MatthewSean Reviews

Book reviews, movie reviews, and other writing

Movie Review – Million Dollar Arm (2014) — May 25, 2014

Movie Review – Million Dollar Arm (2014)

Movie Review – Million Dollar Arm (2014)

Movie Synopsis: A struggling independent sports agent and his partner come up with a unique plan to try and recruit Indian cricket players and train them to be pro baseball players in the USA major leagues.  However, the plan is fraught with a number of challenges, both financial and cultural, along the way.

Movie Review:  To summarize my feeling on this movie, I would suggest this was a fun movie that creates lots of warm fuzzes in the heart, but that at its core is also a pretty traditional, run of the mill sports movie that we have seen before, with some new cultural references and thoughts brought in for good measure.  The acting and story of the movie are well executed, and the fact it is based on a wonderful real life story adds great dimension to the film.  There is also some great character development between some of the characters in the film, although there seemed to be room for improvement in this area.  There were also some great lessons here that were scratched at the surface around culture shock, understanding between and across cultures, and similar themes, however these could have been explored in greater detail.  Overall, the film had a great message and was a lot of fun, but didn’t necessarily feel like anything shockingly stunning or new.

Overall: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

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Movie Review – Arctic Defenders (2013) — May 5, 2014

Movie Review – Arctic Defenders (2013)

Movie Review – Arctic Defenders (2013)

Movie Synopsis: This Canadian documentary showcases the life and struggle of the Inuit people in northern Canada. It brings forward issues around how the Inuit people were forcibly moved from their original homes by the Canadian government in the not-too-distant past, how the Inuit people struggled for decades to ensure self government, which eventually led to the creation of Nunavut in 1999, and issues around Canadian government priorities of northern sovereignty versus ensuring access to social programs and economic development for the Inuit peoples.

Movie Review: This was truly an excellent documentary. High-quality cinematography helped capture the stark, barren, beautiful landscapes of the north. The interviews with a variety of Inuit people from different backgrounds and on different topics helped make poignant points throughout the film. Rather than here from experts from southern Canada, this film had the director and writer going up north to learn from the people themselves, and led to a very informative and passionate piece of filming. The documentary focused on historical issues, political issues, geographic issues, and economic and social issues in turn, which ensured it was fairly well-balanced (although it would have been nice to see more analysis and thought on the issue of high suicide rates in the north, which was referenced but not explored in detail). Overall, this was an excellent documentary that displayed the resolve, bravery, and humbleness of a people with a truly distinct and beautiful culture and language, who are striving for a positive future.

Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Movie Review – The Heat (2013) — May 2, 2014

Movie Review – The Heat (2013)

Movie Review – The Heat (2013)

Movie Synopsis: In this comedy/action movie, a no-nonsense FBI agent who is vying for promotion must adjust her ways to work with a local Boston police department detective who has a very different approach to solving crime.

Movie Review: Although this movie may not stand out as a perfect work of comedy or action, it does bring a lot of laughs and fun times together with lots of police action.  Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy come together and play off each other wonderfully, and both look like they had a great time together making this movie.  They have great chemistry as the unlikely cop duo, and lots of humour and good times ensues, often at the expense of Bullock’s character, and the result is a fun movie with lots of good times.  Although the script is not amazing, the two principle actors do a great job making this a fun way to spend 1 ½ hours of your time!

Overall: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Movie Review – 7 Boxes (2012) — May 1, 2014

Movie Review – 7 Boxes (2012)

Movie Review – 7 Boxes (2012)

Movie Synopsis: A young teenager named Victor receives an opportunity to deliver 7 boxes of unknown materials across a marketplace in a busy Paraguayan city. However, he soon realizes he has gotten into some serious trouble, when he finds himself on the run from a variety of dangerous individuals, as well as the police.

Movie Review: This film from Paraguay, was in a word, flawless. The film, in Spanish with English sub-titles, was absolutely fascinating. The scenes in the Paraguayan marketplace were incredible, showcasing the population density, the poverty, and the dangers of day-to-day living. It also showcased some amazing scenes that varied between the comedic to the shocking to the absolutely suspenseful. The movie moved in fluid and quick turns from action to mystery to suspense to thriller to comedy to romantic-comedy, and the quick succession of material and scenes allowed for an engaging ride for the viewer. The film was 105 minutes but did not feel that long at all, as the pace was very fast. The story was engaging and well-written, and the decision to reveal what was in the boxes about half-way through the movie was perfect. The directors (Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori) employed some interesting techniques and shots to create intensity but also emotion for the audience. The principal actors were all excellent, including the main character Victor, played by Celso Franco. The music added to the depth and excitement of the story being played out so quickly before our eyes. Overall, this was an incredible movie from Paraguay, and definitely one worth seeing. Well done!

Overall: 5 stars out of 5 stars.