Category Archives: Genre

Active Shooter (2020)

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Active Shooter poster

Active Shooter

Holed up in an office restroom during an active shooter situation, three women find their trust tested when they start looking for holes in a fellow victim’s story.

0 of 5

No.

Just no.

Ridiculous premise that is so poorly executed it makes it even worse. Not a sympathetic character in the bunch, they are all just horrible people. For some reason, perhaps just to be especially cringe-worthy, we get one of the women throwing a jealous fit because her girlfriend/fling/who-knows-WTF is texting with someone out in the midst of the carnage.

Only positive I can come up with: At just over 1 hour, it is fairly short.

Original Title 8th Floor Massacre


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics N/A; Audience N/A
Vox AZ

Crime, Drama, Thriller
2021/1/3

All Is Bright (2013)

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All Is Brigth poster

All Is Bright

Two French Canadian ne’er-do-wells travel to New York City with a scheme to get rich quick selling Christmas trees. Easygoing charmer Rene (Paul Rudd) clashes with misanthropic ex-con Dennis (Paul Giamatti), whose wife Rene just stole. Still, this odd couple must make an honest go of it in this buddy comedy

.5 of 5

Two immediate problems with that summary are the words “buddy” and “comedy”, as this mess of a movie contains neither.

I had high hopes, after all All Is Bright is a Christmas movie. It stars Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd, with an assist from Sally Hawkins, all generally reliable performers. The acting is…fine. In Giamatti’s case, it is quite good. Unfortunately, the material is bad. The story is slow & depressing and every time you think there might a bright spot (or even just a little relief from the gloom) you end up sorely disappointed. Definitely not one for your “feel good” movie list.

Giving it half a point for Giamatti’s presence, Rudd’s brown tooth, and Sally Hawkins Russian accent, which is almost as adorable as her.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 49%; Audience 23%
Vox AZ

Comedy, drama
2020/12/27

The Selling (2011)

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The Selling poster

The Selling

A too-honest-for-his-own-good real estate agent has to sell a haunted house before its ghostly inhabitants ruin his life.

4 of 5

A movie I went into with the low expectations I usually have for low budget productions. I was beyond pleasantly surprised.

The Selling stars Gabriel Diani, who also wrote the screenplay, as Richard Scarry, a hapless, good-hearted Realtor. Scarry’s life gets even more complicated when the latest home he is trying to sell turns out to be well and truly haunted – and those ghosts aren’t shy.

The twists and turns are creative, the characters are amusing, and there were genuine laugh out loud moments (well, at least chuckle out loud moments)

There are a couple of raunchy bits, but they aren’t bad enough for me to drop my rating: I give it a 4 of 5, just know you may not want to watch it with your mother 🙂


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics N/A; Audience 81%
Vox AZ

Comedy, Horror
2020/10/20

This Beautiful Fantastic (2016)

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Beautiful, Fantastic

This Beautiful Fantastic

A young woman who dreams of being a children’s author makes an unlikely friendship with a cantankerous, rich old widower.

2.5 of 5

Beautiful, but not fantastic.

This seems clearly to be an attempt to recreate the magic of Amelie, right down to a doe-eyed star. The visuals are lovely, but the story is…predictable. There are several wonderful performances, and a couple that are less so.

If you are looking for a pretty bit of fluff to fill 100 minutes, this would be a great choice. If you love gardening and/or want inspiration for your yard, this could be flick worth renting.

But, it’s not going to win any awards


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 64%; Audience 73%
Vox AZ

Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
2018/8/12

East Side Sushi (2014)

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East Side Sushi

East Side Sushi

Single mom Juana can slice and dice anything with great speed and precision. After working at a fruit-vending cart for years, she decides to take a job at a local Japanese restaurant. Intrigued by the food, she learns to make sushi on her own. Eventually she attempts to become a sushi chef, but is unable to because she is the ‘wrong’ race and gender. Against all odds, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery.
– Written by Anonymous

4
Sweet, saccharin, a bit predictable – but charming and quite enjoyable.

East Side Sushi is an ode to dreams for a better life, hard work, determination, and food. Beautiful food. I don’t eat sushi, but I love to watch it made. The rhythm and precision of the sushi chefs while they assemble the beautiful rolls makes for quite a show. Then the rolls are plated with lovely flourish, ready to be enjoyed … by someone other than me.

Anthony Lucero captures this process as Juana dedicates herself to mastering the skills of traditional sushi, despite the roadblocks in her way; wrong gender, wrong ethnicity. She gets varying degrees of support, as well as resistance, from her family and co-workers. And, of course, she steers the traditional Japanese a bit off the ethnic trail by including foods more to her family’s tastes.

East Side Sushi captures the grind and pleasure of the food industry as Juana shifts from numbing routine to a challenging cuisine.” [Village Voice]

East Side Sushi Awards posterThere are a few twists & turns on the way to a mostly inevitable conclusion, but it is no less satisfying an end despite its predictability.

I believe most in my circle will enjoy this one, earning it a 4 of 5 on the Word of Mouth Scale. Be prepared for subtitles, unless you speak Spanish, English, and Japanese.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 100%; Audience 91%
Vox AZ

The Immigrant (2013)

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The Immigrant

The Immigrant

1921. An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.

2

This movie is loaded with atmosphere & mood, but not a lot more. It struck me as an excuse to feature Marion Cotillard in shot after pouty shot of her melancholy face. The story seems assembled around her, not always convincingly.

The surrounding cast was impressive, overall. Jeremy Renner, though, was woefully underutilized in a role that should have been pivotal but instead felt peripheral and superfluous.

From Argemaluco, a reviewer on IMDB:
“The Immigrant isn’t made with enough passion for us to plunge into the main character’s experiences, and it doesn’t have a concrete point besides of being a sample book of human suffering which should have been touching, but it isn’t.”

Worth seeing if you are a fan of the actors, but I wouldn’t say it is something to seek out.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 88%; Audience 61%
Vox AZ

Son of Rambow (2007)

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Son Of Rambow, poster

Son of Rambow

During a long English summer in the early 1980s, two schoolboys from differing backgrounds set out to make a film inspired by First Blood (1982).

3.5

A sweet little romp with more depth than I was expecting, as well as a bit of side-eyed commentary on popularity.

As our heroes attempt to emulate theirs, we see them discover family, loyalty, and true friendship. There are some rough bits, after all, life isn’t all sunshine & rainbows, but the sterner stuff doesn’t diminish the story’s overall charm.

I would say this will be suitable for most on my list, though there is a bit of salty language

From Heather Huntington at ReelzChannel.com:
“As a general rule, I’m not a fan of kids, their movies, or Rambo, but this movie absolutely won me over. And — I’m going to say it — if you can stomach the idea of your kids hearing a (not too terrible) curse word or two, this could very well be a good movie for the whole family.


Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 74%; Audience 79%
Vox AZ

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