Gringo and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios and STX Entertainment
Directed by Nash Edgerton
Hey, if Netflix is gonna try to produce feature films, then why not Amazon too!? Heck, they’ve had a pretty good track record with distributing films like The Handmaiden and The Big Sick, and some of the original programming on their video service has been pretty decent too! Hopefully they can translate that success into this wacky comedy which has a PRETTY good trailer but not a whole lot of buzz, though it’s not entirely their fault considering how much Black Panther and even A Wrinkle in Time have dominated the national discussion around film; leaving films like this to just kinda slink in wherever they can. Does Amazon have a great film on their hands that’s unjustly falling under the radar, or should they have sent this straight to their storefront where no one will ever actually buy it? Let’s find out!!
Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) is a well to do middle management corporate drone who is incredibly content with his current life living with his wife Bonnie (Thandie Newton) and working for Richard and Elaine (Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron) at a pharmaceutical company he very much likes. The problem is that at every turn, the people in his life continually disrespect him and see him less as a valuable asset and friend, and more of an errand boy that also functions as a doormat. Eventually Harold gets wise to this during a trip that he along with Richard and Elaine take to Mexico in order to inspect one of the facilities, and the straw that breaks the camel’s back comes when Bonnie decides to divorce him; something that she tells him over skype. Having something of a nervous breakdown, Harold takes a bus to a small town in Mexico and fakes his own kidnapping once Richard and Elaine are back in Chicago. Little does Harold know however that the Cartel is after him due to his connection to the pharmaceutical company, so his little ruse might turn out to be more of a prophecy! On top of that, we’ve got a couple trying to sneak drugs from Mexico back to the US (Amanda Seyfried and Harry Treadaway), a mercenary who may be able to get Harold out of the jam he’s in (Sharlto Copley), and like four other subplots that are going on at the same time as Harold’s misadventures in Mexico. Will Harold be able to bilk his employers out of a crap load of money before he gets captured by the Cartel? What was Richard and Elaine doing that got the eye of the Cartel in the first place, and what will they do to get Harold out of the mess he’s in? Most importantly, HOW DID THEY MANAGE TO MAKE A STORY LIKE THIS SO BORING!?
Red Sparrow and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Francis Lawrence
What, were you expecting a review for Death Wish? Yeah… no. Eli Roth isn’t about to get another cent from me after the crap I went through with his LAST film, and seeing him remake an already tonally uneven film with the ham handedness that he makes all his other films is an experience I am VERY much willing to overlook and stuff down the memory hole along with everything else I’d like to forget; like Devilman Crybaby or that guy who’s occupying in the Oval Office right now where an ACTUAL President should be sitting. So that left me with this Jennifer Lawrence starring spy thriller which… I don’t know. The trailers didn’t really do enough to get me interested in the story, and I still have nightmares over the LAST time I saw Jennifer Lawrence star with uneasiness into a camera while contending with impending doom. At the very least though, it won’t be as bad as Death Wish… right? Let’s find out!!
It Comes at Night and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24
Directed by Trey Edward Shults
I have to see movies ALL the time which means I see a lot of trailers over and over again, and while it doesn’t really affect my opinion of a film once I see it, it does make the movie going experience a bit more tiresome. That’s why I love it when there’s a trailer that genuinely intrigues me and does something different from everything else I have to sit through when waiting for the movie to start. That was the case with this film which was very minimal in its approach and yet EXTREMELY effective as it was mostly a long slow shot as we got closer and closer to a red door. WHAT’S BEHIND THE DOOR!? Well the day has come for us all to find out! Will this be a new benchmark for the horror genre, or was it a REALLY great trailer for a mediocre movie? Let’s find out!!
We start the movie with someone clearly dying of a horrific disease and their family surrounding them; wearing gas masks and saying their final goodbyes. The head of the household Paul (Joel Edgerton) and his teenage son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr) take the sick man who turns out to be Travis’s grandfather (David Pendleton) out into the woods, put him out of his misery with a bullet to the head, and set the body on fire before burying it. Clearly something bad has happened to the world and this family which also includes Travi’s mother Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) is trying to survive. The modicum of stability they built up however is disrupted when a man named Will (Christopher Abbott) breaks into their house looking for food for his family, and after an intense interrogation scene Paul decides to let him and his family which includes his wife Kim and their little son Stanley (Riley Keough and a child actor known simply as Mikey with no other acting credits) stay in the house that’s been fortified to withstand… whatever it is that’s out there. Of course, this being a post-apocalyptic film, things start to go wrong rather quickly as the greatest threat is not the virus, or zombies, or whatever could possibly be happening… its MAN HIMSELF! Will everyone in this house learn to chillax and survive with one another, or are they all too paranoid to let the other’s live? What is Travis hiding from everyone else and what is the cause of these dreams he keeps having that are keeping him up at night? Is this gonna turn out to be a sequel to The Village!?
Jane Got a Gun and all the images you see in this review are owned by The Weinstein Company
Directed by Gavin O’Connor
January began with Oscar overflow from 2015, and it plans to end with… well not Oscar bait, but something MUCH classier looking than the usual January fare. We’ve got Academy Award winner Natalie Portman producing this western about a woman making a stand against those who wish to destroy her. Hell, take off the cowboy hats and replace the pistols with legal briefs and you basically have Erin Brockovich! Still, if they expected this movie to be any good, they wouldn’t have released it in January. Then again, we got The Boy in January, and that one turned out to be pretty great. Could it be that we have ANOTHER January success story on our hands? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins at a small house out in the country which is the homestead of Jane Hammond (Natalie Portman) and her young daughter. Her husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) is arriving home after… doing cowboy things, but is in pretty bad shape as he had a run in with the Bishop Boys gang. He managed to get away by the skin of his teeth, but the Bishops’ aren’t about to let him escape after what he and Jane had done to them in the past. It won’t take them too long to find their house, and with Bill out of commission Jane must prepare for what happens next. He drops off their daughter at a friend’s house before seeking out Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) who was her fiancée at one point, but all that changed some time ago in a backstory that we are drip fed throughout the movie. The sad bastard has been drinking himself to death since finding out that Jane had married someone else, but he eventually agrees to help her fend off the bad guys for some money, though it’s clearly an attempt by him to get back in her good graces. Armed with a couple of guns, some dynamite, and a few tricks that Dan picked up in the Civil War, the two of them prepare for the attack by the Bishop Gang led by John Bishop himself (Ewan McGregor). Not only that, but they finally have a chance to discuss what had happened between them all those years ago which could lead to some unexpected revelations for the both of them. Oh, and Bill’s hanging around there somewhere in the back; slowly dying from his multiple gunshot wounds. Will they be able to put aside their differences long enough to stay alive, or will this uneasy love triangle be the death of them long before the Bishops get there? Will there be very reasonable explanations for Jane’s actions that Dan should have PROBABLY guessed about instead of sulking for the last few years? Did anyone manage to sit through this entire movie without passing out from boredom?
Black Mass and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Scott Cooper
We’re finally in Oscar season, right? I mean Straight Outta Compton was a huge hit, but this is the first one that Hollywood studios are actually pushing for some Academy nods. We’ve got a big name actor playing a dark character in an organized crime biopic! Hell, the only way it could have more Oscar appeal is if it was set in World War 2! Still, Hollywood doesn’t always get it right when the make big Oscar films (look no further than The Judge from last year) and Johnny Depp has had a PRETTY hard time of it lately (again, look no further than Transcendence from last year). Will this movie be the critical hit that Johnny Deep needs at this point in his career, or will this biopic get lost in the shuffle once the other big films of the season start coming out in earnest? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) who rose to the top of the Boston crime world due to the fact that was an FBI informant and was getting protection from them as he helped them take down the Italian mob. Once the Italian’s were out the way though, Whitey became just as big a nuisance for the city, only HE had a federal organization who was at least somewhat hesitant to reveal their own involvement with him so he ran pretty much rampant for a good twenty years (1975-1995). Presumably the story is a lot more complex with a lot more people involved, but for this movie the main players are Whitey himself, his brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) who was the President of the Massachusetts senate at the time, and John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) who grew up with Whitey and became the FBI agent that got him involved as an informant. Needless to say that having these three working together (to some capacity) creates a neigh unstoppable force as each party is protecting the other to some extent and the trio (John less so than the rest who seems to be a SOMEWHAT legitimate politician) make a WHOLE lot of money. The gravy train can’t ride forever though as the rest of the world starts to close in and Whitey’s actions become more erratic over time. Will these men get the comeuppance they deserve, or will they be able to escape whatever’s coming after to them once they take things too far? Well it’s a biopic so you can look up the answers right now, but then why would you want to spoil the fun?