Nine Days Movie Review

Humans have been asking existential questions about life and how we came to be since the beginning of time.

The new film, Nine Days, presents this conundrum to the audience. Will (Winston Duke) is a cosmic gatekeeper of sorts. His job is to sort out which souls are sent to Earth to be born and which stay in their present form. With a new batch of recruits coming to his door, he relies on his friend Kyo (Benedict Wong) for companionship and advice. Among those that are eager to live are Alex (Tony Hale), Emma (Zazie Beetz), and Kane (Bill Skarsgård). Will has nine days to parse out the candidates.

In addition, he spends his days keeping an eye on those he has previously send to be born via a bunch of old school televisions. Taking copious notes and recording their actions on VHS tapes, he starts to obsess over a violin virtuoso named Amanda.

While most of the candidates are accepting of Will and the process, Emma asks questions that start to challenge him.

The acting is fantastic, especially from Duke and Beetz. As Will, he is so held together that when he explodes, he really explodes. Speaking in clipped tones in which every syllable is enunciated, you can feel the emotional energy it takes to keep the lid on. On the other side of the scale, Emma is so free-spirited and full of life, that you just want to take that ride with her, regardless of the destination.

The problem is that the film drags on. Whatever existential question that the narrative is supposed to ask is never truly answered. By the 2/3rds mark, I was bored and ready to see the credits roll.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Nine Days is presently in theaters.


Toy Story 4 Movie Review

When a sequel or a prequel to a beloved franchise is released, the hope is that not only will it live up to the original work, but it will expand the story.

In 1995, the original Toy Story was released. It was an instant success and revolutionized animated films. 24 years later, Toy Story 4 was released.

The 4th film in the series picks up just after the 3rd film ended. Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw), the young girl who inherited the toys is starting Kindergarten and is not feeling it. During orientation, she creates Forky (Tony Hale) and immediately adopts him as one of her toys. But Forky is not immediately convinced that he is a toy.

When Bonnie’s parents take her on a road trip before school starts, Woody (Tom Hanks), makes it his business to ensure that Forky does not escape. But inevitably, he does, separating Woody from Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the rest of the toys. Before reuniting with the rest of the crew, Woody meets up with Bo Peep (Annie Potts), his unrequited crush who has become a bad-ass. They have to rescue Forky from the hands of potentially psychopathic Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) with the help of Duke Kaboom (Keanu Reeves).

Upon release of the trailer, some may have asked why this film was necessary. The previous film tied up the narrative strings so perfectly that this film may seem like an easy cash grab by Disney.

It’s not. It expands the narrative in new and different ways. I loved the expansion of Bo Peep as a character and the message that it sends to women and girls of any age. I also loved the narrative of coming to the realization that things and relationships change. When we come to that point, we can either stay where we are or have the courage to step into the unknown for an adventure that is not yet revealed to us.

This film has humor, has heart and speaks to both children and adults.

I absolutely recommend it.

Toy Story 4 is presently in theaters.

P.S. Stay past the initial credits. The post credit scenes are worth the wait.

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