OLD (2021)

Written for the screen & Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Based on the graphic Novel “SANDCASTLE” By Pierre-Oscar Levy & Fredrik Peters
Cinematography: Michael Gioulakis
Editor: Brett M. Reed 

Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krepis, Rufus Sewell, Abbey Lee, Ken Leung, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie, Eliza Scanlen, Embeth Daviditz, Aaron Pierre 

A vacationing family discovers that the secluded beach where they’re relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day. 


I can admit lately M Night Shyamalan is a filmmaker who has gotten more interesting with age. I loved UNBREAKABLE but was never really hooked by any of his other films until THE VISIT came around and truly left me transfixed.

This is a movie that is good entertainment even though its story night feels far-fetched for some. Keep in mind this is a movie meant to enjoy and keep your interest. As the film goes along it manages to do that with some shocks, twists, and turns. 

The exotic locale is one of His first films set outside of Philadelphia, his hometown even if the main character’s family is from there. Even if filmed during the pandemic this is the perfect film for watching as it seems inspired by it. Even if this film is based on a graphic novel written years before.

The film is an ensemble even though we mainly follow one family: the parents and kids. How they are changing and reacting and we see others change also. Even though the title and trailers give away the major plot. This is a good film to go in and discover.

As yes there are some over-the-top elements and some do unintentional camp which seems to be something of a regular occurrence in his films. 

This film seems inspired as an either overlong TWILIGHT ZONE episode, a less technical BLACK MIRROR or inspired by LOST. The later of which really hits home with a similar cast member Ken Leung 

Abby Lee’s character seems to always have the worst fate in movies she is in. As she has the most memorable scene in this film that is done with special effects and similarly in NEON DEMON. She has scenes of grotesque violence. She is a sight to see here and comes back hard later in the film. In one of the most truly terrifying scenes. 

As an ensemble, you can already pick who is most likely to be the off-centered crazy one eventually. Just as you can usually predict who will be the victims. The only mystery is when and how. Which might be why most of the cast seems to be foreign actors as too many recognizable names and faces would only leave us to guess more. Whereas here the actors mostly come with no baggage. 

The math of aging doesn’t always seem to match up, but the actors’ performances are always believable and heartfelt. 

There are certain aspects that are easy to predict but the film does offer what seem to be what some might expect exclusively from writer/Director Shamalayan: a twist and a certain darkness. Though I must say that as dark as his material can get there is usually an uplifting ending or an element of one for the characters in the long run.

The ending offers a good explanation that could easily have been something that most could see happening. 

This movie is best viewed without any expectations. Shyamalan’s style is very smooth when it comes to framing, Camerawork, and presentation. Over the years he has maintained twists but they seem less forced and expected. They now feel more natural with the rest of the film. Not necessarily hinging on it as in the past. As his films feel more than that these days. They feel more well-rounded.

By the end this feels like a fun guilty pleasure filled with chills.

Grade: C+

THE KID DETECTIVE (2021)


Written & Directed By: Evan Morgan
Cinematography: Mike McLaughlin
Editor: Curt Lobb

Cast: Adam Brody, Wendy Crewson, Kaitlyn Chalmbers-Rizzato, Jonathan Whittaker, Kaleb Horn, Sarah Sutherland, Steve Gagne, Sophie Nelisse, Griffin Wardle 

A once-celebrated kid detective, now 32, continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity. Until a naive client brings him his first ‘adult’ case, to find out who brutally murdered her boyfriend.


This is a film best to go into blind but the title kind of gives you a hint.

This film helps you breathe a breath of fresh air. As it is smart but not pretentious, at times feels more like a book adaptation than an original film. 

It is original in the best ways. It never takes itself too seriously and while being a comedy for the most part at heart it is also a general mystery. That comes across as neo-noir

The film has more of a premise you would expect in a high concept comedy where a kid detective was basically broken by one case from his teens. Still, practices detective work in the same small town. But his life is a wreck and most of his cases come from teenagers for very simple tasks.

The film also gives a chance to show what happens to children we might prop up for a special ability in their youth that is squally reserved for adults, but what happens when they get older and that isn’t impressive anymore. It’s almost more expected of you or rather basic.

Once he actually is called in on a case of murder by the deceased’s girlfriend. We learn that this picturesque small town has an underground dark side. While grounding the murder and mystery deeper the more adults he talks to. Throughout he is mostly dealing with teens and trying to justify himself to others who once believed in him and now more pity him.

It’s an excellent character-based film that while wing a neo-noir and lacks a femme fatale. It does involve a female character. Who subconsciously haunts him.

By the third act of the film. We are pushed in a direction we never saw coming that actually deepens everything. We have seen before and while the film was running well before. The last act is what really raises the film and its Stakes. We are left with an aftermath that isn’t as clean-cut and tidy as we are used to.

The film shows that Adam Brody still can impress in a lead role. He is usually Relegated to supporting roles In Comedies. Here he excels even as a sad sack he is charming and likable. He really helps keep the film together especially as he is in most of the scenes.

The direction is light and crisp not so stylized that you would expect in a film like this. Which is what makes it’s darker moments so unexpected. 

The film would make a good double feature with the Teenage detective mystery BRICK. 

Grade: B+

KNIVES OUT (2019)

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Written & Directed By: Rian Johnson
Cinematography: Steve Yedlin
Editor: Bob Duscay 


Cast: Daniel Craig, Ana De Armas, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Lakeith Stanfield, Chris Evans, Noah Segan, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Frank Oz, Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, M. Emmet Walsh 


When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death.

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GAME NIGHT (2018)

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Directed By: John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein
Written By: Mark Perez
Cinematography: Barry Peterson
Editor: David Egan, Jamie Gross & Gregory Plotkin 

Cast: Jason Bateman, Billy Magnussen, Rachel McAdams, Jesse Plemmons, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Danny Huston, Michael C. Hall, Chelsea Peretti, Kylie Bunbury, Natasha Hall 


A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery when the shady brother of one of them is seemingly kidnapped by dangerous gangsters.

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SEARCHING (2018)

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Directed By: Aneesh Chaganty
Written By: Aneesh Chaganty & Sev Ohanian
Cinematography: Juan Sebastian Barron
Director Of Virtual Photography & Editor: Nicholas D. Johnson & Will Merrick 


Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing, Michelle La, Joseph Lee, Dominic Hoffman, Briana McLean 


After David Kim’s 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter’s laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter’s digital footprints before she disappears forever.

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KNIFE + HEART (2019)

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Directed By: Yann Martinez
Written By: Yann Martinez & Cristiano Mangione
Cinematography: Simon Beaufils
Editor: Raphael Leferve
Music By: M83 


Cast: Vanessa Paradis, Nicolas Maury, Katie Moran, Jonathan Genet, Felix Maritaud, Romane Bohringer, Elina Lowensohn, Pierre Pirol, Jacques Nolot 


Anne produces third-rate gay porn. After her editor and lover Lois leaves her, she tries to win her back by shooting her most ambitious film yet with her trusted, flamboyant sidekick Archibald. But one of her actors is brutally murdered and Anne gets caught up in a strange investigation that turns her life upside down.

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BODY OF EVIDENCE (1992)

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Directed By: Uli Edel
Written By: Brad Mirman
Cinematography: Douglas Milsome
Editor: Thom Noble 


Cast: Madonna, Willem Dafoe, Joe Mantegna, Julianne Moore, Anne Archer, Frank Langella, Stan Shaw, Richard Riehle, Michael Forest, Charles Hallahan, Mark Rolston, Jurgen Prochnow, Jeff Perry 


A millionaire is found dead of heart failure handcuffed to the bed with a home video tape of him and his lover. When cocaine is found in his system, and his will leaves $8 million to his lover, they arrest her on suspicion of murder. Her lawyer succumbs to her charms, and he begins a torrid and kinky affair with her. As new evidence turns up during trial, he begins to wonder if he’s defending a murderer.

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UNDER THE SILVER LAKE (2019)

Written & Directed By: David Gordon Mitchell
Cinematography: Mike Gioulakis
Editor: Julio Perez
Music By Disasterpiece 


Cast: Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Topher Grace, Riki Lindhome, Grace Van Patten, Callie Hernandez, Zosia Mamet, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Jimmi Simpson, Lola Blanc, Sydney Sweeney, Summer Bashil, Don McManus, Patrick Fischler

Sam is a disenchanted 33-year-old who discovers a mysterious woman, Sarah, frolicking in his apartment’s swimming pool. When she vanishes, Sam embarks on a surreal quest across Los Angeles to decode the secret behind her disappearance, leading him into the murkiest depths of mystery, scandal and conspiracy in the City of Angels.

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