Tag Archives: Matt Hurt

HIFF2019: Movie Review – Last Year at the Crossing (2018)

Last Year at the Crossing (2018)

  • Documentary Feature/Indiana Spotlight
  • 75 Minutes/USA/2018
  • Education
  • Director: Kathy Bruner

Premise: An alternative high school in small-town Indiana is the last, best chance for four struggling teens to earn a diploma. Their dedicated school administrator holds out hope that this is the year they can overcome their obstacles. A heartbreaking and hopeful portrait of teens trying to rise above their circumstances.

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HIFF2019: Movie Review – Man Camp (2019)

Man Camp (2019)

  • Narrative Feature/Official Selection
  • 94 Minutes/USA/2019
  • Comedy/Drama 
  • Director: Nate James Bakke

Premise: It’s Man Camp weekend, the few days every year when brothers Adam, Tim, and Kevin head to the family cabin to memorialize their dad. When they arrive to discover their mom with some new guy she apparently plans on marrying, the trip becomes a wild test to determine his worthiness.

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HIFF2019: Movie Review – Whelm (2019)

Whelm (2019)

  • Narrative Feature/Indiana Spotlight
  • 114 Minutes/USA/2019
  • Thriller/History
  • Director: Skyler Lawson

Premise: “Whelm” is a thriller set deep in the Great Depression where two estranged brothers get tangled in a rivalry between a legendary bank robber and an eccentric young criminal. Through a series of bizarre occurrences, they find they are part of a larger historic scheme.

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HIFF2019: Movie Review – Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace (2019)

3 stars

Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace (2019)

  • Documentary Feature/Official Selection
  • 85 Minutes/USA, Australia/2019
  • History
  • Director: April Wright

Premise: “Going Attractions” celebrates the splendor and grandeur of the great cinemas of the United States, built when movies were the acme of entertainment and the stories were larger than life, as were the venues designed to show them.

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HIFF2019: Movie Review – Rewind (2019)

4.5 stars

Rewind (2019)

  • Documentary Feature/Official Selection
  • 87 Minutes/USA/2019
  • Drama/Social Justice
  • Director: Sasha Joseph Neulinger

Premise: Drawing upon an immense home video archive, Sasha Joseph Neulinger exposes the family secret which destroyed his world. The camera that followed his footsteps from the day he was born also captured the story of an unraveling childhood, a high-stakes court battle, and a generational reckoning.

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HIFF2019: Movie Review – Safe Spaces (2019)

4 stars

Safe Spaces (2019)

  • Narrative Feature/Official Selection
  • 92 Minutes/USA/2019
  • Comedy/Drama
  • Director: Daniel Schechter

Premise: A comedy about a New York City professor (Justin Long) who spends a week reconnecting with his family while defending his reputation over controversial behavior at his college.

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HIFF2019: Movie Review – Greener Grass (2019)

3.5 stars

Greener Grass (2019)

Premise: A deliciously twisted comedy set in a demented, timeless suburbia where every adult wears braces on their straight teeth, couples coordinate meticulously pressed outfits, and coveted family members are swapper in more ways than one in this competition for acceptance.

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Movie Review: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (2019)

3 stars

Premise: A legendary American war veteran is recruited to hunt a mythical creature.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot. I haven’t seen the trailer but the title, premise, and poster all feel like the movie is supposed to be a cheesy, ultra-violent genre movie. What the movie actually is is far from that. Instead, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot is a melancholic study of a man who has closed himself off from the world as he deals with what he did in the war. Continue reading

Movie Review: Who’s Harry Crumb? (1989)

Who’s Harry Crumb? (1989)

Premise: Harry Crumb is a bumbling and inept private investigator who is hired to solve the kidnapping of a young heiress which he’s not expected to solve because his employer is the mastermind behind the kidnapping.

Letterboxd Challenge: 30 From 30 – 1989 Movies Watchlist – 1/30

I grew up watching and enjoying a lot of John Candy’s work. Uncle Buck, Brewster’s Millions, The Great Outdoors, and Cool Runnings were all on heavy rotation in my house growing up. Who’s Harry Crumb?, however, is a movie I never saw. Now that I’ve seen it, (and although I didn’t necessarily “hate” it) I would have been okay having never seen it. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Great Dictator (1940)

The Great Dictator (1940)

Premise: Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel’s regime.

Immediately after The Great Dictator ended, I rewound the movie and rewatched the five minute speech at the end again. Now, while sitting in the afterglow of my first viewing of the film, I am really hard-pressed to think of any movie moments that are as emotionally affecting, timeless in their relevance, and as intensely powerful as that speech was. I am not being the least bit hyperbolic when I say that with one viewing, I’m confident in saying The Great Dictator is a true masterpiece.

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Movie Review: Stan & Ollie (2018)

Premise: Laurel and Hardy, the world’s most famous comedy duo, attempt to reignite their film careers as they embark on what becomes their swan song – a grueling theatre tour of post-war Britain.

Stan & Ollie dramatizes the waning days of Laurel & Hardy’s professional relationship with a quiet, almost sedated dignity. Embarking on a lengthy theatre tour in Britain, the aging comedy legends work to reclaim their comedic spotlight and secure funding for a Robin Hood film. This comes at the expense of their physical and mental health while also forcing them to come to terms with their celebrity status. Continue reading

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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