Friday, June 4, 2021

Caveat (2021)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Caveat (2021)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: HyneSight Films, Shudder
Director: Damian Mc Carthy
Writer:  Damian McCarthy
Actors: Ben Caplan, Conor Dwane, Jonathan French, Leila Sykes
Blurb from IMDb: A lone drifter suffering from partial memory loss accepts a job to look after a psychologically troubled woman in an abandoned house on an isolated island.

Selina’s Point of View:
Caveat started, and ended, especially strong.
A girl wielding a strange bunny toy and wandering some house felt silly, but it was surprisingly tense. I could almost hear my heart beating. The conclusion took an interesting turn and left things a little open – it wound up leaving me relatively fulfilled.
The rest of Caveat was kind of hit-or-miss
The set-up is a little ridiculous.
Isaac, played spectacularly by Jonathan French (Coranna, The Anniversary, Bravado), is talked into his ‘leash’ very quickly. He doesn’t seem to ask enough questions. The guy who hired him just relies on guilt to get him into the lock, and there you have it. I don’t know about that. I would have MANY more questions than the main character asked – and I would still be unlikely to agree.
It just didn’t feel believable, and that hurt my immersion.

In fact, the majority of the decisions made by the protagonist were just awful. He left no stupid decisions for anyone else, he used them all. It bordered on parody, maybe? Not the funny kind, either.
There were also some heavy exposition scenes that were painful to sit through. They were just boring. I felt like a few of them could have been cut.
Despite that, a lot of the scares were effective – if a little predictable.
I mean, one of the scenes reminded me of Parasite (2019). If you’re going to be inspired by a film for your horror moments, that’s not exactly the worst one to refer to.
For a full-length feature film debut, I think writer/director Damian Mc Carthy (Never Ever Open It, Hatch, Hungry Hickory) showed a lot of promise. I think this won’t be the best film he creates in his career – but it’s a good start.
I didn’t hate Caveat. It’s not the kind of thing I could sit through again, personally – but I might refer it to someone here or there.

Cat’s Point of View:
If I had to summarize Caveat with two words, they would be: dark and unsettling.
Frankly, I haven’t been quite so unnerved by a movie in quite a while, so I’d have to say that Caveat was wildly successful as a minimalist horror film. The setting was eerie, and even the shadows were utilized well. This movie featured the creepiest toy I’ve seen employed in a flick in quite a while. I think I might just have nightmares about that thing.
Caveat makes you feel every bit of its nearly hour and a half runtime – and yet, the time spent is on the edge of your seat rather than watching a clock to see when it’s over. It was odd, and confusing, at moments but it was hard to look away.
Of course, I was squinting to discern what was going on sometimes because dark can be used to describe the tone, but also refers to the literal nature of the film. Flashlights and their narrow beam of light are almost a whole character unto themselves here. The light was more than just a way to watch where the characters were going, but also unveiled some of the horrors that dwelled in the dark.

At first, I thought I had Caveat pegged for a typical haunted house tale when a few familiar tropes played out, but then everything turned on its ear a bit.
There was a psychological aspect that I didn’t quite expect from the description of the film, and it certainly helped elevate the story. 

Speaking of such: what the hell, man? The whole premise of this movie would have been a giant nope for me if I were in the poor schmuck’s shoes.
I can’t say that I’ll be watching Caveat again in the future, but Shudder has a winner with this movie and I’d highly recommend anyone with a subscription to give it a go. Just…maybe not if you’re seriously claustrophobic.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 85%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 60/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.6/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Saint Maud (2019)


Streaming Services: Amazon Prime, Hulu
Movie Name/Year: Saint Maud (2019)
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Length:  84 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Escape Plan Productions, Film4, BFI Film Fund, A24, Diaphana Films, Elevation Pictures, M2 Films, StudioCanal UK, Epix, Sony Pictures España, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, Stage 6 Films
Director: Rose Glass
Writer: Rose Glass
Actors:  Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Frazer, Carl Prekopp, Faith Edwards, Jel Djelal, Lily Knight, Marcus Hutton, Noa Bodner, Rosie Sansom, Takatsuna Mukai, Turlough Convery
Blurb from IMDb:  Follows a pious nurse who becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.

Cat’s Point of View:
Saint Maud is one of the many unfortunate films that experienced several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It had registered as lucky #13 on my Top 20 Movies to Look Out For in July 2020 list, though didn’t see wide release until February 2021.
Some poor reviews of Saint Maud seem to stem from misunderstandings regarding the nature of the plot leading to disappointment. The trailer gave a slightly different impression to some, apparently. I can’t say that I understand that backlash because this movie delivered pretty much what I was expecting in the wake of the trailer. The only thing I seemed to have misunderstood was the fact that Maud was a nurse and not a nun. I suppose I confused British nursing garb for a nun’s habit. It’s neither here nor there – it ultimately didn’t change my opinion of the film.
I can see how it would be easy to confuse other aspects, though. After my initial watch-through of the trailer, I also believed that stigmata might also be involved with this movie. Apparently, my inference was somewhere off in left field so I don’t feel I’m spoiling anything by clarifying that is not the case.

Honestly, the only thing I was confused about regarding Saint Maud was the setting. We often see references to Coney Island, as Maud passes by this one brightly lit place that might be an arcade on several occasions. The name is there on a giant sign. It’s apparent, however, by everyone’s accents in the film that this takes place in Britain somewhere. So my only disconnect was the jarring notion of thinking ‘wait, isn’t that in New York?’ I digress…
Some serious kudos go out to Rose Glass (Storm House, The Silken Strand, A Moment of Horror) for her film writing and directorial debut. She had several shorts under her belt prior to Saint Maud, and she certainly made a big leap bringing us this particular movie as her first full-length feature. Some of the unnecessarily lengthy filler might be attributed to her freshman offering, but otherwise, it was a sound – and profound beginning to a promising next step in her career. I’m interested in seeing where she goes from here.

The cast was phenomenal. Jennifer Ehle (The Fundamentals of Caring, Vox Lux, The Professor and the Madman) captured the essence of a former starlet fading in the grip of cancer, consumed by her vices and drinking in as much life as possible before the final curtain. Morfydd Clark (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Crawl, The Personal History of David Copperfield) was eerie in her portrayal of Maud. She gave me chills with her feverish performance that had to be physically demanding, even though this was far from an action movie. She brought the zealotry of her character to blazing life.
In the end, I still have so many questions. Saint Maud plays out on a psychological level more than anything. Are we really witnessing a religious experience and a dance with the supernatural or divine? Is this all taking place in Maud’s head? Did her psychological trauma manifest her beliefs? I loved how the ending played to both scenarios and left me wondering as I watched with my jaw dropped.
My best suggestion is to try and watch this film without any preconceived notions – maybe just toss the trailer right out of your mind. It’s solid, if feeling a little lengthy, and something interesting and new for fans of psychological horror.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 93%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 66%
Metascore – 83%
Metacritic User Score – 6.8/10
IMDB Score – 6.7/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 3.5/5
Movie Trailer:

Monday, May 31, 2021

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In June (2021)

According to: Selina

20 – The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 (6/11)
Production/Distribution: Hidden Empire Film Group, Naptown Productions, Lionsgate
Director: Deon Taylor
Writer: Corey Harrell, Deon Taylor
Actors: Mike Epps, Katt Williams, Bresha Webb, Zulay Henao, Lil Duval, Michael Blackson, Danny Trejo, Rick Ross, Alex Henderson, Andrew Bachelor, Gary Owen, Snoop Dogg, Tyrin Turner, Milan Taylor, Johann Sebastian
Genre: Action, Comedy, Horror
Rated: R
Length: 80 minutes
IMDb Blurb: When best selling author Carl Black moves his family back to his childhood home, he must team up with oddball neighbors to do battle with a pimp, who may or may not be an actual vampire.
I remember watching the first Meet the Blacks (2016). I even associate amusement with it. That said, I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about it. There is not a single scene that I can pull up in my memory.
Looking back through the blog, It seems I did give it a decent score, though. I trust past-me. If I gave it a good score, that means it’s likely a decent parody film. I can’t put the sequel any higher than this, because I can’t imagine any parody film being something I would drop money on to see in theaters.
Still, once it makes its way to streaming services, I will be all over it.
19 – Spare Parts (6/1)

Production/Distribution: 9 Light Entertainment, Raven Banner Entertainment
Director: Andrew Thomas Hunt
Writer: David Murdoch, Svet Rouskov
Actors: Julian Richings, Michelle Argyris, Emily Alatalo, Kiriana Stanton, Chelsea Muirhead, Ryan Allen, Jason Rouse, Kathryn Kohut
Genre: Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 91 minutes
IMDb Blurb: While travelling on their first American tour, Ms. 45, an all-girl punk band, is drugged and kidnapped. They awaken to find their limbs removed and replaced with crude weaponry, and are forced to fight as Gladiators for a sadistic town.
Spare Parts looks ridiculous, gory, and grimy. Everything you’d expect from a grindhouse flick.
I love that kind of thing, but it won’t be for everyone. Having released in various festivals and countries before now, it’s easy to see by the reviews that a lot of critics immediately disliked it. Since they were probably judging it as a real horror film – I can understand.
That’s not what this seems like, though.
Spare Parts looks like it’s supposed to be more of a gratuitously fun flick than one that means much of anything. A B-horror that is about pulse-pounding fights and gore – not so much plot.
That’s not what most critics are looking for in the few horror films they opt to acknowledge as worthwhile.
I’m definitely going to be giving this film a chance when I get my hands on it.
18 – The Unhealer (6/8)

Production/Distribution: Horror Business Films, Sunset Pictures, 7 Ideas, Gama Entertainment Partners, Scream Factory
Director: Martin Guigui
Writer: J. Shawn Harris, Kevin E. Moore
Actors: Natasha Henstridge, Chris Browning, Lance Henriksen, Adam Beach, Gavin Casalegno, Branscombe Richmond, Kayla Carlson, Angeline Appel, Elijah Nelson, Cristi Harris, Will Ropp, Corbin Timbrook, David Gridley, Mike Gray
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 94 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A botched faith healing bestows supernatural Shaman powers on a bullied teenager. When his lifelong tormentors pull a prank that kills someone he loves, he uses his powers for revenge and goes on a bloody rampage to settle the score.
The Unhealer is a stupid title for a movie. I get why it’s used for this flick, but it’s still dumb. That said, it looks interesting.
As far as the trailer shows, the plot goes into some serious morality ideas where revenge is concerned. It incorporates sudden mystical powers into the story to add a bit of spice. There’s no immediate idea of what the end will bring. Does the kid lose his powers? Does he die? Is it all a dream? There are a lot of possibilities.
I am worried that it’s going to suffer from bad title syndrome. People tend to judge a flick by the name, and if it feels like a bad name, it doesn’t draw crowds. We’ll see what happens.
17 – Domino: Battle of the Bones (6/11)

Production/Distribution: Dow Jazz Films, Her Pictures, No Label Productions, Slated, TriCoast Worldwide
Director: Baron Davis, Steven V. Vasquez Jr., Carl Reid
Writer: Pamela Azmi-Andrew, Baron Davis, Carl Reid
Actors: David Arquette, Tom Lister Jr., Snoop Dogg, Tasie Lawrence, Lou Beatty Jr., Carlito Olivero, Megan Sousa, Ruben Garfias, Baron Davis, Anthony McKinley, Carson Nicely, Kelly V. Dolan, Melanie Mosley, Andrew Lipson, Jackie Torres, Britt Ellis
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 110 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Domino: Battle of the Bones is a feel-good comedy about an elderly black man who teams up with his awkward, white step-grandson to defeat his rival in a domino tournament.
Much like my #19 and #20 picks, this movie doesn’t necessarily look like it would stand up to some of the more mainstream stuff coming out. What it does look like, is a lot of fun.
Although I absolutely love, and understand the need for, serious films that delve into important topics; or films that explore thrills and mystery; serious movies in general – I still think there’s more than enough room in the cinematic landscape for flicks that solely exist to offer a whole lot of fun.
Life is hard. We all battle demons every day. There’s racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-vaxxers, and just plain-old-assholes littered throughout the world. Some of us have family that don’t know we exist; others marry into family that wish we didn’t. Some of us are struggling through school or dealing with going into a job that abuses us daily. Then there’s all manner of disasters and sickness.
It’s important to be able to shut our brains completely off and just laugh for a little while. Domino: Battle of the Bones is exactly what we need. It’s full of ridiculous scenarios, jokes, and Snoop Dogg (F Is for Family, Utopia Falls, Dolemite Is My Name). Whether you know him from his current side quests, or the main story-line he’s already completed – Snoop Dogg is always a good addition to a project.
I honestly believe that, even if Domino: Battle of the Bones winds up not being a good movie, it would still be something worth watching – if only for that ability to shut our brains off for an hour and a half.
16 – Batman: The Long Halloween, Part 1 (6/22)

Production/Distribution: DC Comics, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Director: Chris Palmer
Writer: Jeph Loeb, Tim Sheridan
Actors: Josh Duhamel, Jack Quaid, Jensen Ackles, Alyssa Diaz, Titus Welliver, Billy Burke, David Datmalchian, Troy Baker, Fred Tatasciore, Amy Landecker, Naya Rivera, Julie Nathanson, Jim Pirri, Alatair Duncan
Genre: Animation, Crime, Action
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: Batman investigates a murder spree that takes place on holidays.
Although I will always be more of a Marvel fan, there is absolutely no denying that DC knows how to animate. When comparing Marvel and DC on an animated platform, DC is almost objectively better. If they could translate their animated success into their live-action works – they would be unstoppable.
That said, I don’t feel like I can put this one any higher.
I get nervous when a superhero film includes too many people from the rogue’s gallery in question. More often than not, it indicates a lack of focus in the plot that can make the project feel muddled. Just in the trailer alone we can see Harvey Dent, Catwoman, Joker, Calendar Man, and Solomon Grundy. That’s not including the Falcone family. Then we have to remember that this is only part 1. The second part could include more antagonists – which may wind up being foreshadowed in this one.
There will rarely be a time that I don’t include a DC animated film on my Top 20, when applicable. I will, however, worry when there’s this much of a possibility that the story is just trying to do too much at once.
15 – The Ice Road (6/25)

Production/Distribution: Code Entertainment, ShivHans Pictures, Envision Media Arts, Aperture Media Partners, Manitoba Film & Music, Ice Road Productions, Solution Entertainment Group, Netflix, Film & TV House, GEM Entertainment, California Films S.A., Empire Entertainment, Forum, GAGA, Metropolitan Filmexport, Pioneer, Rialto Distribution, Scanbox Entertainment, Shaw Organisation, Signature Entertainment, Tanweer Films, Wild Bunch, Eagle Films, Joy n Cinema, VVS Films
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh
Actors: Liam Neeson, Holt McCallany, Amber Midthunder, Laurence Fishburne, Matt McCoy, Matt Salinger, Martin Sensmeier, Lauren Cochrane, Paul Esseimbre, Marcus Thomas
Genre: Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 103 minutes
IMDb Blurb: After a remote diamond mine collapses in the far northern regions of Canada, an ice driver leads an impossible rescue mission over a frozen ocean to save the lives of trapped miners despite thawing waters and a threat they never see coming.
Liam Neeson (The Grey, The Marksman, Honest Thief) seems to crank out one of these films a month. A lot of them seem to be just for the paycheck these days. Still, it’s almost impossible to not be drawn to them, as an action fan. A lot of what he’s in these days tends to be basic, but not necessarily bad.
This looks cool. Is it going to be the kind of film that makes you think and changes your perspective? Hell no. It’s going to be a basic action thriller that has some cool scenes and a predictable ending.
And it’s still going to be fun to watch.
Not every film has to be a masterpiece. Sometimes it’s just about fun. That’s what this will probably be.
14 – The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (6/4)

Production/Distribution: New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster, The Safran Company, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore, Warner Bros., HBO Max
Director: Michael Chaves
Writer: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, James Wan (Story only)
Actors: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, John Noble, Eugenie Bondurant, Shannon Kook, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Keith Arthur Bolden, Steve Coulter, Vince Pisani, Ingrid Bisu, Andrea Andrade, Ashley LeConte Campbell, Sterling Jerins, Paul Wilson
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 112 minutes
IMDb Blurb: The Warrens investigate a murder that may be linked to a demonic possession.
I’m not a huge fan of The Conjuring (2013) or it’s sequels. I was never overly drawn to them. I get put off by the claims of it being based on a ‘true story.’ I’m just not a believer. Without that claim, I might be more interested.
That said, I can’t deny the draw that other people have to this series, especially if they believe in the supernatural aspects shown within.
Even I have to admit, some of the scenes depicted in this trailer look pretty cool.
13 – False Positive (6/25)

Production/Distribution: A24, Hulu
Director: John Lee
Writer: Ilana Glazer, John Lee
Actors: Justin Theroux, Pierce Brosnan, Sophia Bush, Sullivan Jones, Gretchen Mol, Ilana Glazer, Josh Hamilton, Lucy Walters, Sabina Gadecki, Kelly AuCoin, Taylor Ortega, Francesca Faridany, S.J. Son
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 92 minutes
IMDb Blurb: As if getting pregnant weren't complicated enough, Lucy sets out to uncover the unsettling truth about her fertility doctor.
When Cat and I streamed the trailers for the films coming out in June, this one hadn’t appeared yet. It was no big deal, that happens a lot. Plenty of trailers won’t come out until the last week of the month. When something did appear, it was a teaser.
Even that tiny peek at False Positive immediately drew my interest.
I’ve wanted to see more of Ilana Glazer (Rough Night, BoJack Horseman, Green Eggs and Ham). I forced myself to sit through Broad City (2014-2019) – which is a show I didn’t really enjoy, but I did see why others would and, more importantly, I saw a lot of good in the lead actors. I did believe I’d be interested in seeing them perform in something that was more up my alley.
Here is this mind bending, interesting horror that not only features Glazer, but is written by her. This is what I’ve been waiting for.
It looks great.
Although Shudder is my first choice for original horror streaming content, Hulu doesn’t do too badly with it. I’ve been following their Into the Dark (2018- ) movie series. It can be hit or miss, but when it hits – it hits hard.
I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with False Positive.
12 – Queen Bees (6/11)

Production/Distribution: Astute Films, Big Indie Pictures, Gravitas Ventures
Director: Michael Lembeck
Writer: Donald Martin, Harrison Powell
Actors: Ellen Burstyn, James Caan, Ann-Margret, Jane Curtin, Loretta Devine, Christopher Lloyd, Elizabeth Mitchell, Matthew Barnes, French Stewart, Alec Mapa, Marianne Muellerleile, Cindy Hogan, Ricky Russert, Matt Lewis
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Length: 100 minutes
IMDb Blurb: After reluctantly agreeing to move in to a senior's home, a woman encounters a clique of mean-spirited women and an amorous widower.
I’ve noticed a lot more movies geared toward the older generation coming out in the past few years. A lot of them look cute, but they don’t usually speak to me – which is fine, because I’m not their target demographic. This one is a little different.
Not only does this flick bring a YA trope into a geriatric story, which is pretty interesting, but it also serves as a who’s who of the older Hollywood generation.
I remember the first time I was introduced to most of the actors portrayed in this trailer, and every one of those projects became a favorite of mine – for at least a while. Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream, The Exorcist, The Babysitter’s Club), James Caan (The Godfather, Misery, Dick Tracy), Ann-Margret (Bye Bye Birdie, Grumpy Old Men, Made in Paris), Jane Curtin (3rd Rock from the Sun, Coneheads, Antz), Loretta Devine (Boston Public, Urban Legend, Waiting to Exhale), and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Camp Nowhere) were huge actors that I grew up with. I’d say they raised me almost as much as my family did.
Whatever happens with the plot, the direction, the setting, or anything else in Queen Bees – it’s going to be worth watching for the cast alone.
11 – Werewolves Within (6/25)

Production/Distribution: Ubisoft Film and Television, Ubisoft, Vanishing Angle, IFC Films, Shaw Organisation, BIM Distribuzione, Diamond Films, Kismet Films, Odean S.A., Shaw Renters, Signature Entertainment, Telepool
Director: Josh Ruben
Writer: Mishna Wolff
Actors: Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns, Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtin, Wayne Duvall, Harvey Guillén, Rebecca Henderson, Cheyenne Jackson, Michaela Watkins, Glenn Fleshler, Anni Krueger
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rated: R
Length: 97 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Feature adaptation of the video game where werewolves attack a small town.
How long have I been begging for a good, old-fashioned, werewolf flick? No love-triangles. No metaphor for abuse or fear. Just people turning into werewolves and causing chaos. That’s what this looks like.
It would be much higher on my list, but there’s one issue.
It is said to be an adaptation of a video game. I don’t know the game in question – but we all know how video games are treated in Hollywood. Most of these particular adaptations come up lacking. We might be better off not knowing the game before seeing the flick, just for that reason.
Still, it’s werewolves, and I’m excited.

10 – Luca (6/18)
Production/Distribution: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, Forum Hungary, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Argentina, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Director: Enrico Casarosa
Writer: Jesse Andrews, Mike Jones
Actors: Jacob Tremblay, Maya Ruldolph, Giacomo Gianniotti, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jim Gaffigan, Emma Berman, Deyvi Stib Rodriguez, Marco Barricelli, Saverio Raimondo
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: Unknown
IMDb Blurb: On the Italian Riviera, an unlikely but strong friendship grows between a human being and a sea monster disguised as a human.
I’m not a fan of this particular brand of animation style, but it’s still Pixar. There’s no way a Pixar film doesn’t make its way onto every Top 20 list. It doesn’t matter how I feel about the trailer, they’re clearly going to make the actual film unignorable.
For that reason alone, I’m looking forward to it.
9 – Spirit Untamed (6/4)

Production/Distribution: DreamWorks Animation, Walden Media, B&H Film Distribution, Cinemundo, Toho-Towa, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI), Universal Pictures
Director: Elaine Bogan, Ennio Torresan
Writer: John Fusco, Kristin Hahn, Katherine Nolfi, Aury Wallington
Actors: Isabela Merced, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marsai Martin, Mckenna Grace, Julianne Moore, Walton Goggins, Eiza González, Andre Braugher, Gary A. Hecker
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family
Rated: PG
Length: 87 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Lucky Prescott's life is changed forever when she moves from her home in the city to a small frontier town and befriends a wild mustang named Spirit.
I’m unfamiliar with the series this film is based on, but I may go look it up after seeing the trailer.
It looks like a great story for kids, with visuals and plot points that might actually hook an adult as well. I’m always for flicks like this that can draw people from various generations – simply because it makes family movie night better.
I really like the animation style on display, and I love it when art promotes the idea that it’s ok for a kid to become something their parent didn’t imagine. I want my daughter to have that kind wild spirit, and to be able to call me out when I’m wrong. Movies like this reinforce that behavior. I’m here for it.
8 – Flashback (6/4)

Production/Distribution: Resolute Films and Entertainment, Trinity Media Financing, Entertainment One, Front Row Filmed Entertainment, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Originals Factory
Director: Christopher MacBride
Writer: Christopher MacBride
Actors: Dylan O’Brien, Maika Monroe, Amanda Brugel, Hannah Gross, Keir Gilchrist, Emory Cohen, Sima Fisher, Josh Cruddas, Aaron Poole, Liisa Repo-Martell, Ian Matthew, Jackie English
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 97 minutes
IMDb Blurb: After a chance encounter with a man forgotten from his youth, Fred literally and metaphorically journeys into his past.
The trailer for Flashback reminds me a bit of Synchronic (2019). The fast paced, (possible) time travel – the association with a strange new drug that causes it… it’s a very close comparison.
There are some differences that I believe make Flashback worth checking out, instead of assuming it would just be a carbon copy.
Synchronic put its emphasis on the dramatic, and science fiction, aspects of the story. It looks like Flashback comes more from the thriller perspective. I think it would be interesting to watch and compare the two.
I do, also, appreciate Dylan O’Brien (Love and Monsters, Bumblebee, Teen Wolf) as an actor.
I think, at the very least, this should be a decent movie night film.
7 – Hero Mode (6/4)

Production/Distribution: Lost Trail Productions, Real by Fake, Particular Crowd, Peak Curiosity, 101 Films, Blue Fox Entertainment
Director: A.J. Tesler
Writer: Jeff Carpenter
Actors: Mira Sorvino, Chris Carpenter, Sean Astin, Indiana Massara, Philip Solomon, Nelson Franklin, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kimia Behpoornia, Bobby Lee, Creed Bratton, Bret Harrison, Erik Griffin, Monte Markham
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: 88 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A teenage coding genius has just 30 days to create the world's greatest video game or his family loses everything. No pressure.
Video games are one of my biggest hobbies. I’ve been streaming some Don’t Starve Together with Cat, and some other friends, and it’s been a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Naturally, my mind is going to be attracted to this kind of video game creation story.
I also like movies that show how good teens can be at their interests. More often than not, in the real world, teens are blown off. They aren’t given a chance, or people just expect them to fuck up. Flicks like this remind the whole world, that there are some kids out there than can do phenomenal things.
I feel like I know how this is going to go. The ending probably won’t be a shocker, but the ride looks interesting.
6 – Good on Paper (6/23)

Production/Distribution: Burn Later Productions, Meridian Content, Universal Pictures, Netflix
Director: Kimmy Gatewood
Writer: Iliza Shlesinger
Actors: Iliza Shlesinger, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Ryan Hansen, Matt McGorry, Beth Dover, Margaret Cho, Taylor Hill, Britney Young, Kimia Behpoornia, Rebekka Johnson, Nick Waters, Rebecca Delgado Smith
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rated: R
Length: 92 minutes
IMDb Blurb: After years of putting her career first, a stand-up comic meets a guy who seems perfect: smart, nice, successful and possibly too good to be true.
I enjoy Iliza Shlesinger’s work as a comedian. She’s incredibly funny. When I saw that this was a movie based on a true story from her life – I was instantly intrigued.
This is the kind of thing stand-up comedians do extremely well. Most of the best comedians take stories from their own lives and present them in unique ways that make them funny. Shlesinger is incredible with that that kind of thing.
The trailer highlights how amusing the story is, but it also indicates a bit of mystery – which I did not expect when I heard about it. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
5 – The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (6/16)

Production/Distribution: Millennium Media, Summit Entertainment, Above the Line Set Assistance & Security, Campbell Grobman Films, Lionsgate, Lionsgate UK, Film & TV House, GEM Entertainment, BF Distribution, Dutch FilmWorks (DFW), Joyncontents Group, Kinepolis Film Distribution (KFD), Kinomania, Paramount Pictures, Roadshow Film Distributors (NZ) Ltd., Roadshow Films, Telepool, Top Film, VVS Films, Blue Swan Entertainment
Director: Patrick Hughes
Writer: Tom O’Connor, Brandon Murphy, Phillip Murphy
Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Antonio Banderas, Tom Hopper, Richard E. Grant, Caroline Goodall, Gabriella Wright
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Rated: Unrated
Length: 116 minutes
IMDb Blurb: The bodyguard Michael Bryce continues his friendship with assassin Darius Kincaid as they try to save Darius's wife Sonia.
I absolutely adored The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017). There was a lot more action than comedy, which blew my mind, because I did not see that coming. All the actors brought life to their parts and, of course, I’d follow Ryan Reynolds (Detective Pikachu, 6 Underground, Deadpool) and Samuel L. Jackson (The Banker, Shaft, Spiral) anywhere. I don’t care what the movie’s about – if they’re in it, I’m watching. Here, I get both.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the continuation of this story. I think that the way the plot was written made it more unique than expected in the first, I’m hoping this one uses that same subversion of expectations.
Even if it doesn’t, it’s sure to be hilarious.
4 – Fatherhood (6/25)

Production/Distribution: BRON Studios, Free Association, Higher Ground Productions, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Temple Hill Entertainment, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Sony Pictures Releasing Argentina, Sony Pictures Releasing, United International Pictures (UIP), Universal Pictures International (UPI), Netflix
Director: Paul Weitz
Writer: Dana Stevens, Paul Weitz, Matt Logelin
Actors: Kevin Hart, Paul Alexander Désiré, Rodney Alexandre, Christine Lan, Julian Casey, Teneisha Collins, Holly Gauthier-Frankel, DeWanda Wise, Rachel Mutombo, Lil Rel Howery, Marco Ledezma, Achilles Montes-Vamvas, Paul Reiser, Milana Sayavong, Julie Trépanier, Melody Hurd, Alfre Woodard
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 109 minutes
IMDb Blurb: A father brings up his baby girl as a single dad after the unexpected death of his wife who died a day after their daughter's birth.
This sounds a bit like Jersey Girl (2004). I don’t mind that, though, because I’m going to guess it’ll do the plot more justice. I’m a huge Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma) fan… but I’m gonna guess that Kevin Hart (Jumanji, Night School, The Upside) will win this one.
Kevin Hart is a phenomenal comedian, and he’s got some amazing timing when he brings that talent into acting. The fast-paced speaking combined with his legendary wit, is something I enjoy watching. I especially enjoy that kind of thing when it’s interwoven with drama.
As a single-genre, drama doesn’t do it for me. But with comedy, it’s a different story. Comedy just feels like the spoon-full of sugar that helps the medicine go down. Dramedies still work as escapism, despite touching on heavy subjects. I think that’s where this movie is going to go.
I expect some heavy scenes. There will be tears, but there will be just as much laughter.
3 – F9: The Fast Saga (6/25)

Production/Distribution: One Race Films, Roth/Kirschenbaum Films, Perfect Storm Entertainment, Original Film, B&H Film Distribution, Meloman, Toho-Towa, United International Pictures, Universal Pictures Argentina, Universal Pictures Canada, Universal Pictures International (UPI), Universal Pictures
Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Daniel Casey, Justin Lin, Alfredo Botello, Gary Scott Thompson
Actors: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron, John Cena, Finn Cole, Sung Kang, Anna Sawai, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, Lucas Black, Shad Moss, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Don Omar, Shea Whigham, Vinnie Bennett, JD Pardo, Michael Rooker, Jim Parrack, Siena Agudong, Isaac Holtane, Immanuel Holtane, Azia Dinea Hale, Juju Zhang, Karson Kern, Igby Rigney
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
Rated: PG-13
Length: 145 minutes
IMDb Blurb: Cipher enlists the help of Jakob, Dom's younger brother to take revenge on Dom and his team.
I don’t follow the Fast and the Furious films. I saw the first one, and I liked it, but it feels like they get more and more ridiculous. In this trailer, you actually see a car tarzan-ing from one cliff to another.
Like… what?
I can’t deny the draw, though. I don’t think it’s supposed to be rooted in reality. It’s just some hardcore action and pretty cars. People love it, because it’s not rooted in reality. I can absolutely appreciate that. Which is why I put it so high on my list. I may not go see it, but there is still a lot of worth here for others.
2 – Awake (6/9)

Production/Distribution: Entertainment One, Netflix, Paul Schiff Productions
Director: Mark Raso
Writer: Gregory Poirier, Joseph Raso, Mark Raso
Actors: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Frances Fisher, Ariana Greenblatt, Barry Pepper, Finn Jones, Gil Bellows, Shamier Anderson, Sebastian Pigott, Helen Hayden
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 96 minutes
IMDb Blurb: After a devastating global event wipes out all electronics and eliminated people's ability to sleep, a former soldier may have found a solution with her daughter.
Dystopias and apocalyptic worlds are my bread and butter. I absolutely love them, but I will admit there seems to be a lack of creativity when it comes to the catalyst of such worlds. There’s just a limit to the list of reasons for the setting to be in that situation.
Awake goes for something I’ve never seen before.
One could argue that there’s a comparison to be made between Awake and the plot found in Children of Men (2006).
We’re clearly going to see the main family having to hide the child’s ability to sleep. The world will also be full of people trying to kill her out of jealousy or delusion, while others find out her ability and treat her as a precious commodity. The plot itself, has been seen before – but the actual reason for the apocalyptic aspect feels new.
As a Netflix original, the creators of this film likely had more freedom to stick as close to their vision as possible. That’s why we see such a range of good to bad in movies distributed by them. A lot of their apocalyptic stuff tends to be on the better side, though.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Awake did with its creative freedom.
1 – In the Heights (6/11)

Production/Distribution: 5000 Broadway Productions, Likely Story, Scott Sanders Productions, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Singapore, Warner Bros., HBO Max
Director: Jon M. Chu
Writer: Quiara Alegria Hudes, Lin-Manuel Miranda
Actors: Stephanie Beatriz, Anthony Ramos, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ariana Greenblatt, Daymien Valentino, Melissa Barrera, Jimmy Smits, Chris Jackson, Corey Hawkins, Dascha Polanco, Leslie Grace, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Marc Anthony, Olga Merediz, Susan Pourfar, Gregory Diaz IV
Genre: Drama, Music, Musical
Rated: PG-13
Length: 143 minutes
IMDb Blurb: The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop. The likeable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life.
I have been waiting for In the Heights for over a year. I saw the trailer during the coming attractions of one of the last flicks I saw in theaters. It immediately hooked me.
I’m a HUGE fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda (Moana, Clayton’s Friends, Vivo). Hamilton (2020) is one of my favorite pieces of art every created. I have the entire soundtrack memorized – from the words, to the inflections, to the pauses.
Here we have another project that seems to adopt the feel of Hamilton (2020). The trailer very clearly showcases a story-telling soundtrack that is, at the very least, on par with it. On top of that, Anthony Ramos (She’s Gotta Have It, Honest Thief, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) is going to be playing the main character. In the aforementioned work he played John Laurens and Philip Hamilton – both extremely well done.
The story also speaks to me on a deeper level. I grew up in Brooklyn, no more than 15 minutes away from Brooklyn Heights. When I moved, it was not because my love for the borough had ceased, but because there’s no way I could afford anything more than a one bedroom in the area.
My heart will always belong to Brooklyn, and seeing a film like this celebrate the borough and its people – without glorifying the gentrifying hipsters that took over – is amazing.
I have such incredibly high hopes for this movie that I intend to go to whatever midnight showing I can obtain tickets to.
Then I’ll probably see it a few more times in theaters. I can’t imagine it being anything but spectacular.
Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat
Werewolves Within .20
Dancing Queen .19
Samaritan .18
False Positive .17
Flashback .16
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It .15
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part 1 .14
Fatherhood .13
Edge of the World .12
Luca .11
Wish Dragon .10
The Ice Road .9
Hero Mode .8
Queen Bees .7
Spirit: Untamed .6
Awake .5
Occupation: Rainfall .4
F9: The Fast Saga .3
In the Heights .2
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard .1
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