KUMIKO THE TREASURE HUNTER (2015)

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


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

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

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THE WOLFPACK (2015)

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Directed By: Crystal Moselle
Edited By: Enat Sidi

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grade: C

NAOMI & ELY’S NO KISS LIST (2015)

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Directed By:Kristin Hanggi
Written By: Amy Andelson & Emily Meyer
Based On The Novel By: Rachel Cohn & David Leviathan
Cinematography By: Anka Malatynska
Editor: Michelle Harrison 



Cast: Victoria Justice, Monique Coleman, Pierson Fode, Matthew Daddario, Maddie Corman

Incoming NYU freshmen and childhood neighbors Naomi and Ely have been in love with each other their whole lives, even though Ely isn’t exactly into girls. The institution of a “No Kiss List” has prevented the two from rifts in the past, but their bond is tested when they both fall for the same guy. The once inseparable pair must figure out if their friendship is strong enough to get past such an epic predicament as they struggle with the realities of growing up.

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ALENA (2005)

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Directed By: Daniel Di Grado
Written By: Daniel Di Grado, Kerstin Gezelius & Alexander Onofri
Based on the Graphic Novel By: Kim W. Andersson
Cinematography By: Simon Olsson
Editor: Linda Jildmalm 


Cast: Amalia Holm, Molly Nutley, Felice Jankell, Rebecka Nyman, Fanny Klefelt 


When Alena arrives at her new elite boarding school, Filippa and the other girls start to harass her. But Alena’s best friend Josefin won’t let her take anymore beating. If she won’t strike back, Josefin will do it for her. Hard.

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GET HARD (2015)

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Directed By: Etan Cohen
Written By: Ian Roberts, Etan Cohen & Jay Martel
Story By: Adam McKay, Jay Martel & Ian Roberts
Cinematography By: Tim Suhrstedt
Editor: Michael L.Stale 


Cast: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Edwina Findley, Alison Brie, Craig T. Nelson, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, Paul Ben-Victor, Ron Funches, Matt Walsh, Greg Germann

When obscenely rich hedge-fund manager James is convicted of fraud and sentenced to a stretch in San Quentin, the judge gives him one month to get his affairs in order. Knowing that he won’t survive more than a few minutes in prison on his own, James desperately turns to Darnell, a black businessman who’s never even had a parking ticket – for help. As Darnell puts James through the wringer, both learn that they were wrong about many things, including each other.

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DANNY COLLINS (2015)

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Written & Directed By: Dan Fogelman 

Cinematography: Steve Yedlin 

Editor: Julie Monroe 

Cast: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Christopher Plummer, Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Garner, Nick Offerman, Melissa Benoist, Josh Peck, Katarina Cas, Giselle Eisenberg, Brian Thomas Smith, Scott Lawrence 


Inspired by a true story, Al Pacino stars as aging 1970s rocker Danny Collins, who can’t give up his hard-living ways. But when his manager uncovers a 40 year-old undelivered letter written to him by John Lennon, he decides to change course and embarks on a heartfelt journey to rediscover his family, find true love and begin a second act.


Inspired by the story of singer Steve Tilston, who learned of the existence of a letter that John Lennon had written to him 34 years after the letter was written.

The film is a feel good film that feels a little like a fantasy but is a heart warmer and feels lived in. Will admit this is an easy film to overlook. as once you see the trailer you feel like you have it all figured out. Though once you watch it you are shocked at how much it grabs a hold of you and moves you.

Al Pacino shines in his role her where he gives a heaviness to a role that could be easily written off as lightweight. He gives it his all and makes a charismatic sympathetic character who could have been more comedic. Though the fact that he isn’t makes us pay attention and wonder.

The previews for this film focused more on the romantic angle between him and Annette Bening’s Character but as the film progresses that is only one part of this character study. As most of the drama revolves around him and his estranged son’s relationship.

There are plenty of isn’t that convenient moments but in the end the film leaves you with a smile on your face. As it is a film that could be a family film Except that is some scenes it goes out of it’s Way to show you the material is more adult with drug use and a scene of nudity.

The film lightly explores being afraid of challenging yourself and taking the easy way out. While also asking not o hard if you have built up a reputation for making others happy but it doesn’t make you happy anymore. Do you still owe the people what they want or are you allowed to let yourself be happy and express yourself even if it’s it in a way that others are used to or might not even approve of and try to deny.

Christopher Plummer is good as always and it’s fun to see him play more of a tough guy.

For such a noted cast this is actually kind of lightweight material. Though for the most part they are the true reason to watch this. As they give the material the respect even though they are above it to a certain aspect.

Though in the end this is feel good entertainment with a little bit of an edge and basically gives the cast an easy walk with letting them play characters who are more lived in and having the younger cast members play smaller roles that are more like sketches of characters.

It also asks how much do you owe your audience as they are the ones who supported you and admire you, but ho much do you owe them when you want to express yourself more truthfully and honestly though that stands at odds with what your audience wants or will even let you do. Who is more in control especially when you have given them years and been made rich off of it but aren’t being true to yourself.

Grade: C+

PREDESTINATION (2014)

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Written & Directed By: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig (The Spierig Brothers)
Based On A Story “ALL YOU ZOMBIES” By: Robert A. Heinlein
Cinematography By: Ben Nott
Editor: Matt Villa
Music By: Peter Spierig 


Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor, Christopher Kirby, Christopher Sommers

For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time. The chase turns into a unique, surprising and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, identity and time travel taboos.

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KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (2015)

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Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
Written By: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
Based On The Graphic Novel “The Secret Service” By: Mark Millar & Dave Gibbons Cinematography By: George Richmond
Editor: Eddie Hamilton & Jon Harris
Music By: Henry Jackman & Matthew Margeson 

Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Sophia Boutella, Jack Davenport, Mark Hammil, Fiona Hampton, Anna Halstrom

Agent Harry “Galahad” Hart from the Kingsman Secret Service helps troublemaker Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, who is the son of an Agent that saved the lives of Harry and his team, sacrificing himself seventeen years ago. Harry invites Eggsy to be a candidate to the vacancy of a new Agent in the agency, and he is trained by Agent Merlin and competes with other candidates. Meanwhile, the Kingsmen investigate the industrialist Valentine, an insane genius of technology who is plotting a deadly plan with his assistant Gazelle to save the Earth from global warming, eliminating most of the population with a chip and saving only those that he has chosen. Continue reading “KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (2015)”

BURYING THE EX (2015)

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Directed By: Joe Dante
Written By: Alan Trezza
Cinematography By: Jonathan Hall
Editor: Marshall Harvey 


Cast: Anton Yelchin, Alexandra Daddario, Ashley Greene, Oliver Cooper, Dick Miller

When Max learns that his new live-in girlfriend, Evelyn (Greene) is controlling and manipulative, he is afraid to end the relationship. However, fate occurs and Evelyn is killed in a freak accident. A couple months have passed and Max meets his dream girl, Olivia. The new romance gets tricky when Evelyn comes back from the grave and insists on continuing their once relationship by all means.

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THE MEDDLER (2015)

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Written & Directed By: Lorene Scafaria
Cinematography By: Brett Pawlek
Editor: Kayla M. Emter 


Cast: Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Jerrod Carmichael, Cecily Strong, Lucy Punch, Michael McKean, Billy Magnussen, Jason Ritter, Casey Wilson, Megan Echikunwoke, Amy Landecker, Harry Hamlin, Robert Picardo, Shiri Appleby, Laura San Giacomo, Roger Arron Brown, Randall Park, Bill Fagerbakke 


An aging widow from New York City follows her daughter to Los Angeles in hopes of starting a new life after her husband passes away.

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