Category Archives: movies

Don’t Think Twice

Directed Mike Birbiglia, Don’t Think Twice follows a member of a popular New York City improv troupe catches the big break forcing the group to reevaluate their success and confront their fears in the hilariously honest movie.

This is a bittersweet movie about the behind-the-scenes look into the lives of six best friend comedians. If you have ever been with an improv group, like I have, you will find this to be one of your favorite films to watch with friends of the same persuasion. It is a funny movie about the angst of chasing aspirations.

I recommend taking a look at the behind the scenes featurettes. They add to the hilarity of the movie with a concept of what it takes to bring this whole movie to life. A movie about a six-person comedy team known as The Commune, working together for 11 years, has killed it onstage while waiting for their big break. Without warning, the team finds itself at a crossroads when one of the members becomes a solo success and the rest of the group realizes they may not make it big after all.

The featurette selection also includes Don’t Think Twice: The Art of Improv. It is a brilliant and enlightening piece about the love of improv, which is the heart of the movie. In this featurette, you will be able to explore the philosophy that inspired the world and comedy found within the movie.

My first thought, that is an entertainer’s nightmare. Success is great, but when other members are left out, it can feel like a long drop into the abyss of being no one.

The movie talented, funny and honest cast includes Keegan-Michael, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, and Tami Sagher.

 

 

 

Jackie: Official Trailer

Directed by Pablo Larraín, Jackie is another look at the Kennedy tragedy. How many times can Hollywood tell this story? Which angle of the lens are we seeing the Kennedy lineage this time? Fortunately, Natalie Portman is playing the role of Jackie Onassis Kennedy. It appears in this trailer that we will, once again, relive one of the most important and tragic moments in American history.

The movie follows First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a spiritual portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of “Camelot” that they created and loved so well.

Jackie nabbed several Independent Spirit Awards nominations for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Editing, and Best Female Lead (Portman).

Lo and Behold: Reveries of The Connected World

loandbeholdDirected by Werner Herzog, Oscar-nominated documentarian, Lo and Behold: Reveries of The Connected World chronicles the virtual world from its origins to its outermost reaches, exploring the digital landscape with the same curiosity and imagination Herzog does with all his movies.

In his other movies like Lo and Behold, Herzog set his camera on destinations as disparate as the Amazon, the Sahara, the South Pole and the Australian outback. Now, he leads us on a journey through a series of provocative conversations that reveal the ways in which the online world has transformed how virtually everything in the real world works – from business to education, space travel to healthcare, and the very heart of how society conducts our personal relationships.

Lo and Behold: Reveries of The Connected World features interviews with well-known internet pioneers and visionaries including Bob Kahn (Co-Inventor of Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol), Elon Musk (Founder and CEO of SpaceX) and Kevin Mitnick (Hacker, Author and Computer Security Consultant).

The movie holds a tremendous amount of intellect and honesty. Herzog’s calculation about the future of the Internet is eye-opening if not kind of daunting. The Internet is only 25 years old with nothing ever like it before in human history. Society has become very dependent on our technological advances. As a result, society would be lost without it.  If a lasting interruption happened today, saying chaos would ensue is being gentle. Most people would not be able to survive. Then, there would be those that do survive, but not on the strata they do now. The movie says billions would succumb, which is scary to imagine – life without the Internet and other technologies.

All in all, the movie’s message is something society needs to know. But, the flow of the movie is a bit disjointed with the pros and cons of the internet being presented in a way that lacked uniformity. I got lost a few times where is seemed like Herzog threw out ideas that were unrelated but important.

The Hunger Games 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack

3d_rgb_hungergames4kultraocrd Lionsgate released the epic singularity franchise, The Hunger Games series on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, which includes both Blu-ray and Digital HD. All in all, it is an amazing product for such a gripping story.

As most remember, Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, who took the world by storm with a four-film cumulative worldwide box office of 3 billion cash flow.

Fans can see the movies with four times the resolution of Full HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) that delivers the brightest, most vivid and realistic color and greatest contrast from 4K Ultra HD.  However, similar to other 4K movies I have reviewed, the whole movie’s vivid, realistic color and contrast are not consistent. I find in the hand-held camera scenes of these 4K movies, the technical potential is limited, if not a bit shaky.

Don’t get me wrong. Checking out Lionsgate’s catalog 4K titles, I am impressed with the products so far. It makes watching movies at home so much better with the Dolby Atmos track sounds, which are incredible because it utilizes every speaker.

Now the quality of the look is a bit unforgiving because the effect is over the top.  Noticeably, in the first half of The Hunger Games. The colors are saturated and nearly grainy.  Watching the scene when the District 12 team is eating before the games is a good example where the colors, black levels, and overall clarity are below standards for the quality hype.

Disappointingly, just about every scene at The Capital looked saturated. When the movie arrives at the Games, I was impressed and in awe over the rich details of the overall setting in the forest and the way everything looked pristine.  It made watching the 4K version worth it.

One thing that didn’t help the 4K, as mentioned earlier, was the shaky-cam style.  In the first mad dash for supplies in the games, the camera was all over the place and the 4K clearness was like a second thought to the scene.  Even though about half the movies technical quality didn’t appear any better, if slightly worse, the other half of the movie is a pristine, vibrant upgrade and fun to watch.

The 4K version special features offer extras, which includes a commentary with Stephen Mirrione, Sheena Duggal, and Lon Bender. Even though they are not the stars or director, their passion for the movie come through, creating a worthwhile commentary.

3d_rgb_hgcatchingfire4kultraocrdDirected by Francis Lawrence, Catching Fire 4K

Ultra HD had the same technical issues I mentioned in The Hunger Games 4K Ultra HD.  The scenes in the training room and outside are clear and pristine like a gemstone. The crystal clear and the 4K upgrade really stands out.  Yet, the scenes in The Capitol, mostly most CGI, are saturated and almost blurry at times.  I noticed there is a bit more of an upgrade compared to The Hunger Games. I am curious as to why that is so.

The audio sounds perfect like the first film. The Dolby Atmos track is a wonderful upgrade and sounds faultless.

The 4K Ultra comes without exclusive features, but the package includes a copy of the Blu-ray.

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Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party Giveaway

hillarysamerHillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party takes a rich peek into America’s future as Dinesh D’Souza, a leading voice in the conservative movement, uncovers the truth of what a country lead by the Democrats will look like if Hillary were President.

With an unprecedented election coming up, this detailed look at the Democrats’ agenda is practically essential viewing. D’Souza is well-known for agitating the film industry with the $33 million earned by his Obama 2016 film.

Bestselling author and influential filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza reveals the sordid truth about Hillary Clinton and the secret history of the Democratic Party. This important and controversial film was released at a critical time leading up to the 2016 Presidential campaign and challenge the state of American politics. The film is his response to relentless Democratic attacks on Republicans as racist, greedy, and their cold-hearted attitude toward minority concerns.

The movie follows D’Souza as he researches the history and methods of the Democratic party. He indicates records showing Democratic President Andrew Jackson’s expulsion of the Indians to reservations in the 1830s was opposed by Republican congressman Davy Crockett.  Other documents included northern Democrats were key players to slavery’s survival in the pre–Civil War era. The Democrats at the federal level after the war voted against civil rights for blacks. They lost that battle in congress but managed to enforce Jim Crow laws, the former practice of segregating black people in the US, particularly in the South.

There are more records and more evidence that proves the Democrats did block civil rights throughout history such as the 1964 Civil Rights act.

The Hillary’s America includes special features like extended and deleted scenes, along with extended interviews.

Movie Roar has three copies of this controversial film in DVD format to giveaway. You can post your name in the comments and consider yourself in the drawing for the winners.

Satanic

satanic_rgb-dvd-frontSatanic, directed by Jeffrey G. Hunt, the movie starts off with a group of college coeds driving in a van visiting old Satanic Panic-era sites in Los Angeles. They end up following the creepy owner of an occult store home, only to find themselves saving a suspicious girl from an apparent human sacrifice. Only this so-called victim turns out to be much more dangerous than the cult from which she escaped.

The movie is a super-low-budget horror movie with “From The Producers of The Walking Dead” on the DVD cover, which saved the movie from coming across rather boring and poorly filmed. The story doesn’t start until 40 minutes into the film with the characters about as interesting as playdough.

The movie stars Sarah Hyland (Modern Family), Steven Krueger (The Originals), Justin Chon (Twilight), Sophia Dalah (Unbroken) and Clara Mamet (The Neighbors).  Hunt has directed some TV shows like CSI and Scorpion, but he is pretty much a Steadicam operator or assistant director, which is the bulk of his experience. Remember that when you watch this movie.

The story follows four college students. Before taking a road trip to Coachella, the group checks into the Flower Hotel, the scene of Lainey Gore’s gruesome suicide in homage to Satan himself, for their own satanic tour in the City of Angels.

The thrill seekers visit the site of the infamous Manson murders and an unnerving satanic store, leading the group to mistakenly interrupt a cult’s sacrifice of a girl named Alice. Ultimately allowing her to break free, the travelers soon begin to question her innocence as she has an unsettling admiration for the spirit of Lainey Gore.

Truly, nothing much happens in the movie with the exception of a suicide and much of the horrific stuff is off-camera.  The repercussions of the horrifying elements are all that is shown. Horror movie fans will without a doubt be interested in seeing this movie until they reach end and notice how many unique ways Hyland can scream. The drawing of the pentagrams, five-star mystic and magical symbol, on the wall is really not that scary.

Sunset Song

sunsetsongSunset Song, directed by Terence Davies, follows Chris Guthrie, played steadily by Agyness Deyn, beginning with her in school, where she and her classmates are struggling in a French language class. Soon she meanders along as we get know her family, clearly, a struggle with her beloved mom, played heart-wrenchingly by Daniela Nardini, and her grumpy dad, played solidly by Peter Mullan.

Patently, her mother is not in a nurturing relationship, and her father is abusive with her and his eldest son, Will, played to the hilt by Jack Greenlees. Will longs to leave home because he is fed up with being abused and bossed around by his dad.  The movie meanders more with beautiful scenes of the Scottish land while Chris suffers through hardships. But, she is strong and gets through each poignant moment because the land she lives on never oppressions her and is always there supporting her no matter what tragedy she goes through.

Having Scottish decedents, I wanted to see this movie set in Scotland during the turn of the century and in the shadow of World War I. Sunset Song is the coming of age story of Chris as we follow her through personal hardships. Eventually, Chris is left alone to tend to the family farm and fend for herself against their abusive father, who eventually dies. Believing she finally found happiness, Chris marries Ewan, played intuitively by Kevin Guthrie, who enlists in the army to fight in The Great War, leaving Chris to tend to the family farm by herself. Ewan returns on leave and the brief reunion is not romantic but coarse and hard to bear. Yet, Chris stays strong and tends the farm after Ewan goes back to the front lines in France.

A tale of steadfast resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity. Yet, the meandering feel of the movie is the irony to the story. Such tranquility in the land but harsh injustice in society. Davies direction pulls it off well.

With cinematography by Michael McDonough, the movie looks more than just visually appealing from start to finish. McDonough captures the tone and era along with the heartache and loss of The Great War.

The movie is based on one of Scotland’s most cherished and notable novels in the last century.  A look at six years in the life of a peasant farm family before and just after the bloodshed of World War I. Life was severe, markedly for the women, who had no control over their destiny. The movie is worth seeing if you want an honest Scottish story that wanders incrementally from hardship to hardship.  The dialogue is totally Scottish, so switch on the English subtitles if it bothers you or just set back and enjoy the movie.

In-Lawfully Yours

front-artIn-Lawfully Yours, directed by Robert Kirbyson, is a Christian faith movie where the discovery of the joys of falling in love in unexpected places makes it an enchanting romantic comedy. The sweet and wholesome movie features talented, funny and seasoned actors like Chelsey Crisp, Marilu Henner, Corbin Bernsen, Phillip Boyd and Joe Williamson. The Dove Foundation has granted the film a 4 out of 5 rating and a faith-friendly seal for ages 12 and older.

The story follows Jesse, played by Crisp, who is a New York City girl. She knows how to be fun in a heartfelt way. You just like her, right way. And you feel for her when she finds out her husband Chaz, played honestly by Boyd, cheats on her and eventually divorces her. Still, Jesse stands by her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi played by Henner and graciously helps her pack up her home in small-town Bethel Cove.

This is where Crip’s acting talent shines. She plays Jesse as a big city girl with candid wit. Yet, the small town clashes with her eccentric questions about religion and offbeat behavior around the local community, including the town pastor Ben, played by Williamson. Ben also happens to be her ex-husband’s brother-in-law.

As the story unfolds, Ben and Jesse discover what they are both looking for — each other. But when they make their relationship public, Jesse’s ex-husband rallies the community against her and gets Ben fired from the church.  Jesse leaves Bethel Cove to bring peace to Ben’s situation and to hopefully find a place where she truly belongs, in spite of the fact that she can’t stop thinking about Ben.

The ending is really great and fun to watch, but I will not tell you what happens. You have to see for yourself, but it is worth watching.

Much of the filming of the movie took place on and around Regent’s Virginia Beach with nearly 80 graduate and undergraduate students working on the film. The DVD includes special behind-the-scenes features, highlighting the student filmmakers who helped bring this really fun movie to watch to the screen.

Joseph & Mary

JosephandMaryDirected Oscar winner for Best Art Direction-Set Direction (Star Wars) Roger Christian, Joseph & Mary is a compassionate, preponderate and riveting story of the all familiar Bible story. The story follows Elijah, played by Stephen McCarthy, a devout Rabbi, during a time of discontent when King Herod the Great slaughter of innocents claims the lives of two boys Elijah had sworn to protect.  Elijah makes it his life mission to avenge their deaths, but he meets Joseph, played by Kevin Sorbo, Mary, played Lara Jean Chorostecki, and Jesus, played as a young boy by Lucius Hoyos and as a young man by Joseph Mesiano.

Elijah strong desire to revenge the two boys killed by King Herod are put into question. When the time comes for him to face his true enemy, Elijah finds himself wondering if to kill or forgive. Hence, this is a Christian Faith movie that has received the “Faith-Based Seal” by The Dove Foundation.

Elijah is one of the several stories in the movie about meeting Jesus but is the main story line. The acting is very well done and artfully depicts the biblical parents of Jesus as their newborn son helps them inspire faith in unlikely places. The scenes and direction are captivating with mesmerizing scenery, the miraculous journey delivers a powerful message of mercy and forgiveness.

Obvious a low-budget production that is meant to educate and enlighten, the movie is not for everyone because it is written to be shown at all Sunday School classes. The message is strong, offering the idea love your fellow man despite all efforts to do otherwise.

Gridlocked

3D_CMYK_Gridlocked_DVDWrpDirected by Canadian Allan Ungar, Gridlocked is a typical action thriller resembling a combination of Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

The story follows former SWAT leader David Hendrix, played by Australian-born Dominic Purcell, is down on his luck and has failed to receive medical clearance after taking a bullet on the job. Despite being highly trained and competent, his efforts have been reduced to routine tasks for the NYPD. As if things couldn’t get any worse, he’s been forced to babysit movie star Brody Walker, played by Canadian and 5x World Karate Champion Cody Hackman, a hard-partying celebrity that’s been sent on a mandatory ride along as part of his probation.  Pampered and irritating, Walker is the last thing Hendrix needs. But all of that changes when a police training facility comes under attack by a team of ruthless mercenaries led by the mysterious Korver, played by Tony-nominated Stephan Lang.  Now, Hendrix and Walker must band together with the remaining survivors to fight back and keep the mercenaries from overtaking the compound. The only problem is Hendrix and Walker do not get along, and they just might kill each other before the mercenaries do.

Lethal Weapon’s Danny Glover plays fatherly-type Sully, and it great to see how him in this role and makes the movie more gratifying.  Other supporting actors such as Vinnie Jones and Trish Stratus do a pretty decent job of moving the story along, and the main mystery to the storyline is revealed about half way through the movie. With Purcell as a good guy and Vinnie as a bad guy, we all know where this goes with some manageable humor in their remarks in a teasing way

I am not going so far as to recommend the movie. But if you are looking for an action thriller that you haven’t seen yet, then stream or rent this one. It’s worth it.