The Qwipster Film Review Podcast

Vince Leo

Qwipster.net’s film critic, Vince Leo, delivers a la carte movie reviews, featuring the latest releases, covering blockbusters, independent films, foreign titles, and VOD.

All Episodes

The story involves the Bill (Alex Winter) & Ted (Keanu Reeves), now married with one child each, suffering a mid-life crisis, realizing that they never united humankind through their music as foretold. In fact, contrary to the end montage of Bogus Journey depicting their success, Face the Music shows the duo jaded after a career where they are more laughing-stock than the most popular band on Earth. The pressure to fulfill their destiny finds their marriage on the rocks, seeking couples therapy, but one where both couples are involved simultaneously; the duo's inability to separate their codependency is one of the issues. Someone from the future tells them they need to write the song within the next 77 minutes to achieve global peace and harmony, or the universe will come apart in a cataclysmic event called the Unraveling. Their plan: use the phone booth time machine to travel forward in time to steal the song from their future selves. Dean Parisot directs this third entry in the Bill & Ted series.

Sep 7

19 min

The story centers around Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lives in a cage as the star of a struggling animal show at a suburban shopping center called the Big Top Mall & Video Arcade at Exit 8. Ivan’s main schtick is to roar and look intimidating, but behind the scenes, he is a thoughtful and sensitive soul. Other talented animals under the care of beleaguered ringleader Mack include a baseball-playing chicken, a sassy poodle, a bunny, a seal, a parrot, and an elderly elephant named Stella, plus a stray mutt called Bob. Ivan befriends the young daughter of the mall cleaner who hands him supplies to draw, and it becomes something he takes an interest in doing, which has Mack seeing dollar signs to save his floundering circus attraction. An adorable baby elephant named Ruby arrives to become the latest attraction, under the tutelage and loving guidance of Stella. The drawing and painting, plus Ruby’s arrival, trigger Ivan’s memories of his childhood of freedom in the wild with his family, and Stella doesn’t want Ruby to live a sheltered life as she has had. Ivan plans to break free and deliver Ruby to a life of freedom. Featuring Bryan Cranston, Ariana Greenblatt, Ramon Rodriguez, Owain Arthur as live actors. Voice work by Sam Rockwell, Danny DeVito, Brooklynn Prince, Angelina Jolie, Chaka Khan, Ron Funches, Helen Mirren.

Aug 26

13 min

In this potent and socially relevant dramatic thriller, Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) is a jaded criminal defense attorney and Slim a devoutly Christian retail clerk Slim (Daniel Kaluuya). They're on a Tinder date in a Cleveland diner. On the way to drop off Queen, Slim gets pulled over by a pushy cop (Sturgill Simpson), then things escalate into an intense altercation that results in Slim killing the cop in self-defense. From then on, the two become fugitives, relying on whatever help they can on the down-low to avoid being caught and find their way to Cuba. Lena Waithe scripts from an idea by James Frey. Melina Matsoukas directs.

Jun 17

16 min

In this third entry in the long-gestating franchise, Mike Lowery (Will Smith) gets gunned down by up-and-coming Miami crime kingpin Armando Armas (Jacob Scipio) who pops a few rounds into the cop at the direction of his ruthless mother Isabel (Kate del Castillo), getting revenge on all of those cops and lawyers who took down her drug-lord husband years before. Due to Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) making a pact with God to hang up the "bad boys" life if Mike pulls through, he refuses to join forces with his longtime partner on exacting revenge on Armando. To help supplement the cover, loose-cannon Mike teams up with the by-the-book 'AMMO' division of the force, a group of young guns with high-tech weapons. Of course, when tragedy strikes once again, Marcus gets off of his recliner for one more chance at the guts and glory of the "bad boys."

Apr 17

14 min

In this Pixar film, two teenage elf brothers in a town called New Mushroomton go on a quest that requires them to tap into the long-forgotten magic in the world to have one more day with the father who passed away before his youngest was born. The father left behind a gift for them to have when they both reached the age of sixteen, a wizard's staff and an ultra-rare Phoenix Gem they can use to bring him back to life, but only for one day. The spell is cast, but the process gets interrupted halfway, leaving only dad's animated legs to get to know. If they want to talk to him or give him so much as a hug, they'll have to find another Phoenix Gem before the spell runs out. Voice work by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. Directed by Dan Scanlon.

Mar 8

12 min

Song Kang-ho plays Kim Ki-taek, the father in the poor family that has no breadwinners due to the lack of good-paying jobs (the latest gig finds them folding pizza boxes). Poverty has become so pervasive that the family works overtime to find ways to not spend money, hijacking wifi from neighbors and resorting to forgery to gain credentials from schools they couldn't even dream to be able to afford. They even leave the window open as the bug exterminator draws near to get "free fumigation", inundating their basement apartment (and boxes meant to carry pizzas) with unhealthy chemicals. Things take a turn for the better when Ki-taek's son, Ki-woo, gets a temporary job replacing a good friend as the tutor for Da-hye, a teenage daughter of a well-to-do family. In their palatial home, Ki-woo woos the young woman who develops a crush on him, just like she did the prior tutor, and convinces the naive mother that he has the skills necessary for the job. When Ki-woo learns that the young son in the rich family, Da-song, needs an art tutor, he brings in his sister for the job, pretending to be Ki-woo's old college friend, then his dad, then his mother. But their taste of the high life makes it a place they want to stay for good.

Feb 27

14 min

Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) flees homeworld due to possessing powers that make him a fugitive carrying a bad full of rings that are portals to new dimensions, is typical road-movie adventure comedy we've seen many times in a variety of forms. Sonic ends up teleporting to Earth, specifically the flyspeck town of Green Hills, Montana, where he encounters a sheriff so bored with the town's lack of crims that he's taken to having conversations with his donuts, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), who is hoping to not make another day a waste by waiting patiently to nail someone speeding. He gets it in Sonic, who clocks in at a speed that makes Tom question his radar gun. Tom dreams of doing some real crime-fighting, with a goal to move him and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), his ever-supportive veterinarian wife, to San Francisco to join their more active police department. It turns out when Sonic loses all of his other rings through an open portal atop the city's Transamerica Pyramid, he'll have to tag along as well. However, when Sonic's energy burst ends up causing a massive power outage to the entire Pacific Northwest region of the United States, the government sends in a secret weapon, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), a mad, megalomaniacal genius with an army of sophisticated flying drones who tenaciously will find a way to exterminate the blue alien thing once and for all. Robotnik chases Tom and his new companion Sonic as they make their way to California.

Feb 16

14 min

The storyline picks up with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) just following her dastardly dreamboat, The Joker, breaking up with her, with the spinout of their toxic relationship leaving her in shambles. An oft-unhinged club owner named Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), whose alter ego is another powerful villain in Gotham City known as Black Mask has secured a rare diamond worth so much that he could afford to up his protection racket operation to become the biggest crime kingpin in Gotham City. That diamond is stumbled onto and taken by a pickpocket extraordinaire named Cassandra Cain, who ends up swallowing it to avoid having to give it up when frisked by police, making her the most sought after person in the city, especially after Roman places a half-million-dollar bounty on her. All of this leads to Harley forming a ramshackle team of women with grievances with Black Mask to finally put an end to his murderous ways. That team includes Huntress, aka Helena Bertinelli (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a Punisher-type mafia princess-turned-vigilante who rides a motorcycle and shoots a crossbow - Black Canary, aka Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell). Leading the case for the Gotham City Police Department is Renee Montoya, played by Rosie Perez, and newcomer Ella Jay Basco portrays Cassandra Cain. Cathy Yan directs.

Feb 11

20 min

As a novel, "Little Women" had been published in two volumes, one in 1868 and the other in 1869, but the volumes are combined in the film, interwoven together in a rearranged timeline that jumps back and forth, spotlighting their hopes and dreams as teenagers, then tempering those ambitions with the grimmer realities of the real world in their adulthood. It spins the yarn of four young sisters with artistic and romantic ambitions - Jo, Amy, Meg, and Beth - living with their mother Marmee while their father is off fighting in the Civil War. Much of this film adaptation by writer-director Greta Gerwig concentrates on Jo's story regarding her ambition and struggle to become a published writer. Throughout the course of the film, we see her maturation by finding her voice, both as a woman and as a writer. Featuring Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Timothee Chalomet, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep.

Jan 30

14 min

Set in 2012, Uncut Gems is a part crime drama and part character study, following the dealings of Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a New York jewelry merchant doing business by appointment in his highly secure private showroom. Not all is peachy-keen in Howard's life, as his marriage is on the rocks, his mistress has begun to make him feel insecure, his lack of work ethic beginning to sour customers, he just might have colon cancer, and his gambling addiction has gotten him into a lot of debt that he can't pay back easily. He's a sucker for get-rich-quick schemes to keep him out of trouble; his latest involved the procuring of a large uncut Ethiopian black opal that may be worth up to a million dollars. Enter Boston Celtics star, Kevin Garnett, who takes an immediate interest in purchasing the rare jewel upon seeing it, but is denied a sale because Howard already has it set up to auction within a few days. Garnett ends up borrowing the opal in exchange for one of his championship rings and has one of the best games of his career on the basketball court, making it the good-luck charm he has to have at the tail-end of his career. In the meantime, Howard has ended up pawning off Garnett's ring and used the money to bet big on Garnett's performance. Directed by Benny and Joshua Safdie.

Jan 20

17 min

1917 takes place in Northern France amid the Great War. Lance Corporals Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) are two British soldiers commanded to carry orders from their General (Colin Firth) across No Man’s Land then behind German-occupied enemy lines. The mission-critical orders are for a battalion of 1600 British soldiers, including Blake’s brother, to stand down from their planned raid the next morning against the Germans who are setting them up for a massive ambush. Through trenches, decimated towns, and bombed-out structures, the duo traverses, cautiously but expeditiously, to save the lives of their fellow soldiers. Sam Mendes directs.

Jan 8

10 min

Most of the film surrounds the events leading up to France's illustrious 24 Hours of Le Mans auto racing event, mostly glossing over Ford losses in 1964 and 1965 as roads poorly chosen. We start with Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), a former elite racecar driver, the first American driver to win at Le Mans, who retires into designing racecars and coaching the next generation of elite racers after finding out he has heart disease. Considered a maverick by his contemporaries, his services are sought when the Ford Motor Company, who are attempting to brand their vehicles to younger people who want style and sex appeal in the cars they buy, planned to acquire the financially struggling Ferrari in 1963. Those plans fall through spectacularly, leaving both sides feeling insulted. Ford wants to show Ferrari, and the world, that they are more than just a company that can mass produce family vehicles. Shelby sets about building what would come to be known as the Ford GT40 model, trying to maximize power and minimize weight and drag to be the fastest racer on Earth. Christian Bale plays British racecar driver Ken Miles, sought by Shelby to help his test out his designs to give them a chance to come out on top in the grudge match between Ford and Ferrari. He's skilled at what he does, but Henry Ford II wants him replaced by someone less of a loose cannon and willing to tow the Ford line to the media. Ken's wife, Mollie (Caitriona Balfe), and his son, Peter (Noah Jupe), feel ambivalence about his quest to be the best. They want him to bring home the bacon, but they're also afraid that he'll be another casualty in the car racing arena who doesn't get out of his car in time. Shelby must weigh his friendship and knowledge that Miles is the best shot to win with the needs of his funders, who are only in it to promote their brand. James Mangold directs.

Jan 2

16 min

The Rise of Skywalker takes place sometime after the events of The Last Jedi. Rey (Daisy Ridley) has been in training with General Leia (Carrie Fisher) on how to be an elite Jedi. She ends up abruptly leaving so that she and her merry gang of Resistance fighters can hop around the galaxy. They’re looking for a Wayfinder crystal that is the key to finding the planet called Exogol, where the Siths reside, led by the return of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who is somehow still alive. Obstacles abound, including First Order leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Ren is ostensibly seeking to help Palpatine return to power, trying to get his hands on the Wayfinder for himself, possibly to join forces with Palpatine to enact the Final Order to bring the galaxy to its knees. J.J. Abrams directs. John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, Billy Dee Williams, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Kelly Marie Tran also appear

Dec 2019

13 min

The Irishman is a tale spun from the vantage point of an older man in a nursing home and displayed through a series of extended confessional flashbacks. Robert De Niro takes the lead role of World War II veteran meat-delivery driver Frank Sheeran, who, beginning in the 1950s, gets involved as a hitman for the mob after meeting and providing his services to well-known crime boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci). During his time working with Russell, Frank ends up meeting and becoming a close confidant of the nation's most influential union boss, Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), known for using strongarm tactics to bring the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union to power. Organized crime had a significant influence in this era, on the unions, in business, and up to the highest levels of government, and Frank finds himself on the rise playing bodyguard and man of trust to Hoffa in his attempts to keep control of the most powerful union in the country. Martin Scorsese directs.

Dec 2019

25 min

Bombshell is a somewhat loose recounting of the toxic, cultish, and highly sexist atmosphere that permeated Fox News under the tenure of their CEO, Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). Most of the events that take place in the film occur in 2016, during the middle of the presidential race that would culminate in Donald Trump’s election. It’s in this period that fading Fox star Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) would find herself on the outs. She would file an explosive sexual harassment charge against Ailes, who was considered the most influential man in news, a moniker that only fed into his narcissistic notions of being special and above standard rules. Fox News gave many women breaks, but many of them were objectified, wanting them to show off a certain sex appeal to deliver the news to their viewers. Margot Robbie co-stars as a composite character based on several of Ailes’ two dozen other accusers, Kayla, who is young, ambitious, Christian, and a firm believer in the Fox News mission. Also, she is beautiful enough to catch Ailes’ eye, offering her a fast-pass to success if he can get something from the relationship in return in terms of sex, power exchange, the gratification of his ego, and unquestioning loyalty. Charlize Theron Plays Megyn Kelly, who has a checkered history with Ailes that she has kept secret in exchange for her career, but now she must come to grips with whether to come out with her story or risk finding herself on the outs in the news business. Jay Roach directs.

Dec 2019

16 min

Dark Waters is a film based on the true story of a corporate lawyer who ends up taking on DuPont Chemical. The origin of the screenplay originated from a Nathaniel Rich expose on attorney Rob Billott in The New York Times Magazine published in January of 2016 entitled, "The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare." The story detailed a crusading corporate attorney who went back to his hometown to take on the polluters who were destroying it. Actor and environmental activist Mark Ruffalo read the article and thought it would make for a compelling movie, optioning the rights and serving as a producer for the project. Ruffalo gives a deliberately dry and restrained performance as Rob Bilott, an attorney working for a successful and conservative-minded Cincinnati-based firm of corporate lawyers. Every step of the way smacks of reluctance that holds him back, but a stronger conscience that drives him forward. His skills for protecting corporations are put to the test after a cattle farmer from his small home town in West Virginia approaches him, imploring him to look into why his livestock is diseased and their offspring born with severe congenital disabilities. He and his family might be getting cancer due to their exposure as well. Anne Hathaway and Tim Robbins co-star. Todd Haynes directs.

Dec 2019

19 min

Set somewhere in New England, the plot of this murder mystery involves the death of the patriarch of the Thrombey family, Harlan (Christopher Plummer). Harlan is a wildly successful mystery novelist who has amassed a small fortune running a publishing company for his and other books. While initially thought to be suicide, several guests at Harlan's 85th birthday acted quite suspiciously before his death that leaves open the possibility of foul play. Along with the police, an unknown person hires a famous detective named Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to check into the matter beyond the standard police questioning. Our main conduit into the story, however, is Marta (Ana de Armas), Harlan's nurse that has a strange affliction where she will toss her cookies whenever she lies, making her an instant way to vet the truth, provided that she knows it. With Marta by his side, Blanc finds there may be more to the suicide than he initially thought, though the hows and whys remain elusive. Rian Johnson writes and directs. Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, and LaKeith Stanfield also appear.

Nov 2019

14 min

Executive produced by Ben Wheatley, In Fabric is a comedic horror film from Peter Strickland, who made critical splashes with prior small-scale efforts like the crafty, Giallo-homage of Berberian Sound Studio and the fetishistic tale found in The Duke of Burgundy. Strickland's penchant for exploring unique scenarios continues with this more expansive story about a sexy "artery red" dress bought by Sheila, a lonely, recently divorced middle-aged London bank clerk, at Dentley & Soper, a bizarre department store that may be selling haunted wares during the rush of its January sales. What Sheila doesn't know is that the cost of the dress is more than just the money she paid for it. Peter Strickland writes and directs this eerie dark comedy that explores the nature of the power of fashion.

Nov 2019

16 min

There's something to Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) that's been deeply troubling him - an incident in the past that haunts him that his continued existence on the island serves as a persistent reminder. Their shift on the island in the middle of the sea was originally to be four weeks in duration.  Due to a leg injury, the boss, Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe), requires Ephraim to do nearly all of the physical labor on his behalf, which the younger man comes to deeply resent, feeling like a slave during the day and treated no better than an animal at night. On his end, Thomas feels like Ephraim doesn't respect his authority, and his cooking skills, and he's going to break the lad to fear him if he won't at least show him the respect of his position., The wall between them is so prevalent, despite being in close proximity to one another, they don't even learn each other's names until well into their scheduled stay. From there, things get occasionally better, but often far worse, as Ephraim's fear, guilt, and paranoia begin to get the better of him, combined with the toxicity of heavy drinking and feelings of overwhelming isolation. Visions come into his head of lusty mermaids, mocking seagulls, and a dead body he seems to know more about than he cares to remember. Robert Eggers directs and co-writes this unique psychological folk tale of a sort.

Nov 2019

12 min

As with the other Terminator films, a protagonist and antagonist are sent back to the modern-day from a dark future using a time-travel device. The protagonist (Mackenzie Davis) is a technologically augmented human super-soldier named Grace, who lands in Mexico City in order to try to act as a savior for humanity in the future (Natalia Reyes). The antagonist (Gabriel Luna) is an ultra-powerful Terminator model called a Rev-9, whose mission it is to terminate a young female autoworker living in Mexico named Dani Ramos. Lending assistance to the resistance is the return of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), who sees kinship in Dani because she has been thrust into the same position as key to humans surviving the A.I. onslaught of the future. Arnold Schwarzenegger makes an appearance in the second half of the film as a T-800 model Terminator named "Carl" who has assimilated into human society after completing his mission of taking out John Connor. Tim Miller directs.

Oct 2019

11 min

Will Smith stars as Henry Brogan, a top-notch sniper and skilled combat fighter working for a black ops government agency named Gemini, performing one last kill before retiring from the assassin business at the ripe age of 50. He's the best at what he does but hates the man he's become, unable to even look at himself in the mirror without observing disappointment and pain. But just when he thinks he's pulling out, they pull him back in, discovering that he's been misled by his superior at Gemini, Clay (Clive Owen), in the nature of his latest assassination, making him feel betrayed. Along with fellow agent and his new ally, Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and his trusty pal Baron (Benedict Wong), Henry soon discovers they are trying to take him out as well, but with a younger, more agile, less angsty version of himself named Junior. Ang Lee directs this futuristic action-thriller.

Oct 2019

8 min

Set in a crime-ridden Gotham City sometime in the early 1980s, Joaquin Phoenix stars as Arthur Fleck, a man who has been dealing with mental challenges his entire life, with little to show for all of his efforts to keep on the sane path. One of his afflictions is his uncontrollable laughter when faced with things that make him anxious, which often gets him into further trouble on its own. He’s living in a Gotham City apartment with his ailing mother, Penny (Frances Conroy), trying to make it on his own either as a clown or as a stand-up comedian, on the hope of getting on the number-one late-night talk show starring Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). Even with the several medications that he is on, his afflictions often get the better of him, but now he’s lost his job, his therapist, his meds, and his sanity, but finds there may be a new path to an audience when he gains notoriety as a Bernard Goetz-style subway shooter. Directed and co-written by Todd Phillips.

Oct 2019

10 min

Starting off in 2007, Constance Wu stars as Destiny, a newbie stripper trying to make it in the clubs of New York's competitive environment in order to earn enough money to support her and her ailing grandmother. Backstage she meets and ends up being mentored by a legendary veteran stripper named Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), who completely cleans up in terms of money whenever she appears on the stage or off. However, the great recession of 2008 soon hits, with opportunities completely drying up to earn cash in the strip clubs, with both ladies struggling to make ends meet. That is until Ramona decides to put her skills at working the crowds of men to the test, gathering up Destiny and several other stripper friends to lure in the Wall Street types with corporate accounts to swindle them out of thousands of dollars at a time.

Sep 2019

10 min

Jillian Bell stars as Brittany Forgler, a broke and down-on-her-luck woman in her late 20s who moved from Philadelphia to New York to pursue a career that didn't quite pan out. Her quest for success doesn't motivate her so much as dropping out for fear of failure. She has a job she is ill-suited for and is overweight, spending much of her time living in the shadow of her perky and pretty roommate Gretchen, going to clubs where she buries her feelings into a toxic combination of drinking, drugs, casual sex, and less-than-healthy food. A doctor's visit to try to score some Adderall leads her to discover that her weight has gotten quite far away from her, to the point where it is affecting her health, both physically and mentally. She needs to lose about 50 lbs. to get to avoid further health issues of a BMI in the obese range. Due to the high cost of joining a gym without much income, Brittany begins jogging for exercise, starting with a trip around the block, but discipline is a challenge, as is putting herself out there for the world to see. She soon joins a club for runners in the city along with her soon-to-be-divorced neighbor Catherine (Michaela Watkins) and her newfound and newfound running friend, Seth (Micah Stock). She even gets a new job dog-sitting for some well-to-do types who are away for long periods, where she meets the ultimate slacker co-worker in Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who convinces her to squat in their employers' abode. To keep her motivated, she and her friends set out to compete in the next New York City Marathon, but to do that requires the kind of discipline she's never known up to that point in her life. Paul Downs Colaizzo writes and directs this comedy-drama.

Sep 2019

10 min

Zack Gottsagen is a young man with Down syndrome who is persistently trying to escape from his care facility in order to go meet his idol, a professional wrestler named the Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Curch), who runs a wrestling school in Florida, hoping to fulfill his dream of becoming a pro wrestler himself. Along the way from the shores of North Carolina, he meets a wayward neer-do-well named Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), who is on the run after practically destroying the business of a local crab fisherman. Meanwhile, a woman who works at the care facility named Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) is tasked with tracking down Zak before he gets himself into further trouble, leading to a conflict between Zak's quest to meet his idol, Tyler's desire to help him while avoiding his comeuppance, and Eleanor's quest to do what her employers ask without making things worse for the resident she cares for.

Sep 2019

14 min

The raunchy story surrounds three 12-year-old boys, best friends since kindergarten, dubbing themselves the Bean Bag Boys because -- well, they all had beanbags. Now they're in middle school and finding it hard to cope with the pressure of their peers to be considered cool among them. Max (Jacob Tremblay) has a crush and might be able to finally make a connection with the object of his desires once he gets invited to a 'kissing party' where the popular kids are all going. Trouble is, he doesn't know how to kiss (or, apparently, how to figure out where to find out). Thor (Brady Noon) is the gifted singer who gives up on it because he doesn't want to be teased, especially as he already is getting the nickname of "Sippy Cup" because he refuses to drink from a bottle of beer with the other boys. Lucas's (Keith L. Williams) parents are getting divorced, leaving him feeling out of sorts, and his sense of right and wrong tend to make him unable to understand why his friends are so willing to bend the rules to score points with other kids that don't seem to care about their well-being at all.

Aug 2019

11 min

Hattie (played by Vanessa Kirby) is an MI6 agent on a mission to keep a deadly virus named Snowflake, which can liquefy the internal organs of humans who contract it, from getting into the hands of a faction of mercenaries under the employ of an evil tech-based organization called Eteon, led by Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), a hi-tech assassin with technology-augmented senses that make him a swiss-army knife of deadly skills, something seen by the company as the future of a humanity soon to die off. In a desperation move, Hattie injects the virus into her own body, giving her only 3 days to get it back out before it actually does what it's supposed to do, and instantly making her the most sought-after fugitive in the world by bad guys and good guys alike. Hired to find Hattie before Lore finds her first is the titular bickering team of Los Angeles-based single father and retired DSS agent Luke Hobbs and ex-special ops mercenary Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the latter of whom is soon revealed to be the estranged older sibling of Hattie. But to save Hattie, they also need to secure the services of a genius scientist, who is perhaps the only one with the technology necessary to extract the virus back out of Hattie, making him a target of Eteon's forces as well. David Leitch directs this comic spin-off from the Fast & Furious franchise.

Aug 2019

11 min

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Rick Dalton, a Hollywood star who is seeing his brightness fade in the ever-changing and fickle industry.  Brad Pitt stars as Cliff Booth, his dedicated stuntman, chauffeur, and overall sidekick in life. The outlook looks bleaker each time out for both of them, as Dalton goes from leading-man roles in films to heavies on TV shows, mulling over advice to continue his career starring in Italian films rather than take a back seat in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Cliff ends up getting into his own kerfuffles on the side, including a spat with none other than Bruce Lee, a young hippie that he flirts with while out driving around the streets of Los Angeles, and dealing with a past that includes questions on whether he might have murdered his own wife and gotten away with it. Quentin Tarantino writes and directs this pop-culture pastiche love letter to Hollywood at the end to the 1960s.

Jul 2019

13 min

Set sometime in a future in which natural resources like water have become scarce. Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Ruth, a recovering drug addict on the run due to the fact that she just might be someone who possesses some sort of seizure that reveals an earth-shattering (literally) superpower that causes a shift in tectonic plates that never move, making her the target for experimentation from government scientists. Broke and desperate, she ends up returning to the rural home he ran away from when she was much younger, where her mother Bo and mostly estranged daughter Lila reside, who also have their own form of powers. Julia Hart directs this superhero tale of a different sort.

Jul 2019

10 min

Thirty years ago, J.J. (Jessie T. Usher) was fathered by Samuel L. Jackson's Shaft, who was immediately estranged from his kid by the mother, Maya, who wants to keep her child's life from the daily danger that Shaft is surrounded by. Shaft keeps his toe in the water with J.J. by sending presents on birthdays and holidays that often show how out of touch he is, not only in what's going on in J.J.'s life but also in what is acceptable by standards of our less politically incorrect world. J.J. Shaft works primarily as a desk jockey in the FBI.  J.J. learns that his old friend Karim and sometimes protector died from an overdose in Harlem. Knowing that his friend had turned his life around, J.J. thinks the death smells funny and decides to investigate the cause, leading him to ask questions in a drug dealer's lair that gets him nearly killed.  Desperate to move on with his investigation, J.J. reaches out to the father he never knew, currently working as a hardboiled private investigator in town, who readily accepts his role as his son's new protector and mentor of all things "manly". They soon discover there is, of course, far more involved in Karim's death than what the official report says, and soon the men find themselves in the middle of a murder case. Tim Story directs this semi-spoof of its own franchise. Richard Roundtree takes a small role as the original John Shaft.

Jul 2019

10 min

Jake Gyllenhaal gets to don the "fishbowl" as Quentin Beck, the interdimensional savior of Venice when a giant water monster surfaces to try to destroy the city.  Peter Parker (Tom Holland) happens to be there at the time, as he has traveled to Europe for a week-long class trip. Peter, of course, is gifted with superhero powers, but doesn't have the "great responsibility of other incarnations of the character, and would rather just be a teenager and do teenage things, like trying to find a way to express his feelings to his major crush, MJ (Zendaya), doing it atop the Eiffel Tower..  With the Avengers in a sort of disarray, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) assembles Beck, dubbed in the press as Mysterio, with Spider-Man who sees the new hero as a surrogate mentor to live up to in the wake of Tony Stark's demise,  in order to stop future scary elementals from coming out of the woodworks again to destroy a major city. Jon Watts directs this MCU release.

Jul 2019

12 min

After the Earth’s rotation is disturbed due to environmental fallout resulting from “polar fracking”, strange natural phenomena begin occurring all over the globe, including, in one area at least, the dead coming back to life to feast on the living. Bill Murray stars in his second zombie comedy as Cliff Robertson, the chief of police for the small, Mayberry-esque town of Centerville. He, along with his partner in fighting very little crime, officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) find themselves having to deal with the gruesome deaths they uncover, coming to the realization that things may not end well for themselves or their community if they don’t take decisive action. Jim Jarmusch writes and directs. Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Iggy Pop, Selena Gomez, and RZA also appear in this zombie comedy.

Jun 2019

12 min

n this thoughtful sci-fi film, Clara Rugaard plays a young teenager we only hear referred to as 'daughter' by 'mother', who is has an android body with a soothing woman's voice (Mother's finished voice-over acting provided by Rose Byrne). We soon come to find that Mother is an artificial intelligence robot that works within a facility that is raising children in order to learn how to properly nurture them to adulthood, for the purpose of one day repopulating the contaminated Earth that lies outside of their safe enclosure in this post-apocalyptic tale. Daughter is the only living human in the facility, though Mother says that her family, which is a collection of human embryos currently being kept on tap, can be born and raised using a quick-gestation technology that we see Daughter produced from when the time comes. Hilary Swank also appears in a supporting role in this film directed by Grant Sputore.

Jun 2019

10 min

For this fourth entry in the series, out are Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.  Instead, we get two new characters to follow working for the super-secret government organization to protect Earth from interdimensional threats and to keep knowledge of alien lifeforms away from human knowledge. The two are Tessa Thompson’s newly on-board Agent M and Chris Hemsworth’s roguish veteran named Agent H. The two “Men in Black” get their assignment from their boss, High T (Liam Neeson), to look after an alien of some renown and influence that is sought after by sinister forces for reasons come to learn more about through the course of the film. In the ensuing attempt at assassination, M is given a mysterious crystal object, one she knows must be important enough to make her a target, but something that serves no use to her until she can unlock its secret purpose. F. Gary Gray takes over the series from Barry Sonnefeld.

Jun 2019

9 min

The plot, initially set in 1992 after a prologue with a tragic event in Jean Grey's childhood back in 1975, continues with the First Class set of mutants and involves a presidentially sanctioned trip into space in order to rescue a space shuttle. Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) commits an act of heroism in trying to keep the space shuttle together as the crew is rounded up to safety, absorbing a massive wave of energy that should have easily taken her life. She ends up surviving the ordeal, much to everyone's relief.  But something is a bit off with Jean, finding herself with enhanced senses, and growing even more powerful than she had ever been before.  Exhilarating at first, but now she's becoming increasingly unstable, scared she's beginning to lose control to her new nature, with an internal fight going on that is an even bigger match than the external one that involves her in a battle with fellow mutants who are trying to contain what is rapidly becoming the most powerful, perhaps even unstoppable, mutant of all. Simon Kinberg writes and directs.

Jun 2019

15 min

Eco-terrorist Alan Jonah (Charles Dance), who has taken as hostage a paleobiologist under the employ of the Titan-research group known as Monarch, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), along with her teenage daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), to utilize Orca, an experimental mind-control technology she created to try to control the Titans, the giant monsters of the Earth that he sees as protecting the planet from humanity's continued exploitation and destruction, effectively by destroying most of human civilization as we know it. Emma's estranged husband Mark, who is trying to get his life back together after losing his son in the wake of Godzilla's 2014 rampage, is out to find them and save them from further efforts to destroy the world, or themselves. Mark soon hooks up with Emma's team of scientists at Monarch, as well as members of the military, to try to find a way to thwart Jonah's plans and to keep the escalating numbers of monsters, led by the invasive three-headed alpha Titan named King Ghidorah, from destroying everything we hold dear. Godzilla may be their last line of defense, but where is he?

Jun 2019

9 min

The main premise is that two childhood friends, Sasha Tran (Ali Wong) and Marcus Kim (Randall Park), end up consummating their time growing up together as Asian-American teens in San Francisco with their first sexual experience, only to find their friendship has become awkward after going beyond the friend zone. These besties soon drift apart and lose connection as they progress into adulthood, with Sasha hitting the big time by becoming one of the most successful celebrity chefs in Los Angeles, while Marcus works by day in his father's small-scale HVAC company while performing at the same dive bar frequently with the hip-hop group he's been in since he was a teenager. When Sasha going to the opening of one of her posh restaurants in San Francisco, she ends up getting reacquainted with her old friend Marcus and finds him exactly in the same place, driving the same car, doing the same things all these years, while she's become a jet-setting millionaire.  Neither can stand each other's lives, but they seem to enjoy each other's company for the time being, and with both stuck in relationships that may not lead anywhere, there's a "maybe" that develops, even though it seems their different lifestyles can never coexist without someone giving in.  Nahnatchka Khan directs this romantic comedy in the vein of "When Harry Met Sally". Keanu Reeves gets an inspired bit part.

Jun 2019

11 min

BFFs Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) have busted their tails off academically all through high school to set themselves up for post-graduation excellence, with Molly accepted to Yale and Amy going on a mission to help the poor in Africa. Their world gets rocked when they realize that the kids around them that looked like they just lived for partying are also going to similarly great colleges, or have lucrative careers waiting for them. Upset that they sacrificed all their fun for the same rewards, Molly and Amy decide to go out and have a blast and finally “break some rules” at the biggest house party in town for their last night before graduation.  However, they soon learn a few things about life, themselves, and one another, especially in how things don’t always go according to plan. Olivia Wilde directs this teen comedy.

May 2019

12 min

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum spins off its plot from something that happens in the second chapter, namely that John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is now "excommunicado" by the High Table that controls the world's leading organization of assassins for killing someone inside the assassin's "sacred ground" of the Continental Hotel in New York - a big no-no. that sees a huge bounty put on his head. John has very few places he can run, and he'll eventually run out of safe havens, but he means to keep himself alive long enough to be able to get himself back into the High Table's good graces somehow.  Nevertheless, the assassins after him are skilled and ruthless, especially the calculating woman known as The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), who is busy dishing out nasty revenge on anyone caught helping out their buddy in defiance of the orders.

May 2019

11 min

Johnny Depp stars as an English professor for a prestigious New England college named Richard Brown who learns he has late-stage lung cancer and probably only six months to live without treatment, which he doesn't plan on seeking.  On top of this, Richard is also a terminally bored, self-absorbed jerk whose own life has been falling apart long before this diagnosis. His wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) is cheating on him, with the chancellor at his school (Ron Livingston), no less. Now he can say whatever he feels like, knowing he's on his way out, and what he has to say is not always kind.  With perhaps only months left, he decides to continue to teach his literature class, hoping to impart some actual value to his current crop of students before he succumbs to the disease. He's also going to try to experience life without worrying about the consequences - a life he comes to realize he should have been trying to live all along.

May 2019

8 min

Amy Poehler directs her first feature film with Netflix's WINE COUNTRY, about six women who question their friendships and futures when they take a girls' trip to Napa Valley, California, to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of them.  Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, Emily Spivey, Tina Fey, Jason Schwartzman star for fans of old "Saturday Night Live".

May 2019

9 min

In this raunchy romantic comedy, schlubby Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen), an established left-wing journalist whose uncompromisingly progressive Brooklyn-based online news site has found itself taken over by a right-wing corporatist that he refuses to kowtow to. Due to his deep-seated principles, Fred quits immediately, but he's bummed out at having to start over again. His best friend, Lance (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) takes him out to blow off some steam and forget hir troubles for a while with a performance from Boyz II Men at a swank charity fund-raising party, and while there, Flarsky ends up running into the Secretary of State of the United States, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), who he just so happens to have once known, as the older girl next door who used to babysit him, and with whom he has had a crush ever since.  The two end up catching up, and it just so happens that she's looking for a writer to punch up her speeches with wit and humor, and with him needing a job, it's impossible to say no.  He's a refreshing change of pace to Field, who hasn't been able to enjoy herself for a very long time, but with presidential aspirations on her horizon, the gossipy public isn't likely going to accept such a mismatch should she pursue Flarsky romantically.

May 2019

11 min

This biopic on Ted Bundy covers mostly the ten years between 1969 and 1979, where we find the seemingly sweet courtship of single mom Liz Kendall (Lily Collins) on the part of Ted Bundy (Zac Efron), who seems like an ideal dream man when they meet and seems to be a loving and nurturing father figure to her young daughter over the years. Things take a turn when Bundy leaves their home in Seattle to attend law school in Utah, especially when he gets tagged as a suspect in a kidnapping and murder case that he fits the description of, though the facts don't quite align enough for him to be the definitive culprit. Elizabeth stays by his side, but Bundy continues to do things that seem to further sink him into legal troubles, making her wonder if he is the serial killer in disguise, or if all of it is the elaborate frame job by overzealous law enforcement seeking to put him away without incontrovertible evidence to nail him for good. Bundy soon becomes a bit of a media darling, with groupies across the country falling under his dreamy spell, including Carole Ann Boone (Kaya Scodelario), who becomes Bundy's lover and source of strength at a time when Liz has decided to keep her distance.

May 2019

9 min

Endgame starts in a world following "the snap" delivered by Thanos that extinguished half of all life within the galaxy in an instant, without a trace, in his effort to bring what he feels is a much-needed balance and tranquility caused by overcrowding interests.  After a brief intro, we fast forward five years to find a world that has had trouble moving on from the loss of their many loved ones, especially the surviving Avengers (conveniently, all the characters that comprised of the first core team are among them), who feel a particular sense of guilt for not being able to save the billions they were sworn to protect.  However, a new idea develops to find a way to reverse the situation through a risky and highly improbable gambit in which they must try to traverse time and space to re-connect all of the Infinity Stones and bring back all of those who vanished without losing the good things that have happened since that fateful day. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner, and many, many, many, MANY more appear in this massive crossover event.

Apr 2019

13 min

In this Neil Marshall reboot, we already have an established the scarlet-bodied Hellboy (David Harbour) as part of the B.P.R.D. (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense), working for his adoptive father, Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), in corraling and eradicating malevolent supernatural menaces wherever they may arise around the world. Hellboy reunites with Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), a powerful medium, and a cat-beast man named Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), in order to prevent the Blood Queen from Arthurian times named Nimue (Milla Jovovich) from taking a mate and growing powerful enough to finally take over the world and eliminate the human presence upon it once and for all.

Apr 2019

12 min

Film-maker Terry Gilliam has finally made it to the finish line with his seemingly quixotic quest to make a film version of Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote", decades in the making.  Adam Driver is the main star, playing a hot-shot hothead director named Toby, who is attempting to shoot a commercial in Los Sueños (aka, “The Dreams”), Spain with elements of Miguel de Cervantes’ epic, “Don Quixote”. He’s been down this road before, a decade prior, shooting it as a low-budget student film when he was humble and first getting his taste of the movie-making business.  He had the perfect Don Quixote for his film, a show repairman named Javier (Jonathan Pryce) that he discovered and had to mold into some sort of actor.  Now, many years later, Toby sees the aftermath of what he left behind in the small village he once shot in, finding Javier now actually thinking he is the true Don Quixote.  What’s worse, he believes (and truly insists) that Toby is his squire, Sancho Panza. From there, fiction becomes fact, as Toby finds himself on a wild ride in trying to corral Don Quixote to sanity, all the while he himself begins to question his own grasp on reality with a series of adventures that may or may not be a fantasy of his own.

Apr 2019

12 min

Pet Sematary is the second film adaptation of the Stephen King novel first published in 1983. The premise involves a family of four who relocate from the hustle and bustle of Boston to a small town in Maine called Ludlow on a wide parcel of land that includes many acres of wooded forest. It’s in that forest that their daughter Ellie (Jete Laurence) discovers a cemetery for beloved pets of people in the surrounding area, going back decades, including one belonging to their elderly neighbor Jud (John Lithgow).  Turns out they may need the use of the cemetery, as their kind kitty named Church gets run over, causing the father, Louis (Jason Clarke), to have to bury the cat, though he can’t quite bring himself to tell Ellie and break her heart. Jud doesn’t want to see that happen and suggests burying Church in a special place far deeper into the woods. Lo and behold, Church is back with the family the next day, but it’s clear he’s not quite himself anymore.

Apr 2019

10 min

In this lighthearted DCEU entry, Billy Batson is a trouble-making fourteen-year-old living in a foster home in Philadelphia, having been abandoned by a young mother he's been searching for since she left him at a crowded carnival many years prior. One day, the sleuthing prankster gets transported after an act of bravery to another realms to meet a powerful and reclusive wizard, who has been on a long-term search for someone pure of heart to pass on his magical powers to. The wizard bestows upon Billy the power to turn into an muscle-bound, adult-bodied, costumed superhero by using his name of "Shazam!" Along with his superhero-loving best friend in the foster home, Freddy, the still adolescent-minded Billy has plenty of fun in discovering his new powers and all of the things he can do with them, from buying beer to giving the school bullies some comeuppance. However, things get serious with the emergence of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, once past over as unworthy by the wizard and seeking to usurp them from Billy, along with the cabal of demon-like possessors within him, representing the Seven Deadly Sins who plan to come to power with Sivana as their vessel to the outside world.

Apr 2019

9 min

The Dirt is a Netflix biopic featuring re-enactments of some of the wild, raunchy and tragic stories as told by the members of popular 80's/90's metal band Motley Crue in their autobiographical book of the same name.  Starring Douglas Booth, Machine Gun Kelly, Daniel Webber, and Iwan Rheon.  Directed by Jeff Tremaine.

Mar 2019

10 min

Dragged Across Concrete is writer-director S. Craig Zahler’s further exploration of the seamy underbelly of American society, particularly through the prism of how that experience causes ripple effects that throw even innocent people into the wake of the criminals.  Most of the action follows the exploits of two cops in the fictional city of Bulwark, the older burnout Brett Ridgeman (Mel Gibson) and his younger partner Anthony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn), who get suspended from the force after they are caught on camera going a little too far in roughing up a suspect in the current environment that frowns on the perception of racial profiling. The other major story arc in the film involves Henry Johns, just released from prison, going back to a life of crime in order to provide for his mother (a drug user who has been prostituting herself for needed cash) and disabled younger brother, who has aspirations of becoming a video game developer. The two stories converge when the cops decide they’re going to snatch money from a secretive drug dealer named Vogelmann, while Henry, working for that guy, becomes the wheel-man in a bank heist.

Mar 2019

13 min

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