Archive for Drama

2 Wolves Films, Strings of Films,

Josh Duhamel, Maria Bello, Laura Dern, Lucas Till, Kherington Payne, Tom Everett Scott, Jae Head, Sharlene Taulé

Very young, but popular N.Y.C. DJ Alex (Josh Duhamel) is on top of the world, but doesn’t realize how good he has it. Living with his single mom, Annie (Laura Dern) who has substance abuse problem herself, so Alex has the run of his life. But when an accidental overdose puts him in the hospital, his mother figures she can’t take care of him anymore, and has the court send him to live with his estranged father that he has never known in rural, very small town. He’s forced by the court to have a one hour weekly meeting with a local psychiatrist/parole officer. Alex doesn’t fit in very well, but finds he is a bit of a star to the local kids, and finds a way to fit in by assisting their school dance team with their music. In the meantime, he has to learn how to deal with his demons, and those that are out to get him while learning to fit in a whole new world much different that what he’s used to.

I found that this was a pretty decent film, and had the feel of a lot of the popular hip hop dance movies out there, crossed with the cheerleader movies, but with a mostly male point of view which made it quite a bit different. There are really good performances in this film. Josh Duhamel is very good as the troubled boy learning to be a better version on himself. Lucas Till is also very good knowing that he has his own demons, but trying to help in a most unusual way. Laura Dern is a good actress, but unfortunately doesn’t have much to do in this movie. That’s a shame, but she adds a lot to the part she is in. Perhaps the weakest part of the movie is that it is obvious where it is going, and there just aren’t many surprises, but it was still an interesting film to watch. The characters were well developed, the messages were loud and clear, and it was a chance to root for a stunning change in Alex’s life as he really deserved it. This film is rated R, honestly because of the drug use and one scene that was rather explicit, but was a good film for late teens and young adults who will identify with the characters in this story and will probably enjoy it very much. With the excellent cast, it’s worth giving it a whirl.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Coram Deo Studios, Birchwood Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

AJ Michalka, James Denton, Kevin Pollak, Shawnee Smith, Michael Welch, Jamie Grace, Emma Catherwood, Chris Ellis

Gracie Trey (AJ Michalka) is the daughter of a well known “one-hit wonder” singer Johnny Trey (James Denton) who gave up his career at the peak in order to serve as the musical director of his church. Gracie has been raised as a Christian girl, and plays in the group that performs at the church, but Gracie has a great deal more talent than anyone realizes, and she wants to do her own music. When Dad’s old hit song suddenly gains a lot of ground on YouTube, Frank Mostran (Kevin Pollak) who is his former manager approaches him to make a new version on the song and kick start his career all over again, but Johnny wants nothing to do with it. Behind his back, Gracie contacts Frank, and since she is now 18 decides to move to LA to seek a career of her own, but the pressures and difficulties of making a start are more than she imagines, and when things really start to heat up, Gracie is forced to look at what is most important in her life when her values are threatened to crumble.

AJ Michalka has scored a number of commercials and TV roles and is a very beautiful and talented musician, coming from a musical family of her own. She really shines in this film. It’s a little movie, but a very well done story without the usual preachiness of pure Christian films, but filled with good messages, hard choices, and inspiring characters. The story moves along quickly and really sucks you in to the story. What is the true cost of our dreams? When is it no longer worth it if the cost is too high? How do you find a middle ground, walking along the fence without toppling to one side or the other. There are all feelings you’ll have watching this film. Very good acting, and a cleverly written script with some really good music thrown in. All in all, this movie was a hidden gem, and I’m glad it bubbled up in my queue until I was finally able to see it. It was well worth it, and I highly recommend this film.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Orange Pictures, Shotgun Pictures, Universum Film (UFA),

Susan May Pratt, Richard Speight Jr., Niklaus Lange, Ali Hillis, Cameron Richardson, Eric Dane

Six friends and a baby are in Mexico on a holiday aboard a luxury yacht looking forward to a wonderful time. Amy (Susan May Pratt) and her husband James (Richard Speight Jr.) and their baby Sara have joined Dan (Eric Dane), the reckless one of the group and his new girlfriend Michelle (Cameron Richardson) and their froends Zach (Niklaus Lange) and Lauren (Ali HIlls). They were college friends and are looking to a swell reunion and to celebrate Zach’s 30th birthday. They stop for a dip in the ocean but are soon horrified to learn that through their fooling around, they forgot to lower the ladder and now are trapped on the side of the ship with no way to get back into the boat. Stranded at sea, able to touch the boat, but they may as well be miles away, as with horror, they realize the baby is still on the boat.

There is a series of three Open Water films. The first one was about a couple of people who were part of a scuba diving group that got left behind out in the ocean without any way back in the heavy shark infested waters. Open Water 3 will be released in a few weeks on DVD and is the third installment. I’m looking forward to that one as well, but this 2006 one came and went and I didn’t even realize it, until I saw the 3 on the new one. So I dropped this into my queue on a lark, figuring to catch up on this 2006 film before the new one is released. I was glad I did. This is an independent film, and the only connection to the first film is the ocean. Otherwise, this is a completely different story, and it was rather interesting. Now I suppose that true sailors will find that it’s really silly and that there is a very simple solution to being stranded on the side of your yacht, but I’m not of a nautical nature, so I will just accept that they’re stranded out there. Then comes the questioning of whose fault it is, and what in the world they could do to solve the problem. This is really point of view camera work, and it’s bound to make you think about what you would do if you were in that situation. This is a small film with a basically unknown cast, made by folks who love to make movies, and it shows. The suspense if very good and the movie’s not that long, so it evolves quickly and is a pretty good escape film that allows you to relax and enjoy the ride. This is another hidden gem of a movie that I didn’t even know existed, but the suspense and pure terror of the plight of these folks made it really fun to watch. Give it a try, it’s a good one.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 


 

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Mockingbird Pictures, Dominion Pictures,

Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Garner, Jason O’Mara, Beverly D’Angelo, Ian Anthony Dale, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Isaac Leyva, Victoria Bruno, Ellery Sprayberry, Tracey Walter

Howard Wakefield (Bryan Cranston) has a good job, a loving wife in Diana (Jennifer Garner) and two little girls. He lives in the suburbs and it appears like his life is in order, but internally he’s falling apart. One night he follows a racoon up into the little storage room above the garage, and he just snaps. He watches the family from the little window above the garage and just can’t get the gumption to go inside. Finally he falls asleep, and when he wakes in the morning, he decides that going inside now will cause lots of problems explaining where he was all night, so he hangs out. Days turn into weeks and weeks into months as Howard hides out watching to see what will happen to his grieving family. As time passes, the danger of being discovered grows and it gets harder and harder to determine what in the world to do, but his fantasies bloom as he imagines what would happen if he were to return.

This is a dream I imagine most men have had many times. We all daydream about how to disappear off the face of the earth without a trace just to be able to start over again. But it would also be tempting to hide out and simply watch how your family and friends deal with it. Just like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn hiding out in the balcony and watching their own funeral, I think we’ve all dreamed about that. This is a very unusual movie. Very few characters, and most of the time is dealt inside Howard’s head as he works through his failure in life and what in the world to do get out of the mess he’s made, or if he even wants to get away. Cranston gives this his very best, and he does a great job. Jennifer Garner also pulls all the heart strings as she waits for him long suffering though the whole ordeal. The suspense builds as we know there is no way to get out of this, although I must admit the ending was a bit of a disappointment. But this is a film about the experience, damn the consequences, and not finding out what happens makes the ending more poignant. It makes you think about what would happen if you were discovered, or returned, or simply never went back. It gives us all a lot to think about. There are a few other minor characters that offer a lot to the story, but this is basically a story of Howard and Diana, and it doesn’t stray far from the main story. This was an interesting film, and certainly one I have never heard of before, but found quite entertaining and thought provoking. Another hidden gem of a film. I feel for this guy!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Alloy Entertainment, Itaca Films, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM),

Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Ana de la Reguera, Taylor Hickson, Anika Noni Rose, Peter Benson

Madeline Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) has a very rare and severe immune deficiency issue that requires that she live in a sterile room, sealed from the outside. She lives with her Mother, Pauline (Anika Noni Rose) who is a nurse and with her caretaker Nurse Carla (Ana de la Reguera) during the day when her mother is at the hospital. When a new family moves in next door however, Maddy who is now 16, is smitten by the boy Olly (Nick Robinson) who lives next door. The two become friends which makes life in the bubble unbearable for Maddy as she tries to figure out if one moment of freedom is worth risking her life.

This was a really cute film, with lots of heartbreaking moments. This couple is doomed from the start, but we can’t help but root for a happy ending. The performances here were really good, and it was a nice ride watching this story. Maddy and Olly do a really good job, and it’s got it’s funny moments, and heartbreaking moments, and lots of suspense as well. The music is really good too. This is a bit better than your typical Lifetime Made-for-TV movie, but in the same vein, perhaps. IT is touching and inspiring, and I found it very entertaining. I can’t help but give it a thumbs up as a nice film for teens and sensitive adults. Great job guys.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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