Tipping Point: Our picks and pans ('Free Guy') – theday.com

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Published September 22. 2021 1:36PM 

Free Guy
Even Ryan Reynolds’ earnest charm can’t save this comedy, which feels like it simply borrowed ideas from earlier, better movies. Reynolds plays a non-playable (i.e., background) character in a video game who doesn’t realize he is simply a character in a made-up world. One day, he grabs sunglasses off someone else’s face and suddenly see the video-game-ness of it all. The message is about self-determination and individuality and blah blah blah. A few star cameos do liven things up — hello, Channing Tatum! If only “Thor: Ragnarök” director Taika Waititi, who plays an evil game mogul, had helmed this, “Free Guy” might have been something fresh and exciting. Instead, except for the faux explosions and gunfire, it’s just ho-hum.
— Kristina Dorsey
If I Leave Here Tomorrow — A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed on Thursday, Oct. 20, 1977. Typically for the time, we didn’t get the news until Friday, and my pal Steve Colwick (RIP) and I were sufficiently moved that we spent that evening on the front porch of my house near the Baylor campus, drinking Johnny Walker Red (the brand of choice in their song “Poison Whisky,” in which the narrator’s dad drinks himself to death. We weren’t trying for irony.) Over the years, my affection for Skynyrd faded and the band became cartoonish to me. This excellent documentary provides depth and humanity to an incredibly hard-working band of self-described rednecks whose legacy has all too frequently been reduced to symbolism and stereotype. Touching, moving, funny and tragic — and interviews over the course of the film with sole surviving original member Gary Rossington are wonderful.
— Rick Koster
Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed
This documentary starts as a celebration of Bob Ross, who helmed “The Joy of Painting” for years on TV. His easy-to-follow teaching methods and his soothing voice and messages of encouragement, which hovered somewhere between therapist and kindergarten teacher, made him a pop-culture figure in the 1980s and ’90s. And his extravagantly permed hair became his signature physical feature. But director Joshua Rofé delves into a dramatic aspect of his life, in the form of business partners Annette and Walt Kowalski, who took over the name and legacy of Ross after he died in 1995. Ross’s son Steve charges that the Kowalskis schemed to keep the Ross family out of Bob Ross Inc. The Kowalskis have made millions by merchandising the name and image of Bob Ross, and Steve hasn’t gotten a cent. There’s a reason the movie has the words “betrayal” and “greed” in its subtitle.
— Kristina Dorsey

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