All posts by Vince Leo

Hustlers (2019) | Lorene Scafaria



Starting off in 2007, Constance Wu stars as Destiny, a newbie stripper trying to make it in the clubs of New York’s competitive environment in order to earn enough money to support her and her ailing grandmother. Backstage she meets and ends up being mentored by a legendary veteran stripper named Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), who completely cleans up in terms of money whenever she appears on the stage or off. However, the great recession of 2008 soon hits, with opportunities completely drying up to earn cash in the strip clubs, with both ladies struggling to make ends meet. That is until Ramona decides to put her skills at working the crowds of men to the test, gathering up Destiny and several other stripper friends to lure in the Wall Street types with corporate accounts to swindle them out of thousands of dollars at a time.


Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) | Paul Downs Colaizzo



Jillian Bell stars as Brittany Forgler, a broke and down-on-her-luck woman in her late 20s who moved from Philadelphia to New York to pursue a career that didn’t quite pan out. Her quest for success doesn’t motivate her so much as dropping out for fear of failure. She has a job she is ill-suited for and is overweight, spending much of her time living in the shadow of her perky and pretty roommate Gretchen, going to clubs where she buries her feelings into a toxic combination of drinking, drugs, casual sex, and less-than-healthy food. A doctor’s visit to try to score some Adderall leads her to discover that her weight has gotten quite far away from her, to the point where it is affecting her health, both physically and mentally. She needs to lose about 50 lbs. to get to avoid further health issues of a BMI in the obese range. Due to the high cost of joining a gym without much income, Brittany begins jogging for exercise, starting with a trip around the block, but discipline is a challenge, as is putting herself out there for the world to see. She soon joins a club for runners in the city along with her soon-to-be-divorced neighbor Catherine (Michaela Watkins) and her newfound and newfound running friend, Seth (Micah Stock). She even gets a new job dog-sitting for some well-to-do types who are away for long periods, where she meets the ultimate slacker co-worker in Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who convinces her to squat in their employers’ abode. To keep her motivated, she and her friends set out to compete in the next New York City Marathon, but to do that requires the kind of discipline she’s never known up to that point in her life. Paul Downs Colaizzo writes and directs this comedy-drama.


The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) | Tyler Nilson & Mike Schwartz



Zack Gottsagen is a young man with Down syndrome who is persistently trying to escape from his care facility in order to go meet his idol, a professional wrestler named the Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Curch), who runs a wrestling school in Florida, hoping to fulfill his dream of becoming a pro wrestler himself. Along the way from the shores of North Carolina, he meets a wayward neer-do-well named Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), who is on the run after practically destroying the business of a local crab fisherman. Meanwhile, a woman who works at the care facility named Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) is tasked with tracking down Zak before he gets himself into further trouble, leading to a conflict between Zak’s quest to meet his idol, Tyler’s desire to help him while avoiding his comeuppance, and Eleanor’s quest to do what her employers ask without making things worse for the resident she cares for.


Good Boys (2019) | Gene Stupnitsky



The raunchy story surrounds three 12-year-old boys, best friends since kindergarten, dubbing themselves the Bean Bag Boys because — well, they all had beanbags. Now they’re in middle school and finding it hard to cope with the pressure of their peers to be considered cool among them. Max (Jacob Tremblay) has a crush and might be able to finally make a connection with the object of his desires once he gets invited to a ‘kissing party’ where the popular kids are all going. Trouble is, he doesn’t know how to kiss (or, apparently, how to figure out where to find out). Thor (Brady Noon) is the gifted singer who gives up on it because he doesn’t want to be teased, especially as he already is getting the nickname of “Sippy Cup” because he refuses to drink from a bottle of beer with the other boys. Lucas’s (Keith L. Williams) parents are getting divorced, leaving him feeling out of sorts, and his sense of right and wrong tend to make him unable to understand why his friends are so willing to bend the rules to score points with other kids that don’t seem to care about their well-being at all.


Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)



Hattie (played by Vanessa Kirby) is an MI6 agent on a mission to keep a deadly virus named Snowflake, which can liquefy the internal organs of humans who contract it, from getting into the hands of a faction of mercenaries under the employ of an evil tech-based organization called Eteon, led by Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), a hi-tech assassin with technology-augmented senses that make him a swiss-army knife of deadly skills, something seen by the company as the future of a humanity soon to die off. In a desperation move, Hattie injects the virus into her own body, giving her only 3 days to get it back out before it actually does what it’s supposed to do, and instantly making her the most sought-after fugitive in the world by bad guys and good guys alike. Hired to find Hattie before Lore finds her first is the titular bickering team of Los Angeles-based single father and retired DSS agent Luke Hobbs and ex-special ops mercenary Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the latter of whom is soon revealed to be the estranged older sibling of Hattie. But to save Hattie, they also need to secure the services of a genius scientist, who is perhaps the only one with the technology necessary to extract the virus back out of Hattie, making him a target of Eteon’s forces as well. David Leitch directs this comic spin-off from the Fast & Furious franchise.


Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (2019) | Quentin Tarantino



Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Rick Dalton, a Hollywood star who is seeing his brightness fade in the ever-changing and fickle industry.  Brad Pitt stars as Cliff Booth, his dedicated stuntman, chauffeur, and overall sidekick in life. The outlook looks bleaker each time out for both of them, as Dalton goes from leading-man roles in films to heavies on TV shows, mulling over advice to continue his career starring in Italian films rather than take a back seat in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Cliff ends up getting into his own kerfuffles on the side, including a spat with none other than Bruce Lee, a young hippie that he flirts with while out driving around the streets of Los Angeles, and dealing with a past that includes questions on whether he might have murdered his own wife and gotten away with it. Quentin Tarantino writes and directs this pop-culture pastiche love letter to Hollywood at the end to the 1960s.


Fast Color (2018) | Julia Hart



Set sometime in a future in which natural resources like water have become scarce. Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Ruth, a recovering drug addict on the run due to the fact that she just might be someone who possesses some sort of seizure that reveals an earth-shattering (literally) superpower that causes a shift in tectonic plates that never move, making her the target for experimentation from government scientists. Broke and desperate, she ends up returning to the rural home he ran away from when she was much younger, where her mother Bo and mostly estranged daughter Lila reside, who also have their own form of powers. Julia Hart directs this superhero tale of a different sort.


Shaft (2019) | Tim Story



Thirty years ago, J.J. (Jessie T. Usher) was fathered by Samuel L. Jackson’s Shaft, who was immediately estranged from his kid by the mother, Maya, who wants to keep her child’s life from the daily danger that Shaft is surrounded by. Shaft keeps his toe in the water with J.J. by sending presents on birthdays and holidays that often show how out of touch he is, not only in what’s going on in J.J.’s life but also in what is acceptable by standards of our less politically incorrect world. J.J. Shaft works primarily as a desk jockey in the FBI.  J.J. learns that his old friend Karim and sometimes protector died from an overdose in Harlem. Knowing that his friend had turned his life around, J.J. thinks the death smells funny and decides to investigate the cause, leading him to ask questions in a drug dealer’s lair that gets him nearly killed.  Desperate to move on with his investigation, J.J. reaches out to the father he never knew, currently working as a hardboiled private investigator in town, who readily accepts his role as his son’s new protector and mentor of all things “manly”. They soon discover there is, of course, far more involved in Karim’s death than what the official report says, and soon the men find themselves in the middle of a murder case. Tim Story directs this semi-spoof of its own franchise. Richard Roundtree takes a small role as the original John Shaft.


Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) | Jon Watts



Jake Gyllenhaal gets to don the “fishbowl” as Quentin Beck, the interdimensional savior of Venice when a giant water monster surfaces to try to destroy the city.  Peter Parker (Tom Holland) happens to be there at the time, as he has traveled to Europe for a week-long class trip. Peter, of course, is gifted with superhero powers, but doesn’t have the “great responsibility of other incarnations of the character, and would rather just be a teenager and do teenage things, like trying to find a way to express his feelings to his major crush, MJ (Zendaya), doing it atop the Eiffel Tower..  With the Avengers in a sort of disarray, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) assembles Beck, dubbed in the press as Mysterio, with Spider-Man who sees the new hero as a surrogate mentor to live up to in the wake of Tony Stark’s demise,  in order to stop future scary elementals from coming out of the woodworks again to destroy a major city. Jon Watts directs this MCU release.


The Dead Don’t Die (2019) | Jim Jarmusch



After the Earth’s rotation is disturbed due to environmental fallout resulting from “polar fracking”, strange natural phenomena begin occurring all over the globe, including, in one area at least, the dead coming back to life to feast on the living. Bill Murray stars in his second zombie comedy as Cliff Robertson, the chief of police for the small, Mayberry-esque town of Centerville. He, along with his partner in fighting very little crime, officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) find themselves having to deal with the gruesome deaths they uncover, coming to the realization that things may not end well for themselves or their community if they don’t take decisive action. Jim Jarmusch writes and directs. Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Iggy Pop, Selena Gomez, and RZA also appear in this zombie comedy.