Sunlight Jr (2013) Review


**Warning: Review contains slight spoilers**

“Sunlight Jr” is a 2013 film directed and written by indie filmmaker Laurie Collyer touching on themes of enduring love, trying to scrape by on near-poverty row, emotional pain, abuse and disability about a Floridian couple who, just making ends meet in barely-paying minimum wage jobs, are saddled with an unplanned pregnancy. If that doesn’t sound grim enough, add in the fact that she has just gotten fired from her job and they may become evicted from the hotel they life in. This movie gives almost a whole new meaning to depressing.


Matt Dillon and Naomi Watts portray the aforementioned couple, Melissa and Ritchie, giving two nuanced and almost unsettlingly naturalistic performances that make you feel as though you are watching a documentary on a downtrodden couple whose life is shattering to pieces in front of your very eyes. The tangible chemistry between the two actors adds a certain spice to the screen that makes the two characters seem all the more realistic, you can feel every emotion of their anger, despair, hopelessness, and love for each other that it almost crushes your heart watching the plot unfold. One other performance I absolutely must single-out however is Norman Reedus’ volatile and sceen-grabbing portrayal of Melissa’s abusive, violent ex Justin. While his character was utterly hateable in every which way but loose, a complete polar opposite from Ritchie and Melissa, his undaunted performance hit all the right notes.




As someone who has been around poverty before and knows what living on minimum wage feels like, and who knows both directly or indirectly the feelings of anger, frustration, depression, hopelessness, etcetera the comes from a living situation such as this I can honestly say without hesitation that Laurie Collyer’s screenplay is one of the most gut-wrenchingly realistic portraits of poverty, unplanned life events, and desperation I have ever seen commited to the screen. There are no bright moments, there are no overly positive scenes; the movie glooms and swallows every last little fragmented glimmer of hope in sight. The grim setting and emotions of this movie burrow into your soul and hollow out every little bit of life left, making the only thing still standing left at the end of the ordeal is a sense of the everlasting, till-death-do-us-part love shared between Melissa and Ritchie. That’s the only true brightened spot of this movie, the beautiful, if not at-times toxic, love they share. And that’s why I think this movie is one of the finest written in a while, because it doesn’t shy away from the darkness. Not many other films or filmmakers are touching on themes this dark: on themes of alcoholism, on the theme of abuse, on the theme of trying to survive and make ends meet day to day, and most especially on the theme of abortion. No other movie hardly anymore ever touches on abortion. And even if the movies do touch on themes of this nature, a good percentage of the time the themes are half-cooked and not well established. But, as I was implying to state, this movie, and writer/director Laurie Collyer, is pretty damn brave for implementing the subject of abortion into the movie. Is it unpleasent? Yes, however I think it needs to be discussed more in films. But hey, that is just my personal belief; I’d be just fine either way if they did or didn’t discuss it, I do however think from time to time though it needs to be brought up.



In conclusion, while the theme of undying, everlasting love between the main characters Ritchie and Melissa is alluring, the gloomy and devastating themes of hopelessness, anger, and depression will definitely put most people off, most especially if they’ve been around or have been through poverty before. However Laurie Collyer’s daringly authentic, raw, and exceedingly original screenplay and a pair of unsettlingly life-like performances from Matt Dillon and Naomi Watts make this a must-not-miss movie.

My Rating: 9/10

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A Serbian Film [Uncut Edition] (2011) – Review/Rant

a serbian film

Plot, from IMDB: An aging porn star agrees to participate in an “art film” in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.

Ah yes, here it is: the one and only legendarily off-putting movie “A Serbian Film”. Truly one of the only recent movies worthy of the phrase “one and only”, I can say that much already. Literally everywhere, every site about movies I went onto when this was released every poster was talking about it, saying how sickening it was, and I was immediately drawn to it. I had to see it, any way I could I absolutely had to see it. Boy, I really did not know what I was getting myself into by watching this movie.


Now, I should most likely start with the fact that I have a strong stomach. An extremely, unnaturally strong stomach for the sort of things that would make most people vomit. Ever since I was a young boy, I have always had this dark fascination with criminals, with serial killers, mobsters, and just the out of the ordinary type of murderers etc. That’s one thing, having a fascination; but I’ve seen snuff films, I’ve seen crime scenes photos of serial murders, I’ve read the Tate-LaBianca case files, I’ve seen death photos of normal citizens and celebrities, I’ve listened to the Jonestown death tape, I’ve seen accident footage where some people were decapitated in car accidents, I’ve seen beheading and torture footage, I’ve basically seen it all and more than your typical person would be able to stand. So, yeah, you could say I have an unnaturally strong stomach for some of the worst attrocities out there, and it’s very very rare for a film to make me sick – but I will state outright that this film here mortified me. I was absolutely shocked, appauled, sickened, and mortified watching this movie. Seeing this movie was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my entire life, but I really got to give credit to director/screenwriter Srdjan Spasojevic and Aleksandar Radivojevic for creating this brilliantly horrific movie because, let’s face it, most people anymore (or ever, really) had the nerve and the guts to make a movie this vile, this nauseating, this appalling, and this putrid and unnerving. This movie, with its themes of necrophilia, murder, rape, pedophilia, and pornography, was so abhorrently sadistic that it could almost be considered a new art-form. However, I give this movie and its makers a decent amount of praise for not adhering to censorship and for sticking with their macabre vision because real life is always an exercise in morbidity and these sort of attrocities like child abuse, rape, and murder happen on a daily basis – and I feel like the makers deserve a little bit of credit for further sheading some light on these attrocities. Granted, the way in which they did it was unnecessarily cruel, but hey – so is life, most of the time.


And that is exactly why this movie is such an original vision; because it takes all of these horrifying events and presents it in a grueling, sickening, and absolutely putrid fashion and never shies away from anything. I have never, in all my years of movie watching, seen a movie quite like this. Especially with a plot like that, I mean who in their right mind thinks up a plot like that? That is exactly why I would like to find people to attempt to recommend this movie to, I’ll recant this statement in a little bit but i’m trying to make a point: because this movie, while gruesome and disgusting, is extraordinarily one-of-a-kind. Because of the controversy over this movie, I highly doubt any sane being would even attempt to make another movie of this ilk for at least a very very long while.


I mean, just think about what the actors went through making this – especially the actor who portrayed Milos, Srdjan Todorovic, a very tragic character forced into this unfortunate set-up who basically either has to grit his teeth and bear it or most likely be forced to watch his own family murdered before his eyes (even though, without spoilers, what happened was far far worse). But the character I most felt horribly sorry for was Milos’ young son Petar, who was basically, metaphorically and non-metaphorically, faced at gunpoint to witness these monstrosities head-on with almost no one feeling remorseful about what they’re doing to the poor child. The performance work from the pair is some of the most cruelly, disturbingly convincing acting I’ve ever had the painful experience of witnessing.


I honestly don’t know how to conclude this review, because as I said I want to recant my recommendation of this movie. I really don’t recommend this movie to too many people due to the extremely brutal nature of it, I mean if I could hardly sit through it with the unnaturally strong stomach I have, a lot of people with just as strong or stronger stomachs for this sort of thing would probably have the same problem. But if you do choose to see this movie, just be prepared for an uncommonly uncomfortable viewing experience.

My Rating: 8/10

I’m not gonna add a trailer to this review, I’m not for censorship or anything but I just don’t think it’d be that appropriate.

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Underrated Films, Underprolonged Reviews: Mallrats (1995)


Plot, from IMDB: Both dumped by their girlfriends, two best friends seek refuge in the local mall.
I’d like to start this small piece out by simply stating I love Kevin Smith’s movies. I’ve been a big fan of his for about five years or so now, and I just love his perverted and often witty since of humor. He is easily one of the most, if not the most, unpretentious filmmaker out there right now because he makes the type of movies he would watch, that he would enjoy, the type of movies that a singular person or a group of friends can watch and laugh and have a good time with. For the most part, I mean. I hated “Cop Out”, like most people, but I don’t blame him for that film being awful as he wasn’t the screenwriter. Now, onto the actual point of my piece rather than explaining my love for Smith’s movies; why do a lot of people hate Mallrats? I don’t really understand that. Sure, it’s nowhere near the quality film “Clerks.” was, and especially not as great as “Chasing Amy”, but it is in itself a pretty damn funny movie. The writing may be puerile at times, obviously, and it’s definitely not as clever as his previous film “Clerks” was, but what “Mallrats” has in its favor as a follow-up film is a delightfully fun new adventure with the human versions of Scooby and Shaggy themselves, Jay and Silent Bob. This movie infact contains some of my favorite Jay and Silent Bob moments, especially the scenes when they’re trying to sabotage the gameshow Truth or Date, and it also includes quite a bit of hilarious one-liners throughout. And frankly that was good enough for me, I came to this movie years ago to laugh and have a good time and it most certainly suceeded in doing just exactly what I expected it to do. No more, no less.

In conclusion, while “Mallrats” is certainly not Kevin Smith’s masterpiece (that title would go to “Chasing Amy”), it is still a fun, laugh-out-loud and enjoyable good time that will make you smile and crave more wacky Jay and Silent Bob shenanigans.

My Rating: 8/10

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Underrated Films, Unprolonged Reviews: Factory Girl (2006)


Biopics. The biopic genre is a genre that can easily stand the test of time because of the way a writer or writer-director has a way to sensationalize the subject or subject matter. Biopics can be either completely fictional, semi-factual, or overly sensational, but if done right they can be a compelling piece of filmmaking. And in a way, that’s what we got here. Departed filmmaker George Hickenlooper directed this biopic of Edie Sedwick in such an evocative and eccentric way that it felt almost like watching a Warhol underground movie, which worked out quite flawlessly considering the subject matter. The main problem, however, that I am just itching to address is just how sensationalized this movie is; knowing as much as I do about Warhol and Sedwick and the inhabitants of The Factory I could easily lay back and spot the fact from the fiction. One of the most glaringly obvious fictional parts of this film is the way they portrayed Bob Dylan. They portrayed him as her lover and the intention cause of Edie’s downward spiral into drug abuse and subsequent barbituate overdose, which is complete and utter bullshit because she was a known addict before they even met and they weren’t anything more than just off-and-on acquaintences. But, seeing as I went into watching this movie knowing it wasn’t entirely factual, I was still able to enjoy the tones and sensationalism of the story. The screenplay may not be entirely tight, but the way it flows wonderfully throughout made it just good enough to make this film hold my intention. The absolute best thing about this film, however, that makes me seriously wanna recommend it is Sienna Miller’s transcendent and eerily uncanny performance as Edie Sedwick. I’ve seen “Ciao Manhattan” before, and I can definitely state she not only got the look down perfectly, but she also expertly captured her poise, her manner of speaking, and her mannerisms in a way that no other actress could’ve ever done. Not only that, but as the story progresses into a bitter downward spiral when she is using and withdrawing from drugs, as someone who’s personally been around people going through that I can state outright Sienna incomparably captured the painful dissolution of a dreadfully crippling drug addiction. This is the type of performance that comes around once in a blue moon that without a doubt deserves way more recognition than it got.

In conclusion, George Hickenlooper’s “Factory Girl” is definitely a sensationalized piece that is more fiction than fact, however it is a well shot and extraordinarily well-acted film that certainly deserves a better chance that it got. While I do agree somewhat with the points Lou Reed (Rest In Peace) brought up when this came out, I still wanna recommend it to people who love Sedwick, Warhol, or the history behind The Factory.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Rest in Peace, George Hickenlooper

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Jerry Maguire (1996) Review/Rant


Plot, from IMDB: When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him.

You know how every decade has beloved movies; movies that become time-tested, endearing classics that people fall in love with and eventually become part of the pop-culture lexicon? Movies like The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, and The Godfather. That’s all fair and good, but what if you watch one of these so called “beloved” popular movies and are really, really disappointed with it? Disappointing, my sentiment exactly about Jerry Maguire.

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Now, Jerry Maguire wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen, far from it, but to me it was extremely disappointing considering how well it was built-up by audience hype. And since I haven’t really reviewed movies that I don’t care for much I am going to take a different approach to this review; I’m going to spend a few paragraphs explaining what I didn’t like about it first, and then i’m going to spend a few paragraphs explaining the things I did like about it.


My biggest, most glaring problem with this movie was its screenplay, written entirely by director Cameron Crowe. To put it bluntly at first, it was a really bland, lackluster screenplay – which was upsetting for two reasons; One, I really enjoy Crowe’s writing, he’s one of my favorite screenwriters. I rank his film “Almost Famous” as one of the greatest movies of all time. And the second reason it was upsetting is because the story was really interesting. Here this movie attempts to take a deep look on the inside politics and workings of the NFL and the people involved, and manages to be not only dull for the most part but also sort of charmless. A majority of the main characters, most especially Bob Sugar, were extraordinarly self-centered schmucks and were also as one-dimensional as an Atari 2600’s video game graphics. The dialogue also, for the most part, was really stiff and kind of awkward to listen to; the jokes almost always fell flat, I don’t even think I laughed five times in the entirety of the movie and it is supposed to be a quote-unquote comedy. Another major problem is this movie dragged on forever, Crowe and his editors could’ve easily cut 20 minutes out of this movie and still would’ve been able to tell the story the exact same way. Though I highly doubt it would’ve mattered much, pretty much for the entirety of this movie I sat there with a blank expression on my face and not feeling any emotion at all, for the most part, waiting desperately for the movie the end. My final major problem with this movie is I never at all connected with any of the characters. Jerry Maguire was way too cocky, Rod Tidwell was way too arrogant and too much of a show-off, Bob Sugar was a self-centered asshole I’d love to punch in the face, and Dorothy Boyd was a doormat who hardly ever stood up for herself. The characters never at any point in the movie felt like real people, but more on the lines of some unimaginative person’s annoying alter ego.


Now, if you’ve never read my reviews before and don’t know how I go about my process of ranting throughout you’d probably think I hated every little scrap of this movie with a passion. I didn’t, not by a longshot, but it helps me be able to be more even-tempered with my reviews and keep things flowing better if I didn’t care for the movie a great deal and was able to get the rant off my chest first and foremost. The best thing about this movie was the various chemistries going on between its cast of characters. While I found the character’s personalities to be phony and their actions throughout to be unrealistic, the romantic chemistry between Maguire and Boyd, the father-son relationship between Maguire and Boyd’s young son Ray, and the growing friendship between Maguire and Tidwell was tangible and made this movie better than it would’ve been without it. Frankly, if this movie lacked any amount of the chemistry it had between the characters I would’ve turned it off after 20 minutes, however the wonderful performances also helped keep this film afloat. Tom Cruise was his usual charming self and gave a terrific performance as the titular character, and Cuba Gooding Jr as well gave a marvelous performance as Rod Tidwell. Although, I firmly believe he didn’t deserve to win the Oscar that year, his performance was still phenominal. But who really stole the show and made the movie almost worth while was Jonathan Lipnicki’s wondrous performance as Dorothy’s young son Ray. The moments with his character, especially between him and Jerry where Ray is spouting off random facts and tidbits back and forth with him, are the only singular moments in this movie that actually made me smile and made me feel any sort of emotion.


In conclusion, I honestly don’t get what made critics and audiences go mad for “Jerry Maguire”; I found it to be overlong, tedious, and obnoxious throughout the entire film, which is always disappointing when its coming from one of your favorite filmmakers. It’s certainly far from the worst film I’ve ever seen, thanks to the discernibly marvelous chemistry between the actors and their excellent performances, but it was also very far from being a great movie, in my opinion. I’m not sure how it took Cameron Crowe three and a half years to write this movie, but it’s clear to me it wasn’t spent on developing three dimensional believable characters.

My Rating: an unfortunate 5/10

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St. Vincent (2014) Review


Plot: A young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door.

I love this type of movie, simply love love love this type of movie: a movie in which this ridiculous, unlikely candidate to ever take care of someone other then themselves becomes the mentor to a seemingly fragile person, changing the person’s, and eventually everyone’s, lives for the better. Curtains open, curtains close. Sunrise, sunset. What I find so charming and so lovable about these types of stories is, in most cases anyways, they ring true. We all know or have a person like Vincent in our lives; a frumpy, grouchy, misanthropic, eccentric, crude person who seems like they would be the person you would most likely want to avoid if you have any real problems, but they always end up usually teaching you something and you end up glad that you had or have them in your life. Whether you have them in your lives to stay or whether you had only a fleeting time with them, you will always be glad that the person was in your life. That’s what I love about these kind of movies, how they bring up all kinds of emotions, yet they remain as quirky, lovable, and off -the -wall as they possibly can. But, in St Vincent’s case, it is much much more than just your average quirky, lovable, off-the-wall movie.

St Vincent Movie

“St Vincent” brings together the wonderful, legendary comedic timing of Bill Murray, with the massively underrated comedic talents of Melissa McCarthy in two wonderfully brilliant performances. Murray’s performance, in my opinion, was certainly dazzling enough to warrant an Oscar nomination, giving his first-rate piece of acting work since 2005’s “Broken Flowers” in my opinion. The chemistry in their performances together was really good, albeit spending a good portion of the film acerbically sparring like warring cats and dogs, but not as sweet and as gracefully realistic as the chemistry between Murray and newcomer Jaeden Lieberher, who portrayed young Oliver. I honestly haven’t seen chemistry that realistic, and that sweet, and that touching in a very long time. Perhaps my favorite scene of the entire movie is this pivotal scene in which Oliver is being bullied by Robert, a boy in his class at school. He’s kicked around, shoved, punched in the nose, but does he fight back? No. When Vincent witnesses this, he does this sort of Eastwood-esq 1000-yard stare before coming to his senses to defend Oliver from the bullies; and by defend him, I mean verbally assault the bullies, threaten them, and then break their skateboard. It was my favorite scene because it really showed how much Vincent cared for Oliver, even if he himself hadn’t realized it yet. Like I said, McCarthy and Murray gave two wonderful performances, but the true surprise the this magnificent film was Jaeden Lieberher portraying Oliver. Words simply cannot describe how skillful, delightful, and exceptionally heartfelt his performance was, but to put it this way he is going to have a hell of a career. His performance was simply one of the finest acting performances by a child actor in many years, perhaps even decades.


“St Vincent” is Theodore Melfi’s feature film debut as a screenwriter/director, and it was a magically ingenious first work – but it wasn’t without its faults. The movie was wholehearted and beautiful, filled with many emotions that are touching and realistic, it was also at times quite funny and sentimental. But I think the sentimentality works faultlessly for the tone of this movie. The faults of this movie, principally for a first work, were actually few and far between. My main problem was with Naomi Watts’ character Daka, “The Hooker With A Heart of Gold”; the character was decently written albeit being cliched and her performance was alright – but my problem is she was really rude and standoffish, her character did not fit the tone of the movie for the most part. There were a few other cliches here and there, but they didn’t at all drag down the elegant, excellent screenplay Melfi wrote.



In conclusion, “St Vincent” is most likely 2014’s most underrated movie; a movie with heart and emotions that will make you laugh, cry, feel happy, and especially make you have a good time at the movies. The screenplay was a tightly written first effort, and the performances were always on point, especially Murray’s and Lieberher’s. This movie was always a thrill to watch, never boring, and I highly recommend it for everyone and their family or friends.

My Rating: 9.5/10

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Underrated Films, Un-Prolonged Reviews: The Tourist (2010)


Plot (from IMDB): Revolves around Frank, an American tourist visiting Italy to mend a broken heart. Elise is an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path.

I really don’t see what all the hate here with this film is about. Oh, of course, the boy who tries to find at least one tiny little positive thing he likes about each and every movie he sees doesn’t get the hate, but I digress. I think the biggest problem with this movie is that it was marketed as a “romantic comedy-thriller”, which is a tad misleading. Thrilling? Yes, infact the spy-thriller ingredient to this movie, along with the gorgeous scenery and well-timed action sequences were the film’s best portion, reminding me somewhat of the underrated Bond flick “License to Kill”. The romance element of this film wasn’t as bad as i’ve heard, while their chemistry wasn’t always the greatest I think Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie worked fairly well together, playing off of each other admirably. However, this movie shouldn’t really be classified as a comedy. Sure, it had some nice comedic moments sprinkled throughout, but I think this film works much better when it plays itself straight as an espionage movie. I think it worked marvelously as a modern day spy-thriller, not enough that I give it my most substantial of recommendations, but I believe it works well enough that I should say give it a chance. You might end up liking it.

My Rating: 7/10

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