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Category: Matt Hurt’s Columns

Matt Hurt's Columns 0

Movie Review: The Lie (2020)

Overall, The Lie is a solid thriller that could have been more if it stuck its landing. The pacing is strong and the performances by Enos, King, and Sarsgaard carry the tension of the film really well. It is unfortunate that The Lie’s vagueness in respect to character motivations and a lackluster presentation of its ending ultimately holds the film back. 

Matt Hurt's Columns 0

Movie Review: The Midnight Sky (2020)

George Clooney’s latest directorial effort, The Midnight Sky, tells of a world evacuated and a dying man keeping the light on to notify the last remnants of humanity. Unfortunately, what could have been a thought-provoking exploration of regret and isolation ultimately turns into a piecemeal rehash of genre and wilderness survival elements that were done much better in the films from which Clooney draws inspiration. He forsakes exposition in favor of needless ambiguity that leads to a payoff lacking the emotional resonance the film desperately needs. What’s left is a hollow and joyless expedition into the last days of Earth that’s devoid of any real intrigue.

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Movie Review: Fail Safe (1964)

Although this brilliant Cold War time bomb thriller has lived in the shadow of Kubrick’s satirical masterpiece Dr. Strangelove for decades, it’s deserving of just as much high praise. The fear and tension at play in Fail Safe is just as palpable and relevant today as it was in 1964. The film provides us with horrific solutions to impossible problems delivered through the vessel of a relatable President who commands our respect immediately. As such, it will leave you with a lot to consider and debate long after you see it.

Heartland Film Festival 0

HIFF2020: 76 Days (2020)

What 76 Days achieves through its fly on the wall documenting is to put human faces on the superheroic actions of healthcare workers. It does so with dignity and grace as we watch medical staff in a Wuhan hospital try to stem the flood of horror at their doorstep and the emotional toll it takes on them.

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HIFF2020: Song Without a Name (2019)

Set among the turbulence of armed conflict in late 1980s Peru, the film is harrowing in the way it compartmentalizes its drama into the character of Georgina and establishes the horrific journey she has ahead of her. Lonely journalist Pedro also has his own painful arc to contend with as he works to uncover what happened to Georgina’s child. The two characters’ arc intertwine and land a little differently, but the message and tragedy of Song Without a Name plays on.

Heartland Film Festival 0

HIFF2020: All for My Mother (2019)

All for My Mother, Małgorzata Imielska’s debut feature out of Poland, is largely comprised of hardships and trauma that befall the lead character Olka. Through her experience in a reformatory with other troubled teens who wish her harm, to a temporary stay with a couple who aren’t as warm and welcoming as they seem, Olka has one simple goal in mind: to reunite with her mother. That’s all she consciously desires, yet it’s not what she truly needs or yearns for beneath the surface. What Olka truly craves is acceptance and a sense of belonging. She is desperate for the stability of family and the journey she finds herself on makes for a heartbreaking and emotional ride. It’s a ride that includes frequent stops as the path she follows becomes more bleak and dour the further she goes.

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HIFF2020: In Case of Emergency (2020)

The power of In Case of Emergency is in the way it documents its subjects in the relative normal era before COVID and then shows us the toll of the global pandemic on their resolve. It acts as a reminder that heroes are constantly working on the frontline of society’s harshest realities and that they deserve to be recognized even when we aren’t facing unprecedented times.

Matt Hurt's Columns 0

Movie Review: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

Sorkin holds a mirror to our country’s continuing fight for social justice while keeping his camera focused on the historical struggle he’s depicting. Chicago 7 has a lot to say and is a confident entry in Sorkin’s still young directorial career. However, while it is a marked improvement over his directorial debut Molly’s Game, Sorkin seems to still be finding his footing behind the camera.

Matt Hurt's Columns 0

Movie Review: Rodan (1956)

Ishiro Honda’s Rodan certainly lacks some of the character and subtext from some of his other Kaiju films. But that’s not to say it is a bad film by any means. The rise of the pterodactyl-esque creatures and giant insects to wreak havoc on the citizens of Japan make for an engaging monster movie with some surprising (or not so surprising, given Honda’s pedigree) imagery. With each act of Rodan offering nearly its own movie premise, this creature feature is one that offers plenty of action, if nothing else.

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Movie Review: Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) – Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films 5

Mothra vs. Godzilla is a shockingly great entry in the Godzilla franchise and terrific showcase of both of its title monsters. It creates empathy for the monsters in surprising ways while keeping its human antagonists as mere cyphers for the moral lessons it hopes to impart. The film comes together with fantastic action and a wonderfully poignant message of hope in its final scene. Mothra vs. Godzilla is easily the best film in the franchise since Godzilla (1954).

Matt Hurt's Columns 0

Movie Review: Enola Holmes (2020)

A solid introduction to a character with a lot of promise, Enola Holmes is a fun mystery adventure. The film is filled with plenty of shots of beautiful English countryside that are complemented by a propulsive and fun score by Daniel Pemberton. While the plot gets a little too tangled at some points, it wraps up nicely and holds promise for future Enola Holmes adventures.

Matt Hurt's Columns 0

Movie Review: Mothra (1961)

Unlike her betrothed kaiju’s debut in 1954’s Godzilla, Mothra doesn’t offer much in the way of social commentary. There are offhand references to atomic bomb testing and radiation. But it’s all but cast aside in favor of island natives chanting Mothra into life to rescue captured one-foot tall fairies. It’s an hour’s worth of setup for the reveal of a monster that, frankly, doesn’t have as engaging a reason for the destruction she lays out.

Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films 0

Movie Review: King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) – Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films 4

The US version of King Kong vs Godzilla is certainly a less piecemeal repurposing of its Japanese original than Godzilla, King of the Monsters was to 1954’s Godzilla. Instead, the film plays into the spectator sport aspect of this monumental confrontation. Bringing Godzilla into color film and taking Kong to Japan to do battle with him, King Kong vs Godzilla, while over the top in its silliness at times, provides a worthy payoff to the hour (and then some) of set up and contrivances to get these two monsters to duke it out.