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Movie Review: ‘The Founder’
eelyajekiM   |  @   |  

Michael Keaton in The Founder

The Founder
Director: John Lee Hancock
Screenwriter: Robert D. Siegel
Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Rated PG-13 | 115 Minutes
Release Date: January 20, 2017

McDonald’s is about as American as apple pie, and they serve apple pie, so it goes full circle. But like any good organization, there is a history behind it. So in John Lee Hancock‘s The Founder, this is the history of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) turned himself from a small town milkshake salesman into the multi-million dollar owner of McDonald’s. But this is no ordinary story of a nobody turning himself into something than just a somebody, it is a story of how Kroc did it, which consisted of backdoor deals and underhanded tactics that ripped a beloved restaurant from two humble brothers. Check out my full review of the film below.

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Movie Review: ‘xXx: Return Of Xander Cage’
eelyajekiM   |  @   |  

xXx Return of Xander Cage review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage
Director: D. J. Caruso
Screenwriter: F. Scott Frazier
Cast: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Toni Collette, Samuel L. Jackson
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 115 Minutes
Release Date: January 20, 2017

It never ceases to amaze me how much passion Vin Diesel has in seemingly dead in the water projects. Fast and Furious and Riddick were two Diesel franchise vehicles that never really got off the ground when they launched, but because of his dedication to the fans, they got sequels. The former much more popular than the latter, but the actor took it upon himself to breathe new life into the xXx films with xXx: Return of Xander Cage.

Never let it be said that Diesel doesn’t know how to have fun, because in xXx: Return of Xander Cage, there is plenty of it. There’s no political message, no over-sexualization of either gender, and no xenophobic thoughts. Instead, the film treats us to something everyone can enjoy. My full review below.

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Movie Review: M. Night Shyamalan’s Split
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Movie Review: M. Night Shyamalan's Split

Split
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Screenwriter: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Jessica Sula, Haley Lu Richardson
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13 | 117 Minutes
Release Date: January 20, 2017

In Split, the latest film by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs), James McAvoy (X-Men: Apocalypse) stars as Kevin, a troubled young man who kidnaps three teenage girls: Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch), Marcia (Jessica Sula), and Claire (The Edge of Seventeen‘s Haley Lu Richardson).

As Casey and her friends try to escape the underground lair in which they are trapped, they discover that Kevin has dissociative identity disorder, a psychological condition characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality states. According to his psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley, Carrie), Kevin embodies 23 separate personalities of all ages and genders, manifesting unique physical attributes for each.

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Movie Review: Martin Scorsese’s Silence
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Movie Review: Martin Scorsese's Silence

Silence
Director: Martin Scorsese
Screenwriter: Jay Cocks, Martin Scorsese
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Yosuke Kubozuka, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Liam Neeson, Ciarán Hinds
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Rated R | 161 Minutes
Release Date: December 23, 2016 (Limited)

“Lord, why are you silent? Why are you always silent?”

In 1988, at a screening for religious leaders of his new film The Last Temptation of Christ, Martin Scorsese was approached by Archbishop Paul Moore, the Episcopal Bishop of New York, who presented the filmmaker with a copy of Shūsaku Endō’s acclaimed novel Silence.

Published in 1966, the novel is the story of Jesuit missionaries sent to 17th century Japan, where they endure persecution in the time of Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”) that followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion, an uprising of Catholic Christian peasants during the Tokugawa shogunate’s rule.

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Movie Review: Disneynature’s Growing Up Wild
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

Disneynature Growing Up Wild

Disneynature’s Growing Up Wild
Digital HD | VOD
Directed and produced by Keith Scholey and Mark Linfield
Narrated by Daveed Diggs
Disneynature | 77 minutes
Release date: December 8th, 2016

Back in 2008, Walt Disney Studios launched Disneynature, a unit of their studios to produce nature documentaries. They have released 8 films on a wide variety of animals, narrated by big name stars such as Meryl Streep and Samuel L. Jackson. Just arriving for the holidays is Growing Up Wild, covering five animal families ranging three continents. The documentary is narrated by Daveed Diggs (Black-ish/The Get Down).

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Movie Review: Sing
eelyajekiM   |  @   |  

Sing

Sing
Director: Garth Jennings
Screenwriter: Garth Jennings
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, Nick Kroll
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated PG | 110 minutes
Release Date: December 21, 2016

Sometimes what looks good can end up being just slightly disappointing. In this case, Illumination’s Sing gives a very earnest effort through its well-intentioned story and an excellent collection of songs that spans generations and genres, but falls very short of being great through its lack of a narrative and inability to juggle the many subplots. Backed by a great ensemble of actors and singers, director Garth Jenning‘s animated film has all the makings of an Illumination Entertainment film, but fails to execute a great concept.

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Movie Review: John The Carpenter
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

John the Carpenter Header

John the Carpenter
Written and Directed by Matt Braunsdorf
Cast: Thomas Beucler, Jared Dymbort, Mali MacConnell
Run Time: 20 Minutes
Release Date: November 12th, 2016 (NYCHFF), December 3rd, 2016 (Other Worlds Austin)

A few weeks back I was at the New York City Horror Film Festival, and one of the films that drew my instant attention was a short film called John the Carpenter, mainly for its fairly clever title. Written and directed by Matt Braunsdorf, the film is an exercise in minimalism. The film is less than twenty minutes long, has a script with almost no dialogue, a cast of three, and one of them is a co-producer who composed the film’s score. As I routinely found out at the NYCHFF, the short films featured were awesome. And John the Carpenter was just that.

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Movie Review: Diving Into The Unknown
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

Diving Into the Unknown Header

Diving Into The Unknown
Written and Directed by Juan Reina
Cast: Patrik Gronqvist, Vesa Rantanen, Kai Kankanen, Sami Paakkarinen
Distributor: B-Plan Distribution
Run Time: 83 Minutes
Release Date: February 16th, 2016 (Finland), November 17th, 2016 (U.S.)

“We just wanted to bring our friends home.”

Diving into the Unknown had its U.S. premiere at the DOC NYC festival last month, and is a captivating and remarkable tale of friendship, commitment, and coping with loss. The documentary tracks and details a tragedy and the perseverance of the survivors. Back in February, 2014, a pack of Finnish cave divers joined up in Plurdalen, Norway for yet another death defying adventure. Their goal was to enter the icy waters, swim over 100 meters down, and arrive in a deep cavern called the Steinugleflaget, which was their way out. This sounds like total madness to most people. Why put yourself in potentially life-threatening situations traversing icy depths? The thrills, the camaraderie? As someone who has skydived and taken part in 10+ mile obstacle course races, I can understand the fun and desire to participate in these types of activities.

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Movie Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
eelyajekiM   |  @   |  

Felicity Jones in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Director: Gareth Edwards
Screenwriter: Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, and Forest Whitaker
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG-13 | 133 minutes
Release Date: December 16, 2016

While spinoffs have a reputation of being written off as a cash grab scheme, the Star Wars universe has a wealth of material to work with. When it was first announced that there would be spinoffs, many wondered what or rather who they could be about. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, will be the first of those planned spinoffs. The film centers on a group of rebels who embark on the fabled mission to steal the plans to the Death Star. As storied as those troubling reshoots and issues with the script were, Rogue One is highly entertaining.

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Movie Review: Office Christmas Party
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Movie Review: Office Christmas Party

Office Christmas Party
Directed by: Will Speck, Josh Gordon
Written by: Justin Malen, Laura Solon, Dan Mazer
Cast: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Courtney B. Vance, Kate McKinnon, Jennifer Aniston, Vanessa Bayer, Rob Corddry, Jamie Chung, Jillian Bell
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Rated R | 105 Minutes
Release Date: December 9, 2016

“Party like your job depends on it.”

Directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon (Blades of Glory, The Switch), Office Christmas Party is like its star, T.J. Miller: loud, obnoxious, occasionally funny, and best when loaded on drugs and alcohol.

When Zenotek CEO Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close her hard-partying brother’s branch in Chicago, he (Clay Vanstone, played by Miller) and Chief Technical Officer Josh Parker (Jason Bateman) must rally their co-workers and host an epic non-denominational holiday mixer Christmas party to woo potential client Walter Davis (The People v. O.J. Simpson‘s Courtney B. Vance) and close a sale that will save their jobs.

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