Nightmare Alley is a hauntingly beautiful from Guillermo Del Toro!

In 1940s New York, down-on-his-luck Stanton Carlisle endears himself to a clairvoyant and her mentalist husband at a traveling carnival. Using newly acquired knowledge, Carlisle crafts a golden ticket to success by swindling the elite and wealthy. Hoping for a big score, he soon hatches a scheme to con a dangerous tycoon with help from a mysterious psychiatrist who might be his most formidable opponent yet.

Back when Guillermo Del Toro won best director for The Shape Of Water at the Oscars I was truly happy, I’ve always been a huge fan mostly due to him being one of the most interesting filmmakers currently working today. Nightmare Alley is the definition of a Guillermo Del Toro film although it is a remake of the 1947 film of the same name he manages to make it his own, the cast does a fantastic job Bradley Cooper is one of the big standouts here. He does something completely different from some of his other roles and it’s truly an amazing sight. The movie itself compliments this by showing a man who was once rational, to a power hunger man who wants money to someone who completely lost it. Bradley Cooper does a fantastic job of showing all three of these transformations in a very detailed and at times scary way. Cate Blanchett’s performance feels like a performance from the classic era of Hollywood took a time machine and transported itself to 2021. In other words the performance is incredible and hauntingly beautiful in every way possible, the rest of the cast is truly strong in Rooney Mara and Willem Dafoe (who I think was born for these types of roles) in particular. The film is hauntingly gorgeous, it’s a type of element that Guillermo Del Toro always masters at making the film look haunting but at the same time beautiful. His direction is also top notch, making the performances come off as genuine as possible while creating some real dramatized performances that feel intimidating to the viewer. It’s truly fascinating to see how much Guillermo Del Toro makes this film his own, from the different types of locations to the characters it’s absolutely wonderful to witness. The whole theme of seeing a man go from rational to completely unrecognizable truly fits Guillermo Del Toro’s style and he truly mastered it here, it’s even the little things such as a few mannerisms thrown in there that truly make this film go a long way. Overall Nightmare Alley is a film I highly recommend, truly fascinating and as I said multiple times hauntingly beautiful!

Nightmare Alley is available in Theaters!

10/10 A+

The Card Counter is a meditative and hypnotic beautiful film!

William Tell is a gambler and former serviceman who sets out to reform a young man seeking revenge on a mutual enemy from their past. Tell just wants to play cards. His spartan existence on the casino trail is shattered when he is approached by Cirk, a vulnerable and angry young man seeking help to execute his plan for revenge on a military colonel. Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk.

The Card Counter is definitely one of the more underrated films of 2021, it’s a movie I rarely ever see get brought up outside of a few people. Which is a shame because it’s really quite great, for starters the film does a magnificent job of building it’s characters. The pacing compliments that really well to give the viewer some very grounded characters that pull you in, Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish in particular do a fantastic job. Both of which have really strong chemistry between one and another and absolutely steal the show when they are on screen together. The film is very meditative as well as being hypnotic which is to be expected from a film by Paul Schrader, The Card Counter is a dreamlike film that feels very real. From the actions of the characters to how they feel it’s a very nice combination of dreamlike and rawness, the writing is also incredibly strong with a handful of powerhouse moments to really set the tone for the rest of the film! Overall The Card Counter is a fantastic film that If you haven’t already definitely check this one out!

The Card Counter is available on all VOD Platforms!

8/10 B+

House Of Gucci is a campy, chaotic and wildly fun ride from beginning to end!

When Patrizia Reggiani, an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel the family legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge — and ultimately murder.

House Of Gucci is definitely not what I expected and I mean that in the best way possible, Ridley Scott does something completely different and makes this a truly outrageous and campy ride. The performances are truly some of the best of the year, Lady Gaga easily steals the show and shows that her future as an actress is really bright, she’s continuously shown how much of a fantastic actress she is and this is no exception. Lady Gaga’s performance is another transformative performance from this year, she completely nails the part of Patrizia Reggiani in every single way possible! Adam Driver and Al Pacino both give fantastic performances, like Lady Gaga they truly become who they are playing as. Then there’s Jared Leto who I couldn’t help but laugh at whenever he was on screen, not everyone is going to like his performance and that’s very understandable, but it reaches this campy level that you just can’t help but enjoy it. Ridley Scott once again does a fantastic job of recreating the time period the events of the film took place, combine that with the documentary style cinematography that brings a very strange sense of rawness to this film and you have a quite beautiful film. Despite the film being almost 3 hours long the film goes by pretty quickly, mostly due to the performances being filled to the brim of energy and passion to them. House Of Gucci on the surface looks like a traditional film based on a true crime…however that’s not the case at all, what makes House Of Gucci noteworthy is the camp factor to it, it’s a film that juggles quite a lot at the same time. Luckily Ridley Scott manages to create a ton of camp, hilarious and serious moments all at the same time. Overall House Of Gucci is another brilliant film from Ridley Scott it’s a weird hybrid of The Godfather and The Great Gatsby but absolutely works in every single way possible. Be sure to check this one out!

House Of Gucci releases November 24th in theaters!

10/10 A+

Copshop surprises Queenpins is a below average comedy!

Screaming through the Nevada desert in a bullet-ridden car, wily con artist Teddy Murretto hatches a plan to hide out from lethal assassin Bob Viddick. He punches rookie officer Valerie Young to get himself arrested and locked up in a small-town police station. However, jail can’t protect Murretto for long as Viddick schemes his own way into detention, biding his time in a nearby cell until he can complete his mission.

Joe Carnahan’s second movie this year (first being Boss Level) and like Boss Level Copshop is a very straightforward action movie that’s a ton of fun. Gerard Butler and Frank Grillo both do a pretty solid job in their roles, the action scenes are solid and are quite rewarding as well. Plus it makes it more interesting that all this action is within a confined space of the police station, sure the movie does have it’s action movie cliches but at least the movie itself is very entertaining, it’s most certainly a genre film that I definitely think fans will enjoy!

Copshop is now available on all VOD Platforms!

6/10 C+

A frustrated suburban housewife and her best friend hatch an illegal coupon-club scheme that scams millions from corporations and delivers deals to legions of fellow coupon clippers. Hot on their trail is an unlikely duo — a hapless loss-prevention officer and a determined U.S. postal inspector — both looking to end their criminal enterprise.

Queenpins is unfortunately a missed opportunity, it has some jokes in it that are solid enough but it has a lot of others that completely miss. The cast does a fine enough job with what they are given, but it’s not enough to save this movie from being very below average. What seals this movie’s fate is the running time and the pacing, it feels like it goes on for far too long and at the same time not really adding anything new to the genre. The end result ends up being a very typical comedy that’s definitely not bad but very forgettable.

Queenpins is now available on all VOD Platforms!

5/10 C

The Guilty is a suspenseful ride with an incredible performance from Jake Gyllenhaal!

A demoted police officer assigned to a call dispatch desk is conflicted when he receives an emergency phone call from a kidnapped woman.

The Guilty is a shot for shot remake of a Danish 2018 film of the same name…and yet I really liked this one. I’ve shared my complaints about shot for shot remakes in the past, I believe what makes The Guilty so successful is three primary reasons. First off Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is absolutely incredible, the guy is a seriously talented actor and he displays that here quite well. His performance feels incredibly raw and his reactions to the situation at hand feels incredibly powerful and quite human, he is basically what sells this film and rightfully so. Second reason is the lighting, this is something I don’t often talk about in my movie reviews. Mostly due to really having nothing to say about the lighting or it doesn’t really impact the story in most cases, but here it definitely impacts the story and really gives the movie this haunting and thrilling look to it. It adds to the anxiety this film gives the viewer as well as making you wonder what’s about to happen next. Lastly there’s the thrilling atmosphere…which is just flat out incredible, it adds a lot of anxiety to the viewer and perfectly captures what it would be like to be in the situation that Joe Baylor (Gyllenhaal) is in. The film also does a wonderful of build up throughout its running time, it slowly but surely builds up until it releases a huge amount of thunderous scenes that leave an impact on the viewer. Overall The Guilty is quite fantastic, it’s one of those rare shot for shot remakes that manages to not come off as very pointless and actually does the original film justice. I highly recommend checking this one out!

The Guilty is now available on Netflix!

9/10 A

The Protege is a a very safe action movie with a great lead and cast but nothing else.

Rescued as a child by the legendary assassin Moody, Anna is the world’s most skilled contract killer. However, when Moody is brutally killed, she vows revenge for the man who taught her everything she knows. As Anna becomes entangled with an enigmatic killer, their confrontation turns deadly, and the loose ends of a life spent killing weave themselves ever tighter.

What can I really say here? The Protege is a very play it safe action movie that’s ultimately very forgettable. Maggie Q is a fantastic lead the problem is the movie doesn’t take full advantage of her being the lead, her performance is definitely not bad in fact I would say she is the best part about this movie. Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton aren’t too bad either, but like Maggie Q the movie doesn’t take advantage of their talent. Which is a recurring problem with The Protege it has a decent setup and has some nice ideas but does absolutely nothing with them, which is truly a shame because this could have been something decent. But instead resorted to playing way too safe, there’s also some decent action scenes as well but that’s really where it ends for me. It’s definitely not a bad movie as there was some sort of effort put into it, just not strong enough to make this standout.

The Protege is now available on all VOD Platforms!

5/10 C

Kate is another Netflix action movie misfire.

A female assassin has 24 hours to get vengeance on her murderer before she dies.

Kate is what happens when you follow every single action movie plot line and do absolutely nothing new with it. Outside of Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Woody Harrelson’s performances, a few action scenes that are admittedly pretty well shot and a few shots that are actually quite beautiful. Kate is really nothing special at all, what stops this movie dead in it’s tracks is the writing. Which quickly leads into a big mess that the movie never recovers from, Cedric Nicolas -Troyan (director of The Huntsman: Winter’s War) is in the director’s chair and while I can see that he definitely at least tried to make this work, it ultimately comes down to the script being very very weak and has no room for something interesting or new. Speaking of which the movie itself isn’t interesting at the slightest, it feels like another action movie where they get a few recognizable names and put them in a typical action movie scenario. It’s very unfortunate because I do feel movies like Kate have the potential but the effort isn’t just being put into it. Overall Kate is a very forgettable action movie that while does have it’s moments it fails to stand out among the crowd.

Kate is now available on Netflix!

3/10 D-

Ted Bundy: American Boogyman is another disaster from Daniel Farrands.

Detective Kathleen McChesney and rookie FBI profiler Robert Ressler search for a vicious serial killer in the 1970s.

If you have been following me for awhile you will probably recognize the name “Daniel Farrands” because of me talking about how garbage each of his movies are. If you don’t know who Farrands is allow me to briefly explain, Farrands pretty much takes somebodies tragic story and proceeds to make a tasteless movie out of it. He’s done The Haunting Of Sharon Tate which he turned into a what if scenario with slasher elements, The Amityville Murders which was another garbage Amityville movie and last year’s The Murder Of Nicole Brown Simpson which you guessed it is a tasteless movie about about Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder. Now we have a movie about Ted Bundy, which I will say is by far his best movie to date however that is really not saying much. It at least portrays Ted Bundy as a creep rather than some charming gentleman, but everything else about this movie is garbage. The writing is terrible and has nothing interesting to say, the acting feels like something out of a failed high school film project. Farrands continues to prove he’s one of the worst directors working today, his directing style has absolutely no originality at all and is over reliant on other people’s tragic stories. Despite showing Ted Bundy as a creep it still doesn’t save the movie at all, Chad Michael Murray’s performance isn’t good he is definitely trying to work with what he’s given but it’s ultimately not enough. Lastly the movie itself is overall very poorly crafted, it feels like Farrands saw other Ted Bundy movies wanted to copy those and failed horribly at it. It also fails at bringing anything interesting or new to the table, there’s far better Ted Bundy movies out there and this one feels completely empty. Overall Ted Bundy: American Boogyman is one of the worst movies of the year and is definitely something to avoid. Watch No Man Of God if you want an actual really good recent film about Ted Bundy.

Ted Bundy: American Boogyman is now available on all VOD Platforms!

Disgrace To Cinema F

Stillwater delivers great performances but feels a little too safe where it could have been more.

A father travels from Oklahoma to France to help his estranged daughter, who is in prison for a murder she claims she didn’t commit.

Well it’s a huge step up from Tom McCarthy’s last movie “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (2020)” Stillwater is actually quite a decent movie that tells a story that does have it’s powerful moments, Matt Damon does a pretty solid job in his role even if his character does feel very one dimensional at times. Abigail Breslin I truly wish was given more to do, because she is quite great here the problem is she doesn’t have a whole lot to work with and is only really used for the plot. Which does lead me to the whole controversy about Stillwater, apparently it was reveled that Stillwater was loosely based on Amanda Knox’s case, Amanda Knox herself commented about this movie and was not happy at all. She says that nobody working on the film approached her about it and that it feels like a very watered down version of her case. Which I can easily see what she’s saying, as of writing this review Tom McCarthy has denied it being about Amanda Knox and I’m not sure where this situation is going to go. Anyway back to the movie itself, the writing has it’s moments of power where you feel the connection between father and daughter however there are other times where I wish the script hit a lot harder. The direction from Tom McCarthy is very generic, I was hoping this would be the movie to bring back the sort of direction he showed in Spotlight but that’s not the case here. The character study moments I definitely think are the strongest parts about this movie, it gives some of the characters who truly do lack a lot of development Something to work with and make them far better for the audience to invest in. There really isn’t much else to Stillwater, it’s a very okay movie that could have been much better had the script and direction been much stronger.

Stillwater is now available on all VOD Platforms!

6/10 C+

Beckett (2021) Movie Review!

Following a tragic car accident in Greece, Beckett, an American tourist, finds himself at the center of a dangerous political conspiracy and on the run for his life.

Beckett is the type of movie where you feel like you get almost nothing out of it. John David Washington is really solid in the role and the writing has it’s moments where it lets the characters have some development, it’s just a shame there wasn’t enough of those moments. The movie itself is also very lifeless with very little personality and seems to follow in every other thriller’s footsteps, the filming is very mixed at times you will get some okay shots and then other times you will get shots that look actually quite uninteresting to look at. Directing wise it’s painfully okay, there really isn’t much style to it at all, I really don’t have much else to say here very forgettable.

Beckett is now available on Netflix!

5/10 C