Apr 13 2018


Former U.S. Diplomat Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm) is called back in to service in Beirut to broker a deal that will ultimately aid in the release of an old friend and colleague, Cal (Mark Pellegrino). Trouble is, Mason hasn’t been the same since the death of his wife many years ago, an event that also took place in Beirut, a place he’d rather forget at the bottom of a bottle. Now, aided by CIA agent Sandy Crowder (Rosamund Pike), Mason will have to rely on every dirty trick in the book to work his diplomatic magic, even then, he might just be out of pixie dust. Written by Tony Gilroy and Directed by Brad Anderson, a pedigree that would suggest something between a Jason Bourne film clashed with an episode of Fringe, the right pieces appear to be in order on this game board; however, the downfall of this screenplay may in fact be that it’s trying too hard to look smart, twisty, turny, whatever, it just isn’t necessary. But never let the obscurity of a story stop the attempts and efforts of a solid ensemble. Hamm and Pike work effortlessly to assume their respective roles, and, the overall production of this period spy thriller certainly looks the part. It is unfortunate the overall politics of the region are lost in the mix and only referenced as passing comments, so much for clarification of that. Bottom line, if you were looking for a Middle East Bridge of Spies, with a bit more gunfire, welp, look no further, this one checks the boxes. Beirut is rated R.

Apr 13 2018

Truth or Dare

When a group of college friends take a trip to Mexico for spring break a game of Truth or Dare turns deadly as someone, or, something keeps the game going, forcing more and more damning truths and more extreme dares. Surviving the game seems futile, but maybe there’s a shred of hope….somewhere? Directed by Jeff Wadlow this mild variation on a theme of 2014’s it Follows comes across as drastically less thrilling but also unintentionally more comedic just the same. Lowering the bar further, downright hokey special effects lose their “special” nature in the light of today’s Snapchat filter options, eh, so it goes. As for the ensemble, their willingness to commit to their roles automatically earns them a “good enough” award, but lets curb those expectations right now. Finally, a rather abrupt ending offers up the traditional teen/slasher/thriller pulp non-ending to little or no surprise or fanfare. Keep trying, we’ll hit something original again, sooner or later. Truth or Dare is rated PG-13.

Apr 6 2018


Three girl friends since grade school, Julie, Kayla, and Sam (Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Gideon Adlon) make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night; but, despite their own best efforts, their biggest challenge may actually come from their parents. As it turns out, parents, Lisa, Mitchell, and Hunter (Leslie Mann, John Cena, and Ike Barinholtz) are on to the girls’s plan and they’ll stop at nothing to prevent what they perceive to be a huge mistake. The race is on, will the girls be able to make good on their pact, will they bring on their own undoing through misadventure, or will their parents manage to successfully stop things before it’s too late? Directed by Kay Cannon and Written by Brian and Jim Kehoe, this late teen/young adult romp brings a fairly standard almost Shakespearean trope turned a few degrees on end to swap genders and role reverse in a “clever enough” way to keep the chuckles rolling from start to finish. Playing off of the strength of women in control of their sexualities the film also works to shatter the image of damsels in distress and father knows best, instead, highlighting women who are confident in their bodies asserting their own wants and desires. Selling the picture further, the power of the ensemble is strong in this one flexing the creative and comedic muscles of all, and, while the rules of any Nickelodeon show apply, parents are dolts and kids are geniuses, the overall gag doesn’t overstay its welcome with a runtime of an hour and forty two minutes. You were looking for your next raunch-ish rom com, found it. Blockers is rated R.