Currently browsing posts by Hannah Buchdahl.

Review: Profile

If you’re looking for a film that may actually play better on a desktop computer or laptop than in a theater, then look no further than Profile. The story takes place in the confines of a computer screen, which we all have intimate knowledge of these days. Video chats, Skype calls, bandwidth issues, posting cat pictures on Facebook and Instagram, juggling personal and professional accounts. You know the drill. Too bad Profile is being released in theaters first. It’s intriguing, but not compelling enough to warrant a theater experience, even if vaccinated. The film is based on a true story that I (as a former journalist) was vaguely familiar with, and it’s basically a thriller for geopolitical and journalism junkies.

Review: Wrath of Man

I’m sort of hit and miss when it comes to Guy Ritchie flicks. Wrath of Man falls somewhere in the middle of the road for me. The film is a hallmark Ritchie dark and stylish revenge thriller that follows a mysterious character nicknamed “H” (Jason Statham) who takes a job at a cash trucking company that moves hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles every week. It’s an English-language remake of a 2004 French thriller Le Convoyeur aka Cash Truck starring Jean Dujardin (The Artist). Wrath of Man is director Ritchie’s third remake, and his fourth collaboration with Statham. So if you’re a fan of Ritchie and/or Statham, you can’t go too wrong watching Wrath of Man, though brace yourself for a high degree of carnage.

Quickie Review: The Boy From Medellin

The Boy From Medellin is a documentary about a Colombian reggaeton superstar who I must confess I’d never heard of. Not really my jam (I had to look up ‘reggaeton’). So I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this documentary is most likely to appeal to the fan base of its Latin Grammy-winning star, Jose Alvaro Osorio Balvin, aka J Balvin. The film was shot over one week leading up to a highly-anticipated sold-out stadium show in Balvin’s hometown of Medellin. It turned out to be a pivotal week for Balvin — and his country — as the “Latin Spring” spread into Colombia, bringing a wave of anti-government protests into the streets.

Review: Four Good Days

Four Good Days is a movie about addiction and the toll that the cycle of rehab and relapse can take on relationships and family. We’ve seen it all before — many times in fact. And this one falls somewhere in the middle of the pack, buoyed by solid performances from Mila Kunis and Glenn Close as a mother and daughter navigating issues of trust and love, frustration and disappointment. It’s based on a true story by Pulitzer-Prize winning Washington Post writer Eli Saslow who co-wrote the screenplay with director Rodrigo García (Albert Nobbs, Mother and Child).  For the most part, Four Good Days sticks remarkably close to the narrative featured in the 2016 Post article.

Quickie Review: Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

“Sesame Street” is a timeless classic and this documentary helps explain why. Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street takes a deep dive into the heart and soul of the long-running children’s show, with a focus on its creators, including socially conscious television executive Joan Ganz Cooney, Sesame Workshop co-founder Lloyd Morrisett, writer/director Jon Stone and the name most people are familiar with, Muppets creator Jim Henson. Just as I learned a lot as a kid watching “Sesame Street,” I learned a lot watching this documentary, including how it got the name Sesame Street; the vital integration of music into the program; the very deliberate and trailblazing efforts to show diversity and reach inner-city kids; the crafting of the show’s curriculum, carefully cultivated by a team of professional educators and television writers; and the cast of characters on-camera and behind the scenes who became a family themselves. And who knew that Holly Robinson Peete’s father played the original “Gordon” on the show?!

Mainstream Chick’s Oscar Picks for 2021

UPDATE: In what I found to be a rather boring presentation of the awards, I ended up with a score of 16/23. Not too bad all things considered. It was a weird year in film – and life. I look forward to next year and hope it is filled with more joy – and music! -hb

Let’s just go ahead and make it official – my picks for the 93rd annual Academy Awards being handed out Sunday, April 25, 2021 after a long COVI-Delay. I discussed them all with my cinematic nemesis Charlie Juhl on a recent episode of “The Cinema Clash.” But just in case you missed it (wine wager and all) and/or haven’t filled out your own ballot yet… this may or may not help your chances of winning the remote office pool! I don’t know the order in which the awards will be announced, so I’m following the Oscars 2021 Play Along Ballot, except for Best Picture, which I’m saving for last. So, without further ado…

Review: Thunder Force

The latest action-adventure comedy from celebrity couple Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy is not exactly a Thunder Force to be reckoned with. It’s barely watchable. So don’t be fooled by its cute trailer and impressive roster of actors. Thunder Force is a dud that takes way too long to get to what might be considered the good stuff if you’re in a forgiving mood… and happen to have a Netflix account… and managed to find some escapist value in critical bombs like Superintelligence, Tammy, Life of the Party, and the The Boss — all starring McCarthy and co-written and/or directed by Falcone. Seems their talents are far better served by other people’s material. And Octavia Spencer? The Academy-Award winner seemed to have far more fun playing super bad in the 2019 creepy horror movie Ma, and that wasn’t exactly a film to write home about.  Here, she’s a newly-minted superhero out to save the world — or at least Chicago — from genetically-altered supervillains known as “miscreants”.

Review: Nobody

Don’t mess with ‘nobody’. He’s got skills – in a John Wick meets Taken sort of way. Nobody stars Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul,” The Post, Nebraska) as Hutch Mansell, a seemingly mundane, anti-confrontational dad stuck in a routine: go for a morning run, make breakfast for the family, punch a clock at work, eat dinner, make small talk with the wife and kids, go to bed. Repeat. Every day. No muss. No fuss. Living life under the radar…

Review: Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal

We’re all familiar with the celebrity-driven headlines: “Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman Busted for Paying Beaucoup Bucks to get their Kids into Prestige Colleges!” But they weren’t alone. Dozens of rich parents whose names you’ve never heard of were doing the same. All aided by a sleazebag named Rick Singer who built a lucrative career as an expert manipulator of a college admissions system all too eager to make exceptions and turn a blind eye – if the price was right. There’s plenty of blame and shame to go around.

Quickie Review: YES DAY

Who can say no to a YES DAY? This movie is as simple as its premise, and that’s okay. It’s family-friendly entertainment that gives adults and kids alike pause – and cause – to ponder the boundaries of responsibility, and the joys of embracing a ‘can-do’ mindset. Within reason.