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    Wednesday, August 10, 2022

    Tipping Point: Our picks and pans ('Red Notice,' 'Come and Take It,' 'Red Notice')


    King Richard

    What an inspiring movie. And I don’t mean that in a shallow, shiny way. It has grit and honesty and humor. “King Richard” focuses on Richard Williams’ efforts to turn daughters Venus and Serena into tennis greats. Spoiler alert: He succeeds. Will Smith gives one of his best performances as Richard, a confounding individual who has studied up on tennis and has an unerring sense of how to get the best from his talented kids without ruining them. He works to get his daughters into the very white tennis world, and, in so many ways, he is their protector. Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton are both very good (at acting and at hitting the heck out of tennis balls) as, respectively, Venus and Serena, but Aunjanue Ellis almost steals the movie as their mother, whose calmness should never be mistaken for weakness.

    — Kristina Dorsey


    Come and Take It

    Ted Nugent

    One of the funniest parodies I've seen lately is a video of a "new Ted Nugent single" called "Come and Take It." The send-up of Nugent's decades-long devolution into asininity — both musically and lyrically — is as sharp as one of the hunter's blades Ted uses to field-strip the elks he stalks. The images and graphics remind one of the technical sophistication achieved when Pac Man was invented, which only adds to the primitive hilarity of the song. "Come and Take It" generously borrows its musical structure from the stomp 'n' shout chorus of Billy Squier's "The Stroke," and the lyrics consist of rhyming dictionary sloganeering that would inspire philosophers like Kyle Rittenhouse to buy a whole new arsenal of assault weapons and race across state lines to defend our First and Second Amendments. WAIT! You're telling me this ISN'T a parody?! This really IS the new Ted Nugent single?! ... Oh. Well ... In that case — politics aside — "Come and Take It" is just emetic-strength in its embarrassing lack of anything remotely listenable or redeeming. Hard rock has never sounded worse.

    — Rick Koster 


    Red Notice

    Should I call this a paint-by-numbers action movie? Or should I refer to it instead as a generic product of the Hollywood machine? In other words, you won’t be surprised by much of what goes on here as two globe-trotting thieves battle each other (and an FBI agent) as they try to steal a treasured item worth untold riches. What makes it more than same-ol-same-ol is the presence and charisma of its trio of stars: Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and especially Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds’ rat-a-tat delivery of some very funny lines is “Notice’s” saving grace, and I kept wondering how many of those he improvised. I’m guessing a lot. All I can say is: thanks, Ryan.

    — Kristina Dorsey

    Will Smith (center) in "King Richard." (HBO Max/TNS)
    From left, Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds in "Red Notice." (Frank Masi/Netflix/TNS)

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