‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Flies Higher Than The Original

Top Gun: Maverick Rating: 10/10 Director: Joseph Kosinski Writer: Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie Style: Drama Time: 137 minutes Rated: PG-13 By Mike Szymanski Sequels are usually never better than the first. In fact, most of them pale in comparison to the original film.Some notable exceptions may be the second “Alien” movie (“Aliens”), or “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” and many saythey loved … Continue reading ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Flies Higher Than The Original

If You Dream of Getting into The Industry, This is a Must-See: ‘Movie Money CONFIDENTIAL

Movie Money CONFIDENTIAL Rating: 10/10 Director and Writer: Rick Pamplin. Style: Documentary Time: 101 minutes by Mike Szymanski This is a subject I know a lot about. Not only have I taken a lot of classes about the film industry, and have two bookcases full of dusty books about breaking into the business, but I’ve watched the plethora of how-to documentaries that parse out secrets … Continue reading If You Dream of Getting into The Industry, This is a Must-See: ‘Movie Money CONFIDENTIAL

We Are All One Step Away from ‘One Road to Quartzsite

One Road to Quartzsite Rating: 7/10 Director and Writer: Ryan Maxey Written by: Ryan Maxey, Josh Polon, Sophie Hardeman Style: Documentary Time: 105 minutes Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/quartzsitefilm By Mike Szymanski I loved the 2021 Best Picture winner “Nomadland” partly because it was a bit frightening. It came out while the world was quarantined and in the middle of the pandemic, and I felt like I … Continue reading We Are All One Step Away from ‘One Road to Quartzsite

The Heart-Ache in ‘Stay Awake’ Focuses on How Two Brothers Deal with It

Stay Awake Rating: 8/10 Director & Screenwriter: Jamie Sisley Style: Family Drama Time: 94 minutes By Mike Szymanski Although the disease of addiction is rampant throughout small communities throughout America, very few films have truly captured the pain and angst of what it does inside a family than in “Stay Awake.” The frustrations of the two brothers in the movie are issues that anyone can … Continue reading The Heart-Ache in ‘Stay Awake’ Focuses on How Two Brothers Deal with It

When Getting ‘Crabs!’ Is A Good Thing: A Succulent Horror-Comedy To Get Your Claws Into

Crabs! Rating: 10/10 Director & Screenwriter: Pierce Berolzheimer Style: Horror/Comedy Time: 80 minutes By Mike Szymanski Lately — well at least for the past two years — it is very rare that I laugh out loud over a movie, and this one had me doing it from the first scene. So thank you “Crabs!” for getting me to giggle in this strange and unfunny times. … Continue reading When Getting ‘Crabs!’ Is A Good Thing: A Succulent Horror-Comedy To Get Your Claws Into

Try Harder Film Review

By: Vernon Nickerson At Lowell High School, the top-ranked public high school in San Francisco,the seniors are stressed out and I can can relate. “Try Harder” shows the unbelievable pressure students are under to achieve their dream, but sometimes it’s not their dream but their parents. There is a parallel of what these students went through and what I went through in my earlier academic … Continue reading Try Harder Film Review

Review of Days of Rage:Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol | Visual Investigations

Rarely does a k-12 Social Studies certificated education professional dual-credentialled ( in-progress) in Special Education have the honor of reviewing  a documentary that has a current mainstream narrative. I am grateful that the stars aligned– Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol | Visual Investigations is the documentary; I am the teacher. Based upon a six-month-long investigative process which yielded never-before-seen footage, … Continue reading Review of Days of Rage:Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol | Visual Investigations

A Simple Indie Film Filled with Tears, Drama and Silence in “Lotawana”

By Mike Szymanski Sometimes a true “Film” is about filmmaking, not the dialogue. A lot of silence permeates this moody, picturesque film that’s an impressive first feature by Trevor Hawkins. Every scene, every camera shot, every moment is a piece of art, framed in nature and natural surroundings as we follow this couple who live on a sailboat, and take life where the wind send … Continue reading A Simple Indie Film Filled with Tears, Drama and Silence in “Lotawana”

Inheritance Italian Style

By Mike Szymanski Think of “Inheritance Italian Style” as like a dark comedy melodrama with wacky characters, over-the-top acting, and unpredictable liaisons all set in a beautiful countryside estate. It’s enjoyable, heart-felt, ridiculous, sad, and funny. Five sisters come together to discuss the dividing up of the family furniture well before their parents are gone in a large villa in Sicily. The countryside and the … Continue reading Inheritance Italian Style

“American morning” Speaks To America’s Tragedy

By Monteque Pope-Le Beau The story of “American Morning” takes place in the present as it take us on a on a journey through Connor Mathis (Stephen Dexter) tragic experience. A small-town elementary school music teacher who survived a mass shooting at his elementary school that killed 27 children which happened two years ago. In today’s continuing debate about the gun control of assault rifles … Continue reading “American morning” Speaks To America’s Tragedy

At Long Last, STEEL SONG

By Vernon Nickerson Fans of Game of Thrones and or cosplay enthusiasts will be enthralled by the behind-the-scenes documentary “Steel Song” by Director Adrian Cicerone. Be advised, the film resembles a medieval jostling contest where the combatants attemp. It beat the snot out of each other. The objective: to be th. Last person (male or female) standing. To the filmmakers’credit, the story is apologetic an … Continue reading At Long Last, STEEL SONG

‘Look Away, Look Away’ Doesn’t Look Away from Both Sides of the Confederate Flag Controversy

By Mike Szymanski It starts off ugly. This documentary starts off with the ugly rantings of a guy who brought a gun in with a Confederate flag and murdered nine innocent people at the Emmanuel AME Church in South Carolina. Then, the filmmaker, writer and director Patrick O’Connor talks about the flag of his home state of Mississippi that has the Confederate flag as a … Continue reading ‘Look Away, Look Away’ Doesn’t Look Away from Both Sides of the Confederate Flag Controversy

“They Them Us” Shows The human Side Of Sexuality And Relationships

By Vernon Nickerson Have you ever had a fantasy about your most outrageous sexual adventure? Or, has eighteen months of COVID-19 drama robbed you of your ability to fantasize? Either way, you will want to see “They Them Us” by writer and director JON SHERMAN(HE/HIM). This film can give your dreaming brain and or your beating heart some idea of what you have been missing. … Continue reading “They Them Us” Shows The human Side Of Sexuality And Relationships

Film Review Of The 2021 Newport Beach Film Festival Short “Wichita”

By Monteque Pope-Le Beau How fast would you run to hide your affair? Director Sergine Dumais’s award winning short “Wichita” shows what you do in the dark will eventually be brought to the light. Director Sergine Dumais brings a lighthearted approach to a very difficult and often traumatic life changing situation. In modern times relationships have changed in respect to what it is to be … Continue reading Film Review Of The 2021 Newport Beach Film Festival Short “Wichita”

“Overrun” is Overdone and Underwhelming”

By Mike Szymanski Take every gangland cliche and put them together into one big jumble and that’s what you’ll find with “Overrun.” That includes the exploding briefcase, the Russian bad guys, a pair of inept goofballs, an innocent kidnapped sister, brutal torture, lots of gunfire, and mix in corrupt cops, bounty hunters, car chases, ex-military rogues, martial arts, double-crossing, and painfully on-the-nose dialogue. The saving … Continue reading “Overrun” is Overdone and Underwhelming”

“WHAT” A Not So Silent Film

By Vernon Nickerson “WHAT”, written and directed by Alex Lev, stars brilliant actor John Maucere in a film with a stellar cast of deaf male and female actors. They collaborate to give us a profound, powerful, and whimsical look at being a minority deaf culture in a majority culture of hearing humans. WHAT, is aptly billed as a not-so-silent film about a deaf actor searching … Continue reading “WHAT” A Not So Silent Film

Bleak “We Had it Coming” Leaves Us in the Dark

By Mike Szymanski This is a dark movie, and I mean literally dark. It’s hard to see anything in many of the scenes, and when a little light is shown, it’s dramatically through the forest, or a flicker here and there. And it’s tough to say whether it’s night or day. The quick scenes show it’s night time, then it’s morning, then it’s night again, … Continue reading Bleak “We Had it Coming” Leaves Us in the Dark

The Need to Grow A Life Transforming Film

By Vernon Nickerson Sometimes the best independent films are life-transforming. Other times watching and listening to an exceptionally well-told story makes the heart sing. From the collaborative team of Rob Herring (Writer-Director) and Ryan Wirick (Director), The Need to Grow is that film. The subtitle, “Save the SOIL, Save the WORLD,” summarizes an intimate journey of a mother and Girl Scout Troup leader (Ms. Monica … Continue reading The Need to Grow A Life Transforming Film

“Mondo Hollywoodland” A Story Of Selfreflection

By Vernon Nickerson “Mondo Hollywoodland” looks and feels vaguely familiar. In fact, it is a story I have lived in the bohemian lives of many artist friends in Los Angeles’ Silverlake Community. The film was directed, produced and co-written by award-winning director, producer, and writer Janek Ambros “Mondo Hollywoodland” also stars Alex Loynaz (PEDRO, 9-1-1), Alyssa Sabo (Totally Rad, Floor is Lava), and Jessica Jade … Continue reading “Mondo Hollywoodland” A Story Of Selfreflection

Why Haven’t You Had The Luxury Of Discovering This Cool Band? This Doc Tells It All

By Mike Szymanski Luxury, had I known of them in the 1990s, would have become a favorite band of mine in my youth had I known about them. Their influences were the same as mine that I loved as a young teen, when the parents of the up-and-coming band members were giving their children albums from KISS, and Queen, and the Beatles. What may have … Continue reading Why Haven’t You Had The Luxury Of Discovering This Cool Band? This Doc Tells It All