AMERICAN PIE (1999)

Directed by: Paul Weitz & Chris Weitz
Written By: Adam Herz 
Cinematography: Richard Crudo
Editor: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly 

Cast: Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Seann William Scott, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Shannon Elizabeth, Tara Reid, Alyson Hannigan, Natasha Lyonne, Mena Suvari, Eugene Levy, Tara subkoff, Casey Affleck, Chris Owen, Jennifer Coolidge, Lawrence Pressman, Clyde Kusatsu, John Cho, Christina Milian, Molly Cheek, Eden Riegel, Eli Marienthal, James Debello, Clementine Ford, Blink 182 

Four teenage boys enter a pact to lose their virginity by prom night.


This is a movie that holds a special place in my heart. As when I had My first job working at a movie theater this movie came out and I was 20 years old and I watched it many times. As did my co-workers and many audience members.

I remember the influence it had as a surprise hit. I was happy that three was a successful teenage sex comedy again in theaters that pushed the envelope but I’m the end had a sweet message and didn’t have the characters stay sex-crazed and juvenile the whole time.

Anytime I watch, it takes me back to a certain time and places in my life that I miss and at the time taken for granted but means so much to me now. This film is almost a vessel for that and my way of thinking at that time. 

This is one of those movies I will always enjoy for the huge comedic set pieces that at first come fast and furious but the. As the film Goes along becomes a little more distant but still there. They still Also manage to shock you. At first, when this movie came Out I think that is what audiences enjoyed the more shocking humor of it all. As it had been a long time that a teenage film Was that upfront about sex. And actually went there and showed some.

Another aspect to enjoying this film At least personally is if you are watching it with someone who has Seen it and getting excited for the big shock comedic moments that are coming and watching Them react to it.

One of the minor quibbles I have with the film Is that it’s Editing is annoying and horrible especially in the cutaways that work but if they were sharper would make the jokes the same way stronger.

What also works is that while there are some recognizable faces most of the cast are new to the big screen so we can believe them. For as the characters instead of stars. 

Just like the characters the film plays dirty and juvenile but sweet In The end. Where we end up caring about the characters. 

Now while there is a lot of sex talk and eventually even some in the Movie the film doesn’t Actually show as much as one would believe and really there is only nudity in one scene. Which belongs to Shannon Elizabeth’s character. Which made her a sex symbol and on-screen goddess for a bit that she never really followed up or really capitalized on.

The film had plenty of more sequels, but this one stays special as there wasn’t as much pressure for it to live up to, and pretty much was undiluted at the time.

This movie and series really show Seann William Scott at his comedic best even though he is part of the group he is also In Effect their nemesis or at least a villain of sorts who gets his comeuppance. To Me, he was always the standout in this movie 

This film also helped revitalize Eugene Levy at the movies already a comedic legend in some Circles. This movie broadened his appeal to a younger audience. So much so that he appears in most of the sequels even the straight to DVD ones of the time.

Throughout the Movie, it shows diversity even though most of the people of color are more in the background and never one of the major characters. This was kind of disappointing as this is obviously More aimed at more suburban Kids,  it while the feelings are universal the actions and atmosphere of the movie are more specific.

There are so many memorable scenes that are classic. So much so that the sequels never quite matched this film. No matter how hard they tried. In the end, though the film is about sexy it is also a film about relationships not necessarily romantic but between friends and others and how time spent with them can be a commodity 

Grade: B

LAGGIES (2014)

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Directed By: Lynn Shelton
Written By: Andrea Seigel
Cinematography By: Benjamin Kasulke
Editor: Nat Sanders 


Cast: Keira Knightly, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin, Mark Webber, Gretchen Mol, Daniel Zovatto, Sara Coates, Kaitlyn Dever

Megan’s approaching 30 with a good degree and a boyfriend in hand, but when he proposes at her friend’s wedding and everyone seems to think that the best way to advance in her career is to take a seminar where you find out what animal you are, Megan’s understandably feeling lost. After meeting teenagers who want her to buy them beer, Megan is drawn into 16-year-old Annika’s simpler life. She ends up moving in with Annika and her single father, juggling the life of a teen and that of an adult, two romantic interests, and the feeling of lagging behind.

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KUMIKO THE TREASURE HUNTER (2015)

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Directed By: David Zellner
Written By: David Zellner & Nathan Zellner
Cinematography By: Sean Porter
Editor: Melba Jodorosky 


Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Nobuyuki Katsube, Shirley Venard, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner

A lonely Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried and lost in a fictional film, is in fact, real. With a crudely drawn treasure map and limited preparation, she escapes her structured life in Tokyo and embarks on a foolhardy quest across the tundra of Minnesota in search of her mythical fortune.

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OPEN WATER (2003)

Written, Edited & Directed By: Chris Kentis
Cinematography By: Chris Kentis & Laura Lau 

Cast: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein

A couple on a holiday in the Caribbean decide to spend the day on a scuba diving trip. But was it the wrong decision? When a mis-count happens on the boat, Susan and Daniel are left behind in the middle of the ocean, the boat long gone. With all their hopes set on the boat coming back to rescue them, they try to keep themselves safe, especially when sharks start to appear.


This film is a living nightmare that comes to life. It relies more on your imagination for scares but at least gives you hints to help when you should be scared. Then what is happening on the screen whereas on screen? You see and feel the panic of the characters and a glimpse of the terror of the Actual sharks. What they might be doing. It is a film based purely on tension. As you watch you are imagining much worse then what is actually happening. Just like the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE though a bit more subtle than that film. It’s also not as gory as you may remember or think it was. The scariest part is that this film feels like a more realistic scenario that could actually happen.

This is a film that is more interesting in theory ad hearing about the making of then it is to watch and in execution. It is suspenseful and smart at least before the horror happens we get to meet and know the characters so we feel something a little more when they are stranded. We even get to see the mistake that leaves then stuck and forgotten. So it covers there bases there.

The film wisely in the opening minutes lets us get to know the characters, not completely but enough to get a general sense of who they are. the problem is that if you re interested in this film you know what they are going to go through. So you may have already made up your mind not to be manipulated and wait for the dilemma to happen to see how the characters deal with it.

It is a short film that has a twenty-minute build up until the horror then barely lets up from there. it’s good it is so short because if it had been longer it would have either had to had gotten more and more tedious or amp up the action and story like maybe the authorities realizing the mistake and coming to try and rescue them and will they get there on time or a cover-up ensue once the workers realize the mistake. or it would have just annoyed the audience had it been longer with its repetitiveness.

Part of the fascination of the film is it’s filming as it uses a handheld camera. Giving you the feeling that you are there, but also the fact that the actors are swimming with actual sharks around them. The filmmakers definitely have a good eye and i can’t wait to see there next feature.

GRADE: B

THE HUNT (2020)

Directed By: Craig Zobel
Written By: Damon Lindelof & Nick Cuse
Cinematography: Darran Tiernan
Editor: Jane Rizzo

Cast: Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ethan Suplee, Emma Roberts, Ike Barinholtz, Glenn Howerton, Amy Madigan, Wayne Duvall, Sturgill Simpson, Reed Birney, Macon Blair

“Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are — or how they got there. In the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory, ruthless elitists gather at a remote location to hunt humans for sport. But their master plan is about to be derailed when one of the hunted, Crystal, turns the tables on her pursuers.


This movie is full of action and a rather surprising amount of violence. Though keeps a dark sense of humor throughout and flips the script a little. 

As the victims trying to survive the hunt are more Americana types who are usually villainized on social media and the hunters are emote the liberal elites who seem to find everything somehow insulting and must be corrected. 

The film doesn’t seem to take any side but shows there are good and bad in both and this is all taken to the extreme. The second scene is great as far as setting the tone. As we see familiar actors and types of characters who we assume will be the hero and then we see some of them taken down and through the first 30 minutes, we are never quite sure who to follow, trust, or believe. 

We are kind of put into the similar mindsets of the hunted characters constantly questioning what is going on. So enough our hero or anti-hero played by Betty Gilpin who stays a badass throughout and whose character had the same kind of sarcastic swagger that most male Action heroes have. Luckily at no point does her look or attractiveness has anything to do with her survival or getting the upper hand. This is a tar making role and she handles it well.

The film is over the top violent that after a while it becomes a joke itself as well as feels ridiculous at times.

Though there is mention of minorities. The film still doesn’t have any amongst its cast which is a lost opportunity the film seems to want to avoid. As that may make the film Have to more make a decision. Though it might have also given more of a point of view. 

Hillary swank as the villain would have been more interesting seeing her in the heroic role but that might have been too expected. It’s nice to see her in movies again. I only wish she was getting bigger roles. Though her hand to hand fight with Gilpin is the third act and one of the best action sequences in the Film. 

The film never quite slows down. As when it comes to the ending it feels like barely any turn has passed. So that this film feels like a breath of fresh air. 

Directed by Craig Zobel is shocking as his films are usually more humanistic dramas and comedies. This is the first more action-oriented mainstream movie he has made and he passes with flying colors. Showing himself to be more a journeyman director. 

The fact ironies in this movie are Intentional. As showing how all of this started. This is a worst-case scenario of what it seems like is going on in the world when it comes to personal politics. This is more a satire that fits in with movies such as BATTLE ROYALE, THE PURGE, MAYHEM, and THE BELKO EXPERIMENT. Though this film not as dark in the spirit, it might more remind or be a companion piece to THE RUNNING MAN or SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.

Grade: B-

BAD GIRLS (1994)

Directed by: Jonathan Kaplan
Story By: Albert S. Ruddy, Charles Finch & Gary Frederickson
Written By: Ken Friedman & Yolande Finch
Cinematography: Ralf Bode
Editor: Jane Kurson
Score: Jerry Goldsmith

Cast: Madeline Stowe, Drew Barrymore, Mary Stuart Masterson, Andie Macdowell, Dermot Mulroney James Russo, James Le Gros, Jim Beaver, Robert Loggia, Nick Chinlund

When saloon prostitute Cody Zamora rescues her friend Anita from an abusive customer by killing him, she is sentenced to hang. However, Anita and their two friends Eileen and Lilly rescue Cody and the four make a run for Texas, pursued by Graves and O’Brady, two Pinkerton detectives hired to track them. When Cody withdraws her savings from a Texas bank, the women believe they can now start a new life in Oregon. But Cody’s old partner Kid Jarrett takes Cody’s money when his gang robs the bank, and so the four so-called “Honky- Tonk Harlots” set out to recover the money, with the Pinkertons hot on their trail.


This doesn’t feel like the classic westerns of yore. It feels more like a revisionist look at the genre. It feels more like a female-centered thriller with a western motif or like it is trapped in the western genre. That allows for no one to expect anything from these female characters and underestimate them

At every turn. As we watch them overcome the odds of every situation because of it. Show they are just as dangerous and ruthless if not more than the men.

This film is also beautifully shot. It is a western more an ensemble picture that seems more interested in its fashion and seeking to be somewhat cutting edge more than anything else at times.

The film has it’s fair share of history as at one point it was meant to be directed by Tamra Davis (HALF BAKED) who developed it and was subsequently replaced on the film by director Jonathan Kaplan by the studio. Where after a few days of filming the studio didn’t Like what it saw? So they got rid of Actress Cynda Williams who had the leading role. Had a whole new script written and dumped the old screenplay but kept the general idea of a female western tale. They began filming again two weeks later with new production design making the film more colorful and expansive than Originally envisioned. 

Director Jonathan Kaplan does a good job but by replacing the female director it seems the studio also took what was supposed to be the film’s point in the first place by having a female-centric western action film directed by a female for one of the first times with a noted mostly Female cast. Then all of a sudden the female director is brushed aside and replaced for an experienced older white male director. He does a decent job but it feels like a tone-deaf decision. Where the studio wanted to make something more mainstream and commercial and was worried at the time the film would be too female-centric and more about feminism in a genre women aren’t noted to see but men are. 

This might be why the film seems sexier than it needs to be and seems to use Drew Barrymore more or less as pure eye candy. Though one has to also look at the fact women might not be fans of westerns and action films at the time because they were barely represented other then. Damsels in distress, pure innocence, wives, mothers sexual objects, femme Fatales or just evil and old.

The film keeps your interest, nothing awe-inspiring but it is nice to see a film that feels routine try something different when it comes to formula adding a little something new to the typical.

There are some sharp images and beautiful imagery as well as a stylistic approach to the scenes and outfits. 

The characters and setting especially the costumes feel a little too clean and polished but downright orderly. Not to mention the story just feels average more then it should. It just happens to be that the main characters are female. They still mostly depend on men in most of the film. Only get a chance to stand up on their own and for themselves at the end 

It was one of the last times it seems Madeline Stowe plays a leading role. Which is a shame. She was one of my favorite actresses. She has beauty but also always seemed to bring intelligence and dignity to her roles. She always seemed tough and no-nonsense. She was never a pushover or a total damsel. Here she plays the leader of the female gang and tends to dress and have the demeanor of a male desperado.

Again Drew Barrymore plays the sexy one who is the ruthless right-hand woman to Stowe’s character. This was at the height of Barrymore’s popularity.

It’s a shame that this film was only a modest hit at the time and none of the cast really got more lucrative offers or films. Nor did the studio green light more female-centric genre films at the time. One can only guess because though they put a film like this out. It’s to test the wants and to seek to serve what they believe is a niche audience and once it becomes a hit they figure it’s a fluke more an anomaly with not enough evidence to make more films like them. This shocks me as you would figure a studio could corner the market on that type of film before other studios copy the idea. Then once the market is flooded it can be more about quality. If the box office on the films goes down then blame it on the abundance of the product but for then as well as now. If you make something of quality it will find an audience eventually but also there is such a drought if these films that this audience waiting for films like these will flock to it. As it is like water finally coming to them. Representation matters, if it’s decent they will convince others to come while coming back themselves. 

It’s an example of the movie BRIDESMAIDS brought to light. When it comes to female-centered films. Which they will use the excuse of it being an ensemble cast. Yes, the whole cast who all play their roles brilliantly and that you want to see each character and actress have their own movie though there is a clear lead.

The film plays more like an enjoyable crowd-pleasing action film that happens to be a Western. As the film only seems to note a little of what it was like to be a woman surrounded by men in that type of environment and time.

GRADE: C+

SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE 2 (1987)

Cast: Crystal Bernard, Jennifer Rhodes, Atanas Ilitch, Kimberly McArthur, Patrick Lowe, Heidi Kozak, Juliette Cummins 

Courtney Bates, the younger sister of Valerie, and her friends go to their condo for a weekend getaway, but Courtney can’t get rid of the haunting feeling that a supernatural rockabilly driller killer is coming to murder them all.



This is a film I definitely have mixed feelings about. As this is obviously a film that isn’t meant to be taken seriously at all. As most from the title, it reeks of exploitation.

Now while one can see what they are going for and should be a fun ridiculous frolic. It just doesn’t do it for me as it is never strong enough in either of the directions it wants to go to. The one thing it has going for it is that it is unpredictable to a degree.

This movie is crazy and all over the place but it fits into it’s Time period of the 1980s. The filM Plays like a teen romp for most of the time. Except for its random violent scenes that come Across as dreams or daydreams. Then once it gets to the third act it starts with the Actual violence and killings.

The film is a low budget this is a movie that is more fun. As long as you don’t think about it. I fact the more impaired you are or the more people you have around watched it. The more you enjoy it, for its ridiculous nature. A b-movie that desires it’s own cult audience. Sort of like the movie THE ROOM. As this is a film that is best to know what you are getting into before watching.

Though if looking for a harder-edged comedy this is not it. As this almost plays like a spoof or parody of the genre, emphasizing it’s

More ridiculous elements. As it might remind one of a TROMA studios film only with better production values.

The movie seems like an intentional comedy in the horror genre though still tries to be a creditable horror film. As each aspect of the movie seems to explore the theme of being afraid of intimacy, Losing one’s Virginity and sex In General. As most of the film doesn’t have the character to be sexual even as every other character does or talks about it. 

The film more forces the point as every time she comes close to being intimate even in dreams they result in death. Finally, when in life she does seem ready for sex it’s Like she wills the Killer inadvertently out of her dreams and into physical form.  A rock n roll singer With a guitar that has a huge drill at the end (which he uses to penetrate his victims both female and male) and the killer who looks like a younger rockabilly character with a resemblance to Andrew Dice Clay. Who also performs a song during the film. 

Though he is in second place as the girls have a rock group themselves and perform two songs. (These music montages help kill the running time) Which only makes more of a case that the killer might be a second personality or a manifestation of her fear and defense against sex. Or did she will him into being. As the final girl might not only be the reason but inadvertent killer herself.

Her violent fantasies help the film have a horror or at least violence to keep the audience interested and hyped in the first two acts.

The film talks about sex and shows some Scenes of nudity and we hear sex but never see it. That is about how far it goes into exploitation other than the over the top fantasies and behavior the violence is more gratuitous.

Each member of the all-girl band has a personality type, but they feel interchangeable. Though the film has a strong female perspective as the leads and most of the characters throughout. 

The film seems to combine a bunch of popular horror cliches of the time. The dreams with a Killer element is from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The killer’s art in the third act from many a slasher film. 

nothing is ever really explained even the ending is never quite clear as to what is actually real and happening. For instance, we are told she is the little sister of the survivor of the first film. How come no one acknowledges her survival from the first film. No one thinks that maybe her little sister is traumatized after his sister survived such a huge tragedy. Did her sister really die as she seems to do In her daydreams, but by the killer? Is her willing of the killer really her in a different personality and showing that mental illness runs in the family? What was with that melted face with a huge zig that explodes. As that has nothing to do with the killer. That seemed more a lost scene from SOCIETY. What does the ending mean which is the true ending? Does he exist? Is this a manifestation. The film doesn’t want to answer that question leaving room for sequels. Though also uses cinematic dream logic for a film whose audience doesn’t seem to want that. Though which only makes the film more of a cult oddity.

Grade: C-

WALKING TALL (2004)

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Directed By: Kevin Bray
Written By: David Klass, Channing Gibson, David Levien & Brian Koppelman
Based on An Earlier Screenplay By: Mort Briskin
Cinematography By: Glen MacPherson
Editor: George Bowers & Robert Ivison 


Cast: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Johnny Knoxville, Neal McDonough, Ashley Scott, Kevin Durand, Michael Bowen, John Beasely, Kristen Wilson, Khleo Thomas, Cobie Smulders

After eight years serving the U.S. Army Special Forces, Sergeant Chris Vaughn returns to his hometown seeking for a job in the local mill. He is informed by Sheriff Stan Watkins that the mill was closed three years ago and now the Wild Cherry Casino, owned by his former high school friend Jay Hamilton, is the major source of jobs and income to the town. Chris goes home, and meets his best-friend Ray Templeton, who organized a football game with their friends. After the game, Jay invites Chris and his friends to spend the night in his casino on him, but when Chris finds that the casino crabs dealer is cheating with loaded dice, he fights against the security men and is almost killed by them. When his nephew Pete overdosed on crystal meth sold by the security men at the casino, Chris realizes that the town is dominated by the mobsters and the corrupt sheriff and with a huge piece of wood, he breaks the casino and the criminals. He is prosecuted and in the trial, he promises to the jury and to the population that if he is acquitted, he would be a candidate for sheriff and clean up the town. Later, Sheriff Chris Vaughn has to fight against the organized crime to keep his promise.

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THE NUTTY PROFESOR II: THE KLUMPS (2000)

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Directed By: Peter Segal
Written By: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz, Barry W. Blaustein & David Sheffield
Story By: Steve Odenkirk, Barry W. Blaustein & David Sheffield
Based on Characters originally Created By: Jerry Lewis
Cinematography By: Dean Semler
Editor: William Kerr 


Cast: Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Larry Miller, John Ales, Richard Gant, Anna Marie Horsford, Jamal Mixon, Wanda Sykes, Kym Whitley, Chris Elliot, Nikki Cox , Earl Boen

Professor Sherman Klump is getting married. And the Klump family could not be more delighted for him. But Buddy Love, his Mr. Hyde alter-ego from the first film, is back and trying to make it on his own. Buddy keeps resurfacing in untimely outbursts, and threatening the portly professor’s marriage plans to colleague Denise Gaines. Utilizing Denise’s cutting-edge DNA research, Sherman decides to rid himself of his monstrous nemesis -and his disruptive outbursts-once and for all by extracting Buddy’s DNA from his system. But Buddy bursts full-bodied into Sherman’s world and lays claim to the professor’s astounding invention – a revolutionary youth serum. Desperate to keep it from Buddy, Sherman hides the serum in the Klump family home, thinking it will be safe. Buddy correctly divines where Sherman has placed the serum, but to get it, he has to deal with the entire Klump family first.

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THE WOLFPACK (2015)

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Directed By: Crystal Moselle
Edited By: Enat Sidi

Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed, ‘The Wolfpack,’ the brothers spend their childhood reenacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. Their world is shaken up when one of the brothers escapes and everything changes.


The film works as a glossy documentary. Giving a look at a interesting family and their particulars.

Though the way the film is handled it seems more like if people magazine did an In depth article on the story rather than a skilled journalist who would go in depth and get answers that the filmmakers choose to avoid or never venture to ask. As that would mess up the feel good story, That this film aspires to be

Just as the film is supposed to be about this family that rarely or never leaves the house at least the kids never do. Yet the director was drawn to make this documentary after seeing them strangely dressed walking through the park? Which I only know from researching the film. It is never brought up int he film, nor does it explore how she got permission to film the family.

It also never explains thoroughly why child services were never called in. Especially based on how many agencies they seem dependent on.

Just as the film, Never explains why the father. Who was so opposed to the outside world and it’s demeaning morals and violence. Why then does he let his kids watch films that are so violent.

For all the fascination and answers the film offers. There seems to be more times that the film avoids details and seems to not be asking certain questions that would open the doc up. Letting a story go by without delving into it.

Though what is onscreen is nice and of interest and shows the power of cinema on individuals and offering a certain view of the world. Especially when it is you only real view of it.

It reminds me of how many certain movie fans choose to close themselves off to the world. Who wish to only have the kind of works exist as the real one seems to disappoint. Where as these kids seem to do it out of necessity. Yet still find the real world fascinating as they have relate it experienced it and how much it is not only new to them, but magical. They embrace all that they have been denied.

The home productions look like the type that were Sweded in the film BE, KIND REWIND and the stage productions from RUSHMORE.

The father’s actions are explained, but still make only sense to him and while he comes off ultimately as a villain. The film chooses to make him seem human rather than totally despicable. Which might be because he is still around in their lives.

For instance, informing us that he has hit his wife numerous times and has been abusive towards her. While being a fascist in general when it comes to his family and offering not real management or help. Yet delivers he harsh message. That life goes on and not full of happy endings though throughout the film it does have them.

The film let’s us get to know certain members of the family, but others are constantly seen, but never brought to the forefront or given a chance to get to know. I know there are a lot of them, but it would have been nice to get to know some of them somewhat.

While the film has a charm of being an underdog, By showing that these kids as victims found a good way to not only escape and express themselves. While also finding a way to cope with their situation. Even though it is all they know. It also is a feel good for the audience for them to learn to venture out and be free. As well as showing off their artistic skills. Only the film is afraid to venture back down to the details and facts that might actually bring the spirit of the doc down.

You can’t help but be charmed by the kids in the family and amazed at their skills and talent especially when it comes to art. Making props and scenery. Though the film tries to make them fascinating and winners ultimately. Watching the film at times, It’s hard to overcome the fact that ultimately for a long time in their fathers attempt to save them. He made them into victims.

Grade: C