Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Wildhood: Movie Review

Lovely and sweet but meanders a lot through how much life sucks.

This is a dead horse movie. Not literally – allow me to explain. As a Canadian schoolgirl, we always had to read Canadian novels which invariably centered around poor families whose lives got worse because of nature, the economy, or nature some more. I called these “dead horse books” because the family’s horse frequently died, or sometimes the grandfather, or sometimes both. There’s some uplifting moment at the end, but they’re always about how much life sucks.   2021

Directed by: Bretten Hannam

Screenplay by: Bretten Hannam

Starring: Phillip Lewitsky, Joshua Odjick

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Jockey: Movie Review

One man fighting for his future and reflecting on his past.
I’m not into horse racing and I’ve never really watched horse racing movies, but Jockey is not that. Jockey is a character study about a man at the end of his career not ready to accept that he is not infallible. Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr.) is a champion at his sport, but his body is starting to fail him, and he's realizing that doesn’t have anything else to hold on to.   2021

Directed by: Clint Bentley

Screenplay by: Clint Bentley

Starring: Clifton Collins Jr., Moises Arias

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Lakewood (AKA: The Desperate Hour): Movie Review

Frenetic and occasionally frustrating, but solidly entertaining.

Lakewood will have a lot of negative things written about it: gimmicky, frenetic, misguided, capitalistic, but I will also add: entertaining. It is a fast-moving movie – literally as Amy (Naomi Watts) runs the entire time, but also for the audience who will quickly feel caught up in the adrenaline rush of Amy’s drama.   2021

Directed by: Phillip Noyce

Screenplay by: Chris Sparling

Starring: Naomi Watts

Run Woman Run: Movie Review

An enjoyable journey of love, family and language.

In Run Woman Run, Beck (Dakota Ray Hebert) is a 30-something single mother who shares a room with her 10-year-old son and shares a house with her sister, her father and his girlfriend. Beck spends her days in her housecoat, smoking in bed, insulting her family members and driving her car to the mailbox and back as her form of exercise.   2021

Directed by: Zoe Leigh Hopkins

Screenplay by: Zoe Leigh Hopkins

Starring: Dakota Ray Hebert

The Middle Man: Movie Review

Bizarre premise, set in the perfect town, let down by a stale story.

Frank (Pal Sverre Hagen) is the middle man, a newly created position in the fictional town of Karmack. The job requires somebody who has experience delivering bad news and can do it without crying. There’s been so much bad news lately that the Sheriff can’t do it all himself. And thus begins The Middle Man, a film with a bizarre premise and a story that can’t quite live up to it.   2021

Directed by: Brent Hamer

Screenplay by: Brent Hamer
Based on the novel by Lars Saabye Christensen

Starring: Pal Sverre Hagen

Friday, September 24, 2021

Mass: Movie Review

Carefully and cathartically balancing anger, grief, and regret.
Mass opens in a church. I know what you’re thinking, isn’t this about a mass shooting? It is. The six years later aftermath of a school shooting, and now we’re in an Episcopal Church, a neutral location with a room available for two sets of parents to meet. One location, seven characters in total, and one incident that nobody wants to talk about.   2021

Directed by: Fran Kranz

Screenplay by: Fran Kranz

Starring: Ann Dowd, Reed Birney,
Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton

Monday, September 20, 2021

See for Me: Movie Review

Engaging and suspenseful, an indie thriller with excellent characters.
See For Me is an indie thriller that absolutely delivers on story, setting and characterization. We have one main character – Sophie (Skyler Davenport). She is a former champion skier with trophies in her room. She’s currently packing with little aids like safety pins on her clothes to help guide her. Sophie is blind, and she is sick and tired of being a victim. So she tries to sneak out of her house, but her mother (also watching skiing on the TV) catches her, she’s worried about her.   2021

Directed by: Randall Okita

Screenplay by: Adam Yorke, Tommy Gushue

Starring: Skyler Davenport, Jessica Parker Kennedy

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Shadowtown: Movie Review

Over-done on style, under-delivered on premise.
Shadowtown opens with a good premise and a strong sense of style. Very indie in its presentation, Maya (Brittany Bristow) is a Canadian med student preparing for her residency interview. Then her mother calls her; her grandmother’s dead and she has inherited a house in Iceland which she has to travel to, clean out the house and sell it. Only problem, Maya didn’t know she had a grandmother, her mother had previously told her she had died decades ago.   2020

Directed by: Jon Einarsson Gustafsson,
and Karolina Lewicka

Screenplay by: Jon Einarsson Gustafsson,
and Karolina Lewicka

Starring: Brittany Bristow

Best Sellers: Movie Review

Funny, charming and predictable.
Best Sellers is a comedy-drama set in the modern-day publishing world. To get started, it emphasizes the comedy. Harris Shaw (Michael Caine) is a curmudgeonly old writer who answers the phone with “He’s dead.” and then throws it out the window. The only thing he likes is his cat, an absolute sweetheart of a cat, and hates all people. Lucy (Aubrey Plaza) is a 30-something head of a struggling publishing company left to her by her father and being circled by potential buyers.   2021

Directed by: Lina Roessler

Screenplay by: Anthony Grieco

Starring: Michael Caine, Aubrey Plaza

Friday, September 17, 2021

Silent Night: Movie Review

Dark, bleak, funny and interesting.

Silent Night is a smart, unsettling combination of a family holiday comedy, a relationship drama and an end of the world, apocalyptic horror. Perhaps The Family Stone meets 28 Days Later…, a bleak dark comedy about inevitable death but held when everybody gets together for Christmas dinner. It’s a story of privileged people accepting death but not accepting that others might not share their world view.   2021

Directed by: Camille Griffin

Screenplay by: Camille Griffin

Starring: Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Good House: Movie Review

A meandering tale of a life in crisis.

The Good House has a curious relationship with genre. Directors Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky introduced the movie as a comedy saying the highlight of Ann Leary’s novel is how funny it is and the caustic wit of the lead character. Hildy is caustic alright, but Sigourney Weaver’s take on her is a tragic character. An alcoholic who lies to everyone close to her and alienates everyone else. Very few laughs to be found.   2021

Directed by: Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky

Screenplay by: Thomas Bezuchas, Maya Forbes, and Wallace Wolodarsky
Based on the novel by Ann Leary

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline

Monday, September 13, 2021

You Are Not My Mother: Movie Review

A slow-burn horror with strong atmosphere and direction.

You Are Not My Mother is a slow-burn horror-drama based on an Irish folklore. I’m not familiar with this Irish folklore but it doesn’t seem to be a hindrance. The direction the story takes is clear, how the ending plays out is creepy without any unexpected twists – in other words, it fits the genre without shocking twists. This should be a homerun for fans of slow-burn horror movies.   2021

Directed by: Kate Dolan

Screenplay by: Kate Dolan

Starring: Hazel Doupe, Jade Jordan

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Montana Story: Movie Review

A quiet, thoughtful tale of past trauma.

Montana Story blends the tranquility of a ranch on the Rocky Mountain Front with the stress of death. Cal (Owen Teague) has returned home for his father’s final days. There’s a local family who has worked on the ranch for years and cleans and takes care of the house, and now there’s a hospice worker to help the dad pass peacefully. But it’s up to Cal to find money to cover all the medical bills, figure out what to do with the last remaining animal and then sell the ranch. Until sister Erin (Haley Lu Richardson) arrives.   2021

Directed by: Scott McGehee, David Siegel

Screenplay by: Scott McGehee, David Siegel, Mike Spreter

Starring: Owen Teague, Haley Lu Richardson