"THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS"
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:
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
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
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
"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
"THE ID" Official Trailer:
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
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
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
"PHOENIX FORGOTTEN" Official Trailer: