Friday, July 31, 2020

What to Watch This Weekend: July 31, 2020

The Poignant Family Drama: Ice Cream in the Cupboard (Digital)
Ice Cream in the Cupboard ultimately depicts a beautiful relationship, even if you have to view it through a painful lense.  It is touching, beautiful, and brutal and should not be missed.  For more information, check out our review!

The Quarantine Zoom Horror Movie: Host (Shudder)
Host dials in the scares with a clever use of technology, references to the current predicament, and enough jump scares to keep you from dropping out of this zoom meeting.  For more information, check out our review!

The Modern Political Thriller: The Hater (Netflix)
The Hater explores a timely issue with an amazing performance by Musialowski, stellar sound design, and a dark, engaging story.  Make sure to Like this one!  For more information, check out our review!

The Scary Weekend Getaway: The Beach House (Shudder)
It may not be a perfect time to do a beach trip, but The Beach House is a great way to spend your afternoon with its strong performances and many explanations for this impending threat.  For more information, check out our review!

The Emotional And Violent Family Affair: The Shadow of Violence (Digital)
Shadow of Violence is an emotional tour de force, with great characters, a powerful, impactful soundtrack, and a story that hits you early and hard.  For more information, check out our review!

The Atmospheric Horror Movie: Amulet (Digital)
Amulet tells a strange tale through its amazing sense of dread, unsettling sound effects, and simmering, complex story.  It won't be for everyone but there is plenty here for those looking for an atmospheric horror experience to appreciate.  For more information, check out our review!

The Documentary That Goes On A Rampage: Tread (Netflix)
Tread tells the story of Marvin Heemeyer, a master welder who quietly fortifies a bulldozer and systematically destroys numerous businesses and homes in the small mountain town of Granby, Colorado.  The man basically built himself a tank and went on a rampage.

The Edward Norton Crime Thriller: Motherless Brooklyn (HBO)
Motherless Brooklyn is an experience, with a fantastic setting that captures the lights, sounds, and soul of 1950’s New York and fills it with a cast of interesting characters to meet along the way.  For more information, check out our review!

Scoob! (Redbox)
Scoob! tries to play on the nostalgia for the franchise and if it would have stuck to this, it might have been an entertaining reboot of the Scooby Doo franchise.  For more information, check out our story!

Ice Cream in the Cupboard Review: A Beautiful And Painful Family Portrait

Release date: August 7, 2019 (Digital July 28, 2020)
Running time: 90 minutes
Starring: Dana Ashbrook, Claudia Ferri, Jaime King

After being physically attacked by his loving wife Carmen (Ferri), a series of unsettling incidents lead her husband Pat (Ashbrook) to question just what is happening to her. It's only when Carmen can't find her own house one day, that she and Pat are ready to face the unimaginable: Carmen has early onset Alzheimer's.  As her cognition deteriorates, Pat and Carmen have to try to deal with the prospect of this terrible disease and salvage what they can from their life together.  


Ice Cream in the Cupboard is all about the characters, and they are really fantastic.  The film focuses on the relationship of Pat and Carmen, while also splicing in scenes from their past.  The two characters are well developed and perfectly acted.  Pat is a supportive, devoted husband who is dealing with an impossible situation.  Carmen is a fiery, loving wife who is on the decline due to her condition.  Their relationship feels very real and authentic; some of the emotional scenes are painful to watch.  As Carmen's condition deteriorates, these emotional scenes take on a new gravity.  And the splicing in of scenes from their past is a great way to show how they met and the beginnings of their relationship, but it is also a painful reminder of what used to be.  And although Pat and Carmen are the main draws of the film, their two kids are an added touch and do a great job of highlighting that this is a family situation.  

But Ice Cream in the Cupboard is ultimately a beautiful film about a painful situation.  There are so many little touches in the film that make this relationship feel real.  From little thoughtful gestures, to references that the pair make, to how the two interact; you will be rooting for this couple the entire time.  Which ultimately makes some of the more painful mental health scenes all the more poignant and raw; when you see where this couple has come from it makes it all the more difficult to accept their current predicament.  But the beauty of this film isn't limited to the acting, story, and relationship. The music in Ice Cream in the Cupboard is also beautiful and moving, and really sets the scene when it is called upon.  And as with everything else in this movie, the ending also feels realistic and decidedly not Hollywood.  

Ice Cream in the Cupboard ultimately depicts a beautiful relationship, even if you have to view it through a painful lense.  It is touching, beautiful, and brutal and should not be missed.

Watch it.
For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.
This site contains affiliate links. //Commerce or this site may be compensated when you click through links on our site.

House of Humminbird Review: An Emotional Family Slice of Life

Release date: August 4, 2020
Running time: 138 minutes
Starring: Ji-hu Park, Sae-byeok Kim, Seung-Yun Lee 

Positioned against the backdrop of a rapidly expanding Seoul in 1994, 14-year-old Eun-hee (Park) moves through life like a hummingbird searching for a taste of sweetness wherever she may find it.  Ignored by her parents and abused by her brother, she finds her escape by roaming the neighborhood with her best friend, going on adventures, exploring young love, and experiencing everything that comes with growing up in a country on the brink of enormous change.


House of Hummingbird is a slow burning story, but in a good way.  As a slice of life drama, this movie spends a lot of time establishing the characters and their relationships.  You really get a sense of where everyone stands because so much time is spent on them.  And although the movie is focused on young Eun-hee, you really get a sense of the entire family and their passions, motivations, and fears.  And through this exploration of this one family, Director Bora Kim is able to convey so many issues.  The film touches on family expectations, on inter-family violence, and on expectations of women in a male dominated society.  There are some very raw scenes here that put this front and center, and Kim approaches it with a wonderful documentary eye.  Nothing is there to sway you, no unnecessary music, no cues to push the viewer one way or the other, but Kim naturally guides you to your conclusion with fantastic characters and wonderful shot choice.  

Speaking of the camera work, the camera work and cinematography in this film are simply phenomenal.  I adore directors that don't need to spell everything out for you and Kim has quickly risen on my list with her amazing cinematography.  She can tell you so much about what is going on in a scene and her characters from a simple shot.  She only needs to focus on a piece of the picture, but you can tell exactly what she is saying right then and there.  She trusts that the viewers will be able to see everything she is trying to tell without holding their hand.  And another thing about this film that is so powerful is just how good her characters are.  A good slice of life film will have characters who are more than one dimensional, and those in House of Hummingbird are layered and complex.  Some of the characters are brutal and demanding, but then when they need to be they are able to show their more vulnerable side.  You never quite know what you are going to get with these characters, but much like life, they are layered and nuanced.  Eun-hee herself is fairly emotionless for most of the film, but when Kim finally opens her up the film gets so much better.  

House of Hummingbird is like life.  It is a complicated, layered film but at the same time a simple exploration of a family in the midst of cultural change.  Like life, there is so much going on but Kim's amazing shot choice lets you just stop and appreciate what is happening in the now.  It is like family: messy, rough, emotional, but also beautiful. 

Watch it.
For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.
This site contains affiliate links. //Commerce or this site may be compensated when you click through links on our site.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

News: Liam Neeson is Back And Still Awesome In Honest Thief


Coming to theaters October 9, 2020. 

ABOUT HONEST THIEF

They call him the In and Out Bandit because meticulous thief Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) has stolen $9 million from small-town banks while managing to keep his identity a secret. But after he falls in love with the bubbly Annie (Kate Walsh), Tom decides to make a fresh start by coming clean about his criminal past, only to be double-crossed by two ruthless FBI agents.  

From the co-creator of Emmy-nominated series Ozark, thriller Honest Thief showcases Liam Neeson in a heartfelt tale of redemption, packed with fights, chases and explosions centered on one man's mission to make things right for the sake of love. 

Honest Thief is written and directed by Mark Williams and stars Liam Neeson (Taken)Kate Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy)Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice)Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad), and Anthony Ramos (Hamilton). The ensemble cast includes Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) and Jasmine Cephas Jones (Blindspotting).

Written and Directed By: Mark Wiliams
Starring: Liam Neeson, Kate Walsh, Jeffrey Donovan, Jai Courtney, Anthony Ramos
Produced By: Mark Williams, Myles Nestel, Tai Duncan, Craig Chapman, Jonah Loop

The Hater Review: A Political Thriller In The Social Media Age

Release date: July 30, 2020
Running time: 135 minutes
Starring: Maciej Musialowski, Vanessa Aleksander, Danuta Stenka 

Tomasz (Musialowski) is searching for identity and hoping to impress long time friend Gabi (Aleksander).  He finds a purpose in the dark world of social-media smear tactics and driven by his need to impress Gabi and her family, he soon finds he has quite the talent for it.  However, as he gets deeper into this world, he realizes that it has very real consequences.


The Hater is a Polish film but many of the themes and tactics would be just at home in an American movie.  The idea of exploring the dark side of social media is an interesting and sadly, very timely topic right now.  And the Hater does this in a dramatized way with some stellar actors.  Musialowski is amazing as Tomasz.  Much of the movie is driven by his need to succeed, and he is so good throughout this. He can be charming but also ruthless.  His character goes to all sorts of lengths to succeed and Musialowski is believable throughout.  And often times Tomasz's thoughts and motivations are not said, but are just depicted on his face, which Musialowski does very well.  Maciej Stuhr as up and coming Mayoral candidate Pawel Rudnicki is very convincing as a politician, with a genuine caring persona.  The rest of the cast are well cast and do an admirable job, but are not on the screen much outside of the main characters.  

The Hater's themes are very timely and appropriate especially with an upcoming election.  It shows the dark side of social media, not simply form a political standpoint.  Tomasz is very adept at learning about people through their online profiles and this is depicted perfectly.  The story is interesting and has enough going on to keep the viewer engaged despite the movie's relatively long run time.  And one thing that The Hater does amazingly well is in its sound design.  The film has a fantastic use of sound.  It has some really great electornic beats to set the tone, but often times the best use of sound is when there is none.  Sometimes it is the fact that there is no sound on screen that is really striking, and in these times The Hater uses this to really draw the viewer in.  The sound cuts off when it needs to and really emphasizes to the viewer what is going on.  It is really stellar and something that you notice instantly.  

The Hater explores a timely issue with an amazing performance by Musialowski, stellar sound design, and a dark, engaging story.  Make sure to Like this one!

Watch it.

Unboxing: House of Hummingbird on Blu-Ray

Thanks to our friends at Well Go USA, we have a special unboxing video for you of the upcoming, award winning film House of Hummingbird.  Positioned against the backdrop of a rapidly expanding Seoul in 1994, 14-year-old Eun-hee moves through life like a hummingbird searching for a taste of sweetness wherever she may find it.  Ignored by her parents and abused by her brother, she finds her escape by roaming the neighborhood with her best friend, going on adventures, exploring young love, and experiencing everything that comes with growing up in a country on the brink of enormous change.

Bora Kim makes her feature film directing debut in this emotional film.  HOUSE OF HUMMINGBIRD stars Ji-hu Park (The Witness), Sae-byuk Kim (The Day After), Seung-Yeon Lee (Alive) and In-gi Jeong (Chaser).

This video will show you what you get from the Blu-Ray copy of this movie.  The trailer for House of Hummingbird shows the emotional depth of the film and the care that Bora Kim took in making it..

Giveaway: Enter to win Gundala: Rise of a Hero on Blu-Ray

Thanks to our friends at Well Go USA, we are offering our readers the chance to win Gundala: Rise of a Hero on Blu-Ray, an electrifying origin story for a new supercharged super hero franchise (review).  Enter below for your chance to win.  Contest goes until 8/13/2020 so enter now and secure your chance to win!  Please note that this contest is only open to our readers in the United States due to shipping issues.

Want to know what you'll recieve?  Check out our unboxing video here.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

News: Focus Features Releases Trailer for Kajillionaire, Coming To Theaters September 18, 2020

Focus Features is releasing Kajillionaire in theaters on September 18, 2020, and is dropping the official trailer tomorrow.  Tune-In to watch the official trailer tomorrow!

Story: From acclaimed writer/director Miranda July comes a profoundly moving and wildly original comedy. Con-artists Theresa (Debra Winger) and Robert (Richard Jenkins) have spent 26 years training their only daughter, Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood), to swindle, scam, and steal at every opportunity. During a desperate, hastily conceived heist, they charm a stranger (Gina Rodriguez) into joining their next scam, only to have their entire world turned upside down.

Director/Writer: Miranda July
Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Youree Henley
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez, Richard Jenkins, Debra Winger


Check this site in September for additional information and a review of Kajillionaire.

Interview: Rob Savage (Director and Co-Writer) of Host, the New Found Footage Zoom Movie From Shudder

David dials in the spooky and chats over Zoom with Rob Savage, the director and co-writer of the brand new found footage horror film Host, which was shot entirely on Zoom (review).  We discuss the film, what it was like to make a movie during quarantine, how he overcame some of the issues, and have our own paranormal experience!  Rob gives us a lot of insight into how he got this creative project going and what it was like to make a movie remotely!

So give it a watch and if you haven't already seen the film, it is available on Shudder starting July 30, 2020.

Youtube Video Link

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Beach House Review: An Unexpected Weekend Getaway

Release Date: July 9, 2020
Running time: 88 minutes
Starring: Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber 

The Beach House is the story of two college sweethearts Emily (Liberato) and Randall (Gros) who planned a beach get away in the hopes of resolving some relationship friction. This quality time is quickly disrupted by the arrival of two unexpected guests.  But to make matters worse, a mysterious purplish fog has fallen over the beach neighborhood causing an infection that is spreading rapidly. After a night of unwinding with wine and edibles, Emily and Randall wake up to the ultimate test of survival as they try to unravel this unknown deadly event.

The Beach House is a good film on its own, and will give you hints of past films such as "The Mist."  And the feeling of being trapped that the couple goes through will resonate with those of us feeling trapped during the pandemic.  This is especially true because the purplish mist is infecting people with little information and understanding of the consequences.  And although Emily (who is studying Astrobiology) provides her own explanation and theory for the viewers, the reasons behind everything going on are left for us to decide.  This film will truly leave it up to its viewers to guess whats exactly is going on, and might cause the viewer to question their own choices and routines.  There were certain parts of the film that made me think twice about some of my own daily decisions.  This keenly personal aspect of this movie will result in everyone having different takeaways from the film as well as different emotions.  

The Beach House has more of an unsettling tone over a terrifying one. This cosmic horror film does an amazing job on many levels. The leads  of the film do a stellar job in their performances, which carry the film and cause the viewers to be invested in these characters.  Their performances allow the viewers to see a human element to this journey of the unknown.  When it comes to cosmic horror films, the job is to drive the ideal of life beyond earth as well as powers beyond our understanding that can lead to a world ending event.  This film takes great visuals and drives some interesting theories hard with solid performances.  All this mixes into a strong film that, despite being fairly short, will leave you with a lot to think about. 

It may not be a perfect time to do a beach trip, but The Beach House is a great way to spend your afternoon with its strong performances and many explanations for this impending threat.

Watch it.

Deal: Scoob! in 4K for $10

Right now it's hot outside, possibly storming, and your kids are probably running up the walls.  Well, why not give them an hour and a half reprieve with Scoob! in 4K.  Right now you can get it for $10 from various retailers in 4K.  And because it is Movies Anywhere, it will port to your linked accounts.  Our review liked the nostalgia aspects of it but thought it tried to go too hard on it.  But hey, my kids loved it so what do I know. 

Scoob! in 4K

Scoob! in HD

Shadow of Violence Review: An Emotional Family Affair With Some Violence

Release date: July 31, 2020
Running time: 101minutes
Starring: Barry Keoghan, Niamh Algar, Cosmo Jarvis 

Douglas 'Arm' Armstrong (Jarvis) has become the feared enforcer for the drug-dealing Devers family.  He also tries to be a good father for his son, but is constantly drawn into violence due to his friendship with Dympna (Keoghan).  Torn between these two families, Arm's loyalties are tested when he is asked to kill for the first time.  


The Shadow of Violence is a serious, emotional acting trip.  Jarvis is convincing as Arm, who has to balance his violent job with his internal struggles and emotional turmoil.  He really portrays this character genuinely, showing a reservation for violence despite having an inate talent for it.  And some of the choices he is forced to make really show on his face.  Seriously, his conflicted character is really great to see and the depth he shows is wonderful after he is introduced as a meathead.  I also loved to see Barry Keoghan in this movie.  He has a penchant for taking on some messed up characters and Dympna is no different: a violent member of the Devers family who relies on Arm but wants to be viewed as a tough guy in his own right.  And Niamh Algar as the mother of Arm's child is emotional as well, doing a great job of portraying a struggling mother who loves her child and wants to leave this entire situation.

Shadow of Violence has some brutal scenes, but what struck me the most is the music in the film.  It has some amazing music that does a great job of emphasizing what is happening on screen.  There is strong club music during tense scenes; throbbing pounding music that helps to elevate the tension.  And there are more emotional tracks when needed.  And, most impressively, the music cuts out during some truly serious scenes, a fact that really showcases the emotional depth of this film.  And although the sound was a highlight, the violence in Shadow of Violence is brutal when it is in there.  Although there isn't a lot of it--the film is more focused on the characters and their predicament--it is definitely painful to watch when it is on.  And the threat of violence is just as effective as the violence in this film.  When someone seems like they're going to hurt someone, you tense up just as much as when they do.  And the story of Shadow of Violence--of a conflicted person who is dealing with his past choices, current circumstances, and future--is an emotional journey that you can't help but be affected by.

Shadow of Violence is an emotional tour de force, with great characters, a powerful, impactful soundtrack, and a story that hits you early and hard. 

Watch it.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Host Review: A Zoom Meeting You Won't Want To Be Late To

Release date: July 30, 2020
Running time: 56 minutes
Starring: Haley Bishop, Radina Drandova, Edward Linard, Jemma Moore, Caroline Ward 

Host, a Shudder original, is the story of six friends who hire a medium to hold a séance over Zoom during lockdown, but they get far more than they bargain for as things quickly go wrong.  When strange occurrances start happening on their group zoom call, the friends fear that they might have called more than they bargained for.  Host was shot entirely during the lockdown due to COVID and as such, deserves a lot of credit from the cast for being flexible.  The film stars Haley Bishop (Deep State), Radina Drandova (Dawn of the Deaf), Edward Linard (The Rebels), Jemma Moore (Doom: Annihilation), Caroline Ward (Stalling It) and Emma Louise Webb (The Crown), who also operated their own cameras, helped pull off their own practical effects, and lit their own scenes. 

Host's main premise has been done before in Unfriended: The Dark Web, which had a similar group call idea.  It also has been seen in other genres, such as in Searching, which took place mostly on a computer.  However, what makes Host unique is that it was filmed entirely during lockdown, with the cast members performing their own camera work.  It is an interesting feat and one that should be applauded as a way to get more content for those stuck at home.  And the actors all do a great job of skirting the line between horror seriousness and zoom silliness.  The characters go through some mixed emotions as they initially do not believe the medium and their spirit occurrences, but that changes as the night continues.  


The zoom influence is apparent throughout. There are several zoom "issues" with the movie that those who have spent a decent amount of time on meetings will appreciate.  From echoes, to dropped calls, to people not being able to figure out the technology, the zoom lifestyle is apparent throughout.  Another aspect that can be appreciated is that because this was shot during lockdown, there are a lot of timely references to our current situation that you don't see in bigger projects.  Host has a timely feeling to it because it was shot during our time.  And although Host relies a lot on jump scares, that is to be expected given the medium.  There are some really good effects and scary moments for a movie shot all over zoom, and there were several unsettling scenes.  If there is one negative with Host it is that the film itself is relatively short at just under an hour.  It would have been nice to have some additional character and scenario development to flesh this out.  Additionally, Host has a lot of generic horror type tropes that are probably due to a quick turn around and also the limited availability of props.  But what you get is a clever use of technology with plenty of hallmarks of our current times.

Host dials in the scares with a clever use of technology, references to the current predicament, and enough jump scares to keep you from dropping out of this zoom meeting.

Watch it.

Amulet Review: An Atmospheric Experience

Release date: July 24, 2020
Running time: 99 minutes
Starring: Carla Juri, Alec Secareanu, Imelda Staunton 

Tomaz (Secareanu) is an ex-soldier, living homeless in London, doing odd jobs and trying to forget his time in the war.  However, when his temporary shelter goes away, a nun (Staunton) offers him a place to stay at a decaying house inhabited by a young woman (Juri) and her dying mother. As he starts to fall for the young woman, he cannot ignore his suspicion that something sinister is going on.


Amulet is not your traditional horror movie.  It is an atmospheric experience that spends its time setting you up and giving you little glimpses here and there of what is going on.  The house that Tomaz, Magda (Juri), and her mother are staying in is dilapidated and full of dread.  Random holes, mold, strange smells and sounds; all of these are present in the house and all help to establish the overall sense of unease and impeding doom.  This, coupled with the wails of the dying mother, make the house feel imposing and oppressive.  And this sense is only heightened by the atmospheric music.  It uses splashes of sounds and chimes to really set the tone and heighten any tension in the scene.  And this sense of impending dread is all the more pronounced because of how slowly the story builds.  It reveals little snippets here and here as you get to know the characters and their predicament.  It also slowly reveals bits of the characters background, but not all at once.  

Amulet doesn't have many characters, but they are all perfectly cast and acted.  Tomaz has to carry much of the burden and he does so admirably.  His character goes through a range of emotions from fear, to anger, as well as portray his past self; all of these are done perfectly and Tomaz comes off as very believable.  Magda has less range but she is a very convincing hostess; she has to balance many different emotions taking care of her mother and the suspicion of a new person living in the house.  And Staunton as Sister Claire is always amazing, but is sadly not on the screen much.  Amulet's effects are mostly well done, with a commitment to old school effects, animatronics, and make up.  There are a few CG scenes, but they are the outlier.  For the most part the film uses great make up and blood effects to depict the more unsettling scenes in the film. 

Although the story of the film slowly reveals itself, it ends up going off the rails towards the end.  It feels like it hits a point of no return where the themes of the movie go on overdrive.  Some horror fans might appreciate that it goes off the rails, but might not be for everyone.  And the story is very slow to develop, which I appreciated but might cause viewers to lose interest in the film.  And although the story has a ton of great character development, it leaves you with some unanswered questions that you have to come to your own conclusions.  I didn't mind this, and especially don't mind if a horror movie doesn't wrap everything up in a nice bow, but it is something that might not appeal to many.  And speaking of horror, this film is not going to appeal to traditional horror fans.  It is much more atmospheric and unsettling, rather than your normal horror experience.  

Amulet tells a strange tale through its amazing sense of dread, unsettling sound effects, and simmering, complex story.  It won't be for everyone but there is plenty here for those looking for an atmospheric horror experience to appreciate.

Watch it.
For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.
This site contains affiliate links. //Commerce or this site may be compensated when you click through links on our site.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Gundala: Rise of a Hero Review: An Electrifying Supercharged Origin Story

Release date: July 28, 2020
Running time: 123 minutes
Starring: Abimana Aryasatya, Tara Basro, Bront Palarae 

Indonesia's preeminent comic book superhero and his alter ego Sancaka enter the cinematic universe to battle the wicked Pengkor and his diabolical squad of orphan assassins.  Gundala is probably not well know to western audiences, but the Indonesian superhero is set to be the start of the Bumi Langit cinematic universe.  The hope is that this will eventually rival anything from Marvel, and Gundala is an electrifying start for this.


Gundala is an origin story, so the movie sets a lot of groundwork for the hero.  Growing up in unfortunate circumstances, Sancaka (Aryasatya) has always been hounded by lightning.  However, when he is called upon to help those in need, he finds that the lightning that he has always feared actually can energize him and give him superhuman strength and healing.  This leads him to finally embrace his calling and start helping people, despite his earlier reluctance.  Gundala has a lot going for it but one thing it does very well is with the fighting.  They are well choreographed and fast-paced; they definitely help to get your blood flowing and get you excited.  And although most of the fighting is hand-to-hand combat, there are enough styles that each fight feels slightly different, especially when Gundala starts fighting some of the more vicious villains.  They have different fighting styles that Gundala has to react to and it leads to some nice variety in the hand to hand combat.  There isn't a ton of weapon fighting, and when there is, it is usually in service of the hand to hand. 

The setting in Gundala is a lot darker than most of the super hero movies out of the west.  There is a certain amount of dread and some of the themes are more sinister.  It leads to a different feel for a super hero franchise, and a welcome change from some of the Marvel offerings.  However, despite there being a darker overall feel, here is still some funny humor to lighten the mood.  Gundala's character is generally quiet, but he does have some moments of levity that are fun to watch.  And Gundala himself is a likable hero.  There are several noteworthy characters who are well acted, and the main villain Pengkor is well played.  He comes off as genuine sometimes and downright sinister other times.  He is a great, two-faced villain and a good choice for the first film.

However, Gundala is a long film and feels like it at times.  It feels like some parts could have been trimmed to tighten up the two hour runtime.  And the main crisis in the film feels convoluted and overly complicated.  And although the ending leaves the film open for additional movies in the franchise, it feels ultimately unsatisfying.  Gundala also does not feature much CG, but there are a few questionable instances of it.  Thankfully there aren't many and these are less pronounced than in Western super hero movies.  However, don't let these minor issues stop you from seeing an entertaining start to a super hero franchise.

Gundala is an electrifying opening for the Bumi Langit cinematic universe, with exciting fights, a sinister bad guy, and a likable reluctant hero.

Rent it.
For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.
This site contains affiliate links. //Commerce or this site may be compensated when you click through links on our site.

Deal: Jurassic Park / World 5-Move Pack in 4K / UHD for $19.99

Deal Alert!  You can get all 5 Jurassic Park / World movies in 4K / UHD for $19.99 today only!  The movies are digital so you can watch instantly and beat the summer heat!  5 movies for $20 works out to $4 each.  And these are Movies Anywhere movies, so they will port to your linked iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime, and other linked accounts in 4K where they are available.

Jurassic Park / World 5 Movie Pack (4K / UHD) - $19.99

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Rental Review: A Tension-Filled Weekend Excursion

Release date: July 24, 2020
Running time: 88 minutes
Starring: Dan Stevens, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand

Two couples rent a vacation home for what should be a celebratory weekend get-away.  When brothers Charlie (Stevens) and Josh (Jeremy Allen White), along with Charlie's wife Michelle (Brie) and Charlie's business partner / Josh's girlfriend Mina (Vand) decide to take a weekend trip away, they hope for a relaxing weekend by the lake.  However, what starts off as a fun weekend quickly turns unsettling and gets worse from there. 


The Rental is slow to start but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  The movie takes a while to establish the characters, their weekend, and the creepy situations that start to build their sense of unease.  It doesn't do it overtly at first, but eventually it gives you glimpses into the fact that these vacationers are being watched.  A normal scene will suddenly cut to a creepy observation scene, then back to a normal enough scenario.  When the film wants to be unsettling, however, it does a good job.  The film builds these creepy scenes to be as unsettling as possible: the music changes, the camera angle changes, and a heavy breathing is audible.  And although the story takes a long time to develop, it layers on enough secrets over secrets to keep giving new information to the audience.  The story has enough twists and turns when the it finally does develop that it keeps the movie interesting and moving along.  And the cast of the film are enjoyable to watch.  They are distinctly different in personality and motivations.  They get along well but have enough of their own issues to keep it from being a perfectly tranquil weekend.  And outside of the main group, it was great to see one of my favorites from Carnivale, Toby Huss, again even if it was for a limited role.  

However, the problem with The Rental is that although it takes a very long time to set up, the resolution of the film happens very quickly.  Once the action gets going, it is over relatively quickly.  The film does so much to get everything in place for the action to happen, that I wish it would have spent some more time in that mode.  It almost feels like once that happens, the movie is over.  And the film is a relatively compact 88 minutes long, so it feels like there definitely could have been additional tension and more time spent after the initial build up.  Additionally, although I liked the characters, I wish that they had been given a chance to stretch their acting chops.  With the speed at which the resolution happens, you don't get to see them in very many situations.  But if you give this movie a chance, you'll at least have an enjoyable rental for the night.  

The Rental has a lot of story development but does not overstay its welcome, with good characters, a creepy motif, and a story that layers secrets on secrets.  

Rent it.
For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.
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Friday, July 24, 2020

What to Watch This Weekend: July 24, 2020

The Social Justice Drama With Tough Issues And Amazing Acting: Clemency (Digital, Redbox)
An outstanding cast led by Alfre Woodard, Clemency brings tough social issues to the big screen.  Woodard plays a state sanctioned executioner who must confront her own demons that connect her to the men she is authorized to execute. Clemency is available for free at pretty much all major digital retailers so make sure to check this one out!  For more information, check out our story!

The Star Studded Animation Documentary: Spike & Mike: Animation Outlaws (Digital)
Spike & Mike: Animation Outlaws is an animated documentary that highlights some amazing animators and animation, and what these two did for the overall community.  For more information, check out our review!

The Unconventional Musical Drama: Fisherman's Friends (Digital)
Fisherman's Friends reels you in and hits the right notes, with its great music, relatable and likable characters, and heartwarming story.  For more information, check out our review!

The Young Adult Light-Hearted Nostalgia Trip: The Kissing Booth 2 (Netflix)
expect exactly what you expect for all teenage love drama and the two hour runtime will just breeze by.  And even if you are punching your first ticket to the kissing booth and going in blind-folded, you will find an enjoyable teenage romantic dramady.  For more information, check out our review!

The Irreverent Soon To Be Parenting Comedy: The Babysplitters (Digital)
The Babysplitters delivers a hilarious, unconventional comedy with a fantastic cast, frank dialogue, and laugh-out-loud situations.  For more information, check out our review!

The Gritty, Stylish Chinese Crime Noir: The Wild Goose Lake (Digital)
The Wild Goose Lake is a gritty, stylish Chinese crime drama with some beautiful cinematography, strong characters, and a slow burning story.  It won't be for everyone because of this, but there is plenty to admire about this film.  For more information, check out our review!

For The Martial Arts Enthusiast: Ip Man 4: The Finale (Netflix)
Ip Man 4 finishes the epic story of Master Ip Man, with a wonderful love letter to classic martial arts film, with the exaggerated scenarios and amazing fights that you would expect from the Wing Chun master.  For more information, check out our review!

The Historical Action Film About An Important and Fearless Woman: Harriet (HBO, Redbox)
Harriet tells the compelling story of an influential woman with Oscar-worthy acting, an exciting and heartbreaking script, and a stellar score.  For more information, check out our review!

Spike & Mike: Animation Outlaws Review: An Animated Look At Some Animated Animators

Release date: July 15, 2020
Running time: 67 minutes

Spike & Mike: Animation Outlaws is an interview style documentary film about two hippie friends who set out to create a first of its kind animation festival and end up helping to start the rise of the animation industry and launch the careers of the artist and directors who run it.  It is really a remarkable story, that these two passionate animators were able to start a recognized festival that gave money, exposure, and a platform to so many up and coming animators.  The film has interviews with many people whose lives were touched by this pair, and it is really fun to see during this relatively short documentary..  


The main selling point of this film is the fantastic animation and the talent behind it.  The film showcases much of the animation that the pair were known to promote.  Some of these are very well known and some are far more obscure.  But they are all original and interesting to watch.  And the cameos that are featured in the documentary are a joy to see.  The film features some amazing animators and celebrities, from Seth Green, to Weird Al, to Mike Judge, the film is a who's who of famous animators.  And the animation itself is a joy to watch.  There are so many clips of obscure, obscene, and shocking animation that anyone who is interested in this area will have a ton to see.  And there is so much showcased that you are bound to find something that is new or interesting.  

And the documentary does a great job of showcasing what Spike and Mike did for the animation community.  Many of these famous names got their start doing these festivals.  Spike and Mike would often pay to promote lesser known animators, and pay to take their work to the next level such as by colorizing it.  Spike and Mike would also promote animators despite race, locale, or gender.  One interviewee made a point of stating that the pair would promote female animators when not many people were.  If there is a criticism with this documentary, it that there is not enough backstory on the famous animators themselves.  I feel like you get glimpses of their personalities and stage personas, but not enough backstory to really get a sense of who they were.  And the film definitely had the space for it as the documentary is a relatively short 67 minutes long.  More on Spike and Mike and more animation examples would have been fine by me.  But when your criticism of a documentary is that you just wanted more, that is usually a good sign.

Spike & Mike: Animation Outlaws is an animated documentary that highlights some amazing animators and animation, and what these two did for the overall community.

Watch it.
For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.
This site contains affiliate links. //Commerce or this site may be compensated when you click through links on our site.

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