2 Best Movies to Watch by Ray Gaspard

Staff & contributors

, 2021

Palmer may not be treading new ground, but it does tackle relevant themes with impressive sensitivity. With Palmer (Justin Timberlake), it reveals the stigma that haunts ex-convicts well after they’ve redeemed themselves. And with Sam (a charming Ryder Allen), it brings to light the heartbreaking and often dangerous bigotry queer children face. These are heavy issues, but Palmer takes them on with the utmost care and compassion. Though it reads cheesy at times, the sweetness is a welcome note considering the more tragic turns narratives like this tend to take. Empathetic and hopeful, Palmer is a pleasant enough film about second chances and found families.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Alisha Wainwright, Carson Minniear, Charmin Lee, Craig Sheffer, Dane Rhodes, Dean Winters, Hero Hunter, J.D. Evermore, Jake Brennan, Jesse C. Boyd, June Squibb, Juno Temple, Justin Timberlake, Lance E. Nichols, Nicholas X. Parsons, Ray Gaspard, Ryder Allen, Stacie Davis, Stephen Louis Grush, Theodus Crane, Wynn Everett

Director: Fisher Stevens

Rating: R

Written by Diablo Cody (Jennifer’s Body) and directed by Zelda Williams (daughter of the late Robin Williams), Lisa Frankenstein is a playful, funny, and stylish take on ‘80s horror and coming-of-age romcoms. Unfortunately, those traits alone are not enough to give the film the weight it needs to stand the test of time. There’s a clumsiness to the direction that, ironically enough, makes the film seem like parts lousily stitched together, instead of a coherent whole. There are pauses that are too long, transitions that feel off, and questions left unanswered. Why does it feel natural for Lisa to kill people? Was she close to her mom? What does her relationship with The Creature indicate, apart from the trite and obvious “outcasts must stick together”? Lisa Frankenstein doesn’t have to answer all these to be a good film, but when things are shallowly rendered, they become hard to ignore. It prioritizes pulpy gimmicks and visual gags that are admittedly fun to watch, but leaves behind equally important matters that flesh out Lisa as a person.

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Romance

Actor: Ashton Leigh, Bryce Romero, Carla Gugino, Charlie Talbert, Cole Sprouse, Donna DuPlantier, Geraldine Singer, Henry Eikenberry, Jenna Davis, Jennifer Pierce Mathus, Joe Chrest, Joey Harris, Joshua Montes, Kathryn Newton, Liza Soberano, Luke Sexton, Paola Andino, Ray Gaspard, Ritchie Montgomery, Shane Partlow, Summer Selby, Sylvia Grace Crim, Trina LaFargue, Walker Babington, Wendy Miklovic

Director: Zelda Williams

Rating: PG-13