Mini Movie Review: THE VALLEY OF GWANGI (1969)

I’d been wanting to see the 1969 fantasy/sci-fi movie, THE VALLEY OF GWANGI, for decades. Set around the turn of the previous century somewhere far South of the U.S. border (though actually filmed in Spain), the storyline largely consists of cowboys in a circus encountering dinosaurs within a mysterious hidden valley. Not heeding the ancient warning about the dangers of humans playing with fire and, instead, leaving well enough alone, the leaders of the traveling circus, along with a humorously bombastic British scientist (Laurence Naismith), decide to capture and exploit a dinosaur for financial gain and glory. Over-acting and hack dialogue run a-plenty here. These all add to the wonderful high camp factor, such as by Freda Jackson, who plays blind gypsy soothsayer Tia Zorina preaching gloom and doom. Handsome 1960s and ‘70s leading man James Franciscus is an added plus in terms of some sex appeal. The true stars of this cult classic, however, are Ray Harryhausen’s beautiful stop-motion animated creatures, especially Gwangi, a rather beefed up looking, jaw snapping Allosaurus, and Jerome Moross’ lush soundtrack with all its dramatically nuanced orchestration. It’s been a while since I’ve felt so impressed with an old movie’s soundtrack. I’ve since ordered it on CD.

For people like myself who enjoy old Technicolor fantasy productions, especially those incorporating Harryhausen’s imaginative craftwork, THE VALLEY OF GWANGI is delightful to watch. Produced when stop-motion fantasy films’ popularity had waned and B movie Westerns were going a similar way, this film uniquely unites the two genres into a thrilling and pleasantly laughable romp.

Mini Movie Review: ASH WEDNESDAY (1973)

In tribute to the recently deceased Helmut Berger, I just watched him in ASH WEDNESDAY (1973), which is basically a well-done (though over-acted in places) film portraiture of the beautiful actress Elizabeth Taylor. Mr. Berger shows up as the handsome, admiring stranger.

The movie revolves around Barbara Sawyer (Taylor), who has been staying at an exclusive medical clinic in Switzerland. Aged around fifty-five years old, she consents to major plastic surgery in hopes of winning back her husband Mark Sawyer (Henry Fonda), a wealthy lawyer who has stepped out on her for a younger woman. After the successful surgery, a much younger looking Barbara remains in Switzerland, staying at a five star hotel within the Alps. There, one evening, she meets Erich (Berger). A mutual adoration and flirtation between them begins, though Barbara continues to hope for a reconciliation with Mark.

I enjoy these kind of movies where the focus is on one or two people as art, similar to a thoughtfully taken photograph or painted portrait of someone(s). After the surgery (which is somewhat graphic, incorporating footage of an actual facelift) and her visage is no longer covered in bruise makeup and bandages, Ms. Taylor is stunning throughout the rest of the production. She wears exquisite dresses, coats, jewelry, and elegant hairstyles. And Helmut Berger– twelve years Ms. Taylor’s junior– is gorgeous. The lingering looks between the two are deliciously smoldering. I drew comfort in knowing that Ms. Taylor had likely not undergone that degree of plastic surgery (if any) before this movie was made. Aged forty or forty-one at the time of filming, she was clearly as beautiful as she ever had been throughout her already long career.

This is a slow burn sizzle of on-screen pulchritude, like enjoying sensual visual art in a gallery or museum. The music enhances the movie’s atmosphere of languid, haunting, melancholy, and longing unfulfilled, but all expressed gently and sublimely.


DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES was fun, growing more compelling and interesting as it went along. There was nothing particularly original about it. I laughed a handful of times, especially during the scenes in the graveyard, where the group of flawed, likable heroes talked to animated corpses. On occasion, the vibe was a little reminiscent of Monty Python, which I appreciated.

The CGI quality was uneven, but much of the scenery and sets were exquisite. I did enjoy some of the fantastical creatures, while others looked quite hokey. Because I played Dungeons and Dragons a few times over the summer of 1982 when I was a teenager, I recognized a few creatures and magical beings in the movie, which evoked a mild sense of nostalgia for me.

The cast was excellent, with everyone’s acting somewhat compensating for the predictable, often seemingly hack-written script. I was especially impressed with the fairly brief screen presence of the strikingly handsome and regal Rege-Jean Page, who stars in the Netflix series BRIDGERTON. The way he walked and carried himself was both fluid and stately, an alchemy of strong, gentle, graceful, sexy. We viewers will likely see more of him in movies to come.

This production was a silly romp, pleasantly campy at times, and just what I needed for a Thursday night, now that my weekly TV shows are on hiatus for the summer and possibly beyond due to the WGA strike.

Mini Movie Review: BEDAZZLED (from 1967)

I finally watched the original BEDAZZLED (1967). What a hilarious romp of color, camp, whimsy, and even clever moments. At the end of the day, I wanted to screen some light fun and got exactly that with this comedy. The two musical numbers especially had me laughing, hard— those and a sequence in a convent towards the end. Dudley Moore and Peter Cook were handsome young men in their day. And Raquel Welch is always lovely to watch.

Dudley Moore plays Stanley Moon, a young bachelor who works as a cook in a greasy spoon diner in London, England. A shy man with low self esteem, he is in love with his waitress coworker Margaret (Eleanor Bron). One day after Stanley attempts suicide, the Devil shows up at his apartment in the form of a young man named George Spiggott (Peter Cook). Hilarity ensues after this meeting as Mr. Spiggott grants Stanley seven wishes. Each wish results in a different life situation for Stanley where he is somehow closely involved with Margaret. However, due to Mr. Spiggott’s/Satan’s trickery, some aspect ends up not quite being right for him in each scenario. Along the way, Stanley and George engage in funny but thoughtful conversations about deep matters, such as sex and relationships.

The overall message of finding value in the life one already has comes through in this creative, somewhat dated, somewhat timeless production. What is particularly impressive is that Peter Cook wrote the script and Dudley Moore composed all of the music. These talented men were in their late twenties and early thirties, respectively. For those, like myself, who enjoy 1960s music and fashions and British humor thumbing its nose at uptight establishment mores and Christianity, this is a particularly delightful watch.

Movie Review: M3GAN

Recently, M3GAN was available on the streaming platform Peacock for free, so I watched it. Two words immediately come to my mind that sum up this fun, intriguing movie: wonderfully warped. For those, such as myself, who like the horror sub-genre of creepy doll movies and TV/streaming shows, when done well, this one has an added, updated twist. M3GAN (short for Model 3 Generative Android) is not possessed by an evil spirit or somehow controlled by a person harboring sinister motives, but, rather, is an AI robot toy.

The possible perils of AI and over-reliance on high-tech are powerfully explored in M3GAN. Directed by Gerard Johnstone and written by Akela Cooper, from a story by her and James Wan, this dark comedy science fiction horror is fascinating, suspenseful, campy, and thrilling from start to finish. The soundtrack comprises a lot of interesting music and songs (such as “Titanium” and “Toy Soldiers,” both by Anthony Willis, to name just a few), all quite fresh and stimulating to listen to.

Allison Williams plays Gemma, a young thirty-something robotics scientist who, along with two assisting coworkers, begin to create M3GAN (played by Amie Donald with Jenna Davis voicing the character). She finds herself the appointed guardian of her nine-year-old niece Cady (Violet McGraw), whose parents have just died in an automobile accident. Having temporarily shelved the M3GAN project due to technical glitches and other work pressures at Funki, a high-tech toy company in Seattle, WA, Gemma fast tracks completing it as a way to offer companionship to Cady and child-rearing help for her. The single, career-focused Gemma has never been a parent. To the dismay of Lydia (Amy Usherwood), a court-appointed child therapist, the traumatized, grief-stricken Cady develops a strong bond with M3GAN, who plays with, comforts, protects, and even prompts the girl to complete basic tasks. At one point, Lydia briefly but clearly explains to Gemma how healthy emotional attachment for a child develops. She expresses concern about Cady having an unhealthy emotional attachment to M3GAN, this seemingly replacing a primary, child-to-caregiver bond with Gemma.

Assigned by Gemma to emotionally and physically protect Cady, M3GAN does so with increasing fervor, developing what seems like self-awareness along the way. She readily assimilates data from online and her surroundings, though M3GAN has not been given adequate and clear “parameters” and “protocols” by her inventor to understand and discuss, let alone act upon, ethically challenging topics, such as death, with Cady. Jarringly, in an upbeat girl’s voice, the child robot delivers detailed scientific, household facts and, later, opinions, such as when sitting across from Cady and Gemma, growing intrusive between the two as the movie unfolds. These moments of the three main characters at the dining room table are a tableau of modern tension in so many homes of today: the living, vital connection between human beings on one hand with the nearby intrusion of heavily relied-upon technology on the other. Gemma’s turning off M3GAN, which becomes more challenging to do over time, is like any of us deliberately switching off our smart phones and/or computers, “going offline” for a while, though often with concerted effort. Like M3GAN, communication devices may seem to talk to their owners (and some, like Alexa and ChatGPT, actually do) via simply their forefront importance embedded in daily life, diverting us away from holding our living, breathing loved ones in our minds, hearts, and arms as consistently as we could and should.

M3GAN’s physicality is a fascinating mix of interesting, amusing, creepy, and frightening. Made of plastic and titanium to “withstand” hard use, she seems otherworldly and is nearly indestructible. The actual doll for the production was a mix of animatronic puppet for closeups and dialogue scenes and real person (Amie Donald) for full-bodied motion and action sequences. Digital effects by Weta Workshop enhanced her movements. In some places, M3GAN’s face was CGI. The doll’s large, pristine irises shine like strange jewels, eyelids blinking quickly with a faint clicking-whirring sound, even these small movements mechanical and calculated. Calculated. M3GAN is that with everything she says and does, fine tuning her calculations with more data that she gathers. She sits in a corner of Cady’s bedroom each night, guarding her companion and charge, ready to switch on if needed after powering down. From beneath, she is eerily lit up whenever she shifts in her seat by what I gathered is her charging station, like keeping a computer or phone plugged in overnight. Recollecting these and other scenes still sends small chills down my back.

M3GAN moves gracefully and dangerously on her two feet, dancing in both a calculated yet child-like carefree way as she works herself into another frenzy of aggression. Actress Amie Donald was diligently trained in executing her varied movements, including stunts, the results impressive and frightening. Add to this the clean voice of Jenna Davis, the doll sings on more than one occasion, sounding deceptively innocent yet ominous, a poised tone of self-serving intent, her accompanying attire, face and overall demeanor subtly smug. The singing actually reaches a point of absurdity in the face of extreme circumstances, which had me both laughing and feeling tense with suspense. Often, the most scary stuff in life is human or human-made. Same goes for the absurd. I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie pull off balancing scary and absurd so well like this one does.

M3GAN gradually grows sinister in demeanor, erupting forth in a scene within a forest where she runs on all fours, in pursuit like a a predator. A friend of mine remarked on how effectively creepy and, perhaps even, prescient this portrayal is, conveying the idea that she might represent the next level of human evolution. I had not thought of my friend Susy Fleisher’s observation and speculation here, but the implications are intriguing and thought-provoking, given how so much predatory, base behavior– a possible devolution– among humans is occurring, juxtaposed with all the persistent efforts of some people’s admirable, noteworthy actions towards healthy progress. Will humanity end up going backwards more than not, equivalent to stooping down on all fours? Would that change in physical stance actually be “backwards” and all bad? The curious mind wonders, explores. If nothing else, M3GAN is a sober reminder of how, like actual humans, AI too can have predatory animal intelligence because this is so built into nature, which AI imitates, since it can be programmed to do so. This would be done by some creators of AI, for instance, in hopes of adding a more human “feel” and/or to bolster the AI’s effectiveness as weapons of war or well-honed private security tools. But, like M3GAN, can more sophisticated AI turn on its makers and/or those it is meant to help? Is high-tech, AI or otherwise, already turning on us simply by our increased dependency on it and the subsequent intrusions into our real life relationships that seem to have occurred like someone steadily accruing thousands of paper cuts or frogs sitting in slowly heating water, blissfully unaware of heading towards the boiling point? The film M3GAN is a warning. At least one of its two producers, James Wan, has said as much: “Pretty much the concept is about embracing technology too much and relying too much on it. And what happens when technology runs amok. It’s a commentary on the world we live in and it feels relevant.” (Quote taken from WIKIPEDIA.)

Such a carefully, humorously crafted movie as M3GAN, with its over-the-top moments, economically and well-placed special effects, and weirdly glamorous, alien-like title character all amount to what I consider high camp. This film is a rare, unique mix, resulting in an alchemy that works. For those who like this sub-genre of horror, new, creative ideas and images are presented within an often predictable plot line. Many movies and books that break new ground balance this with familiar, well traversed terrain. M3GAN is such a movie, one that will likely (if it hasn’t already) draw in some viewers who normally would not care to watch creepy doll horror. The social commentary and ethical dilemmas concerning technology presented in this screenplay elevate it to something more than just its sub-genre. For better and for worse, it may well inspire a whole new sub-sub-genre of movies to be made, concerning AI robots.

There are two current versions of this movie, the initial theatrical release and the more blood and f-bomb filled director’s cut, both of which appear to be the same length in running time. They are each available for streaming on Peacock. The “cleaned up” version had scenes re-shot and many swears deleted in order for it to obtain a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association, so a wider audience could be reached. That seems to have paid off, since the movie cost a total of twelve million dollars to make and cleared almost fifteen times that amount in the box office.

I sense I will always remember M3GAN like other unforgettable iconic screen images, such as the large make-shift face of the Wizard in 1939’s THE WIZARD OF OZ or the Wicked Witch of the West in that same classic film.

M3GAN, embodying high-tech gone dangerously awry, is an entertaining, often laughable, yet foreboding study in us humans being at risk of steadily losing connection with each other and the natural world and how chaotic and destructive that will increasingly look and feel if left unchecked.

Yes to Creepy Doll Horror Movies, No to Chucky of CHILD’S PLAY

While I very much enjoy well-crafted creepy doll horror movies (and I’m in the midst of writing a full review of the well-done movie M3GAN), I do not care for Chucky of the CHILD’S PLAY franchise. I watched an early film in that series (probably the first one, from 1988) and found Chucky to be crass and obnoxious. From what I’ve heard and read, that character becomes quite disgusting in subsequent films. I watch this horror sub-genre for the psychological suspense, intrigue, eeriness, camp, and even the strange beauty that some dolls possess. I do not see such movies to be grossed out by crude and disgusting demeanor and behavior, such as what’s displayed by the main villain throughout the CHILD’S PLAY productions. (And now I see there’s a TV/streaming series called CHUCKY. Ugh.) No thank you, Chucky; you’re not for me.

Micro/Mini Movie Review: KRAMPUS (2015)

I watched the dark comedy and horror movie KRAMPUS (2015) last night. What fun, particularly the portrayals of and interactions among members of a dysfunctional American family. There is a beautifully done animation sequence for a flashback of childhood memories by the Christmastime hosting family’s German grandmother. The movie is not at all gory. Krampus himself looked quite menacing yet fascinating.

Even Christmas has its dark side.


(Spoiler alert: I did my best here to not give anything away, but I eventually make vague references to a few significant story developments I found hard to avoid mentioning in order to still provide a coherent, thought-out review of this movie.)

After a four month wait for BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER to become available to rent on a streaming platform (Disney), I watched it yesterday (Saturday) morning and was pleasantly impressed. First of all, this sequel to 2018’s BLACK PANTHER served as a means for me to properly grieve the passing of Chadwick Boseman, who died in late August of 2020 from colon cancer. This movie opens with his character, King T’Challa, the Black Panther, dying off screen from some unspecified illness from which his scientist sister, Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) is unable to save him. Shortly after this, Shuri stands by her mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), who leads the fictional African nation of Wakanda in a beautiful burial and memorial ceremony of their beloved monarch. I wept, partly over the loss of this elegantly regal, dignified character but mostly over the death of such a fine and beautiful actor. I imagine other viewers had a similar cathartic experience. Sometimes, a movie character and the actor playing them uncannily seem to harmoniously intertwine on screen and in real life. T’Challa/Boseman is one such example I will always remember with warmth and a deep respect.

Queen Ramonda is soon beset with challenges, initially concerning the protection of her country’s vibranium from other nations and parties wanting to obtain it for power and profit. However, another problem arises: the threat from Talokan, a mysterious underwater kingdom originating from the ancient Mayan civilization. The Talokanil also have plentiful access to vibranium. Their sovereign state is led by Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejia, full name Jose Tenoch Huerta Mejia), a half human, half ocean deity and anti-hero. Viewing Wakanda as responsible for publicizing to the world the existence of precious virbranium, Namor seeks out Queen Ramonda through a clandestine night-time visit to her homeland. During this unwelcome encounter, he demands her kingdom’s cooperation in delivering to him a young female scientist at MIT, who has invented and built a machine that detects vibranium. The already action-filled narrative picks up pace from there.

I was thrilled to see Angela Bassett in her role as Ramonda carrying the mantel of monarch and enjoying a more central role in this sequel. I so wanted to see more of her in BLACK PANTHER, and this follow-up delivered. Like the late Mr. Boseman’s, her screen presence is poised, regal, and elegant, harkening back to beautiful, larger than life movie stars of decades past. With a natural charisma, she wears her character’s grand and exquisite dresses and hats, adding much to the already lush-filled imagery throughout this fun work of cinema. Ms. Bassett spends all of her scenes gracefully portraying a leader with deep intelligence, strength, and compassion. Her 2022 Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress is well-deserved here.

The rest of the cast ranges from good to excellent, with Tenoch Huerta Mejia, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danai Gurira standing out alongside Bassett (well, almost alongside her). I was glad to see the old Marvel character Namor portrayed here as a Mayan instead of a black-haired white male like he originally was shown in the comics, starting in 1939. His grievances stem from his ancestors’ oppression at the hands of Spanish conquistadors, adding nuance and complexity to him. Handsome Mexican actor Huerta Mejia’s screen presence is sincere and passionate. Ms. Nyong’o as Nakia, the Wakandan spy and former love interest of King T’Challa, shows up a ways into the movie but, when she does, her familiar, serious persona quickly drew me in, as if I’d just seen her on screen the other day, not almost five years ago. She is a woman with gravitas and a sense of purpose in her face and movements. The same can be said of Gurira’s Okoye, General of the Dora, an elite group of Wakandan women warriors. These powerful women are forces to be reckoned with, matched well in strength and charisma by Namor.

Letitia Wright and Dominique Thorne are the two somewhat weak links in the cast. They are good, not quite excellent. I may be seeming unfair here, but hear me out for a moment. In her role as Princess Shura, younger sister of King T’Challa, Wright is lovely and fun as the geeky, super competent scientist in BLACK PANTHER. She is this again in WAKANDA FOREVER, only her role eventually has additional shoes to fill, a transition which I found hard for her to believably complete. Even though the actress is in her late twenties, Wright is rather girlish in her voice, emotional energy, and physicality, hence not quite grounded in fully mature adulthood and the deeper relaying of confidence that goes with that, particularly for someone in a position of power and authority. Perhaps, however, Ms. Wright will mature more in the next installment of this series. I will say, though, that she acts as a believable older sister type of friend to Thorne’s Riri Williams, a young genius MIT student. Their combined moments on screen are sweet and endearing. I did find myself having to effort a little bit around suspending my disbelief over Thorne’s portrayal of someone so scientifically brilliant. I imagined her spending most of her time and energy doing daredevil things like racing cars, a hobby of Riri’s in the movie, rather than frequently studying advanced mathematics and science and inventing high tech. machinery. This could just be me, however, given that I’ve hardly ever spent any time with young geniuses, it having been decades since I last did so in college. The few I met and can most readily recall were subdued and noticeably book smart. In any case, Ms. Thorne, who is now twenty-five, is believably youthful as nineteen-year-old Riri, amazed in the face of so much wonder around her. She is probably a significant, relatable vehicle for much of the youth watching this movie, so there is that, while I’m a middle aged man more readily relating to the characters who are over thirty. To other viewers, perhaps Thorne’s Riri is excellent too.

Like BLACK PANTHER, WAKANDA FOREVER is a sweeping screen epic. All the lovely, cleanly done CGI of the colorful Talokanil is a beautiful addition to the mix of familiar Wakandan images. The focus on women as leaders and heroines in this sequel is a natural transition and evolution from the first movie. A proper honoring of King T’Challa’s memory and the male line of rulers before him is presented in a balanced, graceful way. And it is noteworthy that the large majority of the cast in this high budget blockbuster is Black and Latino. Far more high and lower budget productions with such casting of great, non-white talent need to be made, of course. This is so long, long overdue.

I’m skeptical of the power that will come through in the third installment of the BLACK PANTHER franchise. It is slated to be made, per the statement at the end of the movie’s credits that this entity will return. With King T’Challa (and Boseman himself) dead and buried and how BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER concludes, I can’t help but wonder how certain vacuums of presence that arose will be effectively, substantively filled. Will Letitia Wright be able to carry the third production? How much will Nyong’o and Gurira be able to help her along? It seems likely that these first two completed films will be very hard acts to follow, as is so often the case with sequels, especially second ones and beyond. Well, I guess we shall see.


THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES (released in December of 1973), is an obscure, low budget Gothic(ish) horror film starring the lovely 1950s scream queen Faith Domergue. John Ireland gets top billing and old-time horror movie actor David Carradine appears in a supporting role.

There are some gems within this campy, sometimes silly, movie, primarily Ms. Domergue, who was forty-eight or forty-nine during filming. The narrative is straightforward enough. A supernatural horror movie is being produced in an old mansion where seven residents met mysterious, violent deaths. The main star of the production, Gayle Dorian (Domergue), reads from the TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD as part of her screen role. In the nested film, Ms. Dorian is playing a 19th century witch in New England (or so it seems to take place there). Just outside of the house, her reading in the scene being filmed inadvertently, actually animates a long-dead resident. Violent incidents begin to happen, starting with the sudden death of Ms. Dorian’s pet cat.

The movie opens with Faith delivering a monologue in which she has cast a witch’s circle and is summoning a spirit. She brings pure elegance and intrigue to the rather routine, cliched material she is left to work with here. A pleasant foil to the character of Gayle is Eric Hartman (John Ireland), an impatient, veteran movie director. He and Gayle are old flames who maintain a romance-filled friendship and working relationship, including on this current project. Their brief moments of chemistry and tension seem genuine.

Ms. Domergue delivers at least one good one liner that I can recall, this occurring in a scene where she and a makeup man argue about her eye wrinkles being “laugh lines” vs. “crow’s feet.” She may have said another one elsewhere that I’ve already forgotten. Regardless, the actress’ delivery is consistently smooth and elegant, due to her beautifully unique sloe eyed face and seductive voice. Her dyed-brown hair enhanced with a fall is visually remarkable, a holdover from 1960s fashion. While watching, I wondered if the project was all largely built around this underrated star of B movies. A quick Google search indicated this was the second to last film she appeared in before retiring from cinema altogether. I got the sense that THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES was a homage to Faith.

Some particularly colorful supporting characters are Edgar Price (Carradine), the long-time caretaker of the home, and the drunken, frustrated Shakespearean actor Christopher Millan (Charles Macaulay). They offer more amusing moments to this campily entertaining screenplay. Writers Paul Harrison (who also directed) and Thomas J. Kelly go for the tongue-in-cheek, which comes through in many of the players’ sardonic responses to others on the set.

For people who enjoyed watching DARK SHADOWS and/or STRANGE PARADISE, this movie will likely seem to be inspired by those slightly earlier produced television series. I appreciated the look and feel of both of those shows (which I admittedly hardly watched) and this film, in each of which the grand house is a central character.

The movie within a movie approach is both fun and effective here, a classic means of turning a mirror on Hollywood and the movie making experience. We the audience are allowed both distance/larger perspective while also being drawn into the actors’ lives, especially Gayle’s and Eric’s. When reality outside of the dramatized, nested film production finally converges with the actual movie we the audience are watching, a sweeping sense of the theatrical happens. I often laughed out of amusement while smiling with a wistful respect for both the characters and actors playing them. It looked like everyone was having fun within this simple, now dated script and set up, even if this may actually not have been the case and only an illusion. But, playing with illusion is what movies are usually about in some way or another, and THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES is often a play of sorts and very much filled with verbal and visual play.

Mini Movie Review: BLONDE

I could not watch the Netflix movie BLONDE (2022) all the way through. After a while, I fast forwarded a lot to the end. What a relentlessly prolonged, dismal, degrading, nightmare presentation of Marilyn Monroe. Ana de Armas generally looked the part, though her slightly Cuban Spanish/Latinx accent tainted the illusion somewhat. That was the least of this awful production’s problems. Ms. Monroe is portrayed as a pathos soaked victim, and this never changes. I went from initially feeling sad to irritated to outraged. The narrative is fictional, but what a tawdry, even sleazy, regressive, disrespectful, misogynistic depiction of an iconic historical figure. Shame on the creators and marketers of such dreck.