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Movie Review: “McCanick” Features a Dark and Powerful Performance by Cory Monteith

Before the young Glee star passed away last July, he had finished production on the buzzed about crime-drama mystery, McCanick, where Monteith hits close to home by playing a drug addict.  Fans of the late actor will enjoy a bitter-sweet performance, as Monteith is the best thing about this slow and slightly anticlimactic film.  And I’m not just saying this as a biased “Gleek.”

Detective Eugene “Mack” McCanick (David Morse) finds out that Simon Weeks (Cory Monteith), a young criminal, has been released from prison.  He sets off for a brutal manhunt along with his partner (Mike Vogel) who is in the dark about his intentions, and fails to get permission from the Chief of Police (Ciaran Hinds).   His paranoia of Weeks exposing a secret from his past causes Mack to lose all morality and respect for the law.  As he continues to search for Weeks, Mack leads his partner and himself down a dangerous and violent path.

I had hopes for this film given it was one of Monteith’s last.  Monteith’s performance didn’t fail me, but the story and execution did.  The beginning will intrigue audiences.  The mystery of why Simon Weeks was in prison and why Mack cares so much that he is out will keep the film barely alive for an hour and forty minutes.  There are a number of theories that will roll through your head as you watch.  But one by one, as those theories become improbable, you are left with complete confusion until the very end.  Sadly, once the secret is revealed, be prepared for disappointment and possibly even more confusion.

Morse does a decent job as the enraged detective hunting his prey.   It is his unknown motive and all his actions before catching Simon that make you lack care and empathy for his character.  He just comes off as a psychotic, dirty cop.  Although, if the goal was to have you sympathize with Monteith’s character as a lost, orphaned druggy that has seemingly changed his ways since prison, then mission accomplished.

McCanick is more of a character development film rather than a thought provoking, interesting story.  The past from both of the lead characters’ lives have molded who they are now.  We are shown flashbacks of the two before Weeks’ arrest, giving more insight as to who these characters were.

I would refrain from having high expectations of this film.  But for fans of Cory Monteith, McCanick will be a poignant reminder of how this rising talent passed on too soon; and that he was more than just Finn Hudson.

McCanick opens in theaters March 21.

McCanick Official HD Trailer

Originally posted on

Movie Review: “Five Dances” is an Emotional Journey filled with Sensuality

Dancing speaks louder than words in this latest coming of age narrative by Alan Brown.

Five Dances chronicles the rehearsal period for a series of 5 different dance routines, and tells the stories of the four dancers and primary choreographer inside the studio.  Mainly following Chip (Ryan Steele), an 18 year-old young dancer who has recently arrived in New York City, as he interacts with each of his fellow dancers.  As we get a more personal insight to their lives, we see a strong attraction is formed between Chip and his dance partner, Theo (Reed LuPlau).  Struggling financially and having to deal with a needy mother back home in Kansas, Chip must find a way to make a new home for himself in New York while trying to avoid the undeniable desire he has for Theo.

Making their big screen debuts, the entire cast prove they are multi-talented with their spectacular performances.  Ryan Steele recently wrapped up his run as “Specs” in Disney’s Newsies and is now preparing for an ensemble role in the Broadway adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.  In Five Dances, Steele carries the film as the often times shy and awkward lead.  Though Steele is supported by a strong cast, it’s the incredible chemistry he and LuPlau radiate off the screen that makes this film even more memorable.  LaPlau, the Australian born dancer/actor, has been dancing since the age of 18 months.  In 2009 he won the award for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer” for Sid’s Waltzing Masquerade.  Together, LaPlau and Steele give breakout performances through their dramatic romance.

Writer/Director Alan Brown (Private Romeo, Superheroes, Book of Love) does a brilliant job as he manages to tell the storylines largely through the dance numbers.  I never thought a film with barely any dialogue, minimal casting, and basically one setting could say so much.  In most dance movies the dancing is more of a special feature, adding to the entertainment value of the film.  Five Dances heavily relies on the dancing to move the story forward.  As someone who usually prefers a great amount of witty and meaningful dialogue in films, I was pleasantly surprised by how engaged I was by the characters.  A simple leg extension could articulate “Hey I’m young and new but I will work my ass off trying to prove to you that I belong here.”  Just a fair warning, this film is strictly about the characters.  There is no dance competition pitting the characters against each other or even a big eccentric plot.  Besides a climactic love scene that builds up between Chip and Theo, you are in for 83 minutes of pure character development packed with seductive choreography.

Five Dances opens in theaters October 4th.

Five Dances Official Trailer HD

Originally posted on Red Carpet Crash.