LA Film Festival 2017 – First Film Reviews

It’s officially underway and the flicks show no sign of stopping!  Yup, the Los Angeles Film Festival 2017 (taking place June 14-22 at various Arclight Cinemas and theaters around LA – go to www.lafilmfest.com for more details!) has begun to display its movie wares and WhySoBlu.com is gloriously taking them all in.  We’ve seen a few more than reviewed below, but bound by dates that they unspool at the fest we’re sworn to cinematic secrecy until public release.  (And yes, there are some terrifically tasty ones already viewed!)  But since this fest happens over a mere nine days a modicum of movie reviews will have to do for now (have no fear – next week will be a multi-numbered one!), so here are three first flicks given some critical skinny for your consideration. Boxing docs, science guys dissected and unwelcome houseguests all make an appearance – check out the LAFF 2017 Encapsulated Movie Reviews of CounterPunch, Bill Nye: Science Guy and The Housemaid below!


“CounterPunch” – CounterPunch is doc that dissects the world of boxing in today’s day and age of lessor fanfare and does so by captivatingly coming at the subject from all sides.  It talks to the greats of past (like Oscar De La Hoya and Sugar Ray Leonard) and present (Floyd Mayweather) to get a sense of history and context, plus follows up and comers with different objectives like Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (a family man who wants to get paid!) and Cam F. Awesome (who travels the less paved with gold road of becoming a US Boxing Olympic Champion!) in one thorough ringside examination that even boldly sheds light of some of boxing’s more ominous characters (NOT hearing from MIA manager Al Haymon made it way scarier!) and situations.  (The not wearing headgear bouts where fighters cannot get so much as a cut or risk disqualification is unreasonably ridiculous and tense!)  Director Jay Bulger isn’t afraid to put up his moviemaking dukes and the result is CounterPunch provides a good doc gut punch.


“Bill Nye: Science Guy” – Playing out much like the previous five star doc An Honest Liar about illusionist James Randi but with less revealing bold strokes, Bill Nye: Science Guy is an interesting examination of the famed gent who made science cool again.  There is his current crusade to get the word out and covert all non-believers that climate change is real and needs attention ASAP (love that he goes face-to-face with all naysayers!), but it’s the small bits of personal info that make this doc most interesting.  Hearing honest answers from past work pals (they dispute the science guy did it all himself!), family (his siblings are ailing from a disease that skipped him) and even Nye himself (who admits his regrets about past romances and not having a family of his own), there’s a wealth of backstory here only touched upon (how about a one-on-one with a former girlfriend for some five-star status!) that would have given this one a much higher rating and shelf life if it had been explored more.  Compelling and interesting, but slightly sanitized for the audience, Bill Nye: Science Guy provides surface cinematic satisfaction that’s worthy of a watch.


“The Housemaid” – While this Vietnamese import is steeped in a rich storytelling style (the 50’s period is captured with sincere savvy!), the tale in question is unfortunately a film familiar one. Meaning a story of a ailing young woman who takes up residence as a housemaid after her family is killed in war and finds the house and family within haunted plays out in incredibly predictable ways with twists and turns that even a movie newbie can see coming from a mile away.  Not to mention hat there are only a few effective macabre moments (anytime the late Madame Camille shows up it does fill the creepy quotient!) with helmer Derek Nguyen opting to fill his flick with an overuse of jump scares that grow tired – fast.  Soaring in style but sinking in story, The Housemaid is a helper that missed a spot.

Stay tuned to WhySoBlu.com for our continued coverage of all things LAFF 2017 and go to www.lafilmfest.com for any and all details – see you in the cinema!


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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