Film Reviews


Patti Cake$ – Movie Review

  Patti Cake$   Written and Directed by: Geremy Jasper Starring: Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, McCaul Lombardi and Cathy Moriarty   Rated: R Run Time: 1h 48min Genre: Drama 3 Frames out of 5 By: Shari K. Green   Patti Cake$ is a rather unusual coming of age story. It wasn’t […]


Dave Made A Maze – Movie Review

  Dave Made a Maze Directed by: Bill Watterson Starring: Nick Thune, Meera Rohit Kumbhani, James Urbaniak, John Morrison, Kirsten Vangsness, Stephanie Allynne and Adam Busch   Run Time: 1h 20min Genre: Adventure, Comedy with a bit of Horror 4 Frames out of 5 By: Shari K. Green   This gets high marks for originality […]


Risk – Movie Review

  RISK Laura Poitras 2 1/2 Frames By: Shari K. Green   Risk, the Julian Assange documentary, can’t possibly be the whole truth.  I left wondering why this film was even made if it wasn’t.  You only get pieces of it the story.  You truly are most likely hearing lies and what’s most blistering is, […]


John Wick: Chapter 2 – Movie Review

Photo Credit: Niko Tavernise

 

John Wick: Chapter 2

Directed by: Chad Stahelski

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, Lance Reddick, Bridget Moynahan, Franco Nero, with John Leguizamo and Ian McShane

Rated: R

Run Time: 2H 2 mins

Genre:  Action, Crime, Thriller

4 out of 5 Frames

By: Shari K. Green

If you like muscle cars, chase scenes, incredible fight sequences and beautiful sets and locations, this movie is going to sizzle your cerebral cortex.  It has everything I mentioned and has them in spades.  All that you liked about the first film is here so you won’t be disappointed.  As you most assuredly know, John Wick was as high octane as they come… what will be your delight is, Chapter 2 is just as powerful and as potent as the first.  John Wick (Reeves), the ghostly and stealthy killer you met in Chapter 1, is the same bad ass, with the same reputation of reigning terror without breaking a sweat but he wants out!  He wants to retire and live out his life in peace.  Well, he may want out but someone comes knocking to remind him that he’s duty bound to do something first and that is to fulfill a blood marker.  A marker is a blood oath.  Once it’s given to a member of the criminal conclave Wick belongs to, one with strict rules for the professional help and perks they receive, it must be honored.

He’s forced to be true to his pledge which is to assassinate Santino D’Antonio’s (Scamarcio) sister so that he could have her seat at the high table, a highly coveted place within the criminal federation.  Stahelski adds an ingenious scene of Wick shopping for his accessories and it’s priceless.  After he gears up he gets to work.  When he completes his task or she does for him, rather, not only are members of her security team after for him, (especially Cassian, played by Common, whose role adds a special element of regalement to the film), but so is Santino.  He decides to close loose ends.  The choreographed action sequences such as rolling down steps mid fight, running on stage and through a concert’s audience while shooting at one another and all the death and destruction delivered by clever cinematography more than makes up for the few times that Reeves, unfortunately, has speaking lines.  I know that’s hard to swallow but it’s more than accurate.

Centrally, this is an astonishingly action packed film with a good narrative.  It’s the story of a character you can’t help root for, even though he’s a ruthless, emotionless and heartless killer.  You want him to win, despite his willingness to murder because, after all, they’re the bad guys, right?  Again, luckily for us, it’s more action driven with focus on the deadly encounters rather than on his dialogue.  Every performance outside of Reeves was adequate, McShane and Common’s especially, but the only delivery Reeves seems to be capable of giving is dry and detached and that’s a shame.  It’s true acting class isn’t necessary with this sort of role but had he been able to give some passion to the lines that he did have, it would have been that much better.  I have to suggest you go see it if you’re an action fan.  I’ll go on record now and say you’re going to absolutely love it.  It starts with a punch and never stops going; it’s solid all around.  Also, it ends with a clear set up for Chapter 3.  After all hes been through and has done, he decides to break a rule anyway, for which you cannot do as long as you’re in the league.  Now that he has, he is banished and… well, I’ll let you discover that on your own.

 

 

 


Loving – BLU-RAY/ DVD – Movie Review

Loving Starring: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Marton Csokas, Nick Kroll, Alano Miller, Bill Camp, Michael Shannon Written & Directed by: Jeff Nichols   Rated: PG-13 Run Time: 123 mins Genre: Drama, Romance, Biography 4 out of 5 Frames     By Lisa Minzey With a rather lackluster cinema awards season, can an indie love story […]


Split – Movie Review

“Split”

Directed/Written by: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson and Betty Buckley

Rated: PG-13

Run Time: 1h 57mins

Genre: Horror, Thriller

4 Frames out of 5

By: Shari K. Green

I didn’t know what to expect from “Split”.  I was very nervous about it and I’m very pleased to announce it was very good.  I can’t say enough about it, in fact.  More to the point, I can’t say enough about James McAvoy’s performance.  If his talents were ever in doubt, they certainly will not be now.  His work has to have been extremely difficult, yet he made it seem completely effortless.  I’ll explain.  The trailer for this film doesn’t actually show, a nice change might I add, the fact that the main character McAvoy plays someone in such deep mental distress that he has literally shattered.  It reveals a touch of the fact that this person has split personality disorder but doesn’t give away how bad it is and to the extent that the original personality, Kevin, is controlled.  The reason for the the personality splitting is revealed but I don’t want to give away too many details.

In the film, Dennis, who is often “in the light” or the one in charge at the moment, decides to kidnap two girls he had been following.  A third is a victim of circumstance and is grabbed, as well.  She, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), has a past to her that is divulged in flashbacks and when Casey addresses the situation she’s in with shock but not with terror, you understand why.  You wonder what’s inside her as well and Taylor-Joy, with her large eyes that penetrate you through the screen, does a fantastic job of keeping you guessing.

That’s the true premise and brilliance of the film.  This is an excellent vehicle for Shyamalan to prove he’s an actor’s director.  Is it the perfect film?  Not by a long shot but you cannot miss these performances.  If you are into acting or performance art in any fashion, you have to study what Shyamalan has achieved, especially with McAvoy.  They work beautifully together, actor trusting director, and McAvoy gives everything he has to not only be more than one person on screen but twenty-three different personalities.  He shows, continually, that he is a magnificent actor when at one point the camera is on him and he’s one person, then it pans to a mirror and he’s another, it pans back again and he’s another and back again.  It’s fascinating.  Several times he turns these people on and off.  It’s riveting.  He is, frankly, amazing in this juicy role.

  Shyamalan couldn’t have picked better.  And that goes for the rest of the cast as well.  Everyone was quite good… except Shyamalan himself, who always likes to find a part in his movies somewhere where he can tinker with his love of the profession.  However, he makes a bad choice for himself.  He has ten acting credits to his name and has fourteen director credits.  He obviously likes to act.  In the scene he has injected himself into in “Split”, he’s not bad, per se, he’s just not at all necessary.  The scene does nothing for the film and in fact, distracts his audience from what’s exciting them up to this point.

There are a few convenient set-ups but they in no way take away from the film.  Buckley, as the therapist, is sweet and caring and shows intelligence but when she wanders where she shouldn’t have, you wish Shyamalan hadn’t gone there but that’s okay.  You’ll be on the edge of your seat, consumed by what you’re seeing.  And as I already do, you’ll be setting up a time to go and watch this movie again.


Rules Don’t Apply – Movie Review

Rules Don’t Apply Directed by: Warren Beatty Starring: Alec Baldwin, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Haley Bennett, Candice Bergen, Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, Lily Collins, Steve Coogan, Alden Ehrenreich, Taissa Farmiga, Ed Harris, Megan Hilty, Oliver Platt and Martin Sheen   Rated PG-13 Run Time: 2h 6mins Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance 4 Frames out of 5 […]


Doctor Strange – Movie Review

“Doctor Strange” Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen and Benedict Wong Directed by: Scott Derrickson Rated: PG-13 Run Time: 115 minutes Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Action 3 out of 5 Frames By: Cassandra Nicholson With a mystical story about alternative universes and spiritual discoveries, “Doctor Strange” is a time-and-space-warping trip. The […]


American Pastoral – Movie Review

“American Pastoral”   Directed by: Ewan McGregor Screenplay by: John Romano Starring: Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, David Strathairn, Peter Riegert and Dakota Fanning   Rated: R Run Time: 2h 6min Genre: Crime, Drama 5 Frames out of 5     By: Shari K. Green   Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Phillip Roth novel of the […]