Category Archives: Matt Hurt’s Columns

Movie Review: Escape Room (2019)

Escape Room (2019)

Premise: Six strangers find themselves in circumstances beyond their control, and must use their wits to survive.

Escape Room was a fairly decent thriller for about 2/3s of its runtime. For the other 3rd, it was pretty rote with underdeveloped characters, derivative set pieces, and an ending that felt like a first draft fever dream.

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Movie Review: Glass (2019)

Glass (2019)

Premise: Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.

I can’t remember the last time I was so invested in 2/3s of a movie only to find myself struggling so hard to hold my interest in its final act. But such is the life of the audience member of an M. Night Shyamalan movie. As harsh as it may sound, there’s no denying that Shyamalan is one divisive and mercurial filmmaker. The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs were all fantastic films in my opinion, and The Village was solid. But we had to suffer through the likes of The Lady in the Water, The Happening, and The Visit before he turned things around with Split in 2017.

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Movie Review: Split (2017)

Premise: Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities. They must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.
When I sat down to rewatch Split, the thing I was most curious about was if the surprise ending was what made the movie great in my mind or if it would stand on its own without that shock factor inflating a subpar or mediocre opinion.

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Movie Review: Unbreakable (2000)

Unbreakable (2000)

Premise: An ordinary man makes an extraordinary discovery when a train accident leaves his fellow passengers dead—and him unscathed. The answer to this mystery could lie with the mysterious Elijah Price, a man who suffers from a disease that renders his bones as fragile as glass.

It may be easy to forget that M. Night Shyamalan’s follow up to his breakout hit The Sixth Sense came at a time when the vast majority of comic book movies were poorly made garbage to sell merchandise. But before Christopher Nolan really changed the game with The Dark Knight Trilogy, Shyamalan made a grounded comic book movie that was, at its heart, a love letter to comic books themselves and the storytelling within that medium. Underappreciated in its own time, Unbreakable went onto attain cult status and still holds up to repeat viewings to this day.

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Movie Review: Free Solo (2018)

Free Solo (2018)

Premise: Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite’s 3,000ft high El Capitan Wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history.

I went into Free Solo wondering what could possibly possess a person to climb anything without ropes or harnesses. It is a lifestyle that I am so far away from, I simply can’t fathom it. And right off the bat, the documentary addresses this question in the form of an interview that Free Solo‘s subject, Alex Honnold, was in on television. His rationale is that anyone can die at any time, what difference does it make if you’re thousands of feet in the air with only a fingernail’s worth of space keeping you from plummeting?

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Movie Review: The Upside (2017)

The Upside (2017)

Premise: A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who’s hired to help him.

The Upside is a pretty middle of the road comedy that’s fairly inoffensive, if unimaginative in its execution. It’s a remake of the 2011 French film The Intouchables. It premiered at TIFF in 2017 and finally got a wide theatrical release now in 2019.

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Movie Review: The Good Dinosaur (2015)

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In The Good Dinosaur, Pixar imagines a world where dinosaurs never went extinct and now live alongside humans. The movie follows Arlo, a young cowardly dinosaur who finds himself lost from his family farm and forced to confront his fears to return home. Arlo finds an unlikely companion in a human “creature” named Spot, who acts as Arlo’s guard dog. Continue reading

HIFF2015: Movie Review – Beyond Measure (2014)

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  • Documentary Feature / USA
  • Director: Vicki Abeles
  • Writers: Vicki Abeles, Jeffrey Friedman, Mitzi Mock
  • Featured Subjects: Sir Ken Robinson, Linda Darling Hammond, Yong Zhao, Daniel Pink, Ron Berger

This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.

Beyond Measure is Vicki Abeles‘ followup to her 2010 documentary Race to Nowhere. While her last film examined the pressure-filled lives of overworked students, Beyond Measure spotlights alternative learning methods created by students and faculty across the country to combat the outdated data-driven methods. Continue reading

HIFF2015: Movie Review – Three Windows and a Hanging (2014)

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  • Narrative Feature / Festival Award Winner / Kosovo, Germany
  • Director: Isa Qosja
  • Writer: Zymber Kelmendi

This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.

Isa Qosja‘s Three Windows and a Hanging is an emotionally jarring look into the patriarchal society of a Kosovo village rebuilding after war ravaged their community and its people. When school teacher Lushe tells a reporter that she and three other women from the village were raped by Serbian troops, the male villagers react.
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HIFF2015: Movie Review – Keep in Touch (2015)

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  • Narrative Feature / Festival Award Winner / USA
  • Director: Sam Kretchmar
  • Writers: Sam Kretchmar, Michael Covino

This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.

In Keep in Touch, Colin (Ryan Patrick Bachand) tries to reconnect with a long-lost childhood crush. When he finds out she died in a car accident many years ago, he becomes infatuated with her younger sister, an aspiring musician who bears a striking resemblance to the girl he used to love. Continue reading

HIFF2015: Movie Review – The Champions (2015)

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  • Documentary Feature / USA
  • Director: Darcy Dennett
This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.
I have always been a dog person so I write this with the caveat that my objectivity may be slightly impaired. Darcy Dennett’s The Champions is a moving account of what it takes to rehabilitate the shattered psyche of animals who have experienced intense trauma. The film accomplishes this by showcasing the amazing work of the individuals helping victims of Vick’s dog fighting ring with the ultimate goal of getting them adopted.

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HIFF2015: Movie Review – Superior (2015)

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  • Narrative Feature / USA
  • Director: Edd Benda
  • Writer: Edd Benda
  • Cast: Paul Stanko, Thatcher Robinson

This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.

In Superior, best friends Charlie and Derek set out on a two-week long bike ride around Lake Superior in the summer of 1969. The pair are weeks away from going their separate ways (college for Charlie and Vietnam for Derek), and they’re determined to make their final adventure count. Continue reading

HIFF2015: Movie Review – The Ambassador to Bern (2014)

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  • Narrative Feature / Hungary
  • Director: Attila Szász
  • Writer: Norbert Köbli

This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.

The Ambassador to Bern is a dramatic retelling of an incident that occurred in the aftermath of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. On August 16th, 1958, two Hungarian immigrants broke into the Hungarian embassy in Bern and took the ambassador hostage at gunpoint. This film tells a version or the story that happened on that day.

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HIFF2015: Movie Review – Embers (2015)

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  • Narrative Feature / Poland, USA
  • Director: Claire Carré
  • Writer: Charles Spano, Claire Carré

This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.

Embers is a Poland and US co-production about the aftermath of a global neurological epidemic and how those who survive find meaning and connections in a world without memory. The movie follows several different perspectives that are independent of one another and collectively give a well-rounded view of how people are affected in this world.

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HIFF2015: Shorts Program 11 – This, That, and the Other

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This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.

Unlike the Sci-Fi and Art Appreciation shorts, This, That, and the Other didn’t have a clearly defined theme. As such this block of short films included 7 varied and unique films. Read my thoughts on each of the short films below.
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