Friday, August 18, 2017

Movie review: What the Health

Filmmaker Kip Anderson explores collusion between food producers, healthcare, and pharmaceutical industries while examining the link between diet and disease.

Kip Andersen, Larry Baldwin, Neal Barnard, Tia Blanco, David Carter, Jake Conroy, Garth Davis, Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., Mike Ewall, Alan Goldhamer, Michael Greger, Mu Jin Han, Jaydee Hanson.

What the Health is an interesting, engaging, and entertaining film. What it may not be is educational. Kip references a lot of studies in the film, and presents some disturbing data, along with some questionable extrapolation. Though I have not explored his data, I have read more than a few reviews who claim to have done so and that the studies, data, and results in this film were not presented in a factual manner. Kip also makes some big claims about collusion which I didn't feel were proven in the film. I enjoyed this one but remain skeptical it is more than entertainment.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were decent. Location shots would have enjoyed a bit better background composition. Dialogue, and narration, were nicely done. Sound is good.

What the Health measures up in as entertainment, but possibly not as a documentary. Do your homework is probably the best advice for this one.

Nothing to limit audience age.

Released: 2017
Reviewed: 8.1.17
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Documentary, Food & Travel TV

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Movie review: Sex Doll

 High-end call girl Virginie meets a nice man in a London club, but what she doesn't know about him may cause problems for their relationship.

Hafsia Herzi (Virginie), Ash Stymest (Rupert), Karole Rocher (Raphaelle), Paul Hamy (Cook), Ira Max (Sofia), Lindsay Karamoh (Electre).

Sex Doll is billed as a tale of modern love, described as a look at the awful world of high class call girls, or as a look at the seedy side of prostitution from a woman's perspective. What I found was a strange love-story in which a high-end call girl falls in love with a loner devoting himself to saving prostitutes. That said, the film feels slow much of the time and despite the Happy Ever After ending, lacks energy and engagement with the audience.

Acting was a big part of the problem here with both Herzi and Stymest feeling almost lifeless. The remainder of the cast showed a few sparks but felt dry and emotionless most of the time.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were all fairly well done and fitting. Dialogue was okay, as was captioning, though intermittent use of captions got distracting. Sound and soundtrack were okay.

If you were hoping for something steamy, this is not it. If however, you enjoy unusual love stories that require a lot of imagination, this might be for you!

With some nudity and believe it or not sexuality, violence, and some foul language, this one is really for older teens and above.

Released: 2016
Reviewed: 8.1.17
Star rating: 2 out of 5
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Romantic Drama, International Films

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

Monday, August 14, 2017

Movie review: The Woman with 7 Personalities

Director Ruth Selwyn reconnects with Helen, a school friend from long ago, in a chance encounter and learns she has developed 7 distinct personalities. Selwyn then decided to make this documentary to tell Helen's story and learn more from experts about her condition.

Ruth Selwyn (Director, narrator), Helen.

The Woman with 7 Personalities is really less documentary than it is reality TV as Selwyn follows Helen around with a camera trying to capture her personalities. Along the way there is some interesting information presented, but not enough. It was eye opening to learn that Helen and her different personalities are aware of each other and even appear co-dependent in some ways. It was disappointing the film had no real conclusion, didn't explore treatment or impact on Helen, or even tell us what happened to Helen.

Camera work was solid with most shots well framed and focused.

For anyone interested in multiple personality disorder this one will probably be engaging if not entertaining. Those looking for a story with a conclusion may be disappointed.

Nothing here to limit audience age.

Released: 2004
Reviewed: 7.31.17
Star rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Documentaries, British TV, British Documentaries

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Movie review: Sandy Wexler

 Sandy is a Los Angeles talent manager representing an unusual group of clients on the fringes of show business during the 1990's. But his professionalism is tested when he starts to fall in love with a new client.

Adam Sandler (Sandy), Jennifer Hudson (Courtney), Kevin James (Ted), Colin Quinn (Kevin), Nick Swardson (Gary), Jackie Sandler (Amy), Terry Crews (Bobby), Rob Schneider (Firuz), Lamorne Morris (Bling).

Sandy is an unusual character, even in Hollywood, managing a group of unusual clients. After discovering Courtney, he begins to fall in love, testing his professionalism and ethics. The remainder of the film is a slow dance between Sandy and Courtney even as Sandy's unusual management style begins to unravel. The film wraps nicely without leaving an aftertaste.

Acting was decent with Sandler delivering slightly better than usual. Hudson was a brilliant choice to play opposite Sandler and did a wonderful job. James, Quinn, and Swardson were all well cast and delivered nicely. Crews and Schneider were fun additions as always and did well. Cameo appearances by some big names were fun.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were solid if somewhat mild. Dialogue was good with some nice comedy working with the drama. Sound and soundtrack were good.

Overall I think the best description of Sandy Wexler is tepid. The romantic drama never strongly develops, nor does the drama. While the storyline is amusing, it isn't quite enough by itself and the other components fail to pick up the slack. The result is a mild romantic comedy that is easily forgotten when over.

This one should be fine for teens and above.

Released: 2017
Reviewed: 7.31.17
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Comedy, Romantic comedy

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

Friday, August 11, 2017

Movie review: The Discovery

 When existence of an afterlife is scientifically proven, the suicide rate skyrockets. Two years later, another discovery could have the same result.

Robert Redford (Thomas), Jason Segel (Will), Rooney Mara (Isla), Jesse Plemons (Toby), Ron Canada (Cooper), Riley Keough (Lacey), Connor Ratliff (Coroner), M.J. Karmi (Janice).

Two years after Thomas released proof of an afterlife, the suicide rate remains high with many viewing it as a way to reset their lives. Continuing his research along with his son Will, they begin to realize the proof Thomas found was not of an afterlife at all. Along the way Will meets Isla during an attempt to reset her life, falls for her, and tries to convince her suicide is not the right answer. The emotional ride completes with an interesting twist at the end, finishing the film nicely.

Acting was enjoyable with Redford delivering well as always. Segel was an interesting choice and did nicely in a lead role. Mara played well with Segel and was enjoyable throughout. Canada, Plemons, and the remainder of the cast delivered well.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were solid and fitting. CGI was nicely done, presenting the sci-fi aspect of the film well. Dialogue had nice depth and movement. Sound and soundtrack were solid.

Overall The Discovery is a nice blend of sci-fi, drama, and other elements leading to a film that emotional as well as cerebral. Those who enjoy drama or mysteries with broad focus should enjoy this one.

Nothing much to limit audience age so this should be fine for teens and above.

Released: 2017
Reviewed: 7.30.17
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Drama, Romantic Drama, Mysteries, Sci-Fi Drama, Independent Dramas

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

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