casey allen

Joker the movie

Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix (The Sisters Brothers, 2018) gives his naturally idiosyncratic edge to the title role in this film offering a psychologically twisted and disarming origin story of Batman's greatest arch enemy. Phoenix plays an ordinary man working as a party clown with an unusual sense of humor and zero friends in a dirty, graffiti-covered Gotham city. The continuous violence, loneliness, and aloof neglect surrounding him gradually push him into an eternal carnival ride of madness that is progressively shaky, dangerous, revolutionary, and bloody. 

The Farewell movie

It's films like this that make me grateful for unique international voices who offer independent and genuine stories outside U.S. borders. Asian American writer-director Lulu Wang (Posthumous, 2014) entered this film in Sundance where it gained wider distribution and opened in limited release in July this year. 

Ad Astra movie

Something about space often entices filmmakers to pair the eternal vastness of the universe with the comparatively tiny insignificance of human life and relationships. Kind of like how my poor insignificant body always seems to be paired with the endless supply of pizza and nachos that are slowly destroying me. Past films that explore this dichotomy of small mankind with infinite space include Interstellar (2014) and Contact (1997). Ad Astra, a Latin phrase meaning "to the stars", is another epic space adventure with a consistent emotional trajectory. 

Brittany Runs A Marathon movie

First time feature film director Paul Downs Colaizzo has written a screenplay that is relatable, optimistic, and charming. A single woman struggling to get by in current-day New York City is driven to make more responsible choices in her life when she starts training for the New York City Marathon. 

It Chapter Two movie

Pennywise the murderous clown is back to rain fear onto small-town Maine in this sequel to the first theatrical It film from 2017. The group of children from the first film are now successful adults in this sequel all living apart from each other until one of them summons the group to return to their home town and fight against the evil that has resurfaced. 

The Peanut Butter Falcon movie

I've seen one of my favorite films of the year so far, and I hope more people go to the theater soon to watch this beautifully honest story. 

'Ready Or Not' Movie Review with Casey

Aug 30, 2019
Ready or Not the movie

Co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (V/H/S, 2012) have another entry in the canon of the horror/thriller genre that is one half Agatha Christie mystery and one half bloody hunting contest. An innocent bride marries into a super-rich family that have built their multi-generational fortune on board games. But instead of honeymoon bliss, the wedding night is a night of initiation for the new bride who is lured into a deadly game of hide and seek to follow an important family tradition.

The Kitchen movie

The Kitchen is centered on 3 women who's husbands are in the Irish mafia in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of 1970s New York City. When the husbands are arrested and sent to prison, these 3 women start managing parts of the family business at first to put food on the table for themselves and their children. But it doesn't take long for them to usurp the entire (or mostly entire) male-dominated leadership to control the whole operation of gangsters, debt collecting, intimidation, and murder.

Oscar-winner Hilary Swank (The Homesman, 2014) leads an all-star cast of wonderful performances as she plays a woman returning home to chilly Chicago to help take care of her mother battling dementia (played by a terrifically fragile Blythe Danner, Hearts Beat Loud, 2018). Swank's character also has to convince her staunch, bullheaded father (Robert Forster, London Has Fallen, 2016) to place her ailing mother in a special care facility. What They Had was first released in November 2018 and is now available on a personal movie viewing platform of your choice.

Despite the fatigued title, director Quentin Tarantino's (The Hateful Eight, 2015) 9th, full-length, mainstream film is an interesting and fond revisiting of 1960s California and a strange interpretation on a historical tragedy. 

The Lion King movie

Can you feel the love tonight? I mostly felt a fondness for vividly rendered African landscapes mixed with a teaspoon of nostalgia. Simba the lion is back in this live-action remake of the 1994 smash animated Disney film about growing up, death, destiny, and avenging your family. 

The Guilty movie

First of all, let me just say I saw the latest Marvel superhero movie Spiderman: Far From Home. It was fun, but the formula is getting painfully familiar and predictable. Thankfully, I watched another film this week: The Guilty which offers a story that is absorbing, inventive, and unpredictable. 

Midsommar movie

Up and coming director Ari Aster did a somewhat satisfactory job with his first full-length film, Hereditary, from 2018. So his second film Midsommar had promise to be a more succinct and less jumbled horror film about grief, family skeletons, and desperate measures. But instead of getting a delicious compact slice of cake, Midsommar turned out to be a 3-day-old, half-eaten Twinkie plucked out of the garbage and served on a scrap of cardboard. 

Yesterday movie

After an unexplained blackout sweeps the entire planet for 12 seconds, a belabored singer/songwriter in England (an awkward but relaxed Himesh Patel, Eastenders, 2007-2016) slowly discovers he's the only person alive who remembers The Beatles. 

Late Night movie

You know that feeling you get when you take your first bite of a delicious slice of pizza or your first gulp of an invigorating cocktail and you think, "I'm going to remember this"? That's how I felt after watching this film. 

Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix is a prequel in the series of X-Men superhero films that started in 2000 with the first movie titled X-Men. With this being the 10th film in the series, it's a strong reminder that not all chapters are good ones and not all entries in a saga are winners (much like my sex life). 

Rocketman movie

I'm happy to say this film is more than a concert from the past or a frivolous musical review. British director Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle, 2015) nicely blends reality and fantasy in this story of Elton John's formative years. 

Booksmart

I have seen the funniest film of 2019 so far. Actress Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy, 2010) makes her full-length feature directorial debut with a teen comedy that is a loud, irreverent, zippy whirlwind of friendship, alcohol, condom water balloons, and the elusive goal of having fun.

Poms


Diane Keaton (Morning Glory, 2010) plays a single retiree who begrudgingly moves out of her New York City apartment and into a retirement community in Georgia for active seniors. To capture some of her lost youth, and to annoy some of the established leaders of the well-groomed retirement community, she starts a cheerleading squad with some of her fellow female retirees. After enduring awkward rehearsals, riding in fancy golf carts, and bonding with unlikely sensitive teenagers, the cheerleaders learn to love themselves, their bodies, and their lives.

Journey's End is set almost entirely in a muddy, candle-lit trench in chilly northern France during World War I, and it explores the relationships and responsibilities of the British soldiers living in it. Based on a 1928 play by English playwright R.C. Sherriff, Journey's End was first adapted into a film in 1930 and has been adapted a few other times into films with different titles.

Long Shot movie

Comedy film director Jonathan Levine (50/50, 2011) manages to nicely mix raunchy humor, awkward attraction, and watered-down political ambition. Established comedic actor Seth Rogen (The Disaster Artist, 2017) plays an over-zealous political journalist who quits his job and finds himself recruited by the U.S. Secretary of State (a noble Charlize Theron, Atomic Blonde, 2017) as a speechwriter. But the Secretary of State happens to be the journalist's childhood babysitter he was in love with.

With a running time of over 3 hours, I thought I might need a colostomy bag to get through this film. But like many Marvel superhero films, it's a long ride but an entertaining one. 

The Curse of La Llorona movie

While watching this movie I started to get hungry since I hadn't yet eaten dinner. And my thoughts about what I might eat after this movie were more interesting to me than the movie I was watching.   

Pet Sematary

While watching this movie, I was not enveloped in the story as much as I was wondering why the producers of this film thought it was a good idea. 

Dumbo

As part of Disney Film Studios' path to taking over the world this year, with numerous films scheduled for release in the coming months, Dumbo is the studio's first mediocre step in this path for 2019. 

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