Hell or High Water (2016) Jeff Bridges – Movie Review

Chris Pine and Ben Foster play brothers Toby and Tanner Howard, who we find at the beginning of the film on a bank-robbing spree in West Texas. Toby’s the smart one who has generally been above the fray, but he’s now going in headfirst into a life of crime with his ne’er-do-well Tanner to secure the funs necessary to keep the banks from seizing the property willed to debt-plagued Toby, whose mother’s property was mortgaged to pay for her medical care, which he aims to give to his two mostly estranged boys. With the Feds not interested in chasing down criminals who aren’t stealing much more than a few thousand here and there, a soon-to-retire Texas Ranger named Marcus Hamilton assumes the case, along with his deputy Alberto, to catch these guys before they strike again.

Southside with You (2016) Tika Sumpter – Movie Review

The story, inspired by anecdotes chronicled in the memoirs of their actual first date, begins in August, 1989, in the South Side of Chicago, on a day in which a young, smart and career-minded corporate lawyer, Michelle Robinson, accepts spending the day with a Harvard-bound summer office mate, Barack Obama, on the pretense that they attend a housing project community meeting as colleagues, making whatever else they do socially that he has planned definitely not a date. Obama, driving his rusted-out car to greet her, feels differently, and makes it his task to convince her otherwise before the day is through.

War Dogs (2016) Miles Teller, Jonah Hill – Movie Review

War Dogs follows two lifelong friends, struggling massage therapist and bedsheet salesman David Packouz and two-bit wheeler and dealer Efraim Diveroli, two down-and-out Miami stoners who are looking to find a way to make ends meet in a variety of schemes they hope will give them a leg up. They end up finding a bit of success as small-time dealers of armor, weapons and ammo for bid on a government-run auction site, where they make a nice sum of cash flying under the radar with contracts too small for the big dogs to care about. They build up a nice mini-business as AEY, and their success eventually leads to bigger and better chances at contracts, ultimately leading to a sizable one in the form of a contract to supply AK ammo to the Afghan army to the tune of $300 million. After connecting with a shifty big-time weapons dealer named Henry Girard, they find that the bigger the contract, the more dangerous the game, especially when dealing with black-market suppliers in unstable countries.

Don’t Breathe (2016) Stephen Lang – Movie Review

Set in Detroit, a trio of young poverty-stricken friends make ends meet by robbing the houses in more affluent areas around the city, though fencing the hot merchandise doesn’t always make the risk worth their while. These petty thieves want to get out of their bleak, dysfunctional home lives, hoping they can find greener pastures in California, but to do that, they have to find a place to rob that has enough real cash on hand to allow them to make the leap. After doing the research, they spot their next target in, surprisingly, one of the worst neighborhoods in the area — an isolated place as most of the neighbors nearby have left, and the owner of the house is an older recluse who came into a load of cash following a settlement when his daughter was tragically killed in a car accident. Unfortunately, what they don’t take into account is that the man is a war vet with a “particular set of skills” that makes him a dangerous presence, even without the benefit of his sight, and that he’s made his home into a place that’s about as difficult to get out of as it is to get into.

Indignation (2016) Logan Lerman – Movie Review

Set in 1951, Logan Lerman plays Marcus Messner, an incoming Jewish college transfer at Ohio’s small but prestigious Winesberg College during a time when many of his friends are fighting in the Korean War. He must overcome the influence of his overprotective parents from his home town of Newark, New Jersey, and the powers that be at the school in order to try to be his own person, with his own beliefs, and sense of autonomy he’s never been given before. The sheltered lad ends up dating a non-conformist classmate named Olivia Hutton, whose struggles with her own sanity has been a challenge, but to whom he can’t help but be drawn to. It soon becomes a trying time for Marcus at his new school, with sexual confusion, loud and intrusive roommates, controlling parents, and Dean Hawes Caudwell, the school administrator who doesn’t take kindly to Marcus’s inability to assimilate properly to the environment of the conservative school. Indignation ensues.

Mechanic: Resurrection (2016) Jason Statham – Movie Review

Arthur Bishop is) retired from the contract killing profession, but gets pulled back in again by one of his old enemies, an international arms dealer named Riah Crain, looking to root him out for another contract that Bishop initially rebuffs. While on the resort beaches of Thailand, Bishop ends up saving an abused damsel named Gina and soon enters into a romance with her. When the big-bad ends up kidnapping Bishop’s new lover, he reluctantly consents to perform three near-impossible assassinations of extremely well-guarded targets within a day and a half, and has to make them all look like they were fluke accidents. Failure means the end of Gina, and probably Bishop too, if Crain manages to find him again.

Morris from America (2016) Markees Christmas – Movie Review

Morris from America is a coming-of-age story about a pudgy, thirteen-year-old African-American kid named named Morris Gentry, who lives with his widower soccer-coach father Curtis in a place where there are few who look like them, Heidelberg, Germany. Under a suggestion by his German instructor, Inka, Morris makes some attempt to make friends while in his new environment, meeting an impulsive fifteen-year-old local named Katrin, with whom he’s instantly attracted, but he’s not quite sure if she feels the same way. The mischievously flirty Katrin tries to get him out of his shell by unplugging the headphones he perpetually wears as he walks though life and going to various parties with the local kids around his age, much to his father’s chagrin, where Morris has to contend with the fish-out-of-water experience first-hand by striving to break out of his comfort zone. Perhaps only the crush on Katrin is able to compel him to try, though following the heart can also lead to heartache in this tender time of confusion for many young teens.

Ben-Hur (2016) Jack Huston – Movie Reviews

the story of Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy Jewish prince living in Rome-occupied Jerusalem, as well as his strong competitive bond with his adopted Roman brother, Messala Severus, who will come to be his main adversary in that climactic race. However, that bond is put to the test when Messala becomes a centurion in the Roman military, eventually returning to Jerusalem as a captain entrusted to command the troops as Roman prefect to Judaea, Pontius Pilate, enters the city, which has been a trouble spot for Rome due to a faction of murderous zealots. When Judah refuses to name names to Messala prior to another eruption in Pilate’s presence, he’s convicted of sedition for the incident, effectively beginning his enslavement in the galley of a Roman warship, where he will presumably be shackled until he expires. The rest of the film concerns how Judah goes from that predicament to ultimately compete against his brother for guts and glory in the chariot race. Oh, and Jesus is in there somewhere too.

Kubo and the Two Strings – LAIKA – Movie Reviews

Kubo is set in a fantasy/folk version of medieval Japan, where we find young Kubo spending his days using his elaborate magical origami constructions to spin beautiful stories of the heroism of his legendary father, the samurai Hanzo, to the people of his village, brought to life from the magic of his shamisen, a three-stringed Japanese lute. His evenings are spent with his melancholy mother hiding in seclusion in a cliff-side cave, who informs him of his own troubled youth after having to escape his murderous grandfather, The Moon King, who took his left eye and wants his other, with help from his supernatural minion daughters, Kubo’s Noh-masked witchy aunts. Eventually, their past comes home to find them, causing Kubo to go on a harrowing but heroic adventure, along with his protectors, the motherly mentor, Monkey, and an insectoid amnesiac fighter named Beetle, to fulfill his quest of finding three samurai items imbued by magical properties — an unbreakable sword, an impenetrable suit of armor, and an invulnerable helmet — that belonged to his long-lost father.

Pete’s Dragon (2016) DIsney – Movie Reviews

The gentle, dreamlike film starts with some of the heavier material when we find the titular Pete as a very young boy left orphaned after a car crash, leaving him alone in the dense woods of the Pacific Northwest with seemingly no one to protect him — that is until a kind-hearted giant green dragon, also gone astray from his own family, comes along to take the child under his wing, almost literally, and raise him for the next six years in seclusion. That’s when Pete, now ten years old, is discovered by a friendly forest ranger named Grace, who takes the lad home with her daughter Natalie and fiancĂ©e Jack until they can find out where Pete’s home actually is. However, complications arise then Jack’s brother, Gavin, run into Elliot, which is what Pete has called the dragon, while they’re out in the woods working for their logging company, seeing a means to become wealthy if they can capture the magical creature for all the world to see.