Movie Review Weekly Roundup: May 9 – May 15, 2021

Percy Vs Goliath (2020) directed by Clark Johnson, starring Christopher Walken, Zach Braff, and Christina Ricci.

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.


Vanquish (2021)

DIRECTOR: George Gallo.
WRITERS: Samuel Bartlett, George Gallo.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Crime, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 36min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★☆☆☆☆ | WATCHED: May 9, 2021.

The editing and cinematography for this movie are absolutely nightmarish. There are way too many random placements of the dissolve transition from one monochromatic shot to the next. The next issue in line is the wooden performance from many of the actors. They are stiffer than a whiskey neat. And I am going to attribute the problem to the director, George Gallo. It appears his strength is writing screenplays, not directing actors in a movie. This movie is a snooze fest for an action story.


Waiting for the Barbarians (2019)

DIRECTOR: Ciro Guerra.
WRITERS: J.M. Coetzee.
MPAA RATING: Unrated
GENRES: Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 54min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: May 9, 2021.

The pacing of the story is slow. And it really does not feel like a basic three-act structure. The movie does feel like a two-hour acting reel of Mark Rylance’s sloth-like performance. I am not complaining about his performance. It seems he prefers to move and emote with methodical intent. It does seem strange to watch Johnny Depp wear sunglasses in a period drama and enact out the usual notes of his performance ticks. The cinematography, music, and editing are all very well done. Overall, I did enjoy the movie.


Pink Skies Ahead (2020)

DIRECTOR: Kelly Oxford.
WRITERS: Kelly Oxford.
MPAA RATING: TV-14
GENRES: Comedy, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 34min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: May 11, 2021.

The premise of the entire story rests upon the quirky personality of the lead character. During a routine visit with her childhood doctor, she discovers she has an anxiety disorder. It does not feel like this information really changes the course of the rest of the story. She continues to be just as quirky and off-kilter for the remainder of the story as she was before receiving the diagnosis from her doctor. It just feels like the entire movie is just her talking a mile a minute with her speech littered with phrases like “Oh my Gawd” along with highly caffeinated ramblings of personal reflection. The movie is decent and all. But it just does not land on target with me as a viewer.


Collective (2019)

DIRECTOR: Alexander Nanau.
WRITERS: Alexander Nanau, Antoaneta Opris.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Documentary.
LENGTH: 1h 49min.
LANGUAGE: Romanian.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★★ | WATCHED: May 13, 2021.

Wow, it is a sad and disheartening path for many of the people involved in this story. I do not fully remember the incident of the Colectiv nightclub fire when it occurred in 2015. I vaguely remember seeing it covered on the television news here in America. But I did not give any close attention to the details of the story at the time. While watching this documentary, I was sad to observe how equally corrupt the politicians, bureaucrats, and corporate managers can be throughout the world. That is the common thread of observation to observe. And it is surprising to see that a Romanian publication that primarily focuses on sports news would be the organization to initially cover the political and corporate corruption concerning the medical response for the burn victims from the nightclub fire. This documentary is about a real-life incident. It reminds me of all the dramatic movies about other true events when a news organization unravels political and corporate corruption at the expense of the citizens. It is absolutely mind-blowing to see these issues are still ongoing and will probably not disappear anytime soon.


Dead & Buried (1981)

DIRECTOR: Gary Sherman.
WRITERS: Ronald Shusett & Dan O’Bannon (script), Jeff Millar & Alex Stern (story), Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (book).
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Horror, Mystery.
LENGTH: 1h 34min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: May 14, 2021.

I watched this for the first time during Joe Bob’s The Last Drive-In marathon on Shudder. Wow, Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a villainous funeral home director in this movie! But his character is a self-proclaimed artist! The entire setup of the movie’s plot feels like a graphically horrific retelling of an episode from The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits television show. I loved it. If you get queasy at the sight of blood, then I would recommend you skip this movie. It is not for you. For a horror film, I enjoyed it. I definitely need to watch it a second time later on when I get a chance. I might have missed so much crazy good fun during the first go-around.


Percy Vs Goliath (2020)

DIRECTOR: Clark Johnson.
WRITERS: Garfield Lindsay Miller, Hilary Pryor.
MPAA RATING: PG-13
GENRES: Biography, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 39min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: May 15, 2021.

Based upon a true story. This movie is a decent legal drama about a small-town farmer going against a big corporation with deep pocketbooks. In reflection of just drama films, we have since this type of story numerous times before now. But it is still an enjoyable story to watch unfold. The production and execution are a bit cheesy at times, but that is okay. It could be worth a second viewing at some point in the future. I would recommend this for a family movie night if you are looking for something to rent and watch.


The Kid Detective (2020)

DIRECTOR: Evan Morgan.
WRITERS: Evan Morgan.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Comedy, Drama, Mystery.
LENGTH: 1h 40min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: May 15, 2021.

Did I miss something special about this movie? I started mentally tuning out when the second act of the movie began as the focus had switched full-time to the failure to launch, adult life of the child prodigy. The premise of the movie is built on the hypothetical life of a grown-up child detective. Many of us, including myself, read mystery books featuring a child detective. When I was a kid, it was the Encyclopedia Brown and Hardy Boys series. For my sister, it was the Nancy Drew series. This movie utilizes those books as a launching point for its own story. I might watch it again, or I might not. I am not certain yet if I would be interested in giving the movie a second viewing.


Downhill (2020)

DIRECTOR: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash.
WRITERS: Jesse Armstrong, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Comedy, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 26min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: May 15, 2021.

The movie suffers from an identity crisis. It wants to be a dramedy but miserably fails to live up to those expectations. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the creative duo behind this movie, did a much better job at blending the elements of comedy and drama for their award-winning work with Alexander Payne on The Descendants (2011). The bits of comedy that appear in this movie are recognizable attempts at being funny. However, I did not laugh. I appreciated the movie for its attempt at being a dramatic story of a failing relationship more than being a comedy.


Fiend Without a Face (1958)

DIRECTOR: Arthur Crabtree.
WRITERS: Herbert J. Leder (script), Amelia Reynolds Long (story).
MPAA RATING: Unrated
GENRES: Horror, Science Fiction.
LENGTH: 1h 14min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: May 15, 2021.

I watched this movie as part of the Saturday night Svengoolie broadcast on MeTV. It is a fun little B-movie from the ’50s featuring practical specials effects and a plot riddled with fear of the atomic age. The titular “fiend” does not physically appear until the final act of the movie. Its appearance is gloriously cheesy, as one could only expect would be conjured up. The movie is enjoyable. Just make sure to keep any high expectations in check.


The Virtuoso (2021)

DIRECTOR: Nick Stagliano.
WRITERS: James C. Wolf, Nick Stagliano.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Crime, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 50min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: May 15, 2021.

The story is a basic plot about an assassin for hire whose only crutch is a debt he must pay off. The movie does not suffer from a delusion of grandeur. A large portion of it is filled with Anson Mount’s voice-over narration as his character is observed on-screen going around doing what an assassin does what he does best. Stake out the environment and then kill the target he was hired to destroy. The only problem is he goes around killing just about everyone. The action is low-key and tame when compared to other movies that are similar in design. The John Wick series is an immediate comparison that comes to mind. But those movies are amped up in energy and non-stop thrills. The Virtuoso feels more like an even keel drama story. It is not focused upon being just another action flick.


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