Jolt and Joe Bell
It’s been a busy couple of weeks with multiple films hitting the big screen and the small. Here are a few highlights of some of the bigger films being released.
JOLT – 7/23/21
Since JOHN WICK hit screens in 2014 there have been many all-out action films that try to duplicate the frantic action and highly choreographed fight scenes, most fall short. Some of the better examples are ATOMIC BLONDE and this year’s NOBODY, unfortunately for every good version, there are about five groan-inducing copycats. JOLT is a groan.
Kate Beckinsale stars as Lindy, a bouncer with an anger-management problem. A problem so out of control, she requires an electrode-lined vest she uses to shock herself back to normalcy so she doesn’t literally kill someone for chewing too loud. Her homicidal tendencies are put to the test when the first man she’s ever fallen in love with ends up murdered.
Akin to JOHN WICK’S puppy, his murder sets her off on a revenge-filled rampage to find the killer. This film tries really hard to check off every box in the tired genre. For all the neon lights and car chases, there is something glaringly missing, heart. This film is so empty, Lindy had one date with Justin (Jai Courtney) before falling madly in love, enough to stop at nothing to find his killer, but there just is not enough there to care at all. Even with standout talents like Laverne Cox, Stanley Tucci, and Bobby Cannavale, there is no one that can save this film from itself. Director Tanya Wexler has put together what amounts to a paint-by-numbers action/thriller and no amount of neon or uninspired action bring this above water. First-time screenwriter Scott Wascha had some ideas and characters that need to be fleshed out more, and maybe less fart talk. This is a film that has too many ideas and not enough focus, leading to a meandering and disappointing conclusion.
0.5 out of 5
JOE BELL – 7/23/21
Director Reinaldo Marcus Green (MONSTERS AND MEN) is back with his sophomore debut, this time tackling another issue plaguing our society. Whereas MONSTERS AND MEN explored racial injustice, BELL takes a very personal look at the effects of bullying.
Starring Mark Wahlberg as the titular Joe Bell, Connie Britton as his wife Lola, and Reid Miller as their son, Jadin Bell.
The film starts with Joe Bell on his walk across the U.S. as a way to raise awareness for his son’s relentless bullying at school for his sexuality. Based on the true story from 2013. If you are unfamiliar with the story about Joe and Jadin and what ultimately happens, then I would advise you to go in cold. That is if you want to take the dive. This film is unapologetically sentimental and, perhaps too on the nose in its earnestness. Written by the duo behind BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, Diana Ossena, and Larry McMurtry, you would think the material would be handled with a bit more tact. At times maddeningly uninspired, this is a story that absolutely needs to be told but unfortunately, with Wahlberg at the helm and some bazaar story choices, this is a film you can probably skip.
1.5 out of 5