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

Carlito's Way (1993), directed by Brian De Palma, starring Al Pacino, Sean Penn, and John Leguizamo.

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 Unholy (2021)

DIRECTOR: Evan Spiliotopoulos.
WRITERS: Evan Spiliotopoulos (screenplay), James Herbert (book.
MPAA RATING: PG-13
GENRES: Drama, Horror, Mystery.
LENGTH: 1h 39min.
LANGUAGE: English, Ukrainian, American Sign Language, Latin.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★☆☆☆ | WATCHED: July 11, 2021.

The Unholy is clearly a PG-13 horror movie. I know this because all the horrific aspects are just loud noises and jump scares with very little gore splashed across the screen. Some of the elements of the story feel routine and boring. For example, a prominent character is a skeptical journalist who lost his way is reeled back into the possibility of believing in something again. We have seen this character trope in numerous stories before. We have also seen numerous stories with the Catholic Church investigating demonic possession or a miraculous revelation based in a small rural town. This movie feels like another chapter in a long-running, worn-out trope.


Death In Texas (2020)

DIRECTOR: Scott Windhauser.
WRITERS: Scott Windhauser.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Drama.
LENGTH: 1h 41min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: July 11, 2021.

Forget all the haters out there because I enjoyed this movie more than I expected. I recognize the plot is simple, the character motivations are basic, and the proclamation of how the character can fulfill his goal is plain as day. But I liked the execution of its simplicity. The main character is a convict and a mama’s boy. His mom is dying of liver failure. Her doctor says the only way to fast-track the operation for a liver transplant is to pay several thousands of dollars for the procedure to be done on the Mexican side of the border. Therefore, Mama’s Boy begins wreaking havoc while raising the needed funds to save his mom.


Horizon Line (2020)

DIRECTOR: Mikael Marcimain.
WRITERS: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken.
MPAA RATING: PG-13
GENRES: Adventure, Drama, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 32min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: July 11, 2021.

I would say this would be an enjoyable film in its simplicity. It is almost too simple. At the beginning of the movie, the main couple calls it quits on their relationship. She wants more out of life and to avoid complacency. He doesn’t mind the simple island life. By happenstance, they meet again on a tropical island sometime later, only to be paired together on a life-altering flight over the ocean back to the mainland. And that is how the movie ends. This would be one of those movies you would see in an endless rotation on television, so give it a chance if you happen to see it playing there one random evening.


Bad Moms (2016)

DIRECTOR: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore.
WRITERS: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore.
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Comedy.
LENGTH: 1h 40min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: July 11, 2021.

I laughed at the jokes and watched along for the plot. The movie turned out better than I anticipated. It is not my favorite all-time comedy movie, but it went above my pre-conceived expectations and hopes. It still feels strange to watch Mila Kunis portray more roles as a mother. The first time I became aware of her was when I started watching That ’70s Show decades ago. She began her acting career at the young age of 14 during the sitcom’s first season. Where has the time gone by?


Carlito’s Way (1993)

DIRECTOR: Brian De Palma.
WRITERS: David Koepp (screenplay), Edwin Torres (books).
MPAA RATING: R – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Crime, Drama, Thriller.
LENGTH: 2h 24min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: July 11, 2021.

I miss the old Al Pacino movies like this one. His career kind of trailed away into random bit parts after his appearance in Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia (2002). And this one is directed by Brian De Palma, a guy who is not afraid to shoot a camera at odd or extreme angles and still make everything look good on screen. Carlito’s Way is a solid movie about a recovering criminal who cannot get far enough away from his sinful past. I really enjoyed the movie. I consider it to be worthy of repeated viewing.


Monster Hunter (2020)

DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson.
WRITERS: Paul W.S. Anderson (screenplay), Kaname Fujioka (video game).
MPAA RATING: PG-13
GENRES: Action, Adventure, Fantasy.
LENGTH: 1h 43min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: July 12, 2021.

Here is yet another Paul W.S. Anderson movie inspired by a video game. Of course, he hired Milla Jovovich, his wife, to star in the leading role. I have lost track of the number of movies these two made together. And also the percentage of those movies that were inspired by pre-existing video game properties. Oh well. They found a niche in the movie industry and will remain churning out the material as long as it remains profitable.


Rogue Hostage (2021)

DIRECTOR: Jon Keeyes.
WRITERS: Mickey Solis.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Action, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 33min.
LANGUAGE: English, Spanish.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★☆☆☆☆ | WATCHED: July 12, 2021.

The acting performances are bad. Almost to an implied point, they were all there on set with the purpose to collect a paycheck, then go home at the end of the workday. The dialogue is poorly written, which did not help the sub-par acting performances. This movie will easily be placed into high rotation on the basic cable networks for years to come. And if it does, the actors might get even more money from all the royalty checks that will be dropped into their bank accounts.


The Nest (2021)

DIRECTOR: James Suttles.
WRITERS: Jennifer Trudrung.
MPAA RATING: Unrated – Viewer discretion is advised.
GENRES: Horror, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 44min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: Redbox (DVD).
★☆☆☆☆ | WATCHED: July 12, 2021.

This horror movie turned out to be rather boring. The scariest element of the whole movie is the bugs. Those pesky, disgusting bugs. It is nice to see Dee Wallace in a supporting role for this movie. I remember all the fun horror movies she was in decades ago.


Escape Room (2019)

DIRECTOR: Adam Robitel.
WRITERS: Bragi F. Schut, Maria Melnik.
MPAA RATING: PG-13
GENRES: Horror, Action, Adventure.
LENGTH: 1h 39min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★★★★☆ | WATCHED: July 12, 2021.

In terms of “escape room” horror movies, I would strongly recommend you go watch Cube (1997) first. In regards to this Escape Room movie, I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The production design is absolutely wonderful. The pacing of the story is well-timed out. The acting performances are believable and well done. I am glad I rented this movie. Now I am looking forward to watching the upcoming sequel. Which I am hoping will be equally entertaining.


Voyagers (2021)

DIRECTOR: Neil Burger.
WRITERS: Neil Burger.
MPAA RATING: PG-13
GENRES: Adventure, Science Fiction, Thriller.
LENGTH: 1h 48min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Prime Video.
★☆☆☆☆ | WATCHED: July 13, 2021.

Hey, look everyone, it’s Johnny Depp’s daughter! She is acting in a movie with Colin Farrell and the guy from Whiplash. And that is about where my interest in the movie pretty much ends. The lame story, the questionably sub-par dialogue, and mediocre acting left me pretty bored with the movie. Come on! Really? Hey all. Earth is in huge trouble. Let’s drug our kids with biological suppressants and then send them off to space for scientifically engineered procreation. Oh, crap. We did not consider the odds some of them will stop taking the “medication” and react with a hormone-fueled bender that wreaks havoc on the future of humanity. Sigh. The story turns out to be a boring dud. I wonder how different it would have been if they dropped the production budget to a meager fraction and just ran it as a straight-to-video release with an endless run on television. How many more “Lord of the Flies in Space” movies will we have to suffer through watching in the years to come?


Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

DIRECTOR: James Bobin.
WRITERS: Nicholas Stoller, Matthew Robinson, et al.
MPAA RATING: PG
GENRES: Adventure, Comedy, Family.
LENGTH: 1h 42min.
LANGUAGE: English, Spanish.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Paramount Plus.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: July 17, 2021.

A live-action adaptation of a children’s cartoon makes for a cute family movie. They turned Dora into a teenager who must learn how to socialize with other high school students. It makes me wonder if the younger audience could relate to an older version of the main character. I enjoyed the movie. It’s cute, simple, and littered with a few self-deprecating jokes for the adults to laugh at.


The Boss Baby: Family Business (2021)

DIRECTOR: Tom McGrath.
WRITERS: Michael McCullers.
MPAA RATING: PG
GENRES: Animation, Adventure, Comedy.
LENGTH: 1h 47min.
LANGUAGE: English.
WHERE TO RENT: JustWatch or Peacock.
★★★☆☆ | WATCHED: July 17, 2021.

It is not exactly a sequel film we wanted. Jeff Goldblum takes the cake in almost every scene. And I absolutely enjoyed it! I appreciate the movie as a continuation of the first movie, even if it feels a bit derivative down familiar territory. Of course, the movie is a great watch for a family with kids. So have fun with it and enjoy.


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