Vincent Schilling

Indian Country Today

She:kon #NativeNerd readers,

This week I am reviewing the latest episodes of the soon-to-be-released season 2 of “See” starring Jason Momoa and co-starring Dave Bautista. I also viewed the latest Hugh Jackman film “Reminiscence” as well as “Sweet Girl,” this week’s latest #1 trending film on Netflix which is also starring Momoa. I also watched the light-hearted and family-friendly “Paw Patrol Movie.”

Let’s get to it.

#NativeNerd scoring system

When reviewing movies, I employ the decimal system to one-tenth of a point. So instead of 7 stars, I might give a 7.4 out of 10. Some movies aren’t an 8 but deserve a little more than a 7. Another way to look at it is as though I was scoring on a 100 percentile scoring system.

See (Season 1 and 2)

9.5 out of 10

My quick quote: “Are you kidding me? Jason Momoa and Dave Bautista in the same series is the formula for an action epic. And wow, do their guttural-voiced blind ramblings work in the best way.”

See Season 2 series poster

Synopsis: In a future where humankind has lost the ability to see and is forced to interact in new ways, a set of twins with sight is born, challenging the status quo.

“See” Official Trailer

“See” Season 2 Trailer

Are you kidding me? Two of my all-time favorite action actors in the same film project? Sign me up for it immediately. Thanks to the good folks at AppleTV, I was able to watch the first three episodes of season two and I am not even close to disappointed — other than the fact I wait with excruciating pain until I get to see the rest of the season.

For any of you who haven’t yet watched “See” on AppleTV, I’ll attempt to summarize briefly, the human race is centuries past the 21st century and a plague of some sort wiped out people’s vision, their children were born blind as were their children’s children. Fast forward a few centuries and the concept of being sighted is viewed as witchcraft and shunned. Anyone sighted would be burned at the stake.

So we enter into a world where crumbling skyscrapers and old massive water dams are places of refuge, harboring the royal families that have risen through the ages.

Except there are a few people with sight. And one guy, Jerlamarel is a sighted man who is the Johnny Appleseed of sorts, creating offspring across the region who are born sighted.

Insert tons of amazing conflicts. Jason Momoa ends up with two sighted children and off we go.

Over the course of season one, I was completely immersed in Momoa’s portrayal of Baba Voss, an incredible warrior who excels in every way possible in ripping his enemies to shreds, even though he is blind. Momoa does such an exceptional job. I sat most of the time mesmerized.

Though season one did come off as a bit soap-operatic at times, and I wished things would progress a bit faster, I feel as though I might be frustrated that I just can’t get things my way, thus my disdain.

The characters are amazing and I have to give tremendous credit to such performers as Alfre Woodard, who brilliantly portrays the tribal elder, Paris; Sylvia Hoeks, who portrays an incredibly disturbing yet completely believable Queen Kane; Hera Hilmar does exceptional as Maghra and Tantoo Cardinal, who portrays the tribal leader known as The Dreamer. A huge positive shout goes out to Christian Camargo as the witch hunter Tamacti June, Nesta Cooper as Haniwa and Archie Madekwe as Kofun, the daughter and son of Baba Voss.

But then season two happens and I literally feel as though I could have wept tears of action movie happiness as Momoa and Bautista duke it out mentally, emotionally and physically. Keep in mind, of course, they portray it all while their characters are blind.

The series is now one of my all-time favorites and hope to continue to see more. As I am lucky enough to be a few episodes into the second season, I am having to experience withdrawal pains as I await the next episodes to come out.

There is a lot of action, violence and language as well as a few mature themes to be cognizant of, so not for the little ones, but it is a great show to binge if you are an avid action-thriller fan as I am.

Now on Apple TV+

Paw Patrol: The Movie

7.0 out of 10

My quick quote: “A cute film certainly made for young kids, but adults might not be so enthusiastic the second and third time around. A nice message and a formulaic feel-good film”

Paw Patrol movie poster

Synopsis: When their biggest rival, Humdinger, starts wreaking havoc as the mayor of Adventure City, Ryder and everyone's favorite heroic pups kick into high gear to face the challenge. Armed with exciting new gadgets and gear, the PAW Patrol joins forces with a savvy dachshund to save the citizens of Adventure City.

Ok, it was a cute movie. And I literally sought out to watch it for the benefit of those readers who have little ones and are deciding on what be nice for them to watch. “Paw Patrol: The Movie” is sure to be a fun favorite for the kids, but as an adult, the jokes were a little corny and silly, but harmless and fun, as well as silly. Hey, it’s made for kids, not for me.

But in some ways, at least I think to myself, the best and most popular kids movies are the ones I love as an adult too. Sometimes I feel movies cater a bit to the yet-to-be-developed minds of the younger audiences and miss out on opportunities.

I think of my younger brother Vernon and I, who would religiously watch cartoons on a Saturday morning in the 70s and 80s and we would have competitions of sorts to see who could find weird problems or inconsistencies with our favorite cartoons. Put down a cup and then they are holding it a moment later due to a bad edit? Believe me, me and Vernon caught it. I think of it now and can hear each other laughing about these things.

I am not dissing Paw Patrol. I think the little puppy characters are adorable and the filmmakers really did want to share a loving message. “Even the strongest or most famous of heroes get afraid sometimes. The real heroes keep going, so do your best.”

Who can argue with that? It is a wonderful message. But I have to tell you, I couldn’t help teasing this film the same way my brother and I used to do when we were kids. I may be an adult, but I guess I just couldn’t let it go. So here’s where my brain went with this film.

Since the Paw Patrol are puppies that can talk to humans, and all dogs in this Paw Patrol universe can also talk to each other and other humans, what is the point of the dog obedience school in this film?

Isn’t the young boy leader, who looks about 12, too young to drive an RV or other type of emergency vehicle?

Shouldn’t Paw Patrol have backup employees? Surely they can’t cover all shifts 24/7.

The multi-billion-dollar facility and associated high-tech vehicles and devices were paid for through merch only?

Well, anyway those are just a few of the questions I have and I am sure my brother and I would have discussed them back in the day.

As far as the movie, it is sweet, adorable and sincerely friendly. But not super adult-friendly in terms of engaging content. But I am not the intended audience, and I won’t fault them for that. I am sure your kids will love it.

Shout out to Tyler Perry as the truck driver, Kim Kardashian West as the mean girl poodle Delores and to Jimmy Kimmel as my favorite character, unsurprisingly is the journalist.

Now on Paramount+

Reminiscence

4.0 out of 10

My quick quote: “I like Hugh Jackman, and though he and others acted sincerely, this movie, for all of its intentions, simply didn’t work for me.”

Reminiscence movie poster

Synopsis: A private investigator of the mind navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. His life is forever changed as he uncovers a violent conspiracy while trying to solve the mystery behind a missing client.

In total truth, the film “Reminiscence” simply did not work for me. It’s a shame because I was looking forward to it for all of its thoughtful probings into the human mind and the complexities of recalling memories, put into plastic computer chips.

Hugh Jackman stars in a love affair noir thriller of sorts, attempting to woo a memory recording client, Mae, portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson.

As the owner of the memory-recording agency, Nick Bannister can watch the memories as they happen and in the process of watching Mae, he falls for her. The complexities of the film surround their relationship and the evil characters that surround them both in a post-apocalyptic world — where the sea levels have risen hundreds of feet. Other than having to spend extra time in boats, I was perplexed by the necessity of that factor.

I sensed the desire to portray similar environments as Blade Runner, Mad Max, Water World and more, but this artistic side never surfaced. (pun intended)

I found myself wondering why things simply weren’t working for me. I like Hugh Jackman, even if Wolverine is only 5’5” in the comic, and I have seen Rebecca Ferguson before and also appreciated her work.

I just wasn’t convinced. I really didn’t feel a lot of chemistry between the characters in this film. I couldn’t really invest. Maybe they should have cast his wife to play Mae. Or better yet, why not take the film in a completely different direction and perhaps Dennison could love a young man or let’s take things in another direction, perhaps he felt rage, and hated the person? I don’t know where I am going with this, but I just feel that the trajectory the film went on fell into a place absent of any investment.

The acting was actually pretty good and well portrayed. The story struggled however and I found my mind wandering and even had to stop the film several times to regroup.

So what makes an incredible film? It’s the story. And no matter the special effects, no matter the absence of special effects, the truly great films always tell a great story.

Tragically, this film didn’t have that story to tell.

On HBO Max and in theaters.

Sweet Girl

8.8 out of 10

My quick quote: “Is there a role Jason Momoa can’t play? Momoa as a gritty, yet loving family man works well in this psychological thriller.”

Sweet Girl movie poster

Synopsis: He lost the love of his life to a pharmaceutical company's greed. Now his daughter is without a mother and he's without justice. For now. Sweet Girl is a 2021 American action thriller film directed by Brian Andrew Mendoza in his feature directorial debut and written by Philip Eisner and Gregg Hurwitz.

Very very nice work by Jason Momoa once again. And as I asked in my quick quote above, Is there a role Momoa can’t play?

In “Sweet Girl,” Momoa plays a bad guy turned good, who knows his way around a boxing ring. Which admittedly and likely isn’t much of a stretch for this bad dude who has a massive scar over his left eyebrow. I’d like to know the true-life story about that eyebrow.

I had originally only intended to review “See” which is the first review in this week’s #NativeNerd column, but I opted to add “Sweet Girl” because it has been trending as Netflix’s #1 movie all week long, so how could I resist.

I will say the film has earned its reputation on Netflix. It is an excellent action film and Jason Momoa as Ray Cooper and Isabela Merced as his daughter Rachel Cooper is a believable father-daughter team with lots to offer the film’s viewers.

The film begins with the family’s growing concerns about the matriarch mother in the family Amanda Cooper, played by Adria Arjona, who has cancer, but life-saving drugs are too expensive to obtain.

When a pharmaceutical company CEO starts to play into the politics of obtainable and affordable drugs, a rage-filled Ray Cooper reacts without realizing the forces that lie within the confines of Big Pharma.

In short, things get ugly quick.

There are a few twists and turns, and though I appreciate an unfolding of unexpected events, there is a certain situation where Momoa is less involved and I found myself missing him at some points. Merced does an excellent job, but I would have rather seen them both at certain times. But hey, I liked the movie overall, and I can see why Jason Momoa will always bring his a-game.

A great film, and though the sound of dealing with a pharmaceutical company might seem horribly boring, trust me, it’s not. It’s a truly great film.

Now on Netflix

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