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Thursday, January 29, 2015

The 26th Annual Notre Dame Student Film Festival- Jan. 29th, 30th, and the 31st, 2015

Greetings from Browning Cinema in Notre Dame, Indiana. This is my second time covering this glorious film festival. All in all, there were eleven films shown with running times ranging anywhere between 7 and 17 minutes in length. Many of them contained a prevalent hand-held, camera footage technique which I've always dug. Also, a host of many genres popped up but sadly no science fiction. Boo! Anyway, here are some of the highlights along with star ratings:

Cold Open * * * Stars
Collaborators: Brian Lach, Lesley Stevenson
-Not exactly sure what this thing was about but I give credit to filmmakers Lach and Stevenson for keeping my attention anyway. With tight editing and a techno-style film score, this is a quirky, fun little short concerning the aspect of writer's block (at least that's what the festival program said). Cold Open using the "Bend" as its go-to locale, could also be stated as being part silent film and part spy thriller. A nifty way to start things off. Of note: I met the director and the star of "Open" minutes before the lights went down. I should have gotten their deeper perspective before writing this review. Alas, still a solid three star rating.

Much Ado After School * * * Stars
Collaborators: Brian Lach, Nicole Sganga
-Wholly original documentary about some kids at a South Bend school who channel their inner Shakespeare. What threw me for a loop was that the back story of one of their fathers proved startling (he was a hardcore drug addict until he got straight). Overall, a harmless and mildly compelling affair.

The Night Out * * * 1/2 Stars
Collaborators: Mitchell Abraham, Zachary Ostapchenko, Weibo Chen
-The best entry in this year's festival. It looks as if it was made by a born filmmaker. Great camerawork, a little campy but severely eerie, The Night Out is about three drunk dudes who feel like crashing one last party. Bad move. They get more than they bargained for. Granted, this is a student flick that contains a sickening conclusion (and that's a good thing). It leaves you with the notion that everyone dies in the end. I've seen movies like this in House of 1000 Corpses, Open Water, and Creepshow. The Night Out triumphantly carries out the tradition.

Eat Ride Sleep * * * Stars
Collaborators: Mikey Nichols, Lauren Josephson
-Documentary that sort of reminded me of a TV movie from 1983 (The Terry Fox Story). In that film, a cancer patient (with one leg) runs across Canada. In Eat Ride Sleep, a recovering cancer patient rides his bike (cross country) from Florida to California. The bike rider in question, is 9-year old C.J. Burford. He is quite mature for his age and wise beyond his years. His unique charisma makes this thing work. Oh and look for local news footage of his plight in little snippets here and there. This is American Flyers for young tykes.

Metta Johnson's Video Portfolio * * * Stars
Collaborators: Will Neal, Nick Desmone
-Call it a parody. Call it a spoof. Call it something that Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler would have done in their early days. Anyway, this is an eight minute short pertaining to failed (and fictional) film scribe, Metta Johnson. Profanity laden and enhanced with fantasy elements, Metta Johnson's Video Portfolio is stupid funny, but it's good stupid funny.

Isn't It Pretty to Think So * * * Stars
Collaborators: John Rodgers, Carleigh Coyne
-Wasn't keen on the ending but everything up to that point was pitch perfect. It's about family dysfunction with twentysomething Owen coming back to his kin via a stint in drug rehab. It looked like half of this tension-filled short was filmed in Granger, Indiana while the other half was obviously shot in Chicago. The acting is decent (especially the guy playing Owen who had some searing screen presence here) making Isn't It Pretty to Think So the best ensemble of ND Fest 2015. Of note: I loved the closing shot with Chicago's Navy Pier in the distant background. Just think a strong fade out with veritable lens adjustment.

Curry & Erin * * * 1/2 Stars
Collaborators: Eric O'Donnell, Maureen Gavin
-Documentary about an ALS patient and her husband of 27 years who faithfully cares for her. Curry & Erin is gut wrenching and at times, difficult to watch. From my understanding, this is one of the worst diseases a human being could get. The result: Somber and effective but could have used actual interviews from its subjects. A minor oversight though.

Reparation * * * Stars
Collaborators: Anthony Patti, Bryan Dimas
-Met one of the stars (Joe Roman) of this horror thriller in which the look reminded me of a cross between a Nine Inch Nails music video and one of the Saw movies. Creepy and disturbing stuff.

J2K * * * Stars
Collaborators: Grace Carini, Hunter Speese
-Not sure what to make of this comedy short. It's I guess about a woman giving birth and having no idea why or how she got pregnant. Look for plenty of tongue-in-cheek overtones, a picture book with naughty, sexual innuendos, and an elderly woman brandishing leather and a whip. Crazy.

Written by Jesse Burleson

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Boy Next Door 2015 * 1/2 Stars

The Boy Next DoorDirector: Rob Cohen
Year: 2015
Rated R
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett

It's just weird seeing Jennifer Lopez staked out at the Academy Awards or the Golden Globes. She's never been nominated for anything, never been in a flick that could be deemed critically noteworthy, and hasn't won any kind of accolades pertaining to the world of acting. But there she is in a skimpy dress, hobnobbing with the likes of Meryl Streep, and avoiding various ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends (you just know that either Ben Affleck or P. Diddy is probably in the audience). After seeing her latest, faulty cadaver (2015's The Boy Next Door), someone should have told her to hightail it to another awards ceremony, the almighty Razzies (if you didn't already know, this is recognition of the worst in film).

Now from the opening hint of a teaser trailer to the obviousness of the camera panning down to J. Lo's famous tush, it's clear that she's parodying herself in the worst way here. It's like she's inviting her "Jenny from the Block" persona to a whole new level of surmised scrutinization. Anyway, Lopez wears enough lip gloss to power a small country in her role as Claire Peterson. In The Boy Next Door, Claire is a high school teacher, a responsible mother, and a woman who is separated from her cheating husband (John Corbett in the thankless role as Garrett Peterson). Claire lives with her son Kevin (played by Ian Nelson) and trades barbs with vice principal Vicky Lansing (the annoying, token girlfriend who doesn't have a life of her own and is played by Cameron Diaz look-alike, Kristin Chenoweth). From the beginning of "Boy Next Door", Claire discovers that she has two neighbors. They are a dying uncle and his nineteen year-old, great-nephew Noah Sandborn (played by Ryan Guzman). As the Lopez character begins to take Noah in, befriend him, and let the young buck hang out with her son, she actually partakes in bad judgement by having a brief romantic tryst with him (kind of like art imitating life, huh J. Lo). She then rejects his later advances causing Noah to make her life a living hell. He stalks her, harasses her, actually enrolls in her English class (he's obviously too old for high school, strange), and exhibits some seriously violent behavior. Meanwhile, Claire doesn't bother to go to the police and Noah's uncle is oblivious to his great-nephew's shenanigans (you'd think he'd know by now if the young punk had some psychotic tendencies).

The Boy Next Door as a movie, is artificially staunch. Rob Cohen directs and his results are nothing less than uninspired (look for a scene where some poor audio dubbing is used, who would have thunk it). He veers away from his more complex and flashy work with The Fast and the Furious to churning out bad camp that resembles something more along the lines of his 2000 vehicle, The Skulls. He wants to give his audience a modern day Fatal Attraction. Instead, he fashions ninety-one minutes without any sense of depth not to mention a laughable ending that has 2006's Swimfan written all over it (its been a long time since that dud's been mentioned). I mean, it's hard for me to figure out why this thing was even made. It's not based on a book, or a true story, or anything. I guess it was relegated on a concept from the mind of screenwriter Barbara Curry. Some concept. "Boy Next Door" is not entertainingly bad, it's just bad period. It takes about twenty minutes for antagonist Noah to go all habitual psycho and Guzman plays him by overacting blandly (I didn't think this was possible). You as the audience member, are supposed to fear his reluctant baby face but you just silently end up laughing at him.

Oh and what would a disposable January release be without some movie cliches. "Boy Next Door's" got em' like the adage where the cops show up late after all the killings and violent, physical confrontations have already occurred. And you gotta have the obligatory jump scares via a screeching cat plus a villain who just won't stay down (Noah gets hit over the head multiple times, stabbed in the eye, and kicked in the nards but just keeps a comin'). About forty-five minutes into "Boy Next Door", Noah fractures a bully's skull, gets expelled from high school, and yet Claire becomes reprimanded by the school's principal for grabbing his arms in the gymnasium (ah huh). If characters are manipulated by the mechanics in the script, then The Boy Next Door would resonate as the be-all end-all (the actor who plays Claire's son Kevin changes his personality on a dime but then again, he is a lost teenager).

In hindsight, you can tell that this is strictly a J. Lo marketed affair. She produced it, she stars in it, and it's catered to her aura (if you wanna call it that). She's not a horrible enchantress by any means but if she continues to churn out crud like this, she'll always be a bridesmaid, never a bride when it comes to actress recognition. Oh wait, she has been a bride three other times before but that's a whole different arena. Oops.

Of note: If you consider 2002's Enough to be intolerable (another J. Lowdown), then The Boy Next Door certainly won't do you any favors. You've been warned.

Written by Jesse Burleson

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

No Good Deed 2014 * 1/2 Stars

No Good DeedDirector: Sam Miller
Year: 2014
Rated PG-13
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, Leslie Bibb

No Good Deed is trashy, B movie schlock. It has an interesting twist at the end that comes too little too late. There are also some scary jolts in it that could be deemed effective in the realm of home invasion genre types. But when things go bump bump in the night soliciting artificial scares (a tree falls through a window along with multiple car alarms going off), it's hard to garner a recommendation. When the main character in peril says the cliched phrases, "why are you doing this?" or "you don't have to do this", it's also hard to garner a recommendation. And finally, when the cops show up immediately after the film's violent, confrontational conclusion (they just can't seem to arrive on time), it's hard to garner a recommendation. Just call "Deed" 2014's version of Unlawful Entry with Idris Elba getting his Ray Liotta-on for eighty-four short yet tedious minutes. Critics tried to warn audiences to stay away from this Screen Gems release. Result: Its box office take was pretty solid. Hmm, I guess I'll start looking for a new career now. Darn it!

With an ending that reminded me of 1992's The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (Rebecca De Mornay ain't the only one who's getting thrown through a window these days) and a title that I initially thought was a sequel to a Tyler Perry movie, No Good Deed begins by focusing on hardened criminal Colin Evans (played by Idris Elba). He's currently serving time for manslaughter. But from the opening shot, you know that he is headed to a parole hearing only to receive a profuse refusal (good judgement by the board members if you ask me). Cut to a few minutes later and he's eluding police officers who attempt to take him back to prison. Evans then steals a car, drives to Atlanta, and proceeds to strangle (and kill) his ex-girlfriend. After committing this heinous murder, Evans drives around aimlessly only to get involved in an unfortunate car accident. Seeking shelter and a tow truck, he then walks over to the house of Terri Granger (played by Taraji P. Henson). She's a lonely, rich housewife with two kids, a lavish home, and a husband who is always away (woman's intuition tactics aside, I could tell that said hubby was easily cheating on her and I'm a dude). So I guess you can figure out what happens next. Terri plays the part of the good Samaritan, invites Colin into her house, and then all hell breaks loose. Of note: The twist I mentioned in the first paragraph of this review involves Terri's husband and Colin's girlfriend. As the proceedings move along and things come to a violently bleak climax, you'll connect the dots without any trouble at all (just think revenge or the concept of payback I guess). Oh and as mentioned earlier with the Unlawful Entry comparisons, Henson's character has the token best friend in Meg (Leslie Bibb) who is man crazy and who also gets attacked by Elba's Evans. This is similar to the plot workings in "Entry" where the Madeline Stowe character had a close relationship with her best buddy played by Deborah Offner (as Penny).

Anyway, based on various trailers, I've always had high expectations when venturing into a home invasion thriller (2007's Vacancy looked pretty solid and 2008's The Strangers seemed enticing). My excitement and variance however, have been trampled on lately and No Good Deed is "no" exception. Let's be honest, "Deed" projects some obviousness when it comes to foreseeing a series of bad occurrences that are about to happen. For one thing, it harbors the notion that it's raining outside (check). Then you have the stranded motorist who is led into the house (check). Plus, you gotta have a scene where the phone lines are cut and the knives are missing for self defense (double check). Oh and never cater to the needs of a convicted felon in an armored car (with special fighting skills, check that).

"Deed" also contains actors/actresses in it that should know better. Taraji Henson has been nominated for an Oscar and is starting to emerge as an actual movie star. Why would she agree to appear in something so one note, so generic? As for Idris Elba, well he dons facial hair and a hideous smirk to fashion a character that is virtually the opposite of the nice guy he portrayed in 2009's Obsessed. You can even call his Colin a new breed of Jason Voorhees. He gets stabbed, bitten, hit over the head four times (with hard objects), kicked in the testicles, shot a couple of times, and survives a nasty car crash. Most human beings wouldn't get through this carnage. But a thriller wouldn't be a thriller without the antagonist constantly coming at you, minimalistic bruises and all.

In conclusion, with its rating being a generous PG-13 (there are two graphic murder sequences in "Deed" that would suggest otherwise) and ho hum direction by Sam Miller that involves amateurish fast cutting, No Good Deed as a tired, routine crime thriller, is just "no good". Right before its closing credits, Henson's character gets a new hairdo and starts a new life (small spoiler alert). As for myself, I wish I could have gotten an hour and a half of mine back. Ouch!

Written by Jesse Burleson

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Wedding Ringer 2015 * 1/2 Stars

The Wedding RingerDirector: Jeremy Garelick
Year: 2015
Rated R
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Kevin Hart, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Josh Gad

Same Kevin Hart movie, same old Kevin Hart. That's the vibe I got from watching The Wedding Ringer (regrettably, my first review of anything released in 2015). As usual, Hart's a fast talker, Mr. improv if you will. But he hasn't been likable since the original Think Like A Man and now his life as an actor has reached its torrid expiration date. Overexposure perhaps? Maybe. But it's not all his fault. "Ringer" is bad with or without him. It's crass, classless, offensive, and mostly unfunny. I mean you do laugh a few times only to leave the theater slapping yourself for doing so. Granted, this is the type of lame comedy that critics refer to as "January Junk". It might be one step above of an Adam Sandler vehicle (that ain't saying much) but still belongs in the yard with other collective, scrap heapings.

Written by the guy who penned 2006's The Break Up (Jay Lavender) and featuring a bachelor party scene where its characters dodge 90 mile-an-hour fastballs shot from a batting cage pitching machine (remind me as to how this is fun?), The Wedding Ringer focuses on future husband Doug Harris (The Internship's Josh Gad). He's a little out of his league in the looks department. However, he's well off financially and he's snagged a gorgeous fiancee in Gretchen Palmer (played by Kaley-Cuoco Sweeting). Here's the problem though: He doesn't have any friends, just long lost acquaintances. Sadly, they either don't have time to attend his wedding or just flat out don't want to. The solution: Hire a best man guru in Jimmy Callahan (played by Kevin Hart who also goes by the alias, "Bic Mitchum"). He provides best man services (along with finding a hefty amount of groomsmen) for a price. After it's all over, everyone goes their separate ways and Bic's fictional persona I guess, dies three months later. In retrospect, this is a business transaction where Hart's Bic is to pose as Doug's long time bud. The two break the rules by actually forming a small bond. Hart's performance however (or maybe it's the script), suggests that he's not the type of dude you'd want to be friends with. He's kind of an uppity a-hole to be honest.

By the way, did I mention that the acting in "Ringer" is mediocre to awful? Well the groomsmen are comprised of dudes I've never even heard of (unknowns in the form of Jorge Garcia, Dan Gill, and Colin Kane to name three). They're the types of nincompoops who reminded me of Leo Dicaprio's stock broker gang in The Wolf of Wall Street. The difference is that those twerps in Scorsese's 2013 odyssey could actually act where as the guys in "Ringer" were probably picked off the street by director Jeremy Garelick. As for Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Garelick does her no favors by promoting an underdeveloped role via her Penny character in The Big Bang Theory (you know the hot vixen who's been burned in jock guy relationships and instead decides to get with the nerd because he's well, safe). She plays her role completely straight and not only that, she fades in and out of the proceedings to the point where it's almost transparent. And as expected, Kaley's Gretchen may be smoking hot but Gad's Doug Harris is way too good for her anyway. Speaking of Gad, he probably gives the best performance out of everybody. There's a certain vulnerability that he brings. His character is likable and an all around good guy. As you watch "Ringer", you wonder why he would actually stoop down a level to yearn to be friends with Hart's Callahan. Sadly, Kevin Hart is playing Kevin Hart once again here and he mistakes comedic timing for acting like a self-impudent jerk (I don't know, what do you call a dude who charges $20,000 a wedding to be a pseudo best man? Talk about robbing someone blind).

Moving right along. Here are things to look out for if you actually want to take in a viewing of "Ringer" (let's hope I saved you from that discretion): There's the grandmother of Kaley Cuoco's bride played by 88 year-old Cloris Leachman. She's does the cliched thing by being the old timer who says dirty words (Leachman blurts out the p-word just to warn you). She also displays the obligatory Cloris Leachman look (befuddled is the term I would use), has maybe four lines total, and gets set on fire by accident (isn't that precious). She's definitely a long way from The Last Picture Show (what a shame). Another thing to look out for is a scene where Josh Gad's character gets his genitals licked and then bitten by a dog (at his bachelor party). It's the type of gross out scene that's been done before. It's tired, it's not really funny and we've all witnessed the fake, prosthetic penis in movies past tense (think A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas as an example and you'll know what I'm talking about). Finally, there's the sequence where Josh's fake groomsmen take on the bride's father and his friends in a gridiron football game. This is really nauseating stuff and it's freaking boring. The old timer football team is comprised of cameos including Joe Namath (making weird gyrations with his body and spewing nasty insults) and Ed "Too Tall" Jones. Why these guys agreed to appear in this thing is anyone's guess. Maybe their million dollar houses are being foreclosed upon and they needed the extra paycheck. There's one explanation I can think of. Oh and it was an insult to hear certain musical themes from other movies being filtered in during the muddy football tryst. I'm not that offended that they included The Karate Kid's "You're The Best Around". I'm more ticked off that they actually blared the climatic film score from one of my favorite sports movies of all time, Rudy. Sacrilege I tell you. Pure sacrilege.

In conclusion, it's clear that The Wedding Ringer kind of rips off Wedding Crashers (everything from the awkward dinner table scene to the mild twist of an ending to the fake sort of banality to the romantic subplot between Hart and Kaley's character's sister that never goes anywhere). It also channels the whole Hitch thing where Josh Gad is in the Kevin James role and Kevin Hart is in the Will Smith role (and no I'm not stereotyping). What's ultimately despairing is that this film sometimes finds a soft center side between its characters along with peaking into the altitude of their proposed friendship. Too bad things are under minded with unpleasant gross out humor and forced physical comedy that seems just for show. Truth be told, this "Ringer" is a fraudulent substitute and totally not in a good way.

Written by Jesse Burleson

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Top Ten Movie Picks for 2014

Image result for nightcrawler movie poster1. Nightcrawler * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "In conclusion, with superior yet far fetched direction from Dan Gilroy and a social commentary that will cause your jaw to pretty much slam to the ground, Nightcrawler is the type of dark, L.A. based calamity that will "crawl" into one's head and stay there. It's horrifically brilliant because its main lead (Gyllenhaal) is astute in the most creepy, habitual way." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 95%

Image result for birdman movie poster2. Birdman * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic:  "Director Alejandro G. Inarritu's latest is a raw, unflinching,  original play on words and for what it's worth, might just punch Keaton's thirty-two year wait of a ticket (for an Oscar nomination). As an acting showcase, this "bird" is definitely the word as quiet as it's kept." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 92%

3. Edge of Tomorrow * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Edge of Tomorrow is intelligent, sophisticated film making and it stakes its claim as the best thing to hit theaters this year. It makes you think (but not too incredibly hard), it heightens your senses (just like a summer blockbuster should), and it reminds you the audience, why Cruise became a movie star in the first place." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 90%

4. Interstellar * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "2001: A Space Odyssey was made over forty years ago and it forced you to ask questions about time and space. It was just a blueprint where as Interstellar pretty much answers those questions for you. Does that make this fall release a ballsy, forceful masterpiece? Not quite. But it's too involving, absorbing, and monstrously canvassed to not garner my recommendation." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 72%

5. RoboCop * * * Stars

My quote as a critic: "Now I will say that this RoboCop of 2014 is anything but perfect. It is at times emotionless, it has some glaring plot holes when it comes to the actions of the Detroit Police Department, and it bypasses some key plot points by whisking from one scene to the next. However, what looms for roughly two hours, still manages to be ultra cool with cynically cool characters. Most of them possess a hammering amount of dry wit and narcissistic overload. Therefore, I can't say that I wasn't surprised or for a better word, royally entertained." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 48%

6. God's Not Dead * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "God's Not Dead comes off as a little preachy. It does at times, project itself as a public service announcement or an infomercial posing as a movie. However, just when you're not expecting it, the film sneaks up on you and packs an emotional wallop. A couple of the character portrayals are very heartbreaking and this is the glue that holds things together." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 17%

7. Bad Country * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "Yeah, Bad Country does at certain intervals, feel like a full-on rental with carbon copy shootouts and accents used by its actors that don't sound like anybody who lives in Louisiana (the flick's setting and on-site location). But for most of the time, there is plenty of crackling dialogue, a sense of urgency, and smooth, conventional storytelling tactics that make you think otherwise." Rotten Tomatometer Score: Not applicable

8. Neighbors * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "Now granted, Neighbors does have a weak, feel good ending and a slow, almost guffaw-free beginning. All things considered though, I'd say that the laugh ratio throughout this vehicle's 90 plus minutes is pretty darn high. And if you're wondering whether or not I left the theater with a big fat smile on my face, well the answer is a profoundly stark yes!" Rotten Tomatometer Score: 73%

Image result for sandcastles movie poster
9. Sand Castles * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "Overall, Sand Castles with a small budget, a small town feel, and an anti-Hollywood approach, teeters on the edge of amateurism. Thankfully, director Clenet Verdi-Rose avoids this notion for almost 90% of the running time. He channels a little bit of Steven Soderbergh with his camerawork all the while building tension with every careful inch." Rotten Tomatometer Score: Not applicable

10. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Rodriquez and Miller treat each violent, cartoonish sequence as if it's art being painted by Picasso himself. Longtime bud Quentin Tarantino would be proud of the way they film sword wielding stuff in the vein of say, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (in black and white with white blood no less). With glorious comic book overtones, these two mavericks create a sumptuous background rooted in black and white hues interspersed with some reds, oranges, and blues (these colors are thrown in to possibly introduce an important protagonist, a plot point, the color of a dress, the color of lipstick, or a mild image of bloodletting)." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 43%

Honorable Mention: NoahNon-StopThe November ManMillion Dollar Arm, and Brick Mansions. These are all good films that didn't quite make the cut.

And the worst...

1. Sex Tape
My quote as a critic: "There are bad movies and then there are excruciatingly bad movies. This pile of horse dung falls into the latter category. It's a lame, irrelevant comedy that at 94 short minutes, actually comes off as boring. As an audience member, you get to experience a non-existent script, sloppy direction, tastelessness, capricious star cameos (by Rob Lowe and Jack Black), and the acting of Jason Segel." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 18%

2. Ride Along
My quote as a critic: "With grating, inept dialogue, characters and situations that aren't believable or plausible, and good actors who play those characters and dent their reputations in the process, Ride Along is cinematic proof that Thanksgiving comes early in 2014. Translation: this movie is one big, giant turkey. It's a "ride" you would never want to get on." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 17%

3. This Is Where I Leave You
My quote as a critic: "This Is Where I Leave You is like a comedic version of The Big Chill (without a point or purpose) or a poor man's version of August: Osage County (without the stellar acting). It has characters that are despicable, hypocritical, wishy-washy, and to a fault, underdeveloped. Everyone who walks into frame is someone you wanna throw popcorn at, yell at, or slap (hypothetically speaking of course). The only likable actor that existed was the lead, Jason Bateman. Too bad the rest of the proceedings around him were the movie equivalent of a garbage pale." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 42%

3. (tie) Small Time
My quote as a critic: "In truth, this is just another stupid independent film (there are so many of them) that tries to be cool, tries to be cute, but just completely flaps in the wind. It's not the actors/actresses that's the problem, just the concept." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 63%

4. The Prince
My quote as a critic: "There's a reason why no theater would be willing to show The Prince. It's not something you pay admission to. It's more like the type of wide eyed fluff you'd wake up to (on cable) at four in the morning." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 0%

5. About Last Night
My quote as a critic: "This new reboot doesn't have much continuity, shape, or flow. The trailer leads us to believe that we're in for a warm, funny, laughable treat. So much for the trailer. What's on screen is a downer with a razor thin plot and characters who are unlikable, not believable as friends or lovers, sappy, and downright dull. If this is a foretelling of movies that are to be released on Hallmark's most glorious holiday, then you can just count me out." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 68%

Written by Jesse Burleson