THE MARTIAN || October 2nd, 2015

Freeheld-poster FREEHELD || Based on the Academy Award winning documentary short of the same title in 2007, “Freeheld” tells the true story of Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and Stacie Andree (Ellen Page) and their fight for justice. Hester is a New Jersey police detective that finds out she has cancer. In any other case, the pension of a detective would go to their significant other in case of death, but with Hester having a domestic partner, this ends up not being the case, and the film follows their struggle to make things right. Michael Shannon and Steve Carrell also star.
STREAM
HeNamedMeMalala-poster HE NAMED ME MALALA || My favorite thing going around the internet lately are memes comparing Malala to some of the other celebrities girls around her age. One for example compared what Kylie Jenner did for her 18th birthday and what Malala did for hers, and it’s astounding. Laureate Malala Yousafzai is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, after being targeted and shot by Taliban for suggesting women had the right to an education. Now she travels the world, has a book published about her life, and now has this documentary capturing her life, showing she’s just an ordinary girl that is fighting a good fight.
PASS
TheMartian-poster THE MARTIAN || Adapting Andy Weir’s “The Martian” from its novel could not have been the easiest task, but putting Ridley Scott on it was a smart move. Most of the time, I do not like knowing anything about a book before reading it, including not seeing a trailer or the movie itself, to allow my imagination to take full control. But knowing Matt Damon was to play astronaut Mark Watney, who gets marooned on Mars, made the book that much more enjoyable. Maintaining the humor and science of the book, the film holds up, with impressive visuals and an even more impressive cast in Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Mackenzie Davis, and Donald Glover.

TheWalk-poster THE WALK || If you happened to catch the Academy Award winning documentary “Man On Wire,” then you’re well aware of who the wire-walker Philippe Petit is. “The Walk,” directed by Robert Zemeckis, takes a fictional approach, telling the film’s story like a heist film, where Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Petit, who becomes obsessed with the World Trade Center and putting a wire between the two towers to walk. Paying a nice homage to the former towers, the film lends itself nicely to the 3D format, but otherwise the acting and delivery is basically as common as is it gets.

AddictedToFresno-poster ADDICTED TO FRESNO || There’s a dark, raunchy nature to “Addicted To Fresno” that makes it look enjoyable. Judy Greer rarely plays roles with this level of openness, even looking sexy for once. And Natasha Lyonne plays against type as well, not being the crazy sister for once. Greer plays a recovering sex addict that lands a job with her sister (Lyonne) as a hotel maid. But when Greer kills one of the hotel guests after a sexual relapse, that bumblingly have to cover it up. Aubrey Plaza, Fred Armisen, and Jessica St. Clair also star.
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BloodSweatAndBeer-poster BLOOD, SWEAT, & BEER || If you’re into the world of craft beer then all the facts and statistics thrown around in the documentary “Blood, Sweat, & Beer” probably mean something to you. But if you’re someone that does not enjoy beer, none of this will really matter. Apparently beer consumption is actually going down overall. But interest in craft beer is going up. Craft beer is locally made and distributed, outside of the big names. But because the big names are hurting, they are diving into some shady tactics to get craft beer enthusiasts to drink their beer. Some people really care about this.
PASS
AChristmasHorrorStory-poster A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY || Apparently the creators of “A Christmas Horror Story” wanted to beat “Krampus” to the punch. This particular iteration shows the rivalry between Santa and Krampus, with a small boy conjuring the anti-Santa, who infects Santa’s elves, and brings general destruction. If that wasn’t enough, William Shatner makes a cameo as a radio personality. Sadly, this does not even come close to the production value displayed in the trailer for “Krampus,” due out this Christmas.
PASS
HellAndBack-poster HELL AND BACK || What can basically be summed up as Bill & Ted in clay-mation form, “Hell And Back” takes the normally kid friendly medium and makes a dirty, raunchy comedy out of it. With actually an impressive voice cast, Mila Kunis, Nick Swardson, Bob Odenkirk, TJ Miller, Danny McBride, and Susan Sarandon, the storyline follows to friends traveling to hell after their third friend is taken there through some portal. The jokes are rather juvenile, but the content is dark and the film is rated R.
PASS
JafarPanahisTaxi-poster JAFAR PANAHI’S TAXI || Whether you know of Jafar Panahi or not, his story is always quite intriguing. An influential Iranian director, his work got him in trouble with the Iranian government, to which he was sentenced to not direct a film for 10 years and to be on house arrest. Well, that didn’t stop him, as this is just one of several films he’s released since the ban, to which he has to get smuggled out of the country to be shown, and to what normally win him major awards. This particular film, he plays a taxi driver, showing an in-depth look at Iranian everyday life, one passenger at a time.
PASS
ManhattanRomance-poster MANHATTAN ROMANCE || Ever since “Inherent Vice,” Katherine Waterston is showing up everywhere, including this romantic comedy aptly titled, “Manhattan Romance”. Danny (Tom O’Brien) is in a destructive, open relationship with Theresa (Caitlin FitzGerald) that is not good for him. His best friend Carla (Waterston) might be interested in him, but she’s in her own unhealthy relationship with Emmy (Gaby Hoffmann). Where could this possibly be leading? To a film that no one will care to see.
PASS
NorthernSoul-poster NORTHERN SOUL || What was basically dubbed the English version of “Saturday Night Fever,” the film “Northern Soul” takes a look at the underground movement that was Motown. These types of movies are getting really played out. Kids discover a new type of music, have to sneak around from disapproving parents, and find meaning in their lives that wasn’t there before, making them a better person while progressing whatever type of music it is that they discovered.
PASS
Partisan-poster PARTISAN || You’ve got to had it to filmmaker Ariel Kleiman, “Partisan” contains a story that is quite original. Described as “a coming-of-age tale spiked heavily with cold-blooded murder” (ion cinema), this Sundance pick sees an 11-year-old Alexander (Jeremy Chabriel) growing up in a commune under the guidance of leader Gregori (Vincent Cassel) who “teaches children how to raise livestock, grow vegetables, work as a community – and how to kill.” But when Alexander begins to push back, Gregori follows in kind. It sounds amazing, but visually, there is nothing quite special here despite a somewhat nice showing from the competent Cassel.
PASS
RogerWatersTheWall-poster ROGER WATERS THE WALL || You know Roger Waters from the band Pink Floyd and this documentary titled “Roger Waters The Wall” displays “one of the most elaborately staged theatrical productions in music history as [the] Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters performs the band’s critically acclaimed album The Wall in its entirety.” For people that love Pink Floyd, I can imagine this is a wondrous opportunity, but for those of us that merely just enjoy the band for what it is, seeing this documentary does not rate very highly.
PASS
SavingMrWu-poster SAVING MR. WU || Kidnap thrillers don’t come any more basic than “Saving Mr. Wu,” one which is based on a true story and sees China’s famous celebrity Mr. Wu being kidnapped for 3 million RMB by four men. This particular film follows the detectives assigned to the case and the hours after the kidnapping, as they sweep the city. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been watching movies and trailers for far too long or perhaps my reasons are just, but there are so many types of movies that don’t feel worth doing anymore, and the kidnapping thriller is one of them.
PASS
SharkLake-poster SHARK LAKE || Now even lakes aren’t safe from shark attacks. In “Shark Lake,” the horror of “Jaws” comes to a residential lake where a convict, Dolph Lundgren, was responsible for smuggling and dropping off this dangerous creature before being put away. Now being the only man that can stop it, he’s released. In “Jaws,” the reason the shark was allowed to continue attacking people is because the mayor refused to release warning for fear it would harm the summer tourist season which was very lucrative. Why people are continuously allowed to be attacked in “Shark Lake” is beyond me, as is why Lundgren is still in films.
PASS
ShoutGladiGladi-poster SHOUT GLADI GLADI || YouTube’s description is quite perfect: “Narrated by Academy Award® winning actress Meryl Streep, “Shout Gladi Gladi” celebrates the extraordinary people who rescue African women and girls from obstetric fistula, a medical condition that can turn them into reviled outcasts.” This medical condition apparently has something to do with child birth and women dying during labor, which is actually something fairly easily preventable. However, this feels a bit thick for anyone not interested in this particular subject.
PASS
ThisIsHappening-poster THIS IS HAPPENING || What happens when your grandmother finds out you’re putting her in a home? She makes a run for it. “This Is Happening” could work if the cast was a little more competent. Unfortunately, Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman (who is 89-years-old mind you) is the only one with any real connection with the script. Trying to be the next best dark comedic Indie, there just isn’t enough talent to bring these words to life.
PASS

THEATER

  • “The Martian”
  • “The Walk”

RENT

STREAM

  • “Addicted To Fresno”
  • “Freeheld”

PASS

  • “Blood, Sweat, & Beer”
  • “A Christmas Horror Story”
  • “Hell And Back”
  • “He Named Me Malala”
  • “Jafar Panahi’s Taxi”
  • “Manhattan Romance”
  • “Northern Soul”
  • “Partisan”
  • “Roger Waters The Wall”
  • “Saving Mr. Wu”
  • “Shark Lake”
  • “Shout Gladi Gladi”
  • “This Is Happening”
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