Saturday, April 22, 2017

Their Finest: Movie Review


   


They’re making a movie and it’s brilliant and funny.
The plot of Their Finest works on many levels. On one side it’s a simple comedy-drama-romance of a young woman finding her way in the world, on another side it’s a comedy about making a movie, but it’s also an historical drama taking a look at the effects of war on everybody left at home, and when war hits the home you know, and how war has changed the role of women in society. Above all, it’s a comedy; a very engaging, very funny comedy about ridiculous actors and how to write a screenplay. 2016

Directed by: Lone Scherfig

Screenplay by: Gaby Chiappe
Based on the novel by Lissa Evans

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin
and Bill Nighy

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Win It All: Movie Review


Gritty and messy, cute and sweet, journey through a gambler's life.

A duffel bag full of cash and a gambling addict - what could go wrong? There’s something very sweet about combining the makings of dark comedy with a much simpler, more accessible, comedy-drama of a damaged man growing up. Win It All is more about Eddie (Jake Johnson) than it is gambling. Eddie is without-a-doubt a gambling addict and much of the comedy of the film derives from what is obvious to us but Eddie is oblivious about. 2017

Directed by: Joe Swanberg

Screenplay by: Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg

Starring: Jake Johnson, Joe Lo Truglio

Friday, April 7, 2017

Speech & Debate: Movie Review


Conquering intolerance with hilarity and amusement.

Stand up and sing, or say something, or just do anything. Speech & Debate does an excellent job in helping its lead characters find their voice. This is about the injustice in high schools: an aspiring journalist being told exactly what to write and not being helped to get into a good school, an aspiring singer denied the lead role in the school musical because she’s too theatrical, outspoken and not pretty enough, and a gay kid not allowed to really be himself because the community is just not progressive enough. 2017

Directed by: Dan Harris

Screenplay by: Stephen Karam
Based on the play by Stephen Karam

Starring: Sarah Steele, Liam James and Austin P. McKenzie

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Most Hated Woman in America: Movie Review


Draws an interesting line between victim and villain.

The Most Hated Woman in America is a good movie, but they made a fundamental error which stops it from being a great movie: they focused on the least interesting aspect. There are actually many interesting and compelling aspects to the movie which should keep most viewers mildly interested throughout at the very least. The story is about American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair – the most hated woman in America. Granted, I hadn’t actually heard of her prior to this movie, but given the daily extreme death threats she received every day of her life, her moniker fits.   2017

Directed by: Tommy O'Haver

Screenplay by: Tommy O'Haver

Starring: Melissa Leo, and Josh Lucas

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Gifted: Movie Review


   


A world of injustices with humour and heart.
On the surface, Gifted is everything that all of us have seen before, but there’s also a lot to like about it. In the small moments, it will do something just a little bit unexpected, which makes the movie that much more interesting, and that much more enjoyable. Chris Evans stars as Frank, raising child prodigy Mary (Mckenna Grace) as per her mother’s instructions, but his child-rearing abilities are called into question as those around her realize her gifted status. Many movies have taken similar elements, and while Gifted isn’t all that different, it is still a really good version of it. 2017

Directed by: Marc Webb

Screenplay by: Tom Flynn

Starring: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Octavia Spencer and Jenny Slate

Thursday, March 23, 2017

CHiPs: Movie Review


An action comedy too obsessed with sex jokes.

I haven’t seen the original CHiPs, but I don’t think that matters at all as I doubt this bears any resemblance other than the primary set-up. This CHiPs is a raunchy, buddy, action comedy. I was trying to decide what order those adjectives should go in, but it doesn’t really matter since they are all equally-weighted. Take that as you may, but I’m not convinced a movie should spend just as much time on ass jokes as it does on anything else.   2017

Directed by: Dax Shepard

Screenplay by: Dax Shepard

Starring: Michael Pena, Dax Shepard

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Highway to Havasu: Movie Review


Indie version of high school boys trying to get laid.

Highway to Havasu is an independent raunchy buddy comedy. Not unique in anyway, but it is the overlapping of the two styles that makes it appear different, on the surface at the beginning, at least. The plot is your typical high school boys want to get laid and embark on a ridiculous in-your-face sex-filled adventure – which Hollywood has attempted many times over, as have indie filmmakers, but a lot fewer in number.   2017

Directed by: Jeff Janke

Screenplay by: Jeff Janke

Starring: Andrew Fromer, Caleb Thomas

Monday, March 20, 2017

Country Crush: Movie Review


Finding its own country musical niche, in a generic, uninspiring way.

It should be made very clear that Country Crush is a musical. There’s a big difference between a drama about a singer and a musical. While lead character Nancy (Madeline Merlo) is a singer and a third of the plot is her musical aspirations, this movie is purely a musical. But more specifically, it’s a country musical. Similar, at least in part, to High School Musical, but make it country, very country. That description alone should turn off many viewers, but for those that are left, it does make this film unique.   2016

Directed by: Andrew Cymek

Screenplay by: Andrew Cymek, Jake Helgren

Starring: Munro Chambers, Madeline Merlo

Thursday, March 16, 2017

1 Night: Movie Review


Teenagers and adults converge in short and sweet romantic drama.

Look in the mirror, take a trip down memory lane, and meet your younger self. Don’t worry, this is not some Hollywood comedy where that actually happens. 1 Night is simply an indie romantic drama where teenagers and thirty-something adults examine their lives and choices made. There’s a lot to like in this film beginning with how easy it is to relate to these characters.   2016

Directed by: Minhal Baig

Screenplay by: Minhal Baig

Starring: Anna Camp, Justin Chatwin

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lost Cat Corona: Movie Review


Meanders along looking for a lost cat.

Lost Cat Corona has a real sense of atmosphere, and that is easily its strongest attribute. A film crafted to display the neighbourhood of Corona in Queens, New York, along with its characters and the lives they lead in all of their dysfunctional glory. There is a lost cat, but that becomes secondary to the story. The story is Dominic (Ralph Macchio) and his adventures in his neighbourhood with friends and con-men alike. 2016

Directed by: Anthony Tarsitano

Screenplay by: Anthony Tarsitano

Starring: Ralph Macchio

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Goat: Movie Review


A story of college fraternity, brotherhood and abuse that misses its mark

Goat may or may not have been intended to show the dangers of college fraternities – and the intense damage that it can cause to individuals physically, emotionally and psychologically, but nonetheless that’s what early viewers of the film picked up on and what most audiences are expecting. The story that Goat actually tells really doesn’t accomplish that, and it doesn’t actually accomplish much. 2016

Directed by: Andrew Neel

Screenplay by: David Gordon Green, Andrew Neel, Mike Roberts
Based on the memoir by Brad Land

Starring: Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Table 19: Movie Review


   


Random quirkiness doesn’t elevate a romantic comedy.
As a romantic comedy, Table 19 doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, nor does it try to change anything; it just is. And as an indie comedy, Table 19 doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, nor does it try to change anything; it just is. The romantic comedy genre is satisfied by the fact that Eloise (Anna Kendrick) has just been dumped by the best man at her oldest friend’s wedding. She attends anyways and with the help of a handsome stranger, might find some closure. 2016

Directed by: Jeffrey Blitz

Screenplay by: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Wyatt Russell

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fist Fight: Movie Review


Forced humour derails what could have been a very funny film.

I would like to say that I don’t understand the thought process behind Fist Fight, but the problem is, I do. It’s loosely based on the ‘80s comedy Three O’Clock High, but switches the students and teachers around to make a social commentary on today’s education system. That idea should work, but the execution does not. Forced jokes fall flat and anything interesting to say is lost in the lazy joke-telling. 2017

Directed by: Richie Keen

Screenplay by: Van Robichaux, Evan Susser

Starring: Charlie Day, Ice Cube

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jackie: Movie Review


   


A bio-pic that forces you out of your comfort zone.
Jackie is an odd movie, and given its genre, that will come as very surprising. Biopics have generally tried-and-true formulas to introduce you to the world of the subject. Not exactly the case in this movie. We’re not taking a look at the world around Jackie Kennedy, but getting inside Jackie Kennedy. This is the story of Jackie before the assassination, during the assassination, and after the assassination. 2016

Directed by: Pablo Larrain

Screenplay by: Noah Oppenheim

Starring: Natalie Portman

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hidden Figures: Movie Review


   


Crowd-pleasing history.
The best thing about Hidden Figures is its story. Based on real events about a trio of African American women who worked for NASA and literally helped launch a man into space, it’s a story that’s not all that well known, you’ll learn something, and it’s easy to get interested in. It also helps that the entire cast works well together and can add a lot of bravado and humour to the movie. A true crowd-pleaser in every sense of that phrase. 2016

Directed by: Theodore Melfi

Screenplay by: Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
Based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner

Friday, January 6, 2017

La La Land: Movie Review


   


A movie of love, music and soul.
La La Land couldn’t have a more fitting title. An homage to LA, but more than that, an homage to the dreamers of LA and the life-as-a-musical that they could have. La La Land sells itself strictly as a romantic musical. The characters sing and dance as they fall in love – and even if that’s all it is, it would still be a pretty good movie. A movie that survives on the pure cinematic experience, but also provides a bit of soul. 2016

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Screenplay by: Damien Chazelle

Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling