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The Qwipster Film Review Podcast podcast

The Qwipster Film Review Podcast

By Vince Leo  

Qwipster.net’s film critic, Vince Leo, delivers a la carte movie reviews, featuring the latest releases, covering blockbusters, independent films, foreign titles, and VOD.

Qwipster.net’s film critic, Vince Leo, delivers a la carte movie reviews, featuring the latest releases, covering blockbusters, independent films, foreign titles, and VOD.

 

#300

Coming 2 America (2021) | Craig Brewer

Coming 2 America is the much-belated sequel to one of Eddie Murphy's most popular of starring vehicles, 1988's Coming to America. Murphy returns to his role as Akeem Joffer, an obscenely wealthy prince of the fictional African kingdom of Zamunda, living in bliss with his wife, Lisa (Shari Headley), and their three daughters. With his father ailing (James Earl Jones), Akeem is set to become the king, but this will leave Zamunda, which has only been ruled by men, with no male heir. General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), the warmongering leader of the neighboring country, Nexdoria, has come around to intimidate his way into a marriage between his son and Akeem''s eldest daughter, Meeka (KiKi Layne). However, Akeem is soon informed that he may have had an illegitimate son when he was sowing his wild oats in America thirty years prior. Akeem and his right-hand man Semmi (Arsenio Hall) return to Queens, New York to find the 31-year-old son and heir he didn't know he had, the street-wise ticket scalper Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler). Akeem flies out Lavelle and his mother Mary (Leslie Jones) to Zamunda to receive his training and perform tests of courage before he can be the prince. ... Read more

07 Mar 2021

20 MINS

20:12

07 Mar 2021


#299

Tom & Jerry (2021) | Tim Story

Set in New York City, Chloe Grace Moretz stars as Kayla, a street-wise con artist who steals the resume of a highly qualified applicant and lands a temp position with the upscale Royal Gate Hotel. Through a series of mishaps, Jerry the mouse ends up taking unofficial residence in the five-star establishment while Kayla hires Tom the cat to be the exterminator that will preserve the immaculate reputation of the hotel, especially as they are set to host the “Wedding of the Century” between a couple of social media celebrities. Meanwhile, Kayla’s rival within the hotel, Terrance (Michael Pena), is out to make sure she fails before she gets the advancement he’s been sucking up for years to attain. Unfortunately, with a mouse, a couple of cats, a bulldog, and some elephants roaming around, trying to keep calamity from ensuing is going to be a near-impossible task for all of them. ... Read more

01 Mar 2021

12 MINS

12:09

01 Mar 2021


#298

Promising Young Woman (2020) | Emerald Fennell

Cassie Thomas (Carey Mulligan) lives with her parents in Ohio while working in a dead-end job at thirty years old, a barista in a small coffee shop. Her parents have been encouraging her to get on with her life in ways that aren't even subtle. Their latest birthday gift: a suitcase. Cassie spends her evenings at the local watering holes to the point where she's in an obvious stupor. Inevitably, someone will offer to do the right thing and give her a ride home. However, temptation gets the better of them and they'll tell the cab driver to take her to their home instead. There, they reveal themselves as not so good and she'll reveal herself to be not so drunk, shaming them for essentially trying to rape a woman who is too intoxicated to truly give consent. At work, Cassie has a run-in with Ryan Cooper (Bo Burnham), a former colleague from medical school now working as a pediatrician. Here we pick up clues learning about how she was once on a fast-track to becoming a doctor, but she dropped out for mysterious reasons involving her best friend Nina Fisher, the victim of a sexual assault that never got justice - until Cassie made it her mission to stop predators in their tracks. Ryan seems different, cracking through Cassie's tough exterior, offering a bright future. However, when she learns that the person most responsible for Nina's rape is nearby and about to get married, she has to decide which path she should go down, the path of promise or the path of vengeance on everyone who done them wrong, including the seemingly indifferent school educators and lawyers who downplayed the allegations. Emerald Fennell writes and directs. ... Read more

17 Feb 2021

18 MINS

18:30

17 Feb 2021


#297

The Little Things (2021) | John Lee Hancock

Set in 1990, Joe 'Deke' Deacon (Denzel Washington) is a burnt-out deputy from Kern County, CA, who left working the spotlight of high-profile cases five years ago for quieter pastures, sacrificing the spotlight and his family in the process. Rami Malek is Jim Baxter, a hotshot homicide detective for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on top of the case to catch a serial killer brutally slaughtering young women. Deke has a knack for visualizing crime scenes and cracking cases by observing 'the little things' - the seemingly unimportant clues that lead a serial killer to be caught.  However, his reputation of following his own guidelines rather than the law has earned him a reputation, especially as events of his past have haunted him to ruin. Deke travels to LA to deliver evidence for a case from Bakersfield but finds himself drawn into doing additional legwork off the clock because of the similarities between the current murders and one he had been working on back when he was last in Los Angeles that precipitated his exile. The arrogant Baxter initially dismisses Deacon as a loose cannon distraction, but eventually finds there's a method to his madness that could be an asset to cracking the case. Their clues eventually lead to appliance deliverer Albert Sparma (Jared Leto), though they aren't quite sure if he did the deeds or if he's merely drawn close to the case because he is a fanatic for serial-killer crimes and intrigued at being thought of as a suspect. However, the demons that plague Deke seem to be infecting Baxter as he too begins to obsess about the case. John Lee Hancock writes and directs. ... Read more

01 Feb 2021

19 MINS

19:06

01 Feb 2021


#296

The Hunt (2020) | Craig Zobel

The Hunt is a violent satire in which liberals kidnap and hunt down "deplorables", aka Trump supporters. These deplorables wake up in an undisclosed rural area gagged online bloggers and internet trolls claimed to expose online as "Manorgate," but are left with keys, tools, and weapons to potentially defend themselves and get free. The private jet-flying, caviar-consuming liberal elites hunting them down like giving them a sporting chance, though the odds are heavily stacked against them. However, one of the captives is able to give the hunters a run for their money.  Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Wayne Duvall, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, Ethan Suplee appear in this film written by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, directed by Craig Zobel. ... Read more

21 Jan 2021

18 MINS

18:29

21 Jan 2021


#295

Soul (2020) | Pete Docter & Kemp Powers

Jamie Foxx voices Joe Gardner, a middle-aged music teacher at a New York public middle school, frustrated by his lack of success toward becoming a professional jazz club musician. He's offered full-time status with the school when another door of opportunity opens. A former student mentions that a legendary jazz saxophonist named Dorothea Williams is auditioning for a new pianist in her jazz ensemble. Nailing the audition, Joe is exuberant, failing to notice an open manhole before falling into it. He next finds himself disassociated with his body in an afterlife existence, a soul waiting for its final destination (dubbed "The Great Beyond"). With dreams unfulfilled, Joe desperately wants his life back, escaping his fate by posing as a mentor for new souls in a pre-life training area called "The Great Before." Joe's assignment is to direct a soul called 22 to find her spark that will keep her happy and productive before assuming her role in the living world. However, 22 is a special case, spending eons avoiding the process under other mentors (even Mother Teresa lost her cool with her). When Terry, the accountant for souls, notices one is missing, she pursues Joe after he escapes back to Earth to regain his life. ... Read more

12 Jan 2021

17 MINS

17:39

12 Jan 2021


#294

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

The prolonged armed raid of the shopping mal reveals a jewelry store used as a front to fence valuable but stolen ancient artifacts brought to the Smithsonian for Diana (Gal Gadot) and her team to identify. That's where we meet the newly hired Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), a mousy gem specialist with self-esteem issues, particularly around the self-confident and beautiful Diana Prince. In particular, one stands out, a phallic piece identified as the Dreamstone, a crystal of myth once believed throughout ancient history to grant wishes. Cavalierly, Barbara makes her wish to be like Diana, though not knowing that also means like Wonder Woman as a by-product. Diana makes her wish for Steve Trevor to be back in her life to continue the life they never got to spend together. Overnight, Barbara's confidence begins to grow, and the men take note of her beauty while she begins to grow in strength and agility. At the same time, Diana is approached by a mysterious strange claiming to be Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). He doesn't look like him, but after a few words that only Steve might know, she sees the character with Chris Pine's face and voice henceforth. (This aspect will require audiences not to think too hard about an innocent man whose body will be used nonconsensually indefinitely for Diana to romance, while also having no family or friends in his life to notice he's completely changed). Villainy soon enters the scene when Max Lord (Pedro Pascal), a TV infomercial conman who has headed the financially failing oil company called Black Gold Cooperative, enters the scene. Lord discovers they have the Dreamstone, and he's desperate enough to give it a try, using his charm on Barbara to get his hands on the piece and make his wish - which is to have the stone's powers. The physical stone disintegrates, and now Max has the power to grant anyone a wish - a power he uses in exchanges for the wealth, power, and fame of others who deal with him directly. However, what the wish makers don't know is that there is a catch. Gaining the thing they desire most means losing the thing of most value they already possess. In Barbara's case, it is her kindness. In Max's case, it is a good father. And in Diana's case, it is the superpowers she needs to save the world. Patty Jenkins directs. ... Read more

02 Jan 2021

19 MINS

19:11

02 Jan 2021


#293

Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020) | Dean Parisot

The story involves the Bill (Alex Winter) & Ted (Keanu Reeves), now married with one child each, suffering a mid-life crisis, realizing that they never united humankind through their music as foretold. In fact, contrary to the end montage of Bogus Journey depicting their success, Face the Music shows the duo jaded after a career where they are more laughing-stock than the most popular band on Earth. The pressure to fulfill their destiny finds their marriage on the rocks, seeking couples therapy, but one where both couples are involved simultaneously; the duo's inability to separate their codependency is one of the issues. Someone from the future tells them they need to write the song within the next 77 minutes to achieve global peace and harmony, or the universe will come apart in a cataclysmic event called the Unraveling. Their plan: use the phone booth time machine to travel forward in time to steal the song from their future selves. Dean Parisot directs this third entry in the Bill & Ted series. ... Read more

07 Sep 2020

18 MINS

18:28

07 Sep 2020


#292

The One and Only Ivan (2020) | Thea Sharrock

The story centers around Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lives in a cage as the star of a struggling animal show at a suburban shopping center called the Big Top Mall & Video Arcade at Exit 8. Ivan’s main schtick is to roar and look intimidating, but behind the scenes, he is a thoughtful and sensitive soul. Other talented animals under the care of beleaguered ringleader Mack include a baseball-playing chicken, a sassy poodle, a bunny, a seal, a parrot, and an elderly elephant named Stella, plus a stray mutt called Bob. Ivan befriends the young daughter of the mall cleaner who hands him supplies to draw, and it becomes something he takes an interest in doing, which has Mack seeing dollar signs to save his floundering circus attraction. An adorable baby elephant named Ruby arrives to become the latest attraction, under the tutelage and loving guidance of Stella. The drawing and painting, plus Ruby’s arrival, trigger Ivan’s memories of his childhood of freedom in the wild with his family, and Stella doesn’t want Ruby to live a sheltered life as she has had. Ivan plans to break free and deliver Ruby to a life of freedom. Featuring Bryan Cranston, Ariana Greenblatt, Ramon Rodriguez, Owain Arthur as live actors. Voice work by Sam Rockwell, Danny DeVito, Brooklynn Prince, Angelina Jolie, Chaka Khan, Ron Funches, Helen Mirren. ... Read more

26 Aug 2020

12 MINS

12:18

26 Aug 2020


#291

Queen & Slim (2019) | Melina Matsoukas

In this potent and socially relevant dramatic thriller, Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) is a jaded criminal defense attorney and Slim a devoutly Christian retail clerk Slim (Daniel Kaluuya). They're on a Tinder date in a Cleveland diner. On the way to drop off Queen, Slim gets pulled over by a pushy cop (Sturgill Simpson), then things escalate into an intense altercation that results in Slim killing the cop in self-defense. From then on, the two become fugitives, relying on whatever help they can on the down-low to avoid being caught and find their way to Cuba. Lena Waithe scripts from an idea by James Frey. Melina Matsoukas directs. ... Read more

17 Jun 2020

14 MINS

14:32

17 Jun 2020


#290

Bad Boys for Life (2020) | Adil and Bilall

In this third entry in the long-gestating franchise, Mike Lowery (Will Smith) gets gunned down by up-and-coming Miami crime kingpin Armando Armas (Jacob Scipio) who pops a few rounds into the cop at the direction of his ruthless mother Isabel (Kate del Castillo), getting revenge on all of those cops and lawyers who took down her drug-lord husband years before. Due to Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) making a pact with God to hang up the "bad boys" life if Mike pulls through, he refuses to join forces with his longtime partner on exacting revenge on Armando. To help supplement the cover, loose-cannon Mike teams up with the by-the-book 'AMMO' division of the force, a group of young guns with high-tech weapons. Of course, when tragedy strikes once again, Marcus gets off of his recliner for one more chance at the guts and glory of the "bad boys." ... Read more

17 Apr 2020

13 MINS

13:42

17 Apr 2020


#289

Onward (2020) | Dan Scanlon

In this Pixar film, two teenage elf brothers in a town called New Mushroomton go on a quest that requires them to tap into the long-forgotten magic in the world to have one more day with the father who passed away before his youngest was born. The father left behind a gift for them to have when they both reached the age of sixteen, a wizard's staff and an ultra-rare Phoenix Gem they can use to bring him back to life, but only for one day. The spell is cast, but the process gets interrupted halfway, leaving only dad's animated legs to get to know. If they want to talk to him or give him so much as a hug, they'll have to find another Phoenix Gem before the spell runs out. Voice work by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. Directed by Dan Scanlon. ... Read more

08 Mar 2020

11 MINS

11:43

08 Mar 2020


#288

Parasite (2019) | Bong Joon-ho

Song Kang-ho plays Kim Ki-taek, the father in the poor family that has no breadwinners due to the lack of good-paying jobs (the latest gig finds them folding pizza boxes). Poverty has become so pervasive that the family works overtime to find ways to not spend money, hijacking wifi from neighbors and resorting to forgery to gain credentials from schools they couldn't even dream to be able to afford. They even leave the window open as the bug exterminator draws near to get "free fumigation", inundating their basement apartment (and boxes meant to carry pizzas) with unhealthy chemicals. Things take a turn for the better when Ki-taek's son, Ki-woo, gets a temporary job replacing a good friend as the tutor for Da-hye, a teenage daughter of a well-to-do family. In their palatial home, Ki-woo woos the young woman who develops a crush on him, just like she did the prior tutor, and convinces the naive mother that he has the skills necessary for the job. When Ki-woo learns that the young son in the rich family, Da-song, needs an art tutor, he brings in his sister for the job, pretending to be Ki-woo's old college friend, then his dad, then his mother. But their taste of the high life makes it a place they want to stay for good. ... Read more

27 Feb 2020

13 MINS

13:10

27 Feb 2020


#287

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) | Jeff Fowler

Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) flees homeworld due to possessing powers that make him a fugitive carrying a bad full of rings that are portals to new dimensions, is typical road-movie adventure comedy we've seen many times in a variety of forms. Sonic ends up teleporting to Earth, specifically the flyspeck town of Green Hills, Montana, where he encounters a sheriff so bored with the town's lack of crims that he's taken to having conversations with his donuts, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), who is hoping to not make another day a waste by waiting patiently to nail someone speeding. He gets it in Sonic, who clocks in at a speed that makes Tom question his radar gun. Tom dreams of doing some real crime-fighting, with a goal to move him and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), his ever-supportive veterinarian wife, to San Francisco to join their more active police department. It turns out when Sonic loses all of his other rings through an open portal atop the city's Transamerica Pyramid, he'll have to tag along as well. However, when Sonic's energy burst ends up causing a massive power outage to the entire Pacific Northwest region of the United States, the government sends in a secret weapon, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), a mad, megalomaniacal genius with an army of sophisticated flying drones who tenaciously will find a way to exterminate the blue alien thing once and for all. Robotnik chases Tom and his new companion Sonic as they make their way to California. ... Read more

16 Feb 2020

13 MINS

13:46

16 Feb 2020


#286

Birds of Prey (2020) | Cathy Yan (aka “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey”)

The storyline picks up with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) just following her dastardly dreamboat, The Joker, breaking up with her, with the spinout of their toxic relationship leaving her in shambles. An oft-unhinged club owner named Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), whose alter ego is another powerful villain in Gotham City known as Black Mask has secured a rare diamond worth so much that he could afford to up his protection racket operation to become the biggest crime kingpin in Gotham City. That diamond is stumbled onto and taken by a pickpocket extraordinaire named Cassandra Cain, who ends up swallowing it to avoid having to give it up when frisked by police, making her the most sought after person in the city, especially after Roman places a half-million-dollar bounty on her. All of this leads to Harley forming a ramshackle team of women with grievances with Black Mask to finally put an end to his murderous ways. That team includes Huntress, aka Helena Bertinelli (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a Punisher-type mafia princess-turned-vigilante who rides a motorcycle and shoots a crossbow - Black Canary, aka Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell). Leading the case for the Gotham City Police Department is Renee Montoya, played by Rosie Perez, and newcomer Ella Jay Basco portrays Cassandra Cain. Cathy Yan directs. ... Read more

11 Feb 2020

19 MINS

19:49

11 Feb 2020


#285

Little Women (2019) | Greta Gerwig

As a novel, "Little Women" had been published in two volumes, one in 1868 and the other in 1869, but the volumes are combined in the film, interwoven together in a rearranged timeline that jumps back and forth, spotlighting their hopes and dreams as teenagers, then tempering those ambitions with the grimmer realities of the real world in their adulthood. It spins the yarn of four young sisters with artistic and romantic ambitions - Jo, Amy, Meg, and Beth - living with their mother Marmee while their father is off fighting in the Civil War. Much of this film adaptation by writer-director Greta Gerwig concentrates on Jo's story regarding her ambition and struggle to become a published writer. Throughout the course of the film, we see her maturation by finding her voice, both as a woman and as a writer. Featuring Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Timothee Chalomet, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep. ... Read more

30 Jan 2020

13 MINS

13:40

30 Jan 2020


#284

Uncut Gems (2019)

Set in 2012, Uncut Gems is a part crime drama and part character study, following the dealings of Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a New York jewelry merchant doing business by appointment in his highly secure private showroom. Not all is peachy-keen in Howard's life, as his marriage is on the rocks, his mistress has begun to make him feel insecure, his lack of work ethic beginning to sour customers, he just might have colon cancer, and his gambling addiction has gotten him into a lot of debt that he can't pay back easily. He's a sucker for get-rich-quick schemes to keep him out of trouble; his latest involved the procuring of a large uncut Ethiopian black opal that may be worth up to a million dollars. Enter Boston Celtics star, Kevin Garnett, who takes an immediate interest in purchasing the rare jewel upon seeing it, but is denied a sale because Howard already has it set up to auction within a few days. Garnett ends up borrowing the opal in exchange for one of his championship rings and has one of the best games of his career on the basketball court, making it the good-luck charm he has to have at the tail-end of his career. In the meantime, Howard has ended up pawning off Garnett's ring and used the money to bet big on Garnett's performance. Directed by Benny and Joshua Safdie. ... Read more

20 Jan 2020

16 MINS

16:50

20 Jan 2020


#283

1917 (2019) | Sam Mendes

1917 takes place in Northern France amid the Great War. Lance Corporals Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) are two British soldiers commanded to carry orders from their General (Colin Firth) across No Man’s Land then behind German-occupied enemy lines. The mission-critical orders are for a battalion of 1600 British soldiers, including Blake’s brother, to stand down from their planned raid the next morning against the Germans who are setting them up for a massive ambush. Through trenches, decimated towns, and bombed-out structures, the duo traverses, cautiously but expeditiously, to save the lives of their fellow soldiers. Sam Mendes directs. ... Read more

08 Jan 2020

09 MINS

09:49

08 Jan 2020


#282

Ford v Ferrari (2019) – aka Le Mans ’66 | James Mangold

Most of the film surrounds the events leading up to France's illustrious 24 Hours of Le Mans auto racing event, mostly glossing over Ford losses in 1964 and 1965 as roads poorly chosen. We start with Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), a former elite racecar driver, the first American driver to win at Le Mans, who retires into designing racecars and coaching the next generation of elite racers after finding out he has heart disease. Considered a maverick by his contemporaries, his services are sought when the Ford Motor Company, who are attempting to brand their vehicles to younger people who want style and sex appeal in the cars they buy, planned to acquire the financially struggling Ferrari in 1963. Those plans fall through spectacularly, leaving both sides feeling insulted. Ford wants to show Ferrari, and the world, that they are more than just a company that can mass produce family vehicles. Shelby sets about building what would come to be known as the Ford GT40 model, trying to maximize power and minimize weight and drag to be the fastest racer on Earth. Christian Bale plays British racecar driver Ken Miles, sought by Shelby to help his test out his designs to give them a chance to come out on top in the grudge match between Ford and Ferrari. He's skilled at what he does, but Henry Ford II wants him replaced by someone less of a loose cannon and willing to tow the Ford line to the media. Ken's wife, Mollie (Caitriona Balfe), and his son, Peter (Noah Jupe), feel ambivalence about his quest to be the best. They want him to bring home the bacon, but they're also afraid that he'll be another casualty in the car racing arena who doesn't get out of his car in time. Shelby must weigh his friendship and knowledge that Miles is the best shot to win with the needs of his funders, who are only in it to promote their brand. James Mangold directs. ... Read more

02 Jan 2020

15 MINS

15:59

02 Jan 2020


#281

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

The Rise of Skywalker takes place sometime after the events of The Last Jedi. Rey (Daisy Ridley) has been in training with General Leia (Carrie Fisher) on how to be an elite Jedi. She ends up abruptly leaving so that she and her merry gang of Resistance fighters can hop around the galaxy. They’re looking for a Wayfinder crystal that is the key to finding the planet called Exogol, where the Siths reside, led by the return of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who is somehow still alive. Obstacles abound, including First Order leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Ren is ostensibly seeking to help Palpatine return to power, trying to get his hands on the Wayfinder for himself, possibly to join forces with Palpatine to enact the Final Order to bring the galaxy to its knees. J.J. Abrams directs. John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, Billy Dee Williams, Naomi Ackie, Keri Russell, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Kelly Marie Tran also appear ... Read more

24 Dec 2019

12 MINS

12:53

24 Dec 2019