Archive | review RSS feed for this section

Technically Competent, by Bob Connally

9 Jan


American Night is the kind of movie where you know during the first scene that you’re going to hate your life for the next 2 hours. What begins as a knockoff of other superior knockoff gangster movies with lame attempts at quippy dialogue, pathetic attempts to be cool, and unimaginative soundtrack selections gives way to just becoming painfully dull. There’s nothing interesting or entertaining here. There isn’t a nugget of a potentially fun movie here or even a pretty good performance that deserves to be in a better movie to cling to. It’s just bad and a waste of time and money. Don’t watch it.


Good Fun, by Bob Connally

26 Dec


While Paul Thomas Anderson has been one of the more celebrated filmmakers of the past quarter century, it’s not often that one might describe his movies as being “fun.” He’s certainly never made anything approaching a mainstream crowd pleaser. The most lighthearted of his first 8 films, 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love, is incredibly divisive. While it remains my personal favorite of his works- and I’ve honestly at least liked all of them- I remember the vitriolic response many people I knew personally had to it. It wasn’t enough for some of them to simply dislike it, they took it upon themselves to be angry with me that I had loved it so much. I can’t remember that happening with any other movie. 


Resurrected, by Bob Connally

20 Nov

Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Podcast (Logan Kim) in Columbia Pictures' GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE.

I make no secret that the original Ghostbusters is my favorite movie of all-time. I don’t consider it the best movie of all-time by any means, but it is my favorite. However, I did not go into Ghostbusters: Afterlife with unreasonably high expectations. In fact, among people who love the first Ghostbusters film as much as I do, I’m probably in the minority about continuing the series. I never really wanted a Ghostbusters 3. 1989’s Ghostbusters 2 seemed to make it clear that the first movie was pure lightning in a bottle. If the same creative team couldn’t recapture the magic 5 years later then it was likely best to leave it alone altogether. Funnily enough, though, my friend Sam and I hashed out a Ghostbusters 3 story in the span of about half an hour during a very slow day at work. 


Troubles in Paradise, by Bob Connally

14 Nov


A couple of years ago, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood took a loving look at Los Angeles in 1969. It was personal without being at all autobiographical. Now writer-director Kenneth Branagh has made a film that examines the world of his own childhood, also set in 1969. Belfast is the story of a young boy named Buddy (Jude Hill) who is about the age Branagh would have been at that time. The opening scene of the film sees the camera gliding joyfully above the streets on a summer day as the whole neighborhood engages in play and conversation with one another. Everyone knows everyone by their first names and there’s a sense of community that seems hard to imagine for most of us. However, this idyllic scene quickly turns to horror as a massive riot breaks out in which a violent sect of the local Protestant community attacks Catholics and causes destruction.


Sights to Show You, by Bob Connally

2 Nov


Full disclosure: The director of this film is Tyler Smith, who of course runs this site. These are my honest thoughts about his movie.

For a long time I was not a fan of the horror genre. There were exceptions. Movies like Scream, 28 Days Later, and (still) my all-time favorite, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead to name a few of the few. My issue was based on the feeling that far too many horror movies weren’t interested in their characters and while that can certainly be said of some, I was not fair to the genre as a whole. But my problem with horror was not due to spiritual concerns. However, there are many fellow Christians who, “have condemned horror outright, for it’s population of vampires and werewolves, witches, ghosts, zombies, serial killers. Mad scientists with their monsters?! Oh, surely nothing so ugly could have any artistic or cultural value. Satanic cults and dark wizards. Oh, surely nothing so ungodly could have any place in a faithful imagination.”


Branching Out, by Bob Connally

30 Oct

Matt Smith stars as Jack and Anya Taylor-Joy as Sandie in Edgar Wright’s LAST NIGHT IN SOHO, a Focus Features release.  
Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

After honing his skills on the cult comedy television classic Spaced, director Edgar Wright made his brilliant film debut with 2004’s Shaun of the Dead. Working as both a zombie film and a romantic comedy, Wright displayed an uncanny ability to blend genres which he perfected in his follow-up, 2007’s Hot Fuzz, which is easily one of my top 10 personal favorite films of all-time. His next two movies, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The World’s End were further illustrations of Wright’s unique comedic and filmmaking talents. He then followed with 2017’s Baby Driver, a film with plenty of humor but the first movie of Wright’s that one wouldn’t primarily classify as a comedy. 


Good News, by Bob Connally

22 Oct


The French Dispatch is the 10th feature film directed by Wes Anderson and you know by now whether or not you like his movies. If you don’t then this one will certainly not change that so if that’s you, then feel free to move along. However, if you’re like me and there’s nothing funnier to you than Gene Hackman criticizing his young (“adopted”) daughter’s play as “just a bunch of little kids dressed in animal costumes,” then you are in for top tier Anderson. Rushmore will probably always be my favorite as it’s a movie with a place in my heart few other films have but The French Dispatch – at least based on this first viewing – is up way up there with the likes of The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel. It has everything you expect and want from a Wes Anderson film but, more importantly, he delivers all of those things about as well as he ever has.


Lord of the Ten Rings, by Bob Connally

11 Sep

2021 hasn’t been the busiest year in the world of film or television, with many releases and productions still being delayed, but Marvel Studios has already churned out more in a calendar year than ever before. Four TV shows on Disney Plus along with two films already released and two more movies to come before year’s end. This MCU avalanche has kicked off the franchise’s Phase Four as Marvel charts a new course after its decade in the making payoff of Avengers: Endgame


Listen to the Music, by Bob Connally

6 Sep

Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) is a young girl in high school but she’s already had a great responsibility aiding her family. Both of her parents and her older brother are deaf so her ability to hear has helped them greatly in their family fishing business in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Going out on the water every morning before school makes staying awake through the day difficult and her classmates mock her for being the child of deaf adults (or “CODA”). Her great escape is singing, which she joyfully does around her family who can’t hear her anyway. She honestly has no idea if she’s any good at it or not. Nervously, she joins the school choir to find out. To Ruby’s surprise, she’s not only good, her teacher Mr. Villalobos (Eugenio Derbez) sees something incredibly special in her.


Dynamic Do-Over, by Bob Connally

7 Aug

Five years ago, almost to the day, I wrote my first ever review for More Than One Lesson. It was for Suicide Squad and I concluded it with, “In this age of constantly remaking the wrong movies I can’t help but feel that Suicide Squad is exactly the sort of movie that someday should be remade. There’s potential with this premise and these characters. David Ayer couldn’t deliver. Maybe in about twenty years, someone else can. Maybe we’ll get to see the Suicide Squad this movie should have been.” Well, it’s not really a remake and it’s 15 years earlier than I had predicted but Warner Bros. and DC clearly learned from their mistakes on the 2016 film. That movie was taken out of Ayer’s hands and edited by a trailer company to try to fool audiences into thinking they were seeing a James Gunn film. This time, WB and DC actually hired Gunn and it would appear that they largely stayed out of his way creatively (or as much as ever happens with movies like this). While the end result is certainly not a masterpiece, it is a significant improvement over its predecessor.