Movie Review: Independence Day: Resurgence


We always knew they were coming back, and I sincerely wish they didn’t. I rarely, if ever listen to the critics before a movie that I’m interested in comes out. Negative reviews are no deterrent for me, but as far as Independence Day: Resurgence is concerned, this is one time when they should have been. This is the year in which the world declared in one voice that this was a sequel that was not only twenty years too late, but was also stripped of everything that made the original 1996 blockbuster so great. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Shallows


We’ve seen the classic shark-attack movie Jaws, in which an entire shore town has an inordinate amount of trouble killing one man-eating beast. We’ve seen Deep Blue Sea, in which intelligent and genetically-modified sharks break free of their captors and start striking back. Now we have The Shallowsa refreshing suspense flick that pits scrappy surfer and med student Nancy (Blake Lively) against one terrifying and relentless shark. Continue reading

Movie Review: The Big Short


In a modern cinematic landscape that is packed to the rafters with superhero, sci-fi, and fantasy flicks, sometimes a movie based on a true story is refreshing, even if that movie tells the depressing story of the worst economic disaster the United States has seen is generations. Enter The Big Short – a film about four men in the game of finance who exposed the quagmire of greed and stupidity that eventually dragged the country down into the housing market crash of 2008.  Continue reading

Must-See Christmas Movies

Since movies are just about my favorite thing in the world, and Christmas would be my favorite time of year if there was no such thing as summer, what better joining of forces is there than the Christmas movie? In keeping with the theme this week here at The No Seatbelt Blog, I present to you five of my absolute favorite Christmas movies, and explain why you need to see them. Right now. Continue reading

Film Review: The Gift


Last week, I finally got to watch The Gift, a thriller that I had heard mostly good things about and was eagerly awaiting. The directorial debut of Joel Edgerton (who also wrote and starred in the movie), The Gift revolves around Simon and Robyn (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall), a young couple whose lives seem to be coming together as they move into a new home, Simon gets a significant promotion at work, and they work on starting a family. This ultimate happiness comes crashing down when they run into Gordo (Edgerton), a former classmate of Simon’s who harbors a dark secret. Continue reading

Ryan Remembers…The Strangers


One of my favorite horror films of all time came to the big screen in 2008 in The Strangers. Supposedly inspired by a true story, the film revolves around James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) and Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler), a young couple, who after her rejection of his marriage proposal, return for the night to a summer house owned by his parents. As if the night wasn’t bad enough already for the two of them, a mysterious woman knocks on the door in the wee hours of the morning, asking for someone who is not there. From there, the same woman, along with another woman, and a man, all now wearing masks, start terrorizing the couple from outside the house. Continue reading

Your Ass or a (Plot) Hole In the Ground


Everybody’s a critic these days. More specifically, everybody’s a movie critic, and all are self-appointed. As my good friend Chris has said time and time again, “nobody sets out to make a bad movie”. The people who write screenplays and direct major motion pictures are generally smart, and have teams behind them who brainstorm with them, edit and approve the final product. “Plot holes”, as they’re called, are instances in a movie in which something is left unexplained, questions are left without answers, or a logical progression of some sort is glossed over or omitted altogether. The purpose of a movie is to entertain, above all else.

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Ryan Remembers…The Chase


Take a trip back with me to 1994, a time when Charlie Sheen was young, sane, and likable. In The Chase, Sheen plays Jack Hammond, an escaped convict who in a moment of desperation is forced to kidnap the daughter of California’s wealthiest real estate mogul, and lead the Newport Beach police on a high-speed chase as he heads toward Mexico. He stops at a convenience store for gas (to put into the stolen car he’s driving) and cigarettes, and when confronted by two officers, he takes one Miss Natalie Voss (Kristy Swanson) hostage by “candypoint”, shoving a Butterfinger bar into her back, pretending that it’s a gun. He then takes Natalie, the only daughter of real estate tycoon Dalton Voss, to her shiny red BMW and heads for the border, with her in the passenger seat, and a gun cadged from one of the hapless cops who let him get away. Continue reading

A Look Ahead: The Movies of 2016

As far as cinema is concerned, 2016 will be The Year of the Nerd. The Marvel and DC Comics universes will be heavy hitters, an Independence Day sequel nearly twenty years in the making will hit theaters, the long-awaited and debated female-fronted Ghostbusters film will arrive, and we’ll also see another appearance by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In this look into next year’s movie schedule, I’ll offer brief discussions of eight movies that I cannot wait to see, and I’m sure I’m in good company. Continue reading

Ryan Remembers…The Ref


The Ref is one of the best comedies you’ve never seen. Released in 1994, this thoroughly hilarious, dark Christmas movie stars Denis Leary as Gus, a typically successful cat burglar, who after a botched robbery is forced to kidnap a couple and hide out at their home in an affluent Connecticut suburb to avoid the police. Thinking he’ll be moving along quickly, once his alcoholic schlub of a partner secures transportation to get them beyond the police dragnet, he gets more than he bargained for when he realizes that he kidnapped the family from hell. Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur, played to perfection by Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis, respectively, are a married couple on the verge of divorce who drive Gus insane with their incessant bickering throughout their captivity on the night of Christmas Eve. Continue reading