Dear Zoe a below average coming of story about grief.

Tess is a young woman who’s grappling with the shattering death of her younger sister, Zoe. As the rest of her family grieves in their own ways, Tess seeks support from her biological father and a juvenile delinquent who lives in the neighborhood.

Dear Zoe is an unfortunate case of having great idea but not doing nearly enough with them, Sadie Sink gives a fantastic performance that really shows why she’s one of the most interesting new actresses, Theo Rossi isn’t too bad either he gives a decent performance that does bring heart into the movie. The father and daughter bond that Nick (Theo Rossi) and Tess (Sadie Sink) have really works and actually leads to some emotional moments. What holds the movie back is it not elaborating on it’s themes, the main theme is grief and trauma having to move on from an accident. Which in this case is Tess trying to cope with losing her little sister Zoe (Mackenzie Noel Rusiewicz) who was hit by a car on 9/11. The movie is also a coming of age story unfortunately not a very special one, the movie is very surface level when it comes to grief, it shows flashbacks and eventually what led up to Zoe’s death but that’s really about it. It’s very bare bones storytelling that has a script that really doesn’t add anything to the conversation, there’s plenty of films out there about healing that go in far more depth than this one. Sink and Rossi are able to nail down the many emotions the movie has, but unfortunately when it comes to everyone else there is so much lacking. We aren’t given a whole lot about Jimmy (Kweku Collins) other than his mother died, the movie clearly wants to connect Jimmy and Tess together but the chemistry is just not there. Collins really tries his hardest with the script he’s given but unfortunately he’s restricted to being a love interest which leads to a lot of young adult romance cliches. Overall Dear Zoe is disappointing, there was a lot of potential here to tell such an emotional and powerful story, but the lack of depth of the themes and characters really hold this back from being anything other than a below average coming of age story.

Dear Zoe is available on all VOD platforms.

4/10 D+

Most Anticipated Films Of November 2022!

We are almost at the end of 2022 which is sort of crazy to think about, it’s been such a spectacular year for film and it’s only going to get even better from here! Let’s start with a movie I saw back in March at SXSW that is quite disturbing.

Soft & Quiet – November 4th (VOD) – I’m going to link my review here so you know what you are getting into if you decide to watch it. It’s a very good film but very disturbing.

16. Disenchanted 2 – November 18th (Disney+)

15. Strange World – November 23rd (Theaters)

14. Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Plantasm – November 8th (VOD)

13. Selena Gomez: my mind & me – November 4th (Apple TV+)

12. She Said – November 18th (Theaters)

11. Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special – November 25th (Disney+)

10. EO – November 18th (Theaters)

9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – November 11th (Theaters)

8. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story – November 4th (Roku)

7. The Son – November 11th (Theaters)

6. The Fabelmans – November 11th (Limited) and November 23rd (Wide)

5. The Wonder – November 16th (Netflix)

4. Causeway – November 4th (Apple TV+)

3. Armageddon Time – November 4th (Theaters)

2. The Menu – November 18th (Theaters)

1. Bones & All – November 18th (Theaters)

And that’s my list of the most anticipated films of this month! What are you excited for!

Gigi & Nate a huge baffling switch in tone.

A young man’s life gets turned upside down when he suffers a near-fatal illness and is left a quadriplegic. Moving forward seems nearly impossible — until he gets an unlikely service animal named Gigi, a curious and intelligent capuchin monkey. Although it’s trained to assist Nate with his basic needs, Gigi gives him what he needs most of all — hope.

Gigi & Nate isn’t as bad as anticipated however it has a baffling switch in tone during midway through the movie. The first part is about a man who ends up in a wheelchair needs a service animal so he bonds with this monkey named Gigi. There’s plenty of cute moments here that you would expect from these types of movies, Charlie Rowe gives a fine enough performance. Although it’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t use a wheelchair, which it’s a bit irritating since the movie does pride itself in that it casted extras who have disabilities. So it’s very questionable as to why they didn’t do the same for the lead, but as I said before Rowe does give a decent performance which mostly comes from his interactions with the rest of the cast and the monkey. The real show stealer however is Diane Ladd you would think with how funny and charming her performance is that somebody’s grandma walked on set and started making jokes. It’s a genuine performance that really puts a smile on your face. Then the second half rolls around and turns into a animal rights activists Vs the Gibson family even to the point where there’s a courtroom scene. The main problem here is the movie doesn’t have anyway of nuance, it portrays the animal rights activists as cartoony villains. The movie is supposedly based on a true story however a lot of it feels very dramatized, particularly the courtroom stuff that has this made for tv feel to it that wants the audience to get up and clap. The message of the movie is fine enough but by the end I’m not 100% sure the movie even knows what it’s trying to say anymore.

Gigi & Nate is available on all VOD platforms.

3/10 D-

The Good Nurse has a thrilling atmosphere with great performances.

Nurse Amy Loughren is shocked when Charlie Cullen, one of her colleagues, is foound responsible for the murder of dozens of patients over a period of sixteen years, across two states and nine hospitals, without being charged.

The Good Nurse is based off of a 2013 book of the same name by Charles Graeber which the book is about serial killer Charles Cullen. The true story of The Good Nurse is quite disturbing and I highly recommend reading about the case as it is very interesting. Right off the bat Jessica Chastain gives a really strong performance, she puts a lot of heart and emotion into the role that really captures her role. Eddie Redmayne is actually quite great here, it’s been awhile since he’s given a very solid performance but he really hits out of the park during the third act where he actually becomes very intimidating. It’s a great transformation of his performance that goes from being kind enough to downright chilling, while the writing during the first two acts isn’t anything to write home about. The third act on the other hand really pushes the movie into a thrilling atmosphere that invests the viewer quite well, the movie is just barely over 2 hours which does start to drag a bit during the second act. But luckily the movie quickly does get a lot better as it goes on, overall The Good Nurse is a solid enough crime drama with some very thrilling moments that I would recommend.

The Good Nurse is available on Netflix.

7/10 B

Blade Of The 47 Ronin is somehow worse than the first movie.

Ancient Japanese Ronin warriors, set 300 years after 47 Ronin, in a modern-day world where Samurai clans exist in complete secrecy.

I’m not even sure where to begin with Blade Of The 47 Ronin, I’m sure the first question on everybody’s mind is “how on earth did 47 Ronin one of the biggest critical and finical failures of 2013 get a sequel?” To recap 47 Ronin released at the tip end of 2013 with little to no advertising and was attempting to be a fictionalized account of the forty seven ronin an actual group of real samurai under Daimyo Asano Naganori in 18th century Japan. A neat premise but very poor execution that had some okay action scenes and for whatever reason had Keanu Reeves involved, it was a largely forgotten about movie that nobody really thought of until last week when the sequel came out. Blade Of The 47 Ronin takes place 300 years after the first movie and has very little connection with the first movie, this one really ends up being more of a below average samurai movie that while like the first movie actually have some okay action scenes especially considering the budget of the movie. There really isn’t anything here that hasn’t been done before, the cast at least seems to connect with each other really well and for the script they are given they don’t do a horrible job, but the problem stems from being a beat by bear story. It’s another one of those “this certain person is the only who can defeat so and so now they have to find their true power.” It’s a lot of seen it and done it way better, if you took away 47 Ronin away from the title you would think this was just some terrible samurai movie. Much like the previous movie the characters are very poorly written who are given one or two personality traits and that’s it, lastly the movie is lacking in identity at least with the first movie you can actually point to what the movie is and what it was trying to do, with this one all you can really say is that it’s a bad samurai movie with a few decent moments. Blade Of The 47 Ronin much like it’s predecessor is going to be largely forgotten about, it makes complete and total sense on why this was quietly shoved on to Netflix.

Blade Of The 47 Ronin is available on Netflix.

2/10 F

Tahara is a very raw film filled with personal conversations.

Two best friends attend the funeral of a Hebrew school classmate who died by suicide and accidentally damage their friendship beyond repair.

Tahara is only 78 minutes long but it does quite a lot in that amount of time, immediately this film sets up a compelling aspect ratio that really makes the film standout, plus we have the characters Hannah Rosen (Rachel Sennott) and Carrie Lowstein (Madeline Grey DeFreece) both of which almost immediately come off as very real people due to the performances from Sennott and DeFreece both of which are raw and very touching, there’s so much passion and talent put into their respective roles that it almost feels like you are actually there with them. The up close and personal camera shots also add to the character’s many several conversations they have with one another, a certain type of genre (if that’s the right word) of film that I truly love is a film that mostly focuses two or more characters having personal conversations with one another, while there are other scenes of the two main characters having conversations with the other characters that isn’t the main focus. The main focus is Hannah and Carrie who like I said before feel like very real people, they have emotions that are complicated as well goals and their own personalities. The direction from Olivia Peace is truly spectacular, she makes it as raw as possible as well as putting so much atmosphere in the film that it just pops out. Tahara is a film I highly recommend giving a watch!

Tahara is available on all VOD platforms.

10/10 A+

Till is a bold and powerful film.

The true story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till, who was brutally lynched in 1955 while visiting his cousins in Mississippi.

One of the hardest topics of trying to make into a film are sensitive and brutal murders, that is very much the case with the lynching of Emmett Till. A 14 year old boy who’s life was taken in 1955, Till serves as Mamie Till’s POV and the actions she took after learning her son was lynched. Right off the bat this film establishes that it’s going to be a powerhouse film especially when it comes to performances, but the one that truly stands out is Danielle Deadwyler who gives one of the best performances so far this year and truly puts her heart and soul into this performance. She effortlessly connects to Mamie Till and really captures her actions, her emotions and her pain…the pain of finding out her son was lynched. The scene of her learning about her son is truly some of the most heartbreaking moments I’ve seen in a film this year, the viewer truly feels Mamie’s pain and really brings you to tears. Till isn’t afraid to shy away from being disturbing, there’s definitely some moments that are bit hard to watch. But are absolutely necessary to fully understand how disgusting this crime was and really shows how this case really got the attention of many many people, perhaps one of my absolute favorite parts about this film and why it succeeds is how respectful and how its handled with so much care. Director Chinonye Chukwu has shown before that she can handle sensitive material with her pervious film Clemency (highly underrated if you haven’t already check that one out) and does that here once again with Till. Till is carefully filmed, shows the several emotions that Mamie Till and the rest of Emmett Till’s family and it shows the parts that will make the viewer get angry. It’s a very honest film that Chukwu did such an incredible job with and really showed the length and the many parts of Mamie Till. I highly recommend checking this one out.

Till is available in theaters.

9/10 A

Stars At Noon is an atmospheric film with a stunning performance from Margaret Qualley

A young American journalist stranded in present-day Nicaragua seduces an enigmatic Englishman who seems like her best chance of escape. She soon realizes, though, that their torrid affair has only put her in more danger.

Not entirely sure if everything completely works in Claire Denis’s second film this year Stars At Noon but there is still quite a lot to really like. Claire Denis does a fantastic job with her direction and immediately sets up a very strong atmosphere that instantly connects to the setting of the film, there is this sort of mood to the film that is both atmospheric and very relaxed. It’s sort of hard to describe if you haven’t seen it but it really captures the setting in such an interesting way. Margaret Qualley once again show’s how incredible she is as an actress, she gives such a tremendous performance that really highlights how powerful her screen presence really is, this is a performance that is sadly going to go unnoticed but it’s truly a powerful performance that really builds the film. The 2 hour and 15 minute running time is a bit much as the movie does take some time to get going, but gets more and more interesting as it goes on. Lastly there’s the cinematography that is truly beautiful and is shot in a almost personal like manner that leads to some very captivating shots and moments. Stars At Noon is not going to be for everyone but I do recommend checking this one out!

Stars At Noon is available on all VOD platforms.

8/10 B+

Medieval is dull and forgettable.

As feuding brothers battle for control of the throne, daring and righteous mercenary leader Jan Žižka embarks on a mission to kidnap Lady Katherine, the fiancee of a powerful lord. As Katherine becomes caught in a dangerous political game between monarchs, Jan falls in love with her strong spirit and dedication to saving the people. In a brave attempt to liberate her, he fights back with a rebel army, battling the corruption, greed and betrayal that runs rampant among those clawing for power.

Medieval can be pretty much summed up with the creative process that went into the title of the movie. Dull, uninteresting and is no different from other movies within the genre, outside of a few admittedly pretty neat kills and the acting that has it’s moments. There’s truly nothing new at all here, a lot of it just feels like a giant checklist that they made sure to accomplish while filming, but completely forgot to make the movie investing. The movie is actually based off of a true story, the story of Jan Žižka a Czech mercenary from the end of the 14th century. This should have been something rather simple to turn into a film but for whatever reason it didn’t happen here. Ben Foster is definitely the standout but that’s really not saying much when even he couldn’t entirely save it. It also doesn’t help that the pacing is atrocious with a 126 minute running time that you quickly start to feel.

Medieval is available on all VOD platforms.

3/10 D-

To Leslie is a powerful film with a powerful performance from Andrea Riseborough

Leslie, a West Texas single mother, struggles to provide for her son when she wins the lottery and a chance at a good life. But a few short years later the money is gone and Leslie is on her own living hard, she is forced to make a difficult choice.

The story of To Leslie might be familiar in a lot of areas however what really makes the film is the approach and one very important aspect…Andrea Riseborough’s performance. Her performance is truly breathtaking once again like in many of her other performances Riseborough completely disappears into her performance and gives such raw and investing performance that really hits the viewer hard. Speaking of authentic this film makes sure to be just that, from the way the film is shot, to the writing and direction. It’s truly a film that really comes off as being as authentic as possible, which the film itself is based on a true story. Riseborough’s talent is truly shown off here especially with the several quiet moments during the film and the several moments of emotion. Be sure to check this one out!

To Leslie is available on all VOD platforms.

8/10 B+