My Best Friend’s Exorcism Review

Halloween season has started and some interesting films have come out from other studios and streaming services. This time out it’s Amazon’s turn to add their entry into this season of spooky and scary movies. My Best Friend’s Exorcism is another film in the teen horror genre but it’s also a period piece set in the 80s. It mixes a few interesting horror tropes to create an engaging exorcism film.

Abbey (Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade) Gretchen (Amiah Miller) Margaret (Rachel Ogechi Kanu), and Glee (Kathy Ang) are best friends in high school. They all are trying to balance their grades, boys, and their personal lives in school. After a retreat at a secluded cabin by a lake in the woods, a demon takes the soul of one of them, the others have to figure out a way to exorcize this demon, out one of their friends before it kills them all first.

This film is a dark satire on horror films as well as teen comedies. It goes all in on all the tropes that go along with these types of films. The whole teen thing where girls and boys pick on each other for various reasons is a main thread in the film. Kids can be very malicious to one another when they feel threatened by their peers. Their looks and or personality can be a triggering effect for others to pick on them. It’s a coming-of-age film one oh one. Except this is a take on those types of films. Add in the exorcism subgenre of horror and you have quite a trip of a film.

The 80s are a huge part of this movie and its charm and wit. Right off the bat, the soundtrack kicks in with A-ha’s Take On Me and later uses Boy George’s Karma Chameleon. The cars, specifically a Pinto driven by Fisher’s character, the clothes acid washed jeans, and the hairstyles feathered back wavy hairdos synonymous with this decade are littered throughout the film to give it an authentic 80s vibe. I felt the nostalgia of having grown up in that decade myself.

The director, Damon Thomas, and the writers, Jenna Lania and Grady Hendrix infuse this movie with their touches to make it enjoyable for teen audiences as well as adults who have the feels for the 80s as I do. It has a tongue-in-cheek feel to not get too serious with the horror or teen angst. Besides Fisher, I didn’t know of any of these actors before seeing the film. The filmmakers did a good job casting all of the characters in the movie. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism was a fun romp. It brought me back to a time when I enjoyed my life watching campy 80s films and listening to the music of that decade. Throw in the horror aspects and you have a nice mash-up of a coming-of-age film with an exorcism film. The acting from all the main girls was fine with Fisher and Miller as the standouts. This movie wasn’t trying to be anything serious or do anything groundbreaking but it was a fun harmless film that should garner plenty of viewership from younger audiences on Amazon Prime. Maybe they can get their families to watch it with them.

3 ½ stars 

Dan Skip Allen

The Greatest Beer Run Ever Review

Peter Farrelly is coming off of a Best Picture Academy Award win in 2019 with his last film Green Book. So people have been eagerly awaiting his follow-up film after that win from a couple of years ago. A lot has happened since then but one thing still remains, the Farrelly Brothers still know how to make an enjoyable film. Once again this is just Peter who directed The Greatest Beer Run Ever, not the Farrelly Brothers. The directing duo behind Shallow Hal, Dumb and Dumber, and Their’s Something About Mary.

John “Chickie” Donohue (Zack Efron) is a happy-go-lucky guy who likes to go out drinking with his buddies in New York City back in the late 1960s. During the time of the Vietnam War. He lives at home with his parents and sister so he doesn’t have much to worry about. He gets talking with his friends and the bartender (Bill Murray) of the bar he frequents one night and they start to discuss what they can do to help the troops overseas fighting for their country during the Vietnam War. On a whim, he decides he should bring his friends from the neighborhood bees as a way to show them an appreciation for what they are doing for their country.

What he finds when he gets to Vietnam is a little less than what he had expected. Not actually knowing what to expect when he got there was a bit of a culture shock to him. Basically, he isn’t welcomed by his comrades who he calls his neighbors and or childhood friends he grew up with when he was younger. He still has a mission and he is determined to fulfill that mission no matter what he has to do. That includes getting caught up into war-ravaged scenarios with American soldiers. More than what he ever could have expected when he decided to go to Vietnam in the first place. This hair-rained idea might actually get him killed.

Along the way, Efron’s character runs into some interesting people on his journey to deliver beer to his friends. He meets a fellow soldier who facilitates him with some transportation at a couple of junctures in the film Lt. Habershaw (Matt Cook) and a group of reporters from various countries. One who takes a liking to him despite at first not liking him is Coates (Russell Crowe). He is a veteran of warfare in regards to reporting on it for years. He takes Efron’s character under his wing at one point in the film. He learns about the hardships of war from Crowe’s character.

Farrelly uses a tongue-in-cheek way to tell this story because lets be honest, it’s quite a story, to say the least. So he and the writers use a comedic approach to this fantastical story. Even though it is a true story it’s a bit much to believe. There is one joke that runs the length of the film and it’s pretty funny every time it gets used. And that is nobody can believe he is going to this God-forsaken country to deliver beers to his friends when he doesn’t need to go there. It’s a very funny situation, to say the least. Despite that, the film is a little lighthearted considering the circumstances the story takes place in. This is the Farrelly brother’s style though. They take serious situations and make light of them.

The one message the script and overall story keeps hitting home though is that war is bad no matter how you look at it. Not without consideration, the Vietnam War wasn’t one of the United States’ best moments so this is like hitting home a home run by a major league player from a little league pitcher, a no-brainer. It’s an obvious choice to use this story to hammer home that war is bad. The film despite that wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t, to use a war analogy, anything to write home about. The war scenes were a bit generic and the rest was just fine. It was Efron’s character’s journey that made this film worth watching and his performance of this naive character. He came full circle in his journey.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever is on Apple TV Plus this week and as such, I’d say it’s worth giving a watch. If not for anything else, Efron’s performance. The lighthearted nature of the film notwithstanding is fine. It’s not the best film about war or the Vietnam War there has ever been but it is an ok film. The message is very in your face but that’s to be expected from a Farrelly film. They don’t usually make subtle films. If Green Book as an example has anything to say about that you should never underestimate the Farrelly Brothers. In this case, Peter once again delivers.

3 stars 

Dan Skip Allen

Traveling Band: Credence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Abert Hall Review

When I was a kid my parents used to load the kids up into whatever car we had at the time. Maybe a section wagon or whatever could hold us all. We would travel to various places in New England where I’m originally from, Massachusetts, and turn on the radio and listen to whatever my parents were interested in at the time. We, the kids, didn’t have much choice but we usually enjoyed whatever was on at the time. Sometimes we’d get the Irish feed from Dublin to Boston and listen to Irish music. Other times it was the rock n toll station playing the likes of the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, or Creedence Clearwater Revival. CCR had a defunct sound. I was into them right off the bat.

This film depicts their meteoric rise to fame and their journey to this iconic concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England. Where all the biggest bands and music acts of the time played. Using the tried and true method of talking heads the doc gets to know what the band members are thinking from day to day moment to moment. The members consisted of the lead singer/vocalist, lead guitar, and primary songwriter John Fogerty, Tom Fogerty his brother, rhythm guitar, Stu Cook, bassist, and Doug Clifford drums. These guys rivaled the Beatles during the time of the 60s and 70s.

The documentary uses archival super 8 videos that band members and friends took during their tour of Europe on the way to Royal Albert Hall. Videos that show the band when they were nobodies struggling to make it in the music industry. This footage is narrated by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges. His voice perfectly marries the footage of this down-and-dirty type of band. His persona goes great with their style and grit. He was a great choice to narrate the doc.

The doc is split into two distinct halves. One where the archival footage narrated by Bridges tells the band’s story from beginning to the point of the tour they go on in Europe. The second half of the film depicts the band traveling around Europe visiting the sites and playing all their hits. The film culminates in them playing the iconic concert at the aforementioned Royal Albert Hall. They play all their hits from Proud Mary to Down on the Bayou to Travelin Band. It would have been a fun show to have witnessed firsthand. 

That being said, listening to this band I’ve loved since when I was a little kid was a goosebump moment. I literally had goosebumps listening to all my favorite songs like Fortunate Son, Willy and the Poor Boys, Run through the Jungle, and Bad Moon Rising and the ones I already mentioned. The doc brought me into their world with all the archival footage and narrated that footage with the great voice of Jeff Bridges. It was everything I could imagine from a music documentary.

4 ½ stars 

Dan Skip Allen

Netflix

Nothing Compares Review

In the past, there have been a lot of musicians who have been controversial figures. With a stage to perform on they tend to say and do what’s on their minds. One of the most controversial is the singer from Dublin, Ireland Sinead O’Connor. With her abusive childhood and the issues, she has had with the Catholic Church and women’s rights she had a lot to say. Her music allowed her the opportunity and the motive to get on stage in America to say what she felt about all of this. With the world listening.

The documentary is pretty much the story of O’Connor’s life from when she was a child to her fall from grace after appearing on SNL quoting Bob Marley and tearing up a picture of the Pope on live television. In between, she had quite a controversial life. Her music allowed her to tell her story and get her message about all of these various topics out in the air. The whole time trying to live her life.

The Lion and the Cobra and Nothing Compare 2 U were her breakout albums and songs that made people aware of her over here in America. While her career was kicking off into high gear she was in a relationship with John Reynolds who she had a child with. This spurned her belief in women’s right to choose. She didn’t want to give the child up because of her burgeoning music career. It goes back to the days when she was a girl given up by her mother to a convent. The Catholic religion bore its ugly head then and later as well. Women all over Ireland fought for their rights to choose after this.

The film uses two distinct stylistic choices to tell O’Connor’s story. One is the use of voiceover for the entire film. This allows the second part to come in and that is archival footage. The entire film uses archival footage to tell her story. From concert performances to interviews with talk show hosts. Even some super 8 footage from her father was used to help tell her story. A framing device was also thrown in for good measure.  I lived during her era of stardom so I saw a lot of this when I was a teen and young adult but many may not have.

I have a soft spot in my heart for those who have been abused growing up so O’Connor’s life as a child was something that tore me up inside. It was good that she still had a father to rescue her from the institute she was sent to as a child after her mother’s untimely death from a drug overdose. The voiceover from various men in her life talked about how she found music and wrote songs and eventually joined a couple of bands where she would meet her husband and some of her agents/representatives. Which would become some of her best and close friends.

O’Connor is known as a woman with an angelic voice but she also was a very closed-off person. This didn’t mean she didn’t care about things. One such instance about not conforming to what others wanted her to be was when she shaved her head out of protest. She wasn’t going to look like Madonna or Cindy Lauper or any of the other pop singers of the time. She wanted to look the way she wanted to and nobody could tell her any differently.

Nothing Compares is named after O’Connor’s biggest hit to date even though she has made many albums since this record has come out. It mainly talks about who she was as a woman she has become all these years later. She has never let all the controversy go to her head. That being said she has always stood up for what she believes even today. This film is an indication of who this woman really is and how she charged her country and the world in terms of women’s rights. Issues America is still dealing with today. She hadn’t been defined by her music even though it’s pretty damn good.

4 ½ stars 

Dan Skip Allen

Showtime Theaters Sept 23rd -Sept 30th

A Jazzman’s Blues Review

Tyler Perry isn’t known for period-piece films.  He’s pretty much known as Madea, his long-running comedy character. He’s garnered a lot of fan support which allowed him to create his own studio in Atlanta. He has written, directed, and produced his fair share of romantic dramas in and around the Atlanta area. Which are vastly different from his Madea films. A Jazzman’s Blues is much different than anything he’s down before. And it might be the best work of his career up to this point.

Bayou (Joshua Boone) is a young man who lives in the south in a dilapidated house with his mother, father, and brother. He is an embarrassment to his father and brother. His father is an abusive man to him and his mom and they force him to leave. He catches the eye of a local girl known as Leanne (Solea Pfeiffer) Her grandfather is abusive to her and her mother doesn’t like Bayou much either. So they pack up and leave for Boston. While there at school she meets a white man who brings her back to Hopewell, Georgia. Where she’s from but she’s a different woman now and she has to be careful about who she talks to and sees.

The film’s title implies that there is a musical aspect to it. Boone’s character’s mom owns a Juke Joint or Bar/Club. This is where songs like Let the Good Times Roll ring through the rafters. Eventually, the film evolves into a more musical-inspired story based on said title. Jazz and dancing are a prominent part of the film going forward. From Boone’s character’s father and brother playing the blues and him singing it brings the film to life. The musical aspects are the heart of the film with some of the more dramatic moments taking a backseat. There were plenty of them to speak of in the first hour of the movie. 

This film has a framing sequence that uses letters to Pheiffer’s character as a focal point in the overall story. This is where Boone’s character narrates his story. He still loves his teenage crush Leanne and these letters and narration show who he is and how his love for Phieffer’s character means the world to him. Chicago has a different vibe than the south foes but that doesn’t change the underlying disdain Boone’s character’s brother still has for him. The music is the main focus and he is the reason for their success. Singing songs like “It Don’t Mean a Thing” bring the house down.

Perry uses his distinct style to create this film with a period look to it. Many of the movie’s historical settings and production design are on point. He doesn’t miss a beat depicting this era in history. From the clothes, cars, hairstyles and even the way characters talk in this film. He brings the southern way to every scene. When the movie isn’t in the north. Pfeiffer’s decision to marry a white man who’s running for mayor and he’s the sheriff’s brother makes everything difficult for everyone involved. She can only fool them by making them think she is white instead of black for so long. It’s all going to come to a head eventually. It was bound to have a tragic ending with this subject matter.

Perry’s hands are all over fA Jazzman’s Blues. He infused it with everything that he does to make them distinctly his. His style jumps off of the screen. He finally has an opportunity to tell a story that truly means something to him and to his fans and a subsection of society that he tends to gear his films toward. Getting Netflix to buy this idea was the cherry on top of the cake. The music numbers, singing, and dancing were good to listen to but the main story of these two star-crossed lovers was the meat and potatoes of this film. The dramatic scenes were the precursor of these two characters, but that had to be in the movie to create dramatic tension. This story and film were well crafted all the way around. 

3 ½ stars 

Dan Skip Allen

Raven’s Hollow Review

Films about famous writers and or poets are nothing new in Hollywood. There have been many of them in the long history of the film business. Some of them are more straightforward than others, and some of them are more creative. Raven’s Hollow, another Shudder original film, is one of the more visionary films about a writer/poet inspired by the legendary works of Edgar Alan Poe. 

Edgar Poe (William Mosely) and four of his fellow West Point cadets are traveling by horseback while on a training mission in upstate New York when they come across a dead body tied to a symbol in the form of branches. They decide to take the body down and try to find out where it comes from. They eventually come across a town called Raven’s Hollow. What happens next is quite disturbing.

Poe’s works have dealt with ravens, haunted houses, and other macabre iconography. It makes sense that this film deals with all of that and much more. The scares are few and far between, but the horror doesn’t end at the sight of one dead body. A haunted town and creepy characters leave nothing to the imagination. Just starting this film is asking viewers to be scared and creeped out. It’s that kind of film.

The writer/director Christopher Hatton leans heavily on Poe’s works but creates an atmosphere that asks viewers to believe a lot. The characters are played by some good character actors, such as Kate Dickle (Game of Thrones), David Hayman (Blinded by the Light), and Oberon K. A. Adjepong (The Many Saints of Newark) bring a mayor of believability to a pretty spooky tale of despair.

This film isn’t anything new, but it still has a look and feel that makes it believable that this story existed or, rather, inspired Poe to write his poems. The town looked very authentic, and the clothes and hairstyles matched that of a late colonial era, around the 1800s. The clapboard roofs and walls were well made and completely drew me into this darkly haunted town. All the pieces were there to make me feel this could be a film worth seeing. Unfortunately, all the pieces didn’t come together in the end.

I’m a sucker for a good period piece mixed with a horror vibe. Even throw in a story inspired by true events, and I’m hooked. The whole vibe of this film seemed right up my alley, but it didn’t seem to work in the end. The acting was good, the writing was fine, and the cinematography and set production were on par with many other similar films. But in the end, I just wasn’t interested in the characters enough to care about them more. That was the downfall of this Poe story.

2 1/2 stars

Dan Skip Allen

Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media

The Silent Twins Review

There has been a wide range of films about crime or criminals. Most are straightforward types of stories such as gangster films or films where the characters are just going down the wrong path. Or calculated criminals like bank robbers and or car thieves. The Silent Twins, based on a true story depicted in the book by Marjorie Wallace, is not any of these. It’s a story about two mentally disturbed girls, originally from Barbados, who go down a path of criminal behavior because of drugs and bad influence.

The story takes place in the late 70s and early 80s. There are two girls who live in a small town in Wales. June and Jennifer Gibbons (Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrence) are sad about their surroundings and as a way to close off from the world, they choose to be silent. They come to be known as “the silent twins” That is to all except each other. As a way to enjoy each other’s company, they create fantasy worlds of dolls and puppets. Combined all of this causes them to have issues in school. Which in turn causes them to be expelled and end up learning on their own.

Their isolation helps to make them curious about the world. They become writers and they start to show interest in boys and external ways of enjoyment such as drugs and alcohol. All of this leads to a life of crime in the form of stealing, breaking  & entering, and vandalism. The authorities have no other recourse but to lock them up in a famous psychiatric hospital known as Broadmoor. Their mental state causes them to decide to separate. This is their only recourse for survival. Twins eventually need separation to learn to survive on their own away from their sibling.

Twins have a connection to one another having been born together in the womb. They tend to have similar interests and enjoy each other’s company. I myself am one so I can speak on this topic better than most. My maternal instincts toward my brother were very close. We did everything together and we loved the same things. We lived together for years before we finally separated to go our ways. These two girls were tied to one another until they had no choice but to leave each other. It wasn’t easy for me and my brother and it isn’t easy for these girls in the film either.

The filmmaker Agnieszka Somcznska makes a few decisions on how she decided to tell this story. It’s not a straightforward biopic. She breaks away from the main story to use the puppets and stop-motion animation as a tool to help the viewer figure out what is going on in these girls’ heads. Like a lot of young girls in their teens or early twenties, they are thinking about boys and going away to some fantasy land where they can be princesses instead of miserable in the cold and damp of Wales. As well as the isolation they feel. This is a good use of this filmmaking style. It also breaks up the monotony of the rest of the story.

The marketing campaign by Focus Features would lead you to believe this is somewhat of a horror story, but it’s not. The Silent Twins is more about the psychological connectivity of these two girls. They were so in tune with one another that they did things they shouldn’t have. Their maternal instincts toward one another were so ingrained that until they were separated one couldn’t survive without the other. The script by Andrea Siegal from Wallace’s book examined the trauma of these two girls and how the minds of identical twins like them operate. It’s a fascinating subject matter. I can say from my experience it wasn’t easy being on my own without my brother, but we learned to eventually go our own ways and make lives for ourselves away from the comfort of what we knew and loved. This film is an interesting examination of these kinds of people.

4 stars 

Dan Skip Allen

Pearl Review

We all remember way back in March, there was a new horror film from director Ti West called X. It was about a group of filmmakers who go to a farm to film a porno movie. Instead, they get attacked by an old woman who is jealous of them. Pearl is the sequel to that film and nobody knew it was in development except the filmmakers, actors, and studio A24. I for one am glad we got this prequel because it’s another win for the horror genre and Ti West.

Pearl (Mia Goth) is a young woman in the late 1910s who lives on a farm with her German-speaking mother Ruth (Tandi Wright) and her paraplegic father. Her husband Howard has gone off to WWI to fight for his country. Pearl is dead set on becoming a star and she will do whatever it takes to leave this farm and go to Europe to become a dancer or just get out of this situation she’s in at all costs. The problem is nobody else sees what she sees in herself and it gets on her nerves.

Goth has played this character before in X so she knows the motivations of who this woman is. Playing Pearl as a younger woman has different permutations than playing her as an older woman. She has to show the audience how she gets from point A to point Z in the character’s story. Ti West collaborated with Goth on this journey and it’s quite a disturbing journey at that. Goth gives an awards-worthy turn this time around as Pearl whereas in X she was just out for blood. 

Going back to the late 1910s is a bit ironic to me because that’s the last time when we had a pandemic in our country and the world. This film was also filmed in secret during a pandemic by West and company. That was an interesting aspect of this film because this prequel was set perfectly during this era. Pearl as a younger woman was disillusioned about who she was meant to be. This shows why she ends up the disgruntled old woman in X. The dichotomy between these two films was brilliant. 

This film was a minimalist production due to the pandemic in which it was made, but it wasn’t a detriment to the overall production. It may have actually made the film better in a sense. Fewer characters made West focus his lens more on Goth which in turn made her give a much better performance. She uses her adept acting skills to show all her sides. The Innocent side is where she shows love for her animals and the vicious side is where her jealousies come full circle. Goth shows her range with perfection in this prequel to X. And maybe a performance that gets noticed by fans and critics alike.

Pearl is the film we never knew we wanted until we got it. If it weren’t for the pandemic we may have never got it and the story in the film fits the scenery of the situation in which we got it. West doubles down on his star from X and it was a great decision on his part to go with Goth again in this prequel. She gives the performance of her career as the same character she played in X but a lot younger. A long monologue shows how good she is as Pearl and it’s one of the best scenes in the film. This film might be a tad better overall though than X but you can’t go wrong with either film from West and company.

4 stars 

Dan Skip Allen

The Woman King Review

There have been a lot of historical epics over the years from the perspective of men and their kingdoms or places that they rule. There haven’t been many from the perspective of women. The occasional Queen Elizabeth it’s sequel or Messenger The Story of Joan of Arc or even Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor back in the 60s have graced the big screen. The latest in a small number of historical epics featuring women is The Woman King starring Viola Dais in the lead role as the titular woman king.

Nanisca( Viola Davis) is a general of the Kingdom of the Dahomey people. A tribe in West Africa in the 1800s. The Agojie is an all-female warrior unit that defends this kingdom to its death. When a leader of another tribe threatens their way of existence the general and her warriors have to defend their kingdom at all costs. Risking her place beside King Ghezo (John Boyega) in the process. She also has a new upstart who’s headstrong that she has to train, Nawi (Thuso Mbedu) Who causes her own share of problems within the tribe.

This film has a great cast besides the fantastic actors I already mentioned. Lashana Lynch plays Izogie a fierce warrior who is very confident in her abilities. She takes young Nawi under her wing. Sheila Atim plays Amenaza, a confidant and friend of the general. She is also a very fierce warrior. And Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Jordan Bolger play Portuguese traders who have more than a passing interest in the women of the Dahomey tribe.

Maria Bello and Dana Stevens developed this story after visiting this area on vacation; they were so enamored with the idea of an all-women tribe of warriors that they wanted to bring it to the big screen. With the help of Gina Prince-Blythewood, they have achieved that very thing. This film has a fantastic story I wasn’t aware of before seeing it. And the visual style that Blythewood chose to film it in made it all that much better. The bright beautiful colors during the day were in contrast with the darkness and sharpness of the night but were equally stunning. The cinematography by Polly Morgan was gorgeous.

Like most epic films there are subplots about characters who have different motivations for the kingdom of their own. In the case of this film there are a few characters that have plans for the kingdom and how that plays into the overall context of the film is very satisfying. Same as today though these countries and leaders have different thoughts on how things should be done. They have ambitions of their sometimes unbeknownst to the king or president if you will. There is a political undertone that goes on more often than not in these situations.

Besides the look of the film, there is also the costuming and hair styling that make these characters look the way they do in the film. Gerda Phillips and Louisa V. Anthony and her team do an incredible job turning these actors into these fighting men and women and leaders and their followers. These actors looked incredible in these outfits and they all looked unique on their own to make them all stand out but also they had to look like a unit and that worked out very well as far as the costumes went. This is first-rate costuming and hairstyling that should get some awards buzz come awards season which is around the corner.

As with the other craft departments in the film, the fight combination in this film is on par with any film I’ve seen in recent years dealing with battles or hand-to-hand combat. These actors had to go through extensive fight choreography to capture the look and style of these women. They were vicious fighters with and without weapons in their hands and the fight sequences were amazing. Even training and dancing scenes looked to be choreographed impeccably by this team. These women looked and felt like vicious fighting machines from behind to end in this film. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed watching them fight and kill their prey with ease. It seemed to look easy for them which I know it wasn’t. That is owed to the entire fight choreography team involved in the movie.

The Woman King is the first legitimate awards season contender for best picture. It has a compelling story while also having fantastic performances from Davis, Lynch, Atim, and Mbedu. The writing, by Bello and Stevens, and direction, by Blythewood, are first-rate. The fight choreography and the fight scenes were something amazing to look at. And all the characters looked the part of these people from this era in time. The movie also looked gorgeous from a cinematography aspect. I’m just glad to see an original film with a story I haven’t heard of before that I could be completely invested in and enjoy. . These people involved were passionate about the film which is shown in the final product. This is a legitimate awards contender in many categories and I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see what happens come awards season.

4 stars 

Dan Skip Allen

End of the Road Review

Having not grown up with acting skills in her past, Queen Latifah has turned out to be a decent actress. In fact, she started out as a rapper. As it were she’s not the only rapper turned actor. Her career is as varied as Last Holiday to The Equalizer, a reboot of the old tv show from the 80s, and the recent film series starring Denzel Washington. Her latest film, End of the Road, has a bit of the same flare as The Equalizer. Throw in some action to boot.

Brenda (Queen Latifah) is a mother of two children. She is forced to move to Houston, Texas with her children and her brother, Reggie (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) the kid’s uncle because of some financial difficulties she got into due to medical bills for her deceased husband, the father of her children. On the way to Houston, the family unadvisedly becomes witnesses to a murder in the hotel room next to the one they were staying at. This gets them embroiled in a fight for their lives. 

This film has a MacGuffin that drives the entire plot of the film, but it doesn’t drag the film down. It actually helps make the movie better because it creates action sequences and car chases that make for a more intense thrill ride of a film. Beau Bridges plays a sheriff with an agenda and he has plans that the family didn’t know about until he gets more involved in the search for them and the MacGuffin. 

The director Millicent Shelton sets the film in the desert and that creates a muted look to the movie. The dust and dirt make for a cloudy look during the nighttime scenes and during the day the cameras capture the beauty of the west even going to an old west town in one sequence during the movie. The cinematography as a whole isn’t that good. This might have something to do with the budget, but who knows?

Netflix greenlights a lot of different kinds of films, some good and some bad. They have a lot of money so they spend it on a lot of different types of films and series. They want to see what sticks to the wall. End of the Road isn’t the best film you’ll see this year but it’s not the worst either. This film will probably appeal to a certain demographic of the American public and that’s fine. Movies need to appeal to a wide margin of people. This film does just that.

End of the Road is a fun actioner with a few bigger named stars in Latifah, Bridges, and Bridges, from different families. The MacGuffin keeps the film moving forward and it helps create most of the action that the characters get involved with. The look of the film, especially at night, isn’t that great due to the filming locations in the west. A specific demographic of society will love this movie. It’s just not going to be for everybody. Netflix is trying to appeal to everybody and this might be the ticket for some.

2 ½ stars 

Dan Skip Allen 

Netflix Sept 9th