This small Minnesota city on the Canadian border has a few claims to fame. It was the inspiration for Frostbite Falls in Rocky and Bullwinkle, it’s officially known as the Icebox of the Nation for its cold temperatures, the high school hockey team has a rich history winning seven state titles and it was the home of National Football League legend Bronko Nagurski.
I can’t say I was ever really expecting my hometown to be the setting for a motion picture, though. Yes, before leaving for college, the setting of this dramatic comedy was where I was born and raised.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘International Falls’ is a strong, amusing look at a stark situation”
“Downhill,” aka, “Marriage Story: On Ice.”
This movie taking place at a ski resort in Austria follows a family of four on vacation. The family includes the parents Billie (Julia Louis Dreyfus) and Pete (Will Ferrell), and their two sons Finn (Julian Grey) and Emerson (Ammon Jacob Ford). The family appears to have some stress from vacation traveling, but seem to be ready for a pleasant trip in Europe.
However, the situation gets rocky when a controlled avalanche to provide more snow on the slopes causes a sequence of events that results in a rift between the married couple. The rest of the trip explores their drama as they navigate the rest of their vacation.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Downhill’ enjoyable thanks to mix of drama, dark comedy”
Few movies get as smug and full of itself as director Guy Ritchie’s new feature “The Gentlemen.”
The movie stars Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Pearson. Mickey is the kingpin of a crime organization that grows marijuana in the United Kingdom on land owned by wealthy British citizens. After building his empire up, though, Mickey is looking to get out of the “business” and settle down.
To do so, Mickey is holding meetings with Matthew (Jeremy Strong), a wealthy interested party. However, one night, a tabloid journalist named Fletcher (Hugh Grant) introduces information to Mickey’s right hand man Ray (Charlie Hunnam) that could throw a wrench in the situation.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Underneath the glitz and glamour, ‘The Gentlemen’ is empty”
This is a series called “Best of the Decade.” It’s a list including 10 movies that I found to be the best in a specific genre from 2010-2019.
Whether they were based on TV shows or real life experiences, the past decade provided audiences with a good deal of laughs. Here are my favorite funny flicks from the 2010s.
Continue reading “Best of the Decade: Comedy”
Before this movie whenever I heard the phrase “Ready or Not” I thought of the Fugees song. Now, I might think of a very bloody wedding reception.
“Ready or Not” follows the character Grace, played by Samara Weaving, on her wedding day. While nerves are nothing new for a person on their wedding day, Grace is having a bit more anxiety than usual because she happens to be marrying into a massively wealthy family.
She’s calmed down a bit, though, by her fiance Alex (Mark O’Brien) and her new family, who provide pleasantries and reassurance. That is until it comes time for the family tradition of having a game at midnight. The family decides to play a game of Hide and Seek, with Grace being the person to hide. At first Grace just thinks it’s a silly quirk, until it turns out the family is actually hunting her as part of a sacrificial ritual. As a result, Grace’s wedding night turns into a fight for survival.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Ready or Not’ is a fun way to end summer 2019”
Director Richard Linklater is a great talent in the film industry. The “Before Sunrise” trilogy, “Boyhood,” 2011’s “Bernie” and even 2017’s “Last Flag Flying,” have all been solid entries to his filmography in this reviewer’s opinion.
However, when it comes to “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” the filmmaker, along with the cast and crew, drop the ball.
Bernadette, played by Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, is a retired architect who now spends most of her time trying to restore the home where her family now resides. Her leaving the industry, though, has led to her enjoying life less and less, and it doesn’t help that she’s not exactly sociable.
The latter is especially portrayed by her having a bad relationships with other women in her neighborhood and her marriage becoming strained. As the movie progresses, these stress factors eventually become to much and Bernadette ends up leaving to pursue a sort of self discovery journey. By itself that’s not a particularly bad thing, except she doesn’t end up telling anybody.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Bernadette’s’ mystery isn’t worth checking out”
This movie features not one, not two, but three women who are worthy of winning Best Actress awards this season.
“The Favourite” is the latest film from director Yorgos Lanthimos and it tells the story of Sarah (Rachel Weisz), the adviser and assistant to Queen Anne of England (Olivia Colman). The movie gets started with Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) coming to the castle seeking work as a maid. Abigail quickly shows her value as a staff member and manages to work her way up in the hierarchy, eventually falling into favor with the queen herself.
As she does this, something of a rivalry develops between Sarah and Abigail over who’s best at serving Queen Anne. As all of this is taking place, there is also the fact that England is at war and politicians are trying to pull the queen in various ways to fit their agendas. Both the rivalry between the two women and the ongoing political debate end up crossing over in this dark comedy with phenomenal results.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Favourite’ is an incredible dramatic comedy”
Legendary filmmaker Spike Lee has returned to the directors chair, this time to helm a crime/cop drama that’s actually based on a true story.
Taking place in the 1970s, “BlacKkKlansman” follows Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), a recent addition to a police department in Colorado. As a rookie in the department, Ron initially works in the records division. However, he eventually convinces the chief to get a chance in undercover detective work.
After a short time in the new division, Ron ends up taking a chance by phone to call a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. In doing so, Ron is able to keep track of the local Klan’s strategies and if they’re seeking to do anything violent. To make the investigation even more effective, Ron works with Flip (Adam Driver), a fellow detective who takes Ron’s place during in-person meetings with the Klan.
Continue reading “REVIEW: While flawed, ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is an engaging take on a wild true story”