The Rezort (2015)

Another take on the zombies! This one is unique and interesting as well. It’s sort of a Jurassic Park meet’s Zombies. In like fashion, a trip to this park is not cheap, it’s an experimental resort for the wealthy.

The Rezort (2015)
1h 33min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 15 June 2016 (Philippines)

The ReZort, a safari park, offers paying guests the opportunity to kill as many zombies as they please following an outbreak.
Director: Steve Barker
Writer: Paul Gerstenberger
Stars: Dougray Scott, Jessica De Gouw, Martin McCann

Steve Barker is the director. He isn’t well known for much apart from another film he made called The Outpost. There is much excitement here and the cast does well in its interpretation of the script. Some people may not be impressed because I found this film on Netflix but it was very entertaining and interesting to see a new take on the genre.

The premise is that rich people pay large amounts to shoot zombies. s you might imagine, the zombies come undone and start killing people and turning them into zombies. The visuals of the vacation scenes at the beginning are elaborate and the graphics of the zombies stand up against a Hollywood blockbuster. These zombies are more pensive and it seems they can do more than just blindly saunter. They can track a person.

The zombies turn almost immediately so that presents different challenges than the slower turn time in The Walking Dead. Then there are the issues of it being a business and whether the loss of life should be covered up or not. The actors are not well known but they deliver excellent performances. The writing is not a 10 but it serves the film enough. Writing something unique in this genre is bound to be a real challenge. The writers here pulled it off.

As a film to pass the time, this one delivers. For fans of the zombie genre, I definitely recommend it to you.

6/10

At time of writing this, it was streaming on Netflix


My review The Rezort (2015) appeared first on Riley on Film.

Trainwreck

Many short comedy sketches by Amy Schumer inserted to a full length movie script. Vulgar, understated, ridiculous, sarcastic, ingenious fun.

I confess I look at critic ratings prior to seeing movies, expecially ones that aren’t out yet. I saw Trainwreck garnered high 90 percents from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes which really surprised me so I was interested. The cover looks like Bridesmaids and the Hangover had a baby and that’s somewhat accurate. What I didn’t know going in was that the protagonist has starred in her own Comedy Central show for two years. In fact, she’s been on Ellen and spurred viral footage of her riffing and making Ellen snort she’s so funny. I think it would help for people to know she is an established comedy commodity with a distinctive vulgar and often understated style. Without that knowledge, one could make the mistake of thinking it’s just another sex and puke comedy dangled before primal eyes.

Maybe that alone will work for most viewers. We’ve been so inundated with gross films in the last 20 years for which audiences show their love through ticket sales. As for me, I think if I didn’t know of Miss Schumer’s notoriety and idiosyncratic style, I might has scoffed through most the movie. As is was, I enjoyed watching her brand of humor for a couple hours. Speaking of hours, there were some scenes about 3/4 of the way through when she and her boyfroend, Bill Hader, start fighting like a married couple where the film truly dragged for me. It’s for those scenes as well as unnecessary penetration scenes that didn’t add to the comedic lines for me. In other words, the writers didn’t have to stoop that low to relate with the audience. That a; having been said, I found this film a hoot to be sure. My wife and I were in tears during the sex scene with John Cena. He’s the perfect hunk to demonstrate what talking dirty is not.


My review Trainwreck appeared first on Riley on Film.

Terminator Genisys (2015)

Upon hearing the mention of this film on a podcast with Movierob, I was prompted to watch it for the first time. The special effects were as good as any other film and the Terminators were just as cool as II. I don’t know why the critics didn’t care for it because this critic enjoyed it immensely.

Terminator Genisys (2015)
PG-13 | 2h 6min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 1 July 2015 (USA)

When John Connor, leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor and safeguard the future, an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline.
Director: Alan Taylor
Writers: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier | 2 more credits »
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke

The director is Alan Taylor, known for Game of Thrones and Thor. The direction is good here, the lines are heard and the characters seem to be working in unison. Other than that, it looks like any other Terminator film, maybe a shade darker.

If you can get the timeline in semi-focus, you’ll understand what’s going on. I’ll leave that up to you because I really didn’t mind the hodgepodge of events and people coming and going younger and older, most notably Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s cgi at its best. Emilia Clarke plays Sarah Connor and you may have seen her in Game of Thrones and Me Before You.

This is a great action film. It’s not perfect but I still recommend it as a fun, worthy part of the franchise.

9/10

At time of writing this it’s available streaming on Amazon Prime.


My review Terminator Genisys (2015) appeared first on Riley on Film.

The Big Sick (2017)

This is great: a bio pic about a comedian trying to make it and how he fell in love with his girlfriend. Oh, and there’s some Pakistani ethnic issues that threaten the relationship as well since he is Pakistani and she is white.

The Big Sick (2017)
R | 2h | Comedy, Romance | 14 July 2017 (USA)

A couple deals with their cultural differences as their relationship grows.
Director: Michael Showalter
Writers: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani
Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter

I had seen Kumail’s work here and there and I’ve always thought he was a chill comedian. IN fact, in this film, something I noticed was how calm he is, even in face of rejection or turmoil. As the smooth dialogue would transpire I’d think to myself: “I wonder if it went down this smooth in real life?” I’m really impressed the way he broke out with this film that essentially a love story of how he and his girlfriend (now wife) met. I find that charming.

The director Michael Showalter has some good stuff on his resume. The film I recognized the most was My Name is Doris with Sally Field. That was a fiction but it watches like a bio pic. He shows the dark side of Doris, not just the funny one. This ability shows up in his directing on this film, he’s done a stellar job here.

Zoe Kazan plays Emily, Kumail’s love interest. Hear me when I say this: she embodies the character. I think she was a great casting choice. I never miss a chance to see a Zoe Kazan film and this one is no exception. I loved her in this. She actually resembles the real Emily. Ray Romano and Holly Hunter play her parents. They do a great job testing and finally accepting Kumail. The hospital scenes are really the heart of the film. A sub plot of the film is his family’s attempts to arrange a bride for him. These scenes are funny and add a lot to the believability of the characters. It’s all done without pushing Pakistan into your face, like My Big Fat Greek Wedding does with the Greek culture. It’s subtle and keeps you curious. Another sub plot is the Improv club where Kumail and his friends are honing their craft. They all live on the cheap which is fun to see as the camera travels into and among their zone.

For romantic comedy fans, this one’s a must. I give it my highest recommendation!

10/10

At time of writing this, the film is still in theaters.


My review The Big Sick (2017) appeared first on Riley on Film.

Raw (2016)

A slow rolling horror that builds to a crescendo. Also, we get to learn about the French Vet training system. It’s a lot like the most intense hazing colleges of the US. And then there’s the eating of flesh thing, yeah that’s there too.

Raw (2016)
Grave (original title)
R | 1h 39min | Drama, Horror | 15 March 2017 (France)

When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her.
Director: Julia Ducournau
Writers: Julia Ducournau (dialogue), Julia Ducournau (screenplay)
Stars: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella

I’ve held off watching this for months because of the subtitles. When I finally got some time to sit with it and not multi-task I have to say I enjoyed it as a horror film and had a very good time watching.

Everything is bare-bones here. It almost watches like an old 70’s film. There is a building where she goes to school and there are dorms. The film goes nowhere else. The story as it unfurls is odd and a bit hard to imagine as true, but this is horror right? The film opens with a long open road and a figure running in front of an oncoming car. Soon after the collision, the pedestrian saunters up clearly in pain and goes to the car window. Then the story begins of the female protagonist going to vet school. She goes through hazing, which her older sister approves to be done to her. There is a scene of being splashed in animal blood and another of eating raw rabbit organs. As a result she develops a taste for flesh, I’m afraid I missed how or why this happens. There are events, a twist, and a morose conclusion.

It’s an ok way to spend a runtime. It’s not as good as I had hoped and the subtitles certainly are not deep or enriching in any way. Still, it’s shocking and fun with latex and blood which most of us horror fans get the fun in. It’s also interesting seeing a coming of age experience in another country. For fans of the horror genre I recommend it!

7/10

Watch this online on Amazon Video for $5.99


My review Raw (2016) appeared first on Riley on Film.

#Horror

I hope all movies don’t follow the trend of using their genre hashtag as title, but here it is unique and pretty cool! Based on the content, it does fit. The woods are always a good place to start a horror movie. You wouldn’t think to find a rich girl’s fancy home there but in this case we do. What follows is a bloody film showing some of the worst girl bullying and maybe the most violent bonkers from Timothy Hutton we’ve yet seen.

#Horror (2015)
Not Rated | 1h 41min | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 20 November 2015 (USA)

Six preadolescent girls face a night of terror when the compulsive addiction of an online social media game turns a moment of cyber bullying into a night of insanity.
Director: Tara Subkoff
Writer: Tara Subkoff
Stars: Sadie Seelert, Haley Murphy, Bridget McGarry

Director and writer Tara Subkoff gets kudos from me, even though this film is a bit predictable and not very credible. She’s been in some great movies like, The Cell, As Good as it Gets, and a host of others. This was her first try at directing and it takes a lot of chances which is commendable. Whether she learns from them for her next film will be the real test.

Lead actress, Sadie Seelert hasn’t gone to the trouble to put her info into IMDB, which annoys me a little. She does have one other film under her belt called Callie Wants a Solo. I’ve never heard of it. Young actress Haley Murphy has neglected her bio the same way but we do know she has done Silent House (2011), My Best Day (2012) and #Horror (2015). All the actresses are very pretty and they memorize their lines. Unfortunately, much of the film reminds me of a forced skit in drama class. Usually with horror though, one can get away with forced acting.

The film is basically the girls bullying each other on social media while alone in their parents’ house. People start mysteriously being killed and … yes there is an ending that reveals all. I enjoyed it in as much as it gave me a talking point with my 12 year old daughter. Even when the acting seemed fake, she did assure me girl her age engage in that.

Timothy Hutton plays one of the main character’s dad. He pushes the other girls, squeezes their arms and yells at them. His purpose is just but I did not find this character believable. If he was, I don’t think I’d ever let my daughters out of the house with their friends. Dad’s don’t just threaten their daughters’ friends like that. Still, the film was not horrible, I did enjoy watching it. It brought up a lot of good discussion points. Alot of us older folks (40 and upward) may have forgotten what peer pressure and bullying looks like. This is a modern reminder.

6/10

Ways to watch now:

As of publishing this, it was streaming on Netflix.

Also, #Horror is Streaming on Amazon Video for $2.99


My review #Horror appeared first on Riley on Film.

Riley’s Great 100 Films

These 100 amazing films are among my top favorites. Click the titles to read my reviews. I plan to publish another great 100 list in the future.

The Accountant (2016)
Across the Universe (2007)
Airplane! (1980)
Alien (1979)
Amadeus (1984)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Animal House (1978)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Back to the Future (1985)
The Big Blue
Big Fish (2003)
Blade Runner (1982)
Braveheart (1995)
Breaking Away (1979)
Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010 Documentary)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Charly (1968)
Chimpanzee (2012 Documentary)
A Christmas Story (1983)
The Conversation (1974)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)
Despicable Me (2010)
Devil (2010)
District 9 (2009)
Donnie Darko (2001)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Everything Must Go (2010)
Fargo (1996)
The Final Girls (2015)
Frankenweenie (2012)
Freaks (1932)
The Fugitive (1993)
The Godfather (1972)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Halloween (1978)
Harvey (1950)
High Fidelity (2000)
Hoosiers (1986)
Hugo (2011)
Imagine: John Lennon (1988 Documentary)
The Impossible (2012)
Inherit the Wind (1960)
An Innocent Man (1989)
Insidious (2010)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jaws (1975)
The Jerk (1979)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Lean on Me (1989)
Man on Wire (2008 Documentary)
The Martian (2015)
Meet the Robinsons (2007)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Moonlight (2016)
My Bodyguard (1980)
Nacho Libre (2006)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
The Princess Bride (1987)
Prometheus (2012)
Psycho (1960)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Red Rock West (1993)
A River Runs Through It (1992)
Robin Hood (1973)
Room (2015)
Ruby Sparks (2012)
Saw (2004)
Say Anything… (1989)
Schindler’s List (1993)
The Shallows (2016)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Signs (2002)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Silver Bullet (1985)
Sing Street (2016)
Stand and Deliver (1988)
Stand by Me (1986)
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
Swiss Army Man (2016)
Take Shelter (2011)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Thing (1982)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Tombstone (1993)
Toni Erdmann (2016)
Turbo Kid (2015)
Tusk (2014)
The Village (2004)
When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
Wildlike (2014)
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Riley’s Great 100 is also on imdb


My review Riley’s Great 100 Films appeared first on Riley on Film.

Two Lovers and a Bear (2016)

Enter Hemingway, Melville, London … you will like what’s being served at this table. We’ve heard of nature being our indifferent enemy but what to do when that enemy is our own nature. We have not yet begun that process in film and literature, but it’s here in this film … along with a few others through the years.

Two Lovers and a Bear (2016)
R | 1h 36min | Drama, Romance | 16 December 2016 (USA)

Set in a small town near the North Pole where roads lead to nowhere, the story follows Roman (DeHaan) and Lucy (Maslany), two burning souls who come together to make a leap for life and inner peace.
Director: Kim Nguyen
Writer: Kim Nguyen
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Tatiana Maslany, Gordon Pinsent

I almost always love the film when the director also wrote the film. In this case it is Kim Nguyen doing both artistic roles. My hat goes off to him, and I assume he wears a hat also because like me, he is shaved bald. (Gotta love the brother!). I don’t know much about him other than he is known for this and two other films and he is a Canadian: War Witch (2012), Two Lovers and a Bear (2016) and The Marsh (2002). I would put stock in him because this film is something quite different than we are used to seeing. Human v Nature/Human v Self. It’s a gritty psychological drama and God forbid IMDB plot keywords would let us toil in ignorance of these features:

“Plot Keywords: sex on table | sex scene | topless female nudity | female nudity”

Yes, Orphan Black star, Tatiana Maslany, bares her breasts. That’s the easy part of nature no one is too worried about.

All these facts plus the plot basically is two lovers at the North Pole in a barely functioning town. Why they are there is not explicitly mentioned, at least not as much as the breasts are displayed. 😉 There is something about an abusive father in her past and he … likes the drink and he likes the hard drink. Sometimes you gotta just go “right now.” Other times maybe your demons are better dealt with by a heater. This couple is fraught with demons and they decide it’s time to go into the snow, into the storm but not without the help of a very helpful? bear. Dane DeHaan seems to like him. BTW DeHaan is there and does a good job as such. Not much more is needed from the, I wonder if he even likes the White Stripes.

This is no family movie. It’s also not a sweet romance, unless you think of Moby Dick as romantic. Having said that, there is a lot to think about romance here, maybe how “not” to support a lover with baggage. For a gritty tale of love? turmoil and t*** on a table, I do recommend.

9/10

Streaming on Amazon video for $3.99

At time of publishing, July 2017, this film is streaming on Netflix.


My review Two Lovers and a Bear (2016) appeared first on Riley on Film.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

In Spider-Man movies there are constants and there are variables. This film is no different from any previous reboot or sequel that way. The variables are basically that, Peter Parker is a junior in high school. He’s in love with Liz, not Mary Jane. There a new villain named Falcon and the entire film revolves around the Avengers and Tony Stark. See, there are some difference even though it’s another Spidey flick.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
PG-13 | 2h 13min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 7 July 2017 (USA)

Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man when a new threat emerges.
Director: Jon Watts
Writers: Jonathan Goldstein (screenplay), John Francis Daley (screenplay) | 10 more credits
Stars: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr.

I used to be put off by superhero movies because of the gargantuan budgets they burned up. I’ve recovered from that now. I go into them like a 16 year old kid just wanting to be entertained and you know what I am much much happier! Having said that, just like always, I am in shock about how much money was burned to make this film. No doubt they will make it back, so it’s ok. It is exciting and there is a lot to awe at. The effects alone are worth a ticket. The story is where I struggled. There are a few twists that you may find to be poor-writing as I did. I won’t get into spoilers but they revolve around a certain un-named-here family member of Liz.

The director is known for Cop Car (2015) and was born in 1981. Nothing wrong in being a young director.

The cast is a palette of thousands along with the 12 credited writers. The main three are Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, and Robert Downey Jr. Tom Holland reminded me so much of Lee Evans in Mouse Hunt:

You might also remember him from There’s Something About Mary

Holland was great: young, little, eager, wiry. I loved him alongside Naomi Watts’ as her oldest son in the Impossible.

He has come a long way! I don’t know what else to say. There won’t be an Oscar but hey this is Spider-Man, WHO CARES? He kicked ass. Go Holland.

Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Keaton were just themselves playing the roles we are used to from them. No changes or surprises. Notwithstanding, great!

For comic book fans and people just out to have a fun Summer day at the theaters, I recommend this to you. It’s not perfect but I know most will not mind that, I didn’t.

9/10


My review Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) appeared first on Riley on Film.

The Houses October Built (2014)

Whether you believe the found footage or not, it has become a formidable sub-genre of horror that directors are doing more and more with. You don’t have to believe what’s going on here, but it’s a lot more fun if you get sucked in like I did.

The Houses October Built (2014)
Not Rated | 1h 31min | Horror, Thriller | 10 October 2014 (USA)

Five friends are stalked by a group of mysterious and disturbed individuals while on a road trip looking for the ultimate haunted house attraction.
Director: Bobby Roe
Writers: Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe | 4 more credits
Stars: Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe

Young people in search of a thrill is usually a recipe for a good time or disaster. Haunted houses, employed by local thrill agencies like carnivals and individuals compete for the scariest locale and company. Apparently, according to this film, it goes on all over the United States just like roller coasters at thrill parks. We also learn they are mixed in their dedication to scares.

The found footage takes the viewer place to place. We learn from the carnies themselves what this job is all about. After all, this film watches a bit like a documentary on haunted house thrill events. Of course, these houses aren’t really haunted are they? It’s a mammoth undertaking trying to make a film like this scary and I will tell you it is quite scary nonetheless. The comic relief of the young people making the “house hops” helps a bit, but the makeup and just plain creepy stuff going on make it just as scary if not scarier than any effective modern horror movie.

Along their trek, they are stalked by truly scary people and there is no scarcity of jump scares. For fans of the found footage genre along with horror fans, I’d recommend it. It is just a bit slow at times, but that may be the nature of the sub-genre. Because it lacks a universal appeal as well, it loses something for me. Now streaming on Netflix (July, 2017)

7/10


My review The Houses October Built (2014) appeared first on Riley on Film.

Birdman

I recommend you see this movie with no presuppositions. Even the few small things I mention here should be seen as simply one critic’s opinion. See it with an open mind.
I’ve made an attempt to avoid any sort of spoilers in my review. I simply explain its strengths at a distance and, in my opinion, its one major weakness. To begin: this is not a superhero movie. I purposely used a mock Birdman as an image for my post. Instead I used Michael Keaton in his underwear because metaphorically, this is what you get. I feel bad for the kids that may pay to go see this expecting a gritty sort of superhero that mimics the likes of Batman. This is not a lower Batman, this is a lower person and the anatomy of his breakdown. It just so happens that in this man’s life, he played a “Birdman” in a set of sequels. It doesn’t matter to the point. Birdman is a firing of brain cells in the mind of an actor who has wasted his life living for appearances and not for reality. In his words, he “has not been present” for his life. We can all get some good lessons from this movie. It portrays men as egotistical and highly capable of getting what they want at any cost. It portrays women as victims who men fail to support time and time again. The male brain is sinister at times and women find this sad. In fact, the audience is meant to find it sad. At the bottom right of Riggan’s (character played by Michael Keaton) mirror he has a quote taped on that reads: “The thing is the thing, not what is said about the thing.” Could there be an application to social media? To “getting off the grid?” Maybe. You as a viewer decide to what degree.

There is also a dream element that has already been touched on all over the internet so I won’t get too into it. There is a lot about the brain but not in the way you might think. Some see the film as a death bed reflection, others see it as part dream and part brain firing. I do not feel that this movie was meant to be understood. It was meant to be enjoyed and talked about but never fully understood. One thing I noticed that didn’t seem real was when Riggan pulled a cocktail napkin out of his wallet, showing his daughter Sam (Emma Stome) it’s significance to the play. Raymond Carver had signed it for his while he was in a bar with his dad. I din’t know about you, but receipts in my wallet start to disintegrate after a few months. I thought it was bad writing at the time but now I see it could be part of a dream or trick of the brain at time of death. Perhaps the whole movie is that.

You keep waiting throughout the film for it to make sense but it really isn’t until you’ve seen the entirety of it that you can start to form opinions on what just happened. Hallucinations permeate the film so it’s hard to see what’s really going on. I think in the end, the psychiatrists will have the best read of this film. Go see Birdman if you want to see a creative and beautifully filmed movie. It might also appeal to you that Michael Keaton, Zach Galafinakis, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, and Emma Stone are in it. The acting drew me in like a moth to a light. It was a highly enjoyable movie experience but you have to be willing to fill in the mortar between the bricks. Once again, don’t assume it’s about a superhero. The title is extremely misleading. There is a man in a suit but he is the voice in Keaton’s head that tells him things. He isn’t real. He is, in fact, in the movie only about 10 minutes total. Ok, I’ve said enough about that. This is not a superhero film. I feel it leaves too much up to the imagination. It reminded me of the acclaimed Enemy movie that way. Perhaps the director got too close to the material and forgot the audience couldn’t get the ending. It needed to be explained more. For that reason I think a lot of people will be frustrated with this movie. I know I was. It could have said so much more about “being present” in ones life and social media and art and theater. Instead, it tries too hard to be spooky and vague and achieves it, which is also fun when you’re out at the movies. This is at the cost of a star. I give it 4/5.


My review Birdman appeared first on Riley on Film.

Minions

This minions is great as usual for its jokes and slapstick comedy with the world’s funniest tube-like creatures since the Weebles. It’s visually amazing, which one would expect from Illumination pictures but lacks a good story akin to the first Despicable Me film in the series.

Many will argue that a good story doesn’t matter for the Minions to be entertaining. This is mostly true. Perhaps it’s because the film came out running neck and neck with amazing storied films like Inside Out and Home. I wanted to get into the story at least a little bit. I really had no interest in the story of the Minions. It has many holes in it and so much is left unexplained. For example, how long do they live and are these the same ones we see with Gru that are with the T-Rex?

The film works as a set of short films, if taken that way. I think it would have been better to leave out the history and the evil villainess played by Sandra Bullock. Watching the little guys hit and slap each other is fun without any need for an underlying story. The one provided is so fragmented and under-developed, it’s hard to stay focused on the proven comedy of the Minions.

I wanted to say I liked this film more than all the reviewers saying it’s awful. I can’t really recommend it as amazing. This, the slapstick stuff everyone loved is there even in the absence of a decent story. Hopefully animation movie makers will try and get a powerful story along with stunning visuals. They go hand in hand for truly great films.


My review Minions appeared first on Riley on Film.

My Top 10 Favorite Films I Reviewed in 2012

Ruby Sparks is amazing and just one of my 10 favorite films I reviewed in 2012. My top ten list is here.


2012 was an awesome year for movies. From a magical typewriter that created a sexy girl to an orphaned chimp, there was much in the theaters of 2012 to make one feel and think. It was also the year I made my blog a prominent platform for movie reviews. Of course I didn’t review everything I saw, but mostly I did. Below is the list of my top ten movie reviews of 2012, linked to the reviews themselves.

  • Rise of the Guardians 11/24/12 Rise of the Guardians is a CGI animated film for children based on a book by William Joyce. It is built around the invaluable moral of believing in yourself.
  • Ruby Sparks 11/18/12 Ruby Sparks is a romantic comedy written by Zoe Kazan. Ruby is a fictional character thought up in the movie by a successful writer in his early twenties played by Paul Dano. Much to his surprise, one day Ruby comes to life and takes on the role of his real life girlfriend. After that a roller coaster of emotions and love lessons ensues.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower 11/11/12 Emma Watson and Ezra Miller steal the show in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Miller often reminded me of a Jack Nicholson for a new generation. This book-turned-film pleases at every turn.
  • Argo 10/29/12 The film Argo is the story of how a CIA team rescued hostages from Iran. It is based on true events. In this film, the horrors of 1979 Iran contrast with the humor of making a fake movie making it both serious and comic.
  • Here Comes the Boom 10/13/12 There is now another “root for the underdog” fighting film to add to the movie archives. It’s also another try at a “feel good education” film.
  • Frankenweenie 10/09/12 You’d think death and grieving were topics best left for grown up movies like Ordinary People et. al., but these topics work surprisingly well in Tim Burton’s animated movie Frankenweenie. It is a highly enjoyable ride for families to the “other side” and back again.
  • Moonrise Kingdom 07/13/12 Moonrise Kingdom is a refuge amidst so many predictable and non-inventive movies out now. It tells a creative story line of lovers who thrive despite their antagonistic surroundings.
  • Prometheus 06/12/12 Prometheus takes us back to the time before Ridley Scott’s Alien. It fills in a few gaps for us as fans of the franchise and opens all sorts of curious new doors. It stars a relative newcomer who really packs a punch in her role. The actress who plays the tough and sexy Elizabeth Shaw, Noomi Rapace, is well known for playing Lisbeth Salandeteen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series (Swedish version).
  • Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Documentary Review) 06/02/12 Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a documentary directed by Werner Herzog in 2010. Many recognize Herzog as a gifted filmmaker who has made many documentary genre and other style films since the late 1960’s. The Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in the Ardèche department of southern France is a cave that contains some of the earliest known cave paintings.
  • Chimpanzee 04/27/12 Chimpanzee is a documentary film released by Disney. It was directed by renowned BBC nature film creators Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield. Only true specialists in this genre could have created such a sad yet inspiring and touching movie. This film features Oscar, a helplessly cute chimpanzee who has all sorts of adventures as an infant and small child chimp.

If you were looking for great movies from 2012, I hope my post has helped you out. I welcome and appreciate your comments here on my blog.


My review My Top 10 Favorite Films I Reviewed in 2012 appeared first on Riley on Film.

Cartel Land (2015)

The crowd in a tiny Mexican town called Apo chants, “The people, united, will never be defeated!” They’re following the leadership of Dr. Mireles, their humble doctor of the town. So many of their family members have been killed by the drug cartel, they are heart-sick and defeated. The people are done being pushed around.

Cartel Land (2015)
R | 1h 40min | Documentary | 3 July 2015 (USA)

Filmmaker Matthew Heineman examines the state of the ongoing drug problem along the U.S.-Mexican border.
Director: Matthew Heineman
Stars: Tim Nailer Foley, José Manuel ‘El Doctor’ Mireles, Paco Valencia

This documentary was extremely enlightening about what goes on in one part of a border town in Mexico, and probably many others. You witness first-hand scenes shot with modest camera crews. You don’t see any kill shots but you know they are there between the cuts. The director, Matthew Heineman, has created a powerful set of moving images and sound. We are not shown what to believe about the drug problem but rather given data to make our own conclusions.

This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. You meet these people involved. What’s surprising is that only a few of them have their faces covered. It’s as if they live in a native sense where they can’t comprehend any danger that could come from the media. Their danger is right here.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, it’s a bit fatalistic and I always look for solutions. Having said that, I’ve never lived in this town. They are fighting against these gang-like forces and the government for their very lives. For a raw look at what is happening in this situation, I recommend this film. As of 7/8/2017 it is streaming on Netflix.

9/10


My review Cartel Land (2015) appeared first on Riley on Film.

Inside Out

There are movies that need no introduction because you can tell from the trailer they are cool. Inside Out was cool out of the gate. Judging my the packed in house on a Monday night when I took my family to see it, people agree it’s cool. There’s something about a simple concept brought to the screen or television with a gang of hella talented people that wins the crowd every time. I compare it to Seinfeld that way. It has a simple premise: a little girl’s mind going through the challenges of school and moving. Her mind is where the characters are and they produce some hilarious if not downright profound discussion material.

Without giving any of its delights away, I will tell you there are two platforms the movie switches back and forth from: the little girl’s mind and the real world she’s in. It heartwarming, suspenseful, enlightening, and entertaining the way they portray her emotions. We get her from the inside-out: emotions first, real world second. It’s an excellent movie for kids because it opens up conversations on fear and anxiety, which as we know children feel from both small and big events in their lives. It’s also quite fitting as a date movie or if you’re just out with a friend. I always like movies that shine a light on the human condition and don’t preach. These sort of movies allow the viewer to pour themselves into the questions and draw their own conclusions. In this case those experiences will be childhood and adulthood.


My review Inside Out appeared first on Riley on Film.