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‘Mr. Harrigan’s Phone’ Review: Cell Service From the Afterlife - - county Harvey - county Lee - state Maine - city Hancock, county Lee - city Dennis, county Harvey
‘Mr. Harrigan’s Phone’ Review: Cell Service From the Afterlife
Dennis Harvey Film Critic Located halfway between the coming-of-age nostalgia of “Stand by Me” and the horror content of … well, nearly every other Stephen King-derived movie, “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” ends up too mild on either count to make a memorable impression. Still, John Lee Hancock’s adaptation of the same-named novella (which led off King’s 2020 collection “If It Bleeds”) handles the rather thin source material adeptly enough to make for an entertaining middleweight drama tinged with the supernatural. It premieres on Netflix Oct. 5, getting Halloween month off to a moderately creepy start.  Craig (Colin O’Brien) is still a child when his mother dies of cancer in 2003, leaving him alone in his Maine small town with an equally bereft father (Joe Tippett). It is a welcome distraction, then, when his Scripture recitals in church attract the attention of Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland), a billionaire financial tycoon who’s retired to this nondescript burg in order to spend his twilight years out of the spotlight. His eyes are failing, so he offers Craig a regular after-school gig of reading aloud from literary classics — starting, rather inappropriately, with “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” but soon embracing Dickens, Conrad, Dostoevsky and so forth.
Liam Neeson - Gerard Butler - Buster Keaton - ’Sisu’ Review: The Road Runner Versus Nazis - - USA - county Butler - Smith - county Harvey - Finland - county Will - city Dennis, county Harvey
’Sisu’ Review: The Road Runner Versus Nazis
Dennis Harvey Film Critic Jalmari Helander hasn’t made a feature since 2014’s “Big Game,” then the most expensive Finnish film to date. It was an unabashed, bombastic, good-humored action crowd-pleaser that indeed pleased crowds — at festivals, while mysteriously failing to catch on with general audiences. Presumably his concept was just too “high” for mainstream viewers to swallow: Though they don’t have any problem with Gerard Butler or Will Smith doing similar honors, it seemed too much to accept a 13-year-old Finn boy singlehandedly rescuing the president of the United States from an obstacle course of assassination peril.  That failure must have hurt; Helander has spent the interim on episodic work. His new “Sisu” is, in many ways, cut from the same cloth as “Big Game” as a splashy popcorn action piece unconcerned with credibility, pushing well-worn ideas to outlandish, and outrageously entertaining, ends. But the writer-director has hedged his bets by moving one key piece in the game to the opposite end of the board. This time, instead of a juvenile protagonist that made viewers wonder whether they were watching a movie for kids or for grown-ups (the answer “both” apparently confused them), we get a crusty coot quite spry enough to take on all foes. Which bad guys might pretty much be termed “the entire Third Reich.” 
Antonio Banderas - ‘The Enforcer’ Review: Antonio Banderas Plays a Hitman-Turned-Hero in This Routine Crime Meller - - county Harvey - city Dennis, county Harvey - county Bandera - Beyond
‘The Enforcer’ Review: Antonio Banderas Plays a Hitman-Turned-Hero in This Routine Crime Meller
Dennis Harvey Film Critic “Tough guy with heart of gold” is the cliché that provides the gist to “The Enforcer,” and nothing much turns up to refresh or complicate that hoary hook. This criminal-underworld thriller benefits from Antonio Banderas’ star charisma as a veteran mob strong-arm who turns against his own organization in order to rescue an imperiled teen. Richard Hughes’ feature directorial debut also elevates matters somewhat with a slick and stylish presentation. But the results remain too hogtied by original “Point Break” scribe W. Peter Iliff’s routine, elemental screenplay to rise above the level of disposable genre fodder.  Cuda (Banderas) is just out of prison, having dutifully taken the heat for deeds done in service to Miami syndicate boss Estelle (Kate Bosworth). He hopes to restore relations with his 15-year-old daughter, but she’s wary after his long absence, his ex-wife outright hostile. Perhaps as a regretful result, he takes a fatherly interest in Billie (Zolee Griggs), a foster-home runaway who’s also 15. He prevents her getting in trouble for shoplifting, securing a motel room so she’ll be off the streets he’s all too aware are unsafe. Yet Billie is soon abducted from that short-term haven, presumably by sex traffickers, and it doesn’t take Cuda long to figure out that the perps are very likely tied to his own employer.