Movie Reviews 

Bill & Ted Face the Music

by Alan Rapp on September 4, 2020

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Bill & Ted Face the Music
  • IMDb: link

Bill & Ted Face the Music movie review Nearly 30 years after the pair’s last appearance, Bill S. Preston, Esquire (Alex Winter) and Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) are back. And the world could certainly use them. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey told the story of how two teenage misfits would create a song to unite the world and birth a future utopia based on their music (despite all evidence to the contrary that they are completely incapable of doing so).

There were no lingering questions or threads for the franchise to wrap up as the end of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey offered an explanation of how the Bill and Ted could come up with the music that would change the world by making use of time travel as a life hack. Bill & Ted Face the Music offers a different answer, decades in the making. While Wyld Stallyns became famous based on their performance at the end of the second movie, that wasn’t the performance that changed the world. Instead, the performance is about to happen and, not surprisingly, the pair have no idea on how to make it happen. Their attempt to fall back on using time travel to cheat destiny turns out to only make things worse.

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Unhinged

by Alan Rapp on August 21, 2020

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Unhinged
  • IMDb: link

Unhinged movie reviewWhile far less clever than Falling Down, the new thriller from director Derrick Borte and screenwriter Carl Ellsworth plays on some of the same themes with a protagonist completely out of control. The difference here is that “The Man” (Russell Crowe), as he’s credited, is never internally explored. The perspective of the film is shown through the eyes of his victims as he targets friends and family of a woman (Caren Pistorius) for the slight of daring to honk at him in traffic and refusing to apologize.

Prior to introducing Rachel (Pistorius) and her family, the film opens with The Man’s brutal attack on another home. Obviously, he has anger management issues. After targeting Rachel, he gets an inordinate amount of information from her cell phone in short period of time, helped out by the single mother not locking her phone and people making calendar appointments on spur-of-the-moment get togethers. Unhinged isn’t the kind of movie you’ll want to start questioning or dissecting how likely something may have occurred (like the chance second meeting at the gas station) as it relies completely on the rage of Crowe’s character and the pressure it can apply.

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  • Title: Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful
  • IMDb: link

Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful movie reviewAlthough the provocative photographer passed away more than a decade ago, Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful showcases the work Helmut Newton left behind as it views his life and career through the lens of models, editors, publishers, and family who knew him best. The documentary by Gero von Boehm may not offer many surprises, but it does celebrate the decades of work from Newton and make good use of interview footage of the man prior to his death in 2004.

Without making any attempt to offer a linear structure, Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful examines the roots of Newton who came of age in Germany during the rise of Nazism and the early influences in his life as a student for Yva and, in stark contrast, the work of Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl whose strong blond female subjects would become a staple of Newton’s portfolio. The film also addresses the charges of misogyny against Newton painting him as a naughty boy who loved and respected women while still wishing to push boundaries as a provocateur.

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Extra Ordinary

by Alan Rapp on March 6, 2020

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Extra Ordinary
  • IMDb: link

Extra Ordinary movie reviewExtra Ordinary has the advantages and disadvantages one would expect from a writing and directing team working on their first feature. There’s certainly style and out-of-box thinking on display here, although the film is still quite rough around the edges.

We’re offered two stories that will eventual intertwine. The first, and more successful, involves lonely Irish driving instructor Rose Dooley (Maeve Higgins) whose paranormal powers she has been afraid to use since childhood. Meeting a likable-enough bloke (Barry Ward), who has troubles both with a home haunted by his deceased wife and a daughter (Claudia O’Doherty) under possession, forces Rose to dig back into her childhood skills (and pull out the old VCR tapes of her father’s paranormal infomercials).

The movie’s other story ties into possessed Claudia (O’Doherty) whose current plight was caused by one-hit wonder Christian Winter (Will Forte) hoping that sacrificing a virgin to Satan will provide him with inspiration for another hit. It’s in Forte’s segments that the film veers closest to going off-course, but Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman keep things on track.

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The Way Back

by Alan Rapp on March 5, 2020

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Way Back
  • IMDb: link

The Way Back movie reviewThe simplest way to describe The Way Back would be if a Hallmark movie and a sports movie had a baby. Pulling from two separate genres, the film from director Gavin O’Connor doesn’t have to strain too hard as it uses the basic tropes of each as a crutch for much of its running time. The film introduces us to former star basketball player Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) who is lured out of his alcoholic haze by his old Catholic high school in need of an emergency replacement for their down-on-their-luck basketball team. Apparently the need for a coach was dire enough that Cunningham being well-known as the local slush wasn’t enough to immediately eliminate him from contention.

At first reluctant to take the job, Cunningham accepts the added responsibility and stress while dealing with a serious drinking problem, a broken marriage, and recent tragedy in his family. If Affleck’s character was a song, it would be a country song. As for his team, it’s the expected motley group of kids smaller and less athletically gifted than most of their competition, but when both the coach and players buy-in and put their noses to the grindstone… well, you know the rest.

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