Wild Rose and Stuber

Wild Rose is a lovely, intriguing little film while Stuber is a complete mess from beginning to end.

Wild RoseWild Rose ranks with this year’s The Mustang and Fighting With My Family as great, largely unpublicized films that few people will see. Given the horrendous heat the Midwest is facing, this is the perfect movie for an excuse to escape to the theatre.

In short, Jessie Buckley gives a magnetic performance as Rose, a Scottish woman who has just been released from a prison in her homeland where she has spent the prior year. With a great voice and a desire to pursue her goal of becoming a country singer in Nashville, she is confronted by the demands of resuming her role as a single mother of two young children.

The children have been raised by her mother Marion, played with the expected punch and style by the legendary Julie Walters. Given that grandmother has not permitted the two kids to visit their mom in prison, everyone in this family is left in a state of confusion. Troubles are enhanced by the fact that Rose is on home detention with an affection for alcohol that serves to drown her sorrows.

Rose develops a relationship with Susannah (Sophie Okonedo), a woman who has hired her as a housekeeper, after she discovers Rose’s extraordinary singing talents. As Susannah tries to help her gain financial support to pursue her goal of making it to Nashville, Rose is forced to come to grips with reality, namely the conflict of choosing a career that may cause her to loose the ability to care for her children.

And it is here that this film will leave you occasionally wiping away tears. While the family dynamic is developed in a profoundly intelligent manner, wait until you see Ms. Buckley sing. There are some extraordinary moments that you will never forget, the first of them being the soundtrack that opens the movie as Rose is being released from prison.

Unfortunately, be prepared for this fine film’s only downside. Given that the characters are from Scotland, the accents are so profound that I personally was left wishing that Director Tom Harper had released the film with subtitles. While you gradually are able to capture most of the meaningful dialogue, wait until you see Rose talking to a stranger during her brief stay in Nashville. As this gentleman listened to her speak he looked at her quizzically and stated that he was having a hard time understanding her. As I sat in my seat I laughed thinking, “Good God man, you’re not the only one.”

Though some critics will disagree, Stuber is a complete waste of time.

StuberDon’t get me wrong, I love both of the principle stars, but their interrelationship amounts to little more than juvenile madness promoted as cinematic entertainment.

Dave Bautista, who is extraordinarily funny playing Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, plays Vic Manning, a police officer whose female partner is gunned down as they pursue a violent gang. In the process, his vision is impaired, and this becomes a big problem when he receives a tip on locating the killer in question.

And it is at this point that the film becomes a ridiculous mess. Bautista’s Officer Manning recruits an Uber driver to help him in his pursuit, and their relationship quickly becomes mind numbing. Quite frankly, I kept trying to ignore this as Kumail Nanjiani plays the Uber driver, and I have always treasured his role in The Big Sick (2017).

Here however, Mr. Nanjiani’s character, known as Stu, is little more than a naïve mess as he finds himself caught in a series of violent encounters as he wrestles with his twisted relationship with a girlfriend played by Betty Gilpin.

Unfortunately, the number of violent gun battles that take place in this movie reach the point where you are likely to fight the urge to leave the theatre. Wait till you see how a gang of violent men armed with machine guns are killed by Bautista and Nanjiani as one is only armed with a handgun while the other successfully throws canned soup without getting shot.

This movie qualifies as one of the worst films released in 2019.