Film Review: DR. BRINKS & DR. BRINKS (USA 2017)

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Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks Poster

After husband and wife aid workers, Dr. Brinks and Dr. Brinks, die in a plane crash, their grown children are reunited for the first time in years. It takes days for Marcus and Michelle …See full summary »


Josh Crockett


DR. BRINKS & DR. BRINKS must have been a project of love for writer/director Josh Crockett as he had to publicly raise funds to complete the film.  To Crockett’s credit, it is a worthy effort that is relatively entertaining but no masterpiece.

DR. BRINKS & DR. BRINKS is a dysfunctional family comedy/drama (too many Brinks spoil the broth) with more comedy than drama though the drama is still pretty intense in parts.  The title refers to the husband and wife doctor team who work with the Doctors without Borders.  They spend more time with children in underdeveloped nations that with their own.  This results in their own children not really knowing their own parents or family for that matter.  Two of the siblings who hardly see each other are brought together as a result of their sudden death from an airplane crash with disastrous results.

The story devotes almost equal screen time to the brother Marcus Brinks (Scott Rodgers) and sister Michelle Brinks (Kristin Slayman).  Marcus has a relationship with Alex (Ashley Spillers).  A bit more time is spent on Michelle with her character being right most of the time, likely because Slayman playing her is the film’s producer and the wife of the director in real life.  Marcus sports a thick beard and there is a lot of free sex (including bondage and kinky sex) involved so one can guess that director Crockett aims at the new age free spirited era of the forgotten 70’s.   The sexual encounters liven the film as well as reveal certain characteristics of the siblings.

To add fuel to the fire, Kristin begins a sexual relationship with Alex’s father Bill (Robert Longstreet).  She knows it is wrong but cannot stop it.  Bill thinks he is in love all over again and the best thing that has happened to him.  While Marcus finds out, he becomes visibly upset while Alex is unaware initially.  This incident makes up a good part of the film and is used as the catalyst to rock and then stabilize the various relationships.

The film’s main aim is the examination of the relationship between the siblings amidst varying circumstances.  Besides the problem stated, it is also revealed that the house that Marcus and Alex live in is still in the parents’ name and has to be liquidated to pay off their debt.  But this plot point could have been left out in the script without affecting much.  The actor playing the lawyer (Roger Guenveur Smith) is pretty good.

As Marcus’ vocation is singer/songwriter, the film has a nice break when a few of his catchy songs are performed.

The film lacks as strong conclusion thus creating an unsatisfying feeling for the audience  that the film is leading nowhere.  Though more comedy than drama, the comedy is light at best and the drama that escalates towards the film’s end is somewhat predictable. 

DR. BRINKS & DR. BRINKS opens in the U.S. this Friday in select theatres and is available video on demand on September 4th.


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Film Review: ALPHA (USA 2018)

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Alpha Poster
In the prehistoric past, a young man struggles to return home after being separated from his tribe during a buffalo hunt and finds a similarly lost wolf companion to start a friendship that would change humanity.


Albert Hughes


Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt (screenplay by), Albert Hughes (story by)


(This review contains one spoiler that is important to bring up in the reviewing of this film.  The paragraph containing the spoiler is highlighted in italics.)

An American film shot largely in Canada (Alberta and British Columbia) and in Iceland, ALPHA also includes lots of CG effects as evident in the endless long lists of names involved with CG in the closing credits.

ALPHA is set back in the Ice Age in Europe (it could be anywhere else for that matter) about a young man and his dog.   It all begins after a Steppe bison hunting expedition gone awry. A young man struggles against the elements to find his way home, all the while developing a friendship with a wolf. 

The film is co-produced and directed by Albert Hughes, with a screenplay by Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt, from a story by Hughes.  It is difficult to dislike a film about a man and his dog surviving the elements as evident by the rousing applause at the end of the promo screening.  But good intentions aside, ALPHA contains too many flaws.

The main flaw is continuity.  One major segment has Keda (Australian Kodi Smit-McPhee) hanging for dear life on a vertical rock face after falling off the cliff.  Rain pours.  The what seemed bottomless gorge is suddenly filled with water that allows Keda to fall in, to survive the fall.  The next scene shows him lying on the ground with hardly any water to be seen.  Following that, Keda, for no reason appears at the top of the cliff that he originally fell from.  The film does not show him climbing back up to that level.

The wolf dog first appears only after more than half the film’s running time.  Near the end, the canine is shown returning to the pack, but in the next scene is shown coming back to Keda.

The dialogue is incredibly corny.  Though the actors speak in a made-up stone age language, the subtitles read: “Lead with your heart, not with your spear.” And at the end of the film, the father tells Keda: “You earned it, my son.”

Warning Spoiler: It turns out at the end of the film that the canine is a female.  That is weird as the film title ALPHA implies the canine being an alpha male, especially when called to fight other larger animals to protect her master.  If this in part of Hollywood’s need to have more female centred themes, the idea is ridiculous.  Though personally, if I would have a choice of a male or female canine, I would pick the latter.

But in 3D and with all the location shots and CG effects, ALPHA is a feast for the eyes.  The screen also fills with green in one scene, likely from a shot of the Northern Lights as seen in Iceland.  The one famous glacier and waterfall in Iceland are both on display in the film as well.

ALPHA is all good looks but a total mess.


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Movie Review: HAART KENYA, Kenya, Documentary

Stunningly beautiful, filled with a rich tapestry of color and textures, HAART KENYA is as visually moving as it is emotionally engaging and educationally necessary. This Kenyan film from director Danielle Da Silva is a work following HAART Kenya- an organization dedicated to helping support and rehabilitate women and children involved in the human trafficking trades in Kenya and East Africa. We follow two main stories of women who were victims of human trafficking, as well as hearing from the professionals at HAART who work on the front lines. Pairing with Photographers Without Borders, this film documents the struggles and pains that follow victims of human trafficking, and the treatment and support HAART can provide them.


HAART KENYA is not a depressing film. On the contrary, it is alright with hope. It is bright with the triumph and resilience of the human spirit. A film that fills your heart with anguish, but also with happiness. At the other side of surviving is thriving- HAART KENYA reminds us that we are not defined by are our tragedies- we are defined by what we are in spite of them. A beautiful film with a beautiful message, it is a documentary not to miss.

Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

HAART KENYA, 13min., Kenya, Documentary
Directed by Danielle Da Silva

An organization dedicated to ending modern slavery (human trafficking) against women and children in Kenya and East Africa. Simas spent two weeks photographing their workshops, community, and grief-stricken survival stories.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Movie Review: ISIS WAS HERE, Iraq, Documentary

ISIS WAS HERE is a harrowing and dramatic documentary from Iraq, chronically the destructive force of ISIS and its path through one Iraq town of Qayyarah. Director Abdalrahman Karm takes a front-lines approach to the piece- putting the camera (and us) at the ground zero of tragedy.


We never find out entirely how ISIS gains control of the town, but we are able to follow the wreckage left behind their abandoned 2014 occupation- including their take-over of the local hospital, their isolation of students from schools, and their simultaneously systematic and senseless torture of the residents. We follow family after family touched by violence, death, destruction and horrendous acts of cruelty.  


What ISIS WAS HERE is able to translate is the loss of humanity brought about by terror and war. A film as raw and emotionally evocative as possible, it will remind you that behind headlines in newspapers, and behind statistics, there are human beings. Humans who feel love and loss and pain. ISIS WAS HERE is an important film and one that is not always easy to watch- but not everything important is easy to see. Nevertheless ISIS WAS HERE is a film to see.

Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

ISIS WAS HERE, 25min, Iraq, Documentary 
Directed by Farman Abdalrahman Karim 

In 2014 the ISIS controlled Qayyarah Town, It Is near from the Mousll City in north Iraq. In 27 Aug 2016 Iraqi Army freedom the Qayyarah Town, after that every one Shocked when they see the tragedy stories in Qayyarah

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Movie Review: SAN GUERRERO, Argentina, Documentary

This four minute documentary film coming out of Argentina by director Jeff Zorrilla, is a gritty and hard-reality look at an American Ex-patriot, living in Buenos Aires. At first glance, the rough-and-tumble voice of our hero calls to mind the funny slightly off-color humor of a rarely seen relative at a family reunion; the lilt of a gravely, worldly voice that tells it like it is, with a harshness that is equal parts enticing and dangerous. As our story moves ahead, however, we see the life our hero leads by day and night are quite different- by day, he is a travel guide for tourists looking to explore the city. By night, he books sex workers for clients who are vacationing as sexual tourists. The bright and colorful streets of Buenos Aires have a dark and dirty side.


Whether our hero is telling you where to pick up lunch, or where to pick up a date, he deals in his trades the same way- you come looking for something, he has the answer. We never see his face- but we know this man.


What makes SAN  GUERRERO a fascinating watch is it’s honesty. We may not like our hero, or his job- but we get the very real sense that he does not care what we think- as he says in the film,  he didn’t come to this city to live- he came here to die. There is real life honesty behind his candor, his resignation of the way the world- his world- is. Our hero is complex, gritty, larger-than-life, real, warped and honest- all in four minutes. We see only the tip of the iceberg that is his life. A delicate tone is woven in SAN GUERRERO, it will test you- it will have you lingering between wanting to know everything about our hero- and shuddering at knowing his life is likely the equivalent to a high-speed cinematic chase scene. SAN GUERRERO is a complex portrait of a man, a bright and colorful college of broken dreams and broken glass. An excellent film, and an excellent story.


Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

SAN GUERRERO, 4min., Argentina, Documentary
Directed by Jeff Zorrilla

A portrait of an american ex-patriot lilving in Buenos Aires and working as a city tour guide during the day and a prostitution tour guide during the night

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Movie Review: CHEATER, USA, Comedy/Drama

CHEATER a seven-minute film, directed by Michael Boctor and Dylan Hancock, is a spellbinding and intense comic rollercoaster. We start without hero desperate to cheat on the test he hasn’t studied for- a relatable plight to us all. After a series of escalating hijinks and stakes that jump to extremes, all chaos ensues and the cheater must answer for it.


The magic in CHEATER, is that you will never see it coming until you are strapped and locked into our hero’s mission, and as things reach a laughably ridiculous crescendo, it almost feels believably absurd. A wonderful film with escalation, stakes and hilarious twists, CHEATER is not to miss!


Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

CHEATER, 7min., USA, Comedy/Drama
Directed by Michael Boctor and Dylan HancookAn Anxious student, Trevor, continually tries to cheat on his exam until his neighboring classmate Carl gets fed up and outs him. The teacher instead disciplines Carl which angers him, resulting in a kerfuffle which ends in Carl being tased and removed by security.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Movie Review: EDGAR’S INVENTION, USA, Comedy/Sci-Fi

Zany, whimsical and based on a true story, we follow Edgar- a struggling scientist doing everything he can to make an invention that will better the world. Putting all his energy into waterproof socks yields surprising results- he may not invent ever-dry material, but he might invent something that will delight children for generations to come.


Comical with it’s slightly over-the-top shtick but all the more enjoyable for it’s fantastical elements  (Lava lamps in the basement laboratory, anyone?) EDGAR’S INVENTION is excellent because it is a great example of how to teach history to any audience- Fantastical and fun like “Drunken History” but for kids, this totally family-friendly piece tells a great invention story that all will love.


Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

EDGAR’S INVENTION, 8min., USA, Comedy/Sci-Fi 
Directed by Matt Provenzano

In the year 1950, Edgar Ellington yearns to invent something meaningful and important, but struggles with his own failures.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!