EMA (2019)

Directed By: Pablo Larrain
Written By: Pablo Larrain, Giillermo Calderon and Alejandro Moreno
Cinematography: Sergio Armstrong 
Editor: Sebastian Sepulveda

Cast: Mariana Di Girolamo, Gael Garcia Bernal, Santiago Cabrera, Paola Giannini, Cristian Suarez, Giannina Fruttero 

A couple deals with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry as their household falls apart.


Watching this film is more of an experience. the base there always seems to be a running rhythm or one that the film as well as its Characters seem to be running On.

How a beat builds, how it takes many different elements put together to make not only A song but even a bear which is the Love force the heartbeat of the entity known as music. The same can be said of life, art  and That is how this film Works 

At first, it seems like the main character is acting irrationally and randomly but as the film goes along we see how she is putting everything together to get what she wants essentially any kind of reward for all of those with who she is involving without their knowledge as to the overall goal.

For a film that seems to be about Mostly dancing there are no sustained long-term dance sequences. As some of the scenes are edited more briskly With plenty of cuts more like a music video. 

You believe everything to be random out of freedom then in the third act a reveal happens that brings it all Together. 

This is one of the horniest yet not erotic films I have seen recently. As it is erotic but doesn’t exactly aim in that direction. Though the characters seem more exhibitionist and more Hedonistic. As it seems to open itself and showcase open and polyamorous relationships 

As the film presents sex and sexuality as non-judge mental more open and quite naturalistic and feral. As more matter Of fact 

Grade: A

STRAIGHT EDGE KEGGER (2019)

Written, Directed & Edited By: Jason Zink
Cinematography: Elliott Abel & Christopher P. Purdy

Cast: Cory Kays, Evey Reidy, Julio Montenegro Jr., Sean Jones, Warren Aitken, Travis Manners, Joe Bachan, Jason Zink 

A young punk and a houseful of drunks square off against the gang of militant straight edgers that he’s abandoned.


The title sounds like a punk rock exploitation film or a party film. It is more the before as like the aesthetic of the characters this feels more like a low-budget D.I.Y. Film made about a certain cultural scene. About and for members of that scene as a worst-case scenario. Though it also invited newcomers. 

The villains of the film are obvious as soon as the first scene. 

It shows how a group meant to police punk rock shows against violence, drugs, and alcohol. So it can be safe for all to have a good time and get corrupted from their vigilante beliefs and moral servitude that quickly comes off as fascism. 

As they end up becoming the villains way too fast. Even in the early scenes, they are more bullies than anything. Who then become murderous without a second thought way too willingly. More out of jealousy from one of their own leaving them. They believe him to be influenced away by the punks rather than the continuous abhorrent violence they seem to court is always looking for a fight and behaving more like jocks. As they constantly have a mentality of going to these shows and supposedly enjoying the music but seem to hate everybody else at these shows who are into the music. So that they are exclusive in who should be allowed there and what songs the bands are allowed to perform. 

Where every character has way too much free time and no form of income. Not to mention the residents seem to have no neighbors.

Towards the third act, the film becomes a horror film. It also has an understanding of fighting against fascism all Of them Are supposed to be against.

The straight-edge characters come off as characters not willing to try something new. As well As huge inferiority complexes. And obsessed with their lost member. 

The film is an exciting experiment with conventional set-up and storytelling. As it is ambitious and it seems the director is going with what they know and exposing independent punk rock bands in the process. 

The film comes off more amateurish in the end. Though a nice try as a first film.

Grade: C-

DANIEL ISN’T REAL (2019)

Directed By: Adam Egypt Mortimer 
Written By: Adam Egypt Mortimer & Brain Deleeuw
Based On the novel “IN THIS WAY I WAS SAVED” By: Brian Deleeuw 
Cinematography: Lyle Vincent 
Editor: Brett W. Bachman 

Cast: Miles Robbins, Patrick Schwartzenegger, Sasha Blane, Mary Stuart Masterson, Hannah Marks, Chukwudi Iwuji, Peter McRobbie

A troubled college freshman, Luke, suffers a violent family trauma. He then resurrects his charismatic childhood imaginary friend Daniel to help him cope, not realizing how dangerous Daniel is.


This is a film I truly looked forward to watching and I will say that it is the work of an original filmmaker. Who definitely has talent, unfortunately, the film never seems to rise to how strong it seems to lead. 

The film offers a tale of a schizophrenic That can be compared to or seen as a dual personality. Here that other personality corns across as a long-lost imaginary friend. Who comes back during a mental break though the film presents as more supernatural.

Though a film that is more willing to examine mental illness and the effects it can have not only on you but those around you and how it can be hereditary. 

Which leads the film to be a strong and tight thriller. As the other personality is more of a bad boy, yet comes across as a hipster jerk or A frat brother type you would think most would want to avoid. who comes across as charming to most of the female characters. 

Which makes him more believable as a sociopath. Eventually, the Film reveals why the other personality is so murderous. That might be one of the few parts of the movie that feels like it needed to be stronger or at least have a stronger explanation.

The film attempts to make the supernatural elements help to build a world. Though even once it is explained it feels a bit vague. As you want more information. Though it does leave you guessing as to whether it is truly him or a split personality or something else altogether 

One of the perks of the film is seeing Mary Stuart Masterson in a film again. Here she as usual is strong in her scenes. 

If looking for a psychological thriller that has originality and doesn’t walk the familiar beaten paths this is the film for you.

Grade: B

EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE (2019)

Written & Directed By: Vince Gilligan Cinematography: Marshall Adams Editor: Skip MacDonald

Cast: Aaron Paul, Jonathan Banks, Jesse Plemmons, Matt Jones, Charles Baker, Robert Forester, Larry Hankin, Tom Bower, Marla Gibbs, Tess Harper,  Brendan Sexton III, Kevin Rankin, Krysten Ritter, Bryan Cranston 

Fugitive Jesse Pinkman runs from his captors, the law, and his past.


If you are a fan of the series this is a must-see as it doesn’t Disgrace the legacy of the show as some finales can do. It adds to it a little. Though for those who had their own fantasies and theories about what happens to Jesse Pinkman after he drives away at the end of the series. This gives a definite answer rather than what some fans might have to imagined or believed. Hopefully, you will find it better. What do you think.

This is partially difficult to review as it helps the viewer to know what came before it by watching the series. It’s not a must but probably helps your enjoyment and understanding but it is entirely necessary. As it also does a good job of exposing itself and its scenes as well as its motivations.

The film plays more like an epilogue of the series but also feels kind of like a finale for the series and the remaining lead character you care about. As many major characters cameo in this film.

The film is a slow burn that could easily have played like two episodes from the series. As they are expansive yet tiny and meticulous.

As we watch the character of Jessie maneuver his actions and motivations are hampered by the past. As we see various flashbacks that tell their own story but explain Jesse’s Actions and kind of work as inner monologues of sorts. Though they help explain where he is going or at least heading to.

He is still down and dirty and trying to make an escape where it either seems like he is having the worst luck or a comedy of errors keeps happening to him.

While certainly a crime thriller it also works as a character study and as goodbye in the form of a kind of side story to the series. That helps explain exactly some of his treatment and trauma. As well as letting the character continue his story and get his own proper ending.

Grade: B

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