Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Movie Review: Netflix’s ‘Red Notice’ an action-packed historical thrill ride

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 1 hour, 58 minutes

In the movie Red Notice’s prologue, we learn there were three bejeweled eggs that Marc Antony gave to Cleopatra before their wedding. Two of those eggs were recovered outside of Cairo with the third only rumored to be in existence. No one has ever found it or is 100 percent sure it exists.

In Rome, one of the eggs is on display in the famous Castel Sant’Angelo Museum. There is word that someone may have already stolen the egg, despite it being on display in front of a large crowd. John Hartley proves this to be true. He and Inspector Das order the room be sealed off, but Hartley notices a man hurriedly escape through the closing doors as alarms blare from all over.

This is just the beginning of this gripping crime-comedy starring Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Ritu Arya, Chris Diamantopoulos and Ivan Mbakop. It’s a fun adventure right from the start.

Nolan Booth (Reynolds) is doing his best to try and escape from Hartley (Johnson) and Das (Arya). Booth claims he’s quite an art thief and will later say it usually works out pretty well for him.

56 hours later, we are in Bali, Indonesia and Booth returns home only to find Hartley waiting for him. Hartley says he works for the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). He’s been following Booth who is wanted in several countries.

A Red Notice is the highest level of arrest warrant issued by Interpol, reserved for the world’s most wanted criminals.

Hartley takes the stolen Cleopatra egg, puts it in a police van opposite the van Booth was loaded into and drives off.

Things don’t exactly go the way Hartley would have wanted. He finds himself in Russia with the most annoying – and familiar – cellmate.

Here, they meet The Bishop (Gadot), the best art thief in the world. The Bishop informs Hartley he has been framed.

Hartley and Booth devise a plan to take down The Bishop by crashing a party where they can steal the second known egg. Hartley wants to clear his name by arresting The Bishop and Booth just wants to become the No. 1 art thief again.

The second egg is in the possession of an international arms dealer Sotto Voce (Diamantopoulos). Hartley and Booth plan to crash an exclusive party Voce is throwing.

From here on out, so many crazy things happen. It’s a lot of fun and might keep you guessing about who works for whom.

When I saw the cast to this movie, I was pretty much sold. Gadot, Johnson, Reynolds. It’s a winning combination. This movie grabs your attention from second one and kept me interested until the very end. It has some unbelievably ridiculous stunts that are fun on the big or small screen. Reynolds has a Deadpool-esque demeanor, and he and Johnson are a very funny pair. Gadot’s performance as the ... well I better stop there, but suffice to say, she kicks butt.

Two stylish leather jackets up.

Playing in select theaters and streaming on Netflix. <

Friday, November 12, 2021

Movie Review: ‘Here Today’ a nice story of friendship

By Matt Pascarella

Runtime: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Rated PG-13

This movie is what I would consider a hidden gem. It hit harder than I was expecting. It’s both funny, but also emotional and heartbreaking.

When comedy writer Charlie Burnz is diagnosed with a form of dementia, he wants to get his thoughts about his late wife on paper while he still can. When he meets Emma, they form a friendship which becomes important to both of them.

Based on the short story, “The Prize” by Alan Zweibal, “Here Today” stars Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish, Penn Badgley, Laura Benanti, Louisa Krause, Alex Brightman, and Audrey Hsieh.

Charlie (Crystal) has been a comedy writer all his life and works on a Saturday Night Live-type show. One day, he has lunch with Emma (Haddish) a singer whose ex-boyfriend won a lunch with him from an auction, but she decided to go. Emma orders a bunch of seafood, which to her surprise, she is allergic to. It lands her in the hospital where Charlie has to pay a lot to get her out and healthy, but he saves her life.

Charlie is in the early stages of dementia and has flashbacks to a specific horrible event in his life. He also occasionally forgets people’s names or who they are.

When Emma stops by to pay Charlie back some of the money she owes him, she learns a little about his life. Emma and Charlie become friends. Charlie tells Emma about his dementia and that he wants to write a book for his wife; he has to finish before he runs out of words. Emma wants to help him. She does what she can to help him remember.

Charlie has a strained relationship with his children (Padgley and Benanti) because of the horrible incident.

Charlie’s dementia is getting worse. During a taping of the show, Charlie has an outburst, which receives a mixed reaction. The flashbacks are intensifying.

Charlie is angry. He’s told he can’t be alone anymore. Emma says she’ll stay with him. Their friendship grows.

At one point, Charlie’s granddaughter, Lindsay (Hsieh) runs away from her mom. Charlie and she take a trip but then Charlie ran away. Lindsay gets scared and calls her mom. What follows will make you smile.

I thought Haddish and Crystal are a good pair. This movie had a lot of heart. I thought there was some classic, Billy Crystal humor in this movie. Emma and Charlie are going to Lindsay’s Bat Mitzvah, and he tells he can’t dance and was the only person who ever had to take out Mambo insurance.

I thought the acting was very good – especially Crystal’s. Early on, both Emma and Charlie are unsure or indifferent about the other person, especially after Emma’s shellfish incident. The more they get to know each other, the more they like and begin to care about and for one another.

This movie might make you might shed a tear or two, but overall, I enjoyed it and would suggest anyone rent this. Two typewriters up.

Available to rent on most major streaming platforms. <