Category Archives: Drama

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.


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.


The Professor (2018) | Wayne Roberts



Johnny Depp stars as an English professor for a prestigious New England college named Richard Brown who learns he has late-stage lung cancer and probably only six months to live without treatment, which he doesn’t plan on seeking.  On top of this, Richard is also a terminally bored, self-absorbed jerk whose own life has been falling apart long before this diagnosis. His wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) is cheating on him, with the chancellor at his school (Ron Livingston), no less. Now he can say whatever he feels like, knowing he’s on his way out, and what he has to say is not always kind.  With perhaps only months left, he decides to continue to teach his literature class, hoping to impart some actual value to his current crop of students before he succumbs to the disease. He’s also going to try to experience life without worrying about the consequences – a life he comes to realize he should have been trying to live all along.


Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (2019) | Joe Beringer



This biopic on Ted Bundy covers mostly the ten years between 1969 and 1979, where we find the seemingly sweet courtship of single mom Liz Kendall (Lily Collins) on the part of Ted Bundy (Zac Efron), who seems like an ideal dream man when they meet and seems to be a loving and nurturing father figure to her young daughter over the years. Things take a turn when Bundy leaves their home in Seattle to attend law school in Utah, especially when he gets tagged as a suspect in a kidnapping and murder case that he fits the description of, though the facts don’t quite align enough for him to be the definitive culprit. Elizabeth stays by his side, but Bundy continues to do things that seem to further sink him into legal troubles, making her wonder if he is the serial killer in disguise, or if all of it is the elaborate frame job by overzealous law enforcement seeking to put him away without incontrovertible evidence to nail him for good. Bundy soon becomes a bit of a media darling, with groupies across the country falling under his dreamy spell, including Carole Ann Boone (Kaya Scodelario), who becomes Bundy’s lover and source of strength at a time when Liz has decided to keep her distance.


The Dirt (2019) | Jeff Tremaine



The Dirt is a Netflix biopic featuring re-enactments of some of the wild, raunchy and tragic stories as told by the members of popular 80’s/90’s metal band Motley Crue in their autobiographical book of the same name.  Starring Douglas Booth, Machine Gun Kelly, Daniel Webber, and Iwan Rheon.  Directed by Jeff Tremaine.


Dragged Across Concrete (2018) | S. Craig Zahler



Dragged Across Concrete is writer-director S. Craig Zahler’s further exploration of the seamy underbelly of American society, particularly through the prism of how that experience causes ripple effects that throw even innocent people into the wake of the criminals.  Most of the action follows the exploits of two cops in the fictional city of Bulwark, the older burnout Brett Ridgeman (Mel Gibson) and his younger partner Anthony Lurasetti (Vince Vaughn), who get suspended from the force after they are caught on camera going a little too far in roughing up a suspect in the current environment that frowns on the perception of racial profiling. The other major story arc in the film involves Henry Johns, just released from prison, going back to a life of crime in order to provide for his mother (a drug user who has been prostituting herself for needed cash) and disabled younger brother, who has aspirations of becoming a video game developer. The two stories converge when the cops decide they’re going to snatch money from a secretive drug dealer named Vogelmann, while Henry, working for that guy, becomes the wheel-man in a bank heist.


Vice (2018) | Adam McKay



Written and directed by Adam McKay, who impressed in his last effort from 2015, The Big ShortVice is specifically a biopic of sorts about former Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush, Dick Cheney — both of whom were seen as responsible for the policies that brought about the stock market crash covered so well in McKay’s prior film.  McKay covers Cheney’s rise from drunken slob, to shaping up by entering Wyoming business and politics, to becoming a power player in the Republican party in Washington (Chief of Staff under President Ford), to his failed ambition to become president, to becoming the CEO of Halliburton.  However, some would say that, after a successful bed on the bottom of the ticket for the 2000 and 2004 elections, he found a way, dubbed the Unitary Executive Theory, to become the most powerful nation in the world from the number-two position despite it being seen as a do-nothing office.