About Double Feature

Double Feature is the title of a column that I write for the newsletter of Lehigh Pocono Mensa, the local group to which I belong. It gets published monthly in "Magniloquence." I used to belong to Central PA Mensa, so I offer the column to the editor of "Penn Central" and it shows up there pretty regularly.

As the title implies, each Double Feature column features brief reviews of two movies that I have seen. I try to find a connection between the two films - subject matter, stars, awards, etc. - but, since it's my column, I reserve the right to occasionally choose two films that have no connection to each other at all.

The reviews found in the Movies section of this Web site serve as the basis for Double Feature. I try to keep each column somewhere around 500 words (which fills about one page in the newsletter), so I usually have to edit the original reviews to fit into the space allotted.

If you'd like to read the individual reviews for the films mentioned in Double Feature, you can do so here.

The rating scales are a little different. The conversion chart is as follows:

  • **** = Loved it
  • *** = Liked it
  • ** = Ehhh, it was OK
  • * = Hated it

Current Column

July 2024 - TV news is a 24/7 business, and the number of holidays I've worked over the years far outnumbers the number that I haven't. But, I decided to take Memorial Day off and spent the day watching Netflix. Here's what I managed to see – before the tornado warning forced me to go into work anyway.

If you're into twisted relationships, check out A Simple Favor, starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick. Paul Feig directed this R-rated film from 2018. It's currently making the rounds on Netflix and is doing so well that plans for a sequel have just been announced.

Kendrick plays Stephanie, a widow raising a young son and dispensing recipes and life truths on her little-watched parenting vlog. Lively is Emily. Her son goes to the same school as Stephanie's kid, but Emily's big-time job in "the city" keeps her away a lot. One rainy day, though, Emily does show up to pick up her son and a friendship is born. Not so much between the kids, but between the moms.

It doesn't take long for Emily to start asking Stephanie for favors. Can she watch her son? Can he spend the night? Can she take him to the park after school? Every once in a while, Emily repays Stephanie by making her a fancy drink and engaging in adult conversation. She even introduces Stephanie to her handsome husband. It's all well and good until Stephanie asks Emily for one more thing. A simple favor.

Overall review: Liked it. No one is what they appear to be, and it's hard to find anyone to root for. But, it's also hard to turn away because each plot twist is more outrageous than the last. Do me a favor and sign me up for the sequel.

I also binged all six parts of a TV-MA mini-series from 2023 called Dear Child. It's German but has been dubbed into English. It's based on the 2019 novel of the same name (Liebes Kind in German).

The story revolves around a vivacious young woman named Lena. She disappeared one night after a party and hasn't been seen or heard from for 13 years. But that all seems to change one night when a woman and her young daughter are brought to a hospital. The girl named Hannah calls the woman mama and says her name is Lena, the same name as the missing woman. Hannah says Lena was hit by a car. But not everything adds up. Lena's father says Hannah looks like she could be Lena's daughter but he insists the woman Hannah calls mama isn't Lena.

So, who is this woman? Who is Hannah? Where were they before they ended up on the side of the road? And who and where is the man Hannah calls papa? The detective who's been trying to solve the case for more than a decade has one last chance to put all the pieces together.

Overall review: Liked it. Kept me interested for all six parts. Seems like the kind of thing that could – if the producers wanted – be made into an ongoing series with a different story for each season. Sehr gut.

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"No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough." »» Roger Ebert