Netflix Streaming Report: Louie Season 5, House of Cards Season 4, Victoria, and More

Netflix Louie Season 5

The Netflix Streaming Report for March 10, 2016 includes new titles such as Louie Season 5, House of Cards Season 4, Victoria, and more. Continue reading

Box Office Battlefield: Pan, Victoria, and The Final Girls

Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of October 9, 2015 includes Pan, Victoria, The Final Girls, and Knock Knock. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious. Should you see ’em, skip ’em, or rent ’em? Find out below!

Last weekend, Maaaattt Daamon took audiences on a wild ride of survival on the lonely red planet. With no real competition, The Martian moon-walked away with $54.3 million domestically, leaving everything in its red dust. This weekend sees the retelling of the origins of Peter Pan along with the expansion of The Walk into theaters. There are also a handful of limited releases that have been on my radar. Who will reign supreme and who will be the codfish? This is the Box Office Battlefield:


Pan (Joe Wright) Rated PG [111 min] – 12-year-old orphan Peter is spirited away to the magical world of Neverland, where he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan Starring Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, and Rooney Mara [Watch the Trailer]

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 24% • Audience – 52%

My review:

Never have I giggled in delight so much for one of the most mind-boggling entrances to a villain I’ve ever seen. Hugh Jackman’s Blackbeard is so deliciously wrong for this Peter Pan origin story, but you can’t look away. For the rest of the cast, I though Levi Miller does a thorough enough job as the young Peter, however everyone else feels wildly miscast. I’m not sure what Garrett Hedlund’s accent for Hook is, but it’s atrocious. And of course Tiger Lily is played by the incredibly talented and white-skinned Rooney Mara. Pan is pure lunacy that is too caught up trying to make the origin story of Peter Pan work. The nods to the character are eye-rolling, Neverland is unimaginative, and the final action scene is awfully silly. This makes Hook look like an Oscar contender. WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX SO YOU CAN HAVE A GOOD LAUGH!!!

Victoria 2015 Movie Title Logo

Victoria (Sebastian Schipper) [Limited] Unrated [138 min] – While on holiday in Berlin, a young woman finds her flirtation with a local guy turn potentially deadly as their night out with his friends reveals its secret: the four men owe someone a dangerous favor that requires repaying that evening. Starring Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski, and Burak Yigit [Watch the Trailer]

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 77% • Audience – 86%

My review:

Long takes are not for the faint of heart. They take a lot of patience and planning to ensure every detail is nailed down. Birdman was shot over the course of 30 days or so and pieces of film were edited together to give the illusion of one long take. Victoria, however, was shot in one long take – they got it in their third attempt. And not only was it shot in one take, but it’s also over two hours long and takes place over multiple locations throughout Berlin. It’s quite impressive and highly commendable, but that doesn’t exactly mean it is without flaws. Edited films have the benefit of trimming down fat and making sure pacing is right for the story.

As much as I enjoyed marveling in awe at how Victoria was made, there are a handful of times where the movie could have been cut down. On the other side of the coin, the single take transports you alongside the characters as if you’re right there in the nitty-gritty of the action. The movie feels personable with our two leads where where the camera lingers long enough without movement that the experience feels very intimate. Sadly the rest of the cast isn’t fleshed out enough to be developed because we cannot cut to what they’re doing. But overall, Victoria is a feat to behold. MATINEE IT!

The Final Girls 2015 Movie Title Logo

The Final Girls (Todd Strauss-Schulson) [Limited] Rated PG-13 [88 min] – A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her mom’s most famous movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the film’s maniacal killer. Starring Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Adam DeVine, and Thomas Middleditch [Watch the Trailer]

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 72% • Audience – 77%

Their reviews:

“There’s plenty to like in Todd Strauss-Schulson’s THE FINAL GIRLS, a perky meta homage to slashers of the ’70s and ’80s.” – Meredith Borders (Birth.Movies.Death.)

“A funny, creative, fast-paced, and well-shot horror satire. They do exist.” – Scott Weinberg (TheHorrorShow)

My take:

Ever since Scream, meta horror has become quite the unsung hero of horror. When things start to turn stale we have the likes of Cabin in the Woods, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, and even Scary Movie to thank for shedding some light on tropes horror fans are getting tired of. Unlike You’re Next, that twists the final girl stereotype into a new age, The Final Girls is far more aware of itself as a horror movie because its characters get sucked into one. It looks like a lot of fun and the cast is pretty solid. I look forward to this when it hits theaters near me. MATINEE IT!

Knock Knock 2015 Movie Title Logo

Knock Knock (Eli Roth) Rated R [99 min] – When a devoted husband and father is left home alone for the weekend, two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture results in a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse. Starring Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, and Ana de Armas [Watch the Trailer]

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 33% • Audience – 29%

Their reviews:

“Maybe Knock Knock is just one long, sick joke, skillfully told by a filmmaker who’s always spiked his horror with black humor, just never this effectively.” – A..A Dowd (The AV Club)
“Takes a titillating setup and turns it into hot, wet garbage that doesn’t even work as exploitation, much less as psychological horror or social commentary. ” – Eric D. Snider (GeekNation)

My take:

I want to believe that Knock Knock isn’t as bad as the critics are slamming it for because I think the premise is cleverly unusual. So I remain cautiously optimistic, hoping that Eli Roth can dish something out more energetic and vibrant like Cabin Fever and Hostel rather than The Green Inferno. RENT IT!

No one asked for a Peter Pan origin story, and the marketing is so terrible that I think it’s going to turn away parents. The Walk is getting a wide release in 2D, but last weekend it didn’t fair that well in IMAX 3D to begin with. I don’t think there’s enough enthusiasm for a man that people have hardly heard about. Which is unfortunate because The Walk has a lot to offer. The rest of this weeks releases are all limited and hardly have enough screens to compete with the wide releases. All that’s left is the tremendous love for The Martian. Suffice it to say, Matt Damon still has the charisma that people love and the story is too captivating not to enjoy. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:

Winner: The Martian

What will you be watching this weekend? What did you think of the current releases? Tell us in the comment section below.

Movie synopses courtesy of and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoes

Top 7 San Diego Film Festival Picks [2015 Features]

With the festival circuit well underway, this week I am headed to the San Diego Film Festival. Spanning only five days, September 30 through October 4, the SDFF may not be one of the larger, more recognized festivals, but in years past it has been host to some solid Oscar contenders. Within the last three years alone the SDFF has shown 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County, Wild, Whiplash, Silver Linings Playbook, and The Imitation Game.

With so many feature films packed within a short amount of time, I’ve picked out seven of my top picks that I’m looking forward to seeing at this year’s San Diego Film Festival:

Mississippi Grind San Diego Film Festival 2015

Mississippi Grind (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck) Rated R [108 min] – Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with younger charismatic poker player, Curtis, in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what’s been lost. Starring Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Yvonne Landry, and Anthony Howard

There’s been some great buzz for Mississippi Grind since its debut at Sundance earlier this year. Both Ryan Reynolds (2016’s Deadpool; The Voices; Self/Less) and Ben Mendelsohn (Slow West; Netflix’s Bloodline) have been putting out solid work within the past year, and I think it’s the camaraderie between their characters that will really bring enjoyment to moviegoers. Not only does Mississippi Grind involve gambling, but it’s also a road trip movie, which puts a nice spin on both niche genres. [Watch the trailer]

Mississippi Grind will be playing on Friday [10/2] at 3:00 pm at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.

I Smile Back San Diego Film Festival 2015

I Smile Back (Adam Salky) Rated R [85 min] – Laney Brooks does bad things. Married with kids, she takes the drugs she wants, sleeps with the men she wants, disappears when she wants. Now, with the destruction of her family looming, and temptation everywhere, Laney makes one last desperate attempt at redemption. Starring Sarah Silverman, Josh Charles, and Thomas Sadoski

I like seeing Sarah Silverman tackling roles outside her regular comedic wheelhouse. Her performance in Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz was jarring for all the right reasons. It’s when actors take these kinds of chances, to push themselves beyond their limits, is when real movie magic happens. The tone of I Smile Back comes across really heavy, but I believe Silverman is up to the task from what I’ve seen in previews. [Watch the Trailer]

I Smile Back will be playing on Friday [10/2] at 5:00 pm at the Arclight UTC theater and Saturday [10/3] at 8:30 pm at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.

Meadowland San Diego Film Festival 2015

Meadowland (Reed Morano) Rated R [105 min] – In the hazy aftermath of an unimaginable loss, Sarah and Phil come unhinged, recklessly ignoring the repercussions. Phil starts to lose sight of his morals; Sarah takes off on a potentially disastrous journey, falling deeper into her own fever dream. Starring Olivia Wilde, Giovanni Ribisi, Luke Wilson, Ty Simpkins. Juno Temple, Elisabeth Moss, and John Leguizamo

Another weighty drama – I promise not all these picks are dreary and bleak! – it’s again the lead performance that intrigues me more than anything else. Olivia Wilde (Drinking Buddies; Alpha Dog; Her) is a wonderful actress who hasn’t had a chance to shine yet. I think Meadowland will give her the opportunity to, especially with such a terrific supporting cast. [Watch the Trailer]

Meadowland will be playing on Friday [10/2] at 8:00 pm at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.

Goosebumps San Diego Film Festival 2015

Goosebumps (Rob Letterman) Rated PG [103 min] – A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R.L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Greendale, Maryland. Starring Jack Black, Odeya Rush, and Halston Sage

It’s not often you see a family-friendly flick at traditional film festivals, which is why I am tickled with the idea that the SDFF chose Goosebumps as one of their features. My expectations are very, very low due to the shoddy special effects seen in the trailers and the goofiness of it all, but sometimes silly movies like these can surprise you. I loved reading R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books growing up and the film reminds me of Jumanji, so I’m letting nostalgia get the best of me here. [Watch the Trailer]

Goosebumps will be playing on Saturday [10/3] at 2:30 pm at the Arclight Theater UTC.


Victoria San Diego Film Festival 2015

Victoria (Sebastian Schipper) Unrated [138 min] – While on holiday in Berlin, a young woman finds her flirtation with a local guy turn potentially deadly as their night out with his friends reveals its secret: the four men owe someone a dangerous favor that requires repaying that evening. Starring Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, and Franz Rogowski

Looking to make Birdman seem like child’s play, Victoria is the latest attempt in presenting a story in a single take. Cruising through the awards circuit, this Germanic film is scorching with praise for its innovation and intensity. From the concept to the buzz to the plot, that’s enough to get me on board. And the fact that the run time is longer than Birdman and still manages to captivate audiences is quite impressive. [Watch the Trailer]

Victoria will be playing on Saturday [10/3] at 7:30 pm at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.

Moments of Clarity San Diego Film Festival 2015

Moments of Clarity (Stev Elam) Unrated [97 min] – A repressed agoraphobic’s daughter meets a hardened pastor’s daughter, and while escaping their homes to attend the annual church youth group jamboree they discover their worlds aren’t what they once thought they were. Starring Lyndsy Fonseca, Kristin Wallace, Eric Roberts, and Marguerite Moreau

If you’re looking for a more adult romp, Moments of Clarity might be right up your alley. With hints of a semi faith-based story, there’s a certain coming-of-age vibe that I’m feeling introduces a unique perspective. I’m a fan of Lyndsy Fonseca’s work in Kick-Ass and Agent Carter, so seeing her in a starring role catches my attention. Moments of Clarity has been making waves on the indie-circuit too, which says to me that there is more to this movie than meets the eye. [Watch the Trailer]

Moments of Clarity will be playing on Saturday [10/3] at 1:00 pm and Sunday [10/4] at 4:00 pm, both screenings at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.

Surprise Spotlight Movie San Diego Film Festival 2015 copy

Surprise Spotlight Film – Last year, the SDFF surprised festival goers with Whiplash. And if my sleuthing proves correct, this year’s Surprise Spotlight Film will be yet another huge Oscar contender. I won’t spoil the surprise, but this film was the talk of the town at TIFF.

The Surprise Spotlight Film will be playing on Saturday [10/3] at 6:30 pm at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.