REVIEW: ‘The Card Counter’ is a terrific slow-burn in a fast setting

Paul Schrader is back with another pessimistic film that earns a positive score.

Oscar Isaac stars as William Tell in “The Card Counter,” a man who after serving a prison sentence, lives on the road traveling from casino to casino. Tell is able to count cards and is strong poker player, but he never tries to make more than he needs to survive. It soon becomes clear that he’s troubled by something in his past.

Tell’s life begins to change, though, when he meets Cirk (Tye Sheridan), the college-age son of a soldier he knew while serving. Around the same time, he meets a woman named La Linda, who convinces him to begin playing professionally under her management.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Card Counter’ is a terrific slow-burn in a fast setting”

REVIEW: Movie about cons has plenty of cons, but still entertains

A bottle film with plenty of bullets is usually good for entertaining audiences, but the quality can really vary.

“Copshop” is a situation where the film does entertain, but the quality is a bit on the lower end.

Alexis Louder stars as Valerie Young in “Copshop,” a rookie officer who works at a rural police station. One night on patrol, Young arrests a man named Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo), who is placed in a holding cell. Not long after, other officers from the station arrest a drunk driver known as Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler).

It turns out, Teddy and Bob know each other. After working for the mob, Teddy was looking for a way out and went to the authorities. Bob, meanwhile, is a hitman. Now, the two are both at the same station and Young is forced to do some quick thinking as another gunman comes to the station, also looking for the hit on Teddy.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Movie about cons has plenty of cons, but still entertains”

REVIEW: ‘Cruella’ constricted by tonal imbalance

Hero. Antihero. Villain. Can a protagonist be all three? “Cruella” attempts to find out.

Emma Stone stars as Estella in this supposed prequel to the “101 Dalmatians” story. Estella, born with white and black hair, is a girl who was orphaned at a young age when her mother fell from a balcony during a party. Following the death, Estella finds her way to London and meets Jasper and Horace. The three become friends and pull schemes together to make money in order to survive.

Eventually, though, Estella gets her chance to leave her life of pick-pocketing and get her dream job as a fashion designer. Eventually, she gets to work for London’s top fashion individual, who simply goes by The Baroness (Emma Thompson). The more she works there, though, the more Estella finds reason to let out her true self, Cruella, and conquer the fashion world.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Cruella’ constricted by tonal imbalance”

REVIEW: Good direction from Ritchie makes ‘Wrath of Man’ work

Many revenge movies are straightforward in their approach, so any time a good director can come along with some flair to elevate things, it’s a plus.

That’s the case here with “Wrath of Man.”

The film centers on Patrick Hill (Jason Statham) who simply goes by “H.” Appearing to be just an everyman, H begins working for an armored vehicle company, mainly under the supervision of a man whose nickname is Bullet (Holt McCallany).

His first several days there are routine, but one day a truck he’s in is stopped by a gang of thieves. It’s no problem for H, though, who takes out the criminals with great skill and precision. It soon comes to light that H is working at the company for a specific reason and has revenge on his mind.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Good direction from Ritchie makes ‘Wrath of Man’ work”

REVIEW: ‘I Care a Lot’ crumbles due to poor writing

Sometimes there are pieces of media that just try way too hard to be edgy. “I Care a Lot” definitely joins that club.

Rosamund Pike stars as Marla Grayson in “I Care a Lot,” a woman who’s made a career as a legal guardian for the elderly. As part of her job, Grayson will get a notice from a doctor she works with stating that an elderly person can no longer live on her own, which she brings to a court.

In turn, the court will then grant legal guardianship to Grayson, allowing her to determine the care for the elderly person, which results in her putting them in an assisted living facility. It also means she has access to the elderly individual’s finances. The latest individual she decides to get legal guardianship over, Jennifer Peterson (Diane Wiest), though, just happens to have a significant connection to Russian mob boss Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage).

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘I Care a Lot’ crumbles due to poor writing”

REVIEW: ‘The Little Things’ has little to offer the detective genre

Denzel Washington is once again doing detective work in California but this time, it’s not a training day.

Washington plays Joe Deacon, who casually goes by Deke. A former detective, Deke now works as a sheriff deputy with a normal beat. He mostly stays in his own lane, but at the movie’s start, he’s brought in to give some experienced advice on a new murder case.

The case is being primarily helmed by Jim Baxter (Rami Malek), a young detective who’s already making a name for himself as a talented inspector. While the two are at first not thrilled about working together, they eventually decide they can figure this puzzle out better by working side-by-side. The film explores them doing so and also begins revealing why Deke made a career change.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Little Things’ has little to offer the detective genre”

REVIEW: ‘I’m Your Woman’ is watchable, but weakened by story issues

“I’m Your Woman” is a fairly entertaining crime drama, but the story does get clunky at times.

Rachel Brosnahan plays the lead character Jean in the film. She is married to Eddie (Bill Heck) a man who by all appearances is associated with organized crime. At the movie’s onset, Eddie comes home with a baby, stating that it’s his and Jean’s son.

Jean begins caring for the baby, but her typical days of motherhood are shattered when she is told that Eddie has gone missing by one of his friends, Cal (Arinze Kene). Now she must survive with her child as the criminal underground applies pressure on her.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘I’m Your Woman’ is watchable, but weakened by story issues”

REVIEW: ‘Unhinged’ is never unentertaining

I don’t think Russell Crowe hasn’t taken out everything in his path like this since “Gladiator.”

Crowe, whose character is just known as The Man, is introduced as violent right from the start, as the opening scene shows him committing a double murder and then arson. We then switch to the main character, Rachel (Caren Pistorius), who’s having a rough morning.

She’s late for work, her divorce is taking the difficult route through the legal system and she has to make sure her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) gets to school on time. Along the way, she lays on the horn pretty hard at a truck, driven by Crowe’s character. He doesn’t take kindly to it, and decides to go on a murderous, destructive rampage with Rachel as his target.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Unhinged’ is never unentertaining”

REVIEW: New Netflix film never reaches full ‘Power’

Super powers can be a fun thing in movies, but they need to have rules and, more importantly, they must make sense.

“Project Power, unfortunately, doesn’t have a good control on this aspect, or other film elements for that matter.

The film is set in New Orleans and takes place as a new drug is spreading through the city. Rather than giving people a high, though, this new drug causes people to have five minute bursts of super powers.

As the film goes on, the drug is shown to give different people unique powers, such as super strength or camouflage. The film follows a trio of characters mixed into the situation, a cop who’s using the drug himself to fight back named Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a former soldier ,Art (Jamie Foxx), who’s trying to limit its spread and a student, Robin (Dominique Fishback), who’s started dealing the substance.

Continue reading “REVIEW: New Netflix film never reaches full ‘Power’”

REVIEW: ’21 Bridges’ isn’t sensational, but it is streamable

The characters didn’t go to all 21 bridges. 1 out of 5.

Just kidding, kind of.

This film is a sophomore feature effort by director Brian Kirk, who in the past helmed 2006’s “Middletown.” His latest film stars Chadwick Boseman as Andre Davis, a detective with roughly a decade of experience with the New York City Police Department. While he’s a good detective, though, he’s also gained a negative reputation of being too quick on the trigger.

His expertise is called upon, though, when a drug incident turns into a blood bath, with several police officers dead and the two responsible going on the run. To capture the two and bring them to justice, Andre and another investigator, Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller) launch a city-wide manhunt and shut down all 21 bridges out of New York.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ’21 Bridges’ isn’t sensational, but it is streamable”