Ryan Donowho

Ryan Donowho

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Transit Review


OK
Infused with a B-movie vibe, this fast-paced, choppily edited thriller doesn't waste any time on character complexity or plot development, just putting an innocent, albeit troubled, family in harm's way. But its increasingly preposterous narrative and hysterically over-violent action makes it something of a guilty pleasure.

Ex-con Nate (Caviezel) is trying to reconnect with his wife Robyn (Rohm) and sons (Knight and Cherry) on a camping trip in Louisiana. But their paths cross with a gang of armoured-car thieves (Frain, Perrineau, Downho and Baird), who hide their stash in the family's camping gear. Getting it back is trickier than they expect, especially after Nate has a run-in with the law in a backwoods Louisiana town, and Robyn leaves him to fend for himself. And the gang doesn't care who they kill to get their cash.

Continue reading: Transit Review

Bandslam Review


Good
With its squeaky-clean characters and simplistic plotting, this film is clearly targeting the High School Musical audience. It even has the same lead actress.

And it's just bright and sunny enough to work.Will (Connell) is a nerdy music obsessive who is thrilled when his mother (Kudrow) announces that they're moving from Cincinnati to New Jersey. He plans to reinvent himself at his new high school, and quickly gets caught up in the upcoming BandSlam competition, helping hot girl Charlotte (Michalka) turn her talented but scruffy bandmates (Saxton and Jo) into a first-rate band with the addition of a few more members (including Donowho, Yost and Chung). Meanwhile, Will is falling for his moody study partner Sa5m (Hudgens). The 5 is silent.The formula dictates the plot, as we know things will fall apart before they come together in the end. And where this film surprises us is in the way it approaches teen life with a blast of intelligence. The characters are recognisably complex, with some pretty serious issues in their lives and relationships that feel relatively organic and real. And the conflicts feel vaguely authentic as well, even though we know the smiles will be back before too long.

These teens are all overachievers with a lot of talent, and it's clear that the same can be said about the cast, although the rampant overacting may grate on older audience members. It's mainly Michalka's show; Charlotte is by far the most interesting, magnetic character. But everyone else gets a chance to cut loose as well, including Porter as Charlotte's cool-kid ex. Meanwhile, Kudrow adds class, and some fine comic timing, to the whole thing.Of course, this is a Disneyfied fantasy version of high school, where everyone is virginal and straight, and even the geeks are cute. And this blanding-down makes the whole thing feel less like a proper film than a pilot for a TV series that combines harmless adolescence with an introduction to rock history. But the music is terrific, and director-cowriter Graff resists the temptation to indulge in the usual hackneyed moralising. He also stirs in some terrific moments along the way that subvert the genre just a little bit.

The Pacific And Eddy Review


Very Good
I'm not typically a fan of "mumblecore," that emerging genre of low-budget indie filmmaking that typically features 25-year-old slackers and hipsters sitting around in small apartments and trading bedmates while they try to get their band off the ground. The Pacific and Eddy is a slightly glossier west-coast version of what has mainly been a Brooklyn phenomenon, and it's a good example of what this type of movie can be when you blow in a little fresh air and relieve a bit of the claustrophobia.

The star slacker here is Eddy (Ryan Donowho), a scruffy but good-looking and charismatic mystery man who deserted his friends and disappeared a year ago after a tragic "accident" took the life of his good friend. What actually happened, and what Eddy's role in it was, is never explained, and while such vagueness could be interpreted as manipulative, it actually works well here, creating a backdrop of tension that never dissipates.

Continue reading: The Pacific And Eddy Review

Imaginary Heroes Review


Very Good
Considering that Imaginary Heroes starts off with a teenager's suicide and then follows what happens to his family in the following year, it's a surprisingly energetic film that refuses to send its characters through either easy therapeutic resolution or cinematically pretty depression. This is more about how people grieve in reality, how they keep on moving through the days and plowing through the grief. And though it can't avoid all the potential clichés that come into its path, this is a tale of suburban angst that can easily stand beside works like American Beauty and The Ice Storm, if not surpass them completely.

The feature directing debut of Dan Harris, the scriptwriting wunderkind behind X2 and a batch of upcoming superhero flicks (from Superman to The Fantastic Four), Imaginary Heroes is a breathtakingly assured piece of work. Notable are the shimmering cinematography and unusually nuanced performances from both veteran actors we tend to take for granted and several fresh, younger faces. It starts off with Matt Travis (Kip Pardue), a high school swimming legend who always hated swimming and so shoots himself in the head one night. Although we only really see him in retrospect, talked about in narration by his younger brother, Matt (Emile Hirsch), it's quickly obvious that Matt was the shining star of the family and so everything quickly goes to pot in his absence. The dad (Jeff Daniels) collapses into an unshaven, sullen drunk, and the sister (Michelle Williams) dashes back to the safe haven of college. Matt - the film's closest thing to a protagonist - buries everything deep, hiding all emotions from his best friend Kyle (Ryan Donowho) and girlfriend, breaking up with her after she keeps asking how he's feeling and why his body is covered in bruises.

Continue reading: Imaginary Heroes Review

A Home At The End Of The World Review


Weak
An initially touching story that wilts under its own insignificance, A Home at the End of the World is the second film to be adapted from a Michael Cunningham novel, following the footsteps of The Hours, a work that, for all its flaws, A Home can't even come close to. In an opening that veers wildly, and not unpleasantly, between adolescent melodrama and wildly unintended farce, we are given the suburban Cleveland childhood of two buddies, Bobby Morrow and Jonathan Glover. Bobby's eyes were opened to the world at age nine in the late 1960s, when his older brother Carlton introduced him to the joys of acid and hanging out in graveyards.

A few years later, after the deaths of both Carlton and his mother, Bobby is a puppy-eyed teenager who inherited Carlton's magnetic personality and utter lack of guile, which is what attracts another teen, the gawkier Jonathan, to him. After his dad dies, Bobby moves permanently into the Glover household as a sort of unofficial adopted brother to Jonathan - except that they're brothers who occasionally make out and smoke joints with Mrs. Glover (Sissy Spacek). The rather uptight Jonathan (he wears glasses and has braces, you see) can't handle Bobby's openness and is more than a little jealous of how eagerly her mother has embraced him into their family, and their romantic relationship stalls.

Continue reading: A Home At The End Of The World Review

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Ryan Donowho Movies

Transit Movie Review

Transit Movie Review

Infused with a B-movie vibe, this fast-paced, choppily edited thriller doesn't waste any time on...

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Imaginary Heroes Movie Review

Imaginary Heroes Movie Review

Considering that Imaginary Heroes starts off with a teenager's suicide and then follows what happens...

A Home At The End Of The World Movie Review

A Home At The End Of The World Movie Review

An initially touching story that wilts under its own insignificance, A Home at the End...

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