Yes, “Black Adam,” Dwayne Johnson has been freed from his tomb for almost 5,000 years and is ready to seek justice for his people of Kahndaq with his colossal powers. “Black Adam” sets up the realm of the “DC Extended Universe” with a surprise during the middle of the ending credits. I enjoyed the illustrious special effects and the non-stop action. The film is playing in theaters now and is not for children due to its violence.
Directed by “Jungle Cruise” and “Orphan” filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra, Johnson plays Teth-Adam, a former slave who was granted the powers of Egyptian gods to protect humanity. Although his homeland of Kahndaq is destroyed after he seeks vengeance for his murdered family. He’s awakened by an archaeologist searching for a powerful relic to free Kahndaq from a vicious mercenary network. Teth-Adam’s explosive resurrection and the mercenaries’ slaughter soon puts him on the watch list of the Justice Society of America, (JSA) a team of superheroes who maintain international peace—their task is to decide whether Teth-Adam is a potential enemy or ally to the world.
Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton,” “One Night in Miami”) costars as JSA leader Carter Hall (aka Hawkman), along with Pierce Brosnan (“Mama Mia”) as the superhero sorcerer Kent Nelson (aka Doctor Fate), Quintessa Swindell (“Voyagers”) as wind-swirling hero Maxine Hunkel (aka Cyclone), and Noah Centineo (“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”) as supersize-changing, hero Al Rothstein (aka Atom Smasher).
Other key characters include Sarah Shahi (“Sex/Life”) portrays the archaeologist who awakens Teth-Adam, Bodhi Sabongui (“The Baby-Sitters Club”) plays her son; and comedian and actor Mohammed Amer (Mo) plays her brother. Marwan Kenzari (“Aladdin”) plays the Intergang member on the hunt for a powerful relic known as the Crown of Sabbac.
The tone of “Black Adam” is of comical superhero shenanigans, although it’s also dark and gritty, with CG-fueled, combative action at its core. Johnson’s Teth-Adam reminds us that’s he, not a hero. Johnson is one of the most adept combat actors in Hollywood these days. Therefore it’s fitting he has his own movie, although his tireless efforts to project himself as a family guy, a dad, etc., conflicts with the violence of his character. Again, the film is not for kids.
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
“The Good Nurse” (R) Academy award winners Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”) and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) star in a true-crime thriller investigating hospitals and the healthcare system in America streaming on Netflix. Chastain becomes suspicious of her co-worker, a nurse, as she begins to believe that he is responsible for the sudden deaths of patients in her care. I screened the film at the Toronto International Film festival and can say it is excellent. Both actors give riveting, nail-biting performances.
Based on the non-fiction book, “The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder” by Charles Graeber, in the film, Redmayne plays Charles Cullen, and Chastain is Amy Loughren, a single mom. The two ICU nurses build a solid friendship while working long nights at the hospital. An investigation begins after several patients mysteriously die in similar ways, and Charles appears to be the prime suspect; Amy’s noble gesture to risk her life and the safety of her children to uncover the truth is a heroic act of bravery.
Amy discovers she has cancer and needs to remain in her job for a few more months to be insured. Her new colleague, Charles, is caring, abiding, and enormously helpful to Amy at work and with her children and home life. When Charlie discovers her illness, he vows to make sure he covers for her and helps in any way he can, as her work is physically challenging. In all regards, Charlie seems to be the perfect answer to her health problems, as he begins to cover for her at work and help with her girls at home.
During a Q&A Zoom interview with director Tobias Lindholm, the real Amy Loughren, and both stars, Loughren spoke to the fact that Cullen had a dual personality, he could be sweet as pie, and the other side is a monstrous killer. She said she enjoyed watching Jessica Chastain play her as she now doesn’t feel as guilty having been friends with him and allowing him near her children. It should be noted that in the film and real life, Loughren risked her life to help bring Cullen to justice.
This harrowing film becomes terrifying as Cullen relocates to another hospital with plans to kill again. Director Tobias Lindholm’s razor-sharp pacing and contemplative moments create a highwire act of tension. Both actors are excellent in their roles and gracefully share the spotlight.
Sarah Knight Adamson© October 30, 2022
Film Fest 919, with headquarters in Chapel Hill, NC, celebrated its 5th year with another high-caliber program of films. Beginning October 19, and running through October 23, brought many of this year’s Oscar hopeful films to the festival. Most know a film festival is only as good as the programmers, and in this case, two seasoned film industry women founders are at the helm— Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall. These remarkably talented women have lengthy resumes in the film and entertainment industry. For both Emerman, CEO of Iron Mermaid Films, the former Vice President of Marketing of Silver Spot Cinemas and former CEO of the Palm Beach International Film Festival, and Marshall, CEO and publicist of Carol Marshall Public Relations, Inc., an Academy Award Member and former overseer of talent and publicity for both the Santa Barbara and Palm Beach International Film Festivals—taking on the challenge of creating a new film festival is their way of promoting excellent films.
She Said, Directed by Maria Schrader, Starring Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson.
Two-time Academy Award® nominee Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) and Zoe Kazan (The Plot Against America) star as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who together broke one of the most important stories in a generation— a story that shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood and altered American culture forever. A testament to the power of investigative journalism, She Said details the journey of reporters and editors engaged in the unrelenting pursuit of the truth and highlights the courage of survivors and witnesses who chose to come forward to stop a serial predator in his tracks. Together, their commitment and fortitude sparked a national conversation, helped propel the #MeToo movement and fueled a reckoning of the system that had enabled him.
A discussion after the film was hosted by Randi Emerman and Sarah Knight Adamson, a film critic.
Sarah Knight Adamson© October 30, 2022