RED ROCKET (2021)

Directed & Edited By: Sean Baker
Written By: Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch 
Cinematography: Drew Daniels 

Cast: Simon Rex, Suzanna Son, Bree Elrod, Brenda Deiss, Ethan Darbone, Brittany Rodriguez, Judy Hill, Shih-Ching Tsou 

Finding himself down and out in Los Angeles, ex-porn star Mikey Saber decides to crawl back to his hometown of Texas City, Texas, where his estranged wife and mother-in-law are living. Just as this dysfunctional family seems to be making things work, Mikey meets a young woman named Strawberry working the cash register at a local doughnut shop. He falls right back into his old habits.


While this is a good film, it is also disturbing and unsettling at times. While offering some humor as it goes along. As it shows no one is not any situation just one thing at one time. It is never quite that simple.

The film offers Simon Rex, in a comeback of a performance. Probably the most dramatic role he has ever had a chance to play. His character is totally unlikeable, a natural-born hustler. He is a smooth talker even though most of the time he is obvious. Though his performance is captivating. As the film more revolves around his character you wish the film was just as lively and unpredictable as his performance and character but needs a kind of normalcy to bounce him off of and compare him to.

He is good at what he does because as soon as you like him or fall for him or even feel sorry for him for whatever reason. He does something that reminds you of how deceptive and selfish he is. As even in the. For comedic scenes of comeuppance, you laugh but then ate reminded how unlikeable he can be. As this is not a film about redemption. Just that most people Don’t change. 

This film is more of a character study than necessarily plot-oriented. As usual with writer-director Sean baker’s films, this is more of a humanistic film to show this man’s life and the people around him from his past.

The film uses non-actors making it feel more lived in and believable. Even as most of the characters are fascinating themselves we get snippets of them. More or less as they move in and out of the main characters’ plans and life. 

At heart, the film offers a twisted love story that is at least one side in a seduction meant for one to prosper through the subjugation of the other. Here in the form of an 18-year-old female high school senior who he romances. It makes the film even more uncomfortable as even though the actress is older she still looks young. So the sex scenes feel uncomfortable. Even if her character isn’t as innocent as she seems. You can still tell she is in over her head. 

The movie doesn’t judge any of the characters or situations. It remains neutral, leaving it up to the audience to decide how they feel.

What works for the film is that by the end you will feel some kind of reaction. Good or bad it definitely will make you feel something and I am betting not happy. 

Grade: B

CHERRY (2021)

Directed by: Joe Russo & Anthony Russo 
Written By: Jessica Goldenberg & Angela Russo-Otstot 
Based On The Novel By: Nico Walker 
Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel
Editor: Jeff Groth

Cast: Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor, Forrest Goodluck, Jeff Wahlberg, Michael Rispoli, Michael Gandolfini, Damon Wayans Jr. Kelli Burland, Daniel R. Hill, Pooch Hall, Thomas Lennon

Cherry drifts from college dropout to army medic in Iraq – anchored only by his true love, Emily. But after returning from the war with PTSD, his life spirals into drugs and crime as he struggles to find his place in the world.


It might be that one really wanted this film to succeed. As it is the first film for the Russo brothers directing after THE AVENGERS  movies and a starring role for Tom Holland in a more dramatic role. Not to mention actress Ciara Bravo in a leading female role after the streaming Series WAYNE was unfortunately canceled before it’s time and she was so good on it. That the film’s problems might’ve taken a little more personal. 

While I never read the book. I know it was critically acclaimed and had its fair share of fans. 

This is a clear case of style over substance. As the film gives us a story adapted from the book of the same name.

Though throughout the film flirts with so many different genres a mind types that it never has time to settle into any of them flirting but never quite sealing the deal. As they are just escapades that help us get to the next part of the story.

The film mainly revolves around two characters and at heart is a love story of two people trying to find themselves in one another. While dealing with constant mistakes that seem to get bigger whenever trying to solve the last problem.

It is also a drug addiction story. While the two leads are capable Tom Holland and Ciara bravo they look so young which might be the age of the characters, but they look Ike they are playing dress-up half the time. Especially as their characters get older and for Tom Holland especially the later scenes where he grows a mustache Looks more like make-up than a naturally grown character. Though Ciara bravo tries very hard with her character. Her more adult scenes just never hit home. As she is a good actress.

When it comes to the direction of the film. It is overly stylized which can be appreciated when done with just enough panache. The problem here though is that the story never quite earns it so it usually feels over the top. Though it does give the film an operatic presentation. It feels overdone and at times like it is taking suggestions from other films but is never quite as sharp as those other films. So that even in some scripted scenes that are more comedic it still falls flat.

Even as it tries to base itself on the book and present each new time period in their lives as a new or different chapter. Trying to elevate the material higher.

Even the bank robbery scene has no flair. We get that they are trying to show it’s not like the movies are glamorous or necessarily well thought out, but they just feel lifeless. As the film goes on everything feels familiar but the film keeps trying to present it in a different way that ends up going overboard and not actually adding anything to the overall experience or film. Be

The film seems to go out of its way to show that life isn’t fair as the good moral characters have a way of always having hardships or dying. While the characters who showcase bad moral behavior sometimes are punished but at other times seem to succeed or at least survive. At least In our time with them.

One of the problems is that throughout the movie the scenes feel melodramatic and examples of emotional beats you have seen done bigger and better and more deserved in Other films. Making the film again feel like it is more trying to be like films of this type instead of just being itself. It’s let’s put on a show rather than let’s stay true and tell a story.

It’s not a bad film but like the main character, it feels full of ambition but never quite makes it to where it wants to go or wants to be. Though it is a nice try. It ends up feeling like it is trying to show off to prove it belongs and in doing so showcases why it doesn’t.

It might be that the film feels more like a dramatic graphic novel with its style and with the filmmakers behind it. It just feels like a movie of moments that might have been handled better emotionally,  gritty and dramatic rather than grand and so visual and surreal. 

There is a plan here it just doesn’t match the story or material 

It’s an interesting try that in the end doesn’t quite stick to the landing. By the end, you have a film that will keep your interest but you might not have anything to really grab onto to remember or even truly feel.

Grade: C

GALVESTON (2018)

Directed By: Melanie Laurent 
Written by: Nic Pizzolatto 
Based On The Novel By: Nic Pizzolatto
Cinematography: Arnaud Potier 
Editor: Joseph Krings 

Cast: Ben Foster, Elle Fanning, Beau Bridges, Maria Valverde, Lili Reinhart, Jeffrey Grover, Christopher Amitrano

Debt collector Roy is a heavy-drinking criminal enforcer and mob hitman whose boss set him up in a double-cross scheme. After killing his would-be assassins, Roy discovers Rocky, a young woman being held captive, and reluctantly takes her with him on his escape. Determined to find safety and sanctuary in Galveston, Roy must find a way to stop his boss from pursuing them while trying to outrun the demons from his and Rocky’s pasts.


From the writer of TRUE DETECTIVE based on his novel. It’s just as down and dirty as the show. Only here no mysticism. It does show how certain things affect another. Though this is more a character study of the two leads. Only we seem more from their actions rather than from what they say. 

Melanie Laurent the french actress directs this movie. That is grimy yet has a golden sheen around it. Where it seems like the film takes great joy in not only seeing more sides of life.

Trying to give definition and be emphasized as being more real. Seeming to try and give the Film a street quality. Everything including the actions seems dirtier than needed. It definitely has a lived In quality, especially with a cast of unrecognizable actors. 

Ben Foster usually is great in whatever he is in and gives another great performance. He Keeps you mesmerized as you watch him. At times, you feel you have him figured out only to surprise you but he always feels natural. Even when he makes decisions that leading characters rarely do. 

The film is never happy, it seems like it’s trying to bathe itself In Dirt and unhappiness.

Letting you know nothing will be easy. The world the film creates is cruel with no victories, even so, the tragedy you know will eventually come. Still feels like a gut punch.

A pulp story told through two characters who are thrown together by chance and it seems each step to the way they dig themselves deeper while trying. To keep a low profile. Through this time they bond and grow closer. They have a relationship even if it is not romantic. They form A bond and kind of family. 

Even as throughout you can feel this Inching towards tragedy and it is rare anything happy or nice happens 

This is the first truly adult role Elle Fanning has played. As she always seems to work keeping busy. Here she plays a younger character. She feels real and lived in. It never feels like she is coasting and for such a character who hasn’t had a hard life seems a little innocent and happy go lucky. 

The film is strong even if at times it does feel like it is trying too hard. 

Grade: B-

RIVER OF GRASS (1994)

Written & Directed By: Kelly Reichardt
Story By: Jesse Hartman 
Cinematography: Jim Denault 
Editor: Larry Fessenden 

Cast: Lisa Bowman, Larry Fessenden, Dick Russell, Stan Kaplan, Michael Buscemi 

Cozy, a dissatisfied housewife, meets Lee at a bar. A drink turns into a home break-in, and a gunshot sends them on the run together, thinking they’ve committed murder.


This film is about a wanna Bonnie & Clyde. A makeshift couple on the run that is never romantic or lustful. 

The film starts off well and feels inventive and tells the story fast and vividly. Introducing us to the characters and their motivations. as even the small details help set up the main Characters and offer spontaneity in their day-to-day supposedly mundane lives. 

As it feels random at first. But the film catches up with that. As the story goes along we see how everything becomes connected and in this small town in Florida. They are literally passing by each other and not realizing they are the ones they are seeking.

A bored housewife seeks adventure in a loser would be a drifter and go on a crime spree of no regard though they think it is. As they go On the run. Not realizing no one is really looking. For them except for her. As her family wants to know why she has run away. Not to mention their crimes aren’t prosperous nor exciting. If anything they are more embarrassing but not in a broadly comedic way. They come off more as pathetic. As we watch the others their lives intersect with good ones.

Writer/Director Kelly Reichart films are very detail-oriented and more at the moment while we watch life and the characters move at a more day to day moment to moment pace. Her films are almost still Life may. They aren’t made with a broad canvas but are affecting if you are willing to watch and can take the slower pace and usually no frills.

This isn’t the first film Of her’s I have seen. Though this is one of her earlier ones and from the ones I have seen this is one of her quicker-paced and more conventional films.

This film shows an interest in a crime story. Where there is practically no crime. This was made before she went full-fledged into cinematic studies of life and characters At the moment.

NIGHT MOVES comes the closest of her later films where there seems to be some sort of action and offers more conventional entertainment.

In the end, this comes off as pathetic but a little soulful In its Eclecticness. So that it feels alive and free whenever offbeat 

GRADE: B-

SPENCER (2021)

Directed By: Pablo Larrain
Written By: Steven Knight 
Cinematography: Claire Mathon 
Editor: Sebastian Sepulveda 

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins, Sean Harris, Jack Farthing, Laura Benson, Wendy Patterson 

During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana Spencer, struggling with mental health problems, decides to end her decade-long marriage to Prince Charles.


I will admit this isn’t usually my type of film or the type I will run to, but I am glad I watched this film as I am a fan of director Pablo Larrain and his movies. Though not really that invested in the Royal family.  This is the second film about them that I find myself surprised by how engrossed I am by films about them.

Deep down this film is about exploring being trapped in your own fame. That you knew might be coming but not the amount of scrutiny. Especially when the people who are supposed to be in this with you. Have decided to freeze you out also but expect you to represent them in your behavior.

As throughout, the film feels like a suspense-filled horror film. Where she is constantly under attack and wondering if each action is an attack. As we watch a woman trapped in everything: a marriage, a family, a palace, where everyone seems against her including the help.

So that even when seeming to have it all. The riches, the family, the fame still has their own fair share of problems, especially when it comes to a historic reign of a particular kingdom and family. Where she can never go back to when it was quite so simple. As of now she is ruled and trapped inside a kingdom. Where there is constant talk of survival. 

Where no matter what she does it is never quite good enough. So that she begins to rebel and seems punished even more for it. So we watch the character of Princess Diana breaking down. 

Kristen Stewart comes off as very theatrical at first. Where one doesn’t know if that is her playing character or her instincts. As she always comes off as performing more. Though eventually, she comes into her own. Not to mention those who knew Princess Diana say her performance is spot on. 

She looks photogenic throughout like a model. Though I have to say this is one of her best performances. As she comes into her own, especially in the second half of the film. The more off-center she is the stronger the performance gets. Fighting against no matter how much they try to contain her 

At first, that seems what the film will be built around but as it goes along. The film develops not only into a character piece, But a psychological thriller, a location horror film, and a diabolical thriller all in one that is very symbolic. As it also exposes the tradition of even the help and the standard they are held to. 

The film seems more structured, but free to experiment more than the director Pablo Larrian’s Previous biofilm of a real-life character at a particular point in their life that lets them reflect on their life and legacy at a crucial time in the film JACKIE about Jackie Onassis. 

Though based on real-life characters it’s still surprising when other recognizable actors pop up in supporting roles. They are impressive but jarring as it partially takes you out of the film. Luckily, they play the help. Where we as an audience can’t compare to faceless counterparts. 

The film sets an atmosphere and tone. While also showing immaculately designed production and camera shots. As the film is artistically filmed to be personal and yet as beautiful as a perfume ad that feels like the inside of a fashion shoot. 

Grade: A-

HOUSE OF GUCCI (2021)

Directed By: Ridley Scott
Written By: Becky Johnston & Roberto Bentivenga
Based on the Book By: Sara Gay Forden 
Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski
Editor: Claire Simpson 

Cast: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Jared Leto, Jack Huston, Salma Hayek, Camille Cottin, Reeve Carney 

When Patrizia Reggiani, an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel their legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately…murder.


This should be a movie that could almost guarantee an audience. It has a strong true life story of an emotive that is successful and slowly crumbles. The infighting amongst the family for control of this empire. An outsider who comes in and manipulates everyone and then later a true crime aspect. 

For such an established and pedigree cast this film should be much better. It is grand in style though strangely considering the story should feel epic. Never achieves the heights and power that it should. It never feels rich or full-bodied. 

Now, this is Lady Gaga’s first big starring role after A STAR IS BORN. All eyes are on her as she has the showiest role and while she does ok. It might have been much stronger with a more experienced actress. Who could captivate the audience.

Jared Leto acts like he is in a totally different film. His performance comes off as more comedic but will admit he is the most entertaining part of the film. As with him In Scenes. The film either feels uneven or that it is slipping more into camp at times. 

The film at least allows for other cast members to shine but they rarely come close to being as interesting or captivating. Other than gaga Adam driver has the character who shows the most range in terms of emotions and situations. 

The script fails at times also. As gag’s character at first seems In love and humble and then all of a sudden seems to desire money and success manipulating her husband and the rest of the family. It might have been a little more understandable if the film showed she was a girl who came from much more humble beginnings and once around. Wealth and success she got spoiled and wanted to stay in that environment. Instead of making. It seems like she was a power mad gold digger all of a sudden.

The film feels like it is going through the motions of telling the story rather than being invested in it or the characters. It feels to a matter of fact or more reporting. Even in the good times, you don’t feel heights of joy or happiness. 

The film looks good but never quite as sharp as it should and never achieves the dramatic depth it should. Making it feel like it is constantly missing an ingredient. As it is definitely missing a sense of glamour 

Grade: C+

GODARD MON AMOUR (2017)

Written & Directed By: Michel Hazanavicius 
Adapted from the Novel “UN AN APRES” By: Anne Wiazemsky
Cinematography: Guillaume Schiffman
Editor: Anne-Sophie Bion & Michel Hazanavicius 

Cast: Louis Garrel, Stacy Martin, Berenice Bejo, Micha Lescot, Gregory Gadebois, Guido Caprino 

Paris, 1967. Jean-Luc Godard, the maker of “A bout de souffle”, “Le Mépris” and “Pierrot le fou”, idolized by critics and intellectuals, is shifting from revolutionizing cinema to becoming a revolutionary tout court. Isn’t he shooting “La Chinoise”, more a political tract in favor of Maoism than an actual movie? His female star is Anne Wiazemsky, writer François Mauriac’s granddaughter, sixteen years his junior. Anne and Jean-Luc have been dating since 1966 and they married this very year. She admires Jean-Luc’s originality, intelligence, wit and boldness while he loves Anne’s freshness and – admiration of him. But May 1968 puts their marriage to the test. Godard, who is more and more involved in the revolution, indeed becomes less and less available to his young wife, which does not prevent him from acting jealous. It also looks as if the genius is losing his sense of humor.


This film isn’t for most. It will appeal to a certain audience. Who might be I to try director Jean Luc Godard, film history or movies in general.

The film isn’t a biography but does take a look at a certain time. More an experience and exposure of a certain period of time in e Godard’s life particularly his marriage to 19-year-old Anne Wiazemsky

The film also manages to humanize a rebellious film Legend and manages to expose him.

The film has a freewheeling, yet steady style that always feels like it is going to break off into a more comedic moment. Though it stays more dramatic. 

Sometimes it even feels like a comedy with him as the central star. He seems to know better but acts like he knows best and seems to want to antagonize and get a rise out of others and see how they react. So that while serious he comes across as ridiculous. Trying to be the most woke but trying too hard and coming across as more offensive. 

At heart, this film is a love story about falling out of love. As we don’t see the beginning of the romance the initial falling in love of getting to know one another phase. When the film begins they are already married. So we watch as a man falls in love with ideas and morals rather than his physical partner. Who when she doesn’t fall him fully. He sees it as a kind of infidelity. Where he is made to choose between the two. 

The film is more about the male gaze. As she comes across more like a fantasy to him. Though the film is from her point of view, we barely know a thing about her. She seems to follow him around and he would rather her be seen and not heard. Though representing his beliefs as an actress in his films, she is prone in most scenes to be undressed and usually reads it when clothes are chic and in a colorful outfit.

As he expects her to do everything for him. As his wife is young and hasn’t lived as much. She takes her experiences from him and as his outsized ego and idealism take over as he tries to say he is standing up for the people but then belittles them when he experiences them. Especially if they don’t believe or follow in his worldview. He falls in love with politics over real life. Though he comes from a place of privilege. 

Though this is more her story as most scenes involve her, but allows him to take over the story. Showing how overbearing he is taking over her life. He comes across as insufferable. Though he seems to be lost or in search of something and taking it out on all around him. Like an overgrown college student. 

The main characters have no affairs but there is a betrayal of friends, promises, vision, and ideals 

The film uses some techniques from films the subject has made. Such as long tracking shots, sharp editing, talking Straight to the camera. 

Stacy Martin looks incredible throughout. The ideal screen goddess and leading lady. Who doesn’t say much but you always remember. 

Louis Garrel is good; he has the look and mannerisms of Godard down In A complete performance. That shows the comedic side to the character but also the constant insecurity and overbearing behavior.

As we watch Godard go from the top of the world then walk away. Creating a kind of romantic ideal out of his beliefs. As he might be to show that he doesn’t like his fans who made him famous. Especially anytime they give acknowledgment and praise his work. 

As we watch, even other revolutionaries get tired of him and the film ends with him being a kind of victim. As he has painted himself into a corner of his own creation. 

Just as In Life and especially romance the facade and artifice can’t keep up and it falls away. You are left with yourselves and the truth. You have to decide if you can live with that reality. As you see who you truly are. This is a tale as innocence is lost in love and life. Deciding to marry oneself to another, but not a person more a philosophical standard and morals. He ends up standing for that she doesn’t want 

GRADE: B-

READY TO WEAR (PRET-A-PORTER) (1994)

Directed By: Robert Altman 
Written By: Robert Altman & Barbara Shulgasser
Cinematography: Jean Lepine & Pierre Mignot
Editor: Suzy Elmiger & Geraldine Peroni

Cast: Julia Roberts, Tim Robbins, Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Lili Taylor, Forest Whitaker, Richard E. Grant, Rupert Everett, Kim Basinger, Sally Kellerman, Tracy Ullman, Lauren Bacall,  Linda Hunt, Stephen Rea, Ute Lemper, Lyle Lovett, Teri Garr, Danny Arielle, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Amouk Aimee, Chiara Mastroianni, Rossy De Palma, Michel Blanc, Jean Rochefort, Francois Cluzet, Sam Robarbs, Georgianna Robertson 

A fashion show in Paris draws the usual bunch of people; designers, reporters, models, magazine editors, photographers. Lots of unconnected stories which all revolve around this show, and an all-star cast.


This was my third official Robert Altman movie to see. Though unfortunately not in a row. I remember the film having a successful music video and soundtrack before it even came out. Unfortunately the movie didn’t match the soundtrack’s success. That included the hit single “HERE COMES THE HOT STEPPER” 

After the success of THE PLAYER it seemed like Robert Altman was having a comeback and he wanted to take on another world/culture. His last film was SHORT CUTS and that was more interlocking stories then taking a look into or try to dismantle another popular subculture from the inside. That was more foreign abs international but also glamorous.

Allowing him to use his dual methods of ensemble casts. Where even though the actors are playing characters here it feels more like an out and out comedy. So they are all over the top. Not as serious, nor are there any serious moments throughout. 

It might be understandable him taking on this movie after the more serious and sad SHORT CUTS, but while this is more lighthearted it also is a challenge. As this would be his most mainstream film in a while. As he was taking on a subject that was very popular and most audiences might not be used to his films and their outlook. 

This film is set in that world of fashion to tell ongoing stories and big inertia where the characters cross paths. All in all, it stays humorous with Kim Basinger playing an on air television reporter. Who comes in and out to explain certain relationships but is clueless about fashion. So that it feels like a replay of the reporter in the film NASHVILLE.

The film ultimately never encapsulates any meaning or why we are so enraptured by the glitz, glamour and celebrity of the fashion world. So that in the end it comes across as misguided and empty as the world he is capturing. As fashion constantly reinvents itself. It proves there are No rules and seemingly no depth. Not to mention watching this film feels dated. It’s very episodic. 

Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren get to reference classic scenes and relationships from their career and previous collaborations and give a scene where you believe they are remaking a classic moment only for it to end with a joke. 

Which is pretty much the mood of the film. As all plots and stories seem to end in that kind of manner. 

The film’s cast as usual is filled with stars. The biggest of whom seem here in an unneeded story but help make it more commercial. As Tim Robbins and Julia Robert’s seem stuck here in a bad afterthought of a romantic comedy plot line.

This film seems to find Robert Altman riding his high horse. This film goes for more populism but leaves viewers puzzled. As it is more artistic and voyeuristic than plotted.

This film is like a bunch of short stories stretched over fashion week. 

The film is flashy and appeals to itself but ultimately is frustrating, especially with all the talent involved. Where you are left to wonder what could have been. 

Everyone is well dressed but we are left as confused as Kim Basinger’s reporter. Where we wonder what this was all about. 

It seems like the director was unfocused but having fun. Filled with recognizable names, good actors, supermodels and models of the time. Where the film feels flirtatious as it always has a wink to give off 

Can’t tell if the film was rushed or cut together fast with a murder mystery in the middle that largely takes a backseat or is forgotten. Ultimately the film comes across as a farce. That feels like it is being made up as it goes along. Though with a stylish hand guiding it. Who leaves to perplex the audience. 

Grade: C+

DETACHMENT (2012)


Directed & Cinematography By: Tony Kaye
Written By: Carl Lund
Editor: Michelle Botticelli, Barry Alexander Brown & Geoffrey Richman

 Cast: Adrien Brody, James Caan, Christina Hendricks, Sammi Gayle, Tim Blake Nelson, Bryan Cranston, William Peterson, Betty Kaye, Lucy Liu, Marcia Gay Harden, Blythe Danner, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Josh Pais, Doug E. Doug,

Detachment is a chronicle of three weeks in the lives of several high school teachers, administrators, and students through the eyes of a substitute teacher named Henry Barthes. Henry roams from school to school, imparting modes of knowledge, but never staying long enough to form any semblance of sentient attachment. A perfect profession for one seeking to hide out in the open. One day Henry arrives at his next assignment. Upon his entry into this particular school, a secret world of emotion is awakened within him by three women. A girl named Meredith is in his first period. A fellow teacher Ms. Madison, and a street hooker named Erica, whom Henry has personally granted brief shelter from the streets. Each one of these women, like Henry, is in a life and death struggle to find beauty in a seemingly vicious and loveless world.

 The film-like its main character shows us the problems. Makes us aware of the problems, but also offers no answers. So not only is it bleak but also nihilistic. While it is heavily philosophical at times and becomes cerebral. It also at times becomes a bit too much.

The storyline of him taking in a girl off the street is understandable as he seems to try to prove to himself he is a good person and help someone he sees as innocent while one of his students sends out warning signs of trouble yet he is blind to it. It also shows a way to make up for things in his past. I also believe it is a way for him to communicate with someone as lonely as he is. In one scene he even witnesses a teacher clearly with mental problems, yet does nothing about it.

 The film shows the hardships not only he but most teachers and administrators have to go through not only from students but also parents and the state. They seem to be battling in a losing war that they are not supplied to handle. Where the only hope is that you can grab one kid, one mind, and teach them something then you have succeeded. You have kids who don’t care. Parents who look to you to babysit and raise their children have no funds for anything.

 Tony Kaye Makes another powerful hard-hitting film that while a little too indulgent at times makes you think and delivers a message. Despite his past troubles, his talent as a director is undeniable. He gets solid performances from the supporting cast who don’t have much to work with as far as characters but you feel the world-weariness.

James Caan’s character is full of spirit and funny yet has the feeling of hitting a brick wall way too many times. Kaye even casts his daughter in a key role and she is effective as is Sammi Gayle as a teen prostitute staying with Brody’s character. Tony Kaye also gets a boost from getting a natural and powerful performance from his lead Adrien Brody who hasn’t been this good in years, His performance is full and realized. He is soulful and complicated but comes through as solid. IT’s also his first leading role in quite some time.

 The storyline of taking the girl off the street is far-fetched. In a real-life way, but works for the film. Marcia Gay Harden’s breakdown feels a bit over the top and far-reaching. The film feels important if only hopefully as a time capsule. More to look back upon as how bad a problem the school system was. More of a social problem film, than a dramatic one. As at times, we get to know the teacher’s home life some of whose is just as bad as the school system is but they are quickly jettisoned and forgotten for the rest of the film. ‘
The film provides dramatic characters and situations but is more concerned with the dilemma of these characters. Though it also is more focused on Adrien Brody’s character and problems.

 I warn you this is not a happy film. It is very sad and depressing. It is worth watching for filmmaking and the performances. The film is definitely Worth Watching. An Addition to the film library you can come back and look from time to time. 
 GRADE: B

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (2016)

Written & Directed By: Burr Steers 
Based on the book by: Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith 
Cinematography By: Remi Adefsrasin 
Editor: Padraic McKinley 

Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Matt Smith, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Douglas Booth, Suki Waterhouse, Bella Heathcote, Charles Dance, Sally Phillips

The five highly trained Bennett sisters in Georgian England must try to protect themselves from the growing zombie threat, find suitable husbands for themselves, battle marriage proposals and unlikely suitors, and save the country before it’s too late.


The production values, as well as costumes and weapons, are impressive allowing the film to have a sharpness most period films lack.

The film comes across as more action or even science fiction by way of steampunk rather than horror. The film also has its comedic elements, especially Matt Smith’s performance as an ever-changing suitor

Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy has an imposing state that seems to hide a viciousness that is apparent in the action scenes. But also shows his skills and defenses

I wish the same can be said of Lily James as the lead and the rest of the female cast. Those who are pretty faces and are adequate but don’t really stand out in their performances. She is engaging as a woman of the past with more modern ideas and ideals.

Natalie Portman was originally cast as Elizabeth Bennet but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone, Mia Wasikowska, Rooney Mara, Mila Kunis, and Blake Lively were considered to replace her before Lily James was finally cast. Portman remains on board as a producer. All of whom might have made the film more marketable due to name recognition and star power.

The only one who remotely makes a mark is Lena Headey who seems to play a role that might have originally been modeled for Angelina Jolie.

The film allows for originality and a fun mixture of two genres where they create to break the rules as well as play with them.

It is easy to see why this film was considered a hot property as far as adapting it from a novel to a proper film. As it allows the film to be an open bit also let’s get to know the characters.

The film seems to be fitting with what seems like get rich quick outrageousness turned into movies such as ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER and HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS. Or even films such as SCOUTS VS. ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. Where the title seems to tell you all you need to know. Though this film plays itself as more classy and less juvenile. Though with better production values and plenty of Nice scares that don’t seem requisite.

After David O. Russell left the project, Mike Newell (4 WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL), David Slade (HARD CANDY), Matt Reeves (CLOVERFIELD), Jonathan Demme (PHILADELPHIA), Neil Marshall (CENTURION) (all of whom might have been better visual stylists), Mike White (YEAR OF THE DOG), Phil Lord, and Christopher Miller (21 JUMP STREET) were all considered to direct before Burr Steers was chosen.

It’s a new Genre for Burr Steers who usually directs more talkative and intimate dramas. Here he is directing a more action-oriented material. While also having the chops to get the most out of the few dramatic and romantic scenes that contain their own burning emotional suspense,

It seems only natural that we would get to these certain characters or at least the story as it is a classic and somehow mix in popular otherworldly ghouls and creatures. As I am sure werewolves are next to be mixed with some classic tale. Usually set sometime in the past rewriting history on film to create their own worlds but challenges us to wonder how they will defeat the monsters with more prominent weapons, technology, and means. At least we can’t necessarily predict how it will all turn out.

While the fight scenes are reminiscent more of BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER television episodes rather than an impressive feature film. It is nice to watch a film that challenges gender roles and gender politics. While also showcasing dangerous physical heroic female characters. Who also are the feminine characters that want to be courted even if tougher then the men who romance and desire them. Here they are characterized and defined less like amazons, but just as dangerous as they are attractive.

They spend so much time defining the world and rewriting the main characters to be be more bold and defined. That some get left behind especially among her other sisters and seem almost interchangeable if not paying attention,

The type of film for those who like and don’t like period pieces as it stays close enough to one while also having more modern conventions and genre additions.

The film manages to keep the locations seeming small and to a minimum bit keeps the film big screen grand worthy.

More an addition to have a reason for a genre expedition that adds a swashbuckler spirit to the mix as other then gore and violence as well as an overall plot that needs them to separate the material and add action.

The film does offer a set of circumstances that could truly make the film memorable would have been more tragic. had it for. The way it seemed aimed that then serves up a spectacular finale.

That ultimately might feel like a sell-out to some people, but provides a crowd-pleasing ending and hits the familiar notes for those who have read the book PRIDE & PREJUDICE or at least know the story

Though the film does tap into the desires and fantasies of the female audience by allowing them to be frilly and have an old-style classic romance and go back to a time period where courted and wooed while also letting them be kick ass action heroes. Yet still feminine. In The end, they get to have their cake and eat it too.

GRADE: C+