STOP AND GO (2021)

Directed & Edited: Mallory Everton & Stephen Meek
Written By: Mallory Everton & Whitney Call
Cinematography: Brenna Empey 

Cast: Mallory Everton, Whitney Call, Julia Tolley, Anne S. Ward, Stephen Meek, Jessica Drolet, Noah Kershisnik, Jetta Juriansz 

Two directionless sisters brave a cross-country road trip to rescue their grandmother from a COVID outbreak at her nursing home.

Personally, I choose not to watch too many movies that focus on the pandemic and covid as a major part of the plot. Especially ones that are actually comedies.

I have to say this film is pretty impressive. As it does load on the covid jokes but let it be a means to an end even though it seems to need to remind us every five minutes about it. Luckily if any film will remind you of this time this might be the one.

The film is charming and full of personality mainly due to the two leads who are also screenwriters and one is the co-director of the film. 

If anything, what might get on some audience members’ nerves is that it is too quirky and sweet. Even when it does deal with dirty talk or raunch it still seems or feels PG-rated rather than R Rated.

Though I will say that the film feels more planned when it comes to the leads. As they play quick-witted sisters who seem more ready for punchlines and Jokes rather than real full-blooded characters. So that much of the film felt more like a put-on or set-up for them interacting in strange situations and/or strange people. 

Luckily some of the jokes also deal with them dealing. With their own overprotected nature, but unfortunately, by the end of the film, they haven’t truly changed that much or learned anything. Though they do go on a mission and accomplish some goals.

It might turn away certain audience members because we are watching two privileged caucasian women complain about trivial stuff for the most part and it might be hard to find an exact Audience to identify with them other than their fears, but hopefully, the comedy will win them over. As if anything this movie is rarely if ever mean spirited. 

The film Moves at a brush speed and is a fun watch not to forget your troubles but it gives you something to laugh about. Hopefully, these two women make more movies like this and have a bigger platform to play on.

Grade: C+


Written & Directed By: Aaron Sorkin 
Cinematography: Jeff Cronenweth
Editor: Alan Baumgarten

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy, Linda Lavin, Ronny Cox, Clark Gregg, Nelson Franklin 

September 6, 1953. With Hollywood facing the ever-present threat of Joseph McCarthy’s smear campaign, Lucille Ball, America’s beloved redhead and star of the tremendously popular CBS sitcom I Love Lucy , finds herself confronted with the Red Scare hysteria. As the American columnist and radio personality Walter Winchell drops a bombshell at the end of his broadcast, Lucille and her Cuban-American actor husband Desi Arnaz must survive one long, overwhelmingly eventful week, as if navigating a rocky marriage wasn’t enough. As a result, in the following seven distressful days, scandalous gossip and ongoing infidelity will put the couple’s relationship to the test.

This is a film where you get what you expect for the most part. A look behind the scenes of the television show I LOVE LUCY in dramatic fashion. You get the gossip and some of the histories that made Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz such icons.

Though there are flashbacks most of the film takes place during a charged week of their lives. Where Lucille ball is in the papers for being an alleged communist. Dealing with all This backlash while we see how much of a perfectionist she is when it comes to the show and the comedy. Where she will stand up to the writers and the directors and for all her success she still has to ask her husband to put his foot down to follow her orders.

We also see her worrying about her marriage as more and more evidence of Desi’s wayward eyes become apparent and also dealing with the constant arguments of her co-Stars who always feel she is short-changing them. 

The innovative part of the movie is setting this all in one week and trying to give an overview of not a life but a certain period in the lives and exploring the culture of the day.

Even if at first weren’t necessarily that confident in the casting but while never quite looked like the real-life characters they are supposed to be playing. They do certainly come alive and make the characters their own and give them a familiarity that we recognize from watching the classic episodes.

The film certainly feels like Oscar bait and has a certain prestige. It certainly looks great and the actors give it their all.

When Not as impressed by their performances at least they follow or come into Their own when it comes to instinctually play up the dramatic motivations and character moments 

The only false moments are I. The end when they all start to get along and praise one another as heroes because of the uncertain nature, but what also saves that moment to feel a little more uncertain is a revelation that makes it not quite such a cookie-cutter ending.

While a captivating experience the film quite comes as alive as an audience might expect. As the direction is plain and never quite vivid. It certainly fits the material and makes the stages, offices, and studios come alive and seem bigger, studied, and a little exotic to give us pretty backgrounds to frame the action and actors. 

There are breaks in the action so we get to know the main characters’ pasts in pieces.

Also Rather than reading classic scenes, we see behind the scenes as we know why we liked her in the first place on the screen. It shows how much work Lucille Ball put in and how much control she strives to have to provide quality for the audience.

Writer-Director Aaron Sorkin finds a way for plenty of walk-and-talk shots and tries to throw more obstacles to be more impressive. 

Grade: B-

BECKY (2021)

Directed By: Jonathon Milott & Cary Murnion
Written by: Ruckus Skye, Lane Skye & Nick Morris 
Cinematography: Greta Zozula
Editor: Alan Canant 

Cast: Lulu Wilson, Kevin James, Joel McHale, Robert Maillet, Amanda Brugel, Ryan McDonald, James McDougall

A teenager’s weekend at a lake house with her father takes a turn for the worse when a group of convicts wreaks havoc on their lives.

Directors Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion are back the directors of BUSHWICK & COOTIES independent genre films made this film which fits into Their usual wheelhouse quote nicely, combining elements from their previous films. Kids and action.

This film was a surprise hit at the box office during the pandemic. Is one of the few movies released that went to drive-ins for the most part.

This is appropriate as the film plays more like a high-concept B-movie. Where you would expect one of the parents to be the one to stop the intruders instead it’s a child. 

This is like a more violent HOME ALONE only done as a thriller. A little girl not only takes on escaped prisoners but literally neo-nazi escaped prisoners.

The violence is so graphic that it is unexpected. It also feels cruel and over the top when it does happen. The fact that a child is involved makes it all the more shocking but kind of understandable as there is no pause, just an onslaught with no real thoughts of consequences. After a while, it gets so brutal that It’s not the violence that shocks but when the film chooses to have some innocence or let it be tame. 

Having Kevin James as the villain is a bit of stunt casting that works and adds to the overall shock of the endeavor.

As the plot line is a kind of home invasion DIE HARD. Where you cheer as she takes out the gang, but the film also offers so much cruelty to any and all. It never quite becomes the crowd pleaser. If the criminals weren’t so hate worthy it could easily be seen as a horror film where the little girl is the monster 

What makes the film so strange is that at times it feels stilted and it is quite sure what type of film or at least tone it wants to be.

It could become an action film but comes off as a thriller but really a horror film. There is even one scene that involves a stabbed eye. That is played for laughs but is quite horrific.

When it comes to Becky as a character. She is more the scary one here. As it is one thing for her to have rage issues because she is dealing with the emotional trauma of losing her mother, but when another family member does In Front of her anger reaches a breaking point, and that fits the scenario. It still feels like this anger and rage were there before and only now is she letting it out. So that she seems more like a psychopath. Where the ending doesn’t leave any answers. Except that she knows she is a dangerous bad-ass

It’s a perfectly fine time waster. Though it feels like a kind of rogue straight-to-home video HOME ALONE rip-off that goes harder than expected. Which it wants to seem more surprising but truly is the only thing that stands out. 

Grade: C


Directed By: Adam Randall 
Written By: Brent Dillon
Cinematography: Eben Dolter
Editor: Dominic LaPerriere 

Cast: Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Debby Ryan, Lucy Fry, Raul Castillo, Alfie Allen, Megan Fox, Sydney Sweeney, Marlene Forte, Ash Santos, Jaren Mitchell 

A college student moonlighting as a chauffeur picks up two mysterious women for a night of party-hopping across LA. But when he uncovers their bloodthirsty intentions – and their dangerous, shadowy underworld – he must fight to stay alive.

This feels like a film that is more interested in being cool and having street credentials. Rather than being good or at least entertaining.

Even when it is good, which is rare, it feels like it wants to be stylish over everything. One of the film’s few saving Graces is that style. Not to mention a likable cast.

Which includes a familiar cast as well as two cameos for no real reason but pads the cast list with some more recognizable names.

The story tries to do modern updates and add action. While also having a dive-read cast that makes it become more urban and offers an Us Vs. Them outlook. As the vampires are usually European in lineage and caucasian. Also, the differences seem more upper crust and prejudice against others, not of their lineage.

Whereas the vampire hunters are more people of color but also made more to look like gang members. Even though they are more the heroes of the film.

The film’s story is kind of a horror movie version of the film COLLATERAL. While the film is heavy on the action at times that seems more focused on the horror aspects. The film also feels more inspired by BLADE overall but not quite as good or original as that film. Maybe trying to offer one for a new generation of sorts to claim as their own.

The villain of the film played by Alfie Allen seems more like a brat and not as dangerous. Due to us more being told how bad and dangerous he is but rarely seen. Especially as he barks orders and threatens. Rather than take any Action.

The film seems to show more strength for a character who can only come with power overall. As it plays into too many Hollywood and nightlife cliches of hipness 

In the end, the film feels like a time waster with barely a point other than everyone looks good. While also planting an obligatory love story.

Grade: D 


Written & Directed By: Aron Gaudet & Gita Pullapilly
Cinematography: Andrew Wehde
Editor: Kayla Emter 

Cast: Kristen Bell, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Bebe Rexha, Paul Walter Hauser, Vince Vaughn, Joel McHale, Eduardo Franco, Dayo Okeniyi, Annie Mumolo, Stephen Root, Paul Rust, Timm Sharp, Nick Cassavettes, Jack Mcbrayer, Greta Oglesby

Loosely Based on a true story. A pair of housewives create a $40 million coupon scam.

The two female leads are quite enjoyable and if they had more to play with, the film might be a little stronger and more memorable. Though it works with what it has and manages to always stay somewhat safe and clean. 

This is a quite enjoyable mid-budget comedy that studios seem to barely or rarely make anymore. It ends up being more entertaining than expected. Thanks to the familiar yet likable cast of characters. 

It comes across more as a place keeper movie the type that had an interesting premise and would get some notable cast members. That a studio would out to have a product out there and hopefully win the box office that weekend. Though it offers nothing too rock-solid to remember.

It’s a cute movie that could have easily been a television movie or made for cable comedy. As it is so innocent and inoffensive. That has a wide appeal, particularly to housewives. As it is a film that shows how resourceful and smart they can be and still be badass. 

It also showcases more blue-collar types not necessarily violent gun-toting FBI agents, but postal inspectors who investigate fraud and do mroe detective work than busting heads. 

The film is based on a true story and has its quirks, but doesn’t offer anything too memorable but is pleasant while you watch it.

It certainly is smooth and moves at a quick pace with likable characters and actors. Even pop star Bebe Rexha in a supporting role is vivacious and fun. 

Paul Walter Hauser and Vince Vaughn stand out as characters who are dramatic and have an edge but come off as sweet authoritative types. And pop star Bebe Rexha in her screen debut in a supporting role as their fence/hacker. Who also helps bring some youth to the movie. Which might appeal more to younger viewers.

Grade: C+

BULL (2021)

Cinematography: Ben Chads & Vanessa Whyte

Editor: James Taylor

Written & Directed By: Paul Andrew Williams

Cast: Neil Maskell, David Hayman, Laura McAlpine, Yassine Mkhichen, David Nellist, Tamzin Outhwaite, Kellie Shirley 

Bull mysteriously returns home after a 10-year absence to seek revenge on those who double-crossed him all those years ago.

The film’s opening scene sets up the rest of the movie really with an introduction of the title character that is strong whole also showcases the tough tone of the film.

What is more shocking are the tender moments of the film of which there are a few and a kind of strange twist of fates.

The film plays pretty predictably offering a few twists, but pretty much most of the film is watching the character take his revenge while every so often the film tells us the backstory of what led to this in the first place.

The title character isn’t a saint he was pretty violent beforehand and now has been left off his leash and takes very few prisoners. The only thing that he has a soft spot for before all of this was his son. As he is a pretty good dad, though surrounded by nasty characters who either find themselves into this out of loyalty or money 

While the film is mainly predictable it is strong and keeps you engaged throughout. There is no get on the film as it gets to the point and for the most part, is relentless throughout. 

As the violence is either shown or heavily suggested. So this film isn’t for the faint of heart. One thing that is always fascinating in these films is when the film chooses to more focus on those being hunted down and killed. As you can see those who are used to being hunters react to being prey.

Once you find out the film’s budget was low. It’s even more impressive what was done and how tight the film is.

Grade: B


Directed By: Martin Campbell

Written By: Richard Wenk

Cinematography: David Tattersall

Editor: Angela M. Catanzaro

Cast: Maggie Q, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Patrick, David Rintoul, Ray Fearon, Patrick Malahide, Ori Pfeffer 

Rescued as a child by the legendary assassin Moody, Anna is the world’s most skilled contract killer. However, when Moody is brutally killed, she vows revenge for the man who taught her everything she knows.

This film is fun as long as you take little of it seriously. As it is under an action espionage blanket. 

The film feels like a smarter THE TRANSPORTER sequel/spin-off/reboot franchise that feels less exploitive. Only under a revenge tale origin 

This is what more action films should feel like taking themselves seriously enough for the story but also knowing they aren’t rewriting a formula. 

The film is plain yet pretty and has enough of a big-name cast of big-name actors in it. Who are in mroe of the film than expected. Not necessarily cameos or brief supporting roles. 

This is clearly mroe of a paycheck job for most. As they are better than the material and their presence seems to be the main draw. I mean where else are you going to see Michael Keaton seduce a woman and be a prime romantic partner for the lead.

It’s nice to see actress Maggie Q, finally catching up to an action career that had been previously laid out it seemed at first with the second adaptation of LA FEMME NIKITA. As a television show. She has been in many types of film roles since then but usually seems to return to action films. Though usually as a villain or sidekick. 

Director Martin Campbell has been Doing These types of action thrillers for a while. That his direction excels with. Making general material all the more thrilling. Just look at what he manages to do with Jackie Chan in the movie the foreigner. Making him less comic releif acrobat and a more dangerous fighting machine out for revenge. 

The story is the motivation for the actors but the film is more thrills, action, intrigue, and a bit of flirtation. Until the third act which is more captivating. Once the cat and mouse angle Presents itself it becomes intriguing.

The fighting sequence is a sex scene. Shows psychopaths in love and a kind of release from all that first-act flirtation. Which showcases strength, enthusiasm, energy, physicality, and consumption.

Though Michael Keaton Almost steals the film with his charm and his impressive fighting skills in the action sequences. Where by the end you are rooting for both His character and hers. 

Grade: C+


Written & Directed By: Ben Falcone
Cinematography: Barry Peterson 
Editor: Tia Nolan 

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Bobby Cannavale, Jason Bateman, Pom Klementieff, Melissa Leo, Taylor Mosby, Kevin Dunn, Ben Falcone 

In a world terrorized by super-villains, one woman has developed the process to give superpowers to regular people. But when scientist Emily Stanton accidentally imbues her estranged best friend with incredible abilities, the two women must become the first superhero team. Now, it is up to Thunder Force to battle the super-powered Miscreants and save Chicago from the clutches of The King.

It seems with most new comedic vehicles that Melissa McCarthy makes it seem to drag down the quirky of her stock. What is more digressing is that usually, these films are her own creation with her writer-director husband Ben Falcone. 

For every BRIDESMAIDS, SPY or even THE HEAT. There is a LIFE OF THE PARTY or TAMMY. At least THE BOSS was somewhat entertaining.

The bright spots of this film are few in-between. As at least the film becomes fun when it comes to the scenes with her and Jason Bateman as they still obviously have chemistry from the forgettable Studio film IDENTITY THEFT.

Like that film, this seems to want to be a forced buddy comedy. Where we how for the best. While two different personalities are forced to work together. While the stench of corporate studio movie making and synergy is pretty obvious. 

It’s almost like an Adam Sandler Netflix film which you know most likely will be bad. If they keep serving you and you take a chance and instantly regret it usually. As you remember how good they can be no how many better films they made than the one you are forcing yourself to watch. Hoping for something salvageable amongst the wreck. 

The other bright spot of the film is anytime the film deals with the villains and their hierarchy. Which isn’t the sharpest writing but some of the funnier material. That could have easily been a sketch more than anything.

The problem isn’t that the film isn’t inspired, it just does nothing with the idea or ideas it has Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer are friends in real life and used to do improv shows together and were nominated on the same year for Best Supporting actress at the academy awards McCarthy for BRIDESMAIDS and SPENCER for THE HELP which she won for.

Other than that you wish they could have chosen a better project. As this film most of the time comes off as pretty flat. The jokes come off as simple and weak and while this is meant to be a spoof or take off of superheroes. Nothing seems quite Inspired and the film comes off as tame.

This could easily be a family film with how inoffensive it is. It’s Predictable and you wonder about the intelligence of most of the characters. Such as why a successful mayoral candidate doesn’t suspect a thing when the person she beat all Of a sudden wants to throw her a victory party. 

You Can tell where the film and story are going constantly and the deepest character development we get from McCarthy is that her loser character obsesses about classic rock band music. Even a character they introduce when they are kids and have a crush on Spencer who we see as an adult goes nowhere. 

The film is a major disappointment especially when it seemed to be aiming pretty high. Though comes off more not as anything made for the big screen but almost purposely meant to be on streaming or television as it’s scope and aim seem so narrow but try to aim for bigger and better 

Though to be fair it’s rare that there has been a successful superhero comedy. 

Grade: D


Directed By: Matthew Vaughn 
Written By: Matthew Vaughn & Karl Gajdusek
Based on the Comic-Book “THE SECRET SERVICE” By: Mark Millar & Dave Gibbons
Cinematography: Ben Davis
Editor: Rob Hall & Jason Ballantine

Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Djimon Hounsou, Harris Dickinson, Gemma Arterton, Matthew Goode, Rhys Ifans, Charles Dance, Daniel Bruno, Alexandra Maria Land, Valerie Pacher 

In the early years of the 20th century, the Kingsman agency is formed to stand against a cabal plotting a war to wipe out millions.

The third in what can be seen as a franchise or at least a trilogy. 

This one is a prequel that shows the origins of THE KING’S MEN before they became a bit corrupt and needed to be sorted out. 

I will be honest I wasn’t expecting much from this film. It looked like they were trying to beat a dead horse with this series and felt like they might have been going in the wrong direction to prolong it. I have to eat my words because the film ended up being exciting and surprising in how enjoyable it is.

Like the previous films. It is silly plot-wise and the dialogue has a lot of grandstanding. Though it comes across as more well-mannered and tight Than the other films which were more dark-humored and verbose. This one feels a little more grown-up, but not without its own sense of humor. 

Which is not only one of the film’s strengths but also the franchise. 

The film is a period piece that touches on many historical figures and actions. It also has a lot of fun with them. Using them to set the background up.

The action sequences are impressive. Some are quite admirable, especially the Rasputin battle. 

The film also manages to still offer up surprises in a franchise partly built on them. 

Nice to see dramatic actor Ralph Fiennes in a more action-oriented role, but lets him also act. Though he also has a role in the latest James Bond films also. Here he is center stage. 

Djimon Honsou glad to see him also even if given the usual thankless role as more a dangerous sidekick or mentor to characters. Not only in this film but he played a similar role in the last CHARLIE’S ANGELS reboot, but at least here he has more to do and is in mroe do the film.

This film feels more like a guilty pleasure, though an inventive way to keep the franchise going and offer up a new origin story of sorts. That opens up the history of the franchise 

Grade: C+


 Directed By: Patrick Hughes 
Written By: Brandon Murphy & Phillip Murphy 
Based On Characters Created By & Story By: Tom O’Connor 
Cinematography: Terry Stacey 
Editor: Jack Hutchings & Michael J. Duthie

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Antonio Banderas, Tom Hopper, Caroline Goodall, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Alice McMillan 

The bodyguard, Michael Bryce, continues his friendship with assassin, Darius Kincaid, as they try to save Darius’ wife Sonia

This is a movie that seems rushed to make money off the surprise hit of the first film and this time offers more Salma Hayek that the first film. Where she was a memorable supporting character.

This film offers a lot more of her including in her low-cut outfits and even a sex scene that is more comedic than sexy. Though the film gives her a chance to shine. 

The film is more aimed at being a comedy with action in it rather than the other way around and as hilarious as the film is you never take it seriously and just try to have fun. As much as the cast seems to be having.

This film offers up recognizable cast members new to the franchise in surprising supporting roles. Though luckily it seems as soon as they wear out their welcome they either disappear or are dispatched. 

They try to sideline Ryan Reynolds a little. as once again his character is going through confidence problems and here he has decided to not be violent throughout. He is involved in the action sequences. As more the straight man who keeps getting punished violently while all around him kill and fight. Which might be to make room for Salma Hayek to have more to do and be part of the action. He for the most part is abused throughout 

What works for these films is that while they are silly and quite stupid. They stay entertaining and are never boring and come off as guilty pleasures more than anything else. Especially by the end which is just ridiculous.

These films feel like the CRANK movies only not as over the top, campy or low brow. They are dirty And they all feel like they have the energy of an energized bunny or play out like violent love action cartoons more than anything anyone can really identify with. 

Grade: C+