FURIOUS 7 || April 3rd, 2015

Furious7-poster Continuing with the action and drama that make this franchise standout, “Furious 7” not only delivers everything one would expect from this outlandish, bravado-ridden action flick, but it stands apart from the prior installments by delivering a formidable opponent in action star Jason Statham, who is introduced at the end of the previous film. Although the narrative takes a huge leap towards the unnecessary when Kurt Russell is introduced, the film still cashes in on well shot action scenes and the connection of family with these now well known characters. Also, by the end of the film, the director allows for a nice send off for the deceased Paul Walker, creating the perfect emotional moment with the help of the Wiz Khalifa song “See You Again” which was written in commemoration for Walker.

WomanInGold-poster Reminiscent of “Philomena” in which a younger man helps an older lady with a family matter, “Woman In Gold” follows the same through-line, as a lawyer (played by Ryan Reynolds) accompanies a Jewish refugee (played by Helen Mirren) forced from her home by Nazis during WWII to reclaim some art that was stolen from her and that now resides in a museum. Taking the issue to court to get back the portrait of her aunt, titled Lady In Gold, a stellar Mirren could save almost any film. But whereas “Philomena” was a much more heart-warming tale of a woman looking for her lost son, the notion of trying to get a painting back is far less compelling.

5To7-poster Stories about conflicting love are often like catnip for me. Unorthodox or unrequited love often makes for the most compelling stories and “5 To 7” is definitely that, as Anton Yelchin plays Brian, an aspiring writer seeing an extremely attractive French woman played by Bérénice Marlohe. However, she is married and having an affair with Brian with a distinct set of rules. And her husband knows about it and is also having an affair with a younger woman played by Olivia Thirlby. But what happens when Brian wants more? And how close can people get when their are significant others involved?
Boychoir-poster Dustin Hoffman is looking great, which is why seeing him in the trailer for “Boychoir” makes me wish he was being utilized in more pressing films than this. Somewhat in the vein of “Whiplash,” where a rather hard-edged instructor pushes his aspiring pupil to his true potential, “Boychoir” trades in the drumsticks for singing voices, as Hoffman plays the conductor of a choir of boys, as he pushes a rebellious young student to be more than what he is. Despite the impressive cast, the acting and the drama in this film feel rather dull, not to mention the main boy has zero screen presence.
Cheatin-poster2 Visually, “Cheatin” looking exquisite and that alone could almost get me to see it. But when a trailer is delivered to you with zero dialogue (which has me assuming the film is as such too), it makes it hard to discern whether this film is actually good or not. Not your average animated fare, the film takes a look at a promiscuous woman and her sexual affairs with different men. With not much to go on as far as story, all you see are men chasing her, or carrying her, or being intimate with her. This is the type of film I would have expected to see during by Oscar Challenge but since it was not nominated, I will likely look the other way.
CutBank-poster “Cut Bank” feels like an homage to the Coen Brothers, and first time film director Matt Shakman has to know that with how deliberate his strokes are. When a mailman’s death is caught on tape, a small town spirals into an investigation with $100,000 on the line. But the darkish comedy to the film is a man in glasses obsessing over a parcel that the mailman was supposed to deliver. Think Milton from “Office Space” meets Anton from “No Country For Old Men”. Starring Liam Hemsworth, Billy Bob Thornton, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Oliver Platt, and Bruce Dern, this is definitely a must-see.
DavidAndGoliath-poster The Biblical tale of “David And Goliath” is envisioned in what looks like a straight-to-DVD release. Good against evil. Big against small. The trailer for the film was so uninteresting that I could not even absorb what was being said and I refuse to watch the trailer again, so for that, with what little I could gather from what I saw, Goliath is portrayed as a normal man, just slightly bigger than the rest, brawling and fighting, as David may be represented by a group of people rather than just one man.
EffieGray-poster Speaking of dull, “Effie Gray” has such a great cast going for it, that it is disappointing how bland this actually looks. Actress Emma Thompson provides the screenplay for the film, as well as stars in it, but even that does not sway my judgment towards wanting to see it. Dakota Fanning plays the title character, as she is married to a man that quite possibly is gay. But with gay marriage not even a notion in this particular period and refusing to give up, Gray faces the challenges of a strange marriage.
TheGirlIsInTrouble-poster Just like the title suggests, “The Girl Is In Trouble”. Alicja Bachleda (“Ondine”) plays the girl, who, after a drug dealer tries to rape her, kills him and runs to her struggling DJ friend (Columbus Short) to help her out. Wilmer Valderrama plays the drug dealers tough guy brother who seeks revenge on whoever killed his brother and sets off to torture or kill anyone who stands in his way. Normally I would pass on this type of story and low level cast, but the cast in particular is quite interesting and the style of the film steps out of the norm.
TheHandThatFeeds-poster Undocumented and working for sub-legal wages in a 24 hour restaurant, “The Hand That Feeds” is a documentary that brings the workers of this restaurant and their stories to life, as they put their livelihoods and futures in the country on the line to form a union and strike to get equal wages. It’s tough to say where I stand on this topic. Yes, American is a melting pot and we’re all immigrants to a certain extent, but I’m also not keen on people illegally entering the country and then expecting everything that people here legally acquire. I feel like that might set a bad precedent. Also, how many people can we possibly expect to stick in America before the sheer abundance of people is simply overwhelming.
LambertAndStamp-poster Apparently behind the band The Who were two men, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, who not only started it all, but played pseudo-managers to the band. In “Lambert & Stamp,” their story is told through interviews and photography from their time with the band, not only providing the origin story for the influential rock band, but telling the crazy story of these two men as well. However, their story is not that exceptional or compelling compared to any other band’s origin and although I enjoy The Who, watching a documentary about their managers does not sound like a fun Friday night.
LastKnights-poster Don’t get me wrong, for an unknown, somewhat low budget medieval piece, “Last Knights” is almost saved by great performances from Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman. But despite these familiar faces, the story and even the action are rather uninspired and the trailer plods on because of it. Owen plays a knight, sworn to protect his fallen master, played by Freeman. Owen’s fight scenes come off rather epic and emotional, and Freeman’s speeches are as good as anything else he’s done, but without support from an actual studio to raise the quality of this film slightly, their performances will likely be forever lost in this one.
ManosSucias-poster Yet another trailer this week with no dialogue, “Manos Sucias” is a winner of the Spike Lee Fellowship Award. The official synopsis reads: “A fisherman and a naive young man begin trafficking drugs up the Pacific coast of Colombia. As they tow a drug-filled torpedo, they are forced to navigate through the war-torn region and the growing tension between them.” With plenty of good reviews and some great visuals in the trailer, one could probably not be steered wrong by seeing the film, but as far as I’m concerned there’s nothing here that truly catches my eye.
NedRifle-poster If it were not for the promise of Aubrey Plaza’s sultry and sexy performance in “Ned Rifle,” I would definitely pass this film up. The leading man is extremely dull, the story is a bit convoluted, and even the two-and-a-half minute trailer tends to drag on. Following a son (Liam Aiken) who searches for his father in order to kill him, a young woman (Plaza) steps in his path to distract him. Kitschy and off-beat, there is a slight dark comedy feel to the film, especially with Plaza’s dry humor delivery, but even just seeing her expand out of her normal wheelhouse is enough to get me to want to see this.
Superfast-poster Spoof movies apparently will never die. They’re not hard to do, that’s for sure. The thing that actually surprises me is that it took this long to finally cash in on the success of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, this time spoofing the series as a whole, in “Super Fast!” The jokes in this trailer are so hollow, you seriously can hear pin drops after each one. The only thing I’ll give them credit for is successfully finding silly actors to match the tones of each character from the film. I want to laugh and want to like these spoof films, but they really make it so very hard to even smile at.
ThatGuyDickMiller-poster “Gremlins” is probably what I remember Dick Miller most from (or at all, since I haven’t looked at a list of his body of work yet). But the documentary “That Guy Dick Miller” delves into the actor’s life, from stepping on to the scene and having directors/writers write scenes just for him so that he’d be in their film to now pursuing a career in writing himself. Through interviews with friends and those who have worked with him, had I known Miller’s work slightly more, I might be interested in this. But since I’m not familiar with him, this documentary definitely misses its mark.


  • Furious 7




  • 5 To 7
  • Cut Bank


  • The Girl Is In Trouble
  • Ned Rifle
  • Woman In Gold


  • Boychoir
  • Cheatin’
  • David And Goliath
  • Effie Gray
  • The Hand That Feeds
  • Lambert & Stamp
  • Last Knights
  • Manos Sucias
  • Super Fast!
  • That Guy Dick Miller


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