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By Vernor Rodgers
Find out where it's playing http://moviefone.com/

In pro wrestling, the feuds that lead to marquee matches feature a face -- a good guy (or lady) -- against a heel, the cheating bad person. And in order to keep things moving storywise, sometimes a face will turn heel (like Hulk Hogan when he joined WCW) or a heel will turn face. All this to create emotional conflict. In "The Fate of the Furious," this is a device that is used as a way of recovering from the tragic death of Paul Walker, one of the key characters in the "Fast and Furious" franchise. In essence, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), lover of fast cars, adventure as well as family and his new wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), turns heel and betrays his team, which is also his family. He forsakes his people to join up with a high-tech terrorist named Cipher (Charlize Theron).

What is going on here? Well, that's what is the soul of this latest "Fast and Furious" indulgence. Along the way there are the usual spectacular stunts with cars, trucks and even a nuclear sub, as Dom's former team of Letty, Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) now have to go up against Dom, Cipher and a seemingly endless supply of manpower and weaponry.

A nice touch was bringing back Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), now imprisoned after a mission goes sour, and having him be forced to team up with his bitter foe Deckard (Jason Statham) in going after Dom and ipher. We also have two new characters thrown into the fray: the mysterious government operative Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and his bumbling, by-the-book assistant Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood).

All the humorous interplay is at work here amid the high-speed warfare and explosions.

All too soon we learn what is driving Dom now and the draw is how he resolves all this.

Per usual, "The Fate of the Furious" is a popcorn movie guilty pleasure. With the hint there is more to come from these guys.

"THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS" Official Trailer:  https://youtu.be/JwMKRevYa_M


In the beginning of "The ID," a movie available on Blu-ray, a voice-over states that if a person purely loves someone, they certainly also can destroy that person. This segues into a scene in which a woman in her 40s stands before a mirror, humming as she applies lipstick. It is a view of contentment and optimism. Wherever this woman is going, she appears poised to light up the room. And then, from another room comes the bellowing summons: "Meridith!" The expression on the woman's melts turns to despair. The caller is Meridith's elderly and sickly father for whom she is a fulltime caretaker. And he is quite the patient from Hell.

Welcome to Meridith Lane's life. The sanctuary offered by the vanity table in her room is no match for the grim reality of what she faces every day.

In "The ID," Amanda Wyss ("A Nightmare on Elm Street") delivers a wrenching performance as Meridith in an emotionally harrowing story of a woman trapped by circumstances in which she is doing well by simply coping and fending off a demanding and foul-mouthed father who vents the frustrations of his own depressing existence by putting her down and keeping her on the defensive.

Directed by Thommy Hutson and based on a script by Sean  H. Stewart, "The ID" is a horror story in that it depicts a terrifying situation in which two people are trapped in a 24/7 nightmare in from which they both seemingly would love to escape, yet each day do whatever is necessary to maintain this dreary status quo because they believe there is no alternative.

The relationship between Meridith and her father is both dysfunctional and needy. These are two people whose lives have taken a tragically wrong turn. There is no room for optimism. It is a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute existence. And the truly unsettling aspect is the realization that this dismal arrangement likely has been going on for years.

Confined to their home, Meridith and Father (Patrick Peduto) have no contact with the outside world except for Tricia (Jamye Meri Grant), a bubbly young woman who delivers food to the household. Tricia is a vibrant and caring person who would like to invest more in reaching out to Meridith and Father than just dropping off food every day. But her efforts are impeded by Meridith, who in her skewed perceptions sees Tricia as an intruder and someone who threatens the one thing Meridith can control: making sure that she and she alone takes care of her father.

How did Meridith fall into this depressing life? Well, Father likes to insert the needle here, accusing her of taking the easy way out in everything she ever did. He insinuates that it was disappointment over Meridith that drove away his wife, whereas Meridith in the few times she pushes back, suggests it was his behavior that drove away her mother. 

This relationship simmers with the potential of an explosion that both people likely fear and do what they can to veer away from such a fate. It only takes one little nudge to upset this sad, fragile balance. It comes in the form of a phone call Meridith receives from Ted, her high school sweetheart. After 20-plus years of no contact, Ted calls to say he will be town and would love to see Meridith again. At first, Meridith sees this as impossible, but the abuse heaped upon her by Father begins to embolden her. Naturally, when she agrees to see Ted and informs her father of this, a standoff occurs. They remind each other that neither one is capable of change at this point, so Ted could well be inconsequential. However, Meridith indulges in recalling fond memories of a time in her life that was energized by youthful love and ambition. This leads to the breaking point that sends Meridith spiraling into the inevitable madness that has stalked her for years, maybe even decades.

Wyss and Peduto give courageous performances that are both emotionally and physically raw. Except for rare instances, Wyss looks haggard as Meridith, barren of makeup, a face of endless exhaustion. Peduto presents an unappealing picture of a man well past his prime. His hairline has receded and what is left there is long and unkempt. Despite being bathed by Meridith he exudes an aura of neglected hygiene. Physically he seems as foul as his language and demeanor.

"The ID" is scary because it explicitly depicts a frightening relationship that can and does exist in reality. Shot within the confines of the home in which Meridith and Father reside, it also is claustrophobic. In any other situation, the home would be pristine and a fertile environment for a content household. But with the residents being Meridith and her father, the walls seem impenetrable, fortified by the hopelessness of two people smothered by an endless love-hate relationship.

"THE ID" Official Trailer:  https://youtu.be/h96y13weKP8


A little film that likely will do a quick run in the theaters before movie to other platforms, "Phoenix Forgotten" could be subtitled "The Blair Witch Project Goes X-Files."

In the 1990s, three teenagers disappear without a trace shortly after some strange lights are seen in the skies above Arizona. Years later, Sophie (Florence Hartigan), the younger sister of one of the teens who disappears, is making a documentary on the disappearance of her brother and the subsequent fruitless investigation.

The filmmakers here show no shame in their borrowing of the "Blair" storyline, even to the point one of the missing teen, like in "Blair Witch," is named Josh. And the three ill-fated people consist of one girl and two guys. And they go off, equipped with cameras, the investigate the mysterious lights.

So it's yet another found footage movie, with absolutely no mystery where it is going. Of the three teens who go missing, only Ashley Foster (Chelsey Lopez) has any kind of screen presence.

Not even Mulder and Scully can save this obvious ripoff.

"PHOENIX FORGOTTEN" Official Trailer:  https://youtu.be/yJW1m1UgJjY

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