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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Ford v Ferrari, The Good Liar & Doctor Sleep

Ford v Ferrari / The Good Liar / Doctor Sleep CINDY PRASCIK·TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2019·5 MINUTES An extra-long weekend left me with an opportunity to see the weekend's two new releases at my local cinema, as well as catching up a bit from a couple weeks back. On my agenda: Ford v Ferrari, the Good Liar, and Doctor Sleep.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing plot-specific.

First on the docket: Ford v Ferrari.

In the mid-1960s, American auto maker Ford decides to challenge perennial champion Ferrari on the world racing stage.

I feel it's first important to note that I would not hesitate to recommend Ford v Ferrari to anyone, even if you don't like cars or racing, even if you think it's just a white-guy movie, even if the sight of Matt Damon makes you want to punch a wall. (I seem to know an inexplicable number of folks in that last group.) It's just a good movie, sans any qualifiers. Ford v Ferrari starts with compelling story, but, as Midway would be happy to show you, not all compelling stories make compelling films. Where Ford v Ferrari succeeds is in making you care about its story, its characters, and its outcome, whether or not you are pre-disposed to do so. Christian Bale and Matt Damon are terrific in the leads, so much so that I think it would be a mistake to write off either in the upcoming best actor races. (As with Joaquin Phoenix, just ceding the nominations. They also may not have Taron's Oscar.) A two-and-a-half-hour runtime is solidly paced and never drags, and the beautifully-filmed racing scenes are tense enough to leave you holding your breath. The movie is funny, too, often unexpectedly so, and it has tons of heart. If it is cars you love, well, there are plenty of revving engines and sexy shots of gorgeous automobiles to go 'round. A phenomenal score by Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders ties a bow on this true gift of a film.

Ford v Ferrari runs 152 minutes and is rated PG13 for "some language and peril."

As someone whose sole knowledge racing comes from Talladega Nights and that one Finnish driver I follow on Twitter, I am here to tell you, dear reader(s), that Ford v Ferrari is a great movie for everyone. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Ford v Ferrari gets eight and a half.

Next up: the Good Liar.

A career con-artist sets his sights on a seemingly naive, well-to-do lady.

The Good Liar is the sort of grown-up movie that people complain Hollywood doesn't make anymore, then everyone stays home when it turns up at the cinema. That seems a real shame here, with two icons--Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen--fronting a well-crafted yarn that holds a number of surprises. Mirren and McKellan are expectedly fantastic, playing off one another as only two of the best can do. The story itself is a layered one that takes a darker turn than I expected. It's often said that R-rated films weed out not only those viewers who are too young for extreme content, but also those of a certain age who might prefer their entertainment minus violence and vulgarity. Certainly the Good Liar isn't Saw or the Human Centipede, but with a fair few F-bombs and some intense (though not graphic) violence, I wouldn't take my mom to see it, either. The Good Liar moves slowly enough in spots that it gets to feeling a bit overlong, but it's also smart enough to hold your attention pretty much end to end.

The Good Liar clocks in at 109 minutes and is rated R for "some strong violence, and for language and brief nudity."

The Good Liar is the sort of film that will suffer for having nothing to gain by being seen on a big screen, but it's definitely worth catching in some form whenever it crosses your path. Of a possible nine Weasleys, the Good Liar gets eight.

Fangirl points: Russell Tovey!!

Finally, yesterday I closed out my weekend with a-day-late-and-a-dollar-short screening of Doctor Sleep.

Years after the events of the Shining, an adult Dan Torrance must protect a young girl who "shines" from a dangerous cult of immortals.

Doctor Sleep starts off promisingly enough, teasing a few ominous bars of the original Shining theme, but, sadly, it's all downhill from there. The film creeps along at a snail's pace, offers little new or interesting, and is never really properly scary. Nods to the original are copious and always entirely expected, especially towards the final act. Ewan McGregor really seems to have no idea how to salvage the material, and--at a bloated two-and-a-half hours--the movie overstays its welcome by a good 45 minutes.'s why you'll want to go see Doctor Sleep anyway: Rebecca Ferguson. While everyone else seems adrift in a sea of clunky dialogue and predictable turns, Ferguson chews up the pedestrian material and spits it right back out into a riveting turn as Rose the Hat. She's creepy, she's sexy, she's camp, she's absolutely fantastic. You won't be able to take your eyes off of her. It's a performance well worth whatever it costs to see it on the big screen.

Doctor Sleep runs a plodding 152 minutes and is rated R for "disturbing and violent content, some bloody images, language, nudity, and drug use."

If you're an insomniac, Doctor Sleep is the cure. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Doctor Sleep gets four.

Fangirl points: Zahn McClarnon! Bruce Greenwood!

Until next time...

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