THE COLUMNIST (2019)

Directed By: Ivo Van Aart 
Written By: Daan Windhorst
Cinematography: Martijn Cousijn 
Editor: Irme Reutelingsperger & Yamal Stitiou 

Cast: Katja Herbers, Achraf Koutet, Genio De Groot, Rein Hoffman, Claire Porro, Bram Van Der Kelen, Medina Schuurman, Harry Van Ritjthourn 

A columnist must continuously deal with threats and negative comments on her social media pages. One day, she has had enough and decides to hunt down her trolls.


The film wastes no time in getting right to the point and its actions. The film ends up going down like candy-sweet and quickly with very few complaints. 

The film comes off very dry and seems to have no real sensations at all throughout the film. Especially when it comes to presentation.

Feels very lightweight for such a dark comedy. Almost like a TV movie level. Only with plenty of language and violence.

It might have been stronger if at any point she really has faced a true challenge or more of one in her killings or the immediate aftermath. 

The only other being she seems to face is the older gentleman who at first seems like he could be the easiest.

As she became too common too fast and with very little investigation into these Crimes. So there feels like an absence of any real depth. Especially when the film offers opportunities for it to be more interesting. Like having the daughter act impulsively when thinking her mother’s boyfriend is the killer or having her kill him when believing him to be the killer. Then found out she was wrong when the kills keep happening and then finding out it was her mother or ending the film with the daughter’s Mistake.

In the middle of the movie is the only town where the police really have any questions and she gives them motive and a bit of evidence to build a case if they bothered to really investigate her. 

The killings soon become an obsession. So much so that it takes over her regular responsibilities. Truly shows her character’s transformation. The more she kills the more it relieves her mind as it clears her head and gets more writing done. In essence, becoming more successful.

As it seems she is all for freedom of speech until it is used against her then she becomes the ultimate censor. At first, she is bullied into being a killer. 

Though without controversy there is less of an audience. The end is a little outlandish as it seems meant to be a message. As the film does have one in a worst-case scenario version. That could be reworked but makes itself loud and clear. 

At first, it seems Like it will be open-ended but proceeds especially as there are plenty of witnesses though goes for shock and sensationalism with a warning. 

Her speech might help her and the film to realize what she says about herself goes to the victims also. 

Just her boyfriend who dresses freaky to get attention as fashion is the more normal put-together individual. Whereas she comes off as the more so-called normal one is the crazed killer.

In the end, the film feels disposable and hassle-free.

Grade: C+

DON’T LET GO (2019)

Written & Directed By: Jacob Estes 
Story By: Drew Daywalt 
Cinematography: Sharone Meir 
Editor: Billy Fox & Scott D. Hanson

Cast: David Oyelowo, Storm Reid, Alfred Molina, Mykelti Williamson, Brian Tyree Henry, April Grace, Shinelle Azoroh

After a man’s family dies in what appears to be a murder, he gets a phone call from one of the dead, his niece. He’s not sure if she’s a ghost or if he’s going mad, but as it turns out, he’s not.


I remember this film being released around the same time as the Tyrese Gibson Starring BLACK AND BLUE. And that movie came streaming fast while I kept waiting for this film to be released and only recently did finally I get to catch this film. 

I was interested as these films came out around the same time And seemed to be pitted against each other for a share of the so-called urban box office. Even though the films are different they are both thrillers that have cops as the protagonists though each takes a different approach to the material.

The film thankfully directed its unexpected circumstances and twists isn’t a GROUNDHOG’S DAY type story. Where the same day is repeated over and over. It’s more like the film FREQUENCY where there is town travel of sorts and communication from the future and past through technology

The film’s logic falls apart in the third act. As it becomes more satisfying because of its non-solid rules in its set-up

Though for all of the films at towns more far-fetched elements and details. What holds the film together. What makes it so interesting and emotional is the lead performances of David Oyeyelo and Storm Reid. They keep everything so engaging. That is the more thrilling moments you find yourself more involved and on the edge of your seat.

The film offers a nice mystery and thriller that stays intriguing. Only wish the script had been a bit stronger. As the actors are all better than the material and lift the material to create believable characters and situations.

David Oyelowo seems to star in a bunch of these movies. Where he injects the film with good character work and vivid lived-in performances that are often better than the films. Making all around him as well as the film better because of him.

The filM Falls a bit short of expectations or at least hoped for but is entertaining in its own right. It works as an emotionally intriguing popcorn movie. 

Grade: B-

WINE COUNTRY (2019)

Directed By: Amy Poehler
Written By: Liz Cackowski & Emily Spivey 
Cinematography: Tom Magill 
Editor: Julie Monroe 

Cast: Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, Tina Fey, Jason a Schwartzman, Maya Erskine, Cherry Jones, Liz Cackowski, Emily Spivey, Jay Larson, Kate Comer 

During a vacation to Napa Valley, a group of long-time friends reunite and revisit past choices in this hilarious and heartfelt comedy. 


This film had me with the cast alone. Though while entertaining I can’t say that this film has too much to feed on.

As it is a middle-life crisis movie for women. That stays hilarious throughout but it also feels very lightweight and More of a reunion for ex-female SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast members. Though it does allow them more of a showcase than usual.

As each major cast member gets their time to shine and a major plotline. Some are just not as serious as others. When commonly cast men Evers in other films are relegated to memorable cameos. Here they get to shine.

The film is light entertainment that feels more like fluff but stays funny and entertaining throughout.

Though even the so-called normal characters end up being zany or skewed in their own way. 

Everyone is good but Maya Rudolph is a particular delight and comes off as the MVP. Not to mention she is the only character whose story comes close to being actually dramatic.

Like the liquor, it celebrates in the title. This movie goes down like a fine one. 

The characters seem more like types or come across that way at times. Though it’s not central it feels like it is about empowerment to a certain degree and watching women who are successful in some ways fall apart in others where their personal weaknesses lie.

The film even takes a look at generational differences. All in all, it is just a fun hang-out movie without too many stakes but plenty of funny scenes and characters. Who are relatable 

The film wants the audience to watch but also take part in the fun times. Where it almost feels like a hangout movie. 

Grade: C+

POMS (2019)

Directed By: Zara Hayes
Written By: Shane Atkinson 
Story By: Zara Hayes & Shane Atkinson 
Cinematography: Tim Orr
Editor: Annette Davey 

Cast: Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Celia Weston, Alisha Roe, Charlie Tahan, Rhea Perlman, Pam Grier, Phyllis Somerville, Patrica French, Bruce McGill 

POMS is a comedy about a group of women who form a cheerleading squad at their retirement community, proving that you’re never too old to ‘bring it!’


Usually every summer there are certain types of films that come towards the end of that season. There is the urban thriller that has something to do with domestication. There is a fantasy romance that somehow involves travel or older characters or both and there is the older ensemble movie. Which usually involves a group of older female or male characters whose characters get together for a cause.

Somehow have a setback or are underestimated because of their age. Then manages to impress and show off the young people. 

The film will usually involve the character doing things you wouldn’t expect them to do at that age. Usually, the cast will be filled with recognizable actors. Who will either all get a chance to shine or two of them will be more the focus. While the others fall by the wayside (Think the movie CALENDAR GIRLS) the other way is that it is an ensemble filled with all ages whereas a group they bond and we see the individual problems of each across the ages.

This film is the one that involves an ensemble and two of the actors take the lead. As well as having older characters doing something together that is only thought to be done by younger people. Here it is cheerleading. The two main leads are Diane Keaton and Jacki Weaver 

Jacki Weaver is more the flirty and rambunctious character. Who comes across like Blanche from THE GOLDEN GIRLS. She is also more the wild child and veteran of the retirement community they are part of.

Diane Keaton is the new resident who mainly came there to be alone and dies slowly from Cancer, but as she keeps being made to socialize and brought into her neighbors schemes. She decides to do an activity as a last hurrah, also to stick it to the community board and make a mark.

We see as they recruit new members and even has a touching side story. Where an older woman has bullying kids who won’t let her do what she wants. As they think they know what they want is best.

The film Is predictable but it’s Supposed to be it’s Light and is more for an audience to enjoy, not necessarily think about and more have the film affect their feelings. Not to mention be representative of the audience they want to attract and also for the younger audience members maybe remind them of their loved ones. 

While enjoyable, one is definitely bit the audience for this one. Not to mention it all feels too familiar. There is no attempt at anything new or original. So that most of the film feels like it’s On autopilot.

So while it’s Great to see these older actresses get a project and screen time. One only wishes it was either stronger or worthy of their time and talents. Then again they can’t all get the roles Susan Sarandon and Helen Mirren seem to get that offer more versatility and flexibility.

Grade: C-

COME AS YOU ARE (2019)

Directed, Cinematography & Editor: Richard Wong 
Written By: Erik Linthrost

Cast: Grant Rosenmeyer, Hayden Szeto, Ravi Patel, Gabourey Sidibe, Janeane Garofolo, C.S. Lee, Jennifer Jelsema

Three young men with disabilities hit the road with a jaded nurse driver to a brothel in Montreal catering to people with special needs. Remake of the acclaimed Belgian film ‘Hasta La Vista’.


First off yes this is a heartwarming film that is predictable focusing on a road trip of ill-gotten but understandable means.

This is a rare film that focuses solely on characters with disabilities that seems to only come along every so few years. Even though most of the actors aren’t disabled they sell it through their actions.

Whereas even when it comes to their parents they have to prove their gaining of independence.

While the film does the obligatory scenes of showing them as normal human beings with the same desires as most. Then have to prove to others who are prejudiced against them that they can do things like jokes. The film offers a diverse cast 

This is also a film that is a little lightweight and while it has its little adventures. The strength of this movie is the characters and their different personalities. They eventually charm you so that you are forging for them and want to see what kind of calamities they get into next. 

It’s episodic in brute but as the film goes along the characters grow on you. So that while they might begin as stereotypes. They eventually grow into well-rounded characters. Who you grow to appreciate. 

The film even has an unexpected romance. It truly is an unexpected hidden gem. That gets by More on Emotion than filmmaking.

Grade: B

THE TWO POPES (2019)

Directed By: Fernando Meirelles
Written By: Anthony McCarten 
Cinematography: Cesar Charlone 
Editor: Fernando Stutz 

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, Luis Gnecco, Christina Banegas, Renato Scarpa, Sidney Cole 

Behind Vatican walls, the conservative Pope Benedict XVI and the liberal future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.


What one would think would be a more theatrical two-hander if discussions ends up being bigger and luckily more spacious. That still involves a meeting of the two grand actors, but the films. Space is filled in with their backstories, decisions, and actions before the meetings. Even a past romance is Hinted at and a strong sense of music. 

The film just feels comfortable. We get two sides of the same issues only with different insights and different ways of believing and dealing with the issues.

The common man manages the royal assessment when it comes to the views. The film takes on issues. If not the causal conversations, ones that you wish actually happened. Which helps explain policy and gives a behind-the-scenes look.

Going in you think it is going to be more satirical but it stays more dramatic and truthful to a degree.

In the end, this is an earned film. Whose heart is in the right place, but still feels like a prestigious film above all else. 

Shocked that it is directed by Fernando Meirelles who is usually more of a visual director. Though he does make a film that could have easily been dull. Seems more alive and vivid. It feels full of life that makes you appreciative of the small details of life 

This film comes across as informative. You watch to learn more about the Pope’s practices and process, but more are here to see the performances by the two lead actors.

Though it offers a character study, a tale based on true events. That also has world events as a backdrop 

Grade: B

RICHARD JEWELL (2019)

Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Written By: Billy Ray
Based Upon the article “American Nightmare: The Ballad Of Richard Jewell” By: Marie Brenner 
Based Upon The Book “The Suspect” By: Kent Alexander & Kevin Salwen 
Cinematography: Yves Belanger 
Editor: Joel Cox 

Cast: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, Ian Gomez, Nina Arianda, Mike Pniewski 

During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, security guard Richard Jewell discovers a suspicious backpack under a bench in Centennial Park. With little time to spare, he helps to evacuate the area until the incendiary device inside the bag explodes. Hailed as a hero who saved lives, Jewell’s own life starts to unravel when the FBI names him the prime suspect in the bombing.


A film about a man who at first was a national hero than a suspect. Shows how fast admiration can turn on a person.

While this film is an interesting investigation and feels stronger than a television movie. It still feels like the handiwork of one just with better talent. It oddly also feels rushed throughout.

What saves the film is the tremendous cast. Especially Paul Walter Hauser in a more dramatic role than the comedic ones we are used to. This is the time where someone is more seen as a character actor. Gets a chance to not only star in a film but show they have the right stuff to play a lead in the movie.

This is a film about a man who has been raised to believe in the American dream. Only for it to turn its back on him and despite it all. While he is seen increasingly as a suspect and mistreated he still believes in due process and only seems to help incriminate himself. 

Olivia Wilde is over the top in the role as a reporter who seems out to ruin Richard Jewell. In her performance, she feels like she came from another movie. The film also treats her character as misogynistic. As she seems to use sex and sex appeal to get her stories more than research and talent. 

She also stands out, as most of the film and the characters come off as subdued and she comes off like a shining bright light comparatively. 

The film Is at least fright forward in its telling there is no fat here. It gets straight to the point. 

Again Paul Walter Hauser gives a strong performance that could be seen as both comedic as Dramatic. as this is a sad character whose world falls around him but still believes in law and order despite it all. He has bravado but proves to be quite delicate. Not necessarily likable especially these days but quite identifiable. 

As this is a character who could easily come off as slow or more comedic but Hauser gives him heart and a presence. Where he deserves more respect than most give him. 

Sam Rockwell’s character is a kind of frustrated standoffish type lawyer,  but believes in Richard and ends up being his closest and true ally. Even if he seems ornery or distrusting most times. 

The film feels like a thorough truthful docudrama. As there is little grandstanding. No overly dramatic scenes though based on a true story there is an end but not necessarily any closure or satisfying nature or narrative.

The film gives Jon Hamm’s character motivation to basically try to hide his leaking of info and trying to quickly close the case by trying to find a patsy who fit the Bill and to be a hero himself by solving the case as this crime happened on his watch.

This comes across as Another story of the people of the Midwest for director Clint Eastwood. Where the characters are more salt of the earth and face their destiny abs have to deal with the aftermath. As this film is a dramatization of a more recent evening witch hunt. Where the film villainized the press as the government to a degree. Showing the common man no matter how overzealous to be a pawn rather than letting them live their lives naturally and non-corrupt.

It also shows Eastwood’s passion to show a dying Americana from which he believes in and comes. Though his politics are old school and tricky. He’s not above showing the atrocities of those in power, but also like John Ford with his wearers where they showed the disappearing plains and modernization taking over. Eastwood does the same only with it seems American culture and values 

Grade: B-

BLACK CHRISTMAS (2019)

Directed By: Sophia Takal 
Written By: Sophia Takal, April Wolfe & Roy Lee
Cinematography: Mark Schwartzbard 
Editor: Ben Baudhuin & Jeff Betancourt 

Cast: Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady, Cary Elwes, Caleb Eberhardt, Simon Mead, Madeline Adams, Zoe Robins, Ben Black

Hawthorne College is quieting down for the holidays. One by one, sorority girls on campus are being killed by an unknown stalker. But the killer is about to discover that this generation’s young women aren’t willing to become hapless victims as they mount a fight to the finish.


Not exactly a remake but it does involve a serial killer around Christmas when the college is empty stalking Mostly women.

The plot is Changed a bit here as it is almost an original film that might have kissed off fans of the movie. Where it seems like an ideology or a kind of feminist ideology took over more than the plot. 

That is ok if it still makes a thrilling movie but it comes off as weak. As it seems more interested in making a statement which is fine but the way it tries seems empty especially when Trying to fit it into a more blockbuster film. I applaud the message though it comes off as off-centered eventually.

As well. As the reveal of who the killers are and why with a kind of supernatural goo that I am guessing reading up On the film is toxic masculinity dripping through their veins as a kind of reaction to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

The metaphors feel too spot-on as they are not very subtle. The film has nerve but it also needs a bit more polish. 

One can see that the film was made for a certain audience to feel represented and to show empowerment for the female audience by watching it and can applaud the film for that point but as far as watching it and being entertaining. It had many problems and weaknesses that seems random and more ambiguous and random 

Which might be me and certain audience members might not be the right audience for this film as we were expecting something different and what is here doesn’t speak as strongly to us 

The film certainly comes off with no frills to feel more homegrown and a little more natural. The film’s style seems to have very little of it. This almost comes off as an episode of a horror television series where. 

There is a message in its heart but it seems to take over the narrative. Which would work better if not necessarily trying to be subversive. Instead burying it turns the audience off from what they were expecting and mad at what they have been served. Maybe if it was better overall I wouldn’t mind. 

Though in the end.  just as Off point as the message of the film. So is the filmmaking which seems less interested in horror and more uninterested and going through the motions when it comes to that aspect of the film.

Which feels like it has gone far off from what it was aimed at. That it feels silly and far fetched. In essence, it didn’t mix well and got too preachy.

Grade: D

SYSTEM CRASHER (2019)

Written & Directed By: Nora Fingscheidt
Cinematography: Yunus Roy Imer
Editor: Stephan Bechinger & Julia Kovalenko

Cast: Helena Zengel, Albrecht Schuch, Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Lisa Hagmeister, Melanie Straub, Maryam Zaree 

She is small but dangerous. Wherever Benni ends up, she is immediately expelled. The wild 9-year-old girl has already become what child protection services call a “system crasher”. And she is certainly not looking to change her ways. Because Benni has one single goal: to be back at home with her mommy. But Bianca is scared of her own daughter. Mrs. Bafané from child protection services is trying her best to find a permanent placement for Benni. She hires the anger management trainer Micha as Benni’s school escort and suddenly there is a seed of hope. Will Micha be able to succeed where all others despaired?


At first, wasn’t sure what to expect from this film. Seems basic at first watching a girl go through the Foster care system, but she is particularly violent and disruptive.

The film soon starts to show its hand with a character new to the case and situation. Who is tough yet caring but like the main character can’t seem to save her from herself. Even as he continuously tries and makes progress. 

When it comes to this film what is so heartbreaking is that every time it looks like the young female main character will be saved. Circumstances end up making the situation worse. 

Where it happens so many times it could almost be a running joke. Though each time it is presented it seems to be at a different level of desperation and rising emotional unraveling.

She is the major problem most times in all of these situations, but she is just a child, but more than A handful and violent who can’t seemingly calm down or manage her emotions. She is more a product of her environment and where she has been pushed by the adults in her life. 

We see what maybe inspires her. In her mother’s overwhelming false promises and keeps on taking in the obviously wrong men. Who seems more important to her than her kids.

This movie takes you on a journey with her, an emotionally raw one by the end you feel worn out and exhausted.

The only Person she bonds with is her Walker who had an anger problem himself and after some success, she eventually becomes too much for him a grown man. Though we learn more about her through their time together. He is constantly trying to protect her though he isn’t that conventional himself 

Throughout the film, it is a wild ride. As always there seems to be hope and some peace. Through a parent or savior, something goes wrong, usually through the behavior of the child. That she ends up living up to the title of the movie as her file. Where despite the many phases and programs for different types of children meant to save her. She fails through them all and is too young for others even the rock bottom last resort she seems too strong for.

Even though she can be innocent and charming. Like with her school walker’s wife. Soon enough she presents her scary angry side. This ends up leading to one of the more nail-biting scenes of the soon 

The film presents an ending that is ambiguous but seems like she will never stop or learn her lesson. As what starts out as a tantrum shows she kind of takes joy in causing trouble.

Grade: A-

CORPORATE ANIMALS (2019)

Directed By: Patrick Brice  Written By: Sam Bain Cinematography: Tarin Anderson  Editor: Christopher Donlon 

Cast: Demi Moore, Ed Helms, Jessica Williams, Karan Soni, Nasim Pedrad, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Jennifer Kim, Calum Worthy, Martha Kelly, Dan Bakkedahl, Leland Orser 

Team-building trips are the work of the devil. And if you think that’s not true, try telling it to the staff from the edible cutlery company run by the self-centered Lucy Vanderton, sent on a day-trip that ends with all of them trapped in a cave; an ideal scenario for labor unrest to literally lead to cannibalism.


The cast is better than the material and this feels like SUPERSTORE the movie is only way darker and with a smaller cast.

It reminds me of a failed cynical web series combined into a feature that never got a chance

Maybe I liked it as it is a Film that feels sitcom-ish and has the right cynical attitude that while it doesn’t quite work as a satire of that was its aim but shows the pettiness of a group who do manage to at first turn on one another but form a group synergy by the end. Out of necessity. 

Seeing Demi Moore tackle Comedy is a welcome fix that she hasn’t ventured too often and while she fails to impress she is game and has fun with the role. As it is called upon for a star and outlandish. Sharon stone was originally supposed to play the part and she would have fit the role better but with Demi Moore is mroe unpredictable and off-center which prepares you for the film really 

Though it is to the film’s benefit that she is here as the star. She draws an audience and plays the role broad. You trust her to pick good quality material and considering the cast is recognizable as talented yet no superstars yet. She takes center stage as kind of the leader even if she is an albatross as we come to see her but the others shine around her while orbiting around her 

While Ed helms is one of the bigger names attached in the cast he isn’t In It for long then the movie is just shy of 90 minutes. 

Not recommending this movie for everyone but I had fun With it and believe most audiences will too. As It isn’t the most energetic but a film that entertains

Written by Sam Bain of the British sitcom PEEP SHOW fame (Which I will admit to being a fan of)  it has that funny yet dark sensibility of characters who appear normal at first but are secretly selfish and petty who let that show once there are no rules. Kind of the same attitude he brings to the film FOUR LIONS screenplay. 

It also helped lift me out of a bad mood. In the end, this film amounts to A broad comedy in a small space. that is more low-key. 

Grade: C+