Movie Review Weekly Roundup: April 11 – April 17, 2021

Another Round (2020) directed by Thomas Vinterberg, starring Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, and Magnus Millang.

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.


The Seventh Day (2021)

DIRECTOR: Justin P. Lange.
WRITERS: Justin P. Lange.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Horror.
LENGTH: 1h 27min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★☆☆☆☆ | WATCHED: April 11, 2021.

The movie is neither scary nor unsettling. It seems rather bland. Guy Peirce’s character is supposed to be rough around the edges. It is attributed to one bad experience early in his career. But the way he runs his new trainee through the wringer is much worse than his own singular dreaded experience. The visuals in the movie do not even feel like an original concept. I have a sneaky suspicion they are nothing more than a nod to hundreds of other sources of inspiration. There is a scene when a possessed boy fights several officers in an interrogation room. The moment is a visual treat, but it does not seem to me to be fresh, new, and original. Neither is the moment when Father Daniel becomes possessed, and we see his transformation in the reflection of a pane of glass. For me, the movie would be a pass-on-by for a repeat viewing. It would not be worth my time for a second time around.


Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

DIRECTOR: Josh Greenbaum.
WRITERS: Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig.
MPAA RATING: PG-13
GENRES: Comedy.
LENGTH: 1h 47min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: April 11, 2021.

This movie is weird and random. It is filled with intentionally goofy and off-beat humor. You will either enjoy it or be appalled or bored with it. I laughed on several instances because I recognize it is supposed to be intentionally goofy and odd. It does not want to be taken seriously for one single moment. And to think Kristen Wiig stars in this movie the same year Wonder Woman 1984 is released. What sort of movie will she ever do next? I think the movie is worth a second viewing. But its humor might quickly fade away if I watch it too many times.


Wrong Turn (2021)

DIRECTOR: Mike P. Nelson.
WRITERS: Alan McElroy.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Horror, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 50min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: April 12, 2021.

Here is another movie reboot that is just another sequel rehash of the first installment in the series. This new “vision” of the story does not feel fresh or new. It does not have anything new to say. It is just the same old story of young, naïve city folk who battle against dim-witted, inbred rednecks. The plot drags on for way too long. Just as I think it is over, another final act sequence appears and adds fifteen minutes to the story’s run time. The production company should not have greenlit this project. There are six preceding movies in this series. Why do they need the seventh installment and utilize it as a “reboot” of the first one?


Wander Darkly (2020)

DIRECTOR: Tara Miele.
WRITERS: Tara Miele.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 37min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: April 12, 2021.

Sienna Miller’s performance in this movie is excellent. Diego Luna does a good job as well. I will give them due credit for their acting work. However, the plot of the movie feels a bit contrived. It does not feel organic and natural to me. As I was watching it, the same thought kept crossing my mind. The plot seems to me to be a blending of two other favorite movies of mine: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). The structure of the story serves as an opportunity for reflection by the main characters. Both of them look back in hindsight to the highs and lows of their relationship in “real-time” to nitpick the discrepancies of their memories and flaws of their relationship together. Even though the actors have done a wonderful job in building the chemistry of interaction between each other, I struggled with the believability of their characters’ story arc. They feel like a natural fit together, but the circumstances in which they live do not feel tangible and real.


Vanguard (2020)

DIRECTOR: Stanley Tong.
WRITERS: Stanley Tong, Tiffany Alycia Tong (English dialogue).
MPAA RATING: PG-13
GENRES: Action, Adventure, Comedy.
LENGTH: 1h 47min.
LANGUAGE: Mandarin, English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★☆☆☆☆ | WATCHED: April 12, 2021.

The movie is just plain sad. It appears to be a movie with a very cheap budget. The production company probably spent more money to hire Jackie Chan to appear in it than literally for everything else. The computer-generated effects look horrendously cheap. If you need to watch a movie filled with endless gunfire and explosions but very little substance, then this movie should be for you. It might be appreciated a bit more while drunk or high, but probably not while sober.


Brothers by Blood (2020)

DIRECTOR: Jérémie Guez.
WRITERS: Jérémie Guez, Peter Dexter.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Crime, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 45min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: April 12, 2021.

All I could think about is how much this movie would like to be something profound, or just about anything that could remind me of a Martin Scorsese ripoff. It does not feel like a unique story. I do not think I will even remember this movie in a few days from now. I could imagine that I will watch it again at some point later on. Even then, it does not seem to have any potential in landing on my Top Favorite list of movies any time soon.


Our Friend (2021)

DIRECTOR: Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
WRITERS: Brad Ingelsby, Matthew Teague (article).
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Drama.
LENGTH: 2h 4min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: April 13, 2021.

Nicole is dying of cancer. So why are we watching Dane and Matt’s story instead of hers? She is a supporting character in her own story. I enjoyed the movie, even if the narrative angle feels a bit misplaced. Dakota Johnson and Jason Segel gave solid performances. So did the actors who portray the two daughters. Casey Affleck did a good job, too. But his speaking delivery always sounds like he is half awake. At least I could say it is consistent in its delivery.


Monsters of Man (2020)

DIRECTOR: Mark Toia.
WRITERS: Jeff Hand, Mark Toia.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller.
LENGTH: 2h 11min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: April 14, 2021.

My gosh! This movie was much better than I was expecting. I wanted to rent it because I noticed Neal McDonough is in it. He has been in a large number of other random science fiction and low-budget productions. But at least he is a very consistent actor who seems to enjoy playing villainous roles. Monsters of Man blends science fiction, horror, and military action all into one story. This movie is actually way more enjoyable of viewing than some of the turnkey horror story productions from the big-name studio houses over the last ten or fifteen years. For example, Truth or Dare and Fantasy Island are absolute garbage of a storyline, but they had huge budgets and distribution deals. I will definitely want to watch this movie a second time. Maybe I will even buy a copy to add to my personal library.


Sweet Country (2017)

DIRECTOR: Warwick Thornton.
WRITERS: David Tranter, Steven McGregor.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Adventure, Crime, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 53min.
LANGUAGE: English, Aboriginal.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: April 17, 2021.

Australian western movies exist. It is good to remember that fact periodically. In this movie, its theme about racism and the cruel mistreatment of others is something I have seen many times in other movies before. The reiteration of the subject matter does not make it any less prevalent as a reminder of humanity’s horrific behaviors. Although it is a good production and a decent story, I thought it was okay. But I am willing to watch it a second time at some point in the future to see how different I might feel with repeated viewing.


Another Round (2020)

DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg.
WRITERS: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Comedy, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 57min.
LANGUAGE: Danish, Swedish.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: April 17, 2021.

A great story about four guys who collectively fall down the rabbit hole of alcoholism, and each one has a different reason for the motivation to start drinking. They try to explain away the act of heavy drinking with logic and reason by proclaiming it is an integral part of a research paper about the effects of alcohol improving a person’s productivity and work ethic. But as one would expect, it quickly falls apart. They no longer remain in control of their behavior and actions. Everything about the movie is well done. The acting, directing, writing, and editing are all superb.


Happily (2021)

DIRECTOR: BenDavid Grabinski.
WRITERS: BenDavid Grabinski.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Comedy, Crime, Romance.
LENGTH: 1h 36min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: April 17, 2021.

The movie is a very low-key horror movie with a mix of dark comedy. It is not in the realm of a romantic comedy story as I figured it was before going in for a viewing. The main couple is described as happily married just because they have been together as a couple for 14 years and still love having sex with each other. As the movie progresses, we discover everything is not as idyllic as it may seem upon the surface. Between the main couple and their inner circle of friends, we realize they all sit upon a throne of lies and numerous instances of backstabbing. Overall the script is just stagnant and emotionally bland. The jokes were weak, and the chemistry between the actors felt like scripted performance beats. I am sure this movie will hit home for someone out there, but it did not resonate with my interest at all.


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