Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hell or High Water: Movie Review


Action, adventure and an entertaining crime caper.
It’s West Texas. Small towns, dirt roads, dirtier cars and well-traveled criminals. Meet the Howard brothers Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster); they’re about to rob a bank. Hell or High Water is an electrifying good story. Part crime drama, part family relations, part heist movie merged into a film that is pure good story-telling and mesmerizing filmmaking. 2016

Directed by: David Mackenzie

Screenplay by: Taylor Sheridan

Starring: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Intervention: Movie Review

Comedy and drama in an ensemble about marriage and life.

The Intervention is the first feature film written and directed by actress Clea DuVall and she hits that sweet spot between comedy and drama. It’s an ensemble piece about four couples coming together for a weekend getaway at an old family estate in Savannah, Georgia. Although as the title suggests, it’s not a simple gathering, it’s an intervention. 2016

Directed by: Clea DuVall

Screenplay by: Clea Duvall

Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Cobie Smulders, Vincent Piazza, Ben Schwartz, Jason Ritter

Friday, August 26, 2016

XOXO: Movie Review

Boring characters wander around at a music festival.

XOXO is an electronic dance music festival out in the desert. A rave, drugs, black lights, and an opportunity for DJs to make a name for themselves. And if all of our main characters can get there, then their lives will “collide in one frenetic, dream-chasing, hopelessly romantic night.” Or at least that’s what the plotline insists will happen. The frenetic nature, or dream-like, romantic atmosphere is never really conveyed. 2016

Directed by: Christopher Louie

Screenplay by: Dylan Meyer, Christopher Louie

Starring: Graham Phillips, Sarah Hyland

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Duel: Movie Review


Too many storylines spoil the intrigue and mystery.
The Duel’s description suggested that it was going for a mystery/thriller twist on a classic western. It feels about perfect time for such a send-up of genres. But the movie is actually a collection of about a dozen great ideas, only half thought out, all clashing with one another. There’s a good movie in there somewhere, but it’s hard to find. A Texas ranger is sent to a small community investigating mysterious deaths, and he got lost – or the movie did. 2016

Directed by: Kieran Darcy-Smith

Screenplay by: Matt Cook

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Billionaire Ransom: Movie Review (AKA Take Down)


Great setting, poor execution.
Take a bunch of over-privileged rich kids with daddy issues, send them to a remote island for a survival course, put some bad guys seeking a big pay day after them, and you’ve got Billionaire Ransom. The idea behind this survival course is that it’s a wilderness school where spoiled brats will learn to become men. The idea behind this movie is that these kids will be forced to put their survival skills to good use when they’re held for ransom. 2016

Directed by: Jim Gillespie

Screenplay by: Alexander Ignon

Starring: Jeremy Sumpter, Phoebe Tonkin, and Ed Westwick

Friday, August 19, 2016

Spaceman: Movie Review

A baseball biopic filled with comedy and heart.

When you start a film with “Most of this actually happened”, you better follow that up with a lot of off-the-wall, too-crazy-to-be-true stuff. Spaceman is the story of MLB pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee whose career was apparently filled with on and off-field antics, but the movie follows his life after he loses his Montreal Expos contract, and although that does make the movie a bit more pedestrian, it still has a lot of humorous moments and a lot of heart.   2016

Directed by: Brett Rapkin

Screenplay by: Brett Rapkin

Starring: Josh Duhamel

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

War Dogs: Movie Review

Balances the true story with comedy.

War Dogs starts cynical. War is not about freedom or whatever other noble pursuit the government is using the media to sell the public on; it’s about money. A movie about war, weapons dealings, illegal actions and shady government contracts isn’t necessarily a comedy. But combine that with two pot-smoking, wise-cracking idiots, and you’ve got War Dogs – a comedy. It balance its cynical message and extreme story by always staying on the right side of funny.   2016

Directed by: Todd Phillips

Screenplay by: Stephen Chin, Todd Phillips, Jason Smilovic

Starring: Miles Teller, Jonah Hill

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Joshy: Movie Review


Engaging characters shine through in a dark comedy balancing humour and tragedy.
Joshy’s tagline “The wedding’s off. The party’s on.” might make you think of a pure comedy born from a romantic comedy-styled break-up. You would probably be forgiven even though that’s not it. However, it is the type of movie where the less you know going in, the better it is. So I’ll just say, it’s a dark comedy. It starts dark, it gets funny, and then it gets heavy. And I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. 2016

Directed by: Jeff Baena

Screenplay by: Jeff Baena

Starring: Thomas Middleditch, Adam Pally

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Indignation: Movie Review


Interesting, fascinating and entertaining story of love, death and beliefs.
Indignation is a story of love, death and faith. It’s a story of college experiences, the Korean War and determination. And it’s told with an eye for detail, and an ear for dialogue, and told through a lead character who is simultaneously completely confident with who he is, and completely unsure what he’s supposed to do. It’s fascinating to watch unfold, even if it never goes far, and it’s almost always entertaining. 2016

Directed by: James Schamus

Screenplay by: James Schamus
Based on the novel by Philip Roth

Starring: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon and Tracy Letts

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Split: Movie Review

A romantic comedy in a world of bowling and video stores.

Split takes place in a slightly off world. Everything is just a little bit off-kilter. Characters are weird, jokes aren’t quite as funny as they probably should be, which makes it that much harder for the audience to get invested in the story or just be entertained. The plot is pure rom-com: Cassie has read a study that concludes that the average woman gets married between 26 and 30. Since Cassie is almost 30, she has to get married right now. 2016

Directed by: Jamie Buckner

Screenplay by: Jamie Buckner

Starring: Tracy Weiler, Sean C. Keller, and Christopher Guetig