Movie Review

The Possession - Movie Review

The Possession   

Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis, Madison Davenport


Directed by Ole Bornedal


Rated: PG-13

Run Time: 92 mins

Genre: Horror/ Thriller


Opens in theaters August 31st


By Lisa Minzey


Hey Film Fans, we checked out The Possession this week, and a fun fact: this film is inspired by a true story about the Dybbuk Box, which supposedly the evil spirit haunts a wine cabinet. Sensing the irony here?

Jeffery Dean Morgan starts as Clyde, a college basketball coach and the father of two pre-teens, who spends most of his time on the court and away from his family. His now ex-wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) is rather protective of their girls Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport) as this divorce has been a difficult time for them. In an effort to be a better father,Clyde surprises his girls with a new house, to help them feel more  like their home with they are with him on the weekends. The girls are moody preteens so they are mildly impressed but appreciate the effort.

On their way back home from the first weekend, the girls plead with Clyde to stop at a yard sale, to pick up a few items for the new house. Em ends up choosing an antique wooden box with a bunch of Hebrew letters carved on all sides. There is no visible way to open the box, but Em begs her father to buy it for her, and he obliges.

Over the following weekend visits to Clyde’s house, strange events begin to happen, as well as noticeable changes to Em’s behavior and well being. Em tells Hannah that she doesn't feel like herself, but her sister blows it off as she’s just in a weird mood; that everything will be fine. The more that Em is around this box, the dybbuk (evil spirit) is latching on to her, causing her to withdraw from her friends, family and suffer in school. Em warns Clyde to stay away from her box, reinforcing the threat with a evil stare-down.

One day she brings the box to school, and another student tries to get too close, violence overtakes the young girl, landing her in trouble with the school administration. The school authorities are blaming her behavior on the divorce which to Clyde and Stephanie, it doesn’t make sense. They have been apart for more than a year, and she has never acted this way.

Clyde figures out that Em’s behavior started to change when the box came into their lives, so he gets rid of it. This causes Em to lash out, have a psychotic breakdown and runaway from her father’s house. Stephanie lashes out at Cyde and refuses to let him see the girls anymore, and Clyde knows that whatever causes Em to breakdown was not of this world. Can he find the answers to save Em before it’s too late or will he lose his family forever?

If you like thrillers and supernatural movies but don’t like to be scared out of your wits, this is an easy, entertaining film to watch.

Check it out when it opens Friday August 31st in a theater near you.






Cosmopolis Movie Review



Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon, Kevin Durand


Directed by David Cronenberg

Rated: R

Run Time: 108 mins

Genre: Drama


Open in Theaters August 24, 2012

By Lisa Minzey


Hello Phoenix Film Festival fans!  We caught the screening of Cosmopolis, another mid week release, thus bringing you another mid-week movie treat.

Cosmopolis is a strange, highly philosophical story that is culturally relevant to today’s headlines. Based on the novel of the same name, written by Don DeLillo, Director David Cronenberg (A Dangerous Method, A History of Violence) ambitiously took on dual roles as director and screenwriter. Cronenberg wrote the script for this film in 6 days.  That’s quite a feat when it landed a nomination for the Palm d’Or Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

Young Billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) has plans for the day; his main objective is to get a hair cut. He does the majority of his dealings from the stretch limo he owns, so throughout the course of his day, there is a constant flow of people in & out of his vehicle. Packer is not having the best of luck today, as he is dealing multitude of serious traffic issues inNew York Citydue to protesters and the added security of presidential blockades. Through a constant flow of dialogue, the audience discovers how unhappy the young billionaire’s life truly is.

It may be that Eric’s personality at first impression comes off as arrogant, manipulative and selfish, but underlying all those qualities associated with what people assume wealth people to be, lays some deep rooted personal issues and insecurities. For someone to achieve immense wealth and success by the time he is 28 years old would be an enormous amount of pressure to bear, but Packer makes his choices and thus needs to be held responsible for his actions.

Eric’s wife Elise Shifrin (Sarah Gadon) refuses to consummate their marriage, so he had random sexual encounters with various women through his day, in numerous places, in the city; his company is hemorrhaging money which he can’t stop and to top it all off, his favorite rap star has died, Brother Fez (K’Naan). His security detail, Torval (Kevin Duran) is determined to keep him safe as he travels throughout the danger –ridden streets of Wall Street-esq protestors. If Eric Packer’s world continues to crumble, will his psyche follow? Or will he be able to pick up the pieces of his fragile ego to rise above the madness of the time?

At first glance, this film has a lot of positive things going for it. A stellar cast, a quirky director and a riveting concept to fit in with the headlines of the day, but this will end up being a film that audiences will love or hate.  Regardless of how indifferent the opinion of the film may be, there will be some compelling conversations following the credits.


Movie Review for The Apparition

The Apparition  

Starring: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton

Directed by Todd Lincoln


Rated: PG-13

Run Time: 82 mins

Genre: Horror/ Thriller


Opens: Friday August 24, 2012


By Lisa Minzey


As we roll into the Fall Movie Season Film Fans, it’s every Horror Fan's favorite time of year. Bring on the scary movies! For this week’s releases, the season kicks off with the debut feature film of Todd Lincoln, The Apparition.

Back in the 70’s a group of paranormal researchers tried to conjure up a spirit during a seance; their experiment resulted in table movement and a pretty interesting  group picture.

More recently, a group of college kids who learned of the paranormal group’s experiment, wanted to recreate the seance as a scientific experiment to prove that supernatural beings exist. Patrick (Tom Felton),Lydia (Julianna Guill) and Greg (Luke Pasqualino) all sat at the table conducting the seance  while Patrick (Sebastian Stan) filmed the event. Patrick wanted to conduct the “experiment” with equipment that would amplify the energy of the participants, making it easier for the spirits to make contact.  It worked, resulting in a bunch of strange phenomena and Lydia disappearing into the darkness.

A few years after the experiment that went horribly right Patrick starts his life over with girlfriend Kelly (Ashley Greene), moving to a remote desert suburb in California. Soon after they arrive to the new home that they are renting, weird occurrences happen; lights flicker & darken, doors that were locked are now wide open, furniture moves on its own and the worst of it all- the newly built home now has a nasty mold problem. Kelly is getting freaked out to the point she wants to leave because they now hear strange groans and whispers.  Patrick is trying to take care of the issue on his own, but when he receives communication from Ben that his life is in danger, the occurrences are becoming more physical.  Kelly is unaware of Ben’s paranormal past, which has now come back to haunt them. Will Ben be able to put a stop to all of the haunting or will it be the end of the young couple?

With the abundance of horror movies released each year, this one is a story you may have heard before but with a few slight variations. Although the film is rated PG-13, it does have a certain skin-crawling, creepiness factor, especially if ghosts and the supernatural are high on your fear meter.

Check it out when it opens August 24 in a theater near you.


Movie Review for Hit and Run

Hit and Run    

Starring: Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold,Kristin Chenoweth


Directed by David Palmer & Dax Shepard


Rated: R Run Time: 100 mins Genre: Comedy/ Action


Opens August 22, 2012


By Lisa Minzey

Now that the summer is winding down, more of the quirky films that Hollywood reserves for the down season is gearing up. For this week screening, we checked out the new comedy “Hit and Run” from the producer of the Wedding Crashers, Andrew Panay & Dax Shepard serving up a triple threat as Screenwriter, Star and Co-Director, this is one ride that pretty crazy.

Annie (Kristen Bell) is facing a serious conundrum. Her boss Debbie (Kristin Chenoweth) has just offered her the opportunity of a life time; the opportunity to head and develop her own major/ department at a large university in Los Angeles. Annie is enthralled, but she is in a long term committed relationship with her boyfriend of one year, Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard). She needs to make this decision with him in mind long term, but due to Charlie’s placement in witness protection, moving her life to Los Angeles is something they need to discuss.

For Charlie, Annie is the only reason worth staying in the bumpkin, Northern California town he was placed in. The U.S. Marshall, Randy (Tom Arnold), who is assigned to Charlie, is not the brightest of people and tends to run a bit high strung, constantly placing himself and those around him in harms way.

Annie decides for the sake of their future that she won’t take the job and goes to tell her boss. Charlie knows that if she doesn’t take this position, Annie will have serious regrets and he refused to be the source of any pain for her. On a total whim, Charlie breaks all the rules that are meant to keep him safe, risking it all for the woman he loves. Annie is delighted that Charlie will be driving her to Los Angeles for the interview; along they way they can figure out the future details of their relationship.

One man who is none to pleased to hear that Annie is leaving, especially with Charlie, is her ex-boyfriend Gil. His secret hope is that one day (soon) that Annie will leave Charlie Bronson and come back to him. Gil begs Annie to stay when she drops by to get her teaching certificate that was left behind, but she declines and heads off with Charlie. On the verge of hyperventilating, Gil contacts his police officer brother, Terry, to run the plates on Charlie’s to get him detained. Through this whole order, Gil finds out Charlie’s true identity prior to entering witness protection, thus setting of a chain of events that will endanger Charlie, Annie and maybe him self after contacting the man that is the reason Charlie is in the position that he is, Alex Dimitri (Bradley Cooper).

Imagining the worst for Annie’s safety, Gil follows Charlie and Annie, ensuing one of many car chase scenes. When Gil taunts Charlie during a traffic stop, Annie overhears part of the conversation. This set in motion an information inquisition into Charlie’s prior life that makes Annie question the foundation that her relationship is built on. Will Annie make it to her dream job interview in time? Can Charlie make peace with his past as his future hangs by a thread?

Hit and Run is one of those quirky comedies that take the viewer on a wild comedy ride that will either leave the viewer wanting more or just happy to be over. For this review, it was worth the ride as it’s a fun story with terrific writing, great casting and with great cars to look at. Check it out when it opens in theaters when it opens Wednesday August 22nd.

Celeste and Jesse Forever Movie Review

Celeste and Jesse Forever  Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts, Chris Messina, Will McCormack


Directed by Lee Toland Krieger


Rated: R

Run Time: 91 mins

Genre: Comedy/ Drama


Opens Friday August, 17, 2012


By Lisa Minzey


Another screening we caught this week is the romantic comedy, Celeste and Jesse Forever. Star Rashida Jones and Co-Star Will McCormack cowrote the screenplay, playing off their relationship as best friends as inspiration.

Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) have known each other since they were kids. They are each other’s best friends so it was only natural that as they aged, they fell in love and got married. It appears to be the perfect blend of relationship – friends and romance. Over the years as they have matured into their adult personalities, Celeste realized she maybe wanted something different, maybe Jesse to grow up and start taking responsibility for his life, instead of the slacker/ artist he is. For the past few months, they both have decided to try life as a separated couple to see how things work out.

Although they are currently separated, they are still living life like nothing has changed. They still see each other every day, hang out and act as if nothing is wrong. Everyone else around them is confused by their situation, but neither one sees an issue with it.

It’s not until when at dinner with engaged couple Beth (Ari Graynor) and Tucker (Eric Christian Olsen) that it gets to be too much for them to bear and they scold Celeste and Jesse.  Beth throws down an ultimatum – either divorce or get back together.

Apparently, Jesse and Celeste have been living together, but only while Jesse tried find a new job and home.  He is currently living in his studio behind the house he once shared with Celeste.

Celeste doesn't mind, she just wants Jesse to be happy.  What was only to be a temporary living situation is turning into stagnation in the future their relationship. When Jesse listens to fellow friend Skillz (Will McCormack) to start dating, is when their relationship starts to change. Jesse breaks the news to Celeste, who actually encourages Jesse to starting dating. Celeste is putting on a front thinking this is what she wants, but is it?

When Jesse runs into a girl he previously dated a few months prior and drops a bombshell – he’s going to be a father, which it hits home with Celeste. Their marriage is now officially over or are they?  Celeste has a difficult time coming to terms that Jesse is moving on without her, finally becoming the man she wanted him to be. Will Celeste be able to find love again or will her stubborn ways continue to be a barrier to her future happiness? Will Jesse and Celeste ever be able to be friends again that the love is gone?

What some may compare to 500 Days of Summer, Celeste and Jesse Forever is a unique romantic comedy in the fact that It starts from the point of where most traditional rom-coms end. It’s a refreshingly honest story of love come and gone with a comedic spin.

Catch Celeste and Jesse Forever when it opens in theaters August 17th.




The Imposter Movie Review

  The Imposter


Starring: Adam O’Brian, Frederic Bourdin, Carey Gibson

Directed by Bart Layton


Rated: R

Run Time: 99 mins

Genre: Documentary


Opens August 17, 2012


By Lisa Minzey


This week we screened a fascinating documentary that was nominated for awards at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and 2012 Edinburgh International Film Festival and won Grand Jury Prize at the 202 Miami Film Festival. Director Bart Layton presents the story of the disappearance of Nicholas Barclay almost like a nighttime crime news story like one would see on an episode of Dateline or Unsolved Mysteries, which makes the film rather intriguing.

When 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay went missing June 13, 1994 on his way home from a basketball game, his family was beside themselves. No one ever thought that something like this would ever happen in theirSan Antonio,TXneighborhood, least of all Nicholas’s sister Carey Gibson.

Nicholas was a troubled teen on record with the local authorities. There were reports of fights with his family and of him running away for a few days but would always return. Through actual interviews of Nicholas’s mother, Beverly Dollarhide, Nicholas’s sister Carey and her husband Bryan Gibson, the family presents their side of the events that led up to Nicholas’s disappearance and the duration that passed, until receiving a phone call that changed their lives forever.

Three years after Nicholas’s disappearance, a phone call was received by the family that a 16 year- old – boy was claiming to be Nicholas. The call originated fromSpain. Carey caught the first flight she could to go retrieve her long lost brother but this is where the story gets a little strange.

The person “claiming” to be Nicholas was actually a 23 year-old-man of French & Algerian decent named Frédéric Bourdin. The differences between Nicholas and Frédéric were quite drastic. When Frederic was conjuring up his latest rouse, he was going off of a black & white facsimile sheet.  The physical differences were noticed after a color flyer was delivered to the children’s facility where Bourdin was being held/ confirm the identity of Barclay. Nicholas was Blonde Hair/ Blue Eyed, and Frédéric was Dark Haired/ Brown Eyes. The only real similar difference was they both had small gaps in their front teeth. He manages to conjure up a few physical differences listed on the bulletin of Nicholas’s disappearance, but would it be enough for him to pass for the real boy? When Bourdin met Carey, he was covered up by scarves, a heavy jacket, sun glasses and long clothing. Not only was Frédéric Bourdin able to fool Carey, he was able to fool the American Consulate and the Spanish Authorities, managing to secure an American Passport to fly “home” to live a new life as Nicholas Barclay.

When Bourdin was interviewed by authorities on his whereabouts of the past three years, a tall tale was spun of kidnapping, sexual abuse and torture, done with such sincerity, he managed to fool many  people for a long time.  Back in Europe, he was a wanted fugitive by Interpol for pulling the same con over and over again in several countries for the same situation.

A sociopath that is trying to pull off the impossible is bound to get caught some day. It’s only a matter of time until the right people start asking the right questions. The film keeps unraveling detail after detail of both sides of the story; distraught family and delusional impostor.  When the truth being stranger than fiction, leads the viewer down another path which makes you seriously wonder – who is actually is the guilty ones and who is being played?

Check out The Imposter when it opens in theaters August 17th.


Our review of The Queen of Versailles

The Queen of Versailles Rated: PG

Run Time: 100 mins.

Genre: Documentary

Directed by Lauren Greenfield

Opens: Friday, August 10th

By Lisa Minzey

Over at the Phoenix Film Festival, we have been checking out some of the new movies in theaters, one of them being this week’s documentary release of The Queen of Versailles.  Director Lauren Greenfield won the U.S. Directing Award for Documentary Film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her work on this film.

What started out as a documentary profiling David & Jackie Siegel, billionaire couple, David being the founder/ owner of the Westgate Resorts building their dream home, quickly turned in to a much different story due to economic circumstances. Westgate Resorts at the start of filming in 2008 was one of the largest timeshare companies in the world.   Life was grand; business was doing well, everyone was happy and David and Jackie were on track to building one of the largest homes in America, inspired by the grand French palace Versailles.  The home was estimated at about $100 million in value when completed. The Siegel’s life was truly a rag to riches story, as Jackie & David both came from nothing and worked hard to build the American dream.

When the crash of 2008 happened, no one actually knew how much this would affect Westgate and their holdings, especially Jackie. Jackie is a smart woman, but much of her attention is placed on other things & people such as her 7 kids, her charities, shopping trips and other luxurious activities.  David, on the other hand, is watching the money like a hawk; trying to figure out a way to save his company and everything he has worked his entire life for, is now slipping away.

It’s a fascinating look on the flip side of economic recession, and how it affected those that are in a higher economic bracket.  It’s a rags to riches back to rags story that you should definitely check out when it hits theaters Friday August 10th.