INLAND EMPIRE (2006)

Edited, Cinematography, Written & Directed By: David Lynch

Cast: Laura Dern, Justin Theroux, Grace Zabriskie, Jeremy Irons, Harry Dean Stanton, Diane Ladd, Julia Ormand, Mary Steenburgen, Masiumi Max, Amanda Foreman, Terry Crews, Jordan Ladd, Ian Abercrombie, Cameron Daddo, Jerry Stahl, Nastassja Kinski

A blonde actress is preparing for her biggest role yet, but when she finds herself falling for her co-star, she realizes that her life is beginning to mimic the fictional film that they’re shooting. Adding to her confusion is the revelation that the current film is a remake of a doomed Polish production, 47, which was never finished due to an unspeakable tragedy.


I’m sorry I didn’t know what was going on half the time watching this film. It seems a film that is made more to test your interpretation or at least seems more like an art installation as film. Though truthfully might be the pinnacle and thesis of David Lynch’s filmography. Throwing any linear content out the window practically.

This seems more a film born out of his imagination and a kind of statement for him. As after all Supposedly This movie started with a phone call Laura Dern received from David Lynch asking if she wanted to come and experiment with him. That started the journey as the movie was filmed over several years and both of this films stars admit they don’t understand or what is going on in the film.

This movie makes every David Lynch movie from BLUE VELVET to MULLHOLLAND DRIVE look mainstream. This film is dark at times yet continuously feels unfocused for the audience while David Lynch directs with a sure hand. he does all the work here on his own for the most part it seems behind the scenes. So this is more his total creation. This is like an abstract painting brought to life on film. I think even if you are a David Lynch an this will test your boundaries of love for him.

In this movie there are scenes and shots of such beauty that only last a limited amount of time soon the film becomes tedious because it’s over two hours long. Now yes Andy Warhol would have loved it and called it a masterpiece and so will a lot of pretentious art film fans. Maybe it is. Maybe It’s just an abstract artist wavelength.

Now Mr. Lynch is a talented filmmaker, even in it’s moody overtones. Each scene breathes with life and opportunities that could take to scene and movie into parallel choices but it seems to just soldier on. Just like there are scenes where the film gets very interesting and seems to move only to be cut short abruptly and disappear.

I did really admire  the camerawork and the end credits sequence as well as some scenes and Laura Dern’s performance as she is in the whole film and has to somewhat figure out what is going on as well as be surprised as she goes along throughout. Her performance I can understand. Because she gives it her all and she is challenged at each turn and gives all she can at each turn. Bringing some kind of understanding and emotion into all of this darkness.

The reasons you think but for the fluid camera movement and music selection. This is a should have been movie especially with the ending. I believe we look for meaning or at least a linear story in David Lynch films and when he doesn’t give it to us. We try to read too much into it and maybe give little things that are non sensical more meaning that it has. It could be just a glitch but these directors who don’t speak on their films really are hiding the secret because audiences praise them as geniuses and all it is is a mistake plain and simple or something that was forgotten looked on or couldn’t afford to fix. But the audience feels the director is being subtle or that audiences just don’t get it. Maybe we do more than you but you believing yourself to be superior and needing to have something to believe in or influenced by your artistic friends taste or maybe I’m an idiot who knows this isn’t a philosophy class. I just wanted to state my beliefs.

This is one of those films I believe film lovers and fans of lynch need to see. Though I can say definitely watch it after you have seen all of his other films and can’t say you will enjoy it. Though there is nothing like it and it’s a movie I will say I will most likely only watch once. From what I can understand is that Laura Dern is playing in a movie that is a remake of cursed early black and white film. From the line between reality and film and film within a film are blurred. Sorry I didn’t like it but I do like other Lynch movies just not this one.

GRADE: C-

GAME OVER, MAN! (2018)

Directed By: Kyle Newacheck 
Written By: Anders Holm 
Story By: Anders Holm, Adam Devine & Blake Anderson 
Cinematography By: Steve Jablonsky 
Editor: Evan Henke 

Cast: Adam Devine, Anders Holm, Blake Anderson, Rhona Mitra, Neal McDonough, Sam Richardson, Steve Howey, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Daniel Stern, Aya Cash, Andrew Bachelor, Sugar Lyn Beard, Chloe Bridges, Mac Brandt, Jon Garbus 

Three friends are on the verge of getting their video game financed when their benefactor is taken hostage by terrorists.


This film is brought to you by the guys behind the television show WORKAHOLICS. This movie is like an unadulterated, uncensored episode of the show. Which I can admit I was a viewer of which is why this film comes across as a guilty pleasure for the most part.

This film seems like it could have been a contender at the box office, but is better served on Netflix. Where it will appeal to their audience and allow them to gain a bigger one.

The leads are playing variations of their comedic personas only more extreme. As they as a group seek to be successful with several million dollar ideas. So that they can claim some significance in their embarrassing roles in life at their job.

One so the bombastic blowhard who has made himself the leader, the other is an idea man who is a stoner and the third is more the nerdy shy buttoned up type. Who find themselves basically in a die hard situation. As the film works as a parody of that film also.

What works with this film is what works with the best comedies. The film isn’t just them Doing Funny and crazy stuff while everyone around them plays it straight and reacts to them. The film allows most of the other characters to be as wacky and crazy. Even allows by the film to focus for whole scenes and time periods on other characters.

The fun in is watching some of the villainous archetypes play out a little more different some more human or at least realistic to life.

As mentioned before this film is uncensored in all aspects. So there is plenty of graphic violence, gore to a degree and also male full frontal nudity.

The film plays contained as it takes place mostly in the hotel they work at. There are no surprises when it comes to the villains. Except how they are played at times.

In one way you could easily find the film insulting as it is more shocking frat type of juvenile behavior. Seen more through the lens of young white males. Even as this is not the type of film to really look for equality and political correctness in. The film tries to be fair to everyone, especially the females and not have them just be window dressing or damsels in distress. Though they don’t get as much action and attention. Though I will say Jillian Bell in her cameo in the film steals the scene and is provides the funniest laugh in the film.

As the film has plenty of pop culture references but also quite a few celebrity cameos. Which are hilarious and truly show that no one is safe in this film. Even the title is a quote from a popular line from the movie ALIENS. Said by the late great actor Bill Paxton

The film has no depth but stays entertaining. If you are a fan of their show or them as comedic actors and performers. You will definitely enjoy the film. As at least as you know the scenario the film offers surprises and doesn’t come across or lazy or phoning it in as more and more studio comedies and comedic actors are coming off as more and more at times. Like they are doing their schtick but they don’t even see inspired or into it anymore. So at least this film comes across as guys who are creative coming up with laughs and doing it for themselves as well as wanting to serve the audience.

This feels like a comedy from a new age. Definitely not watered down

Grade: C+

THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX (2018)

Directed By: Julius Onah 
Written By: Oren Uziel 
Story By: Oren Uziel & Doug Jung 
Cinematography By: Dan Mindel 
Editor: Alan Baumgarten, Matt Evans & Rebevva Valente 

Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, Daniel Bruhl, David Oyelowo, John Ortiz, Ziyi Zhang, Donal Logue, Roger Davies, Elizabeth Debicki 

Orbiting a planet on the brink of war, scientists test a device to solve an energy crisis, and end up face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.


There are parts of this film remind one of the science fiction movie LIFE that came out the year before. Only that movie was somewhat original and similarly Cliche ridden but at least was more entertaining overall with impressive special effects. It also didn’t try to be as emotional and dramatic as this film. It also had one hell of an ending.

This film also has way too good a cast to be this bad and disappointing. They are diverse and international. Not necessarily due to them is his movie a failure. Just a story that believes itself more clever then it actually is. As the film even before it’s Release tried to seem like it was more a studio sci-fi film before it was figured out to be another film in connection with the CLOVERFIELD series of movies. So once figured out it added CLOVERFIELD to the title. In the end it plays more like all hype.

The film essentially plays too basic and familiar so you get the sense you have seen all of this before.

The film being tied to a bigger series of films. That this is more a prequel of sorts that could be a sequel to anything. That is how devoid of personality and material it is. Where most of the film feels like filler for a few certain scenes that tie it together and really are what the movie is about.

Though more built around actress Gugu Mbetha-Raw character. No one in the cast comes through as memorable. Except Chris O’Dowd and that is only because he is more the comedic relief and is involved in one of the more impressive special effects sequences. The later being the bigger reason I remember him.

It’s a shame that a sci-fi movie that has a bigger than usual cast of minorities is so basic and non descript. Even the direction and production design doesn’t seem inspired.

The film ends up feeling like a hodgepodge or ideas and plots of other movies. Even by the ending it feels like this was a general sci-fi movie. That had an added ending to tie it to the CLOVERFIELD universe. As at least the other films in that universe added a different and original point of view to the typical alien invasion film. This feels more expected. Even if at first it tries to stay focused on the science more than anything.

Do these film not exist in that universe. It even trying to do anything different or special. The film isn’t even scary it’s more dialogue then anything at first. It’s also a movie that tries to be emotionally manipulative late in the game after an initial set-up and doesn’t come off as stylish at all.

This seems like a film that will play on the syfy channel for a while. As it seems like a bigger budgeted version of a film they would produce only without an exploitive angle.

This is definitely the weakest of the three films

GRADE: F

TEETH (2007)

Written & Directed By: Mitchell Lichtenstein 
Cinematography By: Wolfgang Held 
Editor: Joe Landauer 

Cast: Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Josh Pais, Lenny Von Dohlen, Ashley Springer, Hale Appleman  


Dawn grows up in the shadow of a nuclear power plant. In high school, while her biology class studies evolution, she realizes she may have a hidden curse, an “adaptation.” She lives with her mom, step-father, and hard-edged step-brother. She likes Tobey, a guy at school, and he likes her. She takes a pledge to remain chaste until marriage, so they date in groups, watch G-rated films, and don’t kiss, but the power of teen hormones is great, so temptation beckons. Dawn has an admirer in Ryan, and when when things have an unexpected twist with Tobey, she turns to Ryan for help. Will he be her mythical hero and rescue her? Or can she find her way as her own hero, turning the curse into an asset?


Not a blood thirsty violent horror film, not a fun look at the genre.

The premise of a midnight movie that has hints of horror but comes off as a brutal satire based in female sexuality and a vigilante tale all in one.

Jess Weixler is excellent in the lead role and makes quite the on screen debut.

The film isn’t as exploitive or sensationalistic as you might expect considering the premise. It and it’s shots are properly composed it feels off putting and isolated as everything is more matter of fact which makes it feel even more creepy. As in a David Lynch directed film where you wonder what dark intentions lie underneath this flaccid facade.

Not only the guilty are punished or become victims of this particular abnormality. Most of the male characters seem to be unlikeable or become that way. As they come across as predatory in some way. As the abnormality is not controllable as it strikes even when she is feeling comfortable and pleasure, but it seems to have an instinct.

As the film proves to be more complicated then at first thought. As it also includes a dysfunctional family melodrama but when her and her stepbrother played by John Hensley who seems intent on making her a victim in someway. The film does manage to surprise. As it seeks to be more then one note that It could have easily been or become.

The film is intense and punishing though chooses to take it’s time and be about more than it’s noteworthy premise.

One can see how some males would feel uncomfortable watching this film as it shows them being maimed, mutilated and disfigured usually in the genital region. Which allows the shoe to be on the other foot and see how some women might have problems watching films that seem to bask in or glorify violence against women.

Though director Mitchell Lichtenstein seems to over reach to try and make the film overly artistic though then again That could just be his style which gives the film an off kilter feel.

It’s an interesting film to watch but if expecting something over the top. You will be disappointed as or goes for something more textured.

Really hope there is a sequel. If anything his movie teaches us most teenage boys are dare rapists. I don’t know how true that is, but the cast is great, Jess Weixler cute bit in an ordinary way makes you believe her and her characters woes.

John Hensley is still A very peculiar looking man. Like a human anime character truly made me hate him and Lenny von dohlen. Great to see him alive always was a fan because of the movie ELECTRIC DREAMS but I haven’t. Seen him on anything since TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME.

So my final verdict check this out for a Friday night. Not a Saturday night

Grade: C+

AMERICAN ASSASSIN (2017)

Director: Michael Cuesta 
Written By: Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz 
Based On The Novel By: Vince Flynn 
Cinematography: Enrique Chediak 
Editor: Conrad Buff IV 

Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanna Lathan, Taylor Kitsch, Scott Adkins, Charlotte Vega, David Suchet, Shiva Negar 

Twenty three-year-old Mitch lost his parents to a tragic car accident at the age of fourteen, and his girlfriend to a terrorist attack just as they were engaged. Seeking revenge, he is enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy as a black ops recruit. Kennedy then assigns Cold War veteran Stan Hurley to train Mitch. Together they will later on investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on military and civilian targets. The discovery of a pattern in the violence leads them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative intent on starting a world war in the Middle East.


Director Michael Cuesta has come along way since his debut films L.I.E. And 12 & HOLDING. He has proved himself to be a journeyman director. As he has come from coming of age independent films to studio dramas and nor a full fledged action film. His first which seems to try to become a franchise but works as a one off also.

The film was being planned for a while as quite a few directors were attached such as Ed Zwick, Antoine Fuqua and Jeffrey Nachmanoff. Just as many actors were either offered or considered for the leading role such as Chris Hemsworth, Colin Ferrell, Matthew Fox and Gerard Butler.

The films action sequences are serviceable. They just seem to be violent more in one on one encounters. As the scenes try to be more intimate in the violence but feel broad. As the film truly wants to show blood and guts. So that it plays more like an 1980’a type action film starring an actor you wouldn’t think of or consider for this type of film. Played by Dylan O’Brien Which is what might make his character easy to underestimate or even suspect.

Equally impressive is knowing what the star Dylan O’Brien went through in real life to make a come back the screen in an action film. With plenty of stunts. After suffering a war fatal accident on another movie that left him hospitalized for quite a while.

The film is a mix of espionage and revenge thriller. No one nor any of the story truly makes too much of an impact as the movie pretty much plays by the numbers.

The film has female characters who are all attractive but really have nothing to besides that. They give one character an action sequence where she loses the battle and Saana Lathan’s character while one of the authority figures is only there to authorize and put plans together.

This film is pure action with little to no sex and seduction. Though the film does involve a gory torture scene that was too much for me.

Taylor Kitsch as the villain unfortunately has no presence his character is vague and never quite makes an impression and feels very non descriptive. Though he does take his shirt off a lot. Which weakens the film as then it feels like a battle of the heartthrobs. The tough sensitive one and the bad boy. Which then makes it seem more intended for teenage girls. 

Scott Adkins in a supporting role only seem to be late for scenes meant to show us how tough our lead is going toe to toe, skill to skill with him. Where as if that was what is supposed to be meant. Why not just make him the villain? Then again it seems best to have the heartthrobs against each other in the ends for a more violent tiger beat magazine stand off where only one can survive. 

Michael Keaton seem here for star power more than anything. Also to maybe create an iconic mentor for the main character. As he is believable but deserves better. He replaced Bruce Willis who dropped out.

The main character has nothing and no one to tie him down or wonder what happened to him. Which seems more convenient while trying to infuse his characters loneliness and why having someone taken away from him matters so deeply. Though he does live off a inheritance which also seems to be a huge convenience. That seems to give him a Batman type scenario only with taking down terrorist for the government.

Grade: C

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS (2009)

Directed By: Terry Gilliam 
Written By: Terry Gilliam & Charles McKeon 
Cinematography By: Nicole Pecorini 
Editor: Mick Audsley 
 

Cast: Christopher Plummer, Heath Ledger, Lilly Cole, Andrew Garfield, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farell

In London, the sideshow troupe of Doctor Parnassus promises the audience a journey to the “Imaginarium”, an imaginary world commanded by the mind of Doctor Parnassus, where dreams come true. In the stories that Doctor Parnassus tells to his daughter Valentina, the midget Percy, and his assistant Anton, he claims to have lived for more than one thousand years; However, when he fell in love with a mortal woman, he made a deal with the devil (Mr. Nick), trading his immortality for youth. As part of the bargain, he promised his son or daughter to Mr. Nick on their sixteenth birthday. Valentina is now almost to the doomed age and Doctor Parnassus makes a new bet with Mr. Nick, whoever seduces five souls in the Imaginarium will have Valentina as a prize. Meanwhile the troupe rescues Tony, a young man that was hanged on a bridge by the Russians. Tony was chased until he finds and joins the group. Tony and Valentina fall in love with each other and the jealous Anton discovers that his competition may be a liar.


The thing when it comes to Terry Gilliam’s films is that his films are so far off the beaten path that it takes a while to get used to while watching his films. But once you get used to his world and get onto the rhythm of his films you are usually in for a treat. The man’s imagination is so vivid that you are guaranteed to see things you have never seen before.

This film I wanted to love but ended up liking the ingredients were there Gilliam writing with Charles McKeon who he co-wrote THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN with. They create a vivid original world and characters but in many ways, it feels like it falls short. 

The story is Doctor Parnisuss made a deal with the devil that for immortality and the hand of the woman he loved the devil could have his daughter when she turned 18. They have an ongoing game. That involves a magical mirror. A mirror where people go into a fantasy world and can choose either light or the darkness if they go to the darkness the devil gets their soul if they go into the light they are given a euphoric joy that gives them delight and their fantasy come to life. He tries to find a way out of it but when the devil comes to collect he makes another deal the first who can get 5 souls wins. This would be a tragedy if not for saving Tony a mysterious rogue they find hanging off a bridge they save his life and tony repays them by coming up with a way to save their business which is a traveling circus, Side show with the magical mirror.  

This is Heath Ledger’s last film. He, unfortunately, died before the film was finished and his role is played in different scenes by Colin Farell, Johnny Depp, and Jude law which in its own way works as they all play fantasy versions of his character and it feels seamless. 
One always felt Heath ledger had the talent for bigger and better things and luckily he never had mainstream tastes when it came to roles he was always attracted to the more abstract roles which I felt would lead him to be the next Johnny Depp as early in his career he also was more in artistic films then later in his career finally choose more mainstream roles.  

The casting of this film is good Verne Troyer plays a good role not as comedic as usual. Christopher Plummer is a hoot as Doctor Parnisuss he is clearly having fun. Tom Waits as the devil is always a joy to watch with his original looks and charisma. 

While one might prefer old school special effects and would like them to be used more, but though this film has tons of CGI it works for the story as it enhances the film and is useful more than anything else to help tell the tale in vivid detail. 
 

Now while I liked the film I never became invested in the film and felt like I was always kept at a distance from the characters and story. But I must give Gilliam credit as to how good the film is considering the tragedy that happened halfway through filming. 

One only wishes he could get the budgets and more luck when it comes to the making of his films it seems he always has to struggle to get his dream projects made then has to compromise or settle on films that while they have his creative genius. They just aren’t the films he should be making. They seem a little too streamlined and commercial for his artistic tastes. 


He is one of the last auteurs we have. He is a director who in the ’70s would have had people lining up around the corner to see his latest works because they would be guaranteed to see something original. Now he has a hard time Making films because his material is too original. 

The film has its own beauty and is interesting to watch, unfortunately it doesn’t last on the mind s much as past works of his have.  A Satisfying Rental  
GRADE: B-

21 JUMP STREET (2012)

Directed By: Phil Lord & Chris Miller 
Written By: Michael Bacall 
Story By: Jonah Hill & Michael Bacall 
Cinematography By: Barry Peterson 
Editor: Joel Negron 

Cast: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Alison Brie, Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Chris Parnell, Rob Riggle, Deray Davis, Dakota Johnson, Rye Rye, Caroline Aaron, Ellie Kemper, Jake M. Johnson 


In high school, Schmidt (Jonah Hil) was a dork and Jenko (Channing Tatum) was the popular jock. After graduation, both of them joined the police force and ended up as partners riding bicycles in the city park. Since they are young and look like high school students, they are assigned to an undercover unit to infiltrate a drug ring that is supplying high school students with synthetic drugs 


First and foremost this is one of the few films that I actually ventured to go see on opening day. Which I haven’t done in years. That is how badly I wanted to see the film. Like SCREAM it not only makes fun and spoofs the conventions of the genre of tv show remakes and buddy films, While soon falling into them and being good at it. Just like SUPERBAD not only does this spoof teens and teenage films. It has moments of emotional truth and kind of being a bromance. It’s not artistic, but it is a really entertaining popcorn film. with quick cuts that don’t make it seem like you have A.D.D. 

Channing Tatum is the real surprise in this film. He comes across with charisma and expert comic timing. It’s hard to believe he Turned the film down numerous times until Jonah hill personally reached out and convinced him to take the role. He hasn’t been this interesting as an actor since A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS. They both executive produce the film. 

I have to admit when Channing Tatum was first announced to star I thought the film was doomed. But he is one of the elements that make the film a winner. 

Jonah Hill plays his usual type of character but brings the laughs and makes it feel new and different each time. He has a way of making moments awkward and true yet bring it around to being funny and always make it feel improvised. 

 Even if you never watched the show. It’s enjoyable, but if you remember and/or like the show. The film is just incredible. The action scenes are simple yet exciting that make them seem realistic until they get a bit ridiculous and abused. The cameos are great and bring the movie full circle. The film shows the generation gap even though it has only been 7 years and manages of course to include pop-culture references. It truly is a different landscape. The film does still rely on the old television cliché of mixed up identities leading up to half the hilarity. How now what was uncool. Now is cool which a character even comments on. 

Dave Franco, James’ Brother finally steps out of his shadow to create a memorable character and handles the role well. Brie Larson who I am a huge fan of from SCOTT PILGRIM Vs. THE WORLD among other films. Which I will admit at times I have watched only because she was in them. Is here as charming as ever in a role originally offered to Emma Stone who couldn’t take the role due to scheduling with another film. It would have been a nice reunion for her and jonah, but the role doesn’t leave her with much to do. It’s nice an experienced newcomer got the chance to play it. 

Some things feel like pure comedic inspiration like the characters having to live with his parents makes no sense. Ice Cube as the angry black captain even comments on his own situation. The Rapper who called himself the N*gga you love to hate and used to be anti-cop. Now playing one here is ironic and in a good way. 

 Jonah hill originally offered the directing gig to Rob Zombie.  The film makes fun of all the aspects that the original series held so dear or dealt with as special issues. When the show first premiered I hated it thinking it was a beefcake show of hunks that wasn’t worth my time. My mom liked the show and would always watch it. Then in its second season, there was nothing else on and I decided to watch it and thought it was actually quite decent and stayed a life-long fan. I even watched and enjoyed the spinoff BOOKER.

I even watched it until it’s end in syndication long after Johnny Depp left the show. When only the Captain was the really long-lasting cast member. The show also introduced me to Johnny Depp. 

 SPOILER 

 The film unfortunately not only has a cameo by Johnny Depp and Peter Deluise as their characters from the original, But also the death of there characters which really hurt and for the rest of my life I will always see DeRay Davis as the man who killed my favorite TV Cop characters. 

I can see that as the main reason why Johnny Depp took the role. As he acknowledges it helped start his career but during his last seasons he hated being on the show. But respected Steven J. Cannell to finish off his contract. Holly Robinson Peete also cameos her character gets to live. At least the characters die giving more meaning to the theme of the film, But still a sad way to go. I would have rather them just go on in my imagination. I could honestly recognize Johnny Depp as his character immediately though he isn’t really revealed until the end. It’s the cadence of his voice. 
 END SPOILER 

 GRADE: B+

THE LOVEBIRDS (2020)

Directed By: Michael Showalter 
Written by: Brendan Gall & Aaron Abrams
Story By:  Brendan Gall, Aaron Abrams & Martin Geri
Cinematography: Brian Burgoyne 
Editor: Vince Filippone & Robert Nassau

Cast: Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Paul Sparks, Anna Camp, Kyle Bornheimer, Catherine Cohen, Andrene Ward-Hammond, Barry Rothbart

A couple experiences a defining moment in their relationship when they are unintentionally embroiled in a murder mystery. As their journey to clear their names takes them from one extreme – and hilarious – circumstance to the next, they must figure out how they, and their relationship, can survive the night.


This movie works as a screwball romantic comedy. Where we see the couple get together in the beginning. Then even though still together recognize they are having problems and slowly throughout the film fall in love again.

As they realize how much they care for one another and not judge their relationship by other’s standards or against others.

Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani make a good on-screen pair. They have chemistry even if not romantic chemistry.

It’s fun and funny watching them Go through more and more challenges while on the run to figure out a mystery and clear their names. As they both have manic energy and the film gets more ridiculous as it goes along. Not to mention predictable.

As with everything and issue they talk about in the beginning they end up having to face or deal With, Including how much of this is like the amazing race.

By the end the story is silly but works as a movie. As this is the first film star kumail Nanjiani and director Michael showalter have worked on together since their previous film THE BIG SICK which was oscar nominated. Maybe it was thought they would work on something stronger besides a more out and out mainstream comedy. That more compliments them As they both come from more Comedic backgrounds. Plus neither one wrote this script.

So this comes across as a nice quaint comedy. That reminds one of the old classics where Two comedy stars as a couple must face a madcap humorous adventure together. With each other as the only people they can trust.

It’s also nice to see an interracial romance where race isn’t brought up and still having two minorities in a starring role. Which gives the film certain freedom but also hinders it by not allowing race to come. Into the picture kind of turns a blind eye and makes the characters bland and doesn’t seem to acknowledge them fully.

Though you never take anything in the film seriously. Their chemistry is strong and you believe them as a couple.

The film never gets too complicated.  it just stays simple throughout. 

Grade: C+

THE WEEKEND (2018)

Written & Directed By: Stella Meghie
Cinematography: Kris Belchevski
Editor: Shannon Baker Davis

Cast: Sasheer Zamata, Tone Bell, Dewanda Wise, Kym Whitley, Y’Lan Noel, Josefina Landeros 

A comedian goes away for the weekend with an ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.


It’s nice to see an all-black romantic comedy once in a while. That offers representation and no stereotypes. It also offers a strong independent female lead who is smart, funny, and not desperate.

It’s easy to fall for lead Sasher Zamata and her character. She is charming even if deeply sarcastic and at times rude. Though usually Go for the Dewanda Wise type character, her rival of sorts in the film. As she seems to be given short change. We barely get to know her and she is treated almost like a villain. When she is actually Put in an awkward situation and treated kind of badly by most involved over the weekend. 

So that whIle Sasher Zamata’s Character is the protagonist and whom we are supposed to root for. She is kind of mean and is written off as being sarcastic to be defensive because she is afraid of getting hurt and being vulnerable. Yet she seems to mostly get her way most of the time. So that rationalization doesn’t always work, but then again is she really that different than guys in these types of romantic comedies? who are ass holes for the most part throughout and unmotivated except when they finally find the one and then no matter how underhanded they might be to be with that person we are meant to root for them be axis they are presented as the underdog?

The film Feels awkward and at times airless due to lack of a score partially. Though like the film and the performances, script, and direction. Just feels like something is missing. Yet it wins you over and stays entertaining. 

Though clear from The beginning where it is going. We Want her to end up with the other guy. The one she has no history with, Who seems more deeper and fun. 

As she has chemistry with both her ex and the next guy. She is a little obvious in her attraction for her ex and her ex makes it obvious he wants her still too but can’t Make up his mind. Which is not only frustrating for her but also for us. 

Though happy the way it ended not storybook and a little Unexpected.

In the end, the film that Is a nice little romantic comedy that is more about bonds and relationships rather than romance and fantasy fulfillment. 

Grade: C+

THE LITTLE THINGS (2021)

Written & Directed By: John Lee Hancock Cinematography: John Schwartzman  Editor: Robert Frazen 

Cast: Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, Terry Kinney, Chris Bauer, Natalie Morales, Judith Scott, Michael Hyatt, Isabel Arraiza, Jason James Richter, Frederick Koehler, Maya Kazan

Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon is sent to Los Angeles for what should have been a quick evidence-gathering assignment. Instead, he becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. Leading the hunt, L.A. Sheriff Department Sergeant Jim Baxter, impressed with Deke’s cop instincts, unofficially engages his help. But as they track the killer, Baxter is unaware that the investigation is dredging up echoes of Deke’s past, uncovering disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case.

The film’s main selling point seems to be its bleakness throughout. It stays dark NOT visually exciting SEVEN dark but it makes you think and pay attention. Almost like you are a detective with these characters. As the film ends up being more a character study dressed up In neo-noir

The film is set in 1990, that is also when the screenplay was written and it feels like an old screenplay dusted off and by luck given major talent. It also gives an excuse for a film and story devoid of losers technology that would have cut short the film and it’s lingering questions or would have had to be updated and rewritten.

The film has a padded cast for what ends up being dull, subpar material. So that it comes almost like a marvel movie where you feel the cast is better than the material. At least in name.

Denzel Washington is the major attraction for the movie and at times he seems bored but his stardom and personality fill out the role and film.

Jared Leto is actually the most entertaining piece of the whole movie. As he is the only one who brings some joy and playfulness to his role. Even if again in the process of method action or the characterization he is made to look guilty and like one would imagine a serial killer to look like. 

Rami Malek comes off as heroic but ultimately comes across as weak in his performance. As he seems off as the film goes along. Especially when his character shouldn’t be at that point.

As the film seems to be all about the looks also. As the film continues we are made to question things we have seen. Details form scenes that have been played before. 

The only real action or excitement comes In The opening scene where a young girl is attacked by an unseen assailant. Other than that there is a scene late where Denzel must escape from an apartment he’s not to be at. 

Throughout we get to know the past of Denzel’s character little by little until it all makes sense as to why he is the way he is. He also sees a kinship with the other detective played by Rami Malek and sees why a lot of his old colleagues are shocked to see him again and mostly don’t want to see him. 

It takes its time while it fills in the past of characters. Taking it’s time to get to even know the protagonist.

Makes the film feel more old school and dramatic. As again it feels like a Film from the time it takes place In and was written for at the time. 

The film is different whereas it doesn’t try to play like a typical thriller. It tries to focus more on the detectives not the kills and less on the criminals or the actual crimes in action.

It still feels a bit routine and tries to build interest in the tiniest details and ideas. 

The film goes about keeping you guessing. Especially with Its ambiguous ending leaving the audience to come away with their own judgments and interpretations.

Even though a smaller story this feels like a movie that needs a director who will pay particular attention to it and try to decipher and communicate the films vision and themes. That are dark but also make you think. This film need an auteur who can leave a somewhat Personal style on the film. As much as the killer in this film dies with his victims

In the end, while the film seems to want to play games with the audience and relies heavily on Christian themes and symbolism throughout. This almost feels like a waste. As it feels like much ado about nothing. 

Grade: C-