Shimmer Lake is Coen Brothers-lite, yet it aspires to be a film worthy enough to stand beside those famous quirky noirs from the Academy-Award winners. That would require Oren Uziel’s movie to be outrageous, which it isn’t. An unfortunate discovery considering the leads are terrific comedic actors.
Jeff Garlin is a clever and hilarious performer. You wouldn’t know that from watching Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie. Garlin directed, wrote, executive produced, and stars as Gene Handsome in this unfathomable clunker about a lonely homicide detective in LA. Yet, the film is so devoid of engagement, you would think the actor/filmmaker was tanking this project on purpose to honour a lost bet.
My introduction to filmmaking duo Brett Butler and Jason Butler was imperfect. Prior to the release of their indie Mourning Has Broken, I interviewed Brett. He was an all-around standup guy who was grateful for when he and his brother won Ingrid Veninger’s “1K Challenge”, granting them access to make their dark comedy starring character actor Robert Nolan.
Budding filmmaker Andy King has been in hot water with former Toronto councillor Doug Ford, the brother of late mayor Rob Ford who was caught up in worldwide controversy involving drug use caught on tape. The plot of King’s feature Filth City is centred around a belligerent, frantic mayor searching for a video that captures his illicit drug binging at a house party – you can see why Doug is a little mad.
Alan Thicke, in one of his final roles, is exceptional as self-help guru Patrick Spencer in It’s Not My Fault and I Don’t Care Anyway. As Spencer, Thicke is expected to peddle encouraging apathy with a smile – using nothing more than charisma to make his pitch. To think countless hosting gigs and ironic cameos didn’t prepare the entertainer for this movie would be foolish.
It’s pointless to review Solace. How do you sum up a crime drama that you’ve reviewed so many times before? What else can you say about the lack of ambition in Anthony Hopkins’ recent roles? I’m at a loss with Solace, a new whodunit from director Afonso Poyart starring Hopkins as a psychic who assists two FBI agents (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish) track down a serial killer. Imagine a very serious reenactment of that Saturday Night…
Peter Rajesh Joachim, a graduate of Sheridan College’s advanced television and film program, makes his feature-length directorial debut with the shoestring crime drama Blood Empires. It’s adequate and exactly what you would expect from a new filmmaker tackling a genre that’s known for obvious clichés, but thankfully Joachim is aware enough to somewhat withhold his cast from sleepwalking through tiresome territory.
Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan) and Michael Peña (Ant-Man) are two of New Mexico’s worst cops, yet they’re the kings of their castle in War on Everyone. Their delusion intimidates pedestrians and perps, and their shallowness makes their supervisor Lt. Gerry Stanton (Paul Reiser) confused and ultimately indifferent. However, their false royalty is disrupted when they’re overshadowed by a more diabolical threat, Lord James Mangan (Theo James of The Benefactor and the Divergent series).
Daniel Radcliffe continues an impressive post-Hogwarts career in Daniel Ragussis’ crime drama Imperium.
Earlier this year, audiences witnessed Bruce Willis being a lazy actor in Precious Cargo – he talked on a cell phone and barely moved out of his seat. In Marauders, the action star is at least doing more with his role (hey, walking counts), but the film itself receives the same faint praise I halfheartedly awarded Precious Cargo in April.