Palm Springs, Hulu
90 minutes! At last Hollywood is listening to me. The perfect length for a comedy, or, in this case a rom-com. For any movie actually. Andy Samberg is great in the lead, Cristin Milioti is an amazing first-timer as his love interest, and J.K. Simmons is fantastic as the protagonist. The bad news is: although it’s a time loop movie, it is no Groundhog Day (GHD). It is clever and funny; hats off to director Max Barbakow and writer Andy Siara. You’ve created a weird little film, hard to follow at times, that riffs on the recurring meme of time travel in an interesting way. Just not as good as Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin.
For one thing, you showed us how the loop begins. The lack of explanation in GHD (a deliberate decision by the filmmakers) was a master stroke. And, frankly, I was disappointed, since any time loop film needs at least one character to say, “Gosh, this is like Groundhog Day.” No one says it in this film. Come on people, GHD isn’t that old; it still is a familiar cultural artifact. Palm Springs follows most of the GHD rules, with the clever innovation that there are at least three people aware of the loop, with different amounts of time inside.
I won’t give away the plot, but I will say I enjoyed the clever twist ending. Five Stars out of five.
Greyhound, Apple TV Plus
Again with the 90 minute length. If this is a Covid side effect, it is a silver lining in a very dark cloud. Thank you, Tom Hanks, for making a movie designed to appeal only to me and people exactly like me. You have to like Tom Hanks, on the screen every minute. You have to be interested in the naval warfare of WWII, a fixation of mine since age 13, in order to really appreciate watching the details of the U-boat hunts in early 1942. The Bosun calling general quarters, repeatedly. Primitive sonar pings and prop noise. Depth charge attacks. All the stuff I spent hundreds of hours reading as an adolescent, brought to life on the screen with breathtaking CGI. Five Stars out of Five.