Flix At :48

Thursdays at 4:48 p.m.

Each week UPR’s Film Guru Casey T. Allen joins us for Flix at :48.

Tune in Thursday afternoons at 4:48 during All Things Considered for Casey’s reviews of the latest movie releases from Tinseltown.

Miss Bala

Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin TV series) plays a Mexican-American woman living in current-day Los Angeles whose innocence transforms into determined survival. After escaping an attack of bullets in a Tijuana nightclub, she's abducted by members of the Mexican drug cartel and forced to carry out their plans of drug trafficking and murder. 

Glass Movie

Indian-American director M. Night Shyamalan (The Visit, 2015) is at it again with another psychological thriller packed with the tension of boiled linguine and the flavor of skim milk. 

If Beale Street Could Talk is a moving and vivid love story of 2 young people in 1960s Harlem whose love becomes strained when the man (Stephan James, Race, 2016) is arrested and jailed for a crime he didn't commit, while the woman (gorgeous newcomer Kiki Layne) tries to work with a lawyer to prove her partner's innocence. 

I did not watch a newly released film this week. Instead, I watched Eighth Grade, an adorable comedy released back in August of 2018 (which first premiered at Sundance) and now available through your personal movie streaming or delivery service. 



Vice is a biographical film that chronicles the life and career of Dick Cheney, who has often been named by historians as the most powerful Vice President in U.S. history. 

IMP Awards

I’m so lucky to have seen this film. It has the perfect balance of history, emotion, intrigue and comedy.

IMP Awards

It’s not often I watch a movie that feels like it was made for me. Boy Erased is such a movie. Based on a memoir of the same name by Garrard Conley first published in 2016, Boy Erased tells the story of a teenage boy in a devout Baptist family who comes out as gay to his parents and is then enrolled in a conversion therapy program to cure him of his attraction to men.


When a professional, black piano player hires a white nightclub bouncer to drive him on a 2-month concert tour through the Deep South in 1962, an awkward road trip turns into a journey of sobering self-discovery. 

Creed 2

Creed II is a sequel to the hit drama Creed from 2015 that was directed by Ryan Coogler (Black Panther, 2018). This sequel again pairs famous boxing champion Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone, Escape Plan, 2013) with his protégé Adonis Johnson, the son of one of Rocky’s greatest rivals, Apollo Creed. 


Once in a while a movie comes along that defies categorization. Being part war drama, part horror mystery, part action frenzy, Overlord is such a movie. It’s also difficult to categorize because it’s completely insane.


Bohemian Rhapsody is a half musical half biographical film about the rock band Queen and its rise to fame in the 1970s and 80s with particular attention on the life of the band’s lead singer Freddy Mercury. Born as Farrokh Bulsara to traditional parents from India who immigrated to London, Freddie Mercury’s story as a bold, risk-taking visionary is one that will inspire and fascinate audiences, despite this film smoothing over many rough edges of the band’s life.


Jonah Hill has been an established actor in Hollywood for the past 10 years known mostly for comedies like Superbad (2007), Cyrus (2010), 21 Jump Street (2012), and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). Mid90s is Jonah Hill's first time as director and screenwriter of a full-length feature film, and it completely transported me. 

The Hate U Give

When a black teenage girl witnesses her black friend unlawfully shot to death by a police officer, she is forced to confront complicated, adult issues of identity, violence, and racism in her hometown. This film is based on a young adult novel of the same title written by Angie Thomas and published in 2017. The novel also spent time as a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

First Man

Film critic Roger Ebert is quoted saying, “It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it.” And this sentiment is echoed beautifully in First Man. Instead of being a dramatic crescendo proclaiming the unstoppable force of American patriotism, this film is a patient, introspective, quiet exploration of Neil Armstrong’s life; an ordinary man who lands in extraordinary circumstances leading Apollo 11, the first manned spacecraft to the moon in 1969.

A Star is Born is a remake of a well-known story that’s been told in 3 previous Hollywood films all with the same title. First in 1937 with Janet Gaynor, in 1954 with Judy Garland, and in 1976 with Barbra Streisand. This 2018 version has Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, 2014) playing an established rock star who meets a working-class waitress (played by Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel, 2015-2016) who has her own hopes of singing stardom. 

I don't understand who thought this movie was a good idea, and I don't understand why anyone involved with this movie thought it was funny. With comedy stars Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish leading this film, it had potential to be funny and charming. Kevin Hart (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, 2017) and Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip, 2017) are both very successful stand-up comedians, and deservedly so. 

This newly released version of Life Itself is an emotional and touching drama about 3 generations of 2 separate families, one in New York City and one in Spain, and how these disparate families cross paths and influence each other’s lives. Through milestones of death, birth, love, mental illness, and separation, the film incessantly reminds us that each person is precious, and the directions of people’s lives can take surprising turns.

When a happy wife and mother in current day Los Angeles sees her husband and 10-year-old daughter killed in a drive-by shooting, her life takes a nasty turn. It becomes an even greater tragedy when the justice system allows the murderers in the drive-by shooting to go free. Five years later this broken, fragile, widowed woman resurfaces in L.A. with a lot of weapons, a new attitude, and a new haircut to exact her revenge on the criminals who took her family.

'A Simple Favor' Movie Review with Casey

Sep 20, 2018

A Simple Favor is a stylish mystery film based on the novel of the same name by Darcey Bell that was published only last year. When overzealous, nerdy single mother Stephanie (Anna Kendrick, Pitch Perfect) befriends another mother Emily (Blake Lively, The Shallows) in her suburban Connecticut neighborhood, Stephanie is quickly enamored with her new friend’s life of crisp business suits, an expensive mansion, and delicious cocktails. But when Emily goes missing, an awkward friendship of afternoon chats transforms in police interviews, dark family secrets, and a dead body.

  Operation Finale is a historical thriller based on the true story centered on a group of government agents from Israel in 1960 who track down and apprehend Adolph Eichmann, a leading Nazi official who organized the Holocaust and then fled to Argentina under a different identity after WWII. 

When an ordinary, underappreciated housewife in working-class Connecticut receives a jigsaw puzzle as a birthday gift, she realizes she has a talent for completing them. While a thousand piece puzzle might take you or me days to complete, this woman can finish one in only a couple of hours. After discovering this strange unexpected gift, the shy housewife slowly ventures outside her sheltered domestic world, partners with a fellow puzzle enthusiast, and starts practicing for a national jigsaw puzzle competition.

Alpha is a PG-13 adventure film taking place 20,000 years ago roughly during the Paleolithic or Mesolithic era. During this last Ice Age, a young man becomes separated from his tribe on a dangerous buffalo hunt and struggles to find his way home through the prehistoric wilderness. Through hunting, healing his wounds, learning to build a fire, and befriending an injured wolf, this young man’s survival might be just within his reach.

After watching this movie, I felt like I needed to rush to the Logan Public Library and start reading an Oliver Sacks book in an effort to replenish the brain cells I lost from watching this movie. 

This volcanic eruption of action, intensity, and hyper-masculinity is the sixth Mission Impossible film with Tom Cruise, the previous one being Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation from 2015. I don’t think I need to explain anything about the plot here since it’s basically the same contents of a Mission Impossible movie but mixed up in a different arrangement. There’s a team of good guys, spies with mysterious identities, government offices, and a bunch of plutonium ready to blow up the earth.

I thought this movie was going to be Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again…Off a Cliff. But to my relief, this sequel to the 2008 movie musical is not a complete train wreck.