Movie Review Weekly Roundup: February 7-13, 2021

A movie theater marquee that is promoting a week of classic films will be screened at the venue.

The following is part of a weekly compilation of movie reviews from The Buzz Track staff. These movies were watched in the previous week, and the reviews were originally posted on Letterboxd.


VFW (2020)

DIRECTOR: Joe Begos.
WRITERS: Max Brallier, Matthew McArdle.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Crime, Horror.
LENGTH: 1h 32min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: February 7, 2021.

Norm and Death walk into a VFW bar. Then all hell breaks loose. With a handful of veteran character actors appearing in it, this movie is a splatterfest about a group of aging military veterans who never lost their skills for combat fighting. I like the actors who are in the movie. And a couple of the fight scenes are cool, too. However, the villains being a gang of drug dealers who look like they stepped out from a post-apocalyptic story is a worn-out trope that makes me yawn. All they want is their supply of drugs back so they can continue peddling it out to the addicts in the neighborhood. And the only people who can stop them are the Vietnam War veterans who usually pass their retirement years getting drunk at the local VFW bar. Hmm, so borderline alcoholics fight to the death to stop drug dealers peddling addictive behaviors? Meh. There are several scenes in the bar that is intentionally shot with a dark lighting setup. This makes it difficult to watch these scenes on a television set in a moderately lit living room.


Silencio (2018)

DIRECTOR: Lorena Villarreal.
WRITERS: Lorena Villarreal.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Drama, Mystery, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 38min.
LANGUAGE: Spanish, English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: February 7, 2021.

The concept of a landlocked “Bermuda Triangle” based in Mexico known as the Mapimí Silent Zone is an intriguing idea. However, this movie only uses the premise of the location to begin and finish its story. The entire midsection of the script takes place elsewhere. A magical stone taken from the Zone of Silence is the only tangible reference to the legendary location for the vast majority of the story. The best part that I enjoyed the most of the entire movie would probably be John Noble’s performance as the aging grandfather who suffers from a magically induced dementia.


Kiliç Aslan / The Sword and the Claw (1975)

DIRECTOR: Natuk Baytan.
WRITERS: Natuk Baytan, Duygu Sagiroglu.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Adventure, War.
LENGTH: 1h 49min.
LANGUAGE: Turkish (English dubbed).
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Alamo On Demand.
★☆☆☆☆ | WATCHED: February 7, 2021.

Wow, the English dub had absolutely no budget to hire actual professional voice actors nor a decent Turkish translator. It made a cheaply made movie even worse. The story reminded me of Tarzan. Only in this movie, the orphan is raised by lions instead of apes. The fight sequences are a laugh a minute. Is he supposed to be a savage fighter with a savage pair of hands like a lion? Or is he supposed to be an Olympic gymnast who can jump around on trampolines followed by an athletic routine on the rings and bars? Seriously, though. The absurdity is a laugh a minute. If you love watching badly dubbed, low-budgeted movies from Europe, then this movie might be right down your alley.


The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

DIRECTOR: Susanna Fogel.
WRITERS: Susanna Fogel, David Iserson.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Adventure, Comedy.
LENGTH: 1h 57min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: February 8, 2021.

We need to see more comedy movies featuring Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis in the leading roles. If you disagree with me, then I should say that I would like to see more movies with the two of them together as comedy buddies. The Spy Who Dumped Me is way more enjoyable of a story to watch than Melissa McCarthy’s Spy (2015). Sorry, Paul Feig.


Game Night (2018)

DIRECTOR: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein.
WRITERS: Mark Perez.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Comedy, Crime.
LENGTH: 1h 40min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: February 8, 2021.

Here’s a dark comedy that is co-directed by the “kid” from Freaks and Geeks. I love that show. This movie is not exactly a gold mine of comedy, but just about everyone might know a real-life couple who resemble the main characters in this story. And that is what makes the movie so believably great. I liked the movie because it feels like a bit of a twist to the same old whodunit story or an adventurous comedy of bumbling upwards. The multiple false endings to keep the audience guessing the mastermind behind the game is a bit pretentious. But it’s okay. The story takes us on a fun ride. And I would not be surprised if everyone competitive game player would love to experience a similar competition. After all, the concept of escape rooms has skyrocketed in popularity throughout the county. And that concept has been seen in numerous horror stories before.


Queen & Slim (2019)

DIRECTOR: Melina Matsoukas.
WRITERS: Lena Waithe (screenplay), James Frey (story).
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Crime, Drama, Romance.
LENGTH: 2h 12min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: February 8, 2021.

Dammit. Can someone award Daniel Kaluuya with an Oscar already? The first movie I watched him in was Get Out (2017) on its opening weekend. He was nominated for that movie. Then what really sold me on his acting skills was seeing his performance in Widows (2018). With each new movie, it is apparent this guy is on his way to massive success in his career. This movie is very well done. Jodie Turner-Smith has also given a solid performance in it as well. And I am looking forward to watching more of her movies in the future.


Phil (2019)

DIRECTOR: Greg Kinnear.
WRITERS: Stephen Mazur.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Comedy, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 46min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★☆☆☆☆ | WATCHED: February 8, 2021.

The movie is horrendous. I like the actors who appear in this movie solely based upon their previous credits. It is almost unwatchable from the very start. The story is about a depressed white guy experiencing a mid-life crisis and becomes envious of a client who appears to have his life figured out. The story is formulaic, bland, and boring. It brings absolutely nothing new to the table. It seems to be a practical exercise in making a movie more than actually being an entertaining movie worth watching.


Mission of Honor / Hurricane (2018)

DIRECTOR: David Blair.
WRITERS: Robert Ryan, Alastair Galbraith.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Drama, War.
LENGTH: 1h 47min.
LANGUAGE: English, French, German, Polish.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: February 9, 2021.

It is not a jaw-dropping, award-winning movie by a long shot, but this movie is a decent watch. The entire story is about the Royal Air Force running low on fighter pilots during World War II, so they enlist Polish pilots for extra assistance. Of course, the drama ensues when several members of both sides appear to dislike each other with a passion. I probably enjoy watching movies that occur during World War II, to put it simply. Therefore I found watching this one rather intriguing.


New Jack City (1991)

DIRECTOR: Mario Van Peebles.
WRITERS: Thomas Lee Wright, Barry Michael Cooper.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Crime, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 37min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: February 13, 2021.

It was good, but it could be better. It is clearly a dated movie with a narrow view of the drug-dealing culture in New York City. Having Chris Rock portray a drug addict is different from the rest of his roles. I will give some credit to this movie for that little bit of change. And then having Ice T portray an undercover cop in this movie years before his recurring role in Law & Order SVU is a prediction in its own right. Wesley Snipes is over the top as he usually is in most of his movie roles. Overall it was an okay story. The movie will not exactly appear in my Top Favorites list any time soon.


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