Movie Review – Cop Car


– Summary –

Director :   Jon Watts
Year Of Release :  2015
Principal Cast :  Kevin Bacon, James Freedman-Jackson, Hays Wellford, Camryn Manheim, Shea Wigham, Sean Hartley, Kyra Sedgwick, Loi Nguyen, Sit Lenh.
Approx Running Time :  87 Minutes
Synopsis:  A small town sheriff sets out to find the two kids who have taken his car on a joy ride.


Lesson for today? Don’t steal a cop car.

Cop Car reminds me a lot of the classic coming-of-age flick Stand By Me. Not so much for its criminal undercurrent, or its focus on Kevin Bacon’s weasel-like bad guy, but for the overall tone of life’s reality coming into the fantasy of childhood, and the loss of innocence. Cop Car’s deliciously simple premise and  nuanced, detailed, precise execution by director Jon Watts (his previous film was Clowns, and at the time of publishing he’s also set to direct Marvel’s upcoming reboot of Spider-Man) makes for rewarding viewing, although a caveat might be that you need to be in the right frame of mind to be rewarded. The film has a weird vibe about it, an off-kilter sensibility that allows its meandering pace to marinate the characters, and give is time to enjoy their situations.

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One-Two Punch: My Thoughts On Jessica Jones


A follow-up of sorts to 2015’s other breakout Netflix series, Daredevil (which I extolled the virtues of back in April), Jessica Jones sees Krysten Ritter playing the New York superhero-turned-PI, a kind of modern reinvention of Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade with the helpful addition of superpowers. Atypically for Marvel, Jones is not your typical hero – she suffers PTSD from a previous encounter with the series’ central villain, Kilgrave (played by former Doctor Who star David Tennant), has a drinking problem, and works for her living as an investigator for hire in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, which is, in a coincidence, the same part of New York City that Daredevil claimed as his own. Not exactly a glamorous way to help those who need it.

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Movie Review – Gallows, The


– Summary –

Director :  Travis Cluff + Chris Lofing
Year Of Release :  2015
Principal Cast :  Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, Cassidy Gifford, Price T Morgan, Jesse Cross, Melissa Bratton, Theo Burkhardt, Emily Jones, Travis Cluff.
Approx Running Time :   80 Minutes
Synopsis:  20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy – but soon discover that some things are better left alone.


School plays suck. Especially found-footage ones.

Basically, douchebag teenagers get their asses handed to them by a ghost. As much as I’m a fan of found footage films, and by-and-large I am, The Gallows just annoyed me. Tepid romantic overtones, a tragic backstory and typically hyperbolic camerawork project a distinct malaise over what could have been a legitimately freaky, creepy movie; alas, The Gallows hangs itself on ineptitude. If your mileage for this kind of scary film is limited, there’s little I can do to convert you with this film’s juvenile character work, because it becomes tiresome quickly – the “camera” is operated by Ryan (Ryan Shoos), a class-A asshat who hates having to do his mandatory drama class, so his constant, repetitive antagonism towards his classmates might seem “cool”, but it’s largely stupid.

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Movie Review – Boychoir


– Summary –

Director :   Francois Girard
Year Of Release :  2014
Principal Cast :  Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Debra Winger, Garrett Wareing, Eddie Izzard, Kevin McHale, Josh Lucas, Joe West, River Alexander, Grant Venable.
Approx Running Time :   103 Minutes
Synopsis:   Stet, a troubled and angry 11-year-old orphan from a small Texas town, ends up at a Boy Choir school back East after the death of his single mom. Completely out of his element, he finds himself in a battle of wills with a demanding Choir Master who recognizes a unique talent in this young boy as he pushes him to discover his creative heart and soul in music.


The DVD cover for this movie had a critic blurb stating “Hoffman is flawless”. It’s a shame the film as a whole can’t muster up similar sentiment: Boychoir is a vacuous, uneven, unsure-of-itself story that’s either a coming-of-age fable, or some manner of rebel-makes-good narrative – or, as is most likely, a confusing mixture of the two. Although led by Garrett Wareing, who might be able to sing but can barely act at all, Boychoir’s central conceit about a kid from the wrong side of the tracks making good in a world he’s not supposed to be in is predictable, generic, and underwhelming, to say the least.

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Movie Review – Spectre


– Summary –

Director :  Sam Mendes
Year Of Release :  2015
Principal Cast :  Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Naomi Harris, Dave Bautista, Ben Wishaw, Andrew Scott, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen, Judi Dench.
Approx Running Time :  138 Minutes
Synopsis:   A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.


Casino Royale, Part 4. 

This review of Spectre contains spoilers for the purpose of plot dissection. I suggest only reading on if you’ve seen Spectre or don’t plan to. 

As you read, listen to Sam Smith’s title tune from Spectre: “The Writing’s On The Wall”

As part of my review of Skyfall, the James Bond film preceding Spectre, I noted that it felt like a full-stop on the origin story of Modern Bond which began with a bang in Casino Royale. Skyfall concluded with a setting in place of the well-known pieces of Bond’s overarching narrative – Moneypenny, M, Q, the gadgets, the girls, hell, all that was missing was a last-scene doubleentendre as Bond penetrated yet another bonkable lovely in the name of Her Majesty’s Government. Sadly, neither Casino Royale, the vastly under-appreciated Quantum of Solace, nor Skyfall spent any time at all engaging in witty sexual innuendo of the kind that ultimately ruined the Pierce Brosnan era. For a laugh, go back and rewatch Die Another Day (or don’t) and tell me that nearly 100% of Brosnan’s dialogue isn’t some manner of entendre or glib snare-drum one-liner. Ugh. Anyhoo, Skyfall felt like a solid conclusion to Daniel Craig’s origin trilogy – with Judi Dench’s M dead, and all the accoutrement of Bond established, perhaps it was time for a stand-alone Bond film, like the good old days before “franchise building” took hold of cinema and all but dead-armed Bond into following suit.

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Movie Review – Die Hard With A Vengeance


– Summary –

Director :   John McTiernan
Year Of Release :  1995
Principal Cast :   Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, Jeremy Irons, Graham Greene, Colleen Camp, Larry Bryggman, Anthony Peck, Nick Wyman, Sam Phillips, Kevin Chamberlin.
Approx Running Time :   131 Minutes
Synopsis:   John McClane and a Harlem store owner are targeted by German terrorist named Simon, in New York City, where he plans to rob the Federal Reserve Building.


The one with Samuel L Jackson.

Third time’s the charm for John McClane, now firmly ensconced in his home city of New York, as a madman with incredibly dangerous chemical bombs goes on a rampage through the metropolis; Die Hard With A Vengeance re-teams Bruce Willis with his Die Hard director John McTiernan for this, a legitimately thrilling entry into the franchise. Although lacking any of the bit-roles from previous films – no Hollie, no Thornton, no Al – the new players in town, from Jeremy Irons as Simon, to Samuel L Jackson as McClane’s begrudging accomplice, deliver terrific tongue-in-cheek performances that elevate this into an outright classic. Subterfuge and plot-twists come in all shapes and sizes here, as McClane is forced to traverse the city with multiple “ticking clock” motifs accompanying him, not to mention an outraged Jackson and a hangover-induced splitting headache. It’s a recipe for yet another Die Hard gem.

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The Force Is Waking Up


As anyone with eyes, ears and a broadband connection can tell you the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has had its début, and it was good, so so good. After what seems to be an unbearably long amount of time J. J. Abrams has finally started to show a few of the cards that have been very close to his chest. We already knew about Finn & Rey, the Luke and Leia of the new chapter, as well as Commander of the First Order Kylo Ren. But what of the characters we haven’t seen? Personally, I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to meet Andy Serkis’ character Supreme Leader Snoke, said to be Kylo Rens dark overlord. Could he be malevolent enough to rival Emperor Palpatine?

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