AVA (2020)

Directed by: Tate Taylor
Written by: Matthew Newton
Cinematography: Stephen Goldblatt
Editor: Zach Staenberg

Cast: Jessica Chastain, John Malkovich, Common, Colin Farrell, Ioan Gruffund, Geena Davis, Jess Weixler, Diana Silvers, Joan Chen 

Ava is a deadly assassin who works for a black ops organization, traveling the globe specializing in high profile hits. When a job goes dangerously wrong she is forced to fight for her own survival.


The film offers an interesting character where you wish she had a more exciting tale to go with it. So that it feels like you have a good lead character looking for a better film.

Jessica Chastain is full of energy here. Though the film and character strength are not too much of a challenge for her. 

The film soon gets to the point and stays there. Where you have no doubt what will happen. Even though for a film that is supposed to be an espionage tale it feels more small-town gritty. Like more of a mob tale

The filM comes across at times as mroe domestic drama and not as interesting as it thinks it is. With some action scenes that take place In Interiors particularly small rooms. Make the film more small scale yet fits the Netflix action aesthetic. 

The casting of Geena Davis playing the mother to a character similar to the assassin Charli Baltimore she played in THE LONG KISS GOOD NIGHT. Which makes it feel a bit like stunt casting. 

Unfortunately, this is another middling movie from director Tate Taylor that sounds mroe interesting and fun than it actually is.

The film includes a strange romance that doesn’t seem like it would hav been that exciting even if it had made it to theaters.

The film tries to be different by offering a mroe domestic story, but it feels like I needed melodrama. To make you identify snd care more about the characters. Especially the more supporting ones 

Nothing really sets this movie apart from average and familiar. Though it does leave itself open to sequels that hopefully would flesh it out especially the supporting characters. Who gets no chance to shine here it seem to be set up for greater things later in the film Only for nothing to really happen.

Sort of like the movie FASTER which left itself open to spinoff sequels but wasn’t quite as popular that was expected. So this is most likely a solo effort. Though a sequel Would help improve on the material.

This film seems like it could have been more fleshed out and given for room. Especially with it’s more recognizable cast. Who all end up here for a paycheck more than anything.

GRADE: D+

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THE END OF THE FUCKING WORLD: SEASON 2 (TELEVISION REVIEW)

Now I am an unabashed fan of the first season of this show and even the graphic novel.

I highly recommend that more than anything as it it s coming of age show that is lyrical and a on the run crime story. Think of a mroe shy and awkward TRUE ROMANCE with British teenagers. That is shocking and bleakly funny.

This is a sequel and plays out like it. Trying to repeat the success and themes of the previous while continuing the story. Not quite as sharp as the original but a fun little adventure that has Itms own worth of sorts even if not as good. You don’t get lost as much or hang onto the edges. Not quite as dark or depressing and it’s heart seems muted. Not as fresh but it tries and that might be it’s main weakness. It doesn’t flow as flawless.

It’s like a relationship where it becomes long distance and you see them again. Things have changed there isn’t that passion there after the initial excitement of the reunion. You stay to see where it is going to go and out of respect but you know it’s lost it’s sheen and probably over. Yet there will Always be a certain fondness and happy memories. Still better then most shows out there.

You wonder did you know them at all but the friendship/kinship that keeps you together makes you realize. That you know each other mroe than anyone else. As you have a certain share intimacy and memories that no one else is privileged enough to know. Only here as there is an audience who have watched and shared this show it means something to each of them brought that this show is like a shared language.

The continuing stories of James and Alyssa. Like an epic ballad only not as interesting as the introduction.

It also feels stretched out yet has gained no weight. As even thought there was always a sadness about the show. This season feels more melancholy maybe as you can see the machinations more. As it feels a bit more conventional, Though stays deadpan

it’s a shame as it adds a compelling new character that helps bring the seasons and ghosts of the pasts together. The theme seems to be survival and loneliness.

The one time it Does communicate a true shock and emotional response from the Audience it is with a falsehood that truly would have been a sensational ending

Though as the season comes to a close the packing does allow for a tightening of a noose around the main characters as the first three episodes seems to explore the three main characters. Their pasts and and current whole

Advancing the story a bit until they all cross each other’s paths. Though only the main two are privy to have inner monologues of thoughts communicated to the audience.

It seems more about post traumatic stress and hating what happened but without it would you have been brought together with the person you enjoy the most and seems to be maybe the one who understands you or you can relate to the most. Though understanding they are not the answer, but can help with the equation as they are a key to helping the solution, but you have to understand they are a factor themselves and dealing with their own equations at the same time. Hopefully at times you can be on the same wavelength.

As characters seems to lose those who are close to them unexpectedly and set upon completing missions for them. As either they have no one or are trying to connect with the only people they have left.

Still has a great soundtrack.

Grade: B-

THE EXPENDABLES (2010)

Directed By: Sylvester Stallone
Written By: Dave Gallaham & Sylvester Stallone
Cinematography By: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Editor: Ken Blackwell & Paula Harb

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Charisma Carpenter, Terry Crews, Eric Roberts, Jet Li, Dolph Lungdren, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwartzenegger, David Zayas, Gary Daniels 

Barney Ross leads the “Expendables”, a band of highly skilled mercenaries including knife enthusiast Lee Christmas, martial arts expert Yin Yang, heavy weapons specialist Hale Caesar, demolitionist Toll Road and loose-cannon sniper Gunner Jensen. When the group is commissioned by the mysterious Mr. Church to assassinate the merciless dictator of a small South American island, Barney and Lee head to the remote locale to scout out their opposition. Once there, they meet with local rebel Sandra and discover the true nature of the conflict engulfing the city. When they escape the island and Sandra stays behind, Ross must choose to either walk away and save his own life – or attempt a suicidal rescue mission that might just save his soul.


It is hard to believe that Sylvester Stallone has been not only a star but a box office draw and #1 film superstar over 5 decades. Which makes me respect him for his longevity alone. It is hard to believe and remember that when he first became a star with ROCKY which he also wrote, he was considered a serious dramatic actor compared on the same level as Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Now he didn’t really become an action superstar until FIRST BLOOD and has pretty much ran with it ever since.

The 90’s weren’t great for him as he followed that path into the ground with horrible studio action films and comedies that tarnished his record. After many diminishing returns, he decided to branch out again by appearing in indie films and taking a dramatic lead which did show he still could act but it wasn’t the career resurgence he expected like John Travolta at the time so it was only awhile until he returned to the genre he knew best but this time he was more informed and began to return to his iconic roles only this time with him writing and producing the films and as other laughed at him for these decisions it actually proved to be a smart move as the audiences were intrigued and both ROCKY BALBOA and RAMBO were box office hits and surprisingly decent films.

So of course for his first original film since making those films he puts together a all-star cast of action heroes and ex-costars for this film about a group of mercenaries who take on secret covert missions. They decide to take on an unwinnable one to help a land that has been taken over by an ex-cia agent in cahoots with the dictator of the land who is growing drugs to sell but in effect robbing the land and its people of there freedom. So of course Sylvert Stallone and crew take on the mission.

The film is a perfect throwback to 80’s action film with generic Villians and plot, But in it’s own way it is action campy as each of the cast gets a scene to shine. Jason Statham one of the real major co-stars gets a simple side story that is really only there to show off his romantic side and his ass-kicking skills. Nothing in the film makes anyone stretch as an actor. Jet-Li is mostly here to fight Dolph Lundgren in fight scenes.

The rest of the expendables are mostly there in small roles or extended cameos rather than being vital characters. Even early in the film Stallone and Statham go on a mission to check out the land alone and pretty much kick a lot of ass on their own. Only later do they come back with reinforcements.

The only actor who really makes a mark with their role is surprisingly Dolph Lundgren in a role that was rumored to be for Jean-Claude van Damme who turned it down. The action scenes are glorious but nothing special except for the grand scale of them.

There is nothing in the film you wouldn’t expect in this type of film. It falls short in many ways when it comes to my expectations. I was hoping for more surprises. For a top action spectacle. But as an action film that is a homage to the films that made Stallone an 80’s star, it is ok and enjoyable.

The perfect kind of Popcorn movie. It also is missing a lot of Action legends it supposedly is supposed to have Chuck Norris, Steven Segal, The Rock, Jean Claude Van-Damme, Chow Yun Fat, he could have even thrown a bone to some straight to home video action stars for bit roles, Michael Dudikoff, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Thomas Ian Giffith, and Danny Trejo.

Even as more of a guilty pleasure, The film is a satisfying rental

GRADE: C+

COBRA KAI: SEASON 3 (TELEVISION REVIEW)

COBRA KAI: SEASON 3

SPOILERS AHEAD

This show has proven to be the little engine that could. As after being on YouTube premium and their most successful show. After two season they canceled it.

Which allowed for the show to be shopped around to other networks. It was obviously going to get picked up due to it’s popularity and a loyal cult audience. Luckily Netflix stepped up and produced it. Exposing it to a larger audience. the masses if you will.

Which after premiering on the network in 2020. Opened it up to a new audience and gave other fans another chance to watch and catch up. So that in the beginning of 2021 they got instant gratification with a season 3.

Those of us who had been watching from the beginning have been waiting for this season for two years. While not the strongest season it is a good continuation that feels like it was worth the wait.

The show is not only curated with. Care but also love. When you see something like this handled with respect and acknowledging not only the best aspects of the franchise and films but also it’s flaws, disappointments and embarrassments, still embracing them as canon.

The creators embrace and enhance to tell an overall saga packed with plenty of surprises.

I wish it could all be gravy and even though this is not a show asking for you to think too deeply but feel deeply what must be brought up is. This was not only an observation I made but was informed and pointed out by a friend.

While I have certain problems with the show that are more representational and in demeanor. it still offers up some diversity. Though still at it’s center are angry white men fighting with one another for control.

I will choose to talk about the enjoyment of the show. As certain issues are naturally evident. Especially when it comes to privilege of the characters and certain elitism that Daniel represents and a kind of white savorismmin general when it comes to the show.

Though it gives us some understanding he is still playing with fire. As he more or less seems to be repeating the same mistakes and trying to represent or replace his old captain and trying to make his own amends.

The show does offer Johnny as a surrogate for older viewers. Who miss the old days of the 1980’s before political correctness. Where things seemed more cut and dry. When masculinity was what ruled. Not as much technology and everyone wasn’t as sensitive. He is a throwback an unknowing but unapologetic misogynist to a certain extent who means well. Though is trying to relate to these modern times. While also trying to be himself and do what is best and take responsibility for the first time in his life

It also keeps building all around it. Giving characters history or at least revealing it. So that we understand and have reasons for their behavior. Allowing characters to make mistakes and be flawed. Some learn the error of their ways and change or in trying to change might cause more damage. As the characters and the creators are Constantly changeing the perspective to make them human

The show does manage to keep an ongoing story with history but shows how it affects the next generation and how history can repeat itself only here with more complications. Showing how old wounds can affect the Present.

It keeps the saga just as entertaining and compelling also the show has it’s main characters but works more as an ensemble then the films ever even approached.

Kept all in 30 minute episodes where you still keep wanting more and are on the edge of your seat until the end.

There is no Way I can contain it exactly express my joy watching this series.

Reawakening a deeply held love of a franchise one that I grew up with, but also ended up watching others reveal and confess a deeper appreciation. Knowing someone else out there loved the franchise. To keep it going and knowing it was secure in their hands.

Not only dissecting the past, but sifting through it and putting it back together. Resurrecting it so that it runs like bee after it had been put out to pasture and given a sheen to be be a remake but still didn’t have the original internal vital organs. Here it has been remodeled and renovated but it has given the characters their strength and dignity. Not be a passing fad or a punchline.

This series was done Not only for money but actually have a sense of the fandom out there and give the people what they want. As a friend told me it has “Pay off after pay off” and each season brings that same thrill as the third act usually in each film.

The show feels so light but carries so much weight. Not only in continuing the legacy and franchise but just in themes and subjects.

It makes a good teen show, dealing with youthful issues and decisions. The universal problems, but also allows those who grew up with the Films room enough to identify with the characters and see their idols from arrested development to adults. So that the show speaks to all ages. Works for fans and new viewers alike Allowing all of this franchise into it’s own mythology or universe. Where You can tell time and care went into it

Hints at another return form the past. Which you expect but still makes it exciting as it keeps coming full circle. As already Daniel finally explains the story of KARATE KID 3 and overcoming fear to his daughter Sam. As she is suffering the same fear at the hands of Cobra Kai Tory.

Not to mention as we see John Kresse’s memories we are reminded of a character one for the villains of that same movie. Here we see Kreese as a young man and are given a red herring at first until his last name is revealed as a character who earlier was only related to a nickname. As the name Silver is introduced abd a lifelong bond and promise is made to John. That once again he is cashing in on. That’s right we might see the return of millionaire toxic dumping TERRY SILVER.

As we all wait for hopefully seeing how they might incorporate the movie THE NEXT KARATE KID into all of this. Hopefully Hillary Swank is free and willing to guest star.

While we are at it we could also bring back Larry B. Scott, who was the only African American in the original Karate Kid movie and the only African American Cobra Kai student. His name was Jerry (even though he had no lines) Showing that Aisha wasn’t necessarily the first.

As this season introduced characters from KARATE KID 2. Chozen and Yuki, not to mention Ali from the original who was explained away in part 2. Now we get to hear her side of the story even as she pretty much serves the same purpose of being what and who they both desire and blew it with and still enchants them easily.

It’s easy to see why Elisabeth Shue would come back it’s a hit show and the way they write her. She still has privilege and charm. She gets to defend herself but it still seems like she just came by to be admired flirt and show she still has it in the middle of what looks like a setback divorce and was hoping. For a little fling with Johnny until she realizes he is it’s someone and seeing how he is. She realizes she doesn’t want to damage him all over and that this woman he is seeing might be best but she knows she could Have him if she wanted to.

While also seeing the return Ali as a kind of reunion. While also showing a kind of treasure that Johnny and Daniel have been fighting over all these years and hammer home.

Points about the characters being the same in many ways and there being three sides to a story. Though also kind of presenting her as Johnny’s Ideal and her more or less flirting with both to show she still has it and makes her feel better. While allowing Johnny to go back to Carmen who he had just been intimate with the night before. Like she is relinquishing him back

Just as that character comes into play. So does Chozen to teach lessons that come in handy especially at the end of the movie. Where once again. Daniel can make a life or death decision but rather then make a joke. He stays away from death only by being brought out of it by a loved one once again.

It also gives us what we have waited for Daniel and Johnny teaming up finally. Though it seems they have been rivals and teammates before, albeit briefly, but we have seen the destruction that rivalry has brung. As Robby, Johnny’s son has been the casualty. Especially as Johnny has grown Miguel as his surrogate son many times. Miguel seeks a father figure also and see’s that in Johnny, so that we can understand Robby’s jealousy. As the two men who are supposed to care and help him. Always end up being absent when he needs them or in doing the right thing. Only he pays the consequences .

The show does at least give off the message of faith in whatever you believe in but most of all self. As that is where your strength lies. Which is the general arc of the show. Here it seems especially presented in Miguel’s recovery, which while rushed also has a tough love stance. As well as giving off the message of the power of rock n roll.

It also kind of relieves a certain kind of story where as before it was the two Dojo’s being enemies but still having ties and friendships. Not to mention that yo knew they were good kids underneath evil and questionable acts but believed it was because of not only the taste of power but being lead down a bad road.

It seems now that while you have Robby who is just looking for a family or at least people he can trust. He is more of a survivor than anything. Not a bad kid but doing what he can to make it. Then we have Tory who is forced to grow up too fast in a mean world. Where she finally has a place where she can be in control and fight back. Especially when she has had to work for everything she has had. When she see’s Sam she envisions her as the reverse and someone who has been given everything she wanted. Which only brings her jealousy out more.

So when it comes to Miguel who Sam dated then seemed to have dumped. Tory saw an opening and bond of backgrounds so they dated. Then once Robby and Sam kind of imploded and when Sam and Miguel, (who never really got over sam) found their way back to one another this only incensed her more, but now it seems she has found a spark with fellow loner Robby. So that this romantic square is constantly revolving.

Those characters are clearly defined. They are the best fighters and leaders of Cobra Kai. Especially Now that Hawk has had a change of heart. Though it will be interesting to see hawk’s fighting style under the good guys as he is more aggressive in his attacks. He offers less defense.

Though now it has made it easier to label Cobra Kai as villains and give us more a classic good versus evil narrative

The Return of old characters form the movies seem to help enhance the whole experience. The even bring back characters from season 1 who seemingly disappeared in the form of

Yasmine (the Queen Bee) Kyler (Sam Ex and head bully) And even the pane shop dealer as well as Daniel’s slow witted cousin.

The elimination of a character (other then Raymond played by Paul Walter Hauser. The older cobra Kai Student who lived with his mom and was too old to still be hanging with teens)who seemed perfectly set up in season 2 that would have made more sense being in season 3 and bringing the characters together rather then Sam being the focus of it all herself

Though also with the removal of Aisha’s character it seems that her emotional arc and probably crossover to miyagi do might have been given to hawk or if she did and him leaving stayed according to plan it might have been more predictable or had less emotional impact than planned.

She was one of the few people of color characters who was not only there from The beginning and seen as an intergal character in the beginning. But one who was also a kind of bridge between the Dojo’s and characters and again one of the few minority characters allowed to be mroe than Just background there for a few lines she was given an emotional complex throughout.

Though it also would have been hard to believe in her falling for Kreese’s brand so wholeheartedly and not questioning his methods or his systematic elimination of students. His building up of Cobra Kai to be an elite group and have the type of bullies that the original core group joined Cobra Kai to escape and defend themselves against.

Her departure also opened up a certain storyline. Not to mention. You would think with parents so concerned over karate gangs either cobra Kai would be making a killing in the money. As parents want their kids to defend themselves so buy into the business that would be only if the parents in pulling their kids out and going over to miyagi do. when in business as it being the only alternative and better yet it’s free

When even more confusing is how do classes work because it seems like the core group have the same practice but doesn’t cobra Kai have separate classes for maybe overflow or age range. Then again how about weight and the earning of belts which seems obsolete there. Look I am not one to lecture anyone on a business plan but…

The show offers an ending we all saw coming that finally has happened but both of them really being challenged and still someone they care about still being ripped form them

It might not be the best season but it has the most guest stars firm the past and is a natural conclusion. That keeps building The show is Predictable but still manages to surprise you

In the end though a kind of cliff hanger you are left so satisfied. As it has given you mostly what you wanted and a bit more.

7.5/10

RAMY: SEASON 1 (TELEVISION REVIEW)

Please tell me you guys are watching this show. If not you Are truly missing out.

Ramy Is about a twenty something year old man who seems to be floating through life trying to still figure himself out. While still living at home with his parents and graduate student sister. His parents want him to grow up, get married and have kids. Like his friends and he is still looking for the right one. He and his family are muslim and it takes place mostly in that community in New Jersey. He also is mostly drug and alcohol free. But not celibate as mostly his partners tend to be whites women.

There isn’t really any overreaching story as each episode seems like Just that an episode or random chapter in the lives of these characters which as the series goes on we are introduced and learn more about them It reminds one of shows like ATLANTA, MASTER OF NONE. Where the star of the show Is the central voice. But leaves room For other characters to prosper.

I believe I compare it to ATLANTA is that the show is random and doesn’t always focus on the main character. It allows the audience to get to know supporting characters who’re sometimes the focus of episodes all on their own It also doesn’t paint the main character as a saint as while he might mean well and to be good but can also be the most messed up character through it all and might not make any sense to us Though it’s not as out there as ATLANTA can be.

Though the contributing factor is that they both focus on characters of color as well as community and offer up three dimensional roles for some characters who could or would be easily written off as one thing on other shows.

It’s also intelligent and knows the ground it’s Covering Though the show marches to it’s own rhythms. Which is actually like jazz as it goes from the. Lies, to improv to more comedic and then drama. Making sad dramatic points while making you laugh While ATLANTA comes off as a collective, as well as Donald Glover being the voice behind the show. The same goes here.

Though to a lesser degree as Donald Glover is infinitely more known and popular. Where as here most viewers are hearing Ramy Youseff maybe for the first time. Yes, caucasians are sometimes one dimensional here but then again we have seen a spectrum of them already which can’t necessarily be said of the culture and characters on the show.

I also probably compare the two because similarly Ramy has an episode called strawberries where we are thrust into the childhood of the characters and one particular incident that is both hilarious but also pack a certain punch. The fact that he is friends with someone disabled also shows he is compassionate but also treats the friendship as normal and not necessarily the only thing he is about and even lets the disabled character be a bit of a jerk himself but alas a true friend

This Show seems to be taken and charged by the star of the show and shows his views on life and host take on subjects that affect him and his family and community but never comes off as preachy

As with trying to show his family in particular are Egyptian Muslims but everyone lumps them in as just every muslim. As he is a practicing muslim and doesn’t drink or really dondrugs but has plenty of sex with random women usually not of his faith The kind of misogyny that exists in the community.

For instance in the way the parents never question their son when he goes out but for their daughter. she is under strict rules and how her and her friends want to find a muslim man and might even want to have sex but muslim men stay away from them unless it’s time to marry but have no problem having sex with non muslim women. This hits home in the first episode where he goes in a date with a muslim Woman and is shocked when he is not not sexually forward but also kind of kinky. She takes it as an insult that because she is interested in certain things like that. She is expected to act in a certain way even from a so called free minded muslim. Which kind of echoes in a later episode when his sister is interested in a guy and is about to get intimate and he treats her more as a fetish rather then just a willing female.

The strongest episode is STRAWBERRIES where the show mixes masturbation and the prejudice faced by him and his family after 9/11 including a dream about osama bin laden. Just as in one episode it focuses on his mother’s Loneliness and her attempt to meet people and make more friends. Which includes a flirtation with a French man.

The show has No real villains as especially in the character of his uncle who is a misogynist and anti-Semitic to a degree and a blowhard but in the end reveals a decent and maybe even admirable side of himself.

What is also enjoyable about the show is dealing with Situations some typical and some special situational from not just another point of view but also seen from a different culture but thankfully not making the show only about that. So you learn while you experiencing the show. All about second generation immigrants trying to make their way in the American Dream and just be seen as normal.

It’s a show that is worth checking out. It stays low level which only enhances it’s strength.

#ALIVE (2020)

Directed By: Il Cho

Written By: Il Cho & Matt Naylor Cinematography: Won-Ho Son Editor: Min-Kyeong Shin

Cast: Yoo Ah-In, Park Shin-Hye, Jeon Bae-Soo, Hyun-Wook Lee 

The rapid spread of an unknown infection has left an entire city in ungovernable chaos, but one survivor remains alive in isolation. It is his story.


The range of what movies can trigger me or do trigger me unfortunately is growing. Even films that might not have bothered me before. This pandemic has changed me and others quite a few others.

Though truthfully before movies like THE ROCKER and SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE would as they hit a little too  close to home. Just as UNITED 93 did after 9/11. 

These days it makes it harder to enjoy my preferred genre of horror at times. As usually we watch movies as a means to escape or experience magnified consequences and outcomes from simple decisions.

So that when it comes to this movie or zombie films in particular recently (As well as post apocalyptic) one has to tread carefully. Especially as when the pandemic first hit everyone wanted to watch and/or rewatch these films. Now, all it does is more serve as a reminder for some and more and more people who want to see something to escape. 

Each zombie film might feel the same or offer the same experience or theme, but they also usually involve some aspects or ideas not previously seen to explore. Even if by not zombie films feel all too familiar. Liek vampires before them they feel like too much of a known commodity. Maybe werewolves are in the come up for examination or popularity. As there are few and even fewer good ones when it comes to them.

Thankfully this film is better and more than What the audience might be expecting. If this doesn’t bring back the popularity of a scythe as a weapon. One doesn’t know what will.

This film luckily isn’t heavily dependent on CGI. As it feels more organic with practical special effects.

For a while, the movie seems liek it will be a one man show. Struggling to survive alone and figure things out for himself. Then all of sudden he learns he is not alone and struggles to communicate with someone else.

The film ends up offering more than expected. While it proves that one can still breathe life into the zombie outbreak arena or an episode of THE WALKING DEAD International. 

As this film is a survival tale and a message of hope 

Grade: B

THE CANNIBAL CLUB (2018)

Written & Directed By: Guto Parente

Cinematography: Lucas Barbi

Editor: Ricardo Pretti & Luiz Pretti 

Cast: Tavinho Teixeira, Ana Luisa Rios, Pedro Domingues, Jose Maria Alves, Wallen Abreu 

Otavio and Gilda are a very wealthy couple of the Brazilian elite who have the habit of eating their employees. Otavio owns a private security company and is a notable member of The Cannibal Club. When Gilda accidentally discovers a secret from Borges, a powerful congressman and the Club’s leader, her and her husband’s lives are in danger.


This film is a contained, nasty darkly comedic thriller. That comes across more as a class struggle movie. Rather than an out and out horror.

As the cannibals in the movie are the rock and successful who feast on their fellow man for pleasure and after they fulfill the riches needs. That to certain respect leave the poor coming across fetishized as pieces of meat to be abused yet that they are always hungry for.

Wish the film was a bit bigger In Scope as it already feels like a conspiracy satire on the rich. As they feed off of the poor literally. 

Though that is a theme That stays in the background of a more singular problem in the movie for the main characters. As they soon find themselves on the outs of their group and are wondering what to do to survive. 

This is introduced after we see the way they live their lives and basically the husband is a cuckold who gets off on watching other men pleasure his wife and then at the last minute justifying his killing as revenge. As he and his wife ritually then chop up and devour their prey.

The film starts off and plays rather provocatively and try to raise the stakes little by little, never quite coming alive and never matches its own outspokenness from the opening scenes.

One wishes it could Have gone a lot further with its Premise through works great get it chooses to stay simple and introduces aspects that never quite are answered or addressed. Kind of like the first HOSTEL movie then the sequel that kind of explained the business operation. 

Ana Luiza Rios plays the wife and throughout she has many faces to showcase and play. So that she truly comes across as a true femme fatale.

The film contains more spec scenes than expected as of course it would be used to seduce their victims and leave them open to being overpowered and vulnerable.

The film does get graphic. Though it is a bit refreshing in a modern thriller to see sex and nudity that almost feels like the moral lesson of the FRIDAY THE 13TH movies. So that there is as much sex and nudity as gore. Well really still a bit more violence.

It might be wrong to call the film fun but it seems to take a certain joy and excitement in exploring others misfortunes

In the end, the film feels like a dark realistic fairy tale with no supernatural elements. Though it does feel like an extended TALES FROM THE CRYPT episode. 

GRADE: B

GLOW (SEASON THREE) – TELEVISION REVIEW

This season shows a natural growth for the characters humanizing them more especially characters who had only been types of comedic stand-in’s. So that it reminds the audience of a similar process in ORANGE IS THE BEW BLACK.

Where each season we got to know certain characters that revealed depth usually through flashbacks.

As many characters This season seem to be growing and getting more serious plots and issues are raised, Even bash usually used for a comedic foil even gets in in the drama while also becoming a little villainous in his greed.

The Sam and Ruth storyline I can see why it is here. As it helps illustrate her needs and insecurity This season, but also feels ill timed. As over the seasons we could feel the chemistry and attraction. We knew it would come but it feels too soon for them to acknowledge it. Throwing the season off a bit. Then again as another season isn’t promised it might have been the end time for them if ever.

Not to mention maybe speeding up helps some customers corn around. Just as this season sex and nudity make a return that felt absent last season. Still not as much as season 1

Alison Brie still seems to have the strongest yet most brittle character in television. Yet she still looks amazing. How Marc Maron hasn’t won an Emmy in this role can only be because most see him naturally in that role it feel it’s not too far fro. His actual personality. Sam’s heart attack hopefully will play out more serious in the future. As it was a dramatic point this season but ultimately didn’t really Go anywhere.

When hearing Debbie’s age of 32. look no disrespect to Betty Gilpin but she looks a bit older then that.

It’s An interesting season starting off at the casino and staging glow as a stage show allows for the show to focus on their personal lives a bit more than the production of the stage show. Though for some, it felt like at times they were reaching when it came to certain characters. Having Geena Davis amongst the cast works as stunt guest starring as she had a role very little to do but made her mark and has an easy out.

This season seems to be about redefinition just as the characters try out different wrestling personas more like switching of identities a bit. So do the characters when it comes to their initial focus. They seem to change their minds to a certain degree about their goals bigger and better for some Just different for others. As just as their stage show and surroundings gets too familiar by the end they don’t know what their futures will be. They must know it will be different from what it is at that point. As the show has already let them have more then they ever expected.

The character of Melrose finally gets some depth as she slowly learns about friendship and strangely prejudice. An official coming out of a character. As well as Bash exploring or us finally wing exposed to his sexuality. They finally give Rhonda (played by singer-songwriter Kate Nash) even gets her fair share of drama even though before she was always just some girlfriend. Here she is just some wife but yields a little more Peoria and strength while being confused.

They give Cherry a subplot about a gambling problem and owing money more as her grief to a revelation and fight with her husband. Not to mention this season more or less makes and exposes Russell. That makes him seem he was a writers invention just for tension as the More seems a distraction for Ruth. Not to admit her true feelings for sam and to have someone more age appropriate and as a sexual partner/prop

There is A Little less Sam in the early episodes which introduces something then drops it which makes us wonder was this planting seeds to something More serious in future seasons?

It feels like ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, where each season we get to the backstory or many different characters to deepen them. Make the show robust but takes away some mystery or makes the Continuing adventure feels like filler or repeats, though nothing feels that deep even as events keep happening that are meant to effect and deepen the stories. It just seems that in this season wanting to give everyone a platform or some kind of forward momentum. Makes the shows seem like it’s Losing it’s Drive to a degree. As the show like most has a destination to get to,

Here it seems to go off road and take notice of It’s Surroundings while being distracted then reminded it has to finish. Which it does in a satisfying manner, but also seems like the calm before the storm to check in on all the characters. As next season might have ramifications that effect them all and want more of a reaction and see the consequences of it more.

It also makes a case for a better Season 4

Grade: B-

WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE! (2018)

Written, Directed & Edited By: Kirill Sokolov
Cinematography: Dimitry Ulyikaev

Cast: Aleksandr Kiznetsov, Vitaliy Khaev, Evgenia Kregzhde, Milhail Gorevoy, Elena Scevchenko

Andrei, a detective and the world’s most horrible father, brings together a terrible group of people in his apartment: his resentful actress daughter, an angry thug, and a cheated cop. Each one of them has a reason to want revenge..


This is a twisted macabre funny grotesque crime comedy. That stays thoroughly inventive throughout.

The story grows as the film goes along as at first it just starts off with a grand scene where we don’t necessarily know the character’s motivation but as in each scene something new is revealed we flashback to find out how it was needed up there or why certain characters are introduced.

At a certain point motivations are predictable but that still doesn’t Take away any of the intrigue and fun.

Though not as good this film will remind audiences of EVIL DEAD 2 and to a degree SUPERMAN RETURNS for the amount of cruelty and abuse one of the characters throughout the film yet still Manages to survive and also the level of violence of the earlier mentioned film. You could also see this as a feature length version of one of the rooms from the anthology FOUR ROOMS. As it is goofy Strange, violent and funny. As well  as off kilter 

As there is tons of blood she’s throughout this film but though it is a dark comedy it always seems to keep an energetic spirit throughout. Where you actually start to care about the characters no matter how dastardly. 

As wild as this film is it plays almost like a love action cartoon. The filM feels like an early coen brothers comedy. Down More as a horror film And the writing not as sharp, but even more violent.

The film goes by quickly. Though it certainly isn’t forgettable. Even as most of the film takes place mostly inside of a spacious apartment. It only travels outside of it in flashbacks.

GRADE: B

KARATE KID/COBRA KAI – LEGACIES (COBRA KAI: SEASON 1) TELEVISION REVIEW

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*ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2018

Don’t let your past actions to define you

Growing up THE KARATE KID was my generations ROCKY especially to kids. This movie was part of a wave in the late ’80s/early ’90s to introduce widescreen letterbox movies to the general public.

The first printing of the VHS are all in letterbox; re-prints from 1994 claim to be in wide screen but are pan & scan. GHOSTBUSTERS II was another big title movie released in letterbox only in the first printing, many video stores got complaints about these titles because customer’s thought that there was half of the picture missing, many video store owners called RCA/Columbia to find out if there was a printing problem to only be told that they were meant to be this way.)

So, of course i was a fan, Especially when Part 2 came out even got the head band and was obsessed with the soundtrack especially the song Glory of love by Peter Cetrea. Back when a hit movie guaranteed a hit soundtrack. Some movies lived and died based on how popular the soundtrack was.

Yes The song it’s sappy but now hearing it it will give me pause and might bring a little tear to my eye. Sort of like in that SEINFELD episode when elaine’s boyfriend would hear the song Desperado by THE EAGLES and need to take a pause to ponder it and the feelings plus memories it brought up. Relax it’s not that serious but it reminds me of how innocent and dorky. I and many others were as kids.

The opening scene of Part II was meant to be the ending to this film, although it wasn’t shot until after the second film’s production began. In it, Kreese attacks Johnny for losing the tournament. Miyagi confronts Kreese and passively immobilizes him. Miyagi threatens to strike a deadly blow but instead comically tweaks Kreese’s nose and walks away. Members of the Cobra Kai then drop their belts around Kreese.

Both B.B. Hiller’s novelization of the film and early copies of the script have this ending.

In part 2, I was impressed by Daniel breaking the ice with his hands And too this day anything I see Yuji Okumoto who played the villain In it. (With the name Chozen!!!) I still get a scowl on my face even when playing a good guy (ok, it was a Disney channel movie JOHNNY TSUNAMI)

The writers originally were divided between doing the storyline of Part II on Miyagi’s hometown or Kreese’s revenge. As a compromise, they decided to do Part II on Miyagi to give him more focus and to Part III on Kreese’s revenge.

Ralph Macchio had an interesting career as he never seems to age and though got legitimate work the role. Never let him be free, now he seems to have embraced it or come to peace with it so that it can pay off for him. I will admit it is striking to see him play other roles when I was younger. As I so closely identified him to the infamous role, but now I have to admire his range.

Even if the only time he ever sounded different was in the movie THE OUTSIDERS ironically as a character named Johnny. Strangely the only other movie I was I obsessed with that he appeared in is the movie CROSSROADS. Which was about, blues and a Guitar competition, a beautiful guitar and the sexy Jami Gertz. Then again there was TEACHERS with Nick Nolte and UP THE ACADEMY. Still to this day the only official MAD magazine movie.

I have only been recently introduced to THE KARATE KID theory that Johnny was really the karate kid. This theory marked by an online video as well as William Zabka’s many appearances on HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER added fuel to the fire. In HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, Barney insists that William Zabka ‘s character is the titular Karate Kid, and he considers him as a personal hero because of that.

This could be based on an actual fan theory that claims that Daniel is the real bully, while Johnny is the real Karate Kid. The theory gives some plausible reasons, such as the fact that while Johnny’s behavior might not always be right, he never actually gets violent and uses his skills only for defense or de-escalation. Daniel on the other hand is always the attacker.

It is also suggested that Daniel’s motivations to learn Karate is not only to compete with Johnny, but also to take revenge on him. The basic theory is that Johnny never initiated any attack on Daniel (Played by Ralph Macchio) and while not making the best decisions was always trying to either defend himself or deescalate situations.

Daniel was the one always on the attack It Brings to mind should we judge someone for acts they committed in their youth and brand then for it their whole life? Not to mention we also have to see many situations from a different point of view. As most of the time we will never see ourselves as the villain.

The series also puts on a generational difference where the characters are outsider who learn discipline and not in some more emotional feel sorry therapy way, but more a tough love training where they give and earn respect.

Comedian Patton Oswalt once wrote on his website wrote an article about how William Zabka’s Johnny after losing the tournament changed schools and changed his name and that was why he was the bully in JUST ONE OF THE GUYS not having worked out his issues and then went off to college to be the jerky villain in BACK TO SCHOOL.

It’s an interesting article that sums up Zabka’s young acting resume and links some great 80’s movies together and shows the brilliance of Patton Oswalt’s mind. Read the Original Artlicle The man is a treasure

Over the years there have been bits to tie together The Karate Kid legend. Like the music video for the band No More Kings. Which starred and was directed by Zabka and is a Cobra Kai team reunion of all the actors who play his friends and co-stars. As well as a FUNNY OR DIE video of Ralph Macchio having to be the karate kid again.

The new series of course is bathed in nostalgia and allows for a teenage show which is also a kind of reboot and changes the image of Cobra Kai to a place to gain discipline and boost self esteem with a do or die attitude.

As most of the students are the ones being picked on and learning To fight back. Where as Larusso seems to be training the wrong kids and taking them under his wing or at least trusting those he shouldn’t.

The main point of the show seems to be about trying to undo the damage you may have caused previously but it never comes across as preachy as you can understand both sides and their reasoning. Karate kid was an underdog story and Elisabeth Shue as the love interest wasn’t hard on The eyes.

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Former screenwriter Dennis Palumbo has said that he was offered the screen writing job for the film but reacted to the offer by saying he’d be “willing to do it if he (the title character, Daniel Larusso) lost the fight in the end.” Palumbo explained his reasoning: “You can’t have Mr. Miyagi tell him, ‘It doesn’t matter if you win or lose,’ for 90 minutes and then have to have him win.” Palumbo went on to say, “But that’s because I was being a moron… Now, they made four sequels to that movie, so obviously I was wrong.” (Palumbo’s remarks appear in Tales From The Script.) Though that theory I can accept.

If introduced in my youth i would have gone Insane and my brain would have exploded from my mind being blown and how much i would have argued against it. As I am sure many fans did a double take before maybe accepting it. As we get older we have more of a wider world view and maybe would have looked at the movies and evidence more.

I actually find it interesting how they can play with the ideas that might not have been bought through or maybe were and rearrange it. It might be a conspiracy or maybe the filmmakers were laughing at all along. I am sure as an actor Zabka saw it that way as motivation. As after all no villain ever thinks of themself or sees themselves this way.

According to the commentary track on the home video versions of the movie, William Zabka came up with a loose backstory for the Johnny Lawrence character, in order to better “get the feel” for playing the character. He states in the commentary that he envisioned Johnny as having no father, and that Kreese is the closest thing to a father figure he had in his life.

It was always obvious Cobra Kai member Bobby (played by the late Ron Thomas) was the best fighter. He was more dangerous and sloppy. After all he nearly broke daniel’s leg. Though his fighting style was like using a machine gun when only a patio was needed overkill in his attacks. He would most likely get tired of if he hadn’t taken his opponents out immediately.

Johnny was technical and forceful also more of a leader There are no true villains in the series. As it lays bare, it seems to showcase everyone’s motivation and what can create a monster but it is up to the person to realize what they are to become or are becoming and find the peace within themselves and to be at peace.

As the show shows various arguments and motivations and points of view. Like a standard show most of the situations are due to misunderstandings. While here the roles that were introduced in the teens from THE KARATE KID are reversed. Even though in THE KARATE KID: PART 3. The guy he faced was more of a fight by machine out to destroy if not kill. Mike Barnes was the more alpha version of Bobby. Part 3 was more of a revenge tale which seemed to focus on the long game.

Even though it seemed like all three villains could basically beat him physically. The point was for Daniel to learn all of his final lessons. Stop being a creature of impulse and to finally beat the ghosts from the past and all involved seemed to be too old to be involved in this.

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Which is why we got THE NEXT KARATE KID that was more silly. Yet seemed like a feature film attempt at this with only Pat Morita returning but has future stars Hillary Swank and Jack Black. Not to mention the reboot with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan which felt detoothed yet culturally more open.

Learning lessons that they need to learn. Relating it yet again for a new era and a little more simple. Yet willing to meet In between. Innocent enough for kids, but more for teens, But has the same appeal for adults With each new lesson Johnny teaches in the series. It comes with a new ghost from the past being unearthed. That helps him move forward in his resurrection and helps himself improve while staying rough around the edges.

As in any recovery it doesn’t happen overnight and have to take it one day at a time as relapsing is very easy. You have to be strong but are particularly fragile at that time. The ending of the season was a kind of twist of getting what you wish for. Maybe not how you wanted it.

Especially for Johnny who in trying to do something good helped his son to find a mentor. Who will set him straight but leaves little chance for a reunion and retribution and only reinstated what Daniel already believed but with more insight.

The youth Johnny was mentoring ending up as bad as he was and his students becoming just as bad as those who picked on them for the most part. Letting the chips into their shoulder posess them. Except for a few, the power has spoiled them. The discipline he tries to reinstate leads them to power but might not be the best for all. As he doesn’t seem to teach responsibility and humility.

At least it shows both sides of the tale with a Romeo and Juliet edge, His son played by Tanner Buchanan seems more in the mold of Shawn hunter from boy meets world for the next generation trouble but good hearted somewhere

It also showcases individual versus group dynamics and being true to yourself despite peer pressure. How much personal attention can mean and how you might miss something or it gets diluted if it’s more for a group and you don’t find the strength individually to work at it and believe in yourself.

It shows the complications and pressure comes with being a leader for other and have to remember to help and lead It shows how something made for simple entertainment can last longer than expected and form a legacy that endures but never planned to and can affect people in a way you never expected and looms large in their life.

I like that both characters are right and wrong in their own ways. How a situation can be mishandled and that if going in blindly how hard it is to let go of old feelings that you can’t admit still haunt you, With Johnny more as the Everyman and the show doesn’t hold it’s predecessor or content as holy doctrine How someone can be misguided but try to come back and straighten themselves out.

What i never quite understood is that I get that there will always be someone out there better than you, but it seems Daniel defeats Johnny with a defensive move and he is therefore the true boy wonder and Daniel learns a new technique and defeats the villain in what looks more like a fight (as there is blood involved) in the third movie he gets his ass kicked from training.

Even in the final fights he pretty much gets his ass handed to him but completes one move against Mike Barnes and keeps the title. He doesn’t seem too much of a fighter more a technical fighter than anything. In the thirty years since the film was produced, numerous child psychologists and sociologists have actually theorized that Daniel was more of a bully and instigator than Johnny.

This is due to many of the scenes involving Daniel “standing up for himself” in fact being acts of retaliation against something Johnny has perceived to have done to Ali. Johnny is also observed, in many of the earlier confrontation with Daniel, trying to leave and walk away from conflicts from Daniel, only to have Daniel stop him and, in one scene, sucker punch him. Daniel’s shower prank on Halloween also seems to be completely unprovoked.

Lastly, Daniel having little to no knowledge of karate tournament procedures actually makes him a danger to others in that he could injure someone by not knowing the allowed moves in a tournament setting. Not to mention in these three films. It is never quite explained how the span of time revolves around these films. As they are made in a 5 year span but Ralph Macchio obviously was looking older and yet it seems these films take place over a 1 – 2 year period.

This franchise has an interesting history as far as John G Avildesn being part of the ROCKY franchise and THE KARATE KID movies. it’s not the only coincidences the soundtrack song of “You’re the Best” BY Joe Esposito was originally written for ROCKY III which explains the lyric “History repeats itself”. The song had been rejected in favor of SURVIVOR’S “Eye of the Tiger”. Ironically, Survivor also performed the theme song (“The Moment Of Truth”) for The Karate Kid.

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By KARATE KID: PART 3 Ralph Macchio was already looking a little old for the role at least I think the timeline of films. Which is why though his transformation in part 3, his friendship with Robyn Lively’s character kind of works. They are never romantic as it would have seemed a bit creepy.

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Though also what is rather ridiculous is that it’s all about revenge and you have these characters in their 40’s picking on essentially a teenager torturing him practically. Break his will before a tournament this all seems rather silly, especially as they also seem to hate Asians after fighting in Vietnam. Yet choose to teach a fighting style from Asia.

I guess you can chalk that up to cultural assimilation, bringing a new forefront to the films of gentrification of an ancient art and culture to a degree. While being a product of it itself It seems rather questionable as the first film seemed like a one off movie, But they started filming the sequel 10 days after the first film premiered and that they had 2 and 3’s plotlines on the agenda and choose the revenge plot for 3.

So the bonding plot went first and made the most money out of all three films. Watching the movies now I can see the problems but the first two are still classic to me. Not to mention that Daniel like Rocky and Hulk Hogan to a degree, is never the best fighter.

As like the other two he spends most of the movies getting his ass kicked and then only seems to win in the last moments. Where he gets some kind of second wind. He breaks ice in the second film but in a montage in the third film is breaking multiple bricks at the same time with ease.

The many homages and dedications. it has made it into the lexicon of iconic characters for a generation even with the simple title And the music artist Bat For Lashes even devotes a song to the character Daniel.

The movies made Ralph Macchio a star and heartthrob. It seems to be his biggest starring role, other then CROSSROADS and Then MY COUSIN VINNY. He wasn’t even the first choice he got the role after Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn both turned down the role initially and Both D.B. Sweeney and C. Thomas Howell almost starred in with Mako as Mr. Miyagi. (Mako was already Committed to Making CONAN THE DESTROYER. Though eventually would play a role l.ike Mr. Miyagi in the movie SIDEKICKS)

Going into the second season will be interesting how it proceeds considering Where Johnny and his student are at

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