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Archives for : Writer

Movie Review: “The Green Knight” and “Paper Spiders”

David Lowery is an Irving High School alum who has gone on to make critically acclaimed films like “Pete’s Dragon” and “A Ghost Story”. His new movie, “The Green Knight,” is a Medieval, fantasy re-telling of Sir Gawain based on the 14th century Arthurian poem. Watch the video below to find out my thoughts on the movie, along with a review of the independent film, “Paper Spiders”, starring Lili Taylor (“The Conjuring”).

“The Green Knight” opens in theaters July 30, 2021 and “Paper Spiders” is available to rent on various VOD platforms.

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Movie Review: “Old” Shrivels Up a Talented Cast

At this point, we know walking into any M. Night Shyamalan (Writer/Director) film is a gamble. You’re either going to get a quality movie like “Split”, or you could get the dragged-out disaster that came after, “Glass”. Regardless, we take that risk every time because we know Shyamalan is capable of greatness (i.e. “Unbreakable” and “The Sixth Sense”). Unfortunately, Shyamalan’s newest mystery thriller is far from great. 

The premise of “Old” is incredibly intriguing. A family on a tropical vacation visit a beach that somehow causes you to age nearly a lifetime in a single day!  Sounds good, but it seems the preview alluded to a more satisfying script. 

From the get-go we are introduced to Guy (Gael Garcia Bernel), his wife Prisca (Vicky Krieps), their 11-year-old daughter, Maddox (Alexa Swinton), and 6-year-old son, Trent (Nolan River). The parents want to have one last trip together as a family before they announce their separation and reveal Prisca’s illness. Not so coincidentally, the family is offered a ride to a secluded beach for the day. Why anyone would trust a secluded anything in the middle of a shady beach, I’ll never understand. But, this family is not alone in their stupidity. They are joined by another family of 4, a married couple, and a famous rap star?  Sure, why not?

It does not take long for this bunch to figure out something is wrong with the beach. People are dying, and there is no way to get back to their drop off point.

Again, the plot of the film is actually good. It’s original, and you have no idea how it’s going to end or why it’s happening. I can appreciate Shyamalan’s creativity. The man can come up with the most thought-provoking ideas. But sometimes it’s just poorly executed.

The dialogue in “Old” is painful. From the start of the movie to the very end, it’s as if the story was written for toddlers.  Everything is spoon fed to the audience, and so many lines are forced. I’m not certain if many of the actors were bad, or they just didn’t believe in what they are saying.  Either way, it makes for a slow and difficult watch.

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least shine a light on the two glimmers of light, Thomasin McKenzie and Alex Wolff, who play teenage versions of Maddox and Trent. These two give their all in their performances and are committed to that script. If anything, “Old” will further launch these two talented actors.

I wouldn’t be so harsh if I didn’t know Shyamalan’s skills. “Old” is a great idea that deserved a better screenplay, and maybe a better secondary cast. The premise pulls you in, but ultimately, the film leaves you out to dry.

Rating: C-

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“Spiral” Interview with Darren Bousman & Josh Stolberg

A criminal mastermind entraps those who have done wrong in the justice system and unleashes a twisted, cruel form of righteousness. “Spiral” is the terrifying new chapter from the book of “Saw” starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. Susan Stephens sat down with Director Darren Bousman and Co-Writer Josh Stolberg to discuss the mystery horror.

“Spiral” is open in theaters now!

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Movie Review: “Here Today” -An Unexpected Friendship


Billy Crystal is a legend. He’s quite possibly the best Oscar host, and starred in a number of hilarious comedies. So, when you hear he directed, wrote, and stared in the new comedy, “Here Today”, you go in with high expectations. 

“Here Today” features Crystal as Charlie Berns, a nearly retired comedy writer who is part of the staff for the Saturday Night Live style variety show called “This Just In”. The majority of the writers are young and see Charlie as a dated comic. But he proves in many ways his seasoned talents are still useful. One day he goes to lunch with Emma Payge (Tiffany Haddish), a woman who has won a meal with the writer from a silent auction. After a dramatic allergic reaction to seafood, the two form an unlikely bond. As their friendship grows, Emma discovers Charlie has been hiding his health problems from his loved ones. He is suffering from dementia and is getting lost in his memories.

Emma takes it upon herself to look after Charlie. Seeing that he has a strained relationship with his two children (played by Penn Badgley and Laura Benanti), one of which blames him for their mother’s death. At times, the film toys with the idea of Emma and Charlie as something more than friends. Luckily, this is not a romantic comedy, and any suggestion of these two being intimate is absolutely cringe-worthy. The film shines when they are strictly platonic. It’s heartwarming to see two lonely people finding comfort and safety in each other.

“Here Today” tells a sweet story, and there was a lot of potential for an even better film from this premise. Unfortunately, for a movie that is labeled a “comedy”, there weren’t a whole lot of laughs.  or starters, the scenes where Crystal forgets something are incredibly sad; including a moment where Charlie can’t take his memorized route to work. That is almost unbearable to watch. The sketch show within the film, “This Just In”, is unbearable in a different way. The jokes are corny and painful. We can thank Haddish for the comic relief. Her delivery is naturally funny. It seems Crystal intended for her to rise as the comedic star.

Everyone can empathize with Charlie; and if you know anyone with dementia, you’ll recognize the truths behind this awful disease. But somehow balancing Charlie’s issues with humorless TV gags throws off the tone and takes away from what could have been a compelling story. Though it’s hard not to find some enjoyment in “Here Today”, Crystal and Haddish are a delightful pair. But as whole, something just doesn’t quite click.

Rating: 2.5/5

“Here Today” opens in theaters May 7, 2021

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Interview: Jeff Rosenberg & Laura Jacqmin talk “We Broke Up”

“Lori (Aya Cash) and Doug (William Jackson Harper), a longtime couple who break up just days before Lori’s little sister Bea’s wedding to Jayson. In order to not disrupt the fun, the couple decides to pretend they’re still together until the weekend is over. “

I spoke with Director/Co-writer Jeff Rosenberg and Co-writer Laura Jacqmin to discuss long term relationship break ups, the key to a good wedding speech, which celebrity couple they hope never breaks up and much more!

Listen to the full interview below!

“We Broke Up” opens on April 16, 2021

(Left) Laura Jacqmin & (Middle) Jeff Rosenberg
“We Broke Up” Interview with Director/Co-Writer Jeff Rosenberg & Co-Writer Laura Jacqmin
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Interview: Writer Mike Jones talks “Soul”

“Soul” follows Joe (Jamie Foxx) , a music teacher who has lost his passion for music and sense of purpose. But when he is transported into another realm to help someone find their spark, he discovers a new appreciation for life. I chatted with writer Mike Jones to discuss the film, what little things he appreciates about life, the value in asking people questions, and much more.

“Soul” is available to stream on Disney+ December 25.

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Movie Review/Interview: Directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz talk “The Peanut Butter Falcon”

Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen star in “The Peanut Butter Falcon”

“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a modern Mark Twain style adventure story. The film follows Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down Syndrome, who runs away from a residential nursing home and the employee who cared for him (Dakota Johnson) so that he can follow his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. Along the way he meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), and the two form an unlikely brotherly bond during their exciting and, at times, dangerous travels.

This is writers/directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz’s debut feature, and it’s one of the best films of the year. A simple premise with a lot of heart. This is due in great part to the fantastic performances by Gottsagen, LaBeouf, and Johnson. 

I got a chance to sit down with Nilson and Schwartz while they were in Dallas to promote their film. It was entertaining to say the least. They are very cool dudes, who are passionate about this already critically acclaimed movie. We chatted about LaBeouf and Gottsagen’s chemistry, pro-wrestling, meeting your heroes, and much more.

Rating: 4.5/5

All hands in with Michael Schwartz (Left) & Tyler Nilson (Right)
Full Interview with Director/Writers Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz

“The Peanut Butter Falcon” opens in select theaters on August 9.

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