What Movie Have You Seen Today?

Watched the King’s Man - finally, and was struck again, at how underused Gemma Arterton frequently is. Lots of good ideas in the movie but never really went anywhere.



The little movie that could. A movie made for only $14.5 million dollars, nearly made ALL of its production budget on its opening day on July 4 with over $14 million and has now made over $100 million and is improbably battling it out with Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1 for the daily top spot in theaters. In fact, SOF achieved a rare feat in that it made MORE money in its second week than it did in its first!

From its haunting grainy black and white opening images to its special message during the closing credits, Sound Of Freedom is a well-made and gripping story based on true events dealing with a difficult subject matter–child trafficking–that is often under-reported on. SOF follows Tim Ballard, a government agent whose job entails him going after child predators. One day he gets a lead that eventually takes him to Colombia where he teams up with a Colombian cop, a former cartel member, and a business acquaintance, and they go about trying to bring the traffickers to justice and hopefully rescue dozens of kids.

The movie is well made and full of tension, particularly in the final act. The movie is hard to watch in a few places due to its subject matter, but it is NOT, I repeat NOT, graphic. Nor is the movie political. There is no mention of Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives. It simply tells the heart-wrenching story without being explicit, showing the kids in (non-sexual / non-exploitative) situations that nevertheless really pack a punch. The scenes in this film and its subject matter will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

The acting is solid led by Jim Caviezel and Bill Camp playing Ballard and Vampiro, a former cartel member, respectively. The cinematography is good and so is the music. Despite the low budget, the film does not look or sound cheap. Rather, it feels like a production with a much larger budget.

The movie, which was filmed five years ago by 20th Century Fox before it was bought out by Disney and subsequently shelved, was able to be released this year by Angel Studios after the director managed to buy the rights back from Disney. The film has a timely subject matter and is probably the most important movie of the year.

I highly encourage you to go see Sound Of Freedom. God’s children are not for sale.

We should point out, however, that this movie definitely is insinuating a political agenda and therefore has been heavily promoted by right wing outlets.

Here’s the reason: right wing conspiracists are selling the untrue notion that there is a secret cabal of Hollywood A-listers being involved in child trafficking and even molesting children and drinking their blood to stay young. They even claim Tom Hanks is one of those A-listers (which should tell you something about the inherent absurdity.) The danger of this conspiracy was proven by the so-called „Pizzagate“-scandal, which had one man convinced by this idiocy to save children held in a basement of a pizza parlour Hillary Clinton was supposedly making her „children torturing business“ in. The man tried to invade that pizza parlour with a gun, and it was pure luck that nobody got hurt. The truth is: not only was this whole conspiracy sheer lunacy, motivated by Clinton‘s opponent, but the pizza parlour did not even have a basement.

Nevertheless, conspiracy theorists still claim that this child trafficking agenda is pursued by Hollywood and Democrats. Actor Jim Caviezel has publicly and vehemently affirmed his belief in this - and is also an anti-vaxxer who advised people not to get the COVID-19 vaccine (which in fact saved millions of lives, stopped the pandemic spread and is one of the safest vaccines on the market).

Casting him as the guy who saves children from a trafficking ring is no accident. It promotes the ideas of the conspiracy theory or even theories the right wing uses to rile up their base.

Even if this is not mentioned in the film, it still is clearly insinuating this. And as a project put on ice by Disney it further transports the idea that „they did not want us to see the truth“ conspiracy theorists feed on.

Is the film effective as a movie? Probably. Has it brought interested audiences to the cinema, turning it into a financial success? Yes.

But that does NOT validate its conspiracy.

Sci-Fi flick „Battleship Earth“ tried to promote Scientology and failed because it was not an effective film. This movie, however, is a simple revenge thriller, and like the conspiracy theory it works because NOBODY want children to be hurt.

So keep that in mind when you want to watch this movie. It is a political ploy, even if it does not seem to be on the surface.

But it is definitely not the most important film of the year. Just a sad footnote to the unnecessary and absurd division around the world.

Edit: One more thing. I just found out that Caviezel actually spoke at a QAnon convention in 2021. So be aware where your money goes if you buy a ticket.

Source: ‘Barbie’ Box Office Towers Over ‘Oppenheimer’ With Record Opening – The Hollywood Reporter

And Variety also informs of the peculiar method of ticket buying and giving them away for free, as a scheme to „raise awareness for the subject matter“:

„The film has proven controversial — Rolling Stone deemed “Sound of Freedom” a “QAnon-tinged thriller” that targets “the conscience of a conspiracy-addled boomer” — but it has certainly proven to have a target audience. Total domestic gross stands at $124 million, with no real signs of slowing down.

Religious and conservative media groups have rallied behind “Sound of Freedom.” Angel Studios has also instituted an unconventional “Pay It Forward” system, allowing people to donate money to the distribution banner so that the studio can purchase tickets for its own movie and distribute them for free. The company touts the initiative as a tool to raise awareness of its subject matter.“


I agree, Double-OhAgent. I thought The Sound of Freedom was a very well made film. It was a nice respite from all the over-produced, bombastic summer fare we get this time of year.

Everybody I saw it with, from all stripes as it were, enjoyed it as well.

1 Like

Haven’t finished watching this yet, but halfway through it’s just a fantastic list of films to watch.

Edit: “Keep it in the family” cue Westworld theme.

1 Like

The Flash (2023)

There’s a reason that this film was a flop. It’s terrible. I will throw some praise Michael Keaton and Sasha Calle’s way, because they were great, albeit woefully underused, in this film. While it seems pretty clear that this is it for Keaton as Batman, with the Batgirl movie being canned and the rumored Batman Beyond seemingly dead at this point, Sasha Calle plants her flag in a major way to be James Gunn’s Supergirl if and when that character makes her appearance in the rebooted DC films. I’d argue that she good enough here, especially given how poor the material is, to warrant her being given a bigger presence in the upcoming rebooted universe than one would otherwise think Supergirl would receive.

Outside of Keaton and Calle, this film is almost impressive in how inept and pathetic it is. To think that this whole film comes down to


what happens to a can of tomatoes, and how the ultimate location of said can of tomatoes could somehow bring back George Clooney’s Batman

is laughable, and not in a good way. The marketing team behind the trailers for this film should win some kind of award for somehow making this train wreck look like a good film, rather than the CGI fan service extravaganza it turned out to be.


I do hope that Nicholas Cage and the estate of Christopher Reeve were compensated for the shameless use of their likenesses for this


I believe that Cage was actually on set (well in front of a greenscreen) for a day to do his scene.


Haven’t seen this in a while, but Mann really is a fascinating director. Foxx delivers a very believable and likeable performance. But Cruise… wow, so magnificent. Simply perfect. The first scene in the taxi, I did not recognize his voice. Completely transformed, the cadence, the pronunciation. Marvelous.


And his films always look beautiful. No one does US night time cityscapes like Mann.


Sitting in the cinema, waiting for Oppenheimer to start in 10 minutes :+1:



Might be Bond’s next director…


I enjoyed(ish) most of the film, Affleck and Keaton were brilliant and their Supergirl was so good I’m sad we probably won’t see her again but


Ezra Miller in both his roles was meh at best as he kept with what Zack Snyder thought was “cool”

It’s not

It was stupid in 2016, it’s still stupid in 2023.

I noticed the films theme was, no matter how you try, you can’t fix what you broke. Given DC’s state…


You’re correct. It just looks so incredibly bad that you can’t help but think that it was the same poor CGI that was used for the the other cameos. Apparently Adam West was in there too, according to the article I read about Cage’s actual physical involvement, but I apparently missed that one. My willingness to give the film any more benefit of the doubt went out the window when Batman and Supergirl both kicked the bucket. Regardless, it was still very poorly done.

1 Like

Three all time classics:

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Jack’s never been better.
Easy Rider (1969) Proof that a barely budgeted, barely scripted movie can do amazing things.
Jaws (1975) One of the most flawless movies ever. Robert Shaw should have gotten more award recognition.


GRAND HOTEL (1932) on Blu-ray

Best known for winning the Academy Award for Best Picture (1931/1932) without securing any other nominations, GRAND HOTEL is the ur-All-Star film. Garbo. Two Barrymores. Crawford as she was becoming a star. Beery (who would win Best Actor that year for THE CHAMP) in his first unsympathetic role.

Edmund Goulding focused on everything but the camera (I know that is faint praise indeed, and comes from his biographer), but the film exists at the interstice of late silent/early sound film-making in a fascinating way. Some sequences, e.g., Lionel Barrymore’s drunk scene, play out as a silent movie. In others, the dialogue is sharp, but has yet to achieve the wordiness/heft that would come to typify sound cinema. The dialogue almost feels like spoken intertitles (Goulding worked on the script , though no screenwriter is credited). An interesting contrast is DINNER AT EIGHT from just a year later. With Cukor at the helm, the film is much wordier, and much more a “sound” film. Even the set design feels heavier, more substantial.

The performances are all fine (Goulding always focused on his actors), with Garbo particularly animated. And despite the lack of mise-en-scene, Goulding moves the camera effectively, again achieving something of the feel of a silent movie, but with more than just sound effects added.

Considering GRAND HOTEL’s competition

Bad Girl
The Champ
Five Star Final
One Hour with You
Shanghai Express
The Smiling Lieutenant

included a Sternberg, and not one, but two, Lubitsch’s, is its victory remarkable? The movie was released the latest of the eight nominees–April 1932 (for that Oscar ceremony, the eligibility window was August 1, 1931 to July 31, 1932, with the ceremony itself in November 1932. By contrast, BAD GIRL–which would win two awards–had been released in September 1931).

The victory remains even as the reasons are lost to time. GRAND HOTEL has unmistakable pleasures, and is well worth one’s time.


I watched the movie and loved it. While it certainly does not reach the quality of something like the Dark Knight, I thought it was a solid Comic Book-based film. If all of DC movies were this good, I would have no complaints. I enjoyed Ezra Miller’s work in this movie and in the Justice League. To each their own.

1 Like

Fair enough

Time to eat my hat again.

Only a few months after I have used „The Color of Money“ to criticize Martin Scorsese I watched „Bringing out the dead“ and „The Departed“ again, both for only the second time since their initial releases.

And I loved both films immensely. I will go on a rewatch of all the other Scorsese films, and I‘m pretty sure I will feel ashamed for spontaneously voicing my disappointment before.

My mood swings, apparently.


Marty understands, and, as a good Catholic boy, forgives.

Admittedly, THE COLOR OF MONEY is weak.

I am reminded of Andrew Sarris, who disliked Joseph L. Mankiewicz films so much, he placed him in the now infamous “Less Than Meets the Eye” category of his “The American Cinema.” Some years later, he interviewed JLM, and wrote that possibly he had missed some virtues of Mankiewicz films earlier, and when now viewed in a time of a different cinematic aesthetic, these virtues were more apparent. Mankiewicz did not get elevated to Sarris’ Pantheon as his fellow LTMTE inhabitant Billy Wilder did, but there was an uptick.


The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (2014). Robin Williams’ last movie to be released in his lifetime. Certain things DID NOT age well in it. Overall, still enjoyable.

Child’s Play (2019). Enjoyable, in a darkly humorous way. Mark Hamill did Chucky justice with his voice.

Hopefully, I will be seeing Exorcist 3 this week.

1 Like