Andron


Rated: R | Running Time: 90 Minutes
From: Momentum Pictures
In Theaters, VOD and Digital EST on June 3, 2016
Watch it via: Amazon | iTunes

I will say this about “Andron,” it has one of the longest plot developments of all time, especially for a movie that is about an hour and a half. The thing is that even if I understood the entire plot earlier, it wouldn’t have helped. I’ll help you out a bit with the story.

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Cherry Tree


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 86 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On Blu-ray and DVD April 5, 2016

Faith’s dad is dying of cancer. Boo-hoo, what to do? I know, be the surrogate mother to a demon created by centipedes! Such are the basics of the horror flick “Cherry Tree.”

Okay, the movie is slightly more complicated, but really, it doesn’t matter.

I’ll expand things a bit for review purposes.

Faith (Naomi Battrick) is sort of the picked on girl at school. As the movie begins we learn the folklore of witches and a cherry tree, as told by young skippy, Brian (Patrick Gibson). Faith’s world is rocked both by being picked on, and also by the fact her dad has cancer.

Enter creepy, field hockey coach, Sissy (Anna Walton).

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The Sheik


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 96 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On DVD March 1, 2016 : Via Digital Download Now

The most hated, and at the same time beloved wrestler of all time has a story that can simply be summarized as “The good. The hated. The ugly. The survivor. The star.” He is Khasrow Ali Vaziria, he is The Iron Sheik, and the documentary “The Sheik” tells it all without pulling any punches, or camel clutches as it would be, in a fascinating look at The Sheik’s roller coaster of a life.

Starting at the beginning, “The Sheik” traces Khasrow all the way back to his story in Iran, born in 1942 and becoming a wrestler, a star athlete in the Olympics, and a bodyguard for The Shah. Seeing his star rising yet not as high as fellow wrestler Takhti, when Takhti supposedly “committed suicide” and rumors abounded that it was The Shah who didn’t like the gold medalist’s popularity thereby “taking care” of the national hero, Khasrow realizes he needs to leave his beloved Iran for his own safety, and he heads to the United States.

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Carole King: Natural Woman


Rated: Not rated. | Running Time: 53 Minutes
From: Virgil Films
On Digital Download, Blu-ray, and DVD.

The line in the publicity release pretty much sums up Carole King: Natural Woman – “A celebration of the legendary singer-songwriter’s life and career…” I wish I could write something more descriptive but at the end of the 53 minute documentary there isn’t anything shocking, there really isn’t anything controversial, but rather it’s a tidy look at mostly nice things in King’s life, with a lot of accolades from those she associated with, and you get a glimpse at how a songwriter’s life is way different from the person who craves the spotlight on stage.

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The Family Stone


Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 100 Minutes
From: 20th Century Fox
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

I hate when a movie has potential to, well, not really be a classic, but at least one that I would probably sit down and watch when it comes on cable (lately I’m hooked on “The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause” and I’m embarrassed to admit that), and “The Family Stone” had that potential until it decided to put in an all-too-easy, sentimental, sub-plot, that the movie didn’t need, a sub-plot I don’t want to have to relive at Christmas-time. I’ll try not to reveal this sub-plot, nor the other obvious plot twist that is supposed to surprise you, but here we go…

Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) is in love with Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker), and of course it’s the time of the year, Christmas-time, when boy must bring girlfriend to meet his parents and family, and what a more awkward time to do it than at said Christmas-time, especially when your family is slightly dysfunctional, even though you probably don’t realize it. And it’s even worse when your dysfunctional family doesn’t really like your girlfriend, based on an earlier dinner when your sister, Amy (Rachel McAdams), met up with the two of you, and now they fear that you want to ask her to marry you. Such is the problem facing Everett and Meredith. Now, Meredith, is your atypical, big city, career driven kind of woman, perfectly clothed, with tight hair and stuck to her cell phone. Everett seems just kind of lost, yet still supposedly in love. Anyway, Meredith arrives and it’s pretty much Amy’s job to make her feel as lousy as she can, and Meredith is so miserable that she ends up staying at the local inn instead of at the Stone household, and calls her sister, Julie (Claire Danes), to help her save her reputation with the family. Julie arrives, there is a highly uncomfortable Christmas Eve dinner, and all of our cast of characters, also including Mom Stone (Diane Keaton), Dad Stone (Craig T. Nelson), Ben Stone (Luke Wilson), and Thad Stone (Ty Giordano), all have revelations that would change their lives through the next year.

Alright, that’s a pretty crappy synopsis of a movie that at it’s core is a fun look at a wacky family and a girlfriend who really doesn’t fit, although she really does, just not knowing it yet. There’s some seriousness (Mom doesn’t want to give son her Mom’s wedding ring, even though she promised she would if said son found the woman of his dreams), some odd-ballness (Ben is pretty great), some funny-ness (Meredith’s breakdown on Christmas morning gave me one of the biggest laughs I’ve had at a movie in a while), and the typical family-ness (in the end, it’s Christmas, a time for family, and a time for all to get along). But what I didn’t need, want, or want to have to see again, is the sub-plot, that although is a sub-plot everyone will have to go through at a Christmas (not exactly like this sub-plot, but the same concept) or Holiday, I don’t want an entertaining Christmas comedy with a nice hint of drama to make me have to relive every time I see it. I know that might not make sense if you don’t see the movie, but as I just re-read this review so far, nothing really makes sense.

Look, the movie is entertaining, and as much as I’ve been reading bashing of Sarah Jessica Parker’s portrayal of Meredith, I thought she did a pretty good job going from the hoity-toity New York City girl, to the girl who really has a sentimental side, to the girl who just needed some rubbing from Ben to let her freak-flag fly. Luke Wilson was fantastic as the stoner-type brother who always seems to be filled with stoner wits of clarity, and Diane Keaton was just fine as the overly protective mother, who didn’t need to be burdened with the extra story she had. I’ve always been in love with Claire Danes, so she can do no wrong in my eyes, and Rachel McAdams was utterly perfect, especially when she uttered the words “Of course you do,” and then walked away. All that said, dropping the totally sentimental, unnecessary sub-plot, I’d have given this movie 4 ½ stars out of 5. With that part in it, I’m dropping this rating to 2 ½ stars out of 5. It did have one of the biggest laughs I’ve had in a while, but for goodness sake, don’t make the tear-jerking so easy.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!


The World of Kanako


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 119 Minutes
From: Drafthouse Films and Cinedigm
Available February 2, 2016 on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download

Poor Akikazu (Kôji Yakusho). He used to be a great police detective, but after a few mis-steps of alcoholism, drugs, and beating up people, being fired, and getting no respect by the lollipop-sucking younger’ detective, his life is in shambles. Bad enough, but then he gets sucked into a gang, turf war that eventually leads back to his missing daughter, Kanako (Nan Komatsu).

Oh, and his daughter is evil. Such is “The World of Kanako.”

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I Am Thor


Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 84 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On Digital Download, Blu-ray, and DVD January 19, 2016

Who knew having a smaller wiener than your co-worker might be a blessing in disguise? For Jon Mikl Thor, nature’s short givings put him in a position to follow his dream. And follow his dream he has.

You see, early in the documentary “I Am Thor” we learn that Jon lost his job as a naked waiter because his wiener wasn’t long enough. He was doing well as a naked waiter, or so it seemed, but then the new guy came, longer schlong and all, and suddenly Jon was back to his quest of music domination, a quest that never left the man who would be Thor.

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Forbidden Zone


Rated: R | Running Time: 73 Minutes
From: MVD Entertainment
The Ultimate Edition available September 29, 2015

Want to see how the great Danny Elman got his musical movie start? Want to see Herve Villechaize as a King in a bizarre, musical world? Want to see a fat “Hitler?” How about a Servant Frog that’s just a dude with a frog head? How about a lot of boobs? Did I forget to mention “Chicken Boy?” If you are ready for some musical and movie weirdness, I believe you might be ready for “Forbidden Zone.”

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All American High Revisited


Rated: R | Running Time: 82 Minutes
From: Virgil Films
On DVD & VOD September 15, 2015

I graduated in 1985. Yes, in the eyes of the youngins I am now the old guy. We also just had our 30 year reunion, another reunion that I missed. I missed my 10 year because of covering a Bon Jovi concert. I missed my 20 year because of supposed to be covering a Bon Jovi concert but that falling through. I missed my 30 year because I just couldn’t swing the time off, but ended up at a Chicago Cubs game. I’m thinking we should have a 33 year reunion in Chicago so maybe I can attend.

What does my reminiscing have to do with a movie review? Well the review is of the documentary “All American High Revisited.” The original “All American High” was shot it 1984 from the perspective of a foreign exchange student, Rikki, who hailed from Finland, giving a look at the high school students of that year, as well as Riccki’s comparison with her life in Finland. Fast forward 30 years and Keva Rosenfeld comes across his documentary in a storage vault, along with some reviews of the movie, and wonders what has happened to some of the kids in the film. Luckily for us he finds a few.

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The Seven Five


Rated: R | Running Time: 104 Minutes
From: IFC Entertainment
On DVD September 15, 2015

I think three quotes best sum up “The Seven Five,” a documentary about the largest police corruption scandal in New York City. The first relates to how it started: “Money always feels good.” The second, to how it continued: “The cops around me would never give me up.” And the third to how it ended: “Welcome to east New York. Welcome to the land of fuck.”

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