Dog’s Movie House: “Queen & Slim,” “Knives Out” Have Energy To Spare But Different Levels Of Effectiveness!

“Queen & Slim” tells the tale of a Tinder Date gone horribly wrong. The two meet at a diner and the two have no apparent chemistry. It’s not a bad date, just bland, with Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) not making any real headway with Queen (a very good turn by newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith). As they’re driving home, they are pulled over by one of the most psychotic cops in cinematic history, The cop also happens to be white. Things go south quickly and Slim ends up killing the cop in a clear case of self defense. They are then forced to go on the run as the dash cam video goes viral. They end up folk heroes for their actions even as law enforcement commences a huge manhunt for the two of them. During their time on the run, the two fall in love.

I admire what the filmmakers are trying to do, I really do. But the prolem lies in the execution of the story. I understand that I can never put myself in the shoes of a black man or woman who has been harassed by the police. I know it’s happened and continues to happen, but the way the initial encounter between our two leads and the cop is so over-the-top that it’s extremely hard to believe. First time feature director Melina Matsoukas has a terrific command of the camera and is a filmmaker to watch. It’s Lena Waithe’s script that is problematic. It wants to be a thriller like “Bonnie & Clyde” but also wants to be a dramatic exercise in love and finding the good in an inherently ugly situation. It’s ambitious but ultimately fails because the tone changes from time to time. It results in characters doing stuff real people won’t do and it takes you out of the movie from time to time.

Overall, “Queen & Slim” deserves to be seen for the ambitious scope of the film and the engaging performances. If it isn’t always successful, it’s not for a lack of trying. 3 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!

Next we have”Knives Out” a terrificly written and acted whodunit by writer/director Rian Johnson (“The Last Jedi”). The story’s like an Agatha Christie story on steroids and I mean that in a good way. When best selling novelist Harland Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead after his 85th birthday party, his combative family become suspects in his murder. Arriving to help the police figure out what happened is noted detectivee Benoit LeBlanc (the awesome Daniel Craig). What follows is a masterclass in both suspense and comedy featuring an all-star cast at the top of their respective games.

Telling you any more about the plot wouild be a grave disservice. The less you know about this movie the better. I will say that Johnson does a terrific job of directing this ensemble with a bouncing energy that makes every single line of dialogue a sure-fire zinger.

The cast here is clearly having a ball, with notable actors like Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Ana De Armas, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, and Chris Evans turning in fantastic performances. Evans, in particular, does a great job of shedding his Captain America image. Special points go to Craig as the effortlessly charming LeBlanc, playing the detective like a cross between Foghorn Leghorn and Hercule Poiroit!

“KNives Out” is one of the best films of the year, hands down. See it with friends, loved one, or hell, complete strangers, It is definitely worth the price of admission! 5 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!

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