BABY DRIVER (2017)

Written & Directed By: Edgar Wright 
Cinematography By: Bill Pope 
Editor: Jonathan Amos & Paul Machliss 

Cast: Ansel Egort, Lilly James, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Bernthal, Sky Ferreira, Paul Williams, Flea, CJ Jones
After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.


I Can’t say enough good things about this movie. Apparently, I drank it’s kool-aid and found it quite refreshing.

The film surprises, Every time Edgar Wright makes a movie it feels like a gift. Usually, it seems as it takes too long to get to us. Though it is always worth it. It gives us a glimpse of his creative imagination and skill. Even with high hopes always seem to underestimate him. The movie is quite a ride. Like a roller coaster that you never want to leave. Perfect for the summer or anytime. The movie has style for days and most of all just plain fun and never in a stupid way.

The film keeps up energy that is Infectious for the audiences. It’s a film that has a fun personality and doesn’t have to do too much to charm.

The film maintains an excitement throughout which the audience feeds off of and feels a similar excitement throughout. Which are a difficult thing to do these days as in blockbusters and films things seem so routine and planned out. That the filmmakers seem to be all over the place. Here it feels like the filmmakers and cast are constantly energized by one another and even if not necessarily personal the film feels like there was a lot of passion going into it.  

It also is nice to see the film allows for homages and references to other films and pop culture. That won’t date the film necessarily but gives it more of a modern in the moment flavor.

Like how he obscures the violence while you feel the impact. Through clever framing and blocking. There are three-way chase sequences. Where the criminals are running from the cops then not trusting one another start running away from one another and trying to catch each other realizing the other has what they need

The film includes bad guys choosing to be humane, Good guys choosing to be bad. Action sequences that don’t rely so much on fighting hand to hand combat or toughness but agility and having peace of mind to figure your way out.

The film includes a love story that keeps it’s purity because the romance is never really consummated. So that it keeps an innocence but feels kind of melodramatic like a teen film from the 1950s with dreams of hitting the open road together. Maybe as the romance is so simple, sweet, and easy. Really built off of. Itching but attraction and politeness. That it feels like first love and making a connection. Something that at first is never complicated or at least it doesn’t seem that way. Though through the actions of the films proves that each of them truly rides or die for one another.

Like a comic book come to life. It knows what type of film it is and as long as you keep that in mind you should enjoy it. As it incorporates many little left turns of genre specifics into it’s crime and love story. It feels like a candy-sweet and filled with sugar that energizes you. As well as being that colorful. It Manages to keep an innocence and wonder, That keeps you caring.

The film manages to be thrilling and menacing in the right moments. So that you are on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen. So much effortless style that you can feel it but don’t realize how remarkable it is until later on thinking back about it and, you will trust me.

The movie lacks a certain depth and sustenance, but that is truly one of it’s few weaknesses overall. Which aren’t necessarily needed in this equation.

The lead played by Ansel Egort is kind of bland, but he needs to be as usually the main characters in these types of films are the strong silent type where you can easily read whatever you want into them. Here we are given more of his backstory, but the role seems to more take advantage of Ansel Egort physically as he is skinny and limber with a bay face. That is easy to mold him into whatever you need out of a leading man.

One of the reasons for the enjoyment of the film is the supporting characters who liven up the film and add flavor where the lead does not and really can’t as his character is pretty plain and simple. He is mostly driven towards newfound goals. Though there is a reason why Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx are in the movie. Whereas at first they just seem to be there to be named on the posters and big names who do nothing, but as the film goes along we see why they are in the film and are more than the unassuming roles we bought at first. They each get to reveal more about them than we originally thought. Not necessarily surprises but they liven up the film. To be more than just cops and robbers.

The big-name supporting stars are a revelation as at first they seem just there to be part of the background then they come out and show what they are truly all about. I mean this is a film where you have two Best Actor Oscar winners playing supporting roles. So there must be something about the script and film that got them to sign on in a diminished capacity (Yes I know they both were in the disappointing HORRIBLE BOSSES too. though I will think of that as more paycheck roles. Not so much here)

Jamie Foxx is memorable as an over the edge criminal who is antagonistic as he trusts no one. It seems with each crew baby works with there is one. Who more or less helps with the exposition.

Jon Hamm, seems a simple happy go, lucky thug, who comes out late in the film letting his inner psychopath out in search of revenge and retribution. He also has a certain bad boy handsome here. That makes him more a dangerous lady killer than just the usual leading man

Eiza Gonzalez is more the sexy wildfire who is both sexy and deadly but carries a kind of a mystery to her and proves to be more than what she looks like or what you would expect. though not featured too much she is a. Ice price of eye candy to go with the visuals.

Even Kevin Spacey is off the charts as the mastermind. Here he is more. Noteworthy for his middle-class menace where he can compliment and threaten in one sentence but you know he is never lying. We are used to him being the smartest person in the room and acting like he is above everyone else, but the last act moment truly shines his character in a different light. His upper-crust was doesn’t seem out of place. Nor does it distract or obstruct the flow of his character or the movie. If anything it helps feed it.

What is fun is that the villains or at least the threats to our young protagonist keep changing hands. As to who he has to be afraid of or see as a major threat and maybe overcome.

Now know this film is candy-colored and visceral with it’s excitement and shots. In the texture of course it never becomes as serious or as accomplished as films like DRIVE, THE DRIVER, and BULLIT. Though it does align itself as more of a lighter-toned chase film. It does have it’s own personality and identity. Though you would also check out those films to see where Edgar Wright might have gotten his inspiration. He even gives DRIVER director Walter Hill a cameo in the film. (Among other blink and you miss them cameos from Rappers Big Boi and Killer Mike)

Edgar Wright timed the character’s movements to the beat of the film’s songs. Even in the film’s credit sequence which is done all in one continuous tracking shot and take.

The film comes off as a nice movie that offers more of a lite touch. Though with humor and adrenaline-filled action scenes. That hardcore movie fans can enjoy for it’s more technical aspects and general audience members can enjoy as a fun action film. That is many things at once. As it pays homage to many films and genres which will seem familiar for many but new for some. One of them is a Teenage 1950’s film with diners and car racing and a love story in the middle with plans of running away together.

The soundtrack is the heartbeat for the film and the characters bot only the lead using it to fuel himself up. But also keeps the film moving. Along and on best and keeping the audience energized and going with it. Filling us with excitement and energy as well as adding some songs to our repertoire or recalling ones we think we know. As the cuts here are mostly deep ones

The film is wall to wall with music on it’s soundtrack that partially powers or motivates the protagonist due to a disability but also livens up the scenes making it feel like most of us have always wanted a soundtrack to go with our lives and actions. Sometimes with a popular song but mostly with something a little less unknown and obscure but fits the mood.

The film shows us this early in an inventive credit sequence and also in introducing us to the characters and situation in the opening scene. That allows for action but also alerts us to the character’s youth and sense of play in a tight situation. Which gives us a remembrance of the possibilities of youth? When you might never have known better about the dangers and situations you were facing. Even if you knew they were serious.

While it is a great film. It is also a film I can see younger people loving as it moves fast and really barely has anything offensive. Anything that does is on the edges and more due to language. So this is one of those movies I believe most ages can enjoy for the most part.

Another thing to admire about the film is that in these days of films filled with special effects for the smallest things. The director revealed that there was no CGI or green screen used to film the car chase sequences. The driving is all practically done.

It’s nice to see a film that is smaller budgeted and put out by a studio that is as exciting and fulfilling as the bigger budget blockbusters

Grade: A-

OUR IDIOT BROTHER (2011)

 Directed By: Jesse Peretz
Story By: Jesse Peretz, Evgenia Peretz & David Schisgall
Written By: Evgenia Peretz & David Schisgall
Cinematography: Yaron Orbach
Editor: Jacob Craycroft & Andrew Mondshein

Cast: Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel, Adam Scott, Elizabeth Banks, Rashida Jones, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn, T.J. Miller, Shirley Knight, Sterling K. Brown, Hugh Dancy, Polly Draper 

A comedy centered on an idealist who barges into the lives of his three sisters.


This film plays the middle of the road when it comes to its humor. As it never goes far enough and never gets its had dirty enough to truly express any kind of opinion or judgments.

Because if it’s cast it was marketed as this studio Comedy and has the formula of one, but at heart, it is more of an indie comedy with a heart.

The film has characters toyed and the actors fill them and make the characters feel real flaws and all.

It seems like a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE one-joke premise movie which the title spells out. It starts off that way but creates a full-fledged character going through life and dealing with his family. Who all have their own problems And he exposes them and makes them Actually deal with the problems head-on and they, in turn, blame him for them.

Paul Rudd creates an indelible character. One just wished the film supported him with a better heartfelt story. Anytime the film should go for emotions and drama. It goes more fit gags and really doesn’t get emotional until the end of the film.

Rashida Jones is the only other actor who really stands out in the film. The lesbian character is hilarious and offers up a different look for the actress.

The film is disappointing considering the many lost opportunities it presented. Side characters are dropped very quickly before you even get to know them or realize how they fit into the film.

Some are unnecessary like Steve Coogan who so far has been wasted in most American comedies. Never truly getting a chance to show off his comedic genius that we hear about or critics are always commending him for.

It just feels like this movie was happy where it was. Having fun yet they forget about the audience’s enjoyment.

Even watching the outtakes during the credits it shows. It could have been funnier. It also seems this film was More scripted. When maybe more improv would have done the trick.

Grade: C-

AMERICAN WEDDING (2003)

Directed By: Jesse Dylan 
Written By: Adam Herz 
Cinematography: Lloyd Ahern II
Editor: Stuart Pappe

Cast: Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Eugene Levy, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas, January Jones, Molly Cheek, Fred Willard, Deborah Rush, Lawrence Pressman, Eric Allen Kramer, Nikki Ziering, John Cho, Jennifer Coolidge 

Jim Levenstein has finally found the courage to ask his girlfriend, Michelle Flaherty to marry him. She agrees to get married, but the problems don’t stop there for Jim. Now along with Paul Finch and Kevin Myers, Jim must plan the wedding. Unfortunately, Steve Stifler is in town and won’t let the wedding go past without having some fun himself, which includes setting up a secret bachelor party.


The end of the trilogy but not the end of the line for the film franchise. Though it does end a kind of era. Where the film’s humor is still mostly gross out juvenile, but here at least it tries to somewhat show some maturity.

Though the film is an ensemble and the last of an unplanned trilogy. This film allows Seann William Scott the scene-stealer from the earlier films to take center stage. As most of the scenes revolve around him. When they don’t they are on Jason Biggs and Alyson Hannigan’s characters.

Scott’s character kind of comes to the realization. That he has been less of a friend and more of a nuisance to those around him

And realizes they have all grown up and moved on. Whereas he is still kind of stuck. Here he is made to face responsibilities. 

The film Leaves most of the characters other than those mentioned high and dry or more reacting to them. As it introduces a love interest for him that he spends most of the movie trying to fool into believing he is a nice guy.  That character played by January Jones isn’t given much to do other than play pretty and an interested good girl of sorts. She doesn’t really stand out much in the role. 

All the trouble he causes leading up to Jim and Michelle’s wedding. While trying to help set it up. Is what most of the movie revolves around. Though it isn’t a one-man show of slapstick comedy it is entertaining and better than the last sequel in the series. 

Though you can appreciate this movie as we are seeing the characters mature and grow up. So that we feel a bond with them over the years and this is the culmination of them. Watching this film, It dawned on me that at this point other than stifler most of the characters here still have only been with and some still stuck On their loves from the first film. Though at the time seeming unnecessary as a plot point in the second film and trying to bleed the franchise out. 

Even as half the original cast is missing no Tara Reid, Natasha Lyonnne, Shannon Elizabeth, Chris Klein or Mena Suvari 

Here you truly notice That there never needed to be one. Though as new romances would mean giving them more screen time and from the beginning. Though an ensemble these movies have always seemed to revolve around the characters of Jim, Michele and stifled more heavily than the others. The others just happen to be characters in their world and not written as strongly Or specifically as these comedic but human creations 

GRADE: C+

Directed By: Michael Patrick Jann

Written By: Lona Williams 

Cinematography: Michael Spiller Editor: David Codrob & Janice Hampton 

Cast: Kirstie Alley, Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Brittany Murphy, Amy Adams, Will Sasso, Mindy Sterling, Ellen Barkin, Allison Janney, Sam Mcmurray, Alexandra Holden, Matt Malloy, Mo Gaffney, Adam West, Nora Dunn, Jacy King, Amanda Detmer, Michael McShane, Jon T. Olson, Laurie Sinclair 

A small-town beauty pageant turns deadly as it becomes clear that someone will go to any lengths to win.


This should have been a bigger hit or at least better remembered. This movie had a cast of many before they were stars actresses. 

The film keeps it’s dark sense of humor throughout despite being more aimed at being a mainstream comedy. The film might think itself more of a satire but comes off more as straight comedy. It’s Inspired but the jokes don’t come off as sharp as they should. 

Watching this film originally in a theater was a memorable film experience if only because it is one of the few I watched with one of my best friends. It was a late summer movie and we were the only ones who seemed to laugh non-stop cementing our budding friendship. As we had the same kind of sense of humor.

Denise Richards looks the part, but also seems a little to long in the tooth for her role. As she looks noticeably older then the rest of the contestants. She also looks too polished. But does look like a beauty queen.

Kirsten Dunst is good as the lead. The beginning of her best roles playing more small town girls.

Though this is more of a teen movie. It spends just as much time on the adult characters. Who are more guilty in their influences and rivalries.

This is a kind of more studio oriented version of the 1970’s comedy SMILE. Which was also an ensemble comedy looking at a small town beauty pageant that was more risqué at the time and had a lot of material you couldn’t get away with now. This film is cleaner and snarkier then that one.

Amy Adams and Brittany Murphy are standouts amongst the cast. This is really Adams first big role and Brittany Murphy is hilarious in her supporting role. One wishes she had been given more to do and be in as she makes the material work and rise.

I remember this was one of the first roles I remember seeing Alison Janney in next to 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU. As she and Ellen Barkin steak their scenes together and even when apart they do.

This is one of the better film roles for Kirstie Alley has played. Here she is the villain and head of the pageant community and ceremony.

The movie is directed by Michael Patrick Jann who was a member of the sketch comedy group THE STATE as well as director of most of their specials. The performances end up better than the film overall.

The problem is at times the film comes off as too goofy and is mostly safe. Playing it’s

The Midwestern angle is strong. I guess they need representation in movies at the time. When it’s Strengths are more when it explores it’s dark side.

Though the humor never has quite the sting you expect and want 

GRADE: C+

DEMOLITION (2016)

Directed By: Jean Marc-Vallee
Written By: Bryan Sipe
Cinematography By: Yves Balenger
Editor: Jay M.Glen

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis, Polly Draper, Debra Monk, Heather Lind 

A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. With the help of a customer service rep and her young son, he starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.


The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2007 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.

This is one of those almost movies. That feels like it is almost o to something but seems to get lost before it can say ultimately what it wants to or before actually saying something profound.

The film stays off-center yet always pretty in its presentations the films end up feeling too designed like the products he dismantled to see how they work. Which the film tries to work in the same way. But seems too on the nose to be quirky and accepting as it seems to want to be offbeat.

A character study where the protagonist tries to find himself and ends up attracting other so-called misfits fighting to find and be themselves. While also trying to be seen as normal and fit in. Though really questioning what that is.

It is basically the main character having to dismantle and destroy his life to rebuild and start again. Which is why his character seeks to take things apart and study them. To see how they work and how they function.

The film is meant to be more of a character study which it achieves and as usual unfortunately also introduces characters more interesting than the lead. Who get scenes of depth and drama, but ultimately seem more like ornaments meant to distract and beautify the film add some flavor, but never really get to shine themselves.

Which is becoming more common in director Jean Marc-Vallee oveure of films. Presenting a kind of reality that always comes with some quirk or bigger than life or life-affirming meaning that seems more magnified than normal. Her he seems to go through realistic characters take on life and challenges as we watch to see their journey through it to the other side. More like emotional action movies with a sharp eye for visuals

It feels more a film about trying to win awards. Though there is some heart in here and tries to say something about the human condition. More about finding yourself. Here it seems like the character was already on that path. Only a tragedy happened that really opened his eyes and lead him to it.

The film feels transparent. It speaks to the audience as the film asks how are you supposed to react to tragedy? Is it disrespectful if in your reaction you aren’t emotional enough or know how exactly to feel? It’s not exactly Always textbook. As we are all individuals. So it Aldo’s how do you feel when what came before was almost on autopilot of what was expected but. Ever felt fulfilling, deserving so that it was almost a lie.

It feels like a film as all of the things that happen seem more announced. I can go with the suspension of disbelief, but when made so obvious it is hard.

This is a feel-good film, yet it becomes what it seems to want to avoid by becoming overbearing after a while.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s detached performance is what will win you over. As he is at total opposites at times but he keeps the film spirited and lively. Where he not only becomes the center of attention, but the most entertaining aspect of the film.

What is at least original is that the film doesn’t paint the main character as some kind of saint or hero. He freely admits his faults and the bad things in the past. It doesn’t praise his wife but makes them look more like a human coup going through the motions of a relationship and never really talking about their problems or dealing with them before this accident happens.

I wish the same could be said of Naomi watts character who is interesting. As her problems are laid bare, but her wrong decisions make her at least interesting when it comes to her character’s psychology. Even as we are used to Naomi watts playing these complicated characters. The character is there but the performance never quite catches on as it feels too plain when it might be better to showcase more of her at war with herself. Here her character keeps it maintained maybe due to her pot smoking. Which might regulate those feelings.

As his late wife throughout the movie haunts him and the other characters but we learn little about her though by the end she becomes more real for us in the audience to get more of a sense of her and not exactly the saint she has been made to be at the beginning. Just that something bad happened to her that she didn’t deserve. As with most of the characters. She was just trying to figure things out and all the people who believe they have it all figured out have comfort but aren’t necessarily being truthful to themselves or are rather simple The other aspect of the film that is eye-catching is the more modern designed clothing and appliances. That comes off shiny and smooth and provide the perfect facade, before revealing their grungy and dirty insides once explored.

Other Than the tragedy the film easily comes off as more middle-aged wish fulfillment than anything else.

Though the film does manage to win you over at certain points and feels personal to a degree when it’s supposed to.

GRADE: B-

GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN (1985)

Directed By: Alan Metter 
Written By: Amy Spies 
Cinematography By: Thomas E. Ackerman 
Editor: Donald Rawlins & Lorenzo DeStefano 

Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt, Shannen Doherty, Jonathan Silverman, Ed Lauter, Biff Yaeger, Ian Giatti, Holly Gagnier 

Janey is new in town, and soon meets Lynne, who shares her passion for dancing in general, and “Dance TV” in particular. When a competition is announced to find a new Dance TV regular couple, Janey and Lynne are determined to audition. The only problem is that Janey’s father doesn’t approve of that kind of thing. 


Based on the popular Cyndi Lauper hit song. That strangely isn’t used instead a cover version is. 

This film is a perfect film for teenagers that parents will want them to watch as it is inoffensive and most of the trouble the characters get into is so innocent It’s almost cute. You don’t really have to edit this film much to broadcast it on television.

It tries to have more blue-collar characters versus the rich even though they all come from the suburbs, but it’s so easy to just make the villain a pampered rich girl that to Defoe. The protagonist as more working-class makes the divide and the lire of selling out so much more great.

Just like Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare the supporting characters are so much more interesting than the leads. Who strangely for a change really has very little angst and very little to actually rebel against.

As one would be more entertained by watching her best friend played by Helen Hunt and his best friend played by Jonathan Silverman romance one another them the two leads. That would have truly been different. One of the many early performances I remember her in even if Helen Hunt in this film looks a little long in the tooth but she gives the most fun performance throughout. I believe this might actually be my favorite performance of hers.

This is also an early role for Sarah Jessica parker who at this point I only remembered from SQUARE PEGS and FOOTLOOSE. Though for quite a while it was her definitive performance in my view until maybe L.A. STORY

One can admit this is not a good film but It’s thoroughly entertaining, but very 1980’s. This could easily be a cult classic which is Interesting because like most it didn’t start out trying to achieve that honor. Instead, it tries to track and include all of the fads of the time period.

The title of the film is based on the popular Cyndi Lauper hit song, but they couldn’t get the rights for her to sing it so they use a different vocalist and beat.

His father saying to forget his job when Faced with being fired unless his son throws the competition. Telling him if you can win this dance contest do it. Is a scene that means well but is hilarious to watch in all seriousness that it is intended

The fact that she never tells her father why she is sneaking out. This might help her and make things easier for her to go to dancing practice he may understand though he is strict it’s only dancing. Though then there would be no movie.

The 80’s cliche it the bad boy rebel who can dance immaculately well is one that strangely never caught on. His sister is played by a young Shannen Doherty. So this film is filled with plenty of child actors who amazed to gain life-long noted acting careers.

Co-star Holly Grangier is actually a trained dancer and did all of her own dancing.

Even the punks who crash and ruin the rich rivals debutante break into choreographed dancing. Through the close up’s slow mayhem and wild dancing throughout.

This movie is a trip but a worthwhile oddity to the collection.

Kristi Somers was originally supposed to work only one day on this film. However, Director Alan Metter liked her performance so much, that a couple of additional scenes of her were added into the movie. This is one of her more legitimate movies and performances. As usually, her body of work was playing best friend happy characters who were sexy and usually bad influences in many T & A sex comedies of the ’80s. yet she was always someone to watch and enjoy as an actress also, even though she was usually topless.

I have a confession to make this film is a total guilty pleasure for me. I used to watch this all the time on cable and even had a taped version of it to watch.

This film continued my crush with Sarah Jessica Parker at the time. So it’s nice to see her be a child star who made it a life-long career. In movies, I first noticed her in FIRSTBORN, FOOTLOOSE and the television show SQUARE PEGS. Here she is rebellious against her father’s strictness but so cute and innocent and quite the dancer.

 Grade: B

THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND (2020)

Directed By: Judd Apatow

Written By: Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson & Dave Sirus

Cinematography: Robert Elswit

Editor: Jay Cassidy, William Kerr & Brian Olds

Cast: Pete Davidson, Bill Burr, Marisa Tomei, Steve Buscemi, Bel Powley, Moises Arias, Carly Aquilino, Maude Apatow, Kevin Corrigan, Pamela Adlon, Rich Vos, Keith Robinson, Jimmy Tatro, Dominick Lombardozzi, Colson Baker, Ricky Velez, Lou Wilson

Scott has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.


This is not Writer/Director Judd Apatow’s worst or most disappointing movie, but disappointing to a certain degree.

Saw the somewhat similar BIG TIME ADOLESCENCE where Pete Davidson played a similar aimless character who seems stuck in arrested development and mental illness. That film had a more straight to the point story whereas this seems to be comfortable in the moments. Wherever they go. Which is great for the performers, for the audience it can go either way. Which might be why this film isn’t as good as I had hoped as it feels a little familiar.

One of Judd Apatow’s talent is always getting comedic actors who he wants to work with to kind of write their own stories and movies that are a bit autobiographical and then they can try to tie it to a more central plot-oriented conceit. Allowing them to bring out the talents and charm of the actors. As well as make it feel more real as it is partly based in the leads life. This helping to bring out the best in them and showcase their talents. Usually giving them more depth and heart then they have ever been allowed before. 

He has become so good at mixing comedy and drama he feels like a modern-day James L. Brooks. Strangely Judd Apatow movies are also always reminiscent of John Cassavettes films. As he always wants to cut to the truth of the scenes and characters. Where he also let’s then scenes flow freely from comedy to devastating drama. This usually works when his films are further away from formula. 

It also helps that the characters in these movies might be more comedic and therefore humor but they also feel loved in more than just actorly in performance. 

This is one of the few films he has made that is less high concept. Usually there is a concept and users the comedians personality, charm and instincts to make it more of a character piece.

The film is big yet the main character is aimless. Things happen throughout making the film more eventful but leaving the film still kind of formless. Even with a skeleton underneath. As the film is too long. 

Pete Davidson is pretty much playing a less successful version of himself or his public persona. He is a charming knucklehead who seems charming and fun. Yet has presence and you would be friends with. It never totally understands. 

The cast gives it all but feels like a pilot. As it seems to set up a lot but never quite pull the trigger. so that there seems to be more room for development amongst the characters. 

The film offers comedian Bill Burr a great role close to the leading man and he is excellent in the role.

One wishes Pamela Adlon was in the film more and had more to do. The same with Marisa Tomei. As the film comes off more like a boy’s club. It’s the same fate As well for bel Powley as she is funny and sexy in her role. As a sometimes love interest who gets tired of being used and taken for granted.

The film doesn’t seem to know where it wants to go. As it leads us to various places. Sometimes it stays around, but often makes a pit stop and then moves forward going along and not really looking back too much and it doesn’t really have an ending. An Especially  satisfying one 

Once a plot does rear its head. The film stays with it then takes a turn to allow for some more wandering. Which leaves the film entertaining but makes it feel endless. 

The film leaves a lot of plates spinning. Where some characters appear and then disappear. Which works as it shows once away from the lead their influence is on existent. Their lack of importance to the main character is that small of an important overall to the Film and they almost come off as forgotten by the end. 

Grade: C

BUFFALOED (2020)


Directed By: Tanya Wexler
Written By: Brian Sacca 
Cinematography: Guy Godfree 

Editor: Casey Brooks 

Cast: Zoey Deutch, Judy Greer, Jai Courtney, Jermaine Fowler, Noah Reid, Lusia Strus, Lorrie Odom, Brian Sacca, Raymond Ablack

Set in the underworld of debt-collecting and follows the homegrown hustler Peg Dahl, who will do anything to escape Buffalo, NY.


These are the type of mid-budgeted, character comedies that you wish studios still made. Even though comes off more like a low  budgeted one that has a good cast 

This is the second time I can say that actor Jai Courtney has given a performance that is impressive in A film. He is practically unrecognizable (In case you are interested SUICIDE SQUAD is the other) 

When it comes to actress Zoey Deutch, I don’t know if in some roles all she has to do is look Good without much effort or engagement and or works for those films or that at times she either overplays here roles, putting in so much energy or we can more see the strings on her performances. And we don’t expect it from her that’s what makes her so surprising. That like Anna Faris she excels in comedic Roles giving her all only more subdued. 

It also depends on the strength of the material. Which might be why Anna Faris isn’t quite the star she should be yet. The scripts and material are not particularly strong and in her favor. She is recognizable but not thought of in the great comedic stars of the time. Thanks to movies and roles that never quite took off.

One is hoping Zoey Deutch doesn’t serve the same fate. Here she plays the role almost like a recurring SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE character at first. Who becomes more dramatic and real throughout. always chipper and calculating. 

The character seems like she is a character from FARGO, only here the character is over ambitious and from Buffalo. She also happens to be the smartest person throughout the film.

Where the performance is actually better than the film. As her performance makes the film and you can’t imagine anyone else playing the role. But you need the other characters and the film as a garnish to get the performance and have it make sense. Making the film a good time.

A film that basically offers or gives Ms. Deutch a spotlight role. That makes her leading performance the highlight but not off of star power but how strongly She plays the character going for gold. This Is more of a star-making performance. That is not necessarily sexy.

Luckily the script and the rest of the film Doesn’t keep the pace but clears the way for a successful run. 

GRADE: B –

YES, GOD, YES (2020)

Written & Directed By: Karen Maine
Cinematography: Todd Antonio Somodevilla
Editor: Jennifer Lee

Cast: Natalia Dyer, Timothy Simons, Donna Lynne Champlin, Wolfgang Novogratz, Alisha Boe, Francesca Reale, Susan Blackwell, Parker Wierling

After an innocent AOL chat turns racy, a Catholic teenager in the early 00s discovers masturbating and struggles to suppress her new urges in the face of eternal damnation.


A star vehicle of sorts for actress Natalia Dyer of the television show STRANGER THINGS. That seems a little controversial but by the end might be shocked at how human and tame it ends up being.

The film is short but makes it presence filled just enough.

This presents itself as a kind of teen comedy about sex or at least puberty and feelings of sexuality and masturbation in particular. 

Though the film is small scale and feels a lot more Personal. As it presents a bunch of different problems for the characters but doesn’t offer all the answers. As the ones it does provide can be seen as right or wrong depending on the individual.

It takes it’s time but doesn’t offer much in the form of energy. As it plays more dramatic at times and has it’s own moments to ponder and take into account what has just happened.

Not a typical teen coming of age comedy. As the characters have a Hypocritical nature but you can understand the characters somewhat and see that they mean well 

What is honorable about the film is that not every character is good or evil. They are not right or wrong. They go with what they believe is the truth even if not living by those rules.

They live by what they believe is best for all. They aren’t doing it to be cruel just to help in their own way. 

The characters are allowed to be flawed and not totally good or evil. Though some might be more annoying and some just don’t know any better. Even the ones who are going to have it all together and know what they are talking about and strong, in the beginning, prove to be weak by the end. 

Finally what works is that even though some of the events come off as cynical throughout the film like it’s lead character never seems to go that route. They have faith and belief that they stick to despite it all throughout and by the end have their own kind of acceptance.

Grade: C+

PATTI CAKE$ (2017)

Written & Directed By: Geremy Jasper
Cinematography By: Federico Cesca
Editor: Brad Turner
Music By: Geremy Jasper & Jason Binnick

Cast: Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, Cathy Moriarty, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, MC Lyte


PATTI CAKE$ is centered on aspiring rapper Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, who is fighting an unlikely quest for glory in her downtrodden hometown in New Jersey.


I remember in the past where a movie like this that was a hit at Sundance and had a strong word of mouth from critics would do respectable business after being gobbled up by an independent studio and be well placed. As well as given a lot of exposure and publicity.

This film just seems to be put out at random to little and no fanfare. Not even playing in the usual art houses (at least as far as New York goes)

It’s a shame as this movie is a strong crowd-pleaser. That has heavy mainstream appeal. That I am shocked it wasn’t promoted more. As it doesn’t seem to be a hard sell as some independent films of its ilk might be.

The film is predictable and plays like 8 MILE only a little lighter in theme and not quite as serious. Though it does have a white female who dreams of being a rapper.

What the film does right is that it fills the film with reality but also adds in the absurdities that even when down and depressing it adds humor and a lightness of mood.

The characters are all outcasts in their own way. Especially from what is expected of them. With a positive comedic middle eastern hype man. Who works for a pharmacy by day and is a weed smoker. A producer who is a black goth and musician. The main character is an overweight bartender rapper on the search for a permanent job. To help pay the bills at home as well as help pay the medical bills for her grandmother (played by an unrecognizable Cathy Moriarty) meanwhile having to deal with a mother who was a wannabe singer and is now a lush who sings at karaoke and slides up to any man who treats her nicely.

So as you can see the cast is diverse and plays to a wide audience. Mainly anyone who feels different or ostracized. That makes the film kind of empowering.

You know where the film will end up and that victory of some kind is inevitable. Though the film has something to say about struggle, artistry, and talent.

The filmmaking isn’t awe-inspiring but it is solid. Watching the journey is fun if at times rough. But the film is rough around the edges but always has a sweetness. Even when the film chooses to be cruel or bitter to the characters at times.

The ensemble is strong, though it is rounded by a good performance by Bridget Everett as her alcoholic mother. Who is convinced sex appeal always works. Watching her here especially if you ever get to see her one-woman cabaret show is a marvel. As is the performance by the lead actress Danielle Macdonald who is actually Australian but gives off a flawless jersey accent. She had to learn to rap and master the New Jersey accent for her role. Though the writer-director wrote all the rap lyrics

The films cast being so diverse adds to the eclectic quality of the movie and its soundtrack. As well as acknowledging that most communities in society intersect.

The film does bring up race in a few scenes and even explores how real she is or isn’t in a scene with her idol a legendary hip hop record producer who tells her about realness and commodification of a race and it’s culture. So these films at least go there and acknowledge it.

The question of cultural appropriation does come up. More as an accusation from a person of color tho at first was an inspiration then drawn more to represent a villain or at least an adversary. Now by putting that opinion into a character who ends up representing bad is already bias especially when This film is written and directed by a caucasian. Making it even more questionable by kind of dismissing the idea and even more villainizibg The person go color for stating it.

The film already makes one question that invisibly this is a story about overcoming fear and following your dream a kind of rags to riches story that covers an overweight white girl and making herself feel good and overcoming her problems but the question remains would an audience or even critics like it feel the same way if the film was about an overweight African American female or would it be seen as familiar or typical. Would there be an interest or audience?

This is a film definitely worth your time. Though it will seem a bit familiar. Just as it is following a trend I am a fan of and hope to see more of, having more coming of age, uplifting stories about women and not being about romantic relationships. More films about empowering themselves and following their dreams with very little sex involved. Not tom mention a great soundtrack

Grade: B-