REVIEW: Hammer [2020]

I didn’t have a choice. It’s easy to tell someone we’ll do anything for family when it’s what we’re supposed to say. That’s the expectation. That’s normalcy. And the majority of us never have to test those words anyway. We don’t all weigh the risk to our lives by donating an organ or financial security by re-mortgaging a home. But those acts do loom above us. So does tough love. “You want to live under our roof? Then abide by our rules.” Enforcing that line is where things get hard…

Read More

REVIEW: Blood on Her Name [2020]

It doesn’t put the skin back on the cat. A lot happens during the course of director Matthew Pope and co-writer Don M. Thompson‘s Blood on Her Name … too much. This can prove problematic for what starts as a simple plot before things start turning convoluted real quick thanks to new revelations shedding light upon secrets and lies. Surprisingly, however, that perpetually escalating noise is justified. The reason stems from the fact that Leigh Tiller (Bethany Anne Lind) isn’t a murderer. Well that’s not entirely true. Technically she is…

Read More

REVIEW: American Honey [2016]

“What about you? What’s your dream?” Welcome to our disenfranchised youth. That’s exactly what Andrea Arnold puts front and center with her latest film American Honey: miscreants getting high, road tripping, and lying their way to a few bucks meant to continue the nomadic journey’s unending party. Led by outside-the-box entrepreneur Krystal (Riley Keough), this ragtag bunch of urchins scooped from the side of the road go door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions—or as her number one seller Jake (Shia LaBeouf) says, “… themselves.” We don’t know if their customers will ever…

Read More

REVIEW: Gone in Sixty Seconds [2000]

“Two Rogers don’t make a right” There are more than a few unexpected things concerning the Gone in Sixty Seconds remake that surprised me. One was the huge cast of familiar faces. Another the full embracement of its spectacular levels of cheese. And despite marketing materials and especially the poster, Angelina Jolie is far from a second lead and barely onscreen thirty minutes. Heck, besides the botched heist at the beginning that sets the chain of events that brings Randall ‘Memphis’ Raines (Nicolas Cage) out of retirement in motion, we…

Read More

REVIEW: The Fourth Kind [2009]

“Even with hypnosis, it’s black” I don’t care if The Fourth Kind utilizes real footage or not, it’s a very powerful film. All the marketing materials allude to the fact that filmmaker Olatunde Osunsanmi interviewed psychologist Abigail Tyler and, by using actual footage of her hypnotizing patients and herself, recreated scenes to give the audience the full story of what is happening in Nome, Alaska. The technique is very effective—excising names, showing the actors’ names and who they are playing, (mostly changed to withhold identities anyways), showing the “real” Tyler…

Read More

REVIEW: Wendy and Lucy [2008]

“Your son is a real hero” The critic’s darling Wendy and Lucy has a powerful performance at its center courtesy of Michelle Williams, however, to me, it doesn’t have very much else going for it. I guess this is just one way to tell myself that I am a film fan and not a critic because, for the most part, I was absolutely bored and pretty much uncaring about what would happen. Is it some masterpiece of minimalism? Does it capture the turmoil and strife of a down-on-her-luck woman trying…

Read More

REVIEW: A Mighty Heart [2007]

“Don’t hold it in” The story of Daniel Pearl is a tragic one. I remember following it all on the news until the fateful day of his horrific beheading. Just imagining what his family and friends could have been thinking during the whole ordeal is tough to fathom, but when his wife is there with him in Pakistan, pregnant with his first child, your heart must go out to them. Pearl’s widow, Mariane, used her journalistic skills to write a novel on what transpired from his kidnapping to eventual murder.…

Read More