Tag Archives: Madd Wolf

Drug Problems

Sweet Girl

by George Wolf

You know that feeling when someone comes out of a security door at the precise moment you’re trying to come in without a key?

Or when a major cable news show puts your call right through to the air on the very same day you find a uniform in exactly your size hanging up and waiting for you to blend in somewhere you don’t really work?

Me neither. So while Netflix’s Sweet Girl calls attention to a very real problem in America, the narrative that drives it trades authenticity for gimmicky contrivanace.

Through a frequently changing timeline we meet Ray Cooper (Jason Momoa) and his daughter Rachel (Isabela Merced). Tragedy hits their Pittsburgh-based family when wife/mother Amanda Cooper’s life is cut short by cancer. Amanda fights hard, but finally succumbs when a promising new drug is withheld by obnoxious Pharma Bro Simon Keely (Justin Bartha).

While Keely and Congresswoman Diana Morgan (Amy Brenneman) are on live TV debating prescription drug prices, Ray calls in to blame the price-gouging Keely for his wife’s death, and to promise violent revenge.

Ray’s nationwide threat seems to only arouse the interest of an investigative reporter on the trail of a Big Pharma conspiracy, and when Ray’s meeting with the writer turns unexpectedly bloody, father and daughter become fugitives hunted by both the cops and the killers.

In his feature debut, director Brian Andrew Mendoza utilizes Momoa’s hulking charisma via some standard fight choreography, but the gifted Merced seems wasted. Writers Gregg Hurwitz (The Book of Henry) and Phillip Eisner (Event Horizon) serve up a journey of convenience on the way to a third act twist that will define how smoothly the film goes down.

If you can keep your eyes from rolling, this film may feel like the franchise kickstart it aims to be. Otherwise, Sweet Girl leaves a pretty sour aftertaste.

Hello, It’s Me

Gemini Man

by George Wolf

In 2013, a little-seen flick called The Congress glimpsed a future world where Robin Wright (as Robin Wright) didn’t have to act anymore, she just sold the rights to her likeness.

Barely six years later, Gemini Man shows us that day is coming more sooner than later. Trouble is, it shows us little else.

Will Smith is Henry Brogan, a master government assassin who wants to retire. He apparently hasn’t seen movies like the one he’s in, or he’d know that won’t sit well with villainous villain Clay Verris (Clive Owen).

Henry has barely taken that first fishing trip before he and Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the younger agent assigned to watch him, are globe-trotting for their lives.

Who wants them dead? And why?

Both those questions, though, have to get in line behind the big one: why does that hot new assassin look just like a young Henry?

So it’s Will vs. Will, as Oscar-winning director Ang Lee employs the latest de-aging CGI (somewhat impressive-but the mouth is still the final frontier) for a completely pedestrian black ops yarn overrun with standard issue spy game dialog, heavy-handed daddy issues and soggy sentiments on mortality.

There’s obvious talent involved here, and the film is certainly a showcase for the latest in tech wizardry. Much beyond that, though, and this Gemini Man’s biggest mystery is the very meaning of existence.