Must-see movies this weekend

Good Things Utah
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High marks on all three movies doesn’t happen often. Movie critic, Patrick Beatty joined us on set to give his breakdown of what to watch this weekend. Here’s his reviews:

‘Free Guy’ (Theaters)

  • Directed By: Shawn Levy
  • Written By: Matt Lieberman, Zak Penn
  • Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi
  • Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
  • Rated: PG-13 for strong fantasy violence throughout, language and crude/suggestive references

Patrick gave “Free Guy” an 8/10

Review:

In ‘Free Guy’, A bank teller called Guy realizes he is a non-playable character (NPC) in an open-world video game called “Free City”. This ‘GTA’ inspired game holds a secret embedded in it’s code, that one of the characters in the game ‘Molotov Girl’ (Jodie Comer) is after. On one normal day for Guy, he runs into ‘Molotov Girl’, and his NPC days are over, and he’s going to have to learn to play the game to help ‘Molotov Girl’ find the secrets before the game is turned off, permanently.

‘Free Guy’ is one of the films acquired with Disney’s Twentieth Century Fox purchase. Ryan Reynolds has said his level of involvement is comparable to ‘Deadpool’, and you can see how he is incredibly well suited for this film. Why shouldn’t he be? He produced it! While I wasn’t completely excited to see the film, ‘Free Guy’ surprised me with it’s crackling energy, relentless charm from Reynolds and company, and heartwarming message that makes me feel this is a perfect marriage of ‘The Lego Movie’ and ‘Deadpool’.

This movie does not take itself too seriously, and is perfect young adults who are into Twitch, gaming, and understand the jokes and references that feel tailor-suited for them. I might be bold enough to say this is the best video-game based film we’ve seen so far, even if the game itself is fictitious. The inside jokes when it comes to internet trolls, competitive gaming, and different styles of players all work to set up a believable world, maybe even more so than Ready Player One did.

Ryan Reynolds charmed my pants off, and he’s helped with a stellar supporting cast and lead actress Jodie Comer. Her and Ryan Reynolds relationship works really well in ‘Free Guy’ and in the end I was charmed by them. Lil Rel Howery plays Guy’s best friend ‘Buddy’, a security officer for the bank he and Guy work at. I thought whenever he was on screen he was fantastic but really feel like we missed out on him being getting more screen time. 

Where the film lacks somewhat is in it’s real world b-story revolving around Taika Waititi’s character ‘Antoine’, Joe Keery’s Keys’ and Jodie Comer’s real-life counterpart to ‘Molotov Girl’. While it explained most of why the story is happening and the way the third act wraps up everything related to both story arcs is satisfying, I wish there was more. The game world feels much more sophisticated and smart story-wise, and anytime it cuts back to the real world, characters make just weird choices. The actions are clearly done to service the story and not what the character would actually have done, but I don’t think it’s a huge complaint, just where the film was at it’s weaker points.

If you’ve seen Deadpool, a lot of things may feel familiar. Same beats in the relationship, some meta references, and a few great cameos. Ryan Reynolds clearly knows where he works best and he utilizes it well in this film. The cameos are all very strong. One is a little heartbreaking, one will be as shocking as Brad Pitt in Deadpool 2. Very excited to see everyones reactions to them!

Overall, ‘Free Guy’ was a surprisingly entertaining film with heart, humor, random cameos, and is definitely one you should check out. See it on the big screen with proper safety precautions and I promise you won’t have a good time in the theaters, you’ll have a GREAT one.

‘Nine Days’ (In Theaters Now)

  • Directed & Written By: Edson Oda
  • Starring:Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale, Bill Skarsgård
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy
  • Rated: R For Language 

Patrick gave “Nine Days” an 8/10

Review:

In ‘Nine Days’, Winston Duke plays Will, an interviewer for candidates getting the chance at life on earth. The interview takes 9 days to complete, and only one person can be selected. As the group continue through the 9 days, and are given tasks or questions they need to honestly answer in order to be prepared for life is, in this philosophical look at life, its meaning, and how we perceive it to be in each individual level.

This came out during the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and I had the opportunity to cover the red carpet event and interview the cast and crew who had worked on the film (below) but unfortunately there wan either the chance to watch the movie or cover the red carpet so in this case I chose the latter (which is what my 5’4 body needed to be able to look at 6’5 Winston Duke’s beautiful face… ladder… get it?). 

After seeing ‘Nine Days’ at a 10 pm screening last night, I’m not only in awe by the incredible performances, directing, and poignancy that makes me wish even though my experience was great, that I had seen the film instead. 

First, Winston Duke is mesmerizing in this film. I loved him getting to play a much more subtle, hardened to his own sensitivity character that seeks redemption for something he couldn’t control. I loved his interviewing styles, how he was able to subtly show Will through his interviewing techniques. The interviewees, all unique in their perspectives and thoughts on Will’s questions were fantastic. Benedict Wong and Zazie Beetz are the standouts and absolutely brought it here. 

The story doesn’t give you a lot on the surface. It’s probing you to ask yourself the same questions the interviewees are answering, and if you aren’t really prepared to be introspective ‘Nine Days’ may be looked at as pretentious in the wrong mindset. Please go in with an open mind, and don’t watch any trailers and go in knowing as little as possible. 

Overall, ‘Nine Days’ was an incredible first film for Edson Oda. The story is powerful, emotionally resonate, and one of the hidden gems of 2021. Winston duke, Benedict Wong, Zazie Beets, EVERYONE is great. I’d definitely recommend experiencing for yourself and be prepared to ponder deep questions about life.

‘CODA’  (Apple TV+ & In Theaters)

Directed By: Sian Heder

Written By: Sian Heder

Starring: Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur

Genre: Drama, Music

Rated: Rated PG-13 for strong sexual content and language, and drug use

Patrick gave “CODA” a 10/10

Review:

Sian Heder crushed it with this film. I loved the performances by all of the cast and especially Emilia Jones who gives her all to the role and was absolutely incredible. Seeing the misunderstandings, difficulties, and uniqueness of being the only person in your family that can hear is not only fascinating but also is what makes ‘Coda’ so great.

The music and singing performances are also spot on. I thought Eugenio Derbez who played the choir director was the MVP of the film, and brought a flare and playfulness to the traditional teacher-student relationship we see in coming of age films like this.

The cinematography is great, and the showcasing of ASL to immerse you in the film is beautiful. ‘Coda’ makes me only crave more films in ASL and with last years ‘Sound of Metal’ and the strength of this movie I would wager we will be seeing more in this emerging sub-genre.

I’ll be honest, I probably cried like 3 times during the films conclusion because of how touched I was by the story. This is an incredible film with heart, love, and passion done in a unique and somewhat generic way that makes it a crowd-pleaser. I’m admittedly a sucker for this type of movie, but that’s why its perfect to me. $5 on Apple TV+, this is an absolute bargain.”

For more reviews from Patrick, visit his website or follow him on IG or FB.

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