Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Bounce Back

 

The Bounce Back
Film Review by Kam Williams


Love Gurus Date Despite Philosophical Differences in Delightful Romantic Romp


Love guru Matthew Taylor (Shemar Moore) is the author of the new best seller, "The Bounce Back." Accompanied by his enterprising business manager, Terry (Bill Bellamy), he's been hawking the self-help book on plenty of TV and radio programs.

Since Terry believes that "Image is everything," he's concerned that Matthew hasn't settled down since his divorce. "A relationship guru should be in a relationship for longer than a minute," he counsels his BFF/boss.

That sentiment is echoed by Matthew's teenage daughter, Aleya (Nadja Alaya), who says, "Dad, you really need to get a girlfriend." Nevertheless, her father tends to settle for one-night stands, like the one he recently shared with Lizette (Marta Cross), the makeup artist at a TV station where he'd just appeared.

Matthew finally meets his match, literally and figuratively, the day he crosses paths with Kristin Peralta (Nadine Velazquez), a fellow therapist also making the rounds on the talk show circuit. Trouble is, while there's evidently chemistry between the two, they have conflicting adivce to offer folks nursing wounds from a painful relationship.

Matthew's simplistic suggestion is to "Get out of your head and into action." By contrast, Kristin doesn't think the solution is quite that easy. She says, "Therapy's a marathon, not a sprint." After all, she's still recovering from having her heart broken over six years ago.

Consequently, she views Matthew as a charlatan exploiting the vulnerable. And she tells him so to his face, snarling, "Quick fixes like yours are always a scam, whether it's a book, a pill or a seminar."

Confrontation makes for great TV drama and, soon enough, the two therapists find their services in demand to debate their contradictory philosophies head-to-head. However, the more time they subsequently spend together making personal appearances, the more the feelings between them have a chance to develop.

But can a relationship survive on chemistry alone? That is the pivotal question posed by The Bounce Back, a delightful romantic romp directed by Youssef Delara (Filly Brown). The movie is most reminiscent of Think Like a Man, another urban-oriented soap opera revolving around the battle-of-the-sexes.

Nevertheless, this novel contribution to the genre stands on its own and thus warrants recommending, between a solid script with a couple of cleverly-concealed plot twists, and a plethora of praiseworthy performances on the part of a talented cast topped by Shemar Moore, Nadine Velazquez, Kali Hawk, Sheryl Underwood and the versatile veteran, Bill Bellamy.

Confirmation that opposites do, in fact, attract, even shrinks dispensing diametrically-opposed dating advice!


Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and brief drug use
Running time: 104 minutes
Distributor: Freestyle Releasing


To see a trailer for The Bounce Back, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1oF7bLKBEc

Friday, December 2, 2016

In Order of Disappearance


Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams


Dad Tracks Down Dead Son's Drug Dealers in Scandinavian Splatterfest


Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgard) had no idea his son Ingvar (Aron Eskeland) was a heroin addict until the day the young man was murdered by acouple of ruthless dealers who made it look like an overdose. Rather than take the loss lying down, the deceased's grieving dad decides to track down not only the killers but also the drug kingpin (Pal Sverre Hagen) who ordered the hit.

As it turns out, The Count has a slew of sidekicks running interference for him. But surprisingly, an army of goons prove to be no match for Nils, a mild-mannered milquetoast who was recently-crowned "Man of the Year" for servings as his town's reliable snowplow driver. Somehow, he morphs into a merciless vigilante who has no qualms about slaying all the henchmen standing between him and the elusive crime boss.
Thus unfolds In Order of Disappearance, a grisly revenge thriller directed by Norway's Hans Petter Moland. The movie reunites Moland with Stellan Skarsgard with whom he first collaborated in 2010 on A Somewhat Gentle Man.
This picture walks a fine line between macabre drama and dark comedy, given how the vindictive protagonist takes to butchery as the attrition rate.escalates. Then, when warned that he'll have to take on a vicious gang of Serbs along the way, Nils even enlists the assistance of his estranged, ex-con brother (Peter Andersson).
Fortunately, The Count has a son, Rune (Jack Sodahl Moland), who could conveniently come in handy as irresistible bait if successfully kidnapped from school. That ploy might finally flush his diabolical dad out of hiding, allowing for a satisfying evening of the score during a decidedly gruesome resolution.
A Scandinavian splatterfest staining the snow-capped mountainsides of an otherwise-breathtaking Norwegian wonderland!



Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity
In Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, English, Serbian and German with subtitles
Running time: 118 minutes
Distributor: Magnolia Home Entertainment




To see a trailer for In Order of Disappearance, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbOR0aE2WlE

To order a copy of In Order of Disappearance on Blu-ray, visit:  


Kicks




Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams


Ghetto Kid Mugged for Sneakers Seeks Revenge in Coming-of-Age Drama


Brandon (Jahking Guillory) saved up for a pricey pair of Air Jordan, only to suffer the utter humiliation of having them stolen right off his feet at gunpoint by a gang of ghetto predators. Thus arrives a moment of truth for the nerdy 15 year-old who finds himself stuck at an unpleasant station in life where he's not only routinely picked on by his peers but absolutely ignored by the opposite sex to boot. 
 
Should he simply shrug off this latest dis as merely another cold reminder of what life is like in the 'hood for any kid that isn't macho, or is he finally mature enough to exact a measure of revenge on Flaco (Kofi Siriboe), the pompous perpetrator who'd seized the sneakers as a gift for a son (Michael Smith, Jr.)? Believe it or not, that is the sum and substance of the dilemma which fuels the fire of Kicks, a super-realistic, inner-city saga marking the memorable directorial debut of Justin Tipping.

This earthy, slice-of-life flick convincingly captures the anomie and sense of desperation which might help explain why so many black youths opt to murder each other over seemingly trivial slights nowadays. While this story unfolds against the barren backdrop of Oakland's exoskeleton, it could just as easily be taking place in such equally-godforsaken environs as latter-day Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, St. Louis, New Orleans or Detroit. 
 
Before Brandon embarks on his hunt for Flaco, he enlists the assistance of his BFFs Albert (Christopher Wallace, Jr) and Rico (Christopher Meyer). They prove to be game and, for some reason that is never broached, theirs is a lawless world devoid of the option of approaching police or parents to intervene on their behalf. 
 

A tentative tale of woe every bit as bleak as it is hopeful that there's an exit at the other end of a disturbingly dystopic tunnel.



Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for pervasive profanity,drug and alcohol abuse, sexuality and violence, all involving teens.
Running time: 87 minutes
Studio: Animal Kingdom
Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Extras: Kicks: One-on-One; and a photo gallery. .




To see a trailer for Kicks, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWV2hK4HVEk

To order a copy of Kicks on Blu-ray, visit:



Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kam's Kapsules for Movies Opening December 9, 2016

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
by Kam Williams

OPENING THIS WEEK

BIG BUDGET FILMS

The Bounce Back (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and brief drug use) Romantic comedy about a charismatic relationship guru (Shemar Moore) who falls in love with a skeptical fellow therapist (Nadine Velazquez) he meets while on a book tour promoting his new best seller. Supporting cast includes Bill Bellamy, Kali Hawk and Vanessa Bell Calloway.

La La Land (PG-13 for profanity) Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) directed this enchanting homage to Hollywood musicals set in present-day LA and revolving around an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and jaded jazz musician's (Ryan Gosling) whirlwind romance. With J.K. Simmons, John Legend and Rosemarie DeWitt.

Office Christmas Party (R for crude sexuality, graphic nudity, drug use and pervasive profanity) Raunchy holiday comedy about a couple of corporate execs' (Jason Bateman and T.J. Miller) attempt to save their jobs by throwing a wild party to impress a potential client. Ensemble cast includes Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, Vanessa Bayer, Olivia Munn, Courtney B. Vance and Rob Corddry.


INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

All We Had (Unrated) Dysfunctional family drama about a cash-strapped single-mom (Katie Holmes) living hand-to-mouth with her 13 year-old daughter (Stefania Owen) until they move to a tiny town where she finds a steady job as a waitress only to be victimized by a fast-talking mortgage broker (Mark Consuelos). Featuring Eve Lindley, Richard Kind and Judy Greer.

Befikre (Unrated) Romantic comedy about a guy (Ranveer Singh) who ventures from Delhi to Paris in search of employment only to fall in love with a free-spirited Indian girl (Vaani Kapoor) born in France. With Elisa Bachir Bey, Julie Ordon and Hugo Diego Garcia. (In Hindi with subtitles)

The Brand New Testament (Unrated) Irreverent comedy about a sadistic God (Benoit Poelvoorde) living in a high-rise apartment in Brussels where he abuses both his wife (Yolande Moreau) and 10 year-old daughter (Pili Groyne). Support cast includes Francois Damiens, Catherine Deneuve and Marco Lorenzini. (In French and German with subtitles)

Burn Country (Unrated) Crime thriller about an Afghani refugee (Dominic Rains) who finds his life threatened after he takes a job as an investigative reporter with a newspaper in the quiet California town where he settles down. With James Franco, Melissa Leo and Rachel Brosnahan.

Friend Request (R for profanity, violence and disturbing images) High attrition-rate horror flick about a popular college coed (Alycia Debnam-Carey) who comes to regret unfriending a stalker (Liesl Ahlers) when her closest classmates start disappearing one-by-one. With William Moseley, Connor Paolo and Brit Morgan.

Harry Benson: Shoot First (Unrated) Reverential biopic chronicling the enduring career of 86 year-old Harry Benson, legendary photographer of the stars, with subjects ranging from the Beatles to Muhammad Ali.

Kill Ratio (Unrated) Espionage thriller about an American spy (Tom Hopper) working undercover to protect a fledgling, Eastern European democracy during a coup d'etat being orchestrated by a ruthless, renegade general (Nick Dunning). With Amy Huberman, Lacy Moore and Michelle Lehane.

On the Map (Unrated) Inspirational documentary recounting the Cinderella story of the Israeli basketball team's unlikely win of the European Cup in 1977.

Slash (Unrated) Coming-of-age comedy about an introverted, high school freshman (Michael Johnston) who turns a new leaf when a cute upperclassman (Hannah Marks) takes an interest in his erotic fiction. With Tishuan Scott, Jessie Ennis and Michael Ian Black.

Solitary (Unrated) Prodigal Daughter drama about an unemployed, substance-abusing party girl (Katharine Lee McEwan) who moves back home to live with her aging father after getting dumped by her boyfriend. Cast includes Sam Hoare, Jana Dowling and Jack Lowe.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Isaac Ryan Brown

 
The “Believe” Interview

with Kam Williams





Jumping Up and Down about Issac Ryan Brown

Isaac Ryan Brown is best recognized as Young Dre from the ABC Series “Blackish.” He was introduced to America on the television show "America’s Got Talent” at the tender age of 6, when he dazzled the audience and judges alike.

Issac’s resume includes voicing recurring characters on the cartoons “Miles From Tomorrowland,” “Bubble Guppies” and t“The Land Before Time XIV: Journey of the Brave." He also has been on the Dreamworks series “OMG,” has enjoyed a recurring role on "How to Get Away with Murder,” and appeared on the big screen in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Here, Isaac talks about co-starring in Believe, a faith-based, Christmas film about a homeless kid who comes to the aid of and inspires hope in a jaded businessman with money woes.

Kam Williams: Hi Isaac, thanks for the interview.
Isaac Ryan Brown: Thank you, Kam.

KW: What interested you in Believe?
IRB: My real life parallels the character CJ and how his faith pulls him thru the film.

KW: How would you describe your character, CJ?
IRB: CJ's a kid at heart who never grew up and keeps his faith. He believes all things are possible, you will find that life is better. He finds a way to look at the bright side of everything even through his circumstances.

KW: What would you say was the message of Believe?
IRB: Having faith and believing. We see relationships crumble and build in the film. Love, faith, hope and relationships are constant. .

KW: You won America's heart on America's Got Talent when you were only 6. At what age did you start singing?
IRB: I started at the age of 10 months when my mom and dad placed me in the choir. When I started speaking, it took off from there.

KW: What do you enjoy more, singing or acting?
IRB: I love them both the same, but singing edges out acting because you can express your feelings and convey a message with songs.

KW: Who is your favorite singer, and who is your favorite actor?
IRB: Michael Jackson is my all-time favorite performer. Whitney Houston is my favorite singer. I don’t have a favorite actor right now.

KW: What projects do you have coming up next?
IRB: A role in a great feature film I can’t talk about right now! And voiceover work for on the Disney animated series Puppy Dog Pals and on The Stinky & Dirty Show.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
IRB: I see a child of God. No matter who I play on TV or what people say about me, I’ll always see a handsome, educated, sophisticated, young man named Isaac.

KW: What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
IRB: When I was 9 years-old, I went outside and did the Ice Bucket Challenge [for ALS] in the snow.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
IRB: To have more wishes! [Laughs] People always regret what they wish for. Mine would be for infinite wisdom.

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?
IRB: Chucky! A doll that comes alive.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
IRB: Always stay humble and prayed up… In this business, you face a lot of "No’s." You are going to be sad and disappointed. But believe your time is coming and God will always help you.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?
IRB: I have three pennies, a locket pen, and $70 in fake cash in my wallet.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Isaac, and best of luck with Believe and all your other endeavors.
IRB: My pleasure, Kam.


To see a trailer for Believe, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrStET8MEf0

To see Isaac's audition on America's Got Talent, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuCrgO5S2tU


Believe


 
Film Review by Kam Williams

Cash-Strapped Businessman Touched by Homeless Boy in Heartwarming, Holiday Morality Play


It's late November in Grundy, Virginia, a tiny town whose economy revolves around Peyton Automotive, a family business inherited by Matthew Peyton (Ryan O'Quinn) from his late grandfather. Because the company has fallen on hard times in recent days, the overwhelmed CEO is considering cancelling the annual Christmas pageant the corporation has sponsored since the Seventies. 
 
In fact, Matthew finds himself being pressured by his financial advisor, Albert Bagley (Kevin Sizemore) either to lay off or lower the salaries of some of his 115 employees. Needless to say, the prospect of cutbacks doesn't sit well with union rep Bob Alexander (James C. Burns) who proceeds to call for a strike. 
 
Matthew, in turn, testifies before Grundy's City Council that he can no longer afford to stage the holiday festival because the funds in the trust have been totally exhausted. Trouble is, his grandfather's specifically stipulated in his will that Peyton Automotive must continue the tradition. 
 
Nevertheless, Matthew asserts that the business has been losing money for a couple of years and that, given the situation, he has no choice but to shut it down. Meanwhile, he's warned by the Mayor (Lance E. Nichols), "You keep going in this direction, you will get crucified." 
 
Soon enough, Matthew finds himself the victim of escalating violence. First his BMW is egged and has a tire slashed, before being torched entirely. Then, he's beaten to within an inch of his life and left for dead by a gang of union goons. 
 
Coming to his rescue is a most unlikely hero, a precocious homeless kid named CJ Joseph (Issac Ryan Brown). CJ and his mom Sharon (Danielle Nicolet) nurse Matthew back to health while giving him a priceless lesson about what really matters most in life. 
 
For, despite their dire circumstances, the Josephs both fervently believe that better days are coming. "I wish I had that kind of faith," Matthew admits. Upon recovering, the grateful heir informs Sharon and son that "You took care of me, now I'll take care of you." 
 
That is the point of departure of Believe, a modern morality play marking the feature film directorial debut of Billy Dickson. Although the picture is ostensibly aimed at the Christian demographic, it has a complicated enough storyline, including a love triangle and intriguing plot twists, to appeal to more than merely Bible-thumping Evangelicals. 
 
A thought-provoking parable as entertaining as it is a message movie.



Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG for violence, mature themes and mild epithets.
Running time: 118 minutes
Distributor: Power of 3


To see a trailer for Believe, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrStET8MEf0


Friday, November 25, 2016

Top Ten DVD List for November 29, 2016

by Kam Williams

This Week’s DVD Releases


Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music

Don't Breathe


Pete's Dragon


The Intervention

Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series

Brief Encounters

The BFG


Baked in Brooklyn

It's All So Quiet

Nova: 15 Years of Terror


Honorable Mention

A Chef's Life: Season Four

Nova: Super Tunnel