VAMPIRES VS. THE BRONX (2020)

Story & Directed By: Oz Rodriguez 

Written By: Blaise Hemingway 

Cinematography: Blake McClure 

Editor: Sara Shaw & Alex O’Flinn 

Cast: Jaden Michael, Gerald Jones III, George Diaz IV, Cliff “Method Man” Smith, Coco Jones, Joel “The Kid Mero” Martinez, Sarah Gadon, Shia Whigham, Zoe Saldana, Judy Marte, Chris Redd, Jeremie Harris, Imani Lewis, Jordan Tyson, Torre Alexandre, Adam David Thompson 

A group of young friends from the Bronx fight to save their neighborhood from gentrification…and vampires.


The film manages to have an opening celebrity kill to try to throw you off and gives the film some star power and sets out the gauntlet to show that anyone can be a victim in this film. 

My love for this film might be because it so a film That is so recognizably New York and relatable to ave rain extent when you come to the neighborhood and the characters. An element that is disappearing in New York and not necessarily modernizing. 

This is a movie made by a New Yorker for New Yorkers. The title gives away the plot but also gives it a sheen that seems like a gimmick or an exploitation movie title. That actually has a lot of heart and surprisingly a coming of age tale partially. While keeping the genre elements.

The film is kind of a modern-day urban  LOST BOYS. Even mimicking a scene from in the latter half of the film. Or even the film THE MONSTER SQUAD only all with vampires instead of a choice of movie monsters  If looking more for mood, this film is a horror, but the appeal is more aimed at teens who are the protagonists and heroes though more humorous. Offering a film for a neglects audience with crossover appeal. 

As this is an Amblin type film. It’s never scary and while it does have violence. it never gets too gory.  Tying into the STRANGER THINGS audience a bit.

A flavorful offering slice of life with colorful characters of color with a natural presence, personalities that make them charismatic.

The film is constantly humorous, while also horror in a kind of old school classic horror way. It’s a film that is nurturing and wears it’s Inspirations while trying to create some and subvert some coming of age cliches. 

A good gentrification analogy making it look more like a species battle or battle of the living undead. Following in Jordan Peele’s and George Romero’s social commentary or socially conscious genre filmmaking. A genre movie that informs while being a solid genre specimen itself.

The film presents an urban neighborhood. Not in a bad light for once but as a colorful, cultural fin and supportive community. A film obviously made by a resident or insider to the neighborhood. As the film isn’t stereotypical nor does it talk down to the audience or characters. As it remains a self-contained adventure with supernatural elements.

Like they don’t have enough to worry about day to day. Now the supernatural who want them exterminated for access to what they were never concerned with or thought they were too good for. Again Europeans trying to take over land cultivated by the locals for decades. 

Nice to see a film about a community coming. Together.

Satirizing gentrification taking over urban neighborhoods and spaces with new stores and posters that seems to take over and work like subliminal messages and inside jokes. Similar to those in the movie THEY LIVE. Not necessarily a message movie but has a minor one.

It’s like reading a young adult book, not necessarily the audience for the film but get into it nonetheless. Easily could have gone the exaggerated route of slapstick sort of HOUSE PARTY 2.

It’s nice to see people of color in this type of film and be the main characters. As I am all for more people of color in horror films. Though less as victims or the first one killed. And usually the only one in the film, usually the provider of illegal substances or drugs. Still desire more representation even though it still counts but more equal. If the victims and protagonists are in the same number. 

It’s only main weakness might be that it is a little predictable. Though it ends up being a fun rollicking adventure with characters you rarely see in movies especially this type. 

Grade: B

YUMMY (2020)

Directed by: Lars Damoiseaux Written by: Lars Damoiseaux & Eveline Hagenbeek Cinematography: Dean Nieuwenhuits Editor: Pieter Smet

Cast: Maaike Neuville, Bart Hollanders, Clara Cleymens, Annick Christaens, Eric Gordon

Yummy is an orgy of blood, violence and fun in which a young couple travel to a shabby Eastern European hospital for plastic surgery. The young woman wants a breast reduction. Her mother comes along for yet another face-lift. Wandering through an abandoned ward the boyfriend stumbles upon a young woman, gagged and strapped to an operating table; she is the result of an experimental rejuvenation treatment. He frees her, but does not realize he just caused the outbreak of a virus that will change doctors, patients and his mother-in-law into bloodthirsty zombies.

It’s a fun little horror film that has gore galore.


The film is more explosive with it but isn’t an exploitation movie. Though it has the freewheeling sport of one. Where almost at any moment anything goes. As that is the unpredictable nature of the film. 

Though the film stays excessively violent it is also silly and nothing you haven’t really seen before. As the humor stays more on the juvenile side.

The film has good scares and starts it’s action pretty quickly and is over before you even realize time has passed. It stays that consistently entertaining. Even though after a while it just feels like an onslaught of violence. 

This is essentially a zombie movie that takes place in a plastic surgery clinic with a European flavor. That deals with infections and diseases that are timely for our current crisis and might not a little too close to home for some. 

What up’s the ante a bit is that while the initial survivors are getting picked off one by one. half of the characters are pretty much untrustworthy so while trying to survive some are not above sacrificing others and sabotaging some. So that they can either get away or to make sure if they survive nothing can happen. So there are quite a few double-crosses throughout.

One of the main male characters has to gain back his masculinity. Like every time he tries to show it something goes wrong or he is thwarted in his attempts to. He proves to be a klutz to the very end.

The film is creative but doesn’t offer too much most fans of the genre haven’t already seen. Though it does offer plenty of nudity including The penis scene is a standout of humor and bad taste. Which also seems to show the audience that no one passes out from immense pain. 

The film even has a Ryan Gosling lookalike seeming hero. Who takes a wrong turn at each juncture to be a hero.

Though The film ends up offering as many laughs as it does scares. The film has a very nihilistic ending that takes all the fun out of what came before or showering in a meaner tone. Asking to survive are we willing to forsake all others or condone them just for a bit more time of survival?

GRADE: B

THE LODGE (2020)

Directed By: Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala Written by: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala & Sergio Casci  Cinematography: Thimios Bakatakis  Editor: Michael Palm

Cast: Riley Keough, Alicia Silverstone, Jaeden Martell, Lia Mchugh, Richard Armitage 

A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé’s two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place.


The film’s Style is what becomes more memorable. As it seems set by the directors. The style and story feel similar to their first feature GOODBYE MOMMY. As this also is a slow burn thriller that seems to have an adult and two children secluded in close quarters with one another and seemingly needing each other to survive.

While one is up for a good slow burn in a thriller especially if it has a worthy pay off. This film comes off as dull. As it has many twists and turns that are shocking but also once we get to the end. You wonder why and the reasoning for the twists and turns make no sense and depends on the audience’s suspension of disbelief or the old adage kids will be kids. 

Though when dealing with a character who survived a horrific incident even before we are introduced to them. First of all, you wonder why the father would bring someone they were dating and knew had mental problems around their children who are already traumatized but then also leave them with her alone.

Sort of like the opening scene where we see the familiar face of Alicia Silverstone dripping ehr kids off to their father who tells her he wants to go through with the divorce and she just immediately locks herself in a room and Killa herself with little to no explanation. We in the audience are just left to assume she has problems with such an extreme act 

This film tries to be THE OTHERS only in reverse it feels. 

The film isn’t bad as Riley Keough again. Gives a shattering good performance. The rest fit eh cast do what they are supposed to do and the direction is on point but the script needs a bit of work. 

As the script seems made to fit the direction more than the story here. As it feels more conceptualized then lived in. This leaves the audience wanting more or at least to show the worm in supporting the film’s plot points. As the film comes off too vague then just ends.

Where as by the end. One can’t help what they enjoy or are entertained but here it feels like this film’s praise is more for style over substance. Even if in the end if for all the ingredients that work. It comes off as a letdown. 

Grade: C

THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN (2020)

Directed By: McG
Written by: Dan Laguna, McG, Brad Morris & Jimmy Warden
Based on characters created by: Brian Duffield
Cinematography: Scott Henriksen 
Editor: Martin Bernfield

Cast: Judah Lewis, Jenna Ortega, Emily Alyn Lind, Bella Thorne, Andrew Bachelor, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Ken Marino, Chris Wylde, Leslie Bibb, Samara Weaving, 

Two years after Cole survived a satanic blood cult, he’s living another nightmare: high school. And the demons from his past? Still making his life hell.


I was wasn’t expecting this but there was a part of me that was expecting this movie. Now while I enjoyed the first film in this franchise a lot more than expected. I didn’t know if it really had legs for more sequels.

This film is just as fun as the first film but a lot dumber than the first film. This film seems to know what type of film it is and goes full tilt with its own distractions and humor. No matter how stupid or illogical it could be.

If you are a fan of these types of films and want to have a good time and be entertained then this film is for you. As it seems to continue In Director McG’s wheelhouse of horror and sci-fi films for Netflix that have teenagers or preteens at the center of everything. Though this film and the first babysitter film feel more money he works or inspired by director Joseph Kahn(DETENTION)(BODIED) who has more of visual flair and quicker cuts when it comes to editing.

As this film seems to be missing a certain element. Maybe the dynamic of having Samara weaving on screen more made the film a little more believable and watchable if even just for her charisma in the role.

Here it is almost a repeat of the first film only at a different and bigger location and a twist in the story that seems there to make room for a new character and leading lady for the main character. Though we have the same characters returning from the dead to try to sacrifice the main character for a blood ritual that will make them Immortal.

This is an interesting premise, but as they return they are just as easy to kill as in the first film. So again they are dispatched in a similar manner only here more gruesome and grotesque.

The new main villain is just as close as the babysitter was int he first film and the film tries to also sex her up more in tight and revealing clothes which is the first amongst other clues in the film before the big reveal that they have become evil. What is interesting is that at least they kept the new leading lady Jenna Ortega cute but dressed normally and sarcastic but a hard ass. So she is the opposite of the villain though has the dirtier look.

We see How the original crew was recruited which offers a distraction. Visually but seems like they were recruited in the 1980s more even as the film and the last one was more modern. This just seems out there as a stylistic choice but then also disrupts the continuity of what we know from the original film, but then again this isn’t the type of film to take seriously.

Though most of the cast from the original returns. It is actually nice to see them and their characters. As they remain hilarious and it is nice to catch up with them and learn a little more about them and their pasts.

The film never takes itself seriously and doesn’t expect the audience to either. As the film constantly shows or uses inspiration from the past or other movies to power scenes and the soundtrack. 

This movie feels lien CRANK 2 where it takes all that was from the first film And cranks it up as more for a spectacle that while not going to make any cinematic elitist lists is a fun time and a proper guilty pleasure. That you wish was just a bit better though that might take away the charm. 

The film tries but doesn’t come close because it seems to kind of pander to what it believes the audience wants more of rather than have more of a clear plan and structure. 

So it becomes kind of what it is parodying. Where you can tell when someone is trying to be something or someone that they aren’t to try and impress and while it’s entertaining at first it becomes sad and obvious quickly. Whereas if maybe it was itself from the get-go the audience would come and get to k ow it and appreciate it for it’s sincerity and truths. Though if you are a fan of splatter and gore in your horror. You have come to the right place.

Samara weaving does return for this film in more of an extended cameo. The film needed more of her. As whenever she comes on screen she seems so smooth and takes over her scenes. That when she is gone it only exposes how hard others are trying to just be as good and memorable.

It seems like in most teen horror films I see Bella Thorne always has a death scene. It would be nice to see her survive in a horror film. As here yet again she seems typecast.

The title seems to imply there is a queen when in fact it just seems to have that title as either claiming Samara Weaving’s character is a queen of the kill or tied into the and Queen’s recent popularity or trying to imply that this film is full of campiness. While the film is full of humor, sarcasm, and cynicism. Nothing is truly campy in this film 

Grade: C

CAPONE (2020)

Written, Edited & Directed By: Josh Trank
Cinematography: Peter Deming

Cast: Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, Matt Dillon, Kyle Maclachlan, Al Sapienza, Katherine Narducci, Noel Fisher, Jack London, Neal Brennan, Tilda Del Toro

The 47-year old Al Capone, after 10 years in prison, starts suffering from dementia and comes to be haunted by his violent past.


There is a lot here to deal with. Most of the film and material comes off as a fever dream that hints at or points out places of interest. Though pretty soon the films succumb to the madness of the protagonist and soon becomes where you can’t tell memory from a flashback of reality or madness.  

Tom hardy is clearly enjoying himself going fully overboard in a lived-in performance under tons of make-up and using active tics constantly. He sounds like a human cobra commander and the makeup seems realistic in that it is overdone think Johnny Depp in BLACK MASS where neither of them looks natural or all that human necessarily. Where he mostly makes noises and his character continuously poops on himself. To show degradation and how sick he is and the mighty have fallen but it happens so often. After a while, you feel like you could program a drinking game to it.  

The film swings and attempts a kind of David Lynch vibe of the film where the strangeness and non-linear storytelling will be fascinating in Itself and it’s own art that the audience will find the beauty in all of this. Which works with a director who is used to or knows for telling stories in that way. Unfortunately, this one isn’t. Casting Kyle Maclachlan in the film only helps strengthen this theory.  

As this is supposed to be writer/director Josh Trank’s comeback after the FANTASTIC FOUR movie bombing. One can understand why he went this route. As most of the films he made before were special effects spectacles and science fiction. Here he gets his hand to try drama and thriller of sorts. As well as a crime story based on real people.  

This film just seems all over the place and might have been more interesting with some cohesiveness and an understanding as half the people in his house we are left wondering their relationships. A lot of stuff isn’t explained And it comes off as more random And not fun random. 

As the audience might not know that much about al Capone and his past. So when bringing in various information, characters and showing them to have significance later in the film is purposeful but when we are introduced we don’t know of their importance and seem more random or built up to not mean as much when their character is more revealed. 

This is a film that has a lot of symbolism but nothing really behind it as it offers no hints or notes. So it keeps building to ultimately nothing. It could have been tightened by the missing buried money plot, a treasure hunt if you will, making it stronger. 

Even if it feels like a point of interest for the other strands of stories and characters to revolve around, it would also help as half the time making us wonder if this is all an act and he actually is mad or at first he is faking and then slowly he and we realize he is actually going crazy. As watching it now we know he is crazy but never knows what is real, fantasy, flashback. 

Which doesn’t help when we see scenes of characters that have nothing to do with him mixed in. So we take those as real and then later male reveals where maybe they weren’t. The randomness includes Matt Dillon being introduced during a sex scene why? So the film will have some Sex In it? Then being called into Florida with his amour. We never see her again and as it is separate why are we seeing it when we eventually learn of his character and his eventual fate. 

In the end, you can see what attracted the cast and why the director made the film Or at least his intentions, but it seems to have had the equivalent of shooting himself in the foot.

While also having the last hurrah on a sinking ship that only he thought might survive and prosper.  

Grade: D

THE HALF OF IT (2020)

Written & Directed By: Alice Wu  Cinematography: Greta Zozula 

Editor: Ian Blume & Lee Percy 

Cast: Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemar, Alexxis Lemire, Wolfgang Novogratz, Collin Chou, Becky Ann Baker, Catherine Curtin 

A shy, introverted, Chinese-American, straight-A student finds herself helping the school jock woo the girl they both secretly love. In the process, each teaches the other about the nature of love as they find a connection in the most unlikely of places.


I can sometimes be a sucker for a coming of age story. even if it has a romance at the heart of it and they usually do.

This one isn’t as conventional but it is as sweet as any teen love story. Only here dealing more with confusion and revelation. An almost teen Cyrano story only with lgbtq romance and character. 

You’ll enjoy that the fil mHas the emotions but doesn’t overload the audience or story with it. It’s what brings the characters together but it’s not what the film Is all about. As the storylines never become so dire that it feels like life or death, not in the consequences.

This is an original unsuspecting love triangle tale with no true villains. It actually has more depth, drama, and humor than expected, but stays perfect for it’s intended audience. As the film is more character-driven by a few of them rather than Story or plot. As it actually feels layered.

While it has it’s Goofy moments it feels surprising down to earth and earnest. Even if it has the hallmarks of a more cute, quirky indie film. That with youth brings an amount of energy but also a still calmness. 

Which I applaud Netflix for presenting such a film Showing a balance as it has it’s More conventional teen films and then a film like this that actually approaches it’s Material respectfully and treats the audience the same way

This is an LGBT crush’s story that creeps up on you more like a romance and then a romantic comedy before becoming a love story and a surprisingly minor character study.

What can be really appreciative other than that the film and characters are more open-minded then you would expect is that the more all the characters get to know each other they like them for the qualities they notice and learn about them and appreciate that other then just looks. Just as the characters are more than their looks and have talents and know-how.

This film shows the beauty in the plain and makes small-town loving look luxurious itself in its own little hidden nooks, crannies, stories, and mysteries.

Grade: B

HOST (2020)

Directed By: Rob Savage 
Written By: Rob Savage, Gemma Hurley & Jed Shepherd 
Editor: Brenna Rangott 

Cast: Haley Bishop, Jemma Moore, Emma Louise Webb, Radina Drandova, Caroline Ward, Alan Emrys 

Six friends hire a medium to hold a seance via Zoom during the lockdown, but they get far more than they bargained for as things quickly go wrong. When an evil spirit starts invading their homes, they begin to realize they might not survive the night. What it might lack In originality it makes up for In Inventiveness and chills.


It catches you by surprise as you didn’t expect much and the movie knows that takes it and runs with it and Impresses the audience without making it loom like it is barely making a sweat.

This is what filmmaking is supposed to be about a general sense of wonder and fun as well as discipline and being. At least the strings and work put into.

What is interesting is that the making of is just as Exciting as what is happening on the screen, Like an amusement park ride, you are ready for certain. Actions and can’t wait while you see the setup but then As it goes along it actually angers to affect you even though you believe you know what is going to happen and by the end you are fearful yet it feels like fun.

This film actually manages to scare you and not through cheap theatrics ok, Maybe a little bit also through General mood and atmosphere. This is definitely not a film to watch alone in the dark and especially not to watch it on a computer or smartphone.

The film was filmed in quarantine which it references and makes the whole experience much more impressive. As it leaves you just as interested in how it was made As what you are seeing.

As not only do you have to film the movie but have to have to Direct the cast remotely and have them do some of the effects themselves and instruct them on that. Which gives the film a kind of BLAIR WITCH PROJECT vibe. Only this might be preferred as it doesn’t wear out it’s Welcome as fast. This film is just under an hour long.

It might also remind some audience members of the UNFRIENDED films. Only this doesn’t come off as glossy or seem as dependent on technology and the fact it’s being filmed mostly on home computers. As this seems more a result of conditions rather than the original premise. It just happens to work in the film’s favor.

As always the film leaves us with the message to never mess around with spirits and it’s a premise where the character knows better but having just one mistake leads to the downfall of everyone. Out of disrespect really.

The films goes so far In close claustrophobic settings and still manages to feel bigger then it is and a bit glossy. Managing to do a lot with what looks like so little.

That the film comes off a bit like JAWS where some of the best creativity can sometimes come under limited resources. The characters come off as goofy and believable lie real friends rather than just types. We get to know a bit about them And their personalities. –The film definitely makes it’s presence felt.

Grade: B+

SPREE (2020)

Directed By: Eugene Kotlyarenko 
Written By: Eugene Kotlyarenko & Gene Mchugh 
Cinematography: Jeff Leeds Cohn 
Editor: Benjamin Moses Smith 

Cast: Joe Keery, Sasheer Zamata, David Arquette, Kyle Mooney, Mischa Barton, Frankie Grande, Sunny Kim, Jessalyn Gilsig 

Thirsty for a following, Kurt Kunkle is a rideshare driver who has figured out a deadly plan to go viral.


A kind of modern-day take on the French film MAN BITES DOG. That was about a documentary crew following a serial killer that blurs the lines in the last act but filled with dark humor.

This film is kind of like that only obviously more modern, American and has fewer victims and chooses to have no real responsibility. Where as it shows the horrible nature of his crimes we don’t wallow as much or feel as much sympathy for the victims.

This is a film like the recent thriller NERVE that is candy-colored and neon that plays everything as almost a game. That shows desperation to be popular.

A film that tries to condemn online Culture and social media. By showing how most of us have a dependence on it. What it might inspire. How far you might be willing to go for followers. How you feel like you don’t exist or matter.

How the main character has a dependence on it as he has no real friends or outlet and the few he does have are more popular and make fun of his desperation. So this is his way of fighting to be noticed and considered. So he can feel like he matters. Creating a happy go lucky sociopath. Who is egged on by some mysterious follower who promises him fame as he goes along and follows his instructions.

The film’s humor is dark but tries to keep a cheerful tone. As the film is full of energy and tries to stay inventive.

The film tries to make the lead less hateful and maybe a little likable by having his first kills be more unsavory characters. We won’t like so their deaths are more anticipated by the audience. If we aren’t already looking forward to them.

Though slowly the victims become a bit more innocent. Really only a few are sympathetic. The fishes seem to get what they deserve or at least a brand of karma catching up to them in it’s most lethal. Luckily? The more innocent character’s deaths seem to happen off-screen with only some of the aftermath shown.

This film shows that most of the characters are synch phonic and all are dependent on social media and at heart are bastards themselves to a degree.

The movie seems to think itself clever though while it talks a bunch. It never makes a clear point. It seems most of its points are to be cynical and take us on a joyride. While at the end the film presents an apology of an artist achieving fame they sought so hard for coming true only in the afterlife. While offering a meta ending.

The film does have a lot of energy but never quite goes as deep as it could and while offering more comedy. It does manage to hold your interest even in scenes where there is no death or killing. As the character seems to go on a suicide mission where part of the irony is that barely anyone is watching. So while he is practically sacrificing himself and randomly praying on other just to get viewers it backfires for the most part

Grade: C+

THE TAX COLLECTOR (2020)

Written & Directed by: David Ayer
Cinematography: Salvatore Totino
Editor: Geoffrey O’Brien

Cast: Bobby Soto, Shia Lebouf, George Lopez, Cynthia Cardona, Jose Conejo Martin, Cheyenne Rae Hernandez, Cle Sloan, Elpida Carrillo, Lana Parilla, Neomi Gonzalez, Gabriela Flores

David Cuevas is a family man who works as a gangland tax collector for high ranking Los Angeles gang members. He makes collections across the city with his partner Creeper making sure people pay up or will see retaliation. An old threat returns to Los Angeles that puts everything David loves in harm’s way.


This film is very disappointing and it didn’t have to be. As the filM has some good elements the cinematography and the violence is over the top and brutal.

Though the story is typical and the characters are very thin and so is the story. They are more skit there to connect the things the film Seems More interested In The violence and more the machismo and rules of the streets.

Which at this point Writer-director David Ayer has made his career off of though on other projects the street code seemed more to go with the film. Here he more chooses to bathe the whole film in it. Even though it might not be as necessary except to tell a kind of gangster tale told more by the characters who are enforcers more than the boss.

It gives Shia Lebouf a role to play vicious and threatening as he does come off as imposing but it also feels very punched up. As we see how intense he is and even how threatening he is a bit we rarely see his character actually be violent and dangerous. It also feels like he is more chewing the props in as far as he calls attention to himself in the movie.

There is a scene with him dragging a body and him in a hazmat suit that takes place in the ost and is supposed to show how much of a butcher and mad man he is. We only see him dragging a body and smoking afterward. It seems there for no real reason or at least makes no real impact maybe if it was an imitation or done on the day’s events it would have made one. 

It boils down to where is this character is supposed to be memorable if not iconic but we never see him actually do what seems promised eventually. So that there is all this build-up and no real follow through a tease. Which is how this movie also comes off.

He seems to be maybe a David Ayer stand in as a caucasian who grew up around people of color and was taken in by them so he comes across as one of them and has similar characteristics. As David Ayer has said in the past he has. Though lebouf is not the stR of the movie and more comes across as a name star to put in the movie and help get funding. As it works he gets to stretch as an actor and only ends up being a smaller supporting role rather than the lead and it doesn’t rest on his shoulders. He is shocking at first int he roe bit settles Down.

The film Doesn’t offer anything you haven’t seen before. It does offer representation but unfortunately, all the characters are gangsters or work for them in an illegal manner. So there is very little positive here except that the lead character is religious and a man of god. So he does have a belief system that is practically spelled out in the beginning.

The film feels like a big waste of time. If it had been more structured or offered something different or original the film Might be worth it, but it is bathed in cliches and things we have seen way too much. The closest it gets to different is by having stand up comedian George Lopez play a dramatic role as a street boss. 

The first half of the film plays more like a gangster tale the second half plays more like a revenge tale. Now if that is what you are looking for plain and simple this is the film For you. As this is David Ayer making. A smaller-scale project after SUICIDE SQUAD and BRIGHT. As this is more in the vein of HARSH TIMES. These are the films he seems to prefer to make. At least there aren’t as many cops as he usually has in his films usually. As this is a straight-up organized crime only. 

Again do this offered something different this would be welcome but all this ends up being. Is an action gangster tale. Nothing more nothing less other than some credible cinematography and tough talk and brutal violence.

Either way somewhat entertaining as you watch though might have some problems

With it and once it is over quickly forgettable.

Grade: C-

LA ORIGINALS (2020)

Directed by: Estevan Oriol
Written by: Brian Maya & Omar Quiroja
Cinematography: Francisco Pugliese
Editor: Sofia Belgeri, Guille Gatti & Jonathan Smeke

Featuring: Mister Cartoon, Estevan Oriol, Brian Grazer, Cypress Hill, Eminem, Scott Caan, Snoop Dogg, Michelle Rodriguez, Travis Barker, Clifton Collins Jr, Theo Rossi, Terry Crews, Wilmer Valderama, George Lopez, Danny Trejo, Paul Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Ryan Philippe, Eva Longoria, Shepherd Fairey, Paul Rosenberg, Mark Hoppus

Photographer Estevan Oriol and artist Mister Cartoon turned their Chicano roots into gritty art, impacting street culture, hip hop and beyond.


Seeing the culture grown around the two subjects and being part of it. Allows you to constantly feel like an insider throughout this documentary.

As we watch and get to know them as they earn an education. Traveling and getting to see the world. While being backstage with rising hip hop artists. Where we are not supposed to have access to. So this is a rare glimpse. 

Luckily they seem to have taken plenty of pictures and videos to archive it all and through this and their talent that became an art they were able to find fortune and fame. Through their raw natural Talents. As well as become style Gurus and artists themselves. Even bigger than some of the ones they worked for. 

They never had to sell out. They might have had to travel outside of their comfort zones, but they built a business while there and bring others from there to their own comfort zone and made then travel and pay to be there. If not part of it shone somewhat on them to be part of the culture. As they make Keep making money off of the beauty and art of their own culture around them. 

Giving back somewhat, but finding Their way in the world through what they enjoy doing.

Traveling outside of their comfort zone seeing the world. They end up helping each other out from being trapped mindset. Letting them then see beyond their environments as they come up.

Even if they found more access exposing their surroundings and showcasing beauty in the every day and gritty. That there is an amazing art in places some choose not to look.

Mister Cartoon helped tattooing from being a niche into a true art form and given a sense of pride. Helping it more become part of the mainstream. 

He finds fame because of his art and access to rappers who show off his handiwork as he provides original pieces on Their skin. Which ends up becoming his canvases and starts a fad and provides a need. So that it is a rag to riches story. Directed by one of the subjects.

So some subjects are glossed over like Estevan’s drug addiction. Which is more mentioned then delved into. As this is more a congratulatory glossy documentary. The success we see we their loved ones but again never get too deep into those relationships.

There are plenty of celebrities throughout. Some are surprising like producer Brian Grazer who we never know why or what his connection with them or any of the story.

Feels like you are enjoying their company. Though they are tight-lipped you more see and hear about their actions. 

Luckily Estevan seems to have had the Vision to film everything early. This is what helps put them on the map and luckily for us get to see this archival footage from backstage and onstage as we know can’t be there but can witness as he seems to get the best shot each time. We wonder how. 

It’s dramatic and meaningful how many you have to go through to get that perfect one. That you won’t find out there Perfectly addressing the handling, maintenance, and control of their business 

It also shows that they might have helped start gentrification of their neighborhoods by setting up shop there and giving access to more and more young hip crowds of people who decided to start buying up cheaper properties around them. As they helped build up the neighborhood. 

It also shows How they try to give back and help less fortunate around them.

Grade: B