Movie Review: Dear Zachary: A letter to a Son about His Father

Grade: A+

By Trevor

I am not one to write reviews. I normally don’t have the attention span nor the memory needed to deliver what I believe to be an accurate portrayal of how I felt about a movie. That being said, Dear Zachary is one of the most engrossing documentary (or films for that matter) that I have ever seen.

Directory Kurt Kuenne began making this movie as a tribute to his childhood friend, Andrew Bagby, a man who was allegedly murdered by his ex-girlfriend. We learn that the suspect, Shirley Turner, was pregnant with Bagby’s son. The doc then transforms into a way for Kuenne to tell Zachary, the child, about the father he will never know.

Throughout the film, friends and family of Andrew are interviewed and describe the man they all continue to hold in very high regard. Most noticeably, Andrew’s parents Kate and David speak about their son and their attempt to gain custody of their grandson. The two are the epitome of love and loss.

This documentary is the most emotionally powerful film I have ever seen. It leads you through sorrow and sympathy to downright disgust and anger. This film is beautiful, inspiring, and gut-wrenching all at the same time without being too over-the-top.

The scene that really got to me was (no spoiler) when the narrator, Kuenne, broke down while describing an incident late in the film. I really wish to say more but I believe that in doing so, I would be robbing you of such an emotional experience.

This is as real as it gets and I can’t recommend this film enough. I will be honest, it is difficult to get through at times, but hold out to finish this beautifully heartbreaking film.

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Movie Review: A Town Called Panic

Review By: Matthew Kerwin

Grade: A

“OHHHHHH, NO!!!!!!”

Who needs logic when you can have panic? I just watched the craziest, pointless,dumbest movie to date, and loved every minute of it. This film was brilliant!

A Town Called Panic is a French stop animation film from directors Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar a Belgian duo that bring this charming story to life. The film has no real plot structure or sense of direction. The town itself is always in a sense of, forgive me if you will, “panic”. The three main characters are Cowboy,Indian and Horse. Everyone in the town acts like incompetent children except Horse, who seems to be the sensible adult . Imagine as if a child decided to play with some action figures and created an imaginary world for their playground. That’s what A Town Called Panic would be like. All of the characters, except Horse move around on little platforms much like the plastic army men are positioned on. This doesn’t prove to be a problem though, because they all seem to get around fine sans any difficulties.

Without giving much of the plot away(as if there really is any) it’s Horse’s birthday so Indian, Cowboy and the rest of the town throw him a surprise birthday party. After the party, one absurd thing happens after another and the movie keeps you guessing until the final frame. If your looking to be entertained and want to watch a unique and delightful film a la Toy Story on speed, check out A Town Called Panic.

Movie Review: Brazil

Review by: Matthew Kerwin

Grade: B+

After watching Inception this past weekend it reminded me of another great dreamscape esque film known as Brazil, a surrealist nightmare from the mid 1980’s.

Brazil comes from the chaotic mind of Terry Gilliam. It tells the tale of a man known as Sam Lowry played wonderfully by Jonathan Pryce. Lowry is a shy and timid clerk that keeps to himself and has a boring job in a totalitarian society dominated not by people but machines.

Lowry has a vivid imagination despite being surrounded and controlled by machines that only compute right and wrong and see things only in black and white. Lowry is constantly at work in his cubicle daydreaming of a fantasy world where he is the hero and he must save a damsel in distress. Little does he know the woman of his dreams is avant-garde who plans a radical terrorist plot against the world. His imagination is the only way he can escape the new decaying society that he calls his home and his only place of solitude in a world that fails to stimulate and create. The film boast’s a wonderful cast that is rounded out by Robert De Niro as a vigilant repairman and Kim Griest as Pryce’s love interest.

Watching this film I kept thinking of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World because of its similar messages and undertones about futuristic bureaucratic societies.

The only negative note about the film would be the overall direction of the movie because some of the scenes run for too long. If you feel the urge to be entertained and also want something innovative and creative to watch, check out Brazil.

Movie Review: Inception

Review by: Matthew Kerwin

Grade- A+

From the director that brought us Memento, The Prestige and Batman, Christopher Nolan returns with his most daring piece of work to date. Inception is a film about the human mind, the concept of dreams and the subconscious and dreams within dreams layered in more dreams, sounds confusing, huh? It tells the story of a man, Dom Cobb a professional raider of information or extractor (Dicaprio) and his cohorts, Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) his associate, Adriadne (Page) a young and upcoming architect, Eames (Hardy) master of deception and Yusuf (Rao) the chemist. They are hired by a rich businessman Saito (Watanabe) to extract information from a rival corporate empire (Murphy).

To extract the information Cobb and his team have to perform what is called “Inception” (the birth of a new idea into another person’s mind, as if it was their own.) This task has never been done before and it is so risky that it puts Cobb and his team in jeopardy of losing their lives. Hence the question the viewer might ask. “Why would Cobb risk so much for another man’s gain?”

The answer is simple, because of the constant grief involving his wife Mal (Cotillard) and their two children, whom he is haunted by in his own dreams. Once he does this one last job he can return home to reunite with his family.

The film industry constantly comes up with washed up ideas, and remakes these days, but Nolan’s Inception is entirely original just like his feature length debut, The Following. The thing that is so fascinating is that his movies are so detailed, intricate, stimulating and challenging, but on a blockbuster scale. That is a rare treat in the modern world of cinema where everyone is paying to see explosions and CGI driven movies with no acting or talent behind them.

I really enjoyed this movie and cannot wait to see more of what Nolan has in store for us down the road. His career has blossomed ten fold since he rebooted The Batman franchise and he will have me holding my breath till his next film is announced.

Inception is Nolan’s Masterpiece. Go see this movie if you enjoy a mind-bending thriller, and don’t mind getting lost inside the dream’s of peoples minds. Be prepared its a clusterfuck.

Inception

Rated: PG-13

Written and Directed By: Christoper Nolan

Run time- 148 min

Movie Review: Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation
Reviewed by: Matthew Kerwin
Grade: A+
"Lost in Translation"

Lost in Translation is the sophomore effort from writer/director Sophia Coppola and it really was a joy to watch. I don’t know why it took me so long to see this movie but I finally got to see it and I’m glad I did. The plot seems simple but it’s far from it. Set in the city of Tokyo, Bob, brilliantly played by Bill Murray, is a movie star in town to shoot a whiskey commercial, while Charlotte, played by the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson, is a curious young woman tagging along with her workaholic photographer husband. Both crippled by insomnia and feeling a bit isolated in their new surroundings, Bob and Charlotte cross paths one night in the luxury hotel bar. This subtle meeting becomes a blossoming friendship. Bob and Charlotte are both dealing with personal and marital problems.  Without giving too much away the two of them wander through the streets of downtown Tokyo together, drifting from karaoke to drug bars, dinner, etc. They open up to each other so that they have someone to share a common bond with, so that they have a sense of escapism from their failing marriages and lives.

The directing and pacing of this movie are pitch perfect and the music sets the tone and keeps the viewer glued to the screen from start to finish. Bill Murray easily gives his best performance in this movie; the role of Bob was made for him. Giovanni Ribisi and the always hilarious Ana Faris co-star.

The final scene of the movie is one of my favorites in recent memory. It’s so simple yet intricate at the same time. Without telling you what it is you’ll know what I mean, when and if you watch this movie. I highly recommend it.

Movie Review: True Grit (1969)

Rating: A-

by Ryan

So, as most of y’all probably know, or hopefully know, the Coen Brothers are remaking this 1969 classic film. I had heard plenty about this film, I’d heard all about John Wayne and how he IS Rooster Cogburn, but when I heard the Coen Brothers were going back west to re-do this film my interest was aroused. I picked up the book and have been reading it for about a week now and it is awesome, everyone should go pick it up, the more I read the more excited I get to see this film. Anyways, this all led to me seeing the original film. Now, on to the review.

The plot is pretty simple: Mattie Ross (Kim Darby), a stubborn young woman sets out to find her fathers killer. She needs to find a U.S. Marshall with “true grit” to help her, so she finds the hard-nosed drunk Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne). They meet up with a Texas Ranger and set out to find the killer in the rough and tumble Indian Territory.

Along with John Wayne and Kim Darby, Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper are cast as outlaws. Without a doubt John Wayne makes the movie, his performance is epic and classic. Wayne won Best Actor at the Oscars that year. Robert Duvall gave a good performance as the outlaw ‘Lucky’ Ned Pepper. Kim Darby on the other hand seemed out of place with the great performances around her. The best way for me to explain the performance is amateur, she didn’t seem to really connect to the rest of the movie. Especially after reading some of the book, Darby didn’t really identify with the Mattie Ross in the book, she was too happy go lucky for the tone.

The landscapes and sweeping shots in this film are gorgeous. Director Henry Hathaway does an extraordinary job depicting the journey through Indian Territory to find the killer. The pacing he uses throughout builds until the final epic showdown between Cogburn and four outlaws in an open field. Look for this scene when you watch it, Cogburn takes the reigns in his mouth and rides like the wind, six shooter and repeating rifle in hand. You can’t help but cheer for the flawed hero.

This really is a movie you should go see, especially with the upcoming Coen Brothers film. Pick up the book, its a pretty quick read and a good bearing for what the new movie should be like. Be prepared, this is a ‘technicolor’ movie from the 1960’s and take that into consideration when watching the movie. Go rent this classic, now, then drop us a comment and let us know what you think!