A Ghost Story- review


“A Ghost Story” (2017)

Directed by David Lowery

Starring Casey Affleck,  Rooney Mara

Running Time 92 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


“A Ghost Story” isn’t your typical popcorn view, patience is needed for this one, and rewarded for this viewer.  David Lowery comes off the big budget “Pete’s Dragon” with a micro budget film he did in secret with his previous co-stars from “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.  Affleck plays “C” and Mara plays “M”, a married couple who are struggling with communication and the fact that she is ready to leave their small suburban house while he isn’t.  He so much isn’t that when he unexpectedly dies he nixes taking the white light and instead dons a cliche ghost get-up donning a white sheet with pitch black eye holes bound to the house and his love for her.  


There is very little dialogue, and much contemplating of existence, “A Ghost Story” is greatly helped by Lowery’s editing and Daniel Hart’s composing.  C’s journey through time and reflection is grandiose but I wasn’t exactly moved to asked life’s bigger questions after the film was through but it was a well worth it journey, that and you get to Rooney Mara get to eat a whole pie in one uninterrupted take (which is kinda haunting).

Job 7:9-10



Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri- review


“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" (2017)

Directed by Martin McDonagh

Starring Frances McDormand,  Woody Harrelson,  Sam Rockwell

Running Time 115 Minutes, Rated R.

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


Director Martin McDonagh has a way about him.  One might say profoundness dressed down in crudeness.  His 2008 film “In Bruges” is one of my personal faves, “Seven Psychopaths” didn’t get the recognition it deserves, but his latest, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is and for very good reason.  

McDonagh wrote the lead part in mind for Frances McDormand, and luckily for everyone he got his wish.  In maybe her best work since “Fargo”, McDormand plays Mildred Hayes whose lost her daughter tragically seven months previously and her hurt is now turning into seething anger and it’s getting targeted to the local small town Missouri police force.  You do not want to be on Mildred’s bad side, and she has a way of making it tough to even be on her good side as well but she gets the idea and enough scratch from selling her violent ex-husband’s (John Hawkes) tractor so that she can put up three billboards outside of town that put together say: “Raped and Murdered, And Still No Arrests?, How Come, Chief Willoughby?”


As Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) states soon after seeing them, ‘there’s a war coming.”  Willoughby with his own problems, really does care about Mildred's unsolved case, which is more than we can see for hot-headed officer Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a mama's boy who doesn’t take kindly to the billboards.  Don’t worry Sam Rockwell fans, he does dance in this movie, oh and he’s probably gonna win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year.  He definitely has my vote, (a vote that doesn’t count but maybe I’ll just send in my votes anyway, hand-written on toilet paper- I’m trailing off).  

The film drags a bit too much for me at end but the dialogue is as biting as ever with a McDonagh film with being able to throw you a few surprise punches while giving some fantastic character arcs that really feel earned.  One of the year’s better films.  

Mark 3:5



Good Time- review


“Good Time” (2017)

Directed by Benny Safdie,  Josh Safdie

Starring Robert Pattinson,  Benny Safdie,  Jennifer Jason Leigh

Running Time 101 Minutes, Rated R.

4.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


These are the true gems people.  Brothers Benny and Josh Safdie direct a true fly by the seat of your pants crime drama that has the uncanny ability of taking the story in a direction that comes out of nowhere.  “Good Time” is a pulse-pounding tour-de-force that embodies the kinetic spirit of one my favorite Martin Scorsese films, “After Hours”.  Not too mention, a performance from Robert Pattinson that absolutely sheds any “Twilight” hangover this viewer might of had left, as he is fully immersed as the low level criminal smooth talker Connie Nikas.  

The film opens with a bank heist that goes wrong for Pattinson’s Connie and his hearing impaired and mentally disabled brother Nick played by co-director Benny Safdie.  Separated, Connie spends the rest of the film working to get back to his brother which showcases Connie’s heart of gold but willingness to do anything despicable to achieve it.  

There were scenes when my mouth was agape, in utter shock of what transpired and oh my goodness is that fun.  The Safdie brothers have pulled you into this part of the criminal world and let you try to figure it out in real time just as fast as Connie has to.  There’s also a stabbing commentary of how Connie, a criminal, gets away with more being a ‘white’ criminal where persons of color end up on the raw end of the deal simply for being of color.  

“Good Time” is exactly that.  A must see for true film lovers.  

James 5:13



Star Wars: The Last Jedi- review


“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017)

Directed Rian Johnson

Starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill

Running Time 152 Minutes, Rated PG-13

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


The eighth episode in the Star Wars saga is tidy, efficient, has a few moments of surprise, and a few scenes that drop the jaw.  Rian Johnson (Looper) directs “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” to a pleasant if not outstanding outing.  One can assume that these films will come out well no matter what, but that just isn’t the case; sorry Ewan McGregor. So, one should be appreciative of a good product such as The Last Jedi; it’s just that I want to come out the theater forever changed, I want these films to have imprinted on the outcome of my life, and I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but Santa couldn’t make it out to that far away of a galaxy.


The Resistance is dwindling and putting all their chips into finding the in hiding Master Luke Skywalker which Mark Hamill gets to reprise for more than just 30 seconds of screen time this time around.  Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found the Last Jedi, and the film goes into one of its many “odes” (carbon copy plot points) as Luke eventually trains her as Yoda did for him on a different lightly inhabited remote planet.  Adam Driver is giving a Master Class in brooding as Kylo Ren with his dark side and Domhnall Gleeson is utterly delightful as the sniveling General Hux.  

Some of the exotic locales don’t work for me as much, (cough, cough, the casino), but some of the twists do work for me (cough, cough, I’m not giving away any of the twists dummy).  The force is strong with girl power in this one, as Rey, General Leia (R.I.P. Carrie Fisher), and newcomers to the series Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) and the spunky Rose Tico (Kellie Marie Tran) have the biggest effects when it comes to the fate of the galaxy in this one.  

To channel Yoda;  good enough, this time around it is..hmm.

Matthew 20:16



Mudbound- review


“Mudbound” (2017)

Directed by Dee Rees

Starring Garrett Hedlund,  Carey Mulligan,  Jason Clarke

Running Time 134 Minutes, Rated R.

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


Dee Rees (HBO’s “Bessie”) adapts Hilary Jordan’s 2008 novel “Mudbound” to the screen with a painful beauty that resonates with a human’s good heart.  Taking place right before, during, and after WW2, “Mudbound” tells the story of two rural Mississippi families; the McAllans, a white family who own the farming land and the Jacksons, a black family who are sharecroppers on it.  Three members from each family act as narrators giving the audience an excellent widescope and poetic insight on the inner workings of the class structure in a Jim Crow South that is way too slow to accept the black man who died for our country in war as an equal man to any white man, especially those who stayed home.


We see the post trauma of war on a son who served from each family.  Garrett Hedlund impressed me the most as Jamie McAllan, a dashing ladies man who comes back unable to cope giving into the bottle but finds purpose giving friendship to Ronsell Jackson (Jason Mitchell) who loathes coming back to a country that doesn’t treat blacks nearly as well as they do in Europe.  Carey Mulligan is impressive as ever as a dissatisfied wife to landowner Henry (Jason Clarke) and Mary J. Blige turns in a wonderfully subtle performance as Ronsel’s mother Florence.

As these reflective period dramas do, you can’t help but properly feel outraged at the racial injustice, and director Dee Rees definitely hits that home but also finds the heart of those who carry on in such upbringing and ignorance.  You can see the end coming, but that doesn’t make it sting any less.  Netflix has a contender with “Mudhound”.

Colossians 3:13



Brawl in Cell Block 99- review


“Brawl in Cell Block 99” (2017)

Directed by S. Craig Zahler

Starring Vince Vaughn,  Jennifer Carpenter,  Don Johnson

Running Time 122 Minutes, Rated R.

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


This one is a throwback.  A grindhouse film that’s deliciously violent, sporting for me what might just be Vince Vaughn’s best work to date.  “Brawl in Cell Block 99” is directed by S. Craig Zahler (“Bone Tomahawk”) with slow burn that crackles the more the film goes on.  Vince Vaughn is jacked in this film, not 6% fat Beach Body jacked, but prison jacked where his 6 foot very plus stance is accompanied with the kind of muscles that can and will do some harm.  


Vaughn plays Bradley, never Brad, who has been off the bottle for some time while trying to go straight working at a tow truck site.  That doesn’t keep, when he loses his job and nearly loses his wife Lauren (Jennifer Carpenter) he decides to do what he knows best and be the muscle running drugs.  With the marriage doing much better and a kid, nicknamed koala in the womb, things go south for Bradley when a job goes south, and he ends up back in the slammer.  Not a day goes by before he finds out his wife and unborn are kidnapped and threatened to have some very, very horrible things happen to them if he doesn’t get himself thrown into another prison of maximum security and put a hit on an inmate there so that he can save his family.  

Like a slow burn that is never not entertaining.  Vaughn is downright scary in this film.  He has a slow pace and drawl about him that plays against characters he famous for, and it’s badass and then some.  The fight scenes are shot medium to long, and the choreography is stellar, and believe me when I say this, there is a kill scene in this film that is in the pantheon of great movie kill scenes.  Great acting, great soundtrack, great violence, and a great time to be had in “Brawl in Cell Block 99”.

Hebrews 13:3



The Lost City of Z- review


“The Lost City of Z” (2017)

Directed by James Gray

Starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller

Running Time 141 Minutes, Rated PG-13

2.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/

James Gray goes for the old school sweeping British explorer pic detailing Percy Fawcett’s (Charlie Hunnam) obsession for finding the great Amazonian city that no white man has been privy to only to have his film, “The Lost City of Z” being pulled in too many directions without having a strong clear voice about any of them.  Is this really about the bigotry of the church, or about trying to leave a legacy, or about putting your family second, or… eight other storylines?  It’s a beautiful film to look at, and Hunnam (King Arthur) shows more talent than I was aware from him, but it’s Robert Pattinson who impressed me the most with a quiet but strong performance as he is carving out a very good post-Twilight career.  The film ends it’s fleeting moments in a way that thinks it is stoic and insightful but seems rather a coward’s stab at a lack of detail.  What a loss.


 Hebrews 13:14




The Disaster Artist- review


“The Disaster Artist” (2017)

Directed by James Franco

Starring James Franco, Dave Franco, Ari Graynor

Running Time 104 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/

In 2003 a movie classic was released.  The Oscar went to Rob Marshall’s musical “Chicago”, but that has nowhere near the reverence and following of Tommy Wiseau’s infamous “The Room”.  “The Room” is considered by many to be the worst film of all time, right up their with “Plan 9 From Outer Space”.  What makes those two films legendary ‘must see’ movies is that both Ed Wood and Tommy Wiseau made their film with a heartfelt sincerity that they were delivering something great.  Wiseau personally paid for the film to stay in a movie theater for two weeks so that it could be eligible for the Oscars.  It’s a mind-boggling watch; where a lot of money, $5-6 million of Wiseau’s own money was put up that showcased humans constantly making very inhuman character choices.  To this day “The Room” plays at midnight showings all over the country to sold out audiences, leading Wiseau’s best friend and co-star Greg Sestero to pen a tell all of the production which made it into James Franco’s hands for the effectively very human movie titled “The Disaster Artist”.


James Franco plays the mysterious and odd Tommy Wiseau to perfection.  Franco absolutely captures Wiseau’s easter european marbled accent even though Wiseau hilariously claims to be from New Orleans.  “The Disaster Artist” is basically a buddy movie, wisely focusing on Wiseau and Greg Sestero’s (played by little brother Dave Franco) friendship.  Sestero and Wiseau met up in San Francisco in 1998 where a timid Sestero is drawn to Wiseau’s nutty confidence.  They move to L.A. moving into Wiseau’s nice place he hasn’t used in years, and the two unsuccessfully go after their dream of making it big as actors until they decide to make their own movie.  

The film is funniest when the production of “The Room” begins.  Wiseau becomes a tyrant onset, and his lack of experience and normal judgement play out.  The friendship angle was definitely the right angle to play, and James Franco’s performance could definitely get him his second acting nod. I will say, however, I wasn’t blown away emotionally.   Big Franco and the writers do their best to get you to understand what Tommy being Tommy really is, but we simply can’t understand life from another planet.  Lil’ Franco does fine but doesn’t blow me away either as it’s really hard to understand why Sestero puts up with as much as he does from Wiseau. Regardless, “The Disaster Artist” is fascinating as fact is stranger than fiction.

Proverbs 1:15



Wind River- review


“Wind River” (2017)

Directed by Taylor Sheridan

Starring Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen

Running Time 107 Minutes, Rated R.

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


“Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” are two films that are both on my in my Top 10 Films in each of their respective years, and “Wind River”, no doubt, making my 2017 list.  What do these films have in common? Taylor Sheridan.  Sheridan wrote all three of these films and makes his directorial debut with the gritty heart wrenching “Wind River”.  Sheridan can finely paint the environment that his well defined written characters are entrenched in.  He showcases his characters solving the injustices usually the “white man” have perpetrated and has a penchant for short but brutal standoffs that end violently.  Every one of his films pack an emotional wallop, and “Wind River” is no different.    


The film opens with a young woman running barefoot in the deadly cold climate of the open Wyoming frozeness.  This woman is later found dead in the snow by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert, played by a very stoic Jeremy Renner.  Cory knows the girl's father (played by outstanding Gil Birmingham) and tells him the horrific news, news that he has had to endure himself losing his daughter only recentlyl to similar circumstances.  Cory is a hunter and vows to his friend that he will find who did this.  Turns out when a young female F.B.I. agent Jane Banner (played by fellow Avenger Elizabeth Olsen) is put on the case, she quickly realizes that his skills are necessary to solve the case.  

In both Sicario and Wind River, Sheridan gives us strong female characters of power who are placed in settings that they may be in over their head but gives them intelligence and a backbone to proceed through.  Olsen, like Emily Blunt, has a quiet but assertive power behind that pretty face that too often gets dismissed.  Sheridan does gives another fine gift by not forcing our two leads to fall in love with each other when the story serves it not.  I was on the edge of my seat as the story escalated quickly to the climax.  Sheridan puts you in a world unbeknownst to most, and isn’t that why we go to the movies.  Go to this movie.  

Psalm 34:18



Wheelman- review


“Wheelman” (2017)

Directed by Jeremy Rush

Starring Frank Grillo,  Caitlin Carmichael,  Garret Dillahunt

Running Time 82 Minutes

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


I’ve got a 4 month old, the joy of my life, really.  But before that joy, my joy was going to the movies at least once a week while averaging almost two new releases a visit.  I just went to the theater for the first time since my child’s birth only two weeks ago, so in the meantime my 2017 released film fix has come mostly by the hand of Netflix and while there are a lot of haters for Netflix (Nolan, Tarantino), I must give thanks.  They’re not all winners; I’m looking at you “Whatever Happened to Monday”, but smaller B-films that may have never seen the light of distribution now can with Netflix, and that light shines bright on the dark noir thriller “Wheelman”.

The main reason this film works is because Frank Grillo is friggen awesome!  You know Frank Grillo..wait you don’t… you’ve seen him, and I’m sure you were like, that guy is good and deserves a starring role, well, here it is.  Grillo, who has long been a supporting player (“The Grey”, “Zero Dark Thirty”, and one my favorite films in the last 10 years “Warrior”) takes the wheel on this film and puts this decent little film over the top with his kick-ass acting chops.  Grillo plays an unnamed getaway driver, aka the Wheelman, who just got out of the pen on a three year stretch but is back doing a job that doesn’t go smoothly.  


Most of the film takes place with Grillo in a car and on the phone, and Grillo knocks it out of the park.  That’s not an easy task, but he’s intense and reactive as an actor.  Many times his glare is enough for dialogue.  In between trying to figure out how this job went FUBAR, he’s also trying to figure out his relationship with his teenage daughter and ex wife until, you guessed it, all those worlds collide.  Jeremy Rush directs this in a way that isn’t paint by numbers, as Grillo and his phone or live interaction confrontations are suspenseful, and I, for one, had no idea how our main character was or is going to get out of this sticky situation.

Can’t over emphasise the power of the Grillo enough.  Kudos to him and kudos to the “Wheelman”.

Hebrews 10:26



Lady Bird- review


“Lady Bird” (2017)

Directed by Greta Gerwig

Starring Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts

Running Time 94 Minutes, Rated R.

4.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


Greta Gerwig is a voice that has stood out to me.  The tall, blonde Gerwig has the uncanny ability to be believable in any situation she’s in which shows talent since she is often in a situation that is way over her head, regardless of whether she gets out of them or not it is entertaining to watch.  Her voice is no longer reserved for acting and writing (“Frances Ha”, “Greenberg”), but now of being a film director and it turns out, one hell of a director at that.


In the semi-autobiographical “Lady Bird”, Gerwig tells the coming-of-age story of Christine McPherson played by the already twice nominated and about to be thrice nominated Saoirse Ronan who makes everyone call her by what she states is her own given name Lady Bird.  Lady Bird, a senior in a Catholic high school in the early aughts of Sacramento, longs to go to college in NYC, somewhere her voice can be heard, but whose overbearing mother played by stage veteran Laurie Metcalf thinks that’s for rich people and that she should go to school somewhere local.  Boyfriends come and go, and so almost does her long time best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein) when Lady Bird gets a taste of hanging out with the cool kids.  Lady Bird is a daddy’s girl whose father is  played by Tracy Letts and waxes philosophical, and even though this is a fierce mother-daughter story he is a fully formed character put on screen.

Gerwig let's Lady Bird, her mother, and other characters be monstrous but makes sure we know that they’re not monsters.  There's real heart and hurt shining through every scene.  When Lady Bird’s boyfriend (played by Lucas Hedges showing some wonderful range) suggests that her mother is really hard on her she quickly replies, “Well, she loves me a lot.”  

I love this movie a lot.

Romans 12:2



Logan Lucky- review


“Logan Lucky” (2017)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig

Running Time 158 Minutes, Rated PG-13

3 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


Director Steven Soderbergh is back.  After his short self imposed early retirement, which I didn’t believe in much anyways the Oscar winning director is back and that’s a good thing.  Soderbergh puts a rural spin on his most commercially successful films; Ocean’s 11, 12, and 13 with “Logan Lucky”.  Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are the ‘unlucky’ Logan brothers who decide to take back something for themselves with a heist during the Charlotte Motor Speedway.


Breezy is a good way to describe this film, but I would say it’s even better described as cool glass of lemonade on a very hot day.  It won’t do more than quench your thirst for that moment, but for its nearly two hour running time, I was quenched.  Shout out to Daniel Craig playing bigger comedically than I’ve seen him do before. Also, was it just me, or did Tatum put on a few pounds for this role?  That’s commendable commitment in what turned out to be on deaf ears as this film did nothing at the box office.  

Consider yourself lucky and watch this film.

Matthew 5:6



Thor: Ragnarok- review


“Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)

Directed by Taika Waititi

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson

Running Time 130 Minutes, Rated PG-13

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


After a gazillion Marvel movies, why not finally release a comedy.  They have, with none other than the god of Thunder and apparently the god of action humor  in “Thor: Ragnarok”.  The fact that Marvel had the cojones to enlist New Zealand independent director Taika Waititi who is responsible for “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and who I adore is an example of using their immense amount of power for the good of mankind.  Waititi mixes his dry quirky New Zealand humor with huge over the top zany belly laughs that only a Marvel budgeted film can allow.  Mix that with a giant 80’s color wheel vomiting everywhere (a good thing) and balls to the wall action, this is one of the most pleasurable films of the year.


Plot, schmott.  Just know that Chris Hemsworth is built like a god and is incredibly hilarious (not fair) - I need him to be successful in something else besides the Marvelverse.  Hiddleston and Ruffalo are great as Loki and The Hulk, but it’s the new additions of Tessa Thompson and Jeff freaking Goldblum that will make you swoon. Marvel once again suffers from a ‘meh’ villain, although not to the fault of Cate Blanchett who looks to be having fun in black spandex.  Even Waititi shows up voicing a gentle would be revolutionary Rock Warrior named Korg who gets some of the best lines of the movie.

I had fun at “Thor: Ragnarok” and if you’re not dead inside then so shall you.

Isaiah 45:5



Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond- Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton- review


“Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond- Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton” (2017)

Directed by Chris Smith

Starring Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman

Running Time 94 Minutes

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


The year was 1999, I was in my 19th year of existence and my Jim Carrey obsession was at it’s peak.  Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber spoke to me the way they should to a 14-15 year old (through their buttcheeks), but now I was 19 and considering myself more mature, especially through my film taste (I mean, I had just seen “Run Lola Run” in the theaters for goodness sake!).  Jim Carrey wanted to be taken seriously, and so he cast off his clown attire with the very successfully “The Truman Show”, which I saw in the theaters 8 times and is still to this day my favorite film of all time.  I felt spiritually linked with Mr. Carrey through his film choices, and I wanted my growth to mirror his growth.  

Cue his first entry into the biopic genre with “Man on the Moon”.  Chronicling the story of the actor Andy Kaufman, whom I had only known from watching some “Taxi” reruns (Kaufman’s greatest probable fear), which I was not all that fond of.  I had my eyes and ears glued to every tidbit that came out of this production.  I was mesmerized by the fact that I that Carrey was going all DeNiro with full method acting as the polarizing bizarro comedian, and so in turn I did my homework on Kaufman and I was hooked.  Here was a performer who cared more about doing what he thought was funny than what the audience thought was funny; a man who often made the audience in fact the joke.  Youtube wasn’t around then yet, but I watched all the Kaufman footage I could and when the Milos Forman directed film finally came out, I didn’t see Jim Carrey up on the screen I saw Kaufman up there and while the film was good but not great, Carrey gave one of the better performances of our generation (damn you Oscars!).  A documentary from Chris Smith aptly titled “Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond- Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton” shows just how far Jim Carrey went for his ‘performance’ and the toll it took on him, his director, and everyone else involved in the production.


The film is intertwined with a plethora of behind the scenes footage that Universal didn’t want released (because at the time Carrey was the biggest star in the world and the higher ups didn’t want him to be viewed as an asshole) and a sit down interview with a present day Carrey recalling the process.  It’s fascinating to watch Carrey truly give into Kaufman; stating that after got his dream role he looked over the ocean trying to telepathically communicate with Kaufman who died in 1984 to cancer, and that’s when “like 30 dolphins” rose up from the water and Kaufman “tapped” him on the shoulder and said “Sit down, I’ll be doing my movie.” From there Carrey never broke character, by either playing the mischievous Andy Kaufman who resented his fame from “Taxi” or his alter ego, Tony Clifton, a crude lounge lizard that he half played along with his manager/accomplice Bob Zmuda.  Carrey, I mean Kaufman drove many people nuts and nearly broke the proud Oscar winning director Milos Forman.  Some of the onset antics are mean; as in the way Carrey harassed former pro wrestler Jerry Lawler, who plays himself in the film reenacting the famous “feud” he had with Kaufman who for a time wrestled only females lovingly playing a heel.  Lawler remembers Kaufman as someone who respected him, always calling him sir, but Carrey’s Kaufman tormented him on set, to the point of making the world believe in a very Kaufmanesque way that Carrey had broken his back during their filmed wrestling scenes.  

Present day Carrey carries himself now as someone who believes none of existence truly matters, and we are all but a blink in the existence of the cosmos.  He says he ‘wants’ for nothing anymore, and you can’t help but wonder if he’s tapping into Kaufman when he waxes intellectual, “I wonder what would have happened if I just decided to be Jesus”, he says with a grin of confidence.  This confidence shows Carrey’s amazing talents, and he feels like one of those great performers who I want so much more from.  I miss him like a Prince or Michael Jackson even though Carrey is neither addicted to anything to our knowledge or deceased, also unbeknownst to our knowledge. This film lets me savor a former obsession of mine that I hope only gets finer with time.   

1 John 4:1



The Meyerwitz Stories (New and Selected)- review


“The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)" (2017)

Directed by Noah Baumbach

Starring  Adam Sandler,  Grace Van Patten,  Dustin Hoffman

Running Time 112 Minutes, Rated R.

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


The year is 2002 and Adam Sandler pulls off what Jim Carrey had just just done a few years earlier: going from buffoonery (at the time still awesome buffoonery) to his first critically acclaimed film that was much in part to his also critically acclaimed acting.  That film is Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Punch-Drunk Love”, one of my absolute favorites.  I was so happy for the melding of those two talents that it seemed like a no doubter that Sandler would follow that film with another acting triumph much like Carrey did with “The Truman Show” to “The Man on the Moon”.  Well, a truckload of movies and payday films later, and it didn’t happen; sure “Spanglish”, “Reign Over Me”, and “Funny People” had their moments, but it wasn’t until now that Sandler and another talented director really pulled off that feat.  15 years after “Punch-Drunk Love” Noah Baumbach reminds us that Sandler really can act with Netflix’s “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).


This is my favorite work from Noah Baumbach (“The Squid and the Whale”, “Frances Ha”) to date.  Baumbach tells stories about dysfunctional family but he does it with so much love and care for that family.  In this film everything orbits around the patriarch Harold Meyerowitz played by Dustin Hoffman, who hasn’t had a role this good in many years.  Harold, a sculptor, was minor deal in the art world but has a major ego, which has loomed over his kids their whole lives; Danny (Adam Sandler), Matthew (Ben Stiller), and Jean (Elizabeth Marvel). Sandler taps into his sweet and rage persona much like Punch-Drunk, as the son who was all too often pushed aside for Stiller’s Matthew which formed both of their neurosis while Jean wasn’t left out from being bequeathed issues by always being complacent.  

Baumbach’s dialogue is exhausting in all the good ways.  As characters speak over each other, focusing on just what they’re trying to get out of the conversation, especially in Hoffman’s hard to like Harold you can understand how his offspring were eager to please until they weren’t anymore.  

Consider the The Meyerowitz Stories a winner, I just hope it’s not 2032 before Sandler’s next triumph.

John 5:19



Girls Trip- review


“Girls Trip” (2017)

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee

Starring  Regina Hall,  Queen Latifah,  Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish

Running Time 122 minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


Hands down “Girls Trip” is easily one of the funniest films of the year!  Can’t name too many outstanding comedies, especially rated R. raunchy comedies from 2017, but this is at the head of the pack.  Super generic story of four childhood friends who try to recapture what they had played by Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and the breakout star of 2017 Tiffany Haddish.  You know they’re gonna have a good time, antics will ensue, they’ll all have a falling out at some point, but then everything works out for everyone in the end and as long as you have the jokes and the performers who can pull them off then baby, you got yourself one funny-ass stew.


All hail the coming of Tiffany Haddish. Hall, Latifa, and Smith are at the top of their game here, but it’s Haddish who had me cracking up even before she uttered a line of dialogue, but don’t worry she can handle the filthy dialogue as well.  The four’s chemistry and friendship shines through and I’m sure there’s a Girls Trip 2 already in the works and you can mark me all aboard for that trip.

Proverbs 31:30



Creep 2- review


“Creep 2” (2017)

Directed by Patrick Brice

Starring Mark Duplass,  Desiree Akhavan

Running Time 80 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/

2014’s experimental indie “Creep” was one of my SXSW highlights.  A very talented filmmaker/actor in Mark Duplass gave horror a go and did it alongside the film’s co-star and director Patrick Brice in a way that specialized in uncomfortableness rather than jump scares.  Unsettling is a word that describes the found footage film well as it got you to laugh but in the way that startes with a giggle but finishes with a marker of trepidation, and that’s a compliment.


Duplass is back as the egotistical and pathological liar slash serial killer Aaron who this time around has lost his love for the game.  When he enlists Sara (“Girls” Desiree Akhavan) who is an aspiring internet documentarian that specializes in trying to find out what makes lonely men tick, Aaron feels like there might be a little left in the tank yet.  Duplass has a blast with this character, and you can feel the script giving into Duplass’ improv which is very strong for the most part.  Creepy moments thrive here because Duplass and Brice let them marinate and Akhavan more than holds her own.  I will say that the original brought more ‘scares’ for me, and this time around the ending felt very rushed as the film is a very quick 80 minutes in total, but this sequel is able to use what worked the first time around and expand in different in directions as well.

Proverbs 16:5


It (2017)- review


“It” (2017)

Directed by Andy Muschietti

Starring Bill Skarsgard, Finn Wolfhard

Running Time 135 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


In Stephen King’s “It” Derry, Maine has more missing persons, especially missing children, than any other city in America.  Set in the 1980’s, a group of kids known as the “Loser’s Club” dig deeper into the mystery only to unravel that “It” is a malevolent killer clown known as Pennywise (a deliciously off his rockers evil Bill Skarsgard) who feeds off fear.  People look back at the old 1990 NBC miniseries with joy but besides Tim Curry stepping up to the plate, it’s pretty tame and a bit silly for rewatchability sake.  

Cut to Andy Muschietti’s (“Mama”) version which goes hard R and earns some pretty big scares.  What sets this film apart is the brilliant casting with Skarsgard already mentioned, but it’s the youthful actors who really take this film to a higher level.  The mixed tone of comedy, which is really funny at times, with the horror aspect works most of the time.  I will say the film got less scary for me as it went along, but the characters never got less dull.  

It is totally worth watching “It” (I worked a lot harder on that pun than I should have).

Romans 8:18


Annabelle: Creation- Review


“Annabelle: Creation” (2017)

Directed by David F. Sandberg

Starring Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman

Running Time 109 Minutes, Rated R.

2.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


The Jason Blum horror Blumiverse continues without a bang in “Annabelle: Creation”.  2014’s “Annabelle” was a box office smash and a surprise to me in effectiveness.  “Annabelle: Creation” gives us a prequel and lets us in how that creepy looking porcelain doll earned its creepiness.  When the Mullins, played weirdly lacklusterly by the usually solid Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto, are struck by tragedy losing their daughter to a car accident, they look to the dark side to bring her back not realizing that making a deal with the devil doesn’t usually work out.  Twelve years later the Mullins open their big country house to the failing Saint Eustace Home for Girls, and then all Annabelle breaks out.  


A few good jump scares here and there, and don’t underestimate the power in the simplicity of having a still camera on a darkly lit doll sitting in a rocking chair, but ultimately I was bored.  There are heavy handed character beats with the older girls in the orphanage being snotty that are supposed to make it easier to have them as kill fodder, but they are just weak. Also, the setting up of devices in the house like a dumb waiter and a scarecrow by the shed are underwhelming time bombs, and when they do go off, they don’t pack much of a punch.  

For me it’s time to put this doll to rest.

Luke 22:31



Little Evil- review


“Little Evil” (2017)

Directed by Eli Craig

Starring Evangeline Lilly,  Adam Scott,  Kyle Bornheimer

Running Time 95 Minutes, Rated R.

2.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/


There’s this trend of opening the film with a scene much later on in the film and then working it’s way back to it, I am not a fan.  It’s doesn’t do much except for tell the viewer where we’re gonna end up, so much so that I’m trying to figure out when that scene will come up.  “Little Evil” does that and by doing so starts the film off with a sour taste.  I love the premise; Gary, played very well by straight man extraordinaire Adam Scott marries the love of his life (a pleasant Evangeline Lilly), and becomes the stepfather to her young boy.  It just so happens that the little boy is the antichrist.  Every person who has taken parenthood over a child who they didn’t create must feel like at times they are the spawn of evil so you’d think there’d be so much comedy to mine.  Turns out not so much.


Eli Craig can’t replicate the duality of scares and laughs that he achieved in “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil” with many scenes falling flat on their face.  “Little Evil” has its moments, but it’s too little too late.  

John 8:44