KCRW gets reviews for the latest film releases from Katie Walsh, reviewer for the Tribune News Service, Los Angeles Times, and The Wrap, as well as Shawn Edwards, film critic for FOX-TV in Kansas City.
“Pamela, A Love Story”
Pamela Anderson’s life is detailed in this documentary, from her Playboy days to “Baywatch,” to the infamous stolen sex tape that became the subject of a recent Hulu miniseries.
Edwards: “It's a very heartbreaking story, and it's also pretty much what you would expect to hear from a pre-#MeToo celebrity who rose to fame in the 90s. It was produced by her eldest son, so you can't help but feel the one-sidedness of everything, which to me reduces the authenticity of everything that she's saying. So it's not that I don't believe her, but it would have been nice to get both sides and also get a bit more detail.”
Walsh: “This is the first time that this woman, who has been completely victimized by not only her-ex husbands, but the media, the tabloids, she had her sex tape put out without her consent, and she was horrifically treated by the legal teams that basically slut-shamed her for being in Playboy and said she did not own her own image, because she had already been in Playboy. So this is a really important corrective to the record. And I did watch ‘Pam and Tommy.’ I think that that show was well made. And, in a way, I feel bad for watching it now because she hated it so much.
She continues, “I think this is a really important film to have out there that is her telling her story in a very unvarnished way. Because everybody else has been telling her story for her. So this is the story that she wanted to tell, and I think it's really moving.”
“Knock at the Cabin”
In M. Night Shyamalan’s latest psychological thriller, a family is taken hostage and asked to make a devastating decision. It stars Jonathan Groff, Dave Bautista, and Ben Aldridge.
Walsh: “It's really about this psychological persuasion and what you choose to believe and what you don't choose to believe, and the ways that you get someone to believe you that the world is ending when you are so convinced of it yourself.”
Edwards: “This film is sort of a pseudo-mystery horror film that really has no reason to exist. … It is superbly crafted and the acting is terrific, but it's not original. It's not scary. It's not thrilling.”
“80 for Brady”
A group of friends in their 80s (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno, Sally Field) take a trip in 2017 to see their hero Tom Brady play in the Super Bowl.
Edwards: “This is basically not even a movie. It's basically a highly stylized commercial for the NFL. And it says everything about the popularity of the National Football League in the past 20 years. … It's very light fodder. So there's really nothing here to think about, and there's really nothing here to condemn.“
Walsh: “I was highly skeptical of ‘80 for Brady.’ The trailer had me really nervous. The billboards had me really nervous, and I was pleasantly surprised, I have to admit. It was better than I thought. I had fun with it. And they do explain why Jane Fonda is wearing such a terrible wig. So that was all I needed. And I had fun.”
“The Amazing Maurice”
This British animated feature is about a swindling cat and his crew of talking cats. It’s loosely based on the 2001 novel “The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents” by Terry Pratchett.
Edwards: “It's fun. It's charming. And it's perfectly silly. No, it's not going to win any awards in the animation department. It's very simple. It's not groundbreaking, but I liked the humor. And I liked the manic storytelling. … But the thing that I'm worried about is I'm not sure that any of this will actually connect with young children because I found the humor to skew very much adult.”