Barbarian (2022) a (almost right on time!) review

Heard a lot of good things about this film when it was released in August and, thanks to the speedy move from theaters to streaming, I managed to catch Barbarian a few days ago.

Here’s the trailer:

Barbarian is an intriguing horror film whose plot is probably best left for viewers to discover, so I won’t get too into what happens.

I will say this much (and you can see some of it in the trailer above) we start with Tess (Georgina Campbell, quite good) showing up at a home she rented through Airbnb only to discover another person, Kieth (Bill Skarsgård, also quite good) is already there renting it. His rental was through another agency and it looks like a simple screw up, though Tess is rightfully uncomfortable with the whole situation and takes a while before warming up -with plenty of guards up- to Kieth.

I’ll not say more, except that the home carries a very scary history and plenty of deep secrets, all of which will be revealed in the end.

I liked the film but will fault it on its tone. It’s kinda all over the place, at times outright horror while at other times seems to be emulating the crazed horror/comedy stylings of an Evil Dead 2. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but it does make the film feel at times off kilter and unfocused, like it is either not sure where it was going with some of its elements and/or parts of its tone were made up as they went along.

There is also a lot of misdirection, of characters who seem like they might play a larger role in the story but don’t and things that are done which seem like they might be important but aren’t (there’s a Checkov’s gun-like artifact you can spot in the trailer above which has absolutely no payoff and I can’t help but wonder if maybe as the film was being edited down that payoff element was ultimately cut).

Still, Barbarian is ultimately a very entertaining horror/comedy hybrid and while not all of its parts may mesh perfectly well, it is ultimately worth the wild ride.


Reviewing Electric Cars Based On A Two Minute Experience…

So this past weekend they had the annual Miami Beach Car show and the wife, daughter, and I headed out to experience it.

Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting all that much and I’m not needing a new car anytime soon but I was curious to see how many of the car companies would display/promote their electric vehicles.

I’m of the opinion, by the way, that we’ve already crossed the threshold into EVs and that the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles are already a thing of the past… even if it may take a several more years before that transition is complete.

Anyway, to my delight, it turned out Florida Power and Light (FPL) was presenting several EV models and the people at the event were able to drive in them. Not drive them, mind you, but sit in the passenger seats while someone drove you around a small track.

We got to experience several models and this is what I found…

Hyundai Ionic 5

This car was available to be driven in two different areas, one devoted to the Hyundai vehicles and another at the aforementioned FPL section. We drove in the Hyundai section and while in that area they didn’t show the car’s acceleration (this was part of the FPL show) I found the Ionic 5 a great ride. It was very comfortable and had plenty of bells and whistles even if the two monitors it had were a little small compared to what I have in my Tesla. The car’s range seems slightly less than the Tesla as well but truthfully not that much of a difference. I can say this car, the first we rode, was the one that impressed me the most.

Polestar 2

This was the first car we were driven in on the FPL track and, as I mentioned above, they had a small area where the drivers did a hard acceleration followed by some tight turns and I liked the car but honestly wasn’t wowed by it. That’s not to say it was a “bad” experience. It just felt like I was riding in a Volvo and if you like that, this car is for you but it felt a little too old fashioned for me. Otherwise, though, a nice car!

Rivian R1T

I’m not into pick up trucks, though I have family members who are. Having said that, this was the car that impressed me the most after the Ionic. Very comfortable and smooth ride and an insane acceleration. I like SUVs so even if I wouldn’t consider getting this pick up truck model, I might in some future time consider their SUV.

Cadillac Lyriq

A nice vehicle but, as with the Polestar, not necessarily anything that totally blew my mind. Comfortable, roomy enough but my understanding, from the driver, was that this car won’t be released until next year and the one we were driven in is one of only 16 prototypes currently on the road and/or at shows. I imagine the car is close to being complete but as it stands now, not bad at all.

Mustang Mach E

The last car we were driven in was the Mustang Mach E. As we were waiting in line to ride in it, I must say that was the one I felt might be the most disappointing. Why? Because they had models of the car on the floor for display and, frankly, sitting in the car I found it disappointing. It felt a little too small in the rear passenger section and I found the front seats and displays only ok. So, as I said, going into the ride I figured this wouldn’t be good. I was wrong. Sitting in the front passenger seat, there was plenty of space and the car rode really well. Acceleration was insane on this one although the driver really pressed down hard on the brakes as well. Quite a shock!


That was my view from the front seat. My wife and daughter, in the back seats, said it was a little too tight there and they felt this was the smallest space available of all the EVs we rode that day and therefore weren’t quite as positive about the experience.


There was a Lucid, Porsche, and Hummer EV at the show as well. The Lucid for some reason had one guy showing it off outside the Convention center (were they too late to get a floor space?) while the Porsche and Hummer were inside the Convention Center but were closed and could only be seen from the outside. They all looked very nice but without being able to either sit in them or ride them, all I can say is that they looked nice parked where they were.

So there you have it.

I strongly suspect next year’s show will feature an even stronger EV representation!

Confess, Fletch (2022) a (almost right on time!) review

The character of I. M. Fletcher, ie “Fletch” first appeared in the 1974 novel by Gregory MacDonald of the same name and was sucessful enough to span plenty of novel sequels and prequels (you can read more about the books here). In 1985 Chevy Chase appeared in a film version of the first novel, also titled Fletch

The movie did well enough that a sequel, Fletch Lives, also starring Chevy Chase, was released in 1989. While many hold the original film in high esteem, there was, IMHO, a pretty big drop off in quality with Fletch Lives, which I felt was a far sillier film than the first.

Anyway and regardless, people have fond memories of the books and/or the movies and for years I kept reading here and there that another Fletch film would be made. For a while, it was Kevin Smith (Clerks) who was tied to such a film and, if memory serves, Ben Affleck taking the role in a new movie was talked about.

It never materialized.

However, this year I was surprised to see the release of Confess, Fletch, featuring Jon Hamm in the titular role and directed by Greg Mottola (Adventureland, Superbad)…

Seeing as we’re still in the process of emerging from the COVID pandemic, movies releases are still scattershot, with some films simultaneously appearing in theaters and streaming/VOD at the same time and, in the case of Confess, Fletch, it appeared the same happened. I caught the film using the VOD system for VUDU because I heard good things about it and was a fan of that original Chevy Chase film and thought the idea of Jon Hamm taking on the titular role might prove good.

So… was it?

Here’s the thing: There are films that are good. There are films that are bad. There are also films that are perfectly fine yet don’t necessarily blow you over.

I’d place Confess, Fletch squarely in that category.

There is nothing at all wrong with the film. It’s well acted, has some good laughs, and the mystery is decent if not on the level of, say, an Agatha Christie.

However, it is also a film that seems to reach a certain level of quality and remains there throughout the runtime. There are no big shocks or surprises and, perhaps the film’s biggest “sin”, there is no really spectacular climax.

I mention this in particular because I feel the most successful films have that going for them: They start at zero and gradually -or perhaps not so gradually!- move up and up. The climax of the best films should be where the suspense or horror or comedy should be at its highest and the resolution should leave audiences pleased to have spent their time watching the film.

Alas, Confess, Fletch never quite reaches that point. Again, the film is perfectly fine through its runtime. I very much recommend it!

But I can’t come out and say the film was spectacular or a “must see”. It unfortunately never hits that second or third gear in its climax, instead flowing at a regular pace through its end.

Jon Hamm makes for a good but very different from Chevy Chase version of Fletch. He’s not quite as comedic as Chevy Chase’s version and there’s less of a sense that we’re watching a comedic movie. Further to that, an effort is made to “modernize” the character into this day and era where journalism isn’t quite what it used to be. It is also my understanding Jon Hamm used some of his salary for this role to pay to complete the film and I think that’s incredibly admirable.

Again, the bottom line is that I would recommend the film but caution people to not expect incredible fireworks here. The film is a pleasant time killer and enjoyable as is, but not necessarily a film of the ages… then again, how many are?

Recommended with that caveat!

So sorry…

It has been a very long while since I’ve posted here and for that I’m sorry.

Those who have been ’round these parts know that things have been rather… rough… of late. I don’t want to keep repeating things, but scrolling back through the most recent posts of the last year/year and a half will tell you what you need to know.

In some ways, it feels like I’ve been floating about life since the events of June 24, 2021. There is a paradoxical feeling that my sisters and I are trying to settle the estate of my parents and, because of that, I haven’t been able to fully acknowledge the loss.

I might have noted this before but there was a Sunday a while back, perhaps some two or three months ago -this is another thing I’m noticing, time is so damn fluid and one day seems to blend into the next- where I woke up feeling quite good.

I felt like my old self and found myself smiling and enjoying the day more than I have any day since the collapse of Champlain Towers South and the loss of my parents.

What stunned me more than anything else was that in feeling relatively “happy”, I was able to realize just how down/depressed I have been all this time. The good feelings, alas, didn’t last beyond that day but at least having an understanding of those feelings has made me aware of the need to do things to try to get myself out of this pit.

Unfortunately, there were many things related to the estate that had to be dealt with. I don’t want to go into those things too much, but suffice to say the process is long and difficult but estate issues are being resolved, one at a time.

So after a month or more of not coming around here, I’m back. I’ll try to make up for lost time as best I can but, as was the case for the days between my last posting and now, I can’t guarantee too much.

For those who enjoy my writings, during the past month I worked on and completed -from my end, for the most part- a new project which hopefully will bear fruition in the next year. It’s something I can honestly say I’ve hoped to do in collaboration with someone I’ve known for some 30 years now and he’s a terrific talent and deserves to be better known.

Maybe this project will help make that a reality.

I’ll be speaking with him later today and we’ll see what happens!