GOING TO BRAZIL (2016)


Directed By: Patrick Mille
Written By: Patrick Mille, Julien Lambroschini & Sabrina Amara
Cinematography: Andre Szenkowski
Editor: Samuel Dansei

Cast: Vanessa Guide, Alison Wheeler, Margot Bancilhon, Philippine Stindel, Patrick Mille, Christine Citti, Susana Pires, Chico Diaz, Joseph Makebra 

Four childhood friends reunite for a wedding in Rio, only to find themselves on the run through the Brazilian countryside after accidentally killing someone at a drug-fueled party.


The film feels very 1980s inspired. As the plot feels high concept and simple. As it takes a GIRL’S NIGHT type story and takes it further and more action-oriented.

It even feels directed like an interaction action film from the 1980s. So that you always feel a bit of nostalgia. If you are a fan of films from the decade. 

The film offers a kind of girl’s gone wild scenario. As the characters deal with being on vacation in Brazil for a friend’s wedding and their lives not going too well. So they decide to show e fun no wild out. Which eventually leads to trouble. The film presents deals with them trying to stay out of trouble as more complications are presented.

Even though the film sounds like it would more be  T & A fest. It is more for female viewers. As most of the male characters are stupid, evil and manipulative.

The film sets up an older male villain. Whose motives are understandable partially. As he is only reacting to the death of a loved one. One who ended up being reprehensible. Showing that the Apple doesn’t fall far from The tree.

The film plays so broad but then reins in some scenes that want to be more dramatic or character building. 

The film certainly switches tones as it begins like a screwball comedy and then becomes more hardcore at first serious then action but tries to keep a sense of humor through it all. Leaving the film to be inventive and thankfully fast-paced.

In trying to stay out of trouble they are lead into all sorts of criminal activity and hijinks that eventually allows them to have a full-fledged adventure. That stays on the move and exposes a silly and unexpected side. 

Even if the last-minute hardcore action seems a bit much. 

The four leads all play types more than characters but all are needed for their particular skills that help along the way and they all have their own appeal. 

The more darker-skinned characters are shown more as villains, tough and dangerous. It doesn’t seem intended that way but still comes off that way and noticeable. 

The film offers an interesting tale of a girl’s vacation in its own way.

The film unfortunately might be entertaining as you watch it but by the end feels forgettable. 

GRADE: C-

SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU (2016)

Written & Directed By: Richard Tanne 
Cinematography By: Pat Scola 
Editor: Evan Schiff  
Cast: Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Taylar Fondren 

The film chronicles the summer 1989 afternoon when the future President of the United States, Barack Obama, wooed his future First Lady, Michelle Obama, on a first date across Chicago’s South Side.


The focus on what it’s not for once as it is a black romance that is not totally comedy.

It’s a very ambitious film a film that mixes fact and fiction, but tries to keep the subject matter simple and charming while sticking to most of the facts. Trying to keep the material fresh even though we know how it will end.

Nor is there an emphasis on sex at hooking up as a major part of the romance. We See the characters as smart and well respected. Even if at times the film falls into cliche perils as part of it’s story line and charm though at least the film tries to give it more of a mature aspect to them.

It’s something that is different a mature and more adult look at romance that is simple and complex. That deals with the future and more about making their way in the world. Through lifestyles and career ambitions.

Doesn’t suffer the same fate as many it seems cliche romantic movies which have already been in the decline over the years. We are more served with romantic comedies which already usually weaken some movies by putting more emphasis on the comedy and then having a romantic scene here or there when we already have plenty comedies that have romantic scenes as side, LOVE story. I guess when it comes to romantic comedies at least half of the film will revolve around dating and romance or the love interest will be more than one dimensional and have character

Though unfortunately it seems in African American based ones it seems the focus is on the couple arguing most of the film which is meant to be seen as funny then finally get romantic towards the end or one or both characters being sex crazed. Which automatically feels more like something out of a sitcom rather than needed for a feature.

Which is why when a film like this feels like a rarity and it shouldn’t it is so noted. When there are and should be plenty of films and stories like this out there. Like the individuals it portrays. As there are plenty of people out there like this but unfortunately only a few get the spotlight or more people get to know

Which might be why the Tyler Perry movies are so successful as they serve an audience that feels disenfranchised and that no one makes films for that audience as his are films that they see themselves not only represented in, but also speak more directly to them and their community. As his films at least seem tailor made or meant to be representative of his audience.

An imagined history based on The few facts we know about the Obamas first dates. That gives this film more of a pop culture glow but also a hook as to why audience might want to see it and is a little different than some others.

According to director Richard Tanne, all of the main events of the film did actually occur on the Obama’s first date with the exception of the community meeting which happened at a later date. Obviously another BEFORE SUNRISE influenced film. as it is more about conversation, character and emotion. Though generalizing it that way would easily be a cop out as the film also adds it own touches to the romance as their day is more adventure filled.

As some romantic films have to be shown and filmed that way to showcase that initial spark and see the chemistry while the chemicals mix and start to bond. We understand why in the future even as challenged and frustrated they might be with one another. Why they stay together. So that there are plenty of situations to observe there differing opinions and points of view

While also showcasing it’s own version of romance that is traditional and not necessarily

The same old. As every person’ love story is similar but different and special to the couple or individual and this films honors that We get glimpses of their future greatness. For her we see the roots of it. How she wants to have her own career and be great. How he hasn’t exactly decided what he wants to do but his belief in people, communities and America and how people naturally gravitate towards him. Both actors are believable as the Obama’s

Michelle comes off as someone trying to carve her own niche and life. Be independent and make her way in the world. Not looking to be defined by someone else. Not have anyone but herself take charge of their life

Barack as a confident young man who has taken the for rallying people and charismatic. It still not exactly sure about his future and defining himself

Grade: B

BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (2016)

Written & Directed By: Tyler Perry
Cinematography: Richard Vialet
Editor: Larry Sexton

Cast: Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Diamond White, Liza Koshy, Bella Thorne, Yousef Barker, Jimmy Tatro,  Lavell Crawford, Corey Holcomb, Adele Givens, Lexy Panterra, Patrice Lovely, Andre Hall, Tyga, Mike Tornabene, Angela Ray, Dominique Witten, 

Madea lands in the midst of mayhem when she spends a haunted Halloween fending off killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls, and zombies while keeping a watchful eye on her wild teenage great-niece.


At this point these movies are for the Tyler Perry loyalists. Who seem to be like trump voters where no matter what you say or logic you point out they still stay loyal in their tastes and beliefs. The only difference is that the Tyler Perry loyalists seem to know his film’s weaknesses and can admit they aren’t necessarily good but they are at least entertained.

A scene that lasts up to 25 minutes is just general conversation and doesn’t really move things along except to have a petty conversation and reiterate points the film and characters have already made many times already. It is mainly a conversation of insults and one-upping each character 

Sometimes it seems that perry’s Films are more written around whatever point he has to make or whatever he has to say that is on his mind and reinforce mroe classic ways of love, parenting, and life with the recurring character of madea. A character who works In Films like these mroe because the plots are more cartoonish and outlandish 

The message here seems to be not to let your children run all over you and to have actual discipline with them. So that they learn to respect and boundaries 

Though when He makes more dramatic movies that center around emotional intensity and believability. Madea being Shoehorned in there does offer a release by having a character mroe there for comedic relief but the. Also distracts and take the audience away out of the rest of the movie 

Even if madea is more of a franchise cvjharacter but at this point seems loaned out and used for every type of situation and storyline 

The only time this film gets entertaining is in the third act where at least true points are finally made and truly expressed. As well as the film finally actually having some humor that is actually funny even if obvious and a bit sloppy 

The first brothers first of all lol too old and have no real Believable Appeal for the teenage girls and their characters are never believable and white actually bland and more are there for the story rather than Building any believable characters or antagonists. Even worse the originals who are supposed to be mroe comedic seem more stupid and over the top then Even if they were in a children’s movie where that is mroe generally accepted 

Grade: F

DE PALMA (2016)

Directed By: Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow
Cinematography By: Jake Paltrow
Edited By: Matt Mayer & Lauren Minnerath

 A documentary About Writer/Director Brian De Palma 


One of the exciting things of watching this film is knowing how reclusive director Brian De Palma usually is. It’s amazing to hear him speak about his craft and life as well as behind the scenes stories of his career.

He is also speaking and telling his stories, while looking right at you. So it’s not the usual talking heads type documentary. So while you watch it, it feels like he is speaking directly to you.

The film offers a masterclass in filmmaking and also let’s him speak for himself for once. Rather than seeing or reason an evaluation of his films. Here he will admit his mistakes, but also make us re-evaluate some of his work which has been accused of being more controversial or just bad filmmaking.

As the film gets to the end it does wind down as his later career films seem to be the most disappointing for audiences, critics and fans. So that some won’t care as much to here which is why they are more brief when it comes to those films. As throughout the film he addresses each film on his resume as well as we get to see scripts from each of these films.

This is one of those films you hope they have a longer director’s cut as it could go on longer and you would still be entertained. He is direct and methodical but allows for a sense of humor also. So the documentary doesn’t feel didactic.

He does address the critics and themes of his work. The accusations of his film promoting violence against women or being misogynistic. While his film more or less seems to worship women and let them appear all the more human. while also worshiping the beauty of them not only physically but emotionally. As in most of his film they seem to inspire the protagonist and lead them to his doom or help to bring the best out of him. Usually helping to define the protagonist. When the female character is not the protagonist herself.

He also briefly talks about the influence of Alfred Hitchcock as obviously he has a similar filmmaking style and he even argues as filmmakers always tend to either copy or borrow from their influences and favorite films. Why wouldn’t he use the style of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. As even i will admit that through watching Brian De Palma films. I got turned on to as well as awakened to the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock. now while I can see the similarities. He uses that same technical style and inventiveness to tell the stories he brings his vision to. He is more interested in the technical and visual aspects first and foremost and seems to build the plot and characters around that aspect. Luckily he has skill and talent around him that makes his films enriching even past the technical.

I might be partial to his cinema as they are more voyeurs films and also the fact that they are more modern and closer to age. When i was watching the cinema. Whereas Hitchcock will always be a master but the time period that separates us. makes it that I will always look at all of his work as classics due to style and age. So they are more like historic documents that are hard to argue about or criticize. Whereas with De Palma it feels more contemporary and can debate about his films easily.

Paltrow and Baumbach filmed Brian De Palma for one week in 2010, collecting about 30 hours worth of interview footage. De Palma, sitting in Paltrow’s living room and talking about his career, wore the same shirt every day for continuity’s sake.

Brian De Palma said, that initially there was no plan for a documentary feature, only an interview: “Noah and Jake were interested in this new digital camera, so Jake bought one. They wanted to make a record of all these stories that I’d told them over the years when we’d had dinner together, so they sat me down in Jake’s living room. Jake operated the camera, Noah did the sound, and they would just ask me questions.”

Do yourself a favor if a fan of his or movies in general. Seek out this film as it is quite a treat.

Grade: A- 

DESIERTO (2016)

Directed & Edited By: Jonas Cuaron 
Written By: Jonas Cuaron & Mateo Garcia 
Cinematography By: Damian Garcia 

Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan , Gael Garcia Bernal, Alondra Hidalgo, Marco Perez, Lew Temple, Diego Catano 

A group of people trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States encounter a man who has taken border patrol duties into his own racist hands.


This film is a tight simple thriller. That is appealing in it’s simplicity. Not too much to think about or question. Shot all out in the open no indoor scenes.

Like a horror film, it has an unstoppable villain who works as a slasher. Who we know very little about. Whose reason for his killings are very vague, you just know he is evil. Played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who is becoming familiar in these types of roles which seem to fit better Than the anti-hero in action films usually developed from graphic novels)

As we watch him murder people who are sneaking across the border for no real personal reason, of course, the film wants us to assume that he is trying to keep them out of the country and doesn’t see them as human beings just prey. At least that is what might be hinted at. As he seems to be doing it out of patriotism

Except that he is kind of disrespectful to the border cops also.

The film tries to provoke a social or political message of sorts. That really hits home in this current American climate. As this might be the type of film our current government would love that is until the ending. I can only assume this. Though it is more a remote survival movie. Where the characters play cat and mouse throughout.

There is plenty of graphic violence. Even as the victims are anonymous. Except for the fact that you feel sorry for them as they don’t deserve their fates. Especially for just seeking a new And better life for themselves.

The film is still a tight mostly dialogue-less grilled that pumps itself up with impending doom and dread throughout. As there is no humor or true happiness here.

It’s admirable what is done in this film with a simple premise that does so much and how full the film feels. It would be nice if the film had a little more substance. Though it is quite entertaining without it. 

The film definitely has style and luckily does Amy go overboard with it. So that it becomes a distraction In itself or become all the film is truly about.

The film becomes questionable when at the end the villain all of a sudden becomes vulnerable. Though I believe that is to remind us that the is human. Which I don’t believe we ever forget. It also allows the film not to become a total horror film. As it obviously has bigger or better aspirations for itself.

The direction by Jonas Cuaron Son of director Alphonso Cuaron (GRAVITY, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) while good also makes the film feel more anonymous than anything as you know nothing really about the characters other than some tidbits and circumstances that are presented. Given the situation the characters are in this is understandable. It’s just the film that never makes it’s presence felt. So why should you choose this one from any other random thriller that is offered usually on VOD with a big star name attached?

With this film at least there feels like an effort to make something and not just try to make a film to make a profit only.

Grade: C+

THE FAMILY FANG (2016)

Directed By: Jason Bateman 
Written By: David Lindsay-Abaire 
Based On The book By: Kevin Wilson 
Cinematography By: Ken Seng 
Editor: Robert Frazen 

Cast: Jason Bateman, Nicole Kidman, Christopher Walken, Kathryn Hahn, Marin Ireland, Harris Yulin, Josh Pais, Michael Chernus, Danny Burnstein, Steve Barrish, Steve Witting


The first trailer for the film wasn’t released until three weeks before the release date. So the film never really had a chance. Which is strange considering the film’s pedigree.

Whatever I write about this film. It will come off as seeming bitter. As I read the book first and was a big fan of the book. I looked forward to watching this film as, after all, I liked Jason Bateman’s directorial debut BAD WORDS. And since the book was also a dark comedy. I thought it was a match that made sense. The film speeds up the story. Realized that most likely the book’s story would have to be condensed and the dynamics of the story reworked. Not necessarily changing details but leaving less informed turns and losing a certain context hurts the story overall.

It certainly hurt my appreciation of the story presented here. Probably because I read it so recently We would of course expect what you enjoyed being on display. If not in the story then at least in the mood. A film that you would expect more from or certainly handled by a director who had more of a reputation and history with similar material.

I believe I would have enjoyed the film more if I wasn’t so familiar with the material. The films seem smaller-scaled then needed. Shrinking the story to a degree. As it seems to try and be more intimate with the characters to be like a study by not moving the story forward as the book did with so many actions and distractions.

The novel ranked among Time’s “Top Ten Fiction Books of 2011”.

In the translation, it feels like certain layers are lost. The book could have made a great movie. Just. It. This is not this film, unfortunately. As the changes also impact the story. But makes it feel more grounded in reality and not so fantastic in the situations and parts. It never seems to have the impact that it should. As things happen and the film just seems to let them slide off the character’s soldiers. Never taking the time or accepting the consequences. Jason Bateman seems to be playing his usual type of characters. So that it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch. Maybe he wanted it to be easier as he also must direct the film. He plays the role with as many issues or sensitivity as the story provides for his character. His character here is more put together and takes charge. Not as distraught as he should be.

He moves forward as a filmmaker showing more depth and talent. Though I thoroughly enjoyed his first film as a director. Here it seems he is more interested in making a strange story more conventional. Understand he must condense, cut scenes and characters as well as events.

Nicole Kidman seems to wear her character on her sleeves, but she is good in the role of the damaged sister who becomes an actress. She gives a good performance that is more serious and how’s how grounded and good an actress she can be if given the right material. As she comes off less recognizable and less of a star even though she is playing one.

Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman both have several credits on the project. Bateman is the director, star, and producer of the film, while Kidman brought the rights to the book, served as a producer, and as the leading lady.

This is a project that is obviously very close and personal to both the stars. Who I wonder if they didn’t let their influence and their own visions of what they felt the story was really about and letting them reach a catharsis to challenge themselves. As well as letting it be their own homecoming and look at their careers For instance, it has a reunion of Steve Witting and Jason Bateman. The earlier collaboration was the Television series ‘Valerie’. Thought hey share no scenes together. He also casts Kathryn Hahn in a small role. This is their third time working together including being his romantic interest in his directorial debut. As well as Kidman hiring David Lindsay-Abaire who previously wrote the film RABBIT HOLE which she starred in

Trying to condense an epic story into a confined space that limits it and it’s beauty as well as shortening it’s reach.

The film maintains it’s questioning of art and artists throughout. The argument of life and art and what exactly is art is never answered. Which I believe is intentional to make the audience constantly wonder. As the film seems more nostalgic tinged and twee like a dysfunctional family as quirky more than devastating.

Feelings and emotions are on display as the story seems to be about overcoming your passion. Making reactions of others the real art. Turning it on the audience to make them more the performers. As the film puts an essential mystery in the middle of the film, but as the characters get more clues to try and solve it the film. Doesn’t make it feel urgent at all and seems like it is more of an annoyance than anything else. The film goes for a look of southern gothic.

The film is disappointing, both as a representation of the book and as a film on it’s own. Not a bad film as it has it’s own strengths of note, though the story feels more rushed then it should. It barely takes it’s time before it is off on another lead.

So many details that could have been explored or slowed down instead seem more plot-oriented then necessary. Characters that had a darkness to them to match where the story goes are lightened up. So it feels more upbeat. Though truthfully there is nothing wrong with the film technically.

It’s nice to see the cast is filled with naturalistic looking actors rather than unbelievably good looking stars.

Maybe as the adaptation of the book is written by a playwright. The film ends up feeling more like a play or at least more a theatrical piece than necessary The film lacks the depth of what made the original so magical and a delight to read. As well as softening the ending. Making the film feel too cut and dry. Though it seems like a quirky film that normally would be Oscar bait. That comes across as slight more than anything.

Grade: C

THE FITS (2016)

Directed By: Anna Rose Holmer 
Story By: Saela Davis, Anna Rose Holmer & Lisa Kjerulff 
Cinematography By: Paul Yee 
Editor: Saela Davis 

Cast: Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Makyla Burnam, Da’Sean Minor, Lauren Gibson

The Fits is a psychological portrait of 11-year-old Toni-a tomboy assimilating to a tight-knit dance team in Cincinnati’s West End. Enamored by the power and confidence of this strong community of girls, Toni eagerly absorbs routines, masters drills, and even pierces her own ears to fit in. When a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team, Toni’s desire for acceptance is twisted.


The opening images and scene immediately grabs our attention. It isn’t necessarily involve what the film is is about at first but the character is introduced to the audience in that way and she stays with us throughout.

This production of this film was entirely funded through grants.

The entire cast was given the opportunity to add, delete, or change dialogue in the script.

This one of those confusing films, that is cerebral and very open To interpretation while being relateable. The film never offers a clear definition which might keep some people from truly appreciating this film.

As the film Goes along it always grabs the audience’s attention as we are never quite sure what to expect.

The director definitely has a style that makes all of the framing and camerawork seem perfect revealing and planned out.

As the film has minimal dialogue and instead tells the story through action and defines the characters more from Moments and usually from reactions and body language of the actors. Which is no small feat considering most of the cast is made up of teenagers and children. The few adult characters are usually never given a close-up or really In focus so like they might be for children they are so defined in their roles that to children who are still children and growing and have the possibilities to change they are out of focus for them. As children focus on so many things. The cast is made up of Non-professional newcomers which gives the film a raw edge

This movie stars a real drill team and was filmed in Cincinnati, Ohio. They were given part Ownership of the film

Each of the “fits” were choreographed separately, and performed in front of the cast for the first time on the day of shooting.

What really is noteworthy is that the film has a haunting feel about it. It can at times come off as scary though remains a mystery throughout. Never quite clearly defined, yet we in the audience can be ok with that. As it still manages to tell a story.

The title rightly is what describes the phenomena that goes on with these girls as they are slowly stricken with what seems like seizures, but while scary st first come to embrace as soon it also seems like a rite of passage for the group. As noticeably none of the boys are victims of this. As the film shows our main character coming into her femininity as earlier we see her surrounded by her brother and his male friends at the boxing gym. This film could easily be a metaphor for girls turning into women and beginning their menstrual cycle. As it does require a physical change that can be quite scary and dramatic. Then after you might feel different more adult and look at those around you who haven’t experienced it as outsider, not as mature still children. Which would explain the characters sudden feelings of exclusion after slowly bonding with the group and after some got through the change she is given the cold shoulder.

Just as the characters develop their roles here and are going through a mysterious change. We see Toni’s character played by Royalty Hightower develop in her dancing skills as at first she is horrible but throughout finally begins to get her footing.

Though the film deals with the subject in a vivid way visually. It also feels kind of clinical as there are emotions involved yet the film never had a warmness. For a coming of age story it is a revelation as usually most films of the genre go for nostalgia or some kind of warmth and sweetness somewhere in the story or are hair a series of calamities and here it presents something identifiable as well as mysterious. Though still making us care about the characters.

The ending is mysterious as it can be interpreted in many different ways

The film offers shots of reality and the beauty of everyday shape the world around the lead. This is her normal but the directors still manage to make it seem new and mysterious. Like we are traveling a land we have never been accustomed to. Though also manage to make it seem otherworldly, mysterious and magical.  Which is a feat in of itself. As the movie moves along. You are always questioning as these seizures come along and surprise the characters and audience. This throws us off as to what might happen or can happen in a moments notice. Never scary but keeps things fascinating

SPOILERS

As I am not quite sure once she is supposedly struck with her seizure of it was real or was she faking it to fit in. As it seems like she is having visions of a perfect future and fitting in and floating, but her fit is remarkably different then the others as hers is more a dance. Where as the other girls always seems looks they were in the middle of a dance when struck and then a full on seizure like they were possessed. So the ending is kind of ambiguous.

SPOILERS END

The film is thought provoking and strangely short. Which is only a relief as since the films rests on only this plot thread there are only so many places to go before the film becomes repetitive and dull. As it already feels like a stretch to a degree at times.

Grade: B+

DEMOLITION (2016)

Directed By: Jean Marc-Vallee
Written By: Bryan Sipe
Cinematography By: Yves Balenger
Editor: Jay M.Glen

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis, Polly Draper, Debra Monk, Heather Lind 

A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. With the help of a customer service rep and her young son, he starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.


The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2007 Blacklist; a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year.

This is one of those almost movies. That feels like it is almost o to something but seems to get lost before it can say ultimately what it wants to or before actually saying something profound.

The film stays off-center yet always pretty in its presentations the films end up feeling too designed like the products he dismantled to see how they work. Which the film tries to work in the same way. But seems too on the nose to be quirky and accepting as it seems to want to be offbeat.

A character study where the protagonist tries to find himself and ends up attracting other so-called misfits fighting to find and be themselves. While also trying to be seen as normal and fit in. Though really questioning what that is.

It is basically the main character having to dismantle and destroy his life to rebuild and start again. Which is why his character seeks to take things apart and study them. To see how they work and how they function.

The film is meant to be more of a character study which it achieves and as usual unfortunately also introduces characters more interesting than the lead. Who get scenes of depth and drama, but ultimately seem more like ornaments meant to distract and beautify the film add some flavor, but never really get to shine themselves.

Which is becoming more common in director Jean Marc-Vallee oveure of films. Presenting a kind of reality that always comes with some quirk or bigger than life or life-affirming meaning that seems more magnified than normal. Her he seems to go through realistic characters take on life and challenges as we watch to see their journey through it to the other side. More like emotional action movies with a sharp eye for visuals

It feels more a film about trying to win awards. Though there is some heart in here and tries to say something about the human condition. More about finding yourself. Here it seems like the character was already on that path. Only a tragedy happened that really opened his eyes and lead him to it.

The film feels transparent. It speaks to the audience as the film asks how are you supposed to react to tragedy? Is it disrespectful if in your reaction you aren’t emotional enough or know how exactly to feel? It’s not exactly Always textbook. As we are all individuals. So it Aldo’s how do you feel when what came before was almost on autopilot of what was expected but. Ever felt fulfilling, deserving so that it was almost a lie.

It feels like a film as all of the things that happen seem more announced. I can go with the suspension of disbelief, but when made so obvious it is hard.

This is a feel-good film, yet it becomes what it seems to want to avoid by becoming overbearing after a while.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s detached performance is what will win you over. As he is at total opposites at times but he keeps the film spirited and lively. Where he not only becomes the center of attention, but the most entertaining aspect of the film.

What is at least original is that the film doesn’t paint the main character as some kind of saint or hero. He freely admits his faults and the bad things in the past. It doesn’t praise his wife but makes them look more like a human coup going through the motions of a relationship and never really talking about their problems or dealing with them before this accident happens.

I wish the same could be said of Naomi watts character who is interesting. As her problems are laid bare, but her wrong decisions make her at least interesting when it comes to her character’s psychology. Even as we are used to Naomi watts playing these complicated characters. The character is there but the performance never quite catches on as it feels too plain when it might be better to showcase more of her at war with herself. Here her character keeps it maintained maybe due to her pot smoking. Which might regulate those feelings.

As his late wife throughout the movie haunts him and the other characters but we learn little about her though by the end she becomes more real for us in the audience to get more of a sense of her and not exactly the saint she has been made to be at the beginning. Just that something bad happened to her that she didn’t deserve. As with most of the characters. She was just trying to figure things out and all the people who believe they have it all figured out have comfort but aren’t necessarily being truthful to themselves or are rather simple The other aspect of the film that is eye-catching is the more modern designed clothing and appliances. That comes off shiny and smooth and provide the perfect facade, before revealing their grungy and dirty insides once explored.

Other Than the tragedy the film easily comes off as more middle-aged wish fulfillment than anything else.

Though the film does manage to win you over at certain points and feels personal to a degree when it’s supposed to.

GRADE: B-

LADY MACBETH (2016)

Directed by: William Oldroyd

Written By: Alice Birch

Based on the book “ LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK” by Nikolai Leskov Cinematography: Ari Wegner

Editor: Nick Emerson

Cast: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Christopher Fairbank, Golda Roseuval, Anton Palmer, Bill Fellows 

Rural England, 1865. Katherine is stifled by her loveless marriage to a bitter man twice her age, whose family are cold and unforgiving. When she embarks on a passionate affair with a young worker on her husband’s estate, a force is unleashed inside her, so powerful that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.


This movie features Florence Pugh in a star making performance and also one of the all time great cold femme fatales on screen.

The title makes you believe this Will be a take on Shakespeare’s Play.  Only focusing on one main character from their point of view, but this is based on “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” by Nikolai Leskov 

That might have served as inspiration for the play and the title just happens to deal with the same machinations, manipulations, and themes as that character and play

Though some will see this from a modern context of a female asserting herself in a suppressed time. That she is sticking up for herself and choosing to use her strengths and power. As after all she comes off as a mastermind even though motivated more by being dumb in love. If she wasn’t so selfish she might have been a strong female role model. Though she might still end up being one to some audience members 

The film allows us to see how she comes upon her decisions. How as soon as she gets there she is mistreated by her husband who refuses to actually consummate the marriage and then disappears leaving her feeling bored and degraded. Even when not suffering the disdain of her father in law.

Once she spies the help trying to sexually assault her handmaiden and sticks up for her she feels an attraction and passion for the

Young field worker who originated it and begins to flirt with him until he comes to her bedroom And is aggressive with her and she fights back but also accepts his demands. Once started the affair intensified and anything or anyone who stands in the way she is willing to sacrifice.

She does so coldly, but to a certain extent, you can understand why. Until the third act when she goes to far. Even shocking the audience as well as her lover. 

Throughout it is easy to not feel sorry for the male characters in her life. They don’t necessarily deserve death, but they are also not the most sympathetic characters. The film also makes it seem like the lover will eventually use her but in the end. He is more a pawn as she loves him And tries to prop him Up as more respectable. Though he can be expendable if he chooses to betray or cross her.

The most sympathetic character is her handmaiden Anna, who witnesses everything and goes mute from shock. While still being made to serve her and seemingly punished by her from time to time. What she is put through and where she ends up is just cruel. It’s Disappointing though not shocking.

Since the character is African American she more seems like a slave so watching her being mistreated is not all that shocking and while it’s nice to see people of color in the film. While being historically accurate it does get on the nerves or brings the audience to a dark place to be reminded of this time In history. Especially as in the end classism And racism stand supreme. Even when the one who so thought to be more privileged is the one who has done the worst and should have a bad reputation 

The film also manages to be quite sexual though not quite erotic. 

The film is quite a surprise from what you might think the film will be about or go to. It is actually richer even if also more cerebral and remote, with beautiful backgrounds. 

I really enjoy this film and am only recently becoming a bit of a fan of period pieces. 

GRADE: B+

LAKE BODOM (2016)

Directed by: Taneli Mustonen

Written by: Taneli Mustonen & Aleski Hyvarinen

Cinematography: Mheiajn Brooks, Daniel Lindholm, Callie Mcgregor & Dakota Saliwi Editor: Alexis Raij

Cast: Nelly-Hirst-Gee, Mimosa Williamo, Mikael Gabriel, Santeri Helinheimo mantyu 

Every camper’s worst nightmare came true at Lake Bodom in 1960 when four teenagers were stabbed to death while sleeping in their tent.

This is one of those movies that is ok, but there is so much potential for greatness that it possesses except for a few missteps that totally bold it back.

This is a Familiar horror film based on a true story of murders that happened in Finland. Only in the film the location is the same and it doesn’t say this is what happened back then, but the story is modern-day set and might have some ties to that case.

What works here is that the film keeps offering new twists that reshape the material. Some of these twists might feel a little familiar from other films, but it is still used wisely here. In fact, one wishes there were a few more.

The beginning of the film Feels typical and a little dull. Though luckily as the film goes along certain relationships between the characters are explained and how Their pasts intermingle. This more happens as an explanation for certain actions and acts. Though the actions seem like overkill. As does some of the logic of the characters but as this is a horror film. It seems like it is needed to move one element to the other.

The film is 60 percent perfect except for the beginning and the end. The end works in that it becomes a different type of film that foils any plans but then the film becomes the type of film you expected from the beginning which then makes it feel basic and erases all the exciting elements that came before it.

Which also leads to a more ambiguous ending. That the film doesn’t necessarily feel like it deserves or has earned. So that you have a film that tries to show a depth it doesn’t possess. Which is supposed to be similar to the teenage characters within it?

The film will be familiar to those who have seen HIGH TENSION or ALL THE BOYS LOVE  MANDY LANE. Which might be a spoiler itself, but at least here the enjoyment of the film doesn’t hinge on those surprises. Nor does it make you question the plausibility of what has been presented.

The violence isn’t particularly inspired. Nor is the film very gratuitous in it’s action or content.

The film isn’t a total waste. It just falls short of what it could have been. As it is pretty much a slasher with interesting twists and character histories. 

Grade: B-