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Movie Review: Homewrecker
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Homewrecker movie poster banner

Homewrecker
Digital
Directed by Zach Gayne
Written by Precious Chong, Alex Essoe, Zach Gayne
Starring Alex Essoe, Precious Chong, Kris Siddiqi
Studio: Uncork’d Entertainment
Rating: 16+ | Run Time: 1h 16min
Release date: July 7, 2020 (Drive-In/DVD); July 7, 2020 (Digital/On Demand)

From Uncork’d Entertainment and Dark Star Pictures, Homewrecker is a surprising little movie. Imagine Single White Female meets Fatal Attraction by way of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but done almost as a minimalist stage play. And while the set was a bit conventional, it quickly spirals out of control in the best possible ways. The fact that the two leads co-wrote and co-produced the movie alongside director Zach Gayne shows how intimate this project was.

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Movie Review: The Dinner Party
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The Dinner Party horror movie

The Dinner Party
DVD | Digital
Directed by Miles Doleac
Written by Miles Doleac & Michael Donovan Horn
Starring Bill Sage, Lindsay Anne Williams, Jeremy London, Mike Mayhall, Alli Hart, Sawandhi Wilson, Ritchie Montgomery
Studio: Uncork’d Entertainment
Not Rated | Run Time: 115 minutes
Release date: June 9, 2020 (Digital/On Demand/DVD)

Plenty of horror movies in recent memory have used the “dinner party” as a plot device to mixed results, and Miles Doleac’s The Dinner Party does bear some resemblance to contemporary horror films like The Invitation and Would You Rather, but that’s only in the set up. After that the film follows with a beautifully shot, super gory, cannibal cult movie with a highly intellectual script, great soundtrack, and slick sense of humor.

Jeff (Mike Mayhall) and his wife Haley (Alli Hart) arrive at a beautiful mansion for the titular event, Jeff hoping to get his latest play produced by their wealthy hosts. Jeff wants things to go perfectly and that means Haley better behave. It’s clear from the onset Jeff is psychologically abusive, and we learn through a series of flashbacks that Haley has a very dark and troublesome past. They are greeted at the door by the obnoxiously playful Sebastian (Sawandhi Wilson) and we soon meet the dinner table of guests including Sadie (Lindsay Anne Williams), Carmine (Bill Sage), who is both a doctor and chef, famous author Agatha (Kamille McGuin), and Vincent (Doleac).

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Movie Review: Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint
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Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint movie banner

Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint
Documentary by Halina Dryschka
Year: 2019; Origin: Germany
Runtime: 93 mins; Color
Language: English, German, and Swedish
Subtitles: English
Studio: Zeitgeist Films
Release date: April 17, 2020

Vasily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian are credited with pioneering the European abstract art movement and their highly influential early 20th century works have long been integrated into our pop culture. But in recent years, it’s come to light that another artist — a woman, in fact — actually began creating abstract paintings before Kandinsky. That person was Hilma af Klint, the subject of a new documentary from Zeitgeist Films.

Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint, which opens virtually this weekend, explores the life and works of this truly pioneering Swedish artist, who took her first foray into abstract painting in 1906, several years before Kandinsky. She even died the same year as Kandinsky and Mondrian (1944). So why has this visionary never been credited until recently?

Through interviews with current artists, art and science historians and curators, and af Klint’s surviving relatives, along with up-close looks at and readings from journals entries, sketches, and paintings, director Halina Dryschka seeks to introduce the world to this little-known artist who broke gender boundaries of the time, created a new art style, and died in obscurity.

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Movie Review: The Two Popes
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The Two Popes

The Two Popes
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Writer: Anthony McCarten
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce
Distributor: Netflix
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 126
Release Date: November 27, 2019 (Limited) | December 20, 2019 (Netflix)

It’s amazing what could be accomplished when two people of differing ideologies could come together to simply sit down and listen to each other. That kind of consideration and respect is hard to come by, especially in this day and age. But when it happens, it reminds us of the power of empathy and tolerance. Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes is just that film. Based on true events, The Two Popes is a strong call to action for those who may not agree with others to simply understand their point of view. Check out my review below.

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Movie Review: Queen And Slim
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Queen and Slim

Queen And Slim
Director: Melina Matsoukas
Writer: Lena Waithe
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Bokeem Woodbine, Indya Moore
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated: R | Minutes: 132
Release Date: November 27, 2019

If art is a reflection of society, then Queen And Slim is a serious call to action to address the societal damages that police brutality and systemic racism cause when it is allowed to continue to fester across America. Melina Matsoukas, who makes her directorial debut using a script written by Lena Waithe, reimagines the outlaws on the run from the law story by adding timely real-world social themes that we see making news headlines too often. Though a film will not completely change the hearts and minds of those who may not see these dangers, it can be a powerful reminder that it still continues to exist and if it isn’t taken care of, these senseless deaths will continue to happen. My review below.

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Movie Review: Knives Out
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Knives Out

Knives Out
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 130
Release Date: November 27, 2019

Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out is a deliciously twisted whodunit murder mystery in the same vein of an Agatha Christie novel, but with a modern touch. Though it does rely on many of those Christie tropes of a detective warning the audience about foul play, marking everyone as a suspect, and deliberately setting up all of the clues in plain sight. And true to form, though the film holds the audience’s attention by giving them a well-crafted intrigue that is set up by Johnson, the political subtext allows it to be much more than just a simple murder mystery. And it is able to stay constantly entertaining as it is full of unlikeable and very suspect characters, who are wonderfully played by an all-star cast, that not only keeps things funny, but will also have us guessing until the very end. My full review below.

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Movie Review: Frozen 2
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FROZEN 2

Frozen 2
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Writer: Jennifer Lee
Cast: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, Jeremy Sisto, Santino Fontana, Ciarán Hinds, Alan Tudyk
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | Minutes: 103
Release Date: November 22, 2019

Even six years after its release, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen never stopped being a magical phenomenon as it continued on to thrive with its animated short Frozen Fever and its made-for-TV special Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. While both were fun expansions on the franchise, they weren’t really the deep dives into the original film’s characters or mythology that we would expect to see. Though Frozen 2 is not as narratively strong as the first, it is a rare Disney-animated musical sequel that is still a force to be reckoned with because of its emphasis on character development and continuing to echo the themes of female empowerment, while pushing the boundaries in its music and visuals. My full review of Frozen 2 here below.

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Movie Review: The Report
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Adam Driver The Report

The Report
Director: Scott Z. Burns
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, Jon Hamm, Matthew Rhys, John Rothman, Sarah Goldberg
Distributor: Amazon Studios
Rated R | Minutes: 120
Release Date: November 15, 2019

There is nothing more shocking and revealing than the truth. Scott Z. Burn‘s The Report is based on the true story of Daniel Jones’ investigation into the infamous Torture Report that followed after the September 11 attacks. The film takes a deep dive to uncover the heinous torture crimes committed by the CIA, and how they and the White House tried to cover it all up. While it is a slow and tedious political thriller, it is something that is filled with fast-paced dialogue, outstanding performances from Adam Driver and Annette Benning, and shocking revelations that will surely evoke anger and frustration.

Above all, The Report highlights the absolute necessity for investigative reporting. My full review here below.

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Movie Review: Ford v Ferrari
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Ford v Ferrari Christian Bale Matt Damon

Ford v Ferrari
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller
Cast: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, Ray McKinnon
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 150
Release Date: November 15, 2019

Great sports cinema goes far beyond what happens on the field, the court, or in this case, the racing track. It explores the unseen drama and relationships that are created off of them. Ford v Ferrari, directed by James Mangold, is just that kind of film as it chronicles the building of a better, faster, and stronger American car, while also elevating the story with a real-life grounded human drama.

Though it may check off all the boxes when it comes to biographical sports films, it also makes and checks off a few more with its editing and technical designs in sound, production, and costumes, and has audiences consuming what they are watching thanks in part to terrific performances from Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Check out the full review below.

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Movie Review: Last Christmas
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Last Christmas

Last Christmas
Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Bryony Kimmings, Emma Thompson
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, Michelle Yeoh
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13| Minutes: 103
Release Date: November 8, 2019

George Michael‘s “Last Christmas” is an essential track for any Christmas playlist. And though “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away / This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special,” is a bittersweet lyric, it does play a huge role in Paul Feig‘s holiday romantic comedy Last Christmas, starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding.

The film is breezy, tender, warm, and sweet at best, though it is a bit weighed down by its predictability. Still, looking past its flaws and embracing the cheerful hope it joyfully expresses, Last Christmas can go from essential track on any Christmas playlist to essential watching during the holiday season. Check out my review below.

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