Ryan Simpkins

Ryan Simpkins

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Brigsby Bear Review

Excellent

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores the experiences of a young man rescued after years in captivity. The darker emotions are here, but that's not the focus of this film, which instead playfully keeps the audience laughing as it cleverly weaves a tale that will resonate in unexpected ways. And the fanboy-style premise makes it wonderfully timely.

This is the story of 25-year-old James (played by cowriter Kyle Mooney), who was kidnapped as an infant and raised in a bunker by Ted and April (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams), who claimed to be his parents and told him the air outside was unbreathable. Over the years, he gets his education from weekly videotape episodes of the children's show Brigsby Bear, made by Ted specifically for him. Then when he's rescued and reunited with his real parents (Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins), they're strangers to him. As is his spiky little sister Aubrey (Ryan Simpkins). To make sense of this big new world, he gets help from a cop (Greg Kinnear) and a therapist (Claire Danes). But he longs to revisit Brigsby's world. So when Aubrey's friend Spencer (Jorge Lendeborg) shows interest in the furry character, James launches an epic plan to make a movie to bring the TV series to a conclusion.

Obviously, all of this is working as a kind of rehabilitation for James, and the film is smartly assembled to bring the audience into his quirky perspective. We've seen an episode of Brigsby, so we understand how it has charmed him with its nutty sci-fi superhero action. And it's hilarious to see James thrown into our world when his only cultural references relate to Brigsby. Meanwhile, Mooney underscores James' obsession with a bright sense of curiosity that's infectious both for the other characters in the story and for us watching it.

Continue reading: Brigsby Bear Review

Brigsby Bear Trailer


When James Pope was just a baby, he was kidnapped from the hospital in which he was born. His new parents took him to live in the middle of an isolated expanse of wilderness, and refused to teach him anything about the world outside of their home and only let him watch a children's TV show called 'Brigsby Bear'. The only problem is, it has never been a real show and is merely a creation by his parents. One day, as an adult in his early 30s, he is rescued from his captors and taken out into the real world for the first time. Naturally, he is overwhelmed and confused about the nature of his new life, but nothing compares to finding out that 'Brigsby Bear' has never been a real show. However, it's the only thing he knows, so he sets out to bring the character out into the open and embarks on a filming project to create a movie of the character that shaped his entire life.

Continue: Brigsby Bear Trailer

The House Trailer


It is every parent's dream come true when their child gets into college - especially when it's the one they've been hoping for. Scott and Kate Johansen are therefore thrilled when their daughter Alex gets into Buckley College. They only problem is, there is no way they can afford the school fees after spending the entire fund. Instead of telling Alex the truth and breaking her heart, they decide that they're going to get the money together no matter what they have to do. A solution arrives in the form of Frank, who introduces them to the world of illegal underground casinos and they decide to band together with their neighbours to make up the thousands of dollars worth of tuition by building the casino in the basement. They make terrible criminals and they run the risk of going to jail for a long time, but how far are they willing to go for the sake of their child's future?

Continue: The House Trailer

Sherrybaby Review


Good
It struck me while watching Sherrybaby that one of Maggie Gyllenhaal's greatest strengths as an actress is an ability to cross class lines effortlessly and often. There are some great, versatile actresses -- Nicole Kidman, perhaps -- who nonetheless don't seem qualified to play someone like Sherry Swanson (Gyllenhaal), a young recovering drug addict just out of prison, longing with needy desperation to begin mothering her young daughter Alexis (Ryan Simpkins).

Yes, Charlize Theron uglied herself up for Monster and Halle Berry went working-class for Monster's Ball. But Sherrybaby isn't Monster Mommy; it's a quiet, painful little portrait with little of the inherent sympathy (or showier ugliness) of those other roles. More to the point, while Theron and Berry rocked the Oscar-friendly reverse-makeover, Gyllenhaal looks more or less as she usually does: moony face, sad eyes, feathery voice. The only physical transformation involves a blond dye-job, trashy heels, and a lot more screen time for her breasts.

Continue reading: Sherrybaby Review

Ryan Simpkins

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Ryan Simpkins Movies

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Brigsby Bear Trailer

Brigsby Bear Trailer

When James Pope was just a baby, he was kidnapped from the hospital in which...

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The House Trailer

The House Trailer

It is every parent's dream come true when their child gets into college - especially...

Sherrybaby Movie Review

Sherrybaby Movie Review

It struck me while watching Sherrybaby that one of Maggie Gyllenhaal's greatest strengths as an...

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