Entries in Drama (226)


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/movieswithmitch.com


“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/movieswithmitch.com


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/movieswithmitch.com


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



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/movieswithmitch.com


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/movieswithmitch.com

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




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/movieswithmitch.com


“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/movieswithmitch.com


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



Detroit- review


“Detroit” (2017)

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Starring John Boyega,  Anthony Mackie,  Algee Smith

Running Time 143 Minutes, Rated R

3 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


In 1967 the racial unrest bubbled over in the Detroit Riots that took 43 lives.  As I write this with Charlottesville white supremacist/Nazi rally taking the life of one counter protester just days previous I am reminded of how far we’ve come and how far we’ve got to go.  “Detroit” is directed with Kathryn Bigelow’s usual masculine touch showcasing the gut wrenching riots that was so bad that is was considered a war zone where the POTUS called in the National Guard.  If you don’t hate minorities this film will anger you as intended, it certainly did for this reviewer as I watched despicable acts perpetrated because of the white man’s fear of the unknown and loosening of the grip of having it better than the black man.  Bigelow captures this well focusing the middle portion of the film on the Algiers Hotel atrocities.  At times it hurts to watch but it’s important to view as a record of sins and a mirror to the same sins perpetrated today.


I was moved by the social crimes at hand but the film misses greatness by not connecting to it characters as personally as other films as such have.  The film’s lead is Algee Smith who plays Larry, a young crooner with a motown group about to bust out.  A combination of Marc Boals less than focused script and Smith’s performance left this viewer less than immersed.  Much like “Dunkirk”, I respect the viewing and craftsmanship of “Detroit” but I wouldn’t put either in great film territory.  Still, worth a view though.

John 13:34



Dunkirk- review


“Dunkirk” (2017)

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Running Time 106 Minutes, Rated PG-13

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


No caped crusader, no black hole space travel, no sci-fi dream spy work; nope this century’s most successful director takes on the true story war epic.  More precisely, the evacuation of 400,000 British and French soldiers surrounded by the Nazi army in the city of Dunkirk, France during WW2.  Nolan being Nolan, he tells the event with three separate timelines that mix and intercede with each other. The stories, focusing on the heroics and not so much, are told via the land, air, and sea.


“Dunkirk” is a good film, not a great film with Nolan having achieved higher marks in at least five other films for my taste.  The jumbled timelines, while creative, did throw me off at times.  I was so busy trying to figure out where we were in the events that it took away from me being as invested as I could.  On the other hand the visuals are extravagant.  Shot on IMAX, seeing this in the theater is the way to go.  Among many fantastic visuals accompanied by Hans Zimmer’s top notch score, the aerial shots were so vivid I could smell the salt water.  I’m glad I saw Dunkirk, it really is worth a watch, but a little too much British stiff upper lip shown by Nolan makes this not essential viewing.

Daniel 3:17-18



Baby Driver- review


“Baby Driver” (2017)

Directed by Edgar Wright

Starring Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Hamm

Running Time 113 Minutes, Rated R.

4.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


I’m listening to the soundtrack to this film, in particular the film’s opening song “Bellbottoms” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion which is perfectly infused into the super badass high octane opening scene of “Baby Driver”, and all I can say is that I want to watch this film again, right now, right flippin now!, but I can’t cause I saw an early screening of the film so it’s not accessible until June 27th, and now I’m a little sad.  But I keep listening to the soundtrack, and I’m happy again.  Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver” is an absolute smash of a good time, and if you want to be happy for 113 minutes straight then this is a MUST SEE!

Edgar Wright gets it, he knows better than us, he knows what we want even when we don’t, and I feel safe in his arms.  “Shaun of the Dead”, “Hot Fuzz”, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (super underrated), and “The World’s End”; he hasn’t swung and missed yet, and “Baby Driver” might be his best at bat yet.  “Baby Driver” is cool; so cool that we wouldn't have hung out in high school, so cool that if you wanted your drink on the rocks then you’d just cut up this film into little pieces, so cool that this film gives the sun brain freeze.  Oooh and that opening sequence, is seriously one of the better opening scenes I’ve seen. 

Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a getaway driver to rule all getaway drivers who is working off a debt from crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey).  Baby suffers from a real bad case of tinnitus, and therefore always has an Ipod going with headphones blaring to drown out the humming.  Baby meets a fellow dreamer in a waitress named Deborah (Lily James) and they fall for each other fast, but being Doc’s good luck charm in heists it won’t be easy to get out of that world.  

It took all but 10 seconds for me to fall in love with Elgort here as Baby.  It’s a tricky performance since his character is light on dialogue, but he makes up for it in spades with a charm that raises every other of the fantastic performances that spoil this film.  Elgort and James are so easy to root for, and Wright makes their romance angle just as exciting as the top notch getaway scenes.  Everyone else kills it; Spacey almost sings his dialogue he’s so good, Jon Bernthal pops up shortly but memorably, Jon Hamm finds the film role he’s been looking for post “Mad Men” actually showing me can play scary, but it was Jamie Foxx as the film’s loose cannon that was really scary and if it were up to me I would be so bold as to give him a Supporting Nod.

But maybe the best performance is the music.  Wright interweaves the music so well in every scene with an eclectic selection that hits every genre and hits it perfectly.  You thought “Tequila” by The Champs would always be remembered for “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”, well not so fast champ cause “Baby Driver” has something to say about that now.   

“Baby Driver” has the chance to be Wright’s first big box office hit and if you’re willing to spend your money on a great film, it will be.

Exodus 14:14



Colossal- review


“Colossal” (2017)

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo

Starring Anne Hathaway,  Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens

Running Time 109 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


If you’ve seen one ‘girl trying to overcome her personal demons of alcoholism and bad relationships with men that actually manifests into giant Kaiju monsters literally rampaging half way across the globe in Seoul’ movie, well, then you’ve seen them all.  

Said no one ever.


I know Anne Hathaway’s has gotten the scorn of many movie goers, but the kid can act and it’s nice to see those talents put to the test.  That they are in Nacho Vigalondo’s (“Timecrimes”) latest, “Colossal”.  Hathaway plays Gloria, a party girl who as the film opens is broken up with and kicked out of her boyfriend’s (played by the everywhere Dan Stevens) swanky NYC apartment and is forced to move back to parents empty house back in the burbs that is conveniently unoccupied.  Soon Gloria runs into old classmate Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) who has taken over his father's local bar.  Maybe not the best place for someone trying to detox, Gloria who is out of work and gets a job bartending at Oscar’s bar. When the shifts end, she, Oscar, and couple bar regulars (Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell) drink until the sun comes up.

At the same time, in Seoul, Korea a giant skyscraper sized Godzilla-type monster appears every morning around 8:05 am eastern standard time and begins to cause destruction on epic levels, appropriately becoming the phenomenon the world is glued to watching.  Weirdly enough, these two storylines are connected. You can gather from the trailers how, but I’ll let you unravel that while watching for yourself.  The beautiful thing Vigalondo and his actors create, especially Hathaway who is funny, broken, and empathetic all at once are the ways these storylines do merge and obvious but still poignant metaphors aren’t trampled on but delivered with in simpatico.  

Toxic relationships that keep you from evolving from your patterned transgressions are a strong message here, but I also read into the way it can seem impossible to back away from a strongly abusive relationship and the buildings that crumble when you don’t.  Not to mention just trying not to trip over yourself which does enough damage.  This is all shown with strength from Vigalondo.  I will say that while some may say the ending is powerful, and they get their comeuppance, I found one flaw in the way the monster portion of the movie was solved and how that was supposed to fix Gloria’s real problems as well.  In the real world that’s not the way to go, and if you do there will be consequences.  Well, enough sage jibber jabber from me, go see “Colossal”.

1 Corinthians 15:33 


T2 Trainspotting- Review


“T2 Trainspotting” (2017)

Directed by Danny Boyle

Starring Ewan McGregor,  Ewen Bremner,  Jonny Lee Miller

Running Time 117 Minutes, Rated R.

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


This is a highly rewarding experience for those who are familiar with and those who fancy the original Trainspotting.  20 years after Danny Boyle’s groundbreaking original the gang is back together, and it is such sweet sorrow.  

Boyle, whose unique electric perspective is on fire here in this sequel, dazzling this viewer and quenching my thirst for one of my very most transformative films as a burgeoning cinephile.  Peppered in are cues from the original that will make you smile.  Ewan McGregor as the ever charming Scottish ex-heroin addict gives us an update on his famous “Choose Life” monologue that had me thinking mid scene of how great it would be to platonically grow old with the actor, and then I realized I have.

“Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares.  Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently.  And choose watching history repeat itself.”  McGregor absolutely nails this showcasing how father time is still undefeated, and if we live long enough, then we will eventually be awakened to that fact.  


We last left the Trainspotting crew 20 years ago with Renton betraying his friends by skipping Edinburgh with everyone’s robbed share of 16,000 pounds of drug money only leaving Spud (Ewen Bremner) with his share. Now after all these years Renton, who has changed his addiction to running, comes back home with a hope to right his sins.  Nowadays, the caption necessary Spud is still on the dark needle and is found by Renton with an unpleasant plastic bag around his head.  Renton’s former bestie Simon (Johnny Miller), aka Sick Boy, has moved on to cocaine with hopes of starting a classy brothel with his very young but very bright ‘girlfriend’ Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova).  As for Begbie (Robert Carlyle), he’s still a hurricane of destruction wherever he goes whose psychopathic tendencies won’t let prison get in the way of getting revenge on Renton.

There are winks to original; a bathroom toilet or Renton’s get away antics that will hit that warm nostalgia center of your soul as well as new shenanigans to delight in such as Renton and Simon’s impromptu musical stylings that cater to the dislike of Catholics all to prosper in some clever credit card fraud.

The end feels a little too focused on Begbie’s revenge, but throughout screenwriter John Hodge gets that history does have a way of repeating itself, and while we are in love with these lovable losers at the end of the day they are still losers.  But that’s what makes this film and the one before it a winner.

Ephesians 5:16



Beauty and the Beast- review


“Beauty and the Beast” (2017)

Directed by Bill Condon

Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans

Running Time 129 Minutes, Rated PG

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


A tale as old as time proves to be a tale worth retelling.

Disney’s 1991 “Beauty and the Beast”, which became the first full-length animated film to be nominated for Best Picture (and with only five film nominees I might add) is an indelible 5 Star film masterpiece - that few will argue.  A live action remake with today’s CGI wizardry seems like a no-brainer, but the question is could Disney actually pull it off again?  Bill Condon’s 2017 version is not in the same ballpark, but to my surprise it is a total winner.  At first I was worried that my early enjoyment of the film in progress was based solely off the nostalgia fumes of the original, but I succumbed to this version on its own merits.  From Bill Condon’s smooth yet excitingly fun direction, to the wonderful Alan Menken not only attending to the score by returning with the film’s beloved classic songs, but also adding some well done additions, to an all star cast up for the challenge, and most importantly delivering a love story that succeeds most of all.  


The story of a handsome self centered Prince cursed to be gnarly beast (both played by Dan Stevens) and stay a beast forever unless he finds true love before the last petal of a magical rose falls when he wrongs the wrong sorcerer (is there ever a right sorcerer)  The Beast is only left with his servants who were turned into household objects, including a candelabra (Ewan McGregor wonderfully returning to a film musical, Emma Thompson as a teapot, Ian McKellen as a grumpy clock, and others you will remember as well.  The true love you ask is Belle, enchantingly played by Emma Watson, a girl in a small French village who is considered a little off because she can read AND think for herself. She is someone the town’s ladyman Gaston (fantastically played over the top by Luke Evans) finds a challenge worth conquering for his bride.  Gaston is followed around everywhere by LeFou, who, worth noting, is Disney’s first gay character played by Josh Gad hilariously for the LGBTQ audience and every other audience existing.  

I teared up several times, (you’re the Beast if you don’t well up when Chip the teacup almost perishes!!!), but the best part of the film is the slowly played out true love that Watson and Stevens so tenderly achieve.  Beast and Belle are worth watching waltz all over again.

Romans 12:16



Before I Fall- review


“Before I Fall” (2017)

Directed by Ry Russo-Young

Starring Zoey Deutch,  Halston Sage,  Cynthy Wu

Running Time 98 Minutes, Rated PG-13

2 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


Do you love “Groundhog’s Day”?  Of course you do silly, you’ve got melanin don’t you (sorry albinos).  What if we took that beloved and fun ‘live the same day over and over again’ premise but substituted it with bratty and full of themselves popular high school girls?  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  Of course that doesn’t, you’ve got melanin don’t you (sorry albinos).  This sort of premise is meant to teach our stubborn lead a lesson, no matter how long it takes, but oooh wee it’s tough watching when you switch the means of entertainment from the GOAT Bill Murray comedy to YA petty drama.  “Before I Fall” fails to earn that genre trade off from “Groundhog Day”, and even if director Ry Russo-Young could relive 1,000 days in the editing room she still wouldn’t have gotten it right.


While Zoey Deutch ain’t no Bill Murray, I’m not gonna blame her for this film not working.  The spunky young actress had a very nice breakout role in Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some” that I particularly enjoyed, and here she proves the spotlight of such a demanding role.  Deutch plays Samantha, who worked her way up into the popular girl clique and has the cutest boyfriend, if not played and written a little generic douchey, who she is planning on letting deflower her later that evening at a big party.  Besides Samantha, the nails on a chalkboard quartet of ladies includes Ally the needy one (Cynthia Wu), Elody the lush one (Medalion Rahimi), and Lindsay (Halston Sage)  the bitchy ringleader are.  At said party the four rip into social outcast Juliet (Elena Kampouris) including everyone pouring their drinks on her.  But come uppance is a bitch as on their drive home they get into a pretty nasty car crash, and Samantha wakes up the next morning but it’s still Febuary 12th the previous morning. Rinse and repeat.

Director Russo-Young spends too much time in the film’s beginning showing just how nasty and annoying these girls are, and while Deutch can grab our empathy, the other girls, especially actress Halston Sage cannot; that becomes quickly grating.  Also this film suffers from what seems to be editor’s disease.  Scenes come out of nowhere that seem like there was a bigger storyline shot at some point, but the director was pressured to do more cutting than wanted.  A scene where Samantha gives her slightly older teacher the ‘sexy what for’ comes out of nowhere, and whatever issue those two characters had was never brought up again.  There is a second girl who comes under the wrath of the cool girls because of sexual orientation.. I think… that dichotomy seems wildly uneven as well.  

From V.O. Samantha seems to get her plot pretty quickly, and the lesson should be pretty obvious but her character isn’t written smart enough and even when it is tackled it’s done in a pretty lackadaisical and ineffective way.  

I learned my lesson my right away from “Before I Fall”, I will not watch it again.  

Romans 7:15



I Don't Feel at Home in this World Anymore- review


“I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore” (2017)

Directed by Macon Blair

Starring Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood

Running Time 93 Minutes, Rated R.

3 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


Actor Macon Blair, best known for the well done tense indie “Blue Ruin” takes the directing reigns for the first time in a stand against the slights of humanity tale not briefly titled “I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore”.  Blair aptly takes cue from “Blue Ruin” and paints a misanthrope named Ruth played by the offcentered but warmly effective Melanie Lynskey who just wants but an explanation and maybe even an apology from countless ‘jerkiness’ she endlessly undergoes.  From getting stuck in line behind the chick who has 50 items in a 10 items or less lane, to cleaning not her dog’s feces off her lawn daily, to sucking the black exhaust of a non EPA friendly pickup truck, Ruth is drifting through days and losing sight of what compassion looks like in others.  


The straw breaks Ruth’s back when her place is broken into and her laptop and her beloved departed grandmother’s silverware are stolen.  When the police have better things to do, Ruth turns vigilante and picks up her boy wonder in the form of Elijah Wood, sporting a rat tail and nunchucks as the wonderfully weird but big hearted Tony.  Ruth’s anger and determination sends her down a path that Blair never lets become predictable.  This film drops steam midway, but Blair who has a very nice knack for setting up elaborate violence doesn’t disappoint with the third act.

Looking forward to what’s next for Blair, Lynskey, and Wood.

Romans 12:2



Silence- review


“Silence” (2016)

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Starring Andrew Garfield,  Adam Driver,  Liam Neeson

Running Time 161 Minutes, Rated R.

4.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


At this screening I noticed a handful of people walking out before it was well over.  Most of the time that is an example of a poorly made film, but not always.  Martin Scorsese’s latest, “Silence”, is an example of the latter.

Scorsese has been trying to make this epic film about faith for the last 20 years.  There is a true testament of faith just in that.  His faith in this project bears us the viewers great fruit; while the fruit of “Silence” may not be that delicious to the senses, it is quite sustaining.  Here is a film that Scorsese has crafted with a precise nature, and while 2 hours and 40 may seem long, this is deliberate in the way that your faith will be tested time and time again and while there can peace and joy in it there is also endurance that is needed.

Adapted from Shūsaku Endō‘s novel by Scorsese and Jay Cocks (“Gangs of New York”, “Age of Innocence”), “Silence” is the true story of two Portugese Jesuit Priests, Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garupe (Adam Driver) who in 1636 travel to Japan in search for their mentor Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) who has gone missing and is rumored to have apostatized, denouncing one’s faith.  Japan is enemy territory for Christians, and being caught with any semblance of its faith is punishable by death.  Smuggled into Japan by a very flawed Japanese man Kichijiro (Yôsuke Kubozuka), Rodrigues and Garupe are instant outlaws but are blessed to find a village of some secret Japanese Christians whose living their beliefs in secret is showed to be very hard.  The arrival of the Fathers give the villagers hope but in one of the many complexities that Scorsese delves into, we gather from Rodrigues’ prayers that he is concerned that they are putting their faith in tactile objects such as rosary beads and straw crosses instead of having it in their hearts, minds, and soul.  


Eventually Rodrigues and Garupe split up, and we follow Rodrigues as he is eventually captured by the Inquisitor (Issei Ogata) who will and does take the lives of Christians but would rather give you time to think it over so you can denounce the faith and be set free.  Freely admitting from his earlier mistakes, the Inquisitor says that they don’t kill off villagers first making them martyrs but instead, he focuses on getting the Priests to denounce their faith for the villagers to see.  Father Rodrigues is left captured while he watches those who have taken up his faith tortured and executed.  It is excruciating as Rodrigues holds fast to his belief in God even though his prayers are answered with only silence, but the practical and maybe moral decision of saving those with the act of stamping your foot on a bronzed image of Christ can’t be denied.

Andrew Garfield, who has taken up two devout Christian believers this year with “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Silence” impresses me even more in this.  Starved literally and in faith, his portrayal is of a man of God that can’t hear Him and is left to hold onto his beliefs as greatly as he can.  If it were up to me Kubozuka’s sinning Kichijiro should be nominated for Best Supporting Actor.  Kichijiro is Scorsese’s depiction of Man, who keeps failing over and over and needs unlimited forgiveness.  There is such beauty when Father Rodrigues glows in his letters about how time spent with Kichijiro and his resurgence of faith; like God’s love for his lost sheep.  

Beautiful and tragic to look at,  Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography holds you tight when shots of the ocean and beaches are present, and the score is perfect in it’s use of simple nature sounds to fill the screen.  

Ultimately the film boils down to God knowing what’s in your heart and where our soul stands on that ground. The ending is tense and delivers more in a meditation of faith than I could have ever of grasped.  

Dear Scorsese, 20 years well spent.   

P.s.  As a Christian (gasp!), these are the type of films that should be mandatory for stretching and challenging one’s faith walk.  Sure, recent based films like “The Young Messiah”, “Risen”, “God’s not Dead”, “Miracles From Heaven”, and “War Room” have their place and their audience but all too often those films give way to less talented storytellers.  Having cinema greats such as Scorsese is immeasurable, and for me my faith is fed so much more with a film like “Silence” rather than “Miracles from Heaven”.  

Mark 16:15



Lion- review


“Lion” (2016)

Directed by Garth Davis

Starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara

Running Time 118 Minutes, Rated PG-13

2.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


The story of Saroo Brierley is an extraordinary one.  Saroo, impoverished and only five years old is tragically separated from his family when he gets stuck in a train that goes 1,000 miles to Calcutta.  Unable to speak the language and with no way to find his way back home, he is eventually put in an orphanage until he is adopted by a well off Australian couple Jon (David Wenham) and Sue Brierley (Nicole Kidman who is truly terrific here, deserving award attention).  Eventually a grown up Sarro, played by Dev Patel (who looks like he’s been lifting) is reminded of these past transgressions and sets out to find his biological family.


I appreciated that Saroo’s childhood and the journey he goes on isn’t quick lived, as it actually takes its time for us to try to appreciate what it would be like for a five year old to be on his own in a foreign land.  This takes up the first half or so of the film and not coincidentally enough this is the film’s compelling half.  I’m not sold on Dev Patel’s acting yet, and as the older Saroo, his brooding and distancing himself when he sets out for his Indian family actually distances us the audience from the story.  This is just as equal a directing problem from Garth Davis and script problem from Luke Davies screenplay that’s adapted from Brierley’s book “A Long Way Home”.  And as for the ending, which of course is a beautiful thing in real life, but in the film it comes across as either happenstance or divine intervention and neither of these themes were set up at anytime prior in the film. 

“Lion” has heart but a rocky path about it.

Psalm 32:8



Fences- review


“Fences” (2016)

Directed by Denzel Washington

Starring Denzel Washington, Viola Davis

Running Time 138 Minutes, Rated PG-13

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

Ok, so the Denzel Washington directed “Fences” doesn’t overcome feeling like a filmed stage play and ultimately takes you out of the ‘cinematic’ experience from time to time, but do you know what “Fences” has that blows that out of the water- Denzel Washington the actor and Viola Davis the actress.  Denzel pisses me off sometimes with complete payday schlubs like “The Magnificent Seven”, but Denzel’s acting prowess is in the top 1% of every actor in the world and when he chooses to showcase that, well, you better buy a ticket.  Also, in that top 1% is Viola Davis, who will finally get her Oscar this year, and even though Denzel out Denzel’s himself, Viola out Denzel’s Denzel and well, you better buy a ticket.


Based off of August Wilson’s 1983 Pulitzer Prize winning play which Denzel and Viola have done on stage before, Fences comes to the big screen.  While I mentioned that at times I felt like I was sitting in a playhouse rather than in front of a movie screen, that doesn’t mean Denzel doesn’t know where to put the camera and tell this marvelous and heartbreaking story nonetheless.  

Telling the story of Troy Maxson (Washington)in the 1950’s who has seen the better days of his life pass by while dealing with the ever changing and progressing race relations as his wife Rose (Davis) ever stands by his side.  Troy’s son Cory (Jovan Adepo) fears his father but doesn’t want to be held back from him and longtime character actor Stephen Henderson does a fine job as Troy’s best friend Bono who has been by his side longer than anyone else.  


Not much more to say than treat yourself to some powerhouse acting.  When it comes to that, “Fences” is a homerun.

Ephesians 2:14


Sing Street- review


“Sing Street” (2016)

Directed by John Carney

Starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo,  Aidan Gillen,  Maria Doyle Kennedy

Running Time 106 Minutes, Rated PG-13

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


It’s Dublin and the year is 1985.  You don’t know how to play an instrument, but you’re gonna start a band anyways.  Because of a girl, it’s always because of a girl.

So lies the foundation for “Once” director John Carny’s infectious and sweet natured “Sing Street”.  The story of 14 year old Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who is counting down the days until his parents’ impending divorce, and whose family strapped for cash transfers him out of private school and into a rowdy Catholic one.  When Conor comes across a 16 year old would-be model Raphina (Lucy Boynton) who desperately wants to move to England, he forms a band heavily influenced by Duran Duran and The Cure.


Conor’s band, titled Sing Street play a little too well for the amount of time they play together, but the songs written by Carney are spot on for the time and that goes a long way.  Besides Conor, Raphina, and Conor’s older brother heartily played by Jack Reynor who has great brotherly advice to spare but can see his best days already behind him, there is literally no other character development to be had.  Still, heart abounds in this musically gifted coming of age story and deserves it’s tune to be heard.

Ephesians 5:19



Too Late- revie


“Too Late” (2016)

Directed by Dennis Hauck

Starring John Hawkes, Crystal Reed, Dichen Lachman

Running Time 107 Minutes, Rated R.

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


One easy way for your movie to sucker me in is by being a long uncut film or by having long uncut scenes/ (“Children of Men”, “Birdman”).  I love the technical and artistic achievement it has the guile to attempt in a median that so often cops to the super-chop style that gives me vertigo.  Another way to sucker me in is having John Hawkes acting in your film.  The long time character actor is ridiculously talented, playing just as ferocious as he can play meek, lovable as juxtaposed to menacing.  Dennis Hauck has combined the both is his directorial debut, “Too Late”.  Not fair.

While John Hawkes can never be a gimmick, the whole uncut thing can be or at least be just plain fruitless. Brian De Palma's “Snake Eyes” has an awesome almost 13-minute uncut scene to open the film, but not even that and the majestic Nicolas Cage are enough to save it, nor did a long tracking shot in the infamous “The Bonfire of the Vanities” help that movie out any.  It does help out “Too Late” however, bigtime. Hauck breaks down “Too Late” into five acts, each being one continuous roughly 20-minute long uncut take that interweaves back and forth via the nonlinear style that is very much in the vein/homage to Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction”.   It showcases a neo noir murder mystery that’s drenched in 90’s indie crime story format, but that’s shot in 35mm to give it that grainy 70’s look, and all with the super flippin cool Hawkes who can back that dialogue up because that’s what super flipping cool actors do.  I hope you’re walk into “Too Late” with an empty stomach, because you’re about about to be served a whopping film buffet of awesome.  


Hawkes is Sampson, a rough edged L.A. detective that can’t get out of his own way or go long enough without finding the comfort of another lost soul between the sheets.  When a distressed call comes in from a young stripper (Crystal Reed) he met a few years back beckoning for his help, Sampson is on the case following the clues that are paved by the underbelly of Los Angeles where twists, turns, bullets, and sexy women abound.    

Hauck, who also wrote the screenplay, peels the onion back making way for Sampson to become a fuller and fuller character.  The more his film goes, the stronger it gets.  I will say that for such a good film it surely didn’t start off so hot.  Hauck’s first act doesn’t feature Hawke but for a few mere moments, and the other seasoned casted actors such as Robert Forster (also always cool) and Jeff ‘Lawnmower Man’ Fahey don’t join us until the second act so without that talent, the first younger bunch of actors aren’t able to grab the noir dialogue with such competence.  While intriguing, It’s kind of a rough first 20 minutes but in a weird way it just sets the film up for its impending success.  

Hauck is somebody to keep your eye out for.  With what appears to be an unwavering vision of what he wants in “Too Late”, and he achieves it.

...unwavering vision of what he wants in “This”, and he achieves it.

Luke 12:40