Archives for August 2020


It’s the story of a silverback named Ivan, “The one and only Ivan” – REVIEW

Disney's newest family-oriented venture won us over
Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston and Phillipa Soo
Directed by Thea Sharrock

A problem with today’s family-oriented films is that they feel they must dumb everything down so the kids will sit quiet for an hour and a half and enjoy the movie. Many modern kid’s films refuse to put much substance into their characters and think their young audiences will be happy with messy slapstick and flatulent humor. It is this way of thinking that leads to so many family films insulting ... more >

The pursuit of self-realization taken to another level: “Rising Phoenix” (PREMIERING ON NETFLIX THIS WEEKEND)

Directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgu

Thanks to covid-19, both the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were postponed to 2021. That means the competitors will have another whole year to train and prepare for their events in Tokyo. And however disappointing, it’s just one more bump on the road for the Paralympics athletes featured in the new documentary “Rising Phoenix,” which opens on Netflix this weekend. Directed by Ian Bonhôte and ... more >


Adapted from the namesake novel by Julia Walton
AnnaSophia Robb, Walton Goggins and Charlie Plummer
Directed by Thor Freudenthal

Artistically, Hollywood has had a tough time adapting young adult novels. While usually finding an audience, most of their adaptations of the more serious YA novels have fallen flat. Sadly, and despite a solid cast, the new film “Words on Bathroom Walls” is no exception. Adapting Julia Walton’s novel, screenwriter Nick Naveda attempts to recognize the issues of mental illness in realistic and ... more >

It is noir. It is Western. It is thriller. It is character study: “The Big Ugly”

Top-class actors, big gangster movie
Vinnie Jones, Malcolm McDowell and Ron Perlman
Directed by Scott Wiper

Seeing the trailer for the new film “The Big Ugly” could mislead the viewer into thinking they are in for just another straight-to-video action film cheapie starring Vinnie Jones, who made quite the post-Guy Ritchie films career out of this genre. This assessment would be massively incorrect. Writer/director Scott Wiper’s new film (co-written by Paul Tarantino) is a sharply focused southern ... more >

Oy vey, David Ayer’s “The Tax Collector” is a big let-down | REVIEW

As gangland taxman Shia Labeouf misses the mark
Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona and Shia LaBeouf
Directed by David Ayer

I really enjoy David Ayer’s work. His screenplays can occasionally bring about intense and powerful portrayals of cops and street criminals. When he hits, he hits hard such as with his screenplay for Ron Shelton’s excellent crooked cop drama “Dark Blue” starring Kurt Russell, and his sensational police drama “End of Watch” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. I even found Ayer’s 2014 ... more >

“Even in this terrible time of pandemic, there’s something about art and music and beauty that we can all aspire to” (Lynn Montgomery)

Our interview with the director of "Amazing Grace"

Grace Fisher’s positivity has served the young lady well over her two decades of life, as she honed her musical abilities on guitar and piano, while dreaming of becoming a composer. “My mom always said that [even] as a young girl, I’ve been blessed with a happy outlook on anything,” Fisher told me recently of her optimistic attitude. Incredibly, Fisher has maintained that same poise and ... more >

Bentonville Film Festival closes strong with an offering that combined virtual and drive-in screenings

America's in a constant state of flux, boundaries are being enlarged and society is evolving and these filmmakers, and the films they have made, reflect this

The hybrid in-person and online version of the Bentonville Film Festival wrapped up this weekend, with drive-in films, virtual panel discussions and a host of films to choose from. Here are a few from the many offerings to keep in your sights. “Amazing Grace” Directed by Lynn Montgomery Grace Fisher was a happy-go-lucky, musically-gifted teen who dreamt of being a professional musician. But ... more >