Friday, April 22, 2022

Movie Review: Netflix’s ‘Windfall’ thriller turns out to not have a lot going for it

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: R

Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes

A guy is in the process of robbing a tech billionaire and just as he is about to leave, the tech billionaire and his wife come home. The guy panics and holds the couple hostage, convincing the tech billionaire to get him $500,000.

It takes a day or so for the money to arrive. In that time, the tech billionaire tries to figure out why this nobody – the tech billionaire’s words – is doing this. Did he work for one of his companies and get laid off? Why does he need this money?

This movie is billed as a thriller, crime-drama, but I found very little thrilling about it. This original Netflix movie stars Jessie Plemons, Jason Segal, Lily Collins and Omar Leyva.

The character’s identities are so unimportant that the characters don’t have names. I think the real issue here is why does this guy, cast as “Nobody” (Segal) need this money and what are his extenuating circumstances?

CEO (Plemons) does not hold back in showing that he cares more for himself and maybe “Wife” (Collins), than others.

A lot of this movie is the three waiting for the money. And in this time CEO makes it abundantly clear he does not care about Segal’s character, referring to him as Nobody.

Once CEO and Wife catch Nobody, the couple is locked in the sauna of their vacation home in the middle of the desert.

As Nobody is trying to leave, he notices a camera hidden in a tree and returns angry to the home to get the footage. When this does not go his way, tensions only escalate.

The couple has escaped from the sauna, and it is at this point that CEO and Nobody negotiate the $500 thousand deal. While Nobody waits for the money, CEO tries to figure out why Nobody is doing what he is doing through a series of questions which only aggravate Nobody.

In the minimal interactions between Wife and Nobody, it becomes clear that she is not as happy as one might initially think.

At one point “Gardener” (Leyva) stops by and after CEO makes a plea for help, Gardener is also held hostage.

After an event with the Gardener happens, Nobody tells CEO that he did want to take his money to see what it felt like to be him. He also tells him that nothing feels fair. CEO has everything, and Nobody has nothing. This is as close as you come to finding out why Segal’s character is robbing the CEO.

I believe this statement relates to a class struggle and a rich versus poor characteristic. While the movie did move itself along in a somewhat quick fashion, when you get to the end, the payout is underwhelming.

I did not see the final moments coming, but when I did I thought they were mediocre at best. To be fair, I not sure how I wanted it to end, but the way it did end left me disappointed.

Sorry Marshall Eriksen, but I recommend audiences sit this one out.

Available on Netflix. <

Friday, April 8, 2022

Movie Review: ‘The Lost City’ a solid action-comedy

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 1 hour, 52 minutes

Loretta is having trouble finishing her new book which she needs to have ready soon for her book tour – a book tour she will never forget. Loretta is saddened from the loss of her husband and has isolated herself because of it.

What ends up happening to her will take her in directions she was never expecting – both physically or otherwise – in this action-packed, entertaining movie starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Oscar Nunez, Patti Harrison, Brad Pitt and Bowen Yang.

As Loretta (Bullock) starts her book tour for her newest book “The Lost City of D,”  she is annoyed and slightly frustrated. More of the crowd wants to see her cover model, Alan (Tatum), whom she described as a “body wash commercial,”  than hear her talk about her new book.

After the first stop of her tour doesn’t go well, Loretta wants to stop writing and stay home. Alan even says to her, “You are so afraid of life hurting, that you’ve stopped living.”

That is all about to change. Loretta is kidnaped by henchman and brought to Abagail Fairfax (Radcliffe) who needs her help to decipher symbols and find Calaman’s Tomb and in it, the Crown of Fire. King Calaman was the first man to build a city on the Atlantic Ocean.

Alan calls Jack Trainer (Pitt) to save Loretta and insists on going with Jack to which he begrudgingly agrees.

Fast forward to Alan and Loretta on their own, working to escape the jungle. At some point, they are pursued by more henchmen. After this, beware of the leeches scene.

Afterward, things get a little cozy between the two. And then they get real.

All the while, Beth (Randolph) is on her way to save Loretta. She gets some help from an unlikely lionheart along the way.

I was hesitant to review two movies in a row about recluse authors. However, Loretta is very different from Harris Shaw in that she is not a nasty person only out for herself. While some of her actions are defined as selfish, she gets thrown into a much different book tour than Shaw went on.

Without giving anything away, it was obvious relatively early on in the movie what the end result would be for Loretta. That’s really my only complaint for this movie – mild predictability. And I mean only a very small amount. This is an excellent, funny action movie.

Filmed in the Dominic Republic, the scenery is magnificent and compliments the plot well. I saw it on the big screen, and it paid off big time. It’s worth a trip to the theater to laugh and gasp during this fun adventure.

Bullock and Tatum have superb on-screen chemistry. I’ve seen Tatum in a few movies, and I think this is a different type of character for him. Radcliffe as a villain was pretty great, too.

Make sure you stick around for the end credits. It will have you asking “quid deinde?”

Two sequin dresses up.

Now playing in theaters. <