Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category

Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Four New Indie Titles

Hitting local film fests and book reviews hard (that are all on the horizon!), there was only time for four little indie flick sneak peaks this week.  A sexy and sensual forbidden love story with serious heat, a harrowing kidnapping terror tale outing that has equal parts strange and sci-fi, a contained catastrophe where everyone in the room is packing and a fish out of water cop caper with a muscle bound man at the helm thrill the themes of the crop below.  Check out all four of the Encapsulated Movie Reviews that include Below Her Mouth, Rupture, Free Fire and Black Rose.

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The Darkly Comedic ‘Free Fire’ Shows You The Way Of The Gun (Movie Review)

I love seeing various action movies that show you two extremes. On the one side, you get a vintage John Woo flick like Hard Boiled, where Chow Yun-fat can equip himself with dual pistols and slide down a staircase banister while hitting plenty of bad guys. The other side leads something like one of my favorites, The Way of the Gun or the subject of this review, Free Fire, where people are terrible at shooting guns, regardless of distance and it’s a complicated process in order to actually put someone down for good. This action-comedy from director Ben Wheatley delivers on its simple premise, making for an incredibly entertaining ride through one sloppy shootout.

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NBFF 2017 Review: The Hero

One of the advantages of seeing smaller films touring around festivals is having a chance to see character actors in lead roles. The Hero provides the great Sam Elliot this chance and it’s a joy to watch. No stranger to cinema, Elliot has been a stable presence in many films and TV shows for over 40 years. Here’s a film that gets to play with his image, while also challenging the man to be more than just a mustachioed character actor with a deep and wonderful voice.

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NBFF 2017 Review: The Scent Of Rain And Lightning

There is a lot to get out of films surrounding family secrets. Ideally, you are gradually drawn into learning about who a family is, establishing various personas, only to have things turn around on you thanks to sudden reveals. It’s not a cheat to make these sort of twists, as you’ve been effectively coerced into feeling like a part of the family. The Scent of Rain and Lightning is a modern western with a mystery at its core. We are well aware that something bad happened early on, but the film wants us to continue questioning the validity of this fact throughout. Unfortunately, the results are not as effective as they could be, due to a disjointed narrative.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Turk 182!”

Since anarchy for a good cause seems to be a popular past picture theme for us, we’re keeping the bucking the system cinema going with another lesser known hidden gem – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today we’re taking on big government all in the name of a little guy who is in need of some respect.  Seems a determined young man feels his injured on the job older brother is being ignored by the powers that be and decides to do something about it.  Painting, sand blasting, bridge light adjusting and a little graffiti are all part of the raise a little hell plan of the infamous…Turk 182!

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NBFF 2017 Review: Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton

The tagline for this year’s Newport Beach Film Festival is “Go Deeper” and that is certainly fitting for the Opening Night premiere film. Take Every Wave: The Life of Laid Hamilton is both an extreme sports film, featuring some breathtaking footage, and a solid biographical study of big-wave surfer and ocean pioneer Laird Hamilton. This documentary from director Rory Kennedy certainly does take us deeper, as we spend nearly two hours watching the story of a fearless and quite affable athlete who has pushed himself hard to find various successes throughout his life, while also experiencing some literal and emotional tough breaks.

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Four New Indie Titles

Just a four pack of reviews ala the indie scene this week, but as usual the cinema spectrum covered runs a wide genre gamut for the film fan looking for more.  Deeply dramatic docs that shed light on life changing events, a culinary legend who accepts nothing less than the best, a kid who learns to wield the bible like a psychotic dons a murder weapon and a film inspired by the work of iconic Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan make up the subjects via the Encapsulated Movie Reviews below.  To get the critical skinny on Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, The Student and Somewhere Beautiful read on. Continue reading ‘Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Four New Indie Titles’


Pardon The Cliche, But Unforgettable IS Rather Forgettable (Movie Review)

Unforgettable MovieSay what you want, but I love thriller movies about scorned lovers and the psychotic crazy stuff they do to enact their revenge or misdeal with their new reality.  Whether it be a woman like in Fatal Attraction or Obsessed or even a man like in The Boy Next Door it all makes for great onscreen entertainment.  Now I sincerely apologize if I offended everyone with my blanket statement here.  I completely understand and know this happens in the real world and for the people that have or are going through something like this my heart sincerely goes out to you.  However, in the film medium stories of this nature in my opinion serve up one delicious, hot plate of entertainment to consume.  I just love the crazy lengths to which people will go to when scorned.  Call me a glutton for punishment.  Call me what you want, but this makes great popcorn entertainment and that’s the reason I’m here to talk about one of the newest obsessed/stalker flicks dropping this April 20th, Unforgettable. Continue reading ‘Pardon The Cliche, But Unforgettable IS Rather Forgettable (Movie Review)’


Forgotten Friday Flick – “The Park Is Mine”

Keeping the ‘gems you haven’t heard of’ theme going we’re heading into unknown territory for a tall tale filled with pure pulp pleasure – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  This week’s selection is surprisingly all about the forgotten, focusing on a former military man who goes to some drastic measures to remind people in power that selfless soldiers will not be ignored.  Featuring an iconic actor in his early days and one sensational score to boot, guns, grenades, tripwires and camouflage all work in tandem to prove that…The Park Is Mine!

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Audience Awards Film Festival 2017 – Horror Shorts Reviews, Shout Outs & Award Winners Announced

The Audience Awards Film Festival wrapped this past weekend in North Hollywood, CA and it was a real hoot.  Not only did yours truly get to represent the great WhySoBlu.com by hosting and moderating a Q&A for the Project Earth Doc Challenge, but I also got to meet the illustrious Effie T. Brown and take in a gaggle of horror shorts to boot!  (That’s an evening!)  In any case thought I would pay tribute to the new fest by taking an “Encapsulated” look at the six flicks that made up the Horror Shorts program, give a few shout outs and post the release of the winners to which the fantastic festival gave over $100,000 in cash and prizes – read on!


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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Five New Indie Titles

Eight times may be the charm for big budget flicks this week, but on the indie scene five seems to be the magic number.  (There’s more of course, but hey I’m only one man!)  Auteurs examined and explained, the great lengths some go to for their kids, dealing with death, organ donation from both sides of the story and animated disaster high school movie fun all bring us into the mindset of the smaller films reviewed via Encapsulated Movie Reviews this week.  David Lynch: The Art Life, Graduation, Truman, Heal the Living and My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea all get their critical due below!

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No ‘F8te’ But What We Make ‘Furious’ (Movie Review)

Franchise evolution is what keeps gas in the tank for a blockbuster film series. Superhero movies can ideally rely on a diverse set of characters that lend themselves to other subgenres, while James Bond generally works with what’s most popular in action cinema. Fast & Furious, a franchise I’ve unabashedly enjoyed and stuck by during the best and worst of times, has been forced to change multiple times. What started as a series of films about street racing has morphed into over-the-top adventures that place the balance of the world in the hands of cool former criminals and muscle-bound jokesters. The Fate of the Furious is the start of the next evolution and while very entertaining in its own ridiculous way, does it fit in with the rest of this film family?

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The Fate of the Furious IS SERIOUS F-U-N! (Movie Review)

The Fate of the Furious (Movie Review)As I sit down to work on this movie review prior to seeing the actual movie itself I think to myself what a wonderful world.  LOL.  I am kidding.  I ponder about what they can do in this outing that hasn’t been done in the previous seven ones.  While watching the trailers for The Fate of the Furious on television and having recently taken in parts 6 and 7 on 4K Ultra HD I hear lines of dialogue repeated.  It makes me a bit nervous, but the one thing I always manage to do is have fun with this franchise.  Therefore, I wasn’t expecting anything less than a good time with this eighth episode in the franchise.  Much like attending a Posion concert back in the late 80s you can always count on the Fast & Furious franchise to deliver nothing but a good time.  You don’t even need to know about cars.  All you need to do is come equipped with the ability to laugh, giggle and excite from the larger-than-life action pieces and humorous one-liners.  I think the majority of us can at least do that.  What say you? Continue reading ‘The Fate of the Furious IS SERIOUS F-U-N! (Movie Review)’


Take An Absorbing Journey To ‘The Lost City Of Z’ (Movie Review)

Based on the look of this film, it would be no surprise to learn how difficult it was to make The Lost City of Z. I’m not speaking just to the shots of a wooden raft traveling down the Amazon River. No, it’s the look on the faces of these actors, which displays more than what makeup can accomplish. With echoes of David Lean and John Huston, writer/director James Gray (The Immigrant) certainly took on an ambitious project this time around, outshining his previous films in terms of scope. The result is a solid adventure story, divided into parts that explore just what it is that can drive someone to head into danger for the sake of possible discovery.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Life Is Cheap…But Toilet Paper Is Expensive”

Last week fellow WhySoBlu.com critic and a movie man I admire Aaron Neuwirth suggested that my inclusion of the iconic film Apocalypse Now might not be an outing that’s all that forgotten.  (In fairness I was basing the pick on that fact that my older son had never heard of the film and we had recently watched it together – gotta school the next generation!)  So this week I’m doing my colleague proud by digging deep and doubling down with a scarce savory cinematic selection that I’m willing to bet he and my fellow cohorts have not only not seen, but may never have even heard of – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today we’re dissecting a past picture that even the director of the film doesn’t want you to see.  A quirky and controversial little gem that not only got the ire of the MPAA ratings board at the time of its 1990 release, but is a movie that the filmmaker has tried to make disappear.  An English speaking Asian courier, a soothsaying street urchin, a mysterious dark dame and a briefcase with questionable contents are just a few of the odd elements used to prove that…Life Is Cheap…But Toilet Paper Is ExpensiveContinue reading ‘Forgotten Friday Flick – “Life Is Cheap…But Toilet Paper Is Expensive”’


‘Colossal’: Destroy All Inner-Monsters (Movie Review)

The problems that come from losing control can be intense. Substance abuse, namely alcohol in the case of Colossal, can both lead to problems and unmask deeper issues from within. That sounds pretty heavy, but fortunately for genre director Nacho Vigalondo, he’s embedded these themes within one of the more creative giant monster movies to come along recently. If Cloverfield was a romance a matched with a disaster movie, Colossal plays as a rom-com deconstruction featuring kaiju action. The results are quite enjoyable, even as the film grows darker and other questions begin to emerge.

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

Indie flicks all but dominate the amount of studio fare this week (and mostly every other week too!), so film fans have continual opportunity to get their film fix on.  Below is just a fraction of the myriad of releases out now that cover the gamut of subjects and genres for the ardent cinefile to seek out.  Two by the Herzog (way to go Werner!), more beautiful Dree Hemingway movies (I’m a fan!), monsters manned by woman, blind sights restored, dealing with loss and death and youth party docs (supposedly!) all make up the seven films dissected via this weeks Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the opinions on Salt and Fire, Live Cargo, Queen of the Desert, Colossal, The Ticket, Aftermath and All These Sleepless Nights below!

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‘Gifted’ Is Smart Enough To Work (Movie Review)

Gifted is the kind of film where an emotional courtroom scene plays out, with rain seen just outside the window to emphasize the drama, but you don’t mind because the main characters involved still spend relaxed moments with each other minutes later. This is a film that traffics in ideas expected from stories dealing with legal guardianship over precocious children, but is still quite likable thanks to the rapport shared between the cast members. It’s not sly enough to suggest a level of self-awareness and the way it plays out is certainly in line with your average tearjerker. It’s just a good thing I didn’t mind spending time with these people.

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