Review Section

Past the Popcorn: Coens Miss Their Stride with <i>Hail, Caesar!</i>

Past the Popcorn: Coens Miss Their Stride with Hail, Caesar!

by Jeff Walls No director(s) in Hollywood so easily transition from drama to comedy and back again as the Coen Brothers.  The writing and directing duo take on old Hollywood in their latest comedy entitled... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: True Story of <i>The Finest Hours</i> Worth Seeing

Past the Popcorn: True Story of The Finest Hours Worth Seeing

by Jeff Walls Less than a month into 2016 and we have already gotten two movies with the word “hours” in the title that each tell stories about men who put their own lives in danger to save the lives... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Michael Bay Manages a Down-to-Earth <i>13 Hours</i>

Past the Popcorn: Michael Bay Manages a Down-to-Earth 13 Hours

by Jeff Walls Michael Bay certainly has a talent for directing action. But his movies have always been more popcorn-flavored, so taking on a sensitive subject like Benghazi seems like a risky move. ... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: <i>Concussion</i> Blows Up Pro Football Better Than Brady

Past the Popcorn: Concussion Blows Up Pro Football Better Than Brady

by Jeff Walls Professional football is not just a sport, it is an industry.  And the National Football League is so big that, as explained by Dr. Cyril Wecht in Concussion, they “own a day of the week…... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: <i>In the Heart of the Sea</i> is Ron Howard’s Big Fish Story

Past the Popcorn: In the Heart of the Sea is Ron Howard’s Big Fish Story

by Jeff Walls The last time star Chris Hemsworth and director Ron Howard collaborated, the result was the thrilling racing drama Rush, one of the best movies of 2013.  They leave behind the racecars... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: <i>Spectre</i> Betrays the Bond Legacy Bigtime

Past the Popcorn: Spectre Betrays the Bond Legacy Bigtime

by Evan Woltz Keep in mind while reading this… I love almost all the Bond movies for what they are, from the gritty and serious Craig Bond movies to the ultra-cheesy Roger Moore era. Beyond the specific... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: <i>The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2</i> Wraps it Up

Past the Popcorn: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Wraps it Up

by Jeff Walls Adapting young adult novels into big screen franchises has been popular in Hollywood for more than ten years now. The Harry Potter movies really started it, while the so-called “craze”... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Issues Films like <i>Spotlight</i> Are Worth Seeing, Too

Past the Popcorn: Issues Films like Spotlight Are Worth Seeing, Too

by Jeff Walls This modern era of cinema is dominated by special effects-laden stories of fictional superheroes saving the world from destruction, but what about the real heroes in this world?  They may... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Hard-Hitting <i>Room</i> is an Indie Film Worth Seeing

Past the Popcorn: Hard-Hitting Room is an Indie Film Worth Seeing

by Jeff Walls The new kidnapping drama Room starts out just like most of those enclosed-space thrillers that take place almost entirely in a single location, but it quickly becomes so much more.  Thanks... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Danny Boyle Directs Fast-Moving, Fast-Talking <i>Steve Jobs</i>

Past the Popcorn: Danny Boyle Directs Fast-Moving, Fast-Talking Steve Jobs

by Jeff Walls The screenplay for the new biopic Steve Jobs was written by Aaron Sorkin, so it will instantly draw comparisons to 2010’s The Social Network, another movie written by Sorkin about a major... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Waterland Home Video Feature

Past the Popcorn: Waterland Home Video Feature

Bright Star reviewed by Greg Wright When fellow Waterland Blog reviewer Jeff Walls reviewed Bright Star for its theatrical release in 2009, he was less than overwhelmed.  “Despite the excellent production... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: <i>The Martian</i> is the Best Big-Screen Pic This Year

Past the Popcorn: The Martian is the Best Big-Screen Pic This Year

by Jeff Walls Author Andy Weir first self-published his novel The Martian as a free online blog, before creating an Amazon Kindle version at the request of his fans. The Kindle version instantly became... [Read more]

Lunch with the Marine View Diner: Dana K’s Kafe

Lunch with the Marine View Diner: Dana K’s Kafe

by Greg Wright Wallingford’s loss is Des Moines’ gain. After nine years operating the highly popular Smash Wine Bar, proprietor Dana Hannon has moved her shingle to the prior location of Blue... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Waterland Home Video Feature

Past the Popcorn: Waterland Home Video Feature

Everest (1998) reviewed by Greg Wright Given the hundreds of films I’ve reviewed, I am absolutely flummoxed that I have never before covered 1998’s IMAX film Everest. To start with, I’m a mountaineering... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Robert De Niro Hits the Mark Again in <i>The Intern</i>

Past the Popcorn: Robert De Niro Hits the Mark Again in The Intern

by Jeff Walls After a long and storied career made up mostly of dramatic roles, Robert De Niro has found some success in his later career with comedic roles.  He played on his history of playing gangster... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Waterland Home Video Feature

Past the Popcorn: Waterland Home Video Feature

The Help reviewed by Greg Wright I know some reviewers who proudly declare that they never watch films a second time.  And I can understand why that can happen.  After all, if you’re reviewing films... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: A Really Really Big Big-Screen Epic with <i>Everest</i>

Past the Popcorn: A Really Really Big Big-Screen Epic with Everest

by Jeff Walls A lot of blockbusters recently have built themselves up as “an IMAX experience,” but they are not necessarily the cinematic experiences for which the IMAX format was originally designed. ... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Owen Wilson Connects with Audiences in <i>No Escape</i>

Past the Popcorn: Owen Wilson Connects with Audiences in No Escape

by Jeff Walls Actor Owen Wilson is mostly known for his comedies, but over the years he has shown some quality dramatic chops in movies such as Midnight in Paris and Marley & Me.  In the new movie... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Cruising with <i>Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation</i>

Past the Popcorn: Cruising with Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

by Jeff Walls Ever since Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt ran away from a crashing fish tank in 1996, the Mission: Impossible movie series has been all about the big stunts.  The same is true of the latest... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Marvel and Disney Have Another Big Hit with <i>Ant-Man</i>

Past the Popcorn: Marvel and Disney Have Another Big Hit with Ant-Man

by Jeff Walls Avengers: Age of Ultron was more of the same for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the new chapter in the expanded universe franchise offers something new.  A new superhero, Ant-Man, is... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Waterland Home Video Feature

Past the Popcorn: Waterland Home Video Feature

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, review by Greg Wright What was that I was saying about Lee Pace being a welcome presence as Thranduil in The Desolation of Smaug?  When Peter Jackson has him... [Read more]

Past the Popcorn: Yes, Schwarzenegger is Back in <i>Terminator Genisys</i>

Past the Popcorn: Yes, Schwarzenegger is Back in Terminator Genisys

by Jeff Walls Whether or not you were ready for more Terminator movies, you are getting them.  The franchise rights revert back to its creator James Cameron in 2019 and current rights owner Paramount... [Read more]