In July I founded the Minnesota Film Critics Alliance and one of the best parts of doing so has been connecting with really talented people.
One of them is Ruth Maramis, who reviews films at FlixChatter. Her movie-related work doesn’t end there, though.
Maramis was also an executive producer and the writer for the short film “Hearts Want.” Since its release, the picture has picked up recognition from several film festivals.
Continue reading “A Minnesota-made movie: ‘Hearts Want’ review”
OK, I can handle the teenage angst, but when pseudo-intellectual babble is poured on top, it becomes too much.
“Chemical Hearts” centers on the character Henry (Austin Abrams), a senior who becomes the editor of the school newspaper in his final year. As the fall semester gets started, he meets a new student, Grace (Lili Reinhart), who joins the newspaper team.
Grace walks with a cane, as she has an apparent leg injury and keeps to herself for the most part. Henry, though, wants to get to know her and as time goes on, begins to form a relationship with Grace. However, she’s still dealing with trauma from an event in her past.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Chemical Hearts’ hindered by screenplay”
It’s always fun going back to the old stomping grounds by visiting your college town, that is if you’re not going through some problems like the main character in this movie is.
Written and directed by Kris Rey, “I Used to Go Here” follows Kate (Gillian Jacobs), an author whose first book was recently published. However, the sales aren’t going all that well, and her relationship status is difficult.
Needing a change of scenery, Kate accepts an invitation to speak at her alma mater, which was sent by a professor, David (Jemaine Clement), who taught one of her classes. During her time there, she talks with David about her career and also goes to a party at a frat house, which used to be where her and her friends lived while she attended school.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘I Used to Go Here’ is a charming indie dramedy”
Being the guardian of a child seems like enough work as it is. This movie throws a world war into the mix, too, so no wonder the main character is stressed.
“Summerland” takes place during World War II as the Battle of Britain is going on. Because London is being bombarded, children, including a young boy named Frank (Lucas Bond), are sent to live in the English countryside.
Upon arrival, the government places Frank with Alice (Gemma Arterton), a writer and researcher of mythical literature. Alice isn’t sociable and doesn’t like kids all that much. However, as time goes on Alice becomes more of a mentor and true guardian for Frank.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Summerland’ slumps after strong start, but still good overall”
I’m not exactly a person who’s easily distracted. However, the song “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons kept making its way in my head during this movie.
Starring Rosamund Pike, “Radioactive” tell the story of Polish scientist Marie Curie, who accomplished her groundbreaking work in France. The movie depicts her relationship with her husband Pierre (Sam Riley), as well as their discoveries of the elements polonium and radium.
As the movie progresses, Curie’s life continues to be documented, and both the negative and positive impacts of radioactivity are shown. From this, the audience is able to learn how Curie’s life work went hand in hand with her relationships.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Radioactive’ drags despite strong Pike performance”
Netflix, how dare you steal this movie from the Lifetime Channel.
That joke isn’t just based on the genre this movie is in, it also fits because the director of this motion picture has a lot of experience in the realm of TV flicks. The film follows a married woman named Ellie (Nia Long) who’s just moved to a new home with her husband Marcus (Stephen Bishop).
The movie picks up with Ellie attending a rather routine meeting at her job, but that changes when she sees her firm has hired a tech expert named David (Omar Epps). David is Ellie’s old friend from college, and the two are happy to meet up again. However, Ellie soon finds David to have dangerous ideas and motives.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Fatal Affair’ is a thriller everyone can skip”
How now, first cow?
This feature from the studio A24 does in fact feature a cow, but it also includes a whole lot more. The movie is set in the early 1820s, during the days where pioneers pushed west for trades such as gold and fur. We’re immediately introduced to Otis “Cookie” Figowitz (John Magaro), a cook who’s part of a fur trading group making their way to a fort.
Cookie isn’t exactly on friendly terms with the others in the team, though, as they claim he doesn’t provide enough food. Once he gets to the fort, though, he does manage to start a friendship with a Chinese immigrant named King-Lu (Orion Lee), who he met earlier during his travels. Not only do the two form a bond, they also begin a money-making scheme where they secretly milk the first cow brought to the area and use it to make high quality baked goods.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘First Cow’ is a strong film about gentle people”
I have a lot of respect for Jon Stewart. He made me laugh on a nightly basis with his show. But wow does he get local politics wrong.
Stewart writes and directs this feature starring Steve Carell as a political strategist for the Democratic Party named Gary Zimmer. Gary works out of Washington D.C. and mainly focuses on national races. After having a successful career, though, Gary is left rather down following the election of 2016 which was disastrous for Democrats.
He gets a spark of hope, though, when he sees a viral video of a man in rural Wisconsin making an impassioned speech about protecting benefits, such as SNAP. The man, who’s also a veteran, is viewed as the perfect Democrat to win in a more rural area of the country, and Gary decides to help him win a race for the small Wisconsin town’s mayoral seat. However, this also draws the attention of the national Republican party, and it sets up a big time political match in a small town not used to the Washington tactics.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Irresistible’ is irritating”
There are interesting concepts at play in “You Should Have Left,” but sadly, it doesn’t result in a great film.
Directed and written by David Koepp, “You Should Have Left” stars Kevin Bacon as Theo, a man who is planning to go on vacation with his wife Susanna (Amanda Seyfried) and her daughter Ella (Avery Essex). The vacation home they choose is a rather modern looking one in a rural area of Wales.
At first, it seems like the perfect spot to get away, with the house being spacious and the beautiful countryside out the window. However, as time goes on, details about Theo’s past and current relationship issues cause strain. On top of that, strange things start occurring in the seemingly perfect house.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘You Should Have Left’ squanders potential”
All of “7500” takes place within the small confines of a cockpit. Considering this film was made for just $5 million, doing so probably kept costs down. It also brought the tension up.
The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tobias, a co-pilot for a German airliner just leaving the airport. Joining Tobias in the cockpit is the Captain Michael (Carlo Kitzlinger), who’s the older, more experienced of the two. Meanwhile, working as a flight attendant is Tobias’ girlfriend Gökce (Aylin Tezel).
Tobias is a little stressed, as he and Gökce are house-hunting, but otherwise it seems like a routine flight. That is until the airplane is subject to a hijacking attempt. Tobias manages to keep the hijackers out of the cockpit and announce Code 7500 to air traffic controllers to let them know of the situation, but the terrorists begin taking hostages, making the situation tense.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘7500’ offers thrills in close quarters”