Greetings! Have you ever wondered if a movie's worth blowing the money on to see at the theater or what to add next to your NetFlix queue? Then you've come to the right place! Enjoy!

"Lou" 4K Review

 This week's Netflix Move of the Week is Lou, a taut, if slight, thriller which manages to use good performances to paper over a very predictable story. It's also answers the question, why does Liam Neeson get all the old grizzled badass parts and why not a woman?

Allison Janey (6'0" tall, 63 years old) stars as Lou (short for Lou), a crotchety old woman with a Dark Secret Past who lives on an island off the coast of Washington in the mid-1980s. Everyone in town knows her and she seems to get away with a lot like the Sheriff Matt Craven) not busting her for the out-of-season deer in her pickup truck bed. On her way home, she stops at a trailer she rents to a young widow, Hannah (Jurnee Smollett; yes, Juicy Smooyah's sister), and her daughter, Vee (Ridley Asha Bateman), to hassle them for the late rent and because the kid is running around without paying attention almost gets run over by Lou's truck.

That night, with a major storm blowing in, Hannah's ex-husband, Phillip (Logan Marshall-Green), whom was presumed dead in an explosion months earlier, something she was hiding from her daughter, reappears to kill a guy friend of Hannah's and kidnap Vee while Hannah was trying to restore power to her trailer. Frantic, she runs to Lou's house, interrupting her planned suicide - wait, what?!? - and after her boobytrapped truck explodes, she's clearly in the mood to track down the kidnapping bomber. Good thing she's got a certain set of skills for such a quest.

 It's a testament to the lean performances of the cast that Lou manages to be an effective story that only falls apart when you think about, which becomes more difficult as time passes because it's not especially memorable. Why does the movie open showing Lou burning papers and film, then back up to earlier that day, eventually repeating the opening? Don't know. But I was able to figure out pretty much every plot turn at the beginning of the SECOND act, so it was just a matter of waiting to be proven right.

 While predictable and forgettable, Lou is watchable and is a bit better than I've made it sound. I'm just not going to break a heavy sweat belaboring light entertainment. 

Score: 7/10. Catch it on Netflix

"Fall" Review

 Sometime in the 1980s the term "high concept" came forth to describe movies whose premises could be succinctly stated in a sentence or less. Movies like Die Hard (NYC cop is at an LA Christmas party when terrorists attack and he has to fight back despite being  wildly outnumbered) even became shorthand for higher concept knockoffs like Under Siege (Die Hard on a battleship), Passenger 57 (Die Hard on a plane), and Speed (Die Hard on a bus). 

So it's going to make for a super fast review synopsis of the high concept plot of Fall since the whole plot is a year after her husband plummets to his death in a rock climbing accident, grieving young widow Becky (Grace Caroline Currey, Shazam!) is cajoled by her bestie Hunter (Virginia Gardener, Marvel's Runaways series), who was present for the accident, to climb an abandoned TV tower out in the Mojave Desert to scatter his ashes. After they reach the peak of the rusty dilapidated tower, the ladder for the final 300-foot segment collapses, stranding them on a small platform with no cell phone signal and only 50 feet of rope to work with. Thus begins their battle for survival.

 What makes Fall so effective isn't the particular plot beats - one detail was so obvious my girlfriend and I called it immediately (thankfully, they don't drag it out when it comes up), but another event was a genuine surprise - or that despite being cute young women, they're clever enough to try to work their way out of their dire predicament (yes, that sounds sexist, but isn't my intention), but in the way their climb and stranding is visualized with a combination of visual effects and clever shooting of shorter segments (if you can call still being 100 feet up "shorter") of the tower constructed atop a mountain top to allow the natural heights to provide the backdrop. The lighting is clearly outdoors and not on a studio greenscreen or virtual LED Magic Room (as I call ILM's StageCraft tech) volume and it really makes the viewer sweat especially if they're not fond of heights.

 Overall, the movie runs a tad long and the bad breaks that befall them to extend their suffering range from infuriating to so predictable as to not be effective, but I never stop wondering how the heck they were going to beat the inexorable forces of gravity and vultures trying to kill them. Even if it's too preposterous for your tastes, Gardener's thirst trap vlogger getup provides additional eye candy for those so inclined.

 More effective than it really should've been, you should catch this Fall.

Score: 7/10. Catch it on cable.

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