trick allowed him to track her. A photo op at Tower Bridge ends with Cole being abducted and presumed to be “The Taxman” (cue Beatles song), the only person with the code to unlocking a chemical weapon in the possession of arms dealer and dastardly bad buy Leveque (Oscar winner Adrien Brody). Of course, Sadie rescues Cole at the last minute, and her cover as an international art curator is blown … surprise! She’s actually a highly-skilled CIA spy.

Three major action sequences are featured: an exciting bus-in-reverse along a mountain side road in Pakistan, a fight scene aboard a private jet, and a guns-blazing shootout in a rotating high-rise restaurant. Ana de Armas is terrific in the action sequence and her rapport with Chris Evans (first noted in KNIVES OUT, 2019) elevates the toothless banter between the two. It’s a bit shocking that this group of writers couldn’t land on wittier and sharper comments for these two characters as they bounce around the globe … even racing up THE EXORCIST stairway. At times it feels like an episode of “Get Smart”, although the action sequences are first rate.

Supporting roles are held by Mike Moh, Amy Sedaris, Tate Donovan, and the always fun Tim Blake Nelson. Many will enjoy the hand full of cameos that pop up, at least one “Wilhelm scream”, and the sometimes obvious and/or cheesy song selection … a rare soundtrack to include both The Knack and Dua Lipa. The film leans more into cute than witty and danger, but with two of the most attractive stars working today, that’s forgivable. Just get your popcorn ready and sit back and enjoy this rom-com/action-thriller, and don’t think too much.

The film will be on Apple TV+ on April 21.


GRINGA (2023)

April 21, 2023

Greetings again from the darkness. When a 16 year old girl has self-esteem issues, it can be painful to watch. As adults, we know it’s likely to get better, although it’s also possible things get worse before they improve. And ‘things getting worse’ is exactly what happens to Marge in this film co-directed by Marny Eng (long time stunt performer and coordinator) and EJ Foerster, and written by Patrick Hasburgh (writer and creator of TV series “Hardcastle and McCormick” and “21 Jump Street”).

Marge (Jess Gabor, “Shameless”) and her mother (Judy Greer) are both having a hard time. Mom is a California realtor who seems to go through men faster than she sells houses, and Jess is a self-described “fat and slow” bench-warmer on her soccer team, while also battling bulimia and her unpopularity with classmates. It’s at about this time when the “getting worse” part happens for Marge, and soon she’s crossing the border in search of her dad, who left home when she was two years old.

Jackson (Steve Zahn) is a former soccer star-turned alcoholic-surfer, and is no more prepared to be a father now than when Marge was born. It’s an awkward reunion since neither father nor daughter know the other, but they agree to spend a month getting familiar. It’s fun to watch these two bring out the best in each other. Dad promises to stop drinking and treat his girlfriend (Roselyn Sanchez, “Without a Trace”) better, and Marge cleans up her diet and magically improves her soccer skills while subbing for the local team her dad is coaching.

Mr. Zahn has been a familiar face and dependable performer since the early 1990’s, and was recently seen in season one of “The White Lotus.” In this role, he gets to flash some of his trademark goofiness, while also showing some depth as a man-child trying to get his act together. Zahn’s connection with Ms. Gabor is what makes the film click. While not familiar with her previous work, I was impressed with Gabor’s range her and realistic portrayal of a teenager in pain – slumped shoulders and plate of tacos, etc. Ms. Greer has a limited role here, and supporting work comes from Jorge A Jimenez, Valentina Buzzurro, and Nico Bracewell. It’s not really a comedy, although there are some slightly comical moments, and the first two acts are well done, though the poor sound mix and muddled final act don’t end things on a high note. It may seem formulaic at times, but noticing new talent is always a welcome development.

In theaters and VOD beginning April 21, 2023



April 21, 2023

Greetings again from the darkness. Big Italian families in New York offer a smorgasbord of opportunities for interesting stories and characters. Ray Romano from “Everybody Loves Raymond” takes on his first feature film as writer-director, and he and co-writer Mark Stegemann (“Scrubs”) embrace the noise and combustibility of just such a family. During the story they make us laugh and cringe.

Romano also stars as Leo Russo, husband to Angela (Laurie Metcalf, “Roseanne”) and father to “Sticks” (relative newcomer Jacob Ward). What we soon figure out is that Leo is a helicopter parent to high school basketball star Sticks, while Mom is overprotective and scared of losing her son … while being constantly annoyed with everything due to another issue she’s trying to deal with on her own. We also see Leo works in the family construction business for his dad (Tony Lo Bianco) and douchey brother (Sebastian Maniscalo), both of whom show him no respect.

Sticks is an extremely quiet and shy high schooler who has battled anxiety issues his entire life. Both parents are shocked to discover he has a girlfriend. Dani (Sadie Stanley, “The Goldbergs”) is a free-spirit who is ready to shake the dust of Queens as soon as she graduates. She and Sticks couldn’t be any more different as she is confident and outgoing in contrast to his usual state of withdrawn.

During one of the big family Sunday dinners, we get one of the best meatball jokes ever, and the many family events (weddings, babies, etc) provide numerous opportunities for gags and punchlines. Beyond the comedy, there is true drama on display, and it kicks into uncomfortable gear when helicopter dad displays extremely poor judgment … made worse that he’s doing it for the wrong reason. His actions send shockwaves through the family. Parents often use “their kid’s best interest” as a reason for making decisions, but here it’s obvious to all (except Leo) that self-interest was the driving force.

There is a bit of a sitcom feel to the film at times, but the cast certainly elevates the project making the situations more believable. It’s awesome to see Tony Lo Bianco with a substantive role. He was everywhere in the 1970s and 1980s, including classic films THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971) and THE SEVEN-UPS (1973). Ramono, Metcalf, and Maniscalo are all fine in their roles, and additional support work comes from John Manfrellotti, Jennifer Esposito (“Blue Bloods”), and Karen Lynn Gurney (for the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER fans). But the real find here is Sadie Stanley and her electrifying smile. She is a true rising star. The film is full of characters who are all frightened or unsure, and despite the iffy family dynamics, it’s a reminder that each person must find their own way in life, even if the support from their family is a bit shaky.

Opening in theaters on April 21, 2023


PAINT (2023)

April 5, 2023

Greetings again from the darkness. You might wonder how a low-key painter becomes ubiquitous, evolving into the source of pop culture references in everything from “Saturday Night Live” to “Family Guy” to recent horror film SMILE. Bob Ross hosted “The Joy of Painting” on public television from 1983 until 1994. His soft-spoken manner and ability to connect with the audience while finishing a painting in 30 minutes drew in many dedicated viewers and turned him into an unlikely celebrity (as did the internet). Writer-director Brit McAdams uses Bob Ross as inspiration for his first feature film.

Though it’s certainly not a profile or biography of Ross, Owen Wilson’s portrayal of Carl Nargle is part tribute and part caricature, and it seems that McAdams wanted to go the comedy route, despite most gags and punchlines landing as softly as Carl Nagle’s signature sign-off, thanking viewers for finding that “special place.”. Whereas Ross’ whispery vocal seemed soothing, Wilson’s is kinda creepy. The comedy never really lands for a few reasons, but mostly because we don’t much care for Carl Nargle and his out-of-touch ego and misogyny … although this isn’t the fault of Wilson, who does his best with what he’s given.

Carl Nargle’s (a fictional character) painting show has been a long-time fixture on the Vermont PBS channel where he regularly creates landscapes featuring Mount Mansfield. His loyal audience ranges from the elderly at a senior citizen center to the frequenters of a local dive bar to the women drawn to Carl’s calm nature and fold-out bed in the back of his custom van. The latter group includes his ex, Katherine (a criminally underutilized Michaela Watkins), who is also the program manager, and Carl’s assistant Wendy (Wendi McLendon-Covey). His newest interest is the young intern Jenna (Lucy Freyer), who seeks to be the next to receive the gift of a painting, which Carl gives to each conquest. But times are changing for Carl. Station Manager Tony (Stephen Root) needs a ratings boost and seizes the opportunity by hiring Ambrosia (Ciara Renee) to bring in new painting blood. There is more to the competition between Carl and Ambrosia than painting and ratings and ego … it extends to Katherine, generating an entirely new dynamic.

The film has a lackluster feel to it. While some would-be intriguing topics are broached, none of them are explored to the point of creating any real interest. As for the comedy, there is no energy or sharpness. It comes across as believing many punchlines and situations are funnier than they really are. Everything is just a little off … doesn’t quite work as comedy, satire, self-discovery, or drama. To top it off, the timeline is confusing. While no cell phones are present, it never gives off a strong enough vibe for us to place the era. There is simply no joy in this painting.

Opens in theaters on April 7, 2023



March 31, 2023

Greetings again from the darkness. You know who you are. You are either a fan of Adam Sandler movies or you’re not. And no, we aren’t referring to his stellar dramatic turns in films like UNCUT GEMS (2019) and PUNCH DRUNK LOVE (2002). Rather we mean ‘funny Sandler’ and his distinctive comedic style. Of course, Mr. Sandler doesn’t much care about your judgment, as his comedy movie empire becomes more enormous and successful with each release – and his partnership with Netflix has taken things to a new level. This time he returns with leading lady Jennifer Aniston for a sequel to their 2019 hit, and it’s again written by James Vanderbilt (ZODIAC, 2007), but with a different director, Jeremy Garelick (THE WEDDING RINGER, 2015).

An opening “previously” sequence catches up anyone who has forgotten what happened in the original MURDER MYSTERY (2019), and anyone who didn’t watch. The basics are that it’s now four years after Nick and Audrey Spitz (Sandler and Aniston) solved their first case, and they are struggling to get their detective agency up and running. It’s causing a bit of marital strife as Nick is a bit tired of talking business and the relentless pressure, while Audrey (and Aniston’s “free the nipple” ways) wants her husband to be a bit more committed to the cause.

The couple gets what they need when their old friend (from the first movie) Maharajah (Adeel Akhtar) calls them and invites them to his wedding being held on his own private island. Nick and Audrey embrace their friend, as well as the lavish surroundings of the Indian wedding – even though the bride to be, Claudette (Melanie Laurent, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, 2009) is not Indian. A murder and kidnapping for ransom ruin the wedding party, although that happens after a boisterous Bollywood-style song and dance number.

Much like a traditional whodunnit, everyone close to the Maharajah is a prime suspect in his kidnapping. This includes his sister Saira (Kuhoo Verma: his ex-fiancé, Countess Sekou (Jodie Turner-Smith, AFTER YANG, 2021); his demoted head of security (returning from the first film) Colonel Ulenga (John Kani); and even bride-to-be Claudette. When Miller (Mark Strong) shows up, he quickly becomes the detective-in-charge … after all, he wrote the book. Unlike a traditional whodunnit, there are non-stop comedic twists, even permeating the more-impressive-than-expected action sequences.

Unlike the first movie where much of the happenings occurred on a boat, this film ‘escapes’ the private island and heads to beautiful Paris, France where the iconic Eiffel Tower becomes a significant set piece. This move also allows another reunion from the first movie when Inspector Delacroix (Danny Boon) shows up to work on the case. Sandler and Aniston have good chemistry and play off each other quite well, and there aren’t many movies that feature animals wearing diapers so as not to mess the grass. Sandler gets in some zingers, and it’s fun to watch Strong’s macho posing, but I still can’t believe they skipped a final “Gary” joke. Anyway, this will please fans of the first movie, and likely set the stage for a third, assuming Sandler and Aniston are up for it.

On Netflix beginning March 31, 2023


TETRIS (2023)

March 31, 2023

Greetings again from the darkness. Were you one of those? Did you spend hours strategically placing ‘tetrominoes’ on the Gameboy screen for maximum points? Were you addicted to Tetris, one of the earliest globally popular video games? As one of the few people alive today who has never once played Tetris, I was still interested enough in its origin story to watch and review the film from director Jon S Baird (STAN & OLLIE 2018, and FILTH 2013) and screenwriter Noah Pink (creator of the “Genius” TV series).

Taron Egerton (ROCKETMAN 2019, EDDIE THE EAGLE 2015, the KINGSMEN movies) stars as Henk Rogers, who, when we first see him, is pushing the floundering video game he designed himself. It’s at a 1988 conference where he stumbles on an early version of Tetris, and the rest of the movie involves Henk trying to outmaneuver Russians, hucksters, and corrupt businesspeople – each more powerful than him – for the territorial rights to market Tetris, a surefire hit in the early days of video games.

At times, the story plays like a spy thriller, but mostly it’s a story of Communism vs Capitalism, with greed playing a significant role with all involved. One wouldn’t expect foreign intrigue and geopolitical business strategy to facilitate video game distribution, yet in fact, those elements are front and center. Henk’s’ journey finds him crossing paths with Robert Stein (Toby Jones), an international video game agent; renowned publisher and politician Robert Maxwell (an unrecognizable, except for that distinctive voice, Roger Allam) and his arrogant wannabe-power broker son, Kevin (Anthony Boyle); Hiroshi Yamauchi (Togo Igawa), the head of Nintendo; and most importantly (and stressfully), the Russians. If you don’t recognize the name Robert Maxwell, you surely know the story of his daughter, Ghislaine.

Alexey Pajitnov (played by Nikita Efremov) is the Russian computer programmer who initially developed Tetris, and of course, he is the one in danger when the game becomes embroiled in a tug-of-war between Russia and Westerners. Belikov (Oleg Stefan) negotiates on behalf of the Russian government, while Tracy (newcomer Mara Huff) acts as Henk’s translator. But, of course, in Russia, not everything is as it seems, so Henk and the Maxwells and Stein all act in ways not acceptable to Russian protocol. It’s Henk who has literally bet his house on Tetris, but Maxwell’s highly publicized shady business dealings are a factor as well.

At times, the film has a cartoonish feel to it … some of that by (8-bit) design, and some of it just in how the story is presented. Those involved have admitted they were following in the footsteps of THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010), a superior film. Ego and greed are always a bit uncomfortable to watch play out, but we do learn that the name Tetris was formed by blending ‘tetra’ (four) with ‘tennis.’

AppleTV+ on March 31, 2023



March 23, 2023

Greetings again from the darkness. Obsession often gets a bad rap. Sure, being obsessed with another person to the point of stalking is not just bad, but illegal. However, most hobbies are a form of obsession … you know, like watching movies! OK, that was a self-serving (weak) attempt at making a point, although obsession can lead to innovation and discovery. In fact, if an obsession does turn into something productive or exciting, it is often re-labeled as commitment. That’s pretty much the moral of the story when it comes to Phillipa Langley.

Ms. Langley wrote the 2013 book, “The Search for Richard III”, the basis for this screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Cope, and this film by director Stephen Frears … all three whom collaborated on the Oscar nominated PHILOMENA (2013). Based on the true story, the always terrific Sally Hawkins stars as Phillipa Langley. Ageism has compromised Ms. Langley’s job, as has her Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), medically known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). But Phillipa is no victim, and it’s a stage production of Shakespeare’s “Richard III” that sets her off on deep research into the life and death and after-death stories of the former and often disrespected King.

Shakespeare’s play is referred to as “historical”, but it’s Phillipa who reads all the books and attends the lectures, and even joins the Richard III Society. She quickly realizes many of the theories about the malformed usurper and his character and actions are not correct. She sets her mind to calculating his final resting spot; meaning she’s certain his corpse was not dumped unceremoniously into the river.

An interesting and entertaining aspect of the film is that Richard III (Harry Lloyd) “haunts” or follows Phillipa during her research. She sees him and talks to him, adding a new dimension to her obsessive behavior and the “feelings” she often possesses. After initial skepticism, Phillipa’s ex-husband John (played by co-writer Steve Coogan) begins to support her quest, as do their young sons. She searches not just for a body supposedly buried in the 15th century, she also searches for funding and partnerships. The city of Leicester offers to assist in cutting red tape, but funding is a bit more challenging, though she finally finds a supporter in archaeologist Richard Buckley (Mark Addy) who understands how to work the University grant system.

As an amateur historian-researcher-sleuth, Phillipa proves to be a stronger person than even she thinks herself to be. What unfolds for her is a textbook example of power plays and glory hogs as those who had once laughed at her theories, began to take credit for the accomplishment and bask in the publicity. Credit in the academic world is often more valued than knowledge or integrity, and yet Phillipa’s sense of accomplishment did ultimately lead to the Queen awarding her MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).

Director Frears has had a prestigious career with films including: THE QUEEN (2008), HIGH FIDELITY (2000), THE GRIFTERS (1990), and DANGEROUS LIASONS (1988). And Sally Hawkins consistently brings a realism and likability to her roles to the point that we simply believe her every move. Here she portrays a woman whose search for Richard allowed her to find herself. We will never view that “R” in a reserved car park the same way again.

Opens in theaters March 24, 2023