TROLLS WORLD TOUR is available at home on demand TODAY! To celebrate the release TODAY, Friday, April 10 at 10AM PT | Noon CT |1 ET, join us for a Twitter Watch Party hosted by Director Walt Dohrn & The McElroy Brothers!

TROLLS WORLD TOUR is available at home on demand TODAY!

To celebrate the release today, Friday, April 10 at 10AM PT | Noon CT |1 ET, join us for a Twitter Watch Party hosted by Director Walt Dohrn & The McElroy Brothers!

Visit WatchTrolls.com to watch and Tweet along using #TrollsWatchParty.

PLUS download the home premiere party pack, filled with fun activities to prepare for the movie’s debut at home on demand, and add a little Trolls flair to your next Zoom call using these free backgrounds.

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TROLLS WORLD TOUR – At Home On Demand April 10 on WatchTrolls.com

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | #TrollsWorldTour

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return in Trolls World Tour, an all-star sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s 2016 musical hit. In an adventure that will take them well beyond what they’ve known before, Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) discover that they are but one of six different Trolls tribes scattered over six different lands and devoted to six different kinds of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock. Their world is about to get a lot bigger and a whole lot louder.

A member of hard-rock royalty, Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom), aided by her father King Thrash (Ozzy Osbourne), wants to destroy all other kinds of music to let rock reign supreme. With the fate of the world at stake, Poppy and Branch, along with their friends — Biggie (James Corden), Chenille (Caroline Hjelt), Satin (Aino Jawo), Cooper (Ron Funches) and Guy Diamond (Kunal Nayyar) — set out to visit all the other lands to unify the Trolls in harmony against Barb, who’s looking to upstage them all.

Cast as members of the different musical tribes is one of the largest, and most acclaimed, groups of musical talent ever assembled for an animated film. From the land of Funk are Mary J. Blige, George Clinton and Anderson .Paak. Representing Country is Kelly Clarkson as Delta Dawn, with Sam Rockwell as Hickory and Flula Borg as Dickory. J Balvin brings Reggaeton, while Ester Dean adds to the Pop tribe. Anthony Ramos brings the beat in Techno and Jamie Dornan covers smooth jazz. World-renowned conductor and violinist Gustavo Dudamel appears as Trollzart and Charlyne Yi as Pennywhistle from the land of Classical. And Kenan Thompson raps as a newborn Troll named Tiny Diamond.

Trolls World Tour is directed by Walt Dohrn, who served as co-director on Trolls, and is produced by returning producer Gina Shay. The film is co-directed by David P. Smith and co-produced by Kelly Cooney Cilella, both of whom worked on the first Trolls.

Genre: Animated Musical Adventure

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, J Balvin, Rachel Bloom, Flula Borg, Kelly Clarkson, James Corden, Ester Dean, Jamie Dornan, Gustavo Dudamel, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Kunal Nayyar, Ozzy Osbourne, Anderson .Paak, Anthony Ramos, Sam Rockwell, Betsy Sodaro, Karan Soni, Kenan Thompson, Charlyne Yi, with George Clinton and Mary J. Blige

Director: Walt Dohrn

Producer: Gina Shay

Co-director: David P. Smith

Co-producer: Kelly Cooney Cilella

TODAY’S THE DAY! Throw your own home premiere for the TROLLS WORLD TOUR!  For fun activities, Download the at Home Premiere Party Pack below and let’s get ready TO PARTY!

Throw your own home premiere for TROLLS WORLD TOUR TODAY! 

For fun activities, Download the at Home Premiere Party Pack:

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Also be sure to check out the “How To Draw A Troll” Tutorial Series below: 

How To Draw Tiny Diamond – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c4mLsWCppI&t=5s

How To Draw Poppy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm8viXpHzDc

How To Draw Branch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFOFGh69HUI&t=2s

 

TROLLS WORLD TOUR – At home on demand April 10 on WatchTrolls.com

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | #TrollsWorldTour

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return in Trolls World Tour, an all-star sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s 2016 musical hit. In an adventure that will take them well beyond what they’ve known before, Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) discover that they are but one of six different Trolls tribes scattered over six different lands and devoted to six different kinds of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock. Their world is about to get a lot bigger and a whole lot louder 

A member of hard-rock royalty, Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom), aided by her father King Thrash (Ozzy Osbourne), wants to destroy all other kinds of music to let rock reign supreme. With the fate of the world at stake, Poppy and Branch, along with their friends — Biggie (James Corden), Chenille (Caroline Hjelt), Satin (Aino Jawo), Cooper (Ron Funches) and Guy Diamond (Kunal Nayyar) — set out to visit all the other lands to unify the Trolls in harmony against Barb, who’s looking to upstage them all.

Cast as members of the different musical tribes is one of the largest, and most acclaimed, groups of musical talent ever assembled for an animated film. From the land of Funk are Mary J. Blige, George Clinton and Anderson .Paak. Representing Country is Kelly Clarkson as Delta Dawn, with Sam Rockwell as Hickory and Flula Borg as Dickory. J Balvin brings Reggaeton, while Ester Dean adds to the Pop tribe. Anthony Ramos brings the beat in Techno and Jamie Dornan covers smooth jazz. World-renowned conductor and violinist Gustavo Dudamel appears as Trollzart and Charlyne Yi as Pennywhistle from the land of Classical. And Kenan Thompson raps as a newborn Troll named Tiny Diamond.

Trolls World Tour is directed by Walt Dohrn, who served as co-director on Trolls, and is produced by returning producer Gina Shay. The film is co-directed by David P. Smith and co-produced by Kelly Cooney Cilella, both of whom worked on the first Trolls.

Genre: Animated Musical Adventure

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, J Balvin, Rachel Bloom, Flula Borg, Kelly Clarkson, James Corden, Ester Dean, Jamie Dornan, Gustavo Dudamel, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Kunal Nayyar, Ozzy Osbourne, Anderson .Paak, Anthony Ramos, Sam Rockwell, Betsy Sodaro, Karan Soni, Kenan Thompson, Charlyne Yi, with George Clinton and Mary J. Blige

Director: Walt Dohrn

Producer: Gina Shay

Co-director: David P. Smith

Co-producer: Kelly Cooney Cilella

THE BANKER – Rated PG-13 – 2 hrs – Streaming on APPLE+ TV 

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This Review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser

 

THE BANKER – Rated PG-13  – 2 hrs.  – Streaming on APPLE TV+ 

DIRECTOR: George Nolfi 

WRITERS:  George Nolfi, Brad Kane, Niceole R. Levy, David Lewis Smith, Stan Younger 

STARRING:  Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult, Nia Long and Taylor Black

When Entrepreneurs / Real Estate Investors Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie) and Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson) devise an audacious plan to train a working class white man, by the name of Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult), to pose as the rich and privileged face of their burgeoning real estate and banking empires, it seems almost too good to be true.  And when Garrett and Morris decide to take on the racist establishment of the 1960s, assisting African Americans in their pursuit of “the American Dream”, it doesn’t take long before Steiner’s ambition, and his wife’s persuasiveness, leads to drawing the attention of the federal government, threatening everything they’ve all worked so hard to achieve…

I give THE BANKER a rating of MUST SEE ON APPLE TV+!  This film is better than many films I have reviewed over the years created by the major studios ~ from its fabulous true storyline, to its masterfully shot cinematography, to its perfectly assembled cast, THE BANKER is absolute sheer perfection from start to finish!  Anthony Mackie’s performance is superb, playing the genius real estate investor Bernard Garrett.  Jackson is fabulous too, playing the type of “Samuel L.” character that we all know and love, as he brings to life LA entrepreneur and business owner Joe Morris.  Hoult is perfectly cast too, playing Garrett & Morris’s protégé’, and business front-man Matt Steiner.  And we can’t forget the ladies who are fabulous too throughout this film, as Nia Long plays Garrett’s wife, and Taylor Black plays Steiner’s new bride too ~ as they both definitely add to this film’s ambiance too.  And what makes this film even better in my estimation, is the fact that my hubby,  who never enjoys hardly anything movie I do, sat through this film and raved and raved how much he enjoyed it the whole way through too!  Suffice to say, if you are looking for the perfect movie to catch this week, while we continue with our hunkering in at home, make sure to catch THE BANKER on Apple TV+ this week.  It’s truly going to end up being the best two hours you have spent in front of the TV, in quite some time!

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 41 mins.

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This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser

 

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 41 mins.

Directed & Written by Eliza Hittman

Starring:  Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Theodore Pellerin, Sharon Von Etten and Ryan Eggold

When you’re seventeen, living in rural Pennsylvania, and find yourself faced with an unplanned pregnancy, what do you do?  This is the premise of Focus Features’ latest dramatic release, hitting via streaming services today April 3rd, in the wake of all the movie theaters being closed, due to COVID-19.

Written & Directed by Eliza Hittman, and the Winner of the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award at Sundance this year, NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS takes you into the life of Autumn (Sidney Flanigan), as she tries to navigate her unplanned teen pregnancy, without alerting anyone in her immediate family.  With the support and assistance of her BFF, and cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder), the girls manage to secure the funding Amber needs, as they head off to New York City to obtain Autumn an abortion, without the need for parental consent…

But, as the girls soon find, heading from their rural lives into the big city produces quite a few challenges that they, nor their budget, are totally prepared for…

I give NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS a rating of CATCH THIS FILM ON DIGITAL TODAY!

I was definitely blown away by how real this film feels, as it faces the emotions and tribulations of teenage pregnancy, and abortion head on.  I was so impressed by Sidney Flanagan’s performance, as she conveys a ton of emotion without too much dialogue, throughout this entire film.  Talia Ryder is also very good playing friend, support system, and funding source, to help Amber with “the issue at hand”.

And the way Hittman handled the abortion clinic issues, both in Pennsylvania and New York City, although rather prophetic in nature, did also manage to come across as factual, without lingering too long in any direction, making this film neither political or biased in any way.  I also thought the casting throughout of the Abortion clinic professionals was top notch too, as they weren’t cast or portrayed as anything but professional and concerned individuals, for the welfare of their patients.

Let’s face it, being a teenager and pregnant is a scary situation, and even though NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS doesn’t necessarily make a statement against abortion, it does manage to convey that no matter what is decided, there are people that are there to help you with your choice ~ while sharing your options ~ every step of the way.

BLOODSHOT– RATED PG-13 – 1 hour 49 minutes

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This review is brought to you by Krissy Rechtlich

BLOODSHOT– RATED PG-13 – 1 hour 49 minutes
DIRECTOR: Dave Wilson
WRITERS: 
Jeff Wadlow & Eric Heisserer
STARRING:  
Vin Diesel, Guy Pearce, & Martin Axe

A man whose wife was murdered by a gang of misfits. He is granted superpowers by a secret government entity and gains the ability to heal rapidly. Then he initiates a psycho-revenge rampage on those who murdered his wife. Where have I heard this storyline before?

This film starts off as a more serious version of Deadpool with a little bit of Jason Bourne twisted in. Vin Diesel is his usual Vin Diesel self: strong, stoic, and heroic. While his portrayal of Ray Garrison isn’t necessarily lacking, the personality of the character was vanilla and only moderately complicated at best. He’s a soldier; therefore, it’s not altogether surprising that he should be serious and capable with a one-track mind. The problem is that it’s a character you’ve seen a thousand times before. Most of the other characters, however, are very enjoyable. Most of them, mind you. At least three are generic, basic super-hero stereotypes. The actors did fine and they were still entertaining – but, again, the personalities are ones you’ve seen a thousand times already.

(Side note: Lamorne Morris was my FAVORITE addition to this film. His delivery and personality was incredible and I can’t say enough nice things about him)

After the first half-hour, the plotline picks up immensely. It finally begins to go into a somewhat original and unpredictable storyline. The writers could have done a better job, in my opinion, but the editing is superb. They definitely took some tips from the movie Deadpool with fast action scenes and random emphasized significance on minor details that keep the viewers attention focused. It’s these moments where you really start to root for Ray and become invested in the plot. While there are some definitely flashy, in your face, special effects where Diesel’s perfect face gets destroyed and brought back together again, other types of editing were included in the ‘sequences’ of Diesel’s mind. Simply fascinating, impressive, and alluring.

After contemplating on this movie, the biggest issue seems to be plot holes. There were a lot of facts about this new “government” organization and the characters, themselves, that could and should have been explained. Hence why I say the writing could have been better. There was no clear explanation as to why these ‘targets’ were being chosen for Vin Diesel’s character to eliminate. Vague suggestions were alluded to but constantly leave the viewer still asking – why? I love a good government conspiracy and cover-up. This is not one that makes the cut for me.

 Overall, I did enjoy this movie. The ending was cheesy and left me slightly disappointed; however, if you’re an action and/or superhero fan, definitely catch this on the big screen. If you’re only a passive fan of the aforementioned, I would still suggest seeing it on the big screen, as its action scenes are meant for that mode, but would not buy it for your home collection.

I would rate this a 6.5/10. Entertaining, but definitely not Vin Diesel’s best film. 

THE HUNT – Rated R – 1 hour 20 minutes 

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This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser

 

The most talked about movie of the year, is the one that nobody’s actually seen…until NOW!”

THE HUNT – Rated R – 1 hour 20 minutes 

DIRECTOR:  Craig Zobrel

WRITERS:  Nick Cuse, Damon Lindelof 

STARRING:  Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz. Wayne Duvall, Ethan Suplee, Emma Roberts, Christopher Berry, Sturgill Simpson, Kate Nowlin, Amy Madigan, Reed Birney, Glenn Howerton, Steve Coutler, Dean J West and Vince Pisani

When 12 individuals wake up in a clearing in the middle nowhere, and without a reason why, or how they got there, it seems the final joke will be on them, as they are about to be taken slaughtered like game, as it seems they have all been chosen specifically for THE HUNT!

I give THE HUNT a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN!  With all the controversy surrounding this film from the first moment its trailer hit social media, I’m really surprised that Blumhouse’s latest creation, THE HUNT, ever saw the light of day.  And with as many jabs as it takes at both Liberals and Conservatives, there is more than enough finger pointing to go around, thus giving this film it’s partisan backbone, as we venture out with a group of Liberal elites, that have decided to take out a select group of “deplorables” for their exceptionally twisted views of our society.  Billed as a political satire, THE HUNT, not only hinges our minds to the ways that supposedly “the other half lives”, but it also takes us into raging violence sequences, that are supposedly “needed”, as a way to rid our world of the vermin that simply, just don’t get it!  And, as our society struggles daily between the viewpoints of the Bluebloods and the Rednecks in this notoriously wrong ~ but oh so hilarious film ~ it leaves you guessing if Zobrel and his team were hell bent on in sighting more political struggle within our borders with this film, or was the premise of this film constructed in such a way to make us all stop, think, and attempt to at least talk through our differences.  With an amazing cast, including Academy award winner Hilary Swank, and a totally kick-ass Betty Gilpin all along the way, with a storyline that attempts to harpoon the vast majority of us, in every direction, THE HUNT masterfully brings our everyday lives into a much clearer view, with intense violence, sheer madness, and a lack of sincerity too, frame after frame.  Now, as I continue to struggle not to give the entire premise of this exceptional film away, please just take my word for it, at the end of the day you are going to want to catch this intensely graphic, and emotionally charged film, as the message it ends up conveying, is one that we each need to fully absorb. Hopefully, enough people will view this film with an open mind, and as the sequences throughout become more and more the blueprint of our everyday lives, we can also take in how ridiculous these premises throughout are at the same time,  reaching the conclusion that we should all remain focused on the betterment of, not the destruction of, our fellow man…

WENDY – Rated PG-13 – 1 hour 52 mins.

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This Review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser

  

WENDY – Rated PG-13 – 1 hour 52 mins.

DIRECTOR/WRITER:  Benh Zeitlin

WRITER:  Eliza Zeitlin

STARRING:  Yashua Mack, Devin France, Gage Naquin, Gavin Naquin, Ahmad Cage and Shay Walker

From the Writer and Director who brought you the Academy Award nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), comes a wild reimagining of sorts, as we venture to a mysterious island, notoriously known as the home of one Peter Pan (Yashua Mack), who still has not grown up.  When Wendy (Devin France), heeds Peter’s call to join him, and his band of other children too, it seems that Wendy is up to the challenge, dragging her twin brothers along too, on her secretive, and vast adventure.

As Wendy embraces her new life of never growing up, it seems that many on the island weren’t quite as lucky, as she now must face staying a child and living our her greatest adventures by Peter Pan’s side, or face the harsh realities of saving her family, and facing growing old, as they both might be the path that fulfills her adventurous spirit, after all…

I give WENDY a rating of WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON NETFLIX or OTHER STREAMING SERVICE:  Billed as a wild reimagining of the classic Peter Pan tale, Benh and Eliza Zeitlin did manage to bring the classic tale of Wendy and Peter Pan into the 21st century, but with a rather peculiar existence for all the characters within this new take. This film is was so peculiar throughout that it left me scratching my head as to why they created this very disjointed film.  Don’t get me wrong, young actress Devin France is superb as Wendy throughout every inch of it, as she can’t wait to venture outside the humdrum and poverty-stricken portions of her life, she is forced to endure.  But her performance alone, is where the accolades for this one end for me.   The rather strange storyline throughout, combined with the other rather mediocre performances by the remaining cast, did nothing to pique my interest in what was actually happening on screen.  And even though I realized going in that this film wasn’t a literal remaking of the story of Peter Pan from my childhood, it also didn’t feel fantasy-like either, giving it a sense of warped realism that was rather unnerving throughout for me too.  I also found myself searching for a mere moment of engagement, that would entice me to want to continue following along with this rather eccentric storyline, and film…but sadly I must share, that never happened for me either, forcing me to tell you that I definitely would just catch WENDY on Netflix or other streaming service to take this one in…

I STILL BELIEVE – Rated PG – 1 hour 55 minutes

 

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This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser

 

I STILL BELIEVE – Rated PG – 1 hour 55 minutes

DIRECTORS:  Andrew and Jon Erwin

WRITERS:  Jon Erwin, Jon Gunn

STARRING:  Britt Robertson, K.J. Apa, Shania Twain, Gary Sinise, Nathan Parsons, and Abigail Cowen

From Directors Andrew and Jon Erwin, who brought us another moving film, 2018’s I Can Only Imagine – comes the real-life story of young college student and song writer Jeremy Camp (K.J. Apa), as he finds himself drawn to a beautiful women in the audience one night named Melissa (Britt Robertson), and he sets his sights on finding out who she is…

As fate would have it, Melissa is in a relationship with another musician about campus, John Luke (Nathan Parsons), as she struggles with the fact that she is falling for Jeremy, but really doesn’t want to hurt John Luke in the process…

As Melissa tries to fight off her feelings for Jeremy, it isn’t long before John Luke finds out “the real deal”, causing everyone involved pain and anguish.  But as Jeremy professes his love for Melissa, they both must face where they belong.

But their joyous union is short lived, when Melissa is diagnosed with Cancer, and an unsettling, unknown future.  With their futures hanging in limbo, Jeremy makes the courageous decision to stand by his girl, as he asks for her hand in marriage.  Wishing and hoping for a miracle, Jeremy learns to walk in Melissa’s faith, that God has a plan for them both, although no one really quite knows where their path is headed…and if they will ever truly get their “happily ever after” …

I give I STILL BELIEVE a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON DVD!  This true story of singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp’s life is a true testament of Faith, and of undying love and commitment, no matter what God places before you.  K.J. Apa is superb as Jeremy, and the chemistry between him and Britt Robertson throughout this film is totally palatable.  Talk about a tearjerker that just keeps at it, I STILL BELIEVE is emotionally captivating, and draining the whole way through.  And even though their parts aren’t very significant throughout, Shania Twain and Gary Sinise are perfectly cast too, as the mother and father that allow their son to choose his own path in life, although wishing that he may have made a less painful choice along the way too.  I was also impressed by Nathan Parsons performance on screen, as the love scorned “other guy”.  Know going in too, that this film is as much about God and Faith, as it is about Love and Loss, making it an emotional rollercoaster, no matter how hard you fight getting sucked in by its Christian undertones throughout.  And even though its rather sappy and cheesy at the start, as this film progresses, you will find yourself moved more and more by the real love story, that is evolving on screen.  Take my word for it, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when I viewed this film, including that of my 19 year old daughter who joined me, as she stated she was in need of some definite “emotional therapy”, once we left the theater after seeing this film…so make sure to bring along a few Kleenex to this tear-jerker, as you are definitely going to need them.

GREED – Rated R – 1 hr. 44 mins.

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GREED – Rated R – 1 hr. 44 mins.

WRITER/DIRECTOR – Michael Winterbottom

WRITER – Sean Gray

STARRING – Steve Coogan, Isla Fisher, Shirley Henderson, David Mitchell, Asa Butterfield, Dinita Gohil, and Sophie Cookson

As we travel throughout a satire based on the life of a ruthless, super-rich Fashion tycoon Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan), it seems that power and wealth have been flowing through his veins since birth.  As this self-made man focuses more on his fashion empire, than his ex-wife, his new wife, or his totally screwed up children, it seems that parliament wants to have a few words with him, regarding his unscrupulous business dealings both in the UK, and abroad.

And as we soon find out, you might want to be a tad more cautious of your greedy mis dealings, and how you treat your business associates, friends, and most of all, family too, as karma is coming for you…and in way too many directions for you to truly comprehend…

I give GREED a rating of WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON NETFLIX or STREAMING:  Coogan is totally entertaining, playing the ruthless fashion icon tyrant that is hell bent on amassing a fortune, off the backs of the poor seamstresses of many foreign lands.  And it seems too, that this particular role was written totally for Coogan to play, as he doesn’t seem to have to stretch to far artistically, for this rather good performance.  But as a whole, it seems that the other characters throughout, including Isla Fisher playing his still smitten ex-wife, are all rather superficial and one-dimensional, as she, and all the other characters feel as if they were just created as filler throughout this particular storyline.  I guess I should also make a point to commend Director and Writer Michael Winterbottom’s attempt to bring to light the plague of the fashion industry…as many garment workers toil in factories for mere dollars per day, as the owners of the fashion houses rake in the millions from consumers annually,  but I also think that since he conveyed this sentiment all throughout his film, the statistics he’s shares at the end of the film just comes across as an attempt to overstate the obvious.  Bottom line is, if you love Isla Fischer like I do, and if you adore Steve Coogan too, then taking an hour and 45 minutes out of you hectic schedule to catch this sometimes funny, sometimes demented, sometimes tragic film at home on your big screen, than by all means, please do so.  But,  if you’re contemplating heading out to catch GREED at a theater near you, please heed my warning, as I’m afraid when it’s all said and done, that you will feel like you not only wasted travel time, but some of your hard earned cash for this less-than-perfect film.

Kathy vs. Krissy’s view of THE WAY BACK – Rated R

THE WAY BACK Movie poster

This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser

“Affleck is superb in a film that not only focuses on “the love of the game”, but on one man’s struggle to save himself, from the many poor choices he’s made …” Kathy Kaiser, Matinee Chat

THE WAY BACK – Rated R – 1 hr. 48 mins.

DIRECTOR/WRITER:  Gavin O’Connor

WRITER:  Brad Ingelsby

STARRING:  Ben Affleck, Janina Gavankar, Michaela Watkins, Al Madrigal, Da’Vinchi, Glynn Turman, Melvin Gregg, Lukas Gage, Will Ropp, Charles Lott Jr., Sal Valez Jr., Brandon Wilson, Tyler O’Malley, Hayes MacArthur, Roman Mathis and Chris Bruno

When your name is Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck), and you start out life as a Basketball phenom in High School, the rest of your life should be golden right?  Well, when you decide that that isn’t the path for you, and as life seems to send you blow, after blow, after blow, that you weren’t prepared for, you become a loner, with alcohol as your best friend,  or at least just  a way, to pass the time away…

But when Jack gets the chance to go back to his alma mater to Coach a, shall we say, “less than stellar team”, this familiar scenery, combined with quite a few very coachable young men, might be just the ticket to force Jack’s life, back on track…

I give THE WAY BACK a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN!  Affleck is perfectly cast as a man struggling with his own demons, as he tries to ease the pain that is consuming his life, one drink at a time.  His performance is so real ~ and so raw ~ you can actually see that he is channeling real emotions, and life experiences, having he himself just come out of rehab.

I’m amazed and astonished that Affleck wanted to take on such a role, especially after having just faced this actual demon himself in real life.  I had to chuckle at the interviews he’s been doing too about this film, as he concedes that he’s not wanting any accolades for his performance, as he attests that has is by far not the first actor by any means, who has chosen a role that forces you to face issues within your own life. But to his defense, I also don’t know too many people, including myself, that would have the power to take on a role so close to home, and be willing to put it all out there on screen, just for the love of acting!

I also very much enjoyed the performances on screen by Gavankar as Jack’s estranged wife, and by Watkins too, as the supportive, yet meddling sister.  These two ladies’ performances opposite Affleck, made this storyline even more believable, and heart-wrenching.

And how can you give a review about this film, without sending all the accolades in every direction that are due to all the fabulous young men cast in this film, as their superb performances add the elements of focus and determination, that Affleck’s character seems to be lacking throughout a significant part of the film.

I also must share that I was amazed that as much as this film is promoted as a sports film, that is only a portion of what is happening on screen, as THE WAY BACK also takes you deep into a man’s life, as he struggles to find the courage to face his own imperfections, thus adding a lot more dimension than I think people are expecting to see.  Director and Writer Gavin O’Connor’s creative genius is definitely on full display, throughout this exceptional film.

Suffice to say that THE WAY BACK is the kind of film that everyone should experience, but with the subject matter, and the R-rating it has received, sadly, that won’t be possible.  I’m also hoping that Affleck’s superb performance in this film isn’t forgotten about come Awards season, many months from now, as he truly is once again, on top of his game!

 

The Way Back Review

This review is brought to you by Krissy Rechtlich

ONWARD – RATED R – 1 hour 48 minutes
DIRECTOR: Gavin O’Connor
WRITERS: 
Brad Ingelsby & Gavin O’Connor
STARRING:  
Ben Affleck, Janina Gavankar, and Michaela Watkins

The film starts with Jack (Ben Affleck), a construction worker, ending a long day of work. He opens a beer in his car, pours it into a cup, and drinks it while driving home. As he takes a shower, he has a beer in the caddy. Before he meets with his family, he chugs a bottle of hard vodka in the car, and then again afterwards. Viewers are introduced to an alcoholic and, seeing as Affleck recently left rehab, it makes the plotline already the more authentic and powerful.

Once-acclaimed high school basketball player, Jack Cunningham, who now spends his nights in bars, is offered the chance to coach his high school’s basketball team. Jack is an alcoholic with a temper and the teenagers are unmotivated and directionless. While basketball is, of course, a very prevalent theme in this film, this is not the focus. This is not a movie about a down-and-out basketball team turning it around at the hands of an amazing coach. This is a movie about how difficult life can be. Motivating, realistic, and tragic, Affleck’s hopeless portrayal of Jack has you waiting and rooting for the moment it will all turn around. Only to find out that it doesn’t – because life isn’t that kind.

What I enjoyed most about this film is that information was not spoon fed to the audience. You are not given this man’s life story at the forefront; you are presented with a man who has lost the will to move forward without there being any reason why. While most tragic films regarding death and cancer focus on the before, this is the aftermath. What becomes of a parent who loses their child to cancer? Depression and chaos.

This film was not cast in high-end cinematography and the theme definitely matched what they were going for. The dull, cell-phone-quality camerawork mirrored Affleck’s bleak outlook on life and the editing of the basketball games was very well done. Slices of life from the players, the coaches, and audiences existed of quick, clever cuts and were very entertaining. I could not help but burst out laughing at the thought of a catholic school basketball coach getting kicked out of the game for screaming profanities.

My main complaint with this film was the miracle montage that was relatively underwhelming. Of course, O’Connor couldn’t go through every single game as the team gradually improved or the film would be two hours long. That being said, the team started with an alcoholic captain, who was almost just as unmotivated as they were, and three minutes later, the team has tremendously improved. I’ve seen many a montage in my time and this wasn’t one of the stronger ones.

Overall, I would give this film a 8/10.

It’s a rather melancholy film to see on the big screen; however, it is very inspiring and well shot. An underrated film in the making.

Krissy vs. Kathy’s take on Disney Pixar’s ONWARD – Rated PG

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This review is brought to you by Krissy Rechtlich

ONWARD – RATED PG – 1 hour 42 minutes
DIRECTOR: Dan Scanlon
WRITERS: 
Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, & Keith Bunin
STARRING:  
Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus & Octavia Spencer

Disney Pixar returns with another sibling-centric story circling around the importance of family. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt are reunited in this animated film as teenage elf brothers who lost their father as young boys and have a longing to see him again. Their wish is granted as, for Ian’s (Tom Holland) 16th birthday, their father gifted them a staff that would bring him back to life for 24 hours.

Just one problem – only his legs survived the spell! So Ian and Barley (Chris Pratt) are off on a quest to bring him back.

I fell in love with the premise of this film the minute I saw the trailer. A world that once existed of magic, wonder, and opportunity slowly became pushed under the rug by society. While creating fire and light from a wizarding staff was once a wondrous accomplishment, its marvel was extinguished and rendered unnecessary after the invention of the light bulb. And slowly but surely – the fantasy land faded into our modern world of cell phones, automobiles, and technology.

As a millennial, I experienced just what it was like to slowly see technology take over society, taking my childhood innocence along with it. This story captured the magic that I believed in the world as a child and, whether on purpose or accidental, mirrored how much technology and culture has deafened our ability to appreciate our surroundings. There’s elves, dragons, centaurs – magic! All of it enough to capture the attention of a child.

However – if, as an adult, you’re worried that the best parts of the film exist in the trailer, you may not be completely wrong. Putting the negative stigma on necromancy aside, the middle portion of the film was only moderately entertaining at best. The brother’s journey was a little longer than necessary and it seemed, at times, that the plot came to a stagnant halt. While Disney was certainly trying to recapture the magic of Frozen, but with brothers instead of sisters, the journey seemed to take immense priority over the history of this wonderful world they had created and had left me leaving the theatre feeling rather disappointed. As a big fan of Harry Potter and King Arthur, I was hoping for more background.

That being said, what they did include regarding this warped fantasy world was entertaining and creative. Children will enjoy this movie. Anyone who plays Dungeons and Dragons will enjoy this movie. And, of course, Marvel fans can at least support some of their favorite superheroes.

Overall, I give this a 7/10.

It was a wholesome, chuckle-worthy film. Not one you’d HAVE to see on the big screen but definitely worth a watch. 

 

This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser 

ONWARD – Rated PG – 1 hr. 42 mins

DIRECTOR/WRITER:  Dan Scanlon

WRITERS:  Jason Headley, Keith Bunin

STARRING THE VOICES OF:  Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Mel Rodriquez, Ali Wong, Lena Waithe, Tracey Ullman, Wilmer Valderrama and John Ratzenberger

As we venture into a fantasy world of creatures that have long forgotten their magic powers, we meet Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland), and his big brother Barkley (Chris Pratt) trying to make their way through life with their Mom Laurel (Julia Louie-Dreyfus), for years since the death of their Dad, when the boys were very young.

When Ian receives a special gift for his Birthday, it seems that it’s up to him, and brother Barley to venture on a quest for the magic that will bring their father back to them, and all of him, if only for one day…

I give ONWARD a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS LATEST PIXAR FILM ON DVD!  Well, it made me smile to see that Pixar decided to make a film for the little dudes of this world too, since the girls got their wish of getting a FROZEN 2 just a few months back.  And as dude flicks go, this one is rather entertaining, but then again, when you’re owned by Disney, who owns Marvel too, which gives you the clout to join Tom Holland, a.k.a. Spiderman, opposite Star-Lord himself, Chris Pratt, thus setting the precedent that this latest sibling-centric Pixar creation had the potential to be very entertaining, right from the start.  And entertaining it is, the whole way through, because let’s get serious, once you add in Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer and their exceptional performances along the way too, it has to be good!  So, with all these accolades thus far, why not give ONWARD a perfect rating?  Well, for me, this cute little story about a boy trying desperately to spend one day with a father he has never seen before is quite admirable, and having an awesome big brother by your side throughout your journey gave me the warm fuzzies, but this film also feels so drawn out at times, that it takes away from the film as a whole.  And along with the fact, when it was all said and done, parts of it felt like rather dark for little ones who were in the theater watching it with me too.  I also felt once we got to the “wishing for Dad to be alive again” part, that many youngsters who have lost a parent might be affected by this concept, as what child hasn’t wished that there was a way to bring back their Mom or Dad, which just isn’t going to happen.  I mean, I’m the first to say that letting your children live out part of their lives in a world filled with wonderment and fantasy is a healthy thing, that’s true, but the concept of this film, as far-fetched as it may be, might just be a little too much for the kiddos out there who just can’t wish their parents back into their lives, no matter how hard they try.  Call me sentimental, or overly-sensitive, or ridiculous if you must, with the fact that this particular concept in the film stuck such a chord within me, but I felt that I wouldn’t be doing my readers justice, if I didn’t share my thoughts in an attempt to ease the pain for a child that has been pumped for weeks to go catch this new Pixar Animated feature, and that might be affected when they can’t wish their lost parent too, back into existence…

THE INVISIBLE MAN – Rated R – 2 hrs. 4 mins.

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“Intensely intriguing and suspenseful the whole way through!  The INVISIBLE MAN is a definite MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN! – Kathy Kaiser, Matineechat

THE INVISIBLE MAN – Rated R – 2 hrs. 4 mins.

DIRECTOR/WRITER:  Leigh Whannell

STARRING:  Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid and Michael Dorman

As we venture into the life of Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss), she has finally figured out a way to escape her narcissistic and controlling husband Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), and not a moment too soon…

Now, as Cecilia tries to get a grasp on reality, and distinguish the fear that Adrian will find her, no matter how hard she tries to hide…word comes that apparently Adrian has committed suicide, freeing her of this nightmare, once and for all.

And now, even in death it seems that Adrian has the ultimate control, as he has devised an ingenious way to torture Cecilia from the great beyond, and her friends and family too, giving her no choice but to come up with her own masterful plan, to expose this total creeper, and his game of playing “the invisible man” too…

I give THE INVISIBLE MAN a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN!  Okay, I have to admit right away that I was heading into this film thinking, there’s no way I am going to enjoy this film, it’s billed as a horror movie first off, and how many times can we remake a film inspired by H. G. Wells legendary novel, both in 1933 and again in 1984, but I have to tell you, I was so glad that I decided to cast these thoughts to the wind, and to take in this fabulously mind-blowing film!

Moss is absolute perfection playing the lead in this classic tale, brought to life again, but this time with a 21st century spin.  Her acting impresses me more and more with each new film project she takes on, as she was by far the shining light for me in 2019’s The Kitchen as well, playing opposite Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish.  But, make no mistake that this time around, this film is entirely hers’ from start to finish, not only because the psychotic creep she is fighting against is invisible 95% of the time, but because as this new storyline plays out ~ it’s from her point of view ~ not the optic illusionist that is stalking her, turning the tides on the other films, that focused more on the scientist, than on his victim.  And as you watch Moss literally brought to the brink of madness by her perpetrator, even though he is not apparent to the naked eye, you can’t help but be drawn into this woman’s existence, and fears, more and more, as this fabulous film plays out.   I was also amazed by the supporting performances, which totally enhanced Moss’s creativity I felt too, whether it be from Harriet Dyer, who plays her mostly supportive sister, or by Aldis Hodge, playing the protective cop role, but who questions Cecilia’s notions, just the same as everyone else.  This film is extremely intense and intriguing, as you feel yourself literally drawn to what is happening to this poor woman, at the hands of her self-prophesized perpetrator.  The Invisible Man is actually one of the best suspense movies I’ve had the pleasure of viewing in quite some time, but if you are a horror movie buff, I must share too that this one is pretty tame, which was all right by me, but you might find it a little lame! I enjoyed this film so much, that I have to suggest, that whether or not you have enjoyed Writer/Director/Actor Leigh Whannell’s previous work in the SAW or INSIDIOUS Franchises, or you are just trying to decide if you want to see Moss in action on the big screen again, take my word for it when I tell you that you have to head out to catch THE INVISIBLE MAN at a theater near you, as fast as you can.  I mean let’s face it, if this scaredy cat can muster up the nerve to see it, and then thoroughly enjoy it from beginning to end, believe me when I tell you…You will most definitely be singing its praises, when you take a few hours to head to the theater and catch it too!!!