Jennifer’s Body

This one came out 2009 but it looks a lot like a 90’s slasher. Jennifer is not who she once was. At times it’s funny at others it’s downright as scary as “I Know What You Did Last Summer” or “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Despite the gore and the scare, the cheese factor is there.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)
R | 1h 42min | Comedy, Horror | 18 September 2009 (USA)

A newly possessed high school cheerleader turns into a succubus who specializes in killing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Diablo Cody
Stars: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody

This one is fun for watching Amanda Seyfried try and save the day from the evil Jennifer. They used to be friends, which is a part I found a little hard to believe. Jennifer is just too hot and apparently too stupid to pick a friend like that. This one was recommended to me by IMDB and I have to say, it really wasn’t my type. Some may like it for the high school shallow humor and slasher attitude. To me, it seemed like it dodn’t know what it was trying to be and that made it hard to stay focused. Sadly, I had to give it a 4/10.


My score: 8/10. An eccentric 90-something aged man goes through his routine as the camera goes with him. It’s a similar concept to “The Straight Story” if you’ve seen that. However this one is a little more bare-bones. There is no conflict or odyssey. In this case, we are left wonderig what Lucky’s life was about. That’s what makes it special and probably a unique experience to each viewer. WE remember life through his character.

Lucky (2017)
Not Rated | 10min | Comedy, Drama | 29 September 2017 (USA)

The spiritual journey of a ninety-year-old atheist.
Director: John Carroll Lynch
Writers: Logan Sparks (screenplay), Drago Sumonja (screenplay)
Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston

John Carroll Lynch is our director here. He is a phenomenal actor you may remember from “Fargo,” “Gothika,” “Zodiac” and “The Founder.” This film seems like a very meaningful piece of art he has bestowed upon us. It is very well staged and directed.

The film is slow at times and since the lead actor is in his 90’s there isn’t a lot of raucous western suspense. It’s more like a film to think about while watching and afterward. The cinematography and western desert setting are peaceful, tranquil, and serene. While not for everyone, I do recommend this film. It was enjoyable to watch. I give it 8/10.

Patriots Day

The story of a police officer with a trick knee is the centerpiece of this much larger tale about the Boston Marathon Bombings. It’s a fitting focal point because he’s a larger than life star and it helps us scan through this horrific event.

Patriots Day (2016)
R | 2h 13min | Crime, Drama, History | 13 January 2017 (USA)

The story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible.
Director: Peter Berg
Writers: Peter Berg (screenplay), Matt Cook (screenplay) | 5 more credits »
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, J.K. Simmons

If you don’t have characters and their personal stories to see the story through, it’s less a movie and more a documentary. This film does a good job in its script of showing the day’s events through the story of Wahlberg’s character. True story films really come alive when they use this method. This one is done very well and keeps you intrigued from beginning to end.

As the marathon went on, the early finishers crossed the finish line. No one would know that soon, two terrorists with backpacks would lay their dirty bombs down and remotely detonate them causing shards of nails, scrap metal shrapnel, and other weapons of harm to wound and kill both participants and spectators.

This film also tells a side-story of the two brothers who did the bombing. We learn they were of a splinter group related to an American hating organization. It does a good job of showing their manner and mindset through the tragedy they caused. They also show shadows of the older brother’s wife and what her role may or may have not been in this.

As a true story film, this one is best at telling the events that led up and transpired throughout the event. It’s a bit documentary in it’s framework but there is plenty of story in the script that fuels powerful acting. It falls short of focusing on the recovery of these people but it doesn’t really mean to be that type of film. To learn the details of the story, this one is great. For the human aftermath and effect on drama for the survivors, “Stronger” does a great job at that. I give this film a 10/10 for what it sets out to do.

The Woman

I hope you like Bob Dylan style singers because you’ll get that pretty much throughout this film. It’s ok, just a smattering of hatred against a certain type of male that beats and takes advantage of women. It’s cool to see Pollyanna McIntosh, she’s the real star here. You might know her from The Walking Dead, she’s the leader of the tribe that’s sort of with Negan then not. It appears she has only women on her team? That one.

The Woman (2011)
R | 1h 41min | Horror | 18 August 2011 (Australia)

When a successful country lawyer captures and attempts to “civilize” the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast for decades, he puts the lives of his family in jeopardy.
Director: Lucky McKee
Writers: Jack Ketchum, Lucky McKee | 2 more credits »
Stars: Pollyanna McIntosh, Brandon Gerald Fuller, Lauren Ashley Carter

The woman needs its halfway mark before it really gets believable. Before that it looks like a day gone bad for an otherwise goofy husband and dad. The director Lucky McKee has a unique style in this one. In a way it reminds me of Rob Zombie only the music is more folk and upbeat. It’s a vengeance film about a woman who gets her vengeance. Some will enjoy it, I found tense for tenses sake and not really believable. For example, the stunt his son pulls? Would that happen? I guess that depends on how messed up you take the dad for right? Pretty good but annoying music and not much verisimilitude. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’ve seen a lot of horror movies and this one keeps being recommend to you (as it was to me.) 5/10.


A gut-wrenching horror about a teacher and his “gifted” student. The truth is, this student is a gift any teacher should reject. When teacher tries to make a point to said student by giving him a B+, he opens Pandora’s box and all hell starts to break loose. This clean cut kid is definitely not what he seems. Still, there are signs.

Dismissed (2017)
Not Rated | 1h 27min | Horror, Thriller | 8 October 2017 (USA)

An idealistic, straight-edge teacher is drawn down a horrid rabbit hole by an honors student when he gives him a B+ on a paper.
Director: Benjamin Arfmann
Writer: Brian McAuley
Stars: Kent Osborne, Dylan Sprouse, Rae Gray

The director here is Benjamin Arfmann, this is his first feature film but he has done television and short films. It’s well directed. I especially appreciated the scenes in the Principal’s office with the police. She was for him, then against him. At some point, the whole situation was so out of control. no authority could contain it. Those are the scariest parts.

WE al know Dylan Sprouse from “The Secret Life of Zack and Cody.” He’s taken on a huge acting challenge bu doing this horror film. I hope it pays him back because he’s a good actor and I am a horror fan. He is scary and annoying, almost in a Norman Bates sort of way. I liked the film, it was scary and well paced. I give it a 9/10. It could have been a 10 if it fleshed out the character’s past a bit more to show maybe why he did this stuff.

Black Mass

Pretty good, not bad, skip the spaghetti and meatballs because we got IRISH mob kills this time. So what shall we eat? Corned beef and cabbage with green beer? Sure why the hell not. Johnny Depp plays another Johnny. He’s a killer. This one’s a true story too. (I love those)

Black Mass (2015)
R | 2h 3min | Biography, Crime, Drama | 18 September 2015 (USA)

The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
Director: Scott Cooper
Writers: Mark Mallouk (screenplay), Jez Butterworth (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Stars: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson

Scott Cooper is the director. He did ‘Out of the Furnace’ starring Christian Bale and I have to tell you I loved that movie. He apparently picks the stories from the city streets. This one is really gritty like Furnace. The characters are grounded and they cuss as well as they handle guns in execution style mob killings. This is not a study in what happened, it’s more a display of what this whacked out killer did when he was alive. Some of the stuff goes way beyond cold hearted. It’s a good mob film, it has an amazing cast as well. It was a little slow in telling thhe story I thought but I got beyond it. I give it an 8.5/10.

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.

Just about anything Melanie Lynskey is in is great. She’s part of a group of actors that includes Mark Duplass and others who are making their way through a career and developing a particular style of character. She’s the star of this one and it’s a really great thing to see.

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. (2017)
TV-MA | 1h 33min | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 24 February 2017 (USA)

When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.
Director: Macon Blair
Writer: Macon Blair
Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Chris Doubek, Marilyn Faith Hickey

Macon Blair is the director here, he did a truly good job in ‘Blue Ruin’ which was a vengeance movie made on a shoestring budget. He’s in the director’s chair this time and I’m happy to report this film is great.

Elijah Wood plays the neighbor DIY mercenary. When the two team up to get her stolen property back it works like clockwork. In these unsure times, it’s comforting and entertaining to see regular people take charge of their situation. The humble ways of these characters are just plain fun to watch. I recommend this one and it’s on Netflix. 8/10.

Bloody Sunday

Short review here. My score: 4/10. A wooden, poorly edited (which is very distracting), under-developed biopic of the Bloody Sunday event so well know by the Irish and members of the world audience.

Bloody Sunday (2002)
R | 1h 47min | Drama, History, War | 19 April 2002 (Portugal)

A dramatization of the Irish civil rights protest march and subsequent massacre by British troops on January 30, 1972.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Writer: Paul Greengrass
Stars: James Nesbitt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Nicholas Farrell

There could have been better backstory and illustration of why this happened. They use handhelds as an excuse to not engage through other means. Director Paul Greengrass went on to direct some truly awesome films like Jason Bourne, Captain Phillips, The Bourne Ultimatum, United 93, & The Bourne Supremacy.

Too many shaky camera closeups that don’t serve a central theme. “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Not sure what he was going for with Bloody Sunday but whatever it was, I missed it. I wanted to like it as an Irishman myself, but I couldn’t get into it.

Walking Out

Dads get a bad rap. We want our teenage sons to be tough to face a carnvivorous world. We want them to do better than we did. Sometimes dads are the more rugged and “rough” parents. In this case we have a teenage boy sent to spend time with his outdoorman father, both get more than they bargained for.

Walking Out (2017)
PG-13 | 1h 35min | Adventure, Drama, Mystery | 6 October 2017 (USA)

An urban teenager journeys to Montana to hunt big game with his estranged father. Father and son struggle to connect, until a brutal encounter in the heart of the wilderness changes everything.
Directors: Alex Smith, Andrew J. Smith
Writers: David Quammen (short story), Alex Smith (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins, Bill Pullman

This was directed by “The Smith Brothers,” specifically Alex and Andrew Smith. They have about 4 films under their belt, none have been blockbusters. That’s ok with me because I don’t necessarily want to see the blockbusters when there are amazing smaller scale gems to be watched. This is one of those. It’s man against nature once again and we see a lot of the same old conventions connected to that premise. A boy is sent to his father to grow up and he does it the hard way with snowy hiking, a bear, and finally … (no spoliers). I was never bored watching this film and I can’t thik of a way I could have made it better. It is a timeless theme and I recommend it to you dear watcher at a 7/10.

The Hurt Locker

I’ve thought of Iraqi war veterans as many things, all good and full of resepct. Still, I never thought about them being adrenaline junkies. That is Katheryn Bigelow’s main message it would seem in this war thriller. It’s an interesting take, how young men might be trapped in the hurt locker ready for more. It’s neat to look at but let’s not forget sp many things are are screwed up about war. There’s a lot more wrong than wanting to get to the next level of a would-be video game.

The Hurt Locker (2008)
R | 2h 11min | Drama, History, Thriller | 31 July 2009 (USA)

During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty

Kathryn Bigelow is among my favorite directors. Her credits include: 2017 Detroit, 2012 Zero Dark Thirty, 2008 The Hurt Locker, 1995 Strange Days, & 1991 Point Break. Detroit and Zero Dark Thirty really set her apart for me. She’s a special director and you can trust in “Spring-loaded” film with a lot of suspense and bombs in it that she has calculated everything to make a point and to be enjoyed as a motion picture.

Like so many films, this one shows how messed up war is and how much is can wreck people mentally. We as armchair observers can sit back and contemplate the severity of that. I think it’s important we watch films that shed a like on what modern warfare is about. The ways we connect with other cultures should be the focus not the ways we are different. War wukk always be with us but a better perspective is available to us always, just around the bend. I gave this film an 8/10.